Songs that inspired/should be listened to whilst reading this chapter: Inevitable; Anberlin, The Blowers Daughter; Damien Rice, We Used To Be Friends; The Dandy Warhols, The Writer; Ellie Goulding, Something About You; Five For Fighting

The annual "A Night With The Stars" dance was fast approaching. It was an event that usually passed Sam Puckett by without as much as a blink of an eye. It was no secret that she didn't revel in any of the usual high school social activities deemed healthy and normal by peers from generations passed. Her opinion of them was similar to that she held of the current high school population; they were all pansies and their ideas on what constituted a fun social gathering was retarded. So Sam elected her right to choose, and her choice for the past two years was not to venture within ten miles of said event. So far, she had avoided it well. The crowd she hung out with weren't really "school dance" people anyway, so even talking about the occasion was easy to avoid. Her only problem was Carly. She usually berated Sam relentlessly, telling her she should "give it a chance" and that she "would enjoy herself". This Sam sincerely doubted, but saying no to Carly was like kicking a puppy. Sam however somehow found the strength within to abuse that puppy and give a firm and direct no, every time the brunette tried to coerce her into attending. She was quite proud in her successful ability to decline her best friend for two years but she had a feeling that was all about to change, what with the way Carly squealed and hugged her when the posters popped up all around school.

"Oh I love this dance," she supplied with a delighted jig.

"Yeah what's not to love? A lot of sexually frustrated boys and awkward teenage girls in an alcohol free room together for the entire night, that's a recipe for fun right there," Sam quipped, taking up the seat beside Carly on the lunch bench.

"It actually is," Carly frowned, pointing her fork at Sam's face for effect, "It's getting together with great people, talking about the year's events so far..."

"Yeah and as I recall for the past two years you've had a date to both dances."

"So?" she queried, digging her fork into the mash.

"Well I'm sure for the more socially debilitated it's not as fun Carls."

"What are you talking about? You could've had a date and went anytime you wanted."

"Yeah I know!" Sam cried defensively, "Course I could've. But I chose not to. I was talking about the rejects of this school; the glasses wearing, Charles Dickens reading nerds...wait. Were you calling me socially retarded?"

"You have to go this year," the brunette expertly changed the subject, concentrating on mushing her peas in with her potatoes.

"Eh...excuse me? Why do I have to go?"

"Because Freddie always goes," Carly offered by way of explanation without even hazarding a glance at her best friend. A long silence followed and she knew if she dared look in Sam's direction she'd be met with a death glare of epic proportions.

"I'm sorry. I think you just ordered me to go to a lame social event because loser breath goes. Tell me I picked that up wrong."

Raising her eyes, Carly sighed dropping her fork onto her garish red cafeteria tray. "Don't try and scare me with the "tell me you're kidding speech". You heard what I said."

"And I'm still failing to comprehend why you said it," Sam hissed, taking a rough bite from her sandwich.

"You know why Sam," she replied, pushing the tray back, "Freddie has never missed one of these dances. And now you're his girlfriend-"

"Pretend girlfriend," the blonde corrected, hushed.

"Pretend girlfriend...well you have certain obligations."

"Ok this sucks monkey ass. So far I've done all the work and the nerd hasn't had to do a thing. I haven't reaped any benefits here Shay," Sam complained.

"Sure about that?"

"Anything you want to share?" she picked up on Carly's suggestive tone, and a grin formed on her lips.

"Well Griffin texted me last night. And for the first time he wasn't interested in asking me out."

"Do tell Cupcake."

"He was very interested in finding out about you and Freddie though. Of course I played it cool, just saying you both seemed to be serious enough and I didn't know much."


"Sam!" Carly mocked her tone with a smile, "Don't you know how to be subtle? Let's not peak his interests before the main event."

She watched amused as Sam sank back in her chair, smiling. "He was really interested?"


Ok so Carly lied. Griffin hadn't texted...yet. But she knew it was only a matter of time. And she didn't need Sam bailing before she could work her magic. She had to say something to peak the girls curiosity and keep her in. Besides, the truth would have sent her running and Carly was not about to let that happen just as her two best friends were getting reacquainted.

"Did I mention how great I think conniving Carly is?" Sam jested, running a hand through her friend's hair.

"You have no idea," she teased, raising her eyebrows.

"Ok," Sam breathed, rubbing her stomach through the layers of t-shirts she was wearing, "I think we just spent a very girly five minutes there Shay. Too much Sex and the City for my taste. I think I need to do something manly like mudslinging."

"Who's mudslinging?" Noah settled into the chair beside his girlfriend, greeting her with a soft kiss on the mouth. She barely noticed Freddie joining Sam on the other side, eyeing the couple with disgust as the pecks on the lips turned into a full blown make out session.

"And I'm officially not hungry anymore," Sam mumbled, her nose wrinkling.

"I suppose it's kind of cute," Freddie admitted despite himself.

"Excuse me? I don't want to see them swap spit during my meal," she told the boy, lifting a bread roll and throwing it at Carly's head. "Oi! Brody and Avril! A little less kissing, a little more eating. Food is to be respected not ignored."

She rolled her eyes as the pair pulled away, reluctantly planting quick kisses on each other as they did so. It wasn't that she didn't think Carly and Noah were cute, heck, they were adorable as hell but she didn't need it shoved in her face when she hadn't had a good make out session in over three weeks. She had needs, basic needs that needed fulfilling and the stomach churning couple in front of her weren't helping in reminding her of that fact.

"Sorry Sam," Noah offered, handing her a handful of liquorice across the table. She snatched it, pocketing the precious sweet.

"That's more like it," she nodded, satisfied. Catching Freddie smirking out the corner of her eye, her face fell and she landed a hard punch on his shoulder. The boy buckled but did not stop smiling, instead pushing his face towards hers, his grin getting bigger the closer he managed to get.

"Eh, do you have death wish Benson?" she chuckled, despite every fibre of her being screaming at her to punch him again for good measure.

"He's happy is all," Noah informed the table, unscrewing his bottle of cola, "we just heard that Miley was asking all sorts of things about you and Freddie. Apparently she's a little jealous."

"Of course she is," Sam affirmed, straightening up in her chair, "Momma is hot."

"Point is, she's asking. Which means she still interested, which also means I'm not a complete loser in her books," Freddie added, almost sneering at the blonde beside him.

"Whatever Fredwina, you're still a loser in mine," Sam muttered, chewing loudly on her liquorice.

"Her asking could also be kind of risky too," Carly interrupted, concerned, "We don't want her asking too many questions, I mean it's still a work in progress."

"What are you talking about? Griffin's asking about me, Miley's once again looking to mate with Spudnick here, all is going swimmingly, isn't it?"

"Sam, if Miley dives too deeply she's going to realise there isn't much to substantiate a relationship between you two. And on the subject, would it kill you both to act a little bit more like a couple?"

"Hey! We talked for ten straight minutes in the hallway yesterday and Freddie came out bruise-less. I think I'm doing pretty well." She looked to Freddie for confirmation and he nodded vigorously, still beaming from the earlier news in the corridor. "Stop smiling, you're scaring me."

"My happiness scares you?" Freddie asked, his brow furrowed.

"Well no but it's making me want to barf and/or punch you. Preferably both. At the same time."

Reaching up, the dark haired boy made the risky decision of stealing a long stringy sweet from her lips and popping it in his, still grinning.

"You did not just do that!" she uttered, shocked, "Do not swallow that Fredweird, I mean it."

"Guys," Carly tried softly.

He sucked it in further, holding it between his teeth and teasing her. The blonde rose up in her seat, clambering on top of the boy beside her, her fingers digging harshly into his cheeks as she tried to force the liquorice free. The harder she poked, the more he sucked the sweet down and he was sure he could feel her nails digging bruises into his skin. He was just wondering how exactly he was going to explain that to his mother when he felt a sharp searing pain in the back of his neck. Sam had managed to wrangle a hand around, pinching the sensitive skin between her claws.

"Give it!" she ordered and he was sure he could feel her draw blood.

"No," came his muffled, defiant response. Something flashed in her wild blue eyes, something much worse than determination, something much more violent and for a moment Freddie physically shook at the thought of what Sam was capable of doing.

"Guys seriously!" Carly's voice cut in again, sharp and angry. The pair stopped, Freddie still fending her off, his fingers gripped around her wrists pushing her back. Sam was still half standing, half kneeling on his seat, her jean clad leg precariously placed between his thighs. Looking around he realised that for the second time they had caused quite a scene and just as he was wondering how on earth they would recover from this, Sam swooped down, her teeth expertly curling around the candy and stealing it from his mouth. The smell of her coconut shampoo overwhelmed when her hair fell around his face in soft tresses. For the second time that week Freddie found himself absolutely terrified at the prospect of Sam kissing him and, for the second time, she had come absurdly close. She backed up quickly, retreating to her side of the bench. Dazed from the recent proximity of her lips and with heavy lidded eyes he glanced from a surprised and now quiet Carly to Sam, who smugly revealed the liquorice now clenched between gleaming white teeth. He also noticed that while the majority of the cafeteria went about their business, one table did indeed stare over. Sitting perched on the end of the rough wood Miley glared over at her ex-boyfriend, her friends whispering around her. Searing brown eyes held his gaze and the only thing to prompt him round was Sam standing up and fixing her sling bag over her shoulder.

"Coupley enough for ya there Carls?" she shot at her best friend before turning her attention to Freddie, "Don't get too used to that. Guaranteed it won't happen often."

With that she sloped off, dumping her tray in the trashcan before catching up with a shady looking skater boy and immediately engaging in some serious conversation while alternately showing him the pictures she had found of Miss Briggs on the internet the previous evening. Honestly, Carly would have been more disgruntled at Sam's display if it wasn't so damned cute and convincing. She could not have planned better herself and she wondered if it was all a little too natural. She stared after her before turning her attention to Freddie who was now visibly shuddering at the thought of being within a metre of the dirty blonde

"Oh please," she rolled her eyes, resuming her lunch, "like you didn't love it."

"Excuse me? Do I look like I want to catch rabies? Like I'd want Sam Puckett squirming on my lap," he ranted, a little too defensively.

Smirking, Carly gestured towards the boy's ex-girlfriend who still looked affronted by their display of affection in the cafeteria. "I meant that. Geez Freddie, a little nervous there are we?"

Making a face, he looked to Miley offering her a small wave which she refused to accept graciously instead wrinkling her nose, flicking her hair and turning back to her table. Freddie often wondered about girls and why they insisted on playing ridiculous mind games. It was completely true what they said – men and women were from distinctly different planets. Freddie found such games a pointless waste of time; he was a straight forward kind of guy and he would happily walk over to his ex right now and tell her exactly how he felt. But these new rules and tactics imposed by the female population meant he had to follow them down to the wire in order to win Miley back. A part of him, for however brief a moment, wondered if she was worth it – if deep down this was what he wanted. It was an odd feeling, something he had never questioned before more because he had no reason to more than anything else. If he was quite frank with himself Miley was all he knew. Sure, there was once a fleeting period in which Carly was his world and he was with her for one-tenth of a millisecond but it wasn't a real relationship. Miley was completely real and had been for two years of his teenage life, and in teenage years this was an eternity. She had meant the world to him; his third kiss and his first real love. Well this was what he was told. If he thought about, and he didn't like to think about it too much, he was told he loved her before he had even really decided if he did. Her friends flocked around him like kids to candy floss telling him how "so in love" Miley was and how he must feel the same because he spent all his time with her, and because well, she was just so damn perfect. Now Freddie is not duped into things easily, but these girls sold it well. And even though it may not have been true in that moment, he told them he did love her. It didn't matter though; he felt it eventually. It just took a bit longer than he expected, and a lot more adjusting than he had hoped.

If he compared how he felt for her against how he felt for Carly, both feelings were much the same. Both were completely logical, both girls made total sense and both girls fitted that adorable stereotype he craved. He had heard love to be illogical, something that happened head over heels and made little sense. But he could not validate such a theory when he had never experienced anything quite like that. A small part of his head argues that this isn't exactly true but that part is pushed far and away, kept under lock and key.

"You have to ask Sam to Trey's motorbike thing tonight," Carly snapped him out of his reverie and his eyes fixed her with a glare.

"I'm not going motor biking tonight. Especially not with Sam, fast vehicles and Sam Puckett do not mix," he told her, still tasting the remnants of red liquorice on his tongue.

"Sam Puckett on a motorbike. There's an image that blows your mind," Noah mused with a dazed look. Rolling her eyes, Carly slapped him sharply on the back of his arm.

"Stop fantasising about my best friend," she warned, albeit softly.

"You two have an odd relationship," Freddie observed, baffled as to why Carly wouldn't be more insulted by her boyfriend thinking that way about her friend.

"Oh what? Because he thinks of Sam on a bike? Freddie I'm straight but even I find that picture hot," she grinned, eliciting odd looks from both boys.

"I have the best girlfriend. Ever."

Mouth agape Freddie struggled to regain composer, images of Sam, Carly and motorcycle dominating brain activity.

"Ok guys seriously. Miss Briggs naked."

"Ew!" both cried in unison, Noah turning pale.

"My God, I'm good," she smiled proudly, finishing the potatoes on her plate and gathering her belongings. Obediently, Noah stood with her. Watching them was an odd experience; they were so completely in unison they even finished lunch at the same time. They just...fitted.

"Anyway Freddie," she began again, her tone serious and direct, "This is non-negotiable. You two gotta do something other than feel each other up in public. And this is the perfect event to debut you both as a bonafide couple. Ask her, I don't care how. Just do it. Besides...Miley will be there."

She winked, a little too emphatically before walking hand in hand with Noah from the cafeteria leaving Freddie to push his food around his plate before giving up and throwing his fork down. Everything seemed to be spiralling far out of his control. At least before Carly was involved, he felt he had some element of decision making power over what happened and how. Now he felt like a puppet, every feeling every action precisely executed by others around him. It wasn't a feeling that sat well and he made the decision then that he wanted out. Suddenly angry he got up in search of either the demon blonde or Carly who's bid to become the next presidential candidate seemed to be going rather well as evident by her scarily accurate planning abilities. He roamed the halls, finally finding Sam standing by her locker talking with Griffen. Something slowed him and he watched the pair from afar. Sam's demeanour had completely changed; she was laughing, joking, hair tossing and...was she touching his bicep? Freddie was mad, abhorrently so. She was meant to be his girlfriend, she was certainly not meant to be flirting with Griffen at such a crucial stage of planning. And while he was perfectly well aware that only two minutes ago he was on his way to tell her that this very same plan was off, he still felt betrayed. Betrayed and certainly not jealous. He was fully intent on turning away and forgetting about this stupid, far fetched idea. His feet however refused to listen to him and he approached at long stride, marching right up beside the blonde and looking Griffen square in the eyes.

"Benson," the boy greeted with a nod.

"Hey," he mumbled, expelling a breath before turning to Sam, "Sam, Trey's motorcycle thing is tonight, you coming with me?"

Quite taken aback, Sam let out a nervous chuckle glancing between both boys. "Erm...sure? Actually Griffen was just saying that he was planning to go t-"

She was cut off suddenly, Freddie smoothly forcing her back against the lockers with a kiss to her mouth. His hands covered her face; he half expected her to try to pull back or fight him off in some way so he figured he may need leverage. But indeed she did not fight, instead responding gently to his kiss, her mouth working against his in slow, soft movements. There was no tongue involved; Freddie figured she may bite it off if he tried. So instead he finished by kissing her bottom lip, then the top before pulling back and wiping her smudged lip gloss with his thumb. Glancing sideways, his suspicions of Griffen's departure were confirmed by the sight of the boy now retreating back to his friends on the opposite end of the hallway.

"Don't get too used to that. Guaranteed it won't happen often," Freddie whispered her earlier sentiments, his hands falling from her face. A sharp searing pain shot up his leg when the heel of her Converse made contact with his heel in an expertly concealed movement. She leant in with her hand on his chest, still a little dizzy.

"If you ever dare kiss me again, I'll break both your legs," she hissed, "And besides, Carly said no more sexual displays in the hallway. She is not going to be happy."

And then she was gone, he could only assume to either plot some horrible revenge or tell Carly what he had done. No, he assumed Carly would not be happy and yes he was sure that Sam would make good on the threat of breaking his legs, but it was so hard to care about either when his lips tingled like they did and his skin burned from where her hand had rested just above his heart.

A/N: Orginally there was going to be no kiss in this chapter but I struggled with how Freddie would approach Griffen and how he would deal with the jealousy of seeing Sam with him. To be honest my mind was going, "just make the boy take charge and kiss her Goddammit!" So that's what I did, sort of because it fits with the theme of Freddie trying to regain some level of control in the plan. But mostly it was so they could make out. Also I hope I conveyed the little scene with the liquorice coupley enough, and not too sexual. What I wanted to depict was the image of a couple play fighting so that's what it would look like to everyone in the cafeteria and of course to the reader. I'm not sure if it came across too well but I digress. I'm quickly losing patience with my writing; it seems to be epically shit of late. Someone write this for me? Lol By the way you guys are amazing, I do not deserve 60 plus reviews for this heap of poop. Best. Readers. Ever.