Hey there readers…hopefully there are still a few of you out there in the fandom. lol
I know I have a few unfinished pieces but this little diddy came to me at Christmas like a gift from Santa himself so, who am I to turn away inspiration? This story will likely be around 3 chapters and updated every two weeks or so.
Read, enjoy and, if you feel so inclined, let me know what you think.
As always, shout out to The Posse and the 'Backstage' crew.
New Year, New Us: Chapter One
You've reached Sam Puckett. I'm either not here or don't want to talk to you...maybe both. Either way...leave a message.
He hit the end button on his phone and leaned back against the hard plastic of his seat. This was not the kind of restaurant he was used to. And he was using the term restaurant loosely. The seat he currently occupied, near these he front window with a blinking neon 'Open 24 Hours' sign, was covered in cracked red pleather, old coffee and bits of French fries mushed deep into the creases.
The waitress who'd taken his order was squeezed uncomfortably into a grease-stained uniform, her hair pulled into a messy ponytail, stray pieces of dull brown hair dangling into a face that had seen one too many tanning beds. She'd popped her gum impatiently while he looked at the menu and rolled her eyes when all he ordered was coffee. 'Look at the big spender,' she said before turning away on her heel.
Shaking his head he considered, for the millionth time that night, slipping a ten dollar bill onto the table, jumping in his rental car (with real leather seats...heated no less) and heading back to the comfort of his penthouse room at the Los Angeles JW Marriott.
"This is ridiculous," he said to no one in particular. His days as Knight in shining armor were supposed to be over...by nearly ten years if his calculations were correct. But here he was, sitting in a dive diner in the middle of a city he'd never been particularly fond of, letting a familiar face invade his thoughts.
"You okay?" The waitress, Mitzy according to her name tag , dragged him from his thoughts. Her voice was deep and it's scratchiness gave away the pack a day smoking habit she tried to cover with cheap perfume.
"Me? Um, yeah...I'm fine. Just...thinking." Her face softened a little.
"Only women troubles make a man look like that."
He laughed at her accuracy. The woman he was thinking about had been nothing but trouble.
"Listen..." Mitzy leaned in low, the smell of old grease and stale cigarettes coming off her in waves. "I got another hour left on my shift..." She looked quickly over her shoulder, "but if you wanna wait I could probably take your mind off of her...whoever she is."
Freddie stifled the urge to gag and shook his head. "No thanks...I mean, um, I'm not...it's not like that."
Mitzy stood up and laughed, her mouth wide and equal parts gums and discolored teeth. "Suit yourself." Turning toward the kitchen her laughter echoed through the small diner. "Hey Sal," she called back into the kitchen, "Told ya he don't like his bread buttered on this side. You owe me twenty bucks!"
Freddie's face flushed with embarrassment but he was at a loss for a good comeback. Before he'd had any more time to think about one his phone rang.
"No Carly, I'm not there yet."
"Well hello to you too!"
"You've called me every hour on the hour since I got here Carls...I think we're past the formalities."
"What's got your undies in a bunch?" Carly's voice was cheerful...annoyingly so. Especially given the current circumstances. He wished he was the kind of person who could just hang up. Better yet, he wished he could go back in time 24 hours and never answer the phone.
24 hours previously
"Fred Benson here."
"Well hello there...Fred." It was impossible to miss the sarcasm in her voice.
"Knock it off Carly. You know I go by Fred at work. Making fun of it wasn't funny five years ago and it's not funny now."
"I'm ever so sorry Mr. Benson" she said in the world's worst English accent. "But I have a matter of grave importance to discuss with you."
Freddie smiled. Same old Carly.
"It's fine Carly. What's up?" He said, waving off his secretary as she entered, pointing at her watch. "I'm kind of in a hurry. I have a meeting in ten minutes."
"Do you want to just call me back?" She said, "it's kind of a lot to tell in ten minutes."
"Oh, that's not ominous at all." He laughed. "What happened? Did Captain Wall Street finally propose?" Carly had been dating a guy named David for three years. Freddie had only met him once but he was easily the most uptight, pretentious person Freddie had ever met. And with a mother like Marissa Benson that was saying something.
"No! And don't call him that! You sound like..."
"Don't say it..."
"Really Freddie? We're still treating her like Voldenwart?"
Freddie shook his head. "Voldemort Carly..."
"So you can say his name but not hers?"
"I have no idea who you're talking about," he lied.
"Sam, Freddie. Her name is Sam. My best friend, former love of your life? Samantha Puckett. Ring any bells?"
"I don't want to discuss it..." He lowered his voice to a whisper. " And she was not the love of my life . The love of a person's life doesn't just take off on a motorcycle one day, leave town and then spend ten years pretending you don't exist!"
"She made a mistake Freddie...we all made mistakes..." She lowered her voice.
"Yeah, we made a mistake, but I'm the only one she made pay for it." He sat back heavily in his chair, running his hand over his face. "It...it doesn't matter Carly. It's all over now. I've forgotten all about She-who-must-not-be-named." He tried to laugh.
"Well I hope you haven't forgotten too much. It's kind of why I called."
"This has something to do with..."
"Whatever...that's what this call is about?"
"Well...sort of. I, um...need a favor. For Sam."
"Oh God. I knew I shouldn't have answered the phone. What do you need, Carly."
"Just spit it out."
"Not until you promise to say yes."
"Come on Freddie...for me."
He laughed. "Sorry to break the news Carly, but that only works on Mr. Wall Street now."
"Fine! I need you to go to LA. I need you to go see Sam. She's in trouble."
Just that quickly he'd been roped into a 400 mile trip to see a girl he hadn't spoken to in ten years. A girl who was currently not answering her phone.
"Freddie? Freddie!" He held the receiver away from his ear as Carly screamed into the other end.
"Shit Carly! Blow out my eardrums why don't you!"
"I've been talking for ten minutes! You're the one who zoned out, space cadet!"
"Sorry! What were you saying?"
"I was asking if you went to her house yet."
"Well...not exactly." He said. Not at all, he thought. Unless plugging the address into the GPS and purposely driving the opposite direction while the speakers in his car bellowed 'recalculating' endlessly, counted. And he was pretty sure it didn't.
"What?! You were supposed to be there an hour ago! What are doing, just sitting around waiting for her to pick up the phone?"
And getting hit on by toothless waitresses who thought he was gay. "Not exactly..."
"Freddie this is serious! I need you to check on Sam! She's not answering her phone and the last time I talked to her things sounded bad...really bad."
"I know Carly...you already said all of this."
"Then why the hell aren't you in the car on the way there?!" Her voice had now reached a level heard only by dogs, and people who'd known her all of their lives.
"Okay, okay," he said, gathering his keys. "I'll go."
"Yes...right now. But, for the record, I still think this is a bad idea. I mean when I show up at her door unannounced...what do you think she's gonna say?" He pleaded. "She's not licensed to carry a weapon is she?"
"Right," he said. Like Sam would let a petty thing like the law keep her from packing heat. "I'm leaving now." He drained the last of the sludge passing for coffee from his cup.
"Thank you, Freddie. I owe you for this."
"Hell yeah, you do. You owe me big...there better be something green in my Christmas card next year." He tried to smile as he slid a twenty out of his wallet and onto the table. This could be his last New Year's Eve on earth. Might as well get in a good deed before it was all over.
"Yeah, yeah. I'll call you soon."
"Oh and Freddie? Don't do anything stupid."
He shook his head as he stood and headed for the door.