Series: Love Will Lead You Back

Author:  Mel M./Misty


Archive:  The Realm.  All others please ASK if you want to archive it

Pairing:  N/S

Rating:  PG13 maybe

Disclaimers:  I don't own Popular or anything attached to the show/characters and I'm making absolutely nothing off of this fic.  Well, accept for maybe feedback.

Comments:  I need feedback.  Remember, FEED ME!  This is in reply to LLE's challenge on my Popular Slash group.

Don't Turn Around

Nicole bowed her head.  She didn't wanna hear this.  Shuffling her feet, she wondered if her lover had the guts.  Not hearing anything, she raised her eyes, meeting chocolate brown.  Tears were raining down her pale cheeks but Nic knew she shouldn't touch the girl.  "Sam," she whispered, reaching out to touch her.

"Don't," the journalist growled, wiping her own tears away.

Nicole pulled back, sitting still in her seat.  Somehow she felt that this was how it was suppose to be.  She was meant to be alone and fate would make sure that happened, wouldn't it?  Maybe she was wrong.  Maybe this was something they'd have to work through but she didn't think that was possible at this point.  Meeting her lover's eyes again, she was silent this time.

"It's over Nicole," Sam whispered, attempting to hold her tears back.

"Why?" Nicole hissed, "Why can't we work through this Sam?"

"You went too far.  I can't trust you," Sam growled defensively.

"Too far?  She kissed me and I pushed her away!" Nic barked, her temper flaring.

"Yeah, you pushed her off after kissing back and copping a feel," Sam fumed.

"Hey!  I pushed her off, I never meant to go there!"

"Whatever.  Look, I gotta get home," Sam replied, standing to leave.

"Sam," Nicole whispered, almost reaching for her again.

"It's over," Sam whispered, trying to convince herself more than her lover.

"Don't say that!"

"It's OVER!" Sam screamed.

Nicole paused.  "Fine, if you wanna go, then go!  I won't beg you to stay Sam.  I love you," she finally screamed, thinking that maybe it could be better that way.  If Sam left she would move on.  She'd be strong, she'd do what she'd done a million times.  She'd remove all emotional strings.  She pointed at the door, knowing she'd break the second Sam left.

Sam turned to face the window.  Closing her eyes she thought about her lover's embrace.  She told herself she wouldn't miss that.  She would be fine.  She'd convinced herself this was the right thing to do and now the only thing left to be done was the leaving part.  Walking toward the door, she looked at Nicole.  She was letting her go but did she know that?

Nicole met her eyes, begging her not to go.  There was so much she wanted to say, so much she wanted her to know but it was too late.

Sam walked out, feeling the pain in her chest rise.  She wanted to turn back but her pride held her back.  Walking down the stairs, she opened the front door and stepped out.

Nicole let her tears fall as the door slammed shut.  Falling to her knees, she felt guilt, anger and pain tighten around her heart.  Thankfully Sam wasn't here to see this.  She'd never cried in front of her and now she wouldn't have to.  Curling up in her bed, she cried herself to sleep.

Sam headed home, staying strong until she was safely in her room.  Sitting on her bed, she began to cry.  She had just let go of the one thing she loved more than life itself.  She felt empty yet she promised herself she'd forget about Nic.  She felt no remorse but a sadness still lingered at the loss of such a beautiful thing.  Was it really over?

You Took My Heart Away

Nicole sat in silence.  Staring out the window, she gazed at the moon.  It was so full, so bright but to her it was empty.  Everything was empty without Sam.  The sky seemed to mock her as tears slid down her cheeks.  She'd avoided Sam for a week and in that time she discovered something she could never really understand.  Sam had saved her.  She couldn't say why the girl had done it but she had.  She had saved her from becoming like her mother, heartless and cold.

Wiping her tears away, she stared at the moon again.  She remembered their first date.  She'd taken her to a small restaurant.  After dinner they'd gone to Nicole's house and spent hours talking and staring at the night sky.


"Nic. . ."

"Shhh.  Look at the sky," Nicole whispered soothingly.

Sam stared at the sky blankly.  "Ok," she muttered in confusion.

"You see those stars?"

"Yeah. . ."

"They aren't stars," Nicole stated matter of factly.

"Oh yeah?  Coulda fooled me.  What are they then?" Sam chuckled, playfully kissing the blonde on the cheek.

"They're hopes and dreams, something I never really had," the blonde explained, sighing as her mind told her she should turn away while her heart told her to go on.

Sam was silent.  She knew her lover was fighting a hard battle but she'd already been there.  She knew how she felt and if she had to wait for Nicole then she would hold on forever.  She would do all she could for her lover.  She wasn't sure why but she didn't care.  She loved this woman and that was all she needed.  She nuzzled her face to the cheerleader's neck, waiting for her to continue.

"I never had time to hope or dream when I was young.  I lost something back then, something I never thought I'd get back.  You gave that back to me Sam.  I love you," she whispered, the battle within escalating into a war.  She tried to calm the intense strife though she knew it was no use.  She would follow her heart and there was nothing her mind could do to stop her.

"I'm here when you need me and I'll always see you through.  You've done so much for me.  I don't even know where to begin. I love you too Nicole and nothing's gonna stop me from doing that," Sam replied contently.

(End Flashback)

Nicole let a half smile pass across her lips before standing and walking to her bed.  Sitting there, she stared at the phone.  Shaking her head, she crawled under the covers.  Snuggling close to her big, silky bear she sighed.  "Why do things have to be so screwed up Teddy?  I. . .I just don't understand.  I love her more than this pathetic existence I call a life and I still can't pick up the damn phone and call her.  What's wrong with me?"

Knowing Teddy wouldn't answer, she snuggled up to it and fell fast asleep.


The next morning. . .

Sam sighed as she sat at the kitchen table.  She'd been fighting with Brooke all night and the last thing she wanted for breakfast was another dose of sibling war.  Writing her mom and Mike a note to let them know she would be with Lily that night, she grabbed her bag and stuck some lunch money in her pocket.  Sticking the note on the fridge she decided she'd better start walking if she wanted to get to school on time.  She opened the door quietly, shutting it gently so she wouldn't wake her highness from her beauty rest.  'After all, she needs it,' she thought angrily.

Walking to school she fell deep in thought.  She thought about all of the times she'd spent with Nicole and how she felt like she was walking on a path of air.  Turning a corner, she did a double take.  No, it wasn't Nicole.  Frowning, she realized she was seeing the blonde everywhere.  She hadn't really seen her since they had spoken that night and now she regretted every moment she spent without her.

Checking her watch, she narrowed her eyes.  She had overestimated how long it would take her to get there.  Sitting on a bench beneath a weeping willow, she waited for her friends.  A few people were already there but nobody she knew, or wanted to for that matter.  Her chocolate eyes rested on the sky for a moment before she closed them and listened to nature's symphony.

The air was still brisk on this February morning, rays of sunlight barely peeking out of the sky.  The clouds were a soft gray, not threatening rain just yet.  Opening her eyes, she felt her heart melt as she saw two pigeons sharing bread crumbs the janitor had left for them.  A slight sense of deja vu passed through her as she continued to stare.  She watched them silently as one fed the other and then flew off.  The other followed, both disappearing into the darkening sky.  Propping her elbows on the table, she remembered where she'd felt that feeling before.


"Where are we going?"

"Hush, it's a surprise."

Sam let out a whine.  "C'mon, I hate surprises!"

"You do not!  Now shut your mouth and let me lead the way," Nicole instructed sternly.

Sam gave, letting her lover lead the way.  They came to a stop and she felt Nic pull the blindfold off.  Opening her eyes, she felt herself melt.  Her heart nearly skipped a beat as she took in the beautiful candlelit dinner before her.  She met her lover's eyes and smiled happily.  "Thank you," she whispered faintly before being trapped in a soft kiss.

"Happy Birthday Sammy," Nicole purred as she led the brunette to the table and pulled a chair out for her.

(End Flashback)


Sam's eyes slid open, now calm and tired.  She faked a half smile as Harrison sat down and began yammering on about something she didn't care to hear about.  Instead, she thought.  As Lily approached, she came to a conclusion.  Even though Nicole had hurt her, she wasn't angry anymore.  It had been one week and now she saw that maybe it wasn't Nicole's fault.  One thing she did know for sure was that she was falling in love with Nicole all over again.

"Hey Sam, Harrison.  What's up?"

Sam grinned.  "Just plotting revenge on the cheerleaders as usual," she answered with a broad grin.  She was still a little hurt but that would go away in time.


Nicole stared out the window, sighing deeply.  Eating a fry, she wondered why people in this world were so cold, so fake.  She knew she had been one of those people but she wasn't cold.  She was compassionate and loving under the hard shell she carried around.  Some people didn't feel and she wondered how that was possible.  Sam had warmed her very soul with just a smile and she wondered if that was all those people needed.  Were they cold because they never found that one person who could mend their wounded, tattered souls?


She met her best friends eyes and tried to smile.  "Hey Brookie."

"Listen, we need to talk," she began, setting her tray down.

Nicole nodded.  "I know."

"Nic, I'm sorry.  I. . .I really didn't know about you and um, you know who.  I never would have done it if. . ."

"Brookie, it's ok.  I understand.  You're my best friend and I know you better than you do.  I love you Brooke, as a sister and a friend but we both know it wouldn't work any other way.  You're still my most trusted confidante, that's never gonna change," Nicole interrupted, making her point very clear.

Brooke smiled.  Nicole was right and she knew that.  Bowing her head, she whispered guiltily, "so, how are you holding up?"

"I'm alive," Nicole replied, watching Sam as she walked to her table.

"You really love her, don't you?"

"Yeah.  She put me back together when I was broken.  She gave me a chance at a new life.  I love her more than I can say."


Meanwhile. . .

Sam sat next to Lily silently, feeling Nicole's gaze.  Eating slowly, she studied her ex.  She felt her heart swell with love as she relived all of the things Nicole had done fore her.  She'd made the darkest days seem bright and gave her all she really could.  Closing her eyes, she recalled how it felt resting beside her lover.  Those moments seemed so long ago, like they could never be again.  Sighing, she became oddly depressed.  Nicole was her only, her one true love but was there any hope left?

"So Sam, who are you taking to the Valentine's Day dance?" Carmen asked, exchanging devious glances with Lily.

Sam frowned.  "I don't even know if I'm going," she groaned.

Lily scrunched her brows.  "You are going.  I'll drag you if I have to dammit!  There's nothing wrong with going stag," she huffed.

"Yeah," Sam replied distantly.

"Nic, are you ok?"

"Yeah, I'm fine Brookie.  Just worried about next weeks dance."

"Oh," Brooke whispered.  Her eyes lit up as she began her redemption.  "You're still going, right?"

"I have to.  Remember, it's mandatory for the cheer squad to be there.  Why?  What's up?"

"Nothing, just making sure you weren't thinking of bailing on me," she replied with a wild grin.


"Brooke, we need your help."

"Good because I need your help too.  We need to get this done as quickly as we can."

"And they can't find out.  They can't know what's happening.  We have to go, meet you later?"

"Where and when?"

"Meet us at Escape, 7 sharp."

"I'll be there."

Unchained Melody

"So Brookie, where are we off to?  You said it was important," Nicole asked, filling her nails.

"The Mall and it is important.  We need to get dresses for the dance on Friday," Brooke replied, turning into the Mall to find a parking space.

Nicole raised a brow.  Brooke seemed excited about shopping but this didn't surprise her.  What surprised her was that she looked like she'd just won the lottery.  As her best friend parked she wondered what she had up her sleeve.  Getting out of the car, she faked a smile.  "So, which store first?"

"I dunno.  We could try Victoria's, or maybe Gucci," she replied, appearing unsure.

"Gucci is always good," Nicole squeaked, her eyes lighting up at the mention of her favorite store.

"Ok, let's see what they've got," Brooke agreed, leading her into the store.

Searching through racks, they perused nonchalantly.  Turning a corner they stopped.  What where "they" doing here?  Brooke waved, "hey guys.  What are you doing here?"

"Dress shopping Brooke, what else would we be doing?" Sam snapped, slightly nervous with Nicole there.

Brooke shook her head.  Sam always had to be mean, didn't she?  Spotting the perfect dress, her eyes grew large and formed stars within them.  Nicole knew that look.  It was the look Brooke got when she found something she would die without.  Glancing at Sam, she ducked her head and stared at the floor as if it was the most interesting thing since sliced bread.

"OMG!" Brooke gasped, snatching the dress off of the rack.  "I so have to try this one.  Carmen, come with me.  I want your opinion on how it looks," she blurted out, nearly bouncing off the walls with joy.

"Sure.  C'mon Lil," Carm replied, all three of them disappearing to the fitting rooms.

Sam narrowed her eyes.  This didn't seem like a coincidence to her but she had more important things to think about.  Looking at Nicole, she shuffled her feet nervously.  "So, how you been?"

"Seen better days," Nicole replied as they began to walk around the store.

"I know the feeling," Sam whispered, thumbing though a few dresses.  Finding one she really liked, she pulled it out.  Looking toward the changing rooms, she bit her lip.

"It's a nice dress.  Did you wanna try it on?" Nicole whispered, meeting Sam's eyes briefly before looking away.

"Yeah, I think I will.  Would you like to come with me?  I might need a second opinion," Sam asked, feeling her cheeks burning slightly.

Nicole nodded and followed as she teased, "sure, wouldn't want you getting a dress that makes you look fat."

Sam laughed for the first time in about two weeks.  Getting the key from the clerk, she found the room and went in to change.  Nicole leaned against the wall, going over in her head how stunning Sam would look in that dress.  It was a blood red strapless velvet dress with a zipper in the back.  Closing her eyes, she imagined feeling the velvet against her fingers as they danced beneath the starlit sky.


Nic snapped out of her fantasy, meeting the brunettes chocolate eyes.  She was paralyzed for a moment before she replied, "what?  Is it too small?"

"No.  I need your help," Sam hissed playfully.

Nicole nodded, slipping into the changing room.  Looking at Sam longingly in the mirror, she whispered, "what do you need help with?"

Sam smiled.  "I need you to zip me up," she replied as she pulled her hair out of the way.

Nicole's hands were slightly shaky as she brushed a few stray strands of hair out of the way.  Grabbing the zipper she watched Sam through the mirror.  Sam closed her eyes when the cheerleader touched her neck and kept them closed until the zipper was all the way up.  Taking a step forward, she turned around.  "So, how do I look?"

Nicole gasped slightly, her heart skipping a beat.  Sam looked stunning.  Pulling her composure back together, she choked out, "you look amazing.  But then again, you look amazing in everything you wear."

Sam blushed as Nicole left her to change back into her normal clothes.


Meanwhile. . .

"Do you think it worked?"

"If it didn't we move on to plan B."

"What's plan B?"

"You'll see."

Brooke and the other two came out of the changing rooms, stopping in front of their friends.  "So, did you find anything Sammy?" Brooke asked softly.

"I found a possibility.  Mom's coming back with me tomorrow so if I find something better I'll get that," Sam answered, looking at Lily and Carmen.

"So how did your dream dress look?" Nicole asked, not trusting the other two girl's opinions.

"We all agreed that I look splendid.  I put one on lay away until tomorrow when dad brings me in," Brooke informed.

"Then I guess we're ready to go?" Nic asked, really not wanting to leave but knowing she should.

"Yup," Brooke said, leading the way out.

They all followed, trying to stay close in the large crowd.  Somebody bumped into Sam, causing her and Nicole to topple onto the ground.  Their eyes met, their lips so close they could feel the other breathe.

"I. . .I'm sorry," Sam whispered, tearing her eyes away to see who had knocked her down.

"Josh!" Brooke reprimanded, swatting the jock on the arm as she winked at him.

"Sorry Sam, sometimes I just don't know my own strength," he apologized, blushing a little.

Sam got up, dusting herself off.  "It's ok Josh," she replied, instinctively holding her hand out to Nicole.  The blonde grabbed her hand and she pulled her to her feet.  They exchanged shy smiles and glances before they both joined their friends again and left the Mall.


Later. . .

"Did it work?"

"We're not sure.  We need more time."

"You only  have until Thursday."

"I know.  We're doing all we can.  I do think we're getting somewhere though."

"Good.  I'd hate to see all of this effort go to waste."

Lady in Red

Brooke smiled brightly as Nicole opened the door.  They entered the ballroom, greeting friends before finding a table.  "You want some punch?" Brooke asked.

"Sure," Nicole answered as her best friend disappeared into the crowd.  Nicole sighed boredly until something caught her eye.  She stared at the woman who had just entered the room.  She was indescribably beautiful.  Her dress was darker than the rest but not quite blood red.  It was a backless satin dress with a stylish slit up the side that ended at her thigh. She'd never seen that dress before.  Her hair was up with a few curled strands dangling down to her pale shoulders.  She noticed the red highlights in her hair, one thing she had never noticed before.  She wore a black choker with a red pendant in its center.  It was some sort of symbol but the cheerleader couldn't make it out.  To top it all off the woman wore red heels dyed the same color as her dress.  Was that her Sam?

She watched the radiant woman walk through the crowd, a few gentlemen asking her to dance along the way to her seat.  She declined, sitting with her friends.  Nicole tried to calm her racing heart.  Sam looked amazing and even though this was a school event she didn't know if she could stop herself from asking this beautiful angel to dance.  Seeing Brooke was on her way back, she settled in her seat as the music continued to play.


Later. . .

She watched the dance floor listlessly until she saw her angel once more.  She was dancing with Josh.  Waiting for the song to end, she stood.  Making her way over to Sam, she stopped in front of her.  "Would you like to dance?"

Sam smiled beamingly, a little shocked that Nicole was putting her social status on the line.  Taking the girl's hand, she whispered softly, "I would love to."

Nicole led Sam to the dance floor.  They danced to the slow melody, staring deeply into the other's eyes.  For that one dance nobody else in the world existed.  It was just them.

Brooke smiled at the sight, then glanced over at Lily and Carmen.  She gave them a thumbs up as the music died out and a new song began.  They gave her two thumbs up as Nicole led Sam to her and Brooke's table.


After the dance. . .

Nicole stared at Sam for a moment, then looked at Brooke.  "Would you ladies like to join me for wine and a nice soak in the jacuzzi at my house?  My mom's out of town as usual so you can stay the night if you'd like," she offered.

"Sure," they chorused, giggling afterwards.

Nicole nodded, unlocking her car and getting in.  Brooke got in her car, pulling out her cell.  She called the rents to let them know they would be gone for the night.  They told her to be safe be home in time for dinner the next day.  She agreed and they said their goodbyes.  Starting her car, she saw Sam get in Nicole's car.  Grinning, she followed them to the Julian mansion.

They all went inside and changed into swimsuits as the butler chilled the wine.  They made their way to the jacuzzi, settling in as Nicole poured them all a glass.  Relaxing a bit, she raised her glass.  "To love," she toasted.


About an hour later. . .

"Well, it's been fun but I better get some sleep," Brooke sighed, setting her glass down as she got out of the warm water.  Wrapping a towel around her waist, she flashed them a smile then left.

Sam bowed her head.  "So what do I change into when I get out?  I didn't bring any extra clothes."

"I can find you something," Nicole replied, getting out and wrapping a towel around her waist as Brooke had done.

Sam watched the blonde walk away and smiled as she got out.  Throwing a towel over her wet body, she waited for Nicole to return with the clothes.  When she reappeared, she handed her a pair of boxers and a baggy T-shirt.  "That's all I could find that would be comfy for you.  Hope you don't mind."

Sam smiled.  "Not at all.  Do you mind if we talk a little after I change?"

"I'll be in my room.  You know where to find me," Nicole replied, heading up to her room.

Sam changed as quickly as she could, meeting Nicole in her room.  There was an odd silence for a moment before Sam spoke.  "Would you like to dance?" she asked as a slow song emitted from the stereo.

Nicole stood, taking Sam's hand.  "Always," she whispered as they danced.

When the dance ended, Nicole pulled away slightly, staring up into Sam's gorgeous dark eyes.  "Sammy, I'm sorry.  I never meant to hurt you.  I love you," she confessed, caressing Sam's pale cheek.

Sam felt as if she could cry.  "I forgive you Nikki.  I still love you.  I never stopped.  I can't live without you."

Nicole kissed her lover gently, sitting on the bed.  Sam stretched out beside her, smiling seductively.  Nicole lay next to the brunette, kissing her again.

They were reunited on this night, making love until the break of dawn.  Laying in each other's arms they both knew they would never part again.  Their love was too strong to deny and they would make it through whatever life brought their way.  True love lives on as whispers in the night and the love in many hearts.  To end this tale I bid thee a good night and may you find your "lady in red".

~<>~ The END ~<>~

Did you like it?  Please feed the deprived writer!  I promise I'll write more.  Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed seeing your ideas come to life LLE.

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