DISCLAIMER: Not mine, never were. I'm a poor Wal-Mart employee with no soul or social life. All I can lay claim to other than my cat Dax and my Farscape collection is an extremely VIVID imagination. And if you want that, come and get it. LOL
AUTHOR'S NOTE: More writer's blocks but this came to me at work so I wrote it down. I'm fuzzy if UST is unresolved sexual tension or underlying sexual tension so I went with unresolved. And you know how a lot of Popular episodes have fantasy episodes? Well, I tried that here, so, try and go with that.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Just an Observation
By Aeryn Sun
LUNCHROOM BATTLEZONE-NEWS AT 11
"God, what is the matter with those two? I swear it's like it's getting worse, Lily. It's like they're these two super powers at war with each other and we're like these little third world countries caught in the cross fire," Carmen lamented as she readjusted her helmet and waited for the latest shockwave from the last Sam vs. Brooke bombardment to pass over. Lily peeked over their protective cover and winced.
"Incoming," she cringed with one hand on her own helmet as the next barrage came at them. Carmen was right though, things were getting worse and Kennedy High had become a warzone.
At present both cliques were seated at their respective tables in the cafeteria watching Sam and Brooke engage in an unusually vicious verbal sparring match. Things had been building lately between the two, to what Lily wasn't sure. But she was sure if something didn't give soon the bodycount wasn't going to be pretty.
"Maybe if you got your head out of your ass once in a while and took a look at the world around you I wouldn't have to point out the painfully obvious to you all the time!" Sam sneared, arms flailing, face red. Brooke stood a few feet away, hands on hips waiting for her to finish. Nicole and Mary Cherry sat watching, practically salivating at the vivid and sensational catfight. Lily swore all they were missing was a bucket of popcorn.
"God, Brooke, try and think about someone other than yourself for a change," Sam added.
"Oh, yeah?" Brooke snapped back when Sam paused for breath. Lily could almost hear the whistle signifying an incoming bomb. She ducked for cover. "I've got news for you, McPherson, you're not always right. As a matter of fact, you're usually wrong." Lily looked at Carmen and shrugged. No bomb dropped. (that wasn't so bad) she thought. The glint in Brooke's eyes suddenly told Lily that the worst was yet to come.
"How you've managed to get as far as you have as a writer is beyond me," (uh-oh) Lily winced. "Your perception, your version of the truth is so twisted, warped, perverted to meet your own devious and diabolical needs that you'd be more credible writing for the World Weekly News than the New York Post." Sam opened her mouth to respond but Brooke wasn't finished.
"As a matter of fact, calling you a reporter is too generous. You're a yellow journalist. Do you know what that is, Sam? Sure you do given your line of work. A tabloid reporter. But you actually have a better chance of winning an AKC blue ribbon than ever winning a Pulitzer prize." Sam's jaw hit the ground.
The fallout from that particular bombing run sent the entire cafeteria running. Bodies went flying, tables and chairs sailed through the air and the room was decimated. As Lily predicted, the body count was high. There were bodies everywhere, smoke and debris filled the room and no one escaped unscathed. To a casual observer, it resembled Bosnia.
When Sam finally did respond, her voice held none of the contempt or distain Brooke's had. Instead it was low, forceful but it shook with intensity full of unspoken hurt, rage, and pride.
"I am a lot of things, Brooke. A good reporter I may or may not be," she started slowly. Those that survived Brooke's initial onslaught picked themselves up and peeked their heads up from their hiding places to witness what was going to happen next, what blood would be shed next. It's kind of like a train wreck, you know you shouldn't look; it's wrong, sick, and morbid but you do it anyway. Sam's shoulders were shaking with emotion as Brooke continued to stare at her with a somewhat lopsided and confused grin on her face.
"But aside from all that, I wake up each day secure in the knowledge of one thing," she dragged her eyes up from the floor where they'd been rooted since the words `devious and diabolical needs' had crossed Brooke's mouth. She focused them on Brooke with a fierce intensity.
"I wake up everyday and look in the mirror and I know," she paused. "I know that I'm not you." Her eyes narrowed and her gaze turned cold. "I know who I am. I have no need to pretend to be someone, something I'm not. I don't have to change, conform, or contort myself to meet someone else's expectations. I don't have to starve myself, half kill myself just to fit the image, the box that someone puts before me so that I can feel like I have some measure of control over my life." Her voice was now a low, gravely growl and the smile was gone from Brooke's face.
"I know who I am, Brooke. I know who stares back at me from that mirror each morning. And for all her faults, all her short-comings, and I know that they're there, I can live with her. I'm not you and I can live with that. Can you say the same about yourself?"
Having finished her say and not about to give Brooke the chance at another free shot, Sam turned on her heel and left the lunchroom, her tray forgotten. Brooke stood there shocked, stupified, hurt, and numbed by Sam's biting words. It wasn't until Nicole pulled on her arm to sit down that she moved again and sat down heavily.
"Damn, B, what brought on that little Bitchfest 2001?" Nicole asked, eyes dancing. Oh how she loved to watch Brookie and Spam tear at each other like a pair of rabid weasels. There was always the off chance that their mutual hatred of one another would decline into physical violence and not only would she be rid of Spam, the ever present proverbial thorn in her well-toned side, but Brooke as well. And then Nicole could ascend to her rightful place as Queen of Kennedy High School, without getting any blood on her expensive and oh-so-chic Prada heels. Blood is an incredibly stubborn stain to remove, after all.
"Huh?" Brooke blinked at her. Nicole's feral grin widened.
"Not that I minded the show. Hell, I would have paid good money for a show like that one. And given the audience of gawkers the two of you attracted, I'd say if you charged like Pay-Per-View, you could have made more money than Layla Ali Vs. what's her name. But still, what brought on McQueen Vs. Spam version 6.0?" Brooke shrugged.
"I don't really remember. We've been fighting a lot lately," Nic rolled her eyes as if to say (tell me something I don't know). "It started getting real bad this morning over the bathroom. I told her she was hogging it and she accused me of hogging it. Then at breakfast, she used the last of the milk. I was willing to let that go since I've done that to her before but then I got to school and read the paper. That editorial about the Glamazons was totally biased! We don't discriminate about who we do and do not raise money for with our fundraisers. She made it look like we only help ourselves and not those who really need the help. I thought we had an agreement that she wouldn't print things like that anymore."
"Uhm, Brookie, I hate to break the news to you but we do only help ourselves," at Brooke's indignant look, Nic shrugged. "God helps those who help themselves, B. So we do, end of story." Brooke looked at her appalled.
"What? You honestly thought that that money raised went to help the homeless? Please, if they wanted help they would get jobs, personal designers to help them dress, and homes. Trust me, hon, I do not spend my weekends supervising other people washing cars and working on my tan to give all that hard earned money away to some smelly, lazy, fashion emergency." Brooke sighed and stood up.
"Suddenly, I think I understand what Sam was taking about," she snapped coldly. Nicole rolled her eyes.
"Yeah, well, take a Midol and get over it, Queenie. Spam McPherson doesn't even know what she's taking about half the time herself," Nic responded arrogantly. Brooke stepped away.
"I need some air," she said as she left Nicole and the still shell-shocked Mary Cherry. Nicole shrugged.
"Suit yourself," she called to Brooke's retreating back. Someday's she just didn't understand that girl.
Meanwhile at Sam's table, Lily, Carmen and Harrison were attempting to pull themselves together. That had been one Hell of a blowout, worse than normal. And yet, no food had been thrown. That was a feat in itself.
"Whoa," Harrison breathed as he shook his head. "Any survivors?"
"Everyone but Brooke and Sam, I think," Lily responded. True, now that the excitement was over, everyone had returned to their regularly scheduled lunch. Lily sighed. She hated watching Sam and Brooke try to rip each other to shreds. Both were genuinely likeable girls, foibles aside and she couldn't see why they fought so much. Well, actually, being somewhat a student of human behavior, she could but that was beside the point. But this was getting out of hand.
"God, what was that about?" Carmen asked exasperated as she resumed eating lunch. Lily rolled her eyes at the obliviousness that was her best friend. Time to let the cat out of the bag, as it were.
"U.S.T.," she said simply, expecting Carmen and Harrison to understand. They stared at her blankly.
"What?" Carmen asked loudly. "What the Hell is that?" Lily sighed.
"Unresolved Sexual Tension. Haven't the two of you been paying any attention all this time?"
"What the Hell are you talking about?" Harrison nearly screamed. There was a topic here he didn't need to discuss. He was dealing, finally, with the fact that his mother was a lesbian. But the mere thought that his best friend, who he loved deeply as well as the girl he'd been pining for for, well, his entire life, in some way coveted each other dangerously threatened his already slim grasp on reality.
"Yeah, Lily," Carmen laughed nervously. "Have you been making protest posters and sniffing the marker fumes again?" Uninsulted and undetered by the comments, Lily shrugged.
"Look, deny it all you want. If you don't want to see what's as plain as the nose on you face, fine, don't. But one of the reasons Sam and Brooke fight as much as they do is because of unresolved sexual tension between them."
"Lily, I think you've finally flipped your tiny little lid," Harrison snapped. Again Lily shrugged nonchalantly.
"Just because some of us are more open minded than others, Harrison, doesn't make us crazy. I could accuse you of being a bigoted, macho, homophobic little prick but I reserve judement because I'm your friend," her voice was laced with sarcasm. Harrison stood up angrily. Lily tracked him with her eyes.
"Besides," she continued calmly. "I never said anything would ever come of it. Come on, it's Sam and Brooke." She paused and looked at Harrison pointedly. "Sam and Brooke," she repeated for emphasis. "I doubt they realize what's going on."
"I repeat, just for the record, you're certifiable," Harrison hissed. Lily sighed.
"Whatever Harrison. You know, you've got to stop taking this sort of thing so damned personal. People's sexual preference is not a direct reflection on you."
"Shut up, Lily," Harrison ordered. Carmen just watched the two of them like a spectator at a tennis match, her head whipping back and forth.
"Seriously, you've got issues of some sort, Harrison. Everytime someone decides to deviate a little from the norm sexually you take it as a personal insult. Look how you reacted when you found out about your mother," Lily continued, ignoring the murderous glare Harrison shot her as well as the alarming shade of red his face was turning.
"Now, I so much as hint that Sam and or Brooke might be a little less than straight as an arrow; which, by the way, is something we have absolutely no concrete proof of; it was just an observation after all, and you go all Christian right wing on me again. Get a grip, Harrison. It was, after all, just an observation."
"Good-bye, Lily. Talk to you later, Carmen," Harrison growled as he stomped off. After he was gone, Lily turned to Carmen and sighed.
"What was his problem?" Carmen blinked at her.
"His problem? Uh, Lily? I kinda agree with him. Up until the whole freaking out part. What planet did you just arrive from? You're talking about Sam and Brooke here. They can't stand each other." Lily let out a frustrated breath. (That was her point, why couldn't anyone else see that? Was she going to have to draw a diagram?)
"OK, think of it this way: when we were little and a boy liked a girl, or vice versa, what did they do?" Carmen shrugged. "They teased, they bullied, poked and prodded until they got an appropriate response from the object of their offection, right?" Carmen's eyes widened and Lily smiled as she leaned in closer.
"See? That's my point. The relationship is antagonistic. And how would you describe the relationship between Sam and Brooke if you could only use one word?"
"Antagonistic," Carmen reluctantly agreed. Lily nodded as her smile widened. She loved being right.
"Exactly my point. If you studied it, the same pattern repeats itself throughout the animal kingdom."
"But it's Sam and Brooke," Carmen whispered flabbergasted. "They're girls!"
"Duh, I know that. And like I said, it's just an observation," she picked up her apple and took a huge bite. "It's not like anything would ever come of it anyway."
Brooke walked out of the school and continued aimlessly out past the track. She needed to clear her mind. Between things with Sam being as bad as they were (and steadily getting worse) and Nic dropping the bombshell, as it were (not that it was a total surprise) Brooke felt like her life was one big jumble of meaningless starts and stops with no middle or end. Her days seemed to consist of: fighting with Sam, school, seperating Sam and Nicole and keeping them from killing each other, fighting with Sam, home, fighting with Sam, keeping Nicole from usurping her throne (which she really didn't want but dreaded seeing Nic have) and did she mention fighting with Sam?
She passed over the hill at the edge of the school property and was surprised to see a familiar form sprawled out on the grass at the bottom of the hill. Sam, lying on her back with her eyes closed. Brooke thought it strange and highly ironic that the source of most of the turbulance in her life would occupy the same place she had just wandered to. She stood there, wondering whether to stay or go when Sam took that decision from her.
"Either leave or get down here, Brooke. Either way, get out of my sun," she snapped, not opening her eyes. Brooke jumped at the caustic tone of Sam's voice but nonetheless complied. She walked over and laid down a few feet away, eyeing the brunette who ignored her from that point on.
"How'd you know it was me?" Brooke asked when the silence finally got to her. It was unlike Sam to be so quiet for so long so Brooke knew that the words they'd exchanged had really bothered her. And the feeling was mutual. She heard Sam sigh.
"I dunno, just did, OK? Any answer I give you is going to be wrong anyway, right? Just twisted and perverted to meet my own devious and diabolical needs, right?" Brooke winced as her words were thrown back at her. She had hurt Sam with her angry diatribe, that was obvious now. Brooke was learning, the hard way, that the hard shell that Sam projected to the world was just an illusion. And she had blasted right through it. "Maybe I recognized the shadow, such as it is."
"Sam," Brooke started, plaintively. Sam opened her eyes, propped herself on one elbow and faced Brooke.
"What? Going to tear me apart some more, Brooke? I've got to tell you, I never knew you were so good with words. Being a cheerleader and all, I'm surprised they didn't rhyme." Anger flared in Brooke's chest and choked off any apology she may have been about to make.
"You said some pretty damn mean things yourself, Sam!" she accused, standing up again. Sam leapt to her feet as well. A few seconds later they were practically nose to nose. "And I live with myself very well, thank you. And I don't appreciate you airing the fact that I have an eating disorder for the whole God damned school to hear!" Sam's eyes narrowed.
"Please, like anyone can't tell to look at you. Eat something for God's sake, Brooke." Brooke blinked back tears at the callousness in the other girl's statement and struck back with the only ammunition she knew would hit home.
"I'm sure your Dad would be SO proud of you. No wonder he died to get away from an unfeeling brat like you," she whispered lowly, mockingly. She watched the hurt, grief, despair and pain flash across Sam's brown eyes. And in that single gripping instant, as Sam's soul was suddenly laid bare for her to see, she would have gladly given her own soul to take those thoughtless words back.
"Oh yeah?" Sam asked, barely getting the question passed the vomit rising to the back of her throat. Brooke blinked at her, shocked by her own words. Sam turned her back. "Woof woof," she whispered before breaking into a full-blown run, faster than Brooke had ever, EVER seen the girl run before. To see her you'd think all the nightmares of Hell were after her. But Brooke knew better. Sam was running from her, from the pain her words had caused. And Brooke instantly hated herself for it.
BROKEN SPIRITS AND CEMETARY ROSES
Sam didn't return to school that day and when she wasn't home for dinner, Brooke began to worry. It might not have been so bad if Mike and Jane weren't out of town but if she had to explain to them that Sam was missing, well, she wasn't sure how she was going to do that. She drove back to school and was dismayed to see Sam's car still in the parking lot but Sam was no where in sight. She checked the field, the area around the school, called Carmen, Lily, and Harrison, not telling them Sam was missing, just saying she was looking to apologize, but no luck. She checked all the usual hang outs but came up empty. Panic was becoming a very familiar feeling. Panic and overwhelming guilt.
(If anything happens to her it'll be my fault. I never should have said that. How could I have said that? God, I'm getting to be as heartless as Nic and that frightens me)
Brooke didn't understand why she picked fights with Sam the way she did, she just did. It was like sleeping, breathing, it came naturally and she enjoyed it. She didn't enjoy hurting the other girl but sometimes she pushed too far and the line was crossed. And everytime it was, she swore never to do it again. And yet it would. She would curse herself to Hell and back when it did but the pattern repeated.
She couldn't explain why she did it, it was like when she and Sam fought she felt connected to the spirited brunette in a way she never felt connected to anyone else before. Passionately, intimately, openly. And it was safe. She didn't have to put on airs; she was free to let her guard down around Sam although the thought of doing so was frightening. The fighting was her way of opening up to Sam and getting to know Sam in return. She never meant for the fights to take the vendictive turns they often did. She just needed to find a middle ground somewhere.
Every once in a while, a stray thought would enter Brooke's mind about why she fought with Sam the way she did. But she would squash the thought as quickly as it reared its head. The thought usually consisted of how beautiful, vibrant and spirited Sam was, like a rogue horse. OK, Sam would probably not like being compared to a horse but it really was meant as a compliment. It was meant in the vein that Sam was wild, free, passionate, unbroken. And Brooke envied that. She felt trapped by her popularity. She was always forced to play a part, wear a mask she wasn't interested in while Sam walked around free and unhindered by the same restrictions. And plus, Sam really was simply breathtaking.
Brooke had always noticed that Sam was attractive, she does have two well functioning eyes, but the first time she realized how attractive Sam was was shortly after Sam and Jane had moved into the Palace. Sam had stumbled into the bathroom she shared with Brooke, half-asleep, hair askew, in her Scooby-Doo boxers, grey sports bra and a pair of fluffy Garfield slippers. Obviously not a morning person, she'd grumbled a barely audible `morning' to Brooke and went about brushing her teeth. Brooke had simply stared at her a few minutes.
"What?" Sam asked, annoyed at the sudden scrutiney. "We all can't wake up looking freshly pressed, Princess." Brooke tore her eyes away, disturbed herself by her staring.
(It should be illegal for anyone to look so adorable, scrumptious, and astounding this early in the morning, or at any time) Brooke found herself thinking. (What the Hell am I thinking? That's Sam McPherson glaring at me! She is not adorable, scrumptious, or astounding at ANY time. She's a girl for God's sake.)
"Sorry, zoned out for a second there," she recovered. Sam gave her a `whatever' look and went back to brushing her teeth. Brooke went back to her Sam study.
(But she is adorable. Look how her nose scrunches as she brushes her front teeth and how full those lips are, oh God. I am in BIG trouble)
From that point on, Brooke watched Sam discreetly, as much as possible without Sam noticing. But she just found the other girl intriguing and beguiling and absolutely frustrating as Hell. Not just sexually although that was a huge factor but in everyway. And now, because she let her frustration get the better of her, she'd lost Sam. Literally.
Turning the corner, Brooke spotted the last place on her mental list she thought Sam might be. Truthfully she knew it was the first place she should have looked. The cemetary where Jack McPherson was buried. And true to form, there was Sam, curled up on the ground with her back against the stone. Brooke approached her cautiously.
"Go away, Brooke," the soft, broken and defeated voice carried over to her. "I have nothing left to give you so please just go." Brooke sat down on a nearby bench, close but not crowding.
"It's getting late, Sam. You shouldn't be out here alone." Sam didn't lift her head from where it lay on her knees.
"I hope you're happy," Sam whispered. Brooke frowned.
"Why would I be happy?"
"You won," Sam lifted her head and Brooke saw the defeated and lost look in Sam's eyes. She felt her heart shatter into a million pieces. "You finally broke me, Brooke. There's nothing left, just pieces. You finally did what no one, nothing ever could. You broke me." He voice was flat, final and it scared Brooke. Gone was the confident and brazen tone that she associated with Sam McPherson, the person before her was nothing but a shell of what once was. And Brooke hated herself for causing it.
"I never should have said that Sam, it was way out of line," Brooke apologized. Sam shrugged.
"Whatever, he's gone. Nothing can change that," Sam told her plainly. Brooke swallowed the sob that rose in her throat as she realized how much damage her comment had done. Here was Sam, alive and breathing but she had effectively killed her spirit. The thing she loved most about her. She got off the bench and sat down next to Sam who made no effort to move.
"What I said was only half wrong, Sam. Your dad would be proud of you and how far you've come in your writing. That part was true. But he didn't die to get away from you. That was wrong. He never would have done that." Sam shrugged.
"Guess we'll never know, right?"
"Stop it Sam!" Brooke shouted, unable to take this behavior anymore. Sam didn't so much as flinch. "You know he wouldn't have wanted to leave you or your mother but these things happen. Damn it, why would anyone want to leave you?" Sam arched an eyebrow sardonicly.
"Because I'm an unfeeling brat?" she answered bitterly. Brooke sighed heavily.
"I was wrong when I said that too. Look, the worst things about words is that you can never take them back. Physical wounds heal but verbal ones remain because you can replay them over and over in your brain anytime you want and the pain starts fresh. I'm really sorry for the awful things I said, Sam. I had no right. If I could in any way take them back or make them up to you, I would, in an instant." Brooke confessed. Sam studied her for a few minutes. Brooke watched a small spark slowly return to Sam's expressive eyes.
"OK, I believe you. But please," her voice got hushed and thick, "don't ever say anything like that about my Dad again. From Nic or Mary Cherry I think I could handle it, but from you it nearly killed me," she finished softly as tears spilled down her cheeks. Brooke found herself crying too at the harsh realization of how badly she had hurt Sam.
"I promise. Never ever ever to say anything that mean and spiteful. Ever." Sam sniffed.
"And I promise to never air your anorexia problems for the entire world to hear either, that's your business and not something to be made light of. I'm really sorry," Sam said genuinely sorry. Brooke smiled.
"Forgiven. What say we go get your car and go home?" Sam nodded.
"Sounds like a plan."
JUST AN OBSERVATION
"Why do you suppose we do what we do?" Brooke asked as they ate a late supper. Sam looked up and shrugged.
"I dunno. You've been a uber bitchola on crank lately so, I figured it was you," she pointed out although she kept her tone light. Brooke shot her a mock glare.
"Me? What is that supposed to mean? You started with me this morning," she added. Sam sighed.
"Look, I've been trying to be nice lately because you've seemed mad at me lately. Glamazon editorial aside, I had proof, admit that," Brooke nodded. She saw the proof so she had no choice. "So I've been trying to be nice."
"Nice? Nice how?"
"Are you always this oblivious or did you take lessons?" Brooke stared at her confused. "OK, last week, did you think that your laundry magically found its way from your room to the washer to the dryer, got folded and hung in your closet all by itself?" Brooke shook her head.
"I thought not. Since Mom doesn't like to invade our privacy, it wasn't her, it was me. And your favorite breakfast cereal, did you think the Grocery Fairy came in here and dropped off a new box yesterday after you finished the old one? Shopping day is in two days. I went and bought a new one. Since Mike and Mom are out of town, it had to be me. And finally, did you think a band of Smurfs passed through town and cleaned your car the other day?" Again Brooke shook her head. "OK, getting my point? All this stuff is little, not obvious but I've been trying to get on your good side so that you'd stop yelling at me and making me feel like absolute garbage." Brooke winced.
"Aw, Sam, I am so sorry," Sam waved her off.
"You've obviously got something on your mind, don't worry about it. I just ask that you please stop taking it out on me if it's not my fault." Brooke sighed and resisted the urge to shoot herself.
"I'm sorry, you're right, I've been treating you like crap. Again, so sorry. And it's not your fault. Well, not directly."
"Can I get that in writing?" Sam laughed. Brooke spared her a smile and then mustered all her courage. She knew that if they were going to have to live together she was going to have to be honest with Sam. At least then Sam would understand her behavior and be better prepared to deal with it.
"Can I talk to you about something important? Something deeply personal?" Sam raised an eyebrow.
"Are you sure you want to?"
"Strictly off the record, Sam," Brooke shot out. Sam frowned.
"Ouch, Brooke. Bitch warning. I was kidding a second ago."
"Oh, sorry. But yes, you're the only one I can talk to about this." Sam leaned closer over the table.
"Then that's a pretty sad statement but go ahead, I'm listening." Brooke took a deep breath.
"I want to explain my behavior lately," she started.
"Aside from the fact that you're insane?" Brooke shot her a dirty look.
"I'm trying to be serious," she complained. Seeing that she indeed was, Sam sobered.
"OK, shoot. I won't interrupt again."
"Yeah, I'll believe that when I see it. Anyway, this is going to totally freak you out but please wait until I finish to get out the sharp instruments." Sam held up a hand to stop her. "What?"
"Sorry to interrupt. Do you mind if I stand up? Sitting on the ground all day has made my legs cramp up and I need to stretch them. Can I walk around a little? I promise to listen." Brooke sighed in relief. She thought Sam didn't really want to listen.
"Go ahead," Sam stood up and motioned for Brooke to start talking. "OK, like I said, this is going to freak you out," she saw Sam arch an eyebrow as she walked towards the counter and leaned against it, stretching her legs and back. Brooke idly wondered if Sam knew how sexy she looked reclining against that wall like a cat scratching against a scratching post.
"Uhm," Brooke stuttered, momentarily losing her train of thought as Sam continued her unintentional sensual display. Sam turned her attention back to Brooke who finally remembered what it was that she had wanted to say.
"Ah, I've noticed lately, and it started as just an observation that wouldn't go away but lately, things, my thoughts have been getting a little, strange," Sam's face reflected back the (stranger than normal?) comment she surely would have said and Brooke smiled. "Yes, stranger than normal. They've been heading in a decidedly not normal direction." Sam shrugged. Brooke put her head in her hands as she continued to speak. She couldn't bear to look at Sam as she tried to say this next part.
"So, as I've listened to these not normal thoughts, I've tried to ignore them, really I have but they're just so damn strong. And I can't get them out of my head. They get louder and more persistant and they make me scared and therefore cranky." She heard Sam move away from the counter but didn't look up.
"So, I guess you're wondering where I'm going with this. I suppose I should just say it, Sam. Lately, lately I've noticed that my feelings for someone have taken a turn. I no longer feel friendly towards this person. But I don't hate them either." Her heart was thundering in her chest and she could feel the sweat dripping down her shirt. She didn't know exactly where Sam was in the room but she could feel that she was still there.
"No, my feelings lately have become amorous. Oh, God Sam, I can't get this person out of my head. I dream about them at night, I think about them all day. I look forward to every moment spent in their company and I hate every second I'm forced to spend without them. When I'm with them is the only time I feel free, the only time I feel like the true me. That's what this person does for me."
"Sounds like a pretty special person," Sam finally spoke in a low voice that came from right behind Brooke's left ear, her warm breath brushing against the hair on the nape of Brooke's neck and making it stand on end. Brooke's breath caught in her throat and she felt a few salty tears cascade down her face to the table.
"You are," came out in a breath, barely above a whisper and nearly lost in the small sob that came out of Brooke's mouth behind it. She jumped as she felt Sam place a gentle kiss on the back of her neck.
"Thank God," she heard Sam pray with a voice thick with tears. Brooke turned around and looked into Sam's tears streaked face. Sam gave her a watery lopsided smile. "I wasn't, I wasn't sure you meant me until just now," she leaned her forehead against Brooke's. "Did you really mean all that?" Brooke nodded.
"With every beat of my heart. Oh God, Sam, do you have any idea what you do to me?" Sam smiled wickedly.
"If it's half of what you do to me," she teased as she lifted Brooke's face to meet hers. Their lips met in a kiss that was gentle at first, curious. But it soon grew in passion and intensity until Brooke was forced to rise from her chair to maintain the ferocious intensity. After they seperated, they simply stared at each other for several minutes before either spoke.
"I love you, Brooke," Sam confessed, her eyes telling Brooke that it was the open honest truth. Suddenly, Brooke realized she was home at last. There was no pretense here, no masks to wear, and no parts to play. They were simply Brooke and Sam. It was all she needed and all she would ever need. She was finally free. She smiled a smile of reckless, hopeful abandon.
"I love you too, Sam," and she pressed her lips against Sam's again. And the rest of the world disappeared.
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