AUTHOR: Jos Mous
DISCLAIMER: I don’t own any of these characters and am not making a profit.
NOTE: This is kind of a response to Bela’s challenge. It’s also a very little game of “spot the cross-over”.
“Pegasus” was one of those places nobody knew anything about. And if anyone did admit to knowing anything about it, it would only be rumours at best. But surely no-one knew for an absolute fact what went on inside, even those who visited the club didn’t know anything about it – or at least not while they were anywhere else.
Nevertheless, Brooke was about to find out.
From the front it wasn’t an impressive club. No windows, no huge neon signs, no long queues, just a discreet little plaque displaying the name. And a bouncer. It was very obviously a bouncer and one who had only become a bouncer because it liked throwing people out. Brooke wondered if the club really needed a bouncer to keep the visitors in line. Or, perhaps, there were other situations where several pounds of muscle came in very handy. With a barely imperceptible nod, the bouncer let Brooke in. Inside, it was dark and quiet and would almost have been reassuring if only Brooke wasn’t so nervous. The corridor went on for some time, probably sloping very gently downwards by the feel of it and then there was another door.
And then, there was light.
And noise. And people. And music. And shouting. And talking. And couples.
Yes. Couples. Very ordinary couples like you might see walking down the street. Provided you didn’t look too closely.
Brooke wasn’t surprised, or at least felt as if she shouldn’t be surprised. After all, of all the things people didn’t know about Pegasus, this one was the best kno. . . the least known.
Still, it was unsettling to see this many, this close.
Brooke made her way through the crowd, not really knowing where she was going. Possibly, some people said something to her, but she couldn’t hear them and not because they didn’t speak up enough.
It had been a mistake coming here. It was too much all at once. She couldn’t cope with this. Brooke felt lost, uncertain, floating in a world where she didn’t know the rules. So when she saw a familiar face sitting at a table, sipping some kind of drink, Brooke instantly bee-lined towards it.
Only when she regained her breath and a bit of coherent thought did it strike.
A familiar face? Here?
“What are you doing here?”
“I could ask you the same question.”
“Well, I’m here because. . .” she stopped. The truth was, she didn’t know. Not really know. There was a feeling, perhaps. An idea. A sense of. . . something she couldn’t quite get a grip on. Didn’t really want to get a grip on.
Sam nodded. “I see.”
“How can you.I don’t.”
Sam smirked and took her glass. “Oh yeah, I see.”
Brooke crossed her arms in front of her chest. “Well you don’t seem very surprised to see me here.”
“Is that an accusation?” said Sam. “And hell, saying I was surprised is an understatement. But I recovered from the shock long before you did.”
“Oh,” said Brooke. “So. . . how long have you been coming here?”
Sam shrugged. “A couple of years, I guess.”
Brooke’s mouth fell open. “A couple of. . . and you never told me?”
“Told you what? ‘Hey I go to this great little gay club I know, wanna come’? Would you tell me?”
“Well. . . no.”
“Yes, but you’re. . .”
“I’m what?” said Sam, her voice getting dangerous.
“Nothing,” said Brooke.
“Good,” said Sam. “Because I don’t want to make a pot and kettle pun if I can possibly avoid it. Anyway, how long’ve you known?”
“I. . .”
It was at this point that a waitress materialised at the table. She was beautiful. Her long, blonde hair was gorgeous and she had the kindest eyes Brooke had ever seen. Brooke fell in love with her instantly, or would have done if she were gay, which she. . . might. . . be?
“Hello, can I get you anything?” the heavenly vision asked.
“Brooke, close your mouth, it’s impolite,” said Sam.
“Oh, uh, I’ll have some, uhm, water?”
“Coming right up.” Even her voice was like that of an angel.
When the beautiful creature had gone, Brooke let her head fall on the table.
“I am such a dork.”
“Funny hearing that from you,” said Sam. “But come on, you held up pretty well, considering.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, when I first saw Louise I practically drooled.”
“That’s her name, Brooke.”
Sam sighed. “But she’s taken. And a decade or so older than me, but mostly she’s taken.”
The look on Brooke’s face changed. Sam raised an eyebrow.
“So, how long have you known?”
“For sure? About five seconds, I guess.”
Sam snorted. “Yeah right. You came to Pegasus, but you didn’t know for sure?”
“No!” said Brooke hotly. “I mean, I thought about it, I considered, but you know, I didn’tknow.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Nothing. Just hmm-hmm.”
“Hi, here’s your glass of water,” said Louise, suddenly appearing at the table again. “Will there be anything else?”
After a few seconds, and a kick against the shins from Sam, Brooke replied. “Uhm. . . no thank you.”
Louise smiled, nodded and left.
“Oh for crying out loud, Brooke,” said Sam.
“What? You drooled.”
“Practically drooled. There’s a huge difference.”
Brooke’s eyes followed Louise around the room until the beautiful waitress reached another table. Seated at that table was some. . . thing that was presumably female judging from the shape of its chest. It had short, blonde hair, a scar around the eye and an almost permanent smirk on its face. It said something to Louise, who obviously giggled. The probably-female closed her arms around Louise and pulled her onto its lap. There was a stab of irrational jealousy when the two kissed. Not roughly or possessively as you might’ve expected from the look of the kind-of woman, but gently, sweetly. Very much like Brooke had imagined it in her own, private thoughts. But she hadn’t been kissing a long-haired blonde then. Instead, the one who’d sit in her lap smiling, giggling and kissing had a hairdo that looked as if it had a family of ferrets living in it.
And right now, she was sitting right next to her. And she was looking at Brooke strangely.
“What?” said Brooke.
“You were a million miles away, Brooke,” said Sam. “Where were you?”
“Just. . . somewhere. Why do you care?” she snapped.
“OK. Sorry,” said Sam.
Brooke blinked. A girl had appeared behind Sam, her arm already around Sam’s shoulders. She looked Japanese in an American kind of way and her dark blonde hair ended abruptly, as if it had been cut off.
Sam smiled, almost a bit embarrassed, but still genuine. “Hello Sei.”
The girl called Sei let go of Sam, plopped down on a chair and unashamedly took a swig of Sam’s glass. “And who’s this?”
Sam gave a little dismissive wave of her hand. “This is Brooke.”
Sei smiled in a way that wasn’t entirely nice. “Ah, the Brooke, eh?”
Sam rolled her eyes. “Yes, the Brooke.”
Sei suddenly focused all her attention on Brooke, her hand supporting her chin. “So, you claimed the complementary toaster yet?”
Sei winked. “Don’t you worry about it. It’ll come soon enough.”
Brooke, by now thoroughly bewildered, could only answer, “It will?”
“Anyway, Sam-chan, care for a dance?”
“Not right now, thanks.”
“Ah come on, you’ll love it,” said Sei, getting up and pulling Sam up as well.
“Well, yes, but. . .” Sam protested ineffectively.
Brooke found herself alone at the table. Sei and Sam were dancing a little way away and Brooke didn’t like that at all. Fair enough, it wasn’t a slow, romantic dance, the one Brooke had imagined often enough, but it was a dance.
Brooke felt jealous again. But it was a different kind of jealousy. Louise was so beautiful she shouldn’t belong to anyone, but Sam. . . Sam was hers.
In her thoughts she was, anyway. The Sam that lived in the Palace, that did everything she could to undermine the populars at Kennedy, the one who would probably be a great reporter one day. That Sam belonged to her, in a way Brooke couldn’t quite define but was very definite about.
But this Sam? This Sam who went to Pegasus and drooled over the pretty waitress and danced with a girl. . . with multiple girls apparently, at the same time. This Sam didn’t belong to Brooke, couldn’t belong to Brooke, because she lived in a completely different world, a world that Brooke didn’t really know and couldn’t yet get a grip on.
Something cold and unpleasant sinking into her stomach, Brooke got up and left.
“Hey Brooke, wait up!”
The sounds of Brooke’s footsteps stopped echoing around the street as she stopped and turned around, allowing Sam to catch up with her.
“Leaving so soon?” Sam said, smiling faintly.
Brooke shrugged. “I just. . . didn’t feel like being there any more.”
“This didn’t have anything to do with me and the Roses, right?” said Sam.
“That group of girls,” said Sam. “They’re pretty nice, but, you know. . .”
“No. I don’t. I don’t know anything,” said Brooke. “I don’t even know who you are.”
Sam smiled sarcastically. “OK, now you’re exaggerating.”
“Yes. Really. Trust me on this. The problem is, you don’t know who you are.”
Brooke tried to glare at Sam and failed. She looked away. “Yeah, whatever.”
“There’s this girl, isn’t there?” said Sam, her voice coming from a long way away. “She got you thinking. Thoughts you don’t want have, but are so nice you don’t want to them to go away. Confusion. Fear. And then, always, there’s this girl and you can’t avoid her even if you’d wanted to. Which you do. And don’t. And suddenly the world’s completely different from what you thought it was and you don’t have a map.”
Brooke looked astonished. “How. . . how do you know that?”
“Oh come on, Brooke. You think you’re the first who’s going through what you’re going through?”
“No I. . . I guess not.”
“I’ve got a map. Took me a while to get it, but. . . wanna share?”
Brooke looked at Sam. She was smiling, but her face was otherwise unreadable.
“Yeah, that’d be. . . nice.”
Sam took a step closer and her fingers slowly entwined with Brooke’s.
“OK then,” she said. “Let’s go.”