Sam was sprawled out over Carly’s couch, flipping through the channels while she waited for Carly to get downstairs, and for Freddie to arrive.
They had all been endlessly worried about Brad ever since Freddie had first brought up Brad’s panic attack. They had let Brad believe that he’d tricked…
Freddie knocked three times before walking into Carly’s apartment.
“Hey,” He said to Sam. Sam nodded her head in his direction. “Carly still upstairs?” He asked. Sam nodded again. He looked at her phone on the table. “Did you get anything from him?”
“Nope.” Sam said, popping the p. Freddie sighed.
He looked around awkwardly for a moment, before moving Sam’s legs over a bit so he could sit down. He was not at all surprised when, within a second of sitting down, he had become part of Sam’s cushion.
He tried to keep his attention on the TV, but his worry for Brad was clouding over his mind. His friend obviously needed help, but he did nothing but close himself off to them.
Freddie saw the same stubbornness in his friend that he remembered being instilled in himself months before.
And that scared him.
Carly smiled softly for a moment when she came down the stairs. The sight of her friends not fighting, or Sam trying to harm Freddie in any way was refreshing. She was already worried enough as it was about Brad. She had tried time after time to talk to him after the incident in their history class, but he was ignoring her entirely.
He had told her that it was nothing, before dashing out of the room. But Carly knew that it wasn’t nothing. Everyone did.
And she was going to do her best to get to the bottom of it.
They were getting worse.
The flashbacks, when before they were only once or twice a week, have started coming every night, making him increasingly more tired throughout the day.
He really didn’t know what to do.
He was sure he could handle them himself - they had to die down eventually right? And he really didn’t want to involve his friends or family in it, make them any more worried than they already were.
It would be fine. Everything was fine.
“You didn’t get anything from Brad either, huh?” Freddie asked Carly. She frowned when she shook her head.
“Well, we can’t just sit around and do nothing anymore. It’s pretty obvious that Brad’s not going to come to us. We need to go to him, and figure this out.” Sam said, a few pitches short of anger.
She didn’t know what exactly was going on in Brad’s head, but Sam wasn’t going to let him push them away when perhaps, this was when he needed them most.
“She’s right, you know.” Carly said, looking at Freddie. Freddie frowned. He knew that Sam was right. But he identified with his friend, and knew that he would close himself off just a little bit more, and then…
Then he would break down. And it wasn’t going to be pretty.
“Look, you’re either in or you’re out.” Sam said. Carly looked expectantly at Freddie.
“Alright, I’m in. Let’s go.”
Carly shrugged on her coat as she and her friends exited Bushwell. The new autumn air was chilly, but incredibly refreshing.
“So, how are we doing this?” Carly asked.
“We’re telling him that we’re not putting up with this ‘I’m fine’ chiz anymore.” Sam said.
When Freddie nodded in agreement, Carly nodded too, and they continued to walk to Brad’s house.
“Brad! Your friends are here to see you!”
He heard his mom call up to him, and he panicked. What were they doing here? After quickly calculating the time it would take for him to jump out of his second story window, he had to come to terms with the fact that we was being ridiculous. They were his friends. He couldn’t avoid them forever.
Brad slowly made his way down the stairs, peering his head around the corner once he made the landing.
“Hey guys…” he started slowly, unsure of their present feelings. He had been avoiding them for the past week…
“Long time no see.” Freddie commented, keeping his eyes trained on Brad, as if expecting him to run out the door. Brad really couldn’t blame them.
He moved to sit on the chair by them, indicating his plans to stick around.
“Yeah, I’ve been… busy.” He trailed off, not really expecting them to buy it.
Sam raised her eyebrow.
"Well, do tell, Fudgeface. What’s been keeping you so occupied?"
Sam sighed, leaning against the wall and crossing her arms. Brad appeared to be overly fascinated with the floor. This was all too familiar to her. It was as though she could literally count down the minutes until Brad would snap with all of their eyes on him.