She was smiling. This thing really knew how to hug the road. Mama'd always wanted her very own hog. And, now thanks to the good-hearted nature of the sappy, artist, man-child she'd grow pretty fond of over the years, that dream had finally become a reality.
She was smiling. She really was. What did it matter that her best friend was now flying halfway across the world? Carly was with her dad, she was happy. And, she'd be back someday. She'd come back, and it'd be like she was never gone. Someday.
Yep. Sam Puckett had the world at her feet. Armed with the take-no-prisoners attitude that had made her well-known to even Seattle's most infamous convicts, a fast new engine purring beneath her, and a whole spiral ham in the fridge back home, life seemed like little more than a drumstick from Tubba Chicken – dripping with grease and in the palm of her hand.
At least, this was the case until she'd made an unfortunate left turn at that last stop sign, and was struck with the bitter realization that she was heading – subconsciously – to the entrance of Bushwell Plaza, and Carly was no longer there.
Furrowing her brow, and taking a moment to convince herself that it had been the heavy winds causing the apparent – visibly noticeable – wetness on her cheeks, Sam decided to head inside one last time. A certain Freddork had stashed a number of boxes at Carly's place over the years, each containing one or more of his techy little treasures. Ignoring basic instinct, and her stomach's constant call for ham, she thought it best to give him a hand. Her mom wasn't expecting her home anyway.
This was weird. Almost eerie. A nagging emptiness just below her rib cage – one enough to drive her back to Troubled Waters – was present, and annoying her enough to make her forget how hungry she was, or how uncharacteristically helpful she was being ... for a few seconds at least.
"Spencer?" The name coming out in something like a whisper, as she said it. This was weird. She was weird. Sam had never felt the need to stay quiet before, especially not here.
"He's asleep, Sam." came a familiar from the top of the stairwell. "He was still feelin' a little sick, I guess Carly's move took a lot out of him."
"Oh." she replied as flatly as possible, before noticing yet another box in his hands.
"I ... forget a few things." he spoke, his tone almost mimicking hers.
"Yeah." Sam nodded, she'd been expecting Freddifer to be mindful of all his little gadgets – she'd been expecting him here. "Need any help?"
"Nah, I'm okay." the tech. nerd replied, in a weak impression of his usual self. "It's just a few more things ... a few wires ... I'm okay."
It's apparent that he's not "okay," and she feels it's time to speak. "I .. uh ... wanted to thank Spence for the bike one more time, I guess I'll get 'im tomorrow."
Why were things so chizzin' awkward between them now?! Were the web show, and one overly peppy best friend the only things they had in common? ... Oh, yeah ... she remembered, Too normal, too abnormal – nothin' in common but Carls. That's why we ...
"She kissed me."
Nah, I must'a heard wrong - no way he said ...
"Carly kissed me, Sam. It felt ... kinda nice."
Another flat "oh" is her response. What else could she say? The whirlwind romance of Sam and Fredderly had only lasted so long. It had taken forever for them to stop screaming at each other, and once the yelling finally stopped ... well, they'd run out of things to say. That is, except "I love you"
That stupid nagging sensation is getting stronger, and the wind can't be blamed for her tear this time. They haven't fallen from her eyes just yet, and her vision is blurry. She's guessing the door is somewhere behind her. She turns toward it.
Freddie seems to ignore this motion, and the broken/incomplete "I'm ... just ... gonna ..." that falls from her lips, and keeps talking.
"One for the road, I guess. ... I mean, you heard Col. Shay – Italy ... the guys there – she'll forget about me in a week. I ... really don't think it meant much anyway."
Sam pauses. Feeling a bit more "herself" for an instant, she turns toward him and bellows, "Stop the presses, ladies and gents. Freddward Benson admits that Carly Shay might be out of his league!" Shielding her face from his view, and snorting into her hand in a mock expression of laughter, she takes the opportunity to add, " ... 'Bout time you figured it out."
"What I mean is." he continues, glaring at her. "As nice as it felt ... what I felt all those years ... it ... was never really ... love."
The nagging stops for a few seconds – everything does. One blonde brow arches just below her hairline. He's got her snared. She's genuinely interested in this dork's next move – and she hates herself for it. I hear ya, Benson. Keep goin'
"I guess ... I guess, Carly knew that too. That's why she did it. To sorta ... grant some ... stupid dying wish ... to that kid somewhere inside me that thinks he's in love with her."
He'd somehow found his way to the counter top during his speech, and is standing beside it. It's where his all-important box rests. Forgotten. "He realizes ... I mean, I realize that, that picture I'd always had, of the perfect Carly Shay – it ... wasn't real. Love's about noticing how completely ... not-normal a person can be, and ... just ... liking them anyway."
"Benson." she needs to hear her own voice, to make sure she's really in the room – that he's really speaking to her, that this isn't a dream.
"Carly's moving on, Sam. So am I. I know that things were a little weird before ... over the phone ... with – Gibby's head, and all. But, I really meant it."
"Benson, I ..."
"You wanna get back together, Sam?"