White Picket Gloom
Rating: T+ for swearing
Notes: This super freaking angsty, like probably the most angst and intense fight I've ever done.
Summary: Carly and Freddie fight after Carly reveals something that destroys his life and his heart. Extreme angst.
They stood in the well adorned lounge room of a spacious 3 bedroom house in suburban Seattle. They were a little young to be living the American Dream, but live it they were doing. On the outside at least. To their neighbours, each in their own little slice of the dream, they were Carly Shay, and Freddie Benson. College students, well respected, smart, grounded. A good head on their shoulders. The men all clapped when Freddie proposed to Carly during one of their little parties. The women sighed as they remembered the moment their men had proposed to them.
Everyone had welcomed them into the little community of North-East 31st Place, Bellvue, Washington.
It was only a 20 to 30 minute trip to the University, and less than 10 minutes to Microsoft, for whom Freddie had been working as an intern for a couple years now. That was in addition to his website design job during the school-year, which brought in more than enough to cover the mortgage payments, and keep Carly entertained with anything her heart desired.
Carly kept her own little apartment just opposite to their shared University (U-Dub, University of Washington) paid via her part time job as a waitress in one of the many eateries in the University district. But they both shared it, occasionally staying there overnight when they had major work to do, or had to stay late, or any of the other reasons a young couple might want to immediately head to bed rather than drive to their home in the suburbs.
Their neighbors figured they'd last the distance. Young, but pure, high school sweethearts. That's the kind of love the world loved to revel in. Yet a year into their residence, the cracks started to appear. It wasn't long before everyone knew what was happening.
All except Freddie. Like most times, the one who cared the most was last to learn.
"You're sorry? That's all you've got to say?" Freddie boomed. His eyes were narrowed, furious, sizing up the woman in front of him. Carly Shay.
Yet two thin films of water streamed down those same eyes. They betrayed the conflict in his emotions.
"I-" Carly stammered, unable to get any other words. She knew in her heart that she was sorry.. deeply, intensely sorry. However it wasn't enough.
"Sorry again? You're sorry? Well lar dee fucking dah. Carly Shay is sorry. That makes me feel soo much better." Freddie hissed, he shut his eyes for a moment, trying to jam the anger and bile down his throat.
"I am Freddie just stop please!" Carly yelled, scared of the pain, anger, sorrow that she could tell was breaking his heart in half as he spoke. She kept shaking her head, how had it come to this? Why had she toyed with his heart for so long. Why did she have to hurt him so badly?
"FUCK YOU!" Freddie reached blindly for the first object he could latch on to. It turned out to be a picture of the two of them standing in front of their college campus, taken on their introductory tour.
It was four years old.
Freddie flung the picture as hard as he could against the wall. The glass shattered into a million pieces, the wooden frame snapped in a dozen places and the picture itself slowly floated to the floor.
Despite knowing what was going to happen the moment she saw him reach back, she still flinched when he launched it, scared he might have been aiming for her. Carly was scared, more than she'd ever been in her life. A tiny part of her brain registered that he was so angry he might lose control. Might do something he'd regret. 'He might hit you.'
'I'd probably deserve it.' Came her internal reply.
"You have no FUCKING RIGHT to tell me what to do! I've wasted the last fuck.. I can't even count, where would you count it from?"
"You know what. The years I've wasted. How many?" The tone of the questions was softened, signifying the change from pure rage to calculating acrimony. He needed Carly to understand, just a little, about how he felt inside.
"I don't know Freddie! But they weren't a waste!" Carly replied from her cowering position.
Freddie paced the room and another couple pictures of the two of them joined the first on the floor. A fourth flew across the room and shattered a vase Spencer had made specially for their house warming. The glass crunched under Freddie's hard leather shoes. Instead of pain in his voice, a mocking laugh filled the room.
He stepped up to Carly on the couch and slowly broke apart her arms. Freddie's hand broke through her defences and pulled her chin up to look him in the eyes. His eyes and the features etched into his face all blazed with un-disguised hatred. Carly shut her own eyes swiftly, but couldn't help seeing his image burned into her retinas.
"Oh come on Carly, you can't honestly tell me that I haven't wasted at least part of my life on you now?"
"Freddie... I... just stop it please," Carly begged, not able to withstand his verbal assault, but not having the willpower to get up and leave.. the idea of her leaving would just enrage Freddie further.
"How about we work back. The last year perhaps? I mean, we had a good run through college. I thought you were happy. You are a damn good actor. You were right you know, about the comedy. Sure. You are funny. But you always said you could do more. Damn right. You had me fooled. Hook line and sinker. But a year seems a little small. Just because I couldn't tell you were unhappy until a year ago doesn't make the years before anything less of a waste."
Carly merely sobbed in her seat. No will to fight, just wanting to get it over with so Freddie would stomp off, break a door off it's hinges, smash a few more plates or pictures or anything and leave her to escape herself.
Freddie wouldn't let that happen. Not without him saying his piece.
"Two years perhaps. I could've moved out on my own. I wouldn't have started paying for a house. A fucking house Carly. I have a mortgage, in my name. I've spent the last two years doing barely anything but study, work, and trying to keep you happy. Why? Because it was my future. Our future."
"You can still live here."
"I can? You think I can stay in Seattle? You really think so?"
"Yes," Carly replied, sniffling.
"Well I fucking can't. I just can't. Everyone knows. I was the last to know. I know why people looked at me funny now. They were all snickering to themselves. I'd laugh if I saw a guy whose fiancée cheated on them with their best friend. Never mind the whole bit about you being a lesbian the entire time we've been dating. Everywhere I go I get looks, glances, people stop talking as soon as I enter the room. I've been humiliated Carly. At school, and at work. I work for fucking Microsoft! You know how big that company is right? Everyone knows about us. Everyone. I'm gonna have to move to god-damn Australia or Sweden or some other country halfway across the world to get away from this shit. I have no dignity left in this town, you've stolen it from me."
"I'm.." Carly trailed off.
"Yeah. I know. Sorry. 4 years perhaps. We'll just count the college years. The places I got into, there are people who would literally kill for places for them or their children. MIT, Caltech.. John Hopkins.. the Naval Academy, Carly. I could've been like your father. I could've served my country. Instead, I chose to serve you. D'ya remember what you said about you staying to go to college here?" Freddie asked, as he sat down next to Carly.
"Remind me please." They both knew exactly why, but it took on a whole new meaning in light of recent events.
"Tell me. Now." Freddie grabbed her wrists, hard, then pulled her arms away from her face.
"Fine alright! I wanted to stay so Sam wouldn't be left alone."
"That's right. You said you wanted to stay here because of Sam. Four years Carly. So that's just the minimum. You thought I'd let you stay in Seattle whilst I ran off to a top ranked college. Then a year later I'd turn back up for summer, you'd say 'I'm sorry.. it was just too long and too far' and we'd be over."
"That's not what I wanted Freddie."
"Like hell it wasn't. One of our biggest fights was about me not leaving. Then I said I was going to go, you never looked so relieved in your life. But stupid me decided that I'd just stay anyway, you know, so you could stay with Sam, and so I'd wouldn't have to leave you. You were already in at U-Dub, so I figured it shouldn't be that hard to get in, and Sam could go to the SCCC and we'd all be happy together. We could stay in Seattle together like you wanted. But you never wanted me, did you?"
"I did want you.. just not like this. Not this 15 year plan, this suburban nightmare, the picket fence, the fucking stepford smilers, I didn't want to become one of them! I wanted to finish college and live, go see the world, instead you just wanted to stay right here in Seattle! And I wanted to do it with Sam, not you! I just wanted you as a friend, my best friend." Carly sobbed.
Upon hearing that Freddie stood back up again, his anger rising.
"Then why didn't you say something? Why did you even kiss me again? Why did you sleep with me that first night? I don't understand why you'd do that if you didn't love me. Not like this? I've done everything to make you happy. All I've ever wanted was you! If you said anything we could've done anything. I'd die for you, you know that already for christ's sake, what more could I do to convince you that all I want is you, and everything else is secondary? And you never told me you wanted Sam instead. Never."
Carly rose up off the lounge, "Are you that thick? Are you that stupid? I couldn't tell you. I ran to you to escape her. I couldn't handle it."
"But now you can handle it? The month we graduate from college? What am I supposed to do? I have a house in a city I can't stay in, no job, no friends, no girlfriend! Gibby wanted me to room with him down at UCLA. Now he's got some best friend named Jimmy James and a woman he's probably going to marry in a couple years and I've got nothing."
"You've still got me Freddie, just believe me, I'm still your friend, Sam too. And Spencer." Freddie snorted at hearing Sam being referred to him as a 'friend'.
"It's always about Sam isn't it. No matter what, I can never escape her. Did you think about Sam when you were fucking me?"
"What?" Carly replied in surprise.
"Did you think about Sam when you fucked me? Simple question."
"I don't know.. sometimes." Most of the time she'd let her mind wander, until it imagined that it was Sam doing those wonderful things to her, and not Freddie.
"What about our first time? Did that have anything to do with Sam?"
"I thought if I slept with you it would help me forget Sam." That's how their relationship started. A kiss between Sam and Carly. Carly freaking out. A half-drunk one-night stand on New Year's Eve followed by a few weeks of longing looks and glances from Freddie. Complete ambivalence when Sam found out, until finally Carly caved and ran away from the pain in her heart. Just because she knew he would love her forever and would never ignore it like Sam did. Carly hoped that she'd fall for him eventually. Lord knows every single woman she knew constantly reminded her of what a catch Freddie was, and how they would be willing to take him off her hands if they ever split. Usually Freddie showed up at that point to tell the girls that he was never letting go of Carly ever, and the girls would just swoon even more.
Freddie shook his head at the reply. "Do you hate me?" Carly noted the shift in his voice. It reminded her of the puppy dog crush he'd had on her way back when they first met. Pleading, worried, begging for her affirmation. Yet a touch of anger remained, threatened to bubble over the surface.
"I don't hate you. I love you Freddie."
"You say those words, but I'm not sure you even know what they mean. I wouldn't do this to my worst enemy. Who ironically has always been Sam." Freddie seethed, spitting her name out of his mouth like a piece of gristle on a steak.
The sentence lingered in the air. Neither willing to speak what they knew the other was thinking. But they could tell, just by looking into each other's eyes.
'You know what they mean when you say it to Sam don't you?'
'I know what it means when Sam says it to me.'
The unspoken thought finally snapped Freddie's heartstrings, and with it went the anger, replaced with barely coherent grief and shame, "You say you l... fuck it. Just fuck it all. I'm leaving. Fuck you, fuck Sam, fuck Spencer and his fucking wife and kid and the loft and this house. I hope you enjoyed taking my dignity, my dreams and my heart because you just annihilated them." His voice broke, creaking and low. Tears poured down his face and finally he couldn't take the shame of looking Carly in the eye any longer. He turned around and stepped towards the front door.
"Freddie.. wait.." Carly called out reflexively. Freddie did so, and as he did he turned back to face Carly.
"What?" Freddie waited to see what if anything Carly would say, only to hear nothing. What could she possibly say right now? Except more baseless, hollow sounding apologies?
"Come on? Whaddya want to say? You fucked my mom too? I'm adopted? You were lying when you said you were a virgin our first time? You faked it every time? Save it. What else could you possibly say that would make me wait, or stop, or do anything but walk out this door for good? I mean, you could try. I can't promise I won't go jump off a bridge though. Go ahead, try. Please, give me another excuse, because right now I don't care if I live or die."
"You don't mean that Freddie.. right?" Carly thought what she was going to tell him would shake him to his core, but to contemplate that? No no.. he wouldn't. Freddie.. it wasn't part of his make-up.. was it?
Freddie contemplated an answer, but instead he put one hand in the other. He quickly slipped off his gold engagement band. It was a simple band, no adornments. Nothing but an inscription.
I promise to love you forever Carly Shay.
"Take that as well, you've got everything else of mine. Give it to Sam you fucking whore."
The ring clattered onto the ground as Carly's hands fumbled to grasp the ring. By the time she'd dropped down to the floor, picked it up and stood up again Freddie was out of sight. Only the heavy slam of the front door and the shudder of the frame groaning indicated where he'd gone.
Out of her life for good.
Carly shuddered, her knees weak before she succumbed fully to the tears that were waiting to burst out. A phone call interrupted her roughly half an hour later. The LCD screen shimmered, shifting to a picture of the incoming caller. Long blonde hair, a smirk and mischievous eyes that hid defensive walls that only ever came down for one person. At sight of the picture Carly's mouth curved upwards just slightly.
"Carls?" She could hear the tension as Sam breathed in and waited for the answer to the only question she could possibly want to know the answer to at this moment in time.
"Yeah... it's done."
Sam exhaled with relief, "It's for the best. I'm coming to pick you up." Sam anticipated that Carly might end up out of home. There was no way she'd blame Freddie if he'd kicked her out.
"Stay with me tonight, he's gone. I don't know when or if he'll come back. I don't think he'll ever forgive us." Carly replied, her free hand wiping the tears from her eyes.
"I love you. See you soon." Sam didn't answer Carly's last point. There was no way in hell she'd ever forgive someone for stealing Carly. She knew as good as he did. Sam never forgave Freddie for taking Carly away from her to begin with.
As far as she was concerned, this was just making it right. Even if Sam regretted what Carly had done to Freddie on her way back. His pain was just beginning, her pain had lasted the past decade or so as she watched Carly flee the truth deep inside her.
"Love you too. Bye." Carly tapped her touch screen to end the call. She reflected grimly on the door, hoping Sam wouldn't be too far away. Then she started crying again.
AN: Well that was angsty. I usually get super depressed on behalf of Freddie when I read Cam fics (I still love them though). Especially after some recent events in my own and some of my friends lives, having to deal with pain of loss and grief. For whatever reason it came out in this, pretty quickly for my standards, only a couple of days all up. No sequel, no prequels, this is it, so don't story alert or ask for more thanks.