You throw the stupid ring as far as you can when the ice cold air is making all of your muscles stiff and rigid despite the heavy coat you're wearing and the small colorful ring glitters just a little as it sails through the air, further than you thought it would before hitting the ice noiselessly and skidding to a stop.
You should feel better but you don't and you turn your somewhat triumphant gaze away from the ring and back to Sam who's staring at you with dark, hot eyes and you've definitely seen that look before. It's the look she gets right before she punches someone who really, really deserves it and there's a terrifying moment when you're just positive that Sam is going to knock you into next week even though Sam has never, ever laid a cruel hand on you but instead she exhales hard, breath condensing in the freezing air.
"Why did you do that?" She spits, eyes accusing and forehead creased in confusion under the cover of her soft blue beanie and she looks more hurt than angry and all of that blind, misguided fury you felt when you found out that Sam went out with Colt Dillinger without telling you, when he sauntered up to you between classes at your locker and handed you Sam's ring that she 'forgot' in his car and asked you to tell her he'd give her a call, drains away just like the heat in your cheeks when the cold wind whips across your face.
And then she's turning, a whirl of blonde hair, slipping a little on the icy ground, towards the ring and when you glance at Freddie he's frowning at you, holding a video camera and bundled up in at least two coats that you're sure his mother insisted he wear while they traversed the 'dangerous' Seattle terrain in search of the Abominable Snowman all in the sake of comedy for iCarly.
"Why did you do that?" Freddie asks, voice muffled by his thick scarf while he watches Sam make her way across the frozen water and you're not really sure. Well, you know what that absolutely frustrated, tangled feeling in your chest means but why you're feeling it around Sam…that's the confusing part and it just adds to the myriad of other confusing emotion that seem to well up inside of you more and more.
"I don't…I don't know. I just…" You trail off hopelessly, glancing around the frozen lake while families ice skate, laughing and screaming faintly, so far away that they just look like black dots before turning back to watch Sam, in her bright orange snow jacket and blue snow cap, bend over and pick up the ring, rubbing it against her jacket.
"Why did she even go all the way out there for that?" You whisper angrily and Freddie shrugs as Sam starts making her way back. "I got it from a stupid gumball machine like four years ago."
And Freddie says something, something you don't really catch because suddenly there's this loud, ear splitting crack and one second Sam is on the ice, trudging back towards you with the ring in her fist and something hard in her eyes and the next she's just gone…
It's a little bit like a cartoon, the way the ice just opens up and swallows her, and maybe you'd laugh except the ice just broke and Sam isn't there anymore.
"Sam!" The scream rips out of you before you can even fully realize what just happened and then you're trying to run.
You're feet are moving, working, and you're barely moving against the ice but you dig your toes in and push and momentum is pushing you forward and then your falling, knees and the heels of your hand hitting hard, and sliding towards the gaping hole in the ice.
"Carly! No!" Then Freddie is grabbing you, your ankle, holding you down against the ice and you grunt under his weight.
"Freddie, let me go." You cry, fighting him, eyes focused on the jagged hole and all you can see is water and ice and all you can hear is the faint ring of laughter under the heaviest silence.
"No, you'll break the ice. You'll fall in too."
It seems like an entire lifetime passes in the few seconds it takes for Sam's arm to appear, breaking the surface of the water, followed by the rest of her and she splashes up, gasping for air.
There's a moment of splashing and struggling where you can see Sam coughing up mouthfuls of water, trying to keep her head above the water, while you push at Freddie's weight and it's like she can barely keep her head out of the freezing water.
"Sam!" You scream again as Sam grabs onto the side of the ice with her gloved hands, arms stretched far in front of her, her beanie lost somewhere in the water and then there's the sound of Sam's haggard breathing, rough and wet.
"Ca-Carl-y." She coughs and sputters and if your heart stopped beating before it's making up for it by going too fast now. "Carly."
"Oh my god, Sam! Are you okay?" You yell, shoving Freddie off of you and you hear her take a few wet breaths.
"I fell in a hole." She croaks, arms readjusting on the ice. "So not really."
"Can you pull yourself out?" Freddie shouts and Sam mutters something you can't hear before trying to drag herself out of the water and there's a lot of splashing but in the end it doesn't work and your heart sinks into your stomach.
"Not gonna happen." She chokes out.
"Freddie, go get help." You hiss and he nods wordlessly, scrambling to his feet and taking off in a slipping, sliding run towards the people on the other side of the lake.
"Sam." You breathe, watching her struggle to get out of the water again and failing miserably. "Freddie's going for help."
"Great…I'm gonna die." She coughs and you bite your lip. You're pressed against the ice and the cold is seeping into your body and you can only imagine how cold Sam is.
"Don't say that." You yell, your voice a few octaves too high, and this time you catch her roll her eyes before she readjusts herself on the ice, arms just a little uncoordinated and you swallow at the way her face is already pale, blue taking the place of the pink in her lips.
"Here, take this, I don't want to loose it in the stupid water." And then the ring, that stupid cheap ring, is skipping back towards you and you reach for it, fumbling a little and tuck it into your coat pocket and you feel so stupid because Sam is in real danger now. You watch her breathe, teeth chattering loudly and you inch forward a little on the ice.
"Are you okay, Sam?" You call nervously watching her readjust her grip on the ice again, chin dipping into the water briefly and you read somewhere that hypothermia can set in within seconds and you glance over your shoulder to where Freddie has become an indistinguishable smudge moving against the ice.
"This water is freezing." She bites out past clenching teeth and you try to will Freddie back faster. "Where's my dork in shining armor?"
"He's coming." You breathe, studying her carefully, the way she's sliding a little deeper into the water and how the color is draining from her skin.
"Good, because I don't really know how much longer I can hang on like this." She says it with a splintering smile, trying not to scare you but its no use because you're already terrified while scenarios you don't even want to focus on are swirling in the back of your mind and its reason enough for you to move.
You inch out over the ice, scooting on your belly, towards Sam who is watching you with heavy eyes through soaking wet hair.
"Carly, what're you doing?" She breathes, breath fogging in the cold just as you reach out and curl your hands around the sopping wet material of her jacket and hold on tight.
"Keeping you from drowning." You grunt, getting a better grip with both hands on each one of her arms.
"Okay. I definitely like that idea." She whispers and this close up you can see how colorless her skin really is and the way every muscle seems to be trembling. "Do you think you can pull me out?"
And for the next couple of minutes you try, you really do, but the ice is cold and your arms feel weird and pin and needley and you can't get any traction. Sam tries too, kicking and grunting but she gets tired so fast and you lick your cold lips as she sort of gives up, sinking heavy in your grip.
"Sam, don't stop. I almost…I almost…"You try, dragging in desperate breaths and Sam is gasping for air too.
"I'm sorry but I can't feel anything and I'm tired." She exhales, face lolling dangerously towards the water and you jerk her hard when her mouth disappears under the surface. "Sam."
Her head jerks back quickly, spitting up water, and your fingers curl tighter. "Sorry. Sorry."
"Sam, you need to stay with me until Freddie gets back." You say urgently and Sam nods, kicking her legs a little underwater.
"I'm with you." She whispers. "Couldn't be anywhere else even if I wanted to."
"Okay," You grunt, readjusting just a little because Sam's weight is pulling you a little towards the hole and you dig the toe of your shoe against the ice. "If you're with me then lets talk."
"About what?" She slurs and you laugh a little.
"I don't know… anything."
"Why did you throw my ring across the lake?"
You realize now you meant anything but that. "This is what you want to talk about?"
"No time like the present." She shudders, breath fogging past her lips.
"I, uh, I was pissed at you, okay?" You grunt, watching Sam's eyelids flutter shut for a second before opening again, slower and heavier than before.
"For what?" She asks and the two words are slurred together.
"I just…you left the ring in Colt's car and I don't know…" You trail off and Sam's mouth, completely blue now, twists up into a smile.
"You were jealous." She chuckles feebly, words stuttering free and if you weren't freezing, you're sure you would be blushing right now.
"I just…I don't even know why you kept that stupid ring. I got it out of a quarter machine." You blurt, clenching your numb fingers tighter around Sam's wet sleeves.
"I kept it because you gave it to me." She slurs a bit and you seriously doubt you could feel any stupider than you do now.
"I'm sorry." You breathe out into the cold air, ignoring the way your hands hurt. "I was being stupid and now we're in this mess and it's all my fault."
"S'okay." Sam murmurs, eyes fluttering a bit like they weigh a ton and you feel your heart jump in fear. "Carls…it's getting hard to stay awake."
"But…" You grunt, readjusting your grip. "But, you have to. So lets keep talking."
You talk about nonsensical things, Sam's sentences thick and broken as she tries to form chains of words and the two of you keep talking until it's only your words ringing in the air.
"You have to stay awake, Sam!" You cry and Sam says something else but it's all slurred and jumbled as her head lolls forward, mouth sinking beneath the water. "Sam!"
And this time your screeching voice isn't enough to wake Sam up and you dig your toes harder against the ice when you feel her go limp in your grip, her weight enough to drag you towards the hole as she sinks in your grasp. "Freddie! Freddie!"
You glance over your shoulder, heart pounding in your throat when you see a Freddie shaped lump rushing back towards you with three men in tow.
You try to pull Sam up enough so that she can breathe but she's just so heavy and you can't feel your arms. She sinking and you're sliding across the ice, holding on to Sam's sleeves for dear life. It feels like forever before a hand is gripping your ankle and a voice is telling you not to let go.
"I won't. I won't." You cry and then whoever is holding your ankle is pulling you back and Freddie is telling you to hold on, to just hold on.
Its kind of a blur after that but you stay focused on not letting go of Sam while people throw ropes around you and men yell and then you're being hauled backwards and so is Sam.
You're cold, your hands feel unattached and everything is moving so so fast now.
"Sam." Your voice sounds weird as you watch men in uniforms pull Sam away, back towards solid ground and you're moving too.
A woman in uniform takes off your clothes; you're jacket, your jeans, everything and wraps a shiny metallic blanket around you shoulders and you hadn't even realized how thoroughly drenched you were..
"Is she okay?" You ask, peering through bodies to where you can see Sam, people kneeling over her and everyone looks so urgent and concerned. "Is Sam okay?"
The paramedics around you don't saying anything but they don't have to because you watch as a man kneels over her and begins CPR and his hands are pressing so hard on Sam's chest.
Suddenly you can't breathe, the air is thin and your lungs feel weak and you're struggling to inhale while the entire world goes grey at the edges before everything fades to black.
You trace your fingertips over the back of Sam's hand, following the faint lines crisscrossing her knuckles before picking up the bright, multicolored ring resting on the pale blue sheets and sliding it onto her ring finger.
"Does this mean we're hitched?" Sam's soft, tired voice startles you and you look up to see Sam gazing back at you with sleepy eyes and you smile at her, at the pink high in her cheeks.
"Something like that." You whisper and Sam laughs low and careful while you scoot your chair closer to her bed, careful not to get tangled in the thin, clear lines of her IV. "So how're you feeling?"
"Warm." She croaks with a crooked smile while she laces her fingers with yours and you swallow thickly.
"Sam," You start, "I'm so, so sorry."
And you've lost count of the number of times you've apologized to her for this. For being a jealous, idiotic, fudge bag.
Sam squeezes your hand tightly, "It's no biggie."
"Sam, it is a biggie." You breathe in disbelief of her nonchalance. "I almost killed you."
"It was an accident." Sam barks firmly, her skin so pink and alive compared to the white of her hospital gown. "You didn't do anything wrong."
"I threw your ring." You point out and Sam smirks slowly like she knows some secret and your stomach flops accordingly as a grin pulls across your own mouth.
"Yeah, I know but we'll talk about that later when I get out of this hospital." Sam whispers, shifting in her bed a little. "But right now I need to know if there's anyway I can get some pants because this hospital gown doesn't close all the way and the nurses are getting an eyeful of the goods."
Something, something about Sam, makes your chest tight and your heart swell in the shrinking space of your rib cage and you press your lips to Sam's knuckles, beside her ring, and let the feeling wash over you.