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Really Loud and Proud Stories

Chapter Text

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!”

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!”

+0+0+0+0+

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!”

MINE!!!

Chapter Text

Inside the Royal Woods Mall’s comic book store, Lincoln and Clyde each carried an armful of comics towards the front register.

“I still can’t believe your parents are letting me sleepover too!” Clyde said excitedly. “I thought I was going to have to wait another month!”

Lincoln smiled smugly at his friend. “Well, ever since that time where we invited all our friends over at once, my parents made strict sleepover restrictions and an entire schedule too. But now, they allow more than one friend over if that friend is on their special list.”

Clyde gasped, “I’m on a special list?” He paused. “…Wait, that’s a good thing, right?”

Lincoln nodded as they reached the front counter. He placed his comics on top of the counter and leaned against it as the bored-looking cashier began scanning his comics. “It’s basically like Santa’s nice list: their favorite friends get to come over our house even if someone else has their scheduled friend over.” Lincoln grinned at Clyde. “And Clyde, my friend, you are on top of their list!”

Clyde sighed happily, “They love me! They really love me!”

Lincoln paid for his purchases and Clyde stepped to the counter and gave his comics to the cashier. “Yup! And they really like Sam too, thus, you two are allowed to co-exist in the Loud House.”

Clyde frowned a little as he handed the cashier money. “I feel bad though – Sam was on the schedule and I just kind of butted in.”

Lincoln waved him off. “Don’t worry about it, Clyde. Sam and Luna have the living room, and we’ll be upstairs in my room.”

The two walked towards the door with their bags of comics in their hands. Once out of the store, they began to walk towards the other side of the mall.

“Let’s go meet up with Luna and Sam at Guitar Shop,” Lincoln said. “Lori said she’ll meet us there with Leni too.”

+0+0+0+0+

Inside Guitar Shop, Sam sat on a stereo and played an electric guitar. Her eyes were closed, concentrating on the sound of the guitar and the notes she played. Besides her, a tall, long-haired employee bobbed his head as he dusted the many guitars hung on the wall.

“Dude! Turn it up!” Luna’s voice called from the back of the store.

Sam grinned and turned her head towards her girlfriend’s voice. “We almost got banned from the mall last time we were in here - this volume is fine.”

“Pssh! You’re such a bore!” Luna’s voice teased.

Sam rolled her eyes with a smile and continued to play until the door swung open to reveal Lincoln and Clyde.

“Hey guys! Done already?” Sam greeted.

Lincoln presented his bag full of comics. “Clyde and I knew exactly what we wanted. We’re in-and-out kinda guys.”

Clyde looked around in awe. “I’ve never been in here before! So cool…”

Sam grinned at the young boy. “You play anything, Clyde?”

Clyde looked embarrassed. “Not really, but if I did, I’d probably have to play something a bit more…classical…because of my Dads.”

Sam nodded. “Yeah, I get that. My parents wanted me to play something ‘classical’ at school for my grandparents.” She looked down at the black guitar in her lap. “Rock and roll music scares them.”

Lincoln chuckled, “Don’t let Luna meet them! She lives, breathes, speaks, and even looks rock and roll!”

Sam sighed happily, a blush warming her cheeks, “Yeah…” She shook the blush off and gave the two a lopsided grin. “Luna already volunteered to wear the prettiest dress she could find without skulls if she meets them.”

“Wow!” Clyde laughed.

Lincoln laughed too, “When that day comes, take lots of pictures for me.”

Luna’s voice called out, “Hey! Are you guys talking about me?”

“Yup!” Sam confirmed.

“Sorry!” Clyde apologized.

“We’re always talking about you!” Lincoln joked.

Luna’s head popped up from behind a display of used cds and playfully glared at them. “Very funny!” She waved her hand at Lincoln and Clyde. “Lincoln, Clyde, I need your help for a second.”

Lincoln and Clyde exchanged confused looks before they looked back at Sam. Sam shrugged her shoulders before going back to playing the guitar. Lincoln and Clyde made their way over to Luna who fretted in front of a wall of used dvds.

“Dudes,” Luna whispered nervously. “This is our first sleepover and I really don’t want to mess this up! What do you think: bad rock movie night, or, rock documentary night?”

Clyde reassured the nervous girl. “Sam seems really chill; I wouldn’t worry about messing anything up.”

Lincoln agreed, “Trust me – the best part about sleepovers isn’t the movies or games: it’s all about the time you spend with your friends.”

“Or in this case, girlfriend,” Clyde added matter-of-factly.

Luna offered them a thankful smile. “Yeah, I guess you two are right. Thanks, Little Dudes.” She turned back to the dvd wall. “Hm, maybe I’ll do both then. We’re gonna rock and roll all night!”

“Yo, Sam!” a man’s voice bellowed over Sam’s guitar playing.

Sam looked up and stopped playing, letting the guitar wail to a halt. Behind the counter was the store owner, Mike. He was a heavy-set, graying man who looked like he had worn the same faded, rock-styled clothing since Woodstock 1969. He held up a packet of clarinet reeds in one hand, and in the other, a long, rectangular, heavy-looking box.

“I got your reeds!” Mike announced. Sam carefully placed the guitar back in its stand and jogged over to the counter. “You clarinet kids could support my entire month’s rent with all the reeds you gotta buy!”

Lincoln, Clyde, and Luna joined Sam at the counter. Sam leaned down and picked up her clarinet case she had placed on the ground when she and Luna first entered the store. She put it on the counter, opened it, and took her clarinet out.

“What are reeds?” Clyde asked.

Sam opened the package of clarinet reeds and pulled one out to show the three. “It’s the little wooden piece you put in to make the sound that comes out of the clarinet.”

Sam then put one side of the reed into her mouth to wet it. Luna’s eyes went wide and they were magnetically drawn to Sam’s soft, pink lips holding the reed between them. She felt her face go on fire and desperately tried to pull her eyes away, but couldn’t. Then, she noticed Sam’s head was turned to look at her. They stared into each other’s faces for a moment before Sam’s lips curled upwards. She blew into the reed and speckles of spit combined with a gush of air hit Luna in the face.

“Aw, Dude, gross!” Luna laughed as she dodged out of the way.

“Now you got my cooties,” Sam teased as she slid the other side of the reed into her mouth.

Luna grinned as she rubbed her cheek: she liked having Sam’s cooties. “Check out my movie night choices!”

Sam took the reed out of her mouth. “Lay ‘em on me.”

Luna held up the first dvd. “First up: the live action ‘Gem and the Holobabes’ movie. Nobody saw it, and anyone that has never wants to speak about it ever again.”

Sam cringed and stuck out her tongue in disgust. “Ugh! I thought this was movie night, not torture night!”

Mike made a similar expression. “I think I should pay you for taking that out of my store…”

Clyde slapped his cheeks, eyes wide. “Wait – they made a ‘Gem and the Holobabes’ movie?! That’s one of my favorite cartoons!”

“Well…imagine everything you like about the cartoon and replace it with a soulless cash-grab that openly mocks the source and its fans,” Sam explained.

Lincoln sucked in a breath through his teeth and patted Clyde’s shoulder. “Yeah…your Dads told me not to tell you about it after they saw the reviews…”

Clyde slapped his hands over his glasses and wept, “They ruined my childhood…and I’m still a child!”

Luna held up her second choice in her other hand. “Then I guess we shouldn’t watch the live action movie of ‘Janet and the Kitty Girls’ either.”

Clyde gasped, “No! My other favorite cartoon and comic! Is it bad too?!”

“Eh, well… It’s pretty dumb,” Luna said with a shrug.

Sam nodded. “But y’know…the older I get, the more I can appreciate how crass and dumb it is.”

“Crass?!” Clyde yelped.

“Yeah, it’s very PG-13, Dude,” Luna explained.

Clyde began to sweat as he fumbled around his pockets for a paper bag. “PG-13?!”

He found one, whipped it out, and began to hyperventilate into it. Lincoln got behind him and began to pat his back.

“It’s okay, Clyde! There’s always the originals,” Lincoln soothed.

Clyde nodded as his breathing slowed. He began to repeat Lincoln’s words like a mantra. “There’s always the originals… There’s always the originals…” He sighed and put the paper bag back into his pocket. “Phew! Thanks, Buddy.”

Luna turned back to Sam. “And then I got two rock documentaries we can watch to erase the memories of those movies.”

“Sounds good,” Sam said with a grin.

Luna smiled happily, glad that Sam seemed to like her movie night plans. Lincoln and Clyde were right: Sam was one chill dude.

But suddenly, she felt two different sets of breath on her neck.

“Ooooh!” “Awwwww!”

Luna shrieked and leaped forward. Sam caught her with a surprised look as Luna clung to her body. The four looked up with surprise at the sources of Luna’s fright: Lori and Leni were standing there, eyes huge and sparkly, hands clasped together.

“Jeez! When did you two get here?!” Luna barked as she unattached herself from Sam to angrily point at her two sisters.

“Get here?” Leni asked, confused as she held up two shopping bags. “I didn’t get anything like that, silly! I got two shirts, a skirt, a dress……”

Lori quickly interrupted Leni before she could go on. “We’re sorry; we snuck in while you were talking about those two terrible movies.” She grinned at Sam. “Movie nights at our house are so much fun, you’ll see! You’ll literally never want to leave! Never…”

She giggled almost crazily as she reached over, adjusted Sam’s jacket collar, and then brushed the hair that hung over her eyes out of the way.

Luna pushed Lori away from Sam with one hand. “Duuude…! Quit being weird to Sam! You’ve been acting crazy all day!”

Sam chuckled and touched Luna’s arm. “It’s okay.”

Luna glanced back at Sam, face softening, before she sighed and made the ‘I’m watching you’ signal with her fingers at Lori and Leni. Lori and Leni wore matching grins as they looked at each other and cooed. Lincoln cleared his throat to catch their attention and shook his head at them. The two older girls settled down slightly but still grinned stupidly at Sam and Luna.

Sam, ignoring the two older girls’ stares, placed her newly wetted reed into her clarinet. She played a few notes on it and then placed it back into the case.

“High quality sound! You’re keeping all the good stuff in the back, aren’t ya?” Sam joked to Mike.

Mike smirked. “Speaking of high quality stuff…” He placed the box he was holding onto the counter with a heavy clunk. “…Check this out!”

The kids gathered around to watch Mike open the box. Inside was a black, rectangular, electronic device with lots of knobs and buttons on it. A small screen sat on the upper left side and lined on the bottom were big, black foot pedals with white numbers printed by each one.

“Woah! It’s a multi-effects pedal!” Luna exclaimed, her eyes large with excitement.

“A really nice one too!” Sam said with raised eyebrows.

Mike nodded. “Yup, it’s brand new, hot off the market.”

Leni squinted down at the device. “But…that doesn’t look like any bicycle pedal I’ve seen.”

Lori sighed and looked at Leni, exasperated. “Leni…it’s obviously for guitars.”

Leni cocked her head. “Wait…you can ride guitars?”

Luna grabbed the pedal and rushed over to a guitar on the sales floor. “No, Dude! Listen!”

She plugged the pedal in, adjusted one of knobs, and pressed down on one of the pedals. Mike and the kids gathered around her as she began to play. The guitar’s sound was more distorted and had an echo effect.

“See? It changes up the sound,” Luna explained. She looked at the curious Lincoln and Clyde. “Try it, Brahs! Change it up!”

Lincoln reached over and twisted one of the knobs, making the sound of the guitar roar like a heavy metal guitar. Clyde also reached over and began to hit the pedals, creating different effects each time.

“You got it, Dudes!” Luna cheered as she continued to play.

Sam smiled as the boys laughed and began to hit and turn every knob and button on the device. She looked at Luna’s excited and happy expression for what must have been a little too long because Mike playfully nudged her back with his elbow. Sam blushed and rubbed the back of her head shyly.

Lori shouted over the loud music, “Don’t break it, you three! Ease up on it!”

Lincoln and Clyde moved away from it and Luna stopped playing.

“Yeah,” Sam laughed as she turned to Mike. “You don’t want to pay…uh…how much is it?”

“Four-hundred-seventy-five dollars,” Mike announced.

Sam hissed through her teeth with Clyde.

Luna’s jaw dropped. “Woah...”

Lori sucked in a breath. “That’s…a lot of babysitting money.”

Leni held up her hands, “That’s like…” She squinted at her fingers and pursed her lips in concentration as she began to count on them. After a second of counting, she looked back up with wide eyes. “…A lot of fingers!”

Lincoln looked at the device nervously and quickly unplugged it. “Uh…let’s just…put this back…” He grinned nervously as he gingerly handed it back to Mike. “I just spent my allowance on comic books anyway…”

For good measure, he used the sleeve of his shirt to wipe off the device in Mike’s hand, chuckled nervously, and side-stepped away.

Mike grinned at Sam. “Yeah, I figured it was too much for you and your girl, but, I wanted to let you try it out.”

“Well, thanks anyway,” Luna said sadly, staring longingly at the pedal in his hands. “It’s a real rad piece of equipment. Whoever buys that baby will be one rockin’ dude.”

Sam looked Luna’s dejected expression and felt her heart break. She wished she came from a rich family so she could give Luna anything she wanted, but, she didn’t. Even if their band played every gig in Royal Woods, that amount of money was impossible to get when split four ways, plus Chunk’s share.

Luna finally pried her eyes away from the pedal and looked at Sam. The blonde wore a sympathetic pout on her face, causing Luna to shake herself out of her sadness.

“Well, you can’t always get what you want!” Luna proclaimed with fake cheerfulness. “I’m going to buy those dvds and then we can go home to get movie night started!”

Mike led Luna to the cash register so he could ring her items. Sam leaned over and picked up her clarinet case before heading towards the front of the store. Leni, Lori, and Lincoln followed her, but Lincoln stopped when he noticed Clyde stood in place.

“I gotta see those movies. I feel like I owe it to my fellow fans to spread the word about how bad they are,” Clyde told Lincoln in a haunted voice.

Lincoln raised an eyebrow at him and then said, “Well…we could ask Luna and Sam to join their movie night. It’s not like we have anything but comic reading planned.”

+0+0+0+0+

Luna ground her teeth as she sat on the Loud House’s living room couch. She was surrounded by complete chaos: her siblings talking, yelling, beating each other with pillows, throwing food around, and other stuff that normally Luna could ignore. Her planned movie night with Sam had become completely derailed when Clyde begged to watch the movies with them during dinner, and then, of course, the rest of her siblings wanted to do the same. Before Luna could say anything, Sam had agreed. Rita Loud told the other siblings that they had to go to bed after the two movies.

Luna moaned to herself and dragged her hands down her face. Sam was finally able to take a shower after Lynn Loud Sr. talked Sam’s ear off about the importance of cowbells in rock music history for over an hour, and then Lola dragged her upstairs for a short “talk over tea” that apparently was going to be her new tradition with all of the Louds’ boyfriends and girlfriends. Luna could only imagine what horrors Sam experienced in Lola’s room.

“Sam’s never going to come back here…” Luna mumbled to herself.

She looked up when a bowl of popcorn and a plate of cookies were placed besides her. Rita smiled sympathetically down at Luna.

“It was really nice of you and Sam to let everyone watch movies with you,” Rita said.

Luna groaned, “I would’ve said no, but Sam said yes before I could.”

Rita chuckled, “Aw, Sweetie, Sam is just trying to be nice to us because she really likes you. Trust me…once she gets comfortable being part of the family, she’ll say no to things……and pretend to be sick to get out of family events. …And then you’ll awkwardly run into each other at the mall on the day of the event...”

“Uh…” Luna said, confused.

“Oh come on!” Lynn Sr.’s voice cried from the kitchen. “That was one time!”

Rita went back into the kitchen. “I was with my parents, Lynn! You said you were in the hospital! It was embarrassing!”

Luna sighed as her parents’ voices added to the chaos in the house. She glanced over at Lynn Jr. who grunted loudly as she did push-ups.

“I don’t get why you gotta be here too. You don’t like girly movies,” Luna said.

Lynn Jr. stood up and began to do jumping jacks. “I’m good at physical endurance tests, but I gotta test my mental endurance once in awhile too! This marathon of bad movies is a great way to do it!”

Luna rolled her eyes and pulled out her phone. Sam had been in the bathroom for over twenty minutes, and Luna was sure she was trying to find a way to escape. Suddenly, Sam hurried down the stairs, dressed in a band t-shirt and pajama shorts. She held a towel to her head, rubbing at her still wet hair.

“Sorry! I’m back!” she announced to Luna.

Luna blinked blankly, eyes huge and honed in on Sam. Sam’s hair clung to her glowing skin and framed her long neck. Her shirt and shorts were damp as well, outlining her lanky body. Luna gulped and crossed her legs tightly on the couch.

Sam bounced onto the couch next to Luna with a grin. “I would’ve been out sooner, but…” She draped the towel around her shoulders and bent over to reveal Hops stuck to the top of her head. “…This little guy wanted to soak in the sink.”

“Hops!” Lana scolded as she rushed over to collect her pet. “What did I tell you about bathroom privacy?!”

Hops let out an unapologetic ribbit before he hopped under Lana’s hat. Lana rushed back to where she put down a blanket, got on all fours, turned in circles much like a dog would, and curled up ontop of it. Luna groaned with embarrassment as Sam grinned.

“I’m really sorry, Sam,” Luna moaned.

“Why? Your family is fun,” Sam reassured.

Luna looked down glumly. “You’re just saying that because you like me.”

Sam smirked and teased, “Who said anything about liking you?”

Luna looked back up with a grin and lightly punched Sam’s shoulder with a laugh. “You totally like me, you dork!”

“Hm…I dunno…” Sam giggled.

At the kitchen entrance, Lincoln watched Luna and Sam play fight with each other while laughing. He smiled and turned to go back into the kitchen to retrieve some gluten-free snacks for Clyde to eat, but ran right into Lori. He yelped and bounced off her body, landing backwards onto the ground. Lori didn’t even seem to notice him as she clutched her phone in her hands and watched Sam and Luna with sparkly eyes.

“Those two are literally the cutest,” Lori sighed. She looked down at her phone. “…Well…after Boo-Boo Bear and I, of course.”

Lincoln got up and rubbed his backside. “I gotta admit, they really do make a nice pair. And, bonus, I haven’t been yelled at and blasted backwards into a wall by a guitar rift in a long time.” He smiled and marched to the fridge. “I’m happy for Luna…and for my own well-being.”

Lori didn’t seem to hear him as she sighed again. Lincoln opened the fridge, looked back at Lori and rolled his eyes at being ignored. Lori was obviously compensating for not being able to see Bobby like she use to since he moved to the city. He just hoped Lori would leave Luna and Sam alone during the movies.

Lynn Sr. peeked out of the kitchen at Sam and Luna. He ducked back inside and scratched his head. “Do I need to give Sam the talk? I talked to Bobby…do I need to do the talk with a girlfriend?”

Rita rolled her eyes at him. “Oh, Honey. Sam is fine. Besides, you should be worried. I don’t think I’ve seen those two even hold hands yet…”

“Why should I be worried about that? That’s the kind of news I want!” Lynn Sr. replied with a smile. Then he looked down and rubbed his chin. “Well, that’s one less talk I gotta do. …Is Benny coming over anytime soon?”

Behind him, digging through a cabinet, Luan shot up and stared wide-eyed at her father before quietly sneaking out of the kitchen. Rita sighed and shook her head.

Luan crept into the living room and quickly took a seat on the floor and hid under her blanket. Luna looked at her sister, confused, before she turned back to Sam.

“Oh yeah! I keep forgetting to show you this,” Luna said as she held her phone in both her hands and leaned towards Sam. “It’s a Japanese girl band, and there’s this one point in this song that the two guitarists play the same music at the same time but in different chords and ugh…it’s so good!”

Sam slid close to Luna and leaned over to watch the video on the phone. As the video played the Japanese band, Sam found her mind wandering to Luna. Luna always smelled good… Sam felt a blush burn across her cheeks as she peeked at Luna who was looking down at the video. The blonde girl inwardly kicked herself and went back to trying to concentrate on the video.

Meanwhile, Luna couldn’t hear the music over the loud heartbeats in her ears. Sam was close, very close, with her warm thigh touching Luna’s. It was silly how excited she got when Sam was close to her, and part of her worried how she would react if they ever…kissed. Luna gulped and glanced over at Sam. The girl’s eyes were focused on the screen, lips parted slightly. Luna quickly looked away as her body burned and her palms began to sweat.

“Aw man, that was so good!” Sam said as she looked up excitedly at Luna.

Luna blinked. “Huh?” She looked back down at the screen. “Oh yeah! We should try something like that for one of our songs!”

“Dude, that would be so cool!” Sam agreed.

“You know what’s totes not cool?” Leni interrupted as she approached the girls with the ‘Janet and the Kitty Girls’ dvd. She took in a deep breath, pointed at the cover with the three band members wearing shiny, ugly clothing, and sobbed, “Early 2000s fashion!”

Lola looked up from brushing her hair. “Wait, those aren’t costumes?! People actually wore that stuff?!”

“The dark ages…” Leni whispered with wide, distant eyes.

Luna took the dvd from her hand, stood up, and walked Leni back to where she set up her own blanket. “If you can’t handle it, go back to your room. We’re watching it now.”

Leni shook her head determinedly and sat down on her blanket. “No, I’ll stay! I have to learn from the past’s mistakes so they can never happen again!”

Luna sighed and went over to the dvd player and placed the dvd in. After the dvd menu appeared on the screen, she sat back down on the couch.

“WOO! Bring on the PAIN!” Lynn Jr. cheered as she dropped to a sitting position on the ground.

Lucy lied back, crossed her hands over her chest, and held still. “Finally, I get to experience the kind of misery many of the tortured souls of the other realm experienced before their hearts stopped beating.”

Luna turned to the slightly disturbed looking Sam with a crooked, humiliated grin. “Heh… She jokes…”

Rita, with Lily in her arms, and Lynn Sr. appeared from the kitchen and walked towards the stairs.

“Good night, kids!” Lynn Sr. called as he began to climb the stairs with Rita trailing behind him.

“Don’t forget – after those two movies are over, it’s straight to bed. Lori and Leni, make sure that happens,” Rita announced.

“Yes Mom,” Lori and Leni said together.

Rita winked at Sam and Luna. Luna cringed and moaned in her throat while Sam blushed. Rita smirked and then climbed the rest of the stairs.

Luan peeked out of her blanket and then removed it, sighing with relief. She stood and turned to the others.

“Time for the show!” Luan announced with a huge smile. She zipped over to Sam and Luna, and then began to joke, “We have a special guest: Pajamas Sam!”

Luna facepalmed and groaned, “Oh no…”

Sam, oblivious to Luna’s pained expression, said, “Hah ha, I use to like that game.”

Luan continued, much to the displeasure of everyone else, “We should make this a BI-weekly thing, right Luna?! Sam says: LEZ-begin! Ha ha ha ha!”

“LUAN!” Lori angrily barked.

“I didn’t get the last two jokes…,” Leni whispered to Lisa.

Lisa sighed as she adjusted her eyeglasses, “I will explain it to you when you get older.”

The sisters finally settled down as the movie began. Lincoln and Clyde lied closest to the tv, backs facing the girls. Clyde’s eyes were glued to the screen, the comic books spread out in front of him, unread. Lincoln glanced over at his friend and then went back to looking through his own comics. But, as the movie went on, he found himself becoming engrossed in the movie.

It was about three best friends who were inseparable, even when things were hard for their garage band. Then, they became famous overnight (mostly because the villains were brainwashing teenagers through their music) and the fame got to the band leader’s head. She told the other two she no longer needed them and planned to go solo. Although they got back together at the end, Lincoln found himself deeply disturbed.

He glanced back at Sam and Luna who were listening to Leni and Lola complained about the costumes, hair, and make-up in the movie. Luna was determined to be a rock star, and she already proved she would even go solo to achieve her dream. Sam was just as musically talented as Luna, but Lincoln had never hung out with her, so he didn’t know if she saw it more as a hobby or as an actual career path like Luna did. Either way, Sam could go solo too…and then they would break-up…and then he would be in a rock documentary talking about how good of a musician his sister and her girlfriend were before the horrible break-up…and the horrible accident…and then the horrible--- He shook his head to clear the increasingly dark thoughts: it was just a movie. He had no reason to worry…right?

“How unrealistic was that movie! Am I right?” Lincoln said in a loud voice with a fake laugh. “They start off best friends and then they have one fight and break apart the band! That never happens! …Right?”

Luna shook her head. “It happens to the best of them, Little Brah.”

Lincoln’s face dropped. “…You mean…?”

“When Berry left the ‘Spice Rack Gals’ and then they broke up after, it literally shattered me,” Lori said with a sad sigh.

“I’ll never forget ‘Desert Pond’ breaking up on stage infront of their fans! Ugh, the bad blood between those brothers denied the world great music,” Sam mourned.

Lincoln felt his heart race as his other sisters recounted band break-ups that Lincoln never heard of. Their words became like trombone sounds in his head as his mind began to race with worry. They’re just movies, works of fiction, they probably over-exaggerated everything. It’s fine. They’re fine.  Luna’s fine.

“Uh…why do you want headphones?” Lincoln heard Luna slowly ask Lisa as he rejoined the conversation.

Lisa held a notepad in her hand, pages filled with notes, and a pen in her hand. “Oh…no reason…it’s not like I got an idea to create brainwashing headphones like in the movie... That’s scientifically impossible anyway!”

A disturbing grin smeared across her face.

Luna sighed, “…There’s green ones in my top drawer.”

Lisa grabbed her blanket, stood up, and flew up the stairs towards Luna and Luan’s room. “Appreciated! I’ll fix them right up and return them when I’m done calibrating---er---listening to music!”

Luna looked over at Lori who wore a matching exasperated look, “…I’m going to get brainwashed, aren’t I?”

“Yup,” her other sisters confirmed at once.

Sam suddenly raised an eyebrow and pointed towards Clyde. “Uh…Clyde? Are you okay?”

Lincoln blinked and turned to look at Clyde. Clyde had his fists clenched on the floor infront of him, his body trembling, and his lips sucked into his mouth.

As soon as Sam asked him that, Clyde stood up, faced the sisters, and exploded, “Did the directors even READ the comics?! Or watch the classic cartoon?! What was that?! Everything was---“

He suddenly gasped for air as the kids looked worried for him. Clyde fumbled around his pockets and retrieved his inhaler to take a deep breath out of it.

After his breathing calmed, he gasped, “Nevermind. I’ll review it on my blog.”

He slumped back onto the floor and curled up into his sleeping bag as Lincoln patted his back.

Lori stepped over her sisters on the ground as she approached the dvd player. “Uh…is he going to be okay? I’ve heard bad things about the next movie too.”

Clyde curled up tighter into his bag, voice muffled by it. “I owe it to the classic cartoons of the 70s and 80s to keep watching.”

Lori looked at Lincoln skeptically who offered her a shrug of his shoulders. She replaced the dvd in the player with the next movie and let it start. After almost halfway into the boring movie, the younger Loud sisters began to fall asleep. Leni fell asleep too, leaned against the side of the couch. Lori had long stopped paying attention to the movie and was texting Bobby.

Meanwhile, once again, Lincoln was glued to the tv. Clyde had fallen asleep, muttering and whimpering about the changes from the cartoon he loved, but Lincoln was wide awake. Once again, the plot revolved around a closely knit group of adopted sisters and friends…until the singer signed a contract to go solo. Like in the previous movie, it was presented as a typical thing that happened in the music world, confirming Lincoln’s fears. Luna wanted to go into a dirty business, and he was getting more and more upset about it.

Luna glanced nervously at Sam. She thought this movie would be so bad it was good, or, at the very least, they could make running commentary on it……but it was just bad. Movie night was going down in flames.

Sam looked over at Luna with a small, amused grin on her face and whispered, “They all have instruments in their hands, but the music is just electronic pop.”

Luna giggled and whispered back, “Yeah, the girl playing the bass is using her pick to strum it like it’s an electric guitar too.”

Sam snickered, “And the singer’s mouth isn’t even moving, look.”

Luna grinned and watched the terrible final performance of the band on the screen. She turned back to Sam when it was over and they both laughed. 

“Wow, that was bad,” Sam concluded with a stretch of her arms.

Luna agreed, “Yeah, I was never a fan of the original cartoon, but even I feel insulted.”

“And why can’t these movies hire people that can actually sing? Autotuning a terrible singer doesn’t disguise it,” Sam said with a full body cringe.

Lori peeked over her phone at the giggling girls and a small smile spread across her face. She casually got up and nudged Leni awake with her foot. “Come on, Leni. We promised Mom we’d put everyone to bed.”

Leni blinked blearily, yawned, and stood up. “Okay.”

Lori turned to where Lynn Jr. sat. Lynn’s eyes were wide and bloodshot as she rocked herself back and forth on the floor. “Uh…time for bed, Lynn…?”

Lynn shot up, arms thrown over her head. “Woo! I made it through both movies!” She grabbed her blanket, turned, and ran up the stairs. “I’m mentally invincible!”

Luan threw her blanket over her shoulder then looked down at Lucy who was flat on her back with her arms crossed over her chest. Luan held Mr. Coconuts forward to let him speak, “I think this one’s dying to go to bed.”

Luan spoke, “Hey! What’s a corpse’s favorite currency? …Cryptocurrency!”

Lucy sat up with a long, pained groan. “I wish I was on the other side so I didn’t have to hear that joke…”

She picked up her blanket and shuffled off with Luan behind her. Leni gathered the still sleeping Lola and Lana while Lori looked at Clyde and Lincoln. Clyde was actually asleep while Lincoln held his breath and pretended to be asleep, buried in his sleeping bag. He had to see the real rock documentaries to see what happened in them. He had to find out if being in a rock group guaranteed that Luna and Sam would eventually split up. He squeezed his eyes harder together as he heard Lori lean over them.

“What should I do about these two?” Lori wondered to herself.

“Eh, just leave ‘em,” Luna said with a wave of her hand. “If they wake up, Sam and I will send them to bed.”

Lori shrugged and followed Leni to the stairs. “Okay, good night you two. If you have any problems with them, let me know.”

“Good night,” Sam and Luna said at the same time to Lori and Leni.

Lori sighed happily as she followed Leni up the stairs. Once they were all in their rooms, Luna and Sam sat in silence, both looking at the dvd menu play on the television.

“I hope those Little Dudes stay asleep through these,” Luna said with a chuckle as she held up the two rock band documentary dvds. “There’s some stuff in these that’ll scar them for life.”

Lincoln’s eyes popped opened as he listened to the conversation. His back was to the girls and he was buried in his sleeping bag except for his eyes and forehead, so they wouldn’t notice he was awake.

Sam laughed, “Yeah, and I’m not good at explaining adult things to kids...just ask my little bro.”

Lincoln shut his eyes when he heard Luna walk over to the dvd player and switch dvds. Once he heard her walk back to the couch, he opened them again and watched the screen.

Luna hopped backwards onto the couch and purposely landed on Sam’s lap. “Oops!”

Sam laughed and wrapped her arms around Luna’s waist. “Smooth, Lunes. Now get your butt off of me.”

Luna laughed as Sam playfully rolled her off. The brunette girl went back to her original seat and grinned at the laughing Sam. Their laughter quieted down and they both stared into each others’ eyes.

Luna gazed into Sam’s eyes. They often looked into each others’ eyes, even when they were practicing the guitar together. It was often a comfortable stare that wordlessly expressed how much they meant to each other. But sometimes, it was a moment like this where Luna felt she should make a move to kiss Sam, but she was too scared to do so. It’s not like Luna didn’t want to kiss Sam, but her intrusive thoughts clouded her mind: You’ll mess it up. Sam will be disgusted by you. She’ll see you’re no good.

Sam looked away with a small smile, cheeks red. Luna gulped and looked back at the television, a blush also coloring her cheeks. Sam settled back into the couch to watch the documentary. Luna sat back with her, hands on her stomach. Suddenly, Sam leaned over and put her head on Luna’s. Luna smiled happily and leaned against Sam too, slipping her hand around Sam’s hand on the couch.

For four hours, Lincoln watched the documentaries with bloodshot eyes. Both the bands had broken up, whether from a tragedy, an egotistical band member, or both. Before he could see the final part of the last documentary, his eyes closed into a fitful sleep.

+0+0+0+0+

Lincoln, older now, raced over to a private jet waiting on the tarmac. “Luna, wait!”

Luna, also older in age, turned to her brother with a frown. Her eyes were hidden behind dark sunglasses, she wore a long fur coat with her rock and roll clothing underneath, and a stylish hat on her head. “Go away!”

Lincoln pled, “No! You can’t go solo and leave Sam behind! You love her! And what about Mazzy and Sully?!”

Luna scoffed, “I gotta a big opportunity here, Brah! They were holding me back! Who needs anything else besides rock, roll, fame, and lots of money?” She pointed to her jet. “Now if you excuse me, I gotta get on this jet and go. It’s foggy out and I got a pilot who has a mail-ordered license – I’m all set!”

She turned and went onto the jet.

“No! Luna! You can’t go on there, it’s going to crash! That’s what happens to all the rock stars! Luna!” Lincoln called uselessly after his sister.

Lincoln sat up from his sleep with a loud cry.

“Woah!” Clyde said as he stared at Lincoln, wide-eyed. “You okay?”

Lincoln wiped his brow and looked around. The living room was dark and Clyde was still in his sleeping bag while he watched early morning cartoons on the television. Lincoln turned his head to see Sam and Luna asleep on the couch. Sam lied on her back on one side of the couch with a half-eaten plate of cookies on her stomach, while Luna was stretched out on the other side.

Lincoln sighed with relief. “Yeah, sorry, I had a nightmare.”

“Your eyes are all red!” Clyde observed, looking at Lincoln’s bloodshot eyes with dark bags underneath them. “Did you sleep okay?”

Lincoln sighed, “No, not really…” He paused. “Didn’t those movies…kind of scare you?”

A shiver went up Clyde’s spine. “Yeah! I’m scared the future of Hollywood if they keep making live action remakes that terrible!”

Lincoln shook his head. “No, I mean…nevermind, you wouldn’t understand…”

Clyde looked confused as Lincoln turned away to watch the cartoon on the screen. “Lincoln, are you---?”

“Ready for breakfast?!” Lynn Sr. asked as he came out of the kitchen with plates of bacon, eggs, and toast on his arms.

Lincoln yelped with surprise as Clyde turned happily to where Mr. Loud stood. Lincoln’s yelp woke up Luna who blinked blearily and rubbed her face.

“Wha…? Breakfast?” Luna mumbled sleepily.

She stopped and looked down at her feet and legs. They were tangled with Sam’s with one of her feet pressed inbetween Sam’s legs. She blushed, screeched and flew backwards to the very end of her side of the couch. With the movement, Sam woke up, confused and panicked at the scream, and fell off the couch with a thud, her cookies flying into the air and spilling onto the couch.

“Omigosh! Sam! I’m sorry!” Luna apologized frantically.

Sam rubbed her head, still half asleep. “For what?” She blinked when Mr. Loud set a plate infront of her. “Ooo, breakfast! Nice, Mr. Loud!”

“Thanks Mr. Loud,” Clyde thanked as Mr. Loud set plates infront of Lincoln and Clyde next.

“Thanks, Dad,” Lincoln yawned.

“Woah! Brah, you look terrible,” Luna observed as she accepted a plate from Mr. Loud.

Lynn Sr. looked at Lincoln and agreed, “Did you get any sleep, Son?”

Lincoln looked back and forth between Sam, who was already eating her breakfast, and Luna who watched Lincoln. He hung his head. “I’m fine. I was just…too close to the tv last night.”

+0+0+0+0+

A few hours later, Clyde had gone home with his fathers, leaving Lincoln alone with his thoughts. He stepped outside the house and turned his head to the garage where Luna and Sam went to play their guitars.

Guitars. Rock and roll. Start off as best friends playing music, end with break-ups, and then tragedies.

Lincoln gulped and dug his hands into his pockets. As casually as he possibly could, he strode over to the open garage while he whistled. As he got closer, he heard the electronic hum of a speaker, but no music. He peeked into the garage to see Luna with a notebook in her hand, reading off lyric ideas to Sam. Sam sat on top of one of the two speakers, Luna’s bass guitar in her lap and her easy-going grin on her face.

“Uh…h-hey guys!” Lincoln greeted. “I didn’t know you were in here, heh…”

Luna looked up from her notebook. “’Sup, Brah? Sam and I are just going over some ideas for a new song.”

“I got an idea!” Lincoln proclaimed. “How about…your band switches over to country music? Did you two know that the country band the Yolk Boys have been playing together for almost fifty years? I’m sure you can use some of that teenage angst you have to write some good songs about heartbreak and stuff!”

Luna raised an eyebrow at Lincoln. “Uh… we’ll stick to that old time rock and roll. It’s the kinda music that soothes the soul, you know?.”

“Although, country rock does have a lot of great guitarists,” Sam said to Luna. She chuckled and added, “But…Mazzy said if Sully and I ever made her play country music, she would impale us with her drum sticks.”

Luna blinked. “Dude, Mazzy is intense.”

Lincoln’s brain frantically searched for another idea to get Luna and Sam to quit their rock and roll dreams. “Uh, well, um…” He put two fingers to the sides of his head and tried to think faster. Suddenly, the image of the multi effects pedal Luna wanted flashed into his mind. “H-how are you ever going to hope to compete with everyone else if you can’t afford a pedal?”

Luna frowned, placed her notebook down, and picked up her electric guitar. Her eyes flashed dangerously as she slowly stepped towards Lincoln. Lincoln gulped: he had gone too far.

“What are you getting at? Why are you in here bothering us about our music?! Are you saying we’re no good?!” Luna challenged, her voice rising with each question.

The speaker the guitar was attached to began to crackle ominously. Luna raised her guitar pick in the air, holding the guitar so that it directly faced Lincoln. Lincoln squeezed his eyes closed and prepared to get blasted backwards.

“Woah, hey, calm down, Lunes,” Sam interjected from her seat on the speaker. “He’s not saying that at all.”

Luna glanced back at Sam and then glared daggers at Lincoln. She let go of the guitar, letting it dangle around her body by the guitar strap she wore. She whispered in a menacing voice, “You’re lucky Sam’s here.”

Sam watched Luna march back to the speaker where she had placed her notebook down. By now, Sam could sense when Luna was getting angry, and knew all the signs. She wasn’t sure what Luna was going to do to Lincoln, but by the way the young boy shut his eyes and shielded himself with his arms, she knew it wasn’t anything good. Once she saw that Luna had calmed down, she looked back at Lincoln.

“A lot of rock stars start off with just a guitar and no money to their names. Just because Luna doesn’t have a fancy pedal, doesn’t mean our band won’t ever be successful,” Sam explained.

Lincoln rubbed his arm, feeling guilty. “Yeah, I know, but---“

Luna stared off dreamily. “But man, it would be so nice to have that pedal. It would make rockin’ some tunes so much sweeter.”

Sam looked at Luna’s dreamy expression and then looked down at her feet. Buying that pedal for Luna would make her so happy…

Luna snapped out of daydreaming about the pedal and turned back to Lincoln. “Anyway, we gotta get back to brainstorming, so, if you don’t mind…”

Luna made a ‘shoo’ motion with her hand at Lincoln while Sam smiled apologetically. Lincoln sighed in defeat and sulked out of the garage. He went back inside the house and let out a dramatic sigh after entering. Lori was seated on the couch, typing on her phone. Lincoln dragged his feet over to the couch and jump landed face first down into its cushions.

Lori barely looked up from her phone as she sighed and asked in a slightly annoyed tone, “What’s wrong, Lincoln?”

Lincoln rolled over onto his back. “I dunno…those movies last night got me really freaked out about Luna becoming a rock star. Luna said it’s common that these bands all have bad break-ups and then horrible things happen to them. …Or horrible things happen and then they break-up!” He sighed, frustrated. “But she still wants to go through with it, and with Sam, too.”

Lori put down her phone and looked at her brother. “Lincoln, that kind of stuff doesn’t happen to all bands. A lot of them just move on to other things but stay friends.”

Lincoln sat up and looked at Lori hopefully. “They do?”

Lori nodded. “Yup. And besides, Luna and Sam will be fine. They already got past the part of the relationship where they realize that they have a lot of differences, and they dealt with it.”

Lincoln asked, “But…what about their band? Luna has already tried to go solo, who says she won’t try it again? Or that Sam will?”

Lori shook her head. “Luna had her diva moment, she’s fine, Lincoln.”

“But---!”

Lori interrupted her brother in a loud voice, “She’s fine!”

Lincoln looked away as Lori went back to texting on her phone. He wasn’t entirely convinced, but he did feel better. Lincoln hopped off the couch and went upstairs to his room.

They’re fine.

+0+0+0+0+

A week later, Lincoln and Clyde raced up the stairs of the Loud House. Lincoln held a bag from the comic book store in one hand as he flung open his room door and then shut it behind Clyde. Lincoln tossed the bag away and held out a box: Build-The-High-Roller Model.

“I can’t believe we got the last one!” Clyde exclaimed, holding his cheeks as he stared starry-eyed at the box.

Lincoln nodded. “I know!” He opened the box and dumped the tiny pieces onto his bed. “Okay Clyde, got the model paints?”

Clyde zipped over to his backpack on the ground and pulled out some model paints and brushes. “Got them!”

Lincoln squatted down beside his bed. “These are tiny pieces, we have to be very careful when we---“

Suddenly, the loud booming of a guitar rocked the entire house, sending the pieces into the air. Lincoln yelped and caught the pieces as they plummeted back down. The guitar music continued to roar, vibrating everything in Lincoln’s room.

Clyde had his hands over his ears as he shouted over the music, “I thought you said Luna wouldn’t be home!”

Lincoln shouted back, “I thought so too! Fridays are usually when she’s out with Sam!” He put all the pieces back into the box and weighed it down with his pillows. “I’ll go ask her to turn it down!”

Lincoln made his way through the hallway and opened the door to Luna and Luan’s room. He screamed as he flew backwards and into the wall. The guitar music came to a stop as Lincoln flopped to the ground.

“’Sup, Little Brah?” Luna asked as she watched Lincoln push himself back up on his feet.

Lincoln brushed himself off. “I thought you go out on Fridays. What are you doing home by yourself?”

Luna shrugged. “Sam’s been pretty tied-up with clarinet practice. She plays in the school’s jazz assembly, and their show is coming up soon. So, here I am, rocking you like a hurricane.”

“Oh, okay. Can you just turn down the volume from an 11 to a 5?” Lincoln asked.

Luna winked and nodded. “You got it!”

She closed the door and Lincoln went back to his room. The guitar music resumed, but this time much quieter. He sighed with relief as he closed the door behind him.

“Uh…Lincoln? That last guitar blast really shook things up in here,” Clyde said slowly. He turned to Lincoln, model paint all over his clothing. “I think we need to go back to the comic store…”

+0+0+0+0+

Lori led Lincoln and Clyde back into the mall angrily. “You two have one hour, that’s it! I’m done driving you for a week, Lincoln!”

Lincoln and Clyde raced off with Lincoln calling over his shoulder, “Got it! Sorry, Lori! Thanks!”

The two ran up the escalator and then ran past the food court where guitar music was being played. Lincoln glanced over at the noise to see the children’s play area the mall set-up had a group of small children sitting attentively infront of…

Lincoln skidded to a halt. “Sam?!”

He blinked as Clyde slid to a halt next to him and looked too. Sam was too far away to hear the boys, so Lincoln and Clyde could speak without being heard.

“Huh, I didn’t know Sam played children’s music,” Clyde said.

Lincoln shook his head. “But…Luna said she was at band practice. Why would Sam lie to her?”

“Uh…Lincoln? She’s playing children’s songs, of course she wouldn’t want Luna to know,” Clyde explained flatly. “Have you told Ronnie Anne that you dress up as a clown when Luan needs your help at birthday parties?”

Lincoln placed his hands on his hips, looking indignant. “Of course I do! I’ll have you know, clowning is an actual career with its own school.”

Clyde nodded. “I agree, but, you have to remember that Sam and Luna are teenagers. They got all those hormones that make them insecure and itchy, so Sam probably felt too embarrassed to tell Luna the truth.”

Lincoln sighed, “Yeah, that’s true. Sorry, Clyde. Those movies really scared me: I just want Luna and Sam to be happy together. …Also alive, both of them at the same time, preferably.”

Clyde patted Lincoln’s shoulder. “It’s okay, Buddy. I understand.”

Lincoln caught a glimpse of the mall clock hanging on the ceiling. “Oops! We better hurry to the comic store!”

+0+0+0+0+

Sam felt her lower eyelid twitch uncontrollably as she placed her guitar back in its case. A half hour straight of singing children’s songs had fried her nerves. She placed a hand over her twitching eye to force it to stop. Sam felt her rock and roll pride dripping out of every pore in her body, but the children’s musician gig was good money. The Royal Woods Mall’s event coordinators were trying to attract more families into the mall instead of the usual crowd of bored teenagers.

She smirked to herself: if Luna was there, she would’ve gone nuts, broken out into a rock song, and then she would’ve “stage dived” into the crowd of fragile, doe-eyed children. Sam managed to keep herself composed for the entire half hour, but by the end her fingers itched to play some real music.

Sam looked up at the mall clock and noted the time: 4pm. In an hour, she had to go to jazz assembly practice…another long session of not being able to rock and roll.

“It’s worth it,” Sam promised herself as she picked up her case. “Do it for her.”

Suddenly, a man’s voice called out her name. She stopped and turned to see a tall, dark-haired man in a full business suit running over to her. It was the mall’s event coordinator, her payment in his hand.

“Thank you again for coming on short notice. The regular woman who sings to the children had some sort of puppet accident…I didn’t want to know,” he explained. “Anyway, I would like you to be a regular.”

Sam chuckled nervously, “W-well…my uh…schedule is weird so I don’t know if I could become a regular… But I can definitely fill-in for awhile.” She paused. “Oh, by the way, I’m in a rock band too! We’re available for gigs. Luna Loud is---“

“Luna Loud?!” he interrupted with an annoyed look. “Hmm. Last week, I got many complaints saying Luna Loud and a blonde girl were blasting guitar music inside the Guitar Shop. ……That wasn’t you, was it?”

Sam froze, wide-eyed, and then dug her hands into her jacket. “Whaaat…? Me…? No…! I was just going to say Luna Loud is a big fan of ours! ...Ha ha…”

She gave him a twisted, nervous grin as he studied her closely. He shrugged after a moment and then handed her the check he had in his hand.

“GAAAH!”

Sam blinked and turned towards the familiar cry across the way. There was nobody there except for an elderly couple sitting on a bench.

Meanwhile, Lincoln was pinned to the ground by Clyde, his hands covering Lincoln’s mouth. They hid behind a large group of candy dispensers across from the food court.

Lincoln rolled out of Clyde’s grasp and peeked past the dispensers to watch in horror as Sam stuck the check into her jacket pocket.

“Sam’s going solo, Clyde! Look! A check! From a well-dressed business man!” Lincoln yelped.

Clyde shook his head. “I’m pretty sure that’s just someone who works here…”

“You don’t get it, Clyde! This is how it begins! Someone recognizes someone from a rock band, they entice them to work for them, and the next thing you know they’re going solo and the rest of the band gets angry and breaks-up or is gets some replacement but everyone knows they will never be the same again and---!” Lincoln ranted hysterically.

Clyde grabbed Lincoln’s shirt collar, turned him, and slapped him across the face. “Sorry!”

Lincoln shook his head and rubbed his cheek. “Whew, thanks Clyde. I needed that.”

The boys peeked out again to see Sam walking towards the escalator, her guitar case strapped on her back.

“Come on, let’s follow her!” Lincoln said and charged off.

Clyde sighed and reluctantly ran after him, muttering, “I still think you’re acting crazy, but, okay…”

Sam stepped onto the escalator and pulled out her phone. Mazzy had texted her a few minutes ago to remind her about jazz practice. Thankfully, Mazzy was in it with her, making it more bearable than it would’ve been without any of her friends. She looked up from her phone and froze: Lori Loud was standing at the main entrance, looking angry. Sam couldn’t let Lori see her – she was awful at lying. Once she got off the escalator, she sneaked around it and made her way to the other mall exit inside a department store.

Clyde and Lincoln rushed down the rest of the escalator steps and looked around.

“Dang it, we lost her,” Lincoln huffed.

“There you two are!” Lori barked once she saw them. “Your time is up – let’s go!”

Lincoln frowned. “But we have fifteen more minutes left!”

Lori pointed to the doors. “Move it!”

Lincoln pleaded, “Lori, you don’t---!”

Lori stabbed her finger towards the doors again. “Now, Lincoln!”

Lincoln sighed and hung his head. Clyde patted his back and walked over to Lori with Lincoln trailing behind. Lori watched the boys saunter past her with her arms crossed, one eyebrow raised.

Once inside Vanzilla, Lori looked into the rearview mirror to see Lincoln slumped in his seat and Clyde inspecting their new model paints.

“What is your deal, Lincoln?” Lori finally had to ask as she pulled out of the parking space.

Clyde answered for Lincoln, “He’s upset because he saw Sam talking to some business-y guy.”

“Sam?” Lori asked.

Lincoln launched forward in his seat. “Luna said Sam told her she was at jazz practice, but we saw her in the mall playing her guitar for little kids! And then she got paid for it and had a long discussion with that business-y guy!”

Lori rolled her eyes. “Not this again, Lincoln… I told you, they’re fine. Luna plays solo gigs all the time, so it’s no surprise Sam does too.”

Lincoln crossed his arms. “But why lie about it? You’d be upset if Bobby lied to you!”

Lori laughed him off. “Um, one: Boo-Boo Bear would never lie to me. And two: rock and roll musicians have a rep they want to keep up. Playing the guitar for little children is literally something they don’t want to be caught dead doing.”

Clyde nodded. “See? I told you, Lincoln.”

Lincoln frowned. “I dunno. Sam just doesn’t seem the type to care about her reputation. Oh well…”

He looked out the window and Clyde went back to inspecting each tub of paint. Lori’s eyes widened and then her eyebrows lowered with concern.

+0+0+0+0+

Two weeks later, Luna lied splayed on the couch, looking at her phone. Her latest text to Sam had gone unread for several hours. She sighed and rolled onto her stomach, kicking herself for becoming like Lori. Sam had her own life, and it wasn’t like Luna was always off doing her own thing or hanging out with her brother and sisters. However, after the sleepover, and having so much fun with Sam at it, she found herself wanting to see her, text her, and call her every day.

[Stop it,] Luna scolded herself as she hopped off the couch. [You’re being too needy, you’ll scare Sam away.]

She paused and listened: it was too quiet for a house full of children. Luna peeked up the stairs and began to climb them, but as soon as she got halfway up, Leni practically leaped down the stairs to block her.

“Hi, Luna!” Leni said a little too cheerfully.

“Uh…hi?” Luna replied flatly. “Excuse me.”

She tried to get past Leni, but Leni blocked her with a strained smile on her face.

“Uh, hello? I said excuse me,” Luna growled.

Leni’s eyes darted around frantically. “Oh, um, actually, can you…help me tie my shoes?”

Luna looked down at Leni’s sandaled feet and then looked back up at Leni, exasperated. “You can’t tie sandals.”

Leni blocked Luna again when the brunette tried to dodge around her. “You can’t go upstairs! Lisa…Lisa is planning to use her brainwashing headphones on you!”

Luna sighed and retreated back down the stairs with Leni following her. “Ugh, I knew it! Those were my headphones!”

Leni sighed with relief behind Luna’s back and then took her by the shoulders. “Nevermind that! Let’s get some ice cream…and talk! We never talk.”

Luna rolled her eyes and let Leni push her into the kitchen. “Whatever…got nothing else to do anyway.”

Upstairs, Lana shut the door to Lori and Leni’s room and gave a thumbs up. Lori stood at the front of the room with Lisa who was beside a large screen and laptop.

Lola held out her hands, fingers splayed, as she grouchily sat on Leni’s bed. “I thought we agreed Sibling Meetings happen at a set time! My nails aren’t dry yet! Somebody better be dying!”

Lori looked serious. “Sorry, Lola, but things have gotten serious since our last meeting!” She turned to Lisa. “Lisa?”

Lisa adjusted her glasses and began to read the minutes from the last meeting. “In our last meeting, Luna was not present due to the nature of our conversation pertaining to one Sam Sharp. According to reports by both Lincoln and Clyde, Sam has been misrepresenting to Luna her whereabouts on certain occasions. Lincoln has concluded that, a.) Sam is going ‘solo,’ and, b.) This act of going ‘solo’ in the rock and roll industry precedes a total breakdown of the relationship of the band, which means a total breakdown of the relationship between Luna and Sam.”

She touched the keyboard on her laptop. On the screen, a written report labeled ‘Psychological Profile: Sam (Samantha?) Sharp’ appeared with various pictures of Sam taken by hidden cameras. One picture was Sam, wrapped in a towel, giving Hops a bubble bath in the sink; the picture appeared to have been taken behind the bathroom mirror. Everyone but Lisa let out a loud, unified gasp.

“You have a hidden camera in the bathroom mirror?!” Lola angrily yelled.

“Gasp,” Lucy deadpanned, turning to Lisa with her hands on her cheeks.

Lisa rolled her eyes. “Of course I have a camera in the bathroom, I have one in every other ro---I mean…n-not important. But do not worry; I cannot see any of you using the toilet from this angle…sadly for my stool sample collection process…”

“We’ll talk about this later. Continue,” Lori sighed.

Lisa continued, “I proceeded to induce, based on a number of secret tests and observations I made whenever Sam was here, that there was a 0.02 percent chance of Sam taking the ‘solo’ route and ‘breaking up’ with Luna. This conclusion was made based on the following facts: One, I observed that Sam thrives in a group environment thus she would not enjoy a ‘solo’ career; Two, Sam is exclusively interested in women thus breaking up with Luna would mean breaking up with one of the very few women her age in our town who would be interested in such a relationship; Three, I pretended to be Sam and filled out a teen magazine quiz about finding a perfect soulmate and Sam’s more easy-going personality means that she is well-matched with the more wild and temperamental Luna, and Four……she gave me her biscuit at the dinner table when I accidentally dropped mine on the floor…which was very nice of her. She’s nice.”

Lynn spun a basketball on her finger and said with a laugh, “Very scientific.”

Lisa cleared her throat and concluded, “We concluded the meeting by agreeing that Lincoln was clinically insane, but, we agreed to keep an eye out on Sam’s whereabouts anyway.”

Lori nodded firmly. “Thank you, Lisa. Now, I’ve been told a number of you have caught Sam in more lies. Who wants to go first?”

Lincoln’s hand shot into the air. “Clyde and I saw Sam at the mall playing her guitar for the kids again! And that same man was back! They had a really long at a table and he made Sam sign something!”

The others, except for an uninterested looking Lola, gasped loudly.

Lana waved her hand in the air. “At our last game, the other team’s mascot with a guitar and I got a feeling it was her, so I paid someone on the team to follow it into the lockers. I was right: it was Sam! I texted Luna to ask what she was doing, and Luna said she was just ‘chilling’ because Sam was shopping for a concert dress with her mom!”

Lana shouted out, “Hops and I were in the pond at the park, and we saw Sam walking a bunch of dogs! But earlier that day, I saw Luna moping on the couch because Sam wasn’t answering her texts.”

Lucy deadpanned, “I was in the graveyard, pondering our meaningless existences, when I heard and saw Sam playing sad guitar music for a funeral procession. I was deeply moved…until I found out she lied to Luna that she was tuning that same guitar at home. Now rage burns within me. Argh.”

Lori nodded gravely. Lola blew on her nails and rolled her eyes.

“To me, it just sounds like Sam really needs money for something. You all are over-reacting, as usual,” Lola said.

Lana interjected, “Yeah, but, what’s with the lies?”

Lola scoffed, “Please, everyone lies. Especially when they don’t want their girlfriend to know they’re dressing up in a giant rabbit suit or walking a bunch of stinky dogs!”

Lincoln shook his head. “Oh no, wait until what you hear Luan’s story! Tell her, Luan!”

Luan, seated on the room’s vanity stool, turned dramatically with Mr. Coconuts in her hand. “Actually, Mr. Coconuts saw Sam. I’ll let him tell you what happened.”

Mr. Coconuts took off his hat, closed his eyes, and sat silently for a bit. Lori grinded her teeth before she lunged herself at Mr. Coconuts, grabbing him by his collar and shaking him violently.

“Well?! Tell us, you dumb puppet! What did you see?!” Lori practically screamed.

Lynn, Lincoln, and Lana dragged her away from Mr. Coconuts while telling her to calm down.

“Yikes! I was just pausin’ for dramatic effect!” Mr. Coconuts said, straightening his collar with his tiny hands. “Luan and I were at some big-shot’s birthday party, clownin’ around, when I sees Sam with her guitar talkin’ to Mr. Big-Shot himself. Youze knows him as the event coordinator at the Mall, but, what youze didn’t knows about him is that he’s a big-time music producer too!”

The other siblings, except Lola, gasped.

“So?” Lola asked. “He knows a good musician when he sees one and he hired her for some stuff, who cares?”

Luan gave Lola an annoyed look. “No, it means he’s going to recruit Sam! He keeps giving her work, why wouldn’t he?!”

Lisa rubbed her chin. “So that paper Sam signed at the mall must have been a contract.” She pulled out her calculator and punched numbers into it. “If that’s true…this raises the possibility of Sam going ‘solo’ by 50 percent!”

Lincoln flew off his seat on the bed. “We have to do something! I’m going to tell Luna!”

Lola checked to see if her nails were dry, leaped off the bed, landed on the bed Lincoln was on, grabbed Lincoln’s shirt collar, and pulled him nose-to-nose with her. “No you’re not! You guys don’t have one piece of solid evidence!” She released Lincoln who dropped to the floor. “Look, I don’t care about anyone’s love life…except for mine…but, this is ridiculous! Why don’t you ask Sam what she’s doing?”

Lori snapped her fingers. “That’s it! We’ll confront Sam at the jazz concert on Saturday! Leni can distract Luna so she doesn’t come with us.”

The other siblings, except Lola again, agreed with each other excitedly.

“Well have fun with that, I’m not going. Speaking of going, can I go now? I want to add glitter to these bad girls,” Lola asked as she wiggled her fingers.

“This Sibling Meeting is now adjourned,” Lori announced. “No one lies to my sister and gets away with it...”

+0+0+0+0+

That Friday afternoon, Luna set up the garage with various speakers scattered around for the best sound. It had been weeks since Sam and her got to hang out together, and Luna was beginning to understand how Lori felt when she and Bobby weren’t able to talk to each other for ten minutes.

“’Sup, Lunes?”

Luna beamed and looked up, but then her face dropped with worry. Sam stood at the garage entrance, wobbling under the weight of her bass guitar strapped on her back, one hand in the air in greeting. She had heavy bags under her eyes that were so dark, they looked like make-up.

“Dude!” Luna gasped as she raced over to Sam and then gently led her to a speaker. Once Sam hopped on, Luna took her bass off her back and placed it on the ground. “Are you okay? Do you just want to forget about it and go home? I’ll get Lori or my parents to drive---“

Sam let out a giant yawn. “I’m okay, just tired.” She slightly raised her hands to make the devil’s horns gesture. “I’m ready to rock…” She yawned again, and then continued half-heartedly. “…and roll…”

Luna frowned and stepped back as Sam reached down, fumbled with her enormous bass guitar case, and then dragged her bass out and onto her lap. Seeing Sam so low energy and devoid of the usual side-grins troubled Luna, but she decided not to argue with her girlfriend anymore. 

“Okay…” Luna said as she rubbed the back of her head. “How hard have they been working the jazz assembly over there?”

Sam sighed, “Dude, you have no idea… I’ve been through, like, eight reeds.”

Luna grinned. “Dang, you got a lot of spit!”

Sam laughed and lightly pushed Luna’s arm. “Shut up!”

Luna laughed too, happy she made Sam laugh like that, and then hopped onto another speaker close-by. She picked up her electric guitar and pick. “So, about the new song, I was thinking maybe the intro can go like this…”

She began to shred on her guitar, eyes closed as she did so. After a few seconds, she opened her eyes again and looked at Sam…who was asleep sitting up.

“Uh…Sam?” Luna called out to her.

Sam startled awake. “Wha? Oh! Sorry…”

Luna raised an eyebrow at her. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

Sam shook her head and rubbed her eyes. “I’m fine, sorry. Rock music just soothes me.”

Luna smirked and pointed at Sam with a wink. “That’s why I dig you, Baby.” She laughed, “When your concert is over, maybe I can rock and roll you to sleep at your place!”

Sam’s eyebrows rose slightly and the look on her face made Luna instantly blush. She said softly, “Maybe you should.”

They stared at each other before Sam jumped in her seat and blushed.

“Ha ha ha! Sorry, I’m so tired! I have no idea what I’m saying!” She looked away and Luna watched the blush cascade down her neck. Sam looked back at Luna with an embarrassed smile. “A-anyway…are you coming? Mazzy thinks you and Sully should come to the last show on Sunday night so we can all go out together afterwards…”

“Oh, we’ll be there!” Lincoln’s voice said loudly.

Luna and Sam turned to the front of the garage where Lincoln and Clyde stood with their hands on their hips, both looking angry.

Clyde’s look of anger quickly turned to worry. “Wait – we’re going to the Saturday showing, right Lincoln? On Sunday, my dads and I are going to the theater…”

Lincoln loudly added, “---On Saturday afternoon!”

Clyde nodded, turned back to the two confused-looking girls, and placed his hands on his hips.

“Uh…cool! I’ll see you there!” Sam said.

“IF you’ll be there and it’s not a LIE,” Clyde replied pointedly.

Sam raised an eyebrow as Luna slapped her own forehead in disbelief. “…Um…yeah…I have to be there? It’s for school so…”

“DUDES!” Luna interrupted, throwing her hands into the air. “Totally bogus! What is your deal?!”

Lincoln backed out of the garage with Clyde following. “We’ll see you there, Sam…if that’s your real name!”

Sam blinked. “It’s a nickname.”

Luna’s face turned a dark shade of furious red. “GET OUT!”

Lincoln and Clyde nodded as they still walked backwards. They both crashed into Vanzilla, almost fell over, and then dashed away back inside the house.

“Why does my family have to act so weird when we’re together?!” Luna fumed.

Sam reassured her girlfriend, “They’re probably playing a game. It’s fine.”

Luna huffed and then inhaled through her nose. She was lucky Sam was so patient, but, she thought angrily to herself, she wasn’t.

“You just tell me if they bother you, I’ll take care of ‘em,” Luna said in a menacing voice, gripping her guitar so tightly that the wood cracked underneath her fingers.

+0+0+0+0+

Saturday morning, Luna was in the garage setting up her guitar. Her siblings were acting extra suspicious lately, so she planned to go to Sam’s concert both Saturday and Sunday nights to make sure her family wouldn’t humiliate her again. She pulled out her phone and swiped to her photo gallery. The first picture was of Sam sleeping sitting up on the stereo. She had taken to tease Sam about, but, also, Sam looked cute slouched over, holding the bass in her lap, and Luna wanted to capture it. Luna smiled and touched her phone.

“Hi Luna!” Leni cheered as she skipped into the garage.

“What’s up?” Luna greeted as she quickly stuffed her phone back into her skirt pocket.

Leni looked up at the garage ceiling. “Oh! The lights…and the garage door…and a spiderweb…and…!”

Luna sighed, “Nevermind, Leni. What are you doing in here?”

Leni looked back at Luna and hopped on her feet. “Well, I was thinking, if you’re going out with Sam and the rest of your band on Sunday, you have to get some nice clothes! The jazz performers in our school all have to dress-up in black and white for the concert, so Sam and Mazzy will look nice going out, but you won’t.”

Luna frowned. “Uh, last time I checked, I don’t care how I look.” She paused and thought about it. Maybe she should, for Sam. It’s not like she had to wear a dress. “…Well…actually…maybe this one time…”

Leni made a high-pitched noise in her throat and dragged Luna out of the garage towards Vanzilla. “Come on, then! Lori’s going to drive us and pick us up later!”

Luna said, “But I have to be back home before four! I want to go to the concert tonight too!”

Leni lied, “Oh, we’ll totes be back by then!”

+0+0+0+0+

Lincoln and Clyde, both dressed in suits, watched Vanzilla pull away from out Lincoln’s room window.

“Sorry, Luna, but this is for your own good,” Lincoln said. He turned to Clyde and pulled out a walkie from his pants pocket. “Are you prepared for tonight?”

Clyde saluted Lincoln. “Yessir!” He put his hand back down. “So, the plan is we wait until the concert is over and we find Sam?”

Lincoln nodded. “And don’t forget, Clyde. Sam acts nice, but if she’s really going behind Luna’s back, it’s just an act: we have to be firm and direct with her!”

Clyde pouted and looked down. “Man, I feel terrible about this…but I would feel even more terrible if we didn’t get the truth before Sam went solo and dumped Luna.”

Lincoln placed his hand on Clyde’s shoulder. “I know, Buddy. Just keep telling yourself: this is for Luna.”

“You guys are making a big mi-sta-a-ake…” Lola’s voice sang from the bedroom door.

The two boys turned angrily to Lola who calmly leaned on the doorframe, filing her nails.

“We’ll see about that! And by the way – when Luna is thanking us for revealing Sam’s true nature, you’re getting no credit!” Lincoln shot back.

Lola laughed and straightened up, putting her hands on her hips with a dangerous grin. “Just remember – I had no part in this…and I warned you all.”

Clyde raised an eyebrow and pointed at the younger girl. “Wait…do you know something we don’t know?”

Lola laughed evilly. “Oh, wouldn’t you love to know? Maybe you two should invite Sam to tea sometime!”

She continued to laugh as she walked back into her room and slammed the door behind her. Lincoln and Clyde exchanged concerned looks.

“…Argh! Nevermind her! She’s just trying to get into our heads,” Lincoln grumbled. “Come on, let’s go see how everyone else is doing.”

+0+0+0+0+

Luna groaned to herself as she looked at the clock inside Reininger’s: 2:30pm. Even though Luna had already found something she liked, Leni and her two work friends were in the zone, forcing Luna to try on different outfits.

“Uh, Dudes? I really appreciate all this…but…it’s really important that I’m not late to the concert,” Luna said to Leni, Miguel, and Fiona who were crowded around a single bowtie with matching thinking expressions on their faces. She reached for her phone. “I’m gonna call Lori and---“

Leni zoomed over and snatched Luna’s phone away. “No! You can’t!”

Luna stared at her in shock and Leni realized how insane (and obvious) she sounded. Leni glanced helplessly back at Miguel and Fiona. They were in on Leni and the other sisters’ plan, vowing to help stall Luna as long as possible.

“You…can’t…leave without us showing you our special deals on fancy…date night clothing!” Fiona made-up on the spot.

Miguel nodded. “Yes! Right! You always need more clothes for dinner dates!”

Luna tried to reach for her phone, but Leni kept it away from her. Leni placed Luna’s phone in her bag and tossed it to Fiona who stashed it away behind the check-out counter.

“Hey!” Luna barked.

Leni laughed a little too giddily, “Sorry! No distractions! You totes need date night clothing, Luna! I always see you in the same clothing whenever you go out with Sam!”

Luna rolled her eyes. “That’s because Sam and I don’t do dinner dates. We just hang.”

Miguel gasped as over-dramatically as possible, placing his forearm on his forehead. “No dinner dates?! At all?!”

He pretended to swoon into Fiona’s waiting arms.

“Fiona…tell her about Tuesday Tom,” Leni said grimly.

Fiona nodded and turned to the confused Luna. “I went out with this guy named Tom, and Tom only took me out on dinner dates when it was Taco Tuesday at Taco Shack. I went along with it for awhile, because he was poor or whatever, but then it got less and less cute. I told him: ‘Just once, I want a real dinner date!’ Tuesday Tom promised he would, but he never did. So I dumped him. Hard. We’re not even friends anymore.”

Miguel stood back up and pointed at Luna. “You cannot deny poor Sam real dinner dates anymore! Do you want to lose her?! Do you want to become known as Loser Luna when she dumps you and tells all her friends about how you just wanted to ‘hang’ all this time?! Hmm?!”

Luna stepped backwards with her hands raised infront of her as the three began to menacingly step towards her. “Wha--?! No!” She tilted her head back with a groan. “Urgh! Fine! I’ll try on more clothing!”

Fiona smirked victoriously. “Good choice.”

+0+0+0+0+

Lori led her sisters (minus Lily, Leni and Lola), Lincoln, and Clyde into a row of seats in the high school auditorium. They were seated in the far back where no one would be able to spot their massive family from the stage. Lori quickly checked her phone to see a group of increasingly angry messages from Luna which she ignored. She put her phone back inside the small, black leather purse that matched her black gown and snapped it shut.

“Ugh, do we really have to sit through this entire thing?” Lynn Jr. complained. “Let’s just raid the stage and confront Sam right now!”

Lori caught Lynn Jr. by her black shorts and pulled her back down into her seat. “If you didn’t want to be here, you should’ve stayed home!”

Lynn Jr. grumbled and sunk into her seat. “I thought your plan would be more exciting than this. Wake me up when it’s over.”

The lights dimmed and the audience applauded as the musicians walked out onto stage, the women dressed in dresses and skirts, the men in suits or button-down shirts and slacks. The music teacher walked to the conductor’s podium and then turned to the audience to speak.

Lori tuned everything out as she checked her phone again. Luna’s texts had stopped some time ago and Lori guessed they had taken her phone away at the store. She put the phone back into her pocket as the assembly played their first song. Lori heard fingers snapping and turned to Lincoln and Clyde who bobbed to the music and snapped their fingers.

“You guys!” Lori whispered harshly. “We’re supposed to be angry!”

Clyde stopped and looked up at Lori. “I can’t help it – I want to be mad, but this music is too relaxing.”

Lori sighed and nursed her forehead.

+0+0+0+0+

Meanwhile, things at the clothing store were not so relaxed. Luna, inside one of the dressing rooms, gripped her phone she had stolen back when the Leni, Miguel, and Fiona were distracted. She knew she only had a few minutes before the three realized she had taken it back. Right now, the three were out in the store, deciding on what shoes would go with the new outfits they gave Luna to try on. She crouched down facing one of the corners and called Rita’s phone.

“Please pick up…” Luna pleaded quietly.

+0+0+0+0+Meanwhile, at the Loud House, Lola sat on the couch. The television was on, turned to one of her favorite shows, but she couldn’t concentrate on it. She had convinced everyone that she didn’t care if they screwed up Sam and Luna’s relationship, but it was a façade, of course. Her imagination was running wild, her brain conjuring up different scenarios of what was happening at the concert with her siblings and Sam; and none of them were good.

She turned and stood on the couch cushion to peek at her mother dusting the picture frames on the wall. Should she tell her mother what Sam had told her during their sleepover tea party?

Sam sat on the tiny chair infront of the tiny playtable in Lola and Lana’s room. She was blushing as she held one of the tiny teacups in her hand. “I really want to buy Luna a present, y’know, for putting up with me.”

“A present?!” Lola gasped. “Tell me!”

Sam laughed, “Sorry, it’s a secret. It’s going to take awhile to save up, but I think I have a way to get it cheaper than it is.”

Lola stood up, eyes wide and hands shaking. “Please, Sam? You can trust me! I love secrets, and I keep them, because the only thing I love more than keeping a secret, is knowing I know something no one else knows!”

Sam grinned over her tea cup. “Alright, Lola. But you have to promise not to tell anyone.” She looked around at the stuffed animals seated around them. “Well, besides these guys.”

Lola shot out her pinky. “I’ll make it a pinky promise!”

“What?! Why would they do that?! Are you okay?!” Rita’s voice interrupted Lola’s memory.

Lola blinked and realized Rita wasn’t on the stairs anymore, but in the living room next to her, on the phone. Lynn Sr. was next to her, looking a mix of worried and confused.

“Okay! Calm down, Luna. I’ll be right there!” Rita reassured.

Lola groaned and bit her lip. Maybe she should have told her parents…or maybe even broken her pinky promise to tell her siblings…

“What’s going on?” Lynn Sr. asked.

Rita rushed into the kitchen to gather her purse and car keys. “Luna needs me to come get her from Leni’s workplace. She said Lori never came to pick her up!”

Lynn Sr. shook his head in disbelief. “Wait, what?! Lori and the others said they were going to get Luna on the way to Sam’s concert!”

Rita shrugged at her husband helplessly. “I-I don’t understand either.”

Lola raced over and pointed up at her mom. “I know what’s going on, but I have to explain in the car! We need to go, NOW!”

Rita and Lynn Sr. jumped at Lola’s outburst. Lynn Sr. took the car keys from Rita and said, “You stay here with Lily, I’ll go get Luna and Leni with Lola.” He raced out the door with Lola behind him. “Hang on Luna! Daddy’s coming!”

+0+0+0+0+

After the concert, Mazzy and Sam, both dressed in black skirts and white blouses, made their way through the crowded school hall where families of the jazz assembly crowded. Sam held her clarinet case while Mazzy twirled drumsticks.

“So, you all prepared for tomorrow?” Mazzy asked with a grin. “Luna’s still not in the know?”

Sam shook her head, her blonde hair tied up behind her head. “Nope. I gotta say, I feel pretty awful.”

Suddenly, Lori’s voice interrupted, “And you should!”

Sam and Mazzy blinked and turned to see the Loud group, and Clyde, glaring angrily at them.

“Oh! Hey guys,” Sam greeted.

Mr. Coconuts shoved himself into Sam’s face, dressed in a tuxedo and a top hat. “Don’t ‘hey guys’ us, Sister! I saw ya! We all saw ya!”

Sam stepped back from Luan and Mr. Coconuts, confused.

Mazzy scratched her head with one of her drumsticks. “Uh…yeah? We were just on stage so…”

Lincoln and Clyde stepped forward from the group.

“We know you’ve been lying to Luna for weeks!” Lincoln said. “And we know you’ve been talking to a music producer about going solo!”

“Yeah!” Clyde agreed. “And don’t deny it; we just overheard your conversation just now!”

Lisa held up photographs in her hands. “And we have evidence!”

Lori stepped forward too. “I literally cannot believe you, Sam! How dare you plan to leave Luna behind like that?!”

Mazzy looked at the dumbfounded Sam and then back at the group before bursting out into laughter. “Wait – you guys really think Sam is going to leave Luna?! As if she can actually get another girlfriend by herself! Ha!”

Sam sighed and looked at Mazzy with exasperation. “Gee, thanks.” She looked back at the others. “Look, I know for the past for weeks I’ve been lying to Luna, and I feel terrible, but, you have to trust me – it’s not what you guys think.”

Lana crossed her arms. “I dunno, you’ve been lying so we can’t trust you at all. And your friend is in on it too.”

Mazzy managed to stop laughing to breathlessly say, “Man, you Dudes have it all wrong!”

“Then tell us,” Lori responded, crossing her arms.

Sam shook her head. “Look, I can’t. I’ve been planning this for awhile, if Luna found out, it would ruin everything. You just have to trust me. I would never hurt Luna or our band like that. Just give me until tomorrow night; I’ll prove it.”

Lincoln stared into Sam’s pleading eyes with a hard look on his face, but then his look softened. He sighed, closed his eyes, and inhaled through his nose.

“Okay,” Lincoln breathed.

“What?!” his sisters and Clyde protested in unison.

Lincoln turned to them. “Look, Sam has been the best thing that’s happened to Luna since Luna picked up a guitar. We should give her a chance.”

Lori uncrossed her arms as a look of guilt briefly flashed across her face. But then, her angry look returned and she pointed at Sam. “Okay, but, if you hurt Luna…”

Lynn Jr. demonstrated what would happen by tearing apart a concert pamphlet with her teeth like a rapid dog.

Sam looked slightly disturbed at Lynn Jr. and then looked down at Lincoln. “Thanks. This has all been a big misunderstanding, I promise.”

The Louds and Clyde turned and walked towards the high school exit, leaving Mazzy to continue to laugh and tease Sam.

+0+0+0+0+

About an hour later, at the Loud House, Rita finished scolding her children for leaving Luna at the store. They all sat in the living room, waiting for Lynn Sr. and their other siblings to return. Clyde’s Dads picked him up a few minutes ago and were told about the situation. Suddenly, the door slammed open and Lola stepped in with a smirk on her face.

“You guys are in for it now…,” Lola sang.

The house practically shook as Luna stomped through the front door, nose flared, teeth grinding together, and murder in her eyes.

“I can’t believe you all!” Luna shouted. “Especially you, Lori! I totally missed the concert AND Sam wasn’t there when we finally got there!” She held up her phone. “And she’s not even answering my calls! What did you all do?!”

Lori stood up and made her way to Luna. “Look, Luna, we can explain…”

“We were just trying to help,” Lucy spoke up.

“That’s bogus, Dudes!” Luna hollered, throwing her hands out. “Y’know what would actually help?! If you all stopped being so weird and embarrassing whenever I’m with Sam!”

Lynn Sr. entered the home with Leni hiding behind him. He looked crossly at his children gathered in the living room. “I can’t believe you all! I really can’t! I thought your mother and I taught you better than this.”

Luna put out her arm. “Lemme handle this, Popstar.” She continued to yell at her siblings. “I don’t know where you all got the crazy idea that Sam was going solo! I’m always doing gigs without the band, it doesn’t mean I plan to go solo or dump Sam or…whatever! We’re our own people!”

“Luna, Sam was lying to you. I just wanted to know what was going on,” Lincoln protested.

Luna tilted her head back and let out a growl. “Argh! Then you should’ve asked her on your own! Instead, all of you go, en masse, and confront her like she’s some kind of criminal infront of all our classmates and their families! She’s never going to speak to me again! Thanks a lot! You all really helped!”

She ignored Rita stretching out her hand to comfort her, ran up the stairs and into her room. Her door slammed with a violent crack, rattling the photos on the wall.

Lincoln sighed and looked down. “We really messed-up this time…”

Rita crossed her arms as Lynn Sr. joined her side. “Yes, you all did. I understand you wanted to help Luna, but you did it in the worst way possible.”

Lynn Sr. nodded. “Everyone, upstairs. Time for bed.”

The kids retreated up the stairs and into their rooms. Once Lincoln was in his, he flopped down onto his stomach onto his bed and let out another sigh. Then, a knock came at his door.

Luan peeked into the room with Mr. Coconuts. “Uh…can we stay in here until Luna cools off?”

“Sure,” Lincoln said, his voice muffled.

Meanwhile, Luna lied on her back on the top part of the bunk bed. She groaned, pulled the covers over her head, and then shut her eyes tightly. Suddenly, her phone vibrated with a call. Luna pulled out her phone and was surprised to see Sam’s picture on the calling screen. She took in a deep breath and answered her phone.

“Hey Lunes! Sorry I missed you tonight. My grandparents wanted to get home to take pictures and stuff, uck,” Sam said with a chuckle.

Luna was dumbfounded: was Sam ever angry?

“…Lunes?” Sam’s voice asked.

Luna shook her head and replied, “Sam! I’m so sorry about my family! They’re crazy! I swear, we don’t ever have to come over my house again! We can hang with Chunk or---!”

Sam laughed, “Woah, calm down! It’s okay! They didn’t do anything to me. …Although I think I’m going to avoid Lynn from now on. She’s a little scary.”

Luna grinned and chuckled, “Yeah, try living with her.” She paused and then asked nervously. “So…does this mean you don’t hate me?”

Sam laughed again, and it was music to Luna’s ears. “Hate you? No! …Well, not yet anyway. Give it time.”

Luna laughed, “You jerk!”

They both laughed this time. Unknown to Luna, Luan peeked into the room, the sound of laughter making her hopeful Luna had calmed down. She crept over to her bunk and quickly dived in, hiding under the blankets just in case.

Luna sighed, “Man…I’m so happy to hear that. You’re like, a saint, y’know? Putting up with my family and forgiving them like this.”

Sam replied, “Trust me, I’m no saint, but, your family really cares about you, and that’s why I like them. You’re really lucky to have a big family where they’re willing to stick up for you like that.”

Luna rolled her eyes. “I guess, but, I wish they would just chill sometimes. I’m a big girl, y’know?”

Sam sighed, “I’m sorry, Luna. This is my fault too. But I promise, you’ll find out tomorrow after the concert why I haven’t been completely honest with you. …Are you still coming tomorrow?”

Luna nodded with a smile. “Yup! That is…if I don’t get kidnapped and locked in a clothing store again…”

There was a pause. “…Wait, what?”

Luna laughed, “Long story, Dude. I’ll tell you tomorrow night when we all hang. But for now, you should catch some Z’s; you still sound like you’re exhausted.”

Sam confirmed this with a yawn. “Yeah, it’s been a heck of a month. Thanks, Lunes.” She paused and then said shakily. “I promise, I would never hurt you.”

Luna felt a stab in her heart at Sam’s quivering voice. She grabbed at her chest where her heart was now violently pumping and felt her entire body heat up in a blush.

Luna gulped, collected herself, and said as smoothly as she possibly could, “Baby, you’re my angel.”

Sam cooed, “Aww, Lunes…” Then she laughed, “I’m going to tell Aerosmith you stole their lyrics to use on me.”

Luna laughed too, “Give me a break; I’m trying to be romantic here!”

They laughed again, and when their laughter subsided, Sam said in a teasing voice, “Well, good night. I gotta get up early and start my solo career without you.”

Luna grinned. “Yeah right! Good night, Sam.”

They hung up and Luna held the phone to her chest with a happy sigh. Below, Luan settled into her pillow with Mr. Coconuts by her side, smiled and fell asleep.

+0+0+0+0+

Sunday night after the concert, Luna washed her face inside one of the school’s bathrooms. She had gone to the concert with Chunk and Sully so they could all hang out together that night. Luna was dressed in her new black pants and white button-down shirt with a small, purple bowtie Leni gave to her as a peace offering before she left. She picked up the flowers she bought for Sam off the side of the sink and stepped out of the bathroom.

The crowds of families and friends were thinning, so Luna was able to move quickly around them to catch-up with Chunk and Sully who had gone off to find Sam and Mazzy. She was surprised to hear Sam admit she had been lying about her whereabouts, but was glad that Sam hadn’t been purposely avoiding her like she had originally thought.

As she walked down the long hallway towards the music room, she spotted Chunk’s enormous form standing next to Sully and Mazzy. When Sully moved to the side to check his phone, Luna felt her heart jump into her throat. Sam was wearing the black skirt and white blouse again, her hair tied up elegantly. Luna felt her face go on fire and her knees knock together as she made her way up to her friends.

“Finally! You women take so long in the bathroom,” Sully teased as he turned to Luna.

Sam’s face brightened as she turned to Luna. “Hey Lunes!”

Luna gulped as her eyes trailed down Sam’s legs. “I uh…I um…”

Chunk leaned over and poked Luna with his elbow. “Looks like Luna ‘ere is in shock at you wearin’ a skirt and all!”

Sam blinked and looked down at herself with an embarrassed laugh. “Yeah… I can’t wait to get out of these clothes.”

Luna’s blushed even deeper. “Uh…” She shook herself and presented Sam her flowers. “For you, Beautiful.”

Sam blushed and accepted the flowers. “Thanks. They’re pretty.”

Mazzy put her hands on her hips with a playful grin. “Where’s my flowers?”

“Ask Sully,” Luna teased back.

Sully lightly pushed Luna with a laugh. “Don’t give her any ideas.”

Chunk patted his stomach and grinned down at everyone. “Are we ready to go? I’m starving.”

“Heck yeah, Dude!” Luna cheered.

“Let’s rock and roll!” Sully agreed.

+0+0+0+0+

Luna and the gang sat around a table inside a local diner.

“I’m telling ya, Sam, skirts are the way to go. There’s a nice breeze going,” Mazzy said with a grin.

Sam laughed, “No thanks, I’m sticking to pants when I can.” She itched herself through the blouse. “I feel so constricted in these things.” She reached up behind her head, pulled out the black hairclip she was wearing, and shook her blonde hair free. “Freedom!”

Luna laughed as she dodged Sam’s hair, “Dude, get your hair outta my face!”

Sam gave Luna a half grin and a laugh.

Mazzy pointed down at her undone buttons. “All you gotta do is let some of those buttons undone.”

Luna tugged at her own collar. “I’m going to take that advice. I think my body isn’t use to wearing sleeves – I’m dying here.”

Sam faced ahead but her eyes rolled to the side to watch Luna begin to undo some buttons on her shirt. Luna let the bowtie hang off to the side and unbuttoned the first three buttons above her chest. Sam felt her face grow hot as she tried to peel her eyes away, but found them stuck in place staring at Luna’s skin.

“Ahem,” Chunk coughed. Sam snapped out of it and looked at the smirking Chunk. By the expression on his face, it was obvious to Sam that he had caught her staring at Luna. “Didn’t you have somethin’ to announce, Luv?”

Sam hit the table with her hands. “Oh yeah!” She grinned at the others. “The event coordinator at the mall, Mr. Henson, he used to be a music producer. He’s got a studio in his basement that he said we can use anytime we like!”

“Woah! A real studio!” Sully cheered.

Luna beamed. “Alright!”

Mazzy let out a ‘whoop’ and began to bang on the table with Sully and Luna.

Chunk held out his arms and boomed, “Wait!” The three froze and looked at him. He continued, “There’s somethin’ else!”

They looked back at Sam. Sam grinned wider. “And, our band is going to be playing at the Royal Woods Mall’s Outdoor Festival this year! I signed a deal: we’re going to be the main event!”

This time, they all cheered and banged the table. When they were done with their celebration, Luna turned to Sam with a confused look.

“Wait a minute, how do you know this Henson guy anyway?” Luna asked.

Sam paled. “Uh…I was…uh…”

Mazzy leaned forward with a grin. “Yes, do tell, Sam.”

Sam glowered at her and then hung her head. “…I was…the children’s corner musician…for like…two weeks…”

Sully gawked at her. “Wait…you were singing songs to kids? Children’s songs? For money, I hope?”

Sam groaned and hid her face behind her hands. “…Yes…”

Mazzy burst out laughing, followed by Sully, and then Luna joined. Sam groaned again and let her forehead hit the table, arms stretched out on each side of her head.

“Aw, c’mon, mates. We’ve all done music gigs we didn’t want to do for money. It’s just the way it is, us starvin’ artists an’ all,” Chunk said.

“I’m sorry! I’m not laughing at that,” Luna giggled. “It’s just…is that why you weren’t telling me where you really were? Dude! It’s okay! One time, I sang at a rooster’s funeral: now that’s embarrassing!”

Sam’s head shot up, eyes wide and large. “Oh no! That poor rooster!”

Luna jumped in her seat and suddenly remembered Sam’s love for farm animals. She put her arm around Sam and let the blonde sulk into the side of her body. “He was old, Brah. Very old. Like…ridiculously old for a rooster.”

Sully raised an eyebrow. “Wait…was it Ricky the Rooster?” When Luna nodded, Sully sat back, shocked. “I honestly thought he was dead already. Ricky was old when I was in elementary school…”

“Huh, looks like he finally cockle-doodle-died,” Mazzy said.

Sam whined, “Poor Ricky…”

Luna patted the back of her head and raised her glass of soda. “Rest in peace, Ricky. He lived his life like a candle in the wind.”

Sully hung his head with Chunk while Mazzy picked up the menu.

“Now I’m in the mood for chicken,” she said.

+0+0+0+0+

Chunk’s van pulled up into the Louds’ driveway. He glanced back at Sam and Luna, who were the last ones left in the van.

“We’re at your house, Luna,” he announced. He looked at Sam with a wink. “Why dontcha walk her to the door?”

Sam gave him a nervous, crooked grin and picked up her clarinet case to take with her. Luna slid out of the van, bid Chunk goodbye, and walked up to her porch with Sam behind her.

“Thanks for coming tonight,” Sam said as they turned to face each other.

Luna grinned and rubbed the back of her head. “Thank you for inviting me. It was a lot of fun, and jazz is pretty rad too.”

Inside the house, all the siblings and the two parents stopped what they were doing and looked at the door. Luna and Sam’s voices were muffled, but they knew the girlfriends were on the porch. At once, they rushed to the window, peeked through the cracks in the curtains, and listened.

“Yeah,” Sam laughed. She squatted down and placed her case on the porch. Luna watched as Sam opened the case. “I uh…I have a present for you.”

Luna looked confused. “Really? But…why? I already had my birthday, and last time I checked, it’s not Christmas.”

Sam smirked up at her as she pulled out a large, square present wrapped in purple wrapping paper. “If you don’t want it, I can give it to one of my other girlfriends…”

Luna smirked and accepted the present. “Tell your harem of women that Luna’s your number one.”

Sam watched excitedly as Luna opened the present. When the wrapping paper was tossed away, Luna’s eyes practically bugged out of her head at what was underneath.

“WOAH! WHAT?!” Luna yelled.

Inside, Lincoln gasped, “It’s that guitar pedal Luna wanted!”

Leni gasped too, “But that thing cost a lot of fingers!”

Lori placed her hand on her own forehead, shocked. “So that’s what Sam was doing…she was earning money to buy that for Luna.”

Lola rolled her eyes. “Just like I said – she needed money.” She scoffed and walked away from the window to go sit on the couch. “Nobody ever listens to me…”

Luna slapped her palm on her forehead. “B-but Sam! This cost a lot of money! I can’t accept this!”

Sam shook her head. “No, it’s yours. I got it for a lot cheaper than what Mike was selling it for. Chunk helped me find someone in the music business that sold two of them to me for less than the price of one.”

Luna asked, “Two?”

Sam grinned. “I have one now too, so don’t feel bad. I wanted to buy you something, you know…for putting up with me.”

Luna looked sad. “Putting up with you? Sam---“

Sam looked down at her feet with a blush. “You gave me another chance after all that Astonishing Quest embarrassment. I can’t dance, I like farm animals, I drink weird green smoothies, and I can barely walk and chew gum at the same time…sometimes I feel like I’m just cosplaying a rock and roll musician.”

“What?!” Luna exclaimed. “Sam! Dude! I always thought you were the one way out of my league! You’re like, the coolest girl ever, how can you think about yourself like that?!”

Sam laughed, “Wait, you think I’m the cool one? And you think I have self esteem issues…”

Luna grinned. “Well, I guess that’s another thing we have in common then…crippling low self esteem.”

“Cool,” Sam replied with another laugh.

Luna looked down at the pedal and then held it up over her head excitedly. “Let’s go to the garage and try it out!”

Sam laughed, “Luna, it’s ten o’clock at night; I don’t think your neighbors would appreciate that.”

Luna sighed and hung her body forward. “Yeah…you’re right.” She straightened back up and glanced up at Sam before blushing and looking back down at the pedal. “Thanks, Sam. You made me really happy. I promise, at Christmas time, I’ll get you the best gift ever!”

Sam looked away shyly with a small smile. “Just seeing you happy and excited, is the best gift I could ever ask for.”

Sam looked back with wide eyes when Luna stepped close to her, looking into her eyes. The blonde heard her heart pound in her ears as her fingers twitched.

“So, now that you don’t have to work hard for the money, when can I see you again?” Luna asked in a quiet, flirty voice.

Sam stepped forward, hands behind her back, and joked, “You can catch me by my locker tomorrow…”

Luna smiled and touched Sam’s arm. “Cool. We still on for hanging out on Friday too?”

Sam nodded and placed her hands on Luna’s hips. “Mmm, maybe…unless there are some children who need to be sung to…”

Luna eyes became hooded as they leaned towards each other. “Cool…”

Inside, Lori chewed at her fingernails. Leni squished her face between her hands. Rita pressed her face against the glass. Mr. Coconuts rubbed his eyes and peeked back over Lori’s head.

“Oh-em-Gosh! They are totes going to kiss…!” Leni squeaked in an unnaturally high voice.

Rita turned to her husband, but then blinked in surprise when she realized he was gone. She turned towards the door and suddenly yelled, “Lynn! No!”

The front door flew open, causing both Sam and Luna to yell out with surprise and leap backwards several feet from each other. Lynn Sr. banged on his cowbell and wiggled his butt in sync with the rhythm he made.

“Welcome back, girls! Just thought I’d finally show Sam some of my moves!” Lynn Sr. announced.

“Dad!” Luna shrieked with an angry blush on her face.

Sam grabbed at her heart, her entire body lit up with a blush. “H-hi Mr. Loud!”

Inside the house, Lori and Leni let out agonized screams in unison. Sam and Luna turned towards the direction of their voices with confused looks.

Rita walked over, exasperation clear on her face, before she snatched Lynn Sr.’s ear and hauled him off. “Come on in, Girls!”

“Ow, ow, ow, ow…” Lynn Sr. muttered as he was dragged off.

Sam looked at Luna with a weak grin and blush, and Luna did the same. The blonde picked up her clarinet case and followed Luna inside the house. Once inside, the two were greeted by all the siblings gathered by the entrance. Sam placed her clarinet case down and looked at them with a friendly smile as Luna crossed her arms.

Lincoln stepped forward, hands wringing. “Sam…Luna…we’re all really sorry for how we acted. But, if you want to be angry at anyone, be angry at me. After watching those movies, I got really scared. I love you Luna, and, I like Sam, so I was worried that all those bands, even the fictional ones, broke-up…and then eventually died in tragic accidents. I just didn’t want to happen to you guys, so I acted paranoid and got everyone else paranoid too. I’m sorry.”

Sam chuckled, “It sounds like you were projecting. You gotta take things one day at a time and not think too far into the future, or else you’ll drive yourself crazy.”

“Woah, Dude…deep,” Luna complimented.

Sam shrugged. “Naw, it’s just my opinion because my brain can’t handle a lot of stuff at once.”

Luna smirked at her girlfriend and squatted down to Lincoln. “Sam’s right…in her own Sam way…”

She looked back at Sam who flashed her finger guns and a wink.

Luna turned back to Lincoln. “That’s just life, Dude. Things happen, and things change. Even if all that stuff happens to us in the future, although I doubt it, the band and I are gonna live in the moment and enjoy it for as long as we can! You can’t think about your dreams too hard like that, otherwise you’ll become too scared to chase after them.”

Lori agreed, “Besides, it’s not like every band ever has broken up. A lot of them stay together and continue to play, even rock and roll bands.”

Lincoln nodded. “O-okay…yeah…you all are right. I’m sorry.”

Luna rubbed his hair and then stood up. “That’s okay, Little Bro. We’re good.” She grinned and held up her pedal. “And remember this? Sam bought it for me – that’s why she was working all those jobs. Plus, she got us a gig at the mall!”

The siblings chattered at once, happy to hear the news.

Lola stepped over to Lincoln. “Actually, I’m sorry too. I should’ve just told you what was going on, but I made a pinky promise to Sam that I wouldn’t. And I take my pinky promises very seriously.”

“It’s okay, Lola. Pinky promises are sacred,” Lincoln reassured.

Sam grinned down at Lola. “Wow, you must have a lot of long-kept secrets, huh?”

Lola smiled and waved her hand at Sam with a laugh. “Oh, you have no idea...”

Sam laughed and then nodded to the door. “Well, I should get going. Chunk’s going to drive me home.”

Rita smiled warmly at Sam. “Good night, Sam.”

Lynn Sr. looked disappointed. “Well, if Chunk’s waiting…I guess I can always join you girls on Friday for a jam session!”

“More cowbell!” Sam quoted the infamous SNL sketch, throwing her arms into the air.

Luna sighed with exasperation at first, but then a smile broke on her face. “Sure, Popstar. That’ll be fun.” She shook her head. “You know what, I was wrong; you guys are a lot of fun to be around. I shouldn’t be embarrassed by my own family.”

“It’s okay, Luna. We are a little bit much for most people,” Lori said with a shrug. “…Well…not me.”

Lincoln waved goodbye to Sam. “Bye, Sam! See you Friday!”

The others also said their goodbyes almost at once. Sam turned to walk out the open door, but Luna caught her shoulder.

“Oh, one more thing, Sam,” Luna said.

Sam blinked and turned to Luna. “What is---?”

Sam froze in place when Luna quickly gave her a small kiss on her cheek. The blonde’s brain overloaded as a blush spread from her cheeks and down her body. Luna stepped back and grinned at Sam frozen in place.

“Awww!” Lori and Leni squealed at once.

Sam remained frozen, her eyes staring ahead blankly.

“You okay, Sam?” Rita teased.

Sam shook her head and began to stumble backwards. “Oh! Yeah! Totally fine! I-I’m good!” She fell backwards after tripping over her clarinet case. Sam quickly shot back up with her case in her arms. “I’m okay! Have a good night!”

She turned and slammed right into the door frame. The others winced at how painful it looked. Sam turned, one arm holding her case, and her free hand holding her nose.

“I’m okay…again!” Sam reassured.

In an attempt to gain back some of her pride, she stepped backwards out the door while giving them all her patented finger gun and her usual easy-going side grin.

“Later, Louuuuuuuuu-uuuuu-aaaagh!” Sam yelped as she fell backwards down the porch steps.

The Louds dashed outside a cringed painfully at Sam lying on the ground in a crumpled mess of limbs, her clarinet case ontop of her.

“I told ya not t’wear heels!” Chunk called from inside his van.

Sam flipped back onto her feet, grabbed her case, and ran to the van. “Good night!”

The Louds watched the van pull away with Chunk grinning and waving at them. They waved back and the van zoomed towards the direction of Sam’s home.

“Now I know why you two don’t even hold hands: you dorks can’t handle it,” Lynn Jr. said with a laugh as she went back inside.

Lisa adjusted her glasses and followed Lynn Jr. “The effect of teenage hormones on the human body and brain is truly fascinating.”

Everyone else but Lincoln and Luna went inside, all chattering at once. Lincoln smiled at Luna who stood in place, a dopey smile on her face as she hugged the guitar pedal box to her chest.

“Sam’s a good girlfriend, but a clumsy one,” Lincoln said.

Luna sighed dreamily, “Yeah… I love that girl…”

Chapter Text

Outside the Loud House, in the middle of the driveway, lied Luna Loud staring up at the sun. It was a (failing) attempt to get her brain working again and end her terrible writer’s block. Unfortunately, her writer’s blocks always seemed to sync with the rest of the bands’ writer’s blocks. Sully and Mazzy weren’t interested in writing lyrics but pitched some ideas once in awhile, while Sam had been writing lyrics since she could pick up a pencil.

Luna sighed happily. Sam. As the sun baked her skin, she thought about all the music she wrote with Sam as her inspiration. Sam was her muse, her partner who easily bounced-off of Luna’s own ideas for music. She just wished she could use the inspiration she got from Sam to think of something now.  

“Luna?!”

Luna blinked against her blurry vision and turned her head slightly to see Sam clutching a bunch of newspapers, face filled with concern. Beside her, a nonchalant Lola also looked down at Luna.

“I told you she was being weird,” Lola sighed as she walked away. “I don’t know what you see in her…”

Sam waved the newspapers at Luna’s head like a fan. “What are you doing lying out here?”

Luna sighed drearily, “I can’t shake this writer’s block, Brah! Please tell me you’ve cured yours?”

Sam plopped down besides her girlfriend and sighed, “Nope… This is really frustrating. Simon and I tried playing video games to see if that would help, but all I got is that I’m terrible at rhythm games, which, y’know, no big surprise there.” She looked down at the baking Luna. “…Is lying in the sun actually working?”

Luna was quiet for a moment before she asked, “…Do you see the rainbow spots too?”

Sam stood up, pulling Luna up with her. “I’ll take that as a no. Come on; let’s go inside before you pass out.”

+0+0+0+0+

Once inside, Luna lied on the couch with a bag of frozen peas on her forehead. Sam sat by her on the arm of the couch, looking down at the newspapers she brought with her.

“Okay, so, you know that song ‘Jeremy’?” Sam began. “Well, Eddie Vedder based the song off a newspaper article he read about a kid and what happened to him.”

Luna reached out with one hand while the other held down the peas to her forehead. Sam handed her some newspapers and settled back down with her own.

“In fact, a lot of rock and roll songs are inspired by real events, so, I figured, we can look through some local newspapers for inspiration,” Sam explained.

Luna sat up, letting the peas fall onto her lap. “I dunno, Sam. I really doubt we’ll find anything interesting in Royal Woods news.”

Sam was already reading through one of her papers. “You never know.” She grinned playfully at Luna. “Small towns have a lot of secrets…”

Luna chuckled and shook her head, unfolding one newspaper to read through it. “You watch way too much tv if you believe that.”

The two girls read silently. After a few minutes of flipping pages and sighing, Luna looked over at Sam.

“Anything?” Luna asked.

Sam looked bored. “The Mayor got a new instrument she’s introducing at the Royal Woods Marathon… You got anything?”

Luna peered down at her paper. “Local kids break the World Record for the biggest used gum art piece.”

Sam stuck out her tongue. “Bleh...” She began to desperately flip through the papers. “There’s gotta be something in here!”

Luna tossed her papers over her head. “Face it, Brah. We live in Lames-ville, USA.”

Sam jumped off the arm of the couch. “Yeah…maybe you’re right. We gotta think of something else.”

Suddenly, Lynn Jr. jogged down the stairs, huffing and puffing loudly as she swung her arms. She jumped off the last three stairs and began touching her toes at a rapid pace. Once she noticed Sam and Luna were watching her, she stopped and began doing arm stretches.

“Hey Couch Potatoes! I overheard you two need a way to cure your writer’s blocks?” Lynn Jr. greeted as she began to squat.

“Yeah, we’re in big trouble, Dude. We gotta think of a new song for our next show,” Luna explained.

Lynn Jr. nodded in understanding and put her hands on her hips. “Well, nothing gets the blood flowing like a good run!” She inspected Sam and Luna’s clothing. “Hmm…well, you two aren’t dressed for a run… Luna! Let Sam borrow some shorts and put on some of your own! Let’s go, Ladies! I’m going to run your brains until you think of something good!”

+0+0+0+0+

Sam picked at the shorts Luna gave her. Because she was taller than Luna and had slightly larger hips, the shorts she was given were riding up her legs. She winced when a hand slapped her hand away from her shorts.

“Ow!” Sam complained, withdrawing her hand to rub it with her other one.

Lynn Jr. blew a whistle near Sam’s ears, making the blonde stumble away painfully. “Quit picking and start running!”

Luna rushed over to Sam’s side and took her shoulders. “Dude! Take it easy on Sam!”

Lynn Jr. scowled at them. “Taking it easy doesn’t get the blood flowing! Now come on, let’s start off in a jog!”

Sam shook her head to clear the ringing in her ears and gave Luna a shrug. Luna sighed as Sam jogged around her to follow Lynn Jr. who was already jogging down the street while blowing her whistle. Luna sighed and reluctantly began to follow Sam in a pace slightly slower than hers.

As Luna jogged, she looked around at the trees, the houses, the children playing on the street, the elderly couples seated on their porches watching the world go by…nothing inspirational. She sighed and turned her attention to Sam jogging infront of her. Without the view of her teal-streaked hair, and without any skulls or rock and roll accessories, Sam looked…normal. It was strange, seeing Sam look like every other girl in their school that Luna didn’t find as interesting and cool as Sam.

Her mind wandered to a distant future: would they be a normal suburban couple in a boring town too? Sam would probably be an animal doctor and Luna……well, all she knew was rock and roll…what would she be doing if she was “normal” too? Would they end up two old ladies just sitting on their porch, bored and tired all the time? Luna felt her heart begin to race even harder than it was from jogging. She paused and thought: this sense of dread, an unknown future, the thought that her dreams of being a rock star could never come true…

…Inspirational.

The hopelessness and feelings of frustration about life was almost every 90s/early 2000s alternative rock’s anthem: Green Day, Nirvana, System of a Down, Rage Against the Machine...

Luna gleefully cheered, “Sam! Lynn! Dudes! I think something’s coming to me!”

Luna checked around her body: she needed paper and a pen, fast! She patted herself down and came to the horrible realization that she didn’t have any. Luna then checked for her phone…she had left that in her skirt back in her room when she changed into a pair of shorts…

“Sam---!” Luna called out to her girlfriend, silently praying she had the sense that Luna lacked to bring any of those things.

Sam turned to Luna with a bright smile, sweat glistening on her soft skin, her cheeks a pretty shade of red.

Luna blushed hard at how gorgeous her girlfriend was…and then tripped over her own feet. “Woooah!”

She fell over onto Sam who then knocked into Lynn, sending all three girls crashing to the ground with a yelp.

Lynn Jr. glared up at Sam and Luna who were sprawled out on top of her. “Luna! You ruined it! Get down and give me twenty, Missy!”

Luna leaped into the air and landed on the sidewalk, arms stretched out in front of her as she bolted back towards the house. “Sorry Lynn, Sam and I gotta go! I need a paper and pen now before the feeling leaves me!”

Sam raised an eyebrow as she watched Luna speed back down the street. “…Feeling?” She shook her head and rushed after her girlfriend. “Wait up!”

Luna heard Sam call out to her and turned to see the blonde closing in on her. Luna’s mind thought about when she and Sam would playfully race each other when they went out on dates and how much fun it was. She would sometimes be merciful and let Sam win and----

“No! Think about the rage! The hopelessness! Dreams shattered, Dude!” Luna pled to her brain.

Sam panted and watched Luna leap up the stairs to the Loud House porch before the girl stopped, both hands on the door and her head slumped between her outstretched arms. Sam skidded to a halt after climbing the stairs.

“…Lunes?” Sam asked.

Luna sighed, “…I lost it…”

Sam sighed too and patted Luna’s back.

+0+0+0+0+

After changing back into their regular clothes, Luna and Sam sat slumped against each other on the couch. A whistling came from inside the kitchen and suddenly Lynn Sr. appeared holding a frying pan.

“Hey Girls!” he greeted cheerfully.

“Hey Popstar…” “Hi Mr. Loud…” Luna and Sam greeted unenthusiastically in unison.

Lynn Sr. looked at Luna and then at Sam, confused. “What’s wrong, Girls? You two are usually so energetic!”

“Writer’s block,” Luna sighed.

“Hmmm…well you know what inspires me? Trying new kinds of food! Here, come in the kitchen and I’ll show you what new recipe I’m working on for the restaurant!” Lynn Sr. said.

The two girls dropped off the couch and sulked into the kitchen. When they entered the kitchen, they both stopped and smelled the delicious aromas in the air. Lynn Sr. grinned as he opened the lid to the boiling crockpot seated on the counter.

“I’m making Greek lemon chicken with potatoes!” Lynn Sr. announced. He grabbed two small bowls with two forks and then handed them to Sam and Luna. He then scooped some of the food out into each bowl. “Try it, and close your eyes…”

The two girls tasted Lynn Sr.’s creation with their eyes closed.

“…And imagine Greece. The beautiful ocean views, the rolling green hills and valleys…the ancient wonders above and even more hidden beneath its surfaces and down the depths of its clear blue waters…” Lynn Sr.’s voice was like the butter he baked with.

Sam could vividly see it, and soon she found herself sitting on the beach with her guitar in hand, looking out over the ocean. She suddenly heard lyrics slowly begin to form in her head as she strummed a peaceful tune.

“Wow!” Luna gasped, suddenly seated next to her with her bowl. “You’ve really outdone yourself, Popstar! This is the best chicken I’ve ever tasted!”

Lynn Sr. appeared on the other side of Sam. “That’s what the farmer guaranteed…” He held up a chicken in one hand by its neck. “…When he sold me one fresh off the butcher’s block!”

Sam’s guitar screeched to a halt, her eyes wide and her pupils small. She was thrown back in reality, hands trembling as she held her bowl.

Lynn Sr. continued, unaware of Sam’s current horrified expression. “Yup! While your mother and I were participating in the Astonishing Quest, I made a few deals with that local farm we had to pick eggs from!”

Sam slowly looked into her bowl, imagining all of the cute chickens she saw on that farm with Luna.

“What do you think Sam? Good, right?” Luna asked, finally turning to her girlfriend. Luna looked surprised when she saw Sam staring into her bowl. One of Sam's lower eyelids twitched. “…Sam?”

Suddenly, the reason why Sam looked so upset clicked for Luna and she quickly took Sam’s bowl away and placed it back on the counter with her own empty one.

“Thanks for the meal! I think that really helped!” Luna lied as she quickly turned the frozen-in-place Sam around and pushed her out of the kitchen.

Lynn Sr. waved after them. “Glad I could help!” He put his hands on his hips and chuckled. “Lynn Loud, you are the world’s greatest father and chef extraordinaire…”

Once back in the living room, Luna stepped infront of Sam and waved her hand infront of her girlfriend’s vacant stare. Sam’s eyelid twitched again but she remained still.

“Hey Luna!” Lincoln greeted as he and Clyde entered the house.

The two boys stopped and looked at Sam, confused. Luna looked at them, then at Sam, and then chuckled nervously with a shrug.

“That is a look of someone with serious emotional trauma,” Clyde said with a sad shake of his head. He reached into his pocket. “I think I have Doctor Lopez’s card here somewhere…”

Lincoln, his laptop under his arm, looked at Luna and motioned to Sam with his thumb. “What happened to Sam?”

Luna sighed, “She got scarred-for-life while Popstar was trying to help break our writer’s blocks.”

Clyde gave up his search and turned to Luna happily. “Oh! Those are easy to break! All you got to do is listen to someone who really inspires you talk about their own inspirations!”

Lincoln nodded in agreement. “Yeah! You and Sam like Mick Swagger, right? Push Sam over to the couch – I’ll pull up an interview with him on my laptop!”

Luna shrugged and pushed Sam after Lincoln and Clyde who ran off towards the couch. Lincoln sat down and set down his laptop on his knees. He began to type as Luna pushed Sam behind the couch to face on one side of Lincoln and then stood behind her. Clyde sat down on the couch next to Lincoln, watching his friend type in ‘Mick Swagger interview inspiration’ into the search bar. 

“I found one!” Lincoln announced and clicked on the video.

The interview was with a much younger Mick and a female reporter.

“So tell me, where does the famous Mick Swagger get his inspiration from?” the giddy, blonde reporter asked.

Sam snapped out of it and leaned closer to the laptop with Luna, both listening intensely. Lincoln looked smugly at Clyde, believing their idea was going to work.

“Inspiration? Why, the entire world is inspirational! Any musician that can’t find inspiration in everything isn’t a musician in my book, Luv,” Mick bragged.

Luna and Sam’s faces fell. Lincoln and Clyde looked worriedly at them.

“W-well, he was young in this interview! I bet his ideas have changed a lot!” Clyde reassured.

“…And my belief about that will never change! No matter how old I get!” Mick continued.

Luna and Sam looked completely devastated as Lincoln slammed his laptop down to cut off the rest of the video.

“…M-maybe that was a bad idea! I mean – people believe different things! Mick was just…uh…born inspired!” Lincoln said quickly as he got up and scooted backwards towards the stairs with Clyde by his side.

“W-well, catch you later! Good luck with those writer’s blocks!” Clyde called out before the two turned and raced up the stairs.

They passed Lori, Leni, and Rita who were walking down the stairs with laundry piled in their arms. The three made their way into the living room and almost tripped over Sam and Luna curled up on the floor behind the couch, their hearts shattered into pieces.

“Uh…?” Lori said as she carefully stepped over Sam and Luna. “Are you two okay?”

“Hm…” Rita inspected the two girls. “I know those looks…writer’s blocks, am I right?”

Leni perked up. “Ooo, blocks! Can I play too?”

Luna sat back up. “We might as well hang up our guitars! Mick never has these problems – he sees songs in everything!”

Rita rolled her eyes. “Did he really say that?” Luna and Sam nodded sadly at her. Rita clicked her tongue and put one hand on her hip. “Please, everyone gets blocks. Writers, artists, rock stars, everyone. Of course he’s not going to say ‘I sit in me bloomers and eat ice cream when I can’t think of anything to write,’ but everyone does that.”

Sam lifted her head off the ground. “Is that what you do, Mrs. Loud? Does it work?”

Rita eyes popped wide open as she froze in place. Her eyes darted to Luna and Sam, then over at Lori and Leni, all four girls waiting curiously for her answer.

Rita finally let out a nervous laugh as she quickly gathered the clothes from Leni and Lori. “N-no, not me! I definitely don’t do that and certainly not while crying! Anyway! I have to go do laundry now, bye!”

The four girls watched Rita hurry away with confused stares.

Lori shrugged and nodded to the kitchen. “Well, I know what gets my mind going – Dad’s food! Maybe you and Sam can get some inspiration from---“

Sam whimpered and curled back up in a ball. Luna quickly slid over to Sam and hovered over her.

“Uh…we tried that already,” Luna quickly interrupted.

Leni bounced onto on foot. “Oh! Oh! You know what food really inspires me? The sushi from Flip’s! You know, those little sushi containers with the dates crossed off and ‘Expires Never’ written on them in black marker? Eat some of those, and you’ll see lots of pretty things!”

Luna’s face turned green and she slapped one hand over her mouth to keep from vomiting.

Lori stared at her sister with her jaw dropped. “Leni! You will literally die if you eat those!”

Leni looked confused. “But, I’m alive! …I think…” She gasped. “Oh no! Is this all a dream?!”

Lori sighed and led Leni into the kitchen. “Come on, Leni. Let’s get you some real food.”

Luna watched her sisters go into the kitchen before she stood up with a groan. “Well Sam, we tried. I guess we’ll just have to cancel the show…”

Sam stood up and held Luna’s shoulders. “C’mon, Lunes! There’s gotta be some inspiration in this town!”

Lucy was now standing behind Sam. “Try the graveyard.”

Sam and Luna shrieked and jumped into the air. When they saw it was Lucy, they calmed down with a sigh of relief.

“The graveyard? Nah, that’s too dark,” Luna said.

Lucy was holding a black journal in one hand, and a pencil with a bat eraserhead in the other. “There is a lot of history and interesting stories in the graveyard. The people buried there all have stories...stories that need to be told.”

Luna frowned. “Hmm, I dunno…”

Sam turned to Luna and spread her arms at her sides. “It’s worth a try – we got no other ideas.”

Lucy’s face grew dark and her eyes seemed to blaze behind her bangs. “At the back of the graveyard, is a witch’s stone. Seek it and you will find all the inspiration you need.”

Sam and Luna stared down at Lucy with matching frightened expressions. Luna hugged Sam and Sam clung back as a crash echoed and a flash of lightning lit up the room behind them…or so it seemed.

Lori flopped out of the kitchen, her phone in one hand and a bunch of pans spilled besides her. “Ouch! Dang it! That’s the last time I try doing a kitchen selfie…”

+0+0+0+0+

Sam and Luna approached the Royal Woods Cemetery slowly, eyes widening as they approached the creaking gates. They stopped under the gate entrance and peered inside. 

“Dude, I cannot believe we’re doing this,” Luna shuddered.

“We’re desperate, Lunes,” Sam reminded as she began to walk under the gate. “Besides, it’s still light out. We won’t see any ghosts.”

Luna nervously followed her girlfriend. “I-I don’t think that’s how ghosts work, Sam…”

Sam paused, turned to Luna, smiled and reached out her hand. Luna gratefully accepted it and they walked hand-in-hand towards the administration building. Once inside, they saw an old man sweeping the floors.

“Excuse me, Sir,” Sam called out to him. When the old man looked up, she continued, “Can you point us to the general direction of the historical side of the graveyard? We’re looking for a certain stone.”

The old man raised his bushy eyebrows. “You girls interested in Royal Woods history?”

“Something like that,” Luna replied. “My lil’ sis hangs out here all the time with her friends, and she told us if we can find the Witch’s stone, it will help us write music again.”

The old man chuckled as he wiped the sweat off his dark forehead. “I don’t know about that…but I’m happy to help...as long as you two aren’t here to cause any shenanigans infront of that grave!”

“What do you mean?” Sam asked.

The old man shook his head sadly. “You kids act like there isn’t a person under that grave… Bringing candles, and those Wii-Gee Boards, a-and the costumes! ‘Trying to disturb the dead and the peace of the graveyard for some cheap yucks!”

Luna shook her head and reassured, “N-no sir, not us. We’re just here to see what my sister was talking about.”

“We promise we won’t do anything that will disturb anyone, living or, y’know, dead,” Sam agreed.

The old man eyed them hard, but eventually he rubbed his chin and slowly nodded his head. He nodded at them and led them back outside.

He pointed down one of the paved roads with a bony finger. “You girls just keep walking that-a-way and you’ll come to a big, blue old-looking sign where the entrance to this graveyard use to be way back when. The Witch is with the unmarked graves by an old church.”

“Thank you!” Sam thanked.

“Yeah, thanks Brah! You’re a life saver!” Luna thanked him as well.

The two girls began walking at a brisk pace down the road.

“Just be careful! Sometimes there are some real weirdos that hang out in that area! Don’t want nothing happening to you polite, young ladies!” the old groundskeeper called out to them as they hurried down the road. “And don’t disrespect the Witch!”

Luna glanced over her shoulder and then turned to Sam with an uneasy look on her face. “…How would we know if we’re disrespecting a witch?”

Sam laughed lightly, “Don’t worry; he’s probably just trying to scare us.”

Luna gulped and turned back to the road. [Already done…]

+0+0+0+0+

Sam stood on a small hill and cupped one hand over her eyes to look into the distance. They had passed the old graveyard entrance sign a few feet back, and now they just had to find the church. She glanced up at the sky: it was getting close to evening time. Then, off in the distance, she saw a small steeple that looked like it was ready to cave in at any time.

“There!” Sam called to Luna who stood at the bottom of the hill, fingers nervously clasped together.

“Phew! We’re not lost,” Luna sighed with relief as Sam slid down the hill to join her side.

Sam grinned. “Have I ever gotten us lost before?”

Luna laughed and hugged Sam’s neck with one arm, bringing Sam down to her level. “Uh, yeah! A lot, Sam!”

Sam’s grin stretched. “Well, if you don’t like getting lost with me, don’t let me lead.”

She playfully tossed her hair at Luna, causing Luna to let her go with a giggle. Sam marched off towards the direction of the church with a satisfied smirk.

Luna laughed again and chased after Sam. “Who said anything about not liking it? I like it, I like it, I like it!”

Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted a shadowy figure dash between graves. Luna froze and whirled around to see what it was. There was nothing there. She rubbed her eyes, shook her head, and dashed after Sam. Once she was by Sam, she grabbed Sam’s hand with both of hers and checked around them. Sam looked at her, confused.

“What’s up?” Sam asked. “You look pale.”

Luna ignored her for a second and looked closely around them. Seeing that there were no other movements, she sighed with relief.

“I’m good,” Luna lied. “Let’s keep going, sorry.”

Sam smiled gently. “Stay close to me, I’ll protect you.”

Luna laughed and let Sam haul her off. “With what, your hair?”

“Uh, just so you know…I am a ghost and zombie expert,” Sam joked in a fake bragging voice. “Simon taught me how to play ‘Resident Evil,’ and I only screamed ten times during the game. And out of those ten, only twice were with tears.”

Luna laughed; Sam always knew how to lighten the mood. “Wow… My girlfriend is so brave…”

“I know,” Sam giggled.

They came to the church and looked up its crumbling walls and half-caved roof. Then they turned and looked at the stretch of unmarked graves and graves that were so faded, they were now illegible.

“Dude…how sad is this?” Luna asked as she squatted down to one marker that just had a small, orange flag on it. “They’re in the back of a cemetery, completely forgotten about.”

Sam wanted to joke that she didn’t think corpses cared about being forgotten, but knew it would be in bad taste when she saw Luna’s sad expression. “Yeah… And what’s up with the whole ‘Witch’ thing?”

Luna turned her head slightly and then paled. On a stone much larger than the others were the words: Here Lies a Witch. She shrieked and fell backwards onto her bottom, then kicked herself backwards to wrap herself around Sam’s legs.

“I-I-I-I think I know why!” Luna wailed and pointed to the stone.

Sam looked at the stone, jaw dropped. “W-why isn’t there a name on there?”

Luna shot up and grabbed Sam’s hand. “I think I’ve been inspired to run away, Dude!”

Suddenly, out of nowhere, came a sharp hiss.

“Ssh!” it was a female voice.

Luna froze and clung to Sam who was too scared to make a move.

Another voice, this time a croaking male’s voice. “Let her rest. She did not deserve this fate…”

Sam’s knees knocked together as Luna crawled up her body to wrap herself around Sam’s torso. “W-who’s there?!”

A shadowy figure darted behind the church, causing Sam to gasp and turn her and Luna to that direction.

“Oh cruel world…” a whispery girl’s voice mourned.

Luna finally pulled herself together and jumped off Sam, clutching her girlfriend’s hand in her own. “W-whoever this is, this is not funny, Dudes! Have some respect for the dead!”

Sam found her strength and squeezed Luna’s hand. “Yeah! How would you like it if people were playing games over your graves?!”

“Gasp,” Lucy deadpanned from behind them. “You two understand.”

Sam and Luna screamed and jumped forward into the air with surprise. Luna landed on her face while Sam stumbled onto her feet but then fell over the Witch’s gravestone, landing right infront of a brown, medium-sized historical marker with a paragraph of text on it. Sam blinked as she looked up at the marker they hadn’t seen before.

“DUDE!!!” Luna shrieked as she sat up on her knees to face Lucy, wheezing and clutching her heart. “Are you TRYING to give us heart attacks?!”

Lucy’s face remained emotionless, but Luna could hear regret in her voice. “I’m sorry; we got excited because you two were going to write a song about Celine.”

“We?” Luna asked, gulping in another breath to still her rapidly beating heart. "Celine?"

Out from behind the church and the stones, the Mortician’s Club stepped into the light of day.

“We apologize as well,” Haiku said. “We didn’t mean to scare you, we just got too excited someone wanted to know the story of Celine, or, the Witch.”

Luna looked between the dead expressions of all the members and wondered how anyone would know whether or not they were excited. Sam rolled backwards to Luna and grabbed the end of her shirt.

“Lunes! Check it out! There’s a whole story here!” Sam said as she pointed to the marker. "It's really...sad."

Lucy stepped past the girls and squatted down to the marker. “Before the graveyard got the new groundskeeper that you met before, nobody was curious to see who was actually buried here. Back during the days of the Salem Witch Trials, a young woman from Royal Woods went to Salem to replace a doctor there who had passed. She was intelligent and ahead of her time, so the people thought all the new medicines and treatments she had was witchcraft.”

“They found her guilty of witchcraft at a joke of a trial and sentenced her to death with others,” Dante croaked.

Persephone motioned to the grave. “They brought her back here, but the town would not let her family put her actual name on the gravestone.”

Lucy stood and clenched her fists. “We were the ones who researched the story behind the grave, to find out the truth. When we found this grave, it had been ruined by people coming in and disrespecting it. It made us angry. After all, if we lived back then, we would’ve been found guilty of witchcraft too just by our looks and our interests.”

Sam touched her heart with both hands. “So then the groundskeeper made this marker?”

Lucy nodded. “Yes.” She turned to Luna. “We’re sorry, we just want her story to be known…and we knew you two could write something amazing, but, we didn’t want to wait to hear it.”

“You touched our icy hearts when you stood up for the dead too, thinking we were playing cemetery games,” Haiku added. “We couldn’t sit still and be silent any longer.”

Luna scratched the back of her head. “Dudes…wow…that was really cool of you guys.” She grinned and waved them off. “It’s all good! Sam and I are two chickens anyway, we get scared by everything!”

“Uh, says you!” Sam teased. “You were crawling all over me……not that I minded very much…”

Luna gave her an embarrassed grin and blushed. “Eh heh…”

“Hiss! Love!” Robert hissed as he shielded himself with an arm and took off blindly.

Luna and Sam blinked after him and then turned back to each other.

“Well, I don’t know about you, Lunes, but I’m pumped to start writing some lyrics!” Sam cheered.

“Heck yeah, Dude! I can hear the shredding of our guitars now!” Luna agreed enthusiastically.

“Hurray,” Lucy deadpanned with a slight hint of cheer in her voice.

“For Celine,” Haiku also “cheered” with an equal lack of enthusiasm on her face.

The other club members hissed and groaned in agreement. Suddenly, a golf cart zoomed up to them driven by the groundskeeper. He grinned at the scene and stepped out of his cart.

“You found it! I was getting worried I got you both lost!” he laughed. He nodded at the sky. “Come on, I’ll give you all a ride back! It’s getting dark now.”

Luna sighed with relief. “Thanks, Brah! …Not that we would’ve been scared or anything…heh….”

Sam playfully elbowed Luna. “Let’s face it, fellow chicken: we both would’ve ended up scared and crying the entire night.”

Luna laughed, “True!”

The groundskeeper laughed and then turned to the Mortician’s Club members. “Okay, pile in everybody!”

Lucy took a step backwards in sync with her club. “Don’t worry about us; we have our own way to get back.”

Suddenly, a flurry of bats blocked Sam, Luna, and the groundskeeper’s views. When they looked again once the bats were gone, the Mortician’s Club members were also nowhere to be seen.

The groundskeeper leaned over to the stunned Luna and Sam. “…I told you there were weirdos out here…”

+0+0+0+0+

A few days later, Sam and Luna raced down the street towards Mazzy’s house, guitars strapped to their backs.

“Aw man! I really love what we wrote! Mazzy and Sully are going to flip!” Sam panted.

Luna grinned. “Yeah! We did it, Dude!”

Sam smiled and leaned over to give a quick kiss to Luna’s cheek. Luna whooped happily and ran even faster with the new burst of energy she got from the simple kiss. When the two girls got to Mazzy’s open garage, they skidded to a halt, both panting hard and holding their knees. Sully and Mazzy looked up from their instruments, also grinning.

“D-dudes!” Luna panted breathlessly. “You’re…never…gonna---!”

“Hey, Dudes!” Sully greeted, throwing his arms out into the air. “Mazzy and I got a huge surprise for you two!”

Luna and Sam were too busy trying to catch their breath to question Sully.

Mazzy stood up from her drummer’s seat with a toothy grin. “Sully and I felt bad that we always put so much pressure on you two to write new songs! So…we wrote one ourselves!”

“W-wait…what…?” Luna panted.

“Surprise!” Sully cheered. “Turns out, Mazzy and I are pretty good at it! So we wrote…drumroll please!”

Mazzy grabbed her drumsticks and tapped on her drums to make a drumroll sound. She hit her symbol when Sully held up a bunch of papers into the air.

“…Ten songs!” he announced.

Luna and Sam stood stunned, both gawking up at their friends. Sam’s long bangs unstuck themselves from her sweaty forehead and covered both of her eyes.

“Woo! How great is that?!” Mazzy cheered as she tossed her drumsticks behind her head, letting them crash somewhere behind her.

Luna and Sam remained bent over, holding their knees, hair in their faces, and mouths hanging open in the breeze.

Sully and Mazzy waited for a response, but got none.

“Uh…dudes?” Sully asked. “…Are you two okay…?”

Meanwhile, in the graveyard, by the Witch’s stone, Lucy placed a red rose down on the ground. She sat down next to the stone and smiled upwards. A small orb of light slowly lowered near the flower curiously, and then darted up back into the sky, happy and free. For some reason, Lucy could have sworn she heard Celine giggling.

Chapter Text

Sam held her knees and gawked at her score: Zero.

Sweat dripped down the side of her head as her mouth hung open, her breaths coming out in pants. “I-I don’t understand…?”

Simon blinked at the screen and then looked over at his bent over sister. “Well, uh…y-you know, sometimes these cameras that they sell for the consoles don’t register movement very well! Maybe it…just didn’t…know you were dancing at all?”

“WOW! I CAN SEE YOU GOT NO GROOVE!” the game’s Hippy-looking-Jimi-Hendrix-rip-off-mascot proclaimed.

Sam sunk to her knees and let her face hit the floor with a long, pathetic whine. Simon stepped around her and turned off his gaming system.

“I don’t get it, Sam. Why are you so obsessed with this game all of a sudden?” Simon asked.

Sam sighed and turned her head on the living room carpet so she could speak. “I-I dunno… I keep thinking about Luna’s face when I told her I couldn’t dance.”

Simon looked confused. “So what if you can’t dance? She can’t rock climb or sail a boat, but you still like her, right?”

Sam sighed pathetically. “Of course I do…but…”

Simon grinned and picked up a video game case in his hands. “Just forget about it! I just got a really cool open world game where you can play as a ninja! And we can play it together!”

Sam lifted herself off the floor and then walked towards the long, green couch behind them. “Okay, that sounds like fun.”

Simon beamed and began to switch out the games from his console. Sam sunk into the couch and blankly watched Simon grab two controllers. The young boy raced back to the couch and excitedly leaped up onto the couch beside her. She caught her controller that was practically thrown at her as Simon began the game with his own.

Sam let herself get lost in her own thoughts as a cutscene began. Simon, being much younger than her, wouldn’t understand why Sam was suddenly thinking about learning to dance, or at the very least, learn how to be coordinated. A few nights ago, Sam and the band performed for a school dance, and when she saw all the couples dancing together on the floor…and the way Luna watched them with a longing expression on her face…it made Sam feel like a loser: a total rock star poser…a bad, lame girlfriend that Luna was too cool for.

It was already bad enough that she regularly played the ukulele for shelter animals, enjoyed “weird” vegan foods, and had other very un-rock-and-roll interests…but what kind of rock and roll band member didn’t know how to at least move their body with to music without causing destruction and injuries in her wake?

Luna’s surprised face once again flashed in her mind: “As in all dancing? Like, even at concerts?” When Sam gave her a meek shrug, Luna gave her a twisted, strained smile.  “Cool…I get that…!”

Sam’s eye twitched as she began to violently button mash on the controller. “No, it’s not cool!” She growled under her breath. “I’m a big, dumb, clumsy mess who can’t do anything right!”

Beside her, Simon gawked at the screen as Sam’s character began to take out the entire bandit camp they were in. Screams and slicing noises filled the virtual camp as Sam’s character became a master ninja: an unstoppable killing machine at only Level 2. He nervously glanced over at Sam whose eyes were small, one of her eyes’ lower lids raised and twitching as her fingers flurried over the controller.

“Stupid poser! You stupid ukulele playing fake rocker! Stupid, stupid, stupid…!” Sam growled at herself through clenched teeth.

Simon slowly put his controller down and slid off the couch, watching Sam nervously. “I-I’m going to get us some, uh, snacks! Yeah, snacks! While you…completely wipe out the bandit camp…”

“Sweet, thanks Little Bro,” Sam said in a moment of sanity as another agonizing scream of a bandit rang out from the television. She went back to growling at herself. “Who gets a zero on a video game, you loser?!”

Simon hurried away to the kitchen, whispering in a high, strained voice, “I think Sam needs therapy… Where’s that number that Clyde gave me…?”

+0+0+0+0+

Luna danced around ontop of the Loud House’s living room couch, punching the air happily as she swung her hips. She sang to herself, “Friday nights are the best nights because---!”

There was a knock on the front door. Luna launched herself off the couch and landed by the door.

She continued her little song and dance as she grabbed the doorknob. “---Sam and I go out and go…places…?” She paused and put her finger on her chin. “…Dangit, I gotta think of something that rhymes…”

Luna swung open the door and was greeted by a depressed-looking Sam. In her excitement, Luna didn’t notice the gloomy look on her girlfriend’s face or the messy mascara that hinted Sam had been crying.

“Sam! It’s Friday night, Brah! Let’s get ready to---!” Luna froze when she finally looked at Sam’s face. “Oh no! What’s wrong?”

Sam’s bottom lip quivered and Luna felt her heart drop as her mind ran through the worst possible possibilities that would make her normally chill girlfriend be so upset.

“I got a zero!” Sam blurted out.

Luna blinked. “On the Math test?”

Sam covered her eyes with her hands and shook her head. Luna felt the presence of her family behind her and then spun her head to glare at them. They were all peeking out from the dining room and from the top of the stairs, all looking confused except for Lori who looked like she was about to strangle Luna, probably thinking Luna was the reason Sam was so upset. Luna quickly, but gently, pushed Sam out onto the porch and shut the door behind them.

Luna hugged Sam with one arm and used the other hand to brush away her girlfriend’s long bangs off her face. She planted a kiss on Sam’s forehead and then spoke into Sam’s skin. “Tell me what happened, Baby.”

Sam shivered pleasantly at Luna’s gentle voice and buried her head into the crook of Luna’s neck. “…I got a zero on a dancing video game…”

Luna pulled away slightly and looked relieved. “Oh man! Whew! I was really scared for a second! I thought someone died!”

Sam looked up at Luna’s face. “It’s really bad, Lunes…”

Luna laughed and stroked Sam’s head. “It’s just a game, Sam.”

Sam sighed into Luna’s shirt. “I really tried… I’ve been trying really hard to get myself to try to dance again.”

Luna looked confused. “You have? Why?”

Sam sighed and pulled away from Luna so she could wrap her arms around herself. “I mean…everyone else dances. It’s just a natural human thing, y’know? At that dance we played at the other night…I just felt…left out. And I thought…maybe you felt the same way…?”

Luna shook her head. “No way! I don’t care if you don’t like to dance; I have a lot of fun with you anyway!”

“Lunes, I saw the look on your face, and besides for that, I want to dance with you,” Sam insisted. She hung her head. “But, it’s like my mind and my body can’t communicate with each other when I try…” She winced. “…And I feel…dumb.”

“Dude! Everyone looks dumb when they dance if you really think about it,” Luna replied, spreading her arms out. “Who cares what other people think? Dancing is about fun!” She began an intentionally silly dance. “I’ll dance like this so everyone will look at me instead of you!”

Sam laughed, “Thanks, but, maybe I should just learn how to relax and dance…”

Luna grinned and shrugged.

“Ahem,” Lisa’s muffled voice came from the front windows.

Luna slouched forward, annoyed, and turned to see the rest of the Louds all squeezed together to spy on the two from inside.

Lisa pushed up her glasses. “I may have a solution to Sam’s problem.”

+0+0+0+0+

A large machine with a screen sat in the Louds’ living room. Everyone gathered around it as Lisa held a clipboard in one hand, standing close to Sam.

“I created this little beauty while experimenting with ‘popularity’ a few months back,” Lisa announced. “I have gathered all the data from all the most current popular dances in the United States and compiled them into this machine. It will use all that data to create the ultimate dance with an easy-to-follow instructional video!”

Leni squished her cheeks together. “O-M-G! Let’s try it out now!”

Lisa held up a hand to prevent Leni from dashing at the machine. “I have to collect some basic information about Sam first.”

“Me?” Sam asked.

Lisa nodded. “The machine has to know your physical limits and flexibility before it can compile the perfect dance your body is capable of performing.” She looked down at her clipboard. “Please touch your toes.”

Sam looked at Luna who shrugged at her. The blonde turned back and leaned forward to touch her toes.

“Very good,” Lisa said with a nod, scribbling something down on a piece of paper that was attached to the clipboard. “Now, stand on one foot.”

Sam did what she was asked, but this time she stumbled slightly before catching herself.

“Excellent,” Lisa said mostly to herself. “Now, at what approximate times do you go number two?”

Sam’s eyes went wide and a blush shot up her neck up to her face. “W-w-wha…?”

“Lisa!” Lori barked.

Lynn Jr. sighed and left for the kitchen. “Welp, I saw that one coming…”

Sam blushed hard. “I-I…I mean…I g-guess…”

Luna quickly slapped her hand over Sam’s mouth. “You don’t have to answer that, Sam!” She glared daggers at the calm Lisa. “Dude!!!”

Lisa held up her hands. “Okay, okay. Sheesh. I do not understand why everyone gets so upset when I ask about basic, human functions…” She peered down at her paper. “Hmmm, from my past observations of you, Sam, it appears you have no serious balance or coordination issues besides for the occasional clumsiness. There is no reason you have so much trouble dancing, unless……was there a traumatic event in your childhood that involved dancing or being in large crowds?”

Sam paled and froze, lips squeezed tightly together. “Ha ha! No…! Nope! Nothing like that! My childhood was totally boring!”

Luna was in protective girlfriend mode. “Stop torturing Sam and turn on that machine already!”

Lincoln agreed, “Come on, Lisa. I’m sure that’s enough data for your machine.”

Lisa rolled her eyes and heaved an annoyed sigh. “Very well, although, I did not know you were a scientist as well, Lincoln…”

Lincoln put his hands on his hips proudly. “I is smart enough to be one!”

Lisa stuck the piece of paper into the machine and stepped back as it whirled and clicked to life. Sam looked on nervously and wondered if she should just run out the door now before she could humiliate herself infront of Luna and the entire Loud family.

“Don’t worry, Sam, we’ll dance along!” Rita reassured.

The screen attached to the machine suddenly flickered on and a 3D animated woman appeared.

“Okay everyone! Let’s dance!” the animated woman cheered.

The Louds lined up infront of the screen with Sam reluctantly in the middle. The woman began to dance, swaying her hips and moving her arms back and forth over her body. The Louds easily copied while Sam awkwardly tried to get her hips and arms in sync with the dancing. Then the woman began to move her feet and throw her arms in the air while cheering. The Louds moved and cheered along with her, while Sam slowly tried to figure out how the others were doing it.

Suddenly, one of Leni’s arms hit Lori in the face.

“OW! Leni!” Lori yelped, holding her nose and stumbling backwards where Lily was currently sitting.

Lynn Jr. emerged from the kitchen and gasped, seeing Lori stumbling towards the innocently smiling and clapping Lily.

“Woah!” Lynn Jr. shot forward and leaped towards Lily, grabbing the baby in midair before rolling away. The two watched as Lori fell backwards with a grunt. “Aaaaand Lynn Jr. makes the save!”

Rita turned to Lynn Jr. and gasped when she realized what had happened. “Omigosh!”

She took off towards Lily and Lynn Jr., accidentally stepping on one of the machine’s wires in the process. The wire fell out of its slot in the back of the machine, unknown to the others.

The woman on the screen began to dance faster. “Let’s do the Footsole Shuffle!” She began to move frantically as the Louds and Sam tried to follow along. Her image flickered and her voice stuttered. “N-n-n-n-now The Git Down!”

“U-uh, Lisa? I think your machine is busted!” panted Lana.

Lisa was also panting as she tried to follow the dances the woman was presenting on the screen in high speed. “Nonsense! We are just learning at a faster pace!”

Suddenly, the machine began to smoke and electricity crackled from underneath the panels.

Lana flung herself behind the couch. “IT’S GONNA BLOW!”

The others yelped and rushed off to hide behind anything they could find. As Lana predicted, the machine exploded into a cloud of thick, black smoke and pieces everywhere.

Luna peeked out from behind the television with Sam. She briefly looked at the smoldering parts on the ground and the giant burn spot on the floor before grinning timidly at Sam. “Maybe that was too intense…”

Sam sighed, “Well, at least I didn’t make a total fool out of myself infront of your family. But I couldn’t even follow along with the first dance – and that was just hips and arms movements.”

Luna stepped out from behind the television and put her hands on her hips. “Don’t worry, Sam! We just need to find what makes you want to move, and I think I have an idea.”

Lynn Sr. shot up from behind the couch, cowbell in his hand. “I have an idea too!” He rushed over to the girls and began to pound on his cowbell, swinging his hips to the beat. “Cowbells are great for making a beat you can shake your booty to! It’s easy! Come on, Sam!”

Luna quietly groaned in her throat with embarrassment and looked at Sam. Much to Luna’s horror, Sam began to slowly follow along, looking unsure.

Luna quickly grabbed her arm and gave her dad a nervous grin. “Sorry, Dad! Sam and I gotta go! Bye!”

She dashed out the front door with Sam in tow. Lynn Sr. blinked after them as Lisa and Lincoln emerged from underneath the couch with a burnt faces.

“I told you I needed more data,” Lisa grumbled to Lincoln.

+0+0+0+0+

Luna hauled Sam up to the front of Flip’s with a grin. Sam blinked at the crumbling storefront and looked at Luna with an uncertain expression.

“Flip’s?” Sam asked.

Luna nodded. “Yeah, Flip sells a lot of instructional DVDs for cheap. Maybe we can find one for you.”

Luna entered the store first with Sam behind her. Flip was at the counter, gluing the soles of a pair of old, crumbling shoes.

“’Zup, Flip?” Luna greeted as the two girls approached the counter.

Flip turned to them with a grin. “You two ladies interested in a semi-used pair of shoes? Only twenty-five dollars!”

Sam looked down at the shoes that were dripping with glue. When a fly buzzed out of it, she gave Flip a strained but polite smile. “No thanks, Flip.”

He shrugged, placed a twenty-five dollar price tag on the shoes, and placed them on the shelf behind him. “Then how can I sell you---I-I mean---help you---with anything?”

Luna asked, “Ya got any dance instructional videos we can buy or rent?”

Flip beamed. “I got something even better than that!”

He disappeared under the counter and then reemerged dressed like a 80s dance instructor complete with a tight orange and green leotard and a purple headband across his head. Sam looked away as Luna shielded her eyes from the sight, both grimacing.

“Uh…you know how to dance, Flip?” Luna asked slowly.

Flip nodded and jumped out from behind his counter. “You’re looking at a Royal Woods Dance Champion! Now, hand over a dollar and we can get started!”

Luna dug into her pocket and handed Flip a dollar. “Huh, dance lessons for a dollar! Can’t beat that!”

Sam had a bad feeling about Flip’s lesson as she watched him shove the dollar down the front of his horrifying dance suit. “Uh…Lunes? Maybe we shouldn’t---“

Flip slammed his finger down onto an old boombox on the counter and 80s dance music blasted from it. “Okay, just follow Flip’s lead!”

Sam frowned and lined up with Luna who looked intrigued, a smirk on her face.

“And one!” Skip cheered as he stuck out one foot.

The girls followed and then watched him for the next step. He stood still, watching them and they watched back, confused. Flip held out his hand and moved his fingers back and forth.

“If you want the next step, ya gotta pay up another dollar!” he announced.

Luna blinked and then shoved her hand into her skirt pocket to retrieve another dollar. Sam opened her mouth and then closed it when Luna handed over another dollar for Flip to shove down in suit.

“And two!” Flip continued, bringing his other foot to the side of his other foot.

Luna and Sam copied and then waited for him to continue. Flip held out his hand again and this time Luna growled as she retrieved another dollar.

“Lunes---“ Sam objected.

“Now for the good part!” Flip said enthusiastically, his hands shaking infront of him.

He put one foot back. And his hand out.

“AGH! This is ridiculous!” Luna shouted, throwing her hands in the air.

Flip look offended. “Ridiculous?! Fine! I’ll show you my signature move and then you’ll be convinced to spend all your money---er---time learning from me!”

With a sudden lightness, Flip jumped into the air and spun. He landed and continued spinning like a top until he came to a stop with his arms crossed and legs crossed. Luna and Sam’s jaws dropped in unison.

“Hah! Now you two try!” Flip challenged.

Luna hopped into the air and spun around half way, landing on the floor with her back facing Flip. Sam didn’t even attempt to try it and just looked down at her feet.

“What was that baloney?! Here – I’ll do it again!” Flip proclaimed. “First, you jump and then you throw your body into a spin!”

Luna jumped with Sam and spun around. Sam landed dizzily and stumbled backwards into a vat of nacho cheese. It crashed to the ground and spilled cheese across the floor. Flip landed on the ground in a spin right onto the cheese. He yelled out as he began to slide and spin in circles around the store like a top. Luna and Sam cringed as he crashed around the store, knocking almost everything over in the process. With one final scream, he spun into the bathroom where a violent crash and the splashing of water echoed in his wake.

Sam rushed towards the bathroom door but stopped when she saw the ‘men’ symbol on the door. Instead of going in, she cracked open the door and said, “Flip! I’m so sorry!”

“…Flip? You good, Dude…?” Luna hesitantly called out as she joined Sam’s side.

A groaning came from the bathroom. “I think I swallowed some of the toilet water!”

Sam and Luna exchanged worried glances before they slowly began to back out of the store.

“Well, uh, we’ll see you later, Flip!” Luna called as they backed to the front door.

“Still interested in more lessons?” Flip called out. Luna and Sam quickly ran out the front door. “…Girls? Hello?”

Once they were a safe distance away, Sam groaned and began to bump her forehead with her fist. “Wow, I really messed that up…”

Luna shook her head and reassured, “No, you were right, Sam! Flip might be a…kinda scammy…dance instructor, but he wasn’t the right teacher for you.”

“Trust me, Lunes. No one is the right teacher for my two left feet. Let’s just forget about it,” Sam sighed.

Luna stubbornly retorted, “No way, Sam! Maybe the only teacher you need is some good music!”

She whipped out her phone and began typing on it.

+0+0+0+0+

Mazzy and Sully waited outside a small burger joint and entertainment venue. Sully checked his watch once again while Mazzy held her stomach.

“Ugh, where are they? I’m about to go inside and eat without them,” Mazzy complained.

“Sorry we’re late!” Luna’s voice rang out.

Luna and Sam ran over to their friends.

“Hey! I’m surprised you texted us, Luna. I thought Friday night was date night?” Mazzy teased, playfully elbowing Luna.

Sully looked concerned. “Yeah…is…something going on…?”

Luna shook her head. “No, not really. I just wanted Sam to have more moral support. She wants to try to dance!”

Mazzy and Sully’s mouths dropped open. “Sam?! Dance?!”

Sully reached over and felt Sam’s head. “Hm…” He leaned backwards and whispered to Luna, “Is she feeling okay?”

“Dude, you HATE dancing!” Mazzy gasped at Sam. “I can’t even get her to do the Y-M-C-A!” Mazzy told Luna while shaping her arms into each letter.

Luna reached out and put one arm around Sam’s shoulders, pulling her in close with a proud grin. “Well, she’s going to try! No pressure. I figured, if Sam were to want to move her body to anything, it would be with rock music!”

“Alright!” Sully cheered. “Rock and roll!”

Mazzy pointed behind her. “I’m going to grab a burger first before I eat one of you.”

A few minutes later, Luna and the band made their way down the basement stairs of the burger place. Rock music blasted from the speakers on the walls, a small stage setup where a crowd of people were already gathered to watch a band play. The crowd was dancing and moving with the loud music.

Luna pointed to an empty spot towards the front of the stage. “Come on, I see somewhere we can stand!”

They made their way through the crowd and then stood in the area Luna found. Luna looked up excitedly at the group playing on stage and then looked at her friends.

“Aw man, these dudes are rockin’!” Luna shouted over the music and noise. “Come on, Guys, let’s show Sam how we dance!”

Luna began to dance to the music, followed by Sully, and then Mazzy. Sam watched her friends and then looked down at her own feet. She heard her heart in her ears, her body suddenly feeling numb as she desperately tried to push her fears and insecurities back.

“Here, Sam, watch!” Sully offered. He leaned back and began to play air guitar while head banging. “Pretend you’re playing your bass!”

Sam numbly lifted her now sweat-soaked hands and positioned them like she would on her bass. She imagined her bass in her hands and began to pluck the air while slowly moving her head back and forth.

“Now do this!” Mazzy shouted.

Mazzy bent one knee infront of her and began to shift her weight back and forth. Sam watched her for a second before trying it herself.

“You got it, Brah!” Luna cheered.

Sam gave Luna a weak grin as she continued to dance like she was shown. But then, an image popped in her head: people scattered across the floor, electricity buzzing in the air, flowers strewn about with vase pieces on a dance floor. Sam gasped and then tripped over her own feet, flailing as she stumbled backwards. She grunted as she knocked into a tall, muscular man’s back.

“Dude, Sam!” Luna gasped as she, Mazzy, and Sully rushed over to her.

The tall muscular man slowly turned to Sam, eyes dangerous.

“U-um…I’m really sorry, Sir…” Sam stuttered fearfully, putting her hands up infront of her as she slowly stepped away.

“MOSH PIT!” the man happily screamed as he grabbed another man by his side and shoved him into the area where Luna and the band stood.

Luna gasped and looked around frantically as people began getting pushed and thrown around them. Sully grabbed Mazzy’s hand, who grabbed Sam’s hand, who grabbed Luna’s hand. “Let’s beat it, Dudes!”

Just as Sully said that, another teenager crashed into him, causing Sully to fly backwards and lose his grip on Mazzy. Mazzy blinked down at her now empty hand and then lifted her head up.

“…Uh-oh…” she said right before she was pushed away by a headbanging woman.

Luna tried to guard Sam but the crowd began to close in on them, everyone pushing and leaping against each other.

“Brace yourself, Brah!” Luna told Sam as the two clung to each other.

Luna and the band’s screams and shouts echoed inside the basement as the crowd completely closed in and the mosh pit spread.

+0+0+0+0+

Later on, outside the burger and entertainment venue, people went their separate ways out into the street. On a patch of grass on the side of the venue, Luna and the band lied on their backs, their clothes and bodies beaten-up looking.

“Ugh…our first mosh pit…” Sam groaned.

“Rock and roll……!” Sully moaned with forced enthusiasm, waving his fist into the air. His arm made a snapping noise and then it dropped uselessly by his side. “……Ow.”

Mazzy sat up and rubbed her head painfully. “Well, at least we made it out alive.” She opened her jacket and pulled out a wrapped burger. “And so did my burger!”

Sam sighed and sat up next. “I’m really sorry, Guys…” She stumbled up and dug her hands into her jacket. “Maybe there’s a good reason I shouldn’t dance…”

Luna shot up, bones cracking as she did. “No way, Dude! I’m not giving up on you!”

“Yeah,” Sully agreed, looking up at Sam from the ground. “We were in a tough crowd tonight! Maybe we can find a kinder, gentler one?”

Luna nodded. “Yeah! How about we go to a…uh…a folk concert!”

Sam shook her head. “Look, I really appreciate you guys trying to help me, but I’ll just cause you more trouble.”

Luna grabbed Sam’s shoulders. “Come on, Sam! L-let’s try again tomorrow! Please?”

Sam sighed, leaned forward, and gave Luna a quick kiss on her cheek. “Sorry, I’m volunteering at the shelter tomorrow.” She stepped around Luna and trudge off down the street. “I’ll see you guys later.”

Luna watched Sam disappear down the street with a sad pout and large eyes.

+0+0+0+0+

The next afternoon, Lana led Luna towards the Royal Woods Animal Shelter.

“Thanks for being my guardian so I can volunteer today!” Lana cheered. “But you’ve never volunteered before, what happened?”

Luna sighed, “Yeah, I-I’m not really good with animals, but, I’m worried about Sam. She was pretty bummed last night.”

Lana led Luna up the stairs to the front door of the Shelter and paused, one eyebrow raised. “Because you all got your spleens kicked in?”

Luna held her stomach. “Oof, don’t remind me…” Lana opened the door and Luna followed her inside. “But, naw, Dude. It was because of the dancing thing.”

Lana seemed to be half listening as she approached the front desk. The front desk woman smiled happily and allowed them inside the back area where the animals were.

Luna continued as they walked through the cat area towards the kennels. “I feel really bad about the whole thing. Sam thinks I’m unhappy because we don’t dance together, but that’s not true, Dude!”

Lana continued to walk ahead of Luna, seemingly not paying attention to anything her older sister was saying. “You wanna see something?”

Luna looked down at Lana with a frown. “You’re not even listening, are ya?”

Lana grinned and pushed open the door to the kennel area. She turned to Luna and touched her lips with a single finger. “Ssh…”

Luna looked confused but obeyed. Lana crept into the kennel with Luna following close behind on her tippy-toes. Inside, a soft, distant voice echoed amongst the concrete walls and cages. Luna perked up, instantly recognizing it as Sam’s voice. Lana motioned Luna to stay low as she snuck forward.

“Are we allowed to be in here?” Luna whispered, still confused as to why her sister wanted them to sneak in.

Lana ignored her and rounded a corner. A few feet away was an open door leading to the yard where they took the dogs outside to socialize. Lana snuck up to the door and hid on one side of it while Luna hid on the other side.

Lana grinned at her sister. “Check it out.”

Luna peeked around the corner into the yard. Sam was standing in the yard with a group of small, Golden Retriever puppies all gathered around her. She held one puppy in her arms as she slowly danced around and sang to it.

“Dude…Sam’s dancing!” Luna whispered excitedly.

Lana snorted, “I bet she doesn’t even realize it, but she does that when she’s holding a baby animal. I’ve seen it a bunch of times.” Lana dashed out into the yard, arms in the air. “Hey Kiddos!”

The puppies turned and barked excitedly when they saw Lana running towards her. She flopped backwards onto the ground and let the puppies climb all over her as she laughed. The puppy in Sam’s arms began to struggle frantically while crying excitedly, so Sam let it down so it could join in on the fun.

Sam’s eyebrows shot up when she saw Luna enter the yard. “Lunes! I’m surprised to see you here!”

Luna grabbed Sam’s shoulders, eyes wide and a grin on her face. “Dude! You were dancing!”

Sam looked confused. “Wait, really? That was dancing?”

“I told ya she didn’t know!” Lana called out while giggling from the puppy kisses.

Luna nodded. “Dancing comes in all forms, Brah. See? You just needed a no pressure, happy situation to shake your groove thing!”

Sam looked unsure. “But…that’s useless then. I can dance with puppies but not my girlfriend?”

Luna was still grinning ear to ear. “Well, this is a start! Once you get comfortable dancing like this, then you will eventually get comfortable dancing everywhere else!”

Sam sighed and looked down. “Luna… I need to tell you something: Lisa was right.”

Luna looked confused. “Right about what?”

Sam shifted on her feet and then glanced over at a picnic bench the Shelter put in for families meeting dogs. Underneath it laid the tired-looking Mama Golden Retriever that offered a lazy tail wag when she saw Sam looking towards her. “Let’s go sit down.”

The couple sat down and briefly watched Lana get up and begin to run around with the puppies.

Sam finally took in a deep breath. “So…when I was young, like, really young…my Aunt was getting married. At the wedding, they had this DJ who was playing good music.”

“Good music at a wedding? Unheard of,” Luna interrupted with a laugh.

Sam laughed, “I know, right? Anyway, I decided to get up and dance with all the adults. While I was dancing, I was enjoying myself and not paying attention to anything around me. But then, I noticed everyone had stopped dancing. They were all now surrounding me, towering over me, laughing and clapping their hands. I mean, now I know they were just amused by seeing this dumb little kid on the dance floor by herself, but at the time, it was scary.”

Luna nodded understandingly as she placed her hand on Sam’s. “That does sound scary for a little kid.”

“Oh, it gets worse,” Sam warned.

Luna’s mouth drew tight as she mentally prepared herself for what she knew was coming next.

“I tried to escape but they kept blocking my way and begging me to dance more. Then a bunch of strange people I didn’t know said they wanted to dance with me. I was really scared so I just ran to what I thought was an opening in the crowd,” Sam continued, head dropping between her shoulders. “…But I ended up running right into a catering cart…which rolled into one of the decorative poles that held up some wedding decorations…which then collapsed and took three other poles with it…”

Luna’s mouth fell open. “Dude…”

“Oh, it gets worse,” Sam interrupted quickly.

Luna gulped.

“Those poles held up a giant banner which landed on her now-husband. When he escaped it, his wig fell off…and it turned out my Aunt didn’t know he was bald,” Sam sighed, bringing her hands up to cover her face. “…And she was like: ‘What other secrets are you keeping from me?!’ The next day, she handed him divorce papers.”

Luna sucked in a breath. “Uh…is this the Aunt who lives alone with ten cats?”

Sam flopped her head and her arms onto the table and whined, “Yes…”

Luna quickly shot up from her seat and rushed over to sit next to Sam instead of across from her. “Sam! It’s okay! Your Aunt was totally petty, and you were just a little kid! None of that was your fault! Those adults should’ve left you alone!”

She gathered Sam in her arms and kissed the top of her head. Sam’s eyes were huge and watery as she made another whining noise in her throat.

“And after that, I just…couldn’t dance,” Sam ended.

Luna stroked her light blonde hair. “But you were just now. If you really want to dance, and once again, not required by me because I like you a lot with or without dancing, you just need to practice more: that’s how you build confidence. Once you got confidence, that childhood fear will slowly get better.”

Sam shrugged and separated from Luna. “That makes sense. I mean, it applies to playing instruments too.”

Luna nodded. “Yup! And you know what? I think I have an idea how I can help…”

+0+0+0+0+

Later that night, Sam walked up the stairs of the Loud House’s porch. Her bass was strapped on her back and a gym bag filled with clothes and supplies in her hand. She knocked on the door and stepped back. The door almost instantly flung open to reveal Lynn Sr. with Rita behind him.

“Sam…! Welcome back!” Lynn Sr. cheered as he stepped aside to let her in.

Sam entered the home and turned to the Loud parents. “Thanks for letting me stay over.”

Rita waved her off. “It’s no problem! Luna is up in the attic.”

Sam put down her bag and bass. “Okay, thanks again!”

She walked up the stairs and stopped when she saw the attic door open. Sam climbed up into the attic and went wide-eyed. Everything in the attic was pushed aside with layers of bubble wrap around the piles of stuff. The entire middle of the floor was clear except for one speaker with a MP3 player resting on top of it. Across the rafters were paper lanterns and a light that created a soft spotlight on the floor.

“What’s all this?” Sam laughed as she climbed the rest of the way up and shut the attic back up behind her.

Luna stepped forward from standing in a corner, dressed in a tuxedo. “You like it? See look! It’s the perfect place to try dancing for you!” She motioned up to the lanterns. “Soothing lights…” Luna nodded at the speaker. “Calm music…” She pointed to the bubble wrap everywhere. “I Sam-proofed everything so you don’t have to worry about accidentally breaking anything!”

Sam grinned and cocked her hip. “Oh, ha ha. You should start a Sam-proofing business: Sully would be your first customer. He still won’t let me touch anything new he gets.”

Luna laughed, “Sorry, I’m just being extra careful.”

Sam shook her head with a smile. “No, I appreciate this. Thanks, Lunes.” She stepped into the middle of the room with Luna. “So, uh…you wanna dance?”

Luna grinned and took Sam’s hands. “Yes I do.”

Luna pulled Sam closer and took the lead. Sam nervously stumbled after her, checking her feet every few seconds.

Luna chuckled and said in a soft voice, “Dude, relax. Just follow my----“ Her eyes went wide as a ‘crunch’ noise came from below them. “---YEOWCH!” Luna yelped.

Sam quickly removed her heavy boot from Luna’s foot. “Omigosh! I’m so sorry! See I---!”

Luna quickly put her hands on Sam’s shoulders. “It’s okay! I’m okay! You’re good, Sam.”

Sam sighed with relief and hung her head. “I’m sorry.”

Luna thought for a second and then smiled. “I think I have another idea…”

Soon, Sam and Luna slow danced gracefully across the floor.

“You’re such a good dancer,” Luna said in a teasing voice.

Sam grinned and looked down at their feet. They were both in their socks with Sam standing on Luna’s feet. “Why, thank you. I learned from the best.”

They laughed and place their foreheads against each other. Luna slowed down to a steady rocking motion, looking deep into Sam’s eyes.

“Are you sure I’m not too heavy?” Sam asked for the hundredth time.

“I’m sure I’m sure,” Luna reassured, touching her nose against Sam’s. When Sam finally looked reassured, Luna grinned and dipped Sam down. “And dip!”

Sam giggled as Luna nuzzled her neck. “Lunes!”

Luna laughed naughtily and lifted Sam back up onto her feet.

Sam grinned and wrapped her arms around Luna’s neck. “Well, I know I’m not good at dancing…but someone once told me I’m pretty good at something else we can do together.”

Luna grinned wickedly. “What’s that?”

Sam giggled and kissed Luna on the lips.

Luna pulled away with a giant grin and blush. “Love, if all we did was kiss for the rest of our lives and never danced again, I would be totally okay with that.”

“You would, wouldn’t you?” Sam teased before they kissed again.

But Luna continued to sway with the music anyway; Sam planted on her feet where she would stay long into the night.

 

Chapter Text

“Phew! That was close!” Lincoln’s voice heaved.

“I know! Can you imagine how upset Luna would be if she knew we read her diary?!” Leni’s voice shuddered.

Luna couldn’t believe what she had just heard: Lincoln and Leni read her diary? Why would they do that? It wasn’t like them at all… She was torn between running back down the stairs and screaming at them, or, continuing on to her room to figure out where else could she hide her diary. She had to hide it under the living room chair after Luan “accidentally” found it several times in their room, so now there was no place left to hide it.

Feeling utterly betrayed and exposed, Luna hurried to her room and shut the door behind her. Luckily, Luan was out with Benny and wouldn’t be back until later. That gave Luna enough time to process everything that she just heard.

Luna looked down at her diary as she slipped her guitar and backpack off her back. What part did they read? She flipped through the pages. For whatever reason, whenever Leni read a book, she would hold it so close to her face that it would almost press against the book (she guessed it was because Leni had trouble processing anything without pictures). Luna quickly flipped through the pages until she spotted what she was looking for – traces of make-up and another piece of light blonde hair.

Bingo.

She scanned the page and then groaned: of course they would turn to the page where her big secret was. Now Luna was really mad. She began to pace the floor, face red, and teeth clenched. Luna would never read any of her siblings’ diaries. If she found one, she would tease them for having one, of course, but she wouldn’t actually read any of it!

Luna climbed to the top bunk and flopped down on her face. She wished she could teach them a lesson they would never forget.

…Teach them a lesson…

Luna grinned evilly and ripped out the last entry that her siblings had read with one hand. With her other hand, she texted Sam.

+0+0+0+0+

Outside of Sam’s home, Luna knocked on the door. Instantly, the door swung open to reveal Sam.

“Hey Lunes!” Sam greeted with a quick hug. “Come on in!”

Luna stepped inside and looked around the empty, quiet house.

“We got the house all to ourselves!” Sam announced, motioning with her arms while turning on her foot. She paused and looked at Luna with concern. “But your texts sounded like something pretty serious happened at home. Is everything okay?”

Luna sighed and let Sam take her hand and lead her to the couch. “Promise not to laugh?”

Sam sat down next to Luna and looked sincerely into her girlfriend’s eyes. “I promise.”

Luna’s mouth twisted as she looked down at her lap where Sam’s hand held hers. After a few moments of feeling vulnerable and nervous, Luna shook her head.

“Leni and Lincoln read my diary!” Luna burst out, anger flaring in her chest. “I had it hidden under the living room chair – the last place I could hide it without Luan or Mom or someone else ‘accidentally’ finding it!”

Sam thought it was really cute Luna had a diary, but decided it wasn’t the time to say that aloud. She stroked Luna’s hand with her thumb.

“That was totally uncool of them,” Sam agreed. “…But maybe they didn’t realize they were reading your diary?”

Luna’s eyes burned into her lap. “Oh no, they knew! Trust me, I overheard them talking about it! And they weren’t going to even tell me or even apologize!”

She sighed and tried to calm herself down with some deep breaths. Sam continued to watch Luna and soothingly stroke her hand.

“And…they got to the part where I was writing about…a secret I keep from them.” Luna lowered her head between her shoulders and cringed. “I-I don’t think they read what it actually was, because they definitely would have said something.”

Luna paused and waited for the dreaded question she knew Sam would ask: what is the secret? However, Sam didn’t say anything and waited patiently for Luna to continue. Luna looked at her girlfriend, slightly bewildered, and then looked away with a blush. Sometimes Luna wondered if Sam was actually an angel.

Luna sighed, “I just feel so violated, y’know? I would never read their diaries or journals. I mean, yeah, I would tease them about having one, but I would never actually read it.”

Luna hung her head and looked away sadly.

“Alright!” Sam suddenly declared and stood up. Her eyebrows were lowered in determination and her arms lifted by her sides like a cowboy in an old western movie. “Time to put my girlfriend pants on.” Sam somehow managed to pull her tight jeans high up over her waist. “Let’s go talk to them.”

Luna reached out and grabbed Sam’s hand, tugging her back down onto the couch. “Woah, hold up! I am not talking to them! They need to be taught a lesson…and I need your help.”

Sam turned to Luna with one eyebrow raised as she pushed her pants back down to their normal position around her hips. “Wait…what are you planning?”

Luna grinned devilishly and rubbed her hands together. “Do you happen to have any dark clothing? Oh, and a wig or a hat?”

“Luna…what are you planning?” Sam repeated, eyes narrowing suspiciously.

Luna smirked and inched closer to Sam, eyes hooded. “C’mon, Luv…”

Sam froze: the British accent.

“Oh no…please don’t…” Sam pleaded in a small voice.

Sam stiffened and her body turned red as Luna slipped into her lap. Luna loosely wrapped her arms around Sam’s neck and leaned in close so that their foreheads touched. Sam’s now small eyes stared up into Luna’s as sweat began to form on her head.

Luna continued in the accent, “It will just be a ‘armless prank. A wee lesson for me nosy siblings…”

Sam’s lips were sucked in, her mouth just a thin, twisted line as her blush grew darker. But still, she fought the urge to agree to anything Luna had planned. Luna could be devious, especially towards her siblings, and Sam knew whatever Luna planned could cause a lot of trouble. Speaking with them about the diary would solve the problem easier: communication was important for any relationship, especially familial ones.

“I-I…need…to k-know…” Sam muttered as she shook. Luna grinned devilishly and began to kiss a particularly sensitive area under Sam’s ear. Sam gasped out, “…D-d-details…!”

“It’ll be fun, right?” Luna continued between kisses.

Sam made a strained sound as she trembled. Luna’s lips trailed back up to blow softly into Sam’s ear. Sam’s teeth clenched down on her lips painfully.

Finally, she burst out, “OKAY!” She dropped back and away from Luna, one arm over her eyes. Sam panted, “O-okay… You win…”

Luna whooped and jumped off Sam’s lap. She rushed to the stairs and looked back at her mess of a girlfriend with a satisfied grin. Sam shakily stood up; her legs trembling and her entire body a dark shade of red.

“You good, Sam?” Luna teased.

Sam growled through a shaky grin, “I’ll get you for that…”

Luna laughed and rushed up the stairs, followed by Sam who pulled herself up each stair while clinging to the banister.

+0+0+0+0+

Sam opened her closet door and began to go through the rack of clothing. “So-o-o…lemme get this straight – you want them to read your diary now?”

Luna was lying on her back on Sam’s bed. “Yup! But this time, they won’t be real diary entries: they’ll be made-up stories about our bad girl counterparts.”

Sam laughed and looked back at Luna. “Our bad girl counterparts?”

Luna sat up with a grin. “I’ll write some crazy stuff that will be sure to get those two wound-up. And then, after a few fake entries, I’ll write a wild ‘plan’ that will be sure to get them to go after us.”

Sam sighed and turned back to her closet, eyes scanning the clothing. “I still think it would be easier to talk to them…but if you’re really set on this, then I’ll play the part of this mysterious girl you have in mind.”

“Roxy,” Luna said, pointing fingerguns at Sam.

Sam laughed, “Roxy?”

Luna winked playfully. “Because ‘Roxy’ rhymes with ‘foxy…’ which is what you are, Luv.”

Sam grinned and rolled her eyes. “Whatever you say, Lunes.”

Luna smirked, lied back down on Sam’s bed, and then looked around the familiar room. The walls were covered with a mix of band posters, pictures of animals, friends, and family. Luna enjoyed how cute and bright the room was, but also found herself a little jealous that Sam was able to enjoy a room of her own. Sometimes when Luna needed space, she would come over, lie on Sam’s bed and imagine having her own room. It would solve her diary problem if she had an entire room to herself and less siblings. However, right now, she had a different plan for her diary problem.

Luna looked over at Sam who was back to rummaging through her closet. “Find it?”

Sam stepped back out and brushed herself off. “Not yet…must be all the way in the back.” She squeezed into the closet and fought her way through the clothes hanging on the rack. “Wait…here it is!”

Luna winced when she heard a crashing sound followed by Sam’s yelp. Sam fell backwards out of her closet holding a black, leather jacket with a skull on the back of it. Luna hopped off the bed and helped Sam up.

“Woah! Sick jacket!” Luna complimented, looking at the black jacket. “How come I’ve never seen you wear it?”

Sam let out an embarrassed chuckle, “Ah, well, I use to in middle school, but all the teachers presumed I was a trouble-maker and treated me like some sort of criminal.”

Luna snorted and barely held back laughter, “You? A trouble-maker?”

Sam grinned. “Yeah, I know. So I decided to switch to lighter colors instead. More…90s Gwen Stefani than Joan Jett, y’know?”

“Gotcha,” Luna said with a giggle.

Sam slipped off her blue jacket and then put on the black one. She patted some dust off the sides and then looked expectantly at Luna. “So? Am I rebellious-looking yet?”

Luna rubbed her chin. “Hmmm, not quite. We still need to disguise your hair and maybe you should wear a different shirt underneath the jacket.”

Sam looked down at her shirt and then took a piece of her teal-colored hair into her fingers to inspect it. “Yeah you’re right.” Sam turned back to retreat into her closet. “I think I have the wig from two Halloweens ago somewhere in here…”

Once Sam disappeared into her closet again, Luna leaned over, picked up Sam’s blue jacket from off the floor and tossed it onto the bed.

“Check it out!” Sam’s voice cheered.

Luna turned to see Sam holding a brunette wig with a beanie. Sam bent forward and gathered her hair in one hand, bunching it up at the top of her head. Sam put on the wig before straightening back up again. The wig had long bangs that covered Sam’s eyes, only revealing Sam’s cute nose and her trademark grin.

Luna’s eyes roamed up and down her girlfriend’s body. “You know what, Sam? You look really good as a brunette.” Luna couldn’t help but add in a teasing voice, “…And more intelligent too!”

“Rude!” Sam laughed and reached out to playfully shove Luna, missing her by a mile.

Luna watched Sam struggle to find where Luna was standing, at one point moving her arms infront of her blindly. Sam turned from Luna and continued her search.

“…You can’t see in that, can you?” Luna asked flatly.

“Nope, not at all,” Sam confirmed.

Luna laughed and took Sam’s shoulders. She spun Sam back around so they were face to face again.

“Mazzy taught me how to look through the bangs, but I’ve been out of practice,” Sam explained as she separated the bangs with her hands so she could see. “But don’t worry – I’ll be ready when ‘Roxy’ needs to make an appearance.”

Luna replied, “Speaking of Roxy, let’s see the whole outfit on! I gotta make sure it’s not obviously it’s you. I mean, Leni doesn’t recognize any of us when we put on our hats, but Lincoln I still have to worry about.”

Sam nodded and went to her dresser. She pulled out a plain white shirt and then gathered the wig before heading to her door.

“Okay, I’ll be right back,” Sam said.

Luna looked confused. “Where are you going?”

Sam paused and looked back at Luna with a matching confused expression. “Uh…the bathroom? To change?”

“It’s only your shirt you gotta switch up, just do it here,” Luna said, still confused.

Sam blushed and stepped back into the room. “Okay, but…y-you have to cover your eyes...please.”

Luna blinked with sudden realization: Luna was use to changing around other girls because of her sisters, but Sam only had a little brother so she probably never changed infront of anyone before. They were girlfriends, but they never had gone further than kissing and the occasional lewd hand-holding. A pang of guilt hit her chest and she decided to break the tension she accidentally created.

Luna only covered one of her eyes and grinned at Sam. Sam smirked and raised an eyebrow at Luna.

“I said ‘eyes,’ Lunes,” Sam said with a grin.

Luna covered both eyes, still grinning, and tilted her upper body down towards her knees. “Okay, okay. You’re no fun.”

Sam laughed, “I’m gonna turn my back to you too just in case, you creep.”

Luna laughed too and went quiet. She tried not to concentrate on the sound of Sam’s black jacket being discarded to the floor, or the slipping sound of the fabric being pulled off of Sam’s body. Luna swallowed thickly. There was a long enough pause that Luna presumed Sam was done. She peeked through her fingers and was about to ask Sam if she was done, but then lost her voice. It was only a flash, but Luna saw the back of the blue bra Sam wore, and her girlfriend’s long, thin back before the shirt slipped into place. Luna quickly covered her eyes again and gritted her teeth, feeling her face go completely on fire.

“Okay, you can open your eyes!” Sam’s voice sang.

[Again…] Luna thought guiltily as she uncovered her eyes and looked towards Sam.

Sam, or rather, Roxy, stood with her arms spread. “Ta-da!”

Luna burst out into laughter, “Wow…!” She got off the bed and circled Sam. “…Just wow, Sam!”

Sam grinned and tried to face Luna but ended up facing the opposite direction. “Well? Do I look like the person all my middle school teachers thought I was?”

Luna grinned and turned Sam to her actual direction. “You’re definitely rocking the ‘wild child’ look, but, something just still seems…bright…about you?”

Sam’s easy-going grin was plastered on her face. “Bright? What do you mean?”

Luna brought her palm to her forehead and tapped it. “Of course! Sam: try not to smile.”

Sam closed her mouth and then directed it into a frown. However, the corners of her mouth twitched with amusement.

“Hm…good, but, make your mouth as small as possible…and push your lips out a little. Pretend you’re just too cool for the entire world,” Luna explained.

Sam made her mouth into a thin, small line and pushed her lips out slightly. She spoke in a low, husky voice, “Ugh, get on my level, World.”

Luna laughed again and slapped her hands onto Sam’s shoulders. “Perfect!”

Sam laughed too and separated the bangs from her eyes. She grinned at Luna and teased, “So…is Roxy like, your dream girl?”

Luna teased back as Sam wrapped her arms around Luna’s waist. “Honestly, I kinda want Roxy to step on me.”

Sam’s eyes widened, a blush appeared on her cheeks, and then she playfully pushed Luna’s shoulders with a shocked laugh. “Ew, Dude! Gross!”

Luna laughed and held her tighter. “But seriously, Sam…thanks.”

Sam’s blush disappeared and her eyes softened. “I would do anything for you, Lunes…”

Luna’s eyes grew large and she smiled happily. She knew Sam would do anything for her and Luna knew she would do anything for Sam in return. Luna kissed Sam softly on her lips and then looked into her eyes again. Sam hummed happily and placed her hand on Luna’s cheek. The mood broke when Sam grinned and quirked her eyebrow at Luna.

“…But if the Boys in Blue show up, I’m running,” Sam giggled, giving Luna’s cheek a few playful pats.

Luna grinned. “Dude, I will totally leave you in the dust if the Popo come.”

+0+0+0+0+

For the next few days, Sam was updated daily about Luna’s plan. Luan had suddenly taken an interest in Luna’s diary too, but Luna’s plan didn’t change. Luna would trick them into thinking her and ‘Roxy’ were doing various rebellious, dangerous, and possibly illegal deeds around town behind the Louds’ backs. Then, Luna would write a diary entry about a ‘Night of Mayhem’ and hope the Loud siblings would try to follow them to Town Hall where Luna would confront them.

The Loud siblings were falling for it, and tonight was the ‘Night of Mayhem,’ which meant Roxy would make her appearance.

Sam stood infront of her full length mirror and looked over at herself dressed as Roxy. She had found an old pair of purple bike gloves to add to her outfit and was admiring the newly completed look.

“Dang, I barely recognize myself,” Sam said with a grin.

Her phone buzzed and vibrated in her pocket. She pulled it out and looked at the screen through her wig’s thick bangs.

Luna: I’m heading your way. They totally bought it, Dude! Check it!

Sam blinked when the next text came as a picture of Lincoln, Leni, and Luan dressed in full ninja garb, peddling their bikes. “Woah. …I’ve got to get ninja costumes for me and Simon…” She squinted at the picture. “…Is Luan’s puppet wearing a ninja costume too…?”

Suddenly, there was a knock on the front door. Sam shoved her phone back into her pocket and hurried down the stairs to answer the door. She opened the door to reveal a grinning Luna. Sam crossed her arms and leaned against the doorframe, making her mouth as small as possible as she frowned at Luna.

“’Sup, Babe?” Sam said in a low voice that she hoped would sound cool.

Luna’s cheeks turned bright red and then she laughed, “Hi…Roxy.”

Sam broke character and laughed too. She smiled excitedly and whipped out a piece of paper from her jacket pocket.

“Oh! I made a list of cool, rebellious movie quotes that Roxy can say too!” Sam announced. She looked down at her list, cleared her throat, and then read in her Roxy voice, “Let’s paint the town red. We’re rule breakers…rebels without a cause.”

Luna giggled, “Um…maybe Roxy shouldn’t be a speaking role.”

Sam grinned and put her list away. “Okay, okay…I’ll just frown a lot and lean against stuff.”

Luna laughed and kissed Sam’s cheek. “That’s good enough for what I’m planning. Thanks for doing your research, though.”

She hopped down the stairs with Sam following. They began to walk towards their bikes parked on the driveway. As they put on their helmets, Sam looked at Luna.

“So you still haven’t told me the exact details. Where were they going in the picture? Are we following them?” Sam asked.

Luna grinned devilishly as she got on her bike. “Oh, you’ll see.”

+0+0+0+0+

Outside of Flip’s, Luna and Sam parked their bikes and watched from a distance. Inside, Lincoln, Luan, and Leni were gathered around the nacho cheese vats, speaking to each other.

“I wrote that we were going to steal the cheese and fill up the fountain with it,” Luna snickered.

Sam grinned. “Are you sure this is a Night of Mayhem, because that sounds like an improvement to me?”

Luna and Sam watched as the three inside went up to Flip’s counter. Lincoln put down a large stack of cash on the counter, causing Flip to practically drool at the sight of it.

“Wait…they’re buying the cheese?” Sam wondered, separating the wig’s bangs so she could look more closely.

Luna’s mouth twisted worriedly. “That’s…a lot of money. I bet it’s all the money they had.”

Sam turned to Luna and put her hand on her shoulder. “Look, it’s not too late. We can still go inside and talk this out with them.”

Luna shook away her worried expression and lowered her eyebrows angrily at the three inside. “They’ve been reading my diary for days! They have to learn their lesson and this is the only way they will, trust me.”

Sam was quiet but she gave Luna a slow nod. She wasn’t there to stop Luna, she was there to support her (even though what her girlfriend was doing was a little bit crazy).

The three exited the store, carrying the large vat of cheese.

Luna went back to her bike. “Come on, they’re leaving.”

+0+0+0+0+

“Man they’re fast!” Luna whispered as her bike skidded to a halt by some trees.

Sam also skidded to a halt and looked down at the ground. “Good thing they left a trail of nacho cheese.”

Luna and Sam climbed off their bikes and hid behind the bushes, peering out to the farm. Lincoln, Leni, and Luan were at the goat pen, speaking amongst themselves. Sam’s eyes went wide under the wig’s bangs.

“Lunes!” Sam whispered in a high-pitched, worried voice. “What are they going to do to those poor goats? They’ll get scared and---“ She stopped herself and took a breath. “…Sorry. You know how I get with animals…”

Luna patted Sam’s head. “Don’t worry, Sam. They won’t hurt them. I wrote that we were going to set them loose, so maybe they’re trying to figure out a way to lock the gate more securely or---“

Sam pointed past Luna. “Uh…Lunes?”

Luna turned her head just in time to see Lincoln being crushed under the now stampeding goats.

“Ooo…” both girls sympathetically hissed at once.

They watched as Luan raced after one goat, speaking in Mr. Coconuts’ voice. Leni was prancing after another goat, but she looked like she wanted to pet it more than catch it. Lincoln tripped over another goat and fell face-first into the mud.

Luna cringed as the feeling of guilt began to creep into her. Maybe her plan was too harsh…and Sam must have been thinking so much less of her now.

She jumped slightly when she heard Sam snicker and attempt to hold back her laughter. Luna looked over at her with surprise.

“S-sorry…!” Sam giggled, trying to stop herself.

Luna grinned and began to laugh too. Sam finally let herself laugh aloud too and the two girls looked back at the chaos. Lincoln dashed away from the goat gate and grabbed the vat of nacho cheese.

“Oh no, are they really…?” Sam giggled.

They watched as Lincoln waved Luan over and together they carried to nacho cheese towards the barn, dripping nacho cheese along the way. The goats instantly began to follow the trail, loudly slurping up the cheese.

“They did!” Luna burst out into laughter.

They laughed even harder when they saw Leni walking on all fours into the barn, licking the ground.

After she was done laughing, Sam grinned. “Should we finally make an appearance?”

Luna nodded and they hopped onto their bikes. Luna stifled her giggling and whispered to Sam, “Okay, just look confused.”

“And cool,” Sam said in Roxy’s voice, making her mouth into a small, tight frown.

Luna pushed her shoulder with a laugh. “Dude, don’t make me laugh! I gotta act here!”

“Pssh. Try harder,” Sam replied as Roxy.

She smirked at Luna and peddled towards the barn. Luna rolled her eyes with a smile and rode after Sam. They stopped at the gate and looked around, pretending to be confused.

“Dude! Where are all the goats?!” Luna said as loudly as possible.

Sam briefly glanced at the barn where the siblings were, made a u-turn with her bike, and peddled away. Luna followed Sam back to their hiding spot from before. They watched the siblings dash out of the barn and ride away on their bikes.

“Man, they’re on a mission,” Sam laughed.

Luna grinned. “So are we. Let’s go!”

+0+0+0+0+

Luna led Sam on a bumpy shortcut through the woods. Sam looked ahead to see a building with a huge, bright, neon sign: The Biker Brawl House. They stopped infront of the small saloon-looking building just as a skinny man was thrown out the saloon doors, landing head-first into a bush. The rough and rowdy voices of the crowd inside cheered and laughed.

Sam looked over at the skinny man and watched him climb out of the bush, holding his head with a dizzy expression. She looked back over at Luna.

“Wow, tough crowd,” Sam commented.

Luna looked nervous as she climbed off her bike. “Ooo…it wasn’t this crowded when I scoped it out…”

Sam’s eyebrows rose high on her forehead as she got off her bike as well. “Lunes…what do they think you and I are going to do here…?”

Luna grinned sheepishly. “Uh…start some fights?”

Sam leaned over to one side to peek over the doors. The patrons were built of pure muscle and painted with intimidating-looking tattoos. She straightened up, breathed in deep through her nose, and prepared herself.

“I am Roxy. A tough rebellious teen that is poisoning the mind of my innocent girlfriend to do crime and bring chaos,” Sam reminded herself in a small voice. She breathed in again and said in her Roxy voice, “Okay…let’s go inside and start some trouble.”

She cringed nervously and stepped forward. Luna quickly caught her by the back of her jacket.

“Woah there, Roxy!” Luna shakily laughed. “We’re not actually going inside.”

Sam sunk to her shaking knees with a relieved sigh, “Oh good...! I would’ve probably gone in there, slipped on an ice cube, and get sent to Weenie Hut General Hospital anyway.”

Luna snickered and pulled Sam back up. “Come on, we gotta get to Town Hall way before they do, anyway.”

Sam looked concerned. “But…shouldn’t we stay to make sure they don’t get hurt?”

Luna waved her off. “Nah! No one will hurt a bunch of kids. …Unless they do something stupid like tilt over their motorcycles like dominos or insult their hygiene.”

Sam laughed as they climbed back onto their bikes. “Yeah! Luckily, that kind of stuff only happens in the movies.”

+0+0+0+0+

Luna and Sam hopped off their bikes and left them parked on the sidewalk infront of Royal Woods Town Hall. They crept onto the grass and glanced around.

“No security?” Sam wondered.

Luna shook her head. “Nah, I checked to make sure. But we should keep our voices down anyway.”

Sam nodded with agreement. She stepped up to the building and grinned up at the metal letters.

“Why did you say you were going to remove the ‘R’ anyway?” Sam asked.

Luna winked at her. “Because ‘R’ is for ‘Roxy,’ my bad influence.”

“Aww, you wanted to give Roxy a gift,” Sam teased, putting one hands on her cheek in a joking way. “How sweet.”

Luna grinned and put on her British accent. “Always thinkin’ about you, Luv.”

Sam blushed as she turned her attention back to the letters. “So we’re just going to wait here, right? I can’t wait to see the looks on their faces when they---“

Sam stopped when she realized Luna wasn’t there anymore. She checked around and then peeled away the fake bangs from her face.

“Lunes?” Sam called as softly as she could.

Luna reappeared from the side of the building, dragging a tall ladder behind her. “Help me put this up.”

“Lunes!” Sam gasped out, but quickly slapped her hands over her mouth. She then spoke in a whisper again, “…Are you seriously climbing up there?”

Luna nodded with a smirk. “Yup! Gotta make them panic a little bit.”

They placed the ladder against the building and stepped back. Luna rubbed her hands together with an evil grin and stepped onto the ladder to begin her climb. Sam watched worriedly, darting from one side of the ladder to another, hands reached out, ready to catch Luna.

“Luna…please, please, please be careful…” Sam pled.

Luna smirked down at her girlfriend. “Relax, Sam. I’ve climbed worse.” She turned back and confidentially began to climb again. “You hide in that bush over there – I want you to be the big twist to this story.”

Sam glanced at the bush and then back up at Luna. She was about to make sure Luna would be okay until she heard a distant but familiar voice.

“We gotta get there before Luna can steal the big ‘R’!” Lincoln’s voice echoed.

Without a second thought, Sam leaped into the bush. She kneeled down through the tangled twigs and peered out through the leaves. The three siblings rode up to the ladder and leaped off their bikes, pleading with Luna to get down from the ladder. Happy that they were finally talking, Sam turned her own thoughts to how Roxy would appear.

[Should I say ‘Ta-dah’ when I take off the costume? …No, that’s lame even for me. How about…’Did this reveal ROX your world?’] Sam paused and then cringed. […Wow… I just hurt myself with that pun…]

She decided to take Luna’s previous advice and not speak at all.

“Well…what about this Roxy girl?” Leni asked.

Sam jumped slightly at the mention of her alter ego’s name and then stood up. She smirked as she stepped out of the bush, briefly looking at the three siblings from under her bangs to enjoy the surprised looks on their faces. Sam pulled off her costume with a single motion and grinned at the jaws dropped in her direction.

“SAM?!” the three siblings yelled out in surprise.

“Sorry, guys…!” Sam sheepishly sang. She felt a pang of guilt knowing Luna and her put them through a lot that night. “I had to help her out.”

Luna softened her voice. “You know I would never actually do any of that bad stuff, right?” She shrugged at her siblings. “I-I was trying to get you to fess up to reading my diary.”

Lincoln and Luan looked away guiltily. Luna glanced back at Sam who smiled at Luna and nodded with approval. The brunette rocker smiled back. She had her fun messing with her nosy siblings, but Sam was right, talking was the best way to resolve things.

Lincoln rubbed the back of his head. “Sorry we doubted you.”

Luna calmly walked up to Lincoln and Luan, one hand on her hip and a forgiving smile on her face. “It’s cool, Dudes! I’m sorry for messin’ with you to teach you a lesson.”

Sam watched with a smile, but her smile vanished when she looked past them. Leni was pulling on a very angry-looking security guard’s mustache.

“You really went all out! This security guard is so believable. Except…he doesn’t even look that scary!” Leni cheered as she pulled the big, red mustache to its limit.

The mustache snapped back, completely ruined. The security guard’s neck popped with large, red veins as he trembled angrily. He glared down at Leni and growled lowly in his throat.

Leni shrunk back fearfully. “Oh…! Now he does!”

Luna frantically shrieked, “Dudes! I-I didn’t hire him! RUUUN!!!”

Luna, Sam, Lincoln, and Luan rushed to their bikes. Leni looked up at the security guard nervously. He made a grab for her, but Leni screamed and ran to her own bike before he could snatch her in his powerful arms. They peddled down the streets at full speed without looking back. When they arrived on the street where the Louds lived, Sam screeched her bike to a halt and checked behind her to see if they lost anyone. Lincoln pulled up beside her, then Leni, followed by Luan and Luna. Once they saw they were clear, Luan grabbed Mr. Coconuts and held him close to Luna.

“So Lunes! What was the big secret? I gotta know! A bad grade? A secret piercing? You owe some money to some hooligans so you’re---“ Mr. Coconuts pried, each question making Luna look more and more annoyed.

Luna shot out her hand and grabbed Mr. Coconuts around his throat.

“—Blagh!” Mr. Coconuts gagged before he was thrown into a garbage can by Luna. “Augggh!”

Luna rolled her eyes as Luan rode past her to retrieve the puppet. “I’m going to take Sam home. Don’t wait up.”

“Bye, Sam!” Leni cheered. She grinned. “You looked good as a brunette, by the way.”

“Get me outta here!” Mr. Coconuts cried out.

Luan looked down at her puppet. “Looks like Luna…canned you.”

She laughed at her own joke.

Mr. Coconuts replied, “Can it, Sistah! Can’t you see I’m down in the garbage dump?!”

Lincoln looked back at Luan with an exasperated look before he turned back to Luna and Sam. “Peddle away while you two still have the chance…”

+0+0+0+0+

Sam and Luna pulled up into Sam’s driveway and got off their bikes.

“That was a pretty exciting end to our Night of Mayhem,” Sam teased as Luna walked her up to her door.

Luna laughed, “Yeah! But…uh…let’s not ever do that again, okay?”

Sam giggled and crossed her arms, her jacket and wig still in her hands. “Hey, it was your idea.”

Luna chuckled and rubbed her neck. “True…lesson learned.” She removed her hand. “I would stay away from Town Hall for awhile.”

Sam nodded. “Yeah, for sure.”

Luna lovingly smiled at Sam who smiled back. After another second of looking into her girlfriend’s eyes, Luna looked down and rubbed her arm.

“So, uh, because I kind of got us into trouble…I think you deserve to know the big secret…” Luna said slowly.

Sam spread her arms out. “Dude, it’s okay! It’s your secret, and you’re obviously not ready to share it yet.” She smiled and put a hand on Luna’s shoulder, smiling when Luna met her eyes again with her own shy smile. “Don’t worry about it.”

Luna held up her hands and frantically said, “I-it’s nothing like I have a crush on someone else, or, I have a secret boyfriend or girlfriend or anything---“

Sam grinned and teased, “Good…because it would be really awkward if we both had secret girlfriends on the side.”

Luna laughed and hugged Sam, squishing her cheek into hers.

Sam pulled back. “Brrr! Your cheek is ice cold!”

Luna rubbed the cold cheek. “Yeah, sorry. I should’ve dressed a little warmer.”

Sam placed her black leather jacket around Luna’s shoulders. “There – that should keep you warm on the ride home.”

Luna looked down at the jacket with a mix of surprise and joy. “I can have your old jacket?!”

“Yeah, Dude! Enjoy!” Sam replied with a happy grin.

Luna slipped her arms through the jacket and then happily looked down at herself. “Rad!” She looked back up at Sam with a playful smirk. “But what are you going to do if Roxy needs to make another appearance?”

Sam hooded her eyes and stepped close to Luna, taking the jacket in her hands. “Well…you can always let me borrow the jacket if you ever want Roxy to…step on you.”

Luna blushed as her grin stretched. Suddenly, her grin disappeared and she paled, eyes looking down and past Sam. Sam blinked at the sudden change of her expression.

“What does that mean?” Simon’s voice came from besides her.

Sam froze in horror and slowly looked down at Simon standing in the doorway.

Simon looked up at them innocently. “Why would Luna want anyone to step on her?”

“Uhm…oh…” Sam hissed, helplessly glancing at Luna.

Luna stuttered, “I-it’s nothing! Just a…a joke! Between Sam and I! …Heh…”

Simon looked confused. “But it didn’t sound like---“

Sam quickly pulled out her phone and squatted down to Simon. “Check it out, Simon! Look at what Luna’s siblings are wearing!”

Simon gasped and slapped his hands onto his cheeks. “Ninja costumes!”

“Aaand guess who ordered us the same costumes?” Sam continued.

“You did?!” Simon happily asked. When Sam nodded, he rushed off inside. “We’re going to be ninjas! My Gaming Group is going to be so jealous!”

Sam watched him imitate ninja moves and threw imaginary ninja stars, making sound effects with his mouth. She looked back at Luna and blew her a kiss. Luna reached up and ‘caught’ the kiss…and then mimed stuffing it into her mouth to eat it. Sam smirked and rolled her eyes at Luna before going inside, closing the door after her.

Luna peeked through the window and watched Sam lead Simon upstairs for bed. After Sam was gone, she bounced down the stairs and pulled the jacket up to her nose. She inhaled the inside of the jacket and then breathed out a happy sigh.

She climbed onto her bike and then paused. She remembered being at school, seated in her guidance counselor's office, watching the woman's smiling face shift into a look of shock.

Luna looked back towards Sam's house and sighed through her nose.

She looked down and whispered to herself, "...I don't want to go to college... I wonder if you do, Sam."