I have to say that I am quite pleased with how this chapter has turned out and look forward to hearing your responses.
I found living with Spencer difficult to adapt to at first. I soon learned that he was kind of eccentric and always seemed to have some crazy idea, whether it be food or his sculpting. He seemed just as lost as I was when it came to having a sibling but he was kind to me and tried to treat me like a real member of his family, which was understandably difficult.
We spent the first two to three days hanging around in the apartment playing games and messing around with junk that Spencer brought home as he showed me how to be creative. We spent time talking and learning each other's likes and dislikes, and I felt happy despite my situation.
On the fourth day, I went with Spencer to look at schools in the area. I was nervous to be starting a new school. It wasn't really because I would be the new girl, it was more that I was struggling to get used to my new name. It felt foreign to me but I understood why it was necessary. It took us two days to decide on the school that would be best for me and spent a full day after that shopping for school supplies and a few changes of clothes that I would need. Spencer was especially uncomfortable when he realized I would need new underclothes and his embarrassment amused me.
It was during one of our first shopping trips that I learned that he would actually be able to cook something I enjoyed, as he bought different ingredients. Now, Spencer wasn't necessarily a bad cook but he didn't seem to know too many recipes and had a knack for setting the food on fire, scaring me to death each time it happened.
On the day I was to start school, I was surprised to see a boy around my age walking into the apartment across from ours. During the week I had been living here, I hadn't seen him and I was a little curious. But Spencer was rushing me out the door and I forgot about him by the time I arrived at school.
It was at school where I was introduced to my first real problem. I didn't really know how to act around people. Before, I had been confident and outgoing but remembering how I used to be just made all the old memories of home pop into my head. I froze as I began recalling my old life and past mistakes, and I could feel my heart racing, my breathing hard to control. Assuming I was just nervous about a new school, one of the instructors took me to get some water and then introduced me to my new teacher before my lessons began.
I decided right then I would just keep my head down. I really didn't want to stand out or be noticed, especially if it caused me to have panic attacks again. That was how I was known from then on, the quiet one with no friends that studied too much. I was often called a teacher's pet but I didn't let it bother me. I just wanted to be normal.
For the next year, things progressed pretty much the same way for me. I spent a lot of time in the apartment with Spencer and I was okay with that for the most part. I had asked Spencer about the boy across the hall once when I saw him again. And I learned that his mom was a bit strange and that she kept her son in the house most of the time for reasons unknown.
Things changed, however, a year later. I was now eight and Spencer had given me a great birthday but I felt lonely for the first time. Real loneliness that I felt deep in my soul. I had no friends to invite and Dad couldn't come home from work so it was just me and Spencer. But every time I seemed down, my new brother would do something silly to distract me. He was good at that.
A few days later, I was at school sitting alone, thinking about the party I'd had. It felt bittersweet and while I was distracted by my thoughts, I didn't see the girl that came up to me. That is, until she asked for my sandwich. When I refused, she grabbed it from me and pushed me to the ground. I looked up at the girl and decided I didn't feel like being a victim today. I got up, grabbed my sandwich and pushed her away.
When she stood up, I thought she was going to try to steal my food again, but she didn't. Instead, she looked at me and smiled, sitting next to me.
"You're alright," she said to me, making me giggle a little and I started to relax when she smiled at me. I noticed she didn't have any food and that was probably the reason she wanted mine. Realizing she was undoubtedly hungry, I felt sad for her and gave her half of my sandwich and smiled at her.
The girl's name, I learned, was Samantha; if you were brave enough to call her that since she preferred Sam. We quickly became friends as we spent the day sending little notes to each other behind the teacher's back, something I wouldn't do after today not wanting to ruin my grade. But she was my first real friend who knew me as Carly.
At the end of the day, I didn't want to say goodbye to my new friend so I invited her over to my house. Without even checking with her mom, she agreed and we headed over to my apartment. To say Spencer was happy I brought home a real friend, was an understatement. He was practically bouncing off the walls. He brought us way more snacks than he usually let me eat and gave us free reign of the tv.
We watched a few shows before getting bored and then headed up to the room that would later become the studio for iCarly. We played with my toys and were so lost in our own enjoyment that Spencer had to come all the way upstairs to get us for dinner. I learned that day, that Sam had a particularly big appetite. I wondered where she was storing it all because she was so skinny. But I thought it would be rude to ask.
When it was time for Sam to leave, we both felt a little sad but, promising to meet up the next day made it much better. I hurried to bed, eager for the following day to begin. As Spencer tucked me in, something he found comfort in doing, he expressed his happiness that I had made a real friend.
The next day I rushed out of the house, excited to get to school. I was surprised to see Sam with another blonde girl. I felt a twinge of jealousy that someone was going to take my new friend away and hurried over to Sam, hoping for an introduction.
"Oh, hey, Carly. This is my twin sister, Melanie," Sam introduced, "Mel, this is my new friend, Carly. She's cool."
I looked between them and saw that they really did look identical and I knew that Sam wasn't lying to me. I smiled, happily knowing I wasn't going to be replaced.
Her sister soon took off, leaving us alone. We headed over to the swings and started to play a little before classes started. During lessons, Sam kept trying to pass me notes so I lightly scolded her and tried to make her concentrate. It didn't work out too well though. She didn't concentrate on work much, but she did let me do mine, which I appreciated.
I had been friends with Sam a full week when I was surprised to learn she had a birthday coming up. She was pretty vague when discussing it and I got the impression there was no real plan for her birthday. I spent the next three days pleading with Spencer to host a party for her at our place. When he finally agreed, I told Sam, who seemed surprised and a little confused. But thankfully, it didn't take me as long to convince her as it did Spencer.
We invited Melanie too since it would be her birthday as well. She accepted, wanting to enjoy the party and share the day with Sam. Mrs. Puckett showed no signs that she cared at all when Spencer contacted her to ask permission, though he decided not to tell me this.
We waited for the weekend to have the party and I spent all the time in between agonizing over what to get Sam for her birthday. As we wandered around the local mall, Spencer pointed out things that he thought would be good but he wouldn't get girls because they all seem to be things he would like, even at his age.
After searching a while, I finally found what I wanted to get Sam. It was a bit cliché, but I knew that Sam would love it anyway. I woke up early Saturday morning, unable to hide my excitement. I spent half the morning making decorations and stringing them up around the house. When we finished, I persuaded Spencer to let me make cupcakes and felt relieved when he didn't set fire to them.
When Sam and Melanie arrived, I was pleased to see that they both looked surprised and happy over all the effort that we put in. I had to grab Sam's arm to stop her from going straight for the food we had laid out. She found this funny and her laugh made my heart sing.
"Food later, Sam," I told her. "We have lots of games to play and music to dance to." Sam looked at me funny when I said dance, but she didn't argue. We pulled out the games first and got started.
I got the feeling that Melanie felt a little like the odd one out as I danced with Sam in a silly way. So, I encouraged Sam to involve her more which, she did.
"Enjoying the party?" I asked Sam as Melanie left to go to the bathroom.
"I love it! Thanks for doing this, Carly," Sam replied happily. I smiled and took her hand. I led her to our couch and sat down with her.
"I wanted to give you this while Melanie was gone since I put a bit more effort into your gift than hers," I said, feeling a little bad admitting that. But I didn't connect with Melanie as much, even though I enjoyed hanging out with her too. Sam looked at the present I just handed her, an expression of disbelief on her face.
"You didn't have to get me anything. You already threw me a party," she said bashfully with a blush on her face.
"It's what friends do, silly. Open it, already!" I encouraged.
She ripped open the packaging, happily enjoying herself and it made me smile as I watched her, feeling a little nervous. As the wrapping paper came apart, a handmade friendship bracelet fell into her lap. It was a simple woven thread from a kit that we found but I felt I did a good job on it and before I could ask if she liked it, I was engulfed in a hug.
I was surprised by this because I hadn't really known her for long and during the short time we'd become friends, I had never seen her initiate any physical contact. I hugged her back for a moment before she pulled away and she gave me a look. I pulled out my own band and showed her that we matched.
"It's not much, but I wanted us to match," I said shyly, having not really experienced this kind of friendship before. I mean, I'd had friends but I felt closer to Sam than I did anyone else, maybe because I spent a long time alone when I first got here.
"I love it! I'm going to wear it all the time," Sam stated happily, bringing me out of my thoughts and reminding me that I'm no longer alone. I hugged her again and we shared a loving embrace before Spencer came back into the room. We suddenly pulled apart, my cheeks burning from my nervousness. Then Melanie came back into the room.
The three of us looked at Spencer and saw that he had a smile on his face as he handed a present to both Sam and Melanie, before surprisingly, placing one in my hands too. I was confused because we hadn't talked about this.
Sam opened hers first, quickly ripping open her package. Melanie looked at her twin, shaking her head a little but enjoying her sister's antics. Sam looked at Spencer a little confused when she saw a small jewelry box.
"Well open it, Kiddo," he said with a grin. "It ain't gonna open itself."
She looked at Spencer and then opened it, finding a small heart inside. It was made out of stainless steel so it wasn't too expensive but it looked nice.
"It's for your bracelet," he added, seeing that Sam was a little confused at the heart's lack of a strap. He took her bracelet and attached it for her. He then motioned for me to open mine. I had a feeling he got me one too, which turned out to be right.
I looked at it, smiling happily before handing him my bracelet and letting him attach the small charm. When he handed it back to me, I noticed there was a date on the back of mine and quickly grabbed Sam's wrist to look at hers. It had the same date.
"What's with the date, Spencer?" I asked.
He shrugged at me, smiled and told me to figure it out later. I playfully scowled at him and we turned to Melanie, who was watching us with interest. Seeing that it was her turn, she opened her present. It was nothing as fancy or personal but she seemed to like it. We had decided to get her a joint present from me and Spencer since neither of us really knew her too well. Because she liked baking a great deal, we got her an alarm clock in the shape of a cupcake.
While Melanie was looking at her gift, we heard Sam's stomach rumble loudly and we all laughed. Deciding that we'd made her wait long enough, we went over to the table and enjoyed the food that Spencer had managed to cook safely.
When Sam's mom came to pick them up later that day, I got the feeling that Sam didn't really want to go home, not that I wanted her to leave either. Seeing that we didn't want to separate, Spencer invited the two girls to sleep over.
Mrs. Puckett seemed pretty annoyed at this. "I came all the way here to pick them up, so they are coming home with me," she said irritated.
Melanie looked at us and got up to leave. "Let Sam stay, Mom. I'll come home," she offered.
Melanie looked a little sad that she couldn't stay. Her mom decided this was better than nothing and turned to leave with Melanie, a heavy tension hanging in the air.
I hadn't ever had a sleepover before and I was happy and nervous to spend the night with my best friend. We headed to my room, saying goodnight to Spencer. It wasn't very late at night but we just wanted to hang out together, just the two of us. Sam headed up the stairs first and as I started to follow her, I stopped and ran back to the kitchen to steal a couple cupcakes, one for each of us. As I grabbed the cupcake, I felt a sudden heaviness in my chest as I unexpectedly saw Josh's face. I started to feel scared but heard Sam calling me and I felt myself relax a bit.
As I entered my room, Sam jumped out and scared me and I dropped one of the cupcakes. I felt a little disappointed since we only had one now. Sam apologized but I shrugged it off and handed her the cupcake. She took it from my hand and split it in two, handing me half of the treat.
"Here, Cupcake. Don't want you going without," she said as she grinned at me.
I blushed at her calling me Cupcake and stared affectionately at her. She just smiled in return and sat down on my bed. I sat next to her and we spent the night talking and listening to CDs that I had in my room.
Later that night, as we both fell asleep in my bed, I felt Sam touch my bracelet, her fingers gently gliding over my wrist. I looked at her and smiled.
"It's the day that we met and you invited me over," she mumbled with a grin, referring to the date engraved on the bracelets.
I looked at her and then to the bracelet, realizing that she was right.
"The day I found my best friend," I said and hugged her a little closer, innocently falling asleep in her arms.
Nothing much to say here other than thank you Dean7 for the Beta reading and useful edits provided your helping my ideas for this story really come through.