A/N: Sorry about the delay. This is unbeta'd so all mistakes are mine.
Our conversations consist of deep breaths and heavy silences now but that's only when we're not yelling at each other.
I'm not really sure which is worse. When Freddie's using his booming voice, demanding to know why I left him, asking me what changed, asking me what he did or when he's nothing but quiet, tight breaths on the other side of the line.
"How've you been holding up?" He asks as if he expects me to be broken without him, absolutely falling apart and maybe I should be but I'm not.
Not when I spend mornings helping Spencer sculpt a two headed turtle out of bubble gum and I spend my afternoons in the apartment parking lot, squinting against the sun, watching Sam ride her funny, silverfish shaped skateboard through the stationary cars and talking about absolutely nothing.
Not now, while I'm sitting on the front steps to the apartment, listening to the sound her wheels make on the blacktop.
And I'm not miserable. I want to tell Freddie that everything is good here, that it's warm and familiar in a way nothing else is and that I feel like myself for the first time in a long time but his tone suggests that he's not doing that great.
It also suggests that he hopes I'm not doing so great either and I get that, I can vividly remember staring at glowing, smiley pictures of Sam on her Splashface profile in the middle of the night, laptop warm on my thighs while I laid in bed beside Freddie and wished that she was just as unhappy as I was.
So I inhale, watching Sam circle a mini van easily, the chin straps of her unsecured helmet dangling against her jaw and at the edge of my mind, I take in how beautiful she is like this.
"I'm doing okay." I murmur instead, my eyes tracking Sam as she zigzags her way through parked cars, rubbing my shoulder where the sun is beaming down hard against my skin.
There's silence for a moment before he sighs. "And you couldn't be okay here? With me?"
I exhale through the tightness in my chest while I drag my hand over my face, even as my eyes stay focused on Sam and I don't know why Freddie and I are doing this. This thing where he calls me everyday and it's torture and painful but its not like I can just let Freddie go completely but its not like I'm in love with him or that I think I've made a mistake by leaving, either.
It's that we have a history and once upon a time, he was one of my best friends.
"Freddie, it-it wasn't you." I murmur weakly because this conversation is becoming redundant, coming around full circle ever single time we talk.
"I know, I know, it was you." He sighs heavily, his breath filling the line for a moment as I chart Sam's every single movement and she's showing off now, doing little tricks while I watch her and a smile tugs at my mouth again even though sadness is pooling in my chest. "But I don't even know what that means. Tell me what changed?"
I drag in a deep breath, wondering how to explain to him that nothings really changed but that I'd been lying and pretending and playing a part that I just couldn't anymore, while I watch Sam stop in front of me like she wants my attention, rocking back and forth on her board.
"I don't want to talk about this again." I croak, staring up at Sam as she looms over me. "It's all we ever seem to talk about."
Freddie breathes out in frustration, heavy and hard over the line. "How can we always talk about something you always avoid?" He grinds out and he's so right that all I can do is swallow against the guilt pushing against my ribs. "All I want to know is what changed. I thought we were happy."
Sam moves then, stepping off her board to sit beside me on the narrow steps before pulling her longboard close enough that we can both put our feet up on the grip tape.
"I wasn't happy." I blurt, Sam warm and solid beside me and I stare down at our shoes on the board while Sam rocks it back and forth just a little like she's trying to comfort me and I can feel myself smiling just a bit. And I wasn't happy, I didn't feel anywhere near to this when I was with Freddie. "I just wasn't…"
"I know. I understand that." He grunts, frustration forcing its way between his words. "But why? What was it that made you unhappy enough to just leave me?"
I glance down as Sam reaches over to play with the artfully frayed knee of my too expensive jeans and her thumbnail makes a funny sound as she drags it against the denim and it takes every brain cell I own to remember to breathe.
"I don't want to talk about it right now." I exhale, slumping forward, my gaze still fixed on Sam's slender fingers as they skate across my knee, dipping into the strategically manufactured hole in my jeans. And knees aren't even supposed to be sensitive; they're one of the top 3 most scraped body parts so I shouldn't feel it all the way to my toes when Sam scratches at my leg absently but my feet are pulling back against the sole of my shoes before I can stop myself. "I can't…I have to go."
"Of course." He laughs, sharp and upset and I swallow hard. "Fine. Okay. I'll talk to you later."
"I love you."
"I have to go." I whisper instead, ending the call and I let my gaze slide away from Sam's hand on my knee, down to where our feet are side by side on her skateboard.
"Is everything thing okay?" She asks quietly, drawing out all the vowels like she already knows the answer.
"Not really?" I laugh painfully as our legs tilt left then right, back and forth smoothly. "Freddie doesn't understand."
"Maybe you should just tell him the truth…" Sam offers, dipping her head to meet my eyes.
"I'm not lying to him." I clarify eagerly because I've given up on the whole pretending thing.
"Someone once told me that omission can sometimes still be lying." She sing songs, drumming her fingers on my knee once before pulling away and my heart skips a beat to match the rhythm that she creates before slowing to normal. "So, maybe you should tell him the truth…all of it."
I can vividly remember explaining the concept to Sam years ago in the halls of Ridgway when she told Ms. Briggs that Gibby put a cherry bomb in the teacher's toilet but withheld the fact that she'd forced Gibby to do it with threats of cherry bombs in places no man should have them.
I smile at her and she beams back, pushing herself up and sliding her board from under my feet.
"Hey." I huff, staring up at her.
"Wanna ride?" Sam asks pulling a pair of aviator shades off the top of her head and down over her eyes. She's all smiles and a halo of blonde hair trapped under a helmet that seems useless in the way that it's not even secured by the chin straps and I wonder if she meant those two words as suggestively as it sounded leaving her mouth.
I stand slowly, shoving my phone into my pocket, forgetting about me and Freddie and what we aren't and then I'm eye to eye with Sam while she's balancing on the skateboard and I'm standing on the bottom step.
"I've never ridden a skateboard." I shrug and Sam's lips part in disbelief as she takes off her helmet, hair falling into her eyes like the strands have fainted in disbelief too."
"You've never ridden a skateboard." Sam says slowly, shock staggering her words and I roll my eyes.
"Sam, it's not a big deal. Besides, I'm girly," I exclaim in defense. "A prissy, girly girl and I like bows and dresses and-and puppies and you can't ride a skateboard wearing a dress while holding a puppy." I say, hands on my hips and Sam looks me up and down behind her shades.
"You're not wearing a dress today." She says, observing the obvious and I glance down at my jeans and sneakers before looking back at her. "Or holding an adorable puppy."
"And your point?" I smile and Sam steps off the board.
"That you should hop on and take a ride, there's a first time for everything."
"No." I laugh. "I wouldn't even know what to do."
"All you have to do is kick and push. It's easy." She says. "C'mon, live a little." She urges, punching the air a little and the familiarity of the gesture steals my breath for just a second.
"Okay, fine. I'll help you." She offers, eyebrows bobbing behind her glasses and I chew my lip absently, staring down at the board. "C'mon."
"Fine but you have to help me." I finally concede, hopping down from the stairs and putting one tentative foot on the board and Sam grins at me from behind sunglasses with lenses so reflective that I can see myself under the bright rays of the sun.
"I'll ride with you."
"Is that a good idea?"
"How could it possibly be a bad idea?" She asks like she's maybe genuinely curious and I glance around the parking lot, heat rising off of the blacktop in shimmering waves before looking pointedly down at the long board under my shoe.
"One skateboard? Two people? A parking lot full of stationary vehicles? You're right, how could this possibly go wrong?" I mutter even as Sam reaches up to secure the helmet, her helmet, on my head.
"That's what I'm sayin'." She smirks, clicking the chinstrap into place before slapping her hands against my protected skull. "There ya go, now lets do this."
I wince as she gives me another solid smack. "But what if we fall or something? I really enjoy having teeth." I say nervously and even though I can't see it, I'm sure Sam's rolling her eyes. "Are you sure this is a good idea?"
"Carly, you've never ridden a skateboard. This is a necessary idea and if you fall, you have this snazzy helmet to protect your skull and all your pretty brain parts." She thumps the helmet again and I frown at her. "Besides, you won't fall because I, my friend, am a pro. All you have to do is hang on to me, okay?" She lifts her glasses, blue eyes bright and imploring and I'm beaming at her before I can stop myself.
"Okay." I murmur, inhaling at the way my heart seems to be swelling behind my ribcage as Sam hops on the front of the board, keeping it steady with one foot.
With that, Sam slips on her shades again, turning around and I put both feet on the grip tape before reaching out to put my hands on Sam's narrow shoulders but she's shrugging me off before I can get a grip and for a second I think I've done something wrong but she's glancing over her shoulder, putting both my hands on her hips.
"Hold on tight, okay?" She breathes and I lick my lips and nod, fisting my hands in the loose fabric of her tee shirt around her waist.
Then she's pushing off, strong enough for the both of us and we're moving, flying, so fast that everything is a blur, my entire world smearing together like a ruined painting, except for the realness of her body under my hands and the gold of her hair.
Spencer jumps up as when I come limping into the apartment a couple of hours later, bruised and scraped.
"Oh man, what happened?" He cries, flitting around me like a mother hen and I just smile, ignoring the way my knee is bleeding through my jeans and thinking about how it felt flying down the streets with Sam. The way I felt just then.
"Hey, look, there's Sam." Spencer says around a mouthful of churro, his bags from the Wild Wild Vest swinging in his grip. "Sam! Hey, Sa-." His words die against my palm as I slam my hand over his mouth and jump on his back. Wrestling him behind the giant pewter statue of Toasty the Baker.
"My teeth!" Spencer hisses, pushing his hair out of his eyes as my toes find the ground again and I drop my build-a-bra bag and peak out around the statue and at Sam.
She's sitting at one of those ridiculous indoor fountains that people make wishes in and toss their loose change into in hopes of them coming true. There are people with her, some I recognize like Wendy and Pete and some I don't but I'm not focused on that, instead I'm focused on the brown eyed, brunette guy sitting beside her with his arm slung over her shoulder.
I swallow hard in a pitiful attempt to push my fluttering heart down, out of my esophagus and back into my chest.
And they don't even look particularly couple-y, I mean its not like they're making out or anything but there's something hot and urgent pumping through my veins and I'm gritting my teeth thoughtlessly.
"Go talk to her." Spencer whispers, peeking over my shoulder and I glance back at him before shaking my head. "Why not?"
"It's complicated…I just can't." I mutter watching her laugh with people that aren't me and I'm staring at her sitting under some dude's arm and I wonder if she felt this churning nausea in the pit of her stomach when she looked at me with Freddie.
"So you're just gone sit here and spy on her like some kind of stalker?" Spencer asks, taking a bite of churro that I didn't even realize he still had and I ignore the sugar falling onto my shoulder.
"Yep." I nod and Spencer makes an understanding sound in the back of his throat.
"You know I love you, right little sister?" He asks and I nod unthinkingly.
"Of course I do, Spencer-What're you doing?!" I cry as Spencer grabs me and lifts me over his shoulder.
"I'm doing you a favor." He grunts over my undignified cries and then he's setting me down in the middle of the mall, kissing my forehead before sprinting away in that long, gangly way that he has.
And…people are staring.
People are staring and one of those people is Sam.
"Carly?" She chuckles, slipping from under that guys and that knotted feeling in my guts loosens just a bit as she walks closer and Wendy and Pete give me a little wave that I return awkwardly as Sam separates from the group.
"Hey…Sam." I greet uncomfortably, shifting my weight on my feet, wishing there was a hole to jump in nearby. "I, uh, I didn't know that you would be here."
"It was kind of spur of the moment." She shrugs like she's guilty or something and I shrug too. "We're just hanging out."
"So was that Spencer I saw running away?" She questions, glancing past my shoulder and I nod.
"There was a sale on pants, so…ya know." I trail off and Sam grins at me, bright and shining and I bounce on my toes a little.
"He does seem to have a fondness for pants." Sam laughs.
We lapse into silence then, where we're just grinning at one another and I'm pretty sure I could do it forever but then that guy, the one with the arm, is calling Sam's name and gesturing and I swallow as she turns to flip him off.
"Well, I'll let you get back to your friends." I murmur even though I don't want to, even though I want to take her hand and hold onto it forever.
"There's this party tonight and you should come…with me." Her words sound hopeful and not at all like a pity invite and it startles something inside of me. Excites something because Sam wants to spend time with me while simultaneously terrifying it because Sam wants me to go to a party with her.
"I can't." I blurt the lie like I have no control of my mouth. "I have things. Important things to do tonight." I
Sam's face falls at that, I see it right before she covers it up with a careless shrug. "Okay, well if you change your mind, let me know."
"Alright, I'll talk to you later, I guess." I whisper and Sam nods, shoving her hands in her pockets before walking back to her friends.
Then they're leaving and Sam is looking at me over her shoulder, waving once and I wave back and watch them.
"So…" Spencer whispers from behind the Toasty the Baker statue, scaring the daylights out of me and I have no idea how he got back behind the statue. "What happened?"
I don't even know how my cell phone gets pressed to my face but I figure somewhere between dead to the world and my phone bursting to life in the dark, I answered and now Sam's voice is filtering through the line.
"Carly, open the door."
I groan, lifting my face out of my pillow to blink at my bedside clock which blinks back cheerfully with the fact that it's after two in the morning.
"Sam? What? I don't…" I grumble, absolutely confused, wiping at my chin tiredly.
"Carls, open the door and I can't pick your stupid lock." She practically yells and now I can hear the way her words are all run together and slanted and I sit up, throwing my blankets off and shivering in the cold.
"Sam, are you drunk?" I breathe and Sam laughs too loud and too bright for any sober person at this hour.
"No. I don't know. Yes. Just come open your door, I want to see you." And I know its just Sam's drunken rambling but I can't help the way my heart jumps as I pad barefoot down the stairs, careful not to wake Spencer.
I open the door and Sam practically spills through the doorway with a grin.
"Carly!" she squeals and I wince, catching her in my arms and for a knee wobbling moment she's smiling against my neck.
"Sam, shhh." I hiss, easing the door shut with my foot and glancing towards Spencer's bedroom. "Quiet."
"Carly!" She squeals again but this time it's a whispers right against my ear and I can't help but laugh, somehow managing to lock the door before Sam pulls back, tilting on her axis.
"Sam, it's so late and you are very drunk." I point out the unnecessarily. "What're you doing here?"
"I had to tell you something." She admits as I take her hand and for a moment that makes my chest tighten, she blinks down at our entwined hands, lips pulling upwards just a bit. "Something important."
I wrestle her upstairs as quietly as I can and it's ridiculously hard with Sam all loose limbed and tipsy and reeking of booze.
"You didn't drive here, did you?" I grunt as I haul her over the threshold of my bedroom, elbowing the door closed.
"Nope, I got a ride. She-she wanted to take me home with her but I made her bring me here instead." She slurs proudly like she's done something right and I have no idea who 'She' is but I can't help but think that in a lot of ways maybe Sam has tonight.
"That's good, Sam." I grunt as I more or less drop her backward onto my bed before kneeling down in front of her. "Good girl."
"I have to tell you something." Sam giggles as I tug at her shoelaces and I give her amused smile before slipping her left shoe off.
"Yeah?" I whisper, working on the other knotted shoelace on her right shoe and my hands fumble a little when Sam's hand falls heavily through my hair, tangling her fingers in my strands. I tip my head back to peer up at her and she does it again, slower and more deliberate. "What is it?"
"She kissed me." She starts and I nod more out of reaction than approval, ignoring the way my breath snags in my chest.
"She? Who's she?" I swallow. "I don't know who you're talking about."
"Melanie Cass. Remember? She spent most of sophomore year in the hospital?" She supplies helpfully, dragging her fingertips across me scalp.
"Sam." I start with a wince, tugging hard at her shoelace until it comes out of the gnarly knot.
"On the mouth, Carly. Lots of times." Sam elaborates as I pry her shoe off of her heel and drop it next to the other one on the floor. She wriggles her toes up at me and I grab both of her feet and squeeze while she falls back flat on the mattress. "I'm sorry."
"It's okay, Sam." I croak even though its so not but there's nothing I can do, about this or the burning in my chest.
"No, its not." She says earnestly, sitting up quickly, eyes wide and I sit back on my heels. "You should've come with me to the party. There was a piñata and cake and I don't think Melanie would've kissed me as much if you were there. I really wished you were there."
And I wish I was there too but I'm not really sure how I fit into her life anymore and I'm even less sure how to tell her that.
"I had some stuff to do." I mutter with a shrug while her heavy, uncoordinated fingers push through my hair again, over and over.
"Important things." She finishes for me.
"And its okay, ya know, that Melanie kissed you. If you liked it." I breathe even though it's just not, in fact the idea of Melanie trying to get into Sam's pants makes me ridiculously furious in that girly, narrow minded, blind rage kind of way.
"But I didn't!" Sam hisses adamantly and I press my fingers to her lips, shushing her a bit. "I didn't." She says it softer now against the pads of my fingers and I smile, drumming my thumbs on her knee caps because her words make me happy. "I didn't want to kiss her, she kissed me. It's not okay because I don't like her and she's extremely aggressive and I have a sister named Melanie… so that's weird too."
"Sam," I sigh thoughtlessly, taking notice of the sticky string of candies around her neck and I reach out to pluck at the candy necklace and Sam's hands move out of my hair to fumble at her neck and then she's sliding the elastic string of candy over her head then down over mine.
"It's a game." She whispers, lips turned upwards in a half formed smile. "You have to get other people to eat all of the candy pieces." She explains, words smeared at the edges and I can't help but smile at her.
"And that's supposed to be fun? Sucking sticky candy off of other people's neck?" I question and before I can even form the correctly incredulous expression, Sam is cupping my face in small warm hands and leaning in and my vision blurs as Sam's mouth presses to my throat.
I let out a harsh breath as Sam's teeth scrape against my skin and its like my entire body is short circuiting and I'm glad I'm already on my knees because I doubt my legs could hold my weight right now.
"Sam?" I groan and there's a crunch as she gets the powdery tart candy free and the stretchy string, wet and warm from her mouth, snaps back against my neck.
"Yeah?" She breathes right against my ear and I can't help but shake a little, dragging in a breath as Sam's tongue glides up my neck in search of another candy and her hand cups the back of my head, keeping me still.
"What're you doing?" I ask and she pulls back with a crooked smirk like I should know but instead of talking she just falls back against the mattress, arms spread and the blankets bunched against her arms like my bed wants to keep her there forever.
"Hey, you know what?" She asks while I rub at my neck absently, clambering to my feet awkwardly but before I can move, she's hooking her feet around my leg at the knee and pulling until I'm stumbling against her, my hands landing at either side of her hips. "I'm very drunk."
I laugh at that, blinking my hair out of my eyes. "Tell me something I don't know."
"It's hard to be your friend." She breathes and …wow, that was unexpected. My stomach flops around in a completely unattractive way and I grimace.
"Sam…what?" I swallow because I thought Sam and I were making progress. We weren't the same but we were at the very least friends.
"I was your friend all through high school, even, even after," She whispers, slinging a limp arm across her face, wrist on the bridge of her nose. "And I didn't want to be your friend because you were with Freddie and you were happy even though you looked at me that way when you thought that I wasn't- that I wasn't paying attention." She slurs and I feel like I should look away because her words are making her seem so naked but I can't. "And I just…"
She trails off and I can't even figure out how to speak around the massive lump in my throat.
"That's how you look at me now, all the time and it makes me feel…" She sits up suddenly, nearly bashing our foreheads together. "Remember that time we jumped off of that cliff into that little tiny lake?" She questions and I nod, vividly remembering spending the hot day staring at the curve of Sam's spine in her bathing suit while Freddie held my hand tightly.
"Yeah." Of course I remember, the water was the same blue as Sam's eyes.
"That's how I feel all of the time now, with you." She says it with a smile, like it's a good thing and I smile back, my insides giving an eager jump. "Guess what?"
"What?" I exhale, following her heavy eyes and the line of her lips.
"You have to guess…" She grins, slow and bright like melting crayons and I laugh a little as she plays with the ends of my hair, curling it around her fingers.
"I don't know." I murmur, "You're about to puke."
She shakes her head slowly, eyebrow arching just a bit and then she's tugging on the ends of my hair, guiding me forward and I don't realize what I'm doing until our foreheads are pressed together and I'm breathing in her air. "Guess again."
And now I don't even really have to guess what she's thinking because I'm thinking it too as she wraps her legs high around my sides, pulling me on top of her as she leans back on the bed and the way we're pressed together, I can't tell if its her heart or mine pounding like that.
"I don't…" I start as Sam's left hand presses against the small of my back, holding me against her. She's warm and solid underneath me and I remember this, the way she feels. "Sam."
"C'mon Carls." She says it like she's teasing but her mouth isn't smiling at all now and it feels heavy and serious and like she wants me and I just…
Her hands are warm as they shove up under the back of my shirt and I drag in a shaky breath when she starts working my shirt upwards, wishing idly that it wasn't the middle of the night and I was wearing a bra so I could at least have more protection against her burning fingers.
"Sam, I don't think…" And it feels like I've become completely incapable of completing a sentence or even a thought as my words trail off into nothing again and her hands find my breast.
I try to pull back then, sitting up on my knees with a gasp because as much as I want Sam, as much as I need Sam, I don't want to have her like this but Sam is nothing if not persistent as she follows me up, eyes dark and focused and before I can find the strength to stop her, she's pulling my tee shirt over my head.
She swears quietly, eyes drifting and I watch her, completely paralyzed and wondering if she can see my heart pounding through my skin and bone.
"You're still beautiful." She says softly, like she knew I would be and I feel myself flush as she reaches out and runs her fingertips over the curve of my breast.
She grins up at me, all sharpness in the dark before she leans in and for a second I think she's going to kiss me but instead her mouth is at my neck again while she palms my breast.
"God." I breathe as that feeling, that white hot feeling, pulls tight in my body. I feel another tart candy crunch apart followed by another and my hand finds itself wrapped up in her soft hair before I can stop myself. "Oh."
She's looking up at me then while her mouth moves down over my shoulder, my collar bone. She pauses above my breast, lips parted and damp and her eyes focused on me like she's waiting for me to either tell her to keep going or try and stop her but I don't do either.
Instead I let my eyes flutter shut as she leans in and mouths the tip of my breast, all wet heat and suction. I feel my groan grate its way through my chest before it passes my lips, low and unfamiliar and it's tempting to just let this happen and deal with consequences in the morning and I can't deny that part of me wants that. That part of me wants tonight but a bigger part of me knows that it can't happen and I'm tugging on Sam's hair until she pulls away from my flesh with a gasp.
"Stop." I rasp and Sam licks her lips, rising up on her knees so we're eye to eye and her thumb drags over my nipple, wet from her mouth.
"Am I hurting you?" She asks and her words make me want to laugh in the weirdest, most humorless way.
"No, we just…We can't do this, Sam." I bite out and I see the way Sam's gaze falters, see something in her eyes that makes my stomach jump up into my chest despite there being no room for it there while her hand falls away from my skin.
Sam looks away then, eyes straying past me while she swallows.
"Lets just go to sleep." I whisper eagerly, smiling in what I hope is a reassuring and Sam's eyes dart over my shoulder to the door.
"I should probably just go." She says instead. "Ya know, since I've felt you up and made a fool of myself."
"No, Sam, it's really late and I don't want you roaming the streets of Seattle. Anything could happen." I argue and instead of fighting, Sam just drags in a heavy breath. "C'mon."
I tug on my shirt quickly as she sits back on the bed, yanking it down over my head. Sam eyes me like she still wants to leave but she lets me urge her down onto the bed, lets me curl up behind her and wrap my arms around her waist and god, it feels like a lifetime since I've been this close to her.
I feel wired and so conscious of what's going on and there's no way I can sleep now.
She's silent for a long time and I wonder if she's asleep but then she's taking this deep, cleansing breath and I mimic it.
"I'm so stupid." She hiccups softly and I press my face into her hair and squeeze tighter.
"No you're not." I whisper and Sam shifts against me, soft and warm, tucking her hands under her chin.
"I feel all mixed up inside." She whispers and I nod, remember that feeling before I decided to leave Freddie, to try and make myself happy.
"I use to feel that way to but not anymore." I admit and Sam stays quiet, just breathing
"You broke my heart." She whispers into the darkness and her voice is thick and cracking and my gut twists hard, makes me hug her harder.
"I made a mistake…leaving you. I didn't know." I croak through the threat of tears and Sam's shoulders shake a little like she might be crying.
"If I don't remember this in the morning, tell me that part, okay?"
I nod. "Okay."
The next morning is full of vomiting and headaches but after Sam spends the entire morning hugging the toilet, we spend the day on the couch watching old movies.
I wonder if she remembers the night before, if I'll have to tell her the things that happened last night but in the middle of the movie, I feel her eyes on me. Her blue eyes are open and clearer than I've seen them since that night in the backseat of her car.
We don't talk about that night at all, not the touching or the confessions and there's a short, awkward string of days where Sam totally disappears on me but one day she just shows up and things are sort of back to this recent form of normal.
Except its not.
Because I can still feel Sam's mouth and Sam's hands in a way that I have only once before and it makes something deep in my chest ache even more than when I was living another life with Freddie.
It's almost normal except for that look in Sam's eyes, the one I often saw but hardly recognized before she blinked it away with a shy smile and a comment about pork chops, is there. Its open and bare and just so darn blue that all I can do is flush head to toe and think about kissing her lips.
I don't, though.
Instead I sit in the chair and watch Sam finish her homework and its so weird seeing Sam doing work that doesn't include any sort of Fat Cake, low fat or otherwise.
"I didn't even know you could read." I murmur and Sam grins up at me from the floor in front of the couch where she's hunched over the coffee table.
"Hmm, you're still funny." Sam musses pushing her hair out of her face.
"Former internet comedienne." I shrug and Sam nods, shutting her text book and she looks up at me like she might make a smart ass comment but that thing happens, that thing where we stare at each other and thoughts are banging around in my head but I can't actually get any of them past my lips.
The sound draws my attention away from Sam's eyes and Sam's mouth and I frown at the kitchen sink where drop after big fat drop is leaking from the faucet.
"Looks like you've got a leaky faucet, Ma'am." Sam declares in a strange accent and I watch Sam hop to her feet. "I can fix that."
"Since when do you fix things?" I ask as Sam heads towards Spencer's bedroom.
"I'll fix anything if it means I get to use tools and stuff." She hollers over her shoulder.
"You do know what you're doing? Right?" I ask as Sam trudges out of Spencer's bedroom, lugging his toolbox behind her like it weighs about a billion pounds and as she clanks across the living room, I wonder if maybe it does.
"No, not really but c'mon, how hard can fixing a stupid leaky faucet be?" She asks, heaving the red, metal toolbox onto the cabinet and giving me a confident smirk.
"Probably fairly difficult considering people go to a special school or something for this kind of thing." I point out helpfully, watching Sam shift noisily through the box.
"Who needs a special school? We're two intelligent, educated, chicks. We can out smart a leaky faucet." Sam says and I roll my eyes a little as she pulls out a heavy wrench. "And if that thing doesn't stop soon, I'm gonna start punching stuff."
She taps the faucet once, twice, with a sharp pinging sound and I cock an eyebrow and try to keep the grin off of my face.
"Sam, c'mon, let's just get the phone book and call someone who knows what they're doing." I plead, watching her bang her wrench against the metal fixtures like it might actually do something.
"Carly, we just have to be smarter than the sink."
Then she hits the faucet again and something breaks, cracks, snaps clean off and suddenly there's water shooting everywhere.
"Sam!" I screech as water rushes out of the broken faucet towards the ceiling before raining down on us, cold and sharp. My hands fly out to try and stop the rushing flow of water.
There's lots of hopping around and screaming and there's water absolutely everywhere and Sam bangs the wrench against the faucet a few more times before she gets the bright idea to use it how it's actually intended and then the blast of water dies against my palms.
I lick my wet lips in disbelief, looking around at the flooded floors and countertops before glancing at Sam as she spits out a mouthful of water.
"Fixed it." She sputters, blinking heavy drops of water from her eyelashes.
"What happened to being smarter than the sink, Sam?" I cry and Sam shrugs, dropping her tool of choice back into the tool box with a metallic clang.
"Hey, I fixed it. Isn't that all that matters?" She asks, shoving her hair, dark and heavy from water, back over her shoulders.
"Yeah, you fixed it after breaking it more."I point out and Sam grips the hem of her shirt with both hands, wringing out the water.
I wipe my own wet hands on my soaked jeans uselessly, glancing around the soaked kitchen.
"We need to clean this up before Spencer comes home and slips and breaks his leg or something. We should get some towels and mops. I saw that ShamPow around here somewhere…" I murmur and when I look up at Sam, she's leaning against the wet countertop, her eyes on me in a way, in that way, that makes me blush instantly. "What?"
She blinks then, like she's coming back from somewhere far away.
"Nothing." She smiles softly. "Just… water looks really good on you." And it's supposed to be an off handed comment, I know it is, as she pushes away from the wet counter top and towards the mop propped in the small gap between the refrigerator and the wall, her sneakers making a funny sound on the wet linoleum.
But it makes me reach out and snag the wet fabric of her tee shirt, pulling her right up against me and she's all warm, radiating heat under her wet clothes.
"What're you doing?" She breathes, blue eyes wide as they meet mine and I shrug a little, smiling in response to the nervousness twisting in my guts because I don't really know what I'm doing.
"I don't know." I admit and Sam swallows, I can see the way her throat works this close up.
Sam's hands are moving then, rough and jerking, reaching out to grip the countertop on either side of my waist.
"What do you want me to do?" She whispers even as she pushes closer, pinning me against the kitchen island and I can feel the water puddled on the tile, seep into my already wet shirt and all I can do is shrug.
This close up, under the bright kitchen lights, I can see the specks of grey in her eyes and the freckles dusted across the bridge of her nose and suddenly all I can think about is how much I missed her and how much I feel for her.
"I missed you." I choke out before I can stop myself and the way her face softens makes my entire body flush.
"I missed you too." She admits, mouth twisting into a wry smile, like she's embarrassed about it or something and I grin so hard that I can feel it in my eyes.
"Yeah?" I ask, gripping her shirt tight enough to squeeze a trickle of water over my hand.
"Yeah." She says with so much certainty that something in my chest flutters up into my throat.
Then I'm not sure if I'm leaning in or she is but we're meeting somewhere in the middle and her forehead, then her nose is bumping into mine gently and she's exhaling slowly, like she's steadying herself.
"When you were with him, with Freddie…" She starts with staggered, broken words. "Did you think of-of me?"
"All the time." I breathe honestly and her lips lift in a sardonic smile while she shifts her weight.
"I didn't mean that in a dirty way." She admits.
"Well, I meant it both ways." I breathe honestly and her smile gives way to something far more serious.
"Why're you back? What made you come home?" Sam asks and I watch her squeeze her eyes shut, gripping her shirt tighter than before because the truth is welling to the surface like verbal vomit and there's nothing I can do to stop it so I twist her shirt around my fist and hold on tight.
"You." I croak. "I came back for you."
Eyes still closed tight and her mouth lifting just a bit and I don't really know what I expected her to do but it's not this and butterflies instantly inhabit my stomach.
"You're smiling?" I whisper, absolutely confused and Sam opens her eyes to meet my wide gaze, beaming at me. "Why're you smiling."
"I knew it."