Disclaimer: Come on, I don't own anything.
I see her, even through the crowd of people, on the other side of the parking lot. She bounces up and down slightly, helping the wind send her blonde curls every which way as she animatedly tells Carly a story.
She's a firecracker. A sudden birth of loud violence that draws your attention in, after which you can't help but stare. Something memorizing and special existing in front of you but you have to be sure to keep the space between you and it. You and her. Never reach out, try to touch her or else she'll burn you quickly and effortlessly, without a second thought. And it's not her fault you know, that's just her nature.
It's taken me two years to get to this point, where I stare from afar (opposed to reaching distance where she could teach me how 'daydreaming can be bad for my health') and wax poetic about Sam Puckett in my head. I could tell you I don't know how it came to this, that these feelings of, well something more than annoyance and hate just snuck up on me out of nowhere but that isn't the case. It's been a slow evolution to my current mindset. Every minute and every day spent around the feisty hellcat and I hated her just a little less. Where I once saw fault, I now see quirk. And where I once saw just a pudding covered face, I now see… well a beautiful pudding covered face. To be fair though, she's finally learned some table etiquette so the moments where her face is covered in food are more far in between than before.
Now, what I can say is I honestly don't know why this is happening. It's unfair, is what it is. She hadn't really gotten any nicer, or anything. She still rips on me every chance she gets. Though, now in our junior year, she had to change up her material. My mom had finally calmed down, realized she couldn't protect me from everything out there in the world. I think I owe thanks to Dave, the guy she's been dating for awhile now. Since she's been with him, she's almost been like, I don't know, a normal mom. That's love for you, I guess.
What was I saying?
Oh, right. With her old jokes not packing the right punch anymore, Sam's now moved on to my love life, or lack therefore of. Constant quips about me being 'permanently dateless' and how I'll probably die an old widow. She's not wrong though, or at least not completely wrong. It's true I don't date, but it's not because I can't get a girl to go out with me. There have been offers, I just always refuse. It's not fair to them if we're at the movies or at dinner and I can't concentrate and hold a decent conversation because my head is so wrapped up in another person it's not even funny.
And it isn't funny. How brutally messed up is it that I can have this girl on my back, putting me in a headlock in attempts to get me to the nearest bathroom for a swirly (Yes, she still gives out swirlys. I only ever see her try it on me though) and I can only think about the fire dancing behind her eyes and just how blue said eyes are. How amazing her smile is when she is in the middle of beating the crap out of me. I need serious therapy, I know that but look at my childhood! It's clear I was going to head down crazy road whether I wanted to or not.
"It's finally happened, Carls. The dork's head couldn't take all that useless knowledge junk he shoves in there and it overloaded. He's completely brain dead now."
It's at this point I realize that the girl I had been staring at had disappeared from her spot across the parking lot while I was lost in thought and had reappeared next to me with Carly, wearing that smirk she always wore. The one that was both equally infuriating and endearing at the same time.
"You okay, Freddie?" Carly asks, slight worry apparent in her tone.
Sam laughs, putting her arm around my shoulder, letting her hand drift up to my hair to mess it up a bit. "Are you kidding me? Look at this haircut, he'll never be okay."
I send a scowl the blondes` way, trying to shrug off her arm which only tightens around my neck when I do so I give that up pretty quickly, not wanting this embrace to turn into a headlock. I wouldn't mind her arm around my shoulders so much if it wasn't for the God damn uncomfortable feeling that settles in my stomach whenever she gets a hold of me. Oh good, she's started to use both hands to mess up my hair, her fingernails dragging (not harshly, surprisingly) over my scalp while she treads through my hair, making it stick up.
I battle past the sensation, putting on that oh so indifferent façade I've been perfecting. "I had a big test sixth period and I didn't get much sleep last night." Which was true. I did have a big test in sixth period and I didn't get much sleep last night. What I didn't include was one had nothing to do with the other.
"Well, hopefully you uh, can get a good nights sleep, uh tonight." As I am watching Carly trying to not laugh in my face while she speaks, I can only imagine what Sam is doing and how ridiculous my hair looks right now. I look down at the blonde through my peripheral, thankful to puberty for the new height advantage even though it wasn't very much of an advantage against a girl like Sam, who walked around all the time large and in charge as if she was ten feet tall.
She looked deep in concentration, biting softly on her lower lip while she continued to muse my hair. This proves my point, though. The girl is standing here, working so hard to make me look like an idiot and I can't help but to let her do it, try not to stare at where her pearly whites sink into lip. Actually, I don't try and stop her because this is pretty tame. Let's say I call for her to stop messing up my hair, well then she just might. Yeah, she just might stop messing up my hair because she decided my arm would look better out of it's socket and held against my back.
After a moment, Sam decides she is done, her masterpiece is completed. She removes her arm from around my neck and takes a step back, next to Carly to look over her work. "You know what, I did you a favor, Fredward. If anything, I've just improved your appearance by ten fold, not that that's saying much."
Carly had her hand over her mouth but the smile in her eyes couldn't be hid so easily. I let out a heavy sigh, ignoring the three laughing girls making their way past us. "I look really stupid, don't I?
All my brunette friend could do was nod her head up and down while Sam shrugged her shoulders, saying "I wouldn't say really. No more than usual." She paused for a moment before continuing, turning to Carly who had finally gotten control of herself. "When is rehearsal tonight? Can we stop to get smoothies first? Oh! Can we get smoothies before and after? Oh! We should do this week's show about smoothies so we can have them during!"
All I could do was chuckle, watching how excited she got. No matter how much she matured, physically anyway, she would always be overly passionate about food.
"There isn't rehearsal tonight, remember Sam? I have a date with Kevin so we moved it to tomorrow." Carly said
"What?" She actually looked confused for a second before the wheels in her hand started to turn. "Oh, yeah. Awh man, lame. Who am I going to hang out with tonight then? More importantly, who is going to feed me? Mom's out of town for a poker tournament." Sam whined while I got to my knees, opening my book bag to make sure I had all the homework for tonight in the right order and folders.
"I think the Chinese place down the street feeds stray cats an- ow!" I was interrupted by the smack to the back of my head.
Carly's turn to offer a shrug. "I don't know, you could always hang out with…" The brunette trailed off which sparked a sort of uneasiness in me. You know that haunting feeling you get when someone is watching you. I had that in spades. Slowly, I lift my head up and see two pairs of eyes and grins looking down at me.
"Uh, I was planning on getting my homework done, start on a report since you know, I actually remembered that rehearsals were moved." Standing up, I was hoping the snide tone at the end of my statement would cause Sam to change her mind but she just grinned wider, probably because now she thought she had a chance at messing up my schoolwork.
"Well that's the great thing about plans, Freddork. Plans can always be changed." And for the second time today, her arm found it's way over my shoulders. "Like, instead of you doing homework and whatever crap you were talking about. Well, now you get to hang out with your best buddy, Sam. And you know what else! You get to take her out to get some fatcakes and smoothies."
I really don't think I could take a night alone with Sam. I based my strategy of coping with my sick, sick emotions around our trio. Around having Carly there to break up the awkward moments which Sam probably never noticed but were so agonizing for me. "I just don't think- oomph."
I was interrupted by having the air knocked out of me, compliments of Sam punching me in the stomach before leading me towards my car, resting idle a few spots away with Carly following behind. "Come on Benson, you know how mama gets when she hasn't eaten in awhile."
"What's a while? Like fifteen minut- oomph."