Hey guys, this is my first fanfic and a while, be nice... I'm just trying to get myself back into the habit of writing again. I hope you like it :)

Chapter One.

Sam let herself into the Shay's apartment, as she was used to doing. She never knocked, she never announced her presence, she just wandered in, and hollered a greeting grunt to whoever she found inside. Spencer, tired of having to replace the severed lock on the door every other week, left it open for her, anticipating such occasions. Carly's absence from the apartment had not dulled the frequency of Sam's visits, and he was glad. With his little sister all grown up and at university, he was glad of the company.

But tonight, he really wished he'd locked the door, put the latch on, and possibly barricaded it to keep her out.

"You didn't answer my calls." She accused, marching around the couch to glare at him.

He didn't look up, only noting this action because he heard the clacking of her heels approaching him, as they stepped into his downward eye line.

He mumbled a weak excuse, and a half-hearted apology, knowing before he spoke that it wouldn't be enough to curb her questions.

She tapped one foot impatiently, the heavy patent black heel earning repetitive groans from the hard wood floor, and he wondered momentarily how girls managed to cover any distance with such ridiculous attire strapped to their feet.

"Spencer you can smell the self-pity down the hall…" she said, making no attempts to sugar coat her words. "You look a mess."

He glanced up to defend himself, and found that he couldn't. She was clad in a deep indigo body con dress, her dusty blonde curls pinned up on one side, and left to tumble freely over the other shoulder. He looked practically homeless in comparison in his paint spattered shirt, and holey jeans.

He sighed instead. A hollow, effort ridden sound.

"Why are you all dressed up?" he asked, attempting to change the subject.

"What happened?" she pushed, ignoring him and settling into the empty seat next to him.

Spencer shook his head, no he didn't want to talk about it, and returned his attention to 'Celebrities underwater'.

Sam snatched the remote control and shut off the television, slamming the remote down on the arm of the couch with a thud to emphasize her annoyance. She was impatient, and couldn't stand being ignored. He'd sent her calls to voicemail, and turned a blind eye to her texts. She wanted answers.

Spencer inhaled deeply, knowing he wasn't getting out of this one with his male pride intact.

"Katherine finished with me." He said quietly. "She had no intention of leaving her husband. She was just stringing me along."

He met her eyes, expecting the inevitable 'I-told-you-so'. Because she had, multiple times, at varying volumes. But he hadn't been willing to take Katherine, the sweet funny alluring cocktail waitress, trapped in a loveless marriage, at anything less than face value. And he'd willingly catered to her every whim for the last two months, waiting patiently for her to follow through on her promise to end her marriage. But there were no forthcoming 'I-told-you-so's'. Sam's kohl rimmed eyes held nothing but concern, as she took his hand in hers, and let him rest his head on her shoulder.

"I feel so stupid." He breathed.

"You're not stupid Spencer…" She said, the sentence sounding as though it was heading for a 'but'. "You're just a little… naïve."

Spencer raised his head, and cocked a quizzical eyebrow at the twenty one year old girl, eleven years his junior, questioning his emotional maturity.

"Naïve?" he repeated.

"Not in a bad way." She rushed. "You're just… You're very trusting. You fall so hard so fast. You give your heart away to girls who, on the most part don't deserve it."

Spencer looked down at his lap. This was the third time in six months he'd found himself nursing a broken heart. The third time 'the one' had turned out to be 'just another one'. And the third time she'd been there to watch back to back 'Celebrities underwater' with him, until he remembered how to smile again.

"I don't like seeing you get hurt, over and over."

Spencer felt his jaw clench, and his posture stiffened defensively.

"Yeah well it's hardly a barrel of laughs for me either." He snapped.

"So stop doing it." She said simply.

Spencer looked at her. Her face was still awash with concern, her eyes not narrowed with the expected indignation of being snapped at, her lips were still, not even biting back a retort.

His shoulders slumped, as he let himself un-bristle. She wasn't looking for an argument.

"'Easier said than done." He said quietly.

"You just don't do it." Sam sighed, and he noted her impatience, but she squeezed his hand anyway. "You play it breezy. You don't get involved. You don't spend three and a half hours lugging her damn piano down twenty flights of stairs, until she gives you reason to trust her."

Spencer winced at her mention of the piano, and rubbed his left shoulder tenderly at the memory. He didn't think he'd ever be able to look at one in the same way again.

"I don't like playing games Sam."

"It's not playing games." She promised. "It's keeping your cards close to your chest… It's a way to not feel like this again."

He obviously wasn't looking impressed with her advice, or convinced in her methods because she clipped his arm slightly harder than most girls were capable of, and slapped her other hand to her chest in gesture.

"Have you ever seen me crying over a guy?" she demanded.

Spencer shook his head.

"Well then…" she ended triumphantly.

He half smiled; amused at her confidence, and her downright refusal to admit defeat.

"It's just not me." He stated, hoping to end the matter, and earn the TV remote back.

"It will be." Sam muttered, looking thoughtful.

Thoughtful was a nice way of describing 'scheming'. Her face lit up, and a slow smile emerged. It was the expression that usually preceded some diabolic plan or another, and often accompanied violence. Spencer flinched slightly, not knowing which was worse, and shakily questioned her.


Sam stood up from the couch, looking animated and clacked her way to the door.

"Lesson's begin tomorrow." She called over her shoulder. "Sam Puckett's guide to guarding your heart. But tonight… tonight we're going out my friend. Mama's gonna get you so wasted that you forget Katherine's name."

Spencer groaned and tried to protest, but she berated him, retorting that her shoes hurt like hell, and alcohol was the best pain relief known to man. And if he didn't get off his ass and out the door in the next twenty seconds, she'd beat him with them until blood was drawn.

The next morning Spencer woke up with a sneaking suspicion that Sam had followed through on her violent threat. He opened his eyes tentatively, and quickly squeezed them shut again. Pain. Sunlight bad. He clumsily checked his head for heel shaped dents and found none.

From the awful taste is in his mouth he successfully deduced that vodka was the culprit, before violently throwing up into a nearby vase. With the churning of alcohol gone, his empty stomach was seized by an uneasy sensation. Dread perhaps? Sam's words from the night before repeated themselves too loudly in his throbbing head. 'Lessons begin tomorrow.'

He dragged his crumpled pillow over his face and moaned. What had he gotten himself into?