Summary: ...three months later...a post-iOMG story...
Disclaimer: iCarly is not mine. It belongs to the awesomely talented people at Schneider's Bakery and Nickelodeon.
Freddie finally escaped his mother at about 8pm. As he stepped out of his apartment and made his way towards the one right across from it, he contemplated his change in attitude from just a few short months ago.
Three months ago, he didn't mind the extremely long, one-sided dinnertime conversation his mother would have about the advantages and disadvantages of anti-tick lotion versus its soap, cream, or ointment form. He didn't mind how she'd delay him from returning to his friends after dinner by having him sign written agreements promising to brush his teeth for at least 3 minutes and 25 seconds twice daily. He also didn't mind the 30-minute inspection for head lice and ticks (though he never had either).
But that all changed when he got himself a girlfriend.
Now, he couldn't wait to leave his apartment to be close to her again. Of course, he still loved his mother and liked spending time with her…for the most part. But his relationship with his girlfriend still felt new and exciting even though they'd been together for months, and he hasn't yet come down from the high it gave him. (And he hoped he never will.) Freddie just couldn't help wanting to spend his time with her.
As he entered the Shay's apartment, a smile formed on his lips as he thought about her and the night when their friendship turned into something so much more. Then he cringed at the memory of his mistake when he assumed that she loved Brad. He started to feel sick when he remembered how he tried to set her up with the iCarly intern. But the sick feeling quickly vanished as he recalled how she cut of his emphatic speech with their second kiss. The smile returned to his lips.
That faithful night, during the annual Ridgeway Lock-In, he hadn't expected his feelings to grow as strongly as it did for Sam. When she confessed her love for him with a kiss, he didn't know what to do at first. She wasn't some random girl from school in love with his vampire character from their iCarly Twi-Blood skit. This was Sam—his best friend. Sure, she had tormented and abused him for the entirety of their relationship (yes, even now when they were officially together). But he still cared about her a great deal and did not want to hurt her—not then, not ever. Plus, since he was convince she hated him, he never even allowed himself to contemplate a romantic relationship with her. As the confusion started to leave and focus settled in, he had decided on giving her a chance.
As he passed through the Shay's living room and started up the stairs, he remembered how Sam hadn't run away like he'd expected her to after she'd kissed him. Instead, she had remained standing in front of him, a hint of fear evident in her eyes, waiting for him to speak.
I….Freddie remembered choking out. I won't lie to you Sam, he'd said slowly. I'm not in love with you. She had looked down quickly, but not quickly enough for him to miss her disappointment. But…. He'd cleared his throat before continuing. But that's only because I never thought of us like that.
It's cool, she had replied, echoing his earlier sentiment. She still hadn't met his eyes. I know you love Carly. Don't worry about it, nub. I'll get over this. She made to walk away. And without thinking, Freddie had blurted out the first thing that popped in his mind.
You want to watch the new Scream movie tomorrow? Sam had stopped walking and turned around to face him with a stoic look.
That's not funny, nub, she'd told him seriously, almost threateningly.
I'm not trying to be.
But you just said you weren't in love with me. And I know you love Carly, she'd stated matter-of-factly. Now you're asking me out? Freddie had taken a step closer to her and was immensely relieved when Sam did not back away from him. At that moment, he really appreciated her stubbornness.
Yes, I am not in love with you. And right at this moment, I don't know how I feel about you. But I do know how I feel about Carly. And I'm positive I'm not in love with her either. I've gotten over her a while ago. He remembered pausing to give Sam a chance to say something. When she didn't, he continued.
All I ever wanted from Carly when we were younger was for her to give me a chance. And she did, after I saved her life. But her love for me wasn't real. A few weeks after I ended it, I realized that anything romantic I would have with her would never be real. All I'd be doing is forcing our relationship to live up to a fantasy. And all she'd be doing is paying me back for saving her life. A relationship between us would have never lasted, and our friendship would have been ruined. After realizing that, it was easy to finally move on.
What I'm trying to say is, I don't love you now," he'd stressed. But I want to at least give a relationship between us a chance. I want to see if I could love you. So…would you like to see the new Scream movie with me tomorrow? It was odd, but even after saying all that he did, Freddie still felt shy as he asked Sam out. And if Sam had been shy, she hid it well as she answered with a simple Sure.
Just promise me one thing, Freddie continued, and a spark of worry flashed across Sam's eyes.
What? she'd asked casually.
Promise that whatever happens, we'll still be best friends.
I promise, she said, giving him a genuine smile.
Unfortunately, they were too tired from pulling an all-nighter working on their project to see the movie. They did, however, have their first date at the Groovie Smoothies. It wasn't anything elaborate since they'd gone there pretty much every other day. But it was still special to them. Their first date was quickly followed by a second and a third and so on.
And slowly, Freddie started to fall for Sam.
It wasn't hard for him to fall in love with her. With Sam in love with him, she remained "nice and helpful and considerate." Yet, somehow, she still stayed true to herself. She still hated school work. But in order to spend more time with him, she had actually joined him in his study sessions. (This caused a positive change in her test and homework scores much to the shock of the Ridgeway faculty and staff.) She'd still call him names, but she did so with a touch of affection. She'd still hit him, but she'd pull her punches. She'd still insult his mother. But she had a bouquet of flowers delivered to her at her work during Mother's Day. (Marissa's tolerance for Sam grew tremendously after that.) She still ordered him to get her food, but she'd share her food with him. Sometimes, she'd catch him by surprise by suddenly pushing a piece of ham in his mouth after a quick, "you've got to try this!" If it was any other girl, Freddie would have probably gotten irritated. But since it was Sam, the gesture was, well, heartwarming. She was sharing her food and feeding it to him, after all.
So, yes, after three months, Freddie could admit that he fell completely in love with Sam Puckett.
Without realizing it, Freddie found himself in front of the iCarly studio door. He was so lost in thought that he'd gone on auto-pilot and his feet led him to where he'd find Sam. The door was ajar, and he could hear Carly and Sam talking. It was sneaky, he knew, but he couldn't resist staying hidden to hear what they talked about when he wasn't around. He smirked at the thought of Sam rubbing off on him.
"Hey, Carly?" Sam's voice drifted from the studio.
"Yeah," was the lazy reply. There was a pause. Then Sam said the words that made Freddie feel like he'd been stabbed through the chest by a Galaxy Wars Laser Saber.
"I'm breaking up with Freddie."
Sam was irritated with herself. It has barely been two hours since Freddie left to have dinner with his mother, and she was already missing him. She's turned into such a daffodil that she irritated herself. Or rather, she was irritated with herself because she wasn't irritated with herself.
The Sam from six months ago would have scoffed at her present self. True, she did not turn into those clichéd saps in every teen movie. But she had gotten soft over the course of her and Freddie's romantic relationship. Yet she didn't care. And a small part within her is irritated at the rest of her because of that. However, at that moment, there were two emotions felt by all of her—even the rebellious side that refused to be so damned girly—that slightly drowned out her self-irritation: Longing and anxiousness.
It sometimes frightened her how deeply she felt for the nub that only a few short hours apart made her miss him so much (not that she'd freely admit that out loud in public...or to him). And it was because of her strong love for him that she was also feeling so anxious. She was doing her best to hide how uneasy she was as she sat on a bean bag beside Carly. They were lazily going through submitted videos for iCarly in the studio. And because she was a master liar, she was able to succeed in hiding her unease from her best friend.
"You know what I hate?" Sam asked casually as another video began to load on the video monitor.
"The letter 'Q'?" Carly suggested.
"Yeah. But I decided that I hate the letter 'R' as well."
"Because it's just a 'P' with a kick. And it's probably making 'P' feel bad because 'P' only has one leg."
"Stupid, insensitive 'R'," Carly muttered, and Sam nodded in agreement. Glancing at the clock, Sam realized that it was almost time for Freddie to return. But there was one thing she had to do before he did.
"Hey, Carly?" called Sam, a bit of her anxiety coming through, though her best friend didn't seem to notice.
"Yeah," she answered lazily.
"I'm breaking up with Freddie." It took a second for the brunette to process that information before she sat up and stared at her blonde friend with wide eyes.
"If this is a joke—
"I'm not joking, Carls." She continued to stare at Sam, her mouth opening and closing as if she's trying to say something but her brain was too befuddled to get her to form words. After several seconds of just watching her do this, Sam had to look away.
"Why?" Carly finally got out, her confusion slowly turning into hysteria. Sam hesitated before answering.
"Because he doesn't love me," she finally answered in a soft voice still not looking at her best friend. As much as it hurt thinking it, knowing it even, it hurt even more saying it out loud. It was like it made it much more real somehow.
"That's ridiculous!" Carly stood up. "Of course Freddie loves you!" Not wanting to be yelled down to, Sam stood up as well.
"Carly," Sam said calmly to her frantic friend, looking her in the eye, "Freddie does not love me."
"Yes, he does! Why would you think he doesn't?"
"Because he's never told me he did." Carly was shocked at that, but she didn't give up.
"That doesn't mean anything. Maybe he doesn't realize it yet, but he does love you. I see it. Everyone sees it. He's completely in love with you." Sam shook her head.
"Carls, when Freddie was in love with you, how many times did he tell you?" Carly opened her mouth to speak, but quickly closed it. "You've lost count, huh?" Sam gave her friend a sad smile. "When he loved you, he took every opportunity to tell you."
"But that was just a crush! He was never really in love with me," she tried to argue. Sam just shrugged. Then she turned away, ashamed at what she was going to admit next.
"He's also not attracted to me…physically, that is." Silence.
"What do you mean?" Carly asked after a few seconds. Sam was getting frustrated at having to explain.
"It means that I've walked in on you and Freddie making out during your one-week relationship more times than Freddie and I ever made out during our three-month relationship," Sam explained a bit too forcefully. She realized this and took a deep breath to calm down. "Look Carly, if Freddie hasn't decided he loved me by now, he never will. So I'm breaking up with him."
"But don't you love him?"
"Yes, I do. I'm in love with him so much, Carly. More than I thought I ever would be. That's why I'm letting him go. He won't break things off with me. He's too much of a nice guy for that. So it's up to me. I want him to be happy. And if he can't be happy with me, then I want to set him free so he can find someone he'd be happy with."
"Why are you telling me this?"
"Because this affects you, too. You're our best friend. And you'll be stuck in the middle of our drama. I'm going to break things off later tonight. Afterwards, I don't think I'll have enough strength to tell you what went on. So I'm telling you now."
"I still think this is just some sort of misunder—
What Carly was going to say was cut off when the studio door suddenly flew opened. Freddie stood at the doorway, his face not giving away his emotions.
"Carly," he croaked out, breaking his calm façade. Though he addressed their best friend, his eyes never left Sam's. "Would you excuse us, please?"
Carly immediately walked out of the studio when Freddie asked her to. But he didn't even glance at her as she walked passed him. His eyes were fixed on Sam.
"So you heard?" she asked. He nodded, and Sam sighed. "I'm sorry you had to find out like this. But at least now it's done. We can go back to being friends."
"No," he replied, shaking his head. Sam looked hurt, so Freddie immediately elaborated. "I mean, I don't want to go back to being just friends. I don't want to break up."
"Freddie, it's for the best—
"I love you!" he almost yelled. "I'm in love with you, Sam," he repeated more softly, starting to walk towards her. He was relieved when she didn't step back. For the second time in three months, he was thankful for her stubbornness. "How could you think that I didn't?" He stopped about three feet in front of her.
"You never said it."
"Neither did you," he countered.
"But that's my M.O. Not yours."
"You know, 'mode of operation' and some other Latin phrase I can't remember. In a non-criminal sense, it means a person's habits or some chizz like that."
"I knew that. Just wondering how you knew it." She shrugged.
"Heard it from NCIS and CSI enough times that I decided to Zaplook it."
"Oh….So what's my M.O. exactly?"
"When you were into Carly, you told her you were in love with her every chance you got."
"I know, but…." Freddie ran his fingers through his hair in frustration as he tried to figure out how to explain. "I guess…I thought that showing you how much I loved you was a better approach. I was afraid that if I told you I loved you and said it too many times, you'll get annoyed and, well, push me away. Just like what happened with Carly."
"But I'm not Carly."
"I know. And I don't want you to be Carly. I want you. Just you, Sam."
"Then why don't you ever want to, you know, make out with me?"
"You think I don't want to make out with you?" Freddie asked incredulously. Then he burst out laughing, angering Sam in the process. She glared at him for a second then started walking towards the door. Freddie immediately stopped his laughter. He grabbed Sam's arm as she passed him and turned her around.
"What, nub?" she asked loudly in irritation, pulling her arm away from his hold.
"Where are you going?"
"Away from you. I'm pouring my heart out here, and you laugh at me. I don't need this." She tried to turn towards the door again, but Freddie quickly, yet gently, held her shoulders to stop her.
"I'm sorry I laughed," he said seriously. "It's just…it's so far from the truth that it's funny."
"What's that suppose to mean?" Sam asked, slightly less irritated. Deciding that she wouldn't run, Freddie let go of her shoulders, though he didn't step back and remained in her personal space. He happily noted that she didn't step back either.
"It means that I do want to make out with you."
"Then why don't you? Why don't you just come up and kiss me?"
"Because…" Freddie trailed off and wouldn't meet her eye. He stayed silent for several seconds as he contemplated how to explain without sounding like an idiot. Finally, he just blurted out the truth in frustration, "I don't know how, okay?" Sam had not expected that answer and was confused by it.
"What do you mean you don't know how? You've done it before."
"But those times you caught me and Carly, she initiated it. Every kiss I got, the girl initiated it. All the times we kissed and the few times we made out, you initiated it. I just had to follow your lead."
"But our first kiss. You kissed me, remember?"
"Yeah, but you prompted me to. I didn't know what to do at first. Then you told me to lean, so I leaned. It was easy to get into it after I got started. But I didn't know how to, you know, initiate it."
"So you're telling me that the reason we haven't been making out is because you don't know how to initiate, and you're waiting for me to initiate?" she asked in a mixture of annoyance and bemusement.
"Yeah….," Freddie replied lamely. "Plus, how will I know if you do or don't want to, you know, do that?" he asked shyly, flushing slightly.
"Trust me, you'll know," she answered cryptically. Then she sighed and stepped even closer to him, circling her arms around his neck. He automatically circled his around her waist. "Freddie," she started, "You can kiss me anytime you want, you know?" Freddie looked at her contemplatively for a few seconds, then leaned and captured Sam's lips in a chaste kiss. He pulled back a few seconds later and rested his forehead against hers.
"I do now."
"So we're good? No more thoughts on breaking up with me?"
"None." He smiled at her answer, then straightened so he could look her properly in the eye. "I love you," he said sweetly, making Sam smile.
"I know," she replied. Freddie furrowed his eyebrows together and pouted his lips slightly, giving her the "puppy dog" look that he found she was unable to resist. "Fine! I love you, too," she said while laughing. It was the first time they exchanged "I love you's." A smile formed on his face.
But it quickly slipped away again when Sam removed her arms from around his neck. She tried to step back, but Freddie didn't release her. She looked at him questioningly with a raised eyebrow.
"Where are you going?" he asked.
"Well, we have a best friend who's probably pacing and going frantic downstairs. I think we should save Spencer from having to buy new wooden flooring and tell her everything's all right and that no break up has taken place." Freddie still didn't let her go.
"She could wait ten more minutes." Then Freddie initiated another kiss (his third initiation!). They both quickly got lost in their kiss, like they always did. But Sam suddenly pulled back after several seconds.
"Seriously, nub? You want to make out now?" He shrugged.
"Why not? I've been wanting to do that for a long while now. We have the whole studio to ourselves. And no one is likely to bother us anytime soon." Sam shrugged her okay, and they continued where they left off. Feeling generous, Sam even allowed Freddie to take lead.
Twenty-two minutes later, a frantic Carly burst into the iCarly studio only to turn right around and walk out. It would be the first of several times she'd walk in on her two best friends.
A/N: Real life is a drag right now, so it takes me longer than ever to write, well, anything. This took me so long to complete. I know I'm a bit (okay, a lot) late in the whole post-iOMG fic rush, so every possible angle must have already been covered in some way or form. Please excuse me if an idea I had in this story has already been done several times over. I meant no plagiarism, it was purely coincidental. Hopefully, I put in some different and original elements also that make my story somewhat interesting and unique. Thanks for reading! Please review.
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