And here is part 2 of Take These Broken Wings! It's meant to be read in consecutive order, the first part is entitled 'for a while things were cold'. I'd advise reading that story before this one. I wanted to get this out a little earlier in the week, but work is a bit hectic right now. It's going to continue to be this next upcoming week, and a tiny bit the week after that, so please bear with me. I'm hoping I can get the second chapter out by the end of next week. I hope you enjoy, and please let me know what you think:)
"Adapt or perish" - HG Wells
Quinn sets Beth down onto the floor and takes in the apartment.
It's a total shithole.
Kurt walks up with a suitcase and stands beside her, wearing an equally unimpressed face. Sam drops bags of luggage with verve and slings his arms around their shoulders. "This is great right?" He asks with a huge grin on his face. Quinn and Kurt share a look and don't say anything. "We've got to fix it up a bit, but I mean, it's rent controlled and there's enough room for all of us and just...it's ours!"
Beth takes off and Quinn lunges to catch her. "We need to baby proof this place immediately." Kurt announces as Quinn hoists Beth back up into her arms.
"I'm not a baby, I'm a big girl!" She insists.
"Yes you are." Quinn kisses her cheek. "We should big girl proof this place," she murmurs to Beth. "Right now, or I'm never gonna be able to put her down." She directs at the boys.
Kurt is in his element apparently. He orders Sam around, covering up this and that, moving furniture in ways that are harder to bang into; making sure everything is safe while Quinn gets Beth settled in their bedroom.
She takes the time to get sheets on her bed, then flops down onto it, too exhausted to start unpacking for real.
She cannot believe they are in New York. The summer flew by. Once Quinn had officially decided on Columbia, it sparked a whirlwind of plans. Sam had made it clear he was coming with her, he applied to the LaGuardia Community College nursing program and got in, then proceeded to find them a place to live. Having Beth in the dorms wasn't really something Quinn could work out, so getting their own apartment was the only thing that made sense.
Paying for it, that's going to be quite another thing entirely.
Quinn doesn't know how, but Sam convinced Kurt to apply to LaGuardia as well, to get his general credits out of the way before transferring somewhere else.
Sam made all the arrangements, and somehow, two months have gone by and the three of them are renting an apartment in Long Island City. He's worked out everything so if each of them can manage almost 500 a month, they've got this place for almost two years. It's not very big, but there are two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, a bathroom, and a smallish hallway that doesn't really lead to anywhere that could be a playroom for Beth. It's the best they could afford. By Sam's calculations, it should take Quinn a little over half an hour to commute to school and the two of them a little over twenty minutes. All in all, it's not bad.
Rachel and Brittany are only half an hour away at Tisch, but Santana's down in Brooklyn – over an hour away on a good day.
Oddly enough, Rachel and Brittany are roommates.
Britt told Quinn this shortly before they left. She wanted to room with someone she knew, despite being in different programs, they managed to share a dorm. Quinn's not exactly sure how that's going to end up going, but a jealous Santana is no one's friend.
Santana is the only one alone and the furthest away. She's not happy about it in the slightest.
They don't bother unpacking much the first night, only digging out the essentials for dinner. The three of them end up cross-legged on the floor, dining off a coffee table. Kurt manages to get them some champagne. It's cheap and not all that tasty, but they toast with it all the same.
By the end of their first week, they've got almost everything unpacked, begun decorating a bit and found a semi decent grocery store about ten blocks away.
Quinn's didn't bother to bring Beth's crib along with them. She really is too big for it now anyway, so Quinn just pops Beth in the bed with her. Beth's delighted. Quinn knew she didn't want to deal with worrying about waking up to a wet bed, so she spends most of the summer potty training Beth.
It's a big change from small town Lima to Long Island City. Everything is louder and more rushed. They're not in the best neighborhood in the world and Quinn is conscious of it whenever she's out of the apartment later at night. If she thought that was a culture shock, going to the Upper West side Manhattan to get to school is even more so.
The four of them take a day and ride the subway route to the boys school, then to Quinn's. To get a handle of where they need to go and get acclimated.
Quinn's condensed all her classes to three very long days a week. Wednesday through Friday she's got classes from nine am straight through until about seven at night. Sam is taking classes Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, about the same time frame. Kurt spread his out a bit more, taking his Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday morning. He won't be in classes all day long.
Sam was adamant about trying to get classes opposite each other so one of them can be with Beth, while the other is in class. Quinn doesn't expect or even ask Kurt to do the same. It still surprises her that Sam is so willing. Her only issue is what to do with Beth on Thursdays and she panics about it.
That particular problem ends up being solved when Santana comes up to visit them the weekend she gets in her dorm.
"I don't have class on Thursday." She announces.
Quinn whips her head around and stares at her. Santana is surprisingly good with Beth, but she's never spent any great length of time with her all by herself. Quinn quirks an eyebrow in question and bits her lip, afraid to actually ask.
Santana sighs at her. "I'm gonna feed her whatever the fuck I want, she's gonna learn to love tv, and she is gonna hear swear words and have to get over it."
Quinn beams and wraps an arm around Santana's neck, pulling her in and planting a kiss on her cheek. "Thank you." She whispers sincerely.
"Yeah, yeah, don't thank me yet." Santana waves her off and gives her a shove, but there is the barest hint of a smile on her lips.
Quinn can't believe she lucked out enough to have friends like this.
After eighteen years of wanting out of Lima, Ohio, Quinn has managed it. She honest to God never thought it would happen. Even once the acceptance letters started rolling in. Even after she got all her information from Columbia. Even once Sam found them an apartment. A part of her believed it all was a dream.
She walks down Times Square with Kurt and Sam, Beth up on Sam's shoulders and can't believe she's actually here.
She fucking got out.
Quinn gets lost five times on her first day.
She accidentally gets off one stop early on the subway and it takes her ten minutes to find the correct one she needs to get back on. For her second class, she goes into the wrong building. In her last class she ends up sitting down for almost seven minutes before she realizes it is not her class and then she can't find the right train to take back home. The amount of times she gets turned around becomes so overwhelming that she almost cries.
When she does finally manage to get home (after going down the wrong block) she flops down onto the couch in tears. Beth bolts for her immediately and climbs on top of her back.
"Mama! We cooked for you!"
Quinn doesn't bother trying to get up, only kicks her legs, launching Beth into the air enough to flip her body around. Beth grins and climbs up until she can cover Quinn's face with messy, wet kisses. It's sort of exactly what Quinn needs and she wraps her arms around Beth tightly and just lays there.
Sam walks into the living room and Quinn starts laughing. "You've got sauce in your hair."
He reaches up and feels it, shooting a playful glare at Beth. "You little demon."
Beth squeals and flattens her body behind Quinn's to hide.
Kurt comes home looking just as tired as Quinn feels, and motions for Quinn to shove over wordlessly. She's about to, but Sam grabs him and directs him right to the kitchen table instead. Quinn hauls Beth up and follows them.
She stuffs her face, decides not to even attempt a bath for Beth (even though she's kind of covered in pasta sauce) and both of them fall asleep within an hour.
It's completely ridiculous that somehow it's become socially acceptable for an eighteen year old to decide what they want to do with their life.
Quinn has no clue what she wants to do as a career. She loves to read, and she enjoys history, so she picks some classes there that sound interesting. She needs a math class whether she wants one or not; but since she was in AP in high school, she only has to take the one and be done with it, depending on her eventual major.
There are so many options and listening to her temporary advisor list them all just makes her want to lay her head down on the table and cry.
She decides to stick with mainly english and psychology for the time being. They never really had sociology or psychology classes at Mckinley and Quinn's always been curious.
It seems to placate her advisor for now, and nothing is set in stone that Quinn can't change, so she goes with it.
She needs a job – pronto.
Her mother saved some money away and gave it to Quinn as a graduation present. Quinn will be able to cover her chunk of the rent (and their initial deposit) for the first three months. But there are still groceries to buy and random expenses that Quinn's never even thought about before.
Her phone bill, the internet, coffee, how they split the food, it's – overwhelming.
Everything feels overwhelming.
It takes a full two weeks or so to really get into a routine.
On her days home with Beth, she gets up and keeps Beth out of the way as the boys get ready to go to class. Once the two of them have the apartment to themselves, Quinn makes breakfast and just enjoys hanging out with her kid.
By mid morning, Quinn sets Beth up with some toys and studies her ass off for as long as she can. Sometimes they make a lunch and keep on going like that until Beth's nap, sometimes Quinn takes her out to a playground that's not too far away.
Whenever Beth sleeps, Quinn studies.
Afternoons seem to drag on. It's hard, being cooped up with just Beth. As it turns out the terrible twos are in fact a real thing. Quinn can't fathom how her beautiful, happy baby can turn into such a little bratty monster in no time at all. By all accounts, Beth was a fairly easy baby. She's more than making up for it now.
Sam and Kurt seem to be thriving. Kurt wasn't thrilled about going to LaGuardia initially, but Quinn can see how much he loves being in the city. He goes into Midtown frequently and meets up with Rachel at Tisch. He comes home jealous of her, Quinn can tell. But he only bitches about it to Sam and never to Rachel's face.
Quinn has only seen Rachel and Brittany once since school started. They all met downtown once they had gotten settled in their respective dorms and apartments to have lunch. Rachel – the one among them most familiar with the city from the times her fathers brought her to see theatre as a child – shows them a small, relatively cheap restaurant she discovered with her fathers once.
Beth actually behaves, and the food is delicious. Sam and Kurt have never been huge about PDA, but Santana and Brittany haven't seen each other in almost a full week and don't care where they are. The two of them practically maul each other immediately. Quinn covers Beth's eyes playfully and throws a roll at them.
Santana only flips her off and starts kissing her way down Brittany's neck.
Rachel shakes her head and laughs, nodding to Quinn to follow her. She stands and lifts Beth out of the booth, letting her walk on her own. Beth runs over to Rachel, takes her hand, and looks on eagerly as Rachel points out artwork to her that's all over the walls.
Quinn goes up to the counter and orders herself a coffee, and a tea she knows Rachel likes and brings the beverages over.
"Thank you!" Rachel says, surprised as Quinn passes it over to her. "You didn't have to do that."
Quinn just shrugs and takes the hand Beth is holding out to her, spinning her around as she does. Beth lets out a giggle and Rachel smiles down at her.
"How's your dorm room?" She asks Rachel after a moment. Beth has danced her way closer to a purple painting and is giving it her full attention.
"It's actually really nice." Rachel says with a smile. "A little small, but it's larger than I pictured a college dorm room to be. And Brittany's an amiable roommate thus far."
Quinn snorts. "Yeah, Britt's pretty good if you're not sharing a bed with her." Rachel raises her eyebrows in confusion. "She kicks." Quinn explains.
"Ah. Lucky for me, we each have our own beds. How about you? What's the apartment like? You'll have to show me sometime soon!"
"It's not much." Quinn shrugs. "But it's not too bad either. I'm...I dunno how well living with Kurt's going to end up, but so far so good."
Rachel frowns. "Kurt's very neat." She says like it's a question.
Quinn sighs. "Yeah I know, it's not that it's – it's Beth. He likes her alright, when he could go home and be away from her now..." She trails off and shrugs one shoulder. Looking behind her, Santana and Brittany seem to have cooled off a bit, and the boys are up getting their food.
"I see." Rachel reaches out and take a light hold of Quinn's forearm, rubbing it gently. "I'm sure it will be fine. I know Kurt can be a little...taxing, but he's always been there for me when I need him. It might take a period of adjustment, but I'm sure he'll get there."
"I hope so."
Rachel stops rubbing Quinn's arm and links hers through it instead, pulling Quinn close. "I know it!" She says with a smile. Quinn can't help but return it.
Santana yells for them to come get their food, or she's eating it all.
Kurt gets a job as a waiter in a small diner about twenty blocks from their apartment.
Quinn and Sam take Beth out and job hunt as well, Quinn's not above using her kid to get something she needs. They find a small coffee and dessert shop not far from Tisch and Quinn hounds the owner until she and Sam walk out an hour later, employed.
"He's totally afraid of you." Sam laughs as they head home, Beth on his shoulders.
"Good." Quinn answers with a smile. "I can use that to my advantage."
"And I think he thinks we're twins."
On Thursdays, Quinn alternates between bringing Beth down to Santana, and having Santana come up to meet her at the apartment.
Thursday her first class doesn't start until 10:30, so she has a little more time to manage with. Usually, Santana's not awake early enough to take the hour long subway there in time for Quinn to leave. More often than not, Quinn gets up early, packs Beth up, and takes her down to Santana's dorm.
The first Thursday, she is genuinely worried all day long and sends Santana a text after every class.
She runs into Santana's dorm, nearing nine pm to find Santana sprawled out on her twin bed, Beth sound asleep on her front, and the tv still on. Before either of them can wake, Quinn snaps a photo and sends it to Brittany.
"She's turning into a total bitch Q." Santana mumbles as Quinn shakes her lightly.
"I know. If this whole terrible twos thing actually lasts the full year I'm going to go insane."
"She's adorable but damn she's got a pair of lungs on her." Santana passes Beth over, making sure not to wake her and sits up a bit.
"I – you don't have to do this Santana, I know that –"
"– Shut up Q." Santana cuts her off. "I mean, I'm godmother right? No big. Besides, without me, she'll turn into a freak. Did you know Sam's already reading her comics?" She shakes her head. "Jesus, she'll be a nerd!"
Quinn frowns. "She doesn't have a godmother, we don't do that."
Santana looks affronted. "Do you even go to your stupid church anymore?"
"Well, no, but..."
"Then she gets my religion. Catholics have godparents. Non-religious people have godparents. Shit, if I'm not godmother, I'm not taking up every Thursday for the next year watching the little devil in training."
"Okay!" Quinn says briskly. "You're godmother."
"And Britt is godfather." Santana orders as she walks Quinn down towards the subway.
Quinn wrinkles her nose. "No. If anyone gets that it's Sam. I mean come on."
"Ugh, fine." Santana sighs. "Britt is second godmother than."
"Is that a thing?"
"Nobody ever died from too many godparents Quinn."
Puck has called twice. He's enrolled in classes at the local community college, but it doesn't sound like he's attending many of them. He talks with Beth until she gets bored then makes awkward small talk with Quinn.
She can tell he misses Beth and she makes it a point to text him or send him pictures when she does something cute or funny.
At first, she called her mother almost every night, now she calls her maybe once a week. Judy has made new friends and is enjoying working again. Quinn's glad her mother can finally have a life of her own. They do seem to have less and less to talk about. Quinn can only tell her about how studying is hard but she's managing so many times. It still feels awkward, she doesn't confide in Judy much, so everything feels like small talk. Quinn doesn't really know how to change that, so she just calls less.
The weather finally cools – and thank god, their air conditioning did not work – and Quinn finally feels settled here. School is hard, and she's exhausted, and work is stressful, but, she's managing (barely) and it finally feels like home.
Quinn doesn't have time for anything besides studying, working at the coffee shop, and taking care of Beth. It feels like junior year all over again, times a million.
Her classmates are okay, but she doesn't interact with them all that much. A few girls from her psychology class invite her to a party the third week but Quinn declines. She doesn't tell them she's got a two year old waiting on her, just says she's busy.
People judge when she brings up Beth.
It's weird, but Quinn's gotten used to people just knowing. Lima was a small town, sure there were whispers and the first year (and being pregnant) were horrible, but people got used to it. Teen mom became old news. Now, it's this thing no one knows. She can be anyone she wants, fresh start. She doesn't have to be the slut who messed up and got pregnant and homeless. So she doesn't bring it up.
It feels like lying.
It feels like she's ashamed of Beth. Quinn thinks of all the times her parents made her feel like shit and walks into class the next day and tells them.
"Sorry I couldn't come, I had to get home to my daughter."
Shock falls onto all their faces, and Quinn steels herself, refusing to let these people she doesn't even really know or care about judge her. "She's two, my friend was watching her. I'd need more notice than that is all."
Quinn sits down and faces the front of the classroom.
A minute or so passes. "Wow. You really have a two year old?" A girl named Katherine asks. Quinn nods sharply, daring her to say something. "Seriously? Your body is amazing. I'd never guess. Do you have a picture? There's a party next weekend I think. I can find out the actual time and text you."
Quinn's too shocked to smile.
She comes home from class early on Friday and finds Sam and Beth in some sort of blanket, pillow fort in the middle of the living room. Sam sticks his head out and grins. "Wanna join?"
Before she can answer, Kurt and Santana walk into the apartment. "Look who I found – what the hell is going on?" Kurt asks.
"We're camping." Sam says. "Obviously."
"Awesome." Santana quips and crawls down onto her knees, slipping inside.
Quinn hears Beth happily yell, 'Tana!' and grins, nudging Kurt. "Come on." She tells him, and follows after Santana. It's cramped, she has to pull her legs up to her chin and still she's halfway on top of Santana.
"Kurt! Get in here now!" Santana yells at him.
After a huff, his face appears in the small opening flap. "If this messes up my hair I'm killing all of you." He says and primly crawls inside.
Sam reaches over and musses up his hair immediately, Kurt squeals as the rest of them dissolve into a fit of giggles. Beth slips off of Santana's lap, pushes Quinn's legs down so she can sit on Quinn's and smiles up at her. Looking around at her idiot friends Quinn thinks that just maybe this is going to be as awesome as she had hoped.