Chapter 1 - Face Facts
"Come on Sam, please?"
"No Carly, I'm not doing it!"
"But Sam, it'll only take like fifteen minutes. Twenty minutes, tops."
"What's up people?" Freddie walked into Carly's bedroom and over to the loveseat where his girlfriend was laying. Even with rumpled hair, still in her pajamas, she was the prettiest girl he knew. "Hey cuteness." He leaned over the loveseat, grazing his lips across hers. She tasted like pancake syrup. "So what's up with you two?"
"I'm trying to get your girlfriend to help me with my homework."
"And I'm trying to tell her it ain't gonna happen."
"Wait a minute Carly, you're trying to get Sam to help with homework?" He dodged the pillow Sam threw at his head.
"Yes," Carly said, "and I need your help too."
"What's the assignment?" he asked, flopping down on the sofa.
Carly turned to Freddie, rolling her eyes at her uncooperative best friend. "We have to write a paper for my health class and we've been studying 'Marriage and Family,' so I decided to do my paper as an analysis on couple compatibility."
"So ask Spencer and his nanny to help you," Sam groaned.
"She was his girlfriend, not his nanny – and they broke up over a month ago. Now come on you guys…you have to help me!"
Sam looked over at Freddie. She knew he was waiting on her to respond.
"Ugh, fine." She threw a pillow at Carly who ducked away. "What do we have to do?"
Carly pulled out her laptop smiling at her two friends.
"It's simple. Freddie, you go downstairs. While you're gone I'm going to ask Sam a series of questions. Once I'm finished with her, she'll go downstairs and you'll come up here and answer the same questions."
"That's it?" Freddie asked.
"Yep. That's all you have to do."
"And what are you gonna do with our answers?" Sam knew this had to have a catch.
"Oh, I just enter them into the program I found online and it will tell me how compatible you are. Then I'm just going to write a paper about it. See? I told you it was easy!"
"So that's gonna tell you if we're supposed to be together or not?" Sam didn't like the sound of that.
"Don't sweat it, baby," Freddie leaned over and whispered into her ear. "I don't need a test to tell me you're perfect for me." Drawing her face to his, he gave her a kiss that lingered much longer than Carly was probably comfortable with.
"Hello! I'm sitting right here," Carly laughed. She'd pretty much gotten used to it at this point. Sam and Freddie spent almost as much time kissing as they did fighting these days. "Now get out of here Romeo, so I can get started."
Sam groaned and reluctantly released the grasp she had on the front of Freddie's shirt, waving as he walked out the door.
"Alright Carls, let's get this over with." Sam sat cross legged, rubbing her eyes.
"Okay, so I'm going to ask a question and give you the answer options. You just tell me which one fits the best. Got it?"
"Doesn't sound like rocket science."
"Right. First question, We say we love each other – A. Frequently, B. Sometimes, or C. Never?"
Carly looked up from the laptop. "What?"
"What do you mean 'what'?"
"You've never told Freddie you love him?"
"No, why, is that weird or something?"
"Uh...yeah! You've been together for like two months."
"And, that's the longest relationship either of you has ever had."
"So, don't you love him?"
"Is that one of the questions?"
"I'm serious Carly. I can either answer your questions, or you can psychoanalyze me. Your choice."
"Fine." Carly said in a huff. "But we are talking about this later."
"Next question. When it comes to our interests we have – A. Most things in common, B. Some things in common, or C. Very little in common"
"C. Very little." She pointed a finger of warning at Carly. "And no comments from you…next question."
"When I comes to my partner's family I – A. See them as my family, B. Generally get along with them, or C. Never get along with them."
"D. They make me want to poke my eyes out with a fork."
"Fine. Um, C. Never get along." She looked over at Carly, who didn't look shocked at all. "We all know Crazy hates me."
"True. Next question. My partner and I argue – A. Often, B. Sometimes, C. Rarely." She looked at Sam, "You don't have to answer that one." She said, turning back to her keyboard, "The answer is A. Often."
"What? You and Freddie argue all the time!"
"No we don't," Sam murmured.
"Really? You barged into my room at three in the morning last month so I could settle your fight about whose mother was craziest. It's your mother, by the way."
"Yeah, but…we didn't argue at all today!"
"He was here for like five minutes!" Carly laughed, "Now can we move on?"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah…go ahead. Next question."
They went on like that for another ten minutes. Some of the questions were funny and some were serious but they all had one thing in common: they were making Sam increasingly uncomfortable. She hadn't seen the results of Carly's little test yet, but she was pretty sure she wasn't going to like them. By the time Carly got to the last question of the test, Sam found herself wishing she'd never agreed to this.
"Alright Sam, this is the last one. When considering a future with my partner, we, A. Want the same things, B. Want similar things, or C. Want different things."
Sam stared at her nails. This was the worst one yet.
"I'm thinking." Sighing she lay back over the armrest, dangling her hair over the side.
The future was something she tried really hard not to think about. Since the N.E.R.D. camp incident, Freddie had talked to her about why getting in had been so important. Some of the brightest minds and most important people in the technical world had gone there. If he got in it would be that much easier to get into N.I.T., and an acceptance at N.I.T. was the like the golden key that would unlock his dreams.
She had no doubt he could do it. Freddie's brain was more computer than human, and she was more than a little impressed with the boy's genius. He could do anything he wanted to. Right now what he wanted was to be with her but she knew the days of that being a priority were drawing rapidly to a close. Freddie had goals – big ones. And even though they still had over a year until graduation, he was already working on making those dreams come true.
She wanted that for him, still felt bad for sabotaging his application, although he'd been able to convince them to give him another shot. It was just hard to see someone she cared about so much making plans that were going to take him away from her. N.I.T., was on the East Coast, which might as well have been another country to her. She'd never see him, and sometimes she wondered if they'd end up being that couple that tried and tried to make something work but was doomed from the start.
She hadn't really talked to Freddie about it. When he'd asked her what she wanted to do when they graduated she'd just cracked a joke and said she might become a roadie for CuttleFish. He hadn't thought that was funny; someone with dreams as big as his wouldn't. So while she was pretty sure that she wanted a future with Freddie, she really had no idea how they were going to make that happen – or if he even wanted the same thing.
"Ugh," Sam groaned. "C. We…want different things." She lay back against the pillows, waiting on Carly to respond. She was met with silence. "So?"
"So what?" Carly looked up from her keyboard.
"So what's the verdict?"
"Oh, well I won't know until Freddie gives me his answers."
Sam stood and stretched. "Well, let me go get the nub so we can get this chizz over with." She headed downstairs and found Freddie and Spencer staring at the television watching 'Celebrities Underwater'. Spencer was leaning over his knees laughing while Freddie stared at the screen in horror.
"Dude! This isn't funny! I don't think she's breathing!"
"She's fine! They're not gonna let TV's Betty White die on national tele…" he looked up at the screen and his eyes went wide, "Oh…I think you're right. Come on Betty!" he screamed, "don't go into the light!"
Sam walked over to the fridge, searching for something to fill her stomach and help her forget what Carly had just put her through. She felt a hand on her back and turned around to see Freddie's face smiling down at her.
"Test all done?"
"My part is…it's your turn." She pulled a container of meatballs out and set them on the kitchen island.
"You don't look so happy."
"I'm fine." She said, through a mouth full of meatball. She didn't meet his eyes. If she did, he'd know something was wrong and she wasn't in the mood to discuss it.
"Freddie!" she said, frustrated with his inability to leave well enough alone. Her face softened when she saw him flinch. "Carly's waiting for you."
He leaned down and kissed her cheek, wiping spaghetti sauce off of his lips as he stood back up. "When I get done you wanna go catch a movie?"
"Sure, sure." She said, waving him away.
"NO!" Spencer yelled.
Sam turned to see Spencer on his knees, hands on either side of the television. "Betty, don't leave us! We love you!"
Sam shook her head and continued munching on her meatballs. She was used to Spencer being crazy; it was when he acted normal that she worried. Across the room near the computer monitor a light flashed on the network printer as it started spitting out pages. Probably something for Carly.
Sam stabbed a fresh meatball with her fork and walked over to the printer, pulling off the pages, leaving red sauced fingerprints on the sides. Rolling her eyes at Spencer, who was now dancing in celebration that Betty White had made it through her close call, she started walking toward the stairs, reading as she went. What she read stopped her in her tracks.
Couple Compatibility Results
Results in each category listed as: Highly Compatible, Compatible, Slightly Compatible, Incompatible.
Communication Skills: Incompatible
Emotional Attachment: Incompatible
Final Analysis: This couple is incompatible. With limited communication skills, low emotional attachment, resistance to family integration, and separate future goals, the likelihood of a successful relationship is improbable.
The room felt suddenly too small, too warm, too bright. The meatball she was holding was now making her nauseous and more than anything, she just wanted to get away. From this room, from Freddie, from everything.
A door at the top of the stairs opened and she panicked at the sound of someone coming down the stairs.
It was Freddie. She couldn't see him now. Looking at the stairs and then down at the papers she did the only thing she could think of. Without even grabbing her bag or knowing how she was going to get home, she dropped the papers and ran for the door.
"Sam?" Spencer called after her, "Where are you going?"
"Not now Spencer…I just have to go." She flung open the door and ran into the hall, taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Running out into the humid Seattle morning, she didn't look behind her as she took off for home. She only prayed that no one would follow her.