I'm still alive but I'm barely breathing, just prayin' to a god that I don't believe in
Your mom calls out for you from the front door, and you feel your stomach jolt because something must be terribly wrong for her to be saying those words.
"Fredward! Samantha Puckett is here to see you!"
You get up from your desk cautiously and wander towards your living room, wondering what you must have done this time to make Sam show up at your apartment so late at night when she wasn't even at school today. But when you see her grey face and the way she's shakily standing there with a bloodstain on her jeans, you realise you're not the one in trouble.
"Sam? What happened?" you gasp, dashing over to her side and grabbing her shoulders, looking her over for any injuries.
She smells like disinfectant and body odour and spaghetti sauce, and she stares into space for a moment before looking at you detachedly. "Can I use your bathroom?"
"What?" you're taken aback for a moment, thinking that this might be one of her mind tricks she's playing on you, but her cheeks aren't glowing and her eyes aren't sparkling like they usually do.
"I need to shower," she states unemotionally, before adding as an afterthought "and pee."
"Oh-kaaay," you drawl uncertainly, not really understanding what she's on about, but willing to go with it for now. "Um, come in."
You stand aside but she doesn't move, so you have to take her wrist and guide her through the door before shutting it behind you. Your mother is hovering in the kitchen, looking as concerned as you feel. "Mom, can Sam use our shower?" you pretend like you don't know she's been eavesdropping on every word.
She bites her lip, but even she knows that this isn't a prank, that there is something seriously wrong with Sam. "Of course, dear. Is there anything else I can get you?"
"No thank you, Mrs. Benson," Sam replies quietly, and you nearly choke at her politeness. "I'll just… go."
And she glides down the hall without making a sound. You exchange worried glances with your mom, before creeping over to the bathroom door and waiting while she goes back to her stories.
Nothing. Sam's been in there five minutes and you haven't heard a sound. But the minute you tap on the door you hear the shower burst into life, and you don't know why, but you heave a sigh of relief. But you wait another minute and you notice you haven't heard the crinkling of the shower curtain to indicate that she's gotten in. You tap on the door again, this time calling out.
"Sam? You alright in there?"
When she doesn't say anything your heart beat quickens and you find yourself panicking. You tap louder, more frantic this time, and raise your voice.
"Puckett! Answer me!" you rattle the door handle and find she didn't even lock it. You gulp and take a deep breath before slowly entering, slipping on the slick tiles covered in water.
Sam is in the shower alright, but she didn't undress or draw the curtain, the spray is going everywhere. You shut the door quickly before your mom gets suspicious, before turning on her angrily.
"What the hell, Sam?" you hiss, but she just stares at you vacantly and you're panicking all over again. "Sam?"
"I don't… I can't… I…" she stutters, going from seeming totally impassive to suddenly desperate. "I need to wash my hair!"
"Here," you reach out unsurely, tugging on the zip of her jumper. "You need to take off your clothes first."
She nods, but doesn't make a move to do anything of the sort. Her face has turned back into a sickly, unresponsive mask. You've gotten her jumper off of her shoulders, but the rest of her wet clothes are clinging to her body just a little too tightly for you to be comfortable with and you know she'll probably break your nose if you try to go any further.
"Sam," you state sensibly. "I'm going to take of your t-shirt now, kay?"
She sighs, and lifts up her arms like a child. You take a deep breath and grasp the hem of her shirt lightly, pulling it over her head and forcefully ignoring how much you enjoy the feeling of your fingers on her bare torso.
"And your shoes," you say next, bending down and pulling off her flip flops.
"Shorts," you whisper quietly, and almost want her to deck you when you hook your thumbs into her waistband and slide them over her hips and down her legs.
But this point you're soaked through as well, and you groan as you notice the colours in your shirt have run. But then again, the most beautiful girl you've ever seen, wanted, kissed is standing in your shower just in her bra and panties, and you can't believe you're worried about the colourfastness of your pyjamas.
You pull your ruined shirt off over your head and step into the shower next to her, pulling out the shampoo. "Can you do this by yourself?"
She looks at the red bottle, then at you, then back to the bottle. That's it.
You sigh, and squeeze out half the bottle on top of her head, before turning her around and tilting up her chin so she doesn't get any in her eyes. In all your wildest fantasies about getting to touch Sam Puckett's hair without getting an Indian burn, you never would have expected to be washing it in your shower while she's having an emotional breakdown. You lather the foam through her curls, making sure that it reaches the whole length of her hair. Then you cup your hand over her forehead to make sure that it doesn't get it her face as you rinse it out.
The strawberry bubbles pool at your feet and trickle down the drain, and she still hasn't said a word. You reach around her to turn off the faucet, and you pretend not to notice the goosebumps that spring up on her arms as your slippery skin grazes across her. The flow of water dribbles to a halt, but you just stand there staring at each other, dripping, until the silence is suffocating.
"Are you going to tell me what's going on?" you sigh, rubbing the back of your neck awkwardly and looking anywhere but her.
She shakes her head and you impulsively roll your eyes, but you regret it when you see her forehead crumple in consternation. So instead of arguing you climb out of the shower and throw a fluffy towel around your shoulders, before grabbing another and doing the same for her. You start drying her hair when she opens her mouth.
"My mom died today."
You know your jaw goes slack and your eyes widen, but all you can feel is an explosion in the back of your mind that creeps around your brain until everything else is just numb.
"I was eating breakfast this morning and she just stumbles out of her room, lights up a cigarette like normal, and the next thing I know she's on the ground coughing up blood and I'm screaming into the phone at a 911 operator," her voice is barely above a whisper but you're clinging onto every word.
"Oh my god, Sam," you breath through your teeth, and you're not really sure what else to say.
"Yeah," she jerks up her arm in what your sure was meant to be an indifferent shrug.
You take a moment to toss up the pros and cons of hugging her before you throw your arms around her neck, figuring that she needs the comfort more than you need to avoid a wedgie. She tenses at your touch for a split second before melting into your embrace, resting her forehead on your collarbone and resting her arms on your chest.
"Do you want me to go and get Carly?" you whisper uncertainly.
"No!" she shrieks and pulls away suddenly. "No, don't tell Carly!"
"Sam, your mom… Carly's going to find out sooner or later," you're startled at her sudden outburst.
"Then please let it be later, Freddie, please," she's never begged you for anything in her life and it's scaring you.
"Why? Why are you here and not at her place? Sam, I don't understand," you shake your head to clear your mind, but it's filling up so fast you don't have time to clean some space.
"Carly would freak and push and see right through me. She'd be so overbearingly sympathetic I wouldn't be able to stand it," Sam backs away from you and leans on the basin. "I needed solid ground, someone neutral, someone rational. I needed you."
"You… what?" her revelation hits you and you're left reeling.
"Freddie, she was my mom, oh god, she wasn't the best mother, but she was mine, my mommy," Sam's shoulders start shaking and you think she's going to break altogether this time.
Her knees buckle but you grab her before she falls to the ground. She collapses into you, for a skinny girl she's quite heavy and you almost drop her. You sink to the floor together, her towels fallen off and she's sobbing so hard all you can do is hold her as tight as you can as she screams into your chest.
By this time your mom has been pulled away from the television and has burst into the bathroom to see what all the commotion is, and she gasps at the sight of the two of you on the wet tiles with the whole bathroom absolutely drenched and probably filling with germs by the second, but at the moment she's more concerned with the distraught girl in her son's arms.
"Go, Mom! Leave! Go away!" you hear your voice ring in your ears as you yell at her, and for once she listens to you and gets the hell out.
Sam's saliva and tears are creating a slimy glaze on your chest, her fingernails claw at your skin, but you suck up the stinging and pull her closer, stroking her damp head and rocking her from side to side, waiting for her to calm down.
"Sam?" an anxious female voice cries from a distance, and you hear the girl in question inhale sharply.
"Carly," she croaks, shaking her head frenetically, and you understand.
You release her for a moment, rushing over to the open bathroom door and slamming it shut just as Carly's worried face appears at the end of the hall, twisting the lock and taking a step backwards. Her cry of protest is harsh and contemptuous, and you fleetingly get why Sam didn't want to see her first.
"Freddie! What the hell? Your mom came raging over to my apartment with some story that Sam's having a psychotic episode, is that true? Is she in there? Sam!" the doorknob jiggles but you just turn around and sit beside Sam again, pulling her into your lap as she curls into you.
"Hold on a second, Carly," you call, pulling some of Sam's brittle drying hair out of her face and leaning over to whisper in her ear "should I tell her?"
"No I will not hold on! Where's Sam? Is she okay?" Carly's voice is tinged with resentment as Sam slowly nods. "Open this door, Fredward Benson, or so help me god I will…"
"Shut up, Carly, I need you to promise to stay calm," you begin as you see Sam bite her lip so hard it starts to bleed, tears still rolling down her cheeks.
"Why the hell do I need to stay calm? Oh god, what's wrong with Sam? Freddie, please, open the door!" Carly is pounding on the wood but you don't move an inch.
"Carly, you can keep it up all you want, but you'll be there the whole night because I can't say anything until you promise not to freak out," you know that Carly's mothering it the last thing Sam wants right now.
"Okay, I promise," Carly shouts, sounding the exact opposite of 'not freaked out'.
"Carly, seriously, Sam's not hurt or anything, just chill," you sigh.
You can practically see her grinding her teeth in frustration from the other side of the door. "Okay, Freddie, one question at a time. Sam's in there, isn't she?"
"Why isn't she talking to me?"
"I don't think she wants to right now."
"Her mom…" you swallow down the lump in your throat "died this morning."
You hear Carly gasp as Sam squeezes her eyes tightly shut and her mouth lengthens into a grimace of agony. Her hands tighten around your wrist and you have to hold back a yelp of pain.
"God, Sam, please let me in!" Carly starts banging on the door again. "That's why you weren't at school? What happened?"
"Sam?" you press, but she only shakes her head again, but she sits up by herself, a string of drool stretching from your sternum to the corner of her mouth, and she wipes it away with the back of her hand in embarrassment.
You just chuckle a little and pull your towel from around your neck, wiping your chest first and then dabbing at sticky tears on her face.
"I slobbered on you. Gross," she mutters, pulling her knees into her chest. "Sorry."
"Don't worry about it," you smile unevenly at her.
"Sam!" Carly's heard her voice and she wants answers you don't think Sam's prepared to give. "Sam, c'mon, talk to me. What happened to your mom?"
"You don't have to tell us if you don't want to," you counteract, throwing an involuntary glare at the bathroom door, well aware that the person it's intended for can't see you.
"No, I want to, you guys are my best friends," Sam coughs to clear her throat. "It was just really weird, you know, like an out of body experience. I was there, but I really wasn't. Mom was seizing and stuff, then the ambulance arrived, I got to ride in it, which was pretty cool, I guess. They took her straight into surgery when we got there. I sat in a plastic chair for hours, and one of the nurses brought me some food, but I wasn't hungry for once in my life, go figure."
Her face is expressionless, but you can see the lines of anguish and fear that crease around her eyes with every word.
"Then what?" Carly prompts, her voice thick and tremoring.
"Carly, just give her some space, okay?" you snap, reaching out and grabbing Sam's hand, squeezing it reassuringly.
"I'm behind a locked door, Freddie, how much more space do you want me to give her?" comes her tart reply.
"Guys, stop, it's fine," Sam cuts in, staring at your intertwined fingers blankly. "So yeah, basically the doctor comes out after I've been waiting for ages and ages, and tells me Mom had a pulmonary something or other which caused her heart to fail. The doctor said they did everything they could, blah-di-blah-blah, but I just threw my lunch tray at him and took off to come here."
"Sam, I'm so sorry," Carly whimpers from outside, and you can tell she's crying now too. "Come on out of there so I can give you a hug."
You look at Sam's face as she stares at the door contemplatively, before shaking her head and crawling over to you, snaking her arms around your waist and resting her head on your shoulder.
"I'm actually pretty good in here, thanks," she answers, it's the first time she's ever picked you over Carly and words can't describe how amazing it feels.
"What?" Carly explodes. "Well then let me in, Sam, I want to help you!"
"Carly, I just… can't right now," Sam retorts shakily, the corners of her mouth turning upwards as you return the gesture.
"Freddie?" Carly pleads with you, but you're far too occupied with the blonde flyaway hairs that are pleasantly tickling your chin to pay her any attention.
"Sam will come out when she's ready," is the only thing you say.
"Okay, fine," Carly huffs. "What do you want me to do, go wait in the living room and watch Days Of Our Lives with Mrs. Benson?"
"Do whatever the hell you want, Carly," you scoff. "I know you want to help Sam, but you're not going to achieve anything by standing there being sarcastic. Why don't you make yourself useful and go to Sam's house to get her some clean clothes and a packet of beef jerky?"
"Why don't I… Freddie!" Carly exclaims, insulted, but she can't think of a comeback and you hear her stomping away, muttering some choice phrases under her breath.
"Thank you Freddie," Sam breathes into you. "Thank you so much for everything."
"You're welcome," you shrug, kissing her forehead before releasing her and making a move to stand up, pins and needles shooting up your leg that has fallen asleep as she reaches out for you.
"Please don't go," she links her index finger with your pinky and you just can't break away, even if you wanted to.
You don't ask why she would rather stay here where you're wet and freezing and probably covered in germs that will require an intensive disinfectant scrub to satisfy your mother later, instead of going somewhere warm and dry and familiar like Carly's. But she's Sam Puckett and she's always been unconventional. She pulls the soggy towel around her body and leans into you as you wait for someone else to try and coax her out. You let her fend off Carly and Spencer and your mom but you don't even try to leave her, because she needed you. You fall asleep with her on the cold bathroom floor, but the sore neck and the cold you catch are worth it when you realise you could get used the feeling of waking up beside her.
They say bad things happen for a reason, but no wise words are gonna stop the bleeding
Got this idea listening to Breakeven by The Script. It pretty much has nothing to do with the song, if you think about it. Meh. What did you think? Plz review my first iCarly yaaay!