A/N: This isn't, in the strictest sense of the word, a Seddie story. There's an implication, but they aren't together in this story. Sorry if this disappoints anyone.
The epigraphs of each of the parts (I didn't want to split them into chapters as most of them are under a thousand words each and I couldn't justify it) came from Pink Bedroom by Rosanne Cash.
Feedback is, as always, appreciated. This is only my second ever iCarly story and I always enjoy learning ways to improve.
Enough blather. Onward!
In retrospect, Sam thought, maybe it was time to stop doing things with Freddie just to get them over and done with. It caused nothing but trouble, and this was a lot of trouble. On a scale of one to apocalyptic, this was pretty freaking bad.
"Are you sure?" Carly's shrill, panic voice broke Sam's thoughts and she barely resisted the temptation to roll her eyes. "About four pee sticks sure, and if that's not enough for you, then I don't know what you want from me," she called back, zipping her jeans and coming out of the bathroom stall wielding the latest stick with its bright pink two lines of apocalyptic doom. God, Sam hated the colour pink. For a moment after she saw Carly's face—slightly hurt, shocked that Sam had snapped at her—she felt a twinge of guilt for yelling at her best friend, but now was not the time for stupid questions. She was in trouble. Carly took the stick out of her hand and studied it. "Yup," she said after a moment, in a voice that Sam couldn't quite place. "That looks pretty sure to me."
"Told you," Sam muttered, shoving her hands down in her pockets and staring at the tiled floor of the Ridgeway High second floor girls' bathroom, blinking back the tears that were threatening at the back of her throat. Carly's hand on her shoulder was what finally broke her—small and warm and comforting—and Sam looked up, eyes glassy, swallowing hard. "What am I going to do, Carls?" she whispered, and then she burst into tears.
Carly pulled her into a hug as tight as she could, her hand nestled in the back of Sam's hair. "We're going to be okay," she promised. "Whatever happens, we're going to be just fine."
She thinks all her boyfriends are so dumb
She drinks coca cola with valium
Mother calls, she sticks another pin in her doll
Lets those fingers talk her into it
They were alone in the iCarly studio, sprawled out on the beanbags, lazily staring into space and listening to each other's breathing. When they thought of it later, neither one of them could quite recall where Carly had gone, or how they'd gotten onto the subject of sex. It didn't matter, not really, but somehow, whatever they had been talking about segued into "So...have you done it?" To which Sam, indignantly, had sat up in the beanbag and folded her arms across her chest. "Why do you think you get to know about that, nub?"
Freddie had grinned. "So that's a no."
"What of it?" Sam bit her thumbnail, looking anywhere but at Freddie, which was probably why she didn't notice that he was edging ever closer to her, til their bodies were almost touching, feet only centimeters from each other. "Why do you care? I just haven't found the right person yet. All the boys I know are total nubs."
Freddie's breathing, and her own, sounded weirdly loud in the quiet of the studio, and he got really interested in his shoelaces all of a sudden. "I haven't done it either," he said, his voice all low and rumbly, manly in a way that Sam had never thought to apply to him. His head was still down, and she studied his jaw in the garish light of the studio. His face was still boyish like it had always been, but there was a hint of stubble there, and he looked somehow different all of a sudden. She looked away, unable to suppress a feeling like she was somewhere she wasn't supposed to be.
She had re-immersed herself in a daydream about ham and mashed potatos and pork ribs when she felt Freddie's fingers tracing little patterns on her arm and she jumped, swinging her arm away as fast as she could. "What are you doing?" she demanded, and she would have sprung to her feet if it didn't seem like such a lot of effort.
Freddie looked sheepish, and Sam's heart gave a little leap of triumph, because as well he should, but his voice certainly didn't sound sheepish when he said, "Maybe...we could give it a try? Just to get it over with?"
She had wanted to say no. Freddie Benson was easily the nubbiest nub she knew, and if she was really saving her virginity for the right person, then it was definitely not supposed to be Freddie, of all people. She had wanted to say no, but somehow, instead, she ended up wordlessly crossing the threshold from her beanbag to his own, brushing her lips against his shyly.
He smiled against her lips, and for a moment she wanted to smack him upside the head, but then he was kissing her more, and it wasn't so bad, not like last time, and then he was wrapping himself around her, one hand on her lower back and one hand at the nape of her neck, playing with the soft baby hairs there, and she made a soft whimpering noise despite herself and let her tongue explore the inside of his mouth.
They kissed for awhile, until they were both breathless and their lips were red and slightly swollen and she could feel him getting hard against her thigh, and then they finally pulled back and looked at each other. For a moment there was an awkward silence, and across the floor Sam could see her cell phone where she had abandoned it, lit up and flashing "mom" on the caller ID. "I should go," she said, sounding more like she was trying to convince herself than anything else, and then Freddie was kissing her again, rolling them over so she was laying on the beanbag and he was looming over her, and his fingers walked up her arm and across her torso and then they were up her shirt and searching for her nipple and she forgot all about her mom, all about who she was with, the fact that this was Freddie, for God's sake, Freddie, the nubbiest nub she knew, who just happened to be her second-best friend, forgot all about anything that wasn't the sensations he was causing, the sharp twinges of pleasure, the heavy arousal building in her stomach and between her legs, threatening to drive her insane, and somehow she managed to break herself away from his lips long enough to press her hips up against him and whisper, "Please, Freddie, please."
It all happened so fast that for awhile both of them forgot everything that wasn't what was happening right then and there, forgot everything they'd learned in health class since eighth grade, and it wasn't until later, when the afterglow had worn off and they were just Freddie and Sam again, two normal sixteen year old kids who hated each other but maybe secretly were madly in love, that Sam realized what a grave mistake this probably was. It was his fault, of course, stupid Freddie with his expert lips and those amazing fingers, and she made short work of hitting him in the arm. "You freaking nub!" she yelled, standing up and scrambling to find her leggings, her shoes, her backpack. "Why didn't you use a condom? You idiot!" Freddie blinked up at her boyishly for a moment and Sam wanted to punch him in the face, and then he was rising to his feet, holding her arms, and since when was he so much taller than her. "Listen," he said in a voice that she usually only heard out of Carly, the kind of voice that made her unable to do anything but stand there and listen. "Everything is going to be okay, okay? Nothing's going to happen." And then he kissed her like she was going away to war and let her go, and she walked out of the apartment feeling simultaneously lighter and heavier, changed, in some permanent but as yet imperceptible way.
They say they've got her future down at the desk
now they're drawing blood for the grown-up test
something crawls beneath her lily skin
and her doll is so relieved she's lost her innocence
Carly took her to the doctor. Made the appointment as soon as they got out of the bathroom, walking down the hallway on her way to English and drove Sam to the clinic on Friday morning when they were supposed to be sitting in chemistry, sat next to her in the hard plastic orange chairs and held her hand, her thumb stroking Sam's knuckles until her hands stopped shaking, followed her into the exam room where the nurse made her take off everything but her underwear and bra and tried not to look too judgemental as she asked Sam a million questions about everything from how much she weighed to when her last period was to how long she had been "sexually active", all swelled up with pride when Sam managed to not only resist the urge to punch her but also the urge to snark at her.
And then the doctor came in, a whistling, smiling man in his early 30s who reminded them both so much of Spencer that later they would ask him if he cloned himself and why they couldn't have gotten the Spencer that went to med school. "Well," he said. "Sounds like somebody's having a baby. Why don't we swing on down to the lab for a blood test and ultrasound to confirm, and we'll see what we can do for you." He signed the requisition form and sent them down to the fourth floor for the tests. Carly held Sam close in the elevator, stroking her soft blonde head and murmuring over and over that everything was going to be okay, empty platitudes which meant nothing, because of course it was not going to be okay, it was the furthest thing from okay that anything could possibly be, but which served to make Sam stop shaking, and that was enough for her for now.
She laid still and quiet for both the blood test and the ultrasound, refusing to look at the screen. When she couldn't be angry, her alternative to sad was completely shutting down, no emotion at all. There was an actual living thing growing inside of her and it was half Freddie and how could she be anything but numb, because this was going to change her whole life. It was going to ruin it. As far as she was concerned, she could just off herself now, because nothing was going to possibly make her life any better.
Carly was excited but she tried to hide it, drumming her fingers on the steering wheel and not saying a word to Sam, who was sitting slumped over in the passenger seat holding her ultrasound printout and her bottle of prenatal vitamins and the little card for her next appointment in six weeks, staring out the window and hating life with every fiber of her being. They were four blocks from the school when Carly finally spoke up. "You know you have to tell Freddie," she said, scooting over half an inch in the seat so that it would be harder for Sam to hit her, not that she ever would.
"I know," she told the window, and the tremor in her voice told Carly that she ought to be prepared for an onslaught of tears.
They skipped the rest of school, driving down to the ocean, sitting in the car eating fries and drinking smoothies and talking about anything and everything, trying to pretend that they were two normal sixteen year old girls, that their lives had not just forever been changed. Carly completely ignored the topic of the baby until Sam brought it up, picking up the ultrasound picture and tracing out the little gummy bear that was her baby. "I've never even held a baby before. Except stupid Ginger Fox's kid, but that doesn't count. I bet it's going to grow up to hate me just like I hate my mom."
Carly looked over at her, unfastening her seatbelt to lean over and study the picture with Sam. "We're going to help you. Me and Freddie and you and Spencer and even Gibby can help. We're a family. You're not alone."
For what felt like the millionth time in a week, Sam was blinking back tears. "Just because I messed up my life doesn't mean that you have to mess up yours," she mumbled, pulling away from Carly. "It's not like I had a future anyway."
Carly grabbed her by the shoulders and gave her a firm shake, making Sam's eyes widen in surprise. "Listen," she said urgently, and Sam perked her shoulders just slightly so as to say 'I'm listening'. "Listen. This isn't going to ruin our lives. It's going to change them, but our lives aren't over. Everything is going to be okay because I'm here. Even if Freddie isn't, which he will be but you have to tell him. Everything is going to be okay and we're all going to do this together. We're not going to leave you behind. Do you understand?" Sam nodded, and Carly reached over to pull her cell phone out of Sam's left pocket. "Call him."
"Can I text him instead?"
"Just tell him, I don't care if you send smoke signals!"
For the first time in the week since she'd found out she was pregnant, Sam actually smiled, flipping her phone open and typing frantically for a moment. When she was done, she looked over at Carly with a pointed look. "There. Done."
"Let me see," Carly sing-songed, holding out her hand for the phone. Sam rolled her eyes but complied, watching Carly as she scanned the message, smiling. "I'm proud of you!" she chirped, leaning over to give Sam a big hug.
Begrudgingly, Sam hugged her back, putting on her innocent face. "Yeah, yeah. If you're so proud of me, why don't you buy me some ribs? I'm eating for two now, and the spawn loves ribs almost as much as Mama loves ribs."
They laughed all the way to the restaurant, and Sam felt, for the first time, like maybe it might be okay after all.
She paints her fingernails forbidden tones
She wants nervous youth on the telephone
He don't call, she sticks another pin in her doll
Puts it next to her stuffed animals
The weekend passed without a word from Freddie. Sam was camped out in Carly's room on the bed (Carly said there was no way she was letting someone in her condition sleep on the floor, and Sam wasn't going to protest) and Carly on the beanbag on the floor. In spite of the fact that she had the ring on and the phone in her hand, Sam still checked it, as if on impulse, every thirty seconds, cursing loudly every time it revealed no new messages or calls. "That nub!" she shouted, sitting up on the bed. "I'm going to go across the hall and kill him, Carly. I'm going to kill him so hard that he's going to die. I hate him. I want him to die."
Carly climbed up onto the bed, plucking the phone from Sam's hand and pulling her down to lay next to her. "Listen. He's probably just scared. You're scared, aren't you?"
Almost subconsciously, Sam's hand went and rested against her abdomen, still flat but now somehow changed, teeming with promise. "Yeah," she admitted quietly, leaning into Carly as if her life depended on their physical contact. "Freddie is probably scared too. He's probably going to talk to you at school tomorrow, everything will be sorted out then. Maybe he doesn't want to talk about it over the phone."
"He could have come over here," Sam mumbled, although Carly's words had calmed her and she was now once again half asleep, snuggled into Carly and feeling as though all was right with the world.
"He probably doesn't know you're here," Carly reassured, stroking her hair, humming until Sam fell asleep.
But Monday came and went, and not a word from Freddie. When they passed in the hallway he would turn his head or walk in the other direction or loudly call out to one of his tech nub friends from AV club, anything but addressing Sam, and although she felt like it shouldn't, it sent little shocks of pain through her, because he might have been scared, but damn it, so was she, and she had to carry the damn baby around and feel so empty and lonely inside that it was like a piece of her that she hadn't known existed had been packed off and carried away and not even a hundred Fat Cakes could ever fill it.
His radio silence was broken on Wednesday afternoon when he showed up for iCarly rehearsal, and though he refused to look Sam in the eye, Carly confronted him. "This has to stop," she told him, arms folded across her chest, while Sam sat on the risers and watched, munching on a spaghetti taco and saying nothing. "That's your baby, too."
Freddie looked taken aback. "I don't know what you..."
That was enough for Sam, and she sprung to her feet, all righteous indignation and fury. "You're ignoring me, Benson. You talked me into letting you screw me and then you knocked me up and pretended like I don't even exist. I'm carrying your goddamn baby and you don't even care!" She shoved Carly out of the way, pounding on his chest, sobbing and yelling and carrying on, beating on him until she exhausted herself, turning to Carly and letting herself collapse against her. "I just want you to act like you care if I'm alive or dead if I'm going to have to raise your child." Freddie, still winded and slightly wary after Sam's onslaught of punches, reached out and touched her shoulder. "Hey," he said softly, and she lifted her head, looking at him with those big blue eyes, expression so sad and so unlike her that it broke his heart. "I'm sorry I freaked out, okay? It's just...a lot at once, and my mom didn't even want me to come here, she's so angry, she thinks that you gave me some kind of disease and keeps trying to make me use this new ointment..." Sam couldn't help snerking at that, and this time, Freddie let her with an indulgent little smile. "...and she took my phone away so I couldn't call you. But...I know that we're just kids, and and I know that you hate me and that neither of us know the last thing about babies, but I want to take care of him and I want you not to worry about anything because...because I'm going to be here. I'm going to be a good dad no matter how hard it is, because that baby..." He reached out and brushed his hand against Sam's stomach. "That baby deserves it." He stepped back, feeling sort of awkward about his admission, and Sam did the same thing, hovering somewhere around the prop table and getting really interested in her shoes.
"Everybody loves each other. Yay! Let's hug!" chirped Carly in her I-am-getting-really-stressed-out-about-this-awkwardness voice, pulling both Sam and Freddie against her chest. Sam laughed, wrapping her arms around both of them, feeling a rush of love for both Carly and Freddie. For the first time, it felt like maybe Carly's words were right. Everything was going to be just fine as long as they all had each other.
It was a teen game, now we're serious
It's all customised, don't get curious
She's got her pension and your attention
She's got it all, she's got it all, she's got it all in her pink bedroom
By December Sam was three months pregnant and still hadn't bothered to tell her mother—if she had it her way, she wasn't going to, just stroll casually into the house after the kid was born and tell her to meet her grandchild—but of course nothing ever went according to Sam's plan.
"You're pregnant." It wasn't a question. Sam froze halfway to the refrigerator, trying to figure out how drunk, if at all, her mother happened to be and how best to approach this. She decided that avoidance was still a pretty good tactic and tried to take off to the kitchen, but her mother grabbed her arm halfway there and forced her to look at her. "Who's the father?"
She was sober, or at least, not drunk enough to slur or smell, and Sam felt herself giving in, caving. "Freddie," she mumbled, pushing her mother off. "I don't want to talk about it."
"You're a slut," her mother informed her, arms folded across her chest. "I thought you were better than that, Sam."
Sam laughed incredulously. "That's funny, coming from you."
Her mother stared at her, face stony, and Sam thought for a moment that she might actually hit her, so it was something of a relief when instead she said, "Get out. Get out of my house and don't come back until you've gotten rid of that thing."
Sam turned, walking into her bedroom and throwing as much stuff as she could into her backpack. She would get Spencer to come back for the rest of it later. "Nice knowing you, mom," she said, then turned and walked out the door.
So she moved in with Carly and Spencer a few days before Christmas holidays and it finally felt like, for once in her life maybe she was at home. Spencer made her doctor's appointments and made sure that she ate good stuff like vegetables occasionally and not just an endless amount of fried chicken (the baby really liked fried chicken, she tried to argue, but Spencer won), and she saw Freddie whenever he could escape from his mother's own personal version of Alcatraz, and for those two weeks Sam was the happiest she had ever been, with her best friends and her best friend's brother and, for the first time, she was looking forward to having that baby, to giving him an actual, real life family.
Even during the holidays apparently word travelled fast at school, and by the time they went back in January, it seemed like though she hadn't said a word, everybody knew about Sam's impending motherhood, even if nobody could quite get their story straight.
"I heard they met in juvie and he's still in there."
"yeah, I heard he killed a kid with a butter knife."
"I heard that she's giving it up for adoption after it's born, the people are going to pay her in steaks."
"I heard that she doesn't even know who its father is."
"I don't think she's really pregnant at all, it's just a stunt for iCarly."
It was a wonder, Sam thought, that she didn't just take every single one of them down, but lately it just didn't seem worth the effort to waste perfectly good punches on stupid kids. Instead, she just ignored every single one of them. Let them wonder. And anyway, all those stories going around were way more fun than the truth, so who did it hurt, anyway?
Winter segued into spring and by the time they were writing their exams in May Sam was huge, cranky, and displaying little interest in anything but staying at home with Spencer, eating Fat Cakes, and knitting tiny baby socks—Spencer had taught her, and now the entire "baby corner" of her and Carly's room was taken over by a veritable army of multicolored socks. But Spencer wouldn't let her miss exams, so that Tuesday afternoon found her sitting in the gym with the rest of her chemistry class, tapping her pencil against her desk and trying to figure out if she could bullshit her way through the exam and how when she felt something run down her leg and sat up with a start.
"Carls," she hissed, making the adjudicator glare and shush them, since apparently quiet in the auditorium was more important than the fact that there was an about-to-pop pregnant girl who had liquid trickling down her leg. "Carls. I think I just peed my pants."
Although she initially looked annoyed, her expression was one of alarm when she finally looked over at Sam. "I think we have to go," she hissed back, raising her hand. "We have to leave, I think we have a medical emergency." Before the adjudicator had time to respond, she had Sam by the hand, dragging her out, leaving a little trail of water as they went. Once they were outside, she grabbed Sam by the shoulders. "Your water just broke, you idiot! You didn't pee!"
Sam's face was mingled relief and alarm, which, under normal circumstances, would have made Carly laugh. "So what do we do now?" she asked, doing a little dance of panic.
"Calm down! Stop jumping! How do you feel?"
"Fine!" Sam continued her antsy dance, shifting from foot to foot. "We need to find Freddie, where the chiz is he?"
"I think he's in an English exam, but Miss Briggs is supervising so maybe I better go tell Principal Franklin. You stay here, don't move, and call Spencer to pick us up. Don't forget to time your contractions if you start having them. It's going to be okay!"
"Yes, mother." Sam eased herself onto a nearby bench and waved Carly off, rolling her eyes. Carly waved back. "Okay, I love you, STAY THERE DON'T MOVE."
The contractions started in the car, while they were halfway down the highway on the way to the hospital, and Sam punched Freddie (who was sitting on the other side of the back seat of Socko's car that Spencer had borrowed, looking pale and alarmed) in the arm hard. "What was that for?" he yelped, rubbing his arm, and Sam looked at him like she was going to rip his head off. "Your stupid kid is trying to claw its way out of me, that's what that was for!" she howled, and her genuinely pained voice made Carly cringe in the passenger's seat. "Enough!" she shrieked. "Stop fighting, you're about to be parents!"
The back seat got quiet, Freddie still looking at Sam nervously and Sam occasionally making a small noise of pain, but otherwise completely quiet as the gravity of the situation hit them. They were about to be parents. These were their last hours before they were no longer Freddie and Sam, best friends who hated each other but actually were secretly madly in love with each other, before they became Freddie and Sam, best friends who hated each other but were actually secretly madly in love with each other and were also parents. Sam had a twinge of regret mingled with fear, because she wasn't ready for this. She would never be ready for this, and it was too late to turn back now. And maybe Carly, Spencer and Freddie wouldn't abandon her, but they weren't ready, either, and she wasn't sure that four unready people translated into even one ready person, and she was terrified.
Somehow they made it to the hospital, though, and Spencer went to get a wheelchair and Freddie and Carly helped Sam out of the car and into the wheelchair and the four of them walked into the hospital uncertain about what was to come.
They were brought into a room and Sam nearly got into fisticuffs with the nurse who tried to kick Carly and Spencer out, and from there everything happened so fast, Sam screaming at Freddie that if he ever so much as looked at her the wrong way again she would rip his eyeballs right out of their sockets and Spencer passing out and Carly jumping up and down and cheering Sam on, and then one, two, three, five pushes and a new voice joined the chorus, tiny but lusty, like a disgruntled kitten, and there she was, tiny and pink and furious, theirs. "It's a girl!" Carly said, triumphantly, and then Freddie added, awestruck, "It's a girl," and Sam was laughing, because the whole time she'd convinced herself that it was a boy she was packing around in there, a little tiny miniature Freddie, and here it was, a little girl with a tuft of black hair and angry little eyes, and if there were any doubts left they were crushed by a rush of emotion so intense that Sam had previously thought it impossible.
Freddie, beaming with pride at his new daughter, cut the cord and then she was whisked off to be cleaned and measured and weighed and then she was finally all bundled up (like, Sam thought, a delicious burrito, she hadn't eaten in twelve hours and she was starving) and placed in Sam's arms, all tiny and pink and perfect, dozing, her lips making little sucking motions in her sleep. She had always thought babies were kind of creepy and ugly, but this baby, as far as she was concerned, was the most perfect thing that had ever graced the universe with her presence, and she kissed the top of the baby's soft sweet little head and tried not to cry. Spencer (who had recovered shortly after the baby emerged) stuck around long enough to take pictures of the new family and then Sam sent him off for fried chicken, and they were alone, the four of them, Carly and Sam and Freddie and this tiny new person that was a part of all of them.
"What's her name?" Carly finally asked, stroking the baby's cheek.
"Carly," Freddie and Sam said at the same time, and Carly beamed, looking down at her little namesake with great pride. "Carly...Carly Fried Chicken Benson," Sam declared, and then when she noticed Carly and Freddie staring at her, "What? I love fried chicken, and I love little Carly Fried Chicken Benson, so it works out."
"We're not letting our daughter go through life with the middle name Fried Chicken," Freddie said firmly.
"Well...how about...Cupcake? Then we'd really be naming her after Carly!"
Freddie rolled his eyes, but he couldn't stop smiling in spite of himself. "Why don't we let Carly pick her middle name?" he suggested, and even to Sam, that seemed like a better option than naming her Cupcake or Fried Chicken.
Spencer returned with the food just in time to meet the newly christened Carly Alexandra Benson and to hold her (and feed her) while everyone else was eating. "How are we going to tell them apart?" Spencer asked, tapping baby Carly on the nose. "You have the same naaaaame as Carlyyyyy, baby Carlyyyyyy. We're going to have to stick a sticky note on you that says 'I am not Carly Shay, I am baby Carly' so that I don't accidentally try to change Carly's diaper or send you off to high school!" Sam sat up in bed, watching, smiling in between bites of her chicken. Maybe this wouldn't be as bad as she was imagining. So she didn't have a clue what she was doing, and she wasn't sure she ever would, but she (and baby Carly) had Spencer and Carly and Freddie, and even if they all had to learn, they would learn together. They were a family now, and finally, Sam felt like maybe she had a place where she belonged. It wasn't going to be easy, not by a long shot, but at least she wasn't alone in it. Carly's words from the day Sam found out she was pregnant echoed in her mind. "Whatever happens, we're going to be just fine." She might not have believed it then, but here, in this hospital room, with her best friends and tiny new baby, she thought that maybe she could start.