TITLE: Sam’s Confession


Email: louise@loubeaton.freeserve.co.uk

DISCLAIMER: The Popular characters are not mine, neither is Demi Moore (who, sadly does not take a starring role here) or any of Kelis’ lyrics, all of which I have borrowed to bring you this tale which I am not making any profit from.



FEEDBACK: All comments gratefully received, online or off.

ARCHIVING: I’d be honored, but please ask first.

NOTE: some angst, some not.


Nicole stared at Sam, the look on her face of abject horror, loss and desperate disbelief

‘How could you?’ she breathed

Sam stood unmoving, having no answer, no words of explanation for the blonde

‘You slept with her?’ Nicole’s words came out at a dangerously low register

Sam decided that was far worse than the shouting she had expected until she realized that was still to come

‘DID I MEAN SO DAMN LITTLE TO YOU?’ Nicole screamed as she turned away from Sam, tears streaming down her face

At that moment the full impact of what she had done hit Sam with such force it was as if she had been hit in the chest; she couldn’t even breathe, she had no idea what to do or to say, seeing her girlfriend sobbing uncontrollably, and being unable to comfort her was tearing her up inside, but worse still was the knowledge she had done this to her. To see Nicole, who professed to be a heartless bitch, utterly broken was more than she could bear.

She turned to leave, but was stopped by words she barely caught

‘Do you love her?’ Nicole turned to face her as her eyes searched the brunette’s face for the truth

‘No’ Sam said sadly as she realized she didn’t, she loved the woman in front of her, the woman she had totally destroyed with one moment of recklessness and had now lost forever

‘Why Sam, why?’ Nicole looked at her in utter disbelief, tears streaking her face and making her once perfect make-up run in rivers down her face

Sam had been asking herself the same question ever since she had woken up next to Brooke’s sleeping form and the full realization of what she had done dawned on her.

The only answer she had come up with was because she could; she had always found her soon-to-be-stepsister attractive. The attraction had actually grown into a bit of a crush if the truth be told, once she and her mother moved in with Mike and Brooke. And then to have Brooke offering herself to Sam was more temptation than Sam could handle.

She had shocked herself, that she had gone along with it so willingly, always thinking her journalistic morals and endless quest for the truth would stop her ever doing something that went so against her own beliefs. The whole incident had made Sam question herself and her beliefs, but the only solution she could ever come up with as to why she did it was that she was only human. She felt the only thing she could do now was admit it, she wasn’t infallible; she had made a mistake.  

The honorable part of her realized that she would have to tell Nicole; it would be so much worse if she found out from her former best friend.

So Sam faced her girlfriend in silence, knowing that even saying she was sorry would only make things worse. But is there a worse than this Sam thought, I have just realized I am in love with Nicole and now it is too late.

‘Just go’ Nicole said, turning away from her again, burying her face in her hands as sobs shook her frame

Sam was frozen to the spot, desperately trying to think of some way of salvaging her relationship

Nicole sensed that Sam hadn’t moved and spun on her heel to face her

‘GET OUT GET OUT.GET.OUT’ Nicole screamed at her, the fire flashing in her eyes

‘Get out …..get out…. ‘ Her voice dropped to a whisper and trailed off as she sank onto the edge of the bed

Sam left then, not sure of where she was going or what she should do now as she felt her world crumbling around her. She hadn’t seen Brooke since that night; she had stayed at Lily’s unable to face the look of joy on Brooke’s face when Sam had kissed her back. She had got dressed and left the house before Brooke had woken up.

‘How could I be so bloody stupid?’ she said out loud, startling the man who was walking past her. As he crossed the street he looked back at her shaking his head and mumbling about doped up kids.

Sam found herself outside Lily’s and taking a deep breath she walked up the steps to the house and knocked on the door. Sam was relieved when Lily herself opened the door and she let out the breath she hadn’t even realized she was holding.

‘So are you actually gonna tell me what the hell is going on? Lily said, not even starting with a hello as she stepped back to let Sam in the house

‘You arrived here last night in the same clothes you wore to school Tuesday, only way more crumpled, said nothing except could you crash on my sofa and even less before you left this morning, looking like you were going to your own execution, so spill Sam, I am your best friend and I deserve that much. Hell, you owe my Mom’s carpet that much, seeing as how you damn near wore it out pacing last night’

Lilly finished her rant as they reached her room and Sam sank onto the edge of the bed, looking like the air had been let out of her.

‘I slept with Brooke’ Sam stated flatly

‘Oh’ Lilly said sinking down beside her ‘Not entirely unexpected, given the way she has been looking at you for the last few weeks. So let me guess, this happened last night, right, did you go on some romantic date? Did she ask you or did you ask her? Wait why am I sensing this is not a good thing?’ Lilly asked the rush of words coming to sudden halt

‘I’m dating Nicole. Or was……’ Sam’s voiced trailed off as she stared blankly into nothingness

‘WHAT? Since when?’ Lilly screeched

Sam winced at her friend’s decibel level as she wondered idly if there was anybody within the county limits that hadn’t heard the Latina’s outburst

‘You….have been dating ….Satan?!’ Lilly asked in a slightly calmer voice as she paced the room trying to process this new information

‘Since when?’ she stopped pacing and stood in front of Sam and stared at her, frowning, with her hands on her hips.

‘More to the point, why did I not know, I thought I was your best friend, Sam, I thought we told each other everything?’ she sat down slowly as she continued to face Sam, a hurt look on her face ‘How did I not know?’ She asked incredulously ‘Does Carmen know?

‘No’ Sam said simply

‘Waitaminute’ Lilly said in rush ’was dating? You broke up? God I guess if you..’

‘I know what I did Lil, please don’t say it again’ Sam said her eyes pleading as she looked at her friend

Lilly picked up the phone and hit speed dial

‘Carm? Lilly. Come over NOW. And bring ice cream’ 

‘Thank God we don’t have school tomorrow’ Lilly said as she put the phone down ‘This is gonna be one mother of a sleep over’


Lilly opened the door minutes later when Carmen arrived, out of breath and flushed, having run most of the way over. She thrust an extra large tub of Hagen-Daas strawberry cheesecake ice cream into Lilly’s hands

‘What…is….the …emergency?’ She huffed the words between breaths as she tried to get her breath back. Fit she may be from being a cheerleader, but it was still a fair run from her house to Lilly’s and she was quite sure she had broken some records on the way over.

‘Sam has a story for us’ Lilly smiled mysteriously at her friend as she led her into the bedroom, where Sam still sat motionless on the edge of the bed

‘Sam, what’s going on? Carmen said worriedly as she looked at Sam

Sam didn’t get chance to answer as Lilly spoke first

‘I thought that if you told us both the whole story, it would save you repeating it, as you have some serious explaining to do Sam’ Lilly said in a tone that accepted no arguments.

‘Ohmygod’ Carmen said as she sat down abruptly on the floor having heard Sam’s confession ‘ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod….’ Carmen said, her words coming out in a rush as the shock of Sam’s words was written all over her face

‘I think you covered that already there, Carm’ Lilly said with a hint of amusement in her voice as she cut her friend off mid-mantra

‘But you…with Brooke and…..the dating……with Nicole’ Carm said waving a finger vaguely in Sam’s direction

‘Not actually doing well with that concept, huh Carm?’ Lily asked her friend

‘either of ‘em, neither of ‘em’ Carm said and looked deeply confused ‘But…’

Sam could almost see the steam coming out of her friends ears at the speed her mental cogs were whirring to try and process this new information and tried not to laugh at the look on Carmen’s face

‘How and when and why and forget I asked the how’ Carmen said, her eyes returning to the present as she focused on Sam ‘and how did we, your best friends since forever not know about any of this?’

‘Now that is what I want to know’ Lilly said as she turned to stare at Sam with a look that the Spanish Inquisition would have been proud of

Sam’s eyes tracked back and forth between the two set of eyes boring into her and realized she was in a trap of her own making and was not going to leave this room without telling the whole story. Taking a deep breath she started at the best place possible; the beginning……


(Several months earlier)

It was a glorious California Friday morning and all was well in Sam’s world as she walked through the school doors and headed to her locker. As she started to get books out of her locker she could see a small black cloud on the horizon, as the person she least wanted to see came striding through the halls, scattering helpless students in her wake as she approached like a gathering storm

‘Spam McFearsome’

Sam turned to face Nicole and saw the sickly smile on her face

‘Satan’ Sam sneered in reply

‘What a charming ensemble’ Nicole said, her voice dripping with sarcasm as she looked Sam up and down

‘Well not all of us are crash test dummies for the latest fashion disasters’ Sam replied as she looked Nicole up and down

Nicole was actually quite stunningly dressed in a dark pin-striped trouser suit, with a white frill shirt underneath, and spike heel boots, her short hair in it’s usual designer ‘just got out of bed’ style. The thought of Nicole having just got out of bed made Sam blush as she mentally shook herself for thinking such an unthinkable thought; she couldn’t possibly find Nicole, the bane of her existence, attractive.

Actually, thought Sam, since realizing she was gay some months ago she had realized quite how attractive a lot of women were, it was like having her eyes opened, seeing the world in a whole new and rather exciting way, even if she did feel like a kid in a sweetshop with no pocket money.

Nicole noticed Sam blush and grinned, thinking she had actually achieved her mission and made Sam feel like her social inferior. Feeling pleased with herself she strode off down the hallway looking for a new victim to terrorize.

Sam looked down at her own outfit; dark blue jeans and a baggy check shirt and suddenly felt frumpy compared to Nicole.

<<Wait, when did I start wearing check shirts? Is this some subconscious butch thing now I’ve realized I’m a lesbian? Why couldn’t I have started dressing like kd lang or Ellen? Hmmm Sam thought…Nicole has a very kd look going on herself there, frilled shirt and all……>>

Sam was thankful for the interruption when Lilly and Carmen arrived and snapped her out of her very weird train of thought

‘Hey Sam’ Lilly said

‘Hey’ Sam replied trying to get her mind away from the unbidden mental images of a naked Nicole that had accompanied her previous train of thought as she wondered what was under Nicole’s frilled shirt

‘You look very cheerful this morning’ Carmen said, noticing the huge grin on Sam’s face, that was probably more of a leer as Sam mentally took a cold shower

<< Is this another lesbian thing? Developing the libido of a teenage boy?>> Sam wondered  as she tried desperately to make her brain pay attention to the conversation her friends were having and stop mentally undressing women

‘So still up for a sleepover tonight?’ Lilly asked

‘Yeah, Jane and Mike are out of town and Brooke is staying over at Nicole’s so movies and popcorn are ago-go at my place tonight’

‘Cool’ Carmen said as the three of them wandered in the direction of their classes

The rest of the day passed fairly uneventfully for all concerned until just before last period. Sam was loitering in the corridor waiting for her last class of the day. She had arrived early from her free period and was enjoying wasting her time before her class by watching Brooke bending over the water fountain.

Brooke felt herself being watched and stood up suddenly, Sam, desperate not to be caught, well, ogling, span round desperately trying to pretend she definitely was not staring at her soon-to-be-stepsister’s rear and somehow managed, in her flustered state, to collide with the fire alarm right behind her, setting it off.

The first person into the corridor was Vice-Principal Krupps, who, seeing the wicked grin on Sam’s face decided it was obviously a senor prank and promptly dragged her into his office, as the school emptied around him, all the students deciding it must be a real fire and they’d better skip last period and go straight home an hour early on a Friday afternoon, just in case.

Sam had been awarded a two-week detention, as she had absolutely no defense. Well, she didn’t feel the ‘flustered due to being caught ogling another woman’ was a good card to play and wisely kept silent.

Sam was also keeping quiet when Carmen and Lilly arrived later that evening armed with a large pile of videos, but for an altogether different reason. Sam was nervous, well one step away from jibbering as she had decided tonight was the perfect time to tell her friends that she wasn’t as straight as they thought she was.

‘So what d’you wanna watch first?’ Lilly said waving a stack of videos in Sam’s direction

‘I got popcorn’ Carmen said, as she came through the door behind her friend

Both girls were dressed for a sleepover, in jogging bottoms and baggy sweatshirts, Lilly’s emblazoned with ‘Save the Whale’

‘What have you got?’ Sam said pointing the videos and stalling for time

‘GI Jane, Thelma and Louise and Alien Resurrection’ the diminutive Latina said, her eyes sparkling as she grinned

‘Going for a girl power theme, huh Lil? Carmen asked grinning at her

‘Umm…look I wanted to talk to you guys’ Sam started, as her friends arranged themselves comfortably on the sofa. Sam remained standing, pacing up and down in front of the sofa, her hands dug in her jeans pockets

‘Whassup Sam? Lilly asked as she watched her friend pace, her face scrunched into a frown of concern

‘Um.. well, I…..’ Sam spluttered and took a deep breath ‘I’m gay’ she stated firmly, feeling her heart hammering in her chest as she held her breath waiting for her friends’ response

‘Well, good choice on the girl power films then’ Lilly said, winking at the flustered brunette as she stood up and enveloped Sam in a big hug, closely followed by Carmen

Lilly re-claimed her place on the sofa as Carmen looked at Sam ‘How long have you known?’

‘I kind of realized over the last few months’ Sam said, relieved at her friends responses

Carmen linked her arm though Sam’s and pulled her gently back to the sofa, to sit between her and Lilly

‘For having the courage to tell us and knowing we will always love you because we are your friends, you can pick the first film’ Lilly said, dumping the stack of films on Sam’s lap

‘No question, GI Jane definitely’ Sam said grinning wickedly

As the film flickered on the TV in front of them the only sound was of a popcorn packet rustling, until Carmen broke the silence

‘You know, I can so see the appeal of being a lesbian’ she said in an awed voice as three sets of eyes watched Demi Moore do one-handed pushups in skimpy shorts and a cut off vest

Sometime later, as the final credits were rolling on the last film the front door slammed violently and a pissed off looking Brooke stormed through the lounge, not noticing it’s occupants, as she thumped up the stairs and slammed her bedroom door so loudly, the whole house shook. The vibrations were just starting to die away as the house started to throb from the bass of the stereo being switched on at high volume.

‘Well, there goes hurricane Brooke‘ Carmen said

‘What do you suppose that was about? Lilly asked, turning to her friends

‘God only knows, or maybe Satan, since she was meant to be staying there tonight’ Sam said as three pairs of eyes stared at the ceiling, listening to the sound of Kelis ‘Caught Out There’ resonate through the ceiling

‘Maybe you should go find out’ Carmen said looking at Sam

‘Me?’ Sam looked petrified at the idea ’Hey, I’ve done my courageous bit for tonight, I’m maxed out’ she said trying desperately to avoid any confrontation with a pissed off Brooke

‘But you live with her’ Lilly said, reasonably as she and Carmen both stared at Sam

‘OK, Ok, I’m going’ Sam said in a resigned voice, relunctantly peeling herself off the cushions

Sam knocked quietly on the door and realized that she was never going to be heard over Kelis telling the world she how much she hated it right now. Balling her fist she used it to hammer on the door while shouting through it

‘Brooke, it’s Sam, lemme in’

Sam almost hammered on the occupant of the room’s nose as the door was yanked open and Brooke’s face replaced it

‘What?’ she spat

Sam took a step back and dropped her fist to her side ‘I just wanted to check you were ok, you looked kind of upset’

‘I’m FINE, now butt out’ Brooke almost shouted as she slammed the door

‘Whoa, well, that went well’ Sam muttered to herself as she turned and headed back down stairs to rejoined her friends

‘Well? Lilly and Carmen both started at Sam as she came back into the lounge

‘What, you didn’t hear that?’ Sam looked surprised

‘Well, at least you’re still in one piece’ the three of them looked briefly at the ceiling before Sam shrugged.

‘Well she obviously doesn’t want to talk about it’

‘No, but we do’ Lilly said looking gleefully at Sam ‘C’mon Sam, spill, have you met anyone yet? Have you kissed anyone yet? Is there a Ms. Right that prompted this evening’s confession?’

Sam flopped on the sofa and laughed  ‘whoa Lil, the CIA sooo need to recruit you, you been honing those interegation skills?’

‘Well?’ Carmen joined in as both of Sam’s friends turned to stare at her expectantly

‘No, on all counts’ Sam replied ‘my turn, what about you and Josh, huh, lil?’

Lilly blushed as her friends turned to stare at her and the three of them started to laugh

They spend the rest of the evening talking and laughing, Brooke’s dramatic entrance all but forgotten as they took it in turns to tease each other about their love lives, or lack of, in all but Lily’s case, until they fell asleep very much later.


The following morning Lilly and Carmen had left by the time Brooke surfaced, looking sheepish as she shuffled into the kitchen in pink satin pajamas and matching pink fluffy slippers and opened the fridge door, pouring herself an orange juice. Sam looked up from the end of the breakfast bar where she was sitting fully dressed in a black long-sleeved tee-shirt and jeans, typing on her laptop, surrounded by piles of open books. She hastily went back to typing before Brooke could bite her head off.

‘I’m sorry about last night’ Brooke spoke softly, without looking at Sam, who in turn didn’t look up from her keyboard as she mumbled her reply


‘I shouldn’t have shouted at you’ Brooke continued, still transfixed by her feet

Sam looked up slowly, trying to decide if it was safe to break cover

‘Did you want to talk about it?’ she said hesitantly

‘Thanks, but no, Nic and I had an argument is all’ Brooke said, bringing her eyes up to meet Sam’s

‘Hell of an argument’ Sam said softly

Brooke grinned weakly in reply and headed back up the stairs, where she remained for the rest of the day, leaving Sam none the wiser as to what the two girls had fought about.

She was still none the wiser by the time she got to school the following Monday morning, and got grilled by Lilly and Carmen as they stood by their lockers, retrieving books for first period

‘So she didn’t say a word?’ Lilly asked

‘Nope, she came downstairs long enough to snag half the pizza I order for dinner and vanished up to her room again’ Sam replied

‘Weird’ Carmen agreed

Any further discussions on the matter were halted by the commotion caused by Nicole as she strode purposefully down the hallway, followed by a chattering Mary Cherry. Nicole stopped abruptly. Sam, Lilly, and Carmen turned to look down the hallway to see what could possibly have stopped the fearless Nicole in her tracks. They saw Brooke walking through the door, her head down, a pile of books in her arms, as she realized she was being watched, she looked up, her eyes locking with Nicole’s. The look that passed between them was of such venom, the witnesses to the scene were amazed that either one had not been struck dead where they stood from the force of it.

Brooke flinched first, turning to her locker and dumping her books inside, as Nicole spun on her heel and stormed off the way she had come, Mary Cherry, oblivious to the silent exchange, still talking incessantly beside her.

‘What was that?’ Carmen said as Sam turned back to her locker and closed it, before the three of them headed off to class.

‘Beats the hell out of me’ Sam said

The weirdness continued at lunchtime in the cafeteria, as Brooke sat at a table on her own in the corner, her nose buried in a book. Nicole sat with Mary Cherry, Sugar Daddy and Josh, who were deeply engrossed in some animated conversation, although Nicole was obviously not paying attention, judging by the number of furtive glances she was throwing in Brooke’s direction.

‘What do you suppose happened?’ Lilly said turning her gaze back from the popular table to her friends

‘The mother of all arguments, judging by Brooke’s arrival last night and today’s little display’ Sam replied

‘God, I wonder what they could have argued about to stop them from speaking’ Carmen said

‘Probably nail varnish colours or some other vitally important issue’ Sam said cynically as the conversation gradually drifted away from the warring blondes and back to Lilly’s latest crusade and a protest she was planning after school

‘No can do’ Sam replied to Lilly’s insistence that Sam had to cover her protest for the school paper ‘I have the pleasure of detention’

Lilly narrowed her eye’s as she looked at Sam ‘You never did tell us how you got yourself into detention’

‘One of life’s great mysteries‘ Sam said smiling enigmatically as she rose from the table and scooped up her books ‘and I am off to see if there are any interesting ones worth investigating in the newspaper office, so I’ll see you guys later’ and with that she was gone.

Sam walked into the classroom, past the sign on the door marked ‘detention’ and rolled her eyes as she realized she was not the only victim of Vice Principal Krupp’s justice.

‘This is one sick punishment, if I have to share it with you‘

‘Oh, yeah, and this is the social event of the year for me’ Nicole replied, returning to her book, effectively ending the conversation

Nicole was sitting at a desk in the middle of the room reading a paperback novel, which was propped on the desk in front of her. She was dressed immaculately, as usual, in a black three quarter-sleeved blouse, a chunky silver necklace visible in V the where the top few buttons were undone and loose, boot cut black trousers, the outfit finished with a pair of spike heeled black boots. Sam tried not to notice Nicole’s outfit as she walked past, towards the furthest desk at the back and instead peered at the cover of the book open in the blonde’s hand; a well read copy of ‘Jude the Obscure’

‘Was the bookstore all out of books on 101 put downs?’ Sam asked snidely

Nicole turned in her to face Sam ‘Maybe not everyone is as predicable as you’d like to think’ Nicole spat, before turning back to her book

‘Oh, and you are such an authority on not putting people in neat little boxes’ Sam said incredulously

‘I think that might be case of pot and kettle there, don’t you?’ Nicole said turning around again

‘Look we’re gonna have to be here together for some time, maybe we should call a truce’ Sam said, changing tack

‘That’s very true, maybe we could idle the time away by you telling me how Samantha McPherson, Ms Goody two-shoes herself, ended up in detention’ Nicole grinned evilly

Sam blushed and stared at the desk. When the colour had faded from her cheeks, she looked Nicole directly in the eye ‘Why don’t you tell me why you are here?’

The smile disappeared from Nicole’s face and she turned away, burying herself in her book. Sam shrugged and pulled an economics textbook from her bag, along with a highlighter. Opening the book, she started to read.

After half an hour Sam was well and truly bored.

<< Hmm..supply and demand>> Sam thought <<I have something Nicole wants and she has something I want; we both want information>>

‘I’ll tell you why I’m here if you tell me what you and Brooke argued about’ Sam said

Nicole sighed and put her book down on the desk, turning round to face Sam again ‘No power on this earth, Spammy. But I’d love to hear why you’re here…did you cross the line and stick you nose in where it wasn’t wanted, in your misguided journalist role again?’ Nicole asked gleefully

‘What happened to the truce, Satan’ Sam replied

‘Ok, I’m sorry’ Nicole said, her eyes echoing the sentiment

Sam was genuinely surprised; she had never heard her nemesis apologize to anyone before

‘Well….d’you remember the early afternoon we all got on Friday?’ Sam started

‘Oh my God, the fire alarm’ Nicole said, laughing as her mind followed the train of thought ‘You?’ she looked at Sam with the first hint of respect she had ever seen from the blonde

‘Yeah’ Sam admitted, smiling ruefully

‘What about you?’

Nicole sighed again ‘I flushed Freddie Gong’s head down the toilet’ Sam was actually surprised to see a look of remorse on Nicole’s face


‘Because…’ Nicole started ‘Because it’s expected of me. I have a reputation as a first class bitch and I…’ She stopped and looked sad

‘What?’ Sam said, encouragingly

‘If I tell you, you’ll only use it against me’

‘I promise I won’t. Anything you say here will go to my grave with me, I promise’ Sam was well and truly intrigued, having never seen this side of Nicole before

‘One word and that grave will be sooner than you think’ Nicole smiled, a flash of her usual self in her eyes as she spoke

‘I promise. OK?’ Sam crossed her heart, making Nicole smile

‘I used to be unpopular, in junior high. I was the female Freddie Gong, picked on by people like me and I don’t ever want to go back there’

‘But why do you do it, if you used to get bullied, why would you do something you used to hate having done to you?’

‘Because I thought if I was the aggressor, people wouldn’t mess with me, and it just out of hand and now I can’t go back. It was never meant to be like this’ Nicole looked lost then, before the walls slammed up again and she turned back to her book

Neither spoke for the rest of the afternoon; Sam was lost in thought at this new side to Nicole and Nicole was absorbed in her book.

Sam was so lost in thought, contemplating difference in Nicole as she ate dinner that night that she didn’t notice that her housemate was also silent, forgetting to ask Brooke about the argument she’d had with Nicole the previous Friday night, until she was loading their dishes into the dishwasher.

She finished tidying the kitchen and climbed the stairs. She knocked on the door to Brooke’s room


‘Hey’ Sam said softly, sticking her head round the door

‘Hey yourself’ Brooke said, looking up from the textbook open in front of her.

Brooke was sitting cross-legged on the bed, dressed in baby blue satin pajamas, her hair, freshly washed, hanging slightly damply round her face.

<< God, she looks cute>> Sam thought, as a grin slowly spread across her face. Realizing she was doing it, she hastily dragged her thoughts away back to the reason she had come in and composed her features into a more sober expression

‘You ok?’

‘Fine’ Brooke said, returning her attention to the book in front of her

‘Look, if you want to talk about it…….’

‘There is nothing to talk about, Sam, so stop trying to investigate me like some story, ok?’ Brooke snapped.

<<Defensive much>> Sam thought as she moved back out of the room

‘Hey, I’m sorry, I don’t mean to snap, I just don’t want to talk about it, ok?’ Brooke said, softening her tone

‘Well, you know where I am….’

‘Thanks’ Brooke smiled weakly and picked up her pen, focusing her attention back on her book.

Sam closed the door and moved to her own room, shaking her head

<< God, wonder what that was about>>


The next afternoon, Sam hovered next to where Nicole was sitting, before she sat down at the next-door desk.

Nicole was again engrossed in her book, but looked up when Sam sat down.

`You didn't tell anyone, did you?

`I promised, didn't I?'

`You reading that for English?' Sam asked, changing the subject

`No' Nicole said turning the book over to stare at the cover `It's one of my favorite books. I've lost count of the number of times I've read it'

Sam looked surprised `I never pictured you as a fan of great literature'

`I think we've established there's a lot you don't know about me' Nicole smiled at Sam who was shocked by the gentleness in the blonde's tone

`So tell me, it's not like we're short of time here' she gestured round the empty room

`Hey, no talking in there' Krupp's ordered as his face appeared suddenly round the door frame `Or I'll start adding additional days' he vanished as soon as he had arrived

Sam blew a raspberry at the empty doorway, gaining a surprised look from Nicole

`I heard that. Which one of you was it?' Krupps said re-appearing

Sam and Nicole stared at him, both looking the picture of innocence

`Fine. Two additional days each'

When they were sure he was gone, both girls collapsed laughing `It was so worth it, just to see you do that' Nicole said as she tried to compose herself

Sam just shrugged `what was that about having lots of time?'

They spent the next two hours telling each other stupid jokes, just to try and make the other laugh and see how loud they could laugh without Vice-Principal Krupps hearing.

Nicole stuck her tongue out at Sam who was laughing so hard she was doubled up over the desk

`That was terrible' she wheezed through her giggles

`Yours wasn't any better'

`Oh, it so was' Sam said, still giggling

Sam's laughter was infectious and Nicole couldn't help but join in, as Vice-Principal Krupps strode into the room

`Right. What is going on here?'

`Nothing' Sam squeaked as she put her head on the desk to try and muffle her laughter

`Nothing at all, sir' Nicole said, smiling sweetly

Krupps looked flustered and frustrated at not getting any answers `That's it, you have both got yourselves an extra week. But you're done for today' He said glancing at his watch as he strode out of the room, eyeing Nicole suspiciously

`Great, no shopping for Nicole' she said rolling her eyes

`I'm sorry' Sam said as she flipped her hair back and raised her head from the desk

`Oh, don't worry about it' Nicole said 'I had fun today'

Sam looked at Nicole, a serious expression on her face `so did I`

`Shall we do it again tomorrow?'

`It's a date' Sam said, her eyes locked with Nicole's as she realized neither of them was looking away and time had suddenly stopped

`Well, time to go' Nicole said, flustered, as she stood up, scooping up her book and hooking her handbag onto her shoulder

`See you tomorrow, Sam' she called over her shoulder as she hurried out of the room

Sam realized she was unable to move << Oh.My.God. I said `date' to Nicole>>

The next morning Sam was standing at her locker, lost in thought as she organized her books for her first class

`Well, don't you look spiffy' Carmen said as she appeared next to Sam `Who're you trying to impress?' she grinned

`Why would you think I'm trying to impress anyone?` Sam said innocently

Carmen took a step back and looked her friend up and down `Mmm-hmm'

`What?!' Sam looked down at herself

She was wearing kitten heel black boots, an ankle length black skirt, slit at the back to her knees, and a dark top, decorated with large yet subtle red roses, the sleeves transparent and slightly frilled at the cuffs and the barest hint of make-up

`whoa, who you trying to impress Sam? `Lilly said as she walked up behind the two girls

`What is this? I wear skirts. What is everyone's problem today?' Sam said in an affronted tone

Carmen and Lily exchanged glances that spoke volumes but said nothing as the three headed off to class

`You are so twitchy today' Lilly said staring at Sam later that day as they sat in the cafeteria.

Sam stopped drumming her fingers on the table and glowered at her friend `what is this, let's pick on Sam day?'

`So who is this hot date with?' Carmen joined in from the other side of the table

`What hot date? You guys are just making it up as you go along now' Sam rolled her eyes at her friends, who continued to stare at her `look the only date I have today is bio after lunch and detention, ok?'

`Ok, ok.. No date, we get it' Lilly said raising her hands in a gesture of surrender

`Maybe that's what's making you twitchy' Carmen said grinning wickedly at Sam who shot her a dirty look

`Ok, dropping this subject altogether now' Carmen said sitting back in her chair, hastily avoiding her friends death stare

They chatted the rest of the lunch hour away, all avoiding the subject of Sam's attire and dating in general, mostly discussing nice, safe topics like Lilly's protest and how it had gone earlier in the week, as Sam continued to drum her fingers and look agitated

Bio class dragged as Sam sat next to Brooke who barely even made eye contact, much less spoke to Sam or anyone for the entire of the lesson.

As the class filed out Sam headed for detention, as her friends drifted off home, teasing her about having to stay late. Sam stopped to look around her to walk to detention with Nicole until she realized that she hadn't actually seen the blonde since lunchtime.

She mentally shrugged and headed off to the classroom where detention was held. When she got there she realized she was alone. She was even more surprised to realize she was disappointed.

Sam sat down at the same desk she had sat at the previous day and pulled out her textbook and pens from her bag. As she started to take notes vice principal Krupps walked into the room

`Where's Nicole?'

`I don't know, sir. I just got here'

`Sorry I'm late' Nicole said as she breezed in the room and sat down next to Sam

`Right, no talking today, I don't want to have come and sit here with you, you are seniors after all'

`Yes sir' the two girls mumbled in unison as Krupps nodded at them and left

`Look, I can think of much better places to sit and tell you stupid jokes than detention, so I bought you something to keep you quiet, or we are gonna spend the entire of senior year in here' Nicole said as she handed Sam a brown paper bag

Sam was too surprised to reply as she pulled the book out of the bag, it was a copy of `Jude the Obscure'

`Mine was too battered to lend you' Nicole stated as Sam stared at her


`Well I had to do something to keep you quiet' Nicole said, looking uncomfortable

`I thought maybe we could do something, after we've finished here, if you wanted to….' Nicole trailed off and looked flustered, staring down at the desk

`I'd love to' Sam replied and realized she wasn't sure who was more surprised by her response

Sam opened her book and started to read as Nicole pulled a textbook and highlighter out of her bag and started to read

`Nice outfit' Nicole said softly without looking up

Sam continued to read, a smile slowly spreading across her face


‘Hey, it’s after four’ Nicole said startled sometime later ‘we’re free’

‘Yeah only another two and a half weeks to go’ Sam said glumly as she carefully marked her page and started to put her books away

‘Then lets go do something fun’ Nicole said standing up

‘Oh, god, not shopping’ Sam said rolling her eyes

‘Not everything in life is about shopping’ Nicole said in a hurt tone

Both girls stopped and looked at each other

‘No, I can’t believe I said that either‘

As they pulled out of the parking lot a short time later Sam turned in her seat to stare at Nicole who was driving

‘Miniature golf?’ she asked incredulously

‘Hey, its fun’ Nicole said defensively

‘Yeah, but we’re not really dressed for it’ Sam said as she took in Nicole’s outfit, of a white shirt, a short, tight black skirt and high heels

‘Hmm, perhaps not…. How about coffee? We can sit and talk then. Like a real date’

‘You said that word again’

‘Did I make a mistake? I thought when you said yesterday…..I …..I just assumed…’ Nicole trailed off, a look of panic spreading across her face

‘No… I mean yes….’Sam stopped equally flustered, she took a deep breath ‘No you didn’t make a mistake and yes I’d love to go on a date. With you’

Questions span through Sam’s mind as she looked at Nicole, who smiled back and suddenly Sam’s mind went blank.

‘Non-fat de-caff latte’ Nicole said to the waitress as they sat in the coffee shop sometime later

‘Grande Cappuccino with an extra shot of espresso’

Nicole grimaced at Sam as the waitress left ‘Caffeine addict’

‘I’m a journalist, I’m getting in training’ Sam grinned back ‘De–caff?’

‘Caffeine gives me the jitters. I get tetchy’

‘Ok tetchier’ Nicole smiled at Sam’s raised eyebrows

‘So is this the place that you thought would be better for telling me bad jokes?’ Sam asked as she surveyed her surroundings

The coffee shop was wood paneled and softly lit, the furnishings made up of large overstuffed sofas and low coffee tables, the music quiet and soothing. The furnishings made each table seem private; conversation could be heard only as murmurs in the background

‘Yeah, but I think I used all mine up yesterday’

‘Me too’

The waitress re-appeared and put their coffees down on the table between them, as she walked away Sam noticed a small poster on the wall.

‘This is a gay coffee house’

‘Yes. They have a social group here on Tuesday nights’

‘You’re a regular here then?’

‘Yes, I’ve been coming in here for a while, even before I realized about myself. I like the atmosphere, an oasis of calm away from school’

‘How did you know? About me I mean?’

‘You know what they say, takes one to know one’ Nicole smiled and sipped her coffee

‘Why are you being so nice to me? After all the shit you give me at school?’

Nicole winced ‘I’m sorry, Sam’ she said gently ‘I was so defensive about anyone finding out about me being unpopular and fat when I was younger, I went on the aggressive and tried to hurt everyone else before they could hurt me and before I realized what I was doing I had turned into a heartless bitch everyone hated and I was alone. I’d pushed everyone away’ Nicole looked sad and lost, her eyes shining with unshed tears ‘It was worse when I realized I was gay, I pushed everyone that much harder, terrified someone would find out about me and my new found popularity would come crumbling around me. I saw it in you Sam, you aren’t as subtle as you like to think, checking women out when you think they aren’t looking. I was worried that if people saw me being nice to you, they would know, about me, and the illusion would be shattered’

‘So why tell me now? Why bring me here? You asked me out for God’s sake, that’s not exactly subtle, is it?’

‘I thought you asked me’ Nicole smiled weakly, sipping her coffee

‘That doesn’t answer my question’

‘Always the journalist’

‘I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it to be an attack’

‘It’s ok. I like you. You are one of the only people I’ve ever met who would stand up to me’ Nicole smiled, obviously nervous at her confession

‘You like me?’


‘So where do we go from here?’

‘I don’t know, but I’d like to find out, together. If you’d like to?’

<< She looks so venerable…..and so very sexy>>> Sam thought

‘I’d like that’ Sam smiled

Nicole smiled back and relaxed back into her seat ‘Drink your coffee, then you caffeine addict, before it gets cold’

‘I know it’s a lot to ask, but do you think we could keep this just between us? For now?’

‘Might be a good plan’

<< I don’t think Lilly and Carmen would handle it too well if I told them I was dating Nicole>> Sam thought ruefully <<oh my god…. I’m dating Nicole>> Sam grinned and drank her coffee

Sam was still grinning the next morning as she stood by her locker

‘Makeover didn’t work then?’ Lilly chuckled as she walked up to Sam

‘Huh?’ Sam was snapped out of her thoughts and stared at her friend

‘Didn’t manage to impress anyone with the change of threads’ Lilly said pointing at Sam’s clothes

‘Just fancied a change is all’ Sam said looking down at her black jeans and long-sleeved black tee-shirt and looking up at her friend

‘The ladies don’t know what they’re missing do they Lil?’ Carmen joked as she walked up behind the two of them

‘You wanna say that a bit louder there, Carm, I think there are some kids on the running track didn’t quite catch you outing me’ Sam looked round frantically to check no-one had heard

‘Sorry, Sam, I didn’t realize it was a state secret’

‘Sorry Carm, I’m just not ready for the rest of the world to know’

‘Yeah, could you imagine what Nicole and her cronies would say if they found out’ Lil sympathized as the subject of their conversation turned into the corridor and flounced past wordlessly

<< Funny you should say that>> Sam thought, smiling to herself

‘Is that the bell’ she said striding purposefully down the corridor before her friends noticed her smiling

For the rest of the week Sam and Nicole sat in silence in detention. Sam reading the book Nicole had given her and Nicole studying. Afterwards they would go to the coffee shop and talk about everything and nothing, just enjoying being in each other’s company.

When Friday rolled around it found the two girls sitting in their usual silence when Nicole leaned over and whispered in Sam’s ear ‘what are you doing tonight?’

‘Um.. Nothing. Why?’

‘I’ll pick you up at seven then. Meet me at the end of your road. And wear something dressy’

Later that evening found Sam head first in her wardrobe, frantically throwing clothes onto the bed

By 6.45pm she was dressed and all the clothes were back in the wardrobe as Sam took a last look in the mirror. She took a deep breath and smoothed her dress.

Crossing the hall she knocked softly and stuck just her head round Brooke’s door without waiting for a reply

‘I’m just going to the library, research for a story, be back late’ her words tumbled out in a rush, but Brooke didn’t even look up from the book propped on her knees as she sat on the bed


Sam left hastily, before Brooke noticed that she was a little over dressed for studying. She let herself out of the door and hurried down the road, her stomach nervous knots. She looked up and stopped dead in her tracks.

Nicole was stood next to her black convertible waiting for Sam. Sam walked slowly towards her, her heart racing

‘You look amazing‘ Sam said in an awed voice

Nicole was wearing a floor length red satin evening gown that accentuated her curves and dipped slightly at the neck showing the barest suggestion of cleavage. Her hair was slicked down and parted on one side, held in place with a diamond studded gold clip.

‘You look pretty good yourself’

Sam looked down at her outfit and once again felt frumpy next to Nicole, as she fidgeted in front of the blonde. Nicole stepped forward and bent to take Sam’s hand, she kissed it and purred ‘you look perfect’ as she took in Sam’s outfit, black heels, barely black tights and a figure hugging short black dress, square cut at the chest showing off the paleness of Sam’s skin and highlighting the gossamer thin silver chain around her neck, her hair swept up and pinned at the back, a few strands casually falling loose over her delicately made-up face.

‘Shall we?’ Nicole asked as she opened the door for Sam in a grand sweeping gesture, smiling as she spoke

Sam returned her smile and climbed into the passenger seat as Nicole walked round to the other side and slid gracefully into the driver’s seat.

Neither girl spoke as they drove, both too nervous to know what to say. Nicole broke the silence by leaning over slightly as they stopped for a set of lights and slid a CD into the stereo, the sound of sweeping electronic notes filled the car, overlaid with a soft voice chanting

‘This is like the stuff from the coffee house’ Sam said, glad to finally have something to say

‘I like ambient music, it’s evocative’ Nicole said as they reached their destination and two valets appeared, opening both girl’s doors

The restaurant was lit by a string of white lights, along the bottom of the roof. Through the glass front, Sam could see that the whole restaurant was lit only by candles. The Maitre’d appeared by their side as if from nowhere as soon as they entered the low-ceilinged room, and greeted Nicole like an old friend

‘Ms. Julian, your table is ready ‘ he said, smiling, as he gestured them towards the back of the restaurant and out onto a small balcony, overlooking the sea. There was only one table, lavishly laid with a cream cloth and matching napkins. A grand silver candelabra stood to one side of the table, it’s light bathing the evening with a soft glow.

The Maitre’D pulled out Nicole’s chair as a waiter appeared behind Sam and did the same. Both vanished instantly as Sam’s eyes swept over the view and met Nicole’s

‘It’s beautiful’ she breathed

‘So are you’ Nicole smiled

The Maitre’ d re-appeared next to Nicole and poured them both a glass of wine, placing the bottle in a cooler next to the table

‘My mother eats here a lot so they don’t ask questions’ Nicole replied to Sam’s raised eyebrows as she took a sip of the wine

‘I hope you don’t mind, I’ve already ordered, the fish is here is exquisite’

As Nicole spoke, a barely noticed waiter delivered two starters

‘I’m entirely in your hands, this looks wonderful’ Sam said as she picked up her fork

Their starters were filets of salmon, drizzled with a light lemon and olive oil dressing on a bed of crisp green leaves

‘This is amazing’ Sam said between mouthfuls as she sipped her wine

‘You wait till you try the main course’ Nicole said, her eyes twinkling in the candlelight

The main course, was lightly seared bass, with sautéed potatoes and steamed vegetables, it was, as Nicole had promised, exquisite

They spoke little as they ate, enjoying their meal too much to make more than small talk

Once the meal was finished, two coffees arrived and Sam smiled as she sipped hers

‘Cappuccino with an extra shot of espresso’

‘Gotta keep that training up’ Nicole smiled back

‘You were right, about the fish, it was fabulous’

‘I’m glad you enjoyed it’

‘I would have enjoyed a burger if I was in your company, you didn’t have to go to so much trouble’

‘I wanted to see you in a dress, you looked so good in a skirt the other day’

‘You noticed’ Sam blushed

‘What was it in aid of, if I may ask?’

Sam didn’t reply, but looked directly at Nicole, whose turn it was to blush


‘What? You look sad’

‘No-one’s ever done anything like that for me before’

‘Well, now I’ve done it twice, maybe you should get used to it, if we’re going to keep dating’

Nicole looked up and smiled ‘That sound’s good’

‘It does, doesn’t it. Who would have believed it? The two of us dating’

‘Weirder things have happened’

‘Like what’

‘How did you like the book?’ Nicole asked, abruptly changing the subject

‘I haven’t finished it yet, I’ll let you know’

They talked for some time discussing books and music and surprised each other by the number of things they had in common

‘The woman who likes soothing ambient music, likes Sum 41?’ Sam asked incredulously

‘I was playing ‘First Date’ on the way over to pick you up, it seemed oddly appropriate

Sam threw her head back and laughed, ‘I’m sure I’ve been driving Brooke mad with the number of times I’ve played that song this week.’ Sam stopped laughing as she noticed Nicole wince at the mention of Brooke’s name.

‘Still not talking, huh?’

‘I’d really rather not talk about it’

‘What happened?’

‘You should ask her’

‘I did, she won’t say, she just locks herself away in her room and studies a lot‘

‘Then it’s not my place to say either’ Nicole glanced at her watch ‘We should go, it’s getting late, she might be suspicious that you are getting back from the library so late if we don’t go soon ’ as she spoke the maitre’d appeared next to Nicole

‘Was everything to your satisfaction, Ms. Julian?’

‘Wonderful, as always, Marcel’

‘I have taken the liberty of charging the meal to your mother’s account. I trust that’s acceptable’

‘Perfect, thank-you’ Nicole smiled at him

He frowned at Nicole, who laughed ‘I had one glass, Marcel, you know I never have more if I’m driving’

‘I’ll have your car brought round then’ Marcel smiled and vanished

Nicole stood and took Sam’s hand and led her out of the restaurant

Nicole pulled over at the end of Sam’s road and turned to face her

‘Thank you for tonight’ Sam said, turning in her seat

‘My pleasure. Do you want to do something tomorrow?’

‘I can’t, Carmen and Lilly are coming over to study, as Jane and Mike are still away’

‘Oh’ Nicole looked crestfallen

‘How about miniature golf on Sunday?’

Nicole smiled ‘I’d love to’ she looked up her gaze meeting Sam’s, they both stayed staring into each others eyes before Nicole quickly lent forward, before she lost her nerve, and brought her lips to meet Sam’s

Sam responded, placing her hand gently against Nicole’s face, as their tongues met briefly they pulled apart slightly, their lips almost still touching

‘Goodnight’ Sam breathed before kissing the blonde again

‘Goodnight’ Nicole whispered as Sam got out of the car and headed towards her house, smiling broadly,

Nicole sat unmoving, bringing her fingertips to her lips where Sam had kissed her. She smiled to her self and turned to watch Sam walk to her house and disappear inside, in the rearview mirror. She changed the CD and cranked the volume, driving off with the strains of ‘First Date’ breaking the silence of the evening.


`I come bearing coffee' Carmen announced loudly as she walked into the Palace kitchen the next morning

`Thank God, I'm fried already' Lily said as Sam wandered over to the counter and started lifting the lids on the cups

`They were all out of caffeine drips, so you'll have to make do with a double tall cappuccino' Carmen said handing Sam a cup

`You read this assignment and then tell me you don't need caffeine' Sam put the cup down and headed toward the stairs

`I'm gonna call in reinforcements' she called over her shoulder as she padded up the stairs

`Brooke?' Sam called as she knocked on her blonde housemate's door

She stepped back startled as the door opened and Brooke emerged in full running gear, walk man headphones clamped to her ears

`Wha..?' She replied equally startled as she pulled her head phones off `didn't hear you Sam, sorry' she mumbled

`Lil and Carm are over to try and get to grips with this bio assignment and I wondered if you wanted to join us?'

`I finished it, while you were at the library last night, I was just gonna go for a run. But thanks'

`Oh. Ok. See you later then' Sam said as Brooke returned her head phones to her ears and brushed past her

She came back downstairs in time to see Brooke sketch a wave at Lily and Carmen before disappearing out of the door

`Well, at least we know it's do-able' Sam said as she sat down at a the breakfast bar `Brooke finished hers last night, so isn't joining us'

The three girls exchanged looks `She really is acting odd lately' Lily said

Sam shrugged and picked up a book `Well, whatever's bothering her, she won't talk to me about it'

The three of them turned their attention to their assignment for the rest of the day. Brooke didn't speak when she returned, headphones still clamped in place, or when she re-appeared showered and changed shortly after, except to tell Sam she was going shopping and would be back later.

It was early evening when Sam dropped her pen on her notebook, rocked back in her chair and stretched with an audible groan.

`Well, that's me done, finally. I think pizza and videos are in order, what d'you guys think?'

`Sorry Sam, I said I'd be back for dinner and Josh and I are going to the movies' Lily said apologetically

`I can't either, I've gotta swing by the market `cause I'm making dinner tonight, and I think I'm gonna be working on this for while longer. Another time?' Carmen said, as she started to pack her books away

`No problem, another time' Sam said shrugging

Once her friends had left, Sam decided to make a start on dinner and wandered round the kitchen, collecting garlic and tinned tomatoes to make pasta and sauce. She was just chopping onions when Brooke arrived home.

`I thought you were going shopping, I see no bags'

`Just window shopping' Brooke replied, avoiding Sam's gaze

`I'm making dinner. Join me? Nothing exciting, just pasta, so you're safe' Sam smiled and gestured at the chopping board with the knife in her hand

`Yeah, that'd be nice. I'm gonna go freshen up' Brooke said as she headed towards the stairs

She–reappeared just as Sam was putting the food out on the table, a large bowl of pasta was joined by garlic bread and a bowl of steaming sauce and a lit candle.

`Smells good' Brooke said as she slid into the chair on the other side of the table from where Sam was standing

`Thanks, although I think I'm wearing more than a fair share of it' Sam stretched her arms out, revealing the full extent of the sauce splashes on her once white tee-shirt.

Brooke smiled at the state of her housemate, her hair damp at the front from the steam in the kitchen, her splattered tee-shirt, baggy grey jogging bottoms, and bare feet

`Dive in` Sam said gesturing expansively at the food as she sat down

They talked little as they both piled their plates and started to eat

`This is good' Brooke said sometime later, as she helped herself to seconds

`Thanks' Sam mumbled through a mouthful of garlic bread, as she swallowed `It's about the extent of my culinary skills, so either we live on pasta or take out or you can cook as Mom rang while you were window shopping. Mike has been asked to stay on for a while'

`I could make us dinner tomorrow, if you'd like'

`Thanks, but can we make it Monday? I have to go to the library again tomorrow and I'll probably be there all day'

`Sure. What's this music? It sounds familiar. Not your normal loud rock'

`I didn't think that was very conducive to eating, and I fancied a change' Sam replied, suddenly finding her pasta bowl fascinating

`Ambient is a bit of change to rock'

`More bread?' Sam said desperate to change the subject

`Thanks. What are you doing tonight?'

`Dunno. Watch some tv maybe?'

`We could see if there are any good films on?'

`Yeah, why not?' Sam shrugged `You not got any plans either?'

`Not really'

They cleared the table and washed up in companionable silence, Sam feeling pleased she had actually got more than two words out of Brooke for the first time all week.

Sam slouched in the corner of the sofa, her legs sprawled across half the cushions as she flicked through the tv guide as Brooke came back from her room having changed into pale blue jogging bottoms, a white oversize sweatshirt and thick slouch socks. She folded her legs under her as she curled up on the other end of the sofa to her housemate

`Anything good on?'

`How about a Law and Order double bill?'

`Sounds good'

They watched the first episode in silence, but when the adverts came on Sam looked at Brooke and frowned

`Are you ok?'

`Fine' Brooke replied startled at the sudden question

`You've just been quiet all week is all'

`I'm fine, really' Brooke smiled thinly at Sam

`If you want to talk about it, you know, I can do listening'

`Thanks, but really, there's nothing to talk about'

`Not even the reason you and Nicole aren't speaking?'

`I really don't want to talk about it'

`Ok, but you know, if you change your mind'

`Thanks, but it's ok. Really'


Both girls lapsed into silence turning their attention back to the TV as the second programme started,

As the final credits rolled Sam stood up and stretched, yawning loudly `Well, I think I'll go to bed and read for a bit. Night'

`Yeah, I'm gonna go up soon. Night'

`If you change you mind about wanting to talk'


Sam realized she really wasn't going to make the blonde open up to her and headed off to bed to finish her book


The next morning Sam lent on her golf club as she watched Nicole tap her ball perfectly into the hole

`How can that possibly be your favorite book? It's so depressing' she said as she lined up her own shot and missed the hole completely

`Isn't it great? I can read it over and over as it just makes me feel no matter how bad life gets, it is never gonna be as bad as Jude's'

`But he ends up worse than he started, he lost everything and everyone he loved'

`Ironic, isn't it? I could end up just like him, I push people away, but he risked everything for the woman he loved'

`But she left him, it's awful'

`But it make me realize you still have to take risks'

`Like this?' Sam stared at Nicole

`Yeah, this was total risk….you are hopeless at this game. You are endangering spectators' Nicole laughed

`What spectators?' Sam gestured expansively, turning round on the spot `there's nobody here but us at this ungodly hour on a Sunday'

`I know'

Nicole closed the gap between them as she spoke and wrapped Sam in her arms, planting a kiss on her lips

`Now you're just trying to break my concentration' Sam laughed as she pulled away and took another shot, sending the ball flying off the end of the hole and into a nearby bush

`What concentration' Nicole laughed `How about breakfast instead'

`Ah, coffee, you just know juts how to please me' Sam kissed Nicole as she walked past her and headed off the tee

They curled up next to each other on a sofa in the coffee shop they now went to regularly and pored over the menu as they sipped their coffees

`Muffins, definitely, they're a must for Sunday brunch' Sam said decisively

`Don't go mad, I have plans for you'

`Oh yes' Sam grinned and waggled her eyebrows suggestively

Nicole blushed `I brought a picnic'

`Oh. Cool' Sam smiled

They spent the rest of the morning drinking coffee and reading the papers, occasionally reading interesting bits out to each other as they lounged at either end of the sofa, their feet just touching in the middle

Some time later Nicole folded her paper and sat up decisively, batting Sam's socked feet with the folded newspaper


Sam sat up and dropped her paper on the table as she bent to pull her trainers back on. As she sat up she lent over and kissed Nicole `This was nice'

`It was, but now I'm starving, all this loafing has made me hungry` Nicole said as she grasped Sam's hand and hauled her off the sofa, Sam movingly willingly at the suggestion of food

They drove for half an hour, chatting and laughing before Nicole turned off, in to a grassy lane. As she reached the end of the track she stopped and got out, popping the trunk. Sam walked round the car to help as a rug flew at her and a large cool box appeared from the depths of the trunk and her girlfriend re-appeared and dropped it heavily to the ground

`You want me to get that?' Sam chuckled as she hefted the turquoise and white box and handed Nicole the rug `I'm following you, so lead on'

They headed through the coppice of trees at the end of the track, stepping into almost darkness the woodland was so thick. After a few minutes they re-emerged into the bright afternoon sunshine and Sam gasped, stopping dead in her tracks

`This is beautiful` she said awestruck

Nicole turned to look at her girlfriend and smiled at the look on her face. Sam stared out at the view; she was standing on a low hill and below her the grassy hill swept down to a completely still lake, surrounded on it's other three sides by trees.

`You like?'

`This is amazing' Sam said as she followed Nicole down the slope towards the edge of the lake

Nicole spread the rug out and gestured to Sam to put the cool box down, opening the lid as she knelt on the rug.

`Admire later, eat now' Nicole chuckled as she started emptying the box's contents onto the rug.

Sam still continued to gaze around herself, drinking in the view and the tranquility, before her attention was caught by the spread on the rug in front of her

`And how many are we feeding today? ` She laughed as she sat down next to Nicole

`We have cold chicken and fresh bread and tomatoes and pasta salad and …'

Nicole was stopped mid flow by Sam kissing her

`This is wonderful. Thank you.'

`Thank you. I enjoy your company'

`How did you find this place?'

`The guy who owns it is a friend of my mother's. They rarely come up here'

`Great spot for a picnic then' Sam smiled, grabbing a chicken wing

They ate slowly, feeding each other morsels of food as they chatted and relaxed on the grass. Sometime later Sam realized she had dozed off, lying back on the grass when a voice filtered through to her fuzzy brain

`Well you're a great date, take you someplace pretty and you fall asleep'

`I'm sorry' Sam mumbled as she sat up `It's just so peaceful…' her voice trailed off as she took in the sight in front of her

`I know what will wake you up'

Sam was stunned to see Nicole pulling off her boots, followed by her top and jeans. Sam was too stunned to react as Nicole's bra flew past her and a naked Nicole ran to the edge of the lake and dived in

Sam was on her feet and stripping off before her brain had chance to catch up. She ran up to the edge of the lake and peered over the reeds nervously, before diving in and surfacing next to Nicole who was treading water

`This is why I brought you up here'

`What to get me naked?'

`No, look' Nicole swam back towards the edge slightly

Sam's eyes followed her and realized what her girlfriend had meant. The sun was starting to dip toward the top of the rise they had come over earlier that afternoon, staining the sky a myriad of pinks and purples, the sun itself a deep red. Sam swam towards Nicole and stood next to her as she realized she could touch the bottom


`Isn't it incredible? I never get sick of watching it'

Sam turned to Nicole, tears glistening in her eyes

`Thank you'

Nicole didn't reply, but took Sam's face in her hands and kissed her passionately, Sam responded by wrapping her arms round Nicole's waist and pulling her tightly to her. They remained locked in their embrace, oblivious to the passing of time, until Nicole shivered in Sam's arms

`You're getting cold'

`I hadn't noticed'

`And it's getting dark'

Sam took Nicole's hand and led her to the shore, helping her out of the water

`Foresight should had led me to have brought a towel' Nicole said ruefully `what?' she turned to see Sam staring at her

`You are beautiful'

Sam stepped towards Nicole and gently took her hand in her own, turning it palm upwards and kissing it softly. Sam looked up, her eyes meeting Nicole's as she saw them darken with desire in the fading light of the sunset. Sam swept her into her arms as she crushed her lips to Nicole's, her own desire pouring into the kiss. Nicole shivered again and Sam pulled away slightly, her arms still draped loosely around Nicole's waist

`Maybe we should go, before it gets too dark to find the car'

`Yeah imagine being stuck here all night' even in the fading light Sam could see the mischievous glint in her girlfriend's eyes. They parted reluctantly, their desire tangible.

They used the rug to towel them selves off and got dressed. Nicole had packed the remains of the picnic away while Sam dozed, so they started back up the hill. Nicole stopped and dropped the box, yanking off it's lid before rummaging in the bottom

`I may not have thought to bring a towel, but I did bring' she shook the object in her hands and it flickered to life `a torch'

`You do this a lot then? Bring unsuspecting women up here to swim naked and watch the sunset?'

`No I like to come up her and read and frequently lose track of time' Nicole replied in a slightly hurt tone as she strode up the hill ahead of Sam

Sam ran up the hill after her and stopped in front of her

`I'm sorry, I was kidding'

Nicole accepted her kiss grudgingly and they walked back up the hill their hands entwined.

`I really enjoyed myself today' Sam said as they drove back

`Me too. It's nice to just `be' with someone, you know?'

`Yeah, I think I do' Sam smiled at Nicole


Brooke was asleep by the time Sam let herself back into the house, even though it was still early evening. Flopping down on her bed sometime later, having showered and changed Sam smiled to herself as she thought back over the day and drifted off to sleep.

Sam was still smiling at the end of the week. She and Nicole had studied silently in detention and gone to coffee shop afterwards every afternoon, spending hours discussing everything and nothing, enjoying being together. Vice Principal Krupps had let them off their third week of detention for good behavior after they had saved their chatting for the coffee shop, where they could be together and were free to laugh and, more importantly to both of them, be themselves.

Brooke continued to spend her time at school, when not in class, buried in a book and her time at home locked away in her room. Sam only saw her on the nights she didn't eat with Nicole and she and Brooke ordered take out and Sam found no further chances to try and find out what was bothering her housemate.

At the weekend, Sam spent time with her friends and Nicole spent the day avoiding her attending her mother's social functions. Sunday morning found the two of them ensconced in the coffee shop, idling the day away reading the papers, drinking coffee and playing footsie on the big sofas.

The next few weeks followed a similar pattern, but now that Sam and Nicole were free from detention, they spend their afternoons studying together at the coffee shop, or going to the cinema to watch old movies, another passion of Nicole's Sam had discovered and enjoyed sharing with her.

Time drifted on until two weeks before spring break. Mike and Jane re-appeared sporadically for a few days at a time to check their daughters weren't at each other's throats and were surprised by the peacefulness of the house when both girls were home, the constant rowing a thing of the past since they were rarely in the same room together except for mealtimes. They weren't overly concerned then, when Mike was called away again, both of them promising to be back within a few weeks, and Sam assuring them repeatedly they would be fine, they were both seventeen and in no immediate danger since they were no longer fighting with each other all the time.

It was another Sunday morning in the coffee shop when Nicole lowered her paper and looked in Sam's direction. Sam feeling herself being watched, lowered her own paper


`I think we should do something special'



`Why Friday?' Sam asked, unable to stop herself grinning

`You know why' Nicole glowered at her and kicked Sam's socked foot playfully

`Because Tuesday's a school night and we have an English test Wednesday'

`Exactly. I knew you hadn't forgotten' Nicole dropped her paper on the table next to her and picked up her coffee, sipping it slowly as she watched Sam

`What did you have in mind?'

`You could come over to the house and I could cook'

`You cook? So many hidden talents'

Nicole pulled face at Sam

`Suit yourself'

`I'm sorry it's a lovely idea, the only thing I could think of was to get thrown in detention again, it kind of seemed a fitting way to mark the occasion'

`Being watched by Krupps is not my idea of a romantic way to mark our two month anniversary'

`You're right. But it turned out to be a great way to get you all to myself. But won't your mom be home?'

`No, Friday's tend to be her night for social functions, or dates with her latest boy toy, or any day with a `Y' in it really' Nicole's voice trailed off and her eyes got a faraway look as Sam lent over and kissed her to break Nicole's train of thought, which Sam had realized led inevitably to Nicole being depressed for the rest of the afternoon at the lack of interest her mother took in her daughter.

`It's a great idea, I'd love to'

Nicole smiled as she snapped out of her dark thoughts and kissed Sam back.

Friday night Sam stood in front of the mirror in her bedroom, applying lip-gloss as the final touch to her outfit. She had finally decided on a long black skirt and an off the shoulder black top. Her freshly washed hair was swept back from her face and cascaded loose over her bare shoulders. Her brown eyes were accentuated by black eyeliner, her skin highlighted by a hint of blusher high on her cheekbones.

Sam pressed her lips together and looked at the final effect in the mirror. She scrunched her face up and tilted her head to one side, appraising her outfit through squinted eyes.

<< Good as it's gonna get>> she decided and swept out of the bedroom door. The house was strangely quiet, as Brooke had decided that morning she was going drive up and surprise their parents, as they were stopping to visit a field office a couple of hundred miles away for a few days and it was the closest they would be for a couple more weeks.

Sam walked nervously up to the front door of the Julian mansion. It was the first time she had been to Nicole's house and wasn't sure what to expect. The house itself was immense, the edges of it hidden behind tall trees, surrounding it on either side. The door was huge and made of solid oak, a large brass knocker in the shape of a lion's head was mounted in the center of it, polished to a high shine. Sam smiled to herself as she noticed a small doorbell almost hidden under the ivy trailing over the top of the doorway and around the frame.

As the peels of the bell died away the door creaked open and Nicole stood behind it. She smiled when she saw Sam and stepped back to let her in. Sam was stunned as she looked at the other girl. She was wearing a knee length electric blue dress, with a halter neck, cut away to reveal bare arms and shoulders. The colour of the dress seemed to set off her eyes, making them sparkle in the dim light of the hallway. Her hair was still wild and tousled, but obviously recently cut as it was slightly shorter than when Sam had seen her earlier that afternoon, as they'd parted at the end of Sam's road when Nicole had dropped her off after school.

They hadn't gone to the coffee shop that afternoon, as Nicole had wanted to get home and start preparing dinner for them.

`You look incredible' Sam said as she kissed Nicole

`And you look good enough to eat, Miss McPherson' Nicole said her voice low and sensual

Sam blushed and followed Nicole as she led her into the dining room. Sam was awed at the size of the room, the ceiling stretched up to the full height of the house above them. A vast chandelier hung from the center of it, but the light in the room came from the many candles that ringed the room. Sam thought there must have been at least a hundred all round the edge of the room. She noticed the table in the center of the room, a great banqueting table. Two places were set either side, at the far end. The cutlery shone in the candlelight. Two cream napkins were folded into an upright in the center of either place setting and between the two settings one perfect rose sat in a crystal vase.

Sam turned and beamed at Nicole `It's beautiful'

Nicole looked pleased and gestured towards the high backed chair in front of one of the place settings `Have a seat, I'll be back in just a sec'

Sam pulled out the chair and sat down as Nicole disappeared through a door at the far end of the room. A few moments later she re-emerged pushing a wheeled trolley, laden with covered serving dishes. She set each one carefully on the table, and then pulled a bottle of wine in cooler from the bottom shelf and placed it on the table, followed by two plates.

`Drink?' Nicole picked up the wine bottle and poured them both a glass, before walking round the table and sitting down opposite Sam. She lifted each of the covers from the dishes

`Beef stroganoff with fresh pasta and steamed baby vegetables, with fresh homemade bread'

`This looks wonderful` Sam said, smiling at Nicole, who looked thoroughly pleased at her girlfriend's reaction

`You make your own bread?'

`It's very therapeutic' Nicole raised one eyebrow at Sam `I made the pasta as well'

`Wow, you went to all this trouble just for me?'

Nicole shrugged, embarrassed `I like to cook and tonight is a special occasion, I wanted it all to be perfect'

`It is, it's just wonderful'

`Well, eat something then, before it gets cold' Nicole admonished gently, obviously uncomfortable at the unaccustomed compliment

`This is fabulous' Sam said as she ate `God help us if we ever live together, I'll be the size of a house' she laughed

`We'll just have to take it in turns to cook, then, if I let you do it all, we'd starve, since you claim to only be able to cook pasta'

`You'll have to teach me then'

`My pleasure' Nicole's eyes twinkled mischievously as she spoke

`I am stuffed' Sam said, sitting back in her chair as she finished her third helping

`Um… that's kind of a good thing as I don't really do desserts' Nicole admitted, grinning `I do have the perfect dessert for you though'


Nicole jumped up and came round the table towards Sam, ducking down to the serving trolley, pulling out a silver thermos and two mugs

`C'mon' Nicole took Sam's hand and led her into an adjoining room. This one was far smaller than the opulent dining room. The walls were lined with neatly ordered bookcases and the room itself contained a large, old and slightly worn sofa, with a thick tartan rug thrown over the back of it. The only other furniture was a side table and a tall lamp. In front of the sofa was a roaring log fire, spitting and hissing slightly as the logs on it burned

Nicole put the mugs down on the side table and opened the flask, pouring the steaming liquid into the two mugs and handing Sam one

`Compromise. Try it'

Sam sipped the hot, milky liquid

`This is good'

`It's also de-caff, so we are both happy'

Sam laughed and lent over to kiss Nicole

`You think of everything'

`Come and get comfortable'

Nicole kicked her shoes off and folded her legs under her as she curled up in the corner of the oversized sofa, almost vanishing as she sank into it, cradling her mug.

Sam did likewise. The sofa was only big enough for the two of them as she snuggled up to Nicole

`This is just perfect. Let's just stay here forever'

`I'd love to. This is my favorite room in the whole house, all these books. And I love the real fire. Though it's not exactly a necessity in California' Nicole laughed

`No, but it is very romantic' Sam rested her head on Nicole's shoulder

They sat in silence for a while, enjoying just being together as they drank their coffee

Sam handed her empty mug to Nicole `Ok, you've almost convinced me on the de –caff'

`Almost?' Nicole asked as she put their mugs on the table and wrapped her arms round Sam

`You don't want to see what I'm like first thing in the morning, without my caffeine fix' Sam pulled a face as she looked up at Nicole

`Good thing I bought a jar of regular coffee while I was at the market today then' She stared at Sam with an intense look, the unspoken question hanging between them

Sam closed the distance between them and kissed Nicole, softly at first, but more passionately as Nicole responded, her lips parted slightly and their tongues met, exploring each other's mouths. They parted breathlessly and Nicole unfolded herself from the sofa and held out her hand to Sam.

Sam took the offered hand and stood, allowing herself to be pulled into Nicole's embrace as the blonde bent to kiss Sam again, her hands flat against Sam's back, pulling the brunette tightly against her, as her she began to gently run her hands up and down Sam's back, and then slid them under Sam's top, gasping as she encountered naked skin

The touch set Sam's whole body on fire, as she responded, running her hands through Nicole's already unruly hair deepening their kiss still further.

Nicole pulled away, dipping her head to rain feather light kisses over Sam's exposed shoulders and moving up to her neck as she slid her hands upwards and pulled Sam's top over her head, revealing her naked breasts. She fell on them hungrily, biting gently and running her tongue over rapidly hardening nipples.

Sam pulled Nicole tighter to her as she moaned at the attention, her hands running up under Nicole's dress. She gasped as her hands encountered lace topped stockings. She tugged gently at the dress and eased it over Nicole's head. Sam pulled away from Nicole and allowed her gaze to travel over the sight of Nicole in her underwear. Her tanned body set off by the white lace bra and matching panties, contrasting with the dark blue of the lace top of her blue stockings.

Nicole looked questioningly at Sam, until their eyes met and Nicole gasped at the desire evident in her girlfriend's eyes.

A smile spread slowly over Sam's face as she reached behind her and unzipped her skirt. She let it fall to the floor and stepped out of it towards Nicole who grasped the brunette's face in her hands and kissed her, the full force of her desire poured into the kiss, as she gently pushed the brunette backwards until they fell back onto the sofa. Nicole moved slowly down Sam's body, kissing every millimeter as she went until her mouth hovered over Sam's panties, her warm breath causing the brunette to gasp.

Nicole hooked her fingers under the elastic of the material and pulled them off in one swift movement, her tongue gently licking Sam's most intimate of places, before pushing her tongue gently inside her. Sam moaned and arched her back into the caress, burying her fingers in Nicole's hair.

Nicole teased her tongue over Sam's clit, slowing increasing the speed of her ministrations until Sam cried out and her body shook

`Oh.. Nicole'

Nicole moved to kiss Sam, pressing her whole body against Sam's as her climax subsided

`Oh, god.. ..Nicole'

Sam retuned the kiss with force, running her hands over Nicole's naked skin. She quickly removed the blonde's bra, dropping it to the floor as she cupped her breasts, teasing her nipples in her fingers.

She ran her hand across Nicole's stomach and gently slid her fingers under her panties, her fingers dipping to caress Nicole's clit, gasping at how wet she was. Gently she teased her fingers back and forth, making Nicole moan at the touch. Nicole crushed her lips to Sam's silently begging for release. Sam gently increased the pace of her movements and felt Nicole's whole body go rigid and then shudder violently against her own.

She wrapped her arms around Nicole, holding her tight, as the blonde's breathing slowly returned to normal

They held each other and kissed as the fire slowly faded in the grate. Nicole reached up and grabbed the rug from the back of the sofa, wrapping them both it in as they cuddled.

They wriggled until Nicole was lying on her back, cradling Sam in her arms as Sam rested her head on Nicole's chest

`Happy anniversary Sam' Nicole said smiling into Sam's hair

`It was a very happy anniversary. Thank you.' Sam mumbled as sleep threatened to over come her.

`I love you' Nicole whispered, although she knew Sam was already asleep in her arms

The next morning Sam blearily opened her eyes, momentarily confused by her unfamiliar surroundings, until she recalled the events of the previous evening and a smile spread slowly across her face

`My God you are sexy in the morning' Sam looked up to see Nicole clad in a large dark blue toweling robe, holding a mug of coffee toward Sam. Sam sat up slowly, belated pulling the blanket with her as she realized she was still naked.

`I bought you a robe down, too' Nicole gestured toward the arm of the sofa

Sam swung her legs over the edge of the sofa and pulled the robe on, taking the coffee from Nicole, who sat down next to her

`Thank you' Sam sipped the steaming liquid `For this and last night. It was wonderful'

Nicole smiled and lent over to kiss Sam

`You are very welcome'

`If you like we can have a shower and I can drive you back to your place for some clothes and we could do something today, if you wanted?'

`Actually, I already have plans for today' Sam grinned as she grabbed the front of Nicole's robe and pulled the startled blonde towards her, kissing her passionately

It was several hours later before they finally got dressed and headed over to the palace.

Nicole sat on Sam's bed while the brunette quickly changed out of her evening wear from the previous night and into a pair of faded blue jeans and a dark blue long sleeved top.

Nicole glanced at Sam as she changed, trying not to stare, knowing if she did they wouldn't be going anywhere for the rest of the day. She turned her attention to Sam's CD collection that overflowed from the shelf above the corner desk onto the desk and floor surrounding it. Nicole pressed `play' on the stereo and smiled, picking up the CD case on the top of the pile on the desk

`I recognize this'

`I should hope so, you play it all the time in the car'

`I like Chicane's stuff, it's peaceful and evocative'

`I notice they think so in the coffee shop, too'

`Why did you buy the CD then, if you're sick of hearing it?'

`I didn't say that, anyway, it reminds me of you'

Sam bent to kiss Nicole as she finished dressing, pulling on socks and trainers

`Did you decide on what you wanted to do today? Or this evening, now'

`Do you want to go to the movies?'

`That depends on who chooses the film'

`I thought you liked `Some Like It Hot'?'

`I did, but maybe we could see something a bit more recent?'

`Ah, something with special effects and a high body count?'

Sam looked sheepish `Am I that predictable? Actually since Brooke's visiting mom and Mike, we could rent videos and stay in. We could make popcorn' she grinned

`Now that's plan. I'm sure I saw videos on your bookcase, what have you got?' Nicole stood up and wandered over to the other side of the bed from the desk and bent down to peer at the boxes on the bottom shelf

`Bound, Go Fish, All Over Me…I'm sensing a theme here Sam'

Sam looked hurt `what? I have no problem with my sexuality, do all films have to be boy-meets-girl?'

`I know….. I'm teasing you' Nicole walked over to Sam and wrapped her arms around her waist and kissing her placatingly `Let's go pick up a pizza and we can go to the video store and choose a film each, how does that sound?'

`Perfect. Especially if serious cuddling on the sofa is involved' Sam kissed Nicole and pulled away, looking round her room

`Keys, wallet….ok, I'm ready. Let's go before I get too engrossed in thoughts about the cuddling…..'

`Yeah, that's where the whole day went…..and wasn't it fabulous' Nicole said, laughing

Picking the videos had been fairly simple; they spilt up and picked one each, Sam grinning at Nicole as she bounded across the store with a copy of `Tomb Raider' Nicole rolled her eyes and handed Sam a copy of `You've Got Mail'

`I never picked you as a mushy film type'

`I like old fashioned romances, I like to think that life can have a happy ending, that's not mushy, it's optimism'

`Uh-huh' Sam said, not at all convinced

Picking the pizza had been even easier; they both looked at each other and said `Everything' when the pizza guy had asked them what toppings they wanted

They sat curled up together on the sofa, Sam cheering Lara Croft as she blazed her way through the film and Nicole pointedly not saying a word as Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan romanced other in ignorance of each other's identities, but snuggling even closer to Sam.

As the video finished and started to rewind Sam wriggled to the edge of the sofa and scooped up the remote, slowly flicking through the channels. She paused and looked at Nicole

`Stay tonight'

`I'd love to' Nicole uncurled herself from the sofa and lent forward, wrapping her arms around Sam from behind and resting her head against Sam's back

They fell asleep wrapped in each other's arms, enjoying the sensation of cuddling up together.

Morning found them in the same position as Sam woke up and watched Nicole sleep for a while, not wanting to move and disturb her girlfriend, enjoying the weight of Nicole's thigh pinning her to the mattress, one armed draped over Sam's chest possessively.

<< She looks so peaceful….and so vulnerable>> Sam thought as she brushed a stray strand of hair off Nicole's sleeping face

`Good morning' Nicole's eyes flickered open and a smile spread across her face as she looked up at Sam

`Did you sleep ok?'

`Wonderfully' Nicole kissed Sam gently

Sam eased out of bed and padded to the bathroom, Nicole watching her naked form as it disappeared, smiling

Sam re-appeared several moments later wearing an over size toweling robe, the arms falling to cover her hands. She kissed Nicole as she passed, heading down the stairs to make them both coffee.

Sam smiled as she came back into the bedroom and looked at Nicole, who was lying sprawled across the bed, her eyes closed, dozing, as Sam sat on the bed next to her. The movement of the mattress roused Nicole who sat up blearily and took the mug Sam offered her

`Mom is a de-caff fiend too, so you're safe from the liquid tar I drink'

Nicole pulled a disgusted face at the thought of drinking Sam's extra-strength coffee and sipped her own

`Any idea what you'd like to do today?'

`I should catch up with Lilly and Carmen, they probably think I've fallen off the planet this weekend. And I have some studying to do before tomorrow. Sorry'

`Actually, I have some stuff to do too….but I'd much rather spend the day with you'

`Me too' Sam bent and kissed Nicole

`What time's Brooke coming back? I'd better be gone before she gets home'

`She didn't say, she just said she'd be back Sunday, which narrows it down to half the weekend' Sam rolled her eyes

`Still, no need to rush, it is Sunday after all' Nicole said as she grabbed the front of Sam's robe and pulled her towards her

Section 2



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