A Thin Line

Author: Janine
Genre: Popular
Pairing: Brooke/Sam
Rating: R
Summary: During an argument Brooke and Sam discover that their relationship isn't as black and white as they had previously thought.
Disclaimers: I don't own any of these characters, I'm just borrowing them for a short period of time.

---

Brooke made a conscious effort not to look to her left as she sensed someone side into the seat next to her. Of course it wasn't just someone, Brooke knew exactly who it was, it was Sam McPherson, her soon to be step-sister and her--at least as far as Brooke was concerned--unwillingly arch nemesis. Sam had made it to class just in time, yet again. Brooke found it amusing that someone so orderly, and dare she even think it, anal, was perpetually late for class. Even though she knew that it was unwise, Brooke was seriously considering offering a greeting to the girl beside her when Mr./Ms. Glass--nobody was really certain which one it was which was especially disconcerting seeing as 'it' taught biology--stood up ready to address the class. Brooke sighed, when 'it' addressed the class nothing good ever followed. The interruption was probably helpful though, while they had just recently bonded with Brooke encouraging Sam to wait before leaping into a sexual relationship--which she had done and as a result had hurt herself and her former boyfriend emotionally--they still weren't friends.

"Well class, it's nice to see that you were all able to drag yourselves out of bed this morning and grace me with your slovenly presences once again," Glass said moving from behind the desk. "From the haggard looks on all of your faces I'd say that once again you're all reaping the effects of yet another weekend wasted wallowing in the depths of debauchery and slothfulness."

Brooke looked up as the teacher walked by her desk then quickly ducked her head down again. She knew without a doubt that this was going to be a particularly heinous class.

"Today's lesson," Glass went on as (s)he made his/her rounds, "is about attraction. Animal and otherwise," (s)he continued chuckling at his/her own joke.

"Good one M…!"

"Shut up Phelps," Glass replied cutting off the butt kisser's comment. "If I want to hear your opinion I'll write it down and give it to you."

Brooke heard a soft sound off to her left and chanced a glance. Sam was smirking--while trying not to look like she was smirking--and shaking her head. This was her usual reaction when Glass kicked a butt kisser in the butt. Brooke watched her for a moment then turned away before Sam could see her and start World War Three. It always amazed Brooke how much more human Sam looked when she wasn't crusading but just acting like a normal teenager.

"Attraction," Glass was saying, "can be a good thing and very bad thing. As I'm sure you all know it can lead to mono, pregnancy, syphilis, gonorrhea and a pantheon of other delightful diseases."

Brooke tuned out after that choosing instead to read the section marked in their textbooks. She really didn't want to have to deal with one of Glass's sardonic and bitter diatribes.

A few moments later Brooke noticed a movement to her left and turned her head slightly. Sam was scratching something in her notebook. Brooke wondered if it was another exposé. The thought of that made her shutter. Leaning over a bit more she tried and failed to look discretely at the piece of paper. It was a drawing, a good one. It had people standing over butter turns and holding pitchforks. It looked like a period piece, but there was something off about it. Brooke smiled mentally, knowing Sam it was probably some kind of--how did Sam put it that time--'social commentary the likes of which her frontal lobe wasn't big enough to comprehend'.

"Do you mind?" Brooke looked up into Sam's scowling face and shifted away from her.

"Sorry," she muttered softly. She looked up and Sam was still scowling--apparently she had a natural talent for that. "It was just good that's all," she went on lowering her gaze back to her books and picking up her pen.

Sam's eyebrow rose and she found herself staring at Brooke's now subdued form. The girl she had once not so lovingly referred to as a 'rich, bitch elitist ice queen'--honourable mention going to John Cage--had just complimented her doodle. Sam pouted and turned away, she really hated it when the girl did things like that. They were enemies they weren't suppose to be nice to each other, it just complicated things terribly. Brooke McQueen, the Queen bee everywhere she ever went, wasn't supposed to like her, and she wasn't supposed to like Brooke either. And then something like what just happened there would happen and complicate things, making Sam feel like a fascist while Brooke got off smelling like roses.

----

Sam watched from across the hall as Brooke disappeared into the washroom. Pushing off of the wall she was leaning against, she made her way over. She had been standing there for the last fifteen minutes and she hadn't seen anyone go in, which meant that Brooke would be in there alone, and once she got in there they'd be in there alone.

Sam had decided sometime between first and last period that she wanted to be the one smelling like roses for a change and let Brooke see what it was like to feel like something the cat drug in! Well, that and the fact that she actually did feel bad, though she wouldn't admit that to anyone but herself—and even that was grudgingly.

"Hey," Sam greeted, standing behind Brooke who was positioned in front of vanity mirror.

Brooke looked up and spotted Sam's image in the mirror. It took all of the self-control she possessed not groan in agony at the sight of the brunette.

"Whatcha doing?" Sam asked in a friendly tone as she smiled at the blonde girl.

Brooke eyed Sam nervously, she was acting bizarrely. Looking at the smile she had plastered across her face, Brooke half expected her to start skipping while singing 'trah la la".

"Nothing much," Brooke answered carefully, trying to feel Sam out.

Sam nodded and moved towards Brooke who flinched away. Sam stopped moving when she noticed the reaction and quirked her eyebrow up comically.

"Friendly piece of advice, you might want to switch to decafe," Sam said, eyeing Brooke with the same annoyingly amused expression she had on her face before she started speaking.

"Is there something that I can do for you?" Brooke asked, turning away from the grinning idiot.

"No," Sam responded, taking a deep breath. "But there's something I can do for you."

"Really?" Brooke asked. "What? Build a time machine and not be born?"

"No," Sam responded, suddenly wondering if this was such a good idea after all. Time had shown that while she and Brooke could bond for a moment or two, sustained contact usually led to an earth shattering kaboom. "I was just going to apologize for…" Sam paused here, gathering all of her courage, "my rudeness in bio today. I'm sorry that I snapped at you."

Brooke looked--actually gaped--at Sam after the brunette had finished speaking. In the entire time they had spoken/fought/known each other Brooke wasn't sure that Sam had once issued an outright apology. When Sam wrote an exposé that got the cheerleaders budget severely cut, she didn't apologize. When Sam wrote an article--which she promised not print then printed anyway--on cheating that nailed Brooke's friend's--and as Brooke had revealed in a heartfelt conversation that she thought had brought Sam and herself closer together, had nailed her too--she didn't apologize. When Sam--though inadvertently--was responsible for the widespread distribution of a picture of Brooke with the flu during the homecoming race, she still didn't outright apologize. And now, now she was apologizing for being snappish! It made absolutely no sense whatsoever. It was lunacy!

"I…you…for…when…what?" Brooke finally managed to sputter out.

Sam decided to ignore the blonde's incoherent reply and continue.

"I was hoping that I could make it up to you," Sam responded, smiling mentally as Brooke gaped at her once again.

"I…you…for," Brooke stopped speaking and composed herself. She wasn't going to let Sam McPherson completely lower her to the level of a sputtering idiot. "How?"

"With the parental units…away," Sam said, making a face at the thought of her mother and Brooke's father away on a romantic retreat, "I thought that…if you weren't busy…I'd make dinner," Sam finished getting straight to the point before her spine could completely leave her body.

"Dinner?" Brooke questioned suspiciously.

"That's what I said," Sam confirmed. It was time to start smelling like roses.

"Alright," Brooke said crossing her arms.

"Good," Sam responded.

"Fine then," Brooke replied.

"Great," Sam said smiling.

After that they stood there in silence for a moment watching each other. Then Sam turned and quickly made her way out of the washroom. Ha!

---

Part Two

Sam took a step back from the stove and ran a hand through her hair. Turning she looked at the table, it was still set. Then she looked at the counter, it was still clean. After that she looked at the pie. It was still baked. Everything was ready. In fact everything was perfect. The entire thing had gone according to plan. That being said she couldn't understand why she was suddenly feeling nervous as hell. She wondered if it was too late to call over some of her friends to referee. Carmen and Harrison were fond of Brooke, and with them there if the dinner turned into a fiasco she was sure they would stop her from killing Brooke, and vice versa. Sam was seriously starting to give the idea some thought when she heard someone coming down the stairs. Brooke. Sam cursed under her breath and quickly ripped the apron she had been wearing off of her body. Looking around for some place to put it she panicked and shoved it under the sink. She then ran her hand through her hand and clasped her hands behind her back waiting patiently—and she hoped casually—for Brooke to appear.

"Smells delicious," Brooke commented upon entering the room.

"Let's hope it tastes the same way," Sam responded smiling as she brought the dishes over to the table. Brooke smiled at her nervously and sat down. Sam saw the look and smiled. "If it makes you feel better I can start eating first."

"I don't think that'll be necessary," Brooke said sending Sam a small smile. Still she waited until Sam had started to eat to pick up her own fork.

Sam looked over at Brooke contemplatively. If there was one thing they had had time for it was deep musings seeing as how conversation wasn't exactly flowing like a fountain at the table. At first they had talked haltingly about inconsequential, and truth be told, inane things. Brooke had apparently been curious about what spices Sam had used, and which was better for stir-fry a deep or shallow bowled wok. And Sam, she was curious about the rug in the living room. Was it Persian? Arabian? She didn't know and saw fit to ask the question.

When they started to run out of banal questions to ask, and had completely exhausted the subject of the weather--including an almost philosophical discussion of whether or not Fahrenheit was a better measure than Celsius--Brooke in a rather desperate attempt to stave of silence had said, "How about that Kosovo situation? Crazy, huh?" which rightfully sent Sam off into a fit of hysterics.

They were now sitting in silence and Brooke could feel Sam's eyes on her. Without looking up she said softly and perhaps most importantly sincerely, "You didn't have to do this."

"No," Sam agreed, looking down at her almost empty plate. "I didn't, did I?"

"Do you always have to answer people with questions?" Brooke asked, looking up.

"You're the one who just answered a question with a question," Sam pointed out. "Aren't you?" she added, looking up at Brooke with a smile.

Brooke wanted to laugh at that, Sam could tell because of the way her lips twitched, but she managed to control it.

"Why did you then?"

"What I said today," Sam responded. "It's common knowledge that dinner is one of the universal signs of peace."

"Are you sure it wasn't just to give me a heart attack?" Brooke asked. "I know how much you want that right sink."

Sam smiled at that.

"That was…how shall I put it…an unexpected bonus," Sam replied. "Brooke McQueen," she continued, waving her hand in the air dramatically, "the mono-syllabic beauty queen."

"Clever," Brooke replied, though she didn't actually look impressed.

"Think you can stomach some dessert?" Sam asked, standing up.

"Definitely," Brooke responded. She was actually very surprised by how proficient a cook Sam was. A few months earlier she wouldn't have believed Sam could cook anything that didn't include eye of newt.

Since they had been forced to move in together as a result of their parent's upcoming nuptials, Brooke and Sam had tended to avoid each other as much as possible when they were both in the house. It was a big house so it wasn't as difficult a task as it may have sounded. However, after sitting through an entire meal together--one that went better that either of them had expected--it seemed stupid to them to proceed with "Avoiding Each Other 101", at least for the night, and they settled down in the family room together.

"You know," Brooke said flipping on the television. "I think this is the first time we've been in this room at the same time."

"You're probably right," Sam agreed, eyeing Brooke. Turning her eyes back to the television, she looked at it surprised. "Do you actually like this show or are you just leaving it there for my benefit?"

"I happen to be an aficionado," Brooke said, smiling.

"Let me guess, you like it because of the cute detective," Sam said, leaning back in the chair smugly. Brooke looked over at the satisfied expression on the brunette's face and smiled to herself wickedly.

"No," she said, trying to clamp down on the knowing laugh that was threatening to erupt from her throat. "I like it because of the cute lawyer."

"Ewww," Sam responded, making a face. "He could be your grandfather."

"I wasn't talking about him," Brooke said pointedly, looking at the screen, which was now occupied by a striking brunette woman.

It took a moment for Brooke's meaning to settle with Sam, but when it did her eyes bugged out of her head and she sat up, leaning towards Brooke.

"Her?" Sam asked in a hushed tone, pointing at the screen.

"Come on," Brooke said, now very much struggling to contain her amusement. "You've gotta admit…she's got one hell of a fine behind." Sam turned and stared at the blonde in front of her in a state of complete bewilderment, befuddlement, stupification and a myriad of other adjectives. Brooke McQueen was commenting--with appreciation--about another woman's ass.

Brooke looked over in Sam's direction and when she saw the look on the other girl's face she completely lost it and dissolved into a fit of laughter. Sam looked over at Brooke and scowled.

"One day your face is going to freeze that way," Brooke said in-between laughing fits.

"I'm beginning to remember why we avoid each other," Sam muttered darkly. Brooke looked over at her when Sam said that.

"I was just rompin' with you," Brooke responded. "Completely innocent. Family and friends do it all the time. I guess I'm projecting, but if tonight is an indication of anything it's that we can get along without someone being clawed to death. And, I figure since we're going to be forced to be family, we could as well be friends and have a happily ever after."

"Yeah I guess," Sam responded moodily. "But that's not why I'm…"

"Scowling?" Brooke offered.

"Offended," Sam corrected.

"Offended?" Brooke asked.

"Homosexuality isn't a punch-line," Sam responded.

"Does everything have to be a crusade with you?" Brooke asked, shaking her head. "Besides, did it ever occur to you that maybe I just have an appreciation for the female form?" Brooke continued slowly as she pointedly raked her eyes over Sam's body.

"Stop it," Sam complained after a moment.

"Stop what?" Brooke's voice was innocent as could be even though her eyes were firmly focused on Sam's chest as the words came out of her mouth.

"Checking me out," Sam responded after a moment. She felt a blush rushing to her cheeks and with it a swell of irritation.

"Why? Does it make you uncomfortable?" Brooke asked in a semi-mocking tone as a smile spread across her face.

"Yes, but don't think that you can pin me with being close-minded or hypocritical," Sam started seeing that look in Brooke's eyes that meant trouble. They fought with each other enough that it was now obvious to them when the other was gearing up for blow-out and Sam sensed one coming.

"What makes you think I want to pin you at all?" The blonde retorted saucily, though her gaze was intense.

"Don't change the subject," Sam responded a little unnerved. Brooke was flirting with her…or at least trying to make it seem like she was flirting with her. There was sexual innuendo and Sam wasn't sure what to do with it. "It doesn't bother me because you think you're being clever, or because you're a girl. It bothers me because you think you're being chic."

"Okay," Brooke said slowly. "So you're not being hypocritical, you're being judgmental and narrow-minded. You don't have one thread of evidence to prove I'm being trendy versus sincere other than you don't like me."

"Yes, I do," Sam said, thinking frantically trying to come up with a thread of evidence other than intense dislike and a chronic inability to trust cheerleaders.

"What?" Brooke asked smugly.

"You're 'appreciation of the female form'," Sam said mockingly, "wouldn't hold up if put to the test. To put it another way, you're all bark and no bite."

"You don't know that," Brooke responded in a more subdued tone. The fact was that the conversation had taken on a life of its own and Brooke wasn't sure she wanted to go where it was going. Although it all had started as a way for her to get the better of Sam, she had been honest with what she had said up that point. Still, she was in high school, she was a cheerleader, she was popular and she wasn't about to admit anymore to someone she had just barely begun to like and still wouldn't trust any farther than she could throw her. The last thing she needed was to come to school on Friday and see the headline: "Gay love in the inner circle" or "Queer as McQueen" or "Mrs. And Mrs. Perfect" tag lined with "by: Sam McPherson"

"I think it's safe to say," Brooke went on, "that I'm the only person in this room who's an authority on what Brooke McQueen thinks and feels. You can't prove an emotion. You stubborn ass."

"Yes, you can," Sam responded, ignoring the last part of Brooke's statement but filing it away for future use nonetheless. Even as the words came out of her mouth and the plan formed in her head she knew it wasn't a good idea but was powerless to resist.

"How?" Brooke asked, even though she was not at all sure that she wanted to hear the answer.

"Kiss me," Sam replied in a perfectly even tone.

And there it was.

"You're insane," Brooke declared, getting up. "I'm going to bed."

"It's only eight-thirty," Sam replied derisively.

"I'm tired," Brooke shot back. "Associating with you is exhausting."

"Tired, or a liar," Sam challenged. "You say you have this completely un-chic appreciation for the female form. Well, I'm female, I've got a form…appreciate me."

"I never said I had an appreciation for YOUR female form," Brooke muttered darkly as she hovered by the door. However, even as the words left her mouth she found herself looking at Sam once again through her eyelids.

"What's wrong with my female form?" Sam asked self-consciously, looking down at herself, her brows furrowing momentarily.

"Nothing," Brooke admitted with a sigh. And as she looked at Sam she realized that it was true. She was a very attractive young woman. Very.

"Then kiss me," Sam said, standing up and moving over towards Brooke. "Prove me wrong."

"Has anybody ever told you that you're a pig-headed, obnoxious ass?"

"Take the wind out of my sails then," Sam challenged, her heart racing for reasons she didn't care to examine at the moment.

"You asked for it," Brooke responded and with that she dropped her arms from where they were crossed against her chest protectively and walked the few steps over to where Sam was standing.

They regarded each other for a moment; Sam was wishing she had dropped the subject and Brooke also wishing Sam had dropped the subject. Finally, Brooke leaned forward and brushed her lips against Sam's softly. She had expected the brunette to pull away once their lips met but to both of their surprise she didn't. And as if that wasn't a strange enough occurrence, Brooke who had planned on pulling away once Sam did, instead licked Sam's bottom lip and pushed their lips more firmly together.

Then, even though she was firmly enjoying the contact--much to her chagrin I must add--Brooke was certain that Sam that would pull away. Brooke was wrong, Sam didn't pull away. In fact, much to the surprise of both beautiful parties, Sam's lips parted, and when they parted Brooke's tongue entered her mouth and Sam let her in with a soft moan. Sam's hand then came to rest on the side of Brooke's face and Brooke's hand went the back of Sam's neck and neither of them were even entertaining the thought of pulling away anymore. Pulling each other closer, their lips met again and again in a passionate, hungry embrace as their tongues dueled with each other and their bodies strained to make contact.

And when they both needed air and they pulled apart, and their hands dropped, and as they came back to themselves and realized what they had done, and how thoroughly enjoyable it had been, they became in essence two deer caught in some very bright headlights.

"I'm just going to go to bed now," Brooke said slowly as she took a step back from Sam. Her heart was racing, and her head felt like it was going to float off of her body so she took a moment to compose herself before continuing. "You have a good night then, alright," and with that she turned around and carefully made her way out of the room leisurely walking up the stairs although every bone in her body told her to bolt and never look back.

Once Brooke was out of the room, Sam raised a finger to her lips and traced them slowly. They were still tingling, it was as if she could still feel Brooke's lips on her. She turned to look into the hallway, which was now vacant, and dropped down into an armchair with a sigh. She had kissed Brooke McQueen and she had not only liked it, she had loved it. There was something inherently wrong with that principle, they were foes, rivals, adversaries, they were supposed to love hating each other, not love loving each other. Then again, Sam thought to herself with a sardonic smile, it's a thin line between lust and hate.

---

Part Three

Sam's eye's drifted away from her pasta salad up and over to a table across the room. Actually it wasn't so much the table that interested her as it was the pretty blonde girl sitting at the table. It had been two days since 'the incident' and with the exception of sitting beside each other in biology class--and they didn't even have to do that much since they were doing labs--they had pretty much succeeded at avoiding each other every minute of the day. And, when they were forced into contact they were both painfully polite to each other and utterly uncomfortable.

"Trouble in paradise?" Harrison, the token boy--though a cute one--of their group asked, looking at Sam thoughtfully.

"What?" Sam asked distractedly, ripping her eyes off of Brooke.

"What's up with the two of you?" Lilly asked, looking at Sam and then at Brooke who had been watching them, but averted her eyes when she caught them looking at her.

"What do you mean 'the two of us'?" Sam asked suspiciously. "There's nothing going on, if something was going on I'd know because I'd be part of the something, and I'm not part of anything. Why? What have you heard? Who have you been talking to? It's not true," Sam said her eyes flickering between her three alarmed friends.

"Whoa," Carmen commented, gazing at Sam who was beyond agitated. "Calm down, Sam. We're just concerned is all. You've been acting…bizarrely lately that's all. We just thought that maybe it had something to do with Brooke, and the two of you being all alone together."

"Brooke? Ha!" Sam said. "You're crazy. Why would anything have to do with Brooke?" Then she stopped speaking and turned to look at Carm distrustfully. "Hey, what do you mean by 'alone together'? Just what are you insinuating?"

"Sam, girl, calm down," Harrison said exchanging looks with the other two people at the table who weren't acting like lunatics. "She wasn't insinuating anything. We just know about you and Brooke."

"Who told you?" Sam asked, looking alarmed suddenly. "Have you talked to her? What did she say? Whatever she said don't believe her she started it!"

"Started what?" Lilly asked, confused.

Sam took a deep shuttering breath and looked around at her friends. They had absolutely no idea what she was talking about. She was acting like a lunatic, she just had to calm down. Brooke wouldn't tell anyone what happened, and she hadn't told anyone what happened. Her friends were just curious because she was acting like a weirdo…that was going to stop.

"Nothing," Sam answered finally in a considerable calmer tone. "I'm sorry, I know I've been acting kinda crazy for the past few days. It's just…you're right, you know? Being cooped up with Barbarella has kind of put me on edge."

"Kind of?" Lily asked raising a bemused eyebrow.

"Alright, I crossed the chasm into temporary insanity," Sam responded forcing a smile onto her face to go along with the shake of her head. When she looked over at them to gauge their reactions she saw that they were all still looking at her expectantly. Meeting their gaze Sam quickly decided that maybe a small infusion of truth into her argument would help it along. "She just does something to me," Sam added softly, shaking her head. She knew that they would believe that. Nobody irritated her as much as Brooke, nobody angered her, or interested her…or attracted her like Brooke.

"The two of you are going to be living together for a long time, you've got to learn to get along with her," Harrison responded. He could never really wrap his mind around Sam's utter and complete intolerance/hatred of Brooke. She was by far the least putrid member of the popular crowd. While she was sometimes led astray by them, she tried to be a nice person.

"Or at least tolerate her," Carmen added. She really hated it when Sam and Brooke were fighting. Sam was her closet friend and Brooke was someone she admired and a person that had always treated her with respect. It just didn't seem right that the two of them were always at each other's throats.

"I'm trying. Really. We're making an effort," Sam replied. She really wanted to get the subject off of Brooke. She was thinking about Brooke entirely too much—especially at night—and it had to stop.

"Right….like glaring at each other from across crowded rooms. Yeah, I can see the progress you've made already," Harrison drawled sarcastically.

"Funny. It just so happens that we had a civil dinner together no more than two nights ago, okay?" She hoped that at least something useful would come out of that night, her friends would leave her alone.

"Please tell me I'm not the only one that realizes that's when you started acting weird," Lily interjected.

"It doesn't count if the bonding causes increases of hatred," Harrison added.

"What is this? The Spanish Inquisition? Can we please just have a nice conversation without mentioning Brooke McQueen?" Sam asked, exasperated. She just couldn't deal with this anymore. Apparently that became obvious to her table mates for they all grudgingly agreed to move onto greener pastures.

Brooke ripped her eyes away from Sam's from when she saw the brunette and her friends turn and look her way. Trying her best for nonchalance, she focused on Nicole who seemed to be talking to her.

"What's going on between you and Spam anyway Brookie? Captain S and the Super Freaks are acting even weirder than normal."

"It's nothing…just normal Sam stuff," Brooke responded distractedly as her eyes ventured back over to Sam's table. "What do you think they're talking about, they've been looking over here a lot. I think they're talking about me. Do you think they're talking about me? I wonder what they're talking about?" Brooke rattled off in a dream-like tone.

"Honey, you're going to have to leave that one with the answering service or ask me one at a time," Nicole responded, watching Brooke with narrow eyes. She could tell that something was going on with the natural blonde, something big, and that it had everything in the world to do with Spam McPherson.

Brooke turned her head to the side and gazed at her friend, smiling. Nicole was a constant, unchanging in her charming viciousness and absolute loyalty, and Brooke desperately needed that at the moment.

"Never mind. Sam's just making me crazy," Brooke responded. "Where're the boys at?" she asked changing the subject. Sam, was something she definitely didn't want to talk about. Hell, she didn't even want to think about her. As Nicole rattled off some answer Brooke's gazed drifted back over to Sam McPherson and settle there with a surprising intensity that didn't go unnoticed by her companion.

---

Part Four

Sam twirled her pencil around in between her fingers as she stared at the text book in front of her. Calculus, how she hated it so. She was concentrating so intently on the question in front of her that she didn't hear when someone entered the kitchen.

Brooke walked into the kitchen, stopping in her tracks when she noticed the figure at the table. She froze for a moment, anticipating Sam's glance but it never came. Staying where she was Brooke took a closer look at the girl and realized that she didn't even know that she had entered the room. There was a slight wrinkle in her forehead and her fingers drummed against the table top while her other hand spun a pencil around restlessly. Brooke felt a small smile spread across her face caused by the pure preciousness of the situation. Sam sat there unguarded and natural and Brooke was captivated.

This had to stop. They had to talk, Brooke decided. She couldn't take it anymore, she didn't want to take it anymore. She was confident that the reason she was so preoccupied with what had happened that night was because she hadn't gotten any closure. What she need was to gloat and have Sam acknowledge that she had won, and then life could go back to normal. Yes, she was certain that that was what was wrong, that had to be what was wrong because there was absolutely no way in the universe that she could actually be falling for Sam. The idea that she could be falling for Sam was simply insane. In other words it was insanity and it was not to be acknowledged at all, especially when this handy excuse was present.

"I think we need to talk," Brooke said, announcing her presence. The pencil fell out of Sam's hand at the sound of Brooke's voice and her fingers stopped mid-drum. She looked over that the blonde, her face completely expressionless.

"About what? I don't know anything about the new Donna Karen collection," Sam responded dryly. She was actually quite impressed with herself considering that her heart was pounding a mile a minute and her palms were beginning to sweat. God, she hated Brooke.

"You know about what," Brooke said refusing to say it out loud. Voicing things, hearing the spoken words always seemed to make things seem more real and Brooke liked thinking of what happened as a surreal experience.

"No. I don't," Sam responded just as stubbornly.

"About that night. That the thing happened," Brooke said, elaborating as vaguely as possible.

"Why?" Sam asked, her eyes involuntarily tracing Brooke's form. Truthfully, she was surprised the blonde was bringing it up. She had assumed that Brooke had forgotten about what happened, or that if she hadn't forgotten she would have proceeded with burying the memory at the back of her brain never to be seen or heard from again. This wanting to talk about it threw Sam off. It was what she would have considered un-Brooke like, however, she was coming to realize that she didn't really know as much about Brooke as she liked to think, and some of things she thought she knew she didn't really know at all.

"Because," Brooke responded rather peevishly. Why couldn't Sam just give in like a normal person. It wasn't like she was asking for a lung, she just wanted to talk to her.

"Because why?"

"Just because alright," Brooke said, getting a bit flustered. She should have expected this. She did expect this, but still, she didn't really expect it.

"I can see that this is going to be a stimulating conversation," Sam responded caustically. She often got that way when she was trying to hide her own discomfort. She was actually so interested in what Brooke was going to say that she almost made herself sick. She was smitten with McQueen and it made her stomach tie up in knots and her heart flutter at the same time. God, she hated Brooke.

"Listen, this can be over with real quick, all I want is some closure," Brooke replied.

"Closure? Was there ever an opening?" Sam asked genuinely confused as to what the other girl was getting at. She was beginning to wonder if they were talking about the same thing.

"Yes. All you have to do is admit that I was right and you were wrong and we can all get back to our normal existences," Brooke responded shifting her weight from foot to foot nervously.

"Admit you were right about what?" Sam demanded standing up. "I don't know what you're talking about but I'm sure that you weren't right." Sam was actually a bit comforted by this turn of events. She knew this terrain, she knew how to fight with Brooke and trade barbs and annoy and heckle. It was the coy glances and sexual tension that threw her off.

"That's so…so…Sam!" Brooke responded in an exasperated tone. The nervous energy in the room was picking up in intensity and neither of them seemed to know what to do with it. "You were wrong about me so just say sorry and shut up!"

"I was wrong? About you? Brooke, what the hell are you talking about?" Sam asked incredulously her head was starting to hurt. She couldn't really defend her point unless she knew what she was arguing for.

"You said I was being chic," Brooke answered in a softer tone, her gaze skittering away from Sam's.

"So?" Sam replied although she knew exactly where the blonde was going.

"So I kissed you," Brooke responded so softly Sam almost didn't hear her.

"So?" Sam asked again even though her heart skipped a beat at Brooke's words.

"So I proved I wasn't being chic. You were wrong and I was right."

"That didn't prove anything," Sam replied immediately. She didn't even know why she couldn't just let it go. If she just did what Brooke asked then that would be the end of it. But she just couldn't seem to bring herself to do it. It was almost as if she didn't want it to be over. "That just proves you'll do anything to win a bet."

Brooke stared at the brunette incredulously. She couldn't believe the words she was hearing.

"You. Are. Unbelievable," Brooke finally breathed out. "I shared with you, I did everything you asked even to your stupid ass proposal, and now you're….what the hell is wrong with me?" Brooke responded with a touch of wonderment in her voice. "To think that I ever even considered the possibility that you had human emotions, that I actually was…" she stopped there realizing that she was about to voice her attraction to Sam and that under the circumstances that was not the thing to do.

"You actually what?" Sam asked her voice barely a whisper. "You actually what?" she asked again when Brooke dropped her gaze to the floor and made a motion as if she was going to leave the room.

"You really want to know?" Brooke asked looking up at Sam again. She felt as if she was losing control of herself. She wanted this to end, but she also wanted it to continue. She could feel Sam's heat, sense her passion. It was one of the most intimate situations she had ever been in, and even though she knew that it was a mistake she wanted to finish it properly, she had to say her piece. "Do you want me to tell you so that you can dig into me again and attack me? Because I'll tell if you ask."

"Why?" Sam asked particularly struck by the last part of Brooke's statement.

"That's part of the answer," Brooke responded mysteriously, her eyes misting over. Sam always did bring out her emotions. No one made her feel like the girl standing in front of her and she knew that that would be the end of her. That Sam and all Sam was and all Sam did to her would wreck her. But she couldn't stop, because it was Sam, and with Sam she could never hold back. It was passion. It had always been passion she rapidly came to realize.

"I want to know," Sam replied softly, her eyes locked on Brooke. There was something going on inside of the other girl, she could sense it building, like the coming tide and she wanted it to wash over her.

"That I was attracted to you. That you…of all the people in world had to be the one that I wanted. That I actually believed a day would come when we would be able to have a civil conversation and I would, at the very least, be able to say that I 'knew' you," Brooke responded. And as unbelievable as it sounded, it was true. Sam McPherson had been sexually frustrating her for her entire adolescence.

Sam closed her eyes after Brooke finished breaking the intimate link the girl had established and took in a deep, shuddering breath. Brooke McQueen had just admitted to a long standing attraction to her that was more than just skin deep. She was absolutely stunned. She was absolutely exhilarated and she didn't want to be. Brooke was everything that she was not, was everything that she detested. She was popular, and vain, and arrogant and--Sam finally had to admit to herself--smart and sensitive and caring, and most certainly beautiful. Sam had to admit that of all the people she knew, none of them got to her like Brooke did. None of them made her as crazy, or as interested, or as captivated. No one made her as attracted to them. She wanted Brooke, and she hated Brooke? No, she just wanted her, and in some way she knew she always had.

"Aren't you going to say anything?" Brooke asked softly, breaking Sam out of her reverie. Sam opened her eyes and looked at the figure in front her. She took two steps and forward and paused momentarily gauging Brooke's reaction. The cheerleader stood absolutely still. Sam took another step forward so that she was now standing directly in front of Brooke and without a moment's thought or hesitation she reached out placing her hand behind Brooke's neck and crushed their lips together. It was not the tentative, shy kiss that they had shared before, but one born of pure passion, of years of unknown pent up desire. It was fire.

Brooke moaned softly into Sam's mouth as her hands reached up to hold the shorter frame in front of her. There was now no space between their bodies, they were tangled together in a heated embrace, all hunger and passion and need. There was no thought in this place, no logic, no reason, no denial, only truth and feeling.

Brooke's hand crept up Sam's side as the brunette turned her attention to ravaging every available inch of skin on the blonde's neck. Sounds of passion filled the room, whose they were in was unknown and irrelevant. Brooke's hand made it to the underside of Sam's breast and instinctively she cupped it, squeezing gently causing Sam to release a guttural moan and shudder against her as Brooke's thumb grazed her nipple.

This sound of pure, undiluted pleasure, this verbalization of the intensity of the attraction between them cleared up the haze surrounding them like a bucket of cold water to the face. The sun was rising in their world of dark, the rays bringing with it the realization of what they were doing and legs and arms freed themselves and mouths were removed from their conquered territory leaving two girls shaking in its wake.

"What's happening?" Sam breathed out finally, resisting her sudden urge to distance herself physically from Brooke. Running was not going to answer her questions or solve the situation between the two of them. They were now past the point of denial.

"Groping," Brooke replied, her gaze flittering around the kitchen before returning to Sam, a small smile crossing her face.

"Between us," Sam clarified as her eyes raked over Brooke's body before focusing on the girl's slightly swollen lips. 'I did that' Sam thought to herself as she gazed at them. 'I want to do it again' she admitted.

"Groping," Brooke responded once more. Sam looked at her questioningly. Her eyes were glazed over and there was a noticeable flush to her skin. She wasn't quite sure what to make of it.

"I'm serious."

"I know," Brooke responded. "Technically I was correct, though I realize your inquiry was of a more philosophical nature. Truthfully, I'd like to give you a better answer, but…well to put it as tactfully as possible, my brain isn't getting much blood right now which is making coherent thought very difficult," the blonde continued. Her eyes were raking over Sam hungrily and Sam realized that they were really in the same boat on this particular subject.

"What kind of thought isn't difficult?"

"Naughty thoughts," Brooke responded a slow smile stretching across her face.

"Oh god," Sam moaned and she screwed her eyes shut tightly. She had to think, she couldn't think if she was looking at Brooke while the other girl flirted with her and ravaged her with her eyes. "We can't do this…here, I mean…" Sam said opening her eyes and trailing off as she realized she wasn't exactly sure what she meant. Every neuron in her body was telling her grab Brooke and never let go, and her mind was telling her that things had to stop, had to slow down.

As Sam spoke, Brooke immediately turned her head and looked into the living room. More accurately she looked at the plush couch in the living room.

"Not there either," Sam said following her gaze realizing what Brooke was thinking. "Not now. Not…I don't even know…I week ago I couldn't stand you…this is fast, this is very fast…this is practically warp."

"You watch Star Trek?" Brooke asked, momentarily throwing Sam off of track. She seemed to do that a lot. Nobody else did that to her, but Brooke seemed to be a natural.

"I…no….it's common knowledge," Sam replied distractedly as she looked into Brooke's eyes.

A silence came over the room, as the two of them merely stood there observing each other, until Brooke broke it.

"I want to…" Brooke said stopping mid-sentence and reaching out to Sam.

"Oh god," Sam moaned again as Brooke's wrapped her arms around Sam's waist and drew them together again.

"You're right," Brooke breathed practically into Sam's ear. "I mean…we don't even understand what's happening…where this is going…or even what we're doing. I only know two things… and one if them is that I don't know anything. The other is that at the moment I can't seem to bare the thought of you being out of my arms…and…and I want you to come upstairs with me."

"I have something to tell you too," Sam said, resting her head on Brooke's shoulder and breathing in her scent, shuddering slightly. "You're not the only one with a circulation problem at the moment, and I know that right now I would do just about anything you ask me to because my brain seems to be slipping further and further south whenever you touch me. But, if we do…something, we'll regret it, and I don't want to regret this."

Brooke placed her hand on Sam's face and brought the other girl's eyes up to meet hers. "I wasn't propositioning you. I just…I just want to be near you. I…I think we can handle it," Brooke said softly, her eyes searching Sam's.

"Because we've done a really good job controlling ourselves so far," Sam replied in a slightly amused voice as she felt Brooke's hand begin to rub small circles on her back. Her eyes fluttered shut, and she felt her breath catch.

"Well, if you can't be an adult about it then--" Brooke started to say in a teasing tone, but Sam interrupted her.

"Oh, and you're saying that you can be? You're the one that's feeling me up right at this very moment."

"I…" Brooke started to reply before she realized that she was indeed feeling Sam up. "I didn't say it would be easy," Brooke finally responded in a whisper next to Sam's ear. Sam leaned into her and wrapped her arms around Brooke's waist. It was if the cheerleader were some sort of fantastic drug.

"Challenges make us stronger people," Sam responded as she nuzzled Brooke's neck. She was sure that she was trying to convince herself with the statement because Brooke already seemed to have acquiesced to her desires and the situation at hand.

"Very true," Brooke mumbled as her eyes closed and look of pure bliss spread across her face as Sam's lips moved against her skin.

"We should go to bed."

"Definitely."

---

Part Five

Brooke ran her hand along Sam's side, lightly tracing the expanse between the brunette's hips and breasts. They were lying on Brooke's bed side by side as the blonde carried out her experiment. They had hardly spoken since leaving the kitchen, they hadn't needed to, their actions flowing naturally from each other.

"Brooke," Sam breathed out softly, her breath hitching in her throat.

"Hmmm," the cheerleader responded distractedly as she began to trace patterns over the top of Sam's shirt.

"What are we going to do?" Brooke stopped her movements as Sam posed her question. She supposed it was possible that the brunette was referring to their current situation, but she knew that that wasn't the case. Sam, as always, was looking at the big picture. She didn't want to know what they were going to do a minute from now or an hour from now, she wanted to know what they were going to do about the situation, what they were going to do about them and what it meant to their lives.

Brooke's eyes--which had been following her hands--turned to look up at Sam thoughtfully.

"I don't know," she responded truthfully. "I know that I've been…the dominant personality so far, but I don't have any more of an idea about what's going on than you do. This is all new to me. These feelings…that I have for you, I've never felt like this before."

"Not with…" Sam started to ask, but Brooke beat her to it.

"No. That was the problem. That's why it's now a 'was'," Brooke responded softly. "This," she said, shifting closer to Sam as her hands began to explore again unconsciously, "is something…have I already used new?" she asked, smiling self-consciously.

"Once or twice," Sam responded looking down at Brooke's face. The blonde's eyes were darker than she had ever seen them and there was a perpetual flush to her cheeks and agitation in her movements.

"We can't stop," Sam stated a moment later even though it came out sounding more like a question. As she spoke, she considered whether she truly believed that she could stop wanting Brooke, and the answer she kept on getting was in the negatory.

Brooke regarded Sam carefully, studying her face, her eyes, her lips as she thought about the question. After a moment, she then leaned forward and brought their lips together tenderly. Wrapping the hand that had been exploring Sam's side around her body, she moved closer to Sam, hugging her as she continued her gentle exploration of the other girl's mouth. This wasn't the fiery embrace they had held each other in earlier, but something entirely more intimate, soft, more loving. The hunger that had consumed them earlier had been replaced with a sort of quiet wonderment and awe at the depth of emotion they inspired in each other, yet with an underlying fire.

"No, I don't think we can," Brooke whispered once they parted. "Now that we know…what it's like," she continued, observing Sam. "Even if we stopped…I think…no, I know I would always still…" she let the sentence hang, choosing instead to simply look at the brunette.

"This is going to get complicated," Sam commented as she brushed a strand of hair out of Brooke's face tenderly.

"Going to?" Brooke asked, smiling softly. "I'd say it's already a complex mess of complications. Not even broaching the serious social implications of our new union, our very nuclear familial situation leads to a whole new set of problems. After all, we are practically sisters. Not to mention that our parents are coming home soon and no matter how hard I try to control them my hands just seem to wonder all over your body in a way that is not at all sisterly AND they do this in very, very noticeable way."

"That was very comforting. If I could have drafted up a list of all the things not to say in response to my statement I still wouldn't have come up with all the things you just mentioned," Sam muttered leaning into Brooke nonetheless.

"Sam…" Brooke whispered softly.

"Oh, just shut up," the brunette responded silencing whatever Brooke was going to say with her lips. Talking about their situation wasn't going to do either of them any good at that time. Things were how they were, and it was obviously clear to both of them that situation wasn't going change, even if it would be easier for them to just forget about it. They were under each others skin now, and they would just have to burn their bridges whenever they came to them. What was important then and there was simply that they were together, and that's what Sam wanted to concentrate on. The world could be put on hold for the time being.

---

Part Six

"Sam!"

"What!" Sam exclaimed, practically jumping out of her skin. "Decaf Carm, decaf."

"Don't decaf me, you're the one who's moon-walking. What's wrong with you?" Carmen asked as she looked at her friend oddly.

"What are you talking about?" Sam asked, turning around, even as she realized that she had no idea what Carmen had been saying to her before she yelled out her name.

"You've been walking around all week with this goofy expression on your face and glassy look in your eyes. You didn't eat any of those brownies Emory was handing out this morning, did you!" Carm asked alarmed as the thought suddenly struck her.

"No," Sam responded shaking her head. "I'm just in a good mood. Not even I can be a walking, talking tragedy 24/7. Things are just better at the hacienda now, that's all."

"You didn't kill her did you?" Carm asked, looking at Sam who had a disconcertingly serene look on her face. It was bewildering because Carmen had never seen Sam quite so relaxed, so content in the entire time that they had known each other, and they had known each other for quite a while.

"Let's just say that we reached a new understanding," Sam replied her lips twitching into a smile before she turned away trying to hide whatever emotions might be showing on her face.

Carmen pulled Lily back as she spotted Sam about to turn around and look behind her. When Carm thought the coast was clear she let go of Lily and waved her forward. They had been trailing Sam, who was being suspiciously cautious--though apparently with reason, for a few minutes.

"Tell me again why we're trailing her?" Lily whispered to Carm as they tip-toed down the hall.

"Because Sam is our friend, and if something is wrong we have to know about so that we can help her. Likewise, if something is really good, we need to know about it so that we can encourage and support her," Carmen responded.

"Right," Lily responded, not really convinced at all. "Why don't we just ask her?"

"I did and she won't spill it. What kind of friends would we be if we just let her get away with that? That's right, bad," Carmen responded, answering her own question before Lily could respond. She knew that she was being slightly underhanded but really, it was for a good cause.

Ducking behind a wall, they watched as Sam came to a stop. A moment later Brooke came into their view and stopped just in front of Sam.

"See, it's a good thing the cavalry's here," Carm commented when Brooke entered the picture. Lily was about to respond, but Sam started to talk and they both shut up so that they could here what was being said.

"This is so…clandestine," Sam said softly. "I feel like I should be calling you Lilac or something."

"I know," Brooke responded. "Sorry. But it's kind of hard to give advance warning for surprises. It kind of makes them…well not," she went on, dipping her head down shyly a bit. Sam saw the movement and smiled. Brooke could be unbelievably cute when she was nervous.

"A surprise?" Sam asked.

"Yeah. I mean, I suppose I could have given it to you later…but that would have gone against the whole impatient thing so…you know," Brooke said, reaching into her pocket. "It's nothing special, I just remembered…I mean you said that you needed something historic for your class…so…" Brooke finished lamely, placing something in Sam's hand.

"Where did you get this?" Sam asked softly as she looked down at the pendant in her hand. It was exquisite.

"It was my mother's. It's Saxon, almost three hundred years old. Or so she said. It looks old anyway. I figured you could just make something up about it since I don't really know, and…" Brooke trailed off, shifting her feet uncomfortably.

"Thank you," Sam said, placing her hand under Brooke's chin and raising her head so that she could see Brooke's eyes. She was incredibly touched by the gesture, not only that Brooke remembered something she had just mentioned in passing, but that what she had been given had belonged to Brooke's mom. A subject Sam knew was painful for Brooke.

They stared at each other in silence for a moment after that, then Sam leaned forward and pressed her lips against Brooke's softly. As Brooke placed her hand on Sam's hip, the pressure between their lips increasing slightly as they stayed connected in that tender embrace for a minute before pulling back.

"I'll see you later," Brooke said as she took a step back. This wasn't the time and it definitely wasn't the place for them to get lost in each other. She had learned that it was best to remove herself from temptation when temptation's name was Sam.

They stood there for a moment longer, looking at each other warmly before turning around and heading back in the directions they had come from.

"Ohmygod," Carmen breathed out once the lovebirds where out of sight. "Ohmygod."

"Ohmygod," Lily said as well, her voice barely a whisper.

"I think I covered that," Carm responded.

"Did we just see what I think we saw?" Lily asked, staring at the spot the two girls had been standing in before.

"If you saw what I saw then I think we saw what we saw," Carmen responded as she tried to wrap her mind around what she had just witnessed.

"It would explain a lot," Lily commented thoughtfully. "The sudden happiness, the absence of bitch fights…the nights suddenly spent at home."

"But…Brooke? They hate each other," Carmen responded, even though she had to admit that evidence was pretty conclusive that they couldn't have disliked each that much. After all she didn't go around tongue kissing Nicole or Mary Cherry.

"Love rarely makes sense. Besides, you know the saying," Lily replied.

"There's a thin line between love and hate," Carmen answered dutifully. "Or in this case a thin sheet."

"You don't think they've…do you?" Lily asked as she tried not to picture what what she was asking would look like.

"They live in the same house, a house that's deserted currently except for them, and they've been spending their nights holed up in there…together. It's a distinct possibility," Carmen replied logically.

"Don't tell me you want to do an intervention," Lily said, seeing that look in her friend,s eyes. "We're not even suppose to know about this."

"But we do," Carmen responded, "and I don't see why this should change our original mission objective. We spied so that we could ultimately encourage and support Sam in her happiness. The fact that the source of said happiness happens to have shocked the hell out of us doesn't matter. Besides, the fact that she hasn't said anything just proves that she needs our support, that she's scared."

"I suppose so," Lily agreed grudgingly.

"Then it's decided," Carmen stated as they began to make their way back to a less deserted area of the school.

"They're an insanely good looking couple," Lily commented dismally as they walked.

"Yeah," Carm responded.

"She's lucky to have friends like us. You know, who will support her shamefully good-looking union," Lily went on.

"Yeah," Carm responded.

"Do you want ice-cream?"

"Yeah."

---

Part Seven

Sam rose up from the position she had been lying in on the couch and slid over closer to where Brooke was sitting. She slid her right leg over Brooke's then lowered herself down so that she was straddling the blonde's hips and smiled. Brooke placed her hands on Sam's hips, steadying her but other than that made no other movements.

"You want to say that again?" Sam asked slowly, as a dangerously sexy smile spread across her face.

Brooke took a minute to think over her response, tilting her head up in the air thoughtfully, before she replied, "I would prefer not to."

"You would prefer not to," Sam repeated contemplatively. "You know what I would prefer?" she went on, watching Brooke shift uncomfortably beneath her. Brooke looked up at Sam and smiled. She knew what the look in the other girl's eyes meant and she couldn't help but become absolutely giddy at the sight of it. Sam then leaned in and brought their lips together passionately. Brooke's left hand tightened the hold that it had on Sam's waist while her right one began to trail over Sam's body, moving down to her thighs, rubbing them in an up and down motion as she leaned forward into Sam.

Brooke felt Sam press down onto her thigh, increasing the contact between them as she dipped her head down, focusing her attention on Brooke's neck and jaw line; which she had discovered were quite sensitive. Brooke moaned deeply and dipped the hand which had been resting on Sam's hip under the brunette's shirt, shuddering lightly when she felt her heated skin beneath her fingers. Brooke's hand continued to journey north as Sam returned her lips to Brooke's once more, one of her hands moving behind Brooke's neck pulling her towards her.

As Brooke's hand finally made contact with Sam's breast, the brunette groaned and pushed down onto Brooke's thigh once again. Brooke could feel her heat this time, the passion building between them creating a haze around her. She moved her hands back to Sam's waist and began to lift up her shirt. Stopping just underneath Sam's breasts Brooke made a quick movement shifting their positions so that Sam was now laying on her back while Brooke was situated partially on top of her and in between her legs.

Brooke immediately brought her lips to the exposed flesh of Sam's abdomen, placing feathery kisses all around and dipping into her belly button licking and occasionally scraping her teeth against Sam's skin. She could feel Sam's hands in her hair, holding her in place, and was acutely aware of the way the body beneath her quivered every time she touched it.

She raised her head and looked up into Sam's face. This was farther than they had ever gone before, they were treading in uncharted territory and Brooke needed to see if they were still together. Sam looked down at her with stormy eyes, her lips faintly parted and her hair hanging around her head like a disheveled hallow. Her lips curled up into a sweet smile as she watched Brooke regard her, and the cheerleader was suddenly overcome by emotions so strong she wasn't sure she could name them if ever the test were put before her. She rose up from her position by Sam's waist conquered by the desire to kiss her. To place her ear over Sam's heart and hear it beat. So she did. And when she had removed her lips from Sam's and placed her face on her chest she tilted her eyes upward and whispered, "I love your smile." It wasn't exactly what she had planned on saying, but it would do.

"I love how you make me smile," she responded with the upturned lips Brooke had just commented on with appreciation, then she placed her hand, lifting Brooke's head up so that she could once again take her lips. As they kissed Sam's other hand slipped under Brooke's shirt, mirroring the blonde's earlier actions as Brooke gave herself up to Sam's ministrations.

They were rudely snapped out their haze by the sound of knocking at the door. Brooke, reacting more from instinct than anything else, rolled off of Sam and into a standing position while simultaneously exclaiming, "Holy God!"

"Who is it?" Sam asked sitting up herself. Brooke simply looked down at Sam and raised an eyebrow. "Right," Sam responded standing up. "Sorry."

Sam opened the door to find Carmen and Lily standing on the porch with their hands clasped behind their backs, smiling at her in a particularly suspicious way. Sam was slightly disconcerted seeing them standing there and as such was slow to respond when Carmen led the way into the house.

"Hey," Lily said by way of greeting as Carm pulled her into the hallway.

"Hey," Sam said, finally starting to pull out of her stupor. "What are you guys doing here?" she continued as she looked down at herself as discreetly as possible to make sure that everything was in its place. She had the distinct impression that she looked like she had been rolling around on the couch engaged in heavy petting, and the fact that her friends were now staring at her intently only intensified her anxiety.

"We need to talk," Carmen said seriously as she looked at Sam. "It's extremely important."

Sam eyes drifted from Carm to something just behind her and then back to Carm again. It wasn't the stealthy, inconspicuous motion she thought it was and it caused Carm to turn around and notice Brooke hovering around the living room door for the first time. When Carm made eye contact with her Brooke immediately, almost guiltily, dropped her gaze and muttered something about Nicole and Mary Cherry then made a bee-line for the nearest exit. Once she was gone both Carmen and Lily focused their attention on Sam who was mentally berating Brooke for abandoning her to the inquisition, and at the same time envious of her ability to bail the hell out of there.

Sam shook her head as she watched Brooke retreat, then turned to face her company. "Where did she find those people?" she muttered somewhat rhetorically, her voice coated with disdain. Carmen smirked at the question as Lily regarded Sam.

"Are you okay?" Lily asked looking at the brunette more closely. "You look a little flushed." There was silence for a moment then Carmen responded by knocking her in the shoulder gently and cocking her head to the side, saying in that time old tradition, 'you know!'. Lily's eyes widened in response as her brain caught up with her mouth and she muttered, "oh, yeah I forgot."

"Forgot what?" Sam asked having heard the utterance as she ushered them out of the foyer and into the kitchen. She wasn't prepared to re-enter the living room just yet.

"Okay," Carmen said gearing herself up for what was about to occur. "We could be coy about this, you know, beat around bush, sniff around, tiptoe, creep…"

"I get it," Sam cut in. "You could be less than forward."

"Right. So we could do that, but we won't. We discussed this at length and I decided that honesty is the best policy." Sam noticed the shift from 'We' to 'I' and turned to look at Lily who simply rolled her eyes. Sam smiled and turned her attention back to Carm.

"Alright," was all she said, urging Carm on.

"Okay," Carm said, taking a deep breath. "Simply put…we know what's going on with you and Brooke."

"Going on?" Sam responded very carefully. She didn't want to have another freak out like at lunch at week before. "Between me and Brooke?"

"Yeah. We know…that you two are like together romantically…in a gay way," Carm clarified. Lily merely stood there, she thought that it was the best possible course of action. Besides, she figured that Carm had been very clear, she didn't think it was possible to get any clearer, except for maybe diagrams. She really hoped Carm didn't draw a diagram.

Sam stood there for a moment simply staring off into space before focusing on the two girls in front of her once more. "What makes you say that?" she responded calmly.

"We saw you two making out," Lily said, piping up. Carm shot her a look. "What? It's true."

"Oh," Sam responded. She figured that she could try to deny it, she was creative that way, but she didn't see what the point would be. They had obviously figured out what was going on and they hadn't freaked out or wigged out or really outed anything but her which led Sam to the conclusion that denying it would just be…well, stupid. "Okay. Then," was all that she managed to get out however.

"Anyway," Carm went on, "what we really wanted to tell you is that we're happy if you're happy and that if you want to talk we're here for you. If mean sure we were surprised at first, and then we had ice-cream, but well…even though this wasn't officially part of the speech, Brooke's like the hottest girl in school so, like, props and all that," she finished, shifting her weight from one foot to the other nervously before settling into a set position. "Oh, and Lily's got pamphlets."

"Pamphlets?" Sam asked in voice cracking mid-sentence. Her mind was spinning, not only did they know they had gone out and gotten pamphlets? Sam couldn't even conceive of what kind of pamphlets could they have gotten anyway? It wasn't like they were discussing healthy eating and certainly pregnancy wasn't an issue. She couldn't believe it, they had gotten pamphlets! That was, she couldn't…ugh.

"Pamphlet," Lily corrected, digging into her hand bag and pulling it out. A bewildered Sam took the offered booklet and read the cover, a look of agony soon coming over her face.

"Same-sex Safe sex," she read out before gazing at Lily. "I…I'm at a loss for words. Truly."

"I just hope it didn't come to late," Lily responded honestly, if somewhat gravely.

"Come to la….just how much have you two talked about this!" Sam asked, rather alarmed when she realized what Lily was insinuating. "You can be concerned with your friends, but you can't be CONCERNED with your friends, if you know what I mean," Sam went on her voice raising in pitch a little. They had been discussing whether or not she and Brooke had…consummated their relationship, that seriously freaked Sam out, she was officially overwhelmed. She had always assumed that the coming out process involved baby steps, this was like direct entrance into the tour de France. She wanted her baby steps dammit!

Carm was the one to respond. "It's just that this is a big, empty house. And you two have some big teenage hormones and there's a hot tub and…"

"Oh my god, we are NOT having this conversation!" Sam exclaimed. It was one thing for her to think about making love to Brooke, it was another thing to hear her friends discuss the possibility like it was an excursion to the mall, or perhaps a week-end getaway. Her love life was not something to be examined in a committee. "No!" Sam exclaimed holding up her hand when she saw Lily about to say something. "No but, no but, no but…no, N-O but!" she went flashing them both the 'talk to the hand' gesture out of pure desperation. Why couldn't they see that she was having a nervous breakdown? Why didn't they shut up?

Those were questions Sam never got the answer to for she came to find out that her feelings had very little effect on how the rest of the night would actually turn out. By the time Brooke returned home her two closest friends in the world ripped far more information about her--and what was happening in her life--then she would have thought possible and that turned out to be for the best because after she stopped freaking and just talked to them she felt like a huge weight--one which she had only been mildly aware of carrying before--had been lifted off of her shoulders, and that was most certainly a good thing.

---

Part Eight

"I know…yeah I know…listen I'm talking to you now, aren't I? That was unnecessarily harsh and bitchy. No. She's not a canned meat. If Gwyneth and Winonna could make up after the "Shakespeare in Love" fiasco the fact that I no longer have homicidal feelings towards Sam should not shock and alarm you. Nic…I'm not trying to silence you. Yeah, okay." Brooke was holding the phone to her ear with her shoulder as she made her way down the stairs. She had been neglecting Nicole and the Glamazons since entering into her relationship with Sam and was now reaping the consequences. Nicole Julian was not a woman that tolerated being put on hold well, Brooke knew this and now she was paying for the oversight.

"She wants what! I know part of the reason we like and fear her is because she's insane but has she completely lost it? I don't want to control her and I don't want her to worship me. Both of those options are really, really disturbing, why can't she just find god or something? There's no way we're wearing maroon and yellow, I'd wear Cher's 1998 Oscar outfit before I'd go near that color combination," Brooke continued as she made her way towards the kitchen. Brooke loved Mary Cherry in a weird sort of way, but sometimes the girl really freaked her out.

As the cheerleader turned the corner she stopped dead in her tracks, her mouth forming a perfect 'O' as she gaped at the room in front of her. The lights in the kitchen were out the only illumination coming from a myriad of candles spread all over the room, and rose petals were spread all over the floor. "I'll call you back…no gotta go…bye," Brooke responded clicking the phone off not even waiting for a response.

At the sound of Brooke's voice, Sam took a deep breath and turned around. She had absolutely no idea what she was doing, or whether or not it was going to work, but she knew that she was doing it, and she figured that at least that was worth something. She hadn't seen Brooke since early that morning, their schedules for that day conflicting, so when she caught her first real look at the cheerleader her breath caught in her throat. The pale orange light from the candles created a halo effect around Brooke's face, that combined with the satiny pink outfit Brooke was wearing made her appear like something eternal, something out of a dream. And, Sam realized that's exactly what she was.

"What's all this?" Brooke asked softly, walking towards her girlfriend. Sam was dressed in black pants and a retro red tank top and Brooke felt her eyes drawn towards her frame. There was definitely nothing wrong with Sam's form Brooke thought to herself as she moved forward.

"Dinner," Sam responded, her attention completely focused on the approaching figure. In response to Sam's answer, Brooke raked her eyes around the room, taking it all in.

"It's not my birthday," Brooke said contemplatively. "It's not your birthday," she went on. "It's not Gertrude Stein, or Edaf Plath, or even Freda Khalo's birthday," Brooke continued, reveling in the smile that spread across Sam's face, "which, if I didn't know better, would lead me to conclude that you were trying to seduce me." The last part came out in a low drawl as she reached for Sam.

"What makes you think I'm not trying to seduce you?" Sam asked curiously since that was exactly what she was trying to do.

"The fact that you've already got me," Brooke responded reaching out and taking Sam's hand in hers. Brooke loved Sam's hands, she had probably spent hours looking at them and tracing them and holding them since that fateful night in the kitchen. They were so small, and elegant, yet powerful. They made Brooke doubt the saying 'the pen is mighty than the sword'. Sam's pen had never conquered her but those hands had, they had rendered her helpless, dependant, over and over again and Brooke hoped that they would continue to.

"Do I?" Sam asked momentarily dropping her eyes from Brooke's. "…have you?"

Brooke reached out with her free hand placing it under Sam's chin raising her head up so that she was looking at her once again. "Yes," she whispered intensely, her eyes burning into Sam's. "You do."

Brooke took a step back, placing some distance between her and Sam, but remained holding the brunette's hand. "What is this? Really," Brooke asked.

Sam smiled self-consciously. "An attempt to seduce you," was her verbal response.

"You did that a long time ago," Brooke responded.

"That's not what I mean. This," Sam said, looking down at their linked hands as she spoke, "isn't what I mean. I…suppose there's no tactful way to put it so I'll just…well I want us to be together…physically," Sam finished, deciding to stop talking before she could screw things up even more.

"Oh," Brooke responded in that charming, verbose and witty way of hers.

"Oh god," Sam muttered, beginning to pull her hand out of Brooke's.

"Wait," Brooke said, moving with her so that their hands stayed connected. "No 'oh god', at least not now, maybe later, but not now," she continued, smiling. "I want to…I mean you and I are…" Brooke took a deep breath trying to settle her thoughts. "If I could form a coherent sentence, the message it would convey would be one of complete agreement."

Sam took a step forward once Brooke finished speaking and moved into the circle of her arms, resting her head just above Brooke's breast. "I know that you've…that when you and…I wanted this to be different, and not just in the obvious logistical way."

Brooke smiled at the last part of Sam's sentence and brought her hand up to the brunette's cheek.

"In all honesty, being attacked by a brigand of commando fire ants would have been better than what happened between me and he whose name shall not be mentioned," Brooke began. "But with us, whatever happens, it'll be gold because what we have is special and wanted and beautiful," she concluded, and with that she tilted her head down and brought their lips together.

When they parted Sam looked at Brooke with open eyes that were shinning with unshed and asked in a soft wondrous tone, "Who are you? That you do what you do to me?"

Brooke paused for a moment thinking that it should have been she who posed that question as it was very true to her particular situation as well. "I'm just a girl, standing in front of a girl, asking her to love me," Brooke responded with her most serious face on. If it worked for Julia Roberts she didn't see why it shouldn't work for her too.

Sam smiled and let out a breath she didn't know she had been holding. "Can you eat?" she asked Brooke taking her hand.

The cheerleader's response was to look over at her wide-eyed and sputter, "Wha…I…what?" as her face turned an interesting shade of red.

"Dinner?" Sam clarified, a small smile spreading across her face that she immediately tried to smoother.

"Oh, I knew that," Brooke replied, her normal complexion returning. "Stop laughing," she implored as Sam squeezed her hand and walked her over to the table. "Come on…please," Brooke continued in a most piteous tone as Sam still chuckled.

"Save THAT for later," was all the brunette said in response as she sat down causing Brooke's face to once again turn a most interesting shade of red.

---

Part Nine

"Are you nervous?" Brooke asked as she squeezed Sam's hand reassuringly. After the chat they had when Brooke first walked into the kitchen, they had sat down and had a nice dinner. Brooke had tried to put what was to come afterwards into a place in the back of her head hardly used, and she assumed that Sam had done the same thing because she knew that she wouldn't have been able to function if she hadn't. With the emotions and hormones that had been flying around since they first got together, it was inevitable that Brooke would have thought about what the night they actually made love would be like, and she had, but now that it was upon her she found herself anxious yet giddy which made her an all together jumpy package.

"Quite," Sam responded, walking into the warmth of Brooke's body. "Are you?" Sam knew how she was feeling, which was an interesting mix of terror, excitement, and longing. It wasn't that she wasn't sure if she was ready or not, she knew that she was, she was certain that Brooke was the one that she wanted to give herself to, that wasn't even a question. Yet, she couldn't deny the fact that she had never been in a situation even remotely like this before, and she didn't know what to do. Not only was she unsure about the initiation procedure, she also lacked experience in the actual lovemaking process.

Brooke smiled down at her. "Surely," she replied, her breath coming out in a slight shudder. "I feel like all of my neurons are misfiring," she went on quietly. Sam could feel the blondes body shaking faintly as she spoke and was oddly comforted by the knowledge that Brooke was feeling the same way she was about what they were about to do.

"I'm beginning to think that maybe I should have read Lily's pamphlet," the brunette said smiling into the cheerleaders chest. She could feel a chuckle vibrate throughout Brooke's body before she felt a pair a lips press to the side of her head.

"We don't have to do this," Brooke said softly a moment later. "I'm not asking that of you," she continued, not wanting Sam to think that she was pressuring her into anything just because she was 'supposedly' the more experienced of the two. The truth was that she was just as clueless as Sam was, and she didn't necessarily think that was a bad thing.

"I know," Sam said seriously pulling back a little bit so that she could see Brooke's eyes. "On both counts," she went on. "I never thought that you were, and if I did it really wouldn't have made a difference anyway…in case you hadn't notice I have a leaning towards tenacity." Brooke smiled in response to the last part but didn't say anything. "I want to be with you," Sam went on, "if you--"

"No, I want," Brooke said, interrupting before Sam could finish.

They stood there looking at each for a moment in silence, then Brooke decided to take the first step and she leaned forward capturing Sam's lips. The kiss was tentative at first, hesitant and shy, but after a moment they moved towards each other their lips meeting each other with more command. Brooke's hands made their way to Sam's hips as they explored each other mouths, and as Sam turned her attention to Brooke's neck the blonde moaned and began to move her hands underneath the brunette's shirt.

---

Brooke's hands slid up Sam's torso slowly, savoring the feel of her girlfriend's skin. After a moment Sam untangled her hands from Brooke's hair and raised her hands above her head allowing Brooke to slide her shirt off easily. Once the garment was removed from Sam's body Brooke tossed in carelessly into some corner of the room, her eyes remaining trained on Sam.

Sam watched Brooke watch her, her hair in disarray and her lips parted sensuously.

"You're beautiful," Brooke whispered so softly it was almost inaudible. Sam felt a blush begin to travel across her at Brooke's words and the intensity of the cheerleader's stare, but she was distracted from her self-consciousness when Brooke leaned in and captured her lips once more.

Sam's hands then made their way to Brooke's shirt shaking vaguely as they began to undo the buttons. Breaking the contact between their lips Brooke moved her hands to cover Sam's, holding them until they stopped shaking. Then with her hands still covering Sam's she began to undo the buttons of her shirt, slowly exposing the swell of her breasts and then the porcelain expanse of her abdomen. When all of the buttons were undone she dropped her hand from Sam's and allowed the brunette to trail her hands up her side before brushing the shirt off of her shoulders.

As her shirt floated to the ground, Brooke felt Sam's hands begin to move down along her body once more, this time trailing downwards until they reached the waist of her skirt. A shiver ran through Brooke's body at the contact and her breath contracted in her chest. She returned her lips to Sam's, passionately capturing them, a fire burning deep within her. She felt as if she were being consumed alive.

---

Sam moaned softly at the first contact of their naked bodies as Brooke moved beside her on the bed. She felt as if she being consumed. Everywhere Brooke touched her, every place their bodies were in contact she felt fire. As Brooke's hand trailed across her torso Sam felt herself raising into the blonde's touch. Silently begging her to continue.

---

Brooke pressed her lips to Sam's pulse point, sucking on it as her hand caressed the inside of Sam's thigh. As her nails lightly ran across the pale skin of Sam's leg, Brooke pressed herself closer to Sam even though there was no place left for her to go. Sam arched up into her and blindly sought out her lips which Brooke gladly gave over to her.

---

Slowly, tentatively Brooke ran her fingers through Sam's wetness, massaging the lips with the tips of her fingers as their lips moved against each other. Sam had long since ceased speaking, merely moaning and burying her head in Brooke's shoulder nipping at the cheerleader's porcelain skin as she arched up into and against the other girl's hand.

Brooke's hand continued its exploration of Sam until she found that secret site she had sought and entered her, feeling Sam's body tense momentarily before then relaxing again as Brooke began to move her fingers.

"Are you okay?" Brooke asked softly as Sam's breath hitched and she continued to move against her. Sam's lips were slightly parted and her eyes closed as Brooke spoke but upon hearing her lovers voice her eyes opened and she stared into Brooke's with a look of awe.

"Yeah," Sam responded breathlessly as she raised a sweat covered hand to brush a stray strand of hair out of Brooke's face. "I…" but whatever she was about to say was cut off as Brooke laid a finger over her lips quieting her before replacing it with her lips.

"I know," Brooke whispered tenderly as she traced her thumb along Sam's cheek before the brunette captured her lips once more and the movements of the body beneath hers became more demanding.

---

The only thing that Brooke was aware of was the sound of Sam's voice--the soft sounds she made in the back of her throat and her name rolling off of her tongue dripping with desire--and the sound of her own breathing. The body beneath her was now moving in a frenzy, a blur of activity as Brooke continued to move her hand in and out of Sam, her lips and her free hand caressing and exploring every and all available area of skin. And then she felt it. Sam's body tensed and her breath hitched one last time before all that she was aware of was the sound of her name reverberating around the room as it was ripped from Sam's lips before she lost the ability to speak all together.

Brooke held her as the brunette's body bucked against her until she began to quiet down and still after that, whispering to her softly.

---

When Sam next opened her eyes the first thing that she saw was Brooke's face looking down at her, a small, serene smile gracing her lips.

Brooke looked down into Sam's eyes as they opened; they looked almost gold to her at the moment; they were sparkling as Sam smiled up at her.

"God, I love you so much," Brooke breathed out softly, her eyes boring into Sam's intensely. She felt this incredible swell of emotion within her, it swept over her like the tide or the wind leaving no part of her untouched. She was overcome, she was conquered, and almost as soon as the last syllable left her mouth she leaned down, bringing their lips together once more in a tender, loving kiss as a single tear streaked down her face.

---

Part Ten

Sam opened the door to Brooke's bedroom quietly, not that it really mattered since the blonde had her headphones on and couldn't hear her anyway. The brunette leaned against the door frame and watched as her girlfriend swayed those sexy hips to the beat of whatever song was being pumped into her ears.

"Loving you is not just luck or illusion/ It's in the make up of our DNA. It's not by chance we make the perfect solution/ Don't fight it baby, you know that it's just destiny's way/ Baby loving You/ Comes easily to me/ It's what I'm living for, it's all in the chemistry/ Baby loving you, is how it's meant to be, it's something that is all so natural to me," Brooke sang as she moved about her room oblivious to her observer.

A huge smile spread across Sam's face as she listened to words Brooke sang out melodically. S Club 7, a week ago she would have had a field day with that, but then and there she simply found it utterly charming. The blonde actually had a beautiful singing voice, but bewilderingly--considering that she was a cheerleader and a debater and an all around popular girl--she seemed to have some sort of phobia about singing in public. Sam guessed that she and Mr. McQueen were probably the only two people to have been blessed with the gift of hearing her sing. Still, that didn't mean Sam wasn't going to exploit the situation, if only just a little bit.

Closing the door behind her, Sam moved into the room carefully, trying not to enter Brooke's line of vision as she snuck up, then, once she was in position, she grabbed the dancing queen from behind.

Brooke yelped and yanked her headphones off, spinning around to face Sam.

"Don't. Do. That," the cheerleader said, carefully enunciating every word as she tried to slow her heart down.

"Come on," Sam said, maneuvering behind Brooke once again, her hands attaching themselves to the blonde's waist. "Let's see some s-e-x in those h-i-p-s," she continued moving her own hips against Brooke.

"You know," Brooke said gamely moving along with Sam, "every year that you shave off my life by scaring the shit out of me is a year that you're going to have to live without me and my sunshine."

"You and your what?" Sam asked dangerously as her hands trailed up Brooke's side.

"Me and my sunshine," Brooke responded even though she knew it was going to get her in trouble.

"What was that again?" Sam asked as her hands inched their way under Brooke's shirt.

"Sunshine," Brooke repeated, her body torn between excitement and nervousness.

"Sunshine did you say?" Sam asked as she began to tickle Brooke's side. "What's that I can't quite hear you?" the brunette continued smiling as the blonde squirmed in her hands trying to escape her tyrannical grasp.

Brooke stumbled about the room trying to twist out of Sam's grasp as the brunette continued to talk to her in a highly amused tone. Finally reaching the edge of her bed Brooke flung herself down onto it hoping to break Sam's hold on her. It worked, and once they were both lying on the bed Brooke quickly pressed her advantage rolling over on top of Sam and sitting up so that she was straddling her waist.

"Now, who's the Queen of the castle?" Brooke asked smugly, her hands playfully rambling up Sam's sides.

"You know what they say," Sam responded, not even pretending she wanted to get out of Brooke's grasp. "Behind every great ruler is an even greater woman," she continued, smiling.

"My better half," Brooke mumbled, leaning down.

"Better looking definitely," Sam replied just before Brooke's lips reached hers.

"Ohhh," Brooke responded, turning her head to the side a mocking look of pain covering her face. "You're a mean one Mrs. Grinch," and with that she smiled and leaned down once again drawing Sam into a kiss.

Sam felt Brooke's hand begin to make it's way under her shirt and quickly reversed the situation so that she was now on top. "Ah, ah, ah," Sam tisked looking down at Brooke. "You've got to begin to learn how to control yourself. I know I'm a sexy bitch, but you've got to learn restraint," Sam continued a sexy smile spreading across her face. "The parental units are coming back today, which means no more naughty, naughty touching for Brookie, Brookie."

"They're not home yet," Brooke responded as her hands resumed where they had left off. "Waste not, want not Sam. We should make good use of what time we have left."

Sam looked up at the face above hers, a soft smile coming across her face. The mood had been light until that moment, that instant that Sam looked up into Brooke's face. But after that she felt a considerable change within herself. At that moment that she looked into Brooke's eyes she was overcome with emotion, her mind running wild with thoughts of how when she kissed Brooke she felt like all four winds were blowing against her face. Of how she felt like she was being picked up and carried away to a land of warmth, and peace and love. Of how she loved the way Brooke made her feel and she loved the fact that everything Brooke inspired in her she too inspired in Brooke. And of how she loved the silky texture of Brooke's hair, and the multitude of colors within her eyes expressing her every emotion if one only looked, and the way the skin at the corner of her eyes crinkled when she smiled. She thought of how much she loved Brooke, and then she rose up and brought their lips together.

"Are you okay?" Brooke asked, seeing the somewhat amazed look on Sam's face previous to the other girl kissing her, as she ran a hand through her hair thoughtfully.

"I…" Sam started, then stopped, suddenly finding herself at a loss for words. She brought her hands to Brooke's face, softly tracing the contours of her features, almost as if she were trying to burn them into her memory forever more. "I feel so much when I'm with you," she finally said softly. "I want to tell you…but there aren't any other words…except…I love you," she finished quietly.

Brooke's eyes fluttered shut momentarily after the last of Sam's words left her mouth. When her eyes finally opened they shimmered with unshed tears and her mouth opened as if she were about to say something. She wanted to say something, something important, something revealing, something erudite, and meaningful that would resound throughout the rest of their lives together. But all that she managed was "I…" before Sam leaned up and brought their lips together once more, and suddenly whatever Brooke had wanted to say didn't seem so important anymore, because she was able to show Sam what needed to know.

---

Part Eleven (Epilogue)

Jane held the door open for Mike as they entered the house. As he placed them down, she turned to face him.

"Silence, do you think that's a good thing or a bad thing?"

He turned to face her and they looked at each other for a moment then made a bee-line for the stairs. About half way up however, Jane stopped mid stride.

"Do you hear that?" she asked in a hushed tone.

"It sounds almost like--" Mike began.

"Laughter," Jane finished for him.

"That's good right?" he asked turning to face his fiancé.

"Yeah?" she responded even though it came out sounding more like a question. "Where's it coming from?"

"It sounds like Brooke's room," he replied.

Cautiously, they approached the door to Brooke's room. As they neared it they confirmed that the sound they had heard previously was indeed laughter. Strictly female laughter Mike noted with a touch of relief.

"It must be…Sam?" Jane asked hopefully. Mike shrugged and reached out knocking on the door.

The moment the knock sounded all sounds in the room ceased and desisted , blanketing the house in silence. A moment later they heard Brooke yell out, "Just a minute", which was followed by muffled voices, silence, more muffled voices, a loud thud and finally, "come in."

Walking in the adults took in the sight of the room before them. The comforter of Brooke's bed was lying crumpled on the floor, the chair from her vanity mirror was knocked over and the room seemed to just be in a general state of disarray. As for the occupants of the room, Brooke was standing by the side of her bed looking at them through her eyelashes with both of her hands shoved in her pockets and her head down. Sam was on the other side of the bed leaning against the closet door, one of her hands draped across her stomach and the other covering her mouth.

"Is everything alright here?" Mike asked, the disheveled appearance of the room clashing painfully in his mind with the sounds they had heard earlier. It looked like the aftermath of war or at least a colonial dispute, yet all other evidence pointed to the fact that the girls had been getting along prior to their arrival.

"Of course," Brooke answered, forcing a look of bewilderment on her face, conveying what she hoped was a look of utter confusion as to how things could be anything other than okay. "Welcome back," she continued, yanking her hands out of pockets and crossing the room with her arms open for hugs.

After Brooke had finished with them and retreated to her former position, Sam made her way over and shrugging indifferently opened her arms and hugged them both too before she retreated as well.

"So," Mike started slightly put off by the girls behavior, especially Sam's—prior to five seconds before he had been hard pressed to get anything other than a smile and a nod out of the girl and she just hugged him. It didn't compute. "Did you two manage to get along while we were gone?"

"Yeah." "Um hmmm," came the simultaneously replies.

"I see," he responded turning to look at Jane to see if she found their behavior as strange as he did. "Well that's…good."

"Yeah." "Um hmmm," came their responses once more.

"Have you two been rooming together or something?" Jane asked as she spotted a pair of Sam's pants and one of her shirts lying in the corner of the room.

Sam looked up sharply at the question, looking at her mother wide-eyed while Brooke turned and looked at Sam sharply. They had to keep level heads, she didn't know anything, it was just a simple question. All they had to do was play it cool. Brooke sighed deeply, they were in trouble.

"WewerejustgoingoutonenightandItriedonsomeofBrooke'sandleftminehere," Sam responded almost unintelligibly, a smile quickly appearing on her face and then disappearing just as quickly as she returned her gaze to the ground.

"They're spending quality time together," Jane commented, smiling. "Isn't that nice?"

"Yeah." "Um hmmm," the two girls responded once again, causing the adults to look at them strangely.

"We should go unpack," Mike commented a moment later. Though it was true he found the girls' behavior perplexing, they were teenagers and he had always found them somewhat perplexing so he really wasn't too concerned.

"Yeah," Jane responded somewhat more reluctant to just accept their bizarre behavior. There was one thing in particular that was nagging at her but she just couldn't seem to place it at the moment.

As they made their way out of the room, it suddenly struck Jane what was so odd about the situation and she turned around.

"Sam?" she asked. Her daughter looked up at her, her face not giving away anything more than mere curiosity. "Why is your shirt on inside out?"

"What?" Sam asked though she looked down at herself as the words left her mouth. Sure enough her shirt was on the wrong side. As she looked down in a mild panic, her face began to flush and she turned to look at Brooke who was now covering her face with her hand. They had been in a state of semi-undress when they had heard the knock at the door and after an initial moment of panic they had started to scramble around the room trying to find the articles of clothing they had thrown about. They thought they had it covered when Brooke tossed Sam her shirt…but apparently not.

Brooke, who had been trying to control her laughter since almost the moment their parents walked in finally lost it seeing the look on Sam's face and broke out laughing. Jane and Mike turned to each other not knowing what was so funny about the situation, but finding it mildly amusing because of Brooke's reaction nonetheless.

"Shut up," Sam muttered in Brooke's direction as she tugged at her shirt. "It's all your fault."

"My fault?" Brooke asked incredulously in between laughing fits. "You came in here, remember?"

"Yes, I remember. Do you remember 'waste not want not Sam'," the brunette shot back at her. It was no use however, Brooke had fallen onto the bed still laughing, and Jane and Mike had quietly exited the room, not quite sure what to make of the situation.

"That was…odd," Mike commented as they made their way to their bedroom.

"To say the least," Jane agreed. "But, at least they're getting along now."

The End

Comments always welcome and greatly appreciated!