Disclaimer: I do not own iCarly and I'm not making any money from this.
A/N: Hey guys! I know it's been a while since I last updated this. Sorry about that. Anyway, hope you like this.
Freddie recoiled from the woman's touch.
"Don't touch me." His voice was louder now and laced with venom. Anger boiled in his blood as he pushed himself up off the floor. "You don't get to comfort me while you're kicking me out or after you send my--" even in his anger he stumbled for the right word, "Sam out there." He jabbed his index finger in the air, pointing towards the door. "She's by herself in a city she's never been in before." He was shouting now, and the woman was holding her hands up defensively. Instead of looking at Freddie her gazed was trained on the "employees only" door.
"Please, please just be quiet."
"No! No, I won't be quiet." He was forgetting that the woman had helped him, that revealing what she knew about Sam was putting her job on the line. "If she's dead it's your fault. You might as well have pulled the trigger." The woman winced, and the monster roaring inside Freddie's brain rejoiced, glad that he wasn't the only one that was hurt.
The anger that had been building up over the last ten hours was finally spilling out of him, and this woman was getting its full force. He was angry at Sam for leaving, angry at Carly for being gone, angry at himself for coming here, for taking part in this wild goose chase.
"I'm sorry, but I've helped you all I can. I really just need you to leave now. Please, Ms. Price, she's crazy. She'll fire me. Just—."
"Natalie!" The woman's head drew back as if she had been slapped and she paled. Freddie drew his eyebrows together and turned towards the source of the name. The "employees only" door had been thrown open, and in the doorway stood a short, wrinkled old woman with a fanny-pack slung around her waist.
The woman stepped from the egress, moving towards Freddie. He only stared at her, his mouth slightly open in shock. He had never seen anyone quite like her, but the receptionist was right, she did look crazy.
Her gray hair was separated into two long, thick braids which hung down her back vaguely reminding him of an ancient Pocahontas. Still, as much as her hairstyle reminded him of the Native American princess, the pink and purple windbreaker she wore broke the effect expertly. A pair of too big sweat pants completed her haggard ensemble, their wrinkled and gray appearance looking a bit like the skin of an ancient elephant he'd seen at the zoo during a fourth grade field trip. Despite the deep lines that marred her nearly translucent skin, she had a distinctly young feel about her. She didn't wear glasses or walk with a limp, and the way she'd spoken, how she'd shouted Natalie so clearly, he could already tell her personality was electric.
"Ms. Price. I'm sorry. We didn't mean to disturb you. This gentleman is just leaving." The receptionist's words broke the spell the old woman had cast over him, and he looked back at Natalie, not sure why her voice sounded so meek, so nervous. "Turns out we don't have the right accommodations for him today." She shot a glance over at Freddie and made a little motion with her hand suggesting he should leave now.
But now that he had adjusted to the strange appearance of the old woman, his anger swelled up again. He rotated back on his heels to look at the woman face on. "Do you own this establishment?" He didn't wait for her answer. "Because if you do I hope you're aware of the fact that you have put a girl's life in jeopardy, and if Sam ends up hurt or lost or anything I'll hold you in full responsibility." If he'd been less angry he'd have probably registered the fact that he sounded eerily similar to his mother.
The woman had no reaction; she simply stared at Freddie, her face devoid of expression. After a moment, she shot her eyes towards Natalie. "What is this boy going on about?" Despite her age her voice was smooth as mahogany.
"He's crazy." Natalie quipped. "I'll get rid of him." Natalie walked purposefully towards Freddie and latched onto his collar. "Let's go," she whispered, yanking him towards the door.
"No!" Freddie shouted, resisting her pull. "I want her to take responsibility for this! If you own this dump you have a duty to your customers."
The woman raised her left hand and the receptionist stopped trying to pull Freddie out the door. "Natalie, isn't Sam the name of the girl we had to ask to leave last night?" It sounded less like a question and more like an accusation.
Natalie looked a Freddie pitifully as if to say 'you've done it now'.
He felt a twinge of guilt and frowned. He tried to remind himself that he shouldn't feel bad, that this woman had been a part of kicking Sam out.
"Yes, Sam is one of the girls who were fighting last night." Natalie let go of Freddie's collar and he straightened up.
The old woman nodded in understanding and pursed her lips. "And how is this young man connected to her?" She looked over Freddie, her eyes narrowed in scrutiny.
"He's looking for her."
"She ran away from home." He explained. "She's from Seattle."
Ms. Price frowned as if she were contemplating something. Finally she flicked her eyes towards the receptionist. "Natalie, do you know the house where Calvin stays?"
Natalie's forehead wrinkled, "Yes, but what does that have to do with—"
"Give this boy the address."
The receptionists opened her mouth as if she wanted to ask why, but thought better of it and scurried behind the desk to find the information.
"Last night after she got kicked out, she left with Calvin. He's a, well, a sort of regular around here."
Freddie felt the knot in his stomach release slightly, but a part of him warned not to get his hopes up. "Do you think she's still with him?"
Ms. Price's gaze turned stony, "Calvin's not the kind of guy girls tend to walk away from."
Freddie stood on the curb and looked up at the house. Natalie had given him the address to Calvin's and told him to be careful. When she'd said that he hadn't been sure why, but now that he was here he understood.
The house was an eyesore. It looked like the kind of place drug dealers lived in on television shows. Siding was sliding off in some spots. In other places it blared obscenities and gang symbols in fading orange spray paint. The two windows on either side of the door were boarded up. Freddie ventured a guess that the rest would be blocked as well. The grass was overgrown, the cement path to the front porch barely visible.
Freddie drew in a long breath of air and marched up to the front door resolute. The porch sagged under his weight, and he briefly panicked that it would collapse. Still, he made it safely to the front door and, before he could think twice, rapped on the decaying wood.
It was several long seconds before he heard anything else. Then, several things happened in quick succession. First, he heard a shout through the door, but he couldn't make out the words. Then, another voice shouted back to the first. He couldn't make out what the second person said either. It was a couple more seconds before he heard anything after that, but then he heard footsteps approaching the door. Finally, the door cracked open.
"Wha' do you want?" He couldn't make out a face through the small opening, but from the deep gravely tone of the voice that had spoken Freddie was sure the man who had answered must be seven feet tall.
"I, um, I'm here--." Freddie swallowed hard and started again. "Is Calvin here?"
The man let out a little snort of disbelief. "You're here to see Calvin?"
Slowly, the door opened. Where Freddie expected to find a giant stood a man who could be no taller than five feet. He wore a dirty white tank top and baggy black jeans. His hair was cut short, and the words "la araña." were tattooed across his collarbone.
Freddie swallowed hard. La araña, the spider, he thought. His mind was flooded with images of his mother, wishing she could save him, and his hand jumped almost instinctively to his phone. His stomach tightened remembering that it was off. He couldn't help but imagine all the things this man could do to him. Why did they call him the spider? Did he strangle his victims? Inject them with something that made them immobile before killing them? He felt his heart racing.
"You gonna sell for Calvin at the college?" The tiny man smiled at Freddie, revealing a set of decaying teeth.
Freddie tried not to stare. "Yeah, yeah, I'm going to sell for him." His heart was racing. He knew he should lie, but he was afraid if he told the truth the man might not let him in.
"You look a little clean to be dealing." The man spit. Freddie grimaced. "Guess that's better though. They never suspect the momma's boys."
He stepped aside to let Freddie into the house. Freddie nodded at him in thanks and entered. When the man closed the door behind him he felt his heart beat even faster.
The room he had entered smelled damp, like mildew. There was a broken down couch with ripped cushions in one corner. A big screen television sat across from it. On the screen two people were having sex. Freddie's stomach clenched and he looked away, scared of what he would see if he watched for too long. In the other corner there was a round table. It was littered with trash and empty liquor bottles. He felt hot dread slip down his spine when he saw some used syringes lying in a heap next to a dirty ashtray.
"Go on," the man shoved him towards the hallway off the room. "Calvin's back there, the door on the left at the end. I'd knock first though, man." Freddie looked back at the man who raised his eyebrows suggestively. Freddie grimaced.
He took a few steps down the hall, the reality of what he was doing sinking in with each footfall. What was he thinking? He'd just come into a drug dealer's house. This was not going to end well. Still, the chance that Sam was here, that he'd finally found her, it was too much. He couldn't turn back now, not when he'd come this far.
He reached the door that "la araña" had directed him to, and he pulled a shaking hand up and knocked.
"Come in," called back a deep voice almost immediately.
Freddie grasped the knob tightly and turned, pushing the door forward.
His breath caught in his throat when he took in the scene. There, on the bed, wrapped around who he could only assume was Calvin, was Sam. Sam. Sam. His brain was void of any other thought. Sam. He'd finally found her.
A/N2: Thanks for reading. If you liked it leave a review because they fuel my writing fire. 3