Disclaimer: These characters are not mine, nor is the programme. They belong to the folk who made them. I do not claim them in any shape or form.
Rating: 18 (UK) NC-17 (US)
Summary: When tragedy strikes for Sam, she leaves her life for a new one,. Only to be forced to face it.
Spoiler or Other Information: This is my first fiction, inspired by discovering fiction. It's been a long time since I've seen the show, so can't remember the dates of when it took place. Also, it takes place from after the end of the series. The title sucks, but I couldn't think of another. I would love to know what you all think.
She idly ran her fingers over the etched letters on the stone before her, not really reading them as she already knew what they said. She was watching the bird perched on the stone further behind the one she was sitting in front of. She smiled slightly as the bird began to sing, thinking what a beautiful sound in such a quiet place. The bird must have known that he was being watched, as he cocked his head to the young woman before spreading its wings and flying away. She let her eyes follow the bird’s flight before it disappeared completely from view. She closed her eyes, feeling the cool evening air, and relishing in the silence, before returning her gaze to the stone before her. She allowed the words sink into her mind yet again, and ran her fingers across the date again, exactly two weeks after her seventeenth birthday and here she was, exactly two weeks after her thirty second birthday/. She smiled at the memory of both birthdays before frowning, feeling the tears welling in her eyes. She read the dates again and shook her head, allowing a whimper of a word come between her lips. “Why?”
The memories of that day flooded back to her as she closed her eyes again, allowing the tears to trickle down her cheeks.
Brooke and Sam burst through the front doors of the house, laughing at the latest scam they had pulled on Ms. Glass.
“Her face though? Did you see her face?”
Brooke could only nod, as her laughter wouldn’t allow her to speak.
“What is this in my desk?” Sam impersonated the teacher badly, making Brooke laugh even harder.
“Stop!” Brooke yelped as she hit Sam on the shoulder, “I can’t breathe.”
Sam grinned as she dropped her bag on the counter, noticing for the first time the quietness in the house. Brooke saw Sam’s expression become serious, and sobered up. Sam frowned.
“Hey, anyone home!” She yelled as she waltzed through the hallway into the living room only to find it empty. “Mom!”
Brooke followed her in and shrugged as Sam looked at her questioningly.
“Must be shopping,”
Sam raised her eyebrow at the blonde. “Yes, because shopping is what everyone does?”
Brooke just shrugged again, only to follow Sam walk back to the fridge door. Sam sighed.
“She usually leaves a note.”
Brooke sensing worry from Sam which was unusual. Jane went out all the time, and Sam never worried before. She spoke up.
“Yeah, but with Mac teething, she probably was in a hurry. You know that kid is being a nightmare… obviously, your little sister.”
Sam hit her lightly, “Ha ha! I forget how insanely not funny you are. At least Mac takes after the better sister.”
Brooke hit her back, only to have Sam launch herself at her, tickling her. Brooke screamed and ran away from the smaller brunette into the living room. Sam pushed her on the couch, and returned to her tickling torture. Brooke screamed and laughed as she struggled to get away from the surprisingly stronger girl.
Sam grinned as she shook her head, “Who is the better sister?”
Brook yelped as the tickling became even more frequent, “Okay, you are.”
Sam grinned but didn’t stop the torture, “Sorry, didn’t here that.”
Brooke screamed, “You are!”
Sam let go and sat upwards, while Brooke struggled to regain her breath, her face blushed from the excessive laughing. She looked up at Sam and grinned, to have the grin returned.
If someone had told these two, that they would be best friends, they would have laughed . But the accident had brought them closer together. Brooke grimaced at the memory and felt the weight on her lighten as Sam stood up. She watched Sam move towards the doorway only to stop in place, paling. Brooke stood up, “Sam?” Brooke walked over to the smaller girl to see what she was looking at. The red lighting flashing on the answer machine. Brooke smiled in relief, and nudged Sam gently before flicking it on.
The voice crackled as it spoke through the speakers, “Girls, there’s been an accident, come to the hospital.”
Mike’s eerily calm voice echoed through the speakers bouncing of the walls making Brooke shiver. She turned to see Sam shaking and instinctively went to her side, and pulled her close to her. Sam allowed herself to be held before pushing Brooke away.
“You drive,” she stated as she pulled open the door. Brooke picked up her keys, and followed.
Every thought ran through her mind, as Brooke drove, every plausible and implausible possibility of what could have happened, as she held a mantra in her head. ‘Please, don’t be bad.’ She glanced at Sam who hadn’t uttered a word since they left the house. The brunette was gazing out the window, as Brooke struggled to drive within the limit.
Mike was sitting in the waiting room, his eyes red, his arms holding a sleeping baby. Brooke rushed over to be at his side.
“Daddy… is everything ok? What’s wrong?”
Mike looked into his daughter’s hazel eyes, before passing the infant to her. He looked beyond her shoulder to Sam, and he pushed Brooke gently out of his path. He suddenly looked older as he approached the young girl.
His voice barely a whisper as he spoke, “Sam… I’m so sorry…”
Sam could only shake her head, and tried to back away from him.
Mike continued his approach towards her, and pulled her to him.
“I am so sorry.”
He could feel her hitting him as he tried to envelope her into a hug. He felt her shaking and tightened his hold on her as she let out a blood-curdling scream.
*End of Flashback*
he young woman, smiled slightly as she allowed her fingers to trace the name etched onto the stone, and allowed the name sink into her mind yet again.
The young woman coughed nervously before allowing herself to speak,
“Hi Mom, it’s me… I know it’s been a long time, in fact too long, some might say. A lot has happened. Some things were bad, some things good… I feel silly speaking to the air, but… I need you to hear me, or at least think you can hear me… Mom, I’m such an idiot…”
Brooke knocked on the door gently, before pushing it open, the room was in darkness but she could make out Sam’s shape on the bed. The younger girl was leaning against the headboard, her knees tucked into her chest with her arms wrapped around them. Brooke spoke gently as she walked into the room.
“Sam, the car will be here in an hour.”
Brooke watched as Sam made no effort to move. She sat down beside her, resting her hand on the brunette’s arm. “Sam, you need to get dressed… you need…” Brooke bit her lip. She didn’t know what Sam needed, and she couldn’t think of anything to say. Nothing was going to help at this moment. She stood up and walked to the curtains and opened them. The light filled the room, but didn’t seem to shine despite the strength of the sun. Brooke glanced at Sam who hadn’t moved either her body or her eyes. Brooke sat in front of Sam and lifted her face with her hand, and looked directly into her eyes.
“Sam, it’s time.”
Sam nodded slightly but didn’t make any effort to move. Brooke sighed as she went to the closet. She glanced through the items of the clothing, only one thought entering her mind. ‘You are supposed to be a fashion queen…’ She suppressed a bitter laugh before pulling out a long black skirt, and a simple black shirt. She laid them out on the bed and looked at Sam.
“Sam, get dressed… I’ll be outside if you need anything… ok?”
Sam made no response, but Brooke took that as a yes. She treaded gently through the room, closing the door softly behind her. She sighed as she leaned back against the door. She scanned the hallway and saw no one, but her eyes dropped on the framed photos on the wall. She saw one with Jane, Sam and her, taken in the days when she and Sam were enemies. She smiled as she remembered the saga that took place during that photo session. Sam and her were exchanging any insult they could think of while Jane was trying to calm them down, saying that there may be a possibility in a nice photo being taken. The girls continued fighting until Mike had said ‘Smile’ to which they turned to smile before returning to each other to continue their bickering. Brooke touched the frame briefly feeling tears spring to her eyes as she thought of the emptiness Jane was leaving behind. ‘Brooke, you need to be strong for Dad and for Sam… and for Mac.’ She had told herself this more that once since that afternoon in the hospital. She could only think of her baby sister left without a mother, as she once was, as Sam now is… as she is again. She heard the knock on the door and peeked down the stairs to see that the car had arrived earlier. She watched as her father opened it, with his youngest child in his arms. Mac hadn’t left her father’s sight since that afternoon. It was as if Mac represented all that he and Jane were. And in a way, she was. Brooke watched her father turn to call her only to stop when his eyes met hers. The blonde nodded before turning around to get Sam, but Sam was already standing next to her. Brooke studied Sam’s profile, and had never seen this much pain and anguish before.
Sam glanced at her briefly before heading down the stairs, and the blonde followed her.
Sam watched a young man kneel before a headstone further down in the cemetery, finding that to be more comforting than her immediate surroundings. She couldn’t bring her eyes to look away from him as he tidied the flowers and she wondered who lay beneath the ground. It must have been someone special, considering how meticulously and tenderly he is tending to the flowers. She could only be aware of the sounds around her. She could Mac getting restless in Brooke’s arms, squirming and beginning to cry. She could hear Carmen offer to take her from her. She could hear Brooke whispers of comforts into her ear, promising to be there. She could hear sobs from their friends. She could hear the heart-breaking weeps from her step-father. She could hear the monotonous voice of the priest as he promised the heavens to her mother. Yet, she refused to look at the sources of that noise. She could only focus on the young man who was standing up now. He turned to leave, stopping to watch the proceedings with respect, smiling slightly at Sam. Sam looked away and finally let her eyes meet the coffin which now was in the ground. She could feel the anger brimming in her, the tears stinging, and her breathing becoming ragged. She let out a strangled sob, and felt Brooke wrap and arm around her. She wanted to find comfort in that but could only shiver at the touch. She allowed herself to think about the death of not only her mother, but both her parents. She was an orphan. She laughed harshly as she thought this. She knew Brooke was surprised by the laugh without having to look at her. She glanced at Mike, whose eyes wouldn’t leave the coffin. She glanced at Mac crying in Carmen’s arms, her friend ‘s sobs matching the infant’s. She finally glanced at Brooke, her best friend and her step-sister. Brooke looked at her and Sam could see in the hazel eyes, concern, loss and pain. Sam looked back at the coffin. She was an orphan and she was alone. She shook of Brooke’s arms before screaming at the coffin.
“Why? Mom, why? Why the fuck did you have to die? You fuckin’ bitch. I hate you!”
“Sam,” Mike questioned, startled at the outburst from his step-daughter, the first time she spoke since that day.
Sam glanced at him, eyes filled only with anger. She felt Brooke grab her, but could only shake her off. She glanced at everyone before turning to run.
“Sam!” Brooke cried after her, and looked to her father, who was rooted to his spot. She glanced at Lily, Carmen and Harrison who didn’t seem to know what to do. She turned and ran after Sam, calling her name.
The pain was shooting through the tall blonde’s leg and side as she raced after Sam, but she wouldn’t let it slow her down. This however didn’t stop her from groaning as the agony struck with each movement she made. She saw Sam turn into the park, and followed her, almost tripping from the unexpected step. Sam slowed down as Brooke became faster, resulting in Brooke slamming into her, knocking her to the ground. Sam pushed up against Brooke, trying to move her off her. Brooke refused to move, and pinned Sam’s arms to the ground. Sam struggled against her, as Brooke whispered to her.
“Sam… listen to me… I am here… it’s okay, I am here… Sam, I love you.”
On hearing the words of love, Sam stopped moving and stared into Brooke’s eyes, seeing that the blonde was trying desperately hard to bring her relief. She could feel the tears spilling over her cheeks.
“Why did she have to die, Brooke? Why?”
Brooke let the smaller girl go and pulled her towards her, hugging tightly, feeling the brunette shake against her as she sobbed. Brooke allowed herself to cry with her, to let out the pain she too was suffering.
It was getting dark, when the two girls let go off each other. Brooke looked at Sam who seemed to be calmer, but the pain and anguish had not lessened. Sam looked back at Brooke, whose eyes were filled with loss, pain and fear. Brooke put her arm around Sam’s shoulders.
“Do you want to go home?”
Sam shook her head. ‘What home?’ She thought. She glanced at Brooke. It wasn’t her home anymore.
“We should go back… help Dad with Mac.”
Sam jumped, as her thoughts became intruded by Brooke’s words. An hour had passed since they last spoke. She felt Brooke move, and watched as the taller girl stretched her muscles. She saw Brooke wince, and knew she was feeling the pain from the accident. She took the hand being offered to her and let herself be pulled up.
Brooke never let Sam’s hand as they returned home. She knew Sam needed family even more now. She wanted Sam to understand that they were family. Yet, she didn’t know how to make Sam believe.
As they walked into the house, Sam headed straight upstairs avoiding the friends that approached her. Lily looked to Brooke.
“Is she okay?”
“Would you be?”
Lily sighed, and shook her head.
Brooke knocked on the door softly before letting herself in. The guests had left an hour earlier, and Mike went straight to the bedroom with the baby in tow. Brooke looked around the emptiness of the house before starting to clean up. She wanted to check on Sam before she went to bed but could here the sobs.
She let her eyes adjust to the darkness and made her way to the bed. She pulled Sam into a hug, feeling her shirt dampen from the tears. She felt the brunette tighten her arms around her. Brooke tipped her head so she could kiss Sam’s forehead. She felt Sam whimper at the contact before pulling back. She could see the tears glisten in the dark eyes against the dim light provided by the moon. Before she could take another breath, she could feel the brunette’s lips against hers. The kiss was hard and desperate, and Brooke could only respond to it. The kiss became more demanding and desperate as Sam pushed her back. The bed against her back and the knee moving between her legs, made Brooke pull out of the kiss. Sam tried to kiss her again only for her to push her back.
Sam ignored her and leaned over her. Brooke pushed her off forcefully and moved from the bed.
“What are you doing, Sam?”
Sam watched her for a moment before turning away, and letting the sobs take over again.
Brooke’s heart broke at the vulnerability displayed before her. She knelt back onto the bed and lay beside Sam’s seated form. She placed her hand on Sam’s back.
“Sam, look at me… please.”
The dark eyes met the hazel ones. Brooke’s voice was barely above a whisper.
“Tonight only… okay?”
Sam nodded as she watched Brooke sit upwards and take her lips into a softer kiss. Sam cried into the kiss, and pulled back.
“No… this is not the right time… I want to… but I want you to want to.”
Brooke was confused and surprised by Sam’s words but didn’t ask for an explanation. She nodded and stroked Sam’s cheek with the back of hand. She stood up to leave before Sam pulled her back down.
“Stay with me.”
Brooke nodded and slid under the covers with Sam. Neither girl cared about the clothes that would be crumpled, Brooke only cared about Sam and Sam wanted to feel something.
Brooke lay still, holding Sam to her until she felt the smaller girl fall asleep. She kissed her forehead softly, whispering into the darkness.
“I love you, Sam, I really do”
The sun shone through the window, hurting Sam’s eyes as she opened them. She closed them and groaned. She snuggled into the body next to her and then she remembered. She remembered everything. She sat up and pulled herself out of bed. She glanced at Brooke’s sleeping form. The blonde ex-cheerleader was a vision of beauty as she slept. ‘She’s beautiful all the time,’ Sam thought with a smile. She went to the window and looked out to what seemed to her to be nothing. Everything had turned into nothing five days ago, everything except Brooke. She sat at her desk and pulled out a piece of paper and scribbled a short note on it. She then stood, and packed her backpack. She took the paper and laid it on the pillow beside the face she had allowed herself to dream about before… well, before this. She kissed Brooke’s lips, a bare flutter of a kiss. She saw the blonde’s lips turn upwards into a smile, and sighed with relief when she didn’t waken. She picked up her bag and put her hand on the door handle. She turned to the sleeping beauty and whispered, “I love you too.” She walked out without looking back. She walked away from the house, without looking back. She walked away from her life without looking back.
Dropping the keys on the counter, the young woman went directly to the fridge. She opened the door, and took a moment to consider what could be edible before taking out a carton of milk. She drank from the carton before leaving it on the counter. She sighed as she went into the living area, still immersed in darkness. She looked out onto the city, New York was looking as alive as it did every second of the day. Life never stopped to breathe in the city. Sam studied the vehicles, the people and could imagine them s toy figures; ones that could be picked up and played with. She sat on the couch and leant over to turn on the lamp, and studied the items laying on the coffee table. But despite the bills, the crumpled money notes and dated newspapers, only one thing gained her interest. A birthday card, a card designed for a child, which was exactly who it was for. Sam sighed as she thought of her younger sister. Mac was approaching her seventh birthday and would probably have no idea who Sam was. Yet, the brunette never forgot a birthday or a Christmas. She made sure Mac would know that she still cared. She hoped that Mike or Brooke gave them to her. Yet, she understood if they didn't.
She let her thoughts drift to the tall, blonde. The beautiful being that haunted her thoughts more often than not. Sam would have her weaker moments, when she wished she could just find Brooke and tell her that she was sorry for leaving. Sam knew her feelings for Brooke ran deeper than that of a friendship, yet, she always questioned them. She would only sum it up to fantasies, as Brooke was the first woman who made her consider her sexuality. She believed that because of Brooke's role in that, then that would be why she had thoughts about her. She let herself remember that moment, when all she could think was `Uh-oh'
"What you want Spam… you know the trash canisters are outside?"
Sam just glared at the shot-haired blonde before stepping past her, and walking towards the sink. She could hear the dramatic sigh Nicole gave but continued to ignore her.
"Spam, what are you wearing? Even the homeless wouldn't wear it!" Nicole spoke with a sneer. Sam glances down at her attire, black vest top, and black baggy combats. She shrugged, seeing nothing wrong with it. She was determined not to rise up to Nicole.
"You know it's a crime to be using that water… I thought you and your band of rejects were all about the environment, and here you are wasting water… that will never clean that ugliness."
Sam flinched at this, as like most teenage girls, she was self- conscious about her appearance. She turned to the gloating girl and looked her up and down.
"You would obviously know that… hasn't worked on you at all."
As she saw Nicole sneer falter for an iota of a second Sam smirked. Nicole walked towards her menacingly.
"Look here, bitch! You are worthless, and you know it… just to give yourself any purpose, you speak… and no one listens. No one cares about you… why you haven't figured that out, and thrown yourself under a truck is beyond me!"
Both girls jumped at the third party's exclamation. They turned to see Brooke in her cheerleader outfit standing at the door obviously appalled by her best friend's cruelty. Nic glared back at Sam before approaching the head cheer-leader.
"Hey, Brooke… Spam and I were just having a girlie chat, you know about boys, fashion and looks… as in she has none." With that the smaller blonde grinned with satisfaction at Sam, and waltzed out of the Novak.
Brooke shook her head at her best friend and looked up at Sam.
"And you wonder why I call her Satan?" Sam shrugged and turned to dry her hands.
Brooke approached the sink and washed her hands. She turned the tap to let the water get colder before placing both hands under it and then bringing them to her face. As the water made tiny droplets on her flawless skin, Brooke ran her hands through her hair, not a strand of which was out of place. She made faces at her own reflection in the mirror before turning to rip off a paper towel. She rubbed the sheet against her face. She then took her bag out and pulled out her make-up. She applied lip gloss on her sensual, kissable lips before applying powder to her smooth skin. She studied her reflection before smiling. She was the picture of perfection. She turned and noticed Sam not having moved from her spot. The dark brown eyes studied her every movement.
Sam shook herself out of her reverie before looking up at Brooke, her cheeks reddening. She watched Brooke leave, before groaning. That was exactly what she was doing, staring. She remembered every motion the gorgeous blonde had made. `Gorgeous? Beautiful? Flawless? Perfect? When do I ever think these things about people? When do I ever obsess their every movement?' She glanced back to the position where Brooke had just been, and shook her head. She realised in that instance why she thought those words.
"Uh no! Shit!"
*End of Flashback*
The phone ringing pierced through the silence of the apartment, and Sam sighed as she picked up the handset.
"Hello… hey babes…" Sam smiled when she heard the voice. "Yeah, just got in… tonight? Can we do something quiet instead… I'm tired… ok, don't use that voice… you know I hate that voice. I'll be there in a hour. See you then."
Replacing the handset, the brunette groaned. She was such a pushover where her girlfriend was concerned. She was tired after a long day in the office. She loved her job and felt very lucky in having it, but it wore her out to no end. She knew she an up-and-coming journalist and she knew she was good at what she was doing, and she also, knew without it, her life would be empty. Her work filled the spaces vacated by her parents, and loved ones.
She pulled herself from the couch, stretching her tired muscles and walked towards the bedroom. She studied the contents of her wardrobe, opting for a royal blue ankle length dress. She stripped as she wandered through the bedroom into the bathroom. Listening to the shower running, and waiting for the water to get warmer, she sat on the toilet seat. She glanced at the cupboard before opening it. Behind the cleaning products was that sacred brown envelope. The one she could never leave herself throw away. She pulled out the contents and studied the photos. She ran her finger over her mother's smiling face and swallowed hard. She looked at the next one of Brooke holding baby Mac. She smiled at the photo, seeing the horror in Brooke's face as she was not expecting either the camera to flash or the baby to be dumped into her arms seconds before. Sam studied the baby and her smile saddened when she realised that she had no idea what her baby sister looked like. The only person left who was of her blood. Sam thought of her grandmother who had put her up when she fled California. The elderly woman never questioned Sam's reasons fro turning up on her doorsteps nor pressured her to leave. She had watched Sam graduate from High School and from college with pride, before passing on herself. Sam had grown fond of her as she grew to know her father's mother and was consequently, heart-broken when another member of her family died.
Sam sighed as she replaced those precious photos in their hiding place and stepped into the shower.
The music was blasting through the speakers as Sam stood uncomfortably beside the bar. She watched the crowd of celebrities and wannabes mingle, chat and drink. This was not her scene, but it was her girl-friend' s. Jamie was the reporter for entertainment, though Sam firmly believed she was a gossip columnist… just a step up from paparazzi. She would never say this out loud of course. She watched her girl-friend exude confidence as she spoke to next big thing. There was no question about it, Jamie was stunning. She had a stylish auburn bob, emerald eyes, and a fantastic figure. She would turn heads everywhere she went. Sam smiled as she watched her partner laugh, before meeting her eyes. Jamie smiled seductively before approaching the brunette.
"Hey baby, you look bored?"
Sam just raised an eye-brow at her.
"You are bored! Sam, why didn't you tell me?"
"Would you have listened?"
Jamie though for a moment before shaking her head. "No… I'm sorry. I promise to make it up to you tonight."
Sam smiled before whispering, "You better."
She watched her girlfriend wander back into the mist of people and continued watching people.
If she had not placed her glass on the table, she would have dropped it when her eyes met hazel eyes. She found it getting hotter and more difficult to breathe as she studied the figure she hadn't seen in six and a half years. The tall blonde hadn't changed much. Her hair slightly longer, her smile still dazzling and her eyes still warm. She was still gorgeous, even more so. Sam watched as the blonde continued to talk to the man next to her. Sam frowned at him. `Who is he?' She shook her head and scolded herself, `What were you expecting… Harrison. She's 24 now. She has a new life… but why the hell is she here?'
Sam could feel the panic begin to constrict her throat and wanted to escape. She saw the exit and ran towards it, not giving it another thought.
As she leant against the wall, she sighed with relief and let the cool air hit her skin. She watched the city lights bounce against the sky, and could still hear the music through the wall. She waited until her breathing had calmed and her heart had resumed a normal pace before turning to get a cab.
As she approached the yellow car, she could feel her ghost before she heard her.
Sam slowly turned around and faced the hazel eyes that had haunted her for the last six and a half years. She smiled shyly at the blonde's stunned amazement.
Sam couldn't stop fidgeting with the beer mat in front of her. This was the fifth one she had destroyed since sitting down. The silence was deafening. All the brunette could hear was the sound of her own heart-beat and her thoughts screaming at her to leave. She was oblivious to the other customers, in fact she didn't even notice that anyone else was there. All she was aware of was the equally nervous blond seated next to her. Sam studied the tall blonde, and saw those once friendly eyes filled with pain, anger and numbness. Brooke's hands were wrapped around her wine glass, as if it was a mug of hot chocolate on a snowy day. Sam let her eyes sweep over the blonde's body, she was still slim and looked fantastic in the black dress suit she was wearing. Sam noticed one thing about Brooke that made her feel at a loss. A diamond ring on her left ring finger. `She's engaged.' The thought broke through Sam's mind and she allowed her to breath out. Brooke looked up at the sigh.
Brooke studied Sam with the same intensity she herself was studied under. Sam had grown to be stunning, her hair longer and wilder, though carefully put up for the night, her make-up immaculate and her dress fitted against her slim and toned figure like a second skin. Yet, Sam's eyes were the same, those dark eyes seemed to be almost dead, exactly how Brooke remembered them to be.
Neither woman had spoken from the moment they had been reunited. Brooke had asked Sam to go for a drink, and Sam could only nod. Now here they were in a painful silence, neither one of them daring to speak first.
Brooke thought about their past and remembered their numerous fights, those arguments that went down as part of Kennedy High history, and she let herself smile. Sam caught the smile and raised a questioning eyebrow.
Brooke shook her head, "I was only just thinking how ridiculous this is." She gestured between the two of them. "I mean in school we were never short of a word and now, well…" Brooke allowed her sentence drift back into the silence. She sipped her wine and watched as Sam started working on demolishing beer mat number seven. She was afraid to speak, scared to make angry or worse, make herself angry. She couldn't help but smile at the irony or the situation. She had so much that she wanted to say to Sam, things that has happened since the brunette vanished, her feelings and her worries, but yet, she couldn't even open her mouth. She wanted to scream and shout, but also, to cry and to laugh. A part of her wished she wasn't sitting in this bar, but another part of her couldn't imagine being anywhere else. In her twenty-four years, she has never felt as conflicted as she did in that silence.
Sam watched Brooke's face as an internal battle played behind those beautiful hazel eyes. Sam sighed and wished she could speak, but she didn't know where to begin. Should she apologize, or should she pretend that the last six and half years never happened? She wanted to stand up and run away, but she knew that she couldn't. She had questions.
A waitress arrived at the table, and watched the two women. She couldn't help but feel the tension and suddenly wished she worked somewhere else.
"Can I get you anything else?"
Brooke jumped at the high voice that pierced through her thoughts. She looked up at the young waitress and smiled. "Yeah, I'll have another glass of Merlot… Sam?"
The brunette just pointed to her whiskey glass and nodded. Brooke couldn't help but raise her eyes to the skies. She felt some comfort that Sam was feeling worse than she was.
The waitress left with a promise that the drinks will be there quickly. Brooke watched her leave and observed her as she yelled the order to the barman.
Brooke had been lost in her observation of two friends at the bar, obviously drunk, hugging each other continuously. The two men suits were dishevelled and she assumed a celebration of some kind had taken place. She was so caught up in their world that she didn't hear Sam.
Sam smiled as she saw that Brooke wasn't listening. She leant forwards and shouted.
Brooke's hand jumped to her heart as she turned to see Sam smiling.
"Jesus! Sam!" Yet, Brooke couldn't help but smile back.
"She's great… it's her birthday in a couple of days."
"I know… I got her a card." Sam suddenly felt awkward.
Brooke sensed this and placed her hand on Sam's. "She loves getting your cards. She says that you always write the best messages, not like me and Dad. Apparently, we're not cool." Brooke let her familiar playful tone cone into her voice.
Sam smiled, "She's right."
"Hey!" Brooke hit Sam gently on the shoulder.
Sam laughed slightly, and then fell back into that uncomfortable silence again. `Why isn't she angry with me? Why isn't she giving me the third degree? Why is she being so damn good?' Sam couldn't get these thoughts out of her mind.
Brooke bent down to get her bag. She looked up at Sam, "Do you want to see a photo of her?"
Sam's eyes lit up. "I'd love to."
Sam grinned as Brooke practically pulled out a photo album. Brooke smiled shyly and her cheeks blushed slightly. "You never know when you need to show photos."
"I've never known you to be practical," Sam smiled as she took the album.
Sam opened the album, and let her eyes fall on the first photo. Mac looked exactly as she remembered her in that photo. A small baby smiling in her mother's arms. Sam swallowed the tears she felt rising in her throat. She had an exact replica of this photo, and had looked at it many times, but she felt this photo was different because it was Brooke's copy. She turned the next page, and saw Mac celebrating her first birthday with Brooke holding her in front of the cake. Brooke's smile looked sad, and Sam unconsciously ran a thumb over the blonde's face in the shot. She looked through the photos as she watched Mac become unrecognisable. She laughed as she felt the tears rising. She suddenly felt bitter as she came to a photo of a happy six year old. This was her baby sister, and until that moment she had no idea what she looked like. The little girl was perched on her bicycle, a grin that was so like Brooke's spread across her face, and wild dark hair like her own. Yet, she had her mother's eyes. She let the tears fall as she felt regret and loss all over again.
Brooke watched the play of emotions dance across Sam's beautiful face and felt her heart breaking. She wanted to comfort her, but wouldn't. She also wanted to blame Sam. `She wasn't there. If she was there, she wouldn't be like this.'
Sam glanced up at Brooke's eyes and found them to be unreadable. She had learned one new thing about Brooke. The blonde had become talented at hiding her emotions.
"What do you tell her about me?"
`That you got scared and ran away!' This was what Brooke wanted to say, but she knew that this would damage Sam even more. Yet, this was what the blonde firmly believed to be the truth. She smiled gently as she answered, "We tell her that we don't know where you are, so why doesn't she tell us?"
Sam looked mildly confused, and Brooke realised an explanation was necessary.
"She makes up stories about your adventures. She's even started writing them down. Your latest adventure was that you were trapped in the Amazon Jungle, trying to escape the several corrupt armies while rescuing the poor children that were living in the world under the ground." Brooke took back the album and slid out that last photo. She studied it fondly. "She has one hell of an imagination… she's like you in that way."
Sam laughed at that thought.
"Here, keep it." Brooke handed the photo to the brunette. Sam smiled her first real smile in a long time, and nodded her appreciation.
The silence took over again. Sam wanted to ask so many things about Brooke, and Brooke was exactly the same way, yet both had problems doing this. Sam knew she didn't deserve to ask questions, and Brooke knew she wanted truthful answers.
Sam swallowed hard and downed her third drink in one gulp.
"What are you doing in New York?"
Brooke was startled at the tone Sam had used. It seemed in some way resentful.
"Work… I fly back home tomorrow."
"You still live in the Palace?"
Sam glanced at that ring again and so badly wanted to ask about that, but couldn't bring herself. She found that to be the most terrifying question. She didn't want to know that Brooke had found love, and yet, she couldn't figure out why. She knew she loved the blonde, but not in that way. Or maybe she did, but she refused to even allow near that road of thought.
"I'm glad you made it as a journalist, Sam. I truly am."
The brunette was stunned at that statement, not because it was said with sincerity, but because she didn't know Brooke knew this. She suddenly felt angry, and felt that the blonde had been following her, watching her.
She couldn't stop the anger, even if she had wanted to. The words were out of her mouth before she formed them in her head.
"What the fuck? How the hell do you know that? Have you been checking up on me? Jesus, Brooke! I left with…"
Brooke was shocked by the unexpected outburst and dragged the now standing and shouting Sam down, back to her seat.
"Sam, I read your article in the newspaper… I had no idea you were here… this was all luck." Brooke said waving her arms at their surroundings. "The last I heard about you was that you were at your grandmother' s"
Sam looked at her questioningly, her rage still boiling.
Brooke sighed as she continued, "She phoned to tell us you were there… after that, there was nothing…" Her voice cracked, and Sam dipped her head in guilt.
As that not so friendly silence fell back into place, the two women watched each other with brewing anger and anguish.
The shrill of the phone made both women jump. Sam looked around before realising that it was her own. She smiled sheepishly as she took it out of her bag. She read the ID and sighed. `Jamie is going to kill me' She glanced at Brooke before grabbing her coat and bag.
"I've got to go."
Brooke stood up too. She took out a piece of paper, and scribbled on it. She handed it to Sam. "That's my cell. Call me… I'll be back in town in about a month. We need to talk properly."
Sam took it and nodded.The two walked outside and waited for cabs. Brooke turned to Sam.
"Why don't you come to Cali… I mean for Mac's birthday. It would be great for her."
Sam nodded, "Maybe… I'll think about it."
Brooke smirked, "No you won't come…"
As a cab pulled up, Sam gestured to Brooke to take it.
"Sam, please call me."
Brooke bent her head to kiss Sam on the cheek just as the brunette moved her head, causing their lips to meet. The shock of the actual kiss was not as shocking as the fact that neither attempted to pull away. They let their lips softly caress the other, slowly and tenderly before Sam pulled back. She laughed awkwardly and Brooke blushed.
Brooke pulled open the door of the cab, glancing at Sam once more before getting in.
Sam watched the car pull away before allowing her fingers to touch her lips. "Shit!"
She looked at the piece of paper with Brooke's number on it, before crumpling it and tossing it aside. "Fuck!"
Sam kissed the ruby lips below her before rolling onto her back. She pulled up the sheet to cover herself up, before letting out a sigh. The woman next to her rolled onto her side. She wore a lazy smile as she lifted her hand to move some of the brunette's curls from her face.
"Are you okay?"
Sam only nodded in response. Jamie moved closer to her. "Are you sure? You… weren't quite there with me."
Sam nodded again before turning her face and looking into the deep emerald eyes. Those eyes were brimming with concern, and with love. Sam sighed again. `I'm such a bitch' the thought swept through her mind so rapidly, she had to look away again.
She whispered, "I'm just tired."
Jamie knew her girlfriend well enough not to push her, yet, she also knew that she didn't know Sam at all. She loved the mysterious brunette almost immediately after they met. She knew that Sam didn't love her as much as she did her, but that was fine. She didn't know any couple that loved each other the same, so why would her situation be any different. She just wished Sam would open up, tell her something new. As far as she understood , there was no life for Sam before New York. Yet, she knew if she pushed, it would lead to an argument.
Sam laid there, pretending to be asleep, waiting for the auburn next to her to drift off. When she heard the even breathing, she slid out of bed, careful not to make any noise. She pulled on her robe and walked into the living area. She stood by the window and watched the cars below her. She let the silence and darkness absorb her before she let her thoughts drift to that night three months earlier. Brooke.
She wondered what the blonde was doing. Was she back in New York? Did she hate her for not phoning? Did she think about her?
Sam sighed as she sat in the armchair next to the window. If she concentrated hard enough, she could see the people sleeping in the apartment opposite her, but she wasn't concentrating. She was trying to convince herself that it was best not to see Brooke again. She couldn't go back to all that. It didn't feel right. Being with Brooke that night didn't feel right. It felt like they were strangers. If Sam was honest with herself, she knew that was true. She knew nothing about Brooke, the twenty-four year old, just as Brooke knew nothing about her. Those painful two hours taught her that one thing. That and that the blonde sure could kiss. Sam let herself smile at that memory.
"McPherson, in my office. Now!" Sam shuddered as she heard her editor shout across the floor. She glanced up and could only see his back as he marched into his office, slamming the door behind him. Sam knew everyone was looking at her but she ignored them. She also knew that they would be starting a pool, making bets on what she did wrong and how she would be punished. They didn't know that she knew, but she did. She scraped her chair across the ground as she stood up and walked to her boss's office. She was trying to think of what she had done wrong. `Must be the sex-offenders article.' She opened the door and stood in the doorway. Her boss's desk was the opposite of hers. Immaculate, and highly organised. Jeff was scribbling some notes on the article she had written. She was right. Itwas the sex offenders article. He glanced up at her.
"Sit down, already."
Sam closed the door before sitting opposite the obviously irate man before her. He threw the article at her. "What the hell is this crap?"
Sam shrugged. "It's what you told me to do."
"Are you trying to piss me off?"
Sam shrugged again, and scanned his notes. She smiled. "Jeff, this is ridiculous! You can't expect me to do that…"
"Sam, you will do exactly that! I know you like to believe that you're saving the world! But you're not! And the readers will not read anything as scandalous as this! You will change it!"
Sam waited for the threat that never came. "What if I don't?"
Jeff sighed. He truly respected Sam as a journalist but sometimes she pushed the boundaries too far. He knew that the brunette believed in what she wrote and wouldn't write otherwise. He also knew that she wasn't doing her best and hadn't been for a few months.
"You'll take a vacation."
Sam looked stunned. This was not what she was expecting. "I don't need a vacation. What the hell would I do with a vacation?"
Jeff laughed and the young woman's shock. "I don't know… relax. Sam, you need to take some time off."
Sam shook her head. "I'll rewrite the article."
It was now Jeff's turn to be shocked. "If I knew it was this easy… I would suggest taking vacations more often. Sam, look. You're one of the best I've got and I am concerned about you. You work more than anyone else here. You need to take a break or you'll burn out."
Sam stood up and took the notes. She went to the door. "I'll rewrite the piece."
She left, leaving an increasingly- worried man behind.
Sam returned to her desk, again ignoring her colleagues. She dropped the notes as she sat down. She then banged her head off the desk. 'I can't take a vacation.' She knew that time off would make her think and she couldn't bear that.
The phone ringing woke Sam from her on-coming depression. She groaned as she picked it up.
"Hello, McPherson speaking… she what?… is she okay? Shit… I'll be right there"
Sam grabbed her bag and ran from the office, ignoring everything and everyone as she raced from the building.
She tore through the double doors and straight to the desk. Barely able to breathe, she shouted hoarsely at the bewildered receptionist. "Jamie Adams… where is she?"
"Are you family?"
Sam looked at the middle-aged woman as if she had two heads. "I'm her partner… you all phoned me! Where is she?"
The receptionist appeared to be hiding her disgust as she pointed to the seats. "Take a seat and the doctor will be right with you."
Sam wanted to shake the woman but did as she was told. She looked at the cream walls, and the white floors and thought that all hospitals looked the same. She remembered the last time she was in a hospital and shook her head. She didn't want to remember that day at all. Her memories dug further back to the second last time she was in a hospital.
Sam watched as Mike paced the floors, followed closely by Harrison. Worried looks etched onto their faces. She glanced at her mother who was struggling not to cry as she cradled an infant Mac. Behind her sat Carmen who was sobbing and Lily who was cuddled to her husband Josh. How she hated hospitals.
She studied the cream walls once more letting the events of the night wash over. `How did this even happen?' She could remember Brooke running from the table after Harrison had picked her, exclaiming that this wasn't supposed to happen. Sam followed her and watched the car race towards the blonde. She called out her name but it was too late. She watched the blonde try to run but to be hit the edge of the bumper. Her body bounced of the car before hitting the ground. The car kept going, it's tires could be heard squealing as it hit head-first into the hotel.
Brooke's body was ashen and un-moving, yet there was only a trickle of blood from her temple. `If there's no blood, why isn't she moving?'
Sam knelt beside her, screaming at the door-man to call an ambulance.
"Brooke… wake up. Please, wake up!… O God! Don't die… I can't lose anyone else." The tears streamed down her cheeks as she begged the deathly-pale blonde to live. Her words became incomprehensible as her tears gave way to heart-wrenching sobs. She felt herself being pulled away by Harrison as the paramedics approached.
Sam looked up at the clock again. "What are they doing? It's been six hours already!"
"Sam, calm down." Her mother asked in hushed tones as she cradled the baby closer to her. Sam stood up and approached the double doors or the surgery. She peered through the thin glass, hoping to see some sign of life. She turned around, upset and angry wanting to throw something. She slid down against the wall, pulling her knees towards her, as she remembered what the doctor had said earlier.
"Brooke has suffered some serious internal injuries, which we need to repair immediately. We will have to remove her spleen and try to stop the bleeding around the liver."
"Oh God!" Mike uttered as he paled. The doctor nodded as he continued.
"We have our best team of surgeons here… we will also need to mend her hip and upper leg, which were also broken… we will do everything we can."
The doctor toughed Mike's shoulder as he turned to leave. He stopped at the double doors and looked back at the worried family. "The other driver wasn't so lucky. I understand you knew her."
"Knew? You mean… " Sam said shakily.
The doctor nodded. "I'm afraid so… Ms. Julian's injuries were too extensive. She died. I am sorry for your loss"
Sam glanced up at her mother as her baby sister started stirring.
"I need to feed her," Jane stated to no one in particular as she left. Sam thought bitterly as the doctor's words echoed in her mind.
`Sorry for your loss…. I'm not… she tried to kill Brooke.' Sam glanced back at the double doors. `Please, Brooke… live.' She let her thoughts drift to what would be the Kennedy High School students reactions to Nicole's death.
"She deserved it… she was evil." That would probably be the most immediate reaction, then a few months down the line, it would be. "Remember Nicole Julian… wasn't it sad what happened?" Then a few years down the line it would be. "Nicole Julian was a great friend… I miss her." Sam laughed as she thought how death affects the memory.
"Are you okay, Sam?"
Sam hadn't realised she laughed out loud as she looked up to Lily who had posed the question.
"This is shit! People are going to mourn Nicole even though she tried to kill Brooke. What the fuck is wrong with people? Why did she do it?"
Lily left her husband's side to slide down beside Sam and pull her into a hug. "No one is mourning Nicole yet… Sam, sh! Brooke is going to be okay."
Sam looked up at her best friend. "What if she isn't? How am I going to live with out her? I love her… how am I to live, Lily? How?"
Sam's whispers were hoarse and only heard by Lily who was momentarily stunned by the crying girl's admittance. She shook it off and hugged Sam to her.
The double doors flew open and both girls jumped to their feet to hear the doctor's news.
*End of Flashback*
Sam sighed as she let the importance of that memory sink in. `Brooke… I am such an idiot' She thought as she watched the receptionist point her out to the doctor. Sam stood as the doctor approached her.
Sam nodded, "How is she?"
"Jamie was lucky… the fall left her with a concussion and a broken arm and a fractured ankle. She'll need some rest for a while, but there's no reason she shouldn't be as good as new in a few weeks."
Sam smiled with relief, "Oh thank God!"
"Would you like to see her?"
Sam walked into the room and saw that Jamie was sleeping. She crept quietly to the chair beside the bed and sat down. Jamie stirred and turned her head and opened her eyes. She smiled when she saw the brunette.
"Hey," she whispered.
"Hey back… you're going to be fine."
Jamie nodded and winced as the movement made her head hurt. "How are you?"
The brunette smiled before frowning as she saw the seriousness on her girl-friend' s face. "Are you okay?"
Jamie shook her head and felt tears falling. "No, Sam. I'm not… we need to talk."
Sam knew what those words meant and she reached out her hand to touch the injured woman's arm.
"We can talk when you're better…"
She was surprised when Jamie shook her off. "No, we're going to talk now… and Sam, I want you to be honest."
Sam whispered, "Okay."
"I've been thinking for months now that this isn't working. I love you so much but I deserve something more than what you give me." Jamie watched Sam's face and saw she was saying the right things which urged her to continue. "You don't see a life-long commitment, do you?"
Sam wanted to say something positive but the emerald eyes staring at her told her to be honest. She shook her head. "You don't love me… I mean you're not in love with me?"
Again Sam shook her head. "I'm so sorry Jamie… I really tried."
Jamie smiled weakly, "I know… one more thing and please tell me the truth."
Sam nodded and kissed the woman's hand in apology.
"Are you in love with someone else?"
Sam gasped at the question. She leant back in her chair. "I've never cheated on you."
"I know that… but that's not what I asked."
Sam thought for a moment. She watched Jamie study her intently. She nodded.
"I am… I've loved her for years… but I've screwed up and she's never going to want me."
Jamie let her hand stroke the dark hair as Sam rested her head on the bed. Jamie's heart broke as she heard the sobs wrack their way through the smaller woman's body. This was the Sam she wanted to see, and it pained her to know that she wasn't the woman that could meet her. She lifted the brunette's face up and coaxed her towards her. She pressed her lips lightly against the brunette's and whispered, "Sam… please go!"
Sam stood and stopped at the door. She turned to see her now ex- girlfriend weeping softly. "I'm so sorry Jamie."
As she closed the door, she pulled out her cell. After waiting for an answer she spoke.
"Jeff, I will take that vacation."
Sam could hear nothing as she stood by the covered swimming pool. A few leaves billowed around her feet as she peered through the glass. There was no sign of life inside. Everything had been locked up, which would be normal when a house was empty, but this didn't explain the swimming pool being covered up. It was still warm. She could see the handlebars of a child's bike peeking out from behind the staircase.
"So some one lives here," She spoke to no one in particular.
The outside of the building looked the same and the indoor décor was the same, yet it all seemed completely different. Sam struggled with the thought that this was where she spent three years of her life. She stood back and hugged herself in comfort as she again studied the `palace'. She allowed glimpses of memories from those three years come back, but refused to focus on them.
Yet, she couldn't help but weep.
"Excuse me, miss, are you okay?"
Sam jumped at the unfamiliar voice and turned to see an elderly man with a gentle face watch her with curiosity and concern. Sam nodded.
"Mr. McQueen is away at the moment… can I say who called by?"
Sam shook her head and smiled weakly, "No, it's okay… I…" She couldn't form an explanation for this kind neighbour without crying again. "… I'll come back."
Sam ran from the unfamiliarity of what was once her home and didn't stop until she was in the comfort of her rented car, and had driven to where the house was no longer visible. She pulled over near the park, and banged her head on the steering wheel. She had no idea how to start looking for Brooke, and her courage was beginning to fail her. She glanced at the park to see only mothers with small children. She sighed as she was once again reminded of what she had missed with her younger sister's childhood.
She started the engine and drove.
Sam looked up at the direction of the voice. All she could see were countless heads of teenagers, none of whom she thought would be the owner of the voice. She glanced around.
"Sam! Oh My God! Sam!"
Sam suddenly recognised the voice and before she could see the face, she felt herself tightened into a hug. When she was released she looked into the warm eyes she had not seen in several years and smiled.
She studied her former childhood friend as she herself was being studied. Carmen hadn't changed in the slightest, maybe appeared to be more mature, but she was the same person.
"What are you doing here?"
Sam shook her head and asked the same question.
Carmen laughed, "I work here…" Carmen laughed again at Sam's stunned face. "Yeah, I am a teacher… and there is no way we were as bad as these kids."
Sam watched the eager students tear away from her former school building and looked back at Carmen who was looking at her impatiently.
"What are you doing here? I heard you were in New York. And you are a journalist, which is great… I mean, that's what you always wanted… I am happy for you. But why are you back? Not that I'm not happy to see you. It's great… you look great… oh, stop me."
Carmen laughed embarrassedly while Sam grinned. "I came back to… I don't know."
"You want to grab a coffee?"
"… she's beautiful. She has the tiniest hands and feet… but that comes from being a baby…"
Sam barely paid attention to Carmen as she babbled on about what her other high school friends were doing. She was concentrating on fighting her tears and her guilt for missing everything.
"… and she eats dinosaurs… I mean literally giant Jurassic Park dinosaurs for breakfast… and if she's good she gets to chew Barney's head for supper."
"You haven't heard a single word I've said, have you?"
Sam shook her head, feeling her cheeks redden. Carmen smiled with concern.
"Sam, what's going on? You can still talk to me."
Sam gulped before making eye contact with the other brunette.
"I've made a mess of everything… I've missed everything… and I don't know anything anymore… I've been such a selfish bitch."
Carmen rested her hand on Sam's arm in comfort. "You weren't. You were going through a major trauma… sure, we missed you and wondered where you were, but then Brooke told us you went to your grandmother, and then she told us you were in New York…"
Sam couldn't help but burst into tears at the mention of Brooke's name.
"Sam, what happened?"
"She hates me."
"Who? Brooke? No, she doesn't… she told us she saw you a few months ago, and how well you were doing… she was happy to know you were okay."
Sam couldn't control her sobs. Carmen stood and moved to the smaller woman's side of the table, and pulled her into a hug, feeling Sam shake against her. Carmen felt tears well up in her own eyes, out of sympathy, out of missing her friend.
"Do you know where she is?"
Carmen glanced up from her cup of coffee. Barely a word had been spoken in the last thirty minutes as they both composed themselves.
"Yeah, she works at Alcott and James… the law firm."
"She's a lawyer?"
Carmen nodded, feeling some pride in her friends all over again. "Are you going to see her?"
"I should… I have so much to say, but I don't know where to start."
"Julie Andrews says that a good place to begin is the very beginning."
Sam laughed for the first time since arriving in California. "Thanks Carm."
Sam dawdled around the elevators, not wanting to leave but not quite wanting to go to the receptionist desk. She watched as the young man behind the desk expertly answered the phones and typed into the computer. `And I thought men couldn't multi-task.' She thought wryly as she observed the numerous people that walked past her, oblivious to her. She heard the ping of the elevator behind her, and she smelt her before she heard her.
Sam turned and smiled weakly at the woman who tormented her dreams. Brooke looked immaculate in her black suit and white shirt. `God, she's gorgeous.' Sam thought as she watched the blonde approach her.
"What are you doing here?"
Sam looked down in shame at the slight anger in Brooke's voice. "I came to see you… I needed to tell you… you have a new neighbour."
Brooke looked at her in confusion. Sam noticed this and continued. "I mean the old guy at the palace."
"You went to the palace?"
"Dad and Mac are away."
Sam nodded again.
"Why are you here, Sam? Why didn't you phone?"
Sam could see that the taller woman was hurt. She felt her own cheeks redden. "I'm sorry. I was scared…"
"Scared of what?"
Sam looked around, and knew she didn't want this conversation here. Brooke noticed this and stepped closer to the brunette.
"Sam… you hurt me…" Brooke sighed. "Where are you staying? I'll come see you after work."
Sam couldn't stay still for a moment as she paced her hotel room. She straightened the bed sheet for what must have been the umpteenth time since she returned from the law firm. She sat down and the stood up, trying to figure out what to say to Brooke. She knew she had to tell Brooke everything she felt for her. She had to or she wouldn't be able to live. She hadn't lived since the last day she was in California and she really wanted to live again. She knew Brooke was her way to do just that.
Sam jumped at the knock at the door and nervously opened it. Brooke smiled softly at the brunette as she walked in. She was glad to see that the smaller woman was as nervous as she was.
"Do you want something to drink?" Sam asked pointing to the mini-bar.
"Wine, if you have it…"
"You're a lawyer?" Sam knew it was a stupid question as she already knew the answer but it was something to say as she poured the wine. She passed Brooke a glass and sat on the bed as Brooke sat on the armchair.
Sam tucked her feet in under her as she watched Brooke take her jacket off. Brooke lifted her hazel eyes and Sam looked into them. She sighed.
"Brooke, there's so much I need to say to you… and I really don't want you to interrupt… I know I don't deserve it, but will you listen to me?"
Brooke nodded. Sam took a deep breath.
"I am so sorry I ran away after Mom died… I am so sorry I left Mac behind, and Mike, and my friends, and most of all you. I never stopped thinking about any of you, and sometimes I wanted to come back and be with you, but I was too scared…. I didn't want to lose anyone else…" Sam took another breath, and drank deeply from her glass before looking back at Brooke. The blonde's face was devoid of emotion. "I missed you so much."
"You've missed me? Jesus! Sam! Why did you go? All you thought about was yourself. You never for once thought that I'd be mourning as well, that I needed you… Fuck!"
Sam jumped at the sudden explosion of rage from Brooke. Brooke stood and paced the room before turning on the brunette. "I lost a mother too… I almost lost a father. Dad was so heart-broken… I raised Mac… you should have been there to help me…" Brooke's voice cracked as sobs came with her anger. "And more than that Sam… I lost you! And you didn't care!"
Sam swallowed her tears.
"Brooke, I did care. I could never stop fuckin' thinking about you. I've loved you for so long, and it killed me, because I knew you wouldn't love me the same way back. I thought I could deal with it, but after Mom died… you were all I had left, and knowing you would reject me… God! I couldn't lose anyone else."
Sam lost her battle with her tears and let herself cry softly. She buried her face into her hands and felt weight next to her. She felt herself being pulled into a hug and let herself breathe in the woman she adored.
As her tears subsided, she pulled back and saw tears glistening in Brooke's eyes. She let her eyes wander to the blonde's lips, and licked her own lips. She leaned forward and took those lips gently between her own. Sam caressed Brooke's lips tenderly and with love. She felt the blonde stiffen at the contact but didn't pull away. She nipped and licked the blonde's lips, leaning into her. She felt Brooke relax and slowly respond to the kiss. She allowed the kiss build in its passion, teasing Brooke to part her lips so she could slip her own tongue inside. She heard Brooke gasp as she explored every contour of her mouth. Sam started to push Brooke back on the bed, the kiss was speeding in passion and excitement. As Brooke felt her back hit the mattress below her, she pushed Sam off and stood up. She grabbed her jacket and put it on, and walked to the door.
Sam knelt up on the bed and watched Brooke in surprise and sadness. "Brooke?"
Brooke stopped at the door and turned around. Her hair was slightly dishevelled, her cheeks flushed and her lips swollen. She looked at Sam and spoke in barely a whisper, "Sam, I can't… I'm not gay… I'm engaged… Oh God!"
As the words left Sam's lips, the door was already shut, and Brooke was gone.
Sam sank backwards on the bed and felt her heart breaking all over again. She could barely breathe as her throat was constricted from her sobs. Pain and loss wracked through her body as she mourned another loss.
Sam stirred when she heard the door knock, and she glanced at the clock. The red digits told her it was two twenty four in the morning. She let her eyes adjust to the darkness and heard the knock again, more impatient this time. She pulled herself of the bed, muttering obscenities. She pulled the door open, ready to shout at whoever was on the other side.
Sam gasped. She studied the blonde, who had obviously not been home since she left her six hours earlier. Brooke had been crying, and her eyes were threatening to spill more tears. She stepped closer to Sam and looked deeply in her dark eyes. She whispered, "I'm not gay"
She grabbed Sam, weaving her fingers through her hair, and pulled her lips to her own. Sam moaned as Brooke plunged her tongue into her mouth, not leaving any part unexplored. The blonde's hands travelled all over the smaller body, pushing Sam backwards, and kicking the door shut. She spun Sam around and pinned her to the door, dragging her lips away from the full lips, licking, nipping and kissing her path down Sam's jaw line and along her neck, before biting into her neck. Sam groaned loudly at this and let her hands feel the heat from the blonde as she let her hands slide under the jacket, yanking the offending material off. She lifted her arms so Brooke could remove her tank top. She moaned loudly as she felt her nipple being sucked by the blonde. There was nothing gentle about Brooke's tongue and teeth as the nipped and sucked the nipple, her fingers pinching the other. Sam cried loudly as she grabbed Brooke's head, fingers clutching strands on blonde hair. Brooke let her other hand wander down to the smaller woman's slacks, pulling at them. Sam pushed Brooke backwards, ripping of the blonde's shirt in the process. She grabbed the breast through the lace bra, and felt her slacks being pulled down. She stepped out of them as pushed Brooke back onto the bed. Brooke fell onto the bed with little grace, pulling Sam down to her. Brooke grabbed Sam's breasts with both hands, tweaking the nipples as Sam lowered her head, opening the front clasp of the bra. She flicked her tongue over one nipple and pinched the other with her fingers. Brooke gasped at the contact, and lowered her hand to slide under the waistband of Sam's panties.
Sam groaned into the breast at the contact. She pulled upwards and tore of the button of Brooke's pants, sliding them along with the lace panties down the long, tanned legs. She crawled back up and kissed the blonde's lips fiercely as she let her fingers trail down the toned torso, feeling the heat emanate from the blonde's core. Brooke moaned as she felt fingers sliding through her nether lips, rubbing against her clit. She dug her nails into Sam's back as Sam entered her with one finger. Sam sat upwards again to straddle the blonde's thigh, using her knee to pus, now two fingers deeper inside Brooke. Brooke moaned loudly, before biting her lip. She placed both hands on Sam's chest as if to support her upright. She let her hips match the motion of Sam's fingers, a motion that was becoming very rapid. She scraped her nails down Sam's front back into the panties. Sam screamed as she felt three fingers penetrate deeply in her. She rode those fingers with the same amount of speed she was plunging her own fingers into Brooke. Sheens of sweat dressed the women as they moaned and writhed against each other. The screams of their climaxes shook the room or appeared to do. Sam collapsed on top of the blonde. As she regained her own breath she withdrew her fingers from Brooke, and felt the blonde do the same. She sucked her fingers, and tasted the blonde. She smiled as she looked into the glazed, hazel eyes that stared up at her. She kissed the lips below her softly, this being a kiss of love. Brooke kissed her back with the same tenderness. Sam rolled onto the side, and pulled Brooke to her.
Brooke woke with a start and stared up the ceiling. She closed her eyes as she let the memories come back to her. She licked her lips, and turned her head. Sam was sleeping deeply. Brooke moved the arm thrown over her waist carefully and slid out of the bed. She glanced out of the window and saw that the sun was slowly making its entry into the day. She stood up straight and searched for her clothing.
Brooke watched Sam sleep as she buttoned her jacket. She felt tears stream down her face, as she left the note on the pillow.
She couldn't love Sam because she still hated her.
“God! Where the hell is the aspirin?” Brooke’s voice croaked as she pulled open all the cupboard doors. Once she found what she was looking for, she swallowed two tablets dry. She coughed before grabbing her cup of coffee and returning to the living area. She curled up on the couch and studied the black liquid in her mug. She sighed as she felt her head continue to ache. She knew she shouldn’t had drunk as much as she did the previous night, but it was her hen night. Wasn’t she supposed to get completely wasted and not care? This morning was punishing her for believing that.
She heard the footsteps and closed her eyes. “Hey, how you feeling?”
“Like there is a stampede of elephants running a marathon inside my head,” Brooke smiled weakly at Lily. Lily sat down beside her, and brought her knees to her chest. She nodded in agreement. “I know your pain.”
“It was a good night though… well, what I remember of it.”
Lily grinned, “Even your strip-tease to ‘I Will Survive’”
Brooke’s cheeks reddened. “I thought that was a dream… O God! Kill me!”
Lily laughed softly as she watched Brooke bury her face in her hand. “Hey, no one cares… also, you’re about to become a married woman… everything changed then.”
Brooke looked up, “Does it really change?”
Lily thought for a moment before nodding, “Yeah, it does… before Josh and I got married, we only took care of number one, then suddenly every decision we made, we had to consider the other.”
Brooke sighed before looking at her friend, “You’re trying to scare me, aren’t you?”
Lily laughed. “No Brooke… you’ll be happy with Jake… he’s fantastic.”
Brooke smiled fondly as she thought of her fiance. She had made him wait five years before she finally agreed to set a wedding date, and he never once pushed her.
“Are you okay?”
Brooke looked back at her friend and shook her head, “I don’t know… Shit! I just want to know that I am going into this marriage with all my heart, but I can’t help thinking something is missing.”
“Sam?” Lily asked, knowing that she was on the right path.
Brooke sighed before leaning her head back on the arm of the sofa. “I just wished that I knew where she is… it’s been five years. It’s as she has fallen of the face of the planet.”
“Do you think she’ll come back?” Lily asked as she pulled the throw down over herself.
Brooke shook her head.
“Mac, can you please put the tiara down…” Brooke yelled as she took the tiara from the eleven year old’s hands. She glanced at the price tag. “Who spends that much money?” She replaced it and pulled back up her skirting to step onto the block. It was her last fitting and she wanted everything to be perfect, yet her little sister was making it near impossible. Mac was obviously not comfortable in her lilac bridesmaid dress.
“Can we go to the movies tonight?” Mac begged as she allowed the dressmaker to finish her dress. Brooke glanced at her sister, and smiled. Mac was twirling her long hair with her finger, and was giving her best puppy dog eyes.
“We can’t. There’s too much stuff to do… after the wedding.”
“Everything is about the stupid wedding,” the smaller girl mumbled. She pouted as she was told she could take of her dress. Brooke watched her leave and vowed to speak to her that evening. She knew that the wedding plans were cutting into her quality sister time.
“All done, dear.” The fitter said as she stood back to admire her handicraft.
Brooke looked into the mirror and smiled at her reflection. “It’s perfect.”
“You look beautiful.”
Brooke nodded bashfully and made her way to change in the dressing room. As she opened the door, she could hear sobbing.
“Mac, are you okay?” Brooke knocked on the cubicle door.
“Go away!” came the muffled response.
“Open the door, honey.” Brooke called as she tried to nudge the door open.
“Leave me alone.”
Brooke could tell her sister was getting angrier. She had a temper like Sam’s and mixed her very own stubbornness, the child was a nightmare when she was in a bad mood. Brooke slid down the wall, and tapped the door again.
“Please, honey, talk to me.”
Mac mumbled through the wooden barrier, and Brooke slid closer.
“What did you say?”
“I said I don’t want you to get married.” Mac sounded annoyed, and began sobbing again.
Brooke was stunned. She always thought Jake and Mac got on fantastically. “I thought you were happy.”
“Everything will change once you’re married… you’ll have your own kids and you’ll forget about me and Daddy.”
Brooke gasped. “I won’t forget you. Mac, you’re one of the most important people in my life, you know that?”
Brooke’s heart broke as she heard Mac continue crying behind the closed door. “Please open the door.”
After a few minutes the door creaked open and a solemn Mac was sitting on the bench watching Brooke warily. Brooke crawled to her and pulled her into her lap, stroking the dark locks that tumbled into the little girl’s face. She rocked her baby sister and whispered into her ear. “I promise nothing will change.”
Mac shook her head in Brooke’s chest. “You don’t know that… and why are you marrying him?”
Brooke leant her head back against the wall before returning her gaze to the eyes watching her carefully. “Because I love him… come on, let’s go.”
She watched Mac stand up and stood up herself. She stepped into the cubicle to remove her wedding dress and could hear her little sister mumble. “What was that, Mac?”
“You don’t love him.”
As Brooke and her father cleaned the kitchen after dinner, she kept playing the conversation she had with Mac earlier that day. She put the last plate in the dishwater and turned to her father. She studied him, seeing how he has aged gracefully over the years, and hoped she inherited that gene. Mike glanced at her and smiled. “You okay?”
Brooke nodded before sitting on the stool. Mike sat down opposite her. “No, you’re not… what’s wrong?”
Brooke folded her arms on the breakfast bar and dropped her head on them. Mike stroked his first-born’s hair tenderly, obviously concerned. Brooke didn’t speak for a few moments, before looking up. Tears threatened to spill from her hazel eyes as she asked hoarsely, “Do you think I’m doing the right thing… marrying Jake?”
Mike smiled gently, “It doesn’t matter what I think… why do you ask?”
“Do you like Jake?”
Mike smiled and nodded, “Yeah, I do.” His forehead furrowed as he spoke gently, “It’s common for people to get cold feet before they get married. I certainly did before I married your mother.”
Brooke nodded, “Yeah, it must be cold feet… it’s big, isn’t it?”
Mike grinned knowingly, “Yeah, it is.”
Brooke climbed of the stool before looking at her father. She hugged him tightly and spoke into his chest. “Mac isn’t happy.”
Mike nodded, “I know, she’s terrified you’ll forget about her…”
Brooke stood back, shaking her head, “She’s being silly… I couldn’t leave her. I’m not like…”
“Sam,” Mike finished the sentence. Brooke looked up at her father and felt the tears stream down her cheeks.
“I don’t know where she is anymore.” Brooke shook her head as if to shake all thoughts of her former step-sister from her mind. She turned to fold the dishcloths. Mike sighed, knowing that Sam was a dangerous subject to bring up around his daughter. He knew there was more to that than Brooke tells him. He knew that she had seem her five years ago, and that Sam left again. He wished that he could see the brunette again. He had missed her more than he thought possible, and he could never understand why she left. He felt as if he was to blame. Maybe if he had been there more for her after Jane died, than she would still be here, helping Brooke plan her wedding, playing with Mac and being part of their family.
He looked up at the clock before heading to the doorway, “Mac! Bedtime!”
Mike turned to see his daughter, now a beautiful, sophisticated and respected woman, staring back at him. “Yes?”
“Did you get cold feet when you married Jane?”
Mike smiled as he thought of his greatest love. He shook his head, “No, I didn’t. I knew there was no one I could be in love with more than her.”
Brooke watched her father leave. ‘I was afraid that was going to be your answer.’
Brooke studied her reflection in the mirror. Her hair was stylishly put up, a few strands dropping down the sides of her temple. Her make up immaculate. Her dress, cream in colour, was held up by two simple straps, her back bare to the world. The skirting flowed as they reached the ground, covering her feet, and leaving a small train behind her.
“You look gorgeous.”
Brooke smiled as she glanced at Lily, her maid of honour in the mirror. She turned and saw Mac spinning in circles with Lily’s four year old daughter, Jilly.
Brooke was feeling absolutely terrified and Lily must have noticed. The smaller woman took Brooke’s hand in her own. “Hey, you’ll be fine.”
Brooke was terrified to speak as she saw her father step through the door. He was handsomely dressed in his suit, and wore nothing but an expression of pride as he studied his daughter.
“You look truly beautiful.”
Brooke smiled, “You don’t look so bad yourself.” She could hear the emotions in her own voice.
“Are you ready?”
Brooke nodded taking her father’s arm.
She could see Jake grinning with love and pride as he watched her walk towards him. Suddenly, nothing felt real anymore. She felt her father’s lips on her cheek as he gave her away, and heard the priest begin his opening speech, yet couldn’t identify the words. She could only watch Jake who was beaming, almost glowing with sheer happiness.
She could only think of one thing… Sam.
“Give it back!” Brooke challenged the grinning brunette.
Sam laughed as she raced to the other side of the park, clutching the Barbie doll closely to her chest. Brooke felt tears spring to her eyes as she chased the other girl. Sam laughed gleefully and ran as far as her little legs would carry her.
Sam stopped running and watched the man approach her. Her smile disappeared as she pouted. “Yes daddy?”
She watched as Brooke caught up with her and then returned her attention to her father.
“Is that Brooke’s doll?”
Sam nodded, watching her shoes.
“Shouldn’t you give it back?”
Sam shook her head, and clutched the doll with both her hands. “She never lets me play with it!” She shouted, nodding her head in the blonde’s direction.
“I want my doll back!” The little girl cried out.
Sam looked at her with disdain before looking at her father who was gesturing for her to return the doll. Sam stamped her foot on the ground before throwing the doll on to the ground. “I hate you!” She yelled at the other girl before running off.
“Is it because you want to be a cheerleader that you bad-mouth us all the time?” Brooke as she leant against the doorframe of the newspaper office.
Sam laughed bitterly as she swung her chair around. She brushed her hair out of her eyes before staring at the blonde. “Are you kidding me? It pisses me off that you can think that you are better than everyone else.” She stood up and walked towards her, her stance angry.
Brooke smiled at Sam. “I don’t think I am better than everyone else. I think I am better than you.”
“Fuck you!” Sam snarled, before storming past her, pushing against her shoulder.
Brooke grabbed her shoulder and banger her head back against the wall. “Why the hell did I just say that?”
She stepped out watching the brunette’s retreating form run down the corridor. She exhaled loudly. She was fed up with the arguing but she could think of no other way to communicate to her new house-mate.
“Sam?” Her voice croaked as she tried to adjust her eyes to the bright overhead lights. She felt numb with pain but knew that the tubes in her body were making her feel better than she could feel. She thanked God for the existence of pain medication.
“Yeah, I’m here.”
Brooke smiled weakly as she saw Sam lean forward on the bed taking her hand. She felt soothed by the thumb that was caressing her own hand and relaxed. “I’m glad you’re here.”
Sam laughed quietly, “And I’m really glad you’re here…. Brooke, I thought I nearly lost you.”
Brooke could hear the tears in her voice and turned her head to look into the dark eyes. “Hey baby, I’m here.”
Sam looked stunned at the affectionate term and Brooke herself was almost regretting using the word.
Sam stood up and started pacing. “Do you want anything? Water? I’ll get water.”
Before Brooke had the chance to respond, Sam was out the door. She glanced at the full water jug on the stand next to her before turning her head to the window. She was already missing Sam and it scared her.
Brooke could feel her world tumble as she listened to Sam declare her love for her. She watched the brunette study her with passion, devotion and fear. She watched Sam break down in sobs and her heart yearned for her. She sat beside her on the bed and pulled her into a hug. She could hear her thoughts battling inside her head. For years she wondered would she ever hear those words but not once did she think she would. She never knew how she would react. Before she could stop it, she felt lips on her own and she adored the feeling, wanting more. She allowed Sam dip her tongue into her own mouth, relishing the feeling. Yet her brain attacked again. She couldn’t do this.
As she walked through the streets, not wanting to return home, she couldn’t help but think about the brunette who had tormented her thoughts more than once since they met in kindergarten. She hated her. She hated her for leaving when she needed her the most. She hated her for not being there for Mac. She hated her for making her grow up to quickly. She hated her for telling her now how she feels. She hated her for making her feel something she didn’t want. She hated her because now she needed her all over again.
She had stepped in and out of the hotel at least a dozen times before she had the courage to knock on the door. She watched Sam study her curiously, and all thoughts left her mind as she drank in the sight of the stunning brunette that stood before her.
“I’m not gay.”
Brooke watched the smaller woman sleep as she crawled gently from underneath her. Sam was more beautiful now than she ever had been. Brooke felt her heart break all over again, but not from love… from hate. She could never trust Sam with her heart.
*End of Flashback*
Brooke was startled back into reality as she heard Jake’s voice. He had spoken with delight and certainty.
“Do you Brooke take Jake to be your lawful wedded husband, to have and to hold, for better or for worse, until death do you part?”
She stood there, relishing the cool breeze blowing against her face tossing her long hair carelessly, as she watched the waves hit the sand. She sighed as the sun sent its last streaks of daylight across the sky in brilliant colours of red. It was so peaceful in those few minutes as she stood there, an escape from her life, which seemed to hit pause the moment she left that hotel room seven years previously. So much has happened, a rollercoaster of events and emotions had passed by, yet none of them seemed relevant anymore. Only one thing was relevant and she had no idea where that person was.
She always encouraged others not to have any regrets, yet she always had one… leaving Sam.
She felt tears prick her eyes as she thought of the one woman who she loved but who also tore her up. How could it be possible to love someone if you didn’t even know her?
Brooke turned her face to the voice that was calling her and smiled as her baby sister approached her with an air of impatience. Yet, she was no longer a baby. At the age of thirteen, Mac had grown to be a striking teenager, inheriting Brooke’s height and smile, and Sam’s hair.
Brooke laughed as she felt Mac’s arms wrap around her waist, pulling her back to the house they had rented.
“Come on! I’m bored…” Mac whined as she dragged her older sister up the beach. She had stood there watching her older sister and still could not understand what her father meant when he said that Brooke was so different when she was her age. To Mac, Brooke was always serious with a hint of fun. She adored her older sister, yet would love to see her happy.
Brooke let herself be pulled back to the house, welcoming the distraction from her thoughts.
“What do you want to do then?” Brooke asked as she stepped through the door.
“Watch a movie… or talk about boys!” Mac yelped gleefully.
Brooke smiled, “Should I be worried about you getting a reputation with the amount of boys you talk about?”
Mac frowned, “Not for me… for you. It’s been ages since you’ve been on a date… since Jake.”
Brooke glanced away as she heard her ex-fiancé’s name. She knew she had hurt him when she ran from that church the morning of their wedding. She could never understand people that jilted someone at the altar, yet she did it herself. She knew she had done the right thing as she could never be complete with him… but that never stopped the hurt. She looked back at her sister who was looking at her expectantly. “I’m to busy to go on dates… with work and with you.”
Mac laughed, “That’s not true… you’re almost the big boss woman, and I’m all grown up now.”
Brooke raised an eyebrow at that last part of Mac’s statement. Mac grinned cheekily, “Well, maybe not all grown-up… but you know what I mean. You’ve done so much for me, it’s time for you to have your own life… and I don’t want my sister to be one of those crazy old spinsters with seventy cats.”
Brooke laughed, “Not seventy. Forty is my limit.”
Mac frowned at Brooke, “I’m serious…. There’s got to be someone you like.”
Brooke sighed and watched her little sister, knowing she would never admit to the truth. “Well, when we get back to LA, I’ll go on a date…”
Mac clapped her hands together, “Yay!”
“Mac, come on… I don’t have all day.” Brooke called into the dressing room. She couldn’t believe her sister’s stamina when it came to shopping. It reminded her of when she was that age and a sale was like Christmas. She could here Mac groan through the doors and called again exasperatedly, “Come on, my feet hurt and I want coffee… the shops will still be here afterwards.”
“Yeah, but we go home in two days… and we don’t have these shops at home.”
Brooke looked around and nodded. That was true, the streets of Rome didn’t exist in LA.
Brooke wandered through the stores, admiring the clothing yet not in the humour to try any on. She already had bought enough clothes to dress an entire population of a small country, and most of those belonged to Mac. “Finally,” she announced as she saw Mac walk out.
After paying for another purchase which was more than likely going to spend more time in a closet than on someone, the two made their way for the nearest coffee shop.
“I don’t know why you need so much clothes…” Brooke stated after the waitress left them with their order. She knew she was being hypocritical, and Mac gladly pointed this out to her.
As Mac studied her purchases, Brooke took in the scene around her, enjoying the view provided within the piazza. She could hear Mac telling her about all her purchases and how jealous her friends at home would be.
Mac’s head lifted up at Brooke’s exclamation and she saw that the blonde had paled dramatically. She followed Brooke’s eyes to see a dark-haired woman feeding a petite blonde a strawberry across the piazza. “Brooke, are you okay?”
Brooke stood, grabbing the bags surrounding their table and urged Mac to do the same. “Come on… I don’t feel well.”
Mac began to worry, never seeing her sister like this before, “You’re scaring me.”
Brooke smiled weakly, trying to reassure Mac, “I think it’s too much coffee….and shopping.”
Mac could hear the blonde’s voice cracking and watched her glance back at the brunette who had since moved in closer to her companion, in a more than friendly way. Mac looked back at Brooke’s face, and saw tears threatening to spill. She didn’t know who this woman was, but knew that she was important to Brooke, and it angered her.
“Who is she?”
Brooke looked at Mac and her eyes pleaded with her to leave. Yet, she could see determination in Mac’s eyes. She sighed, dropping her bags and fell back into her seat. “That’s… that’s…”
“Spill it…” Mac said as she looked back at the brunette, this time seeing her face. Her mouth dropped open as recognition started sinking in. She had seen photos, she had heard the stories and she had only known one name that could stir any out of the ordinary response from Brooke. “That’s Sam, isn’t it?”
Brooke’s face confirmed the answer for her. Mac was out of her seat and half way across the piazza before Brooke had a chance to notice. “Mac! Wait!”
Sam felt the sting of the slap across her cheek before she saw the owner of the hand that caused it. She held her cheek as she studied the girl before her.
“Che cosa l'inferno? Li conosco?”
The girl just glared at her. Sam stood up, “Who the hell are you?”
“Of course. I mean why the hell would you know who I am? After all I was only this size when you ran off.” Mac screamed, gesturing with her hands.
Sam collapsed back down into her chair. “Oh God!” She muttered, and then noticed Brooke running up behind Mac. “Oh God!” She muttered again.
Brooke and Sam studied each other, pain passing between their eyes, before Sam returned her gaze to Mac’s angry eyes.
“Mac… let’s go.” Brooke urged as she pulled gently at her little sister’s arms. Her eyes never leaving Sam’s.
“Sam, who are these people?” The petite blonde asked.
Sam stunned out of her reverie turned to her partner. “Oh… this is Brooke… and Mac.” She gestured to the people standing over them.
“Oh look… she knows my name.” Mac declared with disgust.
Sam could see Brooke’s obvious discomfort and knew she was the cause of that. She could only see anger and hurt radiating from Mac. She turned to her girlfriend. “Can you leave us for a few moments?”
The woman was obviously not happy at the request but did so anyway. Sam looked back at Brooke and Mac. Brooke was obviously desperately trying to leave but Mac wasn’t showing any signs of budging. Sam gestured to the chairs in front of her, wishing they would sit.
Brooke let go of Mac’s arm, knowing that when her sister was determined, there was no stopping her. She also knew Mac had a zillion questions to ask.
The silence was deafening. Brooke sighed and sat down. She glanced at Sam who glanced back. They both knew that if anyone was going to speak, it would be Mac. Sam wanted so badly to hug her little sister and say how sorry she was for leaving,, but knew an apology would never be accepted.
Mac watched her two sisters and could finally witness elements of the history the two had. She could now understand the apparently legendary fights the two had, as she could feel the tension. She was always told that the two had got on better after she was born, but maybe that was a lie to make Sam look good. How was she supposed to know?
“I don’t even know you.” Mac whispered harshly to the brunette before her. Sam didn’t know how to respond to that and waited for something else to be said.
Mac felt all her anger subside before looking at Brooke, “I want to go now.”
Brooke watched her little sister punch her pillow in frustration, and sat on the bed and pulled her into a hug. “Hey baby girl, it’s going to be okay… I know it was a shock, but you’ll be okay.”
Mac looked at her sister, tears streaming from her eyes, “You don’t get it… she didn’t even know my name.”
Mac’s body trembled as sobs swept their way through her body and Brooke felt her heart break. “I know baby, she was in shock… she needed… she hadn’t seen you since you were a baby, and you’ve changed so much.”
Mac’s expression was that of a “duh” as she tried to calm her breathing. “I guess I thought she’d know who I was… After everything you, and Dad, and Carmen, Lily… after everyone said so much about her… I wanted to meet her… but she didn’t know who I was.”
Brooke held her sister tightly as she cried again. She felt her own tears trickle down her cheeks. “Sssh, it’ll be okay.”
“I never want to see her again.” Mac declared angrily into Brooke’s neck. Her anger and resentment shocked Brooke and Brooke leaned back. “You don’t mean that?”
“Yeah I do… she’s a bitch!”
Brooke flinched at the words and grabbed Mac’s hands. “No she isn’t… I mean, yeah, she can be. Sam is one of the most caring, considerate people I know… she fights for the world… she loves you.”
“Well, if she loved me why did she leave? Why did she leave and you stayed?”
Brooke could only tear her eyes away from Mac’s. She had never seen such confusion and anger in those eyes before. “Because she just lost her mother and didn’t know how to cope.”
“So did I! And I never got a chance to know her… she could have told me all about Mom, but she didn’t!” Mac shouted.
Brooke couldn’t help but cry at her sisters’ state. “There was no one else to tell me about Mom… I only know about three years of my mother’s life… it’s not fair! I hate her!”
“Don’t hate your mother… it was an accident.” Brooke whispered.
“I don’t hate Mom. I hate Sam!”
Brooke was shaken by the sheer hatred in Mac’s tone. “Don’t hate her… please, don’t hate her…”
“Why not?” Mac asked in confusion.
“Because, if you hate her… I can’t….” Brooke quietened and looked away.
Mac studied her sister and realised something that had been obvious in her thirteen years on the planet. She remembered how Brooke would smile fondly when Sam’s name was brought up in conversation, how Brooke’s laughter would fill an entire room anytime she was telling a story about the brunette, how Brooke would stare at a photo of her missing sister for a few seconds longer… Brooke behaved the same way about Sam as her father did about her mother.
“Oh God! You love her.”
Brooke looked at her in confusion.
Mac shook her head. “I mean you love love her.”
Brooke watched her sister and knew that Mac knew her true feelings. She couldn’t deny it, she could only turn away from her and weep silently. She felt the comforting arms of her younger sister around her neck.
“Mac… Get up! The taxi will be here in an hour! Get up now!” Brooke called down the hallway as she pulled her luggage up to the door. She could hear Mac groan in complaint, and knew she was only rolling over in her bed, not making any effort to get up.
Brooke grinned and went to the sink and got a glass. “I’m going to throw water over you if you don’t get up now!” she called out. She heard a groan in defiance. She turned on the tap. “I’m pouring water into a glass now.” She yelled as she watched the water fill the glass. Hearing nothing from the bedroom, she proceeded to walk down the hallway. “I’m coming down the hallway now.”
She reached the bedroom door. “I’m at the door now with water in my hand.” she announced as she held the glass upwards.
“You wouldn’t dare,” Mac muffled into the pillow.
Brooke laughed as she approached the bed. “But I would.” She declared, tipping the glass to let a single drop fall on the back of Mac’s neck.
Brooke giggled as Mac screamed and sat upright. Mac pouted at her, “Fine, I’m up.”
Brooke smiled triumphantly as Mac stood up. She was about to speak when there was a knock on the door. She frowned, “That can’t be the taxi. It’s not due for another couple of hours.”
“You said an hour!” Mac yelled as Brooke left to answer it.
“That’s because it always takes you an hour to get out of bed, “ Brooke called back grinning as she pulled open the front door.
“Sam!” Brooke whispered, stunned as she saw who was on the other side.
Sam waved nervously, “Hi.”
“Hi.” Brooke repeated.
“Hi… again.” Sam answered, with a nervous chuckle.
Brooke shook herself out of her stunned reverie. “I mean, what are you doing here?”
Sam studied the blonde, noticing that she had only become more beautiful if that was at all possible. She sucked in a breath. “I phoned your dad… he told me you were here.”
“You phoned Dad?” Brooke asked, curious.
Sam nodded, before turning her sights to see the other McQueen approaching the doorway. She stepped back, slightly worried of her little sister’s reaction. Mac studied her.
“He must have been surprised?”
Sam turned back to Brooke who had just spoken and nodded, smiling sheepishly, “Yeah, he was… I wanted to talk to Mac… and to you…”
Mac stepped towards the door and watched Sam and Brooke look at each other. Sam looked at her and seemed awkward. Mac glanced at Brooke who was watching her expectantly. She turned to Sam, “We’re going home in a couple of hours.”
Sam nodded, and appeared disappointed. Mac noticed this and stepped closer, “Come with us.”
Sam and Brooke both looked at her in astonishment. She could only shrugged. “I mean if you want to talk to us… come to LA… unless…”
“No,” Sam shook her head, “I’ll go.”
“You will?” Brooke questioned.
Mac shrugged again. “Okay then, I’m going to brush my teeth.”
Sam watched her little sister leave and looked back at Brooke who appeared to be close to fainting. “She’s tall.”
“Mm-hm,” Brooke was terrified to actually form words. She had so much she wanted to say and it looked like she was finally getting the chance.
Sam studied Brooke, and could see anguish in those hazel eyes that haunted her dreams for so long now. She turned to leave, “I’ve got to go back and get some clothes and my passport, and… a flight.”
Brooke nodded and watched Sam walk down the couple of steps. She followed Sam to her car.
“Our flight is at 13:45.”
Sam nodded, “I’ll see you at the airport.”
Brooke closed the car door after Sam got in. She bent down to speak to the brunette. “Sam, if you’re not there… I will kill you.”
Sam shuddered at the harshness of the blonde’s whisper and nodded. There was no way she was going to screw this up.
“So where is she then?” Mac asked as she leaned back on the barriers. Brooke stood in the centre of the seats watching the doorways for Sam. She turned to see disappointment and a lack of surprise on Mac’s face. “She’ll be here.”
Mac raised an eyebrow.
“Last call for flight 107 to Los Angeles. Could all passengers please board at Gate 14?”
Mac left go of the barrier and walked over to Brooke. She pulled her arm, “Come on Brooke… she’s not coming.” Mac’s voice was bitter and hurt. Brooke looked at her and nodded. She felt the lump in her throat and fought down the sob. She was not going to weep another tear for Sam. Sam no longer existed as far as she was concerned.
She turned and let Mac hook her hand through her arm. “I just can’t believe she didn’t come.”
Mac nodded, “I know.”
Brooke gave one more glance at the doorways willing for Sam to burst through, before stepping through the gate.
Brooke smiled as she watched Mac bound towards the window seat. Her little sister was never to be denied the window seat. Brooke stored their hand luggage in the compartments above, and listened to her sister complain about the in-flight entertainment.
“We saw the same things coming here… is there no originality anymore.” Mac exclaimed as she buckled her seatbelt. Brooke sat down beside her and buckled her own seatbelt. Mac pulled out her headphones and hooked them into the provided stereo and Brooke knew not to expect another word from the girl until the food trolley came by. Brooke leaned back in her seat and watched the air stewardess slam the doors down on the container. She closed her eyes and swore to herself to move on from Sam. The moment they landed would become the first day of the rest of her life.
“Sorry, coming through!”
Brooke’s eyes shot open at instant recognition as she watched that same person she had just promised herself to not think about collide with the air hostess. She watched Sam smile apologetically as she tried to balance her hand luggage over her head. Sam crept past her and continued walking down the aisle walking straight past Brooke. Sam’s face wore a sheer expression of concentration as she aimed to get to her seat in one piece.
Brooke unbuckled her seat and stood up, watching Sam walk further away.
“Ma’am, you need to sit down and fasten your seat-belt.” Brooke ignored the air hostess. “Sam!”
Sam spun around, hitting the poor gentleman sitting next to her in the head. “O God, sorry,” She apologised before returning her gaze to Brooke. “Sorry, traffic was a nightmare… and security even worse.”
Brooke nodded, smiling with relief.
“Ma’am please could you sit down.” Brooke remained oblivious to the hostess, not wanting to leave Sam disappear from her view in case she wasn’t really there.
Sam smiled sheepishly at Brooke, as she too was being encouraged to sit down.
Mac turned around in her seat as she noticed Brooke standing. She watched Sam standing like a grinning idiot in the centre of the aisle, and Brooke’s face mirrored the same grin. Mac pulled at Brooke‘s arm, and Brooke snapped out of her daze and glanced down at her sister who was gesturing to the frustrated hostess standing next to them. Brooke looked at the hostess and smiled sheepishly before looking back at Sam who was apologising to her hostess. The two nodded at each other before taking their seats. It would be thirteen hours before they would have the chance to speak, which gave them both thirteen hours to think of something to say.
Brooke buckled her seat belt again and looked over at Mac who was shaking her head at her. “What?”
Mac shrugged, “You’ve got it bad… and so does she.”
Brooke watched Mac turn away from her and look out the window. Brooke sighed before pulling the headphones of Mac’s head.
“Hey!” Mac cried in annoyance.
“Mac, talk to me.”
Mac just looked at the blonde and tried to grab her headphones back. Brooke refused to leave go. “Mac, please… tell me what you’re thinking?”
Mac sighed, “I’m thinking you’ve already forgiven her.”
Brooke studied her sister’s face and could see that Mac was confused and upset. She shook her head, “There is so much more than you know… and I don’t think I’ll ever forgive her for leaving.”
“What don’t I know?”
Brooke leaned her head back, turning it slightly to meet Mac’s gaze. She knew Mac was going to hate her for this, “One day when you’re older, you’ll understand.”
Mac laughed, “You didn’t just say that to me, did you?”
Brooke smiled, “Please Mac… give her a chance.”
“I already am… I asked her to come, didn’t I?” Mac protested.
Brooke smiled and reached out her hand to stroke the fallen locks of hair back behind Mac’s ear. “Yeah, you did… but you thought she wouldn’t come.”
Mac moved out of Brooke’s reach which was near to impossible in the confined space they were in. She knew Brooke was right. She wanted to hate Sam, but to her Brooke meant the world. She grabbed her headphones and placed them back over her ears. “Fine,” she mumbled.
Brooke smiled, knowing that the hardest part was yet to come. Sam appeared to have a girlfriend. Mac may never actually forgive her. Brooke didn’t want to be in a position to choose. Sam may not love her anymore. Sam may hate her for leaving that hotel room. Mac may not want them to be a couple. “Oh God” Brooke exhaled. This was going to be a long thirteen hours.
Sam hated the aisle seat. It was the seat where the trolley hits your elbow, where the guy in the middle seat hits your other elbow, where your only view was of the actual aisle, and the blue carpet became boring very quickly. Sam knew she couldn’t concentrate on her book, nor could she concentrate on any of the movies. She felt terrified. She was going back to everything that she left for the first time in thirteen years, that stay in the hotel being the exception. She wanted to go. She needed to go to try and create some form of reconciliation with Mac. The moment that Mac’s hand hit her across the cheek woke her up from her waking coma of the last thirteen years.
“I want to go now”
Sam watched Brooke guide Mac out of the piazza before noticing that the rest of the patrons had being watching her. She stared at them menacingly and was grateful to see that they slowly returned to their meals.
“Who were they?” Sam looked up at Tella and saw how angry her girlfriend was.
“My sisters,” Sam mumbled.
Tella raised her eyes in doubt and sat down, “Your sisters?”
Sam nodded, “Yeah, I hadn’t seen them in a long time…” Sam looked at the petite blonde before her and saw that she was not being believed. “I left when Mac was a baby.”
Tella leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms, “The dark one might be your sister, but the blonde is not!”
Sam recognised the part of Tella she hated, jealousy. She leaned forward, placing her elbows, and leaning her chin on her hands. She barely spoke above a whisper. “Brooke is my step-sister… and Mac is my half-sister. My mother died when I was seventeen and I was too fucked up to cope so I left.”
Sam gasped as this was the first time she ever told anyone that her mother had died other than Brooke.
Tella’s eyes were still suspicious, “You do not look at her like she is family.”
Sam didn’t speak as she leaned back in her chair. Tella watched Sam’s expression carefully. In the two years they had been dating, she had never seen Sam look like this. She wished that she had though. “You look at her like she is your lover.”
Sam didn’t even want to deny it and so never tried. She watched Tella stand up. “I won’t be at the hotel for three hours. Please get your bags and go. Goodbye.”
Sam watched another person walk away from her. Another person whose heart she had broken. She asked the waiter to bring her another bottle of wine.
Sam needed to think.
As she dialed the numbers her fingers trembled. She had reached the conclusion in the early hours. That wasn’t true, she had reached the conclusion when she watched Mac and Brooke walk away, that she wasn’t going to walk away anymore. She was going to walk back in. She knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but she didn’t want to die with that being the last image of her sister and of her… well, her everything.
The voice startled Sam, that she couldn’t speak.
“Hello… is there anyone there? I have no time for jokes… is there anyone there… I’m going to hang up now.”
“No Mike… don’t!”
Sam didn’t know whether Mike was still there as she couldn’t hear anything. “Mike, are you there?”
Sam could hear Mike’s voice crack at the question and she nodded with tears streaming down her face, “Yeah, it’s me.”
“Oh thank God!”
Sam laughed nervously into the phone, “I’m so sorry, Mike.”
“I’m so glad to hear your voice, Sam”
Sam cried at the lack of anger and resentment she heard in Mike’s voice. She once again witnessed the man that her mother fell in love with again, and for a few seconds she never felt any safer.
“Where are you?”
“I’m in Italy…”
“Oh Brooke and Mac are there…”
“I know Mike, that’s why I’m phoning. I need a favour…”
*End of Flashback”
Mac sat on the luggage trolley, wheeling herself backwards and forwards waiting for the luggage to come. Brooke and Sam were standing at a distance. Sam had no luggage, as she was late for the flight, she had to put hers on the next flight.
Brooke glanced at Sam, “I’m so glad you came.”
“There they are,” Mac yelled, effectively ending the awkward silence between the two older women.
Mac raced through the arrivals gate letting Brooke push the trolley. Sam walked behind Brooke, not quite sure where to place herself.
“Daddy!” Mac yelled as she ran into her father’s arm. Mike’s grin was of absolute joy as he embraced his youngest daughter. He looked up and saw Brooke smiling at him and pulled her into their embrace. “God, I’ve missed you girls.”
“We missed you too, Daddy,” Mac declared as her father let her go.
Mike stood up straight, not too sure whether to believe what he was seeing. Brooke stepped out of the way and held Mac back. Mike stepped forward and Sam stopped walking. The two stood and stared at each other for what seemed the longest minute.
Sam tried to speak, “I’m so…” But was stopped by the sheer force of the hug she was pulled into. She felt Mike’s chin on her head as he murmured to her. “I’m so glad you’re here.”
Sam stood in the middle of what was her bedroom in the Palace, and smiled. Not one thing had changed about her bedroom, it was exactly how she had left it.
“Dad didn’t want to touch anything in case you came back.”
Sam turned and saw Brooke standing in the doorway of their shared bathroom. Sam nodded, “I see that.” She pulled open the door of her closet and saw that most of her teenage attire was still there. She pulled out some of the articles and pulled a face. Brooke smiled, “I know what you mean… as Mac would say, that’s so 90s”
Sam smiled. She went to her CD collection and saw more than one of her Cds were missing, and turned to Brooke who smiled again, “But apparently you had better taste in 90s music then me.”
Sam laughed slightly, “Well, at least she inherited the better music taste.”
“Oy!” Brooke exclaimed as she threw a cushion at the brunette. Sam laughed out loud and threw it back.
Sam sat on the bed and picked up the frame on the bedside cabinet. It was a photo she had never seen before but she remembered it been taken as Brooke had forced her to give a stupid smile. It was the last photo taken of her and her mother. She looked at Brooke who shrugged. “I didn’t know where were you were, so I couldn’t send it on… and anytime I did, you were gone.”
Sam nodded in understanding. She ran her thumbs over her mother’s smiling face before returning the frame. She looked at Brooke who stepped further into the bedroom.
“You didn’t get married?” Sam asked gesturing to the empty ring finger. Brooke looked at her plain finger and shook her head, “No, I didn’t.”
Sam felt her heart beat an extra beat in hope at that piece of news. “Brooke, there’s so much I need to say to you…”
Brooke held up her hand to stop Sam from continuing. “No, Sam… there’s so much you need to say to a lot of people, some more than others, and there’s so much we need to say to you… but the first person you need to say anything to is Mac.”
Sam was busying herself raking the leaves out of the pool when she saw Mac appearing home from school. She had been back for almost two weeks and her younger sister had barely spoken to her. Every time Sam tried to talk to her, Mac would leave. She could see that Mac was upset as she raced through the garden and into the house. Sam dropped the rake in concern and followed her into the house. Sam knocked on Mac’s bedroom door softly, hearing her sister’s sobs through the door. “Mac? Are you okay?”
“Go away!” came the muffled reply.
“Okay, that was a dumb question. Obviously you’re not okay.” Sam leaned her head against the door, suddenly wishing Brooke was here, but Brooke was at her own apartment. Sam took a deep breath and opened the door. She saw Mac crying into her pillow and she stepped into the room, creeping over to the bed.
“Mac, what’s wrong?” Sam asked as she sat on the bed wanting to comfort the young girl but terrified of being rejected.
“Go away! You’ll laugh.”
Sam was stunned by this, “Why would I laugh?”
Mac rolled over, her teary eyes meeting Sam’s concerned ones, “Because you hate cheerleaders.”
“I don’t hate cheerleaders.” Sam protested.
“That’s not what I heard,” Mac said. “I heard that you used to find any excuse to ruin them.”
“I like Brooke and she was one, so how could I hate them all… Why? What did they do to you?” Sam immediately asked, her juvenile hatred of the cheerleading squads returning.
Mac sat up and looked at Sam as she considered whether she should tell her. She pulled herself back against the headboard and grabbed her teddy bear, holding it close to her chest. Sam smiled at the bear, reaching out to touch it, before taking her hand back.
“You gave it to me?”
Sam nodded. “It was the only thing that would make you stop crying.”
Mac smiled, “Yeah Brooke told me…”
“And look, you stopped crying again… that bear has a lot of magic.” Sam stated proudly.
Mac grinned, “Yeah…” The two became quiet again. “They won’t let me join the squad.”
“What?” Sam almost shouted out. “They know that you’re a McQueen, right?”
Mac nodded, not quite following Sam.
Sam stood up, “How could they not want you?” Sam paced the room.
“They said that I can’t cheer.”
Sam turned back around to face Mac. “You can cheer, can’t you?”
“Show me… I want to know what these crazy bitches are talking about”
Mac just stared at Sam, thinking she had become temporarily insane. “You don’t know anything about cheering.”
Sam stopped in her pacing and just stared at Mac. “In order for any journalist to backstab someone, they must know what they are talking about. I needed to research to bitch about Nicole and MC and…”
“Brooke?” Mac finished.
Sam nodded sheepishly, “Yeah, and Brooke… but my point is I know cheering so show me cheering.”
Mac laughed and stood up. She threw herself into a routine, to which Sam applauded.
“Those girls have no idea what they’re talking about.”
“One of them is a boy,” Mac interrupted.
Sam looked at her, “Really? Wow, things have changed since my time.”
Mac nodded and sat back on the bed. Sam sat next to her. “So what are they like? The cheerleaders?”
“Complete bitches… act like they own the place, like they’re better than everyone else.”
Sam nodded, “Sounds like Satan reincarnated to me.”
“Who?” Mac asked.
“Oh… Brooke never talks about her, only Mary Cherry who sounds slightly insane.”
“Slightly, no Mary Cherry was completely of her rocker… Nicole, was plain old evil.”
Mac just looked at Sam hoping she would continue on. She had heard Brooke’s friends mention that name on occasion but never would anyone go into details. Sam could see the curiosity on Mac’s face and didn’t know whether she should continue. She sighed and lay back on the mattress resting her hands on her stomach. “Nicole was like the second commander to Brooke’s queen status. Really nasty piece of work. Anyway, she tried to kill Brooke by knocking her down, shortly after you were born in fact… and she died in the accident.”
“Good,” Mac declared, horror-stricken by this new piece of information she had been provided.
Sam studied her and Mac realised what she had just said. “Sorry…”
Sam hushed her, “No. I thought the same thing… I was never as scared as I was that night, when I thought I had lost Brooke. Even more than I was, when I knew Mom was gone.”
Mac lay back too, “What was she like? Mom?”
Sam turned her head, and rolled on her side, holding her head up on her elbow. “She was great… really understanding and supportive… you know that she had a cookie for every occasion. When I fell over, I got chocolate chip cookies, when I got a good grade, I got sugar cookies, when I was given bad news, I got double chocolate chip cookies… obviously chocolate was for everything bad, and sugar was for everything good.” Sam smiled at the memory, and Mac smiled with her.
“She always stood up for me, even when I was wrong… she never let me take a battle alone… once, when I was about nine, I was accused of stealing someone’s pencils… stupid I know… anyway, I got into loads of trouble in school, because I got into a fight with the girl who accused me. Our clothes got ripped and we were so dirty that the principal called mom in, saying that I had stolen and then I was fighting. Mom asked me had I stolen the pencils, and I said no… and Mom believed me, and so she ripped into the principal, telling her to get her facts straight… I swear that principal treated me like an angel after Mom got through to her.”
Mac laughed at that thought. Sam grinned, “You want to know a secret though?”
Mac nodded. Sam grinned even more, “I did steal the pencils.”
Mac laughed with glee, “No?”
Sam nodded. Mac rolled over to face Sam, “And Mom never knew?”
Sam shook her head, “Nope.”
Mac laughed. “You’re bad.”
Sam rolled back onto her back and nodded, “Yes I was.”
Mac also rolled onto her back and the two lay in a comfortable silence. Mac turned her head to Sam, “Sam?”
“Were they Brooke’s pencils?”
Sam turned her head to meet Mac’s and nodded in shame. “Yeah, how did you know?”
“Brooke said you always stole her stuff.”
Sam smiled before returning her gaze to the ceiling.
“Do you love Brooke?”
Sam turned back to Mac in shock. “Eh… what?”
“I know she loves you and I want to know if you love her back… I think you do.”
Sam sat up and watched her sister. “Would it be weird if I did?”
Mac thought about it for a few moments before returning her gaze to Sam’s dark eyes. “I don’t know… I guess not, because you’re not blood. And you’re not really my sister.”
Sam flinched with hurt at that and Mac noticed. “Well, you weren’t around to be my sister, were you?” Without waiting for a response, she continued. “But if you and Brooke did get married, then you would be my sister.”
Sam nodded, not sure what to say to who she considered to be the wisest person she had ever met, even if she was only almost fourteen. “Mac… you’re all Mom.” Sam stated, letting her voice crack with emotion.
“Mac… I‘m sorry I left, it was because…”
Mac turned to her, “Sam, you’ll never give me the answer I’ll want so I think it’s best I don’t get one… You’re here now, and that’s enough I guess.”
Sam nodded, again amazed by her baby sister. Brooke and Mike did a fantastic job on raising her. Mac smiled, “So you got a plan to get back at those cheerleaders?”
After a month of being back in LA, Sam had settled into a routine. During the day, she worked on her book, her third one, but her first under her true name. When Mac came home from school, the two would spend an hour concocting evil plans to get back at the popular crowd at Mac’s school. Brooke would come by on occasions and laugh at their plans. Brooke loved that Mac and Sam were getting on, and that her dad had welcomed Sam back like a long lost daughter, which she guessed, Sam was.
Brooke loved that Sam was still here even more.
One evening, after a late dinner, and after Mike insisted Brooke stay, and after Mac and Mike had gone to bed, Brooke and Sam were alone in the living area. Once they had both realised this, they had both become very uncomfortable.
They stole glances at each other, before Sam exhaled loudly, “Brooke…”
They both laughed nervously as they realised they had both spoken at the same time.
“You first…” Sam gestured to Brooke.
Brooke sighed, “We need to talk.”
Neither woman could move let alone speak, as they stared at each other. Sam pulled her knees to her chest as she studied Brooke. They were at the opposite side of the rooms, and yet the distance felt even greater. Brooke struggled to phrase any of her words as she stared into the dark, chocolate eyes.
Sam cleared her throat, and Brooke moved out of her gaze. She whispered, “I’ve missed you.”
Sam nodded but still couldn’t formalise any words. She willed Brooke to continue, but Brooke moved away. She watched the blonde pull her feet under her in the armchair, and stare at the empty fireplace. Minutes ticked by before Brooke looked back at Sam. “Aren’t you going to say anything?”
Sam’s eyes flickered to the door and back at Brooke, “Where do I start?”
Brooke laughed bitterly, “I honestly don’t know…. But I don’t understand how you can still affect me so much when I don’t even know you.”
Sam nodded her agreement. Brooke sighed and leaned back in her chair, “Sam, I need to understand my feelings… and I can’t.”
Sam leaned forward in her chair, “What are your feelings?”
Brooke looked away, “Hate…”
“Oh,” Sam sounded so disappointed.
Brooke could see Sam closing up, building back her walls, and swallowed, “But I don’t want to hate you, Sam… I really don’t.”
Sam waited for Brooke to add more and saw Brooke wasn’t going to say anything. She smiled weakly, “I really wished I smoked now… I’m so scared when I’m around you…”
Brooke’s head turned with surprise, “Scared?”
Sam nodded, “No one makes me feel, like you do… you make me live. Just thinking about you for all these years made me get out of bed… I couldn’t bear to think of a world without you.”
“Then why the hell did you leave?”
Sam sighed and looked up at the family portrait over the fireplace, a photo which consisted of all five members of the McQueen/McPherson clan. She looked back at Brooke, “When Mom died, all I could think about was you… I couldn’t think about Mom, or Mike or Mac… just you. Isn’t that bad? I just lost my mother and the only person I could think about was the person who had just become a friend?”
Brooke looked very confused and Sam exhaled. She needed to step up and finally admit the truth. “Brooke… all I could think about was if it was you that died, there is no way I could live… I realised in those moments, that suddenly there was someone so much more important than my mother… and it was you. I hated myself for being like that… for being grateful that I hadn’t lost you. I felt that I had made a choice and my mother was the one that died not you…” Sam watched Brooke for a reaction and saw Brooke was trying to understand. “When Nicole knocked you down, I prayed in that waiting room… I begged that God took someone else… not you… anyone, I didn’t care… and after Mom died, I felt like that was exactly happened… and I felt evil.”
Sam struggled with her tears and Brooke moved to kneel in front of her taking her hands. “Sammy, it wasn’t your fault…”
Sam pulled her hands away, “Maybe… but I can’t help feeling like it is… and God! Brooke! It hurt so much… the very idea of losing you.”
“But you didn’t…” Brooke said earnestly.
“What hurt more was the morning after the funeral, when I watched you sleep… you were so peaceful… and so alive,” Sam whispered, reaching out to stroke Brooke’s cheek with the back of her hand. “And I just thought that I could never have you, not the way I wanted… and I became so mad. I put you before my Mom… and I couldn’t even have you…” Sam let out a bitter laughter. “And I began to hate you… God for an entire five minutes, I hated you…” Sam’s voice was harsh as she breathed out those words, startling Brooke backwards. Sam let her tears fall, “And I couldn’t bear it Brooke… the loss of Mom, and the loss of you… through fuckin’ hatred… I had to go… I couldn’t live hating you…. I’m so sorry.” Sam succumbed to her sobs, hoarse cries wrenching from her throat. Brooke kneeled forward to hug her. She could hear Sam muffling into her chest, trying to fight her hug, “I’m so sorry… so sorry.”
Sam cradled her mug of hot chocolate as she watched Brooke start a fire. It wasn’t particularly cold, but Brooke needed something to do. They had said nothing since Sam had spoken, and Brooke knew it was her turn to say something. She pulled herself back so she was leaning against the sofa. She watched the flames dance and looked over at Sam, seeing the flickers reflect in her eyes.
Brooke muttered under her breath, and Sam leaned forward. “What?”
Brooke looked over at Sam, “You never gave me a chance though… you never gave us a chance…”
Sam fell back in her chair. “You didn’t love me…”
“How do you know that… you never gave me the chance.” Brooke answered back, struggling to keep her anger in control.
“Why did you leave the hotel?” Sam asked accusingly.
Brooke saw a hint of anger in Sam’s eyes and whispered, “Because I was so angry with you… because I didn’t know what the hell was happening… because I was co confused.” Brooke stood up and paced away from Sam, before turning around throwing her arms in the air. “Because you always confused me… even when we were kids… Every time you were around, I felt funny… I’d get butterflies, and it was so much easier being angry with you, because I never had to think about the confusion… then, we became friends, and it was so difficult… Sam, I never wanted to be gay… I never wanted to be attracted to women… I never wanted you.”
Brooke bowed her head in shame as she saw Sam’s eyes flicker with hurt. She studied her feet before looking back at Sam. “But never wasn’t happening, and then you left… it made it easier… I could be normal… but God, I never stopped thinking about you. When we met in New York, I wanted so badly to bring you back with me… but you wouldn’t have come back, would you?”
Sam shook her head, “No, I wouldn’t have… I’m a coward.”
Brooke smiled as she collapsed into her armchair, “We both are.”
They returned their gaze to the fire watching the logs slowly soak up the flames. The light was soothing against the dimness of the room they were in.
Brooke glanced at Sam, “What about your girlfriend?”
Sam looked puzzled before answering, “Oh… no more. Apparently, dating me is like competing against a ghost.”
“Oh,” Brooke could think of no other response.
They looked back at the fire. Sam glanced over at Brooke. “Why didn’t you get married, if you wanted everything normal?”
Brooke glanced over, letting her hazel eyes lock with the dark chocolate eyes, “Because on my wedding night with such a wonderful man, I would have been thinking about you.”
Sam stood up and walked halfway across the room, stepping between the fire and Brooke. She studied the hazel eyes that were following her every movement carefully.
“I don’t know what to do anymore Brooke.”
Brooke stood up and stepped closer to Sam, “Nor do I… I don’t know what I want…”
She leaned into Sam’s hand as it cradled her cheek, and closed her eyes. When she opened them, she looked into those deep eyes, and whispered, “Too much has happened.”
Sam nodded, “Yeah… it’s too late, isn’t it?”
The young woman, smiled slightly as she allowed her fingers to trace the name etched onto the stone, and allowed the name sink into her mind yet again.
The young woman coughed nervously before allowing herself to speak, "Hi Mom, it's me… I know it's been a long time, in fact too long, some might say. A lot has happened. Some things were bad, some things good… I feel silly speaking to the air, but… I need you to hear me, or at least think you can hear me… Mom, I'm such an idiot…"
Sam felt her voice crack and blinked away her tears as she looked back over the cemetery again. She could see the sun creeping down behind the distant hills and saw that another day was coming to an end.
She returned her eyes to the gravestone and re-read those words. “Mom, I’ve screwed up so much, I never mourned you properly… I left Mac… I left Mike and I… Brooke. I’m so sorry… I know that you must have thought, how could I be any daughter of yours, when all I did was disappear… and not come back until a thirteen year old woke me up… she’s fifteen now, and she’s so wonderful, you know, she’s on both the cheerleading squad and the newspaper team… she’s like a combination of everything Brooke and I stood up for but she is so much more… you’d be so proud. Mike and Brooke did such a good job… I’m so sorry I wasn’t there…. Please, don’t hate me.”
Sam wiped her tears from her cheeks with the back of her hands, “I’ve written a book… it’s about everything… I don’t think I’ll publish it, but I wish you could read it… Mom, I’m so sorry, I never came to see you before. I’m so sorry that I never told you I loved enough everyday…and God, I can’t stop crying!” She laughed as she used her sleeves to mop up the wetness on her face. “I’m doing okay now… I’m living again, I’m not just moving around aimlessly… I’ve got purpose again… I’m working in journalism again… I don’t want to run anymore. That’s good, isn’t it?”
Sam looked away from the stone, not knowing what she wanted to say anymore before glancing back at the stone, “I miss you so much…”
She felt steps behind her, and allowed herself be wrapped into the arms that wrapped around her neck. She leaned into the crouched figure behind her and turned her head, meeting hazel eyes. Brooke smiled softly, “Are you ok?”
Sam touched the smiling lips softly with her own, before falling back into those eyes again, “Now I am.”
Brooke smiled and leaned in to give Sam another kiss, a kiss to represent everything that was, and everything that is to be.