off course.

"Forget what I said," she tells him almost easily, words slipping out from her brain onto her tongue as if they're greased.

He hesitates, looks at her.

He doesn't believe. She moves on.

Once, she'd thought that someday they'd be together and they'd stay that way. There would be some kind, easy transition from Freddie and Carly to FreddieandCarly or CarlyandFreddie. No drama, no teenage angst.

Why couldn't things have been that way? She never really wanted anybody else. Or, maybe she had—but they were never him. They could never be to her what he was. A best friend. A confidant.

Maybe it was a little bit crazy to think that they could just be together forever, but when he'd smile and she'd feel that twinge that could grow into a pang... it was different. Adult-different. Scary, different.

They couldn't be conventional.

Yet, there they were that night, conventional as can be. Not dateless, but unhappy anyway. Caught up in the moment (or so she'd tell herself later), caught up in the general romantic atmosphere. The music. The lights.

It took her a long time to get to sleep, because she kept thinking of the almost-soft, almost-rough texture of his jacket and how it'd felt (with his warmth beneath) on her face as they danced. This was not quite a simple transition, but if it was the beginning of one, she supposed it would do. Maybe she wasn't ready. Maybe she didn't have to be. He'd be with her, after all.

She snuggled down with her pillow, and for the first time remembered Sam. Would she be okay with this? Was she okay, that night? Carly hadn't seen her at the dance. Maybe, probably, hopefully she was just at her house, stuffing food in her mouth that her mom actually remembered to buy this time.

Everything would be okay.

And then, again, she was wrong. It wasn't okay.

He was ready. Obviously. He saved her. This was something that should have happened (if at all) once they had comfortably settled into their together-forever relationship. Not now, when she was still confused and hormonal and blushing at every guy who looked her way. How could he stand it? How could he still think of only her?

So she kissed him, and it was great and magical and yet not everything she'd hoped for, but she couldn't help but want more. This was her future. She'd never have to worry about a boyfriend again.

She had some doubts, okay, but she shoved them away because this was CarlyandFreddie happening, now. The moments they'd remember years from now. Somehow, though, the thoughts all blurred together. The circumstances stopped mattering.

Then there was the bacon and the soup and all of the ridiculous food-related problems and he was gone.

He wasn't hers.

How was this possible? He was supposed to be hers, forever.

One day she stops him, stumbling over her words because when did he become so attractive, and she asks him to take her back. That, yes, she'd agreed with him about the bacon, but...

"Forget what I said," she tells him almost easily, words slipping out from her brain onto her tongue as if they're greased.

He hesitates, looks at her.

He doesn't believe. She moves on.

And so does he, which is so many shades of irrationally wrong and against everything Carly knows about the universe.

Grass is green. Play-Doh smells funny. Freddie loves her.

"Not anymore" becomes her new mental mantra.

She has a boyfriend... not anymore. Freddie loves her... not anymore. Everything will be okay... not anymore.

She dates and she's nearly halfway to happy but not quite there. What should have happened doesn't, and then something else happens and she's so confused all she can do is hold her head and cry as another relationship dies (and dies and dies and dies). She doesn't even know what she wants now, but it's not what she has.

"Are you okay?" he asks her one day, when they're somehow alone, no girl twisted around him (and no guy around her either). She's obviously been crying, and she knows that he knows that, but she smiles brightly and superficially and says:

"Of course I am."