It slightly shocks her when she remembers that it's already been three days. To her, days vary in length. When it's a school day, she feels each agonizing second tick on the clock; signally she still has a lot of time left in her own personal prison. On that blessed day she gets to perform in front of the camera for her millions of fans, those seconds tick a bit too quickly. Her best friend by her side, and—dare she say it—that beautiful nerd standing in front of her. And see, when she's left to herself for too long, her mind comes up with these crazy thoughts. Her brain is so irregular, so confusing. Even if it is her own thought process, it makes absolutely no sense to her. Like math, or English, or even science, really any subject from that stupid torturous building. And she didn't ever think she'd really have to think much farther than ribs, and fried chicken and snarky comebacks. She's tried to distract herself in every way she can think of—which has kept her mind a tiny bit off the track it's been racing down.
She still wonders what possessed her three days previous. She'd kept this little secret inside of her for so long. She doesn't even know how many months ago it was that she first started feeling this way. She hid it so well, even from herself it seems. She tried to deny it for so long, but damn him. His kind smile, his way of making everyone feel good about themselves, his adorable tech talk. She never thought she'd ever consider that adorable. Part of her wants to go vomit at the thought, the other part—the mentally insane part—wants to giggle at the thought of him. He's the nerd, and she's the juvenile delinquent. She's scared even herself with these crazy thoughts.
She wonders when they'll notice her absence. How long it will it be before Carly wonders why she isn't inside of her fridge? How long until Spencer notices that she's not living on their couch? How long will it be before Freddie starts to think about her again? Does he regret their kiss?
Kiss. They kissed. Her mind is screaming in two very different reactions. She and Freddie kissed three days ago. Something they hadn't done it quite some time, if that first kiss even counts as anything. It was just to get it over with, and even then, she really did still hate him. No, it wasn't that long ago that she fell madly in love with her once enemy. Were they enemies? If they ever were, she badly hoped they weren't anymore. It hurts a tiny bit of her heart—the bit she had told to be quiet so many times—to think they might be vicious enemies.
She pushes, as good as she can, the thought of him out of her mind. It won't do to further pollute her mind with silly, insane thoughts. She's strong. She was strong at every other point in her life. She was strong when Jonah all but cheated on her, she was strong all those times she was arrested—even if it was her fault—she was strong when she sat in the principal's office over and over again, she was strong when her dad never came home, and all those times her mom yelled at her—which was many. And thinking of Freddie wasn't strong. She had just kissed him, and all but run away. This was kind of like running away, though. She had run from him, from Carly, from their kiss, from her problems. Instead of facing them head on—which was normal Sam behavior—she had raced into this insane thicket called a mental hospital. She almost resented herself for running away. That was way too un-Sam like.
"Ms. Puckett," A knock and a voice shook Sam from her thoughts, causing her to look up from the paint and easel in front of her. "Lunch is ready."
"Kay." Sam's voice comes out ruder than she intended, but she can't find it in herself to care. She's never cared before, and she most definitely doesn't care now. But food, food always made her feel better. And though she had once tried to change, she knew that changing wasn't really an option. No boy could get her to be who she wasn't—not even Freddie.
She sighed. Freddie. His name felt like lead in her blood stream. And it felt a bit too good to be the cause of her insanity. But that's when she reminded herself that she was already so insane. That's why she brought herself here.
Food, she reminded herself. It was time to go eat. This whole eating only at meal time was the only downside to a mental hospital. At Carly's she was allowed to eat whenever she wanted, whatever she wanted. Carly's was the only place she really belonged. The only place that anyone cared about her. She couldn't help but wonder if her mother had noticed her absence. Most likely not. It wasn't like her mother to show so much interest in her disappointment daughter. Knowing her mother, Pam just thought that Sam was spending a lot of time at Carly's.
As she got up from her seat, she took a deep heavy breath. This feeling inside of her was new. She had thought that what she felt for Freddie was just a silly little crush, or maybe the beginning of the friendship she had denied him for so long. Then, when she couldn't ignore it anymore, she had tried to tell herself that kissing him would solve everything. But, it had solved nothing. It had just fed the monsters inside of her. This feeling was not just a little crush, or playground puppy love. It felt too strong—no matter how hard she tried to lie to herself. This wasn't like the time she had briefly gone out with Jonah, or when she'd tried with all her might to get Shane to kiss her, or when she was younger and thought that Spencer was cute. This was something much deeper. And—she thought—that's what made it all the more terrifying.
She blocked everything from her mind as she entered the cafeteria, taking a seat next to crazy Caleb; the guy she'd spent the most time with. He was insane; literally. She found it slightly comforting—but very annoying at the same time—that there were people here that had it worse than she. She was just suffering from falling for a nerd.
"Hey, Sam!" Caleb greeted her obnoxiously.
"Hey." Sam replied moodily, seating herself with a tray of the slop food found in cafeteria's everywhere. She didn't understand why they couldn't upgrade to something even the tiniest bit more edible. Like steak, or drumsticks, or ribs, or fried chicken, or barbeque chicken, or… she stopped her hungry mind from carrying on any farther. It would just suck when she was met with nothing but grey slop.
"Hi." Caleb said, and Sam rolled her eyes. This was one of those times when he got a bit annoying.
"Yes, you already said that." Sam grumbled.
"Are you angry?" He asked in an odd voice, his eyes bugging out.
"Yes, Caleb, I'm angry." Sam pushed her fork around her plate, like every child does while trying to pass their plate off as finished.
"Why?" Caleb asks with a sort of hysterical laugh.
"Be quiet." Sam gave Caleb a look that made him shrink away.
"Okay, Sam." Sam took a breath of relief. She didn't want to deal with anyone right now; especially this guy. She had enough of people, which was maybe a part of the reason she had brought herself here. She didn't want to deal with anything right now, not with Freddie, not with Carly, and not even with this annoying insane guy.
She finished eating her disgusting excuse for food—that was one of the good things about being Sam, you could stomach, and maybe even enjoy, just about anything. As she stood to leave, Caleb waved goodbye to her, and Sam offered some sort of strange gesture of parting. She dropped her tray off at the washing counter, before walking back to her room—quite crudely waving off the help of the nurse. She had discovered the first day that the nurses here liked to escort you everywhere, and Sam wanted no part in that. She was a big girl.
Hours later, as Sam stood in front of her easel, she heard a loud commotion coming from the lobby. She brushed it off, thinking that it was probably another outburst from one of the other patients. It may have even been crazy Caleb going at it again. Something he was very well known for. He didn't know how to control himself, Sam had discovered. Her mind coming up with an explanation, she brushed the loud noises off, and went back to her work. She hadn't known that painting was stress relieving until her stay here—not that she had ever really needed a stress reliever before.
Only a few minutes later, the noises grew in volume, causing Sam to rethink her idea. Did crazy Caleb ever run the halls like this? She didn't think so. And as she thought this over, the door to her room burst open. Sam's head whipped around, and the sight that met her caused her eyes to bulge.
Standing in her doorway were none other than the two brunettes she considered her closest thing to family. Her best friend Carly Shay, and her friend—were they only friends now?—Freddie Benson.