Yet another fic by me! I got really sick of my procrastination and forced myself to sit still in front of my computer to write this out. It's another idea I had for a long time. The mention of the burn book borrowed from none other than Mean Girls.
Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! You guys are the reason I continue writing for this fandom. My bread and butter... and water. So enjoy!
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You see, the thing is, Freddie's never been involved in a brawl before. He always did right by everything. Every morning, he would wake up two hours before school started in order to brush his hair until it lay flat on his head, look over any past and future class assignments, and toast his bread to a light brown perfection. Before he got out of the car, he would flash a bright grin in the mirror to make sure that his teeth were looking great, straighten out any crease or wrinkle in his shirt, and kiss his mother farewell—regardless of the other students stifling their hearty snickering behind fists.
Freddie was the type of guy who got grades so excellent that even his instructors would glare enviously. In class, his teachers would harp on about how great a student he is and how everyone ought to look at him for instruction, and whenever there was a group project to be done, he would be elected team leader because everyone relied on him to make sure that the job was exceptional and submitted punctually. In fact, it was no secret around Ridgeway High that he was pretty much a shoe-in for Class President, that of which he was absolutely excited about running for next year. He had awesome friends—Carly, who he could talk to and trust in about pretty much everything, and who was pretty and was absolutely everything he wanted in a best friend and confidante; Sam, who he could relax with and be himself around, despite the chance of getting at least one fresh bruise on his arm every other day because of his fascination in all things technology; and Gibby, with whom he could play video games and pig out with—on string cheese, of course, because he wouldn't want to disobey his mother and take in a lot of unnecessary and dangerous sugar—and if Gibby decided to go topless every now and then, well, Freddie had no problem with turning the other cheek.
Suffice it to say, Freddie was a good guy. A nice guy, a dependable guy, a guy who knew proper punctuation and the difference between a planet and a really big asteroid.
So it was with great wonder and a huge amount of dread pooling in his stomach that Freddie found himself in the middle of one of the biggest scuffles that Ridgeway High had ever seen.
It had all started with Carly succumbing to the wiles of an older student named Joey Wallace and his ex girlfriend growing horribly bitter over their union. She had created a book of nasty gossip about each student and, in her jealousy, spread the word that the book was all Carly's doing. Carly had been quick to shut the rumor down after Sam had put the third student in a sleeper hold and was risking the threat of a months' worth of detention, and the pandemonium had hushed up until the point where photocopies of the book's pages were found spread over every wall and floor of the high school.
Sasha Beck had been the first girl to pick up one of the papers which had, coincidentally, had something written on it about her, and then promptly turned to her best friend, Angela McGerr, shouting, "I trusted you not to tell my secret, and here it is, on a piece of paper in the middle of the freaking hall!"
While Angela stood gaping, the rest of the students in the hall had each picked up a sheaf of paper almost collectively and only ten seconds had passed before all hell broke loose.
"Ay, dios mio!" Freddie squealed and ducked out of the way of a notebook that was flying straight for his head. He pressed his back against a locker and searched through wayward limbs and flying paper for Carly, who he was sure was by his side just a minute ago. She couldn't have gone far, he reasoned with himself, so she shouldn't be getting hurt. Afterall, Freddie was pretty sure that most of these students were out for her blood, and once they get a glimpse of her, they'd let go of each other's hair and come fuming toward her.
He gulped, and somewhere in the crowd, he could hear Sam cackling.
"Freddie!" He heard his name shouted and looked to his left to see a short girl with wavy brown hair angrily staring him down.
He held his textbook tighter against his chest and shrunk back against the lockers, but only just a little bit. "Valerie?"
A sheet of paper clutched angrily in her hand was waved in his face. "What's this I read about me being a soulless vixen who only wants boyfriends to promote myself and eat them alive?"
Freddie's mouth opened and closed as he tried to search for something to say. He knew that he should deny, deny, deny—kind of like how Spencer taught him in order to get himself out of very sticky situations, like that one time when Sam and Carly had run out of the Groovy Smoothie without paying for their drinks and Spencer and Freddie, both, were too strapped for cash to pay their share—but in actuality, what Freddie could remember of Valerie was that she was kind of soulless. She had toyed with his affections only to endorse her web show, and had almost cost him a few great friendships. But that was years ago, and he was completely over it, so why couldn't she be?
Oh right, the burn book.
Freddie glanced down at the paper, and then at her angry face, and came up with, "Um… it was ninth grade." His voice might have went up at the end, making it sound like more of a question than it was, but he didn't have enough time to muster up what little courage he seemed to possess and repeat it as a statement before a door came crashing open on Valerie's back. She stumbled into him, and Freddie grabbed her arms to steady her as he saw Carly step into sight.
Valerie huffed and harshly pulled away from him before growling at Carly. "You!"
Carly, looking completely confused, said, "Me?"
"You," Valerie yelled and bumped Carly's arm with her shoulder as she stomped around the baffled girl and into the bathroom she had just come out of.
Carly raised a brow at Freddie, who shrugged in answer, and slowly looked around the hall before settling her gaze on him. "I run to the restroom really quick, and this is what happens?" Freddie, completely relieved to see that she was unharmed, gave her a wry smile in return, and she nodded, a smirk lifting one corner of her lips. "Cool. What's the occasion?"
"Everyone's prepping for the MMA Smackdown that's airing this Sunday," Sam grunted as she was knocked against a locker. She wiped sweat off her forehead and grinned maniacally at Carly. "It's absolutely wild! You in?"
Carly scoffed and barely jumped out of the way in time of a sandal barreling toward her. "With a face like this? I think I'll pass."
Sam shook her head and set her amused gaze on Freddie. "Freddie, you in?"
Shocked that she would ask such a ridiculous question, he gave her a dry look before replying, "Let me think about that for a minute—no."
"Ugh, you're such a wimp!"
"And you're such a liar. The occasion is this," he said, and reached behind him for one of the papers taped to a locker. "Stefanie made photocopies of the burn book and tossed them everywhere. So now everyone is angry at each other and fighting and I really hope I don't get in trouble for this because my mom would string me up by my bowels. Literally, she would put on huge yellow rubber gloves and turn me inside out and maybe while my stomach is trailing to the floor, she'll find time to spray it down with disinfectant, and I'll forever be known as the boy who poops through the side of his stomach into a plastic bag. Really! You don't know my mom! She dated someone in the army!" He stopped at the stunned look on Carly's face and took a breath, glancing at the paper he held in his hand. He did a double-take. "Wait, this is about me!"
He had only just enough time to read three words of the page before it was snatched out of his hand, balled up in Carly's fist, and tossed to the floor.
"Whatever it is that is on that paper is not worth reading."
Freddie sighed and looked out at the crowd of bickering students. "If only everyone else knew that."
Just then, a bullhorn sounded, and Freddie nearly jumped out of his skin. Every student in that hall paused from biting arms and tugging hair and grappling on the floor to search for the source of the incredibly loud noise. On the top of the steps leading up to the second floor stood Principal Franklin and Mr. Howard, both of whom were looking down at the crowd in surprise and disgust, respectfully.
Principal Franklin raised a bullhorn to his mouth. "Everyone, report to the cafeteria. Now!"
The students grumbled and groaned as they picked themselves up and began trudging to the cafeteria. Freddie was thinking of slipping into the boys' restroom to avoid having to be spoken to with the bunch of delinquents because, for one, he did not want to be lumped in the same punishment—that of which he was sure would be suspension—because his mother had a retractor and he was sure that she was not afraid to use it, and secondly, he had no part in this mess. He was sure of it.
He was halfway into the boys' bathroom, Sam plastered on his back and pushing him in, trying to hide away with him, when he paused and his gut clenched quite nauseatingly.
"You three, Carly Shay, Fredward Benson, and Samantha Puckett, you're not going anywhere."
Sam rolled her eyes and shouted over the grumbling students, "The name is Sam, Ted!"
Principal Franklin's lips were set in a thin line before he called through the bullhorn, "I want to see the three of you in my office in five minutes."
Freddie choked—on air, on saliva, on whatever—and Carly thumped him on the back until he caught his breath. "I'm dead," he moaned.
"Freddie, you are not the one your mother wants to kill. You're like, her little baby," Sam said in her non-consoling reassuring way as she trudged ahead of them to the main office.
"That's right," Carly agreed. "It's Sam she wants to hang by her bowels."
"How can you take this so lightly?" He had to ask when he saw the smirk on Carly's face. He expected Sam to be jolly about having yet another punishment and tally on her permanent record. Everyone knew that she took some sick sort of pleasure at being the rebellious one. And surely, when Freddie glanced at the blonde firecracker, it was only to see her bouncing on the balls of her feet in excitement, brows raised delightfully under her bangs.
However, as long as he's been in Carly's life, he never knew her to be nonchalant about things—crisis's—such as this one.
She bit her lip and twisted her fingers in front of her before she replied. "I'm not. I'm just trying to remain optimistic. What's the worst he can give to people completely guilt-free?"
They came across Ms. Briggs, who led them into the office. Before sitting down, Sam scowled at her and said, "You know, I'm beginning to think that you take joy in seeing students cry."
Ms. Briggs tossed her head back and her laugh made the frown deepen on Sam's head. "You know me too well, Sam Puckett."
"All of the afterschool detentions have to amount to something," Freddie grumbled before wincing as Sam's fist met his arm.
"Keep on talking, nub," Sam said and they scowled at each other before Principal Franklin strolled in. Sam sighed and put her feet up on his desk, crossing her ankles, and said, "Ted, my favorite guy in the world. What's up?"
"What's up?" He sat heavily in his chair and drummed his fingers on his desk, giving each of them a stern look. "What's up is that you cost the school hundreds of dollars in damage, you cost about forty students a few beautiful spring weeks of afterschool detention, and you've got yourself in huge trouble."
"Huge?" Freddie squeaked. He had to concentrate on breathing slowly so as to not hyperventilate.
Franklin set his strict gaze on Freddie. "Colossal."
"You don't even know that it was us," Carly said in a rush, and her fingers were turning white from where they gripped the arms of the chair.
"It's always you and your ragtag group of misfits."
"Ragtag? Have I gone to sleep and woken up in the fifties?" Freddie squeezed Sam's wrist to get her to shut her mouth, but she only scrunched up her face and asked him, "Who says ragtag anymore?"
"Samantha," Franklin said, bringing their attention back to him. He knocked her feet off the desk and adjusted his name plate before continuing. "I'm assuming that you had a big part in this?"
"You assume wrong," she answered, twirling a lock of hair around her finger in a bored fashion. "This time, we had absolutely nothing to do with this."
Franklin unfolded his hands and sat back in his chair. "I've been hearing about a burn book?"
Freddie felt like throwing up. "Is this going on my permanent record?"
"Yeah, that my boyfriend's ex girlfriend made out of spite!" Carly interrupted before Franklin could reply. "She's been spreading rumors that I made it, but it wasn't me. Honest."
The principal gave them a hard stare before sighing and seeming to deflate. "Well, I'm sorry to say but all fingers are pointing to you."
"Oh no," Freddie groaned. "My mom is going to kill me."
"And then she'll kill me!"
"Carly!" Sam shook her head in disbelief. "Look, Ted, you know it wasn't us, so let us off the hook. We can walk out of here with a clean slate and no one needs to know about what was said in here. I won't even tell anyone that you gorge yourself on Fig Newters and cry yourself to sleep watching Titanic every Friday night."
"Sam!" Principal Ted sat straighter in his chair and smoothed down his tie, sending a panicked glance toward Ms. Briggs. "I thought we already agreed that you wouldn't say anything about that. Remember? Bacon Taco Thursday?"
"Oh, yeah," she said and sent a lazy smile Freddie's way, patting her stomach. "Those are delicious."
Franklin cleared his throat. "Regardless, someone has to be punished for this. Now, you could either take your suspension or perform some kind of good will for the school."
At the word suspension, Freddie had tucked his head in between his knees and was working on taking steady breaths in through his nose and out through his mouth to keep his perfectly toasted toast from making a second appearance. Carly's warm hand was a nice reassurance on the back of his neck.
From his vantage point, he could see Sam's bright sneakers tapping rhythmatically against the carpeted floor. "Hmm… I don't know. Suspension sounds pretty appealing."
"No, suspension sounds pretty frightening," Carly said and Sam laughed. "What's our second choice?"
"Well, we have the Ridgeway Spring Show coming up soon, and—"
"No way am I performing some pathetic play in front of lonely housewives with a bunch of nubs," Sam interrupted, and the heel of her sneaker bounced against the floor. "I've had enough prancing around on stage for a lifetime."
"Sam, the beauty pageant was ages ago," Freddie said from the spot between his legs.
"And?" she goaded. "The hundreds of beady eyes on me still haunt my nightmares."
"I don't think you have much choice in the matter here, Sam. Unless you would like for Ms. Briggs to pick out your alternate punishment."
"Capital penalization," Ms. Briggs supplied, and Freddie could practically hear Sam gulp.
"Fine, I'll do your play."
"Carly?" Franklin questioned.
"Absolutely," she answered.
Freddie raked fingers through his hair. So, his choice was to either spend countless days after school in the stuffy auditorium, most likely dressed up in costume and having to slather huge amounts of suntan lotion on his face and arms in order to keep from burning from the rays of the overhead stage lights, or risk becoming a collegiate pariah for the huge ink blot that's sure to stain his permanent record if he chose the route of being suspended. It was such an easy choice.
Principal Franklin didn't even have to ask.
Freddie looked up into Franklin's eyes and nodded. "Definitely, I'm in."
He was pretty sure that it couldn't be that bad.