Chapter 25 – Stage Setup

*Sam's POV*

It was kind of like Christmas.

Lots of boxes that they had to open, piled up in front of them. Although Christmas wasn't work… and there was usually a tree involved… and most importantly, you didn't know what was in your 'presents'.

Unfortunately for Sam, she did know what was in these presents. Lots and lots of furniture. And not the nice already-put-together kind, the boring do-it-yourself kits that had manuals in 8 different languages, of course none of them being English. Life had a funny sense of humor sometimes.

"Have I mentioned how much I hate this?" Sam sighed, overcome at the amount of work in front of her.

"At least twice." Freddie grinned at her impatience, and leaned over to grab the pair of scissors before slicing open another box. Sam shot him an icy glare.

"Well let me mention it again." She said flatly. "I hate this."

Freddie kept the grin on his face, stopping his work to watch her silently. Sam heaved a sigh in misery, and kept trying to decipher the Spanish version of one of the manuals. She had never paid much attention in Spanish class, and was now sorely regretting that.

"Maybe I can make it worth your while?" Freddie said with a smirk, leaning in towards her.

"No way!" Sam shouldered him off and Freddie laughed.

"Why not?" He whined, the smile not leaving his face.

Sam glared at him, which unfortunately made no difference at all. Freddie barely even cringed, causing Sam to be inwardly disappointed. She made a quick mental note to try and be a more abusive girlfriend.

"It's your fault we're in here at all! If you hadn't of pulled that incredibly dumb stunt in English class and got us roped into this Romeo and Juliet play, then maybe you could have been making this afternoon 'worth my while'." She grinned, knowing by the look on his face that Freddie regretted getting them into this mess.

"But you didn't, and for that you will be punished." Sam said flatly before returning to the manual.

"What's the punishment?" He asked with amusement.

Sam rolled her eyes when she heard the edge in Freddie's voice. Pervert she thought bitterly.

"No… physical stuff until we're done with every single piece of furniture."

Freddie chuckled at her statement and she turned to look at him, unable to keep a small mixture of annoyance and confusion from reaching her face.

He began slowly walking over to her until he was within a few feet. Sam quirked her eyebrows at him and hesitantly took a step back as Freddie continued his frontal assault. After she took a few more steps, her stomach dropped slightly as she felt a wall behind her, stopping her retreat.

Freddie placed one hand by her head and leaned in closer to her. He kept moving in until she could feel his hot breath tickling her ear. He was inadvertently teasing her willpower, as he moved so close that she could just barely feel his cheek brush against the side of her face.

"Freddie wait we're –. . . someone could see us."

Her voice trailed off as she caught the very familiar scent of light cologne that he used. Sam cursed herself when she realized that she had bought that cologne for him a long time ago as a joke. The joke's on me she realized numbly as Freddie let another hot breath roll over her chilled skin.

"Better get to work then." He whispered into her ear as he smiled at her reaction. Sam growled angrily before pushing him out of the way and returning to her manual. She secretly hoped he hadn't seen the small flicker of disappointment that flashed across her face.

She turned to see him smirking slightly, and realized that he had.

"Idiot." She muttered.

*Carly's POV*

Carly watched as the second hand on the clock marched slowly back towards the number 12.

It was odd how the most uninteresting things could become suddenly so fascinating at times of complete and utter boredom. She sighed as the second hand completed its journey, and then began again, as it had for the past 46 times.

She rolled over on the couch, pushing some of her hair out of the way in the process. This had to have been the most boring day she'd had in a while. Where are my two best friends? Hell if I know! Not like they'd bother telling me anyways, she thought angrily as the clock made a soft 'ding' marking the start of seven o'clock. She groaned and got up to walk over to the fridge, only to be disappointed when nothing looked appetizing.

Carly made her way over to the door and exited her apartment before walking across the hall to Freddie's. She had done this process at least twice already, and knew how it ended. She would knock on the door, no one would answer, and she would go back unhappy and bored again.

It surprised her when someone opened the door this time.

"Oh. . .you." Freddie's mother rested her unsettling gaze on Carly, who suddenly wished she was back on her couch again.

"Ah, Ms. Benson!" Carly gave a hesitant smile and tried to look as if she wasn't scared. Unfortunately, Ms. Benson was still a little hostile about the whole "Freddie saving her life" episode that happened a while ago.

Ms. Benson crossed her arms. "What do you want?"

Carly laughed nervously and made up a quick lie, although she was unsure why her mind picked this one.

"I uh, left some homework in Freddie's room from our last study group. I was hoping that I could get it back?"

The silence hung in the air as Ms. Benson narrowed her eyes at Carly in suspicion. Carly kept a slightly broken smile on her face as she waited for judgment.

"Fine, but be quick. Freddie isn't home and I don't want you to mess up his room while he's gone." She put venom into her words, making it clear that Carly was not welcome here unless Ms. Benson wasn't home. Carly scurried in and walked straight to Freddie's room, not even bothering to take of her shoes.

To her relief, Ms. Benson didn't watch scarily from the Freddie's doorway, instead choosing to remain in the kitchen. If Carly were to hazard a guess, she would say that Freddie's mom was cooking dinner.

Carly walked around the room and examined some of the stuff in Freddie's room. It was typical, mostly guy stuff except for the iCarly-related things he had. Some AV equipment, an iCarly shirt, one of the awards from a web show convention that they had gone too . . . nothing too important.

She sighed as she realized that being in the room of one of her friends wasn't going to bring her any closer to them. And it was just as boring as it was back at her place.

She was about to leave (for she was sure Ms. Benson had a timer going from the moment she walked in), until something caught her eye.

In the corner of the room on a nightstand, was a shiny silver bracelet with a charm hanging from the center of it. Now ordinarily Carly would have disregarded it, but this bracelet looked particularly familiar.

The design, the shape, the color. . . Carly had bought this. Her eyes narrowed as she picked up the small piece of jewelry, rolling it between her fingers in thought. Yes, Carly realized it was the same one she had gotten about a year ago.

But there was no way it was the exact one, because she had given that bracelet to. . .

Carly's eyes widened in astonishment.

"Oh my god." She breathed.

*Sam's POV*

"Would you push harder already!"

"That's what she said."

"Oh, that's real mature Freddie."

"Sorry, I couldn't resist." Freddie chuckled.

Sam resisted the urge to hit him as she pushed desperately hard on the leg of the table they were assembling. The leg moved slightly before settling back into a slant, making Sam huff in disappointment.

Freddie looked at the table in pity, and scratched the back of his head. "I don't think we're doing it right." He finally said.

Sam had a deadly calm look as she slowly turned her head to face him.

"Really?" She asked with heavy sarcasm.

Freddie frowned and then looked at the manual again.

"Yea, I think we might have to take it out and turn it about. . . an inch before it will fit in place correctly."

Sam scoffed before grabbing the manual and looking at herself.

"Sure we can do that. . . if we want a lopsided piece of crap as our table!"

"It won't be lopsided, it will be perfectly straight!"

"No it won't! And you can have the wonderful honor of telling Mr. Skett that you screwed up his table for the play." Sam smirked at him and he shook his head and grinned.

"Fine, but we're still trying it."

Sam waved her hand in a 'whatever' gesture as Freddie got to work. She sat down and leaned against the wall, not bothering to help him. A few minutes later she was shocked to find an eerily straight table sitting in front of her.

"There." Freddie said proudly.

Sam shot him a look and stood up to inspect the piece of furniture. She kicked the leg he had fixed, partially hoping it would break, only to be mildly upset when it stood its ground. So much for my carpenter skills, she thought absently.

"I suppose this is. . . mildly impressive. For a dork," She finished with a vengeance, not allowing Freddie to have any pride over his accomplishment.

"This coming from the girl who's dating," Freddie pointed to himself, "the dork." He grinned and Sam scowled at him. She'd had an unnecessarily tough day today, without having to put together a bajillion pieces of furniture, and wit was the last thing she needed from Freddie.

"Yeah, whatever." She walked over and began to open the second to last box, ripping the manual from its taped area and opening it to glance at the pages.

She was slightly shocked when she felt Freddie's nose nuzzle up against her neck. He took a deep breath and Sam felt a little heat enter her cheeks.

"You always smell so good." Freddie groaned in a mixture of agony and longing. Sam was about to say something before she felt Freddie's lips just barely touch her skin. He began leaving a light trail of kisses leading up her neck. Sam attempted to ignore these and continued reading until he hit a sensitive spot behind her ear, causing a tiny moan to escape her mouth. She pulled away and looked at him sternly.

"We need to finish."

Freddie quirked his eyebrows and looked around the room in mock confusion.

"Finish what?" He asked, a small grin beginning to form on his lips.

Sam frowned at him and pointed to the two boxes they had left. "Finish those –"

"Hmm, I don't see anything there." He cut her off, not even bothering to look where she pointed. Freddie wrapped his arms around her waist started on her neck again, leaving a mixture of kisses and nips trailing over the pulse point. Sam tried to speak several times, but failed as all that escaped her mouth was ragged breathing and an occasional gasp as Freddie continued the exquisite use of his tongue.

Freddie quickly got up and walked over to the door, locking and hearing a satisfying click before returning to Sam. Before she could protest, Freddie flipped her onto her back causing her to (much to her dismay) squeal like a 4-year-old. She frowned as Freddie laughed, but didn't have time to get mad at him before his lips met hers in an eager rush.

The last thing she remembered hearing was her phone vibrating somewhere in her bag, with the familiar ringtone ID she had set for her best friend.

Carly's call will have to wait she thought as she wrapped her arms around Freddie's neck in defeat.