Alright, so I started a new story! This one is sort of a prequel to Making Him Believe. I mainly wanted to write it because everyone wonders why Sam and Darlene are actually together in MHB...so here is their story. And the first chapter covers a number of years...so let's go!

Also, I do not have a good title for this story...any ideas?

Chapter One

It all started when she was four. At such a young age, there was not much of a chance that she would remember the events in her life, but this was one of the things burned into her mind, maybe even into her soul. She was sitting by a tree in the park and in her hands was a tiny sparrow, only days old. The little bird was tweeting pitifully, and the four-year-old felt for it. She cradled the bird in her hands like she did her baby dolls. Up above her she could see the nest where the baby's mother must be worried about its chick. She gently stroked the soft bird, marveling at its downy feathers.

"Hey!" a boy shouted, running over. "What are you doing? You can't touch a baby bird!" he shouted, trying to knock the bird out of her hands. She stumbled backward, shielding the baby in her hands.

"Go away!" she shouted up at them, tears coming to her eyes.

"The mother won't take the baby back now," the boy argued hotly, glaring at her.

"Leave her alone," another boy said, walking over with a ball in his hand.

"She's touching a baby bird!" the first boy shouted.

"She's little, she doesn't know any better." The boy stepped in between her and her tormentor. "Go away." The boy huffed and then turned around and ran away.

"It wasn't worth it anyway," he scoffed. She stood up, holding the baby close to her again.

"Will the mama really not take her baby?" she asked, looking up at her savior with wide eyes.

"I don't know," he said, walking over and dropping his ball on the ground. "Let's try to put it back in its nest." He gently took the bird from her hands and put it into his shirt pocket.

"What are you doing?" she questioned impetuously as he started to climb.

"Well, the nest is up there," he said reasonably, pointing up. She blinked and turned her face to look all the way to the top of the tree where the nest was.

"It's too tall," she whispered.

"I've been climbing trees since I was littler than you," he boasted, grabbing a branch and swinging himself up.

"You won't fall?" she asked, marveling that he was halfway up the tree now.

"No," he replied down the trunk.

"I'm Darlene," she called.

"Sam," he answered back. "Here we go," he added, pulling the baby bird out of his pocket and setting it in the nest again. "All set," he said, starting to step back down the tree.

When Sam was safe on the ground again, Darlene ran to him and threw her arms around him. He looked down, startled.

"You're my hero," she cried.

"It was only a dumb bird," he murmured, his cheeks flooding with color.

"But you saved it for me," she said in a worshipful voice.

"Yeah, well its fine, so go away."

"I want to play with you." She picked up his ball and tossed it to him.

"Oh, I love playing with girls," he said sarcastically. Darlene's eyes lit up as she didn't understand his sarcasm.

"You do? Okay, let's play catch." She held out her hands, waiting for him to throw the ball back.

"That's not what I meant," he grumbled, but threw the ball to her anyway.

"You're my best friend, Sam." She smiled to him, and he couldn't resist allowing her to play with him.

Darlene kicked Sam's foot out of the way of her view and moved her head to rest on his shoulder. She snuggled into his side and sighed.

"What? Getting tired already?" he asked, poking her side. Darlene jumped, making an embarrassing squeaking noise.

"No, I just can't see the TV, so I'm not really paying attention." She shut her eyes, thinking about the beginning of her junior year of high school. It was only two days away.

"Well wake up, we only have two days to finish this lot of movies."

"We should have started with the Grand Movie Marathon weeks ago," she added, keeping her eyes closed. Sam was warm and comfortable. He shrugged, making her head fall off his shoulder.

"Wakie-wakie," he crooned in her ear. She scrunched up her nose and moaned.

"I'm tired, Sam."

"Well, you have to stay awake for the next forty-three hours until we finish these movies!" he motioned to the pile of videos around them.

"I don't really care about the movies," she argued, repositioning her head on his shoulder.

"What do you care about?"

"Sleeping, mostly." They were lying across the couch in Darlene's entertainment room. The room was dark, due mostly to the face that it was four in the morning, but also because of the light blocking blinds.

"What about me?" he asked, nudging her.

"What about you?"

"Do you care about me?"

"More than I care about sleep? Not right now." She closed her eyes again and buried her head in his shoulder.

"I'm being serious, Dar." She opened her eyes again.

"What's this about Sam?" she leaned up onto her elbow and stared down at him.

"I broke up with Nancy today," he whispered, closing his eyes and sighing.

"What?" she screeched, jumping. Sam had been dating Nancy for three years. Darlene had thought they would last forever, she had never seen two people more in love. Or so she thought. Sam shrugged.

"It was time," he murmured.

"It was time?" she whispered. "What does that mean?"

"I didn't love Nancy, and it was just getting harder and harder on her to know that."

"You looked like you loved her."

"Well, I couldn't just sit around waiting forever, could I?" he asked, completely confusing her.

"Waiting for what?" He stared back at her, searching her eyes. She didn't understand.

"Apparently I'm going to keep waiting," he whispered. She raised her eyebrows.

"For what?"

"I think you'll figure it out," he whispered. "Hopefully you won't take too long." With that cryptic remark, he turned the movie back on and looked to the television. Darlene spent a long time staring at his profile, trying in vain to figure out what he knew that she didn't.

Sam's phone rang. He flipped over in bed and stared at the clock. It was three in the morning, three in the morning! He glared at the phone and then pulled it out of its cradle.

"Hello?" he answered, groaning softly as he rolled onto his back.

"Sam?" Darlene's small voice asked.

"What's wrong?" he asked, bolting upright in bed.

"I'm in trouble," she whispered.

"Trouble?" he asked, leaping out of bed and pulling jeans over his boxers. "What happened?"

"Sam I didn't want to do it," she whispered. "I didn't want it, but it was too late," she cried. He could hear her sobs.

"Darlene, what happened? Where are you?" He slipped his arms through a jacket and grabbed his car keys.

"I'm at Derek Livingston's party," she gasped through her sobs.

"I'm coming," he murmured, hating that she was at Derek's party. Hating that she chose to go out there instead of spend time with him. He couldn't quite force himself to go to the parties with her anymore. She wasn't interested in him, not in the way he wanted. It was becoming hell to watch her with other guys. Now one of those other guys had hurt her, they had better run when they see him coming.

"Sam, I didn't mean to," she whispered when she had calmed down. He was only minutes away from her.

"What didn't you mean to do?"

"Please forgive me, Sam?" she begged, her sobs returning.

"Of course I do," he replied. He always forgave her. "I'll be there is a few minutes, where are you?"

"I'm at Derek's," she started.

"Where?" he pressed.

"I'm in a bedroom, I don't know which one. I'm using their phone," she whispered as if afraid of them finding her.

"I'll be right there, don't move." He hung up the phone and ran down the stairs. As he drove to Derek's party, his mind imagined a million different things that could have gone wrong with her. A million things that could have happened to make her so upset. When he entered the house, he froze for a second. There was loud music and so many people packed into the house that he didn't know how they all fit. He took off for the stairs and ran up them. When he opened the door, he found her sitting on the carpet next to a bed. She took one look at him and then buried her head in her knees and bawled. He fell to his knees next to her and gathered her into his arms.

"It's okay," he whispered. "I'm here, Dar. I'm here." She didn't explain what happened. She didn't tell him what she was sorry about. She didn't tell him anything, and that scared him more than anything else so far.

"Did you hear?" Mariah Willoughby asked, turning to glance over at Darlene Dagenhart. The girl was sitting at their table, all alone, with her long brown hair hanging in front of her crossed arms. Her uniform was the same as ever, perfectly pressed and clean. She looked the same, except for the blank expression on her face. No one would have been able to guess the secret that Mariah was about to share with every person who meant anything to Darlene.

"What?" Jennifer Kensington craned her neck to look over at Darlene. "Is she going to get something to eat? Do you realize this is the third time she's skipped lunch this week."

"It probably has something to do with morning sickness," Mariah whispered impishly.

"What?" Marianne Smith yowled, then covered her mouth. Her eyes widened and she leaned in close. "What did you say?" she whispered.

"Haven't you noticed?" Mariah asked, reveling in the fact that she knew what they didn't.

"Did she tell you?" Mari asked, feeling slighted.

"No, I overheard her talking with the nurse!" Mariah added, practically jumping up and down.

"That's eavesdropping," Mari scolded.

"She found out the real dirt though," Jennifer defended, looking over at Darlene again. "We should take her something to eat and ask her about it."

"But she's not dating anyone! Who's is it?" Mari asked, grabbing some crackers from the stand in front of her.

"How would I know?" Mariah asked. "I just heard the words, 'positive test' and 'pregnant' from the nurse. I think she just found out!"

"We should definitely talk to her," Jennifer added, paying for her food and waiting for the other two.

"Don't you think we should wait for her to tell us?" Mari asked, her eyes darting from Mariah's blue eyes to Jennifer's green ones.

"Why? So she can take forever?" Mariah asked, rolling her eyes.

Darlene ran her fingers through her hair, wishing she knew what to do. She stared at the wooden table with dejected thoughts. She couldn't tell her mother. She couldn't tell her father. She couldn't tell Sam. This was a mistake, a stupid mistake. The first guy she had jumped into bed with and here she was, knocked up and alone. She hadn't even wanted to be with him, not after they were upstairs and alone. He didn't care, he wanted it. She rubbed her temples, this couldn't be happening. In nine months she'd have a baby, she'd hold a crying and screaming child in her arms and call it her own. She put her head down on the table and shut her eyes. They had been so careful, how had this happened? She wanted to bang her head on the table, but her makeup was perfect today. Her makeup? She wondered how she could think of something so trivial at a time like this. She'd been sick for a week, and now she knew why.

"Darlene," Mariah's voice sang out as the girls joined Darlene at the table.

"Yes?" Darlene asked, not moving her head.

"Do you perhaps have something to tell us?" Jennifer pushed. Darlene's head snapped up, her face going pale.

"Excuse me?"

"Well, I may have heard something," Mariah said with a smile of victory.

"Heard something?" Darlene repeated, dread washing through her.

"When I was passing the nurse's office earlier," Mariah prompted.

"It's okay, Darlene. You don't have to say anything you don't want to," Mari said, shooting daggers at the other two.

"No, you have to tell us!" Mariah and Jennifer said together. Jennifer covered Mari's mouth.

"Don't you listen to Marianne, we have to know!" Darlene scowled at the three of them and put her head down on the table again.

"It's true?" Mariah gasped.

"You heard the nurse," Darlene whispered from behind her crossed arms. "What am I going to do?"

"You could get rid of it," Jennifer suggested. "Ann Ethon went to this really nice clinic on the west side of town. I could find out where it is for you."

"Jennifer, that's a living creature you want to kill!" Mari scolded.

"What choice does she have?" Mariah asked, patting Darlene's head. "She can't raise it. She hasn't even finished high school."

"She could put the baby up for adoption," Mari suggested.

"That's terrible too," Mariah said. "Then the kid wonders all its life what it did wrong that its real mother didn't want it."

"At least the baby is alive."

"Can we drop it for now?" Darlene begged. "I don't want anyone to know yet. Maybe not ever."

"Darlene!" Mari gasped. Darlene looked up and into Mari's eyes.

"I'm not saying I'm going to go, but I'm thinking about all my options, Mari. I'm only seventeen, I can't be a mom yet."

"Are you gonna tell Sam?" Jennifer asked. Darlene's face went even more pale at the thought. Sam would be angry, so angry.

"I really don't want to," she whispered. That was the truth. Sam wouldn't just be angry, he'd never let her go to that clinic, not that she was sure she could. Her heart would surely break at the serious thought of ending an innocent child's life. He would insist upon the boy's name, the one who had gotten her pregnant. He would hunt him down, and he would force him to support Darlene. She didn't want that, didn't want him anywhere near her child. Her child? She almost laughed out loud. How could she keep a little baby? How could she support a little baby? Her baby. It was her baby, and she had to keep it. She wasn't strong enough to let it live a life without her. She couldn't let another set of parents raised her little boy or girl. Her baby, and hers alone.

Okay, so this is basically the beginning of the setup, it will continue in the next chapter...uh, I'm in the midst of midterms so I don't know when I'll update...plus, MHB is really my priority, so we shall see, but I have plans for these two!