I, Sam Puckett, was twenty-four years old when I got the invitation.
A lot had happened since our weekly "Random Dancing." I mean, a lot. If I had seen myself now eight years ago, I wouldn't have thought it was real. A dream, maybe, but anything but reality. In my senior year, I finally decided to buckle down and start working. Melanie had already secured a college and a high-paying job, and I wasn't about to be left in the dust. If I was graduating, I needed to have a job to make some money, and flipping burgers (and eating some of them) at Harry's Hamburger Hut wasn't going to get me enough.
So I tried to pay attention in whatever math class I was in and actually started making A's and B's on tests. Who knew Carly was right all this time? Apparently studying and doing homework does give you good grades.
After my graduation, I signed up for community college refresher courses, to try and learn everything I hadn't for the last five years of my life. And on top of that, a performing arts college tracked me down, recognizing me from iCarly, that long-dead webshow that ended when… ah, let's just say "sculpture malfunction." Someone… important got hurt… really hurt. Anyway, enough about obsolete internet megahits. The college asked me to audition, and said I might have a shot to be in a comedy play they were producing. Plus the fact that Melanie forced me to take a few singing lessons might have helped.
So I moved to New York, while Carly moved to Yakima with her grandfather. She didn't want to, but she didn't exactly have a choice. She was sixteen, so it was only for two years. She survived, and moved back to the only place she could call home, Seattle. She decided to check out her apartment for the heck of it, and saw that Freddie had moved out a year ago. His mom was an emotional wreck, sobbing over the loss of her darling baby boy and claiming Carly had made him turn eighteen and move out, when in reality he was just in a dorm room at MIT. Once a year, he would come home, and gave his mother the only relief she'd have for a while. Carly, however, decided to buy the apartment that used to be hers, as a sort of nostalgic memory.
Or at least that's what they told me from the too-far-and-too-few-inbetween phone calls.
It was a Wednesday, and I heard the doorbell ring right on time at noon. I rolled my eyes at the stupid task that had taken me away from my delicious ham-and-cheese-and-ham sandwich. I slammed the ham-and-cheese-and-ham on the plate and walked to the door and grabbed the mail. Bills, bills, junk, ads, bills… I tried to toss the bills in the garbage, but stupid Melanie got in my head. "Sam, you can't not pay the bills! Bills are your friend!" Groaning, I picked the bills up and brought them inside.
That's when I noticed the invitation.
It had a pale pink and lacy envelope with pastel hearts, kiss marks, and Cupids all over it. Ugh. Somebody get me a barf bag. I tore it open, a little too excited to tear that weirdo in a diaper in half, and pulled the paper out. The top had more nonsensical lovey-dovey mush. It was some color between pink and puke, and had the weirdest cursive writing on it. You know, the kind the fancy fat old kings use? I can't read that stuff, so I just skipped it and looked down. The below text was a little more readable:
SAVE THE DATE!
CARLY SHAY AND FREDWARD BENSON
OCTOBER 21ST, 2018
Carly… and Freddie…
Carly and Freddie?
There were photos below, of them just doing stupid couple stuff, like holding hands, kissing each other on the cheek, walking in the park, but my tears clouded my vision. This couldn't be happening. My two best friends, engaged. Getting married. No, no, no no no no…
How could Carly do this to me? She knew I liked Freddie. No, not liked, loved. I loved Freddie. I have and will. I don't care what she does, I'm not changing. She knows we kissed twice, heck, she even saw us the second time! I mean, it's not like Freddie wanted to… the first time, it was just to get it over with. But I felt something! Why didn't he? Why didn't he care? That was what bothered me the most, and partially why I kissed him the second time. I needed to see if he had felt something, if he even cared. I couldn't help it, I really couldn't.
And he didn't kiss back or anything.
But I apologized.
And he said it was cool.
No it wasn't.
I collasped onto the couch and sobbed, courtesy of a broken heart.
To be continued…