Chapter Four: Before the Storm
A/N: Okay so this one is kind of a way to get what Brooke is thinking out there before going into all the after tragedy mode. Lol. I hope you like it though, it took me a few rewrites to get it where it is and I'm still not hugely impressed or pleased with it. So let me know what you think. Xx Oh, and once again, unedited... should really get a beta. LOL
That morning for Brooke John was the same as any other. She woke to her alarm at 7:30 and after waking herself up mentally ready for the day, she rolled out of bed, dawned a robe and made her way down the stairs. Walking into the living room, she rounded the couch and leant down to wake her husband who had been sleeping there for close to five months, at Brooke's request, before moving away, not waiting for him to wake up fully.
As Harrison woke himself up, Brooke moved into the kitchen where she pulled ingredients out of the cupboard, preparing to cook breakfast for herself, Carmen and Spencer. As was the norm, Carmen emerged from the hall first, still rubbing the sleep from her eyes.
"Morning mommy," Carmen said, her voice too still bleary from sleep.
"Good morning sweetheart," Brooke said, smiling at her eldest child, "Toast of muffin?" Brooke already knew the answer, but she still gave the girl a choice like she did every morning.
"Toast please mommy."
As Carmen pulled herself up onto one of the stools at the breakfast bar, Spencer much cheerier than Carmen, ran into the room and straight up to his mom, almost crashing into her leg to hug her. "Good morn mama!" He said in his unique toddler tone.
Grinning, she bent and hugged him back, "Good morning baby. Muffin?"
Spencer grinned and nodded in response, rushing around the island to pull himself up on the stool next to his sister.
After the children had finished breakfast, they both rushed off to get dressed for the day. "Spencer!" Brooke yelled as he rushed across the kitchen towards the hallway. He stopped in his tracks and turned to her, "Is your bag packed?" Despite knowing it was, Brooke stared her son down waiting for a response.
Brooke smiled at him and tilted her head towards the hall. He gave her a bright smile before taking off down the hall, skidding into his bedroom. Laughing slightly to herself, Brooke turned to clean up from breakfast just as Harrison entered the kitchen.
As usual, Brooke had his coffee waiting for him, if for nothing else, so that he didn't have to talk to her to ask for it. Deep down she knew they should talk things out either way, but somehow, she liked things in limbo, so she could keep herself and her children happy and stable. He was showered and dressed and dropped an overnight bag on the floor before entering the kitchen and wrapping his arms around Brooke's waist from behind. He kissed her ear softly, "Any chance of me moving back into our room when I get home?"
Brooke grimaced as he kissed her, but she remained in his embrace. She did love him, somewhere inside her remained feelings for the man she had married, but she had trouble locating them, and what was worse, she didn't want to. Mostly, she resented him, resented him for taking what she had missed out on by being with him.
The brunette had been the one for her for as long as Brooke could remember breathing. Sam had held her heart since they were 10 years old and she had stolen a kiss from her behind the cafeteria. Brooke had fallen for her in that moment that their lips touched. From then on, she guessed that Sam was embarrassed, because she avoided her, and once high school rolled around, the two had drifted apart to the point where they had become enemies.
For her part, Brooke had taken her frustration about losing her out on the brunette herself for being so scared to pursue her, and to hide her own hurt, made it her mission in life to make Sam's life a living hell. Their rivalry had peaked in their sophomore year when Jane and Mike told them they were going to be sisters. As times passed however, things settled between them, and they formed a friendship, and from that, old feelings rose to the surface.
Her confession immediately after the accident had pulled everything into the spotlight for the both of them and after she woke, they'd came so close until she had messed everything up, until Harrison…
She did feel guilty for what she was doing with Sam now, guilt over betraying Harrison, over Sam betraying Cindy, guilt for what she was putting Sam herself through, but she just couldn't bring herself to stop. It was more than guilt however that stopped her from leaving Harrison and spending her life with Sam, there were so many issues, so many obstacles, but it was her guilt that made her turn to her husband and reply with a simple, "We'll see," to his question.
He left not long after, swooping both of his children up into his arms and kissing them goodbye before smiling at Brooke and heading for the door.
Just as it shut behind him, Brooke's phone rang, and she smiled at the ring tone, which Sam had set for herself. Lady Marmalade from Moulin Rouge sang through the kitchen, and Brooke rushed to pick up the phone. "Hello?"
Brooke's voice was excited, and Sam's in reply was just as joyous, "Hey gorgeous. What you doin?"
A grin broke forth, but Brooke ignored Sam's jab at her phone manner and moved onto the point at hand, "How'd it go?" she asked, already knowing that Sam was okay because of her tone.
She could almost hear the grin in Sam's voice when she answered her, "It's over. She's been seeing someone else. Her name is Lindsay and I met her last night, she's really great, and Cindy seems happy, so I'm happy for them."
Some of Brooke's guilt disappeared at Sam's words, "Oh, how long?"
Sam knew right away what she was asking, and answered with a simple, "Longer."
"So you on your way home? I hope you're not talking while driving."
Sam giggled in way Brooke hadn't heard from her in a long time, and it cause her smile to grow. "No, I'm just about to leave. What are you up to?"
"About to go shower and get ready. Mom is watching the kids for me today, I've got a shoot at 12, should be finished by 3. Want to come for dinner?"
Even over the phone, they could read each other like a book. Brooke knew once she told her that Harrison was away that she would be on their doorstep as soon as she could to spend time with her and the kids. Brooke knew Sam wanted to be there with her, knew that Sam loved spending time with the family that both she and Brooke believed should have been hers and not Harrison's. But she knew too that Sam felt guilty about betraying her high school friend, despite how her had betrayed them both.
Things between them had progressed over the first days Brooke had been back at the Palace. Sam had let Brooke take the lead, for which Brooke was grateful, but it didn't take long before to take control and tell Sam what was going on in her head, if for no other reason than to release some of the tension in her body and in their relationship.
"I'm in love with you," Brooke had said one night when the two of them were sitting on the couch watching Mac in the basinet in front of them.
Sam had no reaction apart from turning to Brooke to acknowledge that she had heard her speak. Her eyes were open and expressive, inviting, at it was that only that caused Brooke to continue speaking, knowing Sam was listening to her.
"I found my journal, "Brooke said, averting her eyes in embarrassment for a moment. When she had first found it and saw that Sam had read it, she felt violated. It only lasted a second however as she read what Sam had wrote and she realized just how much Sam had craved her presence when she was in the comma. Her anger dissipated after that. "I saw what you wrote, and I'm sorry that you went through all that alone, Sammy. I'm sorry I wasn't here and I'm sorry I didn't have the courage to tell you before; we could have avoided this whole thing. I played with you and Harrison and I'm so sorry. Sorry that I went along with the charade for so long. I-"
Sam had cut her off at that point, putting a finger over her lips, "I love you too," she said before she stood and walked away.
Brooke dropped her head, despite everything, she was glad it was all out and when it came down to it, she was prepared to wait as long as it took for Sam.
Before she knew it, it was dark, and Brooke sighed as she rolled over. Since coming home from the hospital, she had trouble sleeping, her dreams filled with nothing but Sam's screaming voice and bright headlights. She woke screaming more often than not, comforted only by Sam's presence beside her, keeping her grounded.
"You okay, baby?" Sam asked, obviously jostled awake by Brooke's movement.
Brooke just nodded her head, but still buried it in the crook of Sam's neck when the brunette sat up and offered her open arms. "Just can't sleep." Sam didn't speak, but instead just ran her fingers through Brooke's hair, waiting for her to open up. "I just wish I could stop reliving it, you know."
Sam nodded. Brooke knew that Sam too had been reliving that night in her dreams, from a completely different perspective, because instead of waking screaming, she would wake up crying, reaching out for Brooke. For the most part, Sam had been hiding her own pain to make way for Brooke's, but Brooke just wished the girl would open up to her. "Me too," Sam replied, still running her hand through Brooke's golden locks. "I can still hear you calling me as they pulled me away."
Brooke wrapped her arms around the girl as she spoke, her words sending chills through her at the thought, "I'm sorry Sam. Sorry I haven't been here for you."
Sam actually laughed, however coldly, "Brooke, honey, you've been here," she reached up and touched Brooke's cheek softly, looking in her shining eyes, illuminated only by the moon outside Brooke's bedroom window. With her other hand, she reached down and took Brooke's hand in her own, lifting it to rest over her chest. "You've been here," she said sincerely.
They fell asleep in each other's arms that night, rising early the following morning for their first day back at school.
As expected, Brooke was bombarded with questions as they entered the halls that morning, questions about the accident, about her health, about Nicole… Luckily for her, Sam was there to rebuff any advances and Brooke made it till lunch before she panicked when approached.
For the first time that day, Sam was across the hall talking with Carmen and Lily who were asking, subtly about how both of them were. Brooke was grateful to Sam for taking them out of her earshot, but as she saw Harrison approaching her, she wished the girl were still by her side.
"Brooke," he said as he approached. His voice, however, must have gotten Sam's attention, because she was there in a heartbeat, one arm pushing Brooke behind her while at the same time closing her hand around Brooke's arm in a comforting gesture.
"Get out of the way Sam. I need to see her," the boy said angrily, obviously upset that neither girl had spoken to him since her recovery.
Sam's silence was expected, both from Brooke and Harrison's perspectives, even if they were very differently informed. But for Harrison, he didn't seem to understand why his pick, the girl he had chosen out of the two who were apparently fighting for his affections, flatly refused to see or even speak to him.
Sam shook her head, "No. She doesn't want to see you."
Harrison rolled his eyes, "Bull shit. She wants to be with me, we're going to be together. I chose her remember. Stop with the jealousy."
Brooke watched as Sam geared herself up for a fight. For Brooke, this was a disaster waiting to happen, which was why she was so frightened of him in the first place. She'd told Sam when he had come to visit her at the hospital that she didn't want to see him and later revealed why.
"He went into that night thinking that he had two beautiful girls after him, thinking that no matter what, leaving, he would have one of us on his arm and now… now it's different." Brooke had said to Sam, still at the time too scared to mention their final words to each other that night, "Harrison is a great guy, but I don't want to be with him, and it scares me how angry he might get when he finds out why, or that I messed with him because of my own messed up shit."
Deciding she would like to avert the impending butting heads of Sam and Harrison, Brooke, while moving to hold Sam's hand for support, spoke up, "Harrison," All attention in the hall turned to her at that moment, "I'm sorry, but I don't want to be with you. I was wrong to lead you on like that, to run from my emotions, but I love someone else, I'm sorry."
Harrison puffed himself up in anger, but at a step forward from Sam, smartly turned and walked away.
Taking a deep calming breath, Brooke lent on Sam as she turned to her, "You okay?" she asked, concern in her tone.
Nodding, Brooke replied, "I'm okay," leaning into her further for comfort.
After her conversation with Sam, Brooke's day continued as planned. She showered and dressed, arriving at her parent's house just after 10:30. Sadly for Carmen, Mac had started school early in September and was forced, not that she was terribly worried, to spend every Tuesday in the company of her Gramma, Carmen's cute variation of Grandma that Jane had adopted as her title.
"How're things at home?" Jane asked her step-daughter as she placed a steaming coffee in front of her.
Brooke shrugged as an answer. Her mother knew of her problems with Harrison, but Brooke liked to keep things quiet, not only because she was embarrassed by her husband, but also because of the specifics, Sam especially. There was a time that Jane had come to her, during her pregnancy, and asked her what was going on between her and Sam, and to the day Brooke suspected that her step-mother was fully aware of the feelings the two shared, but she was glad she never asked her about it again after that day.
The two continued to carry on a conversation over coffee. Brooke enjoyed talking to her mother, enjoyed that feeling of being loved no matter what, which was something she received from Jane. When the time came for her to leave for work, Brooke hugged Jane goodbye, kissed Carmen and Spencer and made her way out the door.
Since graduation, she had been working for an independent photography company called Moore Daily, first as an intern and later, as a full-time fashion photographer, second only to the company's founder, Matthew Moore.
Walking into the studio, Brooke accepted her camera bag from the intern, Kelly, before walking past the elaborate sets and over to her boss who was standing at a table in the back corner of the studio, fussing over a large pile of negatives. Next to him, stood his assistant Tracy looking flustered as usual. Brooke flashed the woman a reassuring smile before speaking.
"What's the problem, Daily?" Brooke asked the young boss, referring to him by his nick-name. Daily was a tall blonde man who's demeanor was so clearly gay that Brooke was sure his exuberance could be seen from the moon. He was in his early thirties, and was in Brooke's opinion, one of the greatest photographers she'd ever encountered.
"Gah!" he replied, throwing his hands in the air in his usual lively way before placing them on his hips as he looked up at her. "Danielle had fucked up the negatives again! None of this," he pointed at the mess on the table, "is usable."
Brooke walked over to him and managed to calm him, sending him outside for a much needed cigarette while she dealt with the mess of negatives, sending Tracy off with three or four usable shots to be developed.
The rest of the shoot continued in a similar fashion, Brooke taking charge just a few minutes in while Daily moved across to his office to relax. It was something Brooke was used to, and in all honesty, she loved Daily so much, she was quite happy to pick up the slack for him. He'd always been good to her, credited her when credit was due and told her specifically that she was his first pick to run the LA division of the company when he opened a new one in New York.
Brooke was kneeling before one of the shorter red-haired model, which reminded her of Cindy, causing her to smile as she thought of Sam, when she heard her phone ring in her pocket. Handing the camera off to Kelly and instructing her to direct the models into the next outfit, Brooke excused herself.
"Hello?" she answered, without checking the called I.D.
"Brooke!" it was Jane, and just from the one word, Brooke could tell that something was wrong. Her stomach dropped and she felt dread wash over her.
"Mom, what's wrong?" she dreaded the answer, and when she heard it, she knew why…
A/N: Sorry about the ending guys… but hopefully next chapter will make up for it all.