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“What? Mercedes, are you sick?” They had returned to their apartment and Sam had spent days trying to figure out how he was going to tell her that Quinn wanted to live with them for a while. When he finally did, Puck didn’t mind, but she just shrugged and approved it. He’d been agonizing over this and she simply said yes like it was no big deal.
“I’m not sick,” she replied, rolling her eyes.
“You want Quinn to live here? With us?”
“Mercedes…forgive me if I’m a little lost here. It’s just…I thought she made you uncomfortable since we talked to that…psychic. Now you’re okay with her sleeping on the couch bed.”
She sighed and turned off the television so she could focus on him. He was standing with his hands on his hips and Puck, who was eating cereal at the kitchen table almost laughed at the scene, considering Sam looked just like Mercedes when she was irritated.
“That’s why I’m okay with her living here.”
“I don’t follow,” he said.
“You know how people say keep your friends close and your enemies closer, right? Well Quinn’s not even my enemy. I consider her my friend, regardless of her seemingly shady intentions. For all we know, she may not even be interested in you again. But if she is, I’d prefer to have her scheming right under my nose,” she explained.
“Well…I guess that does make sense. If we all live in the same place, she’s less likely to try something. Even if she did I could tell you right away…”
“Exactly. Call her. Tell her she can move in,” Mercedes finished, turning the television back on. Sam looked at Puck, who shrugged his shoulders and went to clean his bowl out.
Sam went to their bedroom to get his phone, muttering to himself ‘Why do I have to call her?’ before searching for her name in his contacts. When he came across it, he tapped it and put the phone to his ear to wait.
“Sam!” she said as a greeting.
“Hey Quinn, how are you?” he asked, falling back onto the bed so he was staring at the ceiling.
“I’m great! Are you calling with good news, Sammy?” He ignored her use of that nickname and went on.
“I am. Mercedes and Puck said you could stay here for a while,” he told her.
“Excellent! Because I was thinking of coming this weekend. I know it’s earlier than I said, but I’m so excited to explore LA and you guys said yes so why not?”
“Oh…well I guess that’s okay.”
“Don’t sound too excited Sam, you’ll hurt yourself,” she said sarcastically.
“No! I’m uh, excited, it was just a long day at work cleaning surfboards and being ogled by teen shoppers.”
“Can you blame them? You’ve still got it, that’s for sure.”
“Heh, yeah.” He didn’t think right now would be a good time to condone flirting as innocent as it may or may not have been.
“Anyway, thanks again for okaying this,” she continued.
“Quinn, can I ask you a question?” he asked, sitting back up.
“When we talked before, and you said you had to deal with some things or whatever before you talked to Mercedes…did you? Deal with them I mean.”
“I said I was still accepting some things,” she corrected, speaking slowly as if he was treading into dark territory.
“Right…did you accept those things? Cause you’re gonna have to face her when you’re living here,” he said, laughing in an attempt to lighten the mood.
“Clearly,” she replied. He could hear the coldness in her voice, like he was asking about something that was none of his business. But he didn’t feel that way. If she had an issue with his fiancé, he wanted to know what it was. Especially because he hadn’t even told Mercedes what she said.
“I’m sorry if you’re bothered by my asking, but I’ve been thinking about that since I saw you, that’s all. It was really um…vague.”
“How did you end up with Mercedes, if you don’t mind me asking. It’s just…your relationship seemed to come out of nowhere in high school,” she said.
“Well it didn’t.” Now he was annoyed. “She was my best friend for a while, and she was really there for me when I was living in the motel.”
“Well so was I. I helped babysit and prayed with you guys every Sunday. You didn’t randomly fall in love with me.”
“Yeah, Quinn, well you kind of shot that horse in the face when you cheated on me.” She was silent for a few moments after that. Sam knew deep down that even if she hadn’t cheated he wouldn’t have fallen for her because of his knowledge of the future. But any possibility of him falling for her went out the window because of her decisions. If he hadn’t seen what he saw and she hadn’t cheated, he would have tried to convince himself he loved her until it fell apart on its own. Contrary to what she most likely thought, he was almost grateful for her infidelity.
“So you still think about that?” she asked quietly. He sighed and held the bridge of his nose.
“No, Quinn. I don’t. Though it really seems like you do.”
“Because I regret it! I went through a lot while I was at Yale. I even went to therapy. And it really had me thinking about all the wrong I’d done to the important people in my life. You’re one of those people. I hate that I hurt you,” she told him.
“Honestly? I wasn’t that hurt by it.”
“Why are you with Mercedes?” she asked after a long pause, returning to the original subject.
“Do you want a list? Because we’ll be here all night.” He heard her sigh heavily over the line.
“You guys never talked more than the others in glee club. You don’t have much in common. I was a lot closer to her than you were, and all of a sudden you were together? It doesn’t make a lot of sense.”
“We have a lot in common actually. And we talked a lot outside of school. I was over her house almost every day after a while. Talking turned to kissing and so on. It’s not really rocket science, Quinn.”
“Look, I’m just asking because after all this time, I realized I never really got you two. You think I would since we dated and I knew Mercedes better than anyone. But there were no signs,” she said. He ran the palm of his hand over the bit of stubble he had and groaned.
“How is it you know her better than anyone? From the day I got to McKinley, you didn’t seem to care that much about her.”
“We have a history.”
“Why should that matter to me? I love her, she loves me, and we’re engaged. That’s it. I’m sorry if it…confuses you somehow, but it’s not changing.”
“Fine. Just…just know that I really care about you Sam,” she told him. “I don’t want to argue with you. I’ve just been coming to terms with some things about myself and you’re a big part of…me accepting who I am.”
He was utterly confused now. He pulled the phone away and looked at it as if the answer would be written on the screen before putting it back to his ear and sighing. He didn’t know what she was talking about and she kept saying vague things about how she’d changed.
“Um…well Quinn…if you still have feelings for me…” It even sounded weird saying it. They dated for what now seemed like five minutes in high school and they did stay friends, but the idea of her wanting to be with him all these years later made little sense to him.
“I have to go, Sam. Tell the others I said thank you.” With that, she hung up.
“You’re really getting good at this,” Sam mumbled into the bed comforter. Mercedes grinned and continued working her knuckles into his back and shoulders as she straddled his hips. He’d been tense since his conversation the other day and oddly, Mercedes managed to stay calm. It was as if the tables had been turned. He was freaking out and she was using her hands to calm him.
“Why thank you,” she replied with a small laugh. “What did Quinn say the other day when you told her she could stay here?”
He shifted, prompting her to get off of him so he could turn over. When he did, he pulled her down on top of him and sighed.
“Let’s not talk about that,” he said. She nodded against his chest and laced her fingers with his.
“What do you want to talk about?”
“I don’t know. Maybe…” he trailed off when he heard her cell phone ringing. She got up and went to grab it off of the nightstand. He heard her gasp and raised an eyebrow, sitting up to watch her.
“Hello? Yes, this is she…”
Sam watched Mercedes pace around their bedroom saying things like ‘yes’, ‘okay’ and ‘that works great for me’ into the phone, her smile getting wider and wider.
“Monday it is then! Right. Okay, see you then.” She hung up and put the phone down before turning to face where he sat on the bed. She was shaking and he thought she was going to explode before she squealed and tackled him onto the pillows.
“Woah, what’s going on?”
“I GOT SIGNED! THEY WANNA MEET WITH ME TO GO OVER CONTRACTS ON MONDAY!” she screamed. It took him a moment to process the information and when he realized what she’d said to him, his hands shook and he looked at her with his eyes nearly bulging out of their sockets.
“OH MY GOD!” he yelled. She squealed and he flipped them over, dipping down to kiss her. “What did I tell you!? You just had to be patient!” He kissed her again, but didn’t pull away as quickly, instead letting his hands travel up her shirt and exploring her mouth with his tongue.
“What the hell is going on in—Ah fuck, will you two get off of each other and tell me what all the yelling is about?” Puck was now in the room shielding his eyes with his forearms.
“SHE GOT A RECORD DEAL!” Sam yelled, pulling off of Mercedes and going over to scoop his friend up in a hug. Puck soon found himself in a group hug with his roommates with his mouth still hanging open from the news.
“Holy shit! We have to celebrate! Come on, we have to!” he exclaimed, hugging Mercedes tighter. Sam looked at them before breaking out in a grin again.
“You’re right. We have to.”
Quinn had been standing outside of the apartment building for what felt like an hour now. It had probably been ten minutes, but the lively neighborhood around her seemed to move in slow motion. This was it. She was in LA, determined to make all the auditions she’d set up and live her dream.
She knew it was likely to be awkward when she went in, which was why she was stalling. She and Puck had decided to be good friends a long time ago, so she wasn’t so worried about him. Her last phone call with Sam had been less than pleasant, which unfortunately set her two steps back from the one step forward she thought she took. All she wanted to do was let him know how important he was to her and it backfired when she asked him point blank why he was with Mercedes. She knew that while she was here she was going to have to spend more time with him, showing him how she would never intentionally hurt him and that if anything were to happen between her and Mercedes, it was fate; not an impulsive need to break his heart.
She felt awful because of the fact that whenever she was dealing with her shit storm of emotions, Sam always ended up in the middle of the mess.
“Quinn, have you ever stopped to think that maybe your relationship problems aren’t about the men you chose, but their gender?” The woman crossed her legs and cocked her head, tapping a pen on her clipboard. Her Yale ID hung around her neck and was beginning to hide itself behind her suit jacket.
“I’m sorry? Their…gender?” Quinn furrowed her eyebrows and thought about Finn, Puck, Sam, Adam, Artie, Joe and Alex. She thought about how they all failed to make her happy when most of them were genuinely good guys.
“Yes. I know it’s a hard thing to consider, but have you thought about dating women?”
Quinn’s eyes widened at the suggestion. Then she began to panic. Since middle school (and possibly before), she held an attraction to women that she thought everyone else had too. It wasn’t until high school when she’d be in the locker room letting her eyes wander over the curve of a Cheerio’s ass or the way another’s nipples would pucker through the fabric of a lace bra did she realize the other cheerleaders weren’t looking at each other that way. So she learned to hide it.
She was afraid at first. As if the realization that she liked looking at girls that way would show somehow, like a red stamp on her forehead that said LESBIAN.
She tried to stay in denial until she left for college, but meeting girls there in her major had her thinking about dating and touching and things she was supposed to want with every guy whose heart she’d broken in the past. Now, sitting in front of the therapist after being asked that question, she began to sweat. The stamp was back.
“I…I don’t know.”
“Quinn, I think you may want to simply try it. College is not only for getting an education, it’s for discovering yourself. Do you think you’ve ever been in love with a girl?”
“No…I don’t…think so…”
“What about Mercedes?” the woman asked. Quinn felt her throat get dry. She didn’t realize she brought up the diva so much in the sessions but now that she thought about it, she brought her up at least once every day. It was just that Mercedes was the only girl who ever saw something different in Quinn and encouraged her to be better. She gave a shit when no one else did. Even when she re-joined the Cheerios and ignored her, Mercedes still welcomed her with open arms when she needed them. Living with her over the latter half of her pregnancy still flashed in her dreams. Their talks, her smile, how she would sleep with her at night to make sure she was okay…
“What about her?” she asked, attempting to sound nonchalant.
The rest of her time at Yale had been spent dating around and becoming more acquainted with the small LGBT community on campus. She liked it. She liked girls. And now she was able to say it out loud. When she skyped with Santana, her friend laughed at her for becoming the “stereotypical lesbo” and cutting her hair off, and Quinn laughed as well. She’d gotten to a point where she could actually joke about it.
What she hadn’t come to accept by the time she saw Sam in Lima was the fact that she was in love with Mercedes. Always had been. She was afraid to see her in fear of falling harder as soon as she laid eyes on her friend again. But now, standing in front of the building, her time of avoiding Mercedes was over. Another lifetime of apologizing to Sam was going to begin.
She took a deep breath and walked up to the building, pressing the button by EVANS/PUCKERMAN on the box and waiting.
“Hello?” it buzzed.
“It’s me!” she said, trying to sound as cheerful as possible.
“Quinn?” She recognized the voice as Puck’s.
“Yep!” The door buzzed open and she grabbed it, pulling her suitcase and duffel bags behind her (easily, thanks to the gym in her dorm at school). She got on the elevator and took several deep breaths until she got to their floor. When she did, she searched for their room number and as she raised her fist to knock, it was yanked open and she was ambushed by a hug from Puck.
“Good to see you too!” she exclaimed, laughing. He grinned and let go, bending down to get her bags and bring them in. She followed him and Sam was right in the kitchenette. They looked at each other for a few seconds before he gave a half-smile and opened his arms. She grinned and walked over to accept his welcome hug.
“Quinn, your hair!” She tensed at the sound of Mercedes’s voice and pulled away from Sam, turning around to see the short woman walking out of a room to where they all stood. She bit her lip to keep her jaw from dropping. Mercedes was practically glowing, her dark locks framing her pretty face and the Avengers t-shirt she wore stretching over her figure. It clearly belonged to Sam. She took her in, noting that the diva was not a teenager anymore. Living with her would be harder that she anticipated.
“Mercedes…” she uttered. The girl rolled her eyes and crossed over to hug her. Quinn wrapped her arms around her and took in the scent of her shampoo, scolding herself inwardly to keep her hands in a platonic location. When they parted, Mercedes reached up and ran her fingers through Quinn’s pixie cut.
“It’s all gone!”
“I know, I know. But do you like it?” she asked.
“You have the face to pull it off,” Mercedes told her. Quinn blushed and Sam raised an eyebrow at that. He never knew her to blush like that. Puck clapped his hands together and looked at the clock.
“How about we show Miss Fabray the kick ass Los Angeles we’ve come to love?”