"Hey Sam, can I talk to you for a sec?"
Sam spun around at his locker and didn't see anyone at eye level so his next instinct was to check at chest level, which is where his eyes met Artie's blue ones.
Artie was a pretty chill dude in Sam's eyes. I mean, come on, the guy's been in a wheelchair for nine years and he's still as nice as he is? Sure, Artie's flawed, maybe he gets jealous a little too quickly and he jumps down everyone's throat for no reason every once and a while but honestly?
Sam didn't know if he'd have been able to do that. Sam was sure that, if he'd been stripped of his ability to walk at a young age, he would be a bitter, rotten fool right now.
"Sam?" Artie's voice broke through Sam's thoughts and he shook his head, smiling sadly down at Artie.
"What's up, dude? Girl troubles or something?" Sam joked and Artie's face split into a wry but amused grin.
"This coming from you." he snarked back and Sam's face fell a little bit. Artie noticed and scrambled to distract him. "Anyways, no, no girl troubles. At all. Ever. But, uh...you should come over to my house sometime. We can hang out, play Halo or something."
"I...I don't know, Artie. I mean, my parents are out all the time and I've gotta watch Stacey and Stevie most of the time-"
"You can bring them over!"
"I wouldn't want to impose-"
"No, seriously. Bring them over-they're what? Six? Seven?" Artie asked, turning to wheel down the hall next to Sam as he made his way to class.
"They're eight. Fraternal twins. Mom and Dad made a 'whoops!' right after they'd decided that they only wanted one kid." Sam said, smirking and Artie chuckled.
"But, seriously, bring them over and bring your guitar, too. We can have a jam session and they can play with Katy and Nick." Artie explained and Sam's brows furrowed in confusion.
"Katy and Nick?"
"My parents made a 'whoops!' after deciding that they only wanted two kids." Artie said with a face-splitting grin.
"Seriously. Come over sometime. You can check out my music room-we've got a couple of vintage Gibsons you might like." Artie said, dangling the bait and hoping that Sam would bite.
"Seriously." Artie said, knowing he'd reeled Sam in: hook, line and sinker. "How's tonight sound?"
"True dat. I'll get my mom to swing around your way in the morning, that way you can just come home with me. If our parents can swing it, maybe you guys can just lay over or something. Let your parents have a night alone."
"I'll check with them, see what they say. Thanks so much, man." Sam said, clapping Artie on the shoulder and turning to head into his class.
Artie smirked and pulled out his cell phone, hitting a speed dial number as he waited for the person on the other end to pick up.
"Hi, it's me. Mission has been completed. I repeat, the mission has been completed. The target will hopefully be making an appearance tomorrow night, siblings in tow."
The Next Day...
Artie discovered first thing Thursday morning that when Sam Evans slept, he snored like it was going out of style.
The night before Sam had called Artie's cell with a voice like an excited schoolboy and said that his parents were all for Artie's plan and that he'd be waiting the next morning bright and early with Stacey and Stevie as his parents slept in for once.
Thursday morning brought about all sorts of revelations for Artie about Sam. Turns out that Sam really hated when anybody brought attention to his mouth because he was really self-conscious and his hair was actually sort of a dirty-brown-blond that couldn't make up it's mind and apparently after Sam got over whatever high he was on at the moment, he would crash out, suddenly and without warning, which led to Artie's current revelation.
Sam Evans snored like a wildebeast in heat.
"I don't know if I can do this." Artie trailed off, removing his glasses and rubbing the bridge of his nose.
"I'll pick you up some earplugs from the drug store later, honey. You wanted to do this for him. And I see what you mean. He definitely needs it." Artie's mother, Bee, replied, glancing in the mirror at Sam's sleeping form. "Besides, you were a colickly baby for three years. If I can put up with that you can put up with him for one night."
"Oh my god."
"I know, right?" Artie asked, wheeling into the room, nudging Sam's legs softly with his chair so the blond would stop staring already and just go in. "Try one."
"Oh no, man,I...I can't, I mean, I wouldn't want to-"
"Sam. Shut up and pick up a guitar. I can guarantee you, none of them will break. You may be super dude but there is no way your fingers are that strong."
Sam picked up a vintage Gibson that had been mint green at one point but had faded to a slightly softer shade and plucked at the strings. He closed his eyes as the chord reverberated through his fingers and his body beautifully and was surprised when another chord answered back. He opened his eyes and Artie sat with another guitar in his lap, strings vibrating.
"Shall we?" Artie asked and Sam whooped.
"For those about to rock-and we are about to rock-we salute you!" Sam howled and he strummed right into the baseline for AC/DC's 'Back in Black'. Neither one of them could remember which songs they'd played they were having so much fun until Artie's mother called them up for dinner.
"So Sam, Artie mentioned your situation to me in passing as he asked me if you three could come over."
"Mom!" Artie whined, looking scandalized.
"It's needs to be addressed, Arthur. Sit back and hush up." Bee said firmly before turning back to Sam who was looking rather hesitant and-to be honest-a little bit scared.
"I didn't, like, do anything right? Oh god, I did something! My mom's gonna kill me..." Sam groaned, burying his face in his hands and Bee chuckled as Artie snickered.
"Sam, I can assure you, you did nothing. Artie just wanted to know if I could give you a hair cut. He noticed that your hair was getting a bit long and I was wondering if you wanted to let me trim it a bit for you? I've been trained as a hairdresser and I cut everybody's hair here, so I'd like to think I'm good at it."
"Wait, you invited me over so your mom could give me a haircut?" Sam asked, turning to Artie, who was turning beet red and trying to slide as low in his chair as he possibly could.
"I know you guys are kinda strapped for cash and you can't really go to a salon or anything. I didn't know if your parents had a hand in the whole haircut thing or not so I thought I'd...please don't be offended or anything. I just thought it'd be a nice thing to do-you guys could come around every once a month or so, we'll chill, the kids will wear each other out, my mom could give you guys a quick trim and your parents would have a night off."
Everyone at the table waited for Sam to answer, to yell, to do anything but sit there with his face buried in his hands.
"Dude, Sam, please say something."
Sam made a muffled noise and Artie cleared his throat gently.
"You wanna repeat that, bro?"
"I said 'Thank you so much. You're awesome.'" Sam said, looking up and wiping a stray tear from his cheek. "You don't know how much it means to me. To my entire family. You guys are awesome friends."
Artie's face-splitting grin showed once more and he waved a hand.
"Pfft! Friends? We ain't friends, dawg-Glee club means 'family'. Look it up."