Never Say Forever

The next day, Kimmi had gotten up before anybody else. Once she was showered and got ready for the day, she headed downstairs to get something to drink. 

"Kimmi?" Kimmi jumped slightly at the sound of Sloane's voice.

"Jeesh, Suh-loane! You scared me half to death!" Kimmi said, clenching her fist to her heart. She took a deep breath and continued to dig through the fridge.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to." Sloane giggled. "But it did feel good."

"Shut up!" Kimmi rolled her eyes.

"Where's Kaleah?" Sloane asked, quickly changing the subject. "Did she get up with you?"

"No. She's still sleepin'. She's been snorin' pretty loudly. I doubt she'll be gettin' up anytime soon." Kimmi spoke softly, almost as if she was sad. Sloane shook her head.

"She needs to get up." Sloane jerked her body to leave the kitchen. "She can't just sleep all day! She needs to move on!"

"Suh-loane wait!" Kimmi stopped her cousin. Sloane turned back towards Kimmi. "She's got to do what she's gotta do. If sleepin' the entire day away is goin' to make her feel better, than let her sleep."

Kimmi looked up at the clock above the sink. It was already four in the afternoon.

"What!" Kimmi rubbed her eyes. "Is that clock wrong?" Sloane giggled. 

"No...the day we pulled an all nighter really messed up our sleep schedule, I guess." Sloane said.

"So then Kaykay really has been sleepin' a long time. I mean, how long has it been since she went to bed?" Kimmi asked, suddenly worried.

"Like almost a full day." Sloane responded, about to turn around again to go wake Kaleah up. Kimmi grabbed Sloane's arm to stop her once more.

"It still don't matter. If she needs sleep, let her sleep. It will be easier for us, anyways. I don't know how much more sadness I can handle." Kimmi felt her eyes starting to burn, as if tears were threatening their way out.

"Do you think coming here was a mistake?" Sloane asked, realizing Kimmi's expression. Kimmi let her hand off of Sloane's arm and stared down at the ground. She thought for quite some time before shaking her head.

"If we didn't come, I would've never met Sam." Kimmi smiled with big eyes. Sloane studied her now excited expression and sighed deeply.

"You really like him, don't you?" Sloane asked. She recalled her conversation with Sam the previous night in her head.

"Yes. I really do." Kimmi smiled again. "He aint like any of them southern boys back home! He's totally different. And completely amazing."

"But really, Kimmi. How much do you know about him?" Sloane asked, deciding she would keep her promise to Sam and not say anything about what he had told her.

"Well I know enough." Kimmi said, suspiciously.

"Enough for what?" Sloane asked.

"Enough for me to like him! What's with all these dumb questions, anyways?" Kimmi asked, getting annoyed.

"I just think that you don't know enough about him to think of him as amazing, that's all." Sloane said. Just then, they heard big footsteps come trotting up the stairs in the other room.

"Morning!" Sam said in an up-beat tone as he approached the girls in the kitchen. He automatically strode up to Kimmi and gave her a short peck on the cheek. Kimmi giggled as her cheeks went pink. "Did you guys realize it's already FOUR in the afternoon? Jeesh, talk about sleeping in."

"We were just talking about that, actually." Sloane said. "We were debating whether or not it was a good idea to wake up Kaleah."

"I, of course, think it's a terrible idea. I believe we should just let her be. She'll wake up when she's ready." Kimmi explained to Sam.

"I have to agree with Kimmi on this one, Sloane." Sam responded. "Besides, I think it would be nice if we could just relax for a while. As much as I feel sorry for Kaleah, she's beginning to stress me out."

"I feel the same way." Kimmi smiled.

"So what would we even do? Lay around and watch TV?" Sloane asked annoyed.

"I actually wanted to head over to the library, if there even is one 'round here." Kimmi said.

Sam laughed.

"Of course we have a library here, Kimmi. Why wouldn't we?" He asked through giggles. Kimmi blushed.

"Ya know, there isn't a library in every single city." Kimmi said. "You just never know..."

"I guess that could be true." Sam smiled. "Okay, well then...the library it is."

"Ew!" Sloane made a disgusted face and turned around. "Count me waaayyy out. Libraries are gross. Why would you even want to go to a library?"

"I think it's obvious." Sam said. "I'm guessing...and hey, I'm JUST spit ballin' here...that Kimmi is interested in checking out a book or too. But I could be wrong." Kimmi laughed at Sam's sarcasm. Sloane rolled her eyes.

"I understand what is in a library, doofus! I just wanted to know why Kimmi would want to waste her time with books." Sloane said annoyed.

"Kaykay was askin' me a bunch of questions last night about heaven and if her daddy went there. I thought it would be nice if I could grab some books on religion for her, so she could read up on it. It would keep her mind occupied and probably give her some ease." Kimmi responded. Sloane shut up instantly and Sam slowly nodded his head.

"I guess I could go. For Kaleah." Sloane finally said once the silence broke in.

"I'm in." Sam smiled. "But we'll have to take a cab. It's too far to walk."

"Cab?" Sloane asked. "You don't have a car?"

"No." Sam shrugged his shoulders. "It's a really long story."

"Well not a problem, sugar!" Kimmi chimed. "I'll just go grab Kaykay's car keys. I'm sure she wouldn't mind if we borrowed her jeep." Kimmi half ran, half skipped towards the stairs.

"I'll be waiting outside." Sloane said as she began to head towards the front door. Sam stood in front of her to stop her. "What?" Sloane asked.

"You didn't tell her anything, right?" Sam asked bluntly. "About what we talked about last night?"

"No, I didn't." Sloane's tone was sharp. "But I want to. She really likes you Sam. She thinks you are, and I quote, 'amazing'. Make a decision and either be honest with her or end things with her, because I can't stand around and watch my cousin flutter and skip around over a guy who may or may not actually like her."

"Hey! Don't even begin to question whether or not I actually like her. That's not what this is about. My feelings for Kimmi are real! I thought I made that quite clear when I explained things to you last night." Sam said, almost shouting.

"Really? Because it seems to me that you're confused. And how can you know if your feelings for someone are real when you're confused?" Sloane asked.

"I should've never told you anything! You are twisting it into something that it's not! I like Kimmi...a lot, actually." Sam responded. Sloane rolled her eyes and began to walk away.

Sam sighed.

"Sloane?" He asked, causing her to stop in her path. "Where are you going?"

"I told you. I'm waiting outside." Sloane said softly.

"And what about this conversation?" Sam asked, just as softly.

"I'm going to take your word for it." Sloane explained. "But  I don't trust you as far as I can throw you." Sloane continued her way to the front door and slammed it tight behind her.

"I can not buh-lieve you guys are dragging me to a friggen library!" Sloane complained on the drive there. "I haven't been inside of a library since the fifth grade."

"What's wrong with a library?" Sam asked from the front seat.

"Everything. It smells weird, you have to be quiet, and books are plain scary." Sloane shivered. 

"You're scared of books?" Sam teased. "Wow!"

"They're gross! Think of all the dirty, grimy hands that have touched those pages! It's just as bad as money." Sloane whined.

"There's nothing wrong with books, Sloane." Sam said.

"Oh and you would know, right?" Sloane accused.

"What is that supposed to mean?" Sam hollered.

"No offense, but I don't see you as someone who necessarily knows how to read." Sam knew exactly what Sloane was doing. She was going to pick on him and pick on him until she was sure that Sam was being true to Kimmi. Sam rolled his eyes.

"I will have you know that I'm actually a huge fan of books. Ask Kaleah. We have the same favorite authors and everything." Sam looked out his window at the scene that was passing them by, remembering the night when he read a passage of Huckleberry Fin as Kaleah fell asleep at his side. He smiled gently at the memory.

"Well if you have the same favorite author as Kaleah, it must be a big book." Kimmi giggled. "That girl is way too into big, wordy books." Kimmi smiled as she thought about the new trait that she had just learned of Sam's. 'Maybe Sloane's right...' She thought. 'I don't know all that much about Sam. But I want to learn.'

When they arrived at the library, they decided to split up. Kaleah and Sam took downstairs and Sloane took the upstairs. They were on a hunt for the most knowledgeable books on the Christian religion. 

"What about a standard bible?" Kimmi asked Sam as she picked up a worn down version of the Holy Bible. Sam grunted.

"No way. That book may have a ton of information, but get serious. Kaleah would never read something like that." He picked up the copy in Kimmi's hands. "Especially this edition. It's so old!" As he plopped the book back onto the shelf, Kimmi giggled. "What's funny?" Sam asked, smiling.

"You are all kinds of mystery, Sam." Kimmi smiled. "First you tell me that you read the same genre of books as my overachieving cousin, and now you proved that you know quite a bit about the bible. What else do I not know about you?"

"There's lots you don't know me." Sam giggled. "I'm a complicated person."

"Well, so am I. Guess we're a good match then." Kimmi giggled back. Sam smiled.

Kaleah grabbed a book off the shelf and sifted through the pages. She couldn't focus on what was in the book, though. She wanted to learn more about Sam. She really believed that he was fascinating, and Sloane was definitely right about Kimmi not knowing much about Sam.  

"Tell me something else about you." Kimmi said through the silence. Sam smiled.

"I hate the color purple." He giggled as Kimmi studied the color of his shirt.

"Liar." She accused. Sam shrugged his shoulders and continued to look through the spines of the books on the shelves. "Tell me somethin' big about you. A story."

"A story?" Sam asked. "Well there are lots of stories to choose from."

"How about the one about the reason why you don't have a car." Kaleah suggested. Sam turned to face her. His expression went serious.

"I don't know if that's really a story I want to tell." He said slowly.

"Please?" Kimmi begged. "I'd really like to hear it." Sam sighed.

"Okay I will tell you. But you have to promise not to get mad or judge or anything." Sam said all too seriously.

"I promise." Kimmi smiled, getting ready to hear the story. Sam cleared his throat before he began. He told Kimmi everything, starting with when he dated Brie so many years ago. He didn't leave a single detail out. He told her about Hank and how his mother and Sam's mother fought. He talked about how Kaleah dated Hank and Sam got really angry. He talked about Hank abusing Brie and Sam deciding to take care of her. He talked about how he spent all that time and energy getting back to Sunset Valley after his journey to Brie's hometown just so he could come home to Kaleah already with someone else. He even mentioned how his mother was in prison. "Wow." Kimmi said once Sam was finished talking.

"Yeah. It's been a bumpy ride." Sam looked to the floor, going over all the emotion and heartache he experienced in those times.

"I bet your daddy is just a wreck! I couldn't imagine how my daddy would take it if my mama was falsely accused and put in a jail cell." Kimmi explained.

"My dad's dead." Sam said quickly. Kimmi stood silently, staring directly into Sam's eyes. He blinked away tears and turned his attention back to the bookshelves. "It doesn't matter though. It's over now. He's been gone a long time...and I haven't even so much as spoken to my mother in a couple years. It's all in the past."

Kimmi pushed on Sam's shoulder so he would face her again. Sadness had overcome his eyes and Kimmi hated seeing him that way. But she was glad that Sam told her. She knew what she had to do.

"You haven't seen your mama in a couple of years?" She asked.

"No." Sam sighed. "It's her birthday in a couple days, too. But I really have no interest in seeing her. She never really was a mother to me ever since my dad died."

"But she's the only family you have left." Kimmi explained.

"I make my friends my family." Sam smiled a forced smile.

"Do you think you would ever forgive her?" Kimmi asked. Sam shrugged his shoulders.

"I guess I'd have to see how she is to decide that." Sam looked back down to the ground. "I can tell that you're judging me. You think I'm some broken down, sad guy who bottles up his feelings."

"No!" Kimmi snapped. "No, no, no! I am so not judgin' you, sugar! I'm really really happy that you told me this. I used to believe you were so perfect and had everythin' in your life just....figured out. It makes me feel relieved knowin' that even someone as perfect as you has a past." Kimmi smiled as Sam met her gaze. The corners of his mouth slowly began to mirror Kimmi's smile as he nodded his head. 

"There you guys are!" Sloane said, interuppting the moment as she approached Sam and Kimmi.

"Hi, Suh-loane." Kimmi smiled. "Did you find anythin'?"

"What?" Sloane asked, confused.

"Did you find any books?" Kimmi asked.

" I stopped looking the second I started. Like I said, books are gross. Instead I read up on the internet about a bunch of cool stores to shop at. There are some just down the street from here and it's almost closing time, so I'm going to head over to them." Sloane said, a matter-of-fact-ly.

"You're going to make us wait for you to shop around?" Sam asked, annoyed.

"No!" Sloane snapped. "What do you take me for? I will just take a cab home."

"You know, we really could've used your help, Suh-loane." Kimmi pointed out. "It's nice to know that we're the only ones who are here to support Kaykay."

"Shut up, KImmi. You know I care. I express my caring by shopping." Sloane explained.

"Shopping for yourself is supposed to express that you care for someone else how, exactly?" Sam asked. Sloane rolled her eyes and began to walk away.

"Don't wait up for me." She called over her shoulder before leaving the library.

"Well, we should get back to the searching before the library closes." Sam said once they were alone again. He barely looked at Kimmi in the eye.

"Wait a minute..." Kimmi said, noticing his sudden awkwardness. "Please don't do that."

"Do what?" Sam asked, playing dumb.

"Be all awkward and stuff. I wanted you to tell me your story so that I could understand you better...get to know you better. Not for you to feel like I'm judgin' you and crap." Kimmi explained.

"I know, Kimmi. I'm sorry. It's're so damn sweet and pretty and innocent. I feel like a criminal next to you."

"A criminal? You are no criminal..."

"I know, I don't mean literally." Sam sighed. "I mean...I feel like because of my background, I'm not good enough for you. If anybody is perfect here, it's you."

Kimmi stared at Sam for a few short moments before she closed the gap between them and pressed her body next to his. She wrapped her arms tight around Sam's neck and felt relieved when he returned the favor.

"I'm not perfect. Nobody's perfect. We all have stories." Kimmi whispered in his ear. Sim nuzzled his face into the crane of Kimmi's neck and kissed her skin softly. They remained in their embrace for quite some time before finally letting go. 

"Will you tell me one of yours?" Sam asked, with his arms wrapped around Kimmi's waste.

"One day." Kimmi smiled. "I think we've had enough sadness for one day. Want to go home?"

"What about the books?" Sam asked, looking over his shoulder at the bookshelves.

"I will just print somethin' off the internet for her. Doesn't look like we're going to find much here." Kimmi explained.

"Yeah, Sunset Valley is more of a Luthern/Buddhist county. You don't see many Christians here." Sam smiled. He took Kimmi's hand and lead her to the door.

When they got back to the house, it was already dark outside. Sam lead the way to the porch steps, unaware that Kimmi had stopped before the first stair.

"What are you doing?" Sam asked, once he realized that Kimmi hadn't followed him onto the porch.

"I don't want to go inside. Not yet, anyways." Kimmi said.

"Why not?" Sam asked, going back down the stairs and facing her.

"What if Kaleah's awake? I hate hidin' us from her. It's stressful and it sucks when all I want to do is be with you and I have to pretend that we're not together." Kimmi explained softly.

"I know." Sam whispered. "You just have to keep in mind that it's for Kaleah's own good. At least for now, it is."

"How do we know she just won't care?" Kimmi asked. "For all we know, she will be happy for us."

"I don't think so..." Sam responded.

Kimmi turned her back to Sam.

"Well I think she will be. She is my cousin, after all. She's always told me that she wants me to be happy no matter what." She said over her shoulder.

"Kimmi..." Sam shook his head, exhausted by the conversation already. "I've been living with Kaleah for a few months now, and I know that I haven't known her for anywhere near as long as the two of you have been cousins, but listen...I know for a fact that Kaleah will blow this out of proportion. Not because she doesn't want you to be happy, but because she's already upset about her father."

"Really?" Kimmi asked, fighting tears. "You're positive?" Sam thought for a moment. No, he was not positive. In fact, not a week before Kimmi came into Sam's life, Kaleah had made him swear not to get upset if Kaleah brought home a new boyfriend which had made it pretty apparent that she didn't care for Sam anymore. For all Sam knew, Kaleah may actually be happy for him and Kimmi. But for some reason, he did not want to take the chance of losing Kaleah forever.

"I'm positive." Sam lied. Kimmi whipped her body around to face Sam, tears slowly dripping down her cheeks.

"Are we awful people for hiding this from her?" Kimmi asked through sobs. "I mean, the girl's daddy just died for cryin' out loud and we're too busy makin' out and sneakin' around to want to care for her! Who lies to a grievin' girl? What kind of family member lies to their grievin' cousin?"

"Hey now, don't cry." Sam said softly. "We're not awful people. It's for her own good, remember? Think about how much fun you and I have together." Sam started walking closer to Kaleah. "Think about how right it feels when I hold you."

Sam stopped only inches away from Kimmi, his body barely touching hers. "Think about how badly I want to lay down next to you with our minds racing and our bodies trembling. Think about how badly I want to make love to you..." His voice turned into a raspy whisper. "...and how none of that could happen if Kaleah knew."

Kimmi's tears were nothing but dried stains next to her pale skin. She stared at Sam's seductive gaze as he slowly leaned in and kissed her hard on the lips. All worry and guilty feelings thrown out the window, Kimmi kissed Sam back. 

They spent what felt like hours just kissing each other in front of the house. Their hands studied each other's bodies and no rules seemed to apply.

"Make love to me." Kimmi whispered through the kisses Sam was throwing at her.

"Are you sure?" Sam whispered back.

"I may be raised Christian, but I aint no virgin." Kimmi giggled. Sam grabbed Kimmi's hand and quickly lead her into the house.

When they walked into the house, they're excitement turned into worry when they walked in to Kaleah sobbing on Sam's couch. Kimmi and Sam looked at each other, both knowing why Kaleah was crying. She must've seen them out the window. She knew. Sam and Kimmi slowly approached where Kaleah sat. She looked up at her cousin with tired, sad eyes.

"Kaykay, we can explain..." Kimmi said right off the bat.

"Yeah, please do!" Kaleah hollered.

"We didn't mean for it to happen." Sam cut in.

"What?" Kaleah asked. "No, explain to me why it can't be fair!" Kimmi turned to look at Sam and they both shrugged their shoulders. Now, they were just confused.

"What's not fair, Kaykay?" Kimmi asked, sitting next to Kaleah on the couch.

"It's not fair that Sam got this couch full of a million memories when his dad died and I got absolutely nothing! Nothing! I didn't even get to say goodbye!" Kaleah whimpered. Kimmi took a short sigh of relief. Kaleah didn't know yet after all.

"It was out of your control, K." Sam said softly. "You couldn't help that."

"Exactly! So it wasn't fair. Not at all! I got the crap end of each and every stick and's just not fair!" Kaleah screamed.

"It will get better, darlin'. I promise." Kimmi rubbed Kaleah's back but Kaleah quickly shrugged her off and stood up.

"Where are you goin'?" Kimmi asked, standing up with her.

"I can't take this anymore. I need to be alone. I need to think. Am I still not allowed to call my mom?" Kaleah asked, whiping away her tears. Kimmi nodded her head.

"She said she'll call you when she gets back to Ironhorse." Kimmi explained. "Let us be here for you, Kaykay. Please." Kimmi tried to walk closer to Kaleah but Kaleah shook her head.

"I need to be alone. It's not fair." She suddenly jerked away from Kimmi and darted towards the stairs. She ran up to the second floor and slammed her bedroom door behind her.

"She's gone hysterical." Kimmi explained, staring at the doorway she just watched her cousin run through.

"Must be her healing process." Sam said, trying not to laugh.

"Are you...holdin' back...laughter?" Kimmi accused, smiling big. 

"No!" Sam giggled.

"Sam, there is nothin' funny about her going hysterical!" Kimmi giggled back.

"I know, I know!" Sam smiled. "But she was acting a little funny, you have to admit. And we thought we got caught at first!" Sam laughed. Kimmi smacked Sam's chest.

"Quit laughin'!" She smiled. "You're makin' me laugh too." Sam laughed one more time before wrapping his arms around Kimmi and kissing her lightly on the lips.

"Does that offer still stand? Or did Kaleah ruin it?" He asked softly.

"Hmm..." Kimmi joked. "Let me think about that." Sam laughed and threw Kimmi over his shoulder as if she was a sack of toys and he was Santa. Laughing and kicking and screaming at Sam, Kimmi was carried all the way down the stairs and into Sam's bedroom.

When they got down to the room, Sam plopped Kimmi on the bed. He jumped on top of her and, through giggles, started kissing her hard.

"What happens if Sloane walks in on us again?" Kimmi asked.

"Then she gets a show." Sam teased as he unbuttoned Kimmi's top. Kimmi pulled Sam's t-shirt over his head and threw it on the floor. They quickly undressed each other and, before they knew it, were under the covers and letting the sparks fly.

"EW!" Sloane hollered as she walked in just as Sam and Kimmi were finishing up.

"Suh-loane! Get out!" Kimmi hollered from under the covers. Sloane quickly turned around and headed back out the door. Moments later, Kimmi joined her. "You have got to stop walkin' in on us!" Kimmi hollered as she closed the bedroom door behind her so Sam could get dressed.

"Stop getting it on in the room I'm staying in, then!" Sloane hollered back. She pushed Kimmi out of the way and turned the handle on the bedroom door.

"What are you doin'?" Kimmi asked. "Sam's changin'!"

"I need to talk to him." Sloane said, as she opened the door a crack. "Alone." She added before heading back in the room.

"Your disturbed." Sloane said to Sam when she closed the bedroom door behind her.

"Thanks?" Sam said, confused.

"You told me all that stuff last night and then here you are, sleeping with her? How sick are you?" Sloane hastily whispered.

"Pretend I didn't say any of that last night, Sloane!" Sam hollered. "Seriously! I am so sick of you rubbing it in my face and crap. I had an amazing day with her today and everything is sorted out. I want to be with her! Okay? I really, honestly, whole-heartedly do. So you can back the hell off me now and move the hell on!"

"If that were true, you would tell Kaleah." Sloane said.

"I can't do that, you know that." Sam responded.

"Then not only are you lying to Kimmi and me, but you're lying to yourself." Sloane rolled her eyes and left the room once more, leaving Sam alone in his bedroom feeling frustrated and confused.

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