At the America’s Next Hitmaker event, Sam was tempted to reach into her backpocket where she kept her extra guitar strings and tie one around her throat to end it all. Yet another 10 year old came onto the stage to sing another Pop ballad about how much they knew heartbreak and/or love. Then again, she thought, she was only five years older than these kids and she definitely knew about love. The mysterious love letters in her locket came almost every day now, each with lyrics from rock songs or romantic rock puns. From the way Luna’s voice rose and cracked whenever Sam told her about them, she pretty much knew Luna was responsible for them.
Or…at least she hoped Luna was. She really hoped. Luna was so cool and Sam was crazy about her. Sam knew Luna was at least interested in girls from the way she spoke about some of their teachers or other classmates. However, Mazzy often joked that Sam was a “useless lesbian” and her “gaydar” was broken whenever another girl expressed interest in her but Sam missed it, so Sam could be wrong... Or Luna could be one of those girls who compliments other girls but does it as a joke or she was just curious or---
Sam blinked rapidly out of her increasingly frantic thoughts and realized she was face to face with a soggy chili dog that had a small, yellow ‘I Love Rock n’ Roll’ pin stuck on it.
“Whoops,” Mazzy snorted as she picked off the pin. Sam felt slightly sick as the hotdog was pushed closer to her face. “I’ve been asking if you wanted one.”
“Dude, she doesn’t want one of your jacket hotdogs,” Sully sighed. “Put it away before we get kicked out.”
Mazzy frowned at him and opened one side of her jacket to reveal several Flippy’s hotdogs wrapped in tinfoil ducktaped to the inside. “We’re rock n' rollers, Sully, we don’t play by the rules.”
She shoved the hotdog into her mouth and swallowed it almost whole. Sam’s eyes kept to the stage, ignoring her friends’ shenanigans beside her.
Sully grinned at Sam’s look of intense concentration. “I know, and normally I would agree, but…” He nodded his head towards Sam and Mazzy turned her head to grin at the blonde too. “Sam’s on a mission tonight to ask Luna out.”
Sam shook her head at her friends. “Oooh no! Tonight is Luna’s night! I can’t interfere with that.”
Mazzy groaned loudly and flung her head backwards. “Saaaaaam…!”
“Samantha Sharp!” Sully scolded with his hands on his hips.
Sam cringed. “Please don’t call me that…”
“If Luna is the one sending you those love letters, don’t you think it would make her night even better if the girl she digs asks her out too?” Sully asked.
Sam sighed and looked down. “We don’t even know if it’s her.”
“Rock quotes and bad puns that sound like they came from Luan Loud? Noooo…it’s definitely not her,” Mazzy sarcastically answered.
“And don’t you notice how whenever her older sisters see you in the hallways, they go…” Sully raised his voice several octaves, gave a goofy grin with sparkling eyes, and waved. “Hiiiiii Sam!”
Mazzy nodded sagely. “Yeah, it’s definitely Luna.”
Sam blushed and looked at her feet again. “We’re just here to support Luna, nothing else.”
Sully muttered, “Right.” He blinked and looked around. “Hey, wasn’t Chunk supposed to be back by now?”
Mazzy looked around too and groaned through her mouthful. “Aw man, he was our ride!”
Sam shrugged. “Maybe…he had to use the bathroom?”
The three jumped and looked back to the stage when a spotlight appeared. From the corner, the hosts stepped out.
“Our next contestant hails from Royal Woods, Michigan! Please give a warm welcome to…Lulu!”
The curtains flung open to reveal a pink-haired girl in a glittering salmon-colored dress, and a large guitar in her hands.
“Lulu?” Sully scoffed.
Mazzy ate a mouthful of her hotdog. “Huh, I didn’t know anyone else from Royal Woods was a contestant.”
Sam peered at the stage at the worried expression on LuLu’s face. Her eyes widened. “Guys, that’s Luna!”
Sully almost fell over and Mazzy choked loudly. “That’s Luna?!”
“What has show business DONE?” Sully mourned.
Sam motioned her two friends to lower their voices as they began to get dirty looks from the people around them. “Come on, guys, if this is what Luna wants, then we should be supporti---“
“I…AM LUNA LOUD!” Luna proclaimed into the microphone.
Sam blinked and watched as Luna tore off the clothes and wig to reveal her usual look underneath. In the audience, a small child leaped up into the air and caught the wig, shrieking something that sounded like “MINE!” from where they stood. Her guitar roared as Chunk appeared, beating on the drums. The audience screamed with joy and began to bounce up and down to the beat, throwing their hands into the air.
Sam beamed with Mazzy and Sully. They threw up their hands and made the devil rock and roll sign with their fingers.
“WOO! YEAH!” Sam whooped.
Sully laughed, “She is so disqualified!”
Mazzy grinned. “Like I said, dudes: we don’t play by the rules!”
The show ended quickly after Luna’s song and the hosts rushed to announce their pick. Then the stage lights shut off as they stormed off the stage. Below, the audience still buzzed loudly. Luna, even though she had been disqualified on the spot, grinned ear-to-ear and beamed with pride.
“You deserved to win! Woo! Rock n’ roll!” a random teenage boy proclaimed as he followed his friends out towards the exit.
Chunk laughed and patted his giant hand onto Luna’s thin shoulder. “I have t’agree.”
Mr. Loud smiled happily and wiped a stray tear from his eyes. "We're so proud of you!"
Mrs. Loud nodded with agreement, hands clasped together. “You were so brave but...are you really okay with this?”
Luna looked around at her family and Chunk, smiling. “Yeah, I mean, it’s a bummer I got disqualified, but I’d rather do it the hard way and get to decide for myself how I’ll look and sound, y’know?”
Lucy looked up at Luna. “I am glad you are back to normal. You were too…” Her lip curled and a visible shiver ran down her spine. “……Pink.”
Lola wore LuLu’s pink wig as she casually said, “Well, while I disagree with your fashion sense, I have to admit, that took a lot of guts.”
She hugged Luna and the rest of the family joined in as Chunk watched with a grin. He looked up when he saw Sam being literally pushed over by Mazzy and Sully. Sam protested and tried to escape, but froze when she saw Chunk smirk at her and move his finger in a ‘come here’ motion. Mazzy and Sully grinned deviously, turned, and rushed away to watch from a distance.
Chunk leaned down to Luna and whispered. “By the way, Luv, your equipment and I didn’t come alone.”
Lori turned first and let out a loud, hysterical gasp. “It’s Sam!”
Sam blinked as the rest of the family turned and gawked at her with Lori. “Uh…oh, sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt. I’ll wait over here.”
She turned on her heel but Lori zipped over with Leni and grabbed her by both arms to turn her back around.
“Hey, Sam,” Luna said shyly.
“Hi, Luna,” Sam replied as best as she could with her heart in her throat.
Luna smiled nervously and then glared as the deviously grinning Lori and Leni. “Uh, dudes, can you let go of Sam now?”
“Oh! Sorry!” Leni giggled and released her death grip on Sam’s left arm.
“Yeah, sorry!” Lori sang as she released her grip on Sam’s right arm.
Sam rubbed her arms painfully and offered Luna one of her side grins. “Mazzy and Sully came too but they uh…” She turned her head to secretly glare at the two other rockers ducking down behind some empty seats. “…Ate too many jacket hotdogs. Don’t ask.”
Luna laughed, “Bummer.” She looked at her family who continued to silently and creepily watch the two. “Hey, I’m dyin’ in here, wanna go outside? You can make fun of me for wearing pink!”
Sam laughed, “Sure…LuLu.”
Luna grinned and led her to the side exit; ignoring Lori cooing at the pair but then grinning when Lincoln gave her a thumbs up. They stepped outside and closed the door behind them. No one else had used the door to exit (and she was sure Lori or Leni were now blocking the exit with their bodies to make sure no one else would) so they were alone on the side of the building.
Sam stepped past Luna and sat on the stone wall close to the building. Luna smirked at how Sam could never seem to sit straight and remembered when she first learned Sam liked girls.
"Dude, can you even sit straight?" Luna laughed.
Sam grinned as she sat haphazardly on her speaker. "Nothing about me is straight."
Luna smirked and jumped onto the wall next to Sam, both facing the door. Luna's eyes roamed up to the ladder "LuLu" had climbed before.
“I’m glad you finished that song,” Sam spoke up. “It turned out really well – and a very dramatic after tearing off that costume.”
Luna laughed and rubbed her arm. “Ha, yeah…" She paused and said carefully. "That was…a pretty lame look, huh? I bet you were really upset when you saw LuLu instead of Luna.”
Sam shrugged her shoulders and looked into the cloudy night sky. “Hey, rock stars change their looks all the time. If that’s how you wanted to look, I would be all for it.” She grinned and nudged Luna’s side with one of her elbows. “But from the way you ripped it off, I guess not!”
Luna stared at Sam, amazed, remembering how her entire family didn’t support her new look at all. They presumed it was forced on her, and with it on, she wasn’t Luna. But Sam didn’t think that way.
“Sooo…what if I said I actually liked that look and wanted to go by LuLu Loud?” Luna asked with a dry chuckle.
Sam grinned playfully and winked. “I’d say, try wearing a little less obnoxiously pink colored clothing, LuLu Loud.”
Luna blinked and smiled. Sam supported her, no matter what. She really was the best girl in the entire world and Luna was glad she was here.
“Thanks, Sam,” Luna said quietly.
Sam blinked. “Thanks? For what? The fashion advice?”
Luna chuckled and smiled up at her. “Just…thanks.”
Sam blinked again and smirked. “Oookay.”
They looked into the night sky together. Luna jumped when she realized one of her hands was subconsciously creeping towards Sam’s hand that rested on the wall. She quickly pulled it away and stuffed it into her lap. A blush crept onto her face as she looked away.
[Dude! You’re such a coward! This would be the perfect time to tell her!] Luna’s inner voice screamed.
Luna took in a shaking breath and opened her mouth.
“So, uh…” Sam interrupted as she turned her head to Luna, cheeks red. “You know those love letters that keep appearing in my locker?”
Luna shook her head and straightened up. “Ha! Yeah! Still haven’t figured out who’s sending them?”
Sam looked away quickly. “Actually…I have an idea.”
Luna’s face dropped and paled. “O-oh?”
Sam peeked at Luna. “But I dunno if I should say anything. She’s kind of a big deal in our town, ya know?”
Sam turned her head and stared into Luna’s eyes.
Luna licked her dry lips. “Well...I think anyone would feel like a big deal if you agreed to date them, Sam…”
Sam’s face inched closer to Luna’s. “Hm…I doubt it…” Luna’s eyes lingered on Sam’s lips, moving her head closer. “But…” Sam pulled away leaving Luna to blink herself out of her self-hypnosis. “…Seeing you take such a big chance tonight, really inspired me.” She dug into her jacket pockets and pulled out her phone. “So…I’m going to call her right now!”
Luna’s heart sunk…or rather, it plummeted. She didn’t know what she had expected, leaving unsigned love letters in Sam’s locker: of course Sam wouldn’t know they were from her. Her mind raced through potential girls Sam thought was her secret admirer, all of them prettier, and calmer, than Luna. Luna bit the inside of her cheek and fought back her tears.
“G-great!” Luna’s voice cracked. “I bet she’ll be really happy!”
She froze when her phone rang in the pocket of her skirt. Luna dumbly turned her head to see that Sam had her signature half-grin on her face, eyes twinkling. Numbly, Luna continued to stare at Sam as she picked out her phone and put it to her ear.
“Uh…hello?” Luna answered slowly.
“Surprise!” Sam laughed.
Luna laughed loudly and hung up. “Dude! You’re such a dork!”
Sam giggled and let Luna shove her playfully. “Well, what does that say about you Miss Secret Admirer?”
Luna chuckled and looked down. “Dang it… How did you know?”
Sam shrugged meekly. “I, uh, actually didn’t. Mazzy and Sully pretty much figured it out right away. Sorry, not only am I a dork, but I’m a useless lesbian too.”
Luna grinned and finally let herself put her hand over Sam’s. “Lori calls me a disaster bisexual, so it’s all good.”
“Oof! What a pair we are!” Sam teased.
They laughed and then fell into silence, smiling into each other’s eyes.
“So, the Astonishing Quest is coming up,” Luna said as casually as possible, rubbing the back of her short, brown hair. “I don’t have a partner yet, so……”
Sam jumped off the wall and turned to Luna. “It’s a date, then.”
Luna blinked as Sam began to walk around to the front of the building. “A date?” She looked down as her mind tried to process what was just said. Then, she brightened. “Oh! Yeah! A date!” She leaped off and threw her fists into the air, forming the devil rock and roll sign with her fingers. “I HAVE A DATE WITH SAM SHARP!”
Sam laughed and turned her head back to Luna. “You really are a disaster!”
She then proceeded to trip over a loose soda bottle and fall onto her stomach.
Luna grinned and jogged over to help her up. “Look who’s talking!”
“Hey, I’m not a disaster! Just…uncoordinated,” Sam pretended to be indignant through giggling.
“If you say so, Sam,” Luna laughed as she leaned over to help her up.
Their laughter rang out through the night as everyone from inside the building gathered outside in the front.
A woman’s voice gasped, “Hey look! I found LuLu’s boots!”