Chapter Name: Setting Sail
Notes: Yeah. Sorry this took so long. I gave up writing for a while. A month or so ago I stopped giving up writing. Now we have this.
Thanks to reviewers DCUO Statellizer, CCOuger42709, dwstrikesback, Subject87, RemDiamond, darsnider, JazzGirl123, baronvonmilo and Fanfic-Reader-88. Plus anyone else who reviewed earlier chapters since the last update.
Our trip was punctuated by Sam-scheduled stops along the way. A cafe in Castle Rock because Sam needed bacon and eggs. We blasted through Portland. I took over driving from Carly after we stopped for lunch at a burger joint in Albany. I figured Carly and I could drive all the way without another stop. I'm sure with the number of drinks Sam bought after lunch that she'd need at least one, maybe two stops along the route. Spencer is naturally overactive, he wouldn't like being cooped up in a car for that long either.
I diverted off the highway exit, and headed out towards the ocean. The roads narrowed and turned into a single lane each way. Traffic was sparse. Thick tall trees leaned over the road, a wooded archway giving shade from the hot sun. A river meandered along the road, twisting and turning, heading away from the pavement before seemingly coming up right beside the roadway. The sun shone through the gaps in the treeline.
As a small truck eased past us on the other side of the road, disturbed air gushing through the window rattling the air freshener attached to the rear view mirror. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed movement in the seat next to me.
Carly had shifted in her seat. She'd fallen into a light nap after the lunch. Instead of leaning against the window, she was now supporting her head with her arms and shoulder. Sound asleep, a tress of hair floated along her lips, rising and falling with each steady breath. I stole a momentary glance as the road straightened ahead.
I like watching her sleep, it makes me comfortable. I feel closer to Carly. Knowing she is comfortable enough to trust me. Trusted with her vulnerability in turn. For me Carly is at her cutest when sleeping. I don't know why. That's not to say she isn't beautiful when she's awake, or that her eyes don't sparkle with fire when she's being creative, or narrow with determination when a problem arises, or that they don't glow along with accomplishment etched on her face when she gets a good grade or achievement.
I just mean cute.
I feel protective. I know you probably should feel guilty, or creepy. I don't. Not with Carly. I don't stare at her or anything weird you know. I just take her in. If that makes any sense at all. The subtle rise and fall in her breath is soothing. I can watch her for a minute or two, keeping watch over her. Guarding a precious life because Carly is precious.
It's not like that with anyone else. Even Mom. If I see her asleep I feel like she's simply gearing up for the next bout of hyperactive overprotective behavior and is only sleeping because her brain is working against her. When Sam is asleep she is predatory, reactions still working razor sharp and ready to defend herself. I tried testing that one time. Instead of Sam getting a sharpie mustache I had a word I'd rather not say written on my forehead. She grabbed my hand before it had even reached her face.
I've seen Spencer asleep a couple of times. Both times he'd come home from a party with Socko and drunk out of his mind. I once came over to Carly's at 2pm on Sunday to find Spencer face down on the wooden coffee table.
Gibby snores. Loudly.
The loud blast of a horn behind me brought my full concentration back on the road. Behind me a car was swerving back and forth looking for room to overtake. I was just under the speed limit. This guy clearly wanted to go faster than that.
I never understood that, what's the point? You get there five minutes earlier at the risk of getting pulled over.
I indicated to the left, pulled over onto the shoulder and Mr. Speedster zoomed to the right, darted across to the right and shot around our car, flying into the distance and out of sight at the next turn. What a moron.
After that encounter traffic dropped to next-to-nothing. I kept my eyes on the road, navigated the various twists and turns easily without having to worry about any other road ragers. The numbers on the signs telling us how far we had to go to the nearest town started dropping dramatically. From what I've been told this was an exclusive seaside village and not a typical tourist trap beach town.
When the river began to open to a wide bay I knew we were approaching one of the last potential stops on our trip. The town lay on the 'corner' of the river and the bay, the sounds of Waldport stirred Carly back into waking consciousness, "We there already?"
"No Carly, we have another 20 minutes to go. We're at the seaside though."
Carly rubbed her eyes awake and took in the view of the ocean. We were so close we could feel the salty mist coming off the ocean and could taste the sea air in our mouths. My choice in music must not have met with her approval as she reached over to turn my black and square mp3 player off.
"I'm not listening to that stuffy old man music."
"That is classical Carly. Our culture and history. This was around before we were even a country, and it'll be around as long as humans are."
"It's boring. That's what it is."
"Fine." I couldn't expect her to have much appreciation, not after her musical 'diet' consisted of top 40 pop music and whatever boy bands were hot, which could mean physically or in the terms of the record label marketing machine. Spencer would have been the only person who could have changed that when she was younger but he cared more about artistic development of a more physical kind.
She was happy with her musical interests, who am I to judge her for it?
"Don't pout at me Freddie." Out of the corner of my eye I could see her grinning.
"I'm just kidding Carly. I know you don't like it. Go ahead."
She just smiled. Then put her own music on, plugging her sleek white music player into the aux port my own had occupied moments earlier.
It instantly started playing a boy band. The music faded into a mess of brick walled heavily compressed dynamic range, drums that bleed into bass guitars, vocals with no definition, the audio version of black and white TV static. I mentally tuned the music out.
A set of traffic lights and one left turn later and we were on the final leg of the journey. The traffic flow dropped considerably as we drove mere feet from the rocky shore of the North Pacific Ocean.
"Do you think Sam and Spencer stopped?" Carly asked.
"I didn't see them. Knowing Sam she would stop to get more food. I got stuck behind a slow truck for a while, when the road kept twisting. I didn't want to risk trying to over-take it."
"Good. I hate overtaking trucks. Did you want to stop?"
"No, I figure we'll be there soon enough anyway, plus you were sleeping."
"I hope you kept your eyes on the road." Out of the corner of my eye I could see her eyebrow raised in amusement.
"Come on Freddie, I know you as well as you know yourself." She replied nonchalantly. I kept my head focused dead ahead. Only stopping momentarily to glance down at the speed indicator.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
Carly laughed, "It means I know what you're like when you watch me sleeping. You get all protective and chiz. Like you're the hero protecting the damsel in her most guarded moment. That's what I think at least. Sam just thinks it's weird."
"I don't know what you're talking about."
This time her laugh was much deeper, "You're a horrible liar Freddie. Even when you're not looking at me, I can still tell you are full of it just from the tone of your voice. Just because I might have my eyes closed doesn't mean I'm always asleep. I'm not an idiot Freddie. You make this half-asleep half-awake misty eyed googly-eye face until you figure out you're actually awake and leave. I have to stop myself bursting out laughing."
"You laugh at me?"
She nodded, "Oh Freddie it's not like that, it's just a funny face, I'm not laughing at you for looking at me, you're a guy, a good guy, there's nothing wrong with it, you like girls and girls happen to sleep near you on occasion. And we're best friends, why wouldn't you be protective? Plus everyone acts funny before they wake up properly. Just don't try to kiss m- … the girl. That would be super creepy."
"I wouldn't. I haven't. I never-" I said as I glanced back over to her, hoping to show here I was telling the truth.
"Eyes on the road. I believe you."
I asked her a question, "We've had sleepovers before, have you ever watched me sleep?"
Carly giggled. Her not-so-demure laugh for when discussion not exactly 'appropriate' is about to happen. Which is never a good sign. What have I got myself into. "Uh, maybe. You sure you want to go down this path?"
"Huh? Why wouldn't I?"
Carly hesitated for a second. I nodded my head in affirmation. Carly fiddled with her device for a second then the horrible music thankfully ceased.
She rolled her eyes then shook her head, "I cannot believe I'm going to tell you this, but whatever, you asked for it. You know what happened with Sam. At the start of that bedroom thing with the two of you." I knew exactly what she was talking about, Carly didn't seem angry about it at all, and she'd brought it up first. Maybe we'd moved past it. I just nodded my head as I kept watching the road. I didn't want to risk bringing up or saying anything that might upset her.
"Well, when, what did Sam call it? Fredward Junior? That wasn't the first time he'd been awake before you had. It happened when I woke up early once too." Carly put her head in her hands and started giggling again.
"Dead serious." She replied through her closed hands.
Carly chuckled, finally looking back at me without her hands in the way, "It's not that bad, we all went through those Sex Ed lessons, it's natural. You never went, err, what did Mrs. Briggs call it? To completion, while you were sleeping, which I thank you for."
I shuddered. Those lessons with Mrs. Briggs were the antithesis of sexy. 30 year old diagrams, public service announcement films that were so dull and dry that they couldn't even be made fun of properly.
"Honestly Freddie," Carly said, looking over to me and biting her lip, "It was kinda hot." Luckily in this situation my reaction had been for my hands to tighten on the wheel. If the opposite happened, if they simply ceased to function I'd be a corpse in a metal coffin rapidly sinking to the ocean floor by now.
"It was hot. I've never seen one, a guy's, you know, even covered up, so it was exciting. Like, my first reaction was to stop and turn my head over and look at the wall, or throw another blanket over you. But I didn't."
I didn't have any reply to that. My brain was concentrating on not crashing, and adding the embarrassing revelation followed by her thinking it was hot was too much to take. I was speechless. So I retreated into my driving technique. Check the speed. Check mirrors. Adjust speed. Back to the front of the road. Reflexive and instinctive, but cogent thought that distracted me nonetheless.
Carly took this as a sign to continue. Was it getting humid in here? Wait. I'm dead. I'm actually dead. I crashed the car because of that nutjob before the town and this is a dying dream. Or I'm in purgatory. Because this can't be real.
"You didn't think we'd go this long without getting interested in that stuff right? We're growing up. I have, well, I wouldn't say desires, but maybe thoughts? Curiosity? That probably describes it better. That's what happened with you and Sam. She didn't trust anyone else, and you're a guy who likes boobs. It didn't necessarily mean anything romantic. Same with me. Plus I'm know you've thought about us girls. This is me getting even!"
"Except this time I was asleep so you didn't really have to worry about what I might think? So what happened was just physical curiosity?"
"I've seen videos and porn," Carly said, her voice lowering on the last word, even though it was just the two of us, "That isn't real though. I've never been close enough to any other guy to trust them sleeping near me. The only guy who I ever came close to that was-"
"Jonah." I didn't even notice that Carly thought about stuff in this way now. Sam was obvious because of what happened, but Carly? I figured she'd given up on guy-related thoughts and activity for a while after Jonah. Perhaps I'd only recently earned her trust back.
I wanted to avoid that subject even more than the current one so I put her back on track, "What exactly did you see?"
"Nothing in the flesh. If that's what you're worried about. Only Sam has seen that." I don't know if I should be happy or disappointed. I mean. It is hot. Carly saying it was hot is hot, "You stayed over one night. I think we stayed up working on a project. Science I think. We-"
"Got a B+ when we should have got A+ because the teacher hated the font we used." It wasn't Comic Sans or Papyrus or anything stupid like that, it was Futura! I should have stuck to Helvetica.
"Yeah. You looked dead on your feet, so I told you to stay over as it was 2am and you could not string a sentence together. You took the spare mattress from under my bed, a pillow, a blanket, then you took off your jeans and shirt, bam, out like a light. I didn't even remember falling asleep myself. The next morning I woke up first. That blanket was on the floor. And your boxer shorts weren't very tight."
"I suppose that's why you stopped talking to me for about a week."
"When I saw it I tried to stop myself from looking, but I didn't want to wake you since it'd be totally embarrassing for you."
"Does that morning have anything to do with the dreams you told me about back at the Groovy Smoothie?"
"Yeah. I had the first one a few days after that morning. It was vivid. It freaked me out. When I woke up from it I said to myself what the frick just happened, it was crazy, I've never had a dream that intense before, and it was about what might have happened if you woke up and saw me watching you."
"So what did happen?"
"Oh no, I'm never going to tell you that. That would be too much. I don't think I could ever look you in the eye if I told you. This was already too weird. Are we weird Freddie? Is this what a normal friendship is like?"
We are totally weird. Crazy. A few fries short of a happy meal. One slice short of a pizza. Do other guys have this problem with their girl friends? Most of them wouldn't have girl friends, and they'd only have girlfriends (or like my friends, no girl friend or girlfriend) so they wouldn't have the problem.
"No. We're just human. It's what everyone does. Even if they don't tell each other."
"Humans are pretty weird then."
"I'd say that's an accurate description of the species."
"Are we good? We're mixing up strong feelings, physical and emotional and I don't want things to get messed up with us."
"I don't either. We're good Carly. Don't sweat it. It's just natural like you said. Even if it's a little messy. It's settled. We're friends who have weird dreams or thoughts about each other. Good for you?"
She smiled brightly. This must have weighed on her mind. I could tell the weight had been lifted off her shoulders. What happened with Jonah made her second guess her own feelings, and I didn't exactly help the situation then either.
"I'm good Freddie." She reached over to lay her hand on mine for a moment before taking it back off so I could steer properly.
"Then it's settled. On the plus side, we're nearly there."
"Thank god. I have no idea what I might have told you if we kept talking about that." Carly added with a laugh. Who knows, maybe one day I'll find out.
"Same here. Here's to our next long conversation not being so awkward. We actually have to drive through the town. A little farther down the road. But it's right on the edge of the water."
I had Carly double check the location on her phone. We were nearly there and came to the first sign that we had entered the town and not just another small set of individual houses. It was the Yachats Memorial Park. The cemetery. After that the houses grew more akin to suburbia.
"The Blue Whale? I bet Sam will bug us to go there one night," Carly remarked as we went by the blue painted restaurant. Then we had entered what could be called the town square. A few dozens varied businesses all setup in a haphazard fashion with roads and parking lots jutting off from the main highway. The buildings gave way to a view of the bay. Birds and other animals pecked at the sand, hoping to grab a meal of their own before the evening began to close in.
After crossing the bridge the scenery changed again to houses, most tall and proud but the odd house looking worse for wear.
"Okay, Spencer said once we make the sharp left coming out of the side of the town after the bridge, we'll see a handful of houses on hill. There's should be a yellow sign before the turn."
"There it is!" Carly cried out, I also spotted the sign and slowed down a touch. Both to avoid going off the edge of the road and to help seeing the house. As we made the turn we could both see the houses.
"Which one is ours?" I asked Carly.
"The smaller one down the hill."
Checking my mirrors before braking, I indicated to our right to turn onto the steep downhill entrance. One hairpin turn later and we were there. Wow. This place looked small from the road but as I parked in the driveway it was anything but small.
Carly was the first to get out, she started wandering around the front step area. I'd set the brake and take the keys out of the car and exited the car. And stretched like a cat does, yawning at the same time. The drive had really taken it out of me. I'd taken one set of the house keys from Spencer at one of our stops, in the event of a staggered arrival. It was a smart choice. Opening the door myself and Carly stepped through the entrance, the wood paneling made it looks like a rustic old cabin, but it was clearly modern, recently built and well equipped and well designed.
"Wow, this place is awesome."
"I have to agree Carls." I replied as I punched in the code for the alarm. It stopped beeping and we were done.
Carly stepped through the main room into the kitchen, "There's an envelope on the fridge with our names on it."
"What does it say?" I asked as Carly split open the top of the letter and glanced over it.
"Just a list of what we need to do and basic instructions, it says we can have anything in the house, fridge, it says for us to have fun and that we can 'wet our whistle' to whatever drinks we like and not to worry about replacing anything."
Carly opened the large, stainless steel fridge and he wasn't kidding, the fridge was packed with all sorts of food and drinks. The freezer had dozens of frozen pieces of meat, and several boxes of ice cream, each a different, fancy flavor.
"Do you think he knows Sam? Maybe we should just accidentally lose the letter and tell her not to eat everything? I know he said we could, I'll feel bad if we eat everything he bought."
"Carly, if we don't eat his food he might think we're stuck up and what he gave us wasn't good enough."
"Maybe we just don't tell her anything, and make Spencer decide what to tell her."
"That's a good idea," I said as I pulled out a can of soda to offer to Carly. She shook her head then began to wander around the room. I left it in the fridge, I'd have it later.
"Do you know where the bathrooms are?"
Now that was a good question and one I could answer. I also needed to use it myself. It was a long trip.
"Well this place has two bathrooms. One on each floor. I'll take the top."
We broke off, I trudged up the stairs, that drive had really taken it out of me. I found the bathroom, it was an en-suite inside the main bedroom. After I was done I stood looking at the bed. My muscles had new-found aching after the exertion of climbing up the stairs. The bed looked inviting. Wooden frame, the linen was black, the pillows white. It was bigger than my own bed.
Before I could stop myself I had flopped down onto the bed.
I'm never leaving this bed.
"Huh?" I called out, Carly's footsteps echoing up the staircase into the room.
"You just said I'm never leaving this bed."
"Yep." She confirmed as she appeared in the door frame. Looking me up and down with a smirking half-smile. I talked out loud and didn't even realise it. It was that comfortable.
"So comfy. Like a marshmellow." That induced another smile from Carly, this time a full lipped one.
"Mind if I join you? I never get much rest sleeping in a car."
"Not at all." I was having trouble keeping my eyes open.
Carly did her own flop, this time it was face first onto the mattress, I chuckled at her slapstick movement. After a minute on her stomach she flipped over, "You were right. So right. I'm not moving. Ever."
"I was here first."
"Well I'm not moving."
"Neither am I."
Carly began to laugh but it quickly turned into a yawn. That set me off, which had her yawn again, in a back and forth chain reaction.
"Looks like we'll have to share then," Carly stated through another yawn.
"Fine," yawn, "By me." My eyes closed, this time I couldn't gather the strength to re-open and I fell swiftly into the embrace of sleep, with Carly doing the same next to me.
AN: So there you have it. Another physical moment of intimacy, or the revelation of such. I did get some requests for more physical-based interaction between Carly and Freddie, I hope this might satiate that need. Hopefully I don't take another 8 months or whatever to update the next chatper.
To Snapplelinz. Thank you. For everything.
Finally, how good was Creddie canon in iGoodbye! We're endgame! Just like all the other ships, Lizzie/Gordo, Zoey/Chase, I'm sure there are 100's we could go through, and now we are one of them. I can only hope Dan doesn't try to go back on his vision to satisfy Seddie shippers to make them watch Sam & Cat. I think Victorious also got cancelled since the last chapter. What a crazy year it was.