...as Monday morning
Valentine's Day is on Monday. Last year's one-shot was a big hit so here's another one.
The instant she stepped into the school she knew something was wrong.
So very wrong.
The walls were decorated with red hearts while pink and white confetti littered the hallway. Numerous lockers were adorned with letters and notes. Even Principal Franklin was in the mood, sporting a hideous heart print tie. Bands of girls roved the halls, giggling and laughing amongst themselves, comparing teddy bears and chocolates as their boyfriends and admirers looked on both in nervousness towards the reaction to their gifts and embarrassment at having been caught giving said gifts.
Sam grimaced. Valentine's Day had struck again.
She quickly walked around the corner to her locker, wishing to escape the dreaded horror. It was too late when she remembered that her locker was indeed next to Carly's. She was met with the wide, toothy grin of her brunette friend. She ignored it and opened her locker. Carly stayed silent and grinning, though she did begin to fidget. After taking out a couple books, Sam ran out of excuses to not talk to the antsy girl next to her so she closed her locker and turned to face her best friend.
Carly clasped her hands together eagerly. "So?"
"So...what?" She asked warily.
"What do you mean 'so what'?" Carly took her by the shoulders and shook her back and forth. "Did he do anything? What did he get you? Is it nice?"
Sam quickly grabbed Carly's arms and lifted them off her shoulders.
"Shh, calm down, Carly." It was a few moments before Carly had calmed enough for her to continue, "No, he didn't doing anything yet. And I'm hoping he doesn't. I don't think I can deal with another disaster."
"Sam!" Carly scolded, "They weren't disasters. They were romantic!"
She rolled her eyes. Carly might have thought they were romantic, but, to Sam, they were just plain embarrassing. She recalled their first Valentine's Day when Freddie showed up at school in a tux and set up a candle lit lunch in the middle of the cafeteria. Gibby acted waiter, complete with cupid ensemble. She did eat with him. She wasn't that heartless; she was actually touched that he cared so much. But amid the giggling and stares, she made sure he would never do something like that again. There was no such luck because the next year he had a different bouquet of flowers delivered to every one of her classes along with various types of chocolate. Obviously, he had tried to tone it down. Still, each time there was a knock on the door, she had slunk down in her seat, hoping it would be for someone else. Carly squealed throughout, saying she wished she had someone to shower her with affection. Sam wished he would just hold her hand or something. This year would be different. She would lay down the law and say no is no. Let's just make out for a couple minutes and get on with our normal day.
Sam brought herself back to the real world where Carly was still ranting about appreciating Freddie. And speak of the dork.
"Hey, how's my Sam doing this lovely Valentine's morning?"
Sam felt two arms wrap around her midsection from behind, pulling her into a warm embrace. She smirked and leaned back against him.
"You know, my boyfriend's the jealous type. I don't think he would approve of this."
"That's a risk I'm willing to take."
Freddie spun her around and kissed her; like, really kissed her. Sam wondered if it was safe to feel so many butterflies in her stomach at once. She thanked god that she was only weak when he was around; otherwise, her reputation would have suffered a significant blow.
They broke apart, breathing heavily.
"Sorry," Freddie murmured into her ear, "had to stop or else Carly would've started taking pictures."
Sam blushed turned around. Carly smirked mischievously and held up her cell phone.
"Too late. You guys are making the rounds already."
She clenched her fist, glaring angrily at Carly. "I swear, Shay. If you weren't my best friend I would punch you.
"Aw, you know you love me," Carly gave her a quick hug, "And aren't we forgetting something? What are you doing for Sam, Freddie?"
Sam's anger evaporated only to be replaced with worry. Trust Carly to focus like a laser beam and remind Freddie. One day, Sam was going to hold up a mirror and Carly would get a taste of her own medicine.
Freddie opened his mouth, but before he could get any words out, the bell rang.
Sam seized the opportunity. She slapped Freddie lightly on the cheek and he did the same to her. Then she dragged Carly away to first period English whereas Freddie headed to some insane math class. She hoped Carly, who was an avid enthusiast of all things related to writing, would pay attention to the teacher. Sadly, Carly's romantic gland was in overdrive and now, thanks to the godforsaken seating chart, Carly took the first chance she got to pass a note. Sam felt something fall into her lap. It was a folded piece of paper. She knew what it was going to say so she stuffed it into her pocket and resumed her doodling. She was working on her 6th cube when there was sharp poke on her back between her shoulder blades. She tried to ignore it, but Carly persistently jabbed her with what was probably a pen.
"Psst! Sam." Carly whispered, "Sam. Sa-am! Saaaaam!"
"What?" She hissed back.
Sam groaned and reluctantly retrieved the note from her pocket.
Aren't you curious about what Freddie got you?
"Passing notes are we?"
Suddenly, the note was plucked from her hands by Mrs. English. (She didn't know her teacher's name, didn't care.)
"Let's take a look."
Mrs. English walked to the front of the room and read the note aloud, "'Aren't you curious about what Freddie got you?' Well, Ms. Puckett. Are you?"
The class laughed and Sam blushed.
"Not in the least, Mrs. English."
Sam found herself sitting in front of the Principal's office twiddling her thumbs, the charge being "disrespect towards a faculty member."
The moment she entered the room, Principal Franklin sighed.
She held her hands up in defense. "It wasn't my fault this time, Ted, I swear!"
He gestured for her to take a seat. "Then how did you end up here? And don't call me Ted."
She flopped into the chair and swiped a handful of candy hearts from the bowl on Principal Franklin's desk. In between crunchy bites, she said, "Carly passed me a note, I opened it, teacher found it, I accidentally called her Mrs. English, and that's pretty much it. And since I know you're going to ask me, no, I didn't do it on purpose. It sorta slipped out." She snorted at a particularly mushy phrase on a heart before popping it into her mouth.
Principal Franklin reached under his desk and withdrew a bag of candy hearts to refill the bowl. Sam's handful wiped out half his supply. As he poured the candy he asked, "So why did you call her Mrs. English?"
She shrugged. "I didn't know her name."
He shot her a pointed look. "Sam, it's second semester. How can you not know your teacher's name?"
Sam shrugged again.
"I want you to write down all of your teachers' names and have them memorized when you come in here next week."
She gave a drawn out groan. "Fine."
"Thanks you. Now," he laced his fingers on his desk, "what was the note about?"
Principal Franklin chuckled. "You insult yourself, Sam. Playing dumb is far beneath your skills. The note must have been important enough to pass during a class. What did it say?"
"What was that?"
"I said, 'aren't you curious about what Freddie got you?'"
He frowned. "Well, are you?"
She suppressed a scream of frustration. Must everyone be so ridiculously infatuated with her love life?
"No, Ted, I'm not. In fact, I'm the opposite of curious. I'm, I'm—"
"—thanks—I don't want him to get me anything. After what he did the last two years, I feel that I should be able to get through a Valentine's Day without being...well, you know."
"No. I don't know."
"You insult yourself, Principal Franklin. Playing dumb is far beneath your skills."
He smiled. "I have no idea what you're talking about."
She shook her head. "Whatever. I don't even know why I'm talking to you about this, but the truth is...I was—I guess I was embarrassed." She ducked her head ashamedly.
"Sam Puckett? Embarrassed?"
"I don't get it either. I'm usually not like this."
"You know that he's just doing it because he cares about you, right?" Principal Franklin offered.
An uncharacteristically shy smile flitted across her face. Stupid nub. "Yeah, I know. And I like that. But it doesn't mean he should go out of his way and make our relationship into a public spectacle."
Principal Franklin leaned forward, "That's the problem. You're not embarrassed about all that. I just think you're afraid of completely giving yourself to another person. You're scared of feeling so strongly for someone that you'd risk your own comfort to make him happy. That's what I think."
Sam mulled it over for a few moments. Had she just been afraid? That was harder to swallow than embarrassment, but somehow she knew Principal Franklin was right. Maybe she was being scared. She had always been able to live on her own. Her name was synonymous with independence and strength. She had spent a good part of her life being the tough girl and now she was too afraid to be known as Freddie's girl. Well, that ends today.
She jumped out of her seat, slinging her backpack over one shoulder.
"The dork wants to celebrate Valentine's Day? Let's do it."
Principal Franklin clapped his hands together. "That's the spirit."
She left his office and then remembered one last thing. Poking her head back in, she told him, "Thanks, Ted. They made a good choice when they hired you."
First period had ended long ago, so Sam went up the stairs to get to her chemistry class which she had with Freddie.
"You're late, Sam."
"Sorry, Mrs. um..., sorry. I was talking to Principal Franklin."
"Very well. Sit with your lab partner. We're doing an experiment today."
Sam strolled to her seat in the back next to her lab partner, Evelyn. Evelyn was alright; a little too quiet for Sam's taste, but alright nevertheless. After she set her backpack down, her phone vibrated, signaling a text.
It was from Freddie.
hey, wat did u talk to about?
Sam looked up to see him glancing back at her from the front of the room. She quickly checked to see if Mrs. Chemistry was looking. When Sam was sure she wasn't, she mouthed, I'll tell you later. He nodded, smiled, and flashed his fingers which were shaped into a heart. She rolled her eyes and Freddie returned his attention to the teacher.
Sam actually concentrated on the experiment for a change, though she admittedly did more damage than good. A flustered Evelyn pleaded for her to leave the serious work alone. Sam happily complied, writing down various descriptions of the solution in her notebook. Just as they finished up the last observation, the bell rang. She spotted Freddie rushing out of the room.
"Hey, Lyn, can you clean up? Thanks."
She patted Evelyn on the back and hurriedly followed her boyfriend. She caught up to him not too far down the hall.
"Freddie! Where are you going?"
Freddie spun around. "What? Oh, hey, Sam."
"I thought you wanted to know what I was doing in the office."
He pulled her into a hug. "Sorry, but I just remembered I had to help Mr. Jennings set up the projector for his history class. Catch you at lunch okay?"
She laughed at his role as the school's resident techie. They called on him for everything from computers to PA systems. It sort of made her proud.
"Fine, go work your dork magic. But lunch, got it?"
He nodded and set off at a quick pace. She watched him turn the corner and disappear. That boy. Always being such a—wait a minute...she searched through her foggy memories of yesteryear. ...that name rang a bell as it was one of the few names she did remember.
The glue incident.
The day she glued Freddie to his chair in art class. The day she received a week's worth of detention and the assignment of staying after school to unstick him. The day they became a couple.
Mr. Jennings had been the art teacher in her 10th grade year.
History class her ass. He was probably planning some huge Valentine's Day shenanigan involving the teacher that had gotten them together.
That sentimental sonofagun.
And he had tricked her. The boy was getting smarter and more cunning every day. She broke out into a slow clap.
"Hey, you! Stop that and get to class!"
Sam arrived at her math class with seconds to spare. She immediately headed to the back where she plopped into her seat and breathed heavily for a minute. She should have her own theme music and superhero name. Sam Puckett: The Blonde Wind. A girl who can't be caught. She had led the angry teacher on a merry chase through the school, eventually losing him by jumping on to a vending machine. He had only seen the back of her head so there wouldn't be any serious investigations.
She tuned in to what the teacher was saying.
"So when you plot the inverse function, the y-coordinate of the max comes to exactly 5pi over 4."
Mmmm. Pie. Her stomach growled. Lunch seemed so far away. Had she packed something in her backpack? She should have taken something from that vending machine.
A knock on the door interrupted her thoughts. The teacher walked across the front of the room. Sam braced herself. A red headed freshman lugged in a giant teddy bear holding a plush heart.
I like Freddie. I like Freddie. I can do this. I like Freddie.
"Um...I have a Valentine here for um...," the kid glanced at his hand, "Julie Hawthorne?"
Sam let out a breath. The girls of the class erupted in squeals and giggles as a brunette ran up and grabbed the bear. The girl returned to her seat and began chattering excitedly with her friends.
Damn. And she was ready for it too.
A free period came after math so Sam took her time in reaching her locker. Along the way she found Tasha opening her own locker.
"Hey, Tasha. What's up?"
"Hi, Sam. I've been-AHHH!"
The moment Tasha's locker was unlocked a cascade of rose petals covered her from head to toe. A card tumbled out among the red flowers. Tasha reached down and picked it up.
She read, "To Tasha. Roses are red, violets are blue, but that doesn't really matter because I think you're the greatest person in the world. Your Gibby. Aw, isn't that sweet."
"Um...it didn't even rhyme."
Tasha gave a high tinkling laugh. "Silly Sam. Love doesn't have to rhyme."
"What does that even—never mind. Whatever you say. Well, I'll be seeing you later." With that she left Tasha and wound through the school to her own locker.
But as she was dialing in the combination, she wondered if Freddie had rigged something in her locker like Gibby did to Tasha's. They were close friends. Maybe they had shared ideas and stuff. Keeping this in mind, she cautiously twisted the last number and carefully creaked the door open.
She sighed, half relieved and half disappointed. Maybe later. However, now there was something else she had to do. Get Freddie his gift. If she was to do this Valentine's thing right, she had to get him something in return. But what? As she thought, she wandered out to the football bleachers as she usually did during free period. What would Freddie like? Somehow a basket of smoked meats wouldn't be the same to him as it would be to her. Maybe a card? That's lame. A bunch of electrical wires? Yeah, that screamed Valentine's Day. Money? That showed no effort.
What to get, what to get. Hmm.
She gazed into the blue sky, hoping that the clouds would somehow form the answer or that Simba's dad would give her words of wisdom. Two years and she had no idea what to get him. She didn't really have the ability to pull off smooth moves like he did. She was more of a straight-forward, brute force type of person. These touchy feely things were still new to her.
Something inexpensive, yet thoughtful.
Something plain, yet meaningful.
Something simple, yet personal.
Something from the heart.
Something from the—something from the heart!
She grinned. Perfect.
A little while after lunch started, she found Carly and Freddie at the top of the stairs talking to Mr. History. She joined the group, but patiently waited until the conversation (something about extra credit) ended. Mr. History left and she announced her presence.
"Yo, ma peeps!"
"Hey, Sam," Carly replied.
Freddie cheerily ruffled her hair. She shot him an irritated look, but soon gave into his pout. She pecked him on the cheek as forgiveness.
"What have you been up to? Besides causing trouble," Freddie asked.
"Nothing big. Just got you a Valentine's Day gift. Sat around. I found a cool looking—"
"Wait, wait, wait," Freddie stopped her from going further, "You got me a gift?"
"Yeah, of course I did," she said defensively. Carly smiled and began to bounce on her toes.
"I knew you'd see the light, Sam," she stated, "So what did you get him?"
"Woah, slow down there, Shay," she reached into her pocket. Her hand came out clenched around the gift. She silently prayed he would like it and opened her hand.
It was a key.
Freddie's eyes widened. "A key?"
Carly reprimanded him, "No, not just a key, Freddie. It's the key to her heart."
She shook her head. "No, no. It's just a key. The key to my house, in fact."
Freddie looked confused. "The key to your house? Don't you usually hang at Carly's?"
"God, Freddie, it's the frickin' key to my house! Do I need to spell it out for you? I want you to come over more often. Maybe watch TV or something. Make out, eat pizza, you know," she glanced nervously into his eyes, "More couple stuff. I feel like for the last two years, you've been the one doing all the work. It takes two to tango, Fredward."
He stared at it and for a moment she was scared he didn't like it. She was pleasantly surprised when he took it and smiled at her.
"Yay! Valentine's Day is almost a success," Carly turned to Freddie, "Now it's your turn."
Sam squared her shoulders and took a couple deep breaths. "Okay. I'm ready. Lay it on me."
"Um...Happy Valentine's Day?" Freddie grinned sheepishly.
"What? That's it?" Carly and Sam exclaimed simultaneously.
"I'm sorry. I though you didn't want me to do anything."
She knew that was what she said, but she had been hoping he would ignore her again this year. Since she talked to Principal Franklin this morning, she had really gotten into the idea of Valentine's Day. She actually felt what all the other girls were feeling. The excitement, the suspense, the mushiness. All of it. But now, and it was completely unjustified, she started to feel a little angry.
"I'm really sorry, Sam."
"Yeah, yeah. Whatever. Let's go to lunch."
"Really, Sam. I mean it!"
"Yeah, I said I'm fine." She turned to walk away.
"No, you didn't," a hand landed on her shoulder and all of a sudden she couldn't take it.
She spun around and shouted, "I SAID I'M FINE!"
In her anger, she had forgotten where they were. And when she spun around, Freddie had been closer than she thought. Almost as if in slow motion, he began to fall. And before she could react, he was halfway down.
Her cold hands were jittery on the door handle. They said he was fine: only a couple broken ribs and a fractured foot. The good news was that he was alive. The bad news was that he was to be confined to a wheelchair for 6 weeks. And there was also the possibility of him being absolutely pissed.
She gradually eased the door open as if the slightest sound could injure him even more. He looked alright. He was sitting upright against some pillows and the TV showed the Mexican Desert Channel.
"Hey, Sam," he said, turning off the TV.
"I'm so sorry," she whispered.
"I pushed you down the stairs! You could've died!" Some stray tears leaked out the corner of her eye.
He chuckled then winced. "Calm down, Sam. And what are you doing over there?" He patted the bed.
She hesitated, then walked over and slowly sat down. He was in the hospital gown and the cast on his foot peeked out from under the sheets. She had done this.
"I'm sorry," she said again. Freddie took her hand and the cold vanished.
"It wasn't your fault. It's not like you meant to push me. It was an accident."
She looked away. "Accident or not, if I hadn't been such a jerk girlfriend, you wouldn't be in this mess."
"And why would you call yourself a jerk girlfriend. You seem positively fine to me." He winked suggestively. If it hadn't been such a serious situation, she would've laughed.
"Not funny. And I'm a jerk because for two Valentine's Days, I told you that you embarrassed me and today, when you actually didn't want to embarrassed me, I got mad at you for...well, not embarrassing me."
"Yeah, I was about to ask you about that. What changed your mind?"
"Principal Franklin," she explained, "told me that I was too afraid to be in a relationship that took away my independence. Or something along those lines. Whatever. The point was that I should be more...relationshippy. You know, Valentine 's Day and all that."
Freddie nodded, "So that's why you gave me your key."
"Yeah. Then when you didn't get me anything, I got sorta mad because I was actually looking forward to it. And then I pushed you down the stairs."
"Shut up, Sam, you didn't push me down the stairs. It was partly my fault anyways. Maybe next time, we could exchange gifts on the first floor."
"That'd be nice," she looked around, "that way, we wouldn't have to spend Valentine's Day stuck in here."
Freddie wagged his finger. "Hey, there happen to be a lot of cool things to do!"
She was skeptical. "Like what?"
His face performed a few contortions before he admitted, "Okay maybe not a lot. But enough."
He flicked on the TV. "I hear there's going to be a V-Day cartoon marathon. And I'm pretty sure Spencer can bring us a pizza if we called and asked him nicely. And look," he flipped a switch on the wall next to the bed, "the lights are off!"
She grinned and climbed into the bed, snuggling underneath the warm blanket. His arm appeared on her shoulder so she hugged his chest. She heard him hiss, feeling his body tense up. She remembered his broken ribs and quickly let go.
"Sorry," she apologized, "Am I squeezing you too hard?"
He relaxed and pulled her in against him.
"No, Sam, not hard enough. Not hard enough."
So there's this thing called "the Cabal" and it writes generally outstanding stories. Plus it has it's own pen name complete with profile and 1 cool fic. But wait! There are even links to various authors including:
arrossisce, aussiemma, axel100, BaalRules, BoxOfTrinkets, boxofpiglets, Commander Lagasse, Coyote Laughs, ItalianBabexo8, iCabal, iCarlyangst,iLuvNathanKrEsS,
KingxLeon21, Myjumpingsocks, ober22, pairababes, Pieequals36, pigwiz, Tech-Man, The Earl of Sandwich, xXACCEBXx
Thank you for reading!