Title: It's Always Been You

| One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven | Eight | Nine | Ten |

Author: Chakram

Email: chakram_au@yahoo.com.au

Rating PG

Pairing: Sam and Brooke.

Extra comments: I love and appreciate feedback, so if you liked this, let me know!


You can do it Sam, just go out there and tell her.

Tell her you love her.

The girl in question being Brooke, her stepsister. Her beautiful, stunning, gorgeous stepsister.

Sam quickly ended that train of thought and stared resolutely into the mirror, priming herself up for what lay ahead. If her assumptions were right and Brooke did feel the same way…

Sam grimly pushed those thoughts aside, not wanting to get her hopes up just yet. Despite the overwhelming terror that was threatening to consume her, Sam felt oddly liberated. She was going to offer her heart to Brooke, and despite the gigantic emotional consequences associated with such a risk, for the first time in her life, Sam was willing to take the chance of unbearable pain and rejection. 

No more running. She had done enough of that.

Sam had come to the realisation, months ago, that she was gay. Of course, denial wasn't just a river in Egypt, and Sam came up with a million and one excuses as to why she began having more than friendly thoughts towards women.

So she had seen the odd episode of Xena now and then. It was a good show!

The odd episode now and then! Sam thought sarcastically. More like watched the show every chance I got and brought the dvd's! But that didn't mean a thing. Just because she watched Xena and began scouring websites and reading fan fiction whenever she could didn't mean she was gay. It was a great show and a truly beautiful love story between two characters who just happened to be women.

Sam's face reddened at the thought of some of the more interesting positions...adventures... she quickly amended, the warrior and the bard had gotten themselves into when she first discovered the wonders of fan fiction.

It still didn't mean a thing, Sam told herself stubbornly. As a writer herself she was simply admiring the amazing talent of many of the fans online, ignoring the little voice in her head informing her of her preference for "plot what plot?" stories.

And of course, dreaming of fucking Angelina Jolie wasn't enough to prove she was gay. Everybody wanted to fuck Angelina Jolie! The woman was hot!

Checking out women wherever she went meant nothing either. Just simply appreciating the female form, Sam happily told herself. Everybody knew that women were lovelier to look at, with their smooth skin and feminine curves. Men really did look better with clothes on, Sam thought to herself, especially from the waist down.

These thoughts weren't enough to convince Sam of her new found love for women, so she continued merrily on her way, convincing herself that everything was fine.

And it was, for a while. She and Brooke had come to a truce of sorts, and things weren't so tense between them. Her grades at school were good and she had even begun dating a new student at Kennedy High, who also shared her interest in writing.


Tall, handsome Alex, with his gorgeous blonde hair, and deep hazel eyes. And that smile. He had come up to their table one lunchtime, causing Sam to swoon off her seat, and unknowingly setting off a chain of events which led to her standing in the bathroom for over an hour, staring at her face in the mirror.


"Excuse me? Sam?"

She had been sitting with Harrison, Carmen and Lily when Alex had interrupted them. She was barely paying attention to what they were saying since she couldn't stop thinking about the movie she had seen for the first time on Saturday night.

Bound. Good movie, that.

From what she could gather Harrison had been gushing over some woman from one of the Star Trek series, Sixty-Nine or something, and Lily was on one of her crusades, berating him for ogling just her body, demanding to know what colour eyes Sixty-Nine had.

Harrison, of course, couldn't answer the question.

"Uh, yeah. Something I could do for you?" Wow, he's gorgeous.

"Yeah, I've been told I should speak to you if I wanted to write some articles for the school paper. Do you think we could get together some time?"

"You want to write for the paper?" No way!


"You want to write for the paper?" Didn't I just ask him that?

"Um, yeah. Is that a problem?"

"No! I mean, no, of course not. How about we meet after school to discuss it?"

"Great! I'll see you around." And with a big smile, he left.

"Wow! Sex on legs!" Carmen gushed, not taking her eyes off his tight jeans.

"I second that," Lily chimed in, already forgetting her argument with Harrison.

"Mmmmmm," Sam helpfully added.

"Oh, come on! He's not that hunky dory! So he has perfect hair, and perfect eyes, and a perfect body! Doesn't mean he's all that!" Harrison argued, wondering whether it was normal for a sixteen-year-old heterosexual guy to appreciate another guy's ass.

The girls just stared at him.

"I'm outta here,” and with that, Harrison left the table, wanting to surround himself with guys, to talk about guy things. Meanwhile, at a table not far away, Brooke and Nicole watched the proceedings with varying degrees of interest.

"Why the hell would a gorgeous guy like that go anywhere near the vicinity of Spam McPherson?" Nicole wondered, glaring in the direction of the brunette.

"I'm just wondering that myself actually,” Brooke replied, not too happy with what she had seen.

Being the most popular girl in school meant that it was mandatory to be desired by every heterosexual male student she came across, consequently making Brooke quite the expert on men. And that look on his face means that he likes her. Judging by Sam's reaction the feeling was mutual.

And I don't like it.

Brooke was comfortable with the fact she had a crush on her stepsister. After all she had months to get used to the idea.I would have to be blind to not see how gorgeous she is! But it was more than that. Sam was smart and funny and nice and deep down Brooke even loved the arguments and screaming matches they had.

She's so beautiful when she's angry.

A crush? No. I love her. And she did, with an intensity that even scared her at times. She remembered one recent evening when she was home alone with Sam. It was a time where the two were actually getting along, the parents had gone out to dinner and they were sitting on the couch, close together, Brooke thought with a smile, watching...what was it again? Oh yeah, Dick. Great movie, that.

Sam was laughing, genuinely laughing, a sight that Brooke rarely ever got to see. She tore her eyes away from the screen, captivated by the brunette beside her.

Realising that Brooke was staring, Sam stopped, a little embarrassed.


"Nothing. You're just..." Beautiful and I love you and kiss me now, please.



Of course, the peace between them didn't last too long after that, but that night, watching a movie while sitting close to Sam, was one she would never forget.

"He sort of looks like you, actually," Nicole informed her, cutting off her thoughts.

"No way!"

"Yeah, way! He's like a male version of you."

"I don't see it." If Sam is attracted to him than maybe, just maybe...



"Why are you grinning like that? You're freaking me out!"


Brooke continued to smile.


"You know, he sort of looks like someone," Carmen said, the girls still discussing the hotness that was Alex.

"You got that too?" Lily asked, turning to Carmen.

"Yeah, I mean, I couldn't really place it at first but now that I think about it, he sort of looks like Brooke."

"No he doesn't!" Sam cried out, her eyes widening with horror.

"Yeah, he does."

"No, he doesn't."

"Yeah, he does," Lily joined in this time, backing up Carmen.

"No, he does not!” And with that Sam fled the table.

"Yeah, he does!" Carmen replied to the now empty space, wondering for the millionth time if Sam had finally lost her mind.


After school TV sux.

Brooke continued to flip through the channels, not finding anything remotely interesting. Okay. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers or Pokemon?

She was saved from making that very difficult decision when the doorbell rang. It couldn't have been Nicole or Mary Cherry since she knew they had gone shopping. Brooke, to the surprise of her friends, wanted to go home instead.

Preferring to catch Sammy at home, huh Brookie?

Opening the door, she felt a surge of annoyance when she saw who had turned up.


"Yes." That sounded civil enough.

"Hi, is Sam home?" Why is she glaring at me?

"Hi Alex."

Both turned to see Sam coming down the stairs. Oh my god, she's beautiful, Brooke thought, unaware theexact same thought was ringing inside Alex's head.

"Hi Sam, you look great," Alex replied with obvious appreciation, causing Brooke to glare in his direction.

Sam smiled. "Thank you, please come in.” She gestured towards Brooke. “Alex, this is my stepsister Brooke. Brooke, Alex."

Alex smiled and extended his hand. "Hi, nice to meet you Brooke."

"Yeah." Brooke shook his hand briefly, then walked passed and resumed her position on the couch, feeling a little guilty about being so curt with him. She really couldn't help it. He was handsome and nice, and worst of all, Sam liked him, in the girl likes boy sort of way.

Green eyes don’t suit you Brookie.

"Alex, why don't you head on through that way, into the kitchen. I'll join you shortly, okay?" Once Sam was sure Alex was out of hearing range, she turned her eyes on Brooke, her face clearly displaying the anger and confusion she felt.

"What the hell is wrong with you?"

"Whatever do you mean?"

"Could you try being any more rude?"

"If you want me to."

"Why are you being like this? Did he say something to you?"

"No, he just interrupted my television viewing, that's all."

Sam rolled her eyes. "I didn't know you were such an avid fan of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers."

"Yes, well, we all have different tastes," Brooke replied haughtily. 

"Whatever, I don't have time for this,” Sam responded angrily, walking out of the room. 

Brooke sighed. So much for spending quality time with Sam. Should've gone shopping with the girls. And with that, she focused her attention on the television screen, wondering how the hell that show ever became successful.


Sam gazed dreamily across the kitchen table, as Alex continued browsing through the past issues of the school newspaper. He had bought with him some of his own written pieces, and if they were any indication, Alex would no doubt be a real pleasure to work with. Not to mention gorgeous too look at.

He does look like Brooke, they could be twins!An annoying voice replied in her head.

Does not!

Does too!

Does not!

Does too!

Sam slammed her hand down on the table. "Shut your hole!"

"Excuse me?" Alex looked up, confused.

"Sorry, I, uh, was just thinking. Please continue," Sam replied, her face red with embarrassment.

Alex smiled at her. "You know, you are a talented writer."

Sam blushed. "Thank you, so are you."

"Does that mean I'm in?"

"Of course. You'll prove a valuable addition to the team!"

"Great! I look forward to working with you," Alex said with a grin, as did Sam, and this is how Brooke found them as she wandered into the kitchen. She glared.

Kill me. Kill me now.

"Sorry, didn't mean to interrupt," Brooke said, not sounding sorry at all. "Anyone want a drink?"

Alex stood up. "No, thanks Brooke. I better get going. It was nice to meet you."

"Mmmm," Brooke replied with a smile, happy at the thought of Alex leaving.

"Sam, thank you for this opportunity, I really appreciate it." Sam smiled as Brooke rolled her eyes. "Before I go, I was wondering..."

"Yes?" both Sam and Brooke replied, the former glaring at the latter.

"If you would be interested in going out to dinner with me tomorrow night?"

Brooke inwardly groaned. No! Say no! With the power of my mind, you will say no, Sam McPherson!

"Yes." Damn. "I'd love to!"

"Great! How about I pick you up at seven?" Alex grinned, showing off his dimples.

Oh great,Brooke thought, how could she resist that?!

"Sounds good, I'll see you then."

Sam showed Alex to the door, while Brooke slumped into the chair with a sigh. Banging my head against the table sounds good.

So she did.


Sam sneaked a glance at Brooke for the hundredth time, concerned about the blonde's recent behaviour. After Alex had left she had walked into the kitchen to find Brooke banging her head against the table. That was disturbing enough, but her earlier rudeness towards Alex was also uncharacteristic. Brooke was popular, vain, arrogant and blonde, but she really was quite nice, and for the life of her, Sam just couldn't figure it out.

Brooke had been quiet after the banging of the head incident, no doubt sporting a headache, and if Sam had to use one word to describe the blonde's demeanor, ‘sad’ would have fit the bill perfectly. She knew the headache wasn't just the cause of it.

She had wanted to ask the blonde if she was alright, but guessed Brooke wouldn't confide in her, hurting a little at the thought. So instead, Sam suggested a movie, which earned her a small smile, and here they were sitting on the couch. Quite closely too, Sam noticed, quite happy at the fact.

Sam sneaked another glance, this time admiring the cheerleader's profile. She really is beautiful.

The annoying voice returned with glee. And she looks like Alex!

"Stupid bitch, shut the hell up!" Sam cried.

"You alright there?" Brooke replied, looking at Sam as if she had grown a second beautiful head.

"Sorry, just ignore me."

"Right." Like I ever could.

They continued watching the movie, this time without interruption, until the credits rolled three hours later. Both stared at the screen, half in shock, half in confusion. It was Sam that finally spoke, breaking the long silence.



"What the fuck was that?"

Brooke began laughing, so hard, that tears began streaming down her face. Sam watched in wonder as Brooke slowly regained control. Stunning. She is stunning.

"Beats me," she finally replied wiping a tear away.

Sam picked up the dvd cover of Mulholland Drive and stared at it. "That David Lynch is one weird man. Wouldn't want a tour inside his head."

Brooke stared at her for a moment. "Why'd you borrow this anyway?"

"Heard good things about it, and I like his movies," Sam responded casually, purposely leaving out another, more superficial, reason.

"The actresses were great," Brooke replied. They really were great. Those love scenes, wow. She paused.Should I? Why the hell not. "You know, if I ever became a citizen of the Isle of Lesbos, I wouldn't say no to the brunette." There! What do you make of that, Sam?

Sam stared at Brooke for a moment, not quite believing her ears. Oh, really?

"I prefer the blonde myself,” Sam answered, finally. They became silent, staring at each other, either not knowing what to say to that.

Brooke stood up, and stretched. "I'm tired, I think I'll go to bed. Thanks for the movie." Note to self. Cold shower first. With a parting smile, Brooke headed for her bedroom.

Sam leaned back and closed her eyes, her heart racing. Alex, who?

"Anytime, Brooke. Anytime."


Sam pulled her head out from the closet and stopped what she was doing.

I don't want to
Sing another love song, baby
I don't want to
Hum another melody
I don't want to
Live my life with you, babe
It's driving me crazy

Again? Argh!

Brooke had come home from cheerleading practice, and went straight up to her room without a word to anybody, where she had proceeded to play Toni Braxton.

On repeat.

If I never feel you in my arms again
If I never feel your tender kiss again
If I never hear I love you once again
Will I never make love to you once again
Please understand
If love ends
Then I promise you, I promise you that
That I shall never breathe
Breathe again, breathe again
That I shall never breathe again

What on earth is going on? If Sam didn't know any better, she would have guessed Brooke was going through a painful break up. The weird behaviour from last night, the depressing songs, it all added up. To the best of her knowledge, Brooke wasn't with anybody. Was she? Unless of course...

Unless of course, she still had feelings for Josh. That must be it. Sam ignored the stab of pain at the thought and decided to cheer the blonde up. Or at the very least, distract her a little.

She can help me figure out what to wear for my date tonight.


Brooke lay on her bed, eyes closed, trying to ignore the knocking at her door. Wanting nothing more than to be alone, and especially wanting to forget Sam's date tonight, she had barricaded herself in her room, with only the soulful voice of Toni Braxton to keep her company, finding some measure of comfort in her songs of pain and heartache.

Since you've been gone
I keep thinking about you baby
Gets me all choked up
This heart of mine keeps dreaming of you and it's crazy
You'd think I had enough
As soon as I get you out my head
I'm in my car again
Just one request from the radio
I'm back in love, sugar, once again
It's just another sad love song

"Go away!"

"Come on Brooke, please! Let me in."

Brooke sighed. She never could deny Sam anything. Entering the room, the brunette headed straight for the c.d. player and switched it off.

"There, that’s better."

"Hey, I was listening to that!"

"Yeah, I know. Listening to it again, and again and again."

"What do you want? Because I'd like to get back to listening to it again and again and again."

"Brooke, are you ok? Talk to me. You know you can, right?"

Must resist big, brown, bambi eyes. Must resist. "I'm okay."

"Uh huh, I can see that."

"I'm fine, but thanks for your concern. Now if that is all…" Brooke tried unsuccessfully to shepherd Sam out the door.

"Look, I can see that you won't confide in me and I'm sorry our past has gotten us to this point, where you feel you can't trust me. I just want you to know that if you ever needed someone to talk to, I'm here. I don't want to see you upset, Brooke, not if I can help it," Sam offered sincerely, placing a comforting hand on Brooke’s arm.

Brooke smiled, touched by her words. "Thanks Sam, I appreciate it. But it's something that I need to get over by myself."

"Okay, but my offer still stands," Sam said, letting the subject drop for now. "Anyway, Ms Fashion Expert, I was wondering if you could help me out. I can't decide whether to wear this, or this, tonight."

Brooke's smile faltered, but through sheer force of will, she managed to keep her voice light, and the smile plastered on her face. "The blue shirt, it looks good on you." Besides, the red one is my favourite, and I don't want him to see you in it.

"Blue it is then!" Sam grinned and headed towards the door. "Thanks Brooke."

"No problem, have fun tonight."

With one last smile, Sam left, leaving Brooke to pick up the million shattered pieces of her broken heart. So this is what it feels like. She flopped onto her bed and covered her eyes, trying hard not to cry.

Pressing play...
“Here comes the strings
Then somebody sings
Only takes a beat
And then it starts killing me darling
Only takes one note, I tell ya from that radio
It's just
Love song


Brooke wandered into the living room, drink in hand. She contemplated giving Nicole a call, but decided against it, not really in the mood for company. She settled herself comfortably on the couch, when the doorbell rang.

Of course.

"Hi Brooke."

"Hi Adam."

"It’s Alex,” he replied, his smile faltering momentarily. 

Brooke waved him in impatiently. "Alex, right. Sorry. Come on in, have a seat. I'll let Sam know you're here."

Alex sat down gingerly, not feeling at all comfortable being alone with Brooke. He had the distinct feeling she did not like him and couldn't imagine what he had said or done to offend her.

"SAM! YOUR DATE IS HERE!" Brooke yelled, causing Alex to jump three feet in the air. She turned to Alex, smiling inwardly at the disturbed expression on his face. "She should be down soon. Drink?" Yes, he was taking away the love of her life but it didn't mean she had to be totally rude.

"No, thank you."

"Suit yourself,” and with that, Brooke sat down and focused her attention on the screen.

Alex kept glancing towards the stairs, praying Sam would come down at any moment so they could leave quickly. The atmosphere was tense and awkward and frankly he wasn't used to this. Girls usually jumped him, not ignored him.

Brooke suddenly spoke up. "So, where are you taking her?"

"McDonald's,” Alex grinned, hoping that a small joke, and his dimples, would diffuse the situation. Brooke stared. Alex cringed. Tough crowd. He cleared his throat. "Just kidding. Um, there's a nice new Italian restaurant that has opened downtown. Supposed to be great from what I've heard."

"I'm sure it is," Brooke replied with a nod, her heart sinking even further. Sam loved Italian.

As Brooke once again ignored him, Alex discreetly studied the blonde cheerleader, understanding why every male student at Kennedy High would jump at the chance to spend just one minute in her presence. She truly was beautiful, he noted absently, his gazing sweeping over her lean body, finally resting on that gorgeous face.

His eyes widened after several moments. Damn! She looks like me.

"Alex, hey!" Both Alex and Brooke turned to see Sam standing at the foot of the stairs, a sheepish smile on her face.  "Sorry, I took so long."

Alex stood up, and kissed her cheek. “You look beautiful." Brooke shot him a dark look.

"Thankyou, you don't look half-bad yourself,” Sam replied with a grin. “Should we get going?"

"Yes, please!” Alex responded quickly, casting a hesitant glance in the cheerleader’s direction, the blonde looking less than happy with the situation. “I mean, sure, whenever you're ready."

Sam turned to Brooke and noticed her slumped shoulders. She was still worried and felt bad about leaving her here on her own. "You know, you are most welcome to join us."

A look of horror was quickly masked by a small smile from Alex. "Of course."

Brooke smiled at Sam's thoughtfulness and chuckled at Alex's discomfort. "Thanks Sam, but you know what they say. Three's a crowd." She turned to Alex. "Take a walk."

Sam laughed while Alex plastered a smile on his face, struggling to fight the urge to slap the blonde. Brooke smirked. "I'll be fine. Go on and have some fun."

"You sure?"

"I'm sure, thanks Sam."

Sam stepped forward and gave Brooke a quick hug. "Call me if you need anything."

With an arm around her waist, Alex shot the cheerleader a less than friendly glance and guided Sam out the door.


It wasn't too long after Sam and Alex had left that the doorbell rang, waking Brooke up from her slumber on the couch. Why is it that whenever I get comfortable, somebody has to make me get up!


"Hi Brooke."

"Not that I'm not happy to see you, but what the hell are you doing here?"

"I was passing by, saw your light on,” he replied with a smile.

Brooke stared. Josh shifted uncomfortably. "We haven't had the chance to talk much, so I thought I'd come by and catch up."

Brooke narrowed her eyes. He's lying, his ears go red when he’s lying.

Josh held up his arms and stepped back. "Okay! Okay! Sam called me and said you were feeling down and if I minded keeping you company for a little while. So here I am."

Brooke sighed. "Come on in."

"So, want to tell me what's up?" Josh asked, making himself comfortable on the couch.

"Not really."

"Come on Brooke. I know things between us didn't work out but I'm still your friend and I care about you. Talk to me."

"Josh, I appreciate you coming over, and checking up on me, but I'll be fine.”

Josh shot her a disbelieving look. "Uh huh. So where is Sam anyway?"

"Out on a date." It didn't go unnoticed by Josh that Brooke practically spat out the words.

"I see."

They sat in comfortable silence for a while, staring at the television but not paying much attention to it, both lost in their own thoughts.

"So, you're in love with Sam, huh?" Josh asked casually.

Brooke froze. Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god! How does he know! Stay calm Brooke and just simply deny it.

"Am not." Good one, Brookie! That's telling him.

"Are too."

"Am not."

"Are too."

"Am not."

"Are too."

"Tell me Josh, did you get hit in the head at training today?" Brooke lashed out in frustration.

Josh stared at her. "Are too," he finally replied. They glared at each other.

"Don't deny it Brooke! I'm not just a dumb jock despite popular belief! I've got eyes and if there is one thing I know in this world, it's you. And you, are in love with Sam." He sat back and folded him arms, daring Brooke to disagree with him. 

Brooke opened her mouth to deny it but stopped. She fought back tears and after a long moment of debating with herself, she came to a decision. "Yeah, I am."

So I was right. Josh expected to feel great pain at Brooke's admission but realised it wasn't as bad as he thought it would be. He knew she never felt for him the way he felt for her, but had always held the hope that one day it would all work out.

I guess not. He paused. And I think I'm okay with that.

She glanced up at him, a look of confusion on her face. "How did you know? I didn't think it was that obvious."

"It isn't."

Brooke frowned. "So how did you know?"

"It was a little while ago. I noticed you were staring at Sam with this look on your face. I remember thinking to myself that I hoped one day, you would look at me the same way. And it hit me then, why we never worked out. I realised it was her all along. It's always been her."

Brooke shook her head sadly. "I'm so sorry Josh, I never meant to hurt you."

Josh smiled, and covered her hand with his own. "It's okay Brooke. I guess I knew deep down we were never going to work out.” He shrugged, slightly embarrassed. “I'm just glad I had you for a little while."

Brooke grinned, her first true smile for the day. "You're a great guy, Josh."

He blushed, then blushed even more when he realised he was blushing. Brooke laughed.

"Yeah, well, I try." He grinned at her then became serious. "Are you going to tell her?"

Brooke shot him a look. "Hell no! Are you insane?"

Josh shrugged. "Why not?"

"Well, let’s see!” Brooke replied sarcastically. “She's my stepsister, she's straight, we can barely tolerate each others presence and she is currently on a date with some guy!"

"Who happens to look like you,” Josh countered calmly, ignoring her tone. 

"So what? That doesn't mean anything!"

"In all the time I've known her, she's barely shown any interest in any guy that she's ever come across! Now, all of a sudden, a good-looking guy, who’s tall and blonde with hazel eyes, comes along and she starts dating him! Doesn't that sound a little weird to you?"

"No," Brooke replied, unconvincingly.

"In fact, the only person she's ever shown genuine interest in, is you."

"That's because we fight all the time,” Brooke pointed out. 

"You know what they say, there's a thin line between love and hate." He paused, then smiled cheekily. "Maybe I should've started calling you names and argued with you all the time. We might have stood a chance then."

He ducked as Brooke threw a pillow at him. "Smart ass."

Josh laughed.


It was after midnight when Alex gently guided Sam to her front doorstep. He turned to her and smiled. "I really had a great time tonight."

"I did too, thank you,” Sam replied, and she meant it. She had been really nervous, asking herself over and over again why such a good looking guy like him would choose her out of all the girls at Kennedy High. He could have anyone he wanted, and he chose me.

That made her feel damn good.

Alex quickly came to a decision. Taking a deep breath, he steeled himself for possible rejection and asked the question he had been wanting to ask since he first laid eyes on her earlier that night.

Just say it and get it over with Alex, before you lose your nerve. Knowing my luck Brooke will suddenly appear out of no where, killing me with her death glare.

"I really like you Sam and I was hoping we could do this again. See more of each other. Would you like to?" He looked away, suddenly finding the doorbell fascinating.

That's so cute! He's shy! She smiled at him, charmed. "Yes, I'd like that very much."

He grinned. "Great! Fantastic! I mean, great! I'm glad!" He stopped, shooting her an embarrassed grin when he realised he’d been babbling. He slowly leaned in, bringing his face closer to hers.

Sam started to panic as she realised what he wanted to do. It was an awkward kiss, hesitant at first, but as Alex grew more confident, and Sam began to relax, the kiss became more passionate.

A detached part of herself began analysing the thoughts and feelings that she was experiencing.

Hmmm, he has nice breath. That's nice to know. Good oral hygiene. Ooo, no sticking the tongue down my throat, that's always good. He's a good kisser, even my lack of experience can figure that out.

But.... is that it? Shouldn't I be feeling more... excited or something?

Alex gently pulled away, and looked down at her, a huge smile on his face. "That was nice."

Sam smiled. "Yes, it was."

And that's all it was. Just...nice. There had to be more to it than that. Where were the fireworks? The sounds of bells ringing? The glory alleluia music sung by a choir of angels? Or at the very least, why wasn't her blood boiling, or hormones heading southwards? There wasn't much of that happening.

At least, not on her side anyway.

Maybe we need to use our tongues a little more. Should I grab his ass? Or maybe he should grab mine? Let's give it another shot shall we...

Wanting to test her theory, she pulled Alex towards her again, and kissed him with as much passion as she could muster. Long moments later, she pulled away and looked at him, hiding her confusion behind a smile. And still, it was lacking.

I want the bells, damn it!

"Wow, I could definitely get used to that," Alex smiled, tightening his hold on Sam's waist.

Sam smiled. "Likewise, but not out here. We've got plenty of time for that later." She kissed him again, quickly, and stepped out from his embrace.  "Good night Alex, and thank you. I had a wonderful time."

He smiled at her, kissing her on the cheek. "I'll call you, okay?"

She nodded, standing on the steps, deep in thought as she watched him walk away.


Walking into the living room, Sam noticed a familiar lump sprawled on the couch. She smiled and walked over, crouching beside Brooke, content to just watch her for several minutes. Realising the time, she brushed aside a stray lock of blonde hair, then grabbed Brooke by her shoulders and gently shook her awake. "Come on Sleeping Beauty, wake up."

"Dad, I mean it! You can't use my pom poms to wax the car!" Brooke attempted to slap Sam’s hands away, all the while mumbling incoherently. Sam laughed. "Brooke, it's almost twelve thirty. Get up. I want to go to bed." Sam paused as she realised what she just said. Now that sounded kinkier than I intended.

Brooke slowly opened her eyes, to see a smirking Sam hovering over her. She smiled. I wouldn't mind waking up to that everyday. "Hey, when did you get in?"

"Five minutes ago. You weren't waiting up for me were you?"

"Of course not." Damn straight, I was! "I was reading actually."

"Reading? With your eyes closed?"

"Very funny,” Brooke replied, sitting up with a yawn. 

Sam looked around, but couldn't see a book anywhere. "What were you reading? Or did your book decide to go for a walk?" Sam tried not to laugh at Brooke’s sheepish look.

"I had an interesting visit tonight," Brooke stated, changing the subject. 

"Oh yeah? From who?"


Uh oh. Sam grimaced and ran a hand through her hair. "Brooke, Josh coming over isn't that out of the ordinary."

"Maybe not, but his reason behind it is." Brooke stared at Sam, as Sam shuffled in her seat and looked away. Becoming uncomfortable with the scrutiny, Sam finally confessed.

"Okay! It was me, I called him and told him to come over and keep you company. I didn't want you to be alone and I figured you missed him."

"Missed him?” Brooke frowned, confused. “Why did you think that?"

"Well, you have been behaving a little weird recently,” Sam pointed out.

"No I haven't."

"Okay, I take that back,” Sam replied, holding up her hands. “You've been nuts."

"I resent that! You cannot go around slandering innocent people!" Brooke paused. "Examples please."

"Brooke, I found you banging your head against the table yesterday!"

"Okay, so that was a little weird. I usually prefer the wall." Brooke laughed but stopped when she realised Sam didn't find her joke the least bit funny, continuing to provide evidence in the "Brooke has gone insane" case.

"That was disturbing enough in itself, but you've also been quiet lately. You lock yourself up in your room and play sappy love songs. Not only that and I never thought I'd live to see it, but you said no to going shopping with Dumb and Dumber after school yesterday! You? Say no to shopping? I couldn't believe it!" Sam shook her head in amazement.

"Would it be that hard to believe, on that particular day, I preferred to come home than go shopping?" Brooke countered haughtily.


"Oh." Brooke paused. "So what has all this got to do with me missing Josh?"

"Well, I figured you wanted to get back together with him."

Brooke sat up. "What?!"

Sam mistook Brooke's outburst for embarrassment, and laid a comforting hand on her shoulder. "It's okay, I promise it'll stay between us. He loves you Brooke and he'd take you back in a second if you asked him too."

"I can't believe this,” was all Brooke said, as she jumped up and began to pace.

Sam was confused. Here she was, trying to be supportive, but Brooke looked like she wanted to throw something. "Did I say something wrong?"

Brooke stopped her pacing and calmed down. "No, no you didn't." Actually, it was kind of funny when she stopped to think about it. Sam was trying to hook her up with Josh, and Josh was trying to hook her up with Sam.

Brooke began to laugh. Sam stared.


"What's so funny?" Sam demanded to know. She was tempted to check Brooke for a fever but remained seated. The blonde stopped laughing, but couldn't stop herself from smiling, settling herself beside Sam and just shaking her head. "Don't worry about it." Brooke glanced at Sam. "How was your date anyway?"

Brooke wondered why she insisted on torturing herself. As if falling for my straight stepsister wasn't bad enough. She was tired and confused and she really didn't want to feel any worse by listening to details of Sam's wonderful date with Adam, Alex, whoever, but she couldn't help herself.

She needed to know.

"The restaurant we went to was wonderful. Great Italian food, nice romantic setting, I should take you sometime." Sam paused. I can't believe I just said that. Brooke raised her right eyebrow and smirked. "I might just take you up on that offer."

Sam blushed and cleared her throat. "Yeah, um, what was I saying? Oh yeah, nice food." Brooke smiled to herself. Sam was so cute when she got all flustered. "We just spent the night talking. He's a great guy, I really like him."

Yeah, I bet. "Are you seeing him again?"






"I'm not in love with Josh."

"You're not?"



They settled into an awkward silence, one trying to ignore the relief she was feeling, the other fighting back the tears.


There's a moment when I look at you
And no speech is left in me
My tongue breaks
And fire races under my skin
And I tremble
And grow pale
For I am dying of such love
Or so it seems to me.”

Sam quickly glanced around the room, making sure no one was around. Satisfied that she was safe, she quickly wiped away a few tears and blew her nose. God, how romantic! Of course, it would take the threat of somebody torturing her, or somebody torturing her with N'Sync, for Sam to ever consider admitting that to anyone.

You don't share your feelings, you don't get hurt. That philosophy had kept her in good stead ever since her father had passed away. His death had nearly destroyed her and she never wanted to feel anything like that again, making a vow that day to never let anyone get too close.

Her mother and Mike.

Carmen, Lily, Harrison.

Even Alex.

She loved them, trusted them but even they were kept at arm's length.


Sam was quite the master at hiding her feelings but even she couldn't escape the fact that the one person who could make her, or break her, was Brooke. I wonder if she realises the power she has over me? She didn't want to think about how the blonde cheerleader made her feel. It was far too strong. So Sam did what she did best. She pretended those feelings didn't exist.

The logical part of herself knew it wasn't a healthy way to live one's life but she ignored that too. Life was fine. She was happy and content and had everything she needed and wanted.

You keep telling yourself that dear, and you just might believe it.

Growling at the annoying voice, who, as of late, kept permanent residence in her head, Sam picked up the remote and rewound the tape. She had to watch that scene again.

Those words. That's how I feel. About...

Brooke walked in just as Sam pressed play. "What are you watching?"

Damn! Sam stopped the tape.

"You watch Xena?" Brooke asked, laughing.

"Got a problem with that?" Sam replied in a defensive tone. "Have you ever seen it?"

"Yeah, right! It looks lame."

Brooke stepped closer and took a good look at Sam's face. Had she been crying? "The show that bad, huh?" Brooke asked, not sure why she was being such a bitch. Sam stood up and confronted Brooke, who stepped back, surprised by the sudden assault.

"What's happened Brooke? Satan suck out all the goodness out of you?" Why are you doing this to me? With one last glare, Sam slammed the door and left.

Brooke sighed, wishing she could take back the last few minutes. She didn't mean to lash out, but her grumpy side always got the better of her whenever Sam had plans to go out with… him. It had been over a month since Sam had first started seeing whatever his name is, and as the weeks progressed, their relationship had slowly started reverting back to the old days, where arguments and insults and constant sniping were the main feature between them.

She sat down on the couch. Xena, huh? Let's see what's gotten you so interested, Sam. Pressing play, Brooke watched as the Warrior handed Gabrielle the poem for her birthday present.

"There's a moment when I look at you

And no speech is left in me...."

Brooke sat, frozen, as the scene faded to black.

Those words. That's how I feel. About her.

She rewound the tape.


Sam shoved the mush the school called food around her plate with her fork, nodding occasionally and providing the odd "yeah" or "I agree" as Lily spoke animatedly about something or other. Lily stopped mid sentence as she realised Sam wasn't paying the least bit of attention.

"Then the President knocked on my door and for the rest of the afternoon, we talked about global issues over several cups of tea and scones."

Sam nodded. "Really? Fascinating."

"Oh yeah! Then an elephant walked past our window, and we proceeded to ride it around the backyard."


"It was!" Lily paused, then smiled when a thought occurred to her. "Hey, Brooke just walked in."

"Where?!" Sam sat up and turned, scanning the cafeteria for the blonde cheerleader.

Lily laughed. "Now you pay attention." She shook her head and smirked.

Sam paused when she realised she had been tricked. She put her fork down and smiled sheepishly. "Sorry."

Lily shrugged. "You know, I'm getting the distinct feeling something is on your mind. Is it Brooke?"

"What makes you think its Brooke?" Sam replied, immediately on the defensive. "Maybe I'm thinking about Alex?"

Lily stared at her for several moments. "No, it's always about Brooke."

Sam looked away and frowned. I can't be that obvious, am I? She sighed. "We're having some problems. Again."

"Sam, you and Brooke always have problems," Lily replied, confused.

"You don't understand. We were beginning to get along and I honestly thought we might actually become friends, but lately..." Sam trailed off as the blonde cheerleader and Nicole came into view, sitting at their regular table.

"Have you tried talking to her?" Lily asked.

Sam tore her eyes away from Brooke and focused her attention back on Lily. "No, we keep out of each other's way." She paused. "I miss her,” she admitted quietly.

Had Lily been standing, she was quite positive she would have fallen over in shock. Sam misses Brooke? Huh?! Lily paused. Oh I get it! It's a dream. I'm having a really weird dream. That must be it! Lily pinched herself. "Owww! Damn it!"

Sam stared at her. "What are you doing?"

"Nothing, nothing," she replied as she rubbed her arm. Okay, so it's not a dream. After several long moments, she opened her mouth to comment but was interrupted by the arrival of Alex. He sat down beside Sam and kissed her on the cheek. He smiled at Lily. "How's it going there, Lily?"

"Not too bad golden boy, how about you?"

Alex laughed. "It's all good. I'm not interrupting anything am I?"

Lily glanced at Sam and shrugged. "Just your normal girl stuff."

He grinned then turned to Sam. "Can I talk to you about something?"

Lily stood up. "Well, I guess that's my queue to leave."

"No, you don't have to do that. It's nothing personal, just some stuff about the paper," Alex replied.

"No, it's okay, I'm busy anyway. There is an ant hill that needs saving," Lily joked, making them all laugh. “Sam, call me if you want to talk, okay?" Sam nodded gratefully and with a wave Lily left.

"Something wrong?" Alex asked, placing an arm around Sam's waist and pulling her closer. She leaned into him. "No, just a little tired.” She quickly changed the subject. "What did you want to talk to me about?"

Alex paused but let the matter drop for the moment. She can tell me later. "I was thinking that we need to make some changes to the newspaper."

Sam frowned. "Changes? What kind of changes?"

"Haven't you noticed that hardly anybody reads it?"

Sam shrugged. "So? What do you want us to do? Write articles about the latest dress Gwyneth wore to one of the six million award ceremonies they hold every year?"

"Well, yeah."

"WHAT?!" Sam's outburst attracted the looks of those sitting around them. She lowered her voice. "Are you insane?"

"Just hear me out, okay?" Sam nodded, reluctantly.

"I'm just thinking we should include stuff people our age would be interested in. Fashion, music, sport, movies, stuff like that." Sam opened her mouth to comment but Alex jumped in and raised a hand. "That doesn't mean we stop what we have been doing. We just expand the paper a little, and hopefully get more people involved. Besides, it would be nice to see more than four people reading it." He stopped and waited for her reaction. He continued once he was sure that Sam wouldn't rip his head off. "You can't really expect many sixteen year olds to be that interested in the latest news regarding government legislation or genetic cloning. It's a little boring. We can make the paper both informative and entertaining."

He paused and patiently waited for Sam to speak. She looked at him and smiled. "Yeah, okay. You're right. It would be nice to see more people appreciate the hard work we put in. Besides, what's the worst that could happen? Have three people read it?"

He grinned and hugged her. "Fantastic! It'll be great Sam, just wait and see."

"Yeah, yeah."

He kissed her.


Brooke glared in Sam's direction. "Would you look at that? It's disgusting! It should be illegal!"

Nicole lifted her gaze from the magazine she had been reading. "I couldn't agree more. Releasing Spam on a poor and unsuspecting public? It's criminal, I tell you."

Brooke shot her a look. "That's not what I meant." She went back to glaring.

"You still haven't answered my question from before, Brooke," Nicole replied, flipping over the page. 

"What question was that?" Brooke asked, not taking her eyes of the happy couple.

"Why I found you at home, several nights ago, watching Xena. Trying to get in touch with the dyke within?"

Brooke smiled to herself. You have no idea. She shrugged her shoulders. "It's not that bad a show."

"I've seen an episode or two myself, actually," Nicole commented casually.

"You have? When?" Brooke asked, surprise evident in her tone.

"When that psycho bitch was on it, Callisto, I think her name was. Such an inspiration. I want to be like her when I grow up."

Brooke stared. "Nic?"


"I fear for you sometimes."

Nicole smiled, pushing aside her magazine. "Do you have a thing for Alex?"

"What?! No! God, no! What makes you think that?"

"If I didn't know you any better Brooke McQueen, I'd say you were jealous."

Brooke looked away. You got it half-right, Nic. Before she could comment, Nicole stood up and called out across the room. "Hey, Spam! Why don't you and your toy boy get a room!"

Brooke cringed. Great.


The cafeteria went dead silent as everybody focused their attention between the two tables. No one dared speak, they didn't want to miss a single second. The feuds between members of both tables were legendary and every single person knew that what was about to happen wouldn't be anything less. They could feel it.

Besides, they were really bored. Nothing of interest had happened of late, and the events to come would no doubt keep the school talking for days.

"What the hell are you doing?" Brooke hissed, casting wary glances towards Sam.

Nicole shrugged. "I haven't met my ‘Annoy Spam’ requirement for the day."

Brooke stood up and grabbed Nicole by the arm. "Look, I don't want to start any trouble, so just drop it, okay?"

"Too late Brookie," Nicole replied, smiling in anticipation as Alex made his way over. He did not look happy. "Is there a problem, hon?"

"I'd prefer it if you kept your smart ass comments to yourself," he replied with a glare.

Nicole laughed. "Oh come on! I was just playing around. No need to get so worked up over a harmless little comment." She smiled. She could feel every pair of eyes focused on them and she was loving every minute of it. It was time they were reminded who Queen Bitch was around here. Besides, there's nothing like a good confrontation to spice up the day in this hellhole.

"You? Make a harmless comment? Don't make me laugh." He stepped forward, closing the gap between the two cheerleaders. "I mean it. Get off Sam's case." He switched his attention to Brooke, his eyes shooting ice sparks. "And that includes you."

The audience drew in a collective breath, some leaning forward in anticipation, others wishing they had a carton of popcorn. This was getting good…

Sam watched on in dismay as the confrontation became more heated. She had urged Alex to let the comment go, and now things were turning ugly. She focused her gaze on Brooke and grimaced. This is not good. Sam had seen Brooke in all her angry glory on countless occasions, most of the time the cause of anger being Sam herself, and there was no doubting the look in her eye.

Nicole glanced at Brooke, practically feeling the anger radiating from her. She loved seeing her this way. She was magnificent when she got her groove on. Sexy too, though Nicole kept those comments to herself.

Brooke stepped forward, closing the gap between them even further. "Why don't you just drop the macho act, Adam. It doesn't become you."

Alex glared. "You may be the supposed most popular girl in the school,” he replied with a sneer, “but you could at least have the decency to get my name right." He wasn't finished yet. Ever since he started dating Sam, Brooke had treated him with nothing but contempt and he was sick of it. "I don't know what I've said or done to make you not like me. Frankly, I couldn't give a rat's ass. You can glare at me, swear at me, hit me over the head with a baseball bat, but I won't have you treat Sam like that. You got me?"

Before Brooke had a chance to reply, Nicole spoke up. "Hey, dumb ass in shining armor, I made the comment to Spam, remember? So why don't you just back off."

Alex simply ignored her. He stepped back and began to casually pace in front of them, his tone losing some of its previous anger, replaced instead by curiosity. "It's gotten me wondering, actually, why you've been such an ass to the both of us. And then it hit me."

Brooke froze. Dear god, please don't tell me he's figured it out.

"You're jealous." He paused. "Of Sam." He stopped in front of her. "And you can't handle the fact that I chose your stepsister over you, Little Miss Popular Cheerleader."

Brooke smiled, as relief flooded through her body. "You arrogant pig. What makes you think I would ever consider going out with someone like you?"

Alex cringed. Now there is a blow to my ego if I ever heard one. Having the most popular girl in school announce that in front of everybody was not exactly good for one's image. He quickly recovered. Bitch.

"The feeling's mutual Brooke. You're not exactly my type either." He raked his eyes up and down her body, his face showing contempt. "I actually like the fact my girlfriend doesn't disappear when she turns sideways." He paused. "Why don't you go and eat something?"

Dead silence. The rapt audience cringed. Sam let out a gasp, her eyes widening in horror. Oh god, please don't tell me he just said that. It was common knowledge amongst the student body that Brooke had suffered from an eating disorder. They focused their attention on the blonde cheerleader, wondering how she would respond.

Brooke, feeling like she had been punched in the gut, stepped back, her face losing all colour. Nicole, on the other hand, lunged forward and gave Alex a hearty shove.

"You stupid bastard! Say something like that again, and I'll shove my pom poms so far up your ass, you'll be wearing them as a permanent head piece!"

Before Nicole could get another chance to leap at Alex, Brooke grabbed her by the arm, holding her back. "It's okay Nic." They walked out without another word, Nicole giving Alex one last shove as she passed him by.

He shook his head, realising he had gone too far. He glanced up when he saw someone stop in front of him. It was Sam, disappointment clear in her eyes. "You shouldn't have said that," she said quietly, before turning away.

Alex hung his head, full of shame and remorse. After several moments, he too left the cafeteria, which was still shrouded in silence. One girl turned to her friend beside her. "One for the books, huh?"

He shook his head in amazement. "Your telling me."

They began to eat.


"You okay, hon?" Nicole asked. After leaving the cafeteria, they had gone straight to the Novak, where they had sat in silence, contemplating the events of the last several minutes.

Brooke shrugged. "Yeah."

"I can go punch him if you like," Nicole offered.

The head cheerleader laughed, shaking her head. "Thanks for the offer Nic, but no."

Nicole stood up suddenly, unnerved with the situation. Something wasn't right here. There was something she wasn't seeing and it was driving her insane. She had kept a close eye on Brooke for the past several weeks, perfectly aware that something was up, but no matter how often she asked, or how many threats she dished out, Brooke hadn't said a word.

And what had just happened with Alex in the cafeteria didn't make that much sense either. To be honest, she didn't really understand why Brooke took such a disliking to the guy. He was good looking, quite popular, and from all accounts, pretty damn nice. Brooke wasn't the type of girl to hold grudges for no reason.

She stopped.

Her weird behaviour had started when Alex had come onto the scene. Maybe Alex was right? Maybe she was jealous that he was dating Spam? Nicole shook her head, dismissing the thought. No. It wasn't that. Brooke had laughed in his face, and Nicole knew it was genuine.

She's not interested in him.

So if she isn't jealous of Spam, than what the hell could it be? Nicole growled. Spam McPherson.

It had to involve her somehow. It was always about Spam. Nicole replayed the Brooke/Alex confrontation in her head, trying to connect that with everything that had gone on in the past several weeks. The glaring, the anger, the body language, Brooke's unexplainable dislike of Alex, her weird, jealous behaviour ever since he came along.

And Spam. She frowned.

If she didn't know any better, Nicole would have said the situation was similar to two guys going territorial over a girl. But Brooke wasn't a guy.

Nicole froze. Oh fuck. Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!

She took a deep breath and slowly walked back to Brooke, the shock plainly clear. Brooke, meanwhile had watched Nicole's pacing with some sense of amusement, but tensed up when she saw the expression on her face.

"Nic? Something wrong?" She asked, not really sure she wanted to hear the answer.

"Tell me it isn't true," Nicole pleaded.

"What are you talking about?" Brooke asked, suddenly feeling the urge to throw up. She knows.

Nicole began to pace again, shaking her head, throwing her arms in the air. "It all makes sense now. Everything! You've been acting like a jealous freak ever since he got here and I thought it was because you wanted him. But I was only half right." She paused and stopped. "You're jealous of him, because you want her."


Sam sat in the library, trying to focus on the book in front of her, and to say she wasn't succeeding was an understatement. She looked around, finding only three students and a librarian present. The school library was the perfect place to go if you wanted to be alone.  She looked up. Or maybe not.

Alex stopped in front of her, uncertain. "Mind if I sit down?"

Sam shrugged. "Sure."

He ran his fingers through his hair, trying to read the expression on Sam's face. He couldn't and it suddenly dawned on him. I barely know you. They had been dating for weeks and he barely knew her.

"I'm sorry Sam," he said, breaking the awkward silence between them.

"It's not me you should be apologizing too," she replied.

"I know." He looked away. "I crossed the line and as soon as I see Brooke, I'll apologize first thing." He stopped, trying to organize his thoughts. "Before I went and said....that thing...I said, I had every right to confront her. From the first moment we met, she hasn't been nice to me, and you've told me yourself that lately she hasn't been that nice to you either." He paused. "Why are you angry at me?"

She looked at him. "I'm not angry at you Alex."

Alex stared back, clearly not believing her. "Don't lie to me Sam. I admit I never should have made that last crack, but everything said before that was more than valid. I know that I could have gone about confronting Brooke in a more.... mature manner....but can you blame me for finally losing it? For god's sake, she can't even get my name right!" Alex finished, frustrated.

"I understand Alex, and frankly, I'm surprised you didn't confront her sooner. That said, whatever happens between Brooke and me is none of your concern, and there was no need for you to bring that up in front of the whole school," Sam replied, her voice rising with annoyance.

"Not my concern? Not my concern? Do you realise what you have been like lately?"

Sam looked away. "I don't know what you mean."

"There it is again! You don't tell me anything!" He stopped, lowering his voice. "I'm your boyfriend Sam, you can tell me things! That's what couples do!"

She glared at him. "Thanks for the advice, Oprah."

He reached out and covered her hand with his, his tone pleading. "I don't want to fight with you Sam. Please talk to me." He continued when Sam didn't respond. "I know that you've had things on your mind, Brooke being the main reason, and it's obviously getting to you. You've been quiet and withdrawn and I want you to know that I'm here if you ever want to talk about it." He paused. "You need to trust me. Don't lock me out."

After a long moment, Sam replied. "I'll be fine, thank you."

Alex pulled his hand away, and got up. "You don't get it, do you Sam?! Keep knocking people back and you'll get to a point where they're not going to bother with you anymore." He turned to leave, then stopped, asking one last question before he strode angrily from the library. "Why do you care so much about Brooke anyway?"

Sam watched him go, and for the very first time, allowed herself to admit freely what she knew all along.

Because I'm in love with her.


Brooke inwardly sighed. First Josh, now Nicole.

It seemed she wasn't hiding her feelings as well as she thought she was. Her immediate thought was to deny everything. All she had to do was laugh at Nicole's accusation and question whether too much hair dye was seeping into her brain. Brooke was quite the actress when the situation required it.

Nicole was her best friend but it didn't mean Brooke trusted her. Not by any stretch of the imagination. She made no secret of the fact she was willing to do anything to stay at the top, and if it meant screwing Brooke over, she'd do that too. With a smile.

"Brooke? For the love of Gwyneth, tell me it isn't true!" Nicole interrupted, her voice rising. Brooke made no effort to respond. "If your intention is to give me a heart attack, then you are doing a fucking good job of it!"

Brooke looked up and glared. No matter what the problem was, Nicole always managed to twist it around so it became all about her. Fuck this. "Nic, do you honestly think I want Sam?" Brooke finally asked.

Nicole hesitated, a little confused at Brooke's calm demeanor. "Yeah." She paused. "I'm right, aren't I?"

"No, you're not," Brooke replied.

Nicole watched her for a moment, trying to detect any signs indicating Brooke was lying to her. Satisfied, she grinned, sitting down as relief flooding through her body. "Damn, Brookie! You scared the hell out of me!"

Brooke continued. "In fact, I am head over heels in love with her." It took all but a millisecond before Nicole exploded. She stood up, arms flailing, her voice rising in volume.

"WHAT?! Love?! Did you say love?! You love Spam?! What the hell is wrong with you?!

For fucks sake! It was the Xena tapes wasn't it?! It made you gay! I can't believe this!"

Nicole showed no signs of stopping. "Was Josh that bad?! To put you off men for life?! I'll kill him! I'll find him and kick his puny quarterback ass!"

Nicole continued to rant, and Brooke wondered if the people of Australia could hear her. It also entered her mind that Nicole would have had no problems curing Third World debt if she were fined ten cents for every swear word spoken in the past five minutes. After what seemed like forever, Nicole stopped and glanced at Brooke who simply stared back. It was Brooke who finally broke the silence.

"Nic, if you even think of saying ‘but you're a cheerleader’ I will break your head."

Nicole leaned back against the wall, confused. "I don't understand you."

"What's not to understand? It's pretty simple really. I'm in love with Sam."

Nicole cringed. "Please try and refrain from saying that around me and that is not what I meant." She paused. "Why did you admit it? You know I could have a field day with this."

Brooke shrugged. "You asked, I answered. I'm not going to deny it anymore."

"And you trust me with this information?" Nicole asked, surprised.

"To be honest, no I don't. But I'm hoping you prove me wrong anyway," Brooke replied.

Nicole stared at her, ignoring the slight twinge of hurt at Brooke's admission. "You are willing to risk everything, because you lo..lo...,” Nicole choked on the words, "l-love Spam?"

Brooke laughed bitterly. "I don't have everything Nic! The one thing I want, the ONLY thing I want, I don't have! And I'll trade my so-called ‘everything’ to be with her. I'd do it without a second thought."

Nicole watched Brooke in amazement, trying hard not to be moved by the emotion in Brooke's voice. She pushed it aside though, intent on capitalizing on this opportunity. "So, if you really don't care, then I guess you won't mind me spreading the word about your new life as a cheerleading dyke?" Nicole asked, crossing her arms.

Brooke looked away in disappointment. She truly hoped it wouldn't come to this. She stood up and walked over to Nicole, her face hard, her voice like ice. "Go ahead Nic. Do the best damage you can. You want my place? Take it. I'm betting you won't last more than a month."

Nicole glared. "Is that so?"

"They fear you. They might even respect you but the thing is, they don't like you. You treat people like dirt and it'll only be so long before they won't take it anymore. History shows the natives get restless when they don't like their leader."

Brooke stopped, softening her voice. "You are my best friend Nic and I love you, despite your huge flaws as friendship material. I took a risk by telling you this and believe me when I say that losing your friendship is the last thing I want to happen. I want you in my life." She paused. "The fact is, I'm in love with Sam and that's not going to change any time soon. If ever. Chances are nothing will come of it but that's not the point here. I want to know that I can trust you. With anything."

She looked away, her voice breaking a little. "I may not have Sam in my life the way I want her to be, but from now on, I'm going to make every attempt to be her friend. I need her, any way that I can get it." She turned back to Nicole. "Don't make me choose between the two of you because I'm telling you now." She stepped closer. "You will lose EVERY. SINGLE. TIME."

Section 2 Chakram Popular Main Index