This here is an idea I've had for quite a while, and one I've been writing for quite a while. So, tonight inspiration hit me and I was finally able to finish.


s . a . m

"Car-lee!" Sam Puckett sang out, entering her best friend's home.

Instead of Carly, her twelve-year-old daughter, Rikki, appeared. "Hey Aunt Sam," she said. "I thought you lost your key."

Sam laughed. "Please," she scoffed. "Hi, Rikki. Where's your mom?"

Rikki shrugged. "Upstairs, I think."

"Great." She headed up to the twin babies' room, where she did find a frazzled brunette mother trying to change crying one-year-old Kyle and Katherine at the same time. Sam swiftly swooped in and fastened Kate's diaper.

Grateful for the help, Carly fixed Kyle's and then placed them each in their cribs before switching on the baby monitor and tiptoeing out of the room. She pushed her bangs back from her face. "What's up?"

"Nothin'."

"How was work?"

"Same old, same old. Few riots today I had to stop. That was interesting." Sam was a guard at the Ansalar Maximum-Security Prison, and one of the favorites of the prisoners because she could get along with them. Most of them couldn't believe a prison guard had actually been in prison.

Carly rolled her eyes. "What am I going to do with you?"

"You know you love me."

Now that they were downstairs, Sam grabbed a bag of chips out of the cupboard and shoved a few in her mouth. She paused and glanced at the bag. "Ooh, hey, salt and vinegar."

"Rik?" Carly called. Her daughter looked up from where she was typing on a laptop. "What do you feel like for supper?"

"Spaghetti tacos." Carly obligingly filled a pot with water and set it on the stove.

"Did your brother ever come in?"

"Nope." Eight-year-old Caleb spent most of his day out in their backyard with his friends. Rikki shut the laptop and stood up. "I'll go get him."

"Hey, you heard from Fredbag lately?" Sam asked. She referred to Freddie Benson, the third member of their trio. He worked down in L.A., both for Pear Electronics and as apart-time movie producer.

"A few days ago," Carly said as she chopped hamburger for the sauce. "And I really wish you'd stop using those silly nicknames. We're not in high school anymore, Sam, we're thirty-three."

"I'm aware of how old I am, you don't have to tell me," Sam retorted. "And it doesn't bother him any. So it shouldn't bother you." She sat at the nearby table and popped a few more chips in her mouth.

"Well, still, I—" Carly sighed and decided it was safer to just drop the subject.

Sam stood up and perched herself on the counter where Carly was working. She stole a piece of dry spaghetti and started knawing on it. "Kevin gonna be home anytime soon?" Kevin Williamsburg was Carly's husband of thirteen years.

"He should be. He's taking me out tonight and you're babysitting."

At that moment, before Sam could protest, the door burst open and a small boy ran into the room, still excited and hyper, cheeks rosy from the February cold. "Hi Auntie Sam! What's for supper, Mom?"

"Spaghetti tacos," Sam said, then viciously bit the dry spaghetti, which crunched between her teeth.

There was a knock on the side of the house, but not one of them looked up, expecting that it was simply Rikki joking. "Just come in, Rikki," Caleb said exasperatedly.

"Hey," said a male voice. Now they looked.

Rikki was standing in the doorway, but next to her, was Freddie.

XXX

"Freddie!" Carly cried. Wiping her hands, she threw the towel onto the counter and rushed to give him a hug.

"Ciao," said Sam, picking a piece of spaghetti that had gotten stuck between her teeth. She plucked another piece from Carly's container. Freddie returned the greeting and took a piece of his own.

"Okay, what is this thing with dry spaghetti?" Carly cried. Sam and Freddie shrugged simultaneously. Sam began scribbling on a piece of paper that was lying around.

"So…what've you guys been up to?" Freddie asked awkwardly.

"Some dude at the prison today tried to escape so they put him in a higher-security cell," Sam announced casually, not looking up from her drawing. "And I finally got this other guy to talk to me, he's been quiet for months. Now he's blathering on about his daughter and how he wishes she'd forgive him, blah, blah, blah."

"You're so compassionate," Freddie said sarcastically, rolling his eyes.

As always, Sam was ready with a retort. "I can be, I just choose not to be. It's not worth my time." Baby Kate laughed and clapped her hands, and Kyle copied her.

"See, Sam, now you're teaching your bad ways to the youth of America!"

"Good, these kids need to know how to have fun!"

"Hey!" Carly interjected.

"No offense, Carls," Sam added hastily, putting a hand on her best friend's shoulder for a second.

"Can you two feed the twins?" Carly asked, ignoring Sam's comment. Freddie immediately went over, picking up one of the puréed baby foods Carly had set on the counter. Sam stayed in place.

Freddie looked up. "Come on, Sam," he coaxed her. "It'll be like when we did Baby Spencer."

"But be gentler about it!" Carly cried.

"Yeah, hat she said."

Reluctantly, Sam folded the paper and stuck it in her pocket. She grabbed the other jar of baby food and popped the lid off, then jabbed the spoon in. She lifted it out and held it towards Kate's mouth, looking bored. Kate simply looked at her curiously. Sam threw the spoon down. "I'm done!" Freddie laughed.

"This baby's stupid! She won't eat!" Sam defended herself.

"Sam, you gotta do it like this," Freddie spoke up, ready to show her.

"What, just 'cause I'm a girl it's funny I'm not good with babies?" Freddie then proceeded to demonstrate the "Airplane" trick for Sam, sending the tiny goop-filled spoon everywhere before bringing it down to Kyle, who promptly opened his mouth and swallowed the mixture.

Sam's shoulders slumped. "Try it," Freddie urged. She did, and to her amazement, Kate willingly accepted the food.

"Oh. Now I feel stupid."

"Don't."

Once she was finally done with Kate, and Carly and Kevin were gone, Sam sat on the couch while Freddie was upstairs putting the twins to bed. She pulled out her drawing again and began to add more detail. It was just a quick sketch, but she liked it.

"That's really good."

Sam jumped at the sudden, unexpected noise.

"Yeah, well who asked you?" she snapped automatically, then it dawned on her what he'd said. "Wait…what?"

"That's really good," Freddie repeated, leaning against the back of the couch. "I like it a lot." He pushed up from the couch and walked away.

"Thanks," Sam managed to say to his retreating back.


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