Brooke paced nervously in the confines of the school toilets, having to turn her tall body every few steps to avoid hitting something. She and I had spent hours sitting on the beach, holding each other in quiet comfort. Eventually we had parted, needing to return to our homes before irate parental units could be added to our list of woes. We had barely spoken as we separated, stood and brushed off the sand that clung to our clothing. Brooke wondered again at the sense of loss that gripped her as I turned away and headed home. I had looked back once before the darkness enveloped me, offering Brooke a sad smile before I continued on my path. Brooke had felt entirely alone, the sand shifting beneath her feet as if the tide had suddenly rushed in to wash her away. Sleep hadn't been much of a friend that night and Brooke stifled a yawn. She took a break from her pacing to drop her long frame on to the plush seat in the corner, eyes closing involuntarily as soon as her body came to rest. I excused herself from the group, offering a halfhearted comment to Tash's questioning look. Brooke had dropped a note on her desk in Miss Franklin’s class and I didn't want to keep her waiting. Brooke had looked so lost and afraid as I walked away the night before. I had wanted to rush back to her and hold her until the strength returned to those fragile blue eyes. But I hadn't. In that moment, standing on a beach in the chilled air of night, I had acknowledged exactly how I felt for Brooke. Had I returned to the blonde's arms I had no doubt that my true feelings would have been painfully obvious. I steadied my breathing and pushed open the door to the toilet. Rounding the entrance, I stopped in my tracks. Brooke lay sprawled on the couch at the centre of the abnormally well appointed facilities, blonde hair falling over pale features, arms wrapped around her torso. I quickly checked that we were alone and locked the door to ensure we would remain that way. Returning to stand in front of Brooke, I drank in the beauty before me. 'This is love,' I whispered, awe and fear in my tone. And I had absolutely no doubt that it was. That was the scariest part of it, the compete and utter certainty. I had long ago accepted my attraction to her - hardly surprising, given that Brooke was widely regarded as the fairest of them all - but this was so much more. 'Damn it, it's love.' I sighed heavily, what a big old mess this could turn in to. Brooke stirred, focusing my wandering attention as surprise-filled blue eyes appeared from behind fluttering lids. 'What?' Brooke gained her bearings and smiled up at me, 'Hi.' 'Hi yourself,' I settled on to the seat next to Brooke as the blonde straightened up, 'you OK?' 'Yeah, I just,' Brooke looked embarrassed, 'fell asleep I guess.' 'You must have needed the rest.' 'I didn't sleep so well last night.' 'Me either,' I admitted quietly. We sat in silence for a few moments, each searching for a way to express the thoughts tumbling through our minds. 'Thank you for last night,' Brooke smiled shyly, 'it was...perfect.' I considered Brooke's choice of word. Perfect. We had both been upset, depressed even, about a week of confusion and heartaches. Hardly perfect. We were both coming to terms with events that would affect the rest of our lives. Events that had gone badly all round. Definitely not perfect. Yet we'd been together, comforted and supported each other. Perfect. 'Yeah,' I breathed. Brooke looked deeply in to my eyes, seeing compassion and concern in my gaze. There was something else there too, something that Brooke had noticed before but chosen - consciously or not - to ignore. Brooke thought hard for a moment before having to admit to herself that no one else looked at her in that way. Not even Jai, who professed the depth of his feelings for her at ever opportunity. Only I seemed to look directly at her, the real her, the Brooke that Brooke truly believed herself to be. It was terrifying and exhilarating but Brooke pulled back from the swirl of her thoughts. She wasn't going to take advantage of me, just to satisfy her own needs. Brooke's eyes fell to my lips, she had no doubt that the I would respond if she initiated something. Images of their lips pressed together chased through her and Brooke fought to calm her body's response. The intensity of her reaction shocked her and Brooke turned away and rubbed at her reddened face. 'Brooke?' I had watched the emotions play across her features, trying to catalogue the rapid changes. When blue eyes had dropped to my lips and a blush had coloured Brooke's cheeks, I had allowed myself a second to hope. Then Brooke was withdrawing from me and I wondered if I had wrongly identified the emotions I had just witnessed. Brooke returned her attention to my face, angling her body back towards the me. She took in my eyes now tinged with hurt and the slump of my shoulders. In not wanting to hurt me, she'd gone and done it anyway. This was just too confusing, even more confusing than the whole thing with Jai. Brooke reached out a tentative hand and stroked my cheek lightly. Maybe it was more confusing because there was more at stake. More emotion and more reward. Slowly, Brooke leaned in to me, bringing our lips together in the gentlest of contact. 'Open the door!' Both of us rocked back, the banging on the door sounding unnaturally loud in the intensity of the moment. 'Open the fucking door!' 'It's Loz,' Brooke whispered. 'Yeah,' I flicked terrified eyes from Brooke to the door and back again. 'Right, that's it,' Loz's determined voice sounded through the door, 'Jai, knock that door down.' 'No!' I suddenly came to life, instinct taking over as I bounded off the seat towards the door. A booming contact rattled the wood before I could get to it and I quickly unlocked it and opened the portal. Jai barely halted his momentum, stopping himself from crashing in to me by inches. 'Out of my way,' Loz ordered as she barged past them heading for a stall. She threw an annoyed glance at Brooke before slamming the door shut, 'What were you doing in here, Brookie?'