TITLE: The Highs and The Lows


Email: louise@loubeaton.freeserve.co.uk

DISCLAIMER: These characters are not mine. I’m not making any profit, they belong totally to someone else and I am just borrowing, I’ll put them back when I’m done. There good as new. See? Oh I also borrowed the lyrics form Delerium’s ‘Innocente (falling in love’) because I love it and Kylie Minogue just because it fit. Honest.


PAIRING: Even I’m not sure yet, but I have an idea…..

NOTE: This is angst. I like angst fiction. You want happy, go watch a sitcom. Also, I haven’t seen all the episodes of Popular so am probably taking huge liberties!

This is my first ever Fanfiction so be gentle. If you would like to comment, that’d be nice.


As Brooke lay in bed she could here the now familiar sound of the window in the bedroom across the hall being slowly opened. She looked at the clock glowing next to her bed in the dark. 11.30pm. Absently she wondered where her soon-to-be-stepsister went on her late night excursions. Could she be researching some big expose for the school paper? Or maybe she was having some torrid affair and was sneaking out to meet a secret lover? Brooke mentally shrugged, figuring it was Sam’s business what she got up to and gave herself over to sleep.

Soon after Brooke drifted off to sleep the subject of her thoughts was across town opening a battered metal door, letting the sound of loud dance music and a fog of smoke escape briefly into the night as she entered the building. Sam took up her now regular seat at the bar and waved the bartender over.

‘The usual?’


The bartender produced a coaster with a flourish and set the drink down in front of her. Sam took a sip with a mumbled ‘thanks’ as her thoughts wandered to the same place they always found themselves recently and the reason she was here; Brooke. Some months ago Sam began to realize that she had another reason to keep her apart from the popular crowd she always thought she had despised. Sam was gay. The realization was not something that had perturbed her, at least not at first, as she had never been one for being overly concerned with ‘fitting in’ or so-called normality. No, the part that had really hit her, was the realization that not only was she gay, but that her feelings for her housemate, and arch nemesis for most of her life were not entirely platonic. This knowledge and the soul–wrenching recognition that she would never be able to be with the object her affection was the part that was hardest to take. Brooke dated the captain of the football team; she was a cheerleader for god’s sake and about to become her stepsister. Why on earth would she even consider going out with Sam? What were the chances of Brooke ever returning Sam’s feelings? Sam rapidly reached the conclusion that the chances of this happening were exactly zero. So here she was sitting alone in a gay club drowning her sorrows, for the umpteenth night in a row hoping to meet someone who felt the same way she did, who could blot out all thoughts of the blonde cheerleader.

Sam was yanked from her reverie by a voice next to her. Not shouted, but with enough force to carry over the bass of the music.

‘Spam Mcfearsome. Well, well, well…..’


‘Wait, what the FUCK are you doing here?!’ Sam almost shouted as she spun on her barstool to face the direction of the voice.

‘Well. It would seem we have reached something of an impasse, now you know my secret and I know yours’ Nicole slid gracefully onto the stool next to Sam and casually picked up the brunette’s glass and sniffed the contents before taking a sip.

‘…..And Vodka, on school night, too……’  The girl beside Sam grinned evilly.

‘You… you’re gay?’

‘No. I’m just incessantly bloody cheerful. Why else would I be here, Sam?’

The brunette was speechless as she retrieved her drink from the blonde and finished it in one go.

‘Another?’ Nicole asked as she attracted the bartender’s attention and ordered them both refills.

While Sam tried to recover the power of speech she looked at the girl seated next to her.  Nicole, was similar in height to her own five foot four, but her hair was short and bottle blonde, though still in her usual height of fashion, rather wild, style, but the designer outfit was replaced by Levis and a plain black top and matching black boots, still expensive but in a more understated way than Sam was used to seeing.

‘So…do you come here often?’ Sam winced at her corny line and wished her vocal chords had stayed inactive.

‘My, that’s original, and there was me wondering why you were sitting here all on your lonesome. With lines like that I can see why’ Nicole smiled as she spoke softening the effect of her words and surprising Sam further.

‘Actually, I do’ Nicole continued ‘It’s nice to be in space where no one knows me as Nicole Julian, Bitch Queen and every other person in this room feels exactly the same way I do. I presume that includes you?’

Sam nodded ‘How long have you known?’

‘That I’m gay? All my life, honey. It does give lie to the “But I’m a cheerleader” thing, huh?’ Nicole smirked ‘How about you?’

‘Few months’

‘Is that why you are here, drowning your sorrows? Trying to pretend it isn’t real? ‘Cause you picked kind of a weird place to go into denial, this being a gay club and all’

‘No. Yes…Um. Kind of’

‘Well, there’s first, Sam McPherson, budding journalist, tripping over her own tongue’ the blonde laughed

‘I’m not in denial, not about being gay anyway, I’m ok with that’ Sam’s vocal chords finally decided to co-operate

‘Must be woman trouble then, or lack of that you are sitting here alone?’ Nicole glanced at her watch ‘Better go and get some beauty sleep, can’t be trend-settingly popular with bags under my eyes, now can I?’ Nicole grinned ruefully ‘I’ll see you Sam’ with that the blonde drained her drink and disappeared into the crowd on the dance floor and was gone, Leaving Sam to her thoughts.


‘So what did you do last night’ Brooke asked a yawning Nicole as they stood at their lockers the next morning

‘Oh, you know, thought about studying, didn’t, watched some old movie on TV. You?’

‘Oh actually studied, nothing exciting’ the taller blonde joked

Nicole mumbled agreement distractedly as she saw a figure approaching. Sam turned briefly to glace at the two blondes as she passed on the way to her locker. As she stopped further down the hall and started getting books out she glanced over again just in time to catch, was that a wink? From Nicole as she turned back to Brooke, nodding in agreement at whatever the taller girl was saying.

The rest of the day passed in blur for Sam. After dinner she sat in her room, blank page open on the laptop in front of her. She wasn’t paying it any attention however, with her feet propped on her desk rocking back in her chair, she absently tapped the end of a pencil against her teeth, lost in thoughts of Brooke, interspersed with recollections of her conversation with Nicole the previous night.

She was so absorbed she didn’t notice the knock on the door, or when the door opened and the object of her affections stuck her head round it.


Sam was jolted out of her thoughts and the legs of her chair hit the floor along with the feet that had slid off the desk at the sound of her name.

‘Oh. Hi Brooke. Didn’t hear you there….’

‘Obviously. Whatcha working on?’

‘Oh. Err.. article for the paper’ Sam stuttered as she closed the top of her laptop to hide the lack of words actually typed ‘What’s up?’ 

‘I just wanted to catch up, you know, I haven’t seen much of you recently’ Brooked started

‘Oh. Well, you know, studying and the paper and stuff….’ Sam trailed off as she stood up and started tidying up, which consisted of piling books up on the desk and moving them from one side of it to the other.

The silence in the room hung between them, both aware that the blazing rows they were both used to had subsided in recent months, replaced by a distance Sam had orchestrated and Brooke didn’t understand the reasons for.

‘I just thought we could talk. Or maybe watch a movie together?’ Brooke’s words came out in a rush as she tried to find some opening to get the two of them talking again, to replace the animosity with some sort of relationship, since they lived together and were soon to be sisters, well step sisters, anyway.

‘Um. ‘nother time maybe? I’m beat, I think I’ll just grab and early night’ Sam said heading toward the bathroom that linked the two girl’s bedrooms

‘Oh. Ok. Another time.’ Brooke rose from the bed and headed toward the door. ‘Night Sam’

‘Yeah…..night’ Sam called from the bathroom.

As she leant on the sink and breathed slowly she thought how much it would have hurt to sit on the sofa with Brooke and how much it would have cost not to be able to reach out and put an arm round her, pull her close and kiss her with all the passion she felt. She cleaned her teeth and left the bathroom, lying down on the bed, still fully dressed and stared at the ceiling. Her mind already out and in the club, her body to follow as soon as the house had settled down for the night.

Brooke lay in bed and glanced at the clock as she heard the window open in the room across the hall from her.11.30pm. Early night, huh Sam? Can you really not stand being near me that much that you have to lie to get away from me? Brooke angrily yanked the covers up around her as she rolled over and tried not to think about it.

As Sam entered the club she scanned the room instead of heading straight to her usual space at the bar, which is exactly where she saw the blonde. As she sat down a drink was placed in front of her.

‘You got my message then?’ The blonde said with a smile

‘You barely even winked at me, and that was a message?!’ Sam asked incredulously

‘Well, it worked, didn’t it?’ Nicole turned to face Sam ‘C’mon’ she said as she grabbed Sam’s hand and drained her glass

Sam rapidly drained her own glass as she was pulled after the blonde onto the half full dance floor.

Much later the two girls collapsed flushed and laughing on to their barstools and waived the bartender over  

‘Two vodka and cokes’ Nicole said breathlessly

‘No can do, girls we called last orders an hour ago, time to go home, or back to your crypts, it’s getting light out there’

‘Oh, shit, Nicole, I didn’t realize the time –we have to be at school in two hours and I have a chem. Test today, how the hell am I gonna stay awake through that?!’

‘C’mon’ Nicole said grabbing Sam’s hand, but dragging her toward the door this time.

Once they were outside Nicole handed Sam a small folded piece of paper.

‘Put this in your morning coffee, better than a large cappuccino, trust me’ Nicole winked at Sam ‘I’ll give you a lift, I’m meant to pick Brooke up soon anyway, we have early cheerleading practice’

Back at the Palace Sam made them both coffee and Nicole dumped half the contents of the packet in each mug. Sam had just washed the mugs and gone up to her room when Brooke came into the kitchen

‘Oh. Morning Nicole’ she said surprised

Nicole smiled ‘Sam let me in, she was just coming back from her run when I got here’

‘Funny, I didn’t hear her leave’ or come home last night she thought to herself ‘You’re not changed’

‘I can do that when we get there’ smiling again she linked arms with Brooke and virtually dragged her out of the door talking rapidly, and changing the subject.


‘Hi Sam, how did the chem. Test go?’ Lily asked as Sam joined them at the lunch table

‘Finegoodgreatyeah. Fine’ Sam said drumming her fingers on the table.

‘Hey look, I’m not hungry, and have tons of stuff to do for the paper, catch you later, yeah?’ Sam said getting up again.

‘oh, ok….’ Was all Lily had time to say before Sam vanished, just as Brooke arrived.

‘Hi, guys! Have you seen Sam?’ Brooke asked brightly

‘Yeah, roadrunner just left thataway‘ Carmen said pointing in the direction Sam had rapidly disappeared  

‘Oh. It’s just I haven’t seen her today, I just thought I’d ask her how her test went….’ Brooke trailed off ‘Maybe I’ll just catch her at home…..’ she said as she wandered away lost in thought.


Brooke was again deep in thought, this time bent over a large pile of books at the table when Sam came through the door of the Palace.

‘How was the test?’ Brooke said, looking up from her studies

‘Ok, I guess….look I’m kind of beat, it’s been a real long day today, can you tell mom I don’t want dinner, I’m just gonna go and have a nap ok?’

Sam was halfway up the stairs before Brooke could even answer, leaving her puzzled over the brunette’s behavior. 

The loud buzzing jarred Sam awake. As she located the source of the noise to silence it she was surprised to find it was coming from her alarm clock and daylight was streaming painfully through her unclosed curtains, burning her eyes. Switching off the alarm Sam struggled to an upright position and realized she had fallen asleep in her clothes and her head hurt like hell. As she stood up the room span briefly and Sam realized she was shaking slightly. Sam staggered down to the kitchen and located the answer to her problems aspirin and coffee. She washed the aspirin down with the coffee and took it back upstairs, finishing it while standing under the shower.

As the painkillers, caffeine and shower took effect Sam slowly got dressed and realized she had been asleep since getting in the night before. Worse still she had missed out on her nightly outing. When had it become a nightly thing? It started as once or twice a week. Going to the club after meeting Carmen and Lily, telling her mom they had been to a late night showing at the movies. When had the bartender asked if she wanted ‘her usual?’ and stopped asking for ID? Sam thought hard, weeks? No, months. While Sam thought she lifted the corner of her mattress and pulled out a small bottle. Sloshing some of the contents into her coffee mug she sat on the bed while she drank and thought.

It had started not long after she realized how she felt about Brooke, when she realized the arguments were covering something else inside her, something she didn’t want to face.  She had started going to the club as a place to be herself, and then started adding vodka to the coke to block out the way it hurt to argue with Brooke. And then it was to block out the pain of trying to stay away from Brooke, because it hurt to be around her, knowing she would never feel the same way about Sam as she did about her. In the months she had been there she had met a couple of women, danced with them, talked to them in the hope that it would stop these feelings for the blonde cheerleader, but it hadn’t, it had only made it worse and Sam had gone back to drinking alone, until she met Nicole of all people. That had been a crazy night, the night after, they had danced and talked all night and Sam saw a side of Nicole she never thought possible, a human side, that she suspected few others had ever seen.

Sam emptied her mug and put the bottle back under the mattress, she went back to the bathroom, rinsed her mug and was just cleaning her teeth when Brooke bounced into the bathroom.

‘Good morning!’ Brooke said cheerfully

‘M’ning’ Sam mumbled past her toothbrush

‘Feeling better? Jane was worried when I told her you didn’t want dinner and had gone straight to bed’

‘M fine’ Sam mumbled ‘Stress of tests and been busy with the paper, y’know, catches up with you’ Sam replaced her toothbrush and beat a hasty retreat to the bedroom.

How can I be in love with someone who is so cheerful in the morning? Sam thought ruefully as she collected her stuff and left for school


‘Come on Sam, you have to come with us, we have barely seen you in ages’ Lily whined at lunch later that day

‘Yeah, ok’ Sam agreed, trying her best to sound enthusiastic ‘What are we going to see?’

‘Not what, who, it’s a band Sam, are you even listening?’ Lily said waving her hand in front of the brunette’s face

‘Yeah, I’m sorry Lil, I’m just a bit spaced today, y’know, glad it’s Friday, y’know weekend, catch up on some sleep. What time and where?’

‘It’s at a coffee shop across town. They’re a local rock band. How about I pick you up at 7?’

‘Yeah, sounds good Lil’ as Sam answered her gaze wandered over to the popular table on the other side of the cafeteria, she was somewhat surprised to find Nicole Julian staring at her, and even more surprised when the blonde smiled at her. The blonde mouthed ‘later’ at Sam, winked and turned back to her conversation with Brooke.

Sam could feel her heart beat faster at the thought of meeting up with Nicole again, she had to admit she had had fun that night, even if despite it all it she had still found herself thinking of Brooke when she was dancing with Nicole.

‘Listen, I’ve got some stuff to do in the paper office so I’ll see you at 7, yeah?’ Sam was already on her feet and was collecting her books as she spoke so Lily’s ‘Don’t be late’ was aimed at her departing back. ‘Is it me, or is that girl always in a hurry to be elsewhere these days?’ Lily asked aloud.

Sam was splashing her face with cold water in the Novak, when she looked up she was surprised to see Nicole staring at her in the mirror.

‘Damn, you look like hell’

‘Gee, thanks Nicole, you sure know how to flatter a girl’ Sam replied as she pulled a face at Nicole in the mirror

‘All I was going to say, Miss Sarcasm, was I have something to make you feel better if you fancy blowing off last period. You’re gonna need all the help you can get to get through tonight’s misery-fest’

‘How do you know about that?’ Sam asked, puzzled

‘It was Brookie’s idea; she thought she might get to see you since you are doing a nifty impression of avoiding her. She thought it would be fun if both groups went together and she knows you love whiny miserable bands, so figured this for just your sort of thing’

‘Oh, this sounds better by the minute’ Sam groaned ‘is this what you meant by later?’

‘Oh, no Sam McPherson, I have grander plans for you than that, I figure if both groups are together, they will be so busy bitch fighting they won’t notice if we do a Houdini and then you had better get your dancing shoes on’ Nicole smiled broadly at Sam, which, she noticed, made her stomach do flip-flops

‘So what about last period? Where shall we meet? And as long as whatever this pick-me up is doesn’t leave me asleep for twelve hours straight. I missed dancing with you last night’ Sam said realizing she was smiling as well.

‘You didn’t miss me, I couldn’t get away, Brookie kept me on the phone for like, hours, and then I crashed too. Nah, this is just to get you in the mood…..’ Nicole grinned mischievously and was gone leaving Sam wondering just what the blonde had in mind. 

Sitting on the far side of the football field, under the bleachers, the two girls were totally out of sight of any potential passers by. Highly unlikely anyway since the rest of the school were productively employed in last period. Sam took a deep drag on the joint Nicole had produced with a flourish when Sam had arrived and lay back down to stare at the blue sky between the gaps in the seating.

‘Now this is a much better way to spend a Friday afternoon, don’t you think? Nicole said joining Sam in her observation of the sky.

‘Should make it compulsorily’ Sam drawled lazily taking another drag

‘Now you’re in the mood for gang warfare and misery music’ Nicole giggled

‘I hear a bell’ Sam said sometime later ‘Ah, parties over, damn better make tracks’ Sam said returning to a more vertical position

‘Not even begun, yet’ Nicole said as she joined Sam ‘I will see you later’ she kissed Sam on the cheek and was gone, leaving a somewhat fuzzy brained Sam grinning like an idiot.

‘God, I’m starving‘ Sam said through a mouthful of food as she helped herself to seconds at dinner later that evening

‘Good, I’m glad you’re feeling better Sammy, I was worried about you sleeping so much yesterday’ Jane said looking every bit as concerned as she sounded

‘I’m ok, mom, just stressed out with the test yesterday and stuff for the paper, y’know. Anyway I’m an adolescent, that’s what we do, is sleep, right Brooke?’

‘Um..yeah’ Brooke said, surprised by Sam’s good mood

‘Anyway will do me good to get out tonight and burn off some stress’ talking of which, better get ready’ Sam said bolting the rest of her dinner and rising from the table as she spoke.

Sam was chatting with Lily and Carmen and half listening to the band some time later on that evening. She was also wondering how long she should reasonably stay before she could make her getaway and meet up with Nicole. Unfortunately her friends seemed to think they had barely seen her for weeks and were keen to spend some ‘quality time’ with her. Sam did feel guilty for not spending more time with her friends recently, but felt worse at having to hide her secret from them. The less she saw of them, the easier it was to hide not only her sexuality, but also her true feelings for Brooke.

Sam surreptitiously glanced at her watch and looked up to see Nicole arriving with Brooke at her side talking incessantly, closed followed by Mary Cherry, Sugar Daddy and Josh. Sam had to smile when she realized she wasn’t sure who she was more jealous of, Nicole for being in Brooke’s company, or vice versa. Lily was so pleased to see Josh she didn’t even register the fact that the rest of the popular clique had joined them at their table and no-one else seemed to notice that Nicole had somehow ended up sitting next to Sam. Except of course, Sam, who was particularly pleased to see Nicole when she managed to slip a hip flask out of her handbag and lace both of their drinks. Suddenly Sam thought that this part of the evening might not be so bad after all.

As everyone spilled out of the coffeehouse after the band had finished they were surprised to find they were all chatting amicably and they had actually had a good time, which no major arguments. Brooke was in an especially good mood as Sam had seemed to relax and they had actually had a whole conversation, although she couldn’t remember them actually discussing anything important. She felt Sam was still being very cagey with her, but couldn’t work out why. She decided not to push it and felt it was a definite step up from the vicious rows that had, previous to Sam’s near avoidance of her, been their only means of communication.

Brooke didn’t think it particularly strange then, when Nicole offered them both a ride home, since she had promised Brooke a ride, she was going that way anyway so why shouldn’t she give Sam a lift as well.

Brooke got out of the car outside the Palace and pulled the seat forward for Sam to get out of the backseat. As Sam lent forward she brushed past Nicole.

‘I’ll meet you in twenty round the corner’ she breathed into Sam’s ear

‘Thanks for the ride Nicole. I’ll see you later’ Sam said and winked at Nicole as she turned to go inside.

Brooke said goodbye to Nicole and followed Sam into the house. She opened the fridge and pulled out a bottle of water

‘You want to watch a movie or something’ she said as she took a sip

‘Nah, I’m kinda tired, I’m gonna go to bed’ the brunette said heading towards the stairs and trying not to run

‘Maybe I will too’ Brooke sounded disappointed ‘see you in the morning’

‘Yeah, ‘night’ Sam’s voice drifted down the stairs

Sam lay on the bed fully clothed staring at the ceiling, counting the minutes. She was convinced that Brooke was getting ready for bed as slowly as possible, but when she was sure the house was silent she eased the window up with an art born of a great deal of practice.

Nicole broke into a grin as soon as she saw Sam jogging toward her car in the rearview mirror


‘Hey, yourself. Lady Brooke keeping tabs?’ Nicole joked ‘I feel a party should always start with a bang, don’t you?’ As Nicole spoke she pulled out a small vanity mirror and handed it to Sam, followed by small packet and a rolled dollar bill

‘I’m afraid I started the party without you, you took so long, so this line’s all yours’ Nicole said as she emptied the packet onto the mirror

Sam didn’t stop and think about what she was doing for too long as she knew if she did she would be out of the car and back home in seconds, but the lure of partying with Nicole and the respite from the thought that she wished she could be at home in Brooke’s bed was too much temptation, so she smiled at Nicole and took the rolled dollar from her.


It was Friday night and the club was packed. Sam fought her way to the bar and got them drinks; the place was humming with the atmosphere of people in their element and here to party.

Nicole accepted the drink Sam handed her with a smile ‘So, you fancy a dance?’ she said taking a sip

‘Just lead the way’ Sam grinned back, already starting to move the music

The song changed to ‘Can’t get you out of my head’ as they made their way into the centre of the mass of writhing swaying bodies. As Sam heard the change of song she threw her head back and laughed, pulling Nicole closer to her

‘Someone up there can read my mind’ she practically shouted into her blonde companion’s ear over the deafening music.

Nicole looked startled at the comment but accepted the embrace, moving her body against Sam’s in time to the music, enjoying the feel of their bodies pressed together and moving rhythmically.

Sam continued to smile as she danced, feeling like she was on top of the world and better than she had done for a long time. Her mind drifted back to when Nicole had entered the coffee shop earlier that night and she had felt like time had slowed down. Nicole had looked breathtaking in a plain short black dress that Sam thought was totally understated, being used to Nicole’s usual height of fashion ensembles but it looked so good on her, clinging to every curve of the blonde’s body. Sam had felt her breath catch for a second looking at her, knowing she was the one Nicole was really going out with later.

‘Did I tell you how great you look tonight?’ Sam shouted over the noise

Sam was surprised when Nicole merely whispered a barely audible ‘thank –you’, but moved her body even closer, so that Sam couldn’t see the broad smile that had spread across the blonde’s face as she danced.

The drinking and dancing continued into the night with Sam relaxing more and really starting to enjoy herself, finding herself thinking less and less about the blonde cheerleader at home and more about the one she was with.

The party atmosphere continued up a gear for the two girls later on, when Nicole grabbed Sam’s hand and dragged her into a stall in the toilets with her.

‘Fancy a boost?’ Nicole said as she pulled out her mirror and a small package

‘Works for me’ Sam said grinning as she took the mirror from Nicole

As the two girls left the stall a few minutes later Sam spun round and shouted ‘Woo –oo let’s party!’ at a startled Nicole, who couldn’t help but smile when she caught the huge smile on her companions face

‘I wanna dance with you’ Sam whispered mischievously as she pulled Nicole out of the door with her and onto the dance floor

They were so close on the dance floor Nicole wondered if there was any part of their bodies that wasn’t touching Sam had obviously decided there was when Nicole felt one of the brunette’s arms circle her neck and pull her even closer. Sam stared into Nicole’s eyes and paused for a second, sending a shiver through Nicole at the intensity of that look. Then she felt the brunette make some sort of internal decision and their lips met, tentatively at first, but as Nicole opened her mouth and felt Sam’s tongue against her own the waves of passion crashed over them both and they parted breathlessly moments later. Nicole started at Sam amazed at the force of the passion, as Sam started back obviously nervous as to the reaction to her bold move.

‘Oh my God’ was all Nicole said in an awed voice barely above a whisper as she tangled her hand in the hair at the base of Sam’s skull and pulled her towards her kissing her passionately as their lips met again. Sam felt her kiss being returned with equal force and rested her hand on the blonde’s exposed thigh, slowly easing her way up under the short shirt. She felt Nicole gasp as she did and try to draw herself even closer to the brunette. She pushed Sam away, much to the brunette’s surprise, until she lent into her ear and said

‘Lets get out of here’

Sam grinned broadly and let herself be led off the dance floor and out of the club.

Sam looked round the blonde’s bedroom nervously as Nicole inserted a CD into her stereo the initial slightly orchestral strains of the music drifted out of the speakers

‘Ah, you can’t see my eyes
You can’t see my eyes
Hear me when I say …..I don’t mind at all’

The soft female voice sang.

Nicole looked shyly at Sam who was perched on the edge of the dresser, just inside the door as if afraid to be there.

‘Are you ok? Nicole asked, looking directly into Sam’s eyes

The words and the concern in Nicole’s voice seemed to energize Sam who was across the room in two strides and drew Nicole into her embrace.

‘On top of the world’ she grinned ‘How about you?’

‘Right there with you’ Nicole said as she released the breath she didn’t know she had been holding

The two girls lips met again and released all the pent up feelings in the force of their kiss, they parted briefly as Sam slowly drew Nicole’s dress over the blondes’ head in one movement, leaving her naked except for a tiny fragment of lace panties. Nicole took a small step back as Sam gasped

‘My God you are beautiful’ Sam breathed in an awed voice, taking in the length of Nicole’s tanned toned body

‘I…I’ve never done this’ Nicole whispered nervously ‘Not with a woman’

‘Do you want me to stop?’ Sam asked in a concerned voice

‘Never’ the blonde said firmly cupping Sam’s face in her hands and kissing her

Sam was somehow parted from her jeans, shirt and underwear before she had even realized the two of them fell onto the bed, still locked in their passionate embrace.

‘I haven’t either’ Sam breathed as they parted, slowly moving down the blonde’s body planting butterfly kisses down her neck and chest as she went until she reached her breast, slowly circling Nicole’s nipple with her tongue, before taking it into her mouth and sucking and biting gently.

Nicole gasped and arched her back, pushing further into Sam’s mouth as the brunette rang her fingertips lightly over the other breast as the nipple sprung into hardness at the touch.

Sam’s lips moved ever downwards continuing on her mission to kiss every millimeter of the naked blonde. Her tongue traveled back up Nicole’s thigh as she writhed on the bed trying to guide Sam towards what she wanted, her breathing ragged, her nails digging into Sam’s back, making the brunette gasp.

Sam got the message and decided not to make the blonde wait any longer. She moved her tongue upwards to Nicole’s other lips and flicked her tongue inside causing the blonde to moan. Sam grinned when she realized how wet the blonde was and pushed her tongue further inside, pressing against her clit with slow deliberate movements that caused the other girl to cry out and grab the back of Sam’s head, ensuring she couldn’t move and stop her delicious caresses. Nicole’s breath hitched and she thrust upwards   as her whole body shuddered.

‘Oh, Sam’ she moaned as the shudders reached their peak and subsided.

Sam slowly moved herself back up so that her whole body was pressed against the length of Nicole’s and kissed her lightly.

‘Well, if you’re sure….’ Nicole joked as her breathing slowly retuned to normal

‘Oh, I’m sure’ Sam ginned wickedly

The grin was rapidly wiped from her face as Nicole switched their positions and sat astride Sam, pressing her whole body against the brunette’s and wriggling slowly.

She gasped as Nicole bent to bite her neck gently and slowly wriggled down Sam’s body kissing and caressing as she went. Sam gasped and moaned in pleasure as Nicole slowly slid two fingers inside her pressingly firmly against her clit and moving achingly slowly

‘Uh… Nicole…..don’t… stop’ Sam gasped as the blonde sped up her tempo slightly. Sam dug her own nails into Nicole’s back pulling her tightly to her as her whole body shuddered.

‘Oh ….And wow’ Sam gasped between breaths as Nicole slid down next to her and rested her head lightly on Sam’s chest, grinning like a Cheshire cat.

Nicole’s head shot up ‘Wanna do it again?’ she said hopefully, still grinning

‘Oh, my pleasure’ Sam said in a husky voice, returning Nicole’s grin.


‘Oh SHIT’ Sam sat bolt upright in bed ‘whattimeisit?’ she asked a panicked voice

‘Huh…wha?’ Nicole said blearily slowly sitting up next to the brunette

‘I said, what time is it?’

‘6am’ Nicole replied picking up the clock next to her bed

‘I have to get home….You dropped me off last night, remember? Someone is gonna notice if I’m not there’

‘Good morning to you too, sexy’ Nicole said in a seductive voice ‘Look don’t panic, borrow some of my sports stuff and I’ll drop you at the end of the road, if anyone asks, you can say you went for an early morning run’ she said as the voice of reason.

‘Good plan’ Sam said slightly calmer

‘So…..that still means we have time for a shower….’ Nicole said returning to her seductive voice

‘Very true’ Sam agreed, grinning  ‘you got any aspirin first? My head is killing me. You are one wild woman Nicole Julian’

‘Oh, God, scrap the aspirin, you got anything stronger? In my drunken state at the coffee house last night, I agreed to go shopping with Brooke. How am I mean to keep up with Miss Perky after exactly NO sleep’ Sam complained

‘Are you regretting it?’ Nicole asked nervously

‘Not. For. A. Second’ Sam said, punctuating each word with a kiss ‘Now, about that shower…………’

Sam silently slid the door to the Palace open and, checking to make sure no one was about, walked silently in. she was just breathing a sigh of relief and heading for the stairs when a voice shattered her peace and made her jump

‘Morning Sam…early morning run?’ Brooke asked cheerfully.

I’m sure Sam doesn’t normally go running dressed like that she thought to herself…that looks like the bottom half of a Glamazon’s uniform…..

‘Er.. yeah’ Sam replied, her heartbeat starting to returning to normal as she continued to try and make a hasty getaway

‘Still up for shopping today?’ Brooke continued brightly

‘Um…sure. Yeah, I’m…..’

‘Shopping why, I’d LOVE to Brookie’

Sam’s sentence was cut short by the arrival of a very cheerful looking Nicole.

‘But I…’ Brooke started, but was interrupted by a flow of words she could not stop

‘Come along then, Brookie, if we get there early we could have breakfast, and honey I’m famished and then think of all those bargains we could pick up by getting there first? Now that is a just a FAB idea…….’ Nicole prattled incessantly while steered a spluttering Brooke out of the door. She paused long enough to look at Sam and wink, who smiled and mouthed ‘Thank-you’ in return. Nicole mouthed ‘Later’ and grinned as she swept out with Brooke on her arm, still too busy trying to get a word in edgeways that she was oblivious to the silent exchange.


‘Thank you for this morning’ Sam said as she entered Nicole’s room later that afternoon ‘I made a break for it before Brooke got back and could ask why I was wearing half of a Glamazon uniform’ Sam grinned as she handed Nicole back the tracksuit bottoms.

‘And thank you for last night’ Nicole grinned as she took the offered item of clothing ‘what do fancy doing tonight?’ she continued, her voice dropping seductively

‘Why, Miss Julian, are you trying to seduce me?’ Sam said innocently

‘Actually, I thought we could just hang out and talk, it’s so loud in the club we never get chance to just talk’

‘Sounds good to me‘ Sam agreed ‘Jane and Mike are out of town, so I can tell Brooke I’m staying at Lily’s

‘That is cause to celebrate’ Nicole grinned pulling out a bottle of vodka and joint from under the bed

‘So, how long have you been in love with your stepsister?’ Nicole asked much later, filling Sam’s glass

‘Is it that obvious?’ Sam said and winced at being discovered. The mention of her name caused her chest to constrict, as unbidden thoughts of a love she could never have flooded her brain.

“Hon, you to could qualify for a Jerry Springer all on your own’ Nicole tried to sound blasé but barely managed to conceal the hurt Sam’s acknowledgment caused


At the Palace the subject of this conversation was both oblivious and fuming, as she paced the lounge.

‘How dare Nicole barge in like that and take over?’ She thought ‘I had finally managed to get Sam to spend some time with me so I could try and find out what the hell is going on inside that mind of hers. She really is acting kind of weird lately. And now she is over at Lily’s house and God knows when she’ll be back. Why is she avoiding me all the time?’ And where is Nicole tonight when I need someone to talk to about this before I drive myself crazy?’

While Brooke continued to pace at the Palace, Lily and Carmen were having a similar conversation at Carmen’s house

‘Is it me, or is Sam acting kind of weird lately?’ Lily asked

‘I guess, but like she says, maybe she is just busy with the paper, you know how much it means to her’ Carmen replied

‘Yeah maybe’ Lily agreed, still not convinced


Monday morning Brooke continued to fume as she left for school, Sam having not come home for the remainder of the weekend. Jane and Mike wouldn’t be home for at least another week so maybe she would be able to get the uncooperative brunette to talk later that evening at home.

Brooke was so wrapped up in her plans for getting Sam to talk to her that she didn’t even register Nicole’s car screeching to a halt further down the parking lot, or the subject of her plans jumping from the car, kissing Nicole and running into school.

‘Penny for ‘em’ Nicole said behind Brooke, startling her.

‘Huh? Oh, hey Nicole, didn’t see you there’ Brooke replied distractedly

‘Evidently’ Nicole replied

‘Don’t you think Sam is acting a little weird lately?’ Brooke asked

‘Maybe’ Nicole shrugged noncommittally and headed up the steps of the school

‘And that is another thing’ thought Brooke ’Since when had Nicole stopped insulting Sam?’

Brooke never got chance to have a talk with Sam, as when she arrived back a the Palace there was a note taped to the door fridge door

‘Study jam, test tomorrow, might be late. See you tomorrow, Sam’

Brooke pulled the note off the fridge and opened the door to get a bottle of water.  As she lent against the fridge and sipped her drink it dawned on her that Sam hadn’t actually mentioned where this study session was.

As Brooke ruminated on this lack of information the subject of her musings was across town and definitely not studying unless the subjects were recreational drug use 101, current favorite music choices for gay clubs or maybe even anatomy, as Sam seemed to be doing some serious studying of Nicole’s anatomy as they pressed together on the dance floor and even more intensive studying later on both their parts at Nicole’s house.

Brooke vowed to catch Sam at school and stop thinking about it as she stomped upstairs to do her homework.

Due to some creative scheduling on Sam’s part and the need to study for a test on Brooke’s, she didn’t manage to catch up with the brunette until much later that week, when she vowed she would get to the bottom of the reason Sam had not been home all week. Brooke decide the best place to start was the newspaper office as it was always the place Sam was most likely to be found.

Walking into the almost deserted office Brooke was surprised not to see Sam anywhere.

A younger girl looked up when Brooke continued to stand in the doorway looking confused

’Can I help you?’

“I’m looking for Samantha McPherson‘ Brooke replied

‘Sam. Oh. She doesn’t work here anymore’ the girl stated returning to her computer screen

‘Not work here? How could Sam not work here? Journalism was her whole life?’ Brooke wondered, now more determined than ever to find out what was going with her housemate.

She was further frustrated in her quest when she got home as there was no sign of Sam and not even the now daily note taped to the fridge door.

Brooke picked up the phone and dialed

‘Hello, Lilly?’

‘Oh, hi Brooke’ Lily sounded puzzled as to why Brooke would call her

‘Have you seen Sam?’ Brooke asked, trying not to show the concern in her voice

‘I think she said she was going to be working late at the paper office tonight’ Lily replied

‘Oh, ok thanks Lil’ Brooke decided it was not her place to tell Sam’s friends about the paper, or worry them as much as she was.

Phone calls to Harrison and Carmen proved equally as fruitless as Brooke sat down to think.

Brooke wasn’t the only one who was worrying about Sam. Nicole slid onto the barstool next to Sam, just as she had the night they had met here.

‘Waiting for me, eh? I do like a woman who’s keen’ Nicole joked to an unresponsive Sam. She noticed how tired and thin the brunette looked.

‘Missed you at the house earlier’ Nicole continued

‘Yeah, had some stuff to do. Here I saw your dealer friend earlier’ Sam said as she slipped Nicole a small folded piece of paper. Nicole looked at it briefly before slipping it in her pocket. Something wasn’t right.

‘Sam, where’d you get this?’ Nicole asked concerned

‘Guy in the corner’ Sam mumbled nodding in the general direction she meant

‘Sam, I have no idea who that man is’ Nicole said slightly panicked, the something wrong clicked

‘Sam, this is heroin’ Nicole whispered urgently. ’Tell me you didn’t take this?’

‘Why? You are hardly in a position to lecture me about drugs, Nicole’ Sam hissed

‘Hey, you have to draw the line somewhere’

‘Yeah, but you draw yours in coke’

‘Sam!’ Nicole shouted, hurt and unable to reply, knowing it was the truth

‘Look lets just drop it and go dance’ Sam said finishing her drink and sliding off her stool

Later that evening Sam came back from the toilet to see Nicole who looked like she was dancing very closely with another woman. When the mysterious other woman bent to kiss Nicole, Sam saw red and stormed out, missing Nicole push the other woman away and slap her face before turning to look for Sam. When she was nowhere to be found Nicole got worried. When she wasn’t at Nicole’s place and Nicole ran out of places to look she was got very worried. When she realized the package Sam had handed her earlier was no longer in her bag she crossed the line to full blown panic, especially when she realized that Sam must have caught the earlier incident on the dance floor.

With shaking hands Nicole managed to park her car our side the Palace and knock on the door.

Brooke was shocked at the sight of Nicole crying on her front doorstep her usually immaculate eyeliner smudged, making her looked like she had two black eyes.

‘Oh God, Brooke, have you seem Sam?’ Nicole sobbed

Brooke took a moment to adjust to the fact that a) Nicole Julian was crying and b) she was trying to find Sam. The two things were so strange for Nicole that Brooke’s brain was having hard time catching up.

When it did she snapped out of her stupor and said she had only just got in herself as she had been studying with Mary Cherry

Nicole winced at the realization that she had neglected Brooke so much she was reduced to studying with the Texan Psychopath

‘Look, come up to my room and you can tell me why you are so upset and we can see if Sam is in her room’ Brooke said, placatingly although she privately thought ‘some hope, there’ Cogs were beginning to turn in her brain, but somehow all the pieces didn’t quite fit. Yet.

As they went upstairs Brooke noticed that Sam’s bedroom door was open. A major event in itself as Sam was obsessive about her privacy. Leaving Nicole in the hallway Brooke pushed the door further open, but saw no sign of Sam, although the door to their shared bathroom was also open, and the light was on, Brooke opened the door fully and did the only thing she could when she saw the scene in front of her. She screamed.

Nicole raced past Brooke and fell to her knees on the floor sobbing

‘Oh my God, Sam, oh God, no, Sam…..’

Once Brooke had stopped screaming she took in the scene in front of her as if it was in slow motion.

Sam was lying at an odd angle on the floor her leg bent under her where she had obviously fallen backwards. She was deathly pale and wrapped around the top of her left arm was belt pulled tight, below that a needle hung from her vein, a tiny drop of blood backwashed into it where the needle had been completely depressed.

As the scene came back to normal speed Brooke realized Nicole was talking on her mobile phone

‘……she’s unconscious…..don’t know….. just found her… 16 years old ……heroin…..overdose’  Nicole was trying to speak calmly, but having difficulty trying not to cry

Brooke heard the last two words and shock hit her with such force she felt like she had been punched in the chest. Heroin overdose. Sam. Her Sammy.

Nicole had hung up the phone and was slowly removing the needle from Sam’s arm and removing the belt. Drops of blood appeared on Sam’s arm where the blood flow returned to normal.

The cogs in Brooke’s brain finally started to grind again as they distant sound of sirens drew closer.

‘How did you know Nicole? HOW DID YOU KNOW???’ Brooke screamed


Brooke and Nicole sat in the waiting room outside the hospital room where Sam was being treated.

‘How did you know, Nicole?’ Brooke asked again, this time much calmer as they waited, Brooke having had the awful task of telling Jane and Mike who were now on their way back.

Nicole sighed ‘It’s a long story, hon’ Nicole said sadly

‘Funny, I’ve got a whole lot of time right now’ Brooke said with venom, looking pointedly at Nicole

Nicole realized she couldn’t hide the truth any longer. Especially as she didn’t know if Sam would ever recover to tell the story herself.

Nicole spoke softly, telling Brooke the whole story of how they had met in the gay club, neither realizing that for all the fights they had shared all the barbed comments they were both the same underneath, how the all night parties had been a blast, but something chemical had been required to get them both though school and then to wake them up for another party. Nicole had no idea that Sam had taken it further, until the club tonight.

Finishing her story Brooke asked the other blonde  ‘did you know she wasn’t working for the paper any more?’ 

‘She was ‘asked to resign’ Nicole said ruefully ‘she hadn’t written a story in weeks. She probably didn’t have time’ Nicole laughed mirthlessly

As the cogs in Brooke’s brain ground trying to absorb it all, a thought occurred to her


‘Sorry, what?’

‘The night you met her, you asked her if she was drowning her sorrows and she said that she was fine about being gay, What sorrows was she drowning?

‘Oh, God Brooke, didn’t you know?’ Nicole looked shocked

‘She’s in love with you. I thought she had told you and you had turned her down, and that was she was so cut up, I never realized she had never told you…..’ Nicole trailed off lost in thought

The tears fell silently down Brooke’s cheek

‘You do love her, don’t you? Nicole asked as the realization dawned on her ‘that’s why you were so concerned about talking to her and finding out what was wrong, you thought she’d found out about you and been horrified, didn’t you?

‘Yes’ Brooke broke down and sobbed

When she had managed to pull herself together, Brooke spoke ’You love her, too, don’t you?’

‘Longest time, Brooke. When I saw her in that club, I thought all my Christmases had come at once. You can only ever been that hateful and bitchy to someone you truly love, y’know?’

Brooke nodded.


Jane, Mike, Brooke and Nicole had been waiting in silence outside Sam’s hospital room for an hour when the doctor came out to talk to them.

‘Ms McPherson?’ she asked consulting Sam’s chart

‘Yes, that’s me‘ Jane said as all four of them stood up and crowded the doctor.

‘How is she Doctor? And what happened? Someone said something about an overdose, but that can’t be right, what’s going on? Jane asked worry etched all over her face

‘Your daughter injected large amount of Heroin. That coupled with the other toxins in her system overloaded it. We pumped her system and found traces of marijuana, amphetamines, cocaine and large amount of alcohol. They had built up over a period of time and her body just couldn’t cope.’ The doctor stated matter-of-factly looking at Jane like she should have more control over her daughter’s extra curricular activities. Seeing the shock, hurt and plain disbelief on the woman’s face the doctor quickly realized that she had had no idea of what had been going on with her daughter. Mike caught Jane and helped her to a seat before she could fall as she burst into tears.

‘My baby, my Sammy….’ She sobbed.

‘Is she going to be ok?‘ Nicole asked in a small quiet voice, as if she was scared to hear the answer, which was an understatement; she was terrified.

‘Physically she should completely recover.  Mentally, it may take some time as she has obviously been dependent on drugs for some while’ She smiled encouragingly at Nicole

‘Are you Nicole? It was you that called the ambulance, wasn’t it?‘ She consulted her chart again ‘It has you listed here as partner, she’s just regaining consciousness and has been asking for you, you can see her briefly if you like,’ Nicole thanked her and followed her back into the room, behind her she heard Jane‘s voice

‘Did she say PARTNER? What the HELL is going on here?’

Nicole looked at the form on the bed. Sam looked terrible, pale and drawn, with deep black smudges under her eyes.

Sam heard the footsteps enter the room and her eyes fluttered open

‘Nicole?’ Sam’s voice sounded scratchy and raw from having tubes stuck don her throat

‘Damn, you look awful’ Nicole said forcing a smile

‘You look pretty rough, yourself’ Sam replied

Nicole laughed, the tension broken

‘You saw that at the club didn’t you?’ she said seriously

‘I saw another woman kissing you and I…I just lost it….. I felt like someone had punched me in the gut’

‘Nice to know you care, but if you hadn’t been so damn doped you would have seen me push her away and slap her face, not run off and do this…..’ Nicole trailed off, the anger gone replaced by tears

‘I thought I’d lost you’ she whispered through her tears

‘You don’t get rid of me that easily’ Sam chuckled but it turned into a wracking cough, causing Nicole to look up in alarm

‘M’ok’ Sam said and sipped some water ‘That is, if you still want me?’

Nicole looked at Sam barely catching the words as she crossed the room and took Sam’s face in her hands

‘Of course I want you… I love you’ she whispered and bent her head to kiss her

Jane, Mike and Brooke all entered the room in time to hear Sam tell Nicole she loved her too.

Brooke heard those words and felt like she had been kicked in the chest. She backed out of the room tears coursing down her face and didn’t see the two policeman that entered the room behind Jane and Mike

‘Nicole Julian?’ the male voice boomed as all eyes turned to look at the two men

‘Yes’ she said, turning to face them

‘You are under arrest for the possession of illegal narcotics with intent to supply, you do not have to say anything but anything you do say…….’

The rest of her Miranda rights were lost, drowned out by Jane shouting ‘ YOU….you did this to her? And you claim to LOVE her? BITCH!’ with that she slapped Nicole’s face and had to be pulled away by one of the officers as the other handcuffed a silent and unmoving Nicole.

‘NO’ Sam screamed and tried to leap out of bed, only to be pushed back by two orderlies who had appeared and ushered everyone else out of the room.


Nicole was later released and the charges dropped due to lack of evidence and Julian family money. It also helped that the guy who supplied Sam had also been caught and the gear he was carrying when he was arrested was from the same batch that Sam had overdosed on.

It still did not make her Jane’s favorite person, especially when she visited Sam in the hospital and found Nicole keeping a round the clock watch.

Sam was released from the hospital three days later. Jane was even less happy about having ‘That bitch’ in her house, but was determined to get to the bottom of what had happened to turn her daughter into a drug user.

As Sam entered the Palace, followed by Nicole, who had picked her up from the hospital Jane was waiting for her at the dining table, she rushed to Sam and embraced her in a hug. Releasing the brunette, but resting her hands on her shoulders she looked at Sam and frowned

‘God, you scared me Sam……I think it is about time we talked don’ t you?’

Nicole took this as her cue to leave, she touched her hand to Sam’s back and kissed her cheek

‘I’ll see you later, Sam, you take care’ she spoke softly, sounding tired.

Seeing the tiredness and concern in the girl’s face softened Jane’s resolve slightly

‘Go home and get some rest Nicole, I’ll be looking after her’ Jane said gently

‘Thanks, Ms McPherson. The hospital gave me some stuff to give you’ Nicole said as she handed Jane a stack of papers. With a last look at Sam she was gone.

As Jane flicked through the papers she sat down heavily

‘Rehab’ she said, stunned ‘Sam you have to go to rehab’

‘I know’ Sam said as she sat down to face her mother ‘Because I am still a minor they don’t want to press drugs charges, so I have to go to rehab instead’

‘But….. My God, Sam, how long has this been going on that you need professional help?’

‘Where’s Mike and Brooke?’ Sam said looking around her absently

‘Mike took Brooke to a movie, so we could have some time to talk. So talk Sam’ Jane smiled and softened her tone ‘How come there’s so much I don’t know about you anymore?’  emotions chased across her face, fear, confusion, but most of all a mothers concern

Sam realised that she would eventually have tell her mother everything. She sighed heavily.

‘God, I need a drink…’ she said tipping her head back and staring at the ceiling

Jane surprised Sam by getting up and setting down a bottle of tequila and two glasses in front of her. ‘I have a feeling I am going to need one to hear this and you are going to need one to tell me, but this is the last bottle in the house Sam, and after this it is going down the drain. I know you will hate me for this but I searched your room. The hospital advised me to. The drugs are gone Sam, even the painkillers in your school bag’

Sam looked her mother in the eye ‘I’m sorry…I never meant it to come to this’ Sam rested her head in her arms on the table and Jane poured them a drink , thinking it was going to be a long night.

Sam told her mother everything, right from the beginning when she realized she was gay and then that she had feelings for Brooke, about going to the club at night, needing to be in place where she could feel she belonged. She gave her the edited highlights of getting together with Nicole and how the drugs had started as a bit of harmless fun, but it had all got so out of control and how it ended with the incident in the club and how her paranoia, aided by the drugs had blown it out of proportion in her mind. She stopped unable to finish.

How could she explain to her own mother that she just wanted the pain and confusion to stop? That she just needed the buzz and the oblivion that followed to make it all stop. That the search for peace and answers had led her to fill a needle with heroin and inject herself with it.

It was only the third time she had injected it that she got it wrong and overdosed. She hadn’t considered everything else in her bloodstream. She just wanted to make it stop.

Sam opened her mouth and somehow found the words to tell Jane. Dispassionate and detached she told her mother how she had thought it was coke at first but her dealer told her how good the buzz was if you smoked it and then how much faster and harder it hit if you injected it. The first time she tried it she was sick to her stomach, but that rush…the second time she wasn’t sick and the rush was intense. Nothing else mattered and Sam thought she had found Nirvana, total peace, but the third time….

‘………And that was when Brooke and Nicole found me, lying on the bathroom floor’ Sam trailed off and finally raised her eyes to look at her mother, who had silent tears streaming down her face.

‘My baby…..’ she sobbed as she stood up and pulled Sam into a crushing embrace and Sam cried with her.

‘I will make rehab work, mom, I really will. I never meant it to turn out this way’ Sam sobbed.

Once they had both calmed down and could talk rationally about what had happened Jane looked at Sam ‘You and Brooke need to talk Sam. They should be back soon and I think you should talk’

Sam looked puzzled and at that moment Mike and Brooke came through the door

Mike barely got in a ‘Hi Sam’ before Jane was whisking him away saying that the girls needed to talk, before Jane left, however, she said to Sam ’There’s enough for two glasses of tequila left. I think you girls will need it’

Sam looked at Brooke, puzzled, who looked nervous, biting her bottom lip.

‘Fancy a drink?’ Sam asked, waving the tequila bottle in Brooke’s direction.

Brooke burst into tears and sat down heavily on the sofa ‘Oh God, this is all my fault, what have I done to you, Sam?’ Brooke hiccoughed between sobs

‘Your fault..wha?’ Sam made the mental leap from puzzled to full blown confusion as she sat next to Brooke and pulled the blonde to her, letting her cry into her shoulder while she stroked her hair and made soothing noises ‘Shh…..it’s ok…’

When Brooke had calmed down Sam tried again ‘what do you mean ‘all your fault’ how can it possibly be all your fault?’

Brooke gripped her drink so tightly, Sam thought the glass would shatter. Extracting the glass from Brooke’s fingers she set it down on the table next to the sofa.

‘Nicole told me everything, at the hospital, after…after we … found you’ Brooke’s lip trembled as she tried not to burst into tears again ‘Don’t be mad at her Sam, she was…. We were so scared, we …. We didn’t know if you were going to pull through….’

‘She told me about the night she first met you at the club, that you were drowning your sorrows……It’s all my fault, Sam. I had no idea you felt the same way about me, if only I’d had the courage to tell you then this would never have happened to you and we could have been together, you wouldn’t be with Nicole and facing rehab…..’ the last of Brooke’s words came out in a rush

‘wha?’ was the most intelligent thing Sam’s brain could come up with for her to say at that point. ‘felt the same way about me’. Huh? Sam’s brain was not cruising by that concept anytime soon. She picked up her drink and downed it in one, followed by Brooke’s. Dammit, how could her mom possibly have binned all the alcohol in the house, now of all times.

Somewhere in the distance the phone started to ring and then stopped.

Sam took a deep breath and spoke very slowly ‘You. Were. In. Love …..with ME?’ Sam stared at Brooke ‘and didn’t say anything?’

‘Am’ Brooke whispered without looking up ‘I still am in love with you Sam’ Brooke said looking up at the brunette.


After Brooke’s revelation Sam went up to her room and closed the door. As she threw herself on the bed she saw the clock: 11.30pm, her normal time to sneak out and see Nicole. She then did the only thing left to her: Sam cried. Great frame – wracking sobs that her Mom heard at the other end of the hall.

Jane replaced the receiver, deep in thought.

‘It’s going to get worse before it gets better isn’t it?’ Mike asked her gently

‘I’m afraid it is’ Jane said sadly


* Flashback *

<<Ring Ring>>


‘I’m sorry to ring so late, Ms McPherson, I just wanted to know if Sam was ok?’ Nicole sounded utterly broken, the last three days having taken everything out of her

‘She’s talking to Brooke right now Nicole, I think it had to happen, don’t you? She asked softly. Despite her feelings about the girl, Jane was slowly softening towards her; she had seen how upset Nicole was when they were waiting to see if Sam was ok at the hospital and how much Nicole cared about her, never leaving Sam’s side while she was in the hospital.

‘I’ll tell her you rang in the morning and get her to call back. Maybe you could come and see her?’

‘Thanks, Ms McPherson. Goodnight’

Sam was not the only one in tears. As soon as Nicole put the phone down she couldn’t control her sobbing. She had almost lost Sam once and now was about to lose her again.  As soon as Brooke confessed her feelings to Sam, her girlfriend would be lost to her forever. Why would she choose to stay with Nicole, when she would finally get to be with the object of her affections for so long? Nicole blinked back the tears and took a deep breath. Then she did the thing Sam couldn’t; she reached under the bed and pulled out a bottle of vodka, cracking the seal, she tipped the bottle to her lips and started to drink.


Sam woke up sprawled on her bed still fully dressed, a dull ache making it’s self felt at the back of her head. Something wasn’t quite right here. Sam sat up slowly trying to work out what it was. As she did the events of the previous night rushed in on her and made her head swim. Ah, that what it was. She had woken up in her own bed without any kind of hangover, other than the dull ache at the base of her skull, which was a mere discomfort compared with her usual screaming hangovers. These were normally fixed with the liberal application of further chemicals, or aspirin washed down with alcohol. Sam then wondered why she wasn’t doubled up with pain in the throes of full-blown withdrawal. Busted, mom, so that’s why you let me have tequila last night, so I could suffer the full horror of withdrawal at rehab.  

‘I still am in love with you Sam’ Brooke’s words echoed round Sam’s mind.

‘Oh God.’ Sam moaned as the reality of her situation dawned on her. The woman she had loved probably as long as she could remember loved her too. And Nicole was in love with her too. She remembered the look on her blonde girlfriend’s face when she had come into Sam’s hospital room, and the way she had held her face and told her she loved her.

A thought occurred to Sam, now that her brain was relatively unclouded and she made her way downstairs.

Jane was pouring a cup of coffee as Sam entered the kitchen. Sam took it out of her hands and cupped her own to it, moaning with pleasure as she tipped the cup to her lips ‘oooh, coffee, please don’t ever take this vice away from me’

Jane smiled at the unexpected moment of humour from her daughter.

Sam looked round. ‘Where is everyone?’

‘Brooke went running early and Mike had some errands to run, so it is just the two of us. Big day today. Rehab. Do you want some help packing’

‘No I’m good thanks, mom’ Sam said waving her coffee cup for a refill

‘Actually Sam, I have to help you pack, or at least watch while you do it. Rehab centre’s orders.’

Sam winced. She could feel this enforced break was going to be fun, already. Not.

‘S’ok I suppose’ Sam shrugged ‘I wanted to talk to you anyway’

Jane recognized the glint in Sam’s eye ‘uh-oh Sam McPherson, investigative reporter, back on the case’

Sam winced again as she remembered when she had been very tactfully ‘asked to resign’ from the school paper. The only thing she had written in weeks had seemed even to her as paranoid fantasies, the result of writing it at four in the morning coked up to her eyeballs.

Jane sat on the bed as Sam bustled round filling her bag. As she put the last things in and closed the zip she felt like she had added the final nail to the coffin of her previous life. She realized it wasn’t the positive feeling it should have been. She gave in and admitted to herself she was going to miss it, the dancing and partying, sneaking round and oh God, the sex with Nicole. How would she cope without that in the rehab centre?

Sam sat down on the bed next to Jane. ‘We need to talk, mom. There are some things we discussed last night that have raised serious questions’

Jane sighed, she had seen this coming.

‘You haven’t said a word about the fact that I’m gay, or that I have a girlfriend, for starters’

‘There were other things that pushed that one down the list of priorities’ Jane smiled ruefully ‘but I don’t care Sam. You are my daughter and I love you for you. Being gay doesn’t matter to me as long as you are happy, and I’m sure you will be once you are clean’

‘But you blame Nicole for getting me into drugs, don’t you?’

‘I am angry, Sam, I desperately wanted someone to blame, for it to be someone else’s fault, I couldn’t accept that you might have done this yourself. But I’ve seen the way she looks at you, the fact she never left your side at the hospital. She didn’t mean for this to happen either, Sam and she genuinely cares a great deal for you. Not something I would ever thought possible of her, but she does. And you obviously care for her, I can’t stand in the way of that, you need all the support you can get right now’

‘She didn’t start me drinking, mom, that was all me. And she didn’t force me to do anything I didn’t want to do. I probably would have taken the drugs with or without her, when I realized I couldn’t drink the pain away. I had to hope something would work’

‘So much hurt, so young….’ Jane said, brushed a stray stand of hair away from her daughter’s face

‘How did you know, mom?’

‘About Brooke?’

Sam was pleased her mom didn’t even try to avoid the issue

‘When we got to the hospital and she was so distraught….you have to care a lot about someone to be that upset…I knew it wasn’t just the shock of finding you that had done that’

Sam thought how awful it must have been for Brooke and Nicole, both in love with her to find her sprawled on the bathroom floor, for all the world looking like she was dead

‘That finally confirmed it, but Brooke told Mike a couple of weeks ago that she thought she was gay. When he told me, I realized it might be you she had feelings for, that had made her admit her sexuality to herself. That was why we thought it might be good to get away for a couple of weeks to let the two of you sort it out. I knew you were opened minded enough to listen to what she had to say, even if you didn’t feel the same way.’ Jane’s face reflected the pain she felt at the way things had actually turned out.

‘But you never thought I was gay?’ Sam asked incredulously

‘I had my suspicions’ Jane smiled


Sam and Jane had just got downstairs with Sam’s stuff when the door opened and Brooke returned from her run, followed by Nicole, who looked deathly pale and was hiding behind a very black pair of sunglasses.

As the two arrived the atmosphere in the Palace suddenly became so thick you could cut it with knife.

When Sam spoke, it became so bad a chainsaw would have been necessary

‘Are you drunk?’ Sam stared at Nicole ‘You are taking me to rehab and you arrive DRUNK? Sam shouted

All eyes in the room turned to look at Nicole, who slowly removed her shades. Sam was the only person in the room who saw the dilated pupils and realized that Nicole had added more that vodka to her morning coffee, but all three of them saw the pain clearly etched on her face.

‘Good luck, Sam’ were the only words Nicole said before she replaced her glasses and turned to leave.

Sam crossed the room and grabbed Nicole’s arm just outside the door and spun the blonde to face her

‘Why Nicole? Why? You told me it was under control that it didn’t use you, you used it’ Sam asked in hushed tones, concern written all over her face

‘I know she told you. Finally. I spoke to your mom last night and she said the two of you were “talking” ’ Nicole made exaggerated speech marks in the air round the last word.

‘You were worried that I’d drop you like a hot brick because Brooke tells me she loves me?’ Sam asked, shocked

‘Well that and it’ll be easier for your mom to cope with you being gay and an ex-junkie if you are dating clean cut Brookie and not the woman who turned her daughter into a junkie’

‘Nicole, wait…..’ Sam called after her girlfriend as Nicole stormed off, but she was already gone

Sam turned and went back into the house. Jane and Brooke were frozen in place as though someone had pressed pause on a video and Sam knew they had heard every word of the heated exchange.

‘Let’s get this over with’ Sam said morosely as she hoisted her bag on her shoulder, purposely not looking at either of the two women who will still standing like statues.


Sam hadn’t spoken to Brooke before she left, she didn’t know what to say. Her mom had hugged her, wished her luck and told her she loved her with tears in her eyes as she had dropped her outside the Centre. Sam had to be the one to check in, she had to do it voluntarily, although she knew that was a joke. It was this or a criminal record for narcotics at sixteen. She wondered if she could run, if it wasn’t too late and how far could she realistically get? Trying to get a grip on her swirling mind, Sam pulled the door open and walked inside.

She had a single room, which was a blessing. After having all of her stuff searched again she’d dropped her bag off in her room and went to meet her councilor.

Her name was Max and she was attractive, in a tomboyish way. Her short hair made Sam think of Nicole and her parting words, which made her chest constrict remembering the pain in her girlfriend’s eyes.

‘So Samantha, would you like to tell me why you’re here?’ Max smiled cheerfully

Duh! Sam mentally rolled her eyes. ‘You’re holding my file, you know exactly why I’m here. I’m sure it says in there that the hospital sent me as it was either this or charges as I’m junkie and an alcoholic and I got caught when I shot up and OD’d on the bathroom floor. And my name is Sam’ Sam felt herself bristle at such a dumb question.

Max sighed. She could almost see her own sixteen-year-old self staring back at her from Sam’s defiant eyes. ‘I know what your file says, Sam I want you to tell me about yourself. You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t care, you would have accepted the charges and gone on to the nearest bar’

Sam thought the nearest bar sounded like a really good idea at this precise moment, but thought it best not to say so. She felt herself start to shiver, despite the warmth of the office and a fine sheen of perspiration form on her whole body.

‘Oh God’ Sam moaned as her stomach started to cramp. Her body had gone through the worst of the withdrawal symptoms in hospital, the day after all the drugs had been pumped from her system, but the alcohol withdrawal hadn’t kicked in, yet, delayed by the tequila last night.

‘Maybe we should try this tomorrow’ Max said gently as she helped Sam out of the chair and steered her towards the door.

Sam lay on the bed staring at the ceiling, watching it spin sometime later. Her stomach muscles ached and her throat was raw from throwing up. She felt as bad as Nicole had looked that morning. Nicole. What the hell was she going to do? As soon as she thought she was being rejected Nicole had hit the self-destruct button. Sam smiled ruefully at the irony of it. That was exactly what she had done when she thought Brooke wouldn’t want her. Brooke. And she did want her after all. Sam watched the ceiling spin some more and realized her mind was also spinning, but going in the other direction. She closed her eyes and drifted into a dream infested sleep.

Sam woke up and felt confused and then felt better that she felt confused as this seemed to be a regular occurrence whenever she woke up lately. Something had woken her. A noise. A rhythmic tapping. Sam struggled to stand up and noticed her brain had deigned to arrive with her and advised her the noise was something being thrown against the window; stones. Sam looked at the clock and broke into a broad grin, flinging the window open. The next thing to be thrown up Sam instinctively caught. She turned it over in her hands and smiled; electronic door key. Sam’s mind boggled as to how Nicole had gotten her hands on a pass key to every door in the building.

Sam eased the door to her room open and checked the corridor outside was clear. She marveled at how easy it was to break out of the building as she ran outside and into Nicole’s waiting arms

‘You are amazing, you know that?’ Sam grinned and kissed her girlfriend 

‘C’mon, I’m parked around the corner’ Nicole grabbed Sam’s hand and linked their fingers together as they jogged into the dark.

Unnoticed by either of them, a figure stood in the gloom of a first floor window and watched the pair jog away.


Standing was something Sam was having trouble with, as she swayed on the spot. Moving was slightly easier as she sort of went with the flow, moving her feet every time she felt a lurch.

She grinned lopsidedly as she pulled the door open and staggered through it in the early morning light.

As she stepped through the door she realized that she could see a shadow in front of her, following it up to the object casting it a spark fired in her frazzled brain and recognition dawned as her eyes met Max’s. The councilor stood very still, arms folded across her chest, as Sam watched a drop of blood fall slowly to the floor. Touching her face she realized it was her blood. Her nose was bleeding. Slowly her brain provided the image of snorting coke off Nicole’s naked stomach and a lazy grin spread over her face.

‘Strike one McPherson. Try anything like that again and you are out and on some serious charges.’

Sam barely caught the final word as she fell to the floor as if she had been pushed from behind.

Sam woke up and couldn’t move, she realized this was a change from confusion until that arrived as well. Just to add to the waking up process Sam realized she hurt. Pinpointing the exact areas that were screaming was slightly more tricky, but was eventually narrowed down to her nose, which felt like she had been hit in the face with a plank, her knees which felt very brusied and her arm……. No, hand. There was something sticking out of it. As Sam’s eyes focused she noticed two things one the IV bag, which would explain the pain in her hand and second a very pissed off looking Brooke.

‘What the fuck did you think you were doing Sam?’ Every word was like a ten tonne bell being struck inside her head.  She winced and closed her eyes, hoping the blonde would take the hint and leave her alone.

‘I fucking well hope it does hurt McPherson’ Brooke continued in a tone that could have cut glass ‘You couldn’t even stay clean for 24 hours. This is you idea of making rehab work is it? Great job Sam, really’

Sam gave in to the fact that Brooke was obviously not going to go away any time soon so she attempted to sit up, which was when her brain advised her very loudly exactly why she couldn’t move; every muscle in her body ached. On the third try Sam managed to sit up, as her brain very kindly provided her with images of quite why her whole body hurt. Images of a naked Nicole swam before her closed eyes, in some very interesting and novel sexual positions, some of which Sam was convinced couldn’t be possible in the confined space of a car, which were followed by the now familiar image of snorting coke off Nicole’s stomach and somewhere in there seemed to be a bottle of vodka, but quite where that fit in Sam couldn’t figure out and decided not to try as the mere thought of vodka made her want to retch.

‘So you would be the torture part of my therapy, would you?’ Sam asked, her voice dripping with sarcasm

‘Therapy?’ Brooke snorted ’I met your councilor on the way in and she told me you were really enthused about the idea and co-operation personified’ matching the brunette’s level of sarcasm

‘So why are you here, Brooke? Keeping tabs on my progress?’

‘No. Jane doesn’t know I’m here, fortunately. Although I’m sure she’d be thrilled to know you are trying so hard that you broke your nose when you hit the floor ’cause you were too wasted to stand up. Or remain conscious.’

Sam touched her nose and her fingers met with tape, verifying Brooke’s words

‘Oh God’ Sam moaned as she tipped her head back against the pillow

‘I’d speak to him slightly nicer than that, if I were you, you need all the help you can get’ Brooke suggested.

‘In answer to your question, I’m not here for any of the reasons your suspicious mind may have created. I’m not here with an agenda to drip poison in your ear about Nicole while you are held as a captive audience, so I can break the two of you up and have you to myself, nor am I here to alleviate any guilt I may feel for getting you into, or letting you get into, this state. I am here as a friend, Sam, to listen and try and help. Max thought it might be helpful for you to see a friendly face while you are here, and as mom didn’t feel it was her place to tell Lily or Carmen about your current situation, I am it.’

Sam smiled to herself at the thought of Max vetting Nicole as a potential sponsor during her stay. The smile vanished as Brooke spoke, seemingly reading Sam’s thoughts

‘I haven’t seen Nicole today, and judging from the state of you I don’t expect to any time soon. Or ever, really, given the exchange between you two yesterday. I presume she was your partner in crime for this little diversion. Strangely, I don’t think I’m her favorite person right now. Or yours judging by the enthusiastic reception I’m getting’ Brooke smiled thinly at Sam as she stood

‘Well, I can see you’re not really in the mood for company today so I’ll leave you to it. Have a good day, Sam and I’ll see you tomorrow’

The rest of Sam’s day could not by any definition of the word be described as ‘good’. If she thought yesterday’s stomach cramps were bad, they were a picnic compared with today’s joys. Whole body cramps, vomiting, violent shakes and cold sweats. Withdrawal hit like a freight train, thanks to the IV flushing her system out, it hit all at once rather than sneaking up on her gradually. Sam was almost glad of the pain, however as it stopped her believing the hallucinations that started talking to her mid afternoon were real.

By nightfall the worst of it was over and Sam slept for fourteen hours straight.

Showered and dressed Sam was disgusted to find that the only coffee on offer was de-caff. Deciding it was better than nothing, but only just, she sat in Max’s office.

‘McPherson’ Max looked over Sam’s file at her, and put it to one side ‘How’s the nose?’ she asked in a sarcastic tone

‘It matches the two black eyes beautifully’ Sam deadpanned

‘This goes one of two ways McPherson; my way or the highway. And the second one comes with a stay in jail for free card. Pick one’

Sam wondered idly when she had gone from ‘Sam’ to ‘McPherson’ and decided it was probably about the time her nose hit the floor at Max’s feet.

‘I’m not going to do this because you or Brooke are trying to guilt me into it and I’m not going to do this because I promised my mom’ Sam paused ‘I am going to do it because I am sixteen years old and I wake up most mornings with a screaming hangover and only a vague idea where I am regaining consciousness. If yesterday morning’s anything to go by I’d be lucky if I actually live to wake up on my twentieth birthday. And withdrawal is a bitch’ Sam spat emphatically ‘If I ever have to go through that again it will be too damn soon’

‘You might’ Max said ‘Saying you are quitting is one thing, doing it is another, but staying that way is a whole other ball game’ as she spoke she got up from behind the desk and sat in the armchair across from Sam ‘Two of the greatest benders of my life were the nights I fell off the wagon’ Max stared off into space ‘well, they might have been’ she continued ‘I can’t remember either of them’ she smiled at a stunned Sam and handed her a notebook. ‘Journal’ she explained ‘Write it all down, get it all out. Even if you write ‘pissed off ‘cause I’m sober’ everyday at least you are getting it out. Now spill, McPherson, you only have an hour of my time everyday and yours sounds like it’ll be an interesting story’ she uncapped her pen and started to take notes

Sam was so stunned by Max’s words she did just that; spilled. She started from the beginning and didn’t even edit it, the way she had for fear of upsetting her mom further.

‘Jesus Christ, it’s A-L-I-V-E’ Sam looked up from writing her journal to see a large bunch of flowers walking towards her. She closed her eyes and shook her head figuring she was hallucinating again, when she opened them the flowers were still there, but on the table in front of her and Brooke was sitting opposite her, beaming broadly

‘Still here then, that’s a good start‘ Brooke said cheerfully ‘Not from me’ she said less cheerfully, gesturing toward the flowers.

Sam opened the card stapled to the cellophane


“I’m sorry. I’m getting help too as I couldn’t bear to lose you



Sam felt her chest constrict and noticed Brooke’s eyes were shining as she stared out of the window, trying not to look affected and failing miserably.

Turning back to face Sam she spoke cheerfully, trying unsuccessfully to hide her feelings ‘How’s it going today? Heard I missed all the fun yesterday’

‘If by fun you mean vivid hallucinations that talk back, cramps in muscles I didn’t even know I had and spending all morning hugging the toilet, then yes, it was just peachy thanks’ Sam replied sarcastically

‘Today was better. Today I woke up and it only took me five minutes to work out where I was and I didn’t feel like a hunchback had mistaken my head for a bell during a bell- ringing contest. Which is progress’ Sam waved her journal at Brooke ‘And I had my first therapy session that wasn’t a sarcasm contest’

‘I’m proud of you Sam’ Brooke beamed

‘Don’t get too excited Brooke, it has barely been 24 hours so far’ Sam said seriously

Brooke looked at Sam quizzically ‘You’re counting the hours, aren’t you?’

‘I am counting every slow and painful second Brooke’. 


By the end of the first week Sam had settled into a routine; Her session with Max, a couple of hours catching up on the assignments Brooke brought her, lunch, group (which she loathed) followed by a visit from Brooke. Sam found herself looking forward to Brooke’s visits. They talked about everything and nothing and Sam appreciated the fact Brooke was supportive, without treating her like a leper for what she had done. Brooke never mentioned her confession after her first visit, but Sam still noticed the pain in Brooke’s eyes whenever her cheerful façade slipped slightly.

Sam was sitting writing her journal before Brooke made her daily appearance, wondering what she was going to do about the whole situation when she noticed she was no longer sitting at the table by herself. She looked up and realized the person that had slipped into the chair opposite her wasn’t Brooke.

‘Hey Sam’ Nicole spoke softly, her voice barely above whisper

‘Nicole’ Sam said surprised

‘I like your councilor’ Nicole said half smiling ‘ A women with an acid tongue to rival my own’

‘Didn’t roll out the red carpet at your arrival then?’

‘She had me searched, twice and just for good measure had some interesting comments about my last visit to see you’

‘Yeah, she wasn’t exactly welcoming when I got back from our excursion’ Sam rubbed her healing nose as she hazily recalled that night

‘Thanks for the flowers’ Sam smiled

‘You got them?’ Nicole sounded surprised ‘I had expected her to put them through the waste disposal’ Nicole smiled ruefully. ‘I tried to ring your mom, to check you were ok and that you hadn’t been thrown out and got Brooke instead. If I thought your councilor was an ice queen, Brooke made her look like a warm and welcoming person in comparison’ Nicole coloured slightly at the memory of that conversation ‘That’s when I realized I had to do something, if I was to have any hope of being with you’ Nicole paused. ‘They wouldn’t let me see you while I was still using, which is why I sent the flowers. Mom wanted me to have the best shrink money could buy, when she realized I was serious and after I got busted by the cops, which is a joke since it was her coke half the time’ Nicole laughed mirthlessly. ‘She said she could get me into the best rehab in the country. But that’s never gonna work, places like that it’s easier to get stuff than on the outside’ Nicole paused ‘I joined the youth group of AA’

‘How long?’ Sam asked in a neutral tone of voice

’60 hours’

Sam realized Nicole hadn’t touched anything since the last night they had spent together

‘Just meetings?’

Nicole laughed ‘I went to see our family doctor, who recommended tranqs and sleeping pills for the withdrawal. Can you believe that?’

Nicole looked seriously at Sam ‘I love you Sam. The only way I will have anything to offer you when you get out of here is if I stay clean. That’s enough’

Out of the corner of her eye Nicole noticed Brooke had arrived for her daily visit with Sam, and realized Sam hadn’t seen her, mostly because Brooke had seen Nicole talking to Sam and the smile instantly vanished from her face as she span on her heel and walked back out of the door.

‘Look, I’d better go’ Nicole said as she rose from her chair.

Sam stood up too and they looked awkward, neither looking at the other as Sam realized Nicole was thinking the same thing she was; they had never even kissed sober.

Nicole broke the impasse and pulled Sam to her, embracing her in a crushing hug ‘Take care, Sam’ she whispered in the brunettes ear ‘One day at a time’

She smiled lopsidedly at Sam and as she looked at her before she turned to leave Sam saw the tears in Nicole’s eyes

Sam sat down again heavily and was still staring into space five minutes later when a cheerful voice shattered her thoughts

‘Hi Sam’ Brooke sat down opposite her and Sam noticed the smile on Brooke’s face didn’t reach her eyes. The blonde had also recently been crying, judging from the redness around her eyes

‘I bring assignments’ She put the stack of books she’d been carrying on the table between them. ‘How’s it going today?’

‘One hundred and sixty eight hours’ Sam replied

Brooke looked puzzled

‘Till I can go home’ Sam clarified

‘Not loving it then?’

‘I am sick of being here, I want to be at home, as long as I’m here it reminds me why I am here. You see what I mean?’

Brooke nodded

‘How goes life in the outside world?’ Sam asked changing the subject

‘Jane has had to tell Lily and Carmen where you are, as she thought your not being at school would be noticeable. Although since your attendance turned out not to be the 100% she thought, maybe it wouldn’t have been. She didn’t tell them the whole story; I think the term is ‘sin of omission’ you are euphemistically ‘recovering’ Since everyone knows you aren’t on the paper anymore, Lily thinks you had to have been sectioned’ Brooke laughed weakly at her attempt at humor 

‘How’s mom and Mike?’

‘Doing surprisingly well. Jane went to a meeting for parents of teenage alcoholics and seems better about things, she realizes she’s not the only mother in the world not to have seen what was going on with her child’

‘And how are you, Brooke? You want to tell me why you have been crying?’

‘You’ve had too many counseling sessions, Sam, you are starting to sound like one’ Brooke said not looking at her ‘I’m fine’

‘Yeah, McQueen and I never inhaled –you wanna try that again?’

‘Lets go for walk’ Brooke said as she stood up

Sam didn’t try again to get Brooke to tell her what was wrong as they walked round the centre’s grounds, figuring she would tell her when she was ready, if she wanted to talk.

Brooke slapped Sam lightly on the arm and shouted ‘Your it’ as she ran away from Sam, Sam looked startled and then raced after her. Brooke gave her the slip, dodging round trees and stopping to taunt Sam before running off again, Sam chased  Brooke round the grounds unsuccessfully for some time before both girls  came to halt a the end of the long garden, gasping for breath and laughing, all tension broken.

‘Gotcha’ Sam said as she caught her breath and slapped Brooke lightly on the shoulder.

Brooke stood upright and stared directly into Sam’s eyes ‘Always’ she whispered, before closing the gap between them and taking Sam’s face in her hands, placing her lips softly against Sam’s

Sam was so stunned by this turn of events, she found herself was responding to Brooke’s lips as the kiss deepened. Brooke’s tongue touched Sam’s briefly before she abruptly pulled away

‘Oh God….’ Brooke breathed

Sam caught the look like a deer trapped in headlights on Brooke’s face, and the tears spilling down her face for a matter of seconds before Brooke was gone, running back across the grounds towards the centre.

Sam was too shocked to follow her as she touched her fingertips to her lips.

‘Oh, God, what do I do now?’ Sam thought as her mind spun


‘This is worse than the mess that started the whole damn thing’ Sam said as she furiously paced Max’s office the next morning, her coffee threatening to escape the confines of it’s mug as she gestured wildly ‘At least I knew who I wanted then’

She stopped at the sound of Max’s voice ‘So who do you want now, Sam?

Sam sat down heavily opposite Max, her whole body slouched  ‘I don’t know’ she took a deep breath as she put her coffee mug carefully down on the low table between them and looked at her councilor ‘They both say they love me…. The look on Nicole’s face when she came to see me, I mean she says she’s getting clean because she wants to be with me…… and then Brooke kissed me…….’ Sam’s voice trailed off

‘You said yourself you can’t do this for someone else’ Max pointed out

‘You don’t think Nicole will make it?

‘I didn’t say that’

‘You implied it’

‘When you first came here you told me this all started because you loved Brooke but thought you could never have her’

‘You are so not helping, doc’ Sam moaned burying her face in her hands


Sam tried to convince herself she was reading the book open in front of her as she waited for Brooke’s regular visit later that day, until she realized she didn’t even know which book she had picked up and stood up and started pacing.

She was so lost in her own thoughts she didn’t hear the footsteps behind her


She spun round at the sound of her mother’s voice

‘Mom’ Sam wrapped her in a tight embrace 

‘I didn’t come before as I thought it would be best for you to have some time on your own’ Jane apologized, but seeing the pain in her mothers’ eyes Sam realized she couldn’t stand the pain of seeing her daughter go through the painful withdrawal process

‘It’s ok, mom, I wouldn’t have wanted to see me either’ Sam smiled

Jane smiled back knowing she hadn’t fooled her daughter for a minute

‘How are you doing?’ Jane asked gently

‘Four days. So far so good. One day at a time’

Sam saw the puzzled look flash briefly across her mother’s face as Sam had been here for five days

‘First day doesn’t count, withdrawal’ Sam lied praying to God Brooke hadn’t said anything to her mom about the night she arrived. Brooke. Mom doesn’t know she’s been visiting me Sam thought, she told me the day she first came to see me.

‘Oh’ Jane said, obviously relieved

‘What happened to your face?’ Jane asked sitting down and staring at her daughter

‘Uncoordinated and tripped over my own feet running to the bathroom’ Sam felt bad lying to her mother, after everything she had put her through, but felt worse that she had promised her mother she would make rehab work and almost got kicked out the first night

‘How’s Mike?’ Sam asked trying to change the subject

‘He’s fine, he’s been great through this’ Jane said, smiling

‘And Brooke?’ Sam hoped her mother hadn’t noticed her voice catching as she spoke,

‘She said she wasn’t feeling too good, or would have come to see you, too. She says it’s just a touch of ‘flu. She didn’t look all that well yesterday’ Jane said absently as she thought about it 

I’ll bet, Sam thought ruefully recalling the state the other girl had left in

‘I spoke to Nicole’ Jane said, interrupting Sam’s thoughts ‘She told me she was going to AA meetings. She looked pretty good, all things considered. She really seems to be trying’

Sam smiled at her mother, but Jane looked concerned, seeing the smile was totally forced.

‘Do you love her, Sam?’ Jane asked gently

‘I don’t know’ Sam answered truthfully as she sighed ‘I was in love with Brooke for so long, before I met Nicole, and knowing she loves me too…….’ Sam’s voiced trailed off

‘I don’t know what to do, mom. Someone is going to end up getting hurt and I really care about them both’

‘All you can do is go where your heart tells you’ Jane replied, taking her daughter’s hand


Brooke didn’t come to visit Sam again after the kiss. Nicole didn’t either, which gave Sam time to think. She had the same conversations over and over with Max, never getting any nearer to a conclusion.

But she was staying clean and sober. Each day the urge dulled slightly, but Sam knew it would never, ever fade completely and some days it would be stronger than others. She started running again, for the first time in months, as it was her favorite time to think. She even started working on some ideas for the newspaper, hoping she could convince them to let her back when she returned to a life outside the confines of the centre’s walls.

Thursday morning Sam lay in bed watching the early morning light of dawn filter into her room. She had barely slept, today was day ten; she was going home today.

Sam had her final session with Max and listened to all the instructions she gave her; attendance at AA meetings was compulsory for the next three months, but she shouldn’t stop going once she got her 90day chip. Try and stay out of situations that would provide temptation, talk to people; her family, her friends, don’t keep it all bottled away inside, write her journal if it helped.

‘Most important of all’ Max finished ‘Don’t drink and don’t use’ Sam said in unison with her ‘One day and a time Sam’ Max smiled at her as she rose and shook Sam’s hand ‘You’ll be fine, you know, one day at a time’ Max assured her

A thought occurred to Sam ‘How long?’ Sam asked

‘Two thousand one hundred and ninety six one days at a time’ Max smiled ’And yes, I do still attend meetings. They become a habit in themselves after a while. But a good habit’ she laughed ‘Good luck, McPherson’ she said as Sam left her office for the last time.


Sam slowly put the last of her things into her bag. ‘I am so stupid, she thought’ the cogs in her brain whirring to life ‘All the time I’ve been thinking about it, I already knew’ She zipped up her bag and realized she felt a lot more positive packing her bag this time. Sam smiled to herself pleased she had finally found the answer and then her mind stopped spinning and she realized she had finally found the peace she had searched so hard for.


91 days later

‘What time’s your speech?’ the blonde called from the bedroom

‘Seven o’clock, for the third time of telling you’ Sam replied in a mock scolding tone, as she put her toothbrush away and came back into the bedroom ‘and don’t be late’

‘Wouldn’t miss it for the world’ the blonde smiled back, pulling Sam into her arms and kissing her


The man on the platform leant forward to the microphone attached to the lectern ‘Sam’. He called as Sam got out of her chair in the front row. Returning her mom’s smile she climbed the steps onto the stage.

‘Congratulations, Sam, you made 90 days’ the man beamed as he shook Sam’s hand and handed her the metal coin, he walked off the stage leaving Sam to make her speech as everyone who made 90 days had to.

She cleared her throat nervously and lent toward the microphone

‘Hi. My name’s Sam and I’m and alcoholic and a drug addict’ she paused ‘today should actually have been day 91, but I slipped. Once’ the rest of her group murmered in empathy ‘That night could have been the greatest night of my life, but I don’t know as I was too wasted to remember’ Sam smiled as she realized she was echoing Max’s words at her first rehab session three months ago. Everyone else in the room who’d been in the same position laughed

I have to thank some people for their support in helping me get here tonight, mom, Mike, I’m sorry for all I put you through, my sponsor, Sam nodded to the girl sting next to Mike in the front row, but most of all my girlfriend, for being with me every step of the way. Except when I slipped. Come up here’ the blonde ran up the stairs and wrapped her arms around Sam, her own 90day coin in her hand.

Sam turned back to the microphone ‘last, but never least, I have to thank my friend and soon to be stepsister, Brooke. Thank you. For everything’ Sam turned back to her girlfriend and kissed her, smiling ‘We made it’ she said, beaming as the room erupted into applause.

Brooke stood up with the rest of the front row, and the whole room, clapping harder than anyone else, tears streaming down her face, she knew what Sam’s last comment meant ‘Thank you for letting go’ Brooke tried not to sob as she realized she’d had too little courage, too late. Nicole had fought every day to be with Sam and made Sam want to fight just as hard, when Sam finally realized Nicole was the one thing that stopped her world spinning.

The End



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