Author's Note: So here's the sequel. I would recommend to anyone that hasn't read The Signs to do so. You could probably get by, but everything would make much more sense if you read that. A warning to all underaged: Rated M for extreme sexual situations. Borderline smut. But it's got a pretty good plot, too. I heart The Signs. Oh, and the funky page-breaks with oOoOoOo signify long passages of time.

Disclaimer: I do not own Danny Phantom or the affiliated characters or settings. I claim all rights to The Signs and any music, plot and dialogue from it.

I decided to do a serious one for once. Just to change things up.


She had that look in her eye.

Danny's eyes widened as her gaze intensified, and without even thinking he stumbled back onto the bed. With a cool demeanor and a heated stare, Sam advanced on him, pushing him farther and farther onto the bed. Like a cat, she slinked forward and crawled on top of him, pressing her long, thin body to his. Her breath was as hot as the look in her eyes as it skimmed over his neck, and his breathing quickened. Her lips were a brush away from his ear as she murmured, "You once said you would give me whatever I wanted. I'm taking you up on it. What do you have to say to that?"

"I—I—who am I?"

With a frustrated sigh and a laugh, Sam flipped herself over and sat on the edge of the bed. "I can't believe you messed up again, Danny. How many times do we have to go over this?"

"No, seriously, who am I? What am I doing here?"

She laughed before glancing at him with one slender eyebrow lifted. "You're Danny Fenton, a half-ghost freak who is friends with two other freaks, and you're helping me practice for my audition at the Atlas Theatre… which happens to be in two days. Come on, Fenton! I know this is strange for you, but I need someone to do this scene with. It's what's going to get me the part."

"You're wrong. Strange would be Skulker waltzing across the sky with the Box Ghost. What you're doing is torture."

For the past few weeks, Danny and Sam had been scheduling time away from their college classes to get together and rehearse. Over the years, Sam had gotten into theatre, starting with a high-school rendition of a play, The Signs. She had worked her way through audition after audition, carving herself a small but noticeable place in the theatrical world. And now, The Signs had been turned into a musical, and was opening on Broadway. Who better to play the dark and sensual femme fatale than Sam Manson? No one. Now, she only had to prove that to the casting directors, and Danny was supposed to be helping her. After all, there couldn't be a better way to make an impression than to perfectly perform the most difficult and dramatic moment in the entire show.

"Torture? How am I torturing you?"

Roughly, Danny sat up and ran a hand through his jet-black hair. "Okay, Sam, let me tell you about a little thing called puberty. You know what happens on the girl's side of things, but for a guy, it's kind of different. We start being attracted to anyone and everyone, and in our later years it's only slightly fine-tuned down to the majority of the female of the species. When you—who have always been beautiful, but now are drop-dead gorgeous—start sliding all over me and whispering in my ear, my mind goes into "jump and strip" mode."

Sam stared at her best friend of ten years for five straight seconds, and then burst out laughing. "Danny, are you actually saying you're attracted to me?"

"Whoa! Apparently I came in at the wrong time," Tucker said loudly enough to make them both jump. He strode into his and Danny's dorm room, dropping his bag by the door. "I hope I wasn't interrupting anything."

"You were interrupting another failed attempt at getting this scene right. Apparently, Danny thinks I'm too sexy for him to do it correctly."

Tucker's eyes widened. "Do what correctly?"

"Be seduced," Sam replied calmly.

"Okay, yeah, I'm leaving," Tucker said at that, spinning on his heel and heading for the door.

"Don't you dare walk out of here, Tucker!" Danny yelled. "If you leave, I'm locking the door and never letting you in or Sam out again." At Sam's questioning look, he leaned forward. "You've come on to me one too many times. I take what I want, and right now, that's you." He reached out and pulled her against him, making her gasp in surprise and brace her hand against his chest. "Kiss me, and make it seem like I'm the reason you kept driving." He leaned in, but just before their lips met, he pushed her down on the bed and began tickling her ribs. Sam laughed and shoved him off, jumping up and down.

"That was perfect! Tucker, did you see? That was the exact line. Danny, all you need is someone watching, and then you can do it fine!"

Tucker was staring at them as if they'd both just randomly broken into a country remix of the Macarena. "First off, Danny, you've got issues if you need someone watching in order to 'do it' right. Secondly, you guys play that part way too well. Thirdly, girls aren't allowed in the dorms after six. Sam, how the hell did you get here?"

Danny answered him. "One; shut the hell up. Two; we've been practicing. Three; I flew her up here. Actually, we've been doing it a lot lately… but you've got evening classes, so you never really knew."

"And I wasn't told?" he asked, and his eye twitched.

Sam laughed and shook her head. "We knew you'd be freaky about it and look! We were right. Just chill out, Tucker. This is the first time Danny's even gotten to that line, so it certainly hasn't gone beyond that."

Tucker moved slowly, inching his way onto his own bed. "Exactly what is beyond that?"

Danny and Sam looked at each other for a few seconds and then began to laugh. Danny sat next to him and slung an arm around his shoulder. "Tucker, when two people love each other very much…"

Tuck wailed. "Ah! My ears! My precious, virgin ears!"

Sam snorted. "Yeah, and between those ears lays a mind deeply immersed in the gutter," she said, giving him a pat on the head as she walked by. "Danny, I think it's time you brought me back to my dorm. Becky's going to be suspicious enough as it is." She grinned. "Maybe you should let her see you. I keep wondering what she'd say if she saw me float through the window in the arms of a handsome ghost boy."

"She'd probably scream and run away."

"Not before she grabbed you and brought you with her. That girl is boy crazy. But come on, I think it's time to let Tucker recuperate."

Danny chuckled and slung Sam's bag over his shoulder before going ghost and lifting her into his arms. With a nod to Tucker, he went invisible and flew away.

The night was clear and beautiful, and Sam let the wind flow around her with pleasure. She leaned into Danny and closed her eyes. She loved to close her eyes when she flew with him, because it gave her the feeling like there was no one else in the world. She was weightless and carefree, and suddenly all the pressures of college and a budding acting career seemed so far away. Too soon, however, she had the familiar sensation of being 'home.'

She opened her eyes as Danny dropped her and her bag to the floor of her dorm. She glanced around, surprised to find her roommate, Becky, not there. Danny shrugged.

"Maybe she's out with her own ghost boy."

Sam laughed. "I doubt it. But anyway, since no one's here, let's do the scene again. I want to make sure I have it right."

"Sam!" he whined. "You have it perfectly. It's me who messes up."

"A scene is only as good as its weakest player," she prompted teasingly.

"Oh, so I'm weak and a player. I see how it is. Well, how weak am I now?" he asked, lunging forward and tackling her to the floor. They wrestled for a few minutes, laughing and fighting good-naturedly, but there was no way Sam could win. He finally got her pinned. Danny grinned, triumphant but somewhat breathless. "I… am not weak."

Before he knew what she was doing, her thigh slid along his. His eyes widened as she lifted a hand to reach behind his neck, pulling him down and rolling him over. She straddled him and lay down over him, making sure their bodies never broke contact. Danny lost his breath completely at the purely sensual look in her eyes as she worked her womanly magic. She smiled almost maliciously and bent to run her lips over his neck. He knew what was coming next.

"You once said you would give me whatever I wanted. I'm taking you up on it. What do you have to say to that?"

He forced himself to stay focused. Get the line right, and she'll stay on top of you. The thought had barely occurred to him before he pushed it away. Yeah, great way to think about your best friend, Fenton. Get a grip! He reached around her waist, pulling her tightly against him. She lifted her head and gazed into his eyes, and though he tried to see the character Ebony, all he saw was Sam. "You've come on to me one too many times. I take what I want, and right now, that's you." Frighteningly, he was speaking the truth. He yelled at himself, forcing his mind to accept that they were simply acting. "Kiss me…" Sam, Sam, Sam… the name was a mantra in his mind. "Kiss me, and make it seem like I'm the reason you kept driving."

He brought them together quickly, not caring if they didn't have to actually practice the kiss. He wanted it too badly, and though he shouldn't, it was a fact. His lips were hard and unyielding against hers, and without thinking he flipped them over so that he was on top.

Oh, Jesus. Sam wasn't sure what was happening to her. She'd begun the scene on a whim, taking advantage of the situation to practice just once more. But somewhere in her descent down to Danny's body, something had changed. She wasn't seeing Shadow… she was seeing him. She'd delivered the line, hoping he wouldn't notice the slight changes in her demeanor.

And he'd done his part perfectly… almost too well. His ice blue eyes had driven into hers, and somehow she'd known he would kiss her. And he did, and he took over. And it was amazing. It was…

She sighed as he slanted his mouth over hers and deepened the kiss, running his hand up her side and connecting with skin. She wanted to writhe; her body felt like it was immersed in pleasant fire, but part of her knew it would break the spell over them. Instead she kicked off a black sandal and slid her foot down the length of his leg. Faintly she heard a sound come from him, almost a soft growl as he pressed even harder against her. Hell, yes. I don't know where this came from, Danny, but don't stop…

He did stop, dead. His lips broke from hers slowly, and he leveled himself away from her. They stared at each other for a full thirty seconds of silence, and then he disappeared into thin air.

Immediately, the door to her room opened and Becky walked in. She lifted her brows at Sam, who was staring into nothing from the floor.

"Girl, what the hell happened? You look like you've seen a ghost." She tilted her head to the side. "And then had sex."


They didn't practice the next night; in fact, neither of them even brought it up. To anyone but them, absolutely nothing had changed.

But everything had changed. Danny had two classes with Sam, and he found he couldn't concentrate in either one. He stared at her for what felt like forever, and the scene from the night before just kept playing in his head. The worst part was, his imagination ran away with him, and in his daydreams they hadn't stopped at just kissing.

He was driving himself insane. He had to walk around the campus with his backpack held in front of him so no one would see…where his thoughts had lead. And all of it because of Sam. Sam Manson. The girl who set the frogs free from the bio lab every year of high school because no one could get it through their heads that animals shouldn't be dissected simply so man can feel superior in knowledge. The girl who convinced him to go into his parents' invention, inadvertently giving him ghost powers. The girl who he'd acted with on stage in freshman year. The woman he was having fantasies about.

Oh, he was in so much trouble.


Oh, she was in so much trouble.

She had auditions in one day. One day! And all she could think about was…

Him.

Classes with him on Friday were almost unbearable. She refused to look back but she could swear she felt his gaze on her, and all it did was make her warm inside. In her mind he wasn't just looking at her… he was undressing her with his eyes.

This had to be unhealthy.

Danny was her best friend. Tucker was her best friend. She'd never had feelings for Tucker. She'd had feelings for Danny back in freshman and sophomore year, but she'd gotten over it—she thought. Now they were back, and with the twist of college life. Sex.

It was on her mind almost all the time. Even in Math she made connections to it. If I set the equation equal to pi and… Pie. Danny likes pie. I wonder what his lips taste like after he's eaten pie. I bet they'd taste good any time. I wish I could feel his lips on my…

ARGH!


"Okay, Miss Manson, you're trying out for the part of Ebony?"

"Yes. I have my head-shot and references here…" She stepped forward to the table, behind which sat two men and two women, all with calm but stern expressions and artistic fashion. One man accepted her folder with a smile.

"You haven't done any Broadway before."

"No, sir. This is my first shot at it." Could they see her sweating? Was that a tremor in her hand? Oh, if she started shaking she'd just die. "I heard that amateurs were welcome."

"You heard correctly. Your lack of experience on Broadway could possibly be a good thing. We tend to do auditions a little differently… Instead of doing all of one part at once, we're accepting everyone one at a time and getting the whole gamut done in one pop. We're taping each one and will be reviewing them later. I see here you signed the release form for your video. Good."

One of the women leaned back in her chair. She had deep brown eyes and bright green hair. "How well do you know the show?"

Sam smiled, finally slipping into her element. "I performed the play my freshman year and I know it by heart, along with all the material given at sign-ups pertaining to music. It's my favorite show of all time."

She nodded. "If you could, just give us a run-down of the plot. Also, a little verbal sketch of main characters would be nice."

As Sam began reciting the story she'd seen so many times, a tiny chill ran down her back. Her eyes narrowed momentarily but let it go. She'd told Danny and Tucker not to come… She shook off the chill and continued until she felt she'd covered the ground they needed. She'd included enough detail to show she knew what she was talking about.

The other woman spoke this time, and Sam noticed she was sitting cross-legged in her chair, playing with the buckles on her black boots. And yet, she managed to come off completely professional. At least, to Sam she did. "We're going to need you to do a monologue. I know there aren't many."

"That's okay. I know the one from after they meet the biker gang." She cleared her throat and adopted an unsure pose. "Oh, Shadow. I hate this. I don't know what to do. Everything I know is back at home…" She continued on, acting as much as she spoke. Her mind flashed back to that afternoon so many years ago when she'd stood on the stage at Casper High and said this exact monologue. She hoped she'd improved since then. With a start she realized she was almost finished… she'd been acting without thinking. Ending on a desperate note she said, "All I want is something to believe in. Can you give me that?"

The panel was nodding. "Not bad," said the woman with green hair. "I know we're supposed to be indifferent to everyone, but the four of us made a decision to be honest instead. You seem natural in the part. Okay, let's move on to a dialogue. Do you have a scene prepared?"

"Yes. The hotel scene."

Silence stretched. "You're comfortable with it?" asked the man with dark sunglasses on. "You'll be acting with Greg here." He gestured to the dark-haired man beside him. "You're strangers, and if you don't pull it off."

With a grin and another chill, Sam's confidence rose. "I'll pull it off. Will he?"


Danny watched invisibly from the wall as the table was moved and the judges stood against the wall. The one named Greg moved forward and took a place beside the table. Sam moved to the side and pretended like she was closing a door. At a nod from the green-haired woman, the scene began.

It was familiar to him, and for a moment, he let his mind drift. He'd been watching her, and she was doing amazingly. He couldn't see any flaws, and she was keeping her cool, like always. That was Sam. Cool. Calm. Collected. Absolutely beautiful.

Damn.

He watched her as the mood began to change. Her eyes focused; her pupils dilated. She was advancing on Greg, bending him back over the table and sliding her body over his. "You once told me…" she said the line, and Danny could see that everyone in the room was absolutely captured. A twist of something unfamiliar bothered his gut, but he tried to ignore it. The guy was saying his line: "You've come on to me one too many times. I take what I want, and right now, that's you. Kiss me, and make it seem like I'm the reason you kept driving." He grabbed her close and kissed her, spinning and pressing her back onto the table. Danny could see her arms reach up to him, her eyes close. He could see Greg's hands as the grasped hers and held tight as they kissed. He was positioning himself between her legs…

Danny wanted to murder him.

Applause broke the kiss and Danny's murderous haze, which had shocked him with its intensity. Just seeing him with Sam like that… he'd wanted to be there, holding her. He wanted to be the one kissing her senseless and positioning…

He needed to stop right there.

The scene was over, it had been executed perfectly, and every single judge was smiling—especially Greg, Danny noticed with malice. They moved the table back, and Danny had to remind himself to keep calm. Sam wasn't his girlfriend. She was his best friend. He had no claim to her, and her audition wasn't over. She needed his full attention.

"Well," said the man with dark glasses. "You just flawlessly executed the most difficult scene of the entire show with a complete stranger. Congratulations."

"Thank you."

The woman with the awesome boots (as Sam was now referring to them) smiled sweetly and said, "All you have left is the singing."

Danny and Sam grimaced at the same time. Sam was insecure about her singing, and even though she was good, she never considered herself good enough. Danny was confident in her, though, and he knew she could do it.

"Just Somewhere I Can Be Free?" Sam asked, and the others nodded. She sighed and stood straight, bringing to her expression a mix of uncertainty and excitement. She started off slow and haltingly, as the song required. "I'm standing at a fork in the road. Money to burn; the world at my hands. I've wanted so long to get out of this place. This might be my chance!" Her crescendo was flawless as she lifted her spirits to where her character was dreaming of a life she'd never had. "My chance to roam, explore, discover. I'll find a world like no other, and show the people here who I can be. I'll never know until I get there, just where I'm going… but I'm going somewhere! Somewhere I can be me… somewhere I can be free." She broke off resolutely, shifting her lips into an unsure half-smile. She spoke the next segment. "But I've never done anything like this. I've always been safe little Ebony, quietly doing her duty… well; maybe I'm done with duty! Maybe I should just take this chance and run. I mean, I've been asking for this for forever, haven't I?" Her singing began again, this time with determination and exhilaration. "I'm taking this cash and making it my own. I'm buying a car and taking it to the road. I'll follow the street signs… Let me follow where they lead…" With a grin she pretended to look at a road sign. She said, "Hey… Sugartown, that sounds appealing." With growing enthusiasm she sang, "This is all I need…" She threw her hands down at her sides, letting loose her energy and strong soprano voice. "This is my chance! My chance to roam, explore, discover. I'll find a world like no other, and show the people here who I can be. I'll never know until I get there, just where I'm going—but I'm going somewhere! Somewhere I can be me… somewhere where it's my chance to roam, explore, discover. Here I am; adventure lover. I'll show myself just who I can be. I'll never know until I get there, just where I'm going—but I'm going somewhere! Somewhere where I can be me… somewhere I can be me. Some where I can be free!" She held the last note, and her vibrato sent chills down Danny's spine—and he was in ghost form. "Free," she said on a breathy sigh, grinning like mad.

The panel was staring at her, wide-eyed. The woman with green hair and the man in dark glasses glanced at each other, and then the woman stood. "Thanks, Sam. We'll be in touch shortly."

Sam nodded and strode calmly from the room, leaving everyone in a dazed silence. Just before Danny phased out, he heard the woman with boots that Sam would like say, "Do we really have to sit through the rest of them?"

He met her outside.

"Okay, so I went against you and watched from inside. You were absolutely amazing, Sam. It was terrific. You are the part, and if by some freak chance they don't choose you, I'll go and overshadow them and make them do it."

"Danny, stop gushing!" Sam laughed and pushed past him. "And don't overshadow them. I want to earn this."

Without even thinking about, Danny dropped his arm over her shoulders. "You already did."


oOoOoOo


It was opening night.

Months and months of hard work were paying off, and as Sam stood backstage in her khakis and Mini-Mart polo shirt, she could hear the crowd beyond the curtain. It seemed like so long ago that she'd been standing in the audition room, making out with Greg—who turned out to be the assistant director. Now she was about to go out on stage in front of hundreds of people and perform her part, culminating in making out with Drake—who had been cast as Shadow. He was a sweet guy by nature, but surprisingly quiet. On stage, however, he was Shadow to every sense of the word. Dark hair, tanned skin, dark eyes, leather jacket, faded jeans… he had the package, to be sure.

Sam let out a whoosh of air and turned around, surprised to find Danny almost invisible in the shadows of the wing. She grinned and walked over, shoving his shoulder. "Freak. What are you doing here? I thought you'd be in your seat by now."

"I wanted to give you these," he said, and in his hand appeared a large bouquet of lilac and lilies. Sam's eyes widened with pleasure and she snatched them from his hand, making him laugh. She pressed them to her nose and inhaled deeply, feeling her nervousness slip away to be replaced by affection for her best friend.

"You're the best, Danny."

"Nah, you are," he said, dropping a kiss on her cheek. "I'd better head back and make sure Tucker doesn't get into trouble."

Her eyes narrowed. "Where is he?"

He went invisible, but she heard his voice. "He's out flirting with the ticket checker and the woman who sits next to us."

Sam grinned and walked quickly to her dressing room, reaching under her vanity table for a vase to put the flower in. She placed them right next to her mirror and smiled, letting the fragrance waft to her. Danny… he was a sweetheart.

As Sam returned to the wing, she thought back over the past months. Juggling school and Broadway for the month she'd had left of the college semester had been tough, but Danny had helped her through it, grabbing assignments from sessions she missed, even if he didn't have the same class, and bringing her sustenance during her late-night studies. Tucker had been helpful, too, but not in the same way. He backed off of teasing and lent heartfelt support.

Things had been… shifting. Tucker was being cool, Danny was acting more like a boyfriend than a friend (but without the benefits, which angered Sam to some extent) and she was finally making a career for herself.

Ah, Danny, her knight in spandex armor and conqueror of all things ghostly. She had mixed feelings toward the almost unbearable sexual tension between them; she'd grown somewhat used to it, and had begun to enjoy it, but at the same time she knew that sooner or later… something would snap.

She just didn't know who, or what, or when.

The lights dimmed in the audience, and the orchestra struck up their instruments. Sam took a deep breath and prepared herself, and then walked out on stage.


The rush was amazing. Sam had come off the stage nearly twenty minutes ago, and she was still on a performance high. She was finally ready to leave and find Danny and Tucker, who had promised to take her out to a celebration dinner. She left through the back door, around which was crowded a huge group of people. Many of them immediately stuck programs and notebooks in her face, vying for autographs. She obliged happily, scrawling her bold signature onto tons of tiny scraps of paper. She was almost through when two distinct male voices called from the back of the crowd.

"WE LOVE YOU SAM!"

She laughed along with the crowd and yelled back, "I love you, too!"

There was a ruckus in the crowd as people were pushed politely aside. Her best friends made their way to the front quickly, and Danny went tumbling over the rail in his excitement, landing on the ground in front of her. She smiled warmly down at him and he grinned back.

"Marry me!"

Something inside her jumped as he said the words, and the surrounding people laughed harder and applauded. Of course, blowing the whole thing out of proportion, Tucker began a chant of, "Say yes, say yes, say yes."

She reached down and hauled Danny back to his feet, sharing with him a secret look that sent shivers down her spine. "We're supposed to be going to a fancy restaurant, and you're on the ground. Why am I not surprised?" She turned to Tucker and the crowd, who were still chanting. "Oh, be quiet!" she scolded with mirth. "Danny and I made a promise to each other when we were younger that we would marry each other. This isn't anything new."

She strode quickly away, Danny and Tucker following like they were connected with a leash. They caught up with her shortly, Tucker nudging her shoulder with his own. "That wasn't fair. You guys made that promise in like sixth grade as a joke."

Sam shrugged. "Oh, well."

Danny was laughing as he wrapped an arm around Sam's waist companionably. "Doesn't mean I won't hold you to it. Sam, you were great. I'm really proud of you."

She smiled up at him, but her heart had accelerated at his first statement. Was he being serious? Tucker cut into her thoughts.

"Really, Sam. I'm resuming my teasing now, but in all seriousness, you were absolutely awesome."

"Aw, thanks guys. So, where are we going?"

They went to a small but classy Italian restaurant hidden away a few streets from Broadway. Tucker had checked: they had both meaty and vegetarian dishes. They were seated by a friendly and charming man with kind eyes, who joined into their conversation about The Signs, congratulating Sam and promising to come see the show. As the trio ordered and chatted idly, Sam's mind drifted.

This night was, perhaps, perfect. The show had gone off without a hitch, and she had more promising performances to look forward to. Her reception outside the theatre had been great, making her feel even more confident, and the stunt Danny and Tucker pulled was so…them, she just had to smile. She hadn't lied. She did love them both.

Just in different ways.

She couldn't deny her reaction to Danny's joking proposal. She'd wanted to yank him up and kiss him; to say yes, forever and always. She gazed at him from across the table as their food came and he thanked the waiter, smiling. He'd grown up, she realized. Yeah, part of him was still that silly, oblivious guy she'd met in grade school, but some things had changed. He was more mature, and his dedication to protecting those around him from the paranormal had given him a confidence and self-assurance that was… engaging. His eyes were kind and good-natured. His easy and frequent smile made her want to smile back.

Somewhere between her high school crush and adulthood lust, she'd fallen madly and deeply in love.

The realization was sharp and a little shocking, and she mulled over it through the meal, only giving half her attention to the conversation around her. Finally it was time for desert, and she declined out of habit, not bothering to hear what the other two had ordered. When the desserts came a few minutes later, Tucker had gotten some monstrous chocolate thing, and Danny had gotten…

Pie.

Sam wanted to slam her head on the table.

Danny saw Sam's head droop a little, and gave her an odd look, though she didn't catch it. She'd been acting kind of distant all through dinner, and he could only assume she was still reeling from the success of The Signs. He smiled, thinking back on her performance. She'd played the part perfectly, and there had actually been times where he forgot it was Sam, and had simply gotten caught in the plot. She was so talented, and he was glad she was happy.

As he dug into his apple pie, his mind returned to the subject he'd been contemplating all through dinner.

His feelings for her.

They'd certainly changed, that much was sure. He couldn't say it was only since that night months ago in her dorm room. If he had to put a date on the catalyst, he'd have to say it was the day they both got parts in The Signs freshman year. Ever since then his view of her had been changing, going from just friend to friend who he'd kissed as both a fake-out make-out and for a play, to a friend he wanted to kiss for the hell of it, to a friend he had suppressed feelings for, to a friend he had bad dreams about, to a friend he'd asked to marry him—no joke.

She'd blown it off, but part of him had been completely serious. And, on further reflection, he realized that even when he had girlfriends in the past, he ended up comparing them to Sam. So if every girl he was with wound up compared to Sam, why not make the girl Sam?

No, it wasn't even as simple as that. He'd gone for most of his life with Sam by his side, and he never wanted that to change. He knew that if they continued on like this much longer, either their friendship would fall apart or they'd do something they regretted. Danny didn't really want either of those to happen, so he made a decision.

He was going to let Sam know exactly where he stood, and if she wasn't on the same level, he'd convince her.

One way or another, he was going to marry Sam Manson.


oOoOoOo


One more successful show.

Sam sighed in contentment, climbing the stairs to her New York apartment. She'd been on the cast of The Signs for over a year, and yet it never ceased to thrill her. She knew this was her calling, and it made her happy to know she'd actually found it. Every time she was on that stage, a jolt of excitement went through her, turning her into Ebony. She loved it.

Her thoughts moved on to her plans for the next day. Danny and Tucker were supposed to come by for lunch, along with Tucker's new girlfriend. Usually he didn't bother with a formal introduction, but Sam had a feeling this girl was different. He'd kept her in the background for more than a few months, and now he wanted to bring them all together to meet her. Sam grinned, wondering if the geek was finally ready to settle down. It would be good for him.

Sam unlocked her door and flicked on the light, letting the familiar contemporary surroundings embrace her. She dropped her bag by the couch and walked into her bedroom, taking a long and welcome shower before towel-drying her hair and slipping into a tank and shorts. She returned to the living room and watered her various plants, and then prepared herself to curl up on the couch for some quality television time.

She felt a chill go down her spine, and though kind of confused, she smiled. "Danny," she murmured, not turning around. "What brings you here so late?"

No answer came to her, but a flash came from behind her and a warm hand touched her arm, giving her a jolt altogether different from the one she got on stage. She whirled around to find Danny staring intently at her, his blue eyes fathomless. He was close; unusually so. She could feel him, that ever-present energy that seemed to envelope him. His hands reached out to hold her shoulders, and his eyes scanned her body quickly. Warmth spread through her as it always did when Danny was close to her. It reminded her that though they were still just friends, she wanted more.

"I take what I want, and right now, that's you."

She couldn't miss the reference. She smiled, relaxing somewhat. "Stop kidding around, Danny. What do you need?"

But he didn't stop. He pulled her closer, and the suddenness of it made her lift her hands against his chest. One of his arms dropped to encircle her waist. "Kiss me, Sam," he said, and her mind reeled at the change in the line. Sam? "And make it real."

His lips met hers with force, ripping a moan from her before she realized it. His other arm joined the first one, and he crushed her to him, lifting her slightly off the ground. They were close—so close—and Sam didn't want it to end. She didn't know why he was doing this, but her body reacted before her mind could process it. Her arms wound their way over his shoulders, and she lifted one leg to wrap it around his waist. She returned the kiss just as forcefully as he had given it.

She barely noticed when he carried her to the couch and laid her down. She was concentrating on his lips, reveling in the feel of them. He broke from her mouth and spread kisses over her neck and down to her collarbone. He ranged over her skin, spreading fire and need wherever he went. His tongue found the sensitive spot behind her ear and her body convulsed beneath his. Reality was a thing of the past as her other leg lifted, catching behind his to mold them together. One of her hands found the back of his head and she held him to her. Her breathing was ragged as his hand inched its way under the hem of her tank top. His touch was hot and he slid his palm up over her side, finally encountering her bra. Her breath caught and for a second they lay in complete stillness as he made the decision. His hand closed over her breast and she cried out, her back lifting slightly from the couch. His fingers worked magic and her head thrashed to one side, giving him a more unobstructed way to her neck. Danny nipped at it lightly and her hips rose, pressing instinctively into his.

The choked and needful sound that came from him only made Sam press harder. Some part of her knew that this was probably wrong. They were best friends, and except for a few isolated incidents, Danny had never expressed an interest in her beyond that. Or maybe he had, and she just blew it off as teasing. But this… this was not teasing. It was true and fast and absolutely real. There was something so completely male about him that Sam had never encountered before, and she strove to be the elemental match. Her legs widened, and she could feel that he wanted her.

It was then that his touch lightened. For a few seconds she panicked, fearing he would stop. He didn't, simply changed the way in which he touched her. His hand found its way to the small of her back and he supported her as he shifted their position, ending with her on top of him. He used one leg to gently straighten hers and then lay his over it, showing a strange but definite possessiveness. The hand he used to support himself now rose to cradle her head as his mouth found hers once more. This kiss wasn't crazed and fast like the last one, but slow and tender. The jumping flames leveled out to a steady burn, leaving her body pulsing and lithe. His tongue touched against her lips and she opened to him, meeting him with a feeling almost like shyness. His hand on her back stroked her skin slowly, and the caring motion almost brought tears to her eyes.

She was on an emotional and sensual rollercoaster. Danny was giving her feelings she never could have imagined, and had never come close to even with her past boyfriends. It was slightly confusing but extremely satisfying, and her mind took on an almost 'I told you so' state. Wanting to give back to him she broke away and pressed her own lips to his neck, feeling his racing pulse like it was her own. He breathed out slowly and held her, cherishing her. She kissed slow trails over his skin.

"Have you wanted this?" he asked softly and she nodded, knowing he'd feel it. "I've wanted it for what seems like forever." The low timbre of his voice made her mouth vibrate even as the words made her heart clench. "Every time I saw you I wanted to just walk up and kiss you. I've wanted to bring you home and take you." At this she became aware once more of his arousal. It probably should have alarmed her, but she simply accepted it and continued kissing. His voice dropped to a whisper. "I've wanted to make love to you, Sam." This made her pause, and she lifted her head to gaze into his eyes, confusion meeting tenderness.

"Danny?"

"I know; that sounds strange coming from me, doesn't it? I think if I'd let it go, we would have reached that tonight. But what I want between us isn't mindless sex. Sam, I love you."

"Oh my God."

"I want to hold you at night and know you're only mine. I want to give myself to you in return." He chuckled. "That sounds corny. But it's true. I've joked about proposing to you, but I'm not kidding. Sam, I'm not really sure how you feel, but I know how I feel. I want you to be my wife."

She couldn't hold back the tears any more. After so long, it had finally happened. Part of her was afraid this was some amazing dream, but she knew. He was really there, asking her to marry him. Her wish had come true.

"I love you, too, Danny. I have for a long time. Yes. Yes, I'll marry you."

He grinned, and it made her smile back. The following embrace was fierce and just a tad desperate. "Thank God. I thought I was going to have to kidnap you and bring you to my ghostly mansion of matrimony," he said into her hair, making her giggle. Her response sent his laughter loud and full into the air around them.

"Do you really have one?"


He was holding her hand, Sam noticed with interest.

Tucker was clutching at his girlfriend's hand like a lifeline, and somehow she knew it meant something was very different. She sized the woman up, noting comfortable jeans, a black t-shirt with a rose on the front, and a sweet expression. Her name was Jill.

Sam welcomed her into the apartment, and ushered the pair into the kitchen, where Danny was already sitting comfortably. He stood to shake Jill's hand, and she smiled. "Thanks for having me over, Sam. Tucker really wanted to introduce us." She glanced at him and squeezed his hand.

Sam knew immediately that this girl was going to be the one. The way Tucker was staring at her… it was obvious. Sam gestured for them to sit and joined them; waiting patiently for what she knew was coming next. She glanced at Danny and lifted her eyebrows meaningfully.

"Sam, Danny, I brought Jill here for a reason. We've been together for a while now, and I'm the happiest I've ever been. I decided to…" He trailed off and Jill smiled at him reassuringly. "We're engaged."

Sam jumped up and hugged them both. "I knew it! Aw, Tuck, this is great. I hope you guys are happy."

Danny was grinning. "Congratulations."

Tucker lifted Jill's hand to his lips and kissed it gently. "Thanks, man." He didn't notice when Sam moved to stand behind Danny, placing her hands idly on his chest.

"Actually," Danny said. "We have some news of our own."

He reached up to grasp Sam's hand and Tucker's eyes widened. "No! Are you serious?"

She nodded. "He proposed last night."

Tucker vaulted out of his chair, almost bringing Jill with him. She laughed and Danny and Sam shook their heads. Tuck was staring at them, his hands clutched to his heart.

"Finally!"


Author's Note: WHOOP! I had the first page of this written at the same time as The Signs, but the rest I did in the past two days. Apparently I've read too many romance novels recently, as it turned out much more smutty than I had originally planned. Oh well, I like it.

SagePoint: You guys didn't do so well with the Ebony one, but how about this? Why did I name Tucker's fiance Jill? Keep in mind that most of my original characters' names have hidden meanings.