The air is hot and thickened from hard, rasping breaths and movement and that coupled with the way your tee shirt is sticking to your back and your heavy hair is clinging to your neck, from sweat, makes it hard to breathe, to even get the zipper on your shorts up and Carly's dark eyes on you aren't really helping matters.

"Sam." If Carly wasn't the only person closed up in her bedroom with you, you wouldn't have recognized her soft voice, not with so much emotion wrapped around the three letters of your name.

You don't turn around because there's nothing she can say and nothing you can hear that can explain what the hell just happened. The reason the blankets on Carly's bed are tangled and mussed and your lips are raw and swollen in that way that only comes from kissing.

"Sam." Carly says your name harder now, like she's throwing it at you and you flinch a little, the entire time cursing your shaking hands that have no problem tying Freddie's shoe laces together but at the moment don't have the dexterity to put a plastic button in a button hole.

"I have to go home." You rasp, licking your lips as the aggravating button finally slips into place and your slipping on your left sneaker, eyes scanning the carpet for your right when Carly grabs you, scrambling over the mattress and hooking her hand around the back of your neck. "Carly."

And Carly is the only thing you can see, her pink lips naked because her lip gloss is smeared on your mouth, the underside of your jaw and down your neck and God, she's beautiful.

"Sam, just stay." She argues, her fingers curling in the hair at the nape of your neck. " Just stay so we can talk. Spend the night. One of us can sleep on the couch." and it's logical and makes perfect sense but your brain can't really appreciate commonsense at the moment, especially when its still focused on how Carly's hands felt crawling under the back of your tee shirt.

"Carly…" You swallow but you pause because you don't know if you want to apologize or thank her, can't decide if that knotting, painful, nauseous feeling is good or bad.

She cuts you off, forehead creasing with a frown. "You know how I feel about you Sam."

And you do.

You remember when she told you, braver than anything while she whispered the words and since then her confession had been an elephant in the room until apparently it was too much and led to almost sex in the bed you've shared with Carly more often than not since you were kids.

"I have to go." Is all you say just as you thankfully spot your colorful high top peeking from under the bed and you lean down to snag it and drag it on before standing but before you can reach the door Carly is grabbing you, her hand on your waist absolutely scorching.

She's turning you around and you couldn't fight her if you tried because your arms feel numb and tingly, like they were asleep and her hands are in your hair and hauling you close to her.

Carly's taller than you by just a little and she has to tip her chin down to kiss you and even though at 17 years old you've kissed your fair share of people, kissing Carly is different.

It's burning and intense and makes you just want to cling to her and that's scary.

You pull away from her just as her tongue slides across your bottom lip, the contact like an electric shock that sets you into action.

"I'm sorry." You croak and then your out of the room that is scented with you and Carly and forbidden things.

"Everything's gonna be wonderful now, Sam."

You squeeze your eyes tight, as tight as you can and fist your hands against the table top because this isn't happening. You don't want this to happen.

You'd been so preoccupied with Carly in your head and the hickey on your neck that you hadn't even realized how weird it was that your mom was home and awake in the middle of a Wednesday afternoon but now you notice.

Today has to be the strangest day of your life.

You count to ten because its what you do when your having a nightmare.

You close your eyes in the dream and count to ten and when you open them again your usually staring up at your ceiling with the green glowing stars and planets that Carly helped you stick onto your roof so long ago but it doesn't work this time because when you look up your mom is still standing in the kitchen with her arms around Steve, her new fiancé with the heavy hands.

"That's right Sam, we're all gonna be one happy family." He adds and you blink at him and try to swallow the bile making its way up your throat. You don't need a new daddy, you don't want one.

Yeah, your Dad died but that doesn't mean you don't have one. It doesn't mean you want this guy to be your new one.

This guy with his rough skin and broad shoulders, light hair and square face. This guy who doesn't want to know you so much as get in your mother's pants.

You hate Steve. From the top of his badly died head to the hair on his feet. You know he's dirt and scum and you don't like the way he looks at you. Your mom deserves better.

"You don't have to call me daddy or anything." Steve adds with a laugh, his arms still wrapped around your mom and you swallow weakly.

"Isn't this wonderful, Sam?" Your mom breathes, watching you with that look in her brown eyes that's pleading and begging just for you to give her this because she thinks this will make her feel better.

You know a crummy old ring isn't gonna make her happy but you pull a tight smile anyway.

"Yeah, its, uh, it's great." You say through your teeth and even though its obvious that your lying, that inside of your head you're screaming and crying and cursing, your mom lets out a soft, relived, laugh and presses her face into Steve's shoulder.

"I'm going to bed." You exhale, standing but leaning on the table because your knees feel all wobbly.

"Don't sleep too late because I'm fixing a big dinner." Your mom giggles with excitement and you nod because you know that your mom never cooks and you know that when you wake up from climb back through your window tonight, no one will either know or care that you left and there will be empty take out containers on the kitchen countertops.

"Okay," You mutter heading through the cluttered living room to your room and you might actually sleep instead of sneaking out because your head hurts from the way your mind is whirling.

And even though you know Steve is just like, maybe even worse, than all of those other guys but you turn and say "Congratulations mom." Because you like it when she smiles.

Your room seems smaller now.

You can remember being younger and thinking that your room was so big and wide and that you'd need more than just the lone 'Hang in there, baby!' poster hanging on the back of your door and you stare at the kitten clutching the wire with such desperation and it seems really fitting. It always has been actually.

Now the room seems so small, like its closing in on you.

It's late, the sun dropping out of the sky a long time ago while you were asleep and now in the half darkness you hear the tell tale clink of glass.

Of course they're drinking. It's a celebration.

You tap your fingertips against the cell phone resting on your stomach absently.

You're going to call Carly because she's Carly and your terribly weak willed when it comes to her and you really just want to hear her voice if nothing else. You pick up your phone, getting ready to dial Carly's number when your mother calls you and you go because if you don't she'll barge into your room, your space, reeking of alcohol and its just easier if you go.

"What's up, Mom?" you breathe walking into the dining room, brushing past the case of fancy dishes that you don't even have a use for.

"We're celebrating, Sammy." She laughs and you watch the clear alcohol glug cheerily into the short glass and the sight and smell are enough to turn your stomach. "Come and celebrate with us."

You glance at Steve, who is watching you over the rim of his glass, seated beside your mother at the table. His gaze makes you uncomfortable and cold and you look back at your mother, her blonde hair falling into her eyes and her hazel eyes glassy.

"I'm really tired, mom." You try and she just laughs and you hate it when she does that. When she laughs to cover the emotion in your words like its not even there.

"Come on over here, Sam." Steve says lowly and you frown, shaking your head and dropping your chin but your mom is grinning like a fool, such a fool, and shoving you towards him and then Steve's hands are pulling you towards him too. "Have a seat." He smiles slowly, slapping his knee in invitation and the only thing that keeps you from vomiting on him is some higher power.

"No way." You bite out, jerking backwards but then he's up, his chair shooting backwards behind him and Steve is snatching you up with a chuckle because laughter makes everything okay, a joke, and your mother is laughing too but your not.

Steve smells like smoke and alcohol and you wince as he twists his fists in your shirt to keep you still but your fighting even though he's stronger than you.

"Look at you girly…" he breathes right in your face and your surprised that the alcohol on his breath doesn't burn your eyebrows off.

"She's pretty just like her mom, huh?" You hear your mom say and you grit your teeth and pull backwards but Steve moves easily with you, laughing.

"Sure is." He sighs, gazing at you with a faint smile and that's not true because you look nothing like your mother save for the twirls of blond hair you inherited from her but the blue eyes and the smirk are all your dad's, your real dad's, and if anyone cared they'd notice. "You're beautiful, Sammy." He says while he drags his fingers across your lips and you jerk back, dragging your sleeve across your mouth.

"Get off of me." You spit and you need to get out of here.

Steve falls back into his chair, grabbing his drink and chuckling with your mom and you hate him. You hate him.

"Sam, don't be that way." Your mom chastises and you frown at her in disbelief.

"Tell your fiancé to keep his paws off of me." You throw back and your mom's eyes widen in warning but stupid Steve just laughs some more.

"Yeah, that's no way to treat your new daddy." He grins up at you and you choke on the urge to punch him in the face. You just need to leave.

"I'm outta here."you rasp, walking into the living room and snaggingyour book bag and instead of warning you that its late, or telling you to be safe or flat out telling you not to go, your mom gives you a sloppy grin and a wave.

"Tell her I said hello, Sam. That Carly's such a good girl."

You don't even bother to close the door when you leave.

"Sam…" Carly breathes like she's relieved and not at all surprised to see you leaning oh so casually against the door jam at 12am and maybe she is because honestly, your relieved to see her. "It's so late. What're you doing here?"

"What? We make out and grope a little one time and all of a sudden I'm not aloud to come over whenever I feel like it?" You wonder, slipping into the loft and you really love this apartment because everything is wide open spaces and bright lights and colors and nothing like your house with the tightly closed doors and darkness leaking from the corners of every room.

"About that…" Carly start and you cut her off with a shake of your head and a raised hand as you drop onto the couch.

"I don't want to talk about that right now." You sigh, burying your face in your hands as she drops down carefully beside you on the couch.

Weary because she knows something's wrong.

"Oh." She exhales as you breathe through your fingers. "Then why're you here?"

You lift your head tiredly, rubbing your eyes, "My mom is engaged to Steve."

Carly's head whips towards you, her eyes darting down to your upper arm where you once had Steve's heavy hand imprinted and you know that Carly understands.

"What?" She exhales in utter disbelief and you laugh a little bit to ease the tightness.

"My mom is marrying Steve." You say again carefully and Carly sighs sharply.

"But Steve is such a…a…" She trails off, propriety taking over for a moment and you look at her with a grin.

"C'mon. Let it out." You say with a wave of your hand.

"A doof butt." Carly declares and you give her a proud smirk.

"There ya go."

You burry your face back in your hands and you flinch a little when Carly scoots closer, mostly because you have self restraint issues when Carly gets too close.

You lift your head to peak at her and she's staring at her hands with her hair sliding into her face and in pale blue pajamas and geez, she's pretty.

"You look really hot at 12 in the morning by the way." You murmur and Carly looks at you with a soft smile.

"Thanks." She murmurs, moving closer again, a hand coming up to rest on the back of your forward bent neck. "I hate Steve." She whispers, resting her chin on your shoulder and you nod.

"You and me both."