"Yo, Fredlump! What'd you bring for Mama?" Sam rubbed my hands together at the thought of ham. I knew her mouth was already watering at the smell.
"Here, Puckett," I greeted, holding out a brown paper bag as I shut my loft's front door behind me. "But don't you have a date tonight? Why'd you make me bring you this?"
Sam rolled her eyes. "Cuz, Frednub, I don't wanna look like a pig on my date!" She stuffed another handful of pork inside her mouth, not pausing to breathe.
I snorted. "Yeah, you'll do great." The way to Sam's heart was definitely through her stomach.
Sam stopped chewing. "You're full of chiz, Freddork. Go and drool over Carly already, will ya?"
I sighed. It was pointless trying to win an argument against Sam. But even she knew I wasn't interested in Carly anymore. Waiting around for someone who'll never love you gets old after a while. But there were other fish in the sea…other blonde fish. Well, piranha, but still.
By now we were right outside Bushwell Plaza. I noticed how it was getting colder.
"Whatever. Hard to believe someone would ever date you." Sam couldn't know my true feelings for her. It would mess up everything. I just needed time to make her see.
"Later, Freducini." Sam started to walk away, licked her fingers and wiping grease off of her mouth. She was so adorable in a "Sam" way.
I watched her go. I made a wish on the first star I found for an opportunity. All I needed was a chance. Maybe if Jeffrey, her loser boyfriend, dumped her. Maybe then I'd stand a chance.
My cell phone vibrated in my pocket suddenly. I pulled it out and saw that it was a text from Carly.
Wanna come over 4 dinner? Spaghetti taco night…
I grinned. Spencer's spaghetti tacos were the best! Especially compared to the gluten-free, granola-free granola bars my mom gave me.
There was no point in inviting Sam. She would be with Jeff all night, unfortunately for me. I turned around and was about to go back inside when I heard it.
Sam's high-pitched scream coming from around the corner. I left all other thoughts behind me as I ran towards the sound of her screams. Nothing else mattered but her.
"SAM!" I shouted, finally seeing her. She was cornered in a dark alley while a group of five guys were surrounding her, going through her purse. "Sam, run!"
One of the guys (I assumed he was the leader) turned toward me. "Aw, has Romeo come to save Juliet?" He laughed and punched Sam in the gut, making her cry out.
My fingers curled into fists. "Let her go!" I ran at them, not sure what I intended to do. But I was outnumbered, five to one.
"Aw, come on man, we're just tryin to have some fun." The leader's hand shot out towards her chest. Sam gasped and struggled against him. He just laughed. "What's the matter? Your boyfriend not strong enough to save you?" He pulled Sam into a headlock, cutting off what little air she had left in her lungs.
"Freddie…" Sam gasped, trying to break free. These idiots weren't just out looking for some entertainment. They were rapers. Even Sam, aggressive Sam, wasn't able to save herself. It pained me to see her so helpless, so vulnerable while those pervs hurt her…
Something inside me snapped.
"I said, let her GO!" I punched one of them in the nose. There was a loud crack as his nose broke and blood started gushing.
The leader was still tightly gripping Sam. I saw that Sam's face was turning pale blue. I knew I had to save her now or it would be too late.
I leapt on the leader's back, wrapping my arms around his neck while he tried to shake me off. "Maybe next time you'll think before you do this." He threw me off, but I jumped to my feet just as quickly, bringing both hands down on his head. A dent appeared in his skull as he sank to his knees, moaning on the filthy floor of the alley. His friends had to drag him away. I was just glad they were gone.
"Sam!" I rushed over to her side. She was curled in a ball, rocking back and forth. I touched her shoulder gently and saw that she was shaking violently. It wasn't the cold wind.
"Th-they….tr-tried…." She broke down then, sobbing so loudly it made my heart wrench. I had to get Sam out of here.
"C'mon, Sammie. We'll go back to Carly's house and have spaghetti tacos. You like those. Spencer made them-"
"NO! Pl-plea-stop! Please, don't take me there!" Sam clutched my hand tightly. "Just stay here with me. No one else."
I wanted to protest, knowing she needed to get inside somewhere warm and see a doctor, but I restrained. Right now, Sam was too shaken up for that. But it scared me to think that she was now afraid of everyone. Or at least boys. What did that mean for me?
"Don't go." Sam whimpered softly. She buried her head in my shirt, crying and shaking fiercely. So I just wrapped my arms around her and comforted her while she wept. "It's okay. I promise, I'll never let anything hurt you. Ever."
When Sam had calmed down a little, I called Carly and told her the whole story. She and Spencer arrived in minutes. "She's delirious!" Carly exclaimed while we watched Sam.
She was shrinking back against the brick wall, shielding her face with her hands. "Please don't hurt me. You can take anything you want… FREDDIE!"
I bent down and wiped away the tears that streaked her face. "Shhh… I'm right here. It's ok, Carly won't hurt you. Those jerks are gone now."
Sam didn't answer. She just clung to me while I stroked her hair. I couldn't help but feel semi-responsible for this. After all, I had wished on that star for a chance to prove myself…
But never like this. This was the last thing I'd wanted.
I couldn't decide if this was a good or bad thing. If Sam would only calm down around me, would I get what I want? Maybe Sam would really love me now. But what if…
What if she never recovered from this?