"H-h-here!" Artie is beyond perplexed on Thursday morning when Tina runs up to him. She looks uncomfortable, like she's wearing an invisible straight jacket that is binding every inch of her body, from her mortified face to her combat boot-clad trembling legs. She thrusts an envelope at him, turning her head away at the same time, as if his reaction is too painful for her to watch. He stares at her offering mutely as the world continues to go on around them: Finn and Quinn are arguing across the hall at Quinn's locker. Quinn is yelling at him, saying how thick he is, and Noah Puckerman is skulking in the background. Rachel is only a few locker doors down, pretending to grab her books but really just listening in on the fight. Artie knows this because the conceited brunette is not moving, and her head is up ever-so-slightly, ears pricked, waiting for the magical 'B' word to drop. Having Finn and Quinn break up would be like a dream come true for the young loner.
Kurt is pretty much indifferent to the whole mess, walking down the hall with the grace of a model going down the catwalk. He says a quiet 'hello' to Artie and Tina before disappearing into the next hallway, not interested in the tiff between William McKinley's super-couple.
Mercedes, on the other hand, is completely oblivious to the drama for an entirely different reason. This happens to be the boy holding her hand and whispering sweet nothings into her ear, her complete physical opposite. It doesn't seem to annoy her that she has to bend down (a pose that is quite unflattering and may even be considered inappropriate for school) so that the boy can reach her ear.
With all of his fellow gleeks accounted for, Artie brings his attention back to Tina, who is still standing there, eyes scrunched shut. Her hair is in a ponytail, something she never does, he notes, and the blue streak in her hair is falling over her face quite nicely.
"T-t-take it." It's barely more than a whisper, but it reminds him that she's waiting for him to accept the envelope and its contents. He takes it hesitantly, finding he has to wrestle it from her fingers. She has a (probably unconscious) death grip on the thing. Opening the envelope, Artie shakes out the piece of three-ring binder paper that's neatly folded inside and pushes his glasses up on his nose. Tina's letter to him is as follows:
God, that sounds so lame. I am lame. It's three in the morning right now and I couldn't sleep because my dream of you kept me up. Crap, why did I just write that? Oh well. Maybe it's better that you know. Then again, maybe not. I don't know. Honestly, I don't know much of anything these days, there are only three things I have concrete belief in:
1) Crying in front of you was probably the most embarrassing thing I've done this year (all the stuff that the jocks do to me doesn't count. Being slushied is out of my control, but I could've, you know, not cried in front of you).
2) I really want to go to the prom with you. I would ask but the words would just come out as one massive stutter, and it would take me forever. So I'm asking you through this letter. Please be my date to the prom... again, I don't know what's wrong with me. I'm sorry if that sounds creepy or desperate or whatever. I promise I'm not some clingy stalker like that guy in that one movie (you know the one where the guy makes a doll out of the girl's hair and uses it to masturbate to? I wouldn't do something like that, because that's just sick and wrong. And I promise I don't have any of your hair).
3) I know it's cheesy to write this but I think that we can have our own fairytale. ("you'll be the prince and I'll be the princess" yada yada yada, thank you, Taylor Swift! Do you see what lack of sleep does to me?). Wow, I was hoping that would come out as profound and romantic but it just came out as WAY awkward. Oh well. This is the first love letter I've ever written, I guess I'm no good with them.
Yeah. I suck. I'm thinking I should go to bed now… I couldn't sleep until I wrote this.
Artie raises his eyes away from the words on the page. Tina's writing is not delicate or loopy, but it's not illegible chicken scratch either. It's big and bold and perfect, just like she is. She's still facing away from him, eyes shut. He should say something, but the right words are avoiding him.
The bell rings.
Quinn lets out a shriek and storms away from Finn, Puck disappears, looking all sinister with that permanent scowl and his Mohawk. Mercedes and her boy toy walk away to class. Rachel finally closes her locker and pats Finn on the arm. They have study hall together, she's only too happy to accompany him to the library.
The tardy bell rings. His tongue is a big piece of chalk. He looks down at the letter again. Looks up; this isn't how he imagined it. And yes, he's man enough to admit that he fantasised about this exact moment (sans letter or speechlessness) on the bus ride to school. Except, in his head, Tina would come up to him, apologize for her mind-boggling behaviour, and maybe give him a kiss on the cheek. Then he would ask her to prom, totally reeling from the fact that she just kissed him on the cheek, and this time she would accept with no qualms or crazy behaviours.
Instead, she's written him a humorously honest, sleep-deprived letter asking him to the prom. And he can't even formulate words. Jeez, stupid idiot!
"I-I-I'd better get to class!"
Tina, translating his drawn-out silence into 'he's just rejected me' silence, rotates her entire body and begins to sprint in the other direction. Who cares that her food sciences class is in the other direction and up a flight of stairs? She's too emotionally traumatized to go to class anyway, and food sciences is a bird's course.
"Do you…" he swallows, his chalk tongue becoming less of a problem, but only slightly. "Do you really want to go to prom with me?"
She turns back around to face him but stares determinedly at the floor. "Y-y-y-y…"
"Tina." Her head shoots up, he wheels closer to her. "Do you want to go to prom with me?" She's looking down into his eyes, he won't let her look away.
"Yes." She clarifies. Shocked, she tries it again. "Yes!" She agrees with more gusto.
"Good!" He beams, feeling warm and fuzzy all over because he's pretty sure he has something to do with her not stammering. And he's also elated because it looks like he might have a date for prom.
"Good." She repeats, and she's half-marvelling at the absence of her stutter, half-jovial because now she has a date for prom. Now she has someone who wants her like she wants to be wanted, needs her like she needs to be needed. If only for the one night.
"So, did you really have a dream about me?" He asks conversationally. She blushes modestly, confirms it with a nod of her head.
"And what happened?" It doesn't matter that their teachers have probably marked them both as absent. They're both much more concerned with their social lives than their academic ones right now.
"We danced a-and we k-kissed." Tina's back to contemplating her shoes again. Artie rolls himself even closer and takes her hand, she feels electricity shoot up her whole arm.
"Was the kiss nice?"
Tina remembers how her dream self was brave. How she went right up to Dream Artie and laid down the law and that was that. She can be like that now in real life, she figures. She can pluck up some hidden self-confidence somewhere and…
And suddenly her lips are on his. She doesn't even remember kneeling down or leaning forward but now her eyes are closed and she's pretty sure his are too and there are fireworks going off in her brain (as well as her lower extremities).
Wow. He's an even better kisser than in the dream.
A sudden bright flash and a rude noise makes Tina jump away from him. She sorely regrets this, as soon as his lips are away from hers she feels like her oxygen has been cut off a little bit. Then she scoffs at herself soundlessly and wonders if kissing is an addiction.
If it is, it's one she'll happily pick up.
She and Artie both turn their heads in the direction of the sound and flash that had scared them apart. A freshman boy with dark hair, full lips and eyes as clear and blue as the ocean is standing across the hall, a school-issue camera hanging from a strap around his neck. He waves impishly.
"Woowie, that was hot!" He remarks teasingly. Tina feels as if she has just been violated and shrinks, though Artie casts the boy a menacing glare.
"Ben! Delete that photo right now!"
"It's for the yearbook." Ben shrugs and takes off down the hall, his laughter is rich and ringing, kind of like Artie's.
"Sorry about that." Artie apologizes. She redirects her attention to his face. "My family can be a tad crazy at times, but he means well."
"I-is he your-"
"Younger brother." Artie answers. "Anyway, uh," now that their faces aren't attached and they're not obeying their hormones, the situation got very awkward very fast. "I'd better get to class."
"Y-yeah, me too." they both laugh nervously when they realize they're going in the same direction, but when they have to split to go to their respective lessons, Tina looks over her shoulder and flashes Artie the biggest smile she thinks she's ever given anyone.
And as he's wheeling himself through the door of his advanced math class, Artie has never felt more like a prince charming.
So there's the next chapter! Sorry it kind of really fails. A lot of fluff because I think those two deserve it. As you have probably guessed, the events of "Wheels" are irrelevant to this story. I'm sorry for the long wait, hopefully people are still interested in the story :) and now I have three questions for any (potential) reviewers:
1) Should I continue this? If I did, it would deal with the actual prom and maybe another dream sequence, depending on the feedback recieved (if there is any).
2) Is the site acting up for anyone else? I just tried to post this and it cut out a HUGE chunk of text. I'm not sure why, but it was annoying.
3) Does anyone know where the Glee "challenges" can be found? I'd like to try one, but I have no idea where people are getting them from. Any help would be greatly appreciated =)
As always, please review honestly. It lets me know how I'm doing and whether or not I should continue writing or just scrap the whole thing altogether.