He walked along the shore, a seagull screeching as it soared high overhead. The blonde, who had—surprisingly—not yet discovered him tailing her, was walking slowly along the water's edge, holding her Converse and socks in one hand, and trailing her toes through the shallow waves lapping the pebbly shore. All of a sudden, the air around them filled with the sound of the most amazing voice he had ever heard.
"You feel out of breath, used up and broken down. Just like a shattered glass, in pieces on the ground. Some days you wanna scream, but you can't make a sound. But you're not alone... Here comes another day, here comes another fight. You'd rather give it up than give it one more try. 'Cause no one understands the way you feel inside. But you're not alone… Right now it feels like the end of the world, like your battles are lost, you've been cheated, mistreated. Just when you think that you can't hold on any longer, hold on a little bit longer. Trust me, you'll see-e-e: you'll be so much stronger, you'll be so much stronger..."
"Sam, I didn't know you could sing!" A voice behind her interrupted her song, startling her from her self-trance. She whipped around to see a familiar brown-eyed boy staring at her, dumbstruck by her enchanting voice.
"What are you doing here?" she asked curiously—once she had finally recovered from the surprise of having been followed.
"Well, when you left Carly's place," Freddie explained, "I figured you weren't going home, since you mentioned that you didn't like your mom's new boyfriend. So I was bored, and curious, and decided to follow you to see where you go when you don't go home…"
"Stalker much?" she laughed.
He chuckled before replying, "You know, of all the places I would have guessed: the Groovy Smoothie, Robin's Wieners… I never would have imagined you would come to the beach."
"This is kinda my alone place," she said, turning away from him to stare out across the dark grey water of Puget Sound. "It's where I come to sing."
"Why do you sing here, alone? You're really good," Freddie inquired. "Does Carly even know that you sing?"
"No," she responded, glancing back at him for a moment. "Just like she didn't know I could dance. I keep it secret 'cause, well, y'know, it doesn't really fit with my image."
Freddie smiled and shook his head slowly. "How many secrets do you have, anyway? Singing, dancing, pageantry, a twin sister…"
If you only knew… She thought to herself. Sam had more secrets than she cared to count. But she dealt with it. She dealt with life. It was often hard and painful, but she had become accustomed to pushing through and putting on a smile, no matter what she was hiding.
Freddie respected her silence and just stood there, admiring her beauty. He had gotten over Carly long ago. He relished in his hidden feelings for Sam—over the past few months he had actually grown to enjoy keeping this a secret. It was different from how open his crush on Carly had been. It felt special to him. But for the time being, he was just glad to be such good friends with Sam, despite all the torture and humiliation he usually suffered as her main teasing target.
He removed his shoes and socks and moved up next to Sam, allowing the waves to lap his toes too. She looked up at him, savoring this moment between them, as friends. Alone, there was no reason to fight, no one to witness their amiability but the cloudy grey sky above them. No one to stare at them strangely and wonder how a feisty, bullying bad-girl could ever get along with a geeky tech-nerd. They really didn't have any idea of what had drawn them so close over the past couple of years, but they didn't question it. It was moments like these that really defined the... nicer... side of their relationship.
Freddie glanced down at the petite blonde, and finally broke the silence.
"Will you sing me another song?" he asked hopefully.
She smiled at him, then began:
"Some people are down and now, some people are lonely now, some people just need a vaca-a-tion. Some people can't fight a smile, for some people it's been a while since they've had an all-night conversa-a-tion. But since you walked into my life, everything's felt so right… The sun's been shini-in', and I've been singi-in' this song in my head, and it goes lalala, lalalala-a. Nothing but blue skies when I stare into your eyes, I get tongue-tied every ti-i-ime you smi-i-ile. Some people don't know what love can do, well they should see me with you…"