It is three o clock in the morning by the time Sam and I are finally alone again. After the dance, as promised, Sam and Mike settled in to play Call of Duty. Tip came home with Phoebe for a bit and joined them, after Tad wandered downstairs and did, too. Once Tip went home, Phoebe headed to bed, and a few hours later, Tad disappeared upstairs. Mike has just taken off toward my house, leaving Sam and I as the only conscious people in the house. I yawn, and Sam grins.

"You should probably head on over there," he points out, but I'm not quite ready for tonight to end now.

"Not just yet," I reply, scooting underneath his arm to rest my head on his chest. He rubs his hand slowly in small circles on my back, and the gently rhythm only makes me more tired. In an attempt to wake myself up, I blink a few times, but it is too no avail. I yawn again, causing Sam to shake his head.

"Okay, that's it. You are going home and going to sleep, Manda," he decides, and I might just be too exhausted to argue with him.

"Fine," I concede, stifling yet another yawn. It takes me a minute, but I manage to stand up from the couch, my bare feet on the living room's rug. Long ago, I had discarded my heels, though I am still in my cocktail dress. I lean in for a hug from Sam, but the moment after his arms wrap around me, he jerks back.

"Oh, I forgot. I, um, have something for you," he blurts. "Let me go get it." He holds up one finger before taking off up the stairs, and I stand in the middle of his living room, waiting, for a minute or two. After that, though, he is still not back downstairs, and I decide to go up and investigate as to what is taking so long. I tiptoe down the hallway, past Phoebe's room, until I get to Sam's. The door is cracked, so I nudge it open with my bare foot and take a tender step inside.

"What are you doing?" I inquire, staring at Sam, who is sitting on the floor of his bedroom, a pair of jeans in his hands.

"Looking…" He runs one of his large hands through his already disheveled brown hair, seeming frazzled. As he continues to rifle through his clothes, I settle down in the chair in front of his desk, spinning around, until my head is swimming with dizziness. Then, I steady myself, grabbing on to the edge of his desk. I examine everything on it, the computer, black screened in hibernation, a yellow legal pad, an ink pen with no cap, and then, the picture frame I saw him scrutinizing a few days before.

To my surprise, it is a picture of the two of us. It is from my sixteenth birthday dinner, though I cannot for the life of me remember who took it. It's just the two of us; whoever was sitting on either side of us has been cropped out. His arm is around my shoulder, and both of us are smiling widely, as though we are the happiest people in the world.

Even if we weren't then, I for one…well, I certainly am now.

"Found it," he announces, calling me out of my mind, and I turn to face him. He's holding up his black hoodie, and I cannot help but wonder why he possibly spent so much time searching for it, or why he said he had something for me. "Put this on." He thrusts it into my arms, and I raise an eyebrow, but I do as he says, tugging its sleeves over my arms. It is absolutely huge on me, and the two of us share a laugh for a moment.

"What are you…"

"Put your hand in the pocket," he tells me, his eyes glinting.

"Which one?"

"The right pocket," he clarifies, and I hesitate, unsure of what he has planned. After a second, though, I do so, and I feel something cold and metallic between my fingers. I tug it out, and my heart catches in my throat when I realize what it is.

My bracelet.

"Oh my God," I murmur, staring at its shining silver. "How did you get this?"

"I found it on the floor in the hallway Monday," he answers. "I knew it was yours, so I picked it up. I would have given it to you earlier, but…"

"I was being stupid, I know," I cut him off. I still can hardly believe that I am actually holding it.

"Well, that's not what I was going to say. There's kind of another reason I waited."A mischievous little smirk slips upon his face.

"Like what?"

"Look at the heart," he suggests, and I stare down at the curved silver. I cannot believe that I did not notice the engraving on it before.


"How did you know?" I ask in shock.

"I listen to you when you talk, believe it or not," he replies, chuckling. "But that's not it. Look on the other side." With trembling fingers, I flip the heart charm over, and I see something that threatens to bring tears to my eyes.

Always loved

"Sam," I sigh, breathless. "This…I…" I stop, pressing my lips together tightly. The whole time I was being so mean to him, the whole time I was sulking and brooding, he still cared. He never let that change his mind about me. "I don't….I just really don't even know what to say, Sam." He touches my cheek tenderly and smiles, as sweet as sugar.

"You don't have to say anything," he says. "But a kiss would be nice." It takes no time at all for my lips to meet his, and the moment they do, my heart kicks into overdrive. Every time we touch, it feels like the air around us is electrically charged.

Finally, though, I pull away, as a wave of exhaustion crashes upon me. He stares into my sleepy eyes for a few seconds, before he tucks a loose tendril of my hair behind my ear.

"Okay sleepyhead, you need to get on home," he decides, and I allow him to lead me out of his room and downstairs. A few times, I glance down at my bracelet and my heart flutters. "Want me to walk you home?"

"That would be great." He takes my hand into his, and we step out his front door, into the freezing night air. I am immediately grateful for his hoodie, as the frigid breeze whips against my bare face and legs. Once we cross our yards, we pause on my front porch for a moment. "Sam, I…" I squeeze his hand. "Thanks for everything. I mean it."

"Yeah, well, thanks to you too," he counters.

"For what?" I cannot help but wonder.

"For being the best best friend, or girlfriend, or whatever you are."

"You're the best," I argue, but he presses a finger against my lips.

"Hush. Good night, babe." He gently kisses my forehead.

"Good night," I answer, and then I push my front door open. I wait until he is back in his own yard before I stumble upstairs to my bedroom, where I eagerly unzip my dress and pull on some flannel pajamas.

Exhausted, I burrow under my covers, and I am sleeping soundly in a matter of a few seconds.


Before I do anything else on Sunday morning, I roll out of bed and take the drive to go see my mother, my bracelet finally secured back on my wrist. I trudge through the cold mist up to her gravestone. Yet another fresh bouquet of daises is lying on the grass by her headstone, along with an envelope. It is unsealed, and though I know its wrong, though I know it is wrong, I open it.

A photograph of my mother and I is enclosed, along with what appears to be a letter. I pull the picture out of the envelope, running its smooth surface underneath my fingertips. It is from the year she died, probably taken only weeks before she passed. In it, we are sitting in our living room, side by side on the couch. My mother looks absolutely stunning, though the site of her rips open a new wound somewhere inside. Her long blonde curls hang perfectly, the way I wish mine would, and her smile shines like a city at night. I look impossibly young next to her, a tangle of limbs, hair made of feathers, and with eyes as wide and innocent as a doe's. Through the window behind us, sunlight pours, framing us. It dances across my mother's head, shimmering like a halo.

It is simply still too hard to look at her, so I place the picture back inside the envelope and move on to the letter, despite a throbbing pang of guilt for snooping. I shake it open, and I am surprised to see that the handwriting of it belongs to Sam.

Then I cannot help it; I have to read.

Mrs. C,

Before everything else, I just want to say that I am sorry it has been a while since I wrote you. I know it's no excuse, but I have been busy all week with homecoming, and I have hardly had a chance to catch my breath. Thankfully, I finally found a minute or two, so I sat down at my desk and decided to write.

Things were rough for a while between Manda and me, as I am sure you know. I'm afraid that it is all my fault. I know it was stupid of me, but I got a girlfriend, and it really hurt her. I really should have just turned the girl down, but I thought maybe if Manda saw me with her, she would finally think about me that way. I had no idea how much that would hurt us, though.

I think you would be really happy about what I have planned for tonight, though. I know you told me before you left to tell Manda the truth, and I finally am going to. I know it took a while, but in the end, you always had the answer. I only wish I had listened to her sooner.

Thanks, Mrs. C, for always being there for us. We all miss you a lot and wish you were here. Thank you for helping make my best friend the beautiful person she is. I hope you'll be smiling down on Manda and me tonight.


PS: Wish me luck!

As if Sam ever needed my mother's luck to get me. I wipe the stream of tears away from my eyes and gently place the letter back in its envelope. I honestly cannot believe that he had been waiting all those years to tell me how he felt. He knew when my mom was still alive, and yet he never even mentioned a word of it.

I press my damp eyes into the soft flannel of my pants, twirling the heart charm on my bracelet around, until I feel a smile, sweet upon my lips.

"Thanks, Mom," I finally whisper, as relief flows like a river through me.


That night, after Mike has given out his hugs and headed back to college, after an evening of football, I take a hot shower, before settling down. I have a mountain of homework to tackle, but an hour passes, and it proves to be too much. I slam my economics book shut, paper tucked inside of it, and I toss it onto the floor, before I wander over to my window.

I am disappointed to see that while Sam's window is open and his light is on, his room is empty. I sigh, and then I settle down in the window sill. I pull my knees underneath my chin and gaze out at the glowing night sky. I have a perfect view of it.

After a while, I notice movement in Sam's room out of the corner of my eye, and I glance inside. He is standing in front of his own window, in his plaid pajama pants, shirtless, as though he is trying to make my heart race. When he sees me staring at him, he cracks a grin. He runs a hand through his hair before waving to me. I feel a smile break out across my face as I wave back.

I cannot imagine being any more happy, as I sit in my window sill and smile at him.

Eventually, though, he takes a few steps away, wandering over to his light switch. I cock my head, waiting for what he is going to say.


I hop out of the window sill, jogging over to my own light switch. I raise my hands in the shape of a heart in front of my chest, watching Sam smile as I do so. Then, my finger settles down upon the switch, and I tap my own message back.




it's finally over...


mixed feelings

ahh i'm so sad to leave sam and manda :( of course, that doesn't mean there won't eventually be a sequel...i have a bit of a plot outline for one, but...who knows. i, for one, don't.

yes, i realize this chapter is very cheesy. i really don't care (no offense). i am one for sappy, happy, mushy, gushy endings. at least sometimes anyway.

if you are looking for something else to read, you should definitely check out my new story. its called just my luck, and i think carlisle, the main character, is like the most relatable narrator i've ever written. haha. i'll also be posting another story on this account sometime soon called i'm waking up to us. if you like love triangles, that's a good story for you to check out, when i post the first chapter in a few days. also, there's a link to my alternate account in my profile. i have two other stories up there, valedicwhorian(which is a drama-filled, love triangle pregnancy story) and calling the game. feel free to check those out, too. haha, a bit of shameless advertising, but hey! i do what i can.

the most important part of my author's note...

thank you all for reading! i hope you loved sam and manda as much as i did. you have been THE MOST amazing readers i could ever ask for. each and every review i got made writing this THAT much more worth it. you all blew me away. i SO looked forward to reading your feedback each time i posted a new chapter. it never failed to put a smile on my face. i really cannot find the words to express my gratitude to you.

i want to say God bless you all (in a totally non-offense, shoving my religion down your throat way), and once again, give you the greatest of thanks. take care guys! :)