"Danny," Sam said firmly. "Take off this stupid blindfold and tell me where we're going."
Danny chuckled, putting his hands on her shoulders to lead her up the front steps of her mansion. "I'm sorry," he laughed. "I can't do that." He opened the front door, pushing it open and escorting her inside.
"Can't I get a little hint about what's going on?" she asked as Tucker, who had been sitting on the couch, gave Danny a wink and quietly flew up the stairs.
"Hmm," he sighed, putting a hand on the small of her back. "Careful- stairs. Okay, it's someplace very familiar."
"School?" she guessed, her hands held out in front of her. "Your house?"
"No guessing," he scolded. "I refuse to ruin it for you."
Sam sighed, holding onto his arm as they made their way up the steps. Danny grinned and pulled her along gently, towards the nursery. "Okay," he announced, stopping her in front of the door. "You ready?"
"Are you sure?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Yes, Danny, I'm-" she broke off, reaching up and pulling off the blindfold. He watched with amusement as she blinked at the door before pushing it open.
"Surprise!" Tucker, who'd been standing in the middle of the room, shouted. Sam's face was struck with shock as she noticed that the nursery had been completely painted. All of the decorations she'd picked out and ordered had been set up, and the crib had been completely assembled. A toy box that had been pushed into the corner of the room was overflowing with toys, stuffed animals and plastic blocks spilling onto the floor.
"Oh, my God, you guys," Sam breathed, pulling away from Danny. "It looks amazing!" She shuffled into the room, her eyes wide and her mouth open. "When did you guys have time to do this?"
"I did the painting while you and Danny were in New York," Tucker said, stepping back so she could see everything.
"And I just opened up all the boxes the maids brought up here and put it all in place," Danny finished, shoving his hands in his pockets and leaning against the door frame. "It really wasn't that big of a deal."
"God, you guys, thanks!" Sam exclaimed, hugging Tucker and then Danny. "This is awesome."
"That's not all," the halfa said, sauntering into the room and throwing his arm around Tucker's shoulder. "Tuck got a hold of the newest version of Dark Assault, and I've got two vegetarian pizzas that will be here in half an hour."
"Why are you two doing this all for me?" she asked, not able to fight the smile that refused to leave her face. "It's definitely not my birthday."
"We know it's been really stressful-" Tucker began.
"What with Greg, and almost losing Caleb-"
"And we wanted you to have one stress-free night." The technology obsessed boy grinned. "So we figured that pizza and kicking our butts at video games counts as stress-free."
"Hey, hey, hey!" Danny interrupted. "Just because this night's supposed to be relaxing, that doesn't mean that I'm going to let you win so easily. I will have you know that I have never been beaten at this game, and I don't intend on starting tonight."
"Well, then," Sam said, folding her arms over her chest. "Tuck, I think I've just been challenged. What about you?"
Tucker stepped back. "Sorry, dude. You're my best friend and all, but when it comes to Dark Assault, I'm going to have to side with the chick."
"Ah. My apologies." He began to rephrase. "You're my best friend and all, but when it comes to Dark Assault, I'm going to have to side with Sam, the beautiful, intelligent, and independent woman."
"Much better," she sniffed, putting a hand on her hip.
"Okay," Danny said, striding out of the room. "Go with the beautiful, intelligent, and independent woman. But remember, Tuck, who got your Gameboy back from Dash after he stole it in fifth grade."
"Yeah," Tucker yelled back, after Danny had disappeared downstairs. "After he pummeled you and stuffed it in your pants!"
They all eventually ended up in the Manson's home theater, the boys taking turns trying to beat Sam. So far, Danny had come close twice, but Tucker had been beaten every time. Sam hadn't stopped smiling since they'd started, and Danny couldn't keep his eyes off of her.
"Alright, dude," Tucker said, handing the wireless controller to his friend. "Your turn to get your butt kicked."
"Nope," Danny said, wiping his hands on his jeans before taking it. "I'm gonna win this time. I can feel it."
"Psh." Sam shook her head, starting a new game and choosing her character. "The only thing you're going to be feeling are the bruises I leave up and down your body?"
"Tuck, is it normal for expecting mothers to be so scarily competitive?" Danny asked as he picked the location of their "battle."
"Nah, man." Tucker sighed. "I think it's just Sam."
And so it began. Danny, after a few minutes, got the first kill, but Sam caught up with him almost immediately. Then, after pushing him off of the edge of the "battle arena," she took the lead. Just when he was about to make another kill, his phone began to ring.
"Tuck!" he exclaimed as he dodged one of Sam's blows. "Get my phone! In my jacket pocket!"
Tucker pulled himself out of his chair, leaning over the back of Danny's to reach get his phone out of the pocket. "Fenton's Phone," he said when he answered it. "What's up? Yes. Oh. No, it's alright, I'll get it. Okay. Goodbye."
"What's going on?" Sam asked, looking briefly at Tucker before swinging the sword her character held at Danny's. He quickly dodged, giving a girlish squeak before attacking Sam with some power-based blade.
"The pizza guy got lost. He can't find the house."
"Yeah, so I'm just gonna go run and get the pizzas real quick."
Danny paused the game, just as Sam had him in a lethal position. "I'll do it. Here- take over for me."
"Nah, don't worry about it." Tucker said, shrugging. "You're in the middle of a game, and this one's actually going pretty good for you. Don't kill the opportunity."
"Are you sure?" the halfa asked. "I can always beat Sam when you get back."
"Yeah, it's no problem. Just beat her winning streak." He winked quickly, making sure that Sam wasn't watching, and ducked out of the room.
Danny quickly pressed 'start,' and the game continued. He quickly rolled away from Sam's sword and tripped her, aiming a blow at her torso. Her health slowly dimmed until Danny had another kill, and they were tied.
"Okay, Fenton," she sighed, waiting for the clock to count down. "You want to make a bet of this?"
"Bring it on." he challenged. "Your butt is so mine."
"Okay. I win, and you're eating salads with me for a week." She raised her eyebrows, knowing his aversion of green foods.
"Not gonna happen," He thought for a minute, watching her expectant face and then looking back at the screen. "If I win," Glancing at her, he smiled faintly. "I want another kiss."
Sam swallowed and looked down at her lap. Danny worried that he'd upset her before she looked up at him, fire in her eyes. "You're on. Get ready to stuff your face, Fenton."
He grinned, and it began. Sam started out out strong, using a bunch of combinations to wipe out half of his health. Once Danny used a power-up, though, her defense started to crumble, and he got a lead, leaving her with naught but four bars of health to fight with. She quickly struck back with a magic attack, and they were dead even, fighting tooth and nail to the death.
Finally, Sam had him on the edge of the arena, and her sword flew across to push him, but he ducked down, rolling away and kicking her over the edge. He actually won.
"Yes!" Danny shouted, jumping out of his seat with enthusiasm. "I won! Heck, yes!"
"Are you kidding me?" Sam screamed, smacking her hand to her forehead. "That was cheating!"
"No it wasn't! I beat you fair-in-square and you know it!"
"I call rematch!" she protested, standing up and crossing her arms over her chest like a ten-year-old.
"No way, Sam. I won. Pay up." He smiled, but on the inside, his stomach was doing flips. He'd actually won. As soon as he'd made the bet, he finally won.
"Fine. You sore winner." She dropped the controller in the chair, stepped up to him, and leaned in to kiss him.
But Danny turned his face at the last minute, and her lips landed on his cheek.
Sam stepped back, blinking. Her eyebrows wrinkled in confusion, and her head tilted in a way that was almost comical. "Why'd you do that? I thought you wanted me to kiss you."
"I do, Sam, but don't you get it?" He put his hands on her shoulders, making sure that she was looking him in the eye. "I don't want to have to win your kisses by beating you at a video game. I'm not Greg- I don't want to make you do something you don't want to do." He swallowed and smiled at her, amazed to see tears glittering in her lilac orbs. "I want to give you the choice."
"The choice?" she asked, her voice soft. "Why?"
"Because I care about you, Sam. I want you to be happy, and if that includes us being together, that's awesome. But if you'd rather stick it out on your own, do it. Be happy." He brushed a piece of hair out of her face.
"But, Danny..." she whispered, her voice shaking. "You deserve better."
Her eyes widened, and her jaw dropped open.
"Sam, when are you going to get it through your pretty little head that there's nothing better than you? I don't care if you've convinced yourself that you don't deserve to be loved just because of what Greg did." Danny could barely believe that the words coming out of his mouth were his own. These were the things he'd only dreamed of telling her. "I love you. And that's not going to change any time soon. So do what you want to do, Sam. It's up to you."
She didn't hesitate. She grabbed two fist-fulls of his shirt and pulled him down, pressing her lips firmly to his.
So ends part one. Everybody cheer! I don't know when I'll be able to start on part two, but I promise I'll be working on it. I just wanted to wrap up the month of February before moving on to bigger things. I know there are still questions about the necklace and the tape, but I assure you that those will be answered later on.
Love you all! Curiosity.