Title: Bargaining Tools
Summary: Freddie learns the importance of bargaining tools in his friendship with Sam Puckett.
Rating: T to be safe
Authors note: Seriously fluffy nonsense lies ahead people. I mean like there's a dance with Sam and Freddie in the middle kind of fluff. Set to a Glee song. It's badly written fluff at that lol Fluff fluff fluff fluff...in case you didn't know. Oh and if any of you are interested what I envisioned some of the key outfits to be check out the links on my page.
1. I'm going in for the kill/I'm doing it for a thrill/I'm hoping you'll understand/and not let go of my hand
Freddie has learned the importance and value of bargaining tools when it comes to Samantha Puckett. On reflection he wasn't sure why he hadn't thought of it sooner; all he needed was a little leverage in order to alleviate some of the physical and emotional pain she inflicted on him. He first realised how much of an asset information could be when they were sixteen. He remembers watching on in revulsion, helpless as the football team beat Gibby to a pulp in the school parking lot. It was a horrifying scene, and Gibby didn't fare well in the "fight". He remembers Carly fussing over his bleeding lip and black eye and ruefully thought he wished he was nerdy enough to get beaten up by the football team. Then maybe she'd touch him without retching. He did feel bad for such a notion when he realised how much pain Gibby was truly in. He also regretted telling Sam this later as she informed him quickly that if he was nerdy enough for her to beat up, he would be no exception to the football team. Perhaps it wouldn't have been worth it after all.
Anyway after Carly had fussed over Gibby, and Sam sternly told him to "grow a pair" the group parted ways. It wasn't until the next week that naked pictures of the lead footballer Chase Newton, humping a pink fluffy teddy bear circulated on school grounds that Freddie realised something was up. It was just too much of a coincidence. Someone had taken their vengeance. He did a little detective work, bravely talking to friends of the football star and eventually approaching the man himself.
"It was Sam Puckett," he spat with a distain so familiar to Freddie Benson he had the ridiculous urge to 'ahh' in understanding and concurrence. "She did this! She acted like a tease asking me – no begging me – to send her those photos. I thought she was a bit high maintenance but I've seen how flexible she is man. I thought it would be worth it."
Suddenly any form of understanding Freddie had formed with the boy in front of him melted away. The dude was a jackass of enormous proportions and deserved all he got if not more. But the question still remained.
"I dunno, she's probably in love with Gibby. That or she's on some sort of nerd mission, helping them one at a time."
Realising he would gain no further insight from his very intelligent informant Freddie decided now was the time to move on to the woman herself. He approached her at her locker at the end of the school day and was rewarded with a pointed glare when he told her they needed to talk.
"Unless you want to tell me about the numerous ways you plan to commit suicide I'm not interested Benson," she stated plainly.
"Why'd you put those photos up of Chase all round school?" His tone was deliberately loud and he saw her eyes widen slightly, before she shook her head and gave the widest, fakest smile he'd ever seen.
"I don't know what you're talking about," she breathed shutting her locker with a resounding clank. He chased after, grasping her elbow.
"Oh I think you do."
"Watch your damage!" she chastised, roughly shoving him away. He stumbled but was not deterred.
"Why'd you do it Sam?"
"I didn't," she repeated, "Now I suggest you run to your little AV club like a good boy and I'll consider not ripping your balls off and putting them in my Mom's trophy cabinet."
"Why did you- wait. Your mom has a trophy cabinet?"
"Trophy cabinet, liquor cabinet, whatever."
"Sam, seriously. I know. Just spill."
She glowered at him through freshly cut bangs. She had decided she wanted a sexier haircut. Freddie suggested shaving it all off for a major improvement and was rewarded with a haemorrhage inducing punch to the gut. He often wonders why he toys with his life as much as he does. All to get the satisfaction of wounding her pride, even if it's only for a fraction of a second.
"I didn't do it," she repeated, punctuating her words with several jabs to his chest. He fought the urge to rub the spot. He stood quiet, considering her. She took this as a cue to leave and spun on her Converse clad heel.
"Is it cos you're in love with Gibby?"
She froze, her fists clenching at her sides as she let out a dry laugh.
"Oh yeah. The boy's a total sexpot."
"So you admit it then?"
"I admit to nothing."
"Fine. I'll just tell everyone you're in love with Gibby then and..." he was cut off by a sudden pressure on his ear, Sam twisting it and pulling him back.
"You will not tell anyone anything nub," she hissed, shaking him a little. He winced, struggling at her side.
"Well then why?"
"I did it cos he's Gibby alright!" she yelled releasing him. He rubbed his ear, his bottom lip jutting out. "He's Gibby and however nerdy and annoying the boy is, he's a friend. And no one messes with Mama's friends."
He nodded slowly, his lips twisting pensively.
"So, this stays between us Fredweird?" she asks, seeking his confirmation. He could easily agree, let it pass and acknowledge that underneath it all Sam actually does have a heart but it's too good an opportunity. He has something on her. And it feels fantastic.
"No," he says unconsciously taking a step backwards.
"No. Not unless you do something for me."
"How about I not rip you a new one and we pretend this never happened?"
She looked thoroughly confused, closed her eyes and rubbed her temples. "Ok. Ok. I must not kill Freddie, I must not killed Freddie," she began to chant. Her therapist had given her exercises to complete whenever she felt the overwhelming urge to kill or maim. So far it didn't work very well.
"I have a proposition for you."
She screwed open one eye, cocking an eyebrow. Upon noticing her bewildered but slightly intrigued stare Freddie hastily amended his last sentence.
"Nothing sexual! I'm not a pervert."
"You better get to the point fast, Nub."
"Next time you're gonna beat me up or do something really cruel to any of possessions think of what I know."
She tilted her head, thoughtfully rubbing her chin.
"Nope. No deal." She advanced, grasping a fistful of hair as she readied herself for a punch.
"Why not?" Freddie whined, holding his hands up to protect his face.
"Cos you'll use it as a lifetime pass. I'll just kick your ass instead. It's much more economical."
"How about I only use it once?"
She felt him squirm under her grasp and regarded him with renewed interest.
"Sort of like one piece of information stays quiet for one instance of nerd-torture relief?" she clarified, her curiosity peaked again.
"Exactly," he gulped, watching her fist. Another thoughtful stare.
"You make a good argument Benson. It's one I can live with." She released him, wiping her hand off her jeans. "Besides, Carly did my nails last night and I ain't messing these suckers up for no one."
"So we're agreed?"
She turned to leave, muttering something about how she would never do anything nice for anyone ever again. It suddenly reminded him.
"What?" she spat out, glaring.
"You did a nice thing for Gibby."
2. Hey hey/you you/I don't like your girlfriend//no way no way/I think you need a new one//hey hey/you you/ I could be your girlfriend
The second time he gained a priceless bargaining tool was quite unexpected. The three friends decided to have a webcam conference in preparation for a special iCarly the following day. In fairness, Sam wasn't too enamoured with the idea telling Carly she saw enough of Freddie's nubbish face during the day, she didn't particularly want it to be the last thing she saw before she went to bed. He was only mildly offended, the feeling was rather mutual but his mother always told him he had the face of an angel. He was rather proud of that feature. It was mostly a discussion between him and Carly, Sam's only input being to ask if ribs would be present. When he affirmed the presence of food she seemed to lose all interest, playing with a small bouncy ball for the rest of the call.
Eventually Carly decided that they had prepared enough and all three friends said goodbye. Well rather him and Carly said goodbye, Sam instead mumbled something about going to get pizza. He logged off and headed to the bathroom, busying himself with his pre-bedtime tasks of washing and changing. He stuck his toothbrush in his mouth and decided to log back onto his IM to see if he could still catch Carly before she went to bed. Tapping a few keys he realised he hadn't logged out, merely put the computer on standby. And Carly was gone.
It was then he noticed he wasn't the only one who had failed to log out of the conversation box. A little camera box on the right hand side flickered with movement and he expanded the screen, the caption "Sam, The Awesome," rolling across the top. Her bedroom was empty; clearly she was fulfilling her voiced intention to go acquire some pizza. He was fully intent on logging out, his hand hovering over the exit button before Sam sauntered past the screen.
His first reaction was to shut his eyes, clapping his hands dramatically over his face. He was pretty sure he'd be scarred for life. Sam had waltzed into her room in nothing more than her underwear and an IPear plugged into her ears. He felt like he was looking at some sort of horror film and it was at the part where you know you shouldn't look but you do anyway. He peered out a little crack between his fingers. There she stood in her bedroom, half naked, her head bobbing to the faint sound of Avril Lavinge. Not only was she dancing in her underwear, she was dancing in her underwear to Avril Lavinge. It was nothing if not priceless.
Both hands had fallen to his lap and he stared unabashedly at the screen. It wasn't like she could see him. He was completely safe from her wrath. For now. The song must have kicked in because she moved more erratically now, jumping and wiggling.
Wiggling a lot.
Wiggling a lot in a pair of bright pink girl shorts and mismatched orange bra.
Freddie may have hated this girl – well more loathed really, sort of a blind hatred that made him sick to his stomach – but he was a normal teenage boy. And the image of her in her underwear dancing around her bedroom, everything...bouncing...was a little too much for him. He absently adjusted his pants, things becoming a little constrained. Now would probably be a good time to let her know he could see everything. Yup, any minute now he'd try get her attention. Any minute.
"Sam!" he called eventually, "Sam!"
Evidently Sam listened to her IPear loud and continued to jump around, singing audibly. He grinned as she picked an oversized Teddy off her bed and proceeded to waltz back and forth. If he ever had the balls to let her know what he'd just witnessed this would surely afford him more than just one pass. She spun around, screaming the words out and doing air guitar on her bed. To any other clueless boy who had stumbled upon this on the net, this would be sort of charming. Sort of.
He sighed, giving up on getting her attention. He let his eyes give one more quick appraisal of her body before he closed the conversation and shut down his PC.
Sam whipped around in her bedroom, noticing an odd flicker on her screen. A flicker that looked suspiciously liked Frednerd Benson. Breathing heavy she approached her laptop, noticing she hadn't logged out of her IM. She considered something, trying to regulate her breathing and pounding heart. She really shouldn't be that active after so much food. Deciding she had seen nothing she shut down her laptop and decided that she'd finish her dance with Mr Ploopy some other night. Indigestion sure was a bitch.
"Sam don't!" Freddie pleaded as she prepared the batter for his pants.
"Yeah cos pleading has worked before," she snorted, advancing.
She was right, it hadn't. But something else had.
"Avril Lavinge? Really?" he screeched. Her eyes widened, mouth agape.
"What about Avril Lavinge?" Carly queried, standing off to the side watching in dismay.
"You saw?" she gasped, still poised over him with the jug.
"Saw what? What did you see Freddie?" Spencer joined in.
"What did I see Sam?" he breathed, smashed back against the dining room table. She paused, considering him. She wondered if he had the balls to pull his off. Well, he didn't really have much else to lose did he? She retreated, stepping backwards to the kitchen.
"Pancake batter is too good to go down the nerds pants," she declared, still eyeing him from across the room. Smiling, triumphant, he straightened up sauntering past the now rather confused siblings in the living room.
"Damn right it is," he said proudly, jutting out his chin, "Later dudes."
Everything in Sam burned; her head thudding with many images of Fredward Benson's mangled remains. If she hadn't been frantically trying to remember if the underwear that she was wearing was nice that night, she would have totally chased him down and beat him to a pulp. She'd call him out on being a creepy little pervert later.
3. Just a small town girl/livin' in a lonely world/she took the midnight train goin' anywhere//And though the movie never ends/it goes on and on and on and on/don't stop believin'/hold on to that feelin/street light people/don't stop believing/
"I love you Carly!" Sam slurred, hooking an arm around the brunettes neck. Carly smiled and awkwardly leaned into the embrace, wincing as Sam placed a sloppy kiss on her cheek. "You're like...amazeballs. I prefer you to bacon. Seriously." Knowing this was a very high compliment, especially coming from Sam, Carly thanked her and received yet another kiss.
"Should we take her home?" Freddie asked, nodding at the blonde. Carly's mouth opened but was silenced by Sam waving her hands emphatically.
"I'm right here Benson!"
He rolled his eyes at her and turned his attention back to Carly.
"Yeah we should probably head off," Carly confirmed, detangling herself from Sam, "You watch her while I go out to get our jackets and stuff?"
"Aw can't we just go with you?"
"Sam gets aggressive at cloakrooms," Carly said, by way of explanation and darted off into the crowd, sticking her tongue out playfully at Freddie as she disappeared. He grinned at the path she had made away to the cloakroom. He realised he probably looked like a gaping puppy, the girl had the ability to render him speechless and senseless, especially when she did something as ridiculously cute has sticking her tongue out. When he returned his gaze to Sam, she had raised an eyebrow and crossed her arms.
"She'll never love you."
"So you're a mean drunk too?"
"I'm not mean!" she gasped, a hand placed on her chest, "I'm honest!"
"Honest and mean are very similar things when it comes to you," he muttered, playing with the ends of his striped shirt.
"Dude, I'm not being mean," Sam said renewed conviction in her tone. But with the way her eyes crossed it didn't have the same effect as she had intended. He ignored her, deciding he would continue to do this until Carly returned. Sam was too drunk to notice anyway. He hazarded another glance and his suspicions were confirmed; she head-banged to the beat echoing through the dancehall and Freddie experienced some form of fleeting concern. He didn't want her to fall down while Carly was away – it would seriously detract from his knight in shining armour persona that he worked so hard to maintain.
"Sam, wanna take it easy?" he shouted over the reverberating noise.
"I wanna dance!" she squealed, her hair hitting off his face. He spat it out, his eyes stinging.
"Then dance safely there," he told her, reaching out and steadying her shoulders.
She flipped around and grasped his arm, dragging him with her through the crowd.
"Sam what-where are we going? Carly will be back any minute! Sam!"
Pushed, pulled and jostled he arrived at the dance floor, Sam's small hand clamped around his wrist in a vice like grip. His eyes narrowed as she began to jump wildly, arms flailing.
"Sam...what are you doing?"
"I'm dancing! I told you I wanted to dance!" she panted out, hair covering her face. He stood back watching. Sam was perhaps the wildest girl he knew. She looked ridiculous, dancing out of sync, her face screwed into a multitude of different expressions; he laughed at the image.
"Hot," he smirked, catching her eye.
"Hot?" she repeated, blinking like an owl, "I can totally do hot. I'm so hot I set off fire alarms."
Another chuckle and he crossed his arms, standing motionless in the middle of the floor. He knew he was done for when she made eye contact, her hips sashaying as she closed the space between them.
"Sam? What are you doing?" he squeaked. She was still wiggling and moving, just differently to how she was before.
"Being hot," she told him, tracing a finger down his chest leaving a burning path, "Is it bothering you Benson?"
She felt him let out a long breath, drawling out a no but his body still pulled back, his hands staying awkwardly by his sides. She let out a laugh, husky and low and tossed her hair back. He was fully aware of what the blonde demon was trying to do – she was trying to make him feel uncomfortable. He chastised himself for baiting her into it; he should've known that not even a drunk Sam Puckett would turn down a challenge. No matter how ridiculous it was or how much it blurred the already hazy line in their friendship. He prayed to the heaven's that she would give him back his much desired personal space. It was very hard to think coherently much less form cohesive sentences when Sam's soft curves moulded to his body the way they did. She winked at him, grabbing his hand and spinning herself out, then back in this time wrapped up in his left arm. Freddie did not like not being able to see Sam's face – he realised that this was perhaps the only way he could possibly anticipate an attack. So he stared at the back of her head, willing her to spin again, but instead she swayed her hips against his. He muttered yet another prayer to the heavens and apparently God was feeling particularly playful because she did indeed spin back out again. It was almost too quick and she slammed back against his chest, her nose inches from his. She wet her smiling lips with her tongue, wrapping her hands around his neck. So far Freddie had not planned on moving or reciprocating any action as this could mislead Sam into thinking he was willing to take up her challenge, however there was this nagging feeling inside him; Sam was at a disadvantage. He still had control over his limbs; from what he witnessed earlier Sam was on the brink of collapse. He shouldn't back down, not when he was at an advantage.
"Oh come on Nerdface," she groaned, leaning backwards and using his neck for leverage, "Have fun, for once in your life."
She came back up, grinning as she met his gaze. He shook his head, laughing. If he thought about it, he hadn't laughed this much all night. Hell, he hadn't laughed his much all week. He spun her out and brought her back, wrapping both arms around her waist and holding her back to him. Much to both their surprises she let out a laugh, holding his hands there, swaying gently. Another spin and he was bringing her back to him again, both hands clasped in hers, nudging her back and forward. He was surprised at how easy it was to lead with Sam; he thought it would be like every other aspect of their relationship, a battle of wills. But no, she let him guide her back and forth, swaying and moving. She even let him dip her, laughing uncontrollably with her neck angled backwards. With a twirl and a swing of her rainbow coloured flowing dress he brought her back to her feet and disconnected from her body, standing a few spaces away grinning. He saw a glint in her eye, something he'd only seen when she was in midst of a good wrestle or spray painting a teachers car; joy and fun. She had forgotten who they were, where they were and what they were.
And so had he.
In those three minutes they weren't berating each other, they weren't Sam and Freddie. They were two teenagers, in the beginnings of some odd high school mating ritual. It felt like something out of some corny musical, and Freddie briefly wondered if this is what falling in love was meant to feel like. All songs and dances, laughs and spins. Not that he was falling for Sam Puckett – hell no – it was just the moment. Just that feeling of being perfectly happy. Just the fun she brought out in him.
She fought for breath, chest heaving, waggling an eyebrow. He chuckled, waiting for her next move. He knew this was it; either she'd walk away and find a toilet to vomit in or she'd go for the big musical finish. She stepped back a little more and he thought it was over, that was it. Moment gone. Instead she ran towards him and he caught her with outstretched arms, lifting her clean of the ground. It struck him then how slight she was, her hands resting on his shoulders as he made a 360 turn, before letting her slide gently to the ground. She was laughing; laughing so hard it was contagious.
"Where did you learn to dance like that Puckett?" he whispered, his hands on her hips.
"Ballroom when I was kid, plus Dirty Dancing is my favourite movie ever!" she exclaimed, breathlessly. The words escaped before she could realise the implications of such an admission and she finished by clasping a hand over her own mouth. "I mean ballroom lessons I was forced to go to, and what the hell is Dirty Dancing?"
"Ballroom, seriously?" he raised an eyebrow at the now flustered blonde.
"Oh get bent," she spat out, performing the best storm off the dance floor scene he had ever witnessed. Following her, he realised they had returned to normal. No sparks, no contagious laughter, no fireworks when she smiled. He did catch up with her and hoist her over his shoulder, just to see if he could elicit that laugh of hers he seemed to have grown so fond of this past five minutes.
He did and the fireworks returned.
The ballroom and Dirty Dancing thing was still good leverage though.
4. Louder than sirens/louder than bells/sweeter than heaven/and hotter than hell//as I move my feet towards your body/I can hear this beat/it fills my head up and gets louder//
"You joined the school musical?" Freddie repeated, following Sam backstage.
"And? So did you," she retorted, busying herself with adjusting her costume. And when he says costume he means ridiculously tight corset thing that was making him acutely aware that Sam was indeed a female.
"Yeah, cos Carly's in it and ya know...never miss and opportunity and all that," he explained, "But you. Why did you join? Isn't this gonna damage your reputation?"
"Listen Fredward," she snapped, jabbing his chest with her pointed finger, "I joined cos I had no other option. It was either this or fail English. I didn't know they'd make Pride and Prejudice a goddamned musical now did I? Besides the fact I can't sing or dance for shit-"
"Well we both know one of those isn't exactly true," he interrupted, smirking triumphantly. He was met with a sharp punch to the side.
"You already used that one once, don't start regurgitating or deals off," she growled, fighting with the ties of her corset. "Where's the stupid wardrobe lady when you need her?"
"When did you join though?" he continued, following her behind the changing screen, "Cos I was here from the very first day and I haven't seen you, and suddenly you show up apparently with the part of Elizabeth..."
He didn't even notice her guide him back out from behind the screen, and she disappeared behind it again to change without the presence of a hormonal school boy.
"It's not exactly hard to work out that I've skipped most of the rehearsals," she grunted, the frame shaking as she fell into it, "I'm not exactly Miss Attendance of the Year."
She emerged again, blowing a strand of hair out of her face. "Listen, I joined cos I needed to up my grades. You've volunteered as tech producer cos you are a crazed Carly stalker and have very little semblance of a social life. Now with that cleared up, can you get me the wardrobe assistant so I can get ready for dress rehearsal?"
He grumbled, and went off into the dangerous world of the backstage changing rooms searching out anyone who looked like they might be able to help strangle Sam with the stupid distracting corset top.
"Freddie," Carly breathed appearing in her full length cream costume. Her dark hair curled against her face, her eyes brushed softly with a golden hue. He had to remind himself to breathe and Carly caught it, smiling. "What you doing back here?"
"I...um...Sam needs help with her costume," he explained, rubbing his neck nervously.
"Sure, I'll help her, she's constantly fighting with that corset," Carly giggled, slipping a hand into his and leading him back through the thrumming crowd. Lost in the sensation of her skin on his Freddie's mind blanked and he let himself be led blindly back to Sam.
"Sam," Carly called through the screen, "Want some help?"
"Carly? Oh thank God! Did I tell you how much I hate this?" Sam muttered as Carly disappeared behind the room separator.
"You've it all tangled," he could hear Carly sigh.
"Why couldn't I be your character? I like Lydia! She's like me!"
"What? Stupid, ditzy and loud?" Freddie mumbled from the other side of the screen. Sam's head shot out, fixing him with a stony glare.
"No Fredweird, headstrong and fun," she corrected, withdrawing her head again. He rolled his eyes, leaning against the frame.
"Ow! Jesus Carly not so tight!"
"There's no beauty without pain," Freddie smirked, watching people as they passed by.
"I mean it Frednerd, shut up or you'll feel my pain in a minute," she warned. He could hear a faint giggle from Carly and he was momentarily pleased that risking his personal safety made her laugh.
"There done," he heard Carly announce. She stepped out and dramatically gestured to the folding screen.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I have the pleasure to introduce, Miss Elizabeth Bennet!"
Freddie still doesn't know why, but he straightened up and removed his hands from his pockets as if anticipating the arrival his prom date. Sam emerged in a very Sam like fashion, stomping her feet and pouting miserably. But even her attempts at letting everyone know how pissed off she was in a tight corset and Victorian dress did not detract from the fact she looked absolutely stunning in the floor length, embroidered gown. For all Freddie's references to Princess Puckett, he never dreamed that one day she would actually look like one.
"I think Freddie's open mouth is a good thing," Carly smiled, running a hand through her best friends lose curls.
"I'm trying not to vomit actually," he corrected, making a gagging noise.
"I may be in a dress Benson but that does not mean I am incapable of kicking your ass."
Fist poised, Carly held her friend back, easing her hand back down to her side. "Sam, ladies don't fight. Elizabeth doesn't fight."
"Screw Elizabeth, Benson's gonna get an ass whoopin'," Sam rasped struggling against her friend.
"There's the Sam we all know and hate," Freddie grinned, feeling safe with Carly as his human shield.
"Everyone, scene time!" the director called, bustling her cast out of the changing room.
"You're lucky this time Fredweird," Sam hissed, glaring, "Just keep one eye open when you sleep."
"I'm not scared of you," he held his chin up, indignant. Another scowl as she gathered her dressed and pushed past him.
"Don't push it Freddie," Carly said, giving him a friendly smile, "I like you alive."
Grinning, he began to follow them but was stopped by Mrs Kelly's hand on his chest, pushing him back towards the changing room.
"Freddie dear, a huge favour if you will," she said in a sing song tone. He was wary; he had experienced a woman's false sweetness before and it was usually accompanied by wanting something well out of the realm of reason.
"If I can."
"Do me a favour and stand in for Cole, he's running late and we absolutely must run through the dance scene."
Freddie groaned, shaking his head. "Can't someone else help? I'm not an actor."
"No Freddie, no one else can help. All my actors have their assigned roles and you're the only one who even remotely resembles Cole's measurements for costume. It's only the one scene. I'm not asking you to take over the role!"
"But who'll do the lighting?"
"I'm sure Gibby can handle it," Mrs Kelly assured him. Freddie was not able to say no to anyone let alone a teacher who distinctly reminded him of his mother.
"Ok," he caved, "But if Sam does anything to me on stage I'm suing the school! Suing!"
"You look even more nubbish than usual," Sam sneered, crinkling her nose.
"Well you look like a boy in a dress but at least I'm being polite about it!" he bit back, tugging uncomfortably on the collar of his dress shirt.
"Ok everyone!" Mrs Kelly called, "A quick run through. Remember in this scene it's all about conveying the sexual tension between Mr Darcy and Ms Bennet. Outwardly they can't stand each other, but the dance is when the tension is palpable. It's a pivotal scene."
"Sam and Freddie? Sexual tension? There's more sexual tension between Bert and Ernie!" one of the cast members joked loudly. The stage erupted into giggles, even Carly covering her mouth with her hand.
"Anyone else makes any smart jokes, they won't live to see opening night," Sam announced, smiling sweetly. Such a statement paired with such an expression seemed so paradoxical to Freddie he wasn't sure if she was joking or if she was deadly serious. She silenced the cast anyway, so evidently it wasn't worth testing the theory.
"Ok enough, places!" the director instructed, clapping her hands for emphasis. "Freddie I guided you through some of the steps in the dressing room, do you need to run through it again?"
"As long as two left feet here doesn't stand on my toes, I'm all good," he replied, smirking at Sam. He fought the urge to yelp when her heel connected with his foot, and he bent over wincing.
"Sam! Behave!" Mrs Kelly chastised.
"He started it..."
Mrs Kelly waved her off and signalled for the scene to start, classical music filling the hall. Freddie struggled to remember his lines and steps at the same time; he cursed Victorian English and their incessant need to talk in riddles. Surprisingly, Sam wasn't bad. She spoke coherently and even resembled a lady in some instances. And when she made eye contact, it became increasingly harder for Freddie to structure already complicated sentences. She floated around the stage, gesturing gently and speaking softly. Pausing at the end of the dance, Freddie struggled to remember who he was or why he was there words escaping him under the intriguing stare of Sam Puckett.
"Scene end!" the director called, hand on chest, "Sam you were just wonderful. Wonderful! And thank you Freddie, you did well considering."
"Considering he's a big dull dud," Sam finished, reverting right back to the vicious tempered girl. Rolling his eyes, Freddie trudged off the stage joining the director in the auditorium. He watched her on stage; she was a curious case Sam. From afar you would be easily forgiven for thinking that this beautiful girl was gentle tempered and quite a catch. But when that ferocious temper is unearthed it is hard to think of Sam as any more than a boy dressed in girls clothes. So it bothered Freddie those little moments when Sam could be sweet; like sticking up for Gibby or apologising to him when no one else was looking.
"She's quite an interesting girl, Ms Puckett," Mrs Kelly commented, watching her cast.
"Interesting, yeah," Freddie scoffed, kicking his feet off the chair in front.
"I was surprised when she asked to take part."
"Asked?" Freddie's eyes widened, glancing between the stage and his teacher, "I thought she was failing English?"
Mrs Kelly laughed, tossing her hair back. "Oh no dear. English is the one subject Samantha does well in. No she wanted to take part, I think she likes it."
"So let me get this straight. Sam volunteered for something that is nerdy and involves concentration? Wow. She's making this too easy."
He watched the rest of the run through patiently, mulling over the wonderful leverage he had acquired through Mrs Kelly. This info had to be good for like two passes if not more. He ignored the nagging feeling in his stomach when Cole kissed Sam for the end scene and fought the flashbacks of a certain balcony scene played out by two very different characters. Sam bounded off stage, skirt bunched up around her knees as she joined Carly in the front row of the auditorium.
"Sam, please refrain from destroying your dress before opening night!" Mrs Kelly shouted, making her way over to a group of extras standing gawkily off stage.
"Yeah wouldn't want you failing English now would we?" Freddie added, throwing himself in the seat beside Carly.
"You should make more of an effort for rehearsal Sam, I really want you to come to NYU with me," Carly smiled, touching the knuckles of her friend.
"Chill Carls, even if I don't make it to college, I'll still crash in your dorm," Sam reassured, crossing her legs beneath the dress.
"Yeah I'd say you'll pass English anyway right Sam? I mean you're a good actress. You'll pull it off," he teased, raising his eyebrows at the blonde. She stared back at him, pulling a fatcake from out of her dress.
"What are you babbling on about now Benson?"
"I'm just saying. You're a good actress. I'm surprised you don't do more of this stuff voluntarily."
With a fatcake hanging from her mouth, Sam considered him, her features screwed up in that adorable way of hers. "Like I would," she snorted, "Musicals are for nubs and geeks. No offence Carly."
"What's interesting Nub?"
"Something Mrs Kelly said about your grades in English," he teased with a lengthy sigh, propping his feet up on the stage. Sam's mouth tightened, her jaw locked and her eyes flashed with some emotion that, in Sam, Freddie just didn't recognise.
"Yeah Freddie, we all know Sam's failing. Don't rub it in ok?" Carly sighed, giving her best friend a sympathetic smile. Sam did her best to return it, tilting her head at Freddie. She knew he knew and she considered jumping across Carly's lap and strangling him until he turned a light shade of blue. However instead of making a spectacle in her rather pretty (yes she would admit it) dress, she shrugged, indicating that she understood the situation: if he kept it quiet, she'd afford him one pass.
"The nubs right Carls," Sam sighed, gathering her dress as she stood up, "I am failing, so I should probably take this a little more seriously."
Carly watched her friend, wide eyed and shocked as she bustled past the pair, taking great care not to snag her dress on the worn auditorium benches.
"Carly Shay!" Mrs Kelly called, "Up on stage please!"
"Oh that's me," Carly snapped out of her daze, ruffling Freddie's hair as she followed the path Sam made out onto the aisle. He glanced sideways at Sam standing by the stage, arms crossed, eyes focused on what he assumed was a particularly interesting spot on the very back wall of the school theatre. She looked nervous, and such an idea did not sit well with Freddie. Sure he wanted a certain amount of leverage to save him from being beaten to a pulp on some rare occasions, but he never wanted to take anything away from her. Especially something that was fully legal and she enjoyed.
Maybe some bargaining tools just weren't worth acquiring.
5. I'll never talk again/oh boy you've left me speechless/so speechless
"When did we lose her?" Freddie asked, emerging from the kitchen holding a fresh bowl of popcorn.
"Somewhere between Nicole coughing blood and the Scottish dude singing out of tune again," Sam replied, her eyes trained to the television screen. He dropped the bowl into her lap and stood back, hands on hips, evaluating the situation.
"Should I bring her up to bed?"
Sam cocked an eyebrow, never taking her eyes from the screen.
"You know what I mean."
"I sure do Nerdface, and I'd prefer it if you didn't stalk my best friend as she slept thank you very much."
"Fine," he muttered, "Push up, she's lying on my space."
"Yeah cos that's gonna happen."
"C'mon Sam, just move," he groaned, pushing futilely at the small blonde.
"Fine, just try not to infect me with nerd disease."
She scooted up the sofa, gently pushing Carly further up the pillows, the brunette now snoring softly on the arm of the couch.
"Bet this is your ultimate fantasy huh Benson? Obviously minus me, but watching Carly while she sleeps. Or have you set up a webcam in her room and do that already?"
"You're just jealous."
"Oh yes, please Freddo obsessively stalk me. Love me," she replied, deadpan. Both fell quiet, Freddie tapping a hand off the remote.
"Why did you join the musical?"
He heard a low growl and her fingers pinched his thigh, startling him.
"Sam! That hurt!"
"It was meant to."
"I was just curious is all..."
"Curiosity killed the cat Benson."
His eyes flickered to the screen, both characters caught in an embrace. He felt his face flush, embarrassed to be watching something like this with Sam. It was awkward; they'd usually watch some huge dudes beat the crap out of each other. Something like this seemed a little too...intimate.
"What was your kiss with Carly like?"
Eyes wide, he glared at her, but her own gaze was still firmly fixated on the screen.
"W-why?" he stuttered, shifting a little in his seat.
She shrugged, shoving in a mouthful of popcorn. "Just curious." She repeated his earlier sentiment with a smirk ghosting her features, still refusing to look at him. He fell silent, biting his lip. His head raced, contemplating the many sinister reasons as to why Samantha Puckett would want to gather such information. And, he would admit, such a notion frightened him a little. The only time Sam ever asked him anything about his personal life was when she was going to use it as some form of ammunition later. If this was payback he was not about to fall for it.
"I joined cos I love to sing," she announced quietly, bringing a knee to her chest, "Yeah. I like singing, dancing. All that mushy crap. Plus I missed you and Carly when you were both at rehearsals. It sucked being alone."
He was a little taken back by her admission, coughing and grunting a response.
"I've shared. Now – what was your geeky kiss with Carly like?"
"Better than ours?"
He spluttered, pounding his own chest with his fist. Sam turned her head fully to face him, wild curls falling down her shoulders. Head tilted, she grinned.
"That's a yes?"
"Why you wanna know?"
She shrugged, feigning a nonchalance she didn't really feel. He watched her profile, her jaw clenching, her eyes angled to the floor.
"It was different," he admitted, slowly and carefully.
"Ok this is going into territory I'm not comfortable with."
"Tongues," she confirmed, her lips pulling into a smile.
"Yeah ok yeah. Hence why it was different. Ours was like something we had to do right? I mean it's not like we like each other or anything. We just did it to do it right? I mean it was nice. Wasn't it?"
"Nice?" Sam repeated, her brow furrowing.
"Yeah I mean, it was sweet. I think. I think it was sweet right?"
He shifted under her harsh stare, his hand playing with his mouth.
"Ever wanted to...do it again?"
Sam's question took him by surprise and he let out an audible gasp like some sort of day time soap opera character. Mouth gaping like a fish he struggled with a response, instead gesturing over-emphatically and mouthing noiseless words. He could feel her weight shift towards him, her thigh pressed to his, her face leant in. His body naturally gravitated towards her, eyes flying to Carly sleeping sound behind them. She closed the distance, her mouth hovering over his lips.
Breathing quickened, and suddenly Freddie became all too aware of the expansive amount of cleavage on display from Sam's tank top. A little further and her lips brushed his lightly.
"In your dreams Benson," she whispered, lights dancing in her eyes. She pulled back, abrupt and harsh with a strained laugh. Freddie felt like he was missing something. Something vanished and it made him feel dizzy and nauseous all at the same time. But Sam was smiling like a wild hyena, teeth bared and hands rifling through her blonde curls.
"You're not the only one who can gather bargaining tools."
It's not beta'd so I apologise profusely. Also it's shit. I apologise for that too. Hmmm....bet you're wishing you hadn't clicked that button now right?