Author's Note: I know this is based on a horror film franchise but I AM NOT killing off Cherokee. I hate the trope of the beloved pet being killed off. It hasn't happened in the Scream films and it won't happen in this story. If you are not a member but you're following this story, you don't have to click on the title and then select the most recent chapter. When you're on the main page with all the other Scream stories, you'll see an arrow to right of the story's title, click on that arrow to read the most recent chapter. Thanks to everyone who has read and reviewed this story so far. I'd love to know what you think, so please, either leave a review (an account is not required) or click on follow/favorite under story options.


A little smile spread across Sidney's face when she saw Mark's note taped to her bedroom door.

Good Morning Sid,

I went to get my things from the hotel. Don't worry about breakfast, it's on me. Cherokee's already had hers. I'll be back soon. Try not to miss me.

Sincerely,

Mark

The last line caused her to playfully roll her eyes but honestly, she had gotten used to him being a presence in her home. Last night, after their impromptu makeout session; she had suggested that he stay at her home instead of the hotel. What surprised her was that she awoke that morning and didn't regret the decision. It wasn't made in an irrational lustful haze; she actually felt safe around him and wanted his company. For the first time in three years, she was allowing herself to want. It felt a little scary, almost foreign and absolutely exciting.

With Mark's note in her hands, she walked downstairs and saw Cherokee get up from her bed. The blonde canine began pawing at the door; it was time for her morning walk.

Sidney strolled over to the hound, "I know; I'm coming girl."


The appetizing aroma of freshly made breakfast foods filled Mark's sedan. He was pulling into Sidney's driveway when his phone started ringing. He parked the car and answered the call.

"Morning Wallace," he greeted his partner.

In his usual sardonic tone the detective replied, "Good morning Loverboy."

He suppressed a grin, "Give me a break, I'm on vacation."

"Riight. You're recovering from getting your prettyboy ass handed to you by Discount Norman Bates."

Mark opened his mouth to throw a jab of his own but he was cutoff.

"But I bet Nurse Sidney knows how to kiss all your boo-boos and make them awwll better."

Rolling his eyes Mark said, "Did you seriously call me this early just to bust my chops?"

"Yes and no. I wanted to see how you're doing and Lila wants to know if we're still on for dinner this Friday?"

"Of course we are and I'm healing just fine."

"Good and she said that you're welcome to bring a guest."

"Well, if I do I'll make sure to call Lila myself and let her know," he smirked.

Wallace paused. His annoyance was obvious as he asked, "When did you get my wife's new number?"

"Three months ago, she calls me whenever you forget your phone in the car or in your desk."

"Ooh OK."

"And we talk shit about you whenever you get on our nerves."

"Wait, you two do wha-.."

"See ya this Friday bye!" He quickly hanged up and set his phone to vibrate.


Sidney walked down to Mark's car just as he was getting out, "Hey there stranger."

His arm wrapped around her waist, "Did you miss me?"

"I almost forgot you were around," she flashed him a grin then accepted his kiss.

"Could you lend me a hand?" He gestured to the backseat where their breakfast waited.

"Sure..smells good," she commented after retrieving their meals.

He took his suitcase out of the trunk, "Here's hoping the smell matches the taste. Hey, do you have any plans for today?"

They started trekking up to her house while she spoke, "Not really, I need to do my laundry. Have something in mind?"

"When I drove into town I saw them setting up booths for a food and wine festival. I thought if you're up to it, we could check it out?"

It had been years since she had attended any events. However, in the past couple of weeks several Hollywood scandals were taking up the news cycles. The press and media had clearly moved on from the Stab 3 murders.

"I'm in. And I do love food."

Clearly pleased with her answer, he replied, "Good and it looks like I made a safe bet with your breakfast."

"I'll be the judge of that!" She opened the door for him and together, they settled at the breakfast bar.

It delighted him to see her face light up the instant she opened the takeout box.

"So Judge Sidney Prescott, what's my score?" He asked.

"Ten out of ten..I didn't even know Oreo French Toast existed!"

"Neither did I; until this morning."

She took her first bite of the indulgent dish and hummed at its tastiness.

The sound she made caused his lips to briefly curl upward.

"How am I doing so far, Miss Prescott?"

"You're off to a good start, Detective. Although.."

"Oh come on, how could I have already screwed up?"

She pointed her fork at him, "You didn't but I have to point out that we're not on an even playing field."

With his open palm facing the ceiling and at chest level, he gestured to her home, "You have literal home-field advantage."

"Mark, you have an actual file on me and it is thick."

He paused, not knowing that she had seen the file, "True..but that was for my job."

"It still means you have an advantage," she took another bite.

"All right..Here's the deal, you can ask me anything you want and I'll answer."

"Anything?"

"I'm an open book," he answered as he started digging into his waffles, eggs and spicy bacon.

"OK, I hope you know what you're getting yourself into."

He brought his face close to hers, "Bring it."

She went in for a kiss but was denied, "Tease."

With an innocent look and tone he remarked, "Whatever do you mean?"

She scoffed, "Oh, it's on."


They were in the guest bedroom putting away his freshly cleaned clothes in the closet.

"Your first real kiss?" She inquired.

"It was eighth grade, at Tony Gains' graduation party. Seven minutes in heaven with Cindy Toretti."

"Ooh, sounds memorable."

His head tipped to the left then right, "More like six minutes of me being terrified before Cindy took the lead at the literal last minute."

"Aww, poor thing. Although, you've definitely came a long way since then." Her eyes briefly went to his lips.

He gave her a shirt and a small grin, "That's good to know."

"..My first kiss was in 7th grade at Casey Becker's birthday party; with Bobby Reyes. He was Filipino, really nice and very cute."

"Lucky kid. But just in case he's still carrying a torch, where is little Bobby these days?"

Rolling her eyes, she answered, "His father got a new job during freshmen year and they moved."

"That's a relief..So, you were friends with Casey?"

She paused and explained, "Casey was popular and nice to everyone. So everyone, including the nerdy kids, were always invited to her parties. I mean, we weren't friends but we were always friendly to each other."

His eyes became serious, "What happened to her, it was senseless and tragic - but at least her killers didn't get away with it."

She hanged the last shirt, "I couldn't agree more…I need to get ready and pack a few things."

"OK, Cherokee and I will be waiting," he pecked her mouth before she walked out.


Dressed in only a nude colored bra and panties, Sidney eyes searched her closet. She was about to reach for dark jeans and a sleeveless white blouse until her eyes went to the far left. The casual dress was brand new. She had purchased it on a whim when she had first moved into town but never had a reason to wear it.

Sitting at the breakfast bar, Mark read the newspaper to pass the time. He set down the newspaper the second he heard Sidney's voice and stood up. Once he turned around, he was instantly awestruck.

Soft waves of her dark brown locks framed her radiant face. The light blue dress she wore had a v-neckline; its bodice was form-fitting displaying her trim physique. Skintight short sleeves covered her toned upper arms. From the waist down the dress's silhouette was flared and flouncy with its hemline stopping just above the knees. A pair of nude colored open-toed wedge heels added two inches to her overall height.

"So, what do you think?" She asked while hiding her true level of nervousness. Wearing this new outfit made her feel flirty, free and feminine but she was still interested in what he thought.

First, his stare met her shimmering dark eyes. His attention then went to her luscious lips where a subtle shade of pink accentuated their shape and fullness. After his eyes traveled up and down her slender figure, he closed the small distance between. His hand briefly caressed her face before slowly ghosting down her side until settling on her waist.

Feeling his touch caused a rush of warmth run through her.

With a content expression that matched his voice, he told her, "You look perfect."

A smile touched her mouth, "You do too. Although I didn't plan on us matching."

"It's a happy accident," He looked down at his light blue recovery t-shirt.

"Let me," she took his dark gray blazer off the stool and helped him put it on.

"Thanks Sid," he adjusted the left sleeve over his sling.

She stepped back and took in his appearance. The dark jeans he wore made his overall look seem simple, modern yet still casual.

"Not bad, detective." She eyed his lean muscular body.

His right hand went to the small of her back and gently moved her towards him. The scent of her Jasmine perfume was intoxicating.

Cherokee's eager bark interrupted their moment.

"We better get going," she picked up the medium sized gray canvas backpack off the couch then linked arms with him.


During their drive into town, Sidney learned a few more things about the detective. He was born on March 13th, 1968. Baseball is the only sport he has interest in and he plays catcher. In kindergarten he met his best friend, Ken Iadarola, but he now lives in New York with his wife and two kids. In high school he was president of the film club. His mother (Elizabeth) was born and raised in Sheffield, England while his father (Jack) has spent his entire life in Los Angeles. Although he's never had one, he loves dogs. His last relationship ended almost a year ago and it was amicable. Wallace has been his partner for the last four years.

It surprised Mark to find out that in high school Sidney was a drama club geek. She just happened to be longtime best friends with popular girl, Tatum. Based on his experience, the most attractive girls usually ended up being popular by default. Although she loved food, she hated celery. Organized religion didn't interest her at all; her parents shared the same indifference. In her freshman year, she had her first boyfriend but it ended after he dumped her for the new girl in town. She's had a total of three boyfriends. Cherokee is a rescue, she adopted her when she was three-months-old. The word "moist" absolutely disgusts her. According to her, "moist" should only being used when describing a properly baked cake.


With Cherokee's tether leash secured to her waist, Sidney accepted Mark's hand and together they walked into the town's bustling plaza. People, joyous music and scents of foods from various cultures filled the streets. Sidney felt energized to be surrounded by such activity. She felt connected to humanity again. Mark stopped walking once they were in front of a boutique jewelry store.

"Next week is my mom's birthday, Mel and I still need to get her a gift," he opened the door and let her in first.

A blonde woman in her early fifties briefly greeted them before answering the store's phone.

"Sid, this isn't really my thing so I'll need your help," he admitted.

"No problem. Do you have a picture of your mom?"

"Yep, I took this a few weeks ago at my dad's birthday party," he took out his wallet.

In the photo there was a smiling, good-looking couple in their mid-fifties. Elizabeth had long golden brown hair with a hint of red and bright blue eyes. She was lean, a few inches shorter than her husband and was wearing a blue maxi dress. Jack had thick short salt and pepper hair and brown eyes. He was tall, had a medium build and was sporting a red polo shirt and dark jeans. Although Mark had his mother's eyes and coloring, he strongly resembled his father.

"What an attractive couple. They look really happy." she commented.

"Yeah, they really are. So, what do you think I should get her?"

She eyed the jewelry Elizabeth wore and scanned the store's offerings, "How about that?"

"Huh..Mom would love that but she's not really into diamonds."

The woman from earlier approached them.

"Good afternoon, I'm Moira. How are you two today?" She grinned at them.

Marked answered her, "Hello Moira, we're doing well. I have a question about these pendants; can these diamonds be replaced with other gemstones?"

"Of course, it'll take a few days but it can be done."

An idea popped into Sidney's mind, "Why not replace the diamonds with your and Melanie's birthstones?"

He pulled his head forward and nodded, "I really like that idea, it sounds great."

Moira smiled, "It's going to look so beautiful! Now I'll just get you a custom order form and we'll be all set."

After filling out the form, paying for the necklace and accepting the receipt, Mark thanked Moira.

"Oh it was pleasure! Now you two have a lovely time at the festival and keep in mind," she gestured to her surroundings, "we have something for all of life's special moments."

When they saw her eyes suggestively shift from Mark to Sidney's left hand, they both awkwardly chuckled before saying their goodbyes.


There were so many food and beverage booths it took some time and trying some free samples before they decided what to have for lunch. They briefly separated; Sidney went to an Iranian food booth where she ordered beef kebabs and pilaf. She then made another stop when she saw Mark at an Indian fusion food booth. Mark went with an Indian take on a spicy fried chicken sandwich and masala french fries. One of the nearby chefs was so charmed by Cherokee he filled her collapsible bowl with plain chopped chicken breasts, roasted potatoes and diced carrots. The trio made their way to the dining area where dozens of round wooden tables topped with large red umbrellas were setup.

"Here ya go girl." Sidney placed the canine's collapsible bowls containing water and the chef's special meal under the table where Cherokee eagerly waited.

Mark had yet to take a bite from his sandwich yet he offered, "Wanna bite?"

"No thanks, it's orange like fire." She shook her head.

"Oh come on, it's just a little spicy."

"She gave you the spice level options and you chose the HIGHEST one!"

He shrugged, "I like spicy food, it's fun, daring and makes me feel alive."

She pointed her skewered kebab at him, "OK, but I'm not kissing you until you wash that down with ice cream. I refuse to have my mouth set on fire because of your volatile food preferences."

"Here I thought you enjoyed my kisses because of how fiery they already are.." He smirked.

Her mouth was in a flat line. He was right but she wasn't about to admit it.

"Real cute…and lame," she took a bite from the beef kebab and savored its juiciness.

"Whatever you say Sid." He stated before finally biting into the sandwich.

To her astonishment, he remained calm, cool and collected, "I sit here corrected."

"Yes," he burped and continued, "you do, pardon me."

On the seat next to her was her backpack, she reached into it, pulled out a bottle of milk and placed it on the table.

His attention went right to the bottle.

"So I guess you don't need this?" She asked.

His blue eyes became wide, "Goddamn it Sidney!" he swiped the bottle, undid the cap and nearly chugged the half the bottle. Hearing her uproarious laughter annoyed him but it also pleased him to see her so happy, even at his expense.

The owner of Indian fusion booth, whose name was Navi, approached them. She handed Mark another fried chicken sandwich that was a little less spicy.

Navi explained, "This one's on the house."

"Thanks Navi," Sidney said.

"You're welcome. And you should really listen to your girlfriend," Navi said to Mark.

"Believe me, I won't make that mistake again," Mark said as he felt the flames in his mouth, throat and head slowly die down.


Soon after finishing their lunches, they went over to the ice cream booth. Mark ordered pistachio ice cream in a cake cone. Sidney chose cookies and cream and went with a waffle cone.

"Did you watch any of the Stab movies?" She asked before taking a slow lick.

"Uh.." He was momentarily distracted by her action but quickly recovered, "I did, for the case."

"What did you think?"

"Honestly, Gale's book was more interesting and not as cheesy. And no offense to Ms. Spelling, but she was miscast as you."

"Really now?"

"Yes. They should have gone with Kate Winslet or Jennifer Connelly, someone who would do you real justice."

She couldn't help but feel complimented, "Maybe you should join your family's business?"

"No, I'm right where I need to be." He lightly bumped his hips with hers.

"So am I." Sidney planted a small kiss on his lips.


The bookstore's front door rang after Sidney, Mark and Cherokee walked in. He asked one of the employees where the mystery/thriller section was while Sidney decided to explore the stacks with Cherokee. During her exploration, she grabbed a shopping basket and headed towards a familiar genre. With Deacon Wells' latest novel in his hand, Mark searched for Sidney. He found her and Cherokee in between the romance and erotica sections.

Raising his eyebrow he teased, "Why Miss Prescott, this is the last place I expected you to be."

Folding her arms, she answered, "I picked up these two books from the young adult section and I was on my way to the register."

"I believe you," he nodded and placed his book in her basket.

"However…being here does lead me to my next question.."

"Which would be?"

Her eyes scanned their surroundings making sure no one was within earshot, "How many women have you slept with?"

He didn't falter, "Seven. Four were relationships and three were one-night stands."

"Really? Only seven?"

"Why did you expect it to be higher?"

She shrugged, "You're an attractive guy and well, no offense, but you're also a guy."

Feigning offense, he pulled his head back, "Well now, I'm selective because I'm a relationship guy and there are plenty of us out there, thank you very much."

She laughed, "Sorry, it's just..I see the way women here and at the studio, what's the word? Ogle you."

A quick scoff came from him, he replied, "I hadn't noticed and it doesn't matter. I only care about you, Sid."

"I know." She linked arms with him and guided him to the registers.


With their arms still linked they walked into a nearby park and chose to settle down under an oak tree. Reaching into her backpack, Sidney pulled out a large black and blue checkered blanket. She carefully unfolded the blanket and placed it on the grass. Meanwhile, Mark tethered Cherokee's leash to the tree and gave her a crunchy treat. The canine settled at the bottom of the blanket. Mark sat down next to Sidney. She took one book out of her bag and held it up.

A soft smile spread across her face, "You and your aunt share a love of movies; my mom and I loved books."

He read the title, "The Evangeline Devereaux Chronicles: The Treasure of Dragon's Bay. Sounds thrilling."

"Oh it is. Evangeline is a former heiress turned pirate; she started her adventures when she was just sixteen. My mom started reading to me when I was a baby but when I turned eleven we switched to young adult novels and we took turns reading chapters."

The image of a young Sidney reading with her mother brought a small smile to his lips, "That's so sweet and lovely."

With a bob of her head she agreed, "We stopped once I reached high school. I became really into theatre, hanging out with my friends, movies, TV and boys. She was really understanding about it. This was the last book we read together. Somehow I lost my only copy."

He softly gripped her forearm, "I'm happy that you have it again. It's like..you have a piece of your mom."

She placed her hand on top of his, "It does feel that way. And you were right about her. She had her secrets and struggles - but I know who she was to me. She not only loved me but she taught me to open my heart and mind to new people, ideas and experiences. For that, I'm forever grateful to her."

He spoke, "She also helped raised the most incredible woman I have ever met."

Sidney never blushed in her life but she came real close after hearing his words. Instead, she sweetly captured his mouth with hers. He briefly pressed her forehead with his and pecked her mouth. With their sides pressed up against each other, they rested their backs on the tree. Sidney opened the book and began reading to him.

Every time he learned something new about Sidney, it felt like Christmas morning to him. She didn't just read the first two chapters to him, she brought them to life. Each character had a different voice. Her descriptions of action scenes, locations and characters were animated. He could now see why she loved theatre and called herself a "drama club geek". Seeing this new side to her, it did the impossible for him; it made her more beautiful.

Even though she was really into the story, she would glance at his face and see that he was captivated. The way that he looked at her made her insides flutter. She had never shared this personal detail with Billy or Derek. Sharing something about her mother was difficult when she was with them. At the time, it still felt too raw but that wasn't the case with Mark. There wasn't any hesitation, fear or shame; it felt easy and natural to be open with him.


By late afternoon they decided to call it a day. They dropped by a Cuban food booth to pick up dinner and stopped by a local winery's booth to get a bottle of Cabernet. Traffic added about twenty minutes to their drive home.

Dusk had arrived when they returned to Sidney's house. They opted to have dinner on the deck underneath the moon and the stars. After dinner, they decided to watch television and came across Blast from the Past on premium cable. Neither one had seen the movie before and decided to give it a chance. They found themselves laughing at many of the same parts and didn't regret watching the romantic comedy. When the end credits began to roll Sidney muted the volume and turned to him.

"What went through your mind when I first showed up at your station?"

"So many things," he simply stated.

"Like?"

"Shock. I honestly didn't expect you to show up."

"And after that?"

His eyes went to her gaze then her mouth, "You were much more beautiful than the photos and videos I saw of you. And, you had the most perfect lips I've ever seen."

The corners of her lips twitched up, "Is that all?"

"I hoped that you knew something about who the killer could be."

"All right..how about after I was attacked on set?"

His eyes became serious, "I should have never left your side. I know that Wallace had his doubts but I didn't. During the drive back to the station, when it was just us; I saw how frightened you were. I wanted to hug you but that would have been a little unprofessional."

Nodding, she said, "I get it. I also wasn't in the mood to be touched."

"Yeah, I had a feeling. But after our conversation about movie trilogies and ghosts, I thought that you had a smart and beautiful mouth. That's why I leaned in very close when I told you what my favorite scary movie was."

"I noticed that.."

"I suspected you did. So, how did I do today, Judge Prescott?"

"…Perfect score."

He mockingly made a fist and pulled his elbow towards himself, "Yes!"

Laughing she remarked, "You can be so lame."

"I guess I'm improving, it usually takes women a few minutes to realize that about me."

"I think it's cute." She placed her chin on his shoulder and snaked her arm around his torso.

"I could get used to this," he rested his hand on her hip.

"Me too…I had a really wonderful time today. Thanks."

"Don't mention it. It was a great day…because it was with you."

He was giving her the sweetest smile and she couldn't resist. Sidney closed the distance between them passionately tasting his lips and she felt victorious when she heard him moan.