Title: It's Always Been You

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Author: Chakram

Email: chakram_au@yahoo.com.au


"I told you I needed some air," was Sam's response after several long moments.

"That explains why you went outside," Brooke answered quietly. "It doesn't explain why you left without telling me. I was worried about you."

"I know," Sam replied, recalling the concerned messages the blonde left on her phone. "I'm sorry."

Brooke twisted herself around so that she could see Sam's face. "Did I do something?" Brooke asked nervously. "To offend you?"

"Like what?" Sam asked with a frown.

"Well, I, uh, had a few to drink and when we were dancing I was sort of all over you and maybe I..." Brooke stopped when she realised she was babbling. She shot Sam a sheepish grin. "I know that you don't like people invading your space," she managed finally, not realising she was doing exactly that.

"Brooke? Hello?" Sam replied with a smile, gesturing to their position.

"Oh yeah," Brooke said. She shook her head, looking up at Sam. "It's just that you left after we danced, and maybe I did something inappropriate and I was just really worried and I waited up for you, and..."

"You're channeling Willow again," Sam interrupted with a grin. "Brooke, believe me when I say that you did nothing wrong when we were dancing." Absolutely nothing wrong, Sam thought with a smirk.

"So where did you go?" Brooke asked, interrupting Sam's lustful thoughts.

"I went to see Alex," Sam answered, a trace of sadness in her voice.

Brooke turned around and faced the window, not wanting Sam to see the disappointment on her face. She closed her eyes and sighed, wishing for a moment that the lightning would strike her down. It surely couldn't hurt anymore than what she was feeling now. "So how is he?" she asked, not caring either way.

"I don't think he is very happy with me," Sam admitted sadly.

Shoving aside her own hurt, Brooke glanced at Sam with concern. "Want to talk about it?" she offered gently.

Sam sighed, suddenly very tired. "He told me that he loved me."

Brooke looked away. "That's a good thing, isn't it?" she commented finally.

"It would be if the person you said it to didn't run out of the room," Sam admitted wryly, causing Brooke's eyes to widen with surprise. Once she was sure that she wasn't hearing things, and was certain that Sam couldn't see her expression, she grinned.

"I see," Brooke replied finally. "Maybe it's just too soon for you."

"It'll always be too soon," Sam murmured softly.

"Did you say something?" Brooke asked, glancing up at her.

Sam shook her head in response. "Why are relationships so hard?" she asked sadly. "They hurt so much sometimes."

"When you find the one, it'll all be worth it," Brooke answered.

"You believe in soul mates?" Sam asked with surprise.

"I think everybody has somebody who looks at them and says ‘You complete me,’" Brooke answered with a smile, gazing up into Sam's eyes.

"You complete me, huh?" Sam responded with amusement.

"Yes, you complete me," Brooke repeated, this time a little more seriously.

Sam's smile widened. "I always preferred ‘You had me at hello.’"

Brooke laughed. "That works too."

"Alex doesn't complete me," Sam admitted softly, to the one who did.

"Sam, you're only sixteen, in your first real relationship," Brooke said amused.

"Thankyou, Miss Perception USA," Sam responded sarcastically. Brooke laughed. "What I was trying to say," Sam continued with a pointed look, "is that..."

"It's getting too serious," Brooke interrupted. "He loves you and wants more from you but you don't feel as strongly as he does."

"Yeah, how did you know?" Sam asked.

"Josh," Brooke answered simply. "Been there done that."

"So you broke up with him," Sam stated.

"It wasn't working," Brooke responded with a shrug. "I wasn't happy and it wasn't fair on him. He adored me and I just couldn't lie." She softened her voice at Sam's saddened expression. "You just need to figure out what you want Sam."

"What if I can't have what I want?" she asked, gazing directly at Brooke.

"You'll never know if you don't try," Brooke answered, watching as a single tear made it's way down Sam's face. Cupping her left cheek, Brooke placed a gentle kiss on her right. "It'll be okay Sam," she whispered.

"I don't want to hurt him," she mumbled, burying her face in Brooke's neck. "I don't want to hurt me." Brooke didn't respond, simply holding Sam as she began to cry. "Sorry," Sam apologized several minutes later, wiping the tears away.

"Don't be," Brooke answered with a smile. "Are you feeling better?"

"No," was Sam's frank response.

Brooke laughed. "Straight to the point, I like it," she quipped, causing Sam to smile. "I'm not squashing you am I?" Brooke asked, gesturing at their intimate position. "I'm practically sitting on your lap."

"I don't mind," Sam quickly replied.

"Good, because you're comfortable," Brooke said, yawning. "Though I think it might be wise if we continue this discussion after we both get some sleep. It's almost six."

"Yeah," Sam agreed, yawning herself. She glanced at the window. "I think the storm has stopped. You should be able to sleep now."

"I'll be fine." Brooke stood up and turned to Sam with a cheeky grin. "Besides, what harm can dancing elephants do?"

Sam laughed as Brooke helped her up. "That's the spirit."

They watched each other for a moment, unsure of what to do next. "I better get going," Brooke said.

"I'd prefer that you didn't," Sam replied softly. "Why stop a slumber party half way?"

Brooke nodded, smiling. "Okay."

"Love your pajamas Brooke," Sam mumbled tiredly as she climbed into bed and turned on her side.

"So do I," she responded happily. "They're my favourite actually."

Sam glanced over her shoulder with a smile. "I'm glad you like them."

"I don't think I ever thanked you properly," Brooke admitted guiltily.

Sam laughed. "We weren't friends back then, remember?"

"So why did you get me something?" Brooke asked curiously.

"Why did you get me something?" Sam asked instead.

"It was Christmas! Besides, I sort of wanted too anyway," the blonde admitted.

"Well, there is your answer," Sam replied with a yawn. "I don't think I ever thanked you for the diary, so we're both even."

"Did you like it? I know you keep one so I thought maybe you needed another once you're done with it," Brooke explained shyly.

"I love it," Sam said genuinely. "And you'll be happy to know I mention you quite a lot."

"Is that so?" Brooke asked playfully. "I can just imagine what you've written about me."

Sam laughed. "Don't worry, it gradually improves."

"I'm glad it has," Brooke answered with a smile. Minutes later, on the verge of falling asleep, Sam opened her eyes in surprise when she felt an arm curl around her waist and a warm body press up against her from behind.

"Thanks for the present Sam," Brooke murmured sleepily. "I love Garfield."

"You’re welcome," she whispered with a soft laugh, snuggling deeper into the embrace and closing her eyes.


"The girls still not up yet?" Mike asked as he walked into the kitchen.

Jane shook her head. "No, and it's almost one. It's not like them to sleep in this late."

"Must have been one hell of a party," he commented with a frown. "Do you know when they got in?"

"No idea," Jane answered, as she browsed through the refrigerator. She glanced at him over the door. "We should have a chat with the girls when they get up, hmmm?"

"Definitely," Mike replied. "Though it is nice to see them getting along lately. I was quite surprised when Brooke told me she was going with Sam and her friends."

Jane smiled. "Who knows? We might actually get some peace and quiet in this house."

"Don't jinx it honey," Mike joked with a grin. "Any juice left?" Moving over to the refrigerator he stopped as the doorbell sounded. "I'll get that." Opening the door, he smiled when he saw Alex standing there. "Alex, good to see you," he greeted, ushering him in.

"How's it going Mike?" he asked, stepping inside.

"Not too bad Alex, yourself?"

"Could be better," Alex said with a shrug. "Is Sam around?"

"Would you believe she's still asleep?" Mike answered, a little amused. "Was the party that good?"

"What party?" Alex asked, confused.

Mike stared at him for a moment. "You didn't go?" Alex shook his head. "Oh. Right, well, Sam went to some party. Michael's, I think it was," Mike explained, trying to remember the vague details Brooke had given him.

"With Brooke?" Alex asked sharply.

"Yes," Mike confirmed, a little surprised at his tone. "Along with Carmen, Lily and Harrison." He wondered briefly why Alex would ask about Brooke first, rather than Sam's regular friends.

"Oh," he replied, distracted. "I can come back later."

"Hold on Alex," Mike said stopping him. "It’s about time Sam got up anyway. Go on up."

"You sure?" He nodded. "Thanks Mike."

He watched thoughtfully as Alex walked up the stairs, replaying the conversation in his mind. He liked Alex and thought he and Sam made a nice couple, but even he had picked up that something wasn't quite right between them.

In the beginning of their relationship, he would come home from work to find Sam out with Alex, or on the phone with Alex, or sitting with Alex watching some movie. He was over every other day, but gradually his visits tapered off to the point where this was the first time Mike had seen Alex in days.

Recalling the disappointed, almost angry expression when he mentioned Brooke's name, Mike knew somehow his daughter was in the thick of it. He looked towards the stairs and wondered whether it was such a good idea to send Alex up.

He shrugged, heading towards the kitchen. What harm would it do?


Alex knocked softly on the door. No answer. Knocking one more time, he slowly opened the door and closed it behind him. Taking a moment to adjust to the darkness, he walked over to the window and drew open the curtains. Turning around, he froze, staring blankly at the scene before him.

Sam asleep. In Brooke's arms.

Alex took a couple of steps closer and continued to watch them silently for several minutes. Shock soon gave way to anger and jealousy as he took in their position; Brooke lying on her back, her arms wrapped tightly around Sam, whose head was resting comfortably on her shoulder.

He didn't move as Brooke groggily opened her eyes and focused on his own. "Alex?" she asked in surprise, her voice thick with sleep. "What are you doing here?"

He glared at her for several moments before he answered. "Visiting MY girlfriend. What are you doing?" He asked pointedly, gesturing at them. She blushed as she tried to sit up without disturbing Sam.

"We had an impromptu sleep over," she explained calmly, clearly aware that Alex was not happy. "I'm afraid of storms and Sam kept me company."

"By sleeping on top of you?" he asked sarcastically, making no effort to lower his voice.

"Would you keep your voice down?" Brooke snapped. "We can talk outside."

"I want to know what you are doing here," he answered, angrily.

"I just told you," Brooke replied, glaring at him. "What the hell is your problem?"

"You are my problem," he snarled, stepping closer. The sight of Sam and Brooke entwined so intimately made him want to lash out, especially at the blonde in front of him. He had done everything possible to make Sam feel more comfortable around him, giving her as much time and space she needed to settle into the relationship and no matter what he did, she still pushed him away.

Glaring at the blonde, he couldn't help but feel resentful of the fact that her volatile relationship with Sam didn't interfere with the unmistakable closeness between them, their bond still obvious even when they fought and argued and bickered.

He wanted what Sam and Brooke had. He wanted to wake up with HIS arms around Sam.

He shook his head in amazement. Only days ago Sam and Brooke were barely on speaking terms and now they were sleeping together. Alex had no idea what the world was coming to.

"Then I suggest you leave," Brooke replied, standing up. "You can come back later without the attitude."

"I'm here to see Sam," Alex said as he crossed his arms. "Not you."

"She's sleeping. Get the hell out!" Brooke snapped, losing what little control she had.

"What's going on?" Sam mumbled sleepily as she sat up, glancing between them. "Alex?"

"I came to see you so we could talk about last night," Alex explained. He turned his attention to Brooke. "I didn't expect to find you in bed with her."

"Oh for fucks sake, get your mind out of your pants!" Brooke cried out, barely resisting the urge to punch him. "Nothing happened, you freak!"

"Brooke!" Sam chided, all traces of sleep disappearing.

"He's an idiot Sam!" she responded angrily, turning to Alex. "What do you think happened last night Alex? You think we fucked?!"

"You'd like that wouldn't you," he sneered, stepping closer.

"Alex! Enough!" Sam cried out, watching in shock as Brooke punched Alex square in the face. He reeled back in surprise, bracing himself against the door. Xena would have been proud, Sam thought unnecessarily, as she jumped out of bed.

Rushing over to Alex, she gently pulled his hands away to find blood gushing out of his nose. She cringed, looking over at Brooke who was trying not to smirk. Sam glared at her as she guided him into the bathroom.

Minutes later, she walked back out to find Brooke sitting on her bed. "The bleeding has stopped," Sam informed her coldly. "You shouldn't have done that."

Brooke nodded sheepishly as she stood up. "I know, I'm sorry."

She sighed as she gently grasped Brooke's right hand. "Does it hurt?"

"A little," Brooke admitted. Sam simply raised her right eyebrow. "Okay, a lot," she amended with a small smile, glad that Sam wasn't too angry at her.

"What am I going to do with the both of you," Sam muttered to herself, gently running her fingers over Brooke's knuckles. She looked at her. "This is going to hurt like hell."

"The bitch deserves it," Alex sneered as he walked back into the room, his face twisting in anger as he found them huddled closely together.

"Bite me," Brooke replied, glaring at him. She flexed her other hand, wanting to punch him again.

"Enough!" Sam yelled. "I'm so sick of this." Striding over to Alex, Sam grasped him by the arm and steered him towards the door. "I'll talk to you later, when you've calmed down."

He looked at her sadly. "I just want to fix things between us Sam."

"I know," she said softly. "But not right now, you're too upset. I'll meet up with you later tonight."

"You promise?"

"I promise." He nodded, glaring once more at Brooke before he left. "And you." Sam turned around and walked over to Brooke, who shrugged.

"When you see him tonight, tell him to lose the paranoia. It's not a good look."

"You didn't have to hit him!" Sam cried out, frustrated.

"He was the one who came in here and lay into me, so don't start!" Brooke snapped, glaring back.

Sam held her gaze momentarily before she calmly replied. "Just go, please."

Brooke brushed past, slamming the door on the way out.


"Nice of you to join us ladies," Jane greeted them wryly, exchanging a concerned look with Mike, as Brooke and Sam sat on opposite ends of the couch, doing their very best not to look at each other.

"Brooke!" Jane gasped. "Your hand! What happened?"

"She banged it on something hard," Sam muttered sarcastically as she glared at the blonde, ignoring the impulse to get up and fetch some ice.

"More like hard-headed," Brooke sniped back, returning the glare.

Jane rolled her eyes. She should have known their truce was too good to be true. She held up her hand before Sam could respond. "That's enough. Brooke, do you need to have that seen to?" She asked kindly.

"I'll be fine, thanks," Brooke replied gratefully. "Why did you call us down anyway?"

"It's three in the afternoon and this is the first time we've seen you today," Mike answered pointedly. "Which begs the question, what time did you get home last night?"

Brooke shrugged. "Around 1.30."

"Sam?" Jane asked, glancing at her daughter.

"We came home together," Brooke answered quickly, knowing Sam would get into trouble for breaking their curfew. "Isn't that right Sam?"

"Right," Sam lied, putting on her best 'innocent' expression.

"What time, Sam?" Jane asked, crossing her arms.

"Just before three," Sam answered guiltily, looking away.

"You know you're supposed to be home by two," Mike commented sternly. "Where were you?" Sam didn't answer, causing Jane to sit up in alarm.

"You weren't with...Alex were you?" Jane asked, horrified. "You didn't..."

"No!" Sam exclaimed, glaring at her. "No! We were just...talking..."

"Oh my god!" Jane whispered, clearly not believing her.

"Talking? You were talking? Is that what you kids call it these days?" Mike replied sarcastically.

"Dad!" Brooke said, shooting him a look.

"What the hell is wrong with you people?!" Sam cried out, watching in disbelief as her mother began to hyperventilate. "Mum, I promise you, I did not sleep with Alex!"

"It's true," Brooke jumped in, trying to help Sam out. "She slept with me."

"WHAT?" Mike exclaimed, standing up.

"I think I'm going to faint," was all Jane said.

"Everybody, sit down and SHUT UP!" Sam yelled, watching in satisfaction as everybody immediately complied. She stood up and knelt in front of her mother. "I did not sleep with Alex, okay? I went to see him for a little while after the party, then I came home. Nothing happened!" Sam explained forcefully. "Understand?"

She stood up as Jane finally nodded, relieved that some colour was returning to her mother's face. If the situation wasn't so personally annoying, she would have laughed herself silly. This was easily the worst family meeting she'd ever had. Sitting back down, she glanced at Brooke who was trying not to laugh. Sam hid her smile as she focused her attention back to her parents.

"Did you hear the storm last night?" Sam asked.

"Oh sweetie, I forgot," Mike interrupted, casting Brooke a sympathetic look.

"I couldn't sleep so Sam and I spent most of the night talking," Brooke explained, "which is why we slept in so late."

"Okay, that makes sense," Jane replied with a relieved smile, before she cast both girls a stern look. "However, both of you will still be punished."

"Excuse me," Brooke said, raising her hand, "I did not break any curfew."

"You lied so Sam wouldn't get into trouble," Mike explained, glancing over at Jane with a smile. "So, what can we deny them this time?"

"This sucks," Brooke grumbled, crossing her arms.

"You’re loving every minute of this, aren't you?" Sam asked Jane, narrowing her eyes.

"It's one of the perks of teenage parenting," Jane answered with a grin, causing Sam to shake her head in amusement. She turned her attention to Brooke. "For the rest of this week, your phone calls will be limited to one a day, for fifteen minutes," she informed her, "rather than the usual three hours for every six hundred people you talk to."

Sam giggled as Brooke continued to glare.

"And you, young lady will be in charge of washing the dishes for the next two weeks," Mike continued, wiping the smile off Sam's face. Brooke snickered, knowing how much she hated cleaning up after dinner.

"Can we leave now?" Sam pleaded, standing up.

"Actually, we are," Mike replied, putting on his jacket. "Anyone interested in seeing a movie?"

"No!" Sam and Brooke answered immediately.

Jane looked at them affectionately. "Please, don't think about it too hard."

"Why would anyone willingly hang out with their parents?" Brooke asked rhetorically. "Especially evil parents who enjoy punishing their beautiful and oh so innocent daughters."

"Right, innocent," Mike drawled as he kissed Brooke on the cheek. "Don't wait up for us."

"Ewww!" Sam said, cringing. "Too much information."

Jane turned toward Sam just before she followed Mike out. "You and Alex really didn't...."


"Okay, okay..." she replied sheepishly, before she closed the door.

"They are mental," Brooke commented wryly.

"You're telling me," Sam said, shaking her head. They watched each other awkwardly, before Sam stepped forward and grabbed Brooke's left hand, pulling her towards the kitchen. "I'm hungry," she explained simply.

As Brooke sat down at the kitchen table, Sam retrieved a small package from the freezer, wrapped it in a tea towel then gently placed it on Brooke's right hand. "Should help with the swelling," she explained unnecessarily.

"Thanks," Brooke replied, her eyes following Sam around the kitchen.

"We've got some left over pizza. Is that okay?" she asked, glancing over.

"Sounds good," Brooke replied, having no idea what Sam had just asked her. You might if you would stop staring at her ass, Brooke.

"Do you need any help?" Brooke offered, realising that she was just sitting there.

"No, I'm done," Sam said, taking the pizza out of the microwave and bringing it over. Grabbing a couple of glasses she sat beside Brooke and poured them each a drink.

"Want me to feed you?" Sam teased, gesturing at Brooke's injured hand.

"I'll manage," she replied, shooting her an amused glance. You can sit on my lap though.

Brooke found it best to keep that request to herself.

"Thanks for trying to help me out earlier," Sam said, after a few minutes.

Brooke shrugged. "It's what friends do, right?"

Sam smiled, taking another slice of pizza. "Friends also help out with the dishes."

"Now that's pushing it," Brooke joked, making Sam laugh.

"Brooke, about earlier..." Sam faltered, not quite knowing what to say.

Brooke sighed, shifting in her seat so she faced Sam. "I know I shouldn't have hit him."

"Why did you?" Sam asked.

"I woke up to find him just staring at us with this look on his face! He was angry, jealous, like we were doing something wrong!" Brooke exclaimed, frustrated.

"What do you mean? What were we doing?" Sam asked, almost afraid of the answer.

Brooke blushed. "You were, um, we were, sort of, um, we ..." She stopped, taking a deep breath. "I was holding you."

"Holding me?"

"Yeah, you had your head on my shoulder," Brooke explained with a smile. "And I had my arms around you."

"Oh," Sam replied with a grimace. It all made sense now.

"Well, you looked pretty comfortable," Brooke commented wryly, wondering whether she should be offended.

"You don't understand Brooke," Sam said. "Last night, with Alex..."

Brooke's eyes widened. "You didn't..."

"No we didn't, but it wasn't for my lack of trying," Sam admitted. "I just couldn't go through with it. He asked me to stay the night so we could talk and I said no."

"I don't understand Sam," Brooke replied, confused. "What does this have to do with us?"

"He should have been in your place," Sam answered, pointedly. "I mean, think of it from his point of view. He walks into my room to find you holding me, when last night I said no to him wanting that very same thing. Of course he would be jealous."

"It's not as if we planned it," Brooke argued. "It happened while we were sleeping."

"I asked you to stay with me Brooke," Sam said.

"I was afraid, remember?"

"The storm had ended by then," Sam countered.

"Why are we debating this? What is your point?" Brooke asked, annoyed.

"My point is, in the last few days, I have been more of a girlfriend to you, than I have been with him!" Sam exclaimed, standing up. "Is it any wonder he is upset? The only thing we haven't done is kissed!"

Brooke sat there speechless, as Sam walked away.


"You make it sound like a bad thing," Brooke called out finally, as she stood up to follow Sam out of the kitchen.

"What do you mean?" Sam asked, turning around to face her.

"I like the fact we have become closer lately," Brooke answered "and I am not going to stop just because your boyfriend can't handle it."

Sam frowned. "I'm not asking you to stop. This isn't about you and me."

"The hell it isn't," Brooke replied fiercely. "Weren't you listening when he was ranting like a maniac? He was insinuating that we did something last night!"

"So you keep saying. I think you're reading too much into it Brooke," Sam said calmly, sitting against the armrest of the couch.

"Tell me," Brooke asked, "would he have had that same reaction if it was Lily instead of me?"

"He likes Lily," Sam commented simply. "She actually gets his name right."

"He was acting like a jealous boyfriend who just found you in bed with another guy," Brooke argued, ignoring Sam's last point.

"You are not another guy," Sam answered, pointing out the obvious.

"Thankyou for establishing that," Brooke said, wryly.

"So what is your point Brooke?" Sam asked, confused. "You punched him because...?"

Brooke just stood there, staring blankly at the brunette. Thinking about it, she had no idea why she kept on insisting that there was a deeper meaning to Alex and his behaviour. Sam's explanation was perfectly reasonable after all.

"So in other words," Sam continued as Brooke made no effort to respond, "you punched him because you thought that he thought we did something. Is that it?" Sam asked, trying to keep the disappointment out of her voice.

"Huh?" Brooke asked intelligently, still trying to find the words to answer to Sam's previous question.

"I don't get it, I just don't get it," Sam rambled, more to herself. "This feud you two have, I can't figure it out." She stared at Brooke, puzzled. "And it goes deeper than 'Boo hoo, she calls me Adam' and 'Ooo, Adam annoys me,’" she continued, putting on a whiny voice.

"Sometimes two people just don't get along," Brooke explained lamely.

"Don't give me that!" Sam cried out, standing up. "If you don't want to tell me, fine! Just don't lie to me! You don't like him, just say it!"

"No, I don't! Okay!" Brooke blurted out, a part of her ashamed for acting so irrationally. "Is that what you want to hear?"

"Why?" Sam asked quietly.

He has what I want and I hate him for it!

Brooke stared at her before she looked away, shaking her head.

"I need to go," Sam said finally. "I promised Alex I would see him."

Brooke watched her walk out the door, before she headed up to her room.


"Coming!" Brooke called out, as she bounded down the stairs.

After Sam had left she had played her stereo full blast, wanting the noise to drown out all her thoughts, if only momentarily, and it was only by sheer luck she heard the doorbell when changing c.d.’s. Praying that it was Sam, she eagerly flung open the door.

"What are you doing here?" she asked confused, inwardly cringing at the large patch of purple that covered most of his nose and some of his left eye. She really did whack him one.

"I'm here to sell you cookies," Alex answered sarcastically. "Where is Sam?"

"She left half an hour ago, to see you," Brooke replied, stepping aside to let him in.

"I haven't been home since I left here earlier, and I haven't got my phone on me," Alex said, annoyed. "Damn it." He turned to Brooke. "Can I use your phone?"

"Whatever," Brooke said, shutting the door and brushing past him.

She sat on the couch, unashamedly listening to the one-sided conversation, casually noticing how soft and gentle his voice was when speaking to Sam, a definite contrast to the harsh, angry tones he used to address her.

Hanging up the phone, Alex turned to Brooke, regarding her silently for a few moments. She returned the look, raising an eyebrow in surprise when he sat down across from her.

"Shouldn't you be leaving?" she asked in confusion, wondering where Sam had suggested they should meet to talk.

"In a minute," he replied, sitting back. He glanced at her bruised hand. "Nice."

"Matches your face," she commented wryly, making him smile. Brooke surprised herself by apologizing. "I shouldn't have punched you Alex. I'm sorry."

"Are you?" he asked. "Or are you more sorry that it upset Sam more than it hurt me?" She didn't answer, conceding his point with a nod.

"You know, despite her so called unpopularity, Sam has her fair share of admirers," Alex continued casually. "Even if they won't admit it. She turns heads, wherever we go."

"Of course she would," Brooke replied proudly. "She's beautiful."

"Yes, she is. Beautiful, intelligent, compassionate," Alex answered, with a smile. "I'm very lucky to have her." Brooke didn't respond, wondering where he was heading with this conversation. "The guys at school talk about how hot she is all the time, and it amazes me the simple fact of Sam not being accepted by your peers, stops a horde of people from asking her out," Alex said, shaking his head at their stupidity. "The moment she is accepted by people like you, I'm in trouble. They'd be banging down the door to take my place, and in that way, I have many rivals.”

"What's your point, Alex?"

Alex continued as if Brooke hadn't spoken. "It never used to bother me. I never felt threatened because I knew Sam would choose me over any of them."

Brooke rolled her eyes. "Is there a point to this bragging session?"

Alex leant forward, his gaze piercing. "For the very first time, I have a genuine rival. One who is actually a threat to me." He paused, watching as Brooke shifted uncomfortably in her seat, her demeanor confirming all of his suspicions. "You, Brooke. And I'm not wrong when I say you are in love with her, am I?" Brooke didn't reply. "I thought so," he replied casually, though he felt like his insides were being ripped out. He tried to ignore the feeling of inevitability surging through him.

"I want you to stay away from her, do you understand?" he ordered, standing up and stepping forward as Brooke rose to greet him.

"That's going to be a little hard, considering I live with her," Brooke replied sarcastically, a little unnerved by the face that bared such a resemblance to her own. "Whatever she feels or doesn't feel for me, there is no way I'm giving her up. Especially for you."

Alex glared at her. "Sam is with me, and I'll do what it takes to keep it that way. Don't interfere, Brooke. I mean it." He turned away without another word, slamming the door on the way out.

"Could this day get any worse?" Brooke asked to no one in particular.


Sam sat on the bench overlooking the pond, watching in fascination as two ducks circled and tried to peck at each other. She laughed as she compared them to herself and Brooke, the two small ducks reminding her of their earlier relationship.

She imagined them fifty years from now, exchanging gentle insults, sitting on a porch somewhere at some old folks home, hitting each other over the head with their walking sticks, like some bad cartoon.

She smiled. Frankly, she didn't care where she was, just as long Brooke was right there beside her. Shaking her head in embarrassment, she wondered where the romantic, lovey dovey stuff had come from. She never thought she had it in her.

Sam glanced at her watch, wondering where Alex was. She was deeply concerned when Alex had informed her that he was calling from her place, all alone with Brooke, and Sam wondered whether she would find an ambulance sitting outside if she were to rush home.

She stood up in relief when she saw Alex walking down the path, her expression sympathetic when she saw his face. Brooke had really whacked him one.

"Hi," he greeted with a smile, kissing her on the cheek.

"Ouch," she said, touching the side of his face gently. "Does it hurt?"

"Like you wouldn't believe," he replied. "Of course, it happened while I tried to heroically save an old lady from getting robbed by a gang of ten huge guys."

She laughed. "Your secret is safe with me."

"Good," he said with a smile, sitting down on the bench.

"I'm glad to see you escaped from further injury," she joked, sitting down beside him. "You didn't tie her up and gag her, did you?"

He shook his head, wondering why he didn't think of that. "We were quite pleasant to each other actually," he answered, looking out over the pond. He smiled as Sam just stared at him. "Mostly pleasant, anyway."

"Talk about anything interesting?" she asked, watching him closely.

He hesitated. "Not really, I used the phone and left."

"Oh," Sam replied, not quite believing him. They sat and watched the pond for a few minutes, neither of them knowing where to begin.

"I don't want to lose you Sam," Alex said, breaking the silence between them. "I'm sorry if I scared you away last night, I just wanted you to know how I felt about you."

"I know and I'm so sorry for reacting the way I did," Sam replied, turning towards him. "I just got... scared and I didn't know how to deal with it."

"So you ran to Brooke," Alex stated, looking away.

"No, I didn't actually," Sam replied sharply. "She has this idea you're jealous because you have it in your head something happened between us last night. Is that true?"

"Did something happen?" He asked instead, watching her.

"No!" Sam answered, annoyed. "I explained why she was there, why don't you believe me?"

"I do believe you Sam," Alex replied. "I just...I was hurt, okay? You don't confide in me, you shut me out, yet if this afternoon was any indication, you have no problems letting Brooke in. Why is that?"

"I didn't mean for that to happen Alex," Sam responded, realizing she was using Brooke's earlier arguments. "It's not as if I leapt on top of her." Sam blushed at her hypocrisy, as she recalled inviting Brooke to lie in her arms while they watched the storm together.

"Alex, I'm not one for letting people in, okay?" Sam tried to explain. "I find it very hard and I know my distance is hurting you and I'm sorry. It's a protective thing, you know? It's like a barrier I keep around myself and I've been doing it for so long, I don't know how to take it down. And it's not just with you, it's with everyone."

"You don't need that barrier around me Sam," Alex replied, taking her hand. "I would never hurt you intentionally."

"I know that," Sam answered, "but it's easier said than done."

Alex nodded, waiting patiently as Sam gathered her thoughts.

"I need to be honest with you Alex," she began, her voice cracking. "I love you. I really do, but...." She stopped, looking away as her eyes began to fill up with tears. Turning back, she watched as Alex let go of her hand. "I don't think I'm in love with you."

She paused, her voice gentle. "I know I'm not in love with you, and I can't love you the way you want me too." She watched as Alex turned away. "I am so sorry, I didn't mean to hurt you. You are everything I could ever want in a guy, but..." she stopped. "It's just not happening." She sat there quietly, head bowed, as her own tears began to fall.

She looked up as Alex once again turned towards her. "I can wait, Sam. Give you as much time as you need. We can make this work, you and I..." he leant forward, grabbing her gently. "We make a great team." Sam looked away as Alex continued to plead. "You can't just give up on a relationship once you hit some problems. We'll work through them together. We can do this!"

Sam turned towards him, smiling sadly. Leaning forward she kissed him on the lips. "You're a great guy Alex, and you deserve someone who will love you completely." Kissing him gently on the forehead, she stood up. "But it's not me."

Taking one last look at the devastated figure, she turned and walked away.


Brooke lay on her bed, her eyes fixed on the ceiling, and no matter how loud she cranked up her stereo, his words just kept on echoing inside her head.

"I'm not wrong when I say you are in love with her, am I?"

Brooke was almost certain Alex would tell Sam, imagining all sorts of scenarios, each of them ending with Alex and Sam laughing at her, at how stupid she was to go and fall for her stepsister of all people. She sat up, frustrated, wondering why she didn't just deny everything. It would have been the smart thing to do, right?

But no, Brooke McQueen was an idiot, with a capital dumb ass. Grabbing the book on her nightstand, she flung it at the farthest wall with all her might, feeling a sense of satisfaction as a small dent made a welcome appearance.

Reaching for another book to throw, she stopped when she saw Sam standing quietly in her doorway. She jumped up and switched the stereo off, standing awkwardly beside her bed as Sam just watched her.

"Whatever he said, I deny it with every inch of my being," she blurted out.

Sam looked at her oddly. "He didn't say anything about you."

"That’s good to know," she mumbled in embarrassment, mentally slapping herself upside the head.



"I'm going to give you a set of instructions okay? And you're going to follow them," Sam said, quietly. "Without question."

"Uh, sure," Brooke replied, concerned.

"Lie on your bed." Brooke stared at her for a moment before she complied. Closing the door behind her, and switching off the light, Sam walked over and climbed onto the bed, throwing her arm over Brooke's waist and burying her face in her neck.

"Now hold me while I cry, okay?" she whispered, as she began to sob.

"Okay," Brooke answered softly, tightening her hold on the brunette. Guessing that Sam had ended her relationship with Alex, she closed her eyes in sympathy, for Sam and for him, knowing that no matter how badly Sam was hurting now, Alex was feeling it ten times worse.

Brooke genuinely hoped that Alex had someone to hold him right now.


Nicole rolled her eyes as she glanced up from reading her hidden magazine. Could Brooke be any more obvious? She continued watching as Brooke gazed at Sam with an expression that could only be described as smitten. Making sure the teacher was still pre-occupied with the black board, Nicole ripped out a page from her unused notebook and scribbled something on it, before she scrunched it up and threw it at Brooke's head.

Annoyed that somebody had the audacity to interrupt her all-important Sam-watching, Brooke picked up the note, making sure that it was well hidden from view.


Stop with the Spam gawking!

What next?! Serenading her in song?


Folding up the note and putting it away, Brooke turned around and glared at the sender, who simply smirked and blew her a kiss, before she made herself comfortable and continued with what was fast becoming her favourite past time.

They had returned to school after one of the most emotionally draining weekends Brooke could remember experiencing in a long time. She had spent the night holding Sam in her arms as the brunette cried her eyes out, Brooke doing all she could to comfort Sam as she dealt with the aftermath of her break-up with Alex.

Gazing dreamily at the beauty beside her, Brooke frowned in confusion as Sam began making weird faces at her. Turning her head to the front of the room, Brooke cringed as she realised that she was being spoken too.

"Ms McQueen, I realise I am not the beauty I once was, but it would be most appreciated if you could keep your attention, and your eyes, focused on me, instead of Ms McPherson sitting beside you." The teaching entity known as Bio Glass smirked, watching in amusement as Brooke's face turned a bright shade of pink. "Maybe then you could answer my question."

Brooke sat there horrified, as the entire class shifted in their seats to face her. She didn't dare glance at Sam, though she had no trouble noticing the glare Alex was aiming in her direction.

"What is your question?" she asked, her voice cracking with embarrassment. My god, could I be any more obvious?

"As I was saying, twice, before you had the good grace to look my way, would you please inform the rest of your clueless classmates about the functions of a Endoplasmic reticulum and Mitochondrion?" Glass asked, as she glanced around the room, trying to decide who next to pick on. She wasn't expecting the blonde to answer the question, but if she wished to further embarrass herself by displaying her ignorance, who was she to argue?

Brooke sat up and smirked. "Well, the mitochondrion is the organelle where ATP is formed, and endoplasmic reticulum are channels through which the newly made protein is moved within the cell," Brooke explained casually, without once glancing at the textbooks in front of her.

Everyone just stared.

"Would you like me to continue?" Brooke asked innocently, as the class, minus Alex, began to clap enthusiastically. Casting a shy glance to her right, Brooke blushed as she found Sam grinning widely at her.

"Well done Brooke," Glass acknowledged finally, her lips twitching in amusement as the cheerleader once again disregarded everything around her by solely focusing on Sam.

She shook her head ruefully. Could the girl be any more obvious?


"Hi guys," Sam greeted, as she joined Carmen, Lily and Harrison at their regular table. Sitting down, she stared resignedly at her tray, wondering for the millionth time why she didn't wake up a few minutes early every morning to make her own lunch.

"Anyone want to hazard a guess?" Sam asked, gesturing towards the pile of...something.

"Please cover it up so I don't have to look at it," Lily replied, as she munched on her apple.

Sam smiled, freezing suddenly as Alex walked past, completely ignoring her. Watching after him sadly, Sam missed the significant glances exchanged between the other occupants of the table.

"Sam? Are you okay?" Carmen finally asked.

"Not really," she muttered, turning towards them.

"You broke up with him, didn't you?" Carmen replied knowingly, discreetly nudging Harrison who was sitting beside her.

"Carmen!" Lily cried out.

"What?" Carmen said, defensively. "I was just asking."

"How did you know?" Sam asked, interrupting the Lily and Carmen glare fest. "Brooke was the only one I told."

"It's not exactly brain surgery Sam," Lily answered. "It's Thursday, and he hasn't sat with us once this week. He can barely look at you."

"Did you punch him?" Carmen asked, leaning forward in anticipation. She loved good gossip.


"What?" Carmen asked, shooting Lily a look. "I was just asking."

"No, I didn't punch him," Sam answered uncomfortably. "Let's not talk about it, okay?"

Lily scooted over, placing an arm around her shoulders. "Is there anything we can do?"

"Thanks, but I'll be fine," Sam replied, before adding with a smile, "Brooke's been taking good care of me."

"Glad to hear it," an amused voice said behind her.

"Well if it isn't Girl Genius," Sam replied happily, turning around. "You might have to sit at our table once everyone realizes how truly smart you are."

Brooke laughed. "Wouldn't be so bad, I'll be sitting with you, won’t I?"

"Want to join us?" Sam asked hopefully, preparing to make some room.

"I'd love to but I'm on a most important quest," Brooke answered seriously.

"Where to?" Lily asked with a frown.

"The vending machine," Brooke replied, making everyone laugh. She looked at Sam. "Want to join me?"

"Sure," Sam replied with a grin, standing up. "Anyone else want something?"

Shaking their heads in response, Carmen turned to Harrison once they were out of earshot. "You've been a little quiet," she commented cheekily, punching him lightly on the arm.

"You were right," Harrison replied, with a slight smile. "They were having problems."

"Now is your chance to make a move!" Carmen answered encouragingly

"She broke up with him four days ago," Lily commented wryly. "It's a little too soon, don't you think?"

"You saw her just now," Carmen argued. "She didn't look too distraught to me."

"Ladies, ladies!" Harrison interrupted, holding up his hand. "I understand you two want to play matchmaker, but the decision is mine, is it not?" They nodded sheepishly. "Exactly," he replied authoritatively. He watched them for a moment before he leaned forward.

"Now tell me, what do I do?"



"What are you doing?" Brooke asked curiously, glancing at Sam who was leaning against the vending machine.

"Counting how many people are wearing leather today," Sam responded in amusement, happily recalling the snug red leather pants Brooke wore on Saturday night. "You could come to school wearing a garbage bag and it would be the biggest thing since tank tops and neck ties."

Brooke laughed. "I never got into that myself."

"I think it looks pretty hot actually," Sam admitted with an embarrassed grin.

"Who? Avril in a tie?" Brooke asked in surprise, retrieving her bar of chocolate.

"Not exactly," Sam replied with a laugh. "I love that careless, scruffy look. Top buttons undone, necktie hanging crookedly, that sort of thing. Very sexy.”

"What else do you like?" Brooke asked, fascinated.

Sam shrugged casually as she brushed past her. "Leather."

Brooke grinned as she followed, unaware that a pair of jealous eyes tracked their every move.


"Need a lift home?" Brooke asked, stopping beside Sam who was impatiently shoving books into her locker.

"Thanks," Sam replied gratefully, as she slammed the door shut, "but I've got a meeting for the newspaper now."

"Are you nervous?" Brooke inquired gently, walking beside her.

"Why would I be?" Sam responded, faking ignorance.

"Oh, I don't know, maybe because this is the first time you'll be in direct contact with your ex -boyfriend?" Brooke answered a touch sarcastically.

"He's not going," Sam replied, curtly.

"He told you this?" Brooke asked, as they stopped in front of the classroom door.

"He told Jessie this," Sam answered, the hurt clearly visible on her face. "He still won't look at me, let alone talk to me."

"I'm sorry Sam," Brooke replied sympathetically, pulling the brunette into a hug.

"I know he's upset but it still hurts," Sam admitted sadly. "I miss him."

"He'll come around eventually," Brooke replied, pulling away slightly to offer her best comforting smile. "If Josh and I can remain close friends, I don't see why you two can't."

Sam smiled at Brooke's optimism. "I hope so."

"I'm always right," Brooke replied haughtily "despite a certain someone, whose name I shall not mention, Samantha McPherson, who always, but unsuccessfully tries to prove me wrong on many an occasion." Sam laughed, slapping the blonde on the arm. "And who also has a worrying tendency for violence," Brooke continued with a cheeky grin, ducking away as Sam tried to hit her again.

"I'm the one with the tendency for violence?" Sam asked increduously, pointing to herself. "Do you know that everybody thinks I punched him?"

Brooke shot her a guilty look. "I know, but at least the guys won't mess with you now," she replied, once again looking on the bright side of things. "With your mean right hook and all..."

Narrowing her eyes at the blonde, Sam lunged at her, laughing as they began to playfully wrestle in the corridor.

"It's nice to see that the students of today are making productive use of their time," Glass commented sarcastically, inwardly amused as the two girls froze in the exact position she found them in; Sam holding Brooke in a gentle headlock with Brooke's arms wrapped around the brunette's waist. Jumping apart, they cast sheepish looks towards their Biology teacher.

"I have a meeting," Sam informed her hastily. "For the newspaper."

"I was just, um, uh...." Brooke tried to explain, looking to Sam for help.

"Never mind Brooke," Glass interrupted, knowing exactly why she was there. She walked past them but stopped several feet away, turning around once more. "Ladies?"

"Yes?" Brooke asked cautiously.

"Get a clue."

And with that Glass walked away, leaving Sam and Brooke standing there in utter confusion.

"Huh?" Sam finally asked, turning towards Brooke.

"My sentiments exactly," she replied with a confused shrug.

Sam gestured towards the door, pushing all thoughts of Bio Glass out of her mind. "I better get inside," she said reluctantly, picking up her bag. "I'll see you when I get home."

Brooke nodded, trying to hide her disappointment. "Sure."

"Brooke?" Sam called out, as Brooke started to leave. "Thanks."

"You’re welcome," the cheerleader replied with a grin, before she disappeared around the corner.

It had been two weeks since her separation from Alex, and Sam wondered what good she had done to deserve having someone like Brooke in her life. The blonde had done everything right, holding her as she cried when Alex continued to ignore her, making her laugh when she desperately needed cheering up. She was always there, and Sam knew her feelings for Brooke were spiraling out of control.

Her recent leap back into single-dom had almost stripped away any self restraint she had when it came to the blonde, her emotions climbing closer and closer to the surface, and no matter how hard she tried to keep some sense of distance between them, one look into Brooke's eyes shattered any determination she had. Sam couldn't keep herself away and she decided she wasn't going to try anymore.

Sighing happily, Sam walked into the room, finding Jessie typing away furiously at the computer. Placing her bag on the nearest table, she walked over and sat beside her. "Hey Jess," Sam greeted, "where is everybody?'

"David had a dentist appointment, Sarah is sick with the flu and Alex..." Jessie stopped, casting Sam an uncomfortable look.

"I guess the meeting's cancelled then," Sam stated, trying to change the subject.

Jessie shrugged. "I'm working on some stuff, you're most welcome to join me."

"I think I will," Sam replied, switching on the computer. She had been spending so much time with Brooke, it had been some time since she had worked on her articles.

"I need to get some stuff from my locker," Jessie explained, as she stood up. "I'll be back in a moment, okay?"

Sam nodded absently, watching after her thoughtfully. Rumours ran rife at Kennedy High, where gossip was considered an art, and it was a common sight for students, and even teachers, to place a bet or two with Sugar Daddy, who ran a not so secret gambling service.

Some of the more popular bets included "Mary Cherry will spend the rest of her life in a psychiatric facility," odds 2-1, which Sam herself had placed a significant amount of money on, to "Bio Glass is actually an alien from another planet," odds 10-1.

Sam smiled at her personal favourite: “Brooke and, or Sam, will be charged with attempted murder by the end of the school day.”

In the early, turbulent stages of their relationship, the majority of students placed bets every school morning. It still didn't stop some from parting with their money despite the now common knowledge Sam and Brooke had reached a permanent truce.

Looking up at the sound of the doorknob turning, Sam smiled as the popular old janitor lumbered in. "Don't mind me little lady," he said with a smile, which displayed his many missing teeth.

"No problem Bob," she answered kindly, turning back to her computer.

Wondering where Jessie had disappeared too, Sam wondered whether the rumours about her friend were true. Was Jessie a lesbian? Apparently, Jessie had been seen at the local video store renting Kissing Jessica Stein.

Shaking her head ruefully, Sam couldn't believe how stupid the reason was that started the rumour in the first place, yet it didn't stop her from wondering. On the extremely rare occasion Sam wasn't thinking of Brooke, old thoughts began to resurface about her own sexuality, and this time she confronted them.

Was she gay? Bi-sexual? A heterosexual who happened to be in love with the one girl? If she couldn't be with Brooke, would she date another guy? Another girl? Did it really matter?

Thinking of Alex, Sam knew she found him attractive. He was handsome, intelligent and a genuinely nice guy, yet she felt no passion for him, no fire. Their heavy petting sessions had resulted in nothing but a nice tingle spreading through out her body. She knew from reading fan fiction that there had to be more than that.

She hoped that there was more to it than that.

Sam wondered if it were at all possible to fall unconscious from a mind blowing orgasm, since she had come across that several times when reading fan fiction. Glancing sideways, she momentarily considered asking Bob, but decided not to. He might consider it an invitation to try, Sam thought with a smirk. Turning towards the door, she watched as Jessie came walking in.

"Here you go," she said, handing Sam a can of soft drink while opening her own.

"Thanks," Sam replied appreciatively with a grin. "I was wondering where you had gotten to."

"See you later girls," Bob said with a wave, as he headed out the door.

"Bye Bob," Jessie replied with a grin before she turned to Sam and laughed. "Isn't he just the cutest thing?" Sam made no comment as she stared at Jessie thoughtfully.

Shifting uncomfortably in her seat, Jessie waved her hands in front of Sam's face, hoping to gain the brunette's attention.

"Sorry," Sam apologized sheepishly, snapping out of her haze. "I zoned out for a minute."

"I noticed," Jessie commented, wryly. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah, I was..." Sam stopped and regarded her silently for a moment. "Can I ask you a personal question? I mean, you don't have to answer of course, but if you decide to, I promise it will stay between you and me. If you feel uncomfortable...."

"Sam, just ask already," Jessie interrupted with an amused look.

"Um, well there are rumours about you..." Sam faltered, not sure whether to continue.

"Are you asking if I'm a lesbian?" Jessie asked frankly, a slight smile on her lips. "Did you place a bet?"

"What? No! Of course not!" Sam exclaimed, before she realised that Jessie was joking. She shot her an embarrassed look. "You ass, I thought I offended you just then!"

"Would you believe, with all the talk that's gone on, you are the first person to ask me?"

"You're kidding?" Sam asked in surprise.

"I'm like Kennedy High's version of the Xena subtext debate," Jessie explained wryly, before she put on a dramatic voice. "Is she, isn't she?" Sam laughed. "And to answer your question," Jessie continued, "Xena and Gabrielle definitely are..." Sam grinned as she nodded in agreement. "And yes I am," Jessie finished casually.

"Do you care if people know?" Sam asked.

"My close friends and family already do," Jessie replied with a shrug, "and if anyone were to ask me I wouldn't deny it, but I'm not going to yell it from the roof top." Jessie watched Sam for a moment. "Why do you ask?"

"Just wondering," Sam replied as casually as she could, blushing as Jessie smirked at her knowingly.

"Why Ms McPherson, are you asking me out on a date?" she joked, laughing as Sam gazed at her with wide eyes. "I'm just kidding, relax."

Sam smiled at her sheepishly. "Sorry, it's just..."

"You've been wondering whether you are," Jessie finished for her. She smiled. "It's okay, Sam, you can talk to me. It'll stay between us, I promise."

"How did you know?" Sam asked intently. "How can you be sure?"

Jessie shrugged. "Guys don't do it for me. I've kissed a few and it just, it didn't feel right, you know? I can look at a guy and say he's attractive but I've never really been attracted to them. There's a difference." Jessie blushed. "You also get a clue when you've been in love with your best friend your entire life."

"You're in love with Sarah?" Sam asked, shocked. "Since when?"

"Since always," Jessie admitted, before she shook her head sadly. "Why is it that we always fall for the straight ones?"

"Tell me about it," Sam muttered. Noticing that Jessie was staring at her, Sam cringed as she realised what she just said.

"Who is the lucky girl then?" Jessie asked once she recovered from the shock, leaning forward in anticipation. "It's why you broke up with Alex, isn't it?” Sam nodded reluctantly. "It's okay, Sam," Jessie said, placing a comforting hand on her arm, "you don't have to tell me."

"Thanks," Sam replied gratefully.

"Can I have three guesses?" Jessie asked hopefully, after several moments. Sam stared. "How about twenty questions?" Jessie continued. Sam raised an eyebrow. "How about you draw me a diagram?" Sam rolled her eyes. "Hang the butcher?" Jessie pleaded, making Sam laugh. "Come on Sam, I won't tell anyone, the suspense is killing me!"

"You can have one guess," Sam allowed with a smile, amused at Jessie's begging and confident in her inability to guess Brooke's name. "Who do you think it is?"

"Brooke," Jessie replied immediately.

"WHAT?" Sam yelled, standing up.

"Oh come on!" Jessie snickered, pulling Sam back into her seat. "It wasn't that hard."

"How?" Sam asked, genuinely confused. "Am I that obvious?"

“All that yelling and fighting you two had going on?" Jessie asked rhetorically. "Can anyone say sexual tension?"

Sam stared.

"It might not be obvious to Kennedy High's heterosexual society, but this lesbian's gay dar went ding ding ding ding ding!" Jessie continued, amused as Sam's mouth continued to drop. "Besides it was a simple process of elimination. Carmen? Lily? I don't think so. Nicole? Mary Cherry? Don't make me laugh," Jessie said, shaking her head at the thought. "And of course, Alex, look wise, is practically a male version of Brooke. Hello? If anyone gave it two seconds thought, they'd slap themselves silly for not realizing themselves. Then again, this school is filled with blind, self obsessed, ignorant freaks, so your secret should be pretty safe."

"You're good," Sam commented finally.

"Yes I am," Jessie replied with a smirk. They watched each other for a moment, before they burst out laughing.

"It's nice to finally say it out loud to someone," Sam admitted with a smile.

"You should tell her," Jessie said, almost certain that Brooke returned Sam's feelings. She was rarely ever wrong about these things.

"You kidding me?" Sam asked, horrified at the thought. "And make a fool of myself?"

"Take the risk Sam," Jessie urged, leaning forward.

"Only if you tell Sarah how you feel," Sam challenged, with a smirk.

Jessie leant back, throwing her hands up in defeat. "Damn it."

"Exactly," Sam replied with a laugh. "Easier said than done."

Shaking her head ruefully, Jessie glanced at her wristwatch, letting out a gasp. "My god, it's five!" She exclaimed, standing up. "I told Sarah I'd be at her place around four thirty." She stopping, glaring momentarily. "I promised her we'd have a Freddie Prince Junior marathon. Do you have any idea how much I hate his movies? If she wasn't sick...."

"Awww, how sweet!" Sam teased, packing up her things.

"Shut up!" Jessie cried out in embarrassment, before she grinned. "What can I say, I'm whipped."

"Tell Sarah I hope she gets better soon, okay?" Sam requested, placing her bag on her shoulder.

Jessie nodded in response, walking over to Sam until she was within arms distance. "Have you ever kissed a girl?" she asked softly. Sam shook her head, as she felt her heart begin to race. "It's nice," Jessie commented, before adding sheepishly, "You know, I've always had a little thing for you."

"You have?" Sam asked in surprise.

Jessie nodded, before she quickly covered the remaining distance between them and gently pressed her lips against Sam's, pulling away after several moments.

"That was.... nice," Sam replied, with a smile.

"I told you," Jessie managed to get out before Sam kissed her again, this time with increasing urgency. Placing her hands on the brunette's waist, Jessie frowned as she heard someone enter the room.

"Sam, are you..."

They jumped apart, finding Brooke leaning back against the doorway, gaping at them. Nobody moved as they glanced at each other uncomfortably.

"I'm sorry, I thought that…I'm sorry..." Brooke mumbled incoherently before she rushed out.


Brooke sat there, staring blankly ahead, her hands gripping the steering wheel. She couldn't feel anything and she was barely aware of Sam sliding into the passenger seat beside her.

"What are you doing here?" Sam asked softly, as she too stared directly ahead.

"I thought I'd pick you up after the meeting and take you out to dinner somewhere," Brooke replied finally, her voice calm and even.

"Do you still want to?" Sam asked, turning towards her.

Brooke shook her head as she started up the car. "I'm not hungry."


I wake up in the morning

Put on my face

The one that's gonna get me

Through another day

Doesn't really matter

How I feel inside

This life is like a game sometimes

Sam smiled as she cranked up the volume on her walkman. She loved this song.

Then you came around me

The walls just disappeared

Nothing to surround me

Keep me from my fears

I'm unprotected

See how I've opened up

You've made me trust

Absently moving her unidentified lunch around with a plastic fork, Sam blinked away tears as she wondered how it was possible to miss someone so much. Especially someone who lived in the same house she did.

I've never felt like this before

I'm naked around you

Does it show?

You see right through me

And I can't hide

I'm naked around you

And it feels so right

Brooke didn't ask about what she had seen and Sam didn't explain. They had been purposely avoiding each other and Sam wished she could say something, anything, that would have them talking again, instead of the forced, polite facade they had between them now. She turned around as she felt a tap on her shoulder.

"What are you listening to?" Harrison asked with a grin, as he sat down.

"Avril," Sam replied, as she put her walkman away.

"She's hot," he replied with a leer, making Sam smile for the first time in days. As Harrison continued talking, Sam once again became lost in thought.

"You really should check them out," Harrison said with a grin "They're quite good."

"What?" Sam had no idea what Harrison was going on about. “I’m sorry, I didn’t quite get that.”

He shot her a look. "Haven't you wondered why the cafeteria is practically empty?"

Sam looked around for the first time, surprised. She hadn't registered there were only a handful of students scattered through out.

"The cheerleaders," Harrison explained, as he unwrapped his sandwich, "are trying out some new moves. Brooke is amazing."

Sam nodded silently.

"Are you okay?" Harrison asked concerned, pushing his lunch aside. "You've been real quiet lately." He stopped as Sam looked away. "What's wrong?"

Sam stared at him intently for a moment.

"Have you ever been in love Harrison?" she asked finally, surprising him. "I mean, truly in love? So in love that it consumes you, and all you do is think about that person, all the time. You think about what they're doing, and what they're thinking, and if they're thinking of you, and you'd do anything to have them feel the same way." She stopped, her gaze flickering towards the empty table where Brooke normally sat. "Ever felt that Harrison?" she asked softly, looking at him sadly.

"We're not talking about Alex, are we?" Harrison asked, as he leant forward. "You broke up with him because of this person you're talking about." Sam nodded. "Have you told them how you feel?" Sam shook her head. "You should!"

Despite their impatient pleas for him to get off his ass, Harrison had harbored secret doubts about what Carmen and Lily had told him. Hearing the words from Sam changed everything and Harrison couldn't wait to tell her he felt the same way.

Now wasn't the right time though. He wanted everything to be perfect.

"With things like this, it's worth the risk Sam," he continued, as he stood up and sat beside her. "What if they feel the same way about you?"

"And what if they didn't?" Sam countered.

"At least you would know," Harrison replied. "Love is the one thing worth risking everything for, right?"

"SAM!" Turning around, Sam watched in confusion as Carmen and Lily ran frantically towards her. "It's Brooke," Carmen gasped out, trying to catch her breath.

"What about her?" Sam asked immediately, standing up. "What's wrong?"

"She's hurt herself, it's..." Carmen stopped as Sam left before she could finish explaining.

"I never knew she could run so fast," Lily commented wryly before all three followed in pursuit.


"Get the hell out of my way!" Sam yelled, as she tried to push through the large crowd. It would have been nice if everybody automatically parted like the Red Sea, but Sam knew that would have been too much to ask for.

Finally reaching the front, Sam found Nicole gingerly holding Brooke, whose face was a ghostly white, her cheeks streaked with still flowing tears, her jaw tightly clenched as she tried to stop herself from groaning in pain. Glancing at Brooke's left shoulder, Sam winced. It was dislocated.

Rushing forward, she knelt behind Brooke and tried to support her, relieved to feel the blonde leaning back into her touch. Sam gently began stroking the blonde hair.

"Hey," she said softly, her eyes tearing up in sympathy.

"It hurts like a bitch Sam," Brooke gasped out, as she turned to bury her head in the crook of Sam's neck. She had never been so happy to see the brunette in her life, though she couldn't say the same for everybody else who simply stood there and stared at her.

"I know," Sam replied gently, "but just hang in there okay?" She glanced towards Nicole.

"Did anyone get help?" Sam asked, smiling as Nicole and everyone else responded by holding up their mobile phones.

"We should be expecting a fleet of ambulances any minute now," Nicole answered with a small grin, her animosity towards the brunette set aside for the time being.

"What happened?" Sam asked.

"We were trying a new move and she..." Nicole trailed off, recalling Brooke's scream as she landed awkwardly on her side.

Sam nodded, turning her attention back to Brooke. "I knew getting "Bring It On" on DVD was a bad idea," Sam joked, smiling as Brooke managed a weak one of her own.



"You love me, right?"

Sam paused before she answered. "Yeah, I do."

"Then knock me out please!" Brooke pleaded as she closed her eyes, groaning in pain as another wave of agony tore through her body. Sam looked up as the crowd parted, relieved when Ms Glass came through, accompanied by two paramedics.

"They're here," Sam informed her, watching as they carefully placed Brooke onto the stretcher.

"Sam?" Brooke called out.

"Right here Brooke," Sam answered as she stepped forward. Grabbing Brooke's hand, she followed beside them as they slowly made their way toward the ambulance.

"Gee Blondie, you've got yourself quite a fan club," Jack, the paramedic, commented to Brooke as he glanced backwards, amused by the large group of students following them.

"Brooke's the head cheerleader," Sam stated with a laugh, as if that explained everything.

Jack nodded, smiling. "I dated the head cheerleader when I was in high school."

"What happened?" Sam asked.

"We got married," he replied happily. "Twenty years, last month."

"No offence Mister," Nicole interrupted, overhearing the conversation, "but you don't look like a quarter back.”

Sam and Brooke rolled their eyes as Jack laughed.

"I was never good at sports," he answered with a smile. "She left him for me."

At that last comment Sam glanced at Brooke, to find the blonde gazing at her with a small smile on her face, despite the obvious pain she was in. Returning the smile, Sam stepped aside as Brooke was lifted into the ambulance. Jack turned towards her.

"Your girlfriend's waiting for you," he said with a grin, waving her over. "You coming or not?"

Brooke's girlfriend?! Not replying immediately, Sam was pushed forward by a gentle nudge from Ms Glass. "Go on," she urged. "I'll call your parents to tell them what has happened."

Sam nodded gratefully before she jumped in.


Shutting the door with her foot, Sam blindly walked into the living room and placed the assorted flowers, cards and chocolates on the floor. Taking a look around, Sam snickered as the once clean and tidy living room now resembled their outside garden.

She had been stopped in the corridor all day by almost everyone, wondering how Brooke was doing, and whether Sam could give this to Brooke when she got home, and asking when Brooke was coming back to school and...

Sam sighed. She had talked to more people in the last day than she had in the entire time she had been attending Kennedy High. Her car had been filled with so many flowers, some smart-ass actually asked if she was thinking of opening a nursery.

Picking up the box of chocolates closest to her, Sam sat down and eyed it speculatively.   The chocolates were meant for Brooke but Sam felt she deserved some compensation for her role as the messenger. Who knew being sociable could be so exhausting? Besides, it had taken four trips to unload everything from her car, she needed the energy.

"Sam? Is that you?" Brooke called out as she walked down the stairs. "I was wondering..." She stopped. "Oh my god."

Sam laughed. "Your loyal subjects have showered you with gifts."

Brooke narrowed her eyes as she took in the opened box of chocolates. "Are you eating one of those gifts?"

"Yes," Sam replied without shame. "Want one?"

Brooke smiled in amusement as she sat down beside her. Sam smirked. "How are you feeling?"

Brooke shrugged with her good shoulder. "It's still sore, but the pain killers help." She smiled cheekily. "I like those. They make me go funny!" Sam laughed as she unwrapped another piece of chocolate. "So, did you miss me at school?" Brooke asked, as she adjusted her sling.

"Brooke, you've been gone one day," Sam answered in amusement. And yes, I did.

"Hey, I missed you," Brooke replied with mock hurt.

"Is that so?" Sam asked, glancing at her.

"Yes I did." Brooke paused. "I needed a drink and I couldn't be bothered getting up."

Sam laughed, slapping her on the thigh. "If you weren't already a cripple..."

"That's shoulderly challenged Missy," Brooke replied, taking another chocolate. Popping it into her mouth, Brooke shifted so she could lie down, placing her head in Sam's lap. "Now, be a good dear and fill me in on the day's gossip."

Sam shot her an amused look. "Okay, well..."

"Sam, you're forgetting something."

Sam stared at her for a moment, then smirked. "Right, sorry." She began running her fingers through Brooke's hair, grinning as she heard the blonde sigh in pleasure.

"You know what I'm getting you for your birthday?" Sam asked with a grin.


"The orgasmatron."

"The what?" Brooke cried out, her eyes widening in surprise.

Sam laughed. "It's this metal thingie that massages your head."

"Is it any good?" Brooke asked, interested.

"Oh yeah," Sam purred blissfully, blushing as she realised Brooke was staring at her.

"That good, huh?" Brooke asked, amused.

Before she could comment any further, the phone rang. Standing up, Sam went to answer it, walking back to the couch where Brooke immediately resumed her previous position.

"Hello?" Sam laughed silently as Brooke grabbed her hand and placed it on her head, in a not so subtle hint to continue her head massage.

"Sam, it's Harrison."

"Hey, what's up?" Sam asked in surprise, before silently letting Brooke know who it was.

"I was wondering if you were doing anything on Sunday?" He asked nervously.

"Uh no, I don't think so, why?" Sam asked, bewildered.

"Well, I just found out I’ve got the house free for the day, and I was wondering if you'd like to come over?"

"Harrison, is something wrong?"

"No no, nothing's wrong," Harrison replied with a nervous laugh. Sam pulled the phone away and stared at it. Catching Brooke's concerned look she shrugged, pulling the phone back to her ear. "It's just that there's something I'd like to talk to you about. It's important."

"Do you want me to come over now?" Sam asked.

"No, it can wait," Harrison replied. "I'll make lunch and everything, okay?"

"Sure," Sam answered hesitantly. "I'll see you then."

Saying their good-byes, Sam hung up the phone.

"What was that about?" Brooke asked, reaching for more chocolate.

"He wants me over at his place for lunch on Sunday. Apparently he has something important that he wants to talk to me about."

"Any ideas what it could be?"

"Your guess is as good as mine," Sam replied, confused. "He sounded weird, nervous even."

"Just the two of you?"

Sam shrugged. "I think so."

"Sounds like a date," Brooke commented casually, playing with the chocolate wrapper.

Sam laughed. "With Harrison? Yeah right! Besides, he's in love with you, remember?"

Brooke shook her head. "No he isn't. Not anymore. Not for a long time."

"I think you're reading too much into it Brooke," Sam commented, still amused with the idea. "Lay off the pain killers for a little while, okay?"

"If you say so." Brooke paused. "You've certainly become everyone's love muffin, haven't you?"

"What's that supposed to mean?" Sam asked, shooting her a look.

"Jessie," Brooke answered simply, sitting up. "Never knew you swung that way, Sam. Is she the reason why you left Alex?"

Sam watched her for several moments before replying. "Jessie and I are not a couple. We just kissed, that's all."

"As you do," Brooke replied sarcastically, not quite succeeding in hiding her jealousy.

"I don't owe you any explanations Brooke," Sam snapped back. "If you don't want to believe me, fine." She stood up. "I don't see why you care so much anyway."

Brooke shook her head, laughing bitterly. "Oh get a clue, Sam." And with that, Brooke headed up to her room, leaving a very confused Sam in her wake.


"Hi, can I speak with Jessie please?"

"Can I ask who is calling?"

"It's Sam."

"Just a sec, Sam."

"Thank you."


Sprawled on her bed, Sam winced as Jessie's brother screamed directly into her ear, though she couldn’t help but smile. She always did that to Nicole whenever the blonde rang for Brooke. She continued listening as Jessie came to the phone.

"Who is it?" she asked her brother.

"Some girl called Sam. Is she hot?"

"Give me that!"

"She sounds hot."

"Piss off Brian!"

Sam laughed.

"Hello?" Jessie croaked on the other end, once her brother left the room.

"You sound awful," Sam greeted, cringing as Jessie began coughing over the phone.

"Remind me not to come to you whenever I need cheering up, okay Sam?" Jessie replied, once her cough subsided.

Sam laughed. "I guess I don't have to ask why I haven't seen you at school lately."

"Remember when I told you that I was visiting Sarah?" Jessie asked rhetorically. "She repaid my kindness by passing on her flu."

"That's a beautiful story," Sam commented wryly.

"Tell me about it," Jessie replied with a laugh, then a sneeze. She paused for a moment before she continued seriously. "I'm glad you called Sam. I felt so bad after what happened, I was thinking maybe you weren't happy with me or something."

"I told you not to feel bad about it," Sam admonished gently. "It's okay Jess, really."

"Did you talk things over with Brooke?" Jessie asked, before a thought struck her. "How is she by the way? I heard about what happened yesterday."

"She's pretty sore," Sam replied. "But otherwise fine."

"Have you been taking good care of her?" Jessie asked cheekily.

Sam laughed sadly. "I was until we got into another argument."

Jessie rolled her eyes. "What is it with you two? What did you fight about this time?"

"You, actually."

"Why do you think she left the room?" Jessie asked, once Sam had finished explaining her earlier conversation with Brooke.

"I don't know," Sam answered meekly.

"Bullshit," Jessie replied bluntly. "You know why, Sam. Just say it." She sighed, when Sam didn't respond. "Fine, I'll say it if you need me to confirm what you already know. Brooke is jealous because she is in love with you."

"What if we are wrong?" Sam finally asked.

"Do you want me to tell you how I know?"

"How do you know?"

"When Brooke saw us kissing, I imagined that was how I looked when I first walked in on Sarah kissing her boyfriend. Hurt, confused, angry, and jealous as hell. It was all in her face Sam," Jessie explained softly. "Now it's up to you. Don't you even think of wasting this opportunity."

"Jessie, I..."

"I don't want to hear it Sam!" Jessie interrupted, frustrated. "Do you have any idea how much I envy you right now? To know that the one person you love feels the same way you do? What I wouldn't give to know Sarah felt the same way I did! I'll kick your ass if I have to, I mean it!"

Sam laughed softly. "Okay, Jess. I'm just scared, you know?"

"I know Sam, but this is what you want. Don't let fear get the better of you," Jessie encouraged, with a cough. "Now, I'm going to let you go, because one, I'm about to faint, two, my throat is killing me, and three, you're going to make one gorgeous blonde, a very happy girl. Yes?"

Sam snickered. "Yes, boss."

"Now we're talking," Jessie replied, clearing her throat. "Let me know how it goes, okay?"

"I will," Sam answered. "Take care of yourself, and thanks Jess. I owe you big time."


Sam covered her face with her hands, the fear almost overwhelming in its intensity. You can’t hide in the bathroom forever you coward, Sam thought to herself, looking up and sneering at her reflection in the mirror. Shaking her head in disgust, she glanced at her watch in surprise, not realising how much time had elapsed.

Aware of the hammering in her chest, and the shaking of her hands, Sam threw her head back and stared resolutely into the mirror. It was now or never. No matter what happened next, it was time to face up to the truth of her feelings for Brooke.


Walking into the living room Sam found Brooke sitting on the couch, impatiently flicking through the channels. Smiling inwardly at the frustrated expression on her face, Sam gingerly sat down on the seat across from her, trying her very best to control her frayed nerves. She wasn't succeeding.

"Where are they?" she asked, referring to their parents.

Brooke shrugged, having difficulty meeting her eyes. "They said something about visiting a friend. I wasn't really paying attention."

Sam nodded, not really caring where they were. She was just glad Brooke was talking to her. They sat in awkward silence for several moments, before Sam stood up and gently grabbed the remote control from Brooke's hands, switching the television off. Turning to Brooke, she shoved her hands into her pockets, wanting to hide the fact they were shaking slightly.

"Listen, I know it's a little late, but do you want to go for a walk?" Sam asked, surprised at how calm she sounded. "If you're not up to it that's okay, if you need to rest..."

Brooke stood up, smiling gently. "My legs work fine."

Sam nodded, relieved. "After you."

Switching off the lights, Sam shut the door behind them.


"Where are we going?" Brooke asked finally, several minutes into their journey.

"Jacob's Reserve."

"Wow," Brooke replied, surprised. "It's been a while since I've been. You go there often?"

Sam nodded. "It's peaceful."

"It's definitely a nice place," Brooke agreed. "I love the lake."

"It's where my parents got together," Sam commented casually.

"Really? How romantic!" Brooke replied, with a grin. "What happened?"

"From what my mother tells me, she was wearing this hat that got blown away by the wind and of course, it landed in the water. My dad was nearby and tried to reach it with a tree branch but fell in," Sam explained with a laugh.

Brooke smiled. "And your dad’s version?"

"He took off his shirt and gallantly retrieved the hat by swimming for it," Sam replied, amused. "Once mum got a look at his manly chest, it was love at first sight." Brooke laughed. "He asked her out then and there and she said yes," Sam finished with a shrug.

"That's a great story Sam," Brooke commented sincerely, knowing how difficult it was for Sam to talk about her father.

Sam nodded, clearing her throat. "That place means a lot to me. When I was a kid, we used to go there all the time." She paused, trying to regain her composure. "I don't think Mum has been there since he died."

"But you have," Brooke said, gently.

"I can't give it up," Sam replied, looking at her tearfully. "It's my way of remembering him, you know? It's like, when I'm there, he's watching over me. I know it sounds crazy..."

"It doesn't," Brooke reassured her with a smile. She paused thoughtfully. "I hope he wasn't watching over me when Josh and I went there to make out."

Sam burst out laughing. "How do you do that?" she asked finally, glancing at Brooke in amusement.

"Do what?" Brooke asked with a grin. She loved Sam's laugh.

"Make me laugh?"

Brooke glanced at her shyly. "I want to."

Sam watched her for a few moments before she smiled. "One of my earliest memories of you was at the park," Sam admitted. "I don't think you'd remember, though."

"What happened?"

"I think we were about seven," Sam explained. "We were playing in the sand pit and we decided to build a castle together."

Brooke laughed. "That's right! I was there with my mum and she told me to go play with the nice, pretty girl in the sand pit."

"Do you remember what happened next?" Sam asked, shaking her head ruefully.

"I think so," Brooke replied, trying to remember. "I wanted the castle to have a garden, but you wanted to build a moat and we started yelling at each other." She laughed. "We had to be separated."

"Yep," Sam confirmed, with a grin. "You even pulled my hair!"

"You pushed me face first into the sand," Brooke replied, with a mock glare. "And squashed all my flowers that I collected for the garden, you brat!"

Sam laughed. "It was definitely a sign of things to come wasn't it?"

Brooke grinned. "Who would have thought that ten years later we'd be heading towards the same place as friends?"

And hopefully leaving later as more, Sam added silently.

"We're here," Brooke commented unnecessarily, shooting Sam a smile.

They walked down the pebbled path that took them towards the lake, Sam clenching and unclenching her hands to keep them from shaking. She was so nervous, she felt like throwing up.

Reaching their destination she turned to face Brooke, the fear clearly visible on her face.

"You okay?" Brooke asked, concerned.

"We need to talk," Sam responded shakily.

Brooke gazed at her for a moment before she looked away. "I know."

Sam grabbed her by the hand, leading Brooke to her favourite spot that lay several meters away. She stopped as they both stared at it.

"It's a tree Sam," Brooke commented in amusement, despite the millions of butterflies trying to escape her stomach. "A big tree, to be sure..."

Sam let go of her hand, watching her. "Step closer and take a look."

Brooke glanced at her nervously, but did as she asked. Walking hesitantly towards the tree, she peered at the bark, not really sure what she was supposed to be looking at.

Shooting Sam a look over her shoulder, Brooke turned back towards the tree and glanced down. And that's when she saw it.

Sam loves Brooke.

She froze. Not quite believing what she was seeing, Brooke slowly reached out and traced the words with her fingers.

They were real.

Not wanting to turn away, fearful the words might disappear, Brooke continued gazing at them, overcome with awe at how three simple words could inspire such unimaginable feelings inside her.

She never knew that it would feel like this.

Sam watched on as Brooke simply stood there. Forcing her legs to move, and pushing aside her urge to run, Sam hesitantly stepped forward and encircled Brooke's waist with her arms, tightening them as the blonde leaned back against her. Resting her cheek against Brooke's, they regarded the words silently before Sam whispered in her ear.

"It's always been you."


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