"Oh, come on! You know that's total crap! I never would have gone along with it if Sam hadn't forced me to!"

"I forced you?! Excuse me, but were you not the one who kept going on and on about how amazing that hunk of wires was?! I just helped you get inside the store! And it's not like you didn't enjoy toying around with that thing after we got out free and clear." She had a point, but any charitable thoughts went out the window with her punch to my gut. Same old shit, different day, I thought to myself.

"You know what Sam?! Why don't you –"

"Guys calm down! Sam stop hitting Freddie! Freddie stop provoking Sam!" Like that would ever work. Carly's lectures hadn't been very effective when we were thirteen and they weren't very effective now.

"I still don't see why Spots couldn't have sat back here with Fredwierd. I mean, they look exactly alike." Spots was Carly's two year old Dalmatian.

"Oh, wow Sam. Comparing me to Carly's dog. How original. Why don't you come up with some new material?" Wait for it. SWISH. Yup, slap to the head, right on cue. I just barely got out of the way in time.

"Sam! Freddie! What did I just say?!" Carly was screaming a lot on this drive. I hoped she would stop soon; she was just raising her blood pressure unnecessarily. "Sam you know what'll happen to Spots if he's in the back seat. Are you gonna be the one to clean it up this time?" She waited for a few seconds until she heard Sam's sigh. "That's what I thought. Stop hitting Freddie."

After that relatively minor incident, we all managed to clam down and got back to talking. We were having a good time; I was reconnecting with my best friends after spending my first semester at Stanford, we all talked about – insulted, really – our finals and teachers; Sam wondered out loud if an essay on the history of Fat Cakes would help her pass Nutrition 52; Carly cursed her Statistics professor to death for the "horrible, terrible, just plain vile final" he'd had her take. Overall, I felt good about my scores and teachers, but joined in anyways.

Eventually, as it always did now, the conversation steered towards relationships. More specifically, Carly's new boyfriend and how amazing and sexy he was. The thought struck me that only five years ago, any talk of Carly's boyfriends would have sent me spiraling into an emotional twister of rage, jealousy, depression, all that fun stuff. Then I recalled our junior year, where for three great months Carly Shay had been mine. I was the one who got her Spots as a puppy on our two month anniversary. We had been pretty good together, but in the end we realized the love we had for each other was mostly platonic and had gone back to being best friends.

Sam had a field day when we told her the news. She got in so many insults. Jesus, I'd known she had backed off a little on the tormenting, but I had no idea she'd actually written each and every one of the insults down. The list was four hand written pages long. Front and back.

Anyway, Carly pretty much listed the qualities she admired in her new guy. Sort of like how a rancher would talk about the qualities of a racehorse they'd just bought. Really, almost nowhere in her list did she have character qualities; it was overall just appearance. So, as we were prone to do, Sam and I started flicking things at each other while Carly droned on.

"Guys, are you even listening to me?"

"Not really," I said.

"Nope," Sam answered.

"Why?" I knew that if I responded, Carly would think I was being jealous. And whether or not it was true, I did not need to deal with that conversation again. I motioned Sam to answer.

"Well, come on Carly we go through this every few months or so. You meet a guy. You fall for him. You're crazy about him. You talk about him incessantly. You make out with him incessantly. The honeymoon ends. Here's where the options come in. One, you guys fight incessantly and break it off. Two, you dump him. Three, (which has only happened with Freddifer) you break it off and still hang out. Four, the guy cheats on you while you still like him and you spend the next few days crying in bed. Oh, and five, (which, thankfully, has also only happened once) he cheats on you and you have to go get tested." Carly looked somewhat distraught.

"Do you have to make it sound so routine?" She asked that with a quiet, sad voice.

"Sorry Shay, but it is what it is," Sam responds as she twists in her seat, ending up in the fetal position with her head on the seat and her feet on the passenger side headrest. She'd been squirming around for the entire drive and I was tired of it.

"Why can't you just sit up straight Puckett?"

"Why can't you just shut up and die, asswipe?" And yet, she did get herself up. Probably so she could hit me with greater force. Before she could, I grabbed her feet and put them on my lap.

"There. Are you going to stop squirming now?" Sam considered me for a second, then nodded. She relaxed and leaned back into the corner between the seat and door.

"But only for a while Dorkwad," she warned me. I rested my arms on her shins, periodically playing with the seam of her jeans.

"Anyway," Sam said. "Like I said, I'm sorry Carly, but it sort of is routine. You always go for big dumb guys who aren't good enough for you."

"What about me?" It slipped out indignantly before I could stop myself.

"I stand by my statement Freddork. As a matter of fact you are the one guy I wish I'd never had to deal with as Carly's boyfriend. Not only did you not measure up; I'm actually astounded that you were together for more than the third millisecond of your first kiss." And as always, Sam had that smirk on her face as she said it.

"It's weird that you bring up my kissing skills Sam, especially considering that –" SMACK. Damn, I wasn't fast enough that time.

"We agreed to never again discuss that -gag- kiss. -ugh- God, I almost puked."

"Actually I wasn't thinking about that. I was remembering that time at the Senior Winter Ball when –" SWISH. Yes! I made her miss again.

That second kiss was pretty damn amazing. Sam had been in a bad place and I'd tried to get her into better spirits. The next day at the Ball, Sam had snuck up behind me while I was outside getting some air and as a "one time thank you that no one needs to ever hear about," she stuck her tounge down my throat, her hands in my hair, and wrapped her leg around one of mine. That kiss was tied with one from Carly as the best kiss of my life. I was harshly yanked out of my daydreaming by Carly's indignant screaming.

"Wait did you two kiss again?! AND NEVER TOLD ME?!" Crap. I shoud have remembered that promise Carly made us swear. As always, Sam had a smooth lie delivered in a second.

"Ew. Me kiss that dork? Hell no. Even that one time was just a pity thing that has had me gagging to this day." Wow. If I didn't know she was lying, my ego would be screwed.

"And Carly, you've got to know that I got myself tested after that kiss on the fire escape," I said with my eyes on Sam.

SMACK. Another one for Sam.

"Look, you mother fucking piece of rat shit. If you ever insinuate that I have an STD then I swear you will wake up one morning with you throat slashed ear to ear."

"Fine. Next time, it'll be an STI." Oh, crap. I just can't shut up. SMACK.

"Freddie! Stop baiting Sam! And Sam, there was that one time with Shane…" What?!

"I did not give him chlamydia! I've never had it! I don't care what Shane says! He got it from one of his sluts! I do not believe for one second that I was the only girl he had unprotected sex with!"

After that, the conversation floundered. Carly was pissed that me and Sam had kissed once more without telling her. Sam was pissed at me for declaring that she was infected– and I was guessing Shane too for blaming her for the chlamydia.

I was zoned out, considering what I'd just found out. Sam had been with Shane. I mean I knew that Sam wasn't a virgin, but now it was out there. It wasn't an abstract concept. Sam had been with another man. At that point of realization, the small crush I had for Sam since the Winter Ball got all kinds of pissed off. Pissed off at me, Shane, even Sam; pretty much everyone and everything alive.

I had dealt with my feelings. I never denied that I had feelings for Sam; I just told myself that they'd go away. Sometimes I told myself that even if we got together it would be like it had been with Carly. Except…I would lose Sam as my friend when the relationship ended. Our frenemy relationship was way too unstable to survive that kind of God forsaken change.

As I wallowed in self pity, Sam got a text. From her smile, I'd bet good money that it was her boyfriend, Jimmy. Fucking Hell.

As Sam read Jimmy's text, her face changed drastically from the happy smug smirk she had at the beginning. She looked…broken. I saw a tear form in the corner of her eye. What the fuck had Jimmy said?

"Sam. What's wrong?" I whispered it to her, hoping that I wasn't coming off as nosy. SMACK.

"What the FUCK is wrong the male species?!"

"Sam, what happened?"

"What happened? WHAT HAPPENED?! Fucking Jimmy just Fucking DUMPED me! OVER A GODDAMNED MOTHERFUCKING TEXT!!"

At the word "text," Sam threw her cell phone at me with all her cosiderable strength. But I didn't care. It barely registered.

"Sam, I –"

"What the FUCK is wrong with the male species?! Why the FUCK are you all inbred, retarded SHITHEADS?!" Angry tears rolled down her beautiful face; her usually happy eyes were puffy and red. I heard Carly trying to comfort Sam from the driver's seat, but to no avail. I moved next to Sam – without taking her legs off of me so that she ended up in my lap. I grabbed her shoulders.

"Sam, I don't know what the fuck Jimmy is thinking right now. I don't know why he would make the big fucking mistake to dump you. I can only tell you that he was not ever worth your time; that the time you spent with him was his chance to pull himself up from the pathetic shit that he calls life. And he screwed up. He doesn't see how great, how fun, how awesome or how devistatingly beautiful you are. It's his loss, Sam. Don't cry over this. Pity that retarded fuck for screwing up the most amazing opportunity of his life." As I spoke, I looked into Sam's eyes, willing her to believe me. I thought about going on, about saying that I wasn't so stupid, that I would make her happy, but I couldn't, not now. She needed me to comfort her, to help her; she did not need me there to add more shit to the pile she had to deal with.

While all that flew around in my head, Sam stared at me. Then, without the slightest hesitation or warning, she wrapped her arms around my neck, leaned in, and let her forhead drop onto my chest as she broke down. I held her in my arms as she was racked with great, heaving sobs. I let her tears fall onto my shirt without complaint as I whispered comforting words to her. I breathed in her addicting scent as she wiped her nose on my shoulder.

I made a silent promise to myself. I would be her rock for as long as she needed me to be. I would not force myself upon her when she was vulnerable. I would stay loyal to her. I would not let myself screw up my most valued friendship.

If I never got to tell Sam how I felt about her, it would be okay so long as she was happy.

A/N: So there it is. I'm pretty sure this is a one-shot, unless of course, inspiration hits. Hope you enjoyed it.