Disclaimer: I don't own iCarly.
I swallow back the bile in my throat as I stand in the hallway, staring at the Shay's apartment door for the last seven minutes. Every time I would go to knock, I just couldn't get my balled up fist to actually meet the wooden frame and I'd let it drop back down. Fight the worry and nausea in my stomach with claims and reminders that this is what I wanted. I asked her out tonight, I wanted to do this. I've been telling myself that I need to just man up and knock before the whole night is over already. And finally, the wizard of Oz does grant me the courage and I tap the lumber three times.
Looking up from the carpet when the door opens, it's not Sam I see but Carly, wearing a bright smile. "Hey, Freddie! Come on in!"
I don't fight it as she drags me inside and closes the door. I stand there awkwardly, looking around for a certain blonde but not finding her. My brunette friend in turn is watching me with this knowing look that is kind of creeping me out. My hands find my pockets and I rock back and forth on my heels before speaking.
"So… where's Sam?"
"She's in the bathroom. She'll be down in a minute or so."
I just nod while she continues.
"So where you guys going after dinner?"
"Uh, just somewhere."
"Just somewhere." I answer uneasily. Carly doesn't seem satisfied with the information given but before she can ask anything more, Sam comes floating down the stairs. Okay, more like barreling down the steps but love makes you see things differently, alright?
Somewhere in my head, I thought she might doll herself up for tonight. That Carly might get to her or something but she looks like she always does. Tee shirt over a long sleeved one, cargo pants and bright converses. Unruly locks all over the place. She looks like Sam Puckett and I'm more than grateful for that because that's who I'm smitten with, not anyone other version or anyone else. She's in front of me before I even realize it, snapping her fingers.
"Hey, yo! You there, Benson?"
"Huh? Oh yeah, you ready?" The words stumble out and it causes her to send me a really hard stare before out of nowhere, she grabs my shirt, clumping it up in her hand and she leans forward, causing our lips to meet.
The kiss is aggressive and rough; A distinct burn, a living pulse between us. It's very much her as she places her hand on the back of my head, pulling us closer together, deepening it for only a second before as fast as it happened, it was over and I'm left standing here with this lost, dazed look on my face. It kind of mirrors the one that Carly, who is standing on the top step of the stairs now, has on her face. Sam, well she just has a smirk on her face, an accomplished look even.
"There, got that out of the way. Let's go, nerdboy." I'm thankful when she grabs onto my wrist and starts pulling me to the door because I haven't yet gain motor functions back. As she is pushing me through the open barrier, she calls back out to Carly.
"Keep the door unlocked but don't wait up, Carls. I'll either be back really early or really late."
After I got over the shock of the kiss, I calmed down a bit. It was kind of nice to get it out of the way, as Sam put it. She picked this really cool '50s diner in walking distance to eat at. I offered to drive anyway but all she said was that it was a nice night out and I could use the exercise. Then she poked me in the gut which I found annoying, but not as annoying as her grin. We're currently in a booth in the corner of the joint, next to the jukebox which is playing 'surfing in the USA'. Sam has the waitress` attention, ordering a burger with an extra side of fries and a cherry coke. I order just a burger and a coke when it's my turn.
"You should probably order two burgers."
"Why would I do that? I'm not that hungry." I send Sam a confused look to match the tone of my voice before returning my gaze back to the waitress. "Just one burger please."
The woman nods and Sam just shrugs. I grab her menu and mine, placing them together and handing them off to the waitress who nods in thanks and moves off to put our orders in. I space out wondering how long the food is going to take and I guess Sam took it as something else, humor in her voice.
"Stare much? You gonna go ask your new girlfriend out?"
"What are you talking about. That lady is like 68." My face is all wrinkled up in disgust which only causes Sam to brighten even more.
"Yeah so? She seems your speed, who am I to stand in the way of true love."
"Your face is."
Classic Sam response, one I never have anything witty to say back against. What am I suppose to say? 'No, yours'? Yeah, that's mature. Slight shake of my head and I look around us, taking in all the cool stuff on the walls, the people sitting at the counter top. I look to the table and notice the condiments, the booklet with all the specials in it and finally the pink little packages of sugar in the small black box. I pick one up and hold it between my fingers, looking over to Sam. "You up for a game of sugar packet football?
She sets up her hands like a goal post, index fingers touching the tips of one and other with each thumb in the air. I hold the package steady between my fingers, closing one eye to focus on the opening between her thumbs. After a second, I give the package a hard flick and it goes sailing over to her, just left of the goal. I grunt and she smirks. While setting up a goal for her, I comment.
"So I was talking to Gibby, he saw that Kate Hudson movie."
She sizing up her shot, concentrating. "Knew that kid was in the closet."
"He saw it with his girlfriend, Sam."
"I said I knew he was in the closet, not that he didn't have a good cover." With that, she gave the tiny object a good flick and sent it flying my way, right between my thumbs. Figures. She gives me this look, one I assume is telling that's how it's done before resetting a goal for me.
"Anyway, he says it's a really girly movie."
"Ugh, Carly is going to love it."
I laugh, flicking the package and actually getting it in this time. "That's what I said."
"You know what? I'm going to not sleep the night before so I can pass out during it and she won't be able to wake me up." She's holding the sugar packet in hand but not making a move to continue the game, she's just looking over at me.
"That's a terrible plan."
"Shut up, you don't know anything."
I shrug. "Just saying, if you're passed out, who am I going to mock the movie with."
"Well, I do enjoy a good mocking." She pauses, thinking it over before finally flicking the packet over and scoring another goal. "Two to one, maybe I'll reconsider the passing out."
"Though if you pass out, at least I won't have to waste a grand at the concession stand."
"Who told you that? Even if I am sleeping through the crap, we are still stocking up. We'll put it in doggy bags."
I look at her through squinted eyes, trying to figure out where she came to that bizarre resolution. "The theater doesn't have doggy bags."
"Okay, fine, you got pockets. Samething."
Dinner went by smoothly, we played football, we talked about the usual crazy stuff. Our food came and we ate. Or well, I ate half my burger before Sam stole the rest. After that I paid and we left. I kept expecting Sam to ask where we were going but she never did. Not until this moment, as we finally arrive at my desired location.
"The park, Benson?"
Her voice holds in a mixture of question and something else I can't put my finger on. Both of us have come to a stop right under the stone gate, existing in both the avenue and the park at the same time. I give a tiny nod followed by a shrug, answering back in a light hearted tone. "Yeah, why? What's your beef with the park?"
"I ain't got any. It's an alright place." She's biting down on her tongue, I can tell. She looked on the verge of smiling openly but that wasn't her style so in the end it was repressed for the moment. That's fine, I'll get one out of her at one point.
"Well good then, come on."
And we start moving again, following the paved pathway littered with trees and flowers on each side. It was like walking into a memory, something familiar about the scene and movements. The park just seemed like the most fitting place to go, I don't know. Sneaking a look out the corner of my eye at the blonde beside me, she seems content to be lost in the silence and newly developing warmth of the night. She's obvious; focused. She's everything that keeps me up at night and has my heart racing like I've just done ten laps in under a minute. She's herself. She's just herself.
At this point, I bring myself back out of my head. The point of the night was spending time with her, not my thoughts. Turning my head and looking completely over at her while we continue on, I start up small talk despite knowing her distaste for it. "That diner place was pretty cool."
"Yeah, it's decent. All that '50s crap is pretty interesting to look at. The burgers are awesome."
"The half of one I had was pretty awesome, yeah." I fix her with a look and an affable smirk.
"Hey, I told you to order two burgers didn't I?"
"You could have ordered two burgers instead if you were that hungry."
One corner of her mouth turns upward while she elbows me in the side hard, or gently by Sam's standards. "But I didn't, did I? Lesson learned there."
I shake my head and turn a corner, following a new path. When we finally reach the middle of the park, we come to the fountain and some unknown force causes both of us to slow down. While last time we were here, we walked right past it, this time it seemed the appropriate place to stop and take things in. I come to the edge and look inside to the water below, where all the assorted coins make their resting place before turning around and looking to Sam, who had been standing behind me. I offer a smile, twisting my head to look back at the fountain and then her again.
"This is a pretty nice fountain, you know."
"Oh yeah? And what do you know about fountains?" She asks with a look, tilting her head to the side.
"I'll have you know I've seen a good amount of fountains in my lifetime. A good amount, so many that I consider myself a sort of connoisseur of fountains, if you must know."
"Your nubness knows no bounds, I swear." She says it with a grin, watching me intently when I go to shove my hands in my pockets but falter mid-movement and just drop them back down to my side. Unsure of what to do with them. I look around us, taking in the sight. It's really nice out, the perfect weather. Few more nights like this, along with my rowdy counterpart and the park would establish itself as my favorite place in Seattle.
"It's funny, I spent all day today trying to come up with the perfect place to go after dinner."
"I figured you had."
"I wanted somewhere you would enjoy. I came up with all these places that seemed fun in theory but it wasn't you or me, wasn't us. I was over thinking it. Once I got to that conclusion and I just took a breath and opened my brain up, the park came to mind in two very distinctly nice memories. I figured if we had to have a place, this would probably be it. At this point, anyway." I muse out loud in all honesty, very candid as we stand here, the simple magnificence of the landscape taking backseat to her beauty. She's looking at the fountain behind me but I can feel the gaze drop over to me every once and while when she shifts her weight from leg to leg.
"Tonight was pretty alright, you know. I wouldn't be against doing something like this again."
I can't help the grin overtaking my face, looking down to the pavement and then back up at her. Taking comfort in the subtle nervous tick of her seemingly nonchalant stance. "So basically, what you are trying to say here and tell me if I am getting this right. What you are trying to say here is that you had a great time tonight and you'd like to do it again."
"Shut up, dork." As the words leave her lips, she smiles and leans forward abruptly trying to send a push my way but amazingly, for the first time ever I was on top of my game and moved to the side when she came at me. It was pretty much instantly I realized what the result of this was going to be. I was standing in front of the fountain, she was moving forward to push me but I moved out of the way so now she's heading straight for the, well, yeah. This was going to turn pretty bloody and wet, pretty quick. Just as fast as I moved out of the way, my arms came to reach around and latch onto her waist as she headed for the water below. I managed to stop and hold her in place a few inches above the cold liquid. Slowly, I set her up right, scared to see her reaction. Her eyes are wide for a moment before narrowing in the slightest right before I felt the hardest pinch on my forearm I've ever experienced in my life causing me to let go.
I watch her, rubbing the tender skin as she straightened herself out. "You just got so lucky there, Benson."
I watch Sam go inside of Carly's, after sharing another kiss.
Turning the handle, I push the apartment door open and slide into the living room with a step or two. The entire space is dark and once my eyes adjust to the mute color painting the scene, the black dissolves into various shades of blues, all the objects outlined. My movements become the living definition of sluggish, kicking the door closed behind me and moving further inside, past the couch. Mom is working a double tonight, a reason that favored why I choose tonight to take Sam out incase things actually went well and we stayed out for a while. I suppress a yawn while my hand finds the side of my neck, rubbing absently at the flesh there. Navigating through the area, I forgo actually turning on the lights and enter the kitchen.
I'm heavily distracted, the only thing existing in my head was memories from hours before. They didn't just exist, they thrived and flourished in full technicolor. Everything from the sudden and rough kiss she laid on me at the start of the night, all the way to the feeling of her soft skin meeting mine when she let me hold her hold for a block or two on the way home. I was reliving the night and reveling it in. I'd probably end up doing this ten times over before sun breaks out into the sky tomorrow morning and I'm okay with that. It's an ideal way to murder time.
With ease, I pull the fridge door open and guided by instincts reach for the carton of orange juice. Next I move to grab a glass from the cabinet but pause in reflection, just staring into the container as if looking hard enough would pull out a hidden meaning from the material. I hold in that second and then screw the cap off, bringing the object to my lips and taking a gulp; a dedication to the ways of the girl I loved. But quickly after that, I stretch to the cabinet and get out a glass. It's just a more hygienic way to drink juice is all.
I pour the glass and jump up onto the island counter top, looking over to the sink while I take random sips of the drink.
I still think she's a firecracker in every allusion of the simile but I've realized that just because something has the potential to be destructive, it shouldn't be a detour. That the pain and sometimes untimely slaughter can be just a rite into reward. If you aren't willing to sacrifice something, then yeah, whatever you're longing for will be unattainable. You have to take the chance, put yourself in the way of harm and if she doesn't destroy you, she'll build you up because what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger and love is that give and take of hurt and bliss.
I can honestly say that at this point, I wouldn't change a thing.
Well, except for when I almost caused her to crash into the fountain on accident. That would have been a pretty terrible note to end on.
A/N: Since this is the end, I won't feel bad about leaving a crazy long note. So yeah, it's done. This was my first actual fanfic and it wasn't meant to be anything. It was an experiment evolving from a few lines about Sam. I didn't plan on posting the rest of the story, assumed it would just sink into the vaults of the website but all the reviews and encouragement pushed it onward. Giving it a full read over from start to finish, ultimately I'm not happy with it. I think losing what I had written and having to go back rewrite things left chapters strained and a bit bare. I was just starting to work on something else and now I had to come back and redo a full half of the story and I feel like because of it, I didn't do everything I originally set out to do.
You guys make it exciting to write, this fandom for sure has some of the most remarkable and friendly people of any fandom. I'm going to go back to work on this other story and having finally tested the waters, I'm hoping to put out something people will find enjoyable but more so that I can really feel proud of the effort. This is the final thanks to anyone who took the time to read the story and took the time to read this rambling. If you ever want to toss out ideas, or just chat, drop me a line. See ya` later.