Carly knows that it should be weird.
That weird would be the totally adequate morning after response to fumbling, awkward almost drunken sex at a hormone filled high school party.
Carly kinda, sorta wants it to be weird because weird would be normal and Carly would be so grateful if some aspect of her and Sam's relationship was just normal instead of the jumbled, tangled, sticky mess that resides in her skull.
But this morning, as Carly pours herself down the stairs after spending the hour before hugging the cold porcelain toilet and promising to any higher power that'll listen that she'll stop drinking if they just make the nausea stop, she catches of sight of Sam sitting on the couch.
Carly knows that the only weird thing is that it's not that weird at all.
"Morning Sunshine." Sam greets as Carly circles the couch and the other girl is ridiculously bright eyed and bushytailed for a person that practically drank her weight in burning, syrupy alcohol last night.
Carly mumbles out a greeting that's more sound than actual language before dropping down beside Sam on the sofa, too close and sharing a cushion. "Sam, not to be rude, but what're you doing here?" Carly breathes, sinking into the cushions and swallowing down a wave of nausea at the bowl of what appears to be orange soda and cereal balancing on Sam's knees.
"What? Since when can't I come over and hang out with my best friend?" She asks around the spoon and Carly wants to point out 'after inappropriate touching with said best friend 'as an obvious exception but instead she drops her head back against the couch with a sigh. "Are you okay?"
Carly nods and regrets the way the slight motion makes it feel like her brain is sloshing around in her skull. "Yeah, I'm just…"
"Hung over?" Sam asks helpfully around a mouthful of marshmallow chunks and artificially flavored soda.
"So hung over." Carly sighs, shutting her eyes against the sunlight pouring through the windows and Carly wonders when the sun became so bright. "And you drank way more than I did, so how come you're not throwing up?"
"Easy, I used my mom's homemade anti hangover tonic." Sam swallows and Carly winces at the clink of Sam's bowl against the coffee table when she sets it down.
"Tonic?" Carly questions, opening one eye to peer at Sam with a frown.
"Yeah, it works like a charm." Sam starts, twisting sideways on the couch. "It's one part egg yolk and three part sauerkraut then you add some day old chicken nuggets and a couple of sardines, put it all in a blender..."
Carly's hand flies up quickly, stopping Sam words and by proxy the rolling threat of nausea in her stomach. "Please, don't say anymore." Carly pleads pathetically and Sam complies by keeping quiet.
Carly feels Sam shift on the cushion, moving and then fingertips are pushing their way through her hair, nails dragging against her scalp and the way goose bumps race up Carly's arms is sort of but not quite embarrassing.
And Sam's touch is enough to remind Carly of the night before, not the part with Gibby dancing sweaty and shirtless way too close to her but the good part with Sam's mouth and Sam's hands and that look in Sam's eyes.
"We need to talk." Carly whispers suddenly which is strange because it wasn't what she was thinking about, no she was thinking about ways to get Sam upstairs and into her bedroom.
"About what?" Sam asks and Carly opens her eyes to give her a pointed look, eyebrows up and Sam just looks back.
"Last night?" Carly elaborates as Sam's fingers trail down her neck, stopping at the cut of her jaw to press against the purple mark there, the purple mark that's from her mouth and from her teeth before dropping down to tap against her clavicle, hooking in the scoop neck of Carly's pajama shirt for just a moment before dropping away.
"Uhm?" Sam mumbles, leaning forward to spoon a mouthful of cereal into her mouth while her eyes squint in foe thoughtfulness.
"Sam," Carly hisses. "Last night? Alcohol that made me puke all morning? This hickey that I'm going to spend the entire day hiding from Spencer?" She whispers, yanking the collar of her shirt to the side. "My hand? Down your pants?"
Sam immediately chokes, bending at the waist and coughing hard and Carly rolls her eyes a bit.
"Oh yeah…" Sam inhales roughly, lifting her head. "That."
"Yeah, that." Carly smirks a little bit as Sam straightens slowly.
"Alright, so what about last night?" Sam starts tentatively, "Do you…regret what happened?"
And now that Carly thinks about it, she doesn't really. In fact, the only thing she regrets is not locking Wendy out of that bedroom and Carly realizes how dangerous that is.
"No, not really." She admits and the grin that blooms across Sam's face is amazing.
"Then what's the problem because I definitely don't regret it." Sam whispers, eyes darting past Carly and towards Spencer's room where the sounds of him waking up are beginning to filter through his door.
"I just…" Carly trails off. "I feel like we're doing this out of order."
"This?" Sam laughs, eyebrow arching and Carly fights the smile pulling at her mouth.
"Yeah, you know… this." She whispers, gesturing at the space between them. "This thing where we kiss on the mouth."
"I know what this means but why does it need an order and why do we have to follow it?"
"I just think we should go on a first date before I stick my hand down your pants again?" Carly offers and Sam smirks a little, blue eyes bright.
"And we can't do both." She asks and Carly laughs.
"Nope." Carly shakes her head. "We need to figure out what's going on between us. When we kiss."
"You know what it means when I kiss you." Sam whispers quickly and Carly flushes bright red.
"Sam." Carly starts because Sam is being so nonchalant about this and this is too important to not have names and definitions, Carly needs them even though she's not sure why.
"Fine, so how is this supposed to go?" Sam sighs in what seems like defeat, slumping against the couch.
"I dunno. We go out, date, maybe stop kissing so much."
"That last part is ridiculous." Sam whispers and Carly laughs, leaning over to rest her throbbing, too heavy head on Sam's narrow shoulder.
Carly and Sam do manage to go on a date but unfortunately its not with each other.
Spencer sets them up with Socko's neighbor's twin sons Andrew and Mathew and Carly's a little skeeved out about the way that she and Sam can't tell them apart.
"So," Sam leans over in her chair, pushing the armrest between them into the upright position so she can speak practically against Carly's neck while Andrew and Mathew sit on either side of them in a completely oblivious, children of the corn-y way. "Does this count?"
Carly can't help but grin as Sam's fingers tap at her thigh, playing with the hem of her jean skirt. "Count? As a date?"
"Yeah, I mean, we are at the movies together." Sam points out, peeking at Carly over the edge of her ridiculous 3D glasses and Carly rolls her eyes behind her own.
"We're on a double date with other people, Sam. This doesn't count." Carly breathes even as she discreetly slides her hand into Sam's, palms touching between the seats while Sam pouts a little turning back to the screen.
"Are you having a good time?" the boy beside Carly leans over to whisper and Carly is so focused on the tingling shapes that Sam traces against her palm with her thumb that she can't even remember who's sitting beside her, Andrew or Mathew.
"Such a good time." Carly lies and Andrew, or maybe its Mathew, smiles at her before turning back to the movie.
Carly tries to pay attention to the movie, because a 3D movie about crime fighting octopusses should have her undivided focus but Sam is sitting beside her, hand wrapped up in Carly's and smelling like something soft and fruity and its distracting.
It's making her skin itch and her feet tap restlessly against the sticky theater floors as Sam drags her thumb nail against Carly's palm like she's not paying attention while she talks to Mathew…or maybe its Andrew.
"I have to use the bathroom." Carly blurts to loudly and about half of the theater turns to look at her.
"Good for you, Carls." Sam grins, taking back her hand and reaching for the ridiculously huge cup of Peppy Cola they're sharing and Carly focuses on the Sam's lips and the straw and it feels like something snaps, loosens and falls away and that thing clattering to the floor might be Carly's self control.
"Sam, can you come with me?" Carly questions and it looks like Sam is about to say no because she's been waiting to see this stupid octopus movie since, like, forever but Carly widens her eyes and tilts her eyebrows and gestures so obvious that the boys surrounding them should notice but they don't.
They keep watching the movie, sliding there legs out of the way as Carly and Sam wriggle through the aisles, Carly's fingers wrapped around Sam's wrist while she pulls.
"So…" Sam starts as the enter the bathroom and Carly quickly peeks under the stalls to make sure they're empty. "What's going on?"
Carly wants to tell Sam that she's frustrated, not in the way that she can sometimes get when she can't figure out the answer to a math question, no it's a totally different sort of frustration.
And yeah, the whole current 'hands off' policy is all Carly's idea and she should be happy that Sam hasn't attempted to kiss her since she laid down the rules but since when does Sam follow the rules?
"Nothing." Carly huffs, shoving open the handicapped stall and Sam quirks an eyebrow before Carly reaches out and yanks Sam into the stall by her shirt.
Carly latches the door quickly before turning around to face Sam who is glancing around the small space, her reflection warped on the metal walls.
"Cozy." Sam grins, hair falling into her eyes and Carly steps forward, crowding Sam against the steel wall. "Carls…" Sam says softly now, smile fading a bit, a warning. "I thought you said…"
"I know what I said." Carly murmurs, wrapping her hands around Sam's narrow waist.
"Well, well, well, Carly Shay, breaking her own rules?" Sam whispers like she's proud, two fingers hooking into the empty loop of Carly's jeans and pulling her closer. Carly's boots make a funny sound against the tile as she shifts, closing the negative space between them. "What has the world come to?"
"Well, if your not gonna do it then I guess I have to." Carly grins and Sam shrugs, dropping her chin so their mouths are hovering dangerously.
"Why bother with rules at all then?" Sam laughs and that's a good question. Why does Carly insists on putting up all of these boundaries when she knows that they'll just get pushed through and broken down, when she wants them too? Why does she bother trying to follow the blueprint of relationships when she and Sam seem to completely ignore the guidelines despite Carly's best intentions and Carly's sure there's an extremely interesting answer to that inquiry but she can't focus on that now because Sam is grinning in that reckless way, a dare, and Carly just has to kiss her.
So she does.
It feels good, not just in the way that Sam's lips are soft and her tongue is hot, it's in the way that the knot she seems to carry around in her chest loosens completely and her skin feels like it fits now. Sam's mouth tastes like fizzing soda and buttery popcorn and Carly presses forward, kissing her harder.
They leave the bathroom a few minutes later, holding hands and giggling and Andrew and Mathew make room for them when they return to the theater.
Carly can't watch the movie though, instead she spends the last hour thinking about Sam's pale pink bra and how she's probably gonna tell Mathew or Andrew, or whoever, that they probably shouldn't hang out anymore.
"There's this rumor…this stupid rumor going around school."
Carly looks at Freddie, the heavy branches of the tree looming over them, rustling in the wind as they study in front of the school while they wait for Sam to get out of detention.
"Rumor? About me?"
Carly laughs, looking up from her text book but Freddie looks so serious that her heart skips a few necessary beats.
"A rumor? About me? " Carly asks again, with much less humor, voice and eyebrows dropping.
"You know that party we went to a couple of weeks ago?" Freddie starts and he doesn't have to finish because Carly already knows, she already knows and she can feel the heat come rushing under her skin. "Well, there's a rumor going on that you and Sam were, ya know, hooking up."
Carly laughs, loud and awkward and Freddie startles a little, glancing around the few people still on campus that are now giving them curious looks.
"That's so stupid! Me and Sam? That's just an absolutely ridiculous…rumor."
"So, its not true then?" Freddie asks with way too much hope and Carly scoffs, flipping through her book unnecessarily.
"What? Of course not!" she cries, shrugging. "It's just a stupid rumor."
"That's what I thought." Freddie laughs in relief that makes his shoulder fall while Carly stares blindly at the book in her lap. "Stupid rumor. I never believed it for a second, I mean, you and Sam? That's just…just nuts."
"Nuts?" Carly breathes, lifting her head and peering at Freddie.
"Yeah, don't you think?" He smiles, mouth pulled tight and no, Carly really doesn't think so.