a/n: yay for horrible writing. i'm pretty sure this has been sitting in my documents for like three months. HateYeahRight, i freaking swear if this doesn't convince you that your writing is better than mine, nothing will.

lalala. slight language and shitty writing ahead.

so, read it and weep, dears.

You sit there and smirk and just take it. You pretend you don't give a damn. You crack a joke and roll your eyes at him and then avert your eyes to the TV screen or out the window. You look anywhere but at his face, because if you do you know you'll crack, break down. Your smile will falter and you'll have to bite your lip just to make it seem casual, like you totally don't want to cry. Of course you don't want to cry, though.

You try to convince yourself of that. It used to work, too.

You pretend what he says doesn't hurt. You pretend it doesn't make your head suffer a hot flash, and you pretend it doesn't burn, like it's not a searing pain like a thousand bee stings all at once, piercing your pale skin with brutal stingers.

You pretend it doesn't affect you at all, like it merely bounces off you because you have some kind of invisible shield of defense, impenetrable. Or at least it used to be.

You sit there, you smile, and you take it because that's what you do. It's what's expected of you.

You pretend that you hate him (because you always have and always will). You pretend that you really, truly hate him with every fiber of your existence because that's how everything is supposed to be. You pretend because you know that he hates you; he really, really hates you.

You like to imagine that those three fatal little stinging words didn't tumble off his lips after he kissed you (ihateyou). You like to imagine you didn't respond (ihateyoutoo), but you did because he expected you to. Because you were simply expected to, because that's such a Sam Puckett response.

Because if you said anything else the whole situation would just be additionally uncomfortable.

Shit, you're thinking about him now.

You love to pretend that you weren't feeling timid that night on the fire escape when you kissed him. But you love even more to pretend that of course you weren't feeling shy because all that damn kiss consisted of was the desperate need to get something over and done with.

You pretend that is what ran through your head when his lips touched yours (ohmygod,ohmygod), instead of, well….nothing. You pretend your head wasn't spinning and you pretend that you totally didn't think you were going to spontaneously combust.

Because that's not how Sam Puckett rolls. She doesn't feel that way about anything. About anyone. And especially not Freddie Benson.

You pretend that sometimes you don't wish you weren't Sam Puckett. You pretend that you don't wish you were more like Carly or Wendy with short skirts and mascara andhappy smiles and perfection. You pretend you totally like yourself for who you are and you don't give a shit if Freddie likes those types of girls.

You pretend that when he rolls his eyes and smiles at you (Damnit, your heart is beating way too fast) and jokingly tells you he hates you that you don't inwardly cringe. You pretend that you want to tell him that you hate him, too.

Because you do. You have to; you don't have a choice.

You pretend that you don't care that he still muses about the time he kissed Carly for some amount of time (thirty four minutes). You pretend that you don't occasionally hope that when this hero phase wears off Carly has a change of heart. That she goes back to leaning against her locker during passing period and drooling over seniors.

It's hard to act as if you don't want to run up to him and bury your face in his chest and tell him you didn't mean any of it, that you don't know why you say the things you say. They just slip out.

You act like you're not afraid of getting hurt. Turned down. Rejected. Humiliated.

And tonight you're pretending that you really, really love pretending. You're sitting on the fire escape on the steps staring out at the glimmering stars, strewn aimlessly across a dark velvet sky.

A voice (oh shit)…his voice interrupts your thoughts, and you whirl too quickly to face him. He's standing there, still inside with warm light bouncing off his (perfect) face. He has that look on his face, a foreign mix of concern and curiosity filling his eyes.

He asks you what you're doing here, and it takes every bit of sanity you have to give him a reasonable response. To not completely lose it.

You tell him to go the fuck away.

And, for the first time, he doesn't comprehend your words. Or maybe he does, but he doesn't listen to them.

He asks you why you want him to go away.

You tell him to shut up and mind his own freaking business. You pretend you don't want to drag him out here and tell him everything and not have to pretend anymore.

But you can't do that, so you muster up every last drop of joy left in you and smile weakly and tell him to go back inside and stop worrying about you (but that's all you've ever wanted: somebody to be concerned about you).

He wants to say something. You can tell by the strangled look that crosses his face before he sighs warily and bids you goodnight.

He's never said anything this nice to you. Ever.

You can't pretend that your heart isn't starting to pick up pace (shitshitshit).

And you even start to feel a little warm and fuzzy inside like all those stupid fake fucks of actors in crappy movies pretend to feel. But this is real.

You're about to say something nice back as he's walking back down the hall when he suddenly spins, smirking slightly. Those three fateful words tumble off his lips again like poison.


This time you have to pretend that your heart doesn't crash through the cement, plummeting and landing splat on the sidewalk so many floors below.

And he stands there and waits. He's expecting you to say it, so you do.


He smiles, seemingly relieved that you're still somewhat sane. And then he gives you a half-wave and turns to walk the rest of the way down the hall.

You listen to his footsteps, listen until they no longer exist.

Just like your sanity.

You stare down the hall with a blank look on your face. You pretend you don't want to run in there after him.

Even though you're supposed to (have to), you can't help but realize something.

As you stare out at the stars again with an empty feeling in your heart, you realize that you're terrible at pretending.

(you don't want to pretend anymore.)

lalala. i love you, flame me.