DISCLAIMER: Popular and its characters are the property of Ryan Murphy and Touchstone. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: Mo' Menace, Mo' Problems.
More Than Meets the Eye
Sam McPherson was never at a loss for words. Until now. Mr. Grant sat there, not sure what else to add, before saying good job and heading back to his office to finish off his day. The brunette slumped down, laid her head in her arms and just closed her eyes to try and block out the feeling of inadequacy she felt overcoming her entire being.
Mr. Grant point blank asked her if she had a problem with Brooke McQueen. She stumbled, fell and landed face first in a situation she had no clue how to respond to. He left her there, stranded, like a lost puppy on a highway with no food or water. She had no clue what to think, feel or do for that matter, and she hated herself for it.
There was no one to turn to to talk about Brooke, and Sam was never one to deal with her feelings on her own. She was like her own therapist sometimes, but it never did her any good. She just convinced herself she wasn't worth feeling this way and found some cause to champion to forget all about it until the next crisis came her way.
Carmen and Lily would laugh at her. Tell her she's just obsessed with another story and running with it like she normally did. They'd tell her to stop her personal vendetta and get on with her career as an investigative journalist with real stories instead of tabloid fodder. She didn't want to deal with that.
Harrison would tell her to stop fooling around, because he'd never tell her how he really felt. Instead, he'd try to make her feel bad for having "feelings" or whatever she called her "thing" for Brooke. Inside, he'd hate her, there friendship damaged and ended prematurely. She couldn't risk that.
Her mom would tell her she was going through a teenage phase, just like the nose piercing and wanting to get a tattoo. She'd set-up therapy appointments, whatever counseling Sam would need to get through yet another crisis. Dr. Mallory was still on speed dial even if her mom wouldn't admit it. She didn't want to go back there after she made Sam confront the loss of her father.
Sam rose her head, leaned back in her chair and just stared at the wall of the audio visual room. The room was like a prison cell, locked behind a door most would assume was just another useless janitor's closet. Old video equipment, an equalizer and a twenty inch Magnavox television sat on a rickety old push cart with a VHS player setting haphazardly beneath it. It looked like it could topple at a moment's notice, but Sam rewound the tape regardless and watched as her interview with Brooke came to life in reverse.
She leaned forward, resting her elbows on her knees and paused the footage before she ambushed Brooke. That's what she did, after all, even after Harrison encouraged her to give up for the day. She saw the blonde as she was exiting the mall, and all those feelings surged to the surface and overcame her journalistic sensibilities. It was a common theme, one that found itself manifesting in the presence of Brooke now, but it had found itself rearing its ugly head before in moments of weakness for Sam. It wasn't until after the fallout did she come to some sort of life altering conclusion. It was only a matter of time before she figured out what all this meant in relation to the cheerleader, too.
Something was different this time, even though she didn't want to admit it to herself. She knew deep down inside the feelings she had for Brooke weren't going to go away overnight. This was something she'd felt before, briefly, every so often for her to push it aside and go on with life as if it didn't matter.
That was her defense mechanism. Deflect, push and go. Run with all your might and hopefully nothing would ever catch up with you.
But Brooke McQueen was a different matter: If their parents really were getting married, and in love, she wasn't going to be able to just run away like all those times before. She wouldn't be able to hide in the face of her feelings, push them down inside and pretend they didn't exist. She wouldn't be able to find something to keep her from thinking, feeling and dealing. Brooke wasn't going anywhere, and her mother wasn't going to magically wake up one day and give up on happiness again.
"When will I be happy?" she asked aloud, crossing her arms and staring at the paused image splashed across the screen. Brooke wore a stupid grin on her face, not sure what to make of the camera being focused on her and Sam's eyes searching for her soul.
Sam began pondering her feelings at that moment; the second she saw Brooke in the mall, she knew she had to talk to her. That motivation is what forced her - against her better judgment - to run after Brooke, stop her and put a camera in her face. Even Harrison tried to stop her, somehow knowing it would turn out wrong, but she'd never listen. She never listens to anybody especially not herself.
The brunette was all the things Mr. Grant pointed out. The interview with Brooke was more like a courtroom confrontation between prosecutor and defendant. Sam began the offensive, Brooke defended the verbal barbs, and both walked away with a satisfying sense of defeat.
She picked up the remote, pushed play and sat back and watched the interview for what seemed like the millionth time that day. Mr. Grant insisted she continue the project by going to Brooke's party Friday. But what would that accomplish? What would she achieve by making an appearance? Would she get enough for her story? Or would she cause even more damage?
For now, she would get to see Brooke, and somehow, that was the only answer to any of her questions that seemed to make much sense.
Return to Popular Fiction
Return to Main Page