i worked hard on this, and i would appreciate reviews, comments, critique, anything!

ashes and wine

She smiles because she thinks it would be easier if she did. She smiles because if she didn't then her friends would have launched an inquisition. She smiles because if not, then she would be crying. She smiles because it's easier to fake happiness than it is to overcome the sadness she withheld. So Sam smiles because no matter how many times she tries to ignore the truth, the fact remains that it's still a truth, and for that reason, it's impossible to ignore. But her fa├žade is wearing thin and she can feel the cracks bursting at the make-shift stitches she's sewn herself in attempts to cover up all that she's running away from. She knows it should be different, and she knows that she shouldn't be the one always breaking and losing. But apparently her birth right is to break, to fall and to be the warning story to generations ahead.

Of course, it isn't as if her situation is particularly different than the millions others out there in the world. But the ounce of human selfishness she possessed made her feel alone. Loving her best friend as he kisses her other best friend, his hands roaming about her body. She loves Carly, she really does, but she wanted (needed) Freddie. Every time they kiss, every time they touch, every time they use the sickeningly sick pet names, Sam cringes. Because every time Freddie calls Carly's pet name, Sam hears the sound of those nicknames in her own ears. Because every time he touches her best friend, Sam imagines him touching her. Because every time he kisses her best friend, Sam is sent flying in sparks of fantasies of him kissing her. But then, guilt over comes her and she realizes that she is the worst best friend the twisted world has ever seen for liking her best friend's boyfriend.

You can't help love, though. You can't help who you crash in love into. They used to have the most innocent of love through secret glances and held hands and little moments between best friends. But now, he is taken, and he is different and a little more of a stranger to her than he was when they first met. But, then, she figures out that she must not have known him very well if he was now exploring her other friend's body like a wonderland and indulging in wonders so visibly changed and morphed by love. It's true what they say, though, love changes. She probably should have seen it coming with the way he trips over every word Carly says, but the brunette had never paid attention to Sam's little dork. That's how it was always supposed to be. But now, two out of the three were together and Sam was feeling a little left out.

So, why is it that Sam always goes back? When they break up and he comes running back to Sam, caught up and drowning in drama and tears and sobs. She tries to offer condolence and sympathy, but her brain can't think straight, because she wants him, and she knows he wants her, and they both just want each other. So they get physical and they wrestle and they touch and they kiss and they moan and he slips up, calls for Carly, but she doesn't care because he's kissing her, needing her, wanting her. Then it's over and his cell phone rings and it's her, it's Carly, and they're together again and Sam is alone, but she basks in the afterglow of their (she says it like her and Freddie were the ones meant to be- not him and Carly) intense relationship.

Months pass and the beautiful couple fights again and he comes crawling back to Sam. But they stay together, and Sam and him grow and grow as a couple. He gets nervous. Sam inquires, and he tells her that he can't do this, he doesn't want this insincere relationship, and he doesn't want a roller coaster of emotions. He wants stability (and truth be told, that's all she wants, too). He tells her he can't love her in the way she wants. And she shatters. Completely. Bruised and beaten by love, she sinks, and her smiles fade. She's beyond repair now as she falls into the shadows of her best friends, together again. Carly and Freddie. Freddie and Carly. Lovely Fredward and lovely fucking Carly. Together as they should be. And it makes Sam sick. She wants to puke, and she does so. Eating and puking and wanting to run from her problems. Because Sam is weak, and so she finally decides to get over this in the only way she knows how.

Finding her way to a familiar cabinet, a familiar bottle, a familiar friend with a familiar feeling. It's been so long since she last saw the pale colors of these " friends ". It's funny how mommy notices when her wine decreases, as if she counts every ounce, but those little powder pills are out of her radar. But this is a special occasion, so Sam reaches for pure, clear vodka in a sparkling gold bottle and the tiny bottle of little pills. She swallows hard, tears stinging her eyes, as a lump in her throat rises, making it hard for her to digest the substances. But a large gulp of burning liquor changes that. She finds her way, in a daze and blasts music. More and more pills are being forced through her system and the liquor washes it down hard, searing her throat. But she feels so damn good because the world is spinning and the lines are blurring and she's laughing and crying because she no longer feels.

And then she sees him, and them, and she's having flashes of the ashes of their " relationship ". With a large gasp, she chokes and she's overwhelmed. The colors drip down, washing away to black and white. Her senses failed her and all she remembers is his last good bye.

----.

Freddie rushes in through the doors to white bleakness and smells of sterile injections and lead and death. He observes the grim visages painted upon Spencer, the closest she ever had to family. He heard Spencer was the one that found her, because her horrible noise was too loud when he went to go pick her up to bring her to some huge party. And then he broke, and then he fumbled and floundered like a blowfish out of water- the pressure pushing his stomach out of his mouth. He tries to call the ambulance, but all he can smell is the strong smell of vodka as his little (almost) sister was splattered on the ground with pills and vomit and spilled alcohol around her. He continues to watch as he saw ambulances and blinking lights appear outside and she is rushed like a burn patient, covered up and being hauled into the back of the white and red van. Carly had to come immediately after receiving an incoherent phone call, and Freddie knew he had to go. His breath was caught in his chest as they both crawled in slowly, only to witness the small and broken shell of a vibrant girl he once knew. Carly burst into hysterics, leaving, running down towards god knows what. He knew he should have left with her, but he had to know. He had to clean up the mess.

So he approached her gray body, her eye lids closed, and her veins bright against paper thin skin. He pulls a seat, trying to form words, sentences, thoughts, anything. But his mouth was dry and his brain was numb, and the only sense that worked was sight. And even then he must have thought this was some nightmare. It had to be, because there was no explanation for what he saw now. His body shakes as he grabs her hand, looking for reassurance that she was okay. But the fading beeps of heart and the cold touch of her skin sent nothing but shivers and waves of guilt through his system. He knows this is his fault. He couldn't fix her.

He thinks back to that night, and the several nights before it. He knows that he should have worded himself differently. He should have told her that the reason why he couldn't continue things with her is because he wanted to love her, and not just a physical relationship. He wanted depth, he wanted to connect with her, not simply synchronize in bodies and moans. He thinks it's his fault, too, because they were each other's firsts, and then he betrayed her when she abandoned him for a week because he was too weak to be alone. And every time he would try and fix her, it was just physical because it was the only thing that wasn't awkward. Talking was strange, because he could technically be described as going for the rebound, making her a puppet. But she was so much more and he should have told her that. He was just too weak, too cowardly. And now it was too late.

"I'm so sorry. . ." he whispered, gripping her hand tight, rubbing circles into her pale skin. "Sam, I'm so sorry. I. . ."

And he knew it was now or never.

"I love you."

And he listened as her heart rate spiked and faded, a glimmer of perhaps a smile delicately etched into her face. It was bittersweet, like their relationship. This was what they left; the ashes and wine of their relationship. This guilt, this situation, these feelings was all left over when the night was done. When the last cigar has been smoked, and the last fragile glass of wine has been consumed, you are left with the little bits of ashes and the small drops of wine, lying at the bottom of the glass, staining the crystalline surface. That was their relationship. She held hope for their relationship to be the wine and the cigar, but all they were were the ashes and drops of wine.