SweetheartsBy:Tryx Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Summary: The annual Glory High Sweethearts Dance approaches—causing Sam and Zane to make a choice.
Author's Note: Thanks so much to my beta Ras, you've been a huge help—to everyone else: enjoy!
Disclaimer: I don't own Glory Days (or anyone in it), the nice people at the WB do.
The next day, Zane had skipped school and stayed home. He suspected his mother knew that he was lying when he had told her that he wasn't feeling well, but she didn't say anything. She was down in the restaurant now, hours later, and Zane had yet to move from his bed.
He rolled over, his eyes catching on the picture frame on his nightstand. It was blue and green, made out of Popsicle sticks-the kind of thing you make in second grade during art, or during summer camp. Inside the frame was a-fairly recent-photo of him and Sam. They were in their swimsuits down by the docks of Glory. It had been summer then, and they had just been swimming in the lake. He had hauled Sam up onto his back and was carrying her around piggyback style. They had been laughing as the picture was taken.
Damn, he thought. I miss her already.
His eyes flitted over the alarm clock that sat beside the picture frame. It was almost four-o-clock in the afternoon. Sam would be out of school by now.
I wonder if she noticed that I wasn't there.
He heard a soft knock on the door, and he yelled for the person to come in.
His breath caught in his throat when he saw Sam standing there.
God, she's beautiful, he thought, his eyes quickly appraising her appearance-long hair down, only a little bit of makeup, tight white tank with a red shirt over it, short black skirt, tall black boots-beautiful…perfect…
"Hi," she said softly, her eyes lingering on his bare chest-he hadn't bothered to get dressed-and then on his face.
"Um, can I come in?" she asked, hesitantly, as if she half-expected him to throw her out onto the street.
"Yeah," he whispered, afraid that if he spoke any louder, he would shatter the moment.
She stepped into the room, careful not to tread on any of the belongings that were strewn across the floor. She made her way over to him, and then sat herself down on the extra twin bed next to his-the one she used when she was staying over with him.
"Um… I noticed you weren't in school today and…" she paused to take a deep breath before continuing.
"And…I feel like a complete idiot for lying to you and I wanted to apologize."
Zane stared at her in shock, watching her pretty face colour with blush. He hadn't expected her to come out and just say it…quite the opposite really, he'd expected her to dance around it for a while, until he himself caved and went seeking her out.
That was how it usually worked-it was a finely honed system. She seemed to know that he couldn't live without her.
"Um… wow… um… thanks?" Zane was still in shock. He couldn't believe it.
"I really don't blame you for leaving yesterday," she said, tilting her head foreword so that she could stare at the ground. "I don't blame you because I did lie to you, and I promised you a long time ago that I'd never do that."
"So why did you?" he asked, trying to keep most of the leftover bitterness out of his voice, but failing. Sam winced and Zane instantly felt guilty, and wanted to lean over and wrap his arms around her and assure her that he didn't really mean it, that he wasn't mad at her.
"I…I didn't want… I didn't want to go because you weren't going…"
Zane just stared at her. "I don't need your pity, Sam. I know I'm your best friend, but you shouldn't feel the need to skip something that's important to you just because I couldn't go too.
"The last thing I want in the world is your pity, Sam. You have to know that."
Sam shook her head, still not meeting his eyes.
"You don't get it, Zane…you don't understand what I'm trying to tell you," she took another deep breath, then looked up and stared into his eyes.
"I didn't want to go without you. I wanted you to take me. I didn't want to go with someone else… I didn't want to go with anyone else."
Zane felt his jaw go lax, and he found himself unable to blink-or to breathe.
Oh my god, he thought. My world just got turned upside down.
After a moment, he was finally able to regain some of his composure, and he took a deep breath and let it out again slowly before speaking.
"Why didn't you just tell me that in the first place, Sam?"
The girl shrugged, letting her gaze return to the floor.
"I didn't know how you'd react."
His eyes narrowed on her, and he pulled himself up so that he was seated on the edge of his bed, directly in front of her. He reached out and put his fingertips under her chin, lifting it gently, forcing her to look at him.
"I've been flirting with you-hitting on you-since the day I hit puberty, and you 'didn't know how I'd react'?"
Sam nodded, then reached up and touched the hand that was stroking her cheek gently, stilling it.
"It's not just that…I knew you liked me…but I wasn't always sure just how. And…and I was scared."
"Scared of what?"
"Of… of you… of this… of us."
"I don't understand, Sam, what is there to be afraid of?"
Her gaze bore into his, and he saw tears starting to pool in her eyes. It took all of his restraint not to reach out and brush them away.
"I… I love you, Zane… and I'm scared of losing you…"
Zane stopped breathing. Oh my god… she just… she… oh my god… she said she loves me…
"Um… hold on a second… um… wow… okay. Wait, why the hell would you be worried about losing me?"
Sam smiled, but there were still tears in her eyes. "I just told you that I loved you and that's the best response you can come up with, you idiot?"
Zane grinned, leaned over to her and pulled her into his arms. Despite her stature, she was really light, and he pulled her across the gap between the two beds, and onto his lap without much difficulty. He held her tightly against him, burying his face in her hair. His mouth next to her ear, he whispered, "how's this for a response, Sam… I love you, too…" he kissed her ear once, closed his eyes and held her tightly.
After a moment, he pulled away slightly to look into her eyes again, this time reaching up and wiping away the few tears that had escaped her eyes and had run down her cheeks. "You didn't answer my question, Sam. Why would you be worried about losing me?"
Sam closed her eyes and leaned her forehead against his.
"I love you, Zane, I really do. I… I just don't know if I'm ready to love only you."
"What?" he asked, without pulling away, even though he really needed to look into her eyes again.
"If… when we get together, it will be one of two ways between us: we'll either be the together forever kind of deal, or we'll have some big horrible break up and you'll never want to speak to me again. And… and I'm just worried that if the second one happens, I'll lose not only the guy I love, but my best friend too."
Zane held her tighter, pressing his forehead harder against hers, trying to lose himself in her. "I'm going with the first one, here, babe," he whispered, leaning closer to rub his cheek against hers. "Sam, you have to understand, even if we aren't 'the together-forever kind of deal', I'm always going to be here for you. Nothing will ever change the fact that you're my best friend and nothing will ever make me stop loving you…"
Now he felt tears stinging his own eyes, and they trailed down his cheek and mixed with hers.
"Do you understand, Sam?"
She nodded against his cheek. "Yeah, I understand."
"Do you want to give you and me a shot?" he asked, hugging her tighter, "or do you want to wait. Because you've got me either way."
There was a short silence as Sam considered her answer, and Zane could hear his heartbeat echo in his ears.
"Yeah," she said, burying her face in his neck. "I wanna give it a shot."