This fic that you're about to read, it's something that's been lingering in my brain for a while, and now, it finally turned into an actual story.
Obviously, Dan and Nick own iCarly, Nike belongs to Nike, the Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Dodgers belong to Major League Baseball (MLB). The University Of Washington belongs to... The University Of Washington, and the University of California Los Angeles, better known as UCLA, belongs to UCLA. The late Jim Henson owns Sesame Street (including the character Big Bird). The music featured and referenced throughout this story belong to the respective artists, writers, producers and record labels behind the release of each song, unless stated otherwise.
The only things that are mine are Hi-Def Vision, Handbook, Hungry's Sports Bar And Diner, Angeles Village Apartments, Pizza Shack, Rocketslide and Spartan Condoms (specifically "Almost Raw" and "Super Thin"). Also, while there are some similarities mentioned, this fic is not connected to the "Whiz/Grunch/Shower/Goth" universe. But anyway, now that I've said all of that, just sit back, relax and check out "Got Me A Model". Enjoy.
(Story title inspired by the song of the same name, performed by RL and Erick Sermon.)
(Hi-Def Vision, Los Angeles, Monday morning/early afternoon, June 26, 2017)
It was just before lunchtime at the offices of Hi-Def Vision, a multimedia company that handled various projects in music, movies, television, photography and graphic and web design, and he wasn't aware of it just yet, but 23-year-old Freddie Benson was on the verge of landing a big project, and more importantly, some valuable quality time with a model/actress that he knew very well, and was greatly aware of, but hadn't seen personally in quite some time.
As it turned out, he worked there primarily as a graphic and web designer, but in his personal time, he had also directed various commercials, music videos and even a short film, and he even had taken on various photoshoots for different artists, actors, and magazine articles. He did attend and even graduate from U-Dub (The University Of Washington) the year before, but that was more of a formality than an actual necessity, since he had gained plenty of experience from working on "iCarly" for five years.
Right now, though, since he had already tended to most of his work for the day, and was simply waiting for some time to pass before he went out to lunch, he had decided to take care of some personal business while he was in his office, and he did so when he got on his personal laptop and checked his Handbook page. He found his inbox filled with many messages and had plenty of friend/follower requests, but most of it came from people who were fans of his from his time on "iCarly", and still kept up with him because of his current work. But one message and request had stuck out to Freddie, and no sooner than it had caught his eye, he went to click on the message, and as it turned out, it came from a familiar - and beautiful - face.
From: Tasha Renteria (TashaTheModel)
To: Freddie Benson (FreddieBensonWasHere)
Message received: one hour ago
Tasha Renteria writes:
"Hey Freddie! It's me, Tasha. You know, Gibby's ex-girlfriend? But anyway, it's been a while since we've seen and talked to each other, but I've noticed what you've been up to since then. More importantly, though, I'm back in town, and I've been wanting to catch up with you, but I haven't had the time. But I have a few weeks before I have to start on my next project, so I was wondering, if you don't mind, if you wanted to meet up so we could hang out sometime. Just let me know when you get a chance, and if you can't or don't want to, then that's okay. But anyway, talk to you later, and hope to see you soon. Bye."
It was only a split second before Freddie scrolled down to the "reply" box once he read the message, and with the 4th Of July just over a week away, he would soon have some time off, so whether Tasha wanted to meet up for business, for personal reasons, or both, he'd definitely be able to spend time with the now world-famous model and actress. And as he would soon find out, he wouldn't have to wait for his upcoming hiatus from his job to do so.
(Reply to this message):
"Hey Tasha. Of course I remember you. I'm actually about to head out to lunch, so maybe we could meet up and grab something to eat and talk there. And I'll be off for a week starting on Friday, so if you wanted to hang out at all then, then maybe we could do that too. If you want, we can trade numbers, and you could call or text me where you are, and I can let you know when I'm almost there. See you later."
Once he sent his reply and got off of his laptop, Freddie headed to the elevator on his way out of the building. He was barely on when he noticed that Tasha had responded. Along with giving him her number, Tasha had also told him that she was headed for Hungry's Sports Bar And Diner, a restaurant that Freddie was familiar with as it was close to his apartment. Since both places were a short drive from his job, he was able to tell her that he would be at Hungry's in a few minutes. After leaving his own number in his second reply, he headed to his car and drove off to the restaurant.
About 10 minutes later, Freddie had pulled into the parking lot at Hungry's, and before he stepped out of his car, he had texted Tasha to find out if she was at the eatery herself. When she replied by telling him that she had made it, he then asked her what he should look for to know how to spot her. She told him that she was standing outside of her dark gray sedan which was parked in the section of the lot closest to the front entrance. Once he closed and locked his black SUV, he began walking to find Tasha.
After walking for a few seconds, Freddie spotted Tasha near her car, and almost immediately, when the pair made eye contact with each other, both of them began to smile at the sight of their old friend.
"Hey Tasha," Freddie said as he approached the model.
"Hi Freddie," Tasha responded with a smile.
After a brief silence struck between them, Freddie broke it by saying, "so are we gonna just stand here and act like we barely know each other?" Once that happened, Tasha's smile grew wider as she held her arms out as she said, "come here," quickly wrapping the former techie in a tight hug, which he gladly returned, a fact made apparent by him picking her up off the ground.
"Well, somebody's happy to see me," Tasha said with a slight laugh.
"And like you're not happy to see me," Freddie replied in the same manner.
"Yeah, I am. I mean, it's been, what, six, seven years since the last time we saw each other face-to-face?"
"Yeah, I think that's how long it's been." Sure enough, the last time that Freddie and Tasha saw each other in person was when both of them had reconciled their friendship and relationship with Gibby after he accused them of "betraying" him by messing around with each other. The accusation was ironic because nearly a year later, Gibby had walked off with Patrice while she was on a date with Freddie at the Groovy Smoothie, and he had done so while claiming that he and Tasha "weren't exclusive".
Meanwhile, back in the present, Tasha took a better look at Freddie, what he had on and how his physique had improved over the years, and judging from what she would say next, she definitely liked what she saw.
"You know, you were already an attractive guy when we were younger, but you look really handsome now," Tasha said, having noticed how Freddie had evolved physically since they last saw each other.
To start off with, he had a shorter haircut, and he had become more muscular, and although he wasn't what people would describe as a lunk, he was significantly bigger than he was in his Ridgeway days.
He apparently had also acquired a taste for body art as well, as the upper half of both of his arms were adorned with tattoos. On his right arm, he had a half-sleeve consisting of a Jesus portrait, an angel and a cross and praying hands with his last name, BENSON, written inside in all caps. Then on his left, there was the head of a bulldog in honor of Ridgeway, the Seattle Mariners "S", the Los Angeles Dodgers " L.A.", and the University of Washington "W", another angel and a pair of "Laugh Now, Cry Later" masks. And to finish off the collection of ink, on the back of his arms above his elbows were the words "SINCE 1994".
Tasha was still in awe at Freddie's new build, even though, aside from his inked-up arms, it was hidden under a white-and-black tank top, gray cargo shorts and a pair of black-and-white Nikes.
"Well, thanks for that, but I don't think I'm as handsome as you are beautiful," Freddie replied, a smile forming on his face as he finished his sentence.
"Aww, you're just being nice," Tasha answered in a joking but somewhat serious manner.
"No, I'm being serious, Tasha. You haven't made it as far as you have for nothing. I mean, you're attractive and you're talented, and even if you weren't a model and an actress, I'm pretty sure you'd still be pretty successful."
Freddie truly was being sincere in his compliments of the tall beauty. But he was also trying with everything in his power not to lose eye contact with her, as he, like many others who had seen her, knew how stunning she was. And it didn't help matters much when he remembered what she had on: a white bra-like halter top, tight and high-waisted blue jean shorts, and tan wedge sandals.
Both of them could have easily been further distracted by ogling over, and possibly mentally undressing the other person, but before that could happen, Freddie snapped out of his slight daze and said, "so, maybe we should go inside and get some lunch."
"Yeah, sure," Tasha answered in an agreeing manner.
(over a half-hour later)
"Wait, so they just pulled you into the crowd?" Tasha asked, laughing but also shocked at what she had just heard.
"Yeah, they did," Freddie responded. "Before I knew it, I was drowning in a giant sea of girls." As it turned out, he had been explaining his, Carly, Sam and Spencer's trip to Webicon to Tasha, and while that was a bright spot, their time at the event nearly seven years earlier was filled with chaos.
'That must have been fun."
"Yeah, it was. It wasn't something I was really used to, so even though it was pretty risky, it was still pretty cool."
"I can imagine it was. Weren't you supposed to be at the Webicon before that?" Tasha asked, remembering their absence from the preceding event.
"Yeah, we were, but we ended up trapped in some psycho chick's basement," Freddie said, referring to he, Carly and Sam being trapped at Nora's house when she held them hostage after inviting them to show up for her birthday. "We had been stuck there the whole night, and it would have been longer, but we were able to send a fake 'happy birthday' message to Gibby, and we dropped hints to let him know what was going on. He showed up with Guppy, and he fought the girl, and Guppy took the keys to get us out of the booth we were locked in, and after Sam put her in the 'Vulcan Death Grip', and that's how we made it home."
"That's good to know." Tasha smiled at knowing that they made it back to Seattle safely, but it quickly faded at the thought of Gibby, and while she didn't hate him, knowing that he had cheated on her - with someone that Freddie was on a date with, no less - was still a sore spot for the model. Freddie picked up on this, and wisely chose to move on to a different subject.
"So, uh... what had you been doing before you started modeling?" Freddie asked, having little knowledge of Tasha's life since he last saw her.
"Well, I had just finished high school, and then I actually came down here and went to UCLA, but I only went for a year," Tasha explained. "Before I started modeling, I wasn't really sure what I would do, and college just wasn't for me, at least not then."
"I can understand that. But even without college, you're doing great now, so I wouldn't stress over it too much if I were you."
"Thanks, but I think I could say the same about you, even though you finished school," Tasha said with a smile.
"Ehhh, I've done okay for myself," Freddie replied modestly.
"If you call working for one of the biggest production companies in L.A., directing music videos, and being a photographer for some big photoshoots okay, then I seriously wonder what you think great is."
"But I'm not the only one who's ever done that before, and I doubt that I'm the only one doing it now."
"Alright, maybe not, but look at how fast you've done all of that. There's a lot of people who've been around twice as long as you have and don't have your kind of accomplishments. You've done a lot of great work, and I'm just talking about what you've done since you came to L.A.'
"Well, at least I graduated from just being 'the old tech producer from iCarly'. That's a plus," Freddie said humorously.
"You were that, but that's not the only thing that you've accomplished. So it wouldn't be fair to pigeonhole you to just that," Tasha replied.
"(At least she gets it.) Well, thanks. So uh, what were you planning on doing with your time off?"
"Nothing really. I'll probably just relax, and I might go out somewhere if I feel up to it."
"That's good, I guess. What about tonight?" Freddie asked.
"Well, after this, I was just planning to go home. Why?" Tasha replied.
"Uh, well, I was just thinking that after work, maybe we could hang out. You don't have to if you don't want to - "
"I'd love to," Tasha said happily. "Just call me and we can spend some time together."
"Alright then, I'll do that," Freddie replied, relieved at the model's acceptance.
Then after paying for their lunch, Freddie left out of Hungry's with Tasha. Before they went back to their cars, she made it a point to express her delight in reuniting with the former tech producer.
"It was great to see you again, Freddie," Tasha said. "Lunch was pretty fun with you around."
"Thanks, Tasha. It was great seeing you again too," Freddie replied with a smile. "So, are we on for later?"
"Yeah, we're on." After she said that, Tasha went to kiss Freddie on the cheek, and while it was unexpected and had caught him off guard, it was an otherwise welcome move. "See you later."
"Later, Tasha." With that, both 20-somethings walked back to their cars. But before he made it back to his, Freddie briefly watched her walk away, and he thought of the kiss he just received seconds earlier. He didn't wanna make too much of it, but he took as a possible sign that Tasha may have liked him more than he had anticipated. That thought, along with the sight of the surprisingly curvaceous model walking away, caused him to revert back to a thought he had when he saw her leave with Gibby after a webcast of "iCarly".
"I still want one of those," Freddie said to himself before getting in his car.
Meanwhile, as he drove off on his way back to Hi-Def Vision, Tasha, who saw Freddie leaving Hungry's, began thinking about how Freddie was still the same, and in her eyes, even better than she remembered him as a teenager, which, in her mind, was virtually impossible. As she sat in her own vehicle a bit longer before leaving herself, she said, "he's still smart, he's still handsome, and incredibly hot. He's a nice guy... and he probably hasn't cheated on any of his girlfriends. What the hell was I thinking in high school?"
Tasha's voiced opinion wasn't so much a way to ridicule Gibby's looks or so-called nerd/geek status, because it didn't phase her decision to date him in the first place, and knowing what she knew especially now, Freddie was essentially in the same boat, despite his semi-celebrity status and the fact that he was more attractive than his popularity suggested. Her real problem was how Gibby eventually acted towards and around her, and the fact that he felt that they weren't exclusive, particularly when he said this as he walked out of the Groovy Smoothie with Patrice, even though she was on a date with Freddie.
But rather than dwell on it any longer, Tasha simply left Hungry's and headed back home, mainly wanting to get back to her residence after spending previous weeks out of town, but also anticipating the possibility of spending some more time with Freddie later in the day.
After a surprisingly quick drive home, Freddie made it back to his place at Angeles Village Apartments, where he had been throughout his first year in L.A., between 5 and 5:30 PM. It wasn't as spacious or luxurious as his old home in Seattle, Bushwell Plaza, but for a guy who was just over a year out of college, it was a really great place to start. Ironically enough, he lived on the eighth floor, just as he did in his childhood home.
Shortly after he stepped into his residence of Apartment 810, he began to text Tasha letting her know that he had just gotten home from work, and to be sure, he also asked if she still wanted to hang out later on. When she replied, she said yes, and she had also sent him her address in the response. He was initially happy that their plans were still on for the night (although the only real plan that was made was that they would spend some more time together), but when he saw where she lived, he was shocked. Happily shocked, but still shocked just the same.
"Wait a minute, she actually lives here?" Freddie asked himself in a barely audible tone. Once he processed the new piece of information, he simply replied to Tasha's text by telling her that he would be over soon. After that, the internal debate began in his head.
"Should I just go now? Okay, maybe not right now, right now. Even if I told her that I live here too, it might still be weird for her. But I can't wait all day, especially if I live this close. It wouldn't make sense for me to keep her waiting. But is she really even waiting on me? She could have just went to lunch with me to be nice. She's a famous model and actress now. What would she want with me?"
After keeping the mental battle going on for another minute, or five, Freddie stood up from his couch and huffed out a deep breath before finally saying, "fuck this, I'm going over there." With his wallet still in his pocket, and having put his phone back in another pocket, he grabbed his keys and backup charger before leaving. After he locked up his place, he made a run for the elevator, and while it wasn't at Usain Bolt or Speedy Gonzalez speed, it was still fast enough to make it seem like he was in a rush. At least that's how it would have looked if anyone would have saw him.
Meanwhile, in the bedroom of her own place, Apartment 607, Tasha was looking in her closet and through her dressers in search of another outfit to wear in case she and Freddie went out somewhere else. She was in the process of debating over two different pairs of shorts, when suddenly, she heard a knock at her door. Without thinking to ask who was there, she opened it, and to her surprise, Freddie was in front of her.
"Hi, Freddie," Tasha said nervously.
"Uh... hey, Tasha. Did I come at a bad time?" Freddie replied, concerned about the expression the older beauty had greeted him with.
"Oh, no, that's not it, it... it's just that I didn't think you would show up this fast."
"Well, I actually live here, up on the 8th floor, and I've been here for the past year or so. I probably would have been here sooner, but I was debating whether I should have gotten here this early. I was actually worried that I might have creeped you out."
"No, don't worry about it. It's fine, I'm fine."
"(Yes, you are.) Okay, that's good to know. So uh, is it okay if I come in?" Freddie asked after mentally reveling in Tasha's attractiveness.
"You wanna come in now?" Tasha asked, in the same nervous tone that she had when she answered the door.
"So, I take it that's a no?"
"No, no, no. I mean, yeah, it's okay if you come in. I just... I just didn't think you'd be comfortable seeing me like this." As it turned out, Tasha was only dressed in a white tank top with yellow stars printed on the front and blue lining stitched around the neck and shoulder areas, along with yellow bikini-style panties. She had changed into the tank top after coming back from Hungry's, and she had been wearing the panties under her jean shorts, and she hadn't bothered putting on any shorts or even any thin pants over them after getting out of those. What made the sight of Tasha and her current get-up even more distracting - albeit in a pleasant manner - was that the back of the tank top was tied in a knot, which allowed her slender yet sexily curvaceous waist to be shown off.
The current sight in front of him, along with the thought of what he, and many others, had saw in the last few years, didn't phase Freddie one bit. In fact, it led him to question Tasha's concerns.
"It's okay, Tasha. I mean, you're in your own place, and you were probably just relaxing or doing whatever you were doing, so technically, it isn't my business what you wear around here, especially when you're alone. It's actually kind of funny that you'd be worried about it now."
"Why is it funny?" Tasha asked with a slight laugh after giving him a confused look.
"Because it... I mean, in the last five or six years, you've been in a bunch of sexy dresses and lingerie, and in some cases, you've even been naked in magazines and on the internet for the whole world to see, but yet you're worried about me seeing you in a tank top and some Big Bird yellow panties. It's not a bad thing, but it seems weird."
After briefly looking away, Tasha looked back into the eyes of the former tech producer before saying, "well, for one thing, most of the people who see me in any pictures, with or without clothes, are random strangers who I'll either never meet or only see once or twice. Plus, being naked or in my underwear, that was a career move, but it was also a self-confidence move. And as much of a free spirit as I am, I know that it's a good idea, and good manners, to be fully dressed when company shows up. And it's kind of nerve-wracking to be this revealing in front of someone who I know and like, but haven't seen since we were teenagers."
Freddie was paying attention anyway, but the model definitely had his ears when she told him about being "revealing" in front of someone she "knew and liked". He wasn't blind to the fact that Tasha may have considered him as a friend despite their minimal interaction over the years. But he was mentally dazed by the possibility that she may have liked him in a romantic manner, or at least a sexual one, or maybe even both. He wasn't sure what it might have been, or if any of it was realistic, but it was enough to send his mind into a whirlwind.
But instead of allowing his thoughts to keep him locked down, Freddie simply responded, "well, can't argue with good manners. If you need to put something else on, then go ahead, but you don't have to do it because of me. I'm not trying to be perverted or anything, but it doesn't bother me to see you like this. Besides, this is your place, and like you said, you're free-spirited, so if this is what you're gonna do, then go ahead, but don't let me being here dictate how you act."
The free-spirited, wild side of Tasha would have just caused her to strip off the tank top and panties in front of Freddie, regardless of what he thought, which wouldn't have been out of the ordinary since she walked around her apartment in the nude often, and would do the same in her hotel rooms whenever she was out of town. But the logical side of her told her not to push her luck, despite what the designer/director/photographer had just said to her seconds ago. So with that in mind, she stayed as she was and finally led him into the living room.
"So, I gotta ask, what brought you out here to L.A.?" Tasha asked Freddie about his decision to move to Los Angeles.
"As far as work goes, it was a matter of opportunity," Freddie began in response as he sat next to the stunning woman on her couch. "I probably could have been just as successful if I had stayed in Seattle, or maybe even more successful. But I thought that I might have had a better chance to accomplish things if I moved here, and so far, it's worked out for me. On a personal level, I... I just needed a fresh start, and the chance to experience life in a new place. And even though things started improving for me once I got to Washington, it was still too much of the past hanging over my shoulders. An overprotective mom, a girl who I was insanely in love with that didn't love me as much if at all, another girl who constantly railroaded me, treated me like shit, and just generally acted like I wasn't important to her, and... just simply not having as much reliability and support as I thought I did, I just had to start over."
"I can understand that." Just as Freddie had his issues with his mother, Carly and Sam, Tasha had her own troubles to deal with. Her relationship with her parents was solid, but the few friends she had ended up going on their own separate ways after high school, and although this was normal for anyone headed into adulthood, it struck a deeper nerve within her.
And while Tasha had been lucky to find modeling and acting as her calling, it was also a lifeline of sorts, because even though she was relatively smart, college wasn't her strong suit, and she wasn't sure what she would have done had she not been able to land in front of cameras and on the covers of different magazines.
Then there was still the lingering issue of her breakup with Gibby. Although it hadn't damaged her to the point of depression, using drugs, heavy drinking or deep promiscuity, it still hurt her just the same, and it made her weary of entering into another relationship, and every so often, even as she began modeling, it put a dent in her self-esteem and even caused her to question if she was good enough, for herself or for anyone else.
But before either she or the ex-techie could dwell any further on their own issues or each other's, Freddie broke the somber silence that had began to creep into the apartment.
"Well, let me ask you something," the Seattle native began. "I know you said that you didn't really know what you would have done if you weren't modeling, but what are you into? What's something that you like doing just for fun?"
"Hmmm, actually, I really like writing and art," the model replied. "My mom's actually a professor back home, and my dad, he's a painter, and he even teaches art at the school I went to. I had even picked up painting, and I was thinking of doing that and I would use my modeling checks to pay for school. But as it turned out, modeling actually stuck, and I've been doing that and acting ever since. But sometimes, I write and paint for fun when I'm here and I have time."
"That sounds good, actually. You know, those would have been good professions to get into, Tasha. In fact, you could still do that even if you kept modeling and acting. You could show the world how talented you are. You can be more than just a pretty face and nice body."
"So, I'm just a pretty face and a nice body?" Tasha asked, pretending to be upset.
"No, not at all," Freddie replied, laughing at her display of faked anger. "I know you're more than that, and I knew that even before today. What I was trying to say is that you can shake off that perception, and you can show the world some genius and innovation."
A smile crept across Tasha's face as Freddie's words sunk in. After getting over his compliment, she said, "thanks. That was really nice of you to say."
"It wasn't just to be nice. I know it's the truth. You could really take over the world if you tried. You've probably done it already, for all we know, what with you hopping in front of cameras in all your naked glory and whatnot."
"As smart as I might be, you're the real genius and innovator between the both of us," Tasha said after laughing at Freddie's comments. "I mean, you're naturally smart, and then you're like a wizard with computers and cameras, and technology. Then not only that, you apparently know how to fix people's eyesight."
"Wait, are you talking about the 3D technology that I used on one of the webcasts?" Freddie asked, remembering that his invention cured the bilateral optic stenosis of Courtney, the daughter of his mom's therapist.
"Yeah, I am. If you wanna talk about genius and innovation, then that's where I would start."
"Well, the American Optic Association, they asked for the technology, and I had been getting compensated for it. But wait, how'd you know about it?"
"She went to my old school, where I was before I headed to UCLA," Tasha said with a hint of excitement. "She talked about it the next day, and one of my friends told me about it. The way I see it, you should be getting more than just a little bit of compensation. The Pear Company and all of the other technology brands should have been banging on your door looking for that stuff. You created something life-changing, even if it was by accident."
"I guess I'll keep that in mind if I ever create something like that again," Freddie replied. "You know, that's the first real compliment I got about that."
"I don't know how. Somebody's eyesight is perfect because of you. They should be naming a part of Ridgeway after you. At the very least, you should have had an interview on the news or something."
"Well, that's the thing, Tasha. Nobody else really saw everything that you apparently see. I wasn't this great, innovative guy that you say I am, or at least nobody thought of me that way."
"Well, they don't know who they missed out on." After a brief silence, Tasha began looking Freddie up and down again, particularly his arms and the ink that adorned the upper half of each one. Aside from obvious lust and attraction, she was legitimately drawn in by Freddie's body art, and was ready to learn more about it, and she would get the chance a lot sooner than anticipated.
"So, is there something interesting you wanna know about?" Freddie began. "I mean, it's good that you're paying attention to me, but I didn't think I was that intriguing."
"Actually, there is," Tasha replied. "Earlier, you asked me about what I like, and one of the things I said was art, and I was hoping that you would tell me about yours."
"Oh, my tattoos. Uh..."
"You don't have to tell me what they are, because I see that. I saw them at lunch. Just let me know the story behind how you got them, if you don't mind."
"Well, one of my friends and roommates at U-Dub, he was there for graphic design like I was, but not only was he good at designing things on a computer, he was actually able to draw. People found out about this, and they came to ask him to draw different things for them. And a lot of the time, when they wanted a drawing of his for a tattoo, it was because they couldn't find a design on their own, or because his art was better than what they did find. Eventually, I got interested in getting a tattoo, and once he found out, he asked me what I wanted to get, and he put it together for me. Then, last year, just before graduation rolled around, I went and got the half sleeve on my right arm."
"Well, your friend's pretty good. Did he actually tattoo you himself, or did he just give you the design?" Tasha wondered.
"He only gave me the design, but yeah, like you said, he is good," Freddie began in response. "I'll let him know that you said that the next time I talk to him."
"You do that," Tasha said jokingly. "So when did you get the stuff on your left arm?"
"I just got it a few months ago," Freddie said, referring to his half sleeve on his left arm. "It was another drawing that he did, it was a going-away present, actually. And once I found the right artist, I finally got it on my skin."
"Yeah, well, I didn't say it at lunch time, but it all looks really great on you." When Freddie looked at Tasha after she told him this, he noticed that not only had she smiled at him, but how she had done it, using the lustful expression she often flashed during some of her photoshoots instead of a simple, polite version. But rather than making anything of it, he decided to ask about the small piece of body art that Tasha possessed herself.
"Thanks, I appreciate it. Now that I think about it, isn't there a tattoo on the back of your leg?" Freddie asked, remembering the small square-shaped design on her left ankle.
"You actually noticed that?" Tasha asked, slightly surprised that he had recognized it, partly because of how small it was and where it was placed, and also because most of her pictures gave people reasons to stay focused on more intriguing parts of her body that were... a little further up.
"Yeah, I did notice it. So, you mind telling me about it?"
"Okay, sure. This is actually a window, and the thing that inspired me to get it was a bunch of different artwork that I have a collage of, and it reminded me of home and all of the different things that I like and are important to me. It might not be the most jaw-dropping tattoo in the world, but it means a lot in my life."
"I understand that. But that tattoo actually is pretty cool. And I should say that regardless of what that tattoo is like, there's plenty about you that's jaw-dropping."
"Thank you, Freddie," Tasha replied happily.
Before either of them had recognized it, hours had passed, late afternoon had become evening, and now Freddie found himself in Tasha's apartment at just a few minutes before midnight. They had paused their conversation long enough for her to order some pizza from Pizza Shack, a task that went from simple to interesting when the delivery man, who was just slightly younger than her and Freddie, had found out that the model was the one who placed the order. Freddie had insisted that he could have paid for the pizza, or at least answered the door when it arrived. But Tasha refused both offers, noting that Freddie had paid for their food at Hungry's, and that the guy who delivered the pizza "would have been just as starstruck if he saw the former tech producer of 'iCarly' standing in front of him."
Like their lunch date/meeting at Hungry's, Freddie and Tasha had traded stories about what had gone on in their lives since the last time they saw each other before today. But the biggest conversation they would have hadn't happened, yet, but that would soon change in a matter of seconds.
"Just in case I didn't tell you this earlier, I really had fun spending time with you today," Tasha said.
"I think you did, but still, thanks anyway," Freddie replied. "I had fun with you too."
"That's good. Uh, listen, are you doing anything this weekend, or next week for that matter?"
"Actually, I'm gonna have some time off from work starting on Friday, and I don't have to be back until the Monday after next. Why, what's up?"
"Well, I was actually asking for a couple of reasons," Tasha said somewhat nervously. "First, I know that I've been away from home working on different things for the past few weeks, and I know you're pretty busy with what you do every day at Hi-Def Vision. But if you were up for it, I was wondering if we could work on a photoshoot together."
"Wait, you wanna do a photoshoot? With me?" Freddie asked in surprise after taking a chance to let the request sink in.
"What's wrong, do you not wanna do it?"
"No, nothing's wrong. I would actually love to do it. But are you sure that you wanna do a shoot where I'm the only other person involved?"
"Why not? I know what you could do, and what you have done. And we've done pretty good by ourselves, but if we worked with each other, it could be a really big deal. Me and you, we could break the internet together."
"I appreciate the vote of confidence, Tasha, but you could break the internet by yourself," Freddie said after laughing at Tasha's last statement. "In fact, I think you've done it at least a few times already."
"Well, that might be true, but just think of how big of a deal it would be if people knew that I was working and hanging out with the Freddie Benson. That could benefit the both of us for the rest of our lives."
"Well, since you asked so nicely, I'll do it," Freddie said jokingly, although he was serious about accepting Tasha's first offer. "Now, what was the other thing you wanted to talk about?"
"This next thing I wanted to talk about, or rather ask about, it's actually personal, and it's way more important than a photoshoot. I know that you said that you would be off for a while as of Friday, and it's been fun hanging out with you today. So I was hoping that at some point, we could hang out again... and maybe even go on a date."
"You're asking me out?" Freddie asked, both happy and caught off-guard at Tasha's request.
"Yeah, I am," Tasha answered, relieved that she took the step to ask him out, but still nervous that he hadn't said yes just yet. "I know that it's supposedly the guy's responsibility to ask for a date, but I'm not the kind of woman who waits on and expects him to do everything. And even if I was, you've proven already that you're worth breaking the rules for. Not just now, but even before today."
"It's okay, Tasha. I know what you're getting at, and I can respect it. But anyway, to give you an answer, yeah, we can go out again soon."
"Thanks, I really appreciate it."
"That's good." After he checked the time on his watch, Freddie knew that it was time to go because he still had to work on Tuesday. "I'm looking forward to our potential date, whenever it comes around. But right now, there's another date that I gotta go on, and it's with Lady Mattress."
"Alright then. I'll see you later. Good night," Tasha said after laughing.
"Night, Tasha." As Freddie was walking out of Tasha's place to go back to his own, he returned the hug goodbye that she gave him as he was leaving. But just before they completely separated, Freddie went to kiss her, and while it was only on the cheek like her kiss before they left Hungry's, it left an impression on her, not only because of her smiling as he walked away for good, but also because of what she said after she went back in her apartment.
"I like him. I like Freddie Benson."
He might not know it yet, but Freddie has a chance to live up to the title of this fic. If nothing else, he'll get to be directly involved with Tasha in another Internet break. But anyway, if you could kindly do me a favor, please scroll down and break the review box. Until next chapter, be good, stay safe, and keep the camera on when you're filming moldy bread. You never know when it might save you from an unnecessary fight. I'm out!