A/N: My love of angst compelled me to try and write a Noah Puckerman (Puck)/Quinn Fabray story. I'm not completely happy with it. There were a lot of things I wanted in it and all of them was simply impossible (and I know better than to try and start another chapter fic). Hopefully, it turned out okay anyway.
Warning: This was written prior to seeing "Vitamin D" and therefore does not take into account anything in that episode. Though, it does have spoilers for prior episodes. Also, it jumps in time (which hopefully, isn't confusing).
Disclaimer: I own nothing (literally).
He slow danced with her, once.
It was in sixth grade, back when dances happened during the school day, tons of teachers and parents around, and everyone had to dance with everyone else.
Still, he considers himself lucky that he gets her for a slow song-especially considering that they're mostly putting on fast ones.
She keeps her distance. She's proper and her mom's in the room.
And he doesn't like her, because then he'd be just like every other guy in his grade and he's not that lame. But it's not like he can deny that she's gorgeous. He's got eyes, easy as that.
They don't talk, just clumsily sway to the music. The other girls in his class spend their dance with him trying to get his attention, trying to get noticed even when they're right in front of him (because he's cool so he's playing aloof the entire time). But she doesn't do that. She meets his eyes like it means nothing. Smiles politely, gets into position, and spends the rest of the song looking around the room, seeing who else is paired up this time.
In realizing that he's noticed this about her he's forced to notice that he's paid attention to her while they were dancing-which was a first, he really couldn't tell who else he had already danced with because he was so disinterested in them.
But she was different. She had his attention. And she seemed to be the only one who didn't want it.
He kept an eye on her during a few more songs. She seemed to do the exact same thing (keeping a wandering eye) during every other song. So, at least her disinterest wasn't personal.
From then on though, somewhere in the back of his mind, she continues to capture his attention.
Doesn't mean anything though. He's way too cool to want a relationship with one girl.
The title sticks with him longer than he thought. She doesn't matter so neither should anything she says. (Yeah, he really has to work at convincing himself of that now.)
He writes it off as only having affecting him because it reminds him of his dad.
That was kind of how he and Finn became friends. Both of their mom's- being single and all- had the idea to sign them up for every little league sport so they'd get some positive male influences in their lives. Both of them being the only kids without a father on the sidelines or in the stands cheering them on gave them something to bond over. The thing was, Finn's dad wasn't around because he died a hero. His dad wasn't around because he was a deadbeat loser who just didn't want him. The missing dads thing made them fast friends, but the way they were missing is what made them different.
Being in similar situations though, Puck completely sympathized with Finn having to do anything for his mom. He was the same way and he would never question or make fun of Finn's dedication to his mom- he got it, moms were all they had. But to use his mother as a cover for that club, that- more than actually being in the club- was unforgivable.
He forgave him though. God knows he's done some stupid shit and Finn's always been there for him so he moves past it, doesn't mention the real reason he was mad, and they're friends again. Don't get him wrong, he still makes fun of Finn for being in that Homo-Explosion every chance he gets (give him an easy target of course he's going to take his shots). But, he really does forgive Finn for the true crime of using the one person who meant the most to him as a scapegoat (though, he doesn't forget that his friend is capable of such a crappy act).
Seeing Finn in Glee though, makes him think more about how they won't be Lima Losers. He's totally sure they're both getting out, but seeing Finn in Glee, liking Glee, he's a lot less sure than he used to be that they'd be getting out together. Now, don't go reading anything homoerotic into him thinking that Finn was in his future, it wasn't like that. But they'd been best friends since tee-ball and he had never seen why that would change. Then Finn was defending the wheel-chair kid, dancing and singing on stage, and making moony eyes at Gleek Freak Rachel. He had never really thought about it before, but maybe he wouldn't always have the same best friend, maybe growing apart was inevitable.
And lately, watching Finn do all this new stuff, it didn't feel like Finn his best friend anymore, it just felt like Finn, some guy. Finn his best friend didn't sing, didn't dance, didn't hang out with people who weren't on the football team, didn't genuinely like any teachers. And the change that nagged at him most of all (though he swears it wasn't the biggest annoyance because he doesn't really care) was that the Finn that was his best friend wouldn't be interested in anyone else when he had the hottest girl in the school as his very dedicated girlfriend. Because Finn his best friend actually thought he was lucky when Quinn Fabray wanted to go out with him. "She could date a senior, but she wanted to go out with me," that's what Finn his best friend had said, in a state of awe, the day he got a date with her. But the Finn that seemed to exist now, he didn't seem to have any awe left for Quinn, it was all for the Slushie Dumping Station.
Then, Quinn got pregnant and Finn thinks it's his so he becomes best friend Finn again kind of- he has that look for Quinn again (it's just his luck that that's the one old quality he re-adapts). And him and his best friend, they just won their first game- semi thanks to the Dancing Queen- but because his best friend threw him a pass and he actually caught it, made a touchdown that led to them winning their first game. And Finn his best friend is back, full force, because he's smiling at her all sincerely, he's kissing her, he won for her.
Winning the game, it was the first moment in his life he felt like there wasn't a single ounce of Lima Loser in him.
Then, he saw his best friend celebrating the same moment by kissing his girlfriend and it all went away. He never felt more like a Lima Loser than that moment.
He tries to tell himself that it's because of his best friend and how he doesn't always recognize him nowadays (and that it's not not not not not because of the girl he's with- the one having his baby).
He waits for her after the game. It's completely unintentional. Yes, he's unintentionally hiding in a supply closet in the breezeway to the locker rooms waiting for her to come by. And it's completely unintentional when he see's her walk by (alone, thankfully) and he reaches out, grabs her arm, and drags her in there with him.
"Ahhhh," she screamed.
"Shut up, Jesus Christ, it's just me," he said as he shut the door and turned on the light.
"Don't take the Lord's name in vain," she admonishes automatically.
"Yeah, cause that's what I'd go to hell for," he returns rolling his eyes.
"What do you want?" she asks curtly, getting right to the point.
"I heard that lame ass story you told Finn. I can't believe he thinks he got you pregnant from a hot tub. And I can't believe you think that story's going to last forever," is what comes out. He hadn't had a real plan so he kind of just says what's on his mind. (Lima Loser's still there, but he's smart enough not to lead with it- he wouldn't want to sound like he's trying to fight for her because he's not.)
She's shaking her head, pursing her lips, "Well, I'm sorry if my 'story' doesn't meet your standards. I kind of have way to much to think about to come up with something cunning." Her lip starts to quiver and her eyes water just the tiniest bit.
He can tell she's trying to pull it all together, hold it all in. Suddenly, Lima Loser and everything else is just irrelevant. "Hey," he says gently. He pulls her into a hug before she can protest (and he doesn't notice the way she feels, the way he feels, while she's here against him, in his arms).
She breaks down immediately. He knows she probably wanted to shove him away- especially after everything. He knows how broken she must be that she's not shoving him away. (He knows it's all his fault.)
He shushes her, holds her tight, strokes her back, the end of her ponytail. "It's all going to be okay," he promises.
She shakes her head. "It can't be," she denies, tears still heavy in her voice, "I'm sixteen, I'm president of the celibacy club, and I'm pregnant from when I cheated on my boyfriend." She starts to cry harder. "Why did I sleep with you?" she questions in a mumble into his chest.
He caught the question though. He doesn't have an answer (or a clue even) so he responds honestly, "I don't know. Been wonderin' that myself. Why did you?"
Her head snaps up. She catches her implication before she's even fully made it yet. She steps out of his arms as she backpedals, "I told you, you got me drunk and I had low self-esteem that day."
"That couldn't have been the first time you were like that around a guy," he says doubtfully.
"Around one that took advantage," she fires back, her eyes turned cold again.
His jaw sets. His fists clench at his sides. He may be a bit…promiscuous, but he was not that guy that forced himself on anyone or tricked girls into situations that they didn't want to be in. He may be a slut but he wasn't a sleaze. He began angrily, "I didn't-"
"I know," she quickly cut in guiltily, "I…". She trailed off. She couldn't say she was sorry because part of her wasn't. Part of her wanted to blame him so bad.
He could see it in her eyes, the reason she said it. She was mad because one stupid mistake with him was changing her life forever. And really, he couldn't blame her for being angry. He saved her from having to continue to try and complete her sentence, "I know."
He lets out a long breath, glances away from her, and runs a hand over his faux-hawk.
She's stopped crying, all remnants of tears gone except the redness of her eyes. Getting back to the point she asks, "Was criticizing my story the only reason you dragged me in here?"
"No," he admits easily. He declares, meeting her eyes firmly, "I'm going to help you with the baby."
She sighs, tired of this direction all ready. She argues, "Why do you even want to? I'm giving you an out. You got a girl pregnant and you don't have to do anything. You could still get out of Lima. Just consider yourself lucky. And remember if you tell Finn-"
"Hey," he holds up a hand stopping her rant, "I'm not going to do anything about the situation you're trying to set up with Finn. I think your story is crap and eventually he'll figure it out and tons of shit may hit the fan for both of us, but I know you, you're determined to have him be your baby daddy. Fine. But I'm not ditching my kid. I want to contribute any money I can for whatever, forever. Even if I'm not around because I am going to get out of Lima, I'm going to send you money. And don't try to argue, because if that kid ever finds out the truth about who it's real father is, I want there to be proof that I cared, that I'm not a deadbeat."
She knows about his dad and she knows he's stubborn. She doesn't try to argue, but she asks, "What if Finn finds out?"
"I'll tell him up front," he responds, already having thought this all out (the kid, that's all he's been able to think about), "I'll tell him I'm helping him out because he's my best friend. He doesn't have to know it's really for you and the kid."
She bites her lip. It all sounds too lucky. She may be in a bad way, but with it, things have been going pretty well. Really, what kind of slim chances were there that Finn would believe he had gotten her pregnant when they hadn't had sex? And now, the guy who did get her pregnant was going to go along with her plan to effectively trap his best friend into teen-aged parenthood and he was going to help take care of them all. It all seemed very lucky.
He was a good guy and it worried her to think that. She didn't think it often because usually he was a total and complete ass. But sometimes, like now, there was no denying that he was good. Sure, letting his best friend think a kid is his when he knows it's not may not seem noble, but he was just making her happy and as far as she was concerned that made him plenty good. So she agrees, "Okay."
"Really?" he questions surprised, "That's it? You're just good with this?" She only nods in response. He rushes, taking it as a positive sign, and makes another demand, "In that case there's sort of something else I want." Her eyes narrow at him. He realizes they're alone and she's vulnerable so she probably suspects that he has some kind of intention with the whole closet thing (he'd be offended if he hadn't pulled it with other girls many times before). He rushes on, "I don't know what you're planning on doing with the baby or if you've decided yet, but if you give it up then I want the birth records or adoption records or whatever to have my name on it as the kid's father. We'll figure out a way to get around Finn knowing, but if the kid ever comes looking for his real father I want him to find me."
She nods again. She doesn't know how they could get around Finn finding out if that happens, but he's sincere and earnest and a bit vulnerable right now (because she knows his dedication to being a part of it is because of his dad, or lack there of), and she just can't say no to him now; it's so, so rare for him to be like this.
"Yes?" he checks. He was expecting more of a struggle. (And he worries that he's the reason the previously feisty girl lost her fight.)
"Yes," she confirms easily. She can't help confessing, "But I don't know what I'm going to do." While the very short list of options revolves in her head yet again, she realizes that he didn't do something she expected him to. So she asks, "Why haven't you asked if I would get rid of it?"
He chuckles, "Please, you'd never do that."
"Because I'm Christian," she supplies, angry that her faith always seems to make people assume things about her.
"Nah, even if you weren't you just couldn't," he retorts easily. Her brow furrows in confusion (it's really cute, but he doesn't want to leave her that way) so he elaborates, "Seventh grade, I threw a handful of earth worms at you. You screamed and squashed them-natural reaction. Then, you cried, pulled it together, and gave them a funeral. You felt guilty about killing gross earth worms so I know there's no point asking you whether or not you'd consider abortion. You wouldn't." (And, he wanted to say he wasn't going to be the guy who tried to change that about her. Don't often meet people with a heart as good as hers.)
"You remember that?" she lets slip, too stunned not to. Noah Puckerman just wasn't a guy you'd expect to remember anything about a girl. Especially something so small and from what seemed like so long ago.
He shrugs (it's not a big deal, that he remembers, he swears), "Kinda hard to forget a worm funeral. Still the only one I've ever seen."
She almost smiles at him. She doesn't know why.
The fact that she doesn't respond freaks him out. He doesn't know if he did something wrong, if he did something he didn't mean to (how well can she read him anyway?), or if he did something right (he doubts it). He clears his throat and decides to put an end to this, "I'll make sure the coast is clear, then you can go first."
He doesn't wait for her to agree before turning around and taking the two steps to the door, slowly opening it, and checking for other people. "It's clear," he announced as he turned to face her again.
She nods and makes her way to the door.
He steps full clear of her. He's done the "accidental" brush up before with her, but it doesn't feel right now (the thrill was never really worth the ache anyway).
She gets to the door opens it, but hesitates before stepping out. His back is still to her, but she needs to say something else. She half turns and calls, "Noah." He glances to her and she doesn't know why she used his real name (especially given the context it has developed between them). He seems to remember the same memories she does and it throws her. She doesn't know what she wants to say anymore. She manages a half smile and settles for, "Good game tonight."
He had these troubling hopes for half a second, but that dashes them. Still, he manages half a smirk and replies, "Thanks."
She flees before she does something else she'll regret.
It's probably safe to leave two minutes after she does.
He stays for ten.
Then, in the parking lot, she's still there. She's sitting on the trunk of her car and Finn is in front of her. They're holding hands and she's looking up at him just beaming (just like she did at the end of the game). And, every few seconds (feels like seconds because he couldn't possibly have been standing there watching them for minutes) they kiss.
He gets in his truck and punches the door. It hurts (but he's used to that). Suddenly, he doesn't feel like he made the right decision, giving in to what she wants (giving up on her.)
Monday morning he sees them again, just like they were Friday night. All huddled together close, sharing some sickeningly sweet moment.
He feels like he's going to lose his breakfast.
Instead, and he doesn't know why he does it (other than his anger control issues), he goes over to them and plays the bastard.
He tells himself afterward that he only feels like crap about it because of the way Finn looked at him (and not because of the way she didn't).
He joins Glee later because, screw it, he doesn't know what he's doing anymore.
They've been in the same class forever and they've always traveled in the same circle of friends, but they were by no means close. They never even really talked before high school. And they never hung out alone until she started dating Finn, and even then it was by default.
He's the first of his friends to get his license, towards the very end of freshman year. Which does indeed mean he was held back. In kindergarten whenever a teacher asked him to do something he'd kick her in the shins (his anger issues running that far back), which led to him not completing any of the curriculum his first time in kindergarten. He only straightened up enough to get through it the second time because of the way his mom begged him to be good.
So, when they all hang out on Friday and Saturday nights he becomes a taxi, taking everyone home. Most of the cheerleaders get a ride from one of their parents, but she goes with Finn, so she gets a bit more time with him, and Finn, of course, rides home with him. But based on where everyone lives, Quinn is his last drop off, always. It doesn't matter what direction they're coming from, and despite the vast economic differences between their families, it's just the way the town is laid out that she's always his last.
The first few times they're left alone in his car together they're silent for the few minutes between the last drop and her house. It's not a tense silence or an awkward one; just a mutual acknowledgement that they don't really have anything to say to each other. She always thanks him when she gets out and he sort of grunts in response. Then, about the fifth time, after the grunt she turns back around, opens his door and admonishes, "The correct response to thank you is you're welcome." She slams the door and he speeds off.
The next time, she says thank you and he shouts you're welcome- it's in a smart ass tone, but still, she smiles at him, satisfied.
Then there was this one time that he detours from taking everyone home because they see the flamer walking down the street and he realizes he has some eggs in the flat bed from last week. Everyone's down for it and they have a lot of fun. But then after he drops off the first person, Quinn starts bitching that she needs to get home immediately. But they're pretty far from her house and pretty close to both Finn and Mark's and well, bros before hos he figures, so he ignores her and continues on the normal route.
After he drops off Finn she gets in the front passenger seat in a huff. She starts bitching at him to go faster because her dad told her she has to be home by midnight and they only have six minutes (it's about a seven to ten minute drive from where they are) or he's going to ground her from everything buy celibacy club.
It's the start of sophomore year and he's just been introduced to celibacy club (joined because Finn did, and he feels like it'd be a real accomplishment to score with a girl that's in it). He agrees that only being able to go to celibacy club would be a cruel punishment. But he's always kind of been a jerk who doesn't care about anyone else so he's certainly not going to do her any favors. He slows down to drive the speed limit.
She notices immediately. "Why are you driving slower?" she yells.
"Just being a law-abiding citizen," he tries to say it earnestly, but he can barely get through it with a straight face.
She screeches in anger.
He sighs and rolls his eyes as he offers, "Just tell your dad that it was your ride's fault for being, what, probably only three minutes late."
"He'll say it's an unacceptable excuse," she tells him, she knows this from experience.
"Sounds like a real douche," he mutters, though he doesn't care if she hears. Her dad probably is a douche.
"Yeah, well I'd make fun of something about your dad too, but I'd have to find him first," she retorts without thinking. Once the words are out of her mouth her eyes get wide with realization and she turns to him, apology on the tip of her tongue.
He's laughing though. She's thrown. He glances at her, still laughing, "Ah, man. No one ever goes for the deadbeat dad jokes, not even the guys. Who knew the cheerleader would have a pair."
She almost smiles to herself, pleased, but then she remembers that it's something she shouldn't be pleased about and comments, "I hate that phrase. It's vulgar."
"It's just biology," he reasons.
"Anatomy," she corrects, "not biology."
"Whatever," he brushes off and comes to a stop, "we're here."
She looks around and realizes he's right. They're at her house. She looks at the clock on his dash and see's that it's still two minutes until midnight. "How," she begins.
"You didn't even notice when I took that short cut huh?" he interjects, "Guess you were too busy insulting me." He's wearing a smirk and she knows he's just joking.
She gets out, hangs on the door and says, "Thank you."
"You're welcome," he responds dutifully, still smirking.
"Goodnight…Noah," she slams the door shut, but she can still hear him yell "Hey," angrily after her (no one calls him by his real name). She glances back at him as she runs up the path to her front door, smiling.
The thing about joining Glee, he realizes, is that he sees her even more than he used to. They had quite a few classes together (more than she has with Finn) and now with Glee, it's like he's always around her. Which, at the moment, means he's always around to see her get sick.
He knows she doesn't want anyone to know, or get suspicious, but he kind of feels like shoving Finn after her.
Anyway, since the old chick got to Glee (and yeah, he had some fun with her in the shower- there was this nagging thing he was hoping she'd clear up), they've been rehearsing this new song and for the beginning of it, he had to dance with her.
The first few times he touches her, she flinches, and she never meets his eyes. It frustrates him, he keeps miss-stepping, forgetting some of the lyrics. He sees Mr. Schue see them, but, and he admits this begrudgingly, the guy is cool and he never says anything.
Finally, four days before the invitational, he can't take it anymore. Quinn runs out of their English class with her hand over her mouth (none of the teachers ever question her, somehow convinced that she's just sick) and he wants to go after her. He's not stupid though and he doesn't want to arouse suspicion so he doesn't try to sneak out- it would imply he has something to be sneaky about. He makes a spectacle.
He stands up when his teacher is looking right at him.
"Going somewhere Mr. Puckerman?" his English teacher asks.
"Gotta take a leak," he says and grabs his binder and walks out.
He gets all the way to the nearest girls bathroom and freezes at the door. He remembers the way she's been flinching all week when he has to dance with her. He remembers dancing with her in sixth grade and the way things used to be. She's different, hurt, and she's been crying all week too. He knows it is all his fault.
He turns around and walks away from the bathroom because she's probably better off if he leaves her alone.
It's about a week before Finn joins Glee and changes everything.
He's driving her home again.
"How did you and you and Santana break up again already?" Quinn questions as soon as it's just her and him in his car. "It's been what? A whole week this time?"
"It's not my fault," he defends, "She found some insane reason to break up with me, as usual. Girls just don't like to keep me around." He's not looking for a pity party, in fact, he doesn't even think of it as a negative thing, he's just stating a fact.
"Why do you think that is?" she asks, already having quite a few guess. "Think it may be your personality," she offers.
"Nah," he denies, "I'm pretty sure it's the things I do and say."
She laughs because it's kind of ludicrous, and asks, "So why don't you do and say different things?"
"Cause I don't want to," he retorts, "The things I do and say makes me honest with them. Like looking at other girls, because just cause I'm with them doesn't mean that's going to stop. Or saying that we're not lastin' cause we're not."
She rolls her eyes and informs him, "Which doesn't give any of them a reason to stay. You may want to consider trying a little charm and a girl may stick around for a while longer."
"I'm plenty charming," he defends, "what you mean is that I should lie, but that's not going to happen. This is high school, none of the relationships are lasting and I definitely don't see the point of being exclusive. And I'm not going to tell a girl I'm sticking around when I don't intend to. I'm not that guy."
She gets it suddenly. It's not that he's not "that guy," but he's not his dad. And she realizes why he always tells girls up front that they don't mean that much to him, because he doesn't want to be the guy that lies and eventually leaves anyway (like his dad).
He pulls up to her house and puts his truck in park.
She stares at her hands in her lap and speculates softly, "I don't think high school girls are going to appreciate that about you. They don't know what it feels like to be left to understand that you're doing the honorable thing by letting them know you don't intend to stay."
"But you know what it's like?" he asks, catching on.
She shakes her head slightly. Looks up and meets his eyes (she has sadness in hers), "Lately…Finn's been…" she searches for the word to describe how he's made her feel lately, "distant." Nothing has changed in his life, in their life together. They still make out on her couch when her parents aren't home, he plays football, she cheers, they hang out with their friends on weekends. But something about him isn't the same. It's like he always has something else on his mind.
Finn is his best friend and yeah, he kind of agrees Finn has seemed like he's been in some kind of funk lately. He figured that routine is probably getting him down. Nothing new or different has happened in a while (which is pretty common for Lima), so everything has just gotten boring and it's probably bumming Finn out (bums him out sometimes). He doesn't want to tell her that though; it'd be too complicated and thoughtful to come from him (he has a rep). So, he offers, "It's probably his manstration." She looks confused. He clears up, "Man's version of a period. You know, where he gets all weird and moody."
She asks laughing, "Guys have those?"
"Some guys, you know, those sensitive types like Finn. Guys like me though, nah, we're way to manly," he answers. He doesn't think he's ever made her laugh before. It feels good.
She stops laughing and smiles at him. It occurs to her that they've been parked in front of her house talking (again, it's been happening a lot lately). And it's easy and it's comfortable and she feels good, here, with him. But she has a boyfriend who she does want to be with and sitting here with his best friend just isn't right. She can't help still smiling at him though because he made her feel so much better. She says sincerely, "Thank you."
"You're welcome," he returns with a small smile.
She gets out of the truck because she knows that if she stays even a second longer she may do something she'll regret. She pauses before she shuts the door, as usual, and bids, "Goodnight Noah."
He rolls his eyes at her. All this time and he hasn't been able to get her to stop using his first name. He's pretty sure she does it just because he doesn't like it (which, honestly, is something he likes about her). "G'night," he returns.
She shuts the door and walks in to her house. She notices how he doesn't speed away anymore. He lingers, even after she's in the house.
He lingers, even after she's in the house because…he doesn't know why (but it worries him more and more each day, the things he seems to do because of her).
It's two days until the invitational. It's lunch and he doesn't know where Finn was today. He didn't see him around campus, Quinn's car was still in the lot when he left, and plus even if Finn had lunch with someone else today, they were supposed to go together- it had been Finn's idea, he said he felt like La Costa and could he catch a ride with him. He waited almost ten minutes, but left because if he waited anymore he wouldn't be making it back in time for class.
When he got back to school he saw Quinn in the parking lot. She was in her car and she was crying.
He looks around. There's no one in sight at the moment. He makes his way to her car quickly and gently tries the handle. It's open so he gets in before she can stop him.
"What's going on?" he asks stupidly. He's kind of a hit and miss with crying girls.
She shakes her head, continues to cry. She mutters breathily, "Nothing."
"So this is just another pregnancy cry?" he asks stupidly again. He can tell right away he said the wrong thing by the way she's glaring at him through watery eyes.
"No," she corrects, "Finn, he's with Rachel, rehearsing with her."
"Oh," he says simply. He doesn't know what else to say. Not for the first time though, he feels like kicking Finn's ass.
He remembers his plan from a couple of days ago, the one he had been keeping up until now. He was supposed to stay away from her so she'd be better off. Now, he saw her there crying and the idea not to come to her didn't even cross his mind. It only took him two days to screw up.
He sighs and says, "Bell's going to ring soon." He wants to do something more, but he figures he'd just screw it up anyway. Plus, she's better off without him or anything he could do or say. So, he forces himself to get out of her car (and she's still crying) and walk back into school without turning or looking back.
(He's never felt worse. And he doesn't have the strength to try and act differently or try to deny right now. He hurts because she hurts, simple as that.)
He knows she probably thinks of it as a mistake, especially now that there's a baby involved, but for him, it wasn't that way at all.
He's never been anyone's first choice. He heard his mom talking about his dad once when he was seven. He'd re-married, had a few kids now. So, he wasn't his dad's first choice. He wasn't first pick for football- even though he was pretty damn good if he did say so himself. He's never anyone's first pick as a partner on an academic project, but that one doesn't bug him at all. He's never been any girl's first pick, just a guy to fall back on when no one else will have them. So he knows, he just doesn't come first for anyone (except his mom, but that's different, special).
The day he and Quinn slept together, it wasn't the day that everyone would probably assume. Everyone knew that when Finn first joined Glee they were going through a rough patch (and so were he and Finn) and that they probably betrayed Finn then. But they didn't. They didn't even see each other then.
It was about a week before Mr. Schue started Acafella's (roughly two weeks before he joined when they fell apart) and he was driving home. His route home from the market happened to take him in front of Quinn's house. As he passed, it struck him that she was outside on the porch. First of all, this made him look twice because he'd never ever seen anyone on that porch. Second of all, stupid global warming or whatever caused the weather to be all out of wack and they had been having this oddly cold week and it was currently pretty damn cold out in his opinion. At the end of the block he made a u-turn, came back and stopped in front of her house.
As he walked up the path to her house he noticed that she was in jeans and a really big blue zip up sweatshirt, hair down. It was rare not to see her in her cheer uniform. (She looked really good in blue, he noticed.)
"Hey," he greeted. When she didn't respond, didn't even look at him, he continued, "What are you doing out here? Isn't it kinda freezing?"
"I tried out for Glee today," she announces.
He laughs, assuming it's a joke, but notices that she remains serious. He stops laughing, says, "Oh," and sits down beside her on the bench.
"I made it, of course. Then I had to go defend my actions to Ms. Sylvester and agree to take down Glee so she wouldn't kick me off the team. Not that I wasn't already at least planning to extract Finn from them," she explains, still staring off into the distance ahead.
He's not sure what to say, but compliments are usually a safe bet so he says, "Good. Someone needs to get Finn out of the Queer Club."
"Yeah," she agrees, "but…I've been thinking about it all day, the things I'm doing for him, for us. I'm fighting for us. And I've been out here trying to think of a time when he fought for us."
"You've been out here a while, huh?" he asks knowingly.
She just nods as she drops her gaze to her hands in her lap. Her eyes have been on the verge of tears for hours now, but for some reason she can't quite cry. She supposes because she never expected her and Finn to last forever. She wanted to get out of Lima and end up somewhere else anyway and Finn was never a part of the many possible futures she dreamed up. He was, however, part of every future high school dream. It was stupid to want him at homecoming and prom and graduation and to be so emotional over the fact that that wasn't going to happen. She supposed that it hurt so much simply because she was going to lose him (she was certain she would eventually) and it was going to be because he just stopped liking her. And she was usually the best at things, she wasn't used to losing.
He sighs. He doesn't know what to do or say. He's never been great with words. He offers, "You need a drink. Hold on." He runs back to his truck and picks up a paper bag from the back. He comes back and pulls a case of wine coolers out as he explains, "I just ran to get these for my mom. She's having some girlfriends over tomorrow, wanted two to three dozen wine coolers. I can always tell her I bought less than I actually did."
She's not sure what to do. She turned sixteen a month ago and her dad got her a car (the day after, she found out Finn joined Glee, it wasn't the happiest birthday). She hasn't spent any time with Noah since then and she knows she missed it. She knows that sometimes when she was with him she wanted things, felt things that someone who's dating his best friend shouldn't.
She stalls by asking, "Why did your mom send you to get those? And how did you get them, you're not twenty-one?"
He explains, "I have a fake ID. Which my mom's not crazy about, but she knows I only drink occasionally and I never drive afterwards. Plus, it means I can pick up everything on a grocery list for her instead of just most of it."
She doesn't really listen to his explanation, instead trying to make a decision. She knows that if she had been inebriated before, something might have happened with him. She knows she's still with Finn and she knows that Noah is generally seen as a bad idea.
He opens the six-pack and offers a bottle to her, unaware that a decision was still in the process of being made.
She takes it still thinking about whether or not she should drink any of it. She says automatically out of habit, "Thank you."
"You're welcome," he responds with a smile, eyes soft.
She thinks he looks like he missed that last month where they didn't have that.
And she decides.
She stands up and says, "Let's take this inside. My parents aren't home."
They sit on her couch and drink their first and second wine coolers slowly as they talk.
"What's that blue stain on your jacket?" she asks with a gesture to the spot.
"Slushie," he answers, "I got some backsplash from the one I threw at Rachel today."
"You know, most people think that's like the meanest thing I do. Only about five people appreciate it. And you're definitely the only girl that does," he says, as if it's the best thing about her (and he does like that about her, but he knows that there are better things about her, a lot of them).
"Yeah, well," she says with just a hint of shame, "she's…". Eventually, she settles for, "I just can't stand her."
"Agreed," he responds simply.
Silence begins to settle over them, not for the first time, but he breaks it wondering out loud, "Where are your parents anyway?"
"Marital retreat with the church. It's an all day thing, won't be back until late tonight," she answers. They've already been here alone together and drinking for a few hours and nothing has happened.
She's taken, by his best friend. But still, something stirs in him at the idea that they have an entire house to themselves for several more hours. Makes him nervous (and that's a first).
She looks at the label on the bottle in her hand (her third) because she thought she'd be feeling less…moral by now. They only had four percent alcoholic content. That explained while she felt like she was drinking juice. But reading the back piqued her interest.
He notices that she's reading the bottle and asks, "What are you looking for?"
She's certainly not going to fess up to the first thing she looked at so she responds honestly with the second, "The calories."
"Why?" he asks dumbfounded.
"Because I'm trying to figure out how many calories I just consumed so I know how many more I can have before I reach my limit for the day," she explains as if it's the most normal thing in the world.
"Why do you have a limit?" he asks, still not understanding.
"Because I gained two pounds this week," she says and notices that he rolls his eyes. It makes her mad and she begins, "It's a big deal. Two pounds can lead to a lot more if I'm not careful. And calories and fat content of everything leads to putting on weight. And if I gain too much weight I definitely can't be the top of the pyramid anymore and may even lose my place on cheer all together because coach-"
She's cut off by his lips on hers. It's short, simple- five seconds of pressure on her lips.
He sits back and concludes, "There," as if what just happened should be clear.
"You kissed me," she states stunned.
"Yep," he agrees, looking ahead instead of turning to look at her, "and I don't kiss fat chicks."
It dawns on her and she smiles. Only Noah would do this. She says, "You kissed me to prove I'm not fat."
"Uh huh," he agrees. Part of him feels bad for it (part of him feels fan-fucking-tastic).
He's not dwelling on it so she figures she shouldn't either. She simply compliments, "That's a really good solution."
"Thank you," he responds, trying not to feel guilty or awkward about it. It didn't mean anything. He was just shutting her up and making her feel better, so he shouldn't feel guilty about it.
She takes a sip of her wine cooler, puts it back down, and turns to glance at him.
He wants, very badly, to glance at her and see what her reaction is like. And he finally gives in.
She's looking at him. Lips pressed together. Eyes scanning him.
He feels like there's something here, between them, and that she knows it too. But that's gotta be in his mind, right? She's Quinn Fabray and he's Puck. Yeah, all in his mind, definitely. If it's all in his head then he should try and continue normally he thinks so he points out, "What happened to those manners of your? I thought you were the enforcer of 'you're welcomes."
She thinks, she made her decision when she asked him inside and opened the first wine cooler. And maybe, especially since he already technically kissed her, she should finally follow through with her decision. She suggests, eyes trained on his, "I thought, maybe, I could mind my manners a different way." She begins to lean in just a fraction of an inch and awaits his reaction.
He gets what she means, what she intends. And he's not thinking that she's taken, or that it's wrong, or that this is completely different than how things have gone with other girls. He simply feels good, because he never thought he'd see a day where Quinn Fabray wanted anything from him. And he feels good, because she wants the same thing he does.
He begins to lean forward. She does too.
It's slow. He's never had a kiss like this, where it's not a quick meeting of lips. Where there's time for his heart to start beating hard and fast. Where there's time for both of them to change their minds and stop. Where the act of kissing is like a decision (one that's never felt more right he decides when their lips finally do meet).
They stay there on the couch for a while kissing and touching, reveling in first base.
He's touched a lot of girls, but its never felt this good before to let his fingertips graze someone's skin. It's never felt this good to be touched by a girl either. And he knows, it has everything to do with the girl he's with this time.
Eventually, things progress. She doesn't say no. She doesn't say stop. Instead, she's choosing him to be her first (because he knows Finn's had many opportunities to be if she'd let him). And there's never been a time where he's been anyone's first choice for anything. But he's her first choice, and he knows he's damn lucky to be.
So, he can't think of it as a mistake. Because how can the best thing in his life be a mistake?
It's an hour and a half until the invitational is supposed to start and they're all supposed to meet back stage to get ready and rehearse again. He pulls into the parking lot just after her. He sees that there's not anyone around at the moment (but there should be soon given everyone's probably not there yet so some should still be coming though), so he jogs to catch up to her and grabs her elbow to pull her through a side door into the empty auditorium as he tells her, "We need to talk."
"Again?" she questions. She made her choice a long time ago and she is sticking with it (which is why she doesn't like talking to him, because it gets harder then).
He paces down the very back row and she follows thinking it has something to do with why he dragged her in there. He turns around, intending on pacing back to where he thought she was standing and hopefully coming up a way to say what he needed to by then. But he turns around and finds her right there in front of him, like a sign.
He sighs and asks, "Has anyone mentioned anything to you today? Like they knew about the baby?"
"No," she responds slowly, her eyes narrowing. "Did you hear something?" she's quick to ask. But seeing the way he's hung his head she guesses and accuses angrily, "Did you say something?"
"Yes," he admits regretfully meeting her eye. He knows how she'd react (he understands too) and he catches her hand before it can connect with his face. Still holding on to her wrist he begs, "Just listen for a minute. You can hit me later if you still feel like it." He can feel her arm relax in his hand so he lets go.
"Say what you want," she begins, "but I doubt it will make me hate you any less right now."
He'd be angry or upset, if he didn't feel so guilty. He clears his throat and explains, "Rachel was going to come back to Glee. It was Finn that brought her back and I don't mean by just reading lines with her. I saw him. I know he led her on trying to get her back and I knew that when she showed up for practice earlier you'd see her all…you know, the way she is with Finn. And you'd see him play along with it because he wants her in Glee, for some reason. I tried to come up with something else all day. But then I was at practice, a few minutes to starting, everyone was already talking about your recent up-chucking habits and…it was all I came up with to get her to quit again, to get her away from Finn."
"So you were doing me a favor by telling everyone I'm pregnant?" she asks angrily.
He shrugs and defends, "At least I didn't tell them it's not Finn's because Virgin Mary slept with his best friend."
She slaps him then. The sound echoes in the auditorium.
"Son of a-" he begins to swear. He stops himself. He shakes his head in disbelief. "I don't know what I'm doing anymore," he begins ranting, frustration oozing off of him, "I swear, I'm a complete idiot when it comes to you- especially when I'm actually around you. And I'm never like that with a girl. So sor-ry I told everyone you're pregnant, I was just trying to fight for you. And not even so that I'd get you, but so you'd get what you want, which, isn't me." He got progressively angrier and louder in his rant, the possibility that his voice may carry and that someone could over hear not even crossing his mind in honest rage.
She wants…she's not sure what she wants. She understands what he's saying. She gets that he's fighting for her, admittedly in a stupid yet self-less way. She wishes everything was different. Maybe then…maybe then.
She's interrupted from having to come up with a response (other than the saddened look in her eyes). He's saved from having to either stand by his rant or try to explain it away. Because someone clears his throat from the stage.
It's Mr. Schue.
He doesn't acknowledge what they both know he heard. Instead he says as if he's oblivious, "You guys should get ready. Almost everyone is here so we're going to start warming up soon."
She flees up the aisle, on the stage, and around the curtain as quickly as her feet will carry her. She's embarrassed, ashamed.
He trudges up the aisle, avoiding Mr. Schue's gaze because he knows he's a good guy, who likes Finn, and he thinks he's probably going to be loyal to Finn and say something and the days of hiding will be over.
As he gets up on stage Mr. Schue stops him from heading backstage by calling, "Puck."
He turns around expecting to face judgment.
"I've seen a lot of stuff lately," he begins and adds, "and heard some things too." He pauses and says confidently, "I think I have a pretty good idea of what's going on…"
He opens his mouth to interrupt.
Mr. Schue holds up a hand and continues quickly, "And I want to say that I know what it's like to want something that you're not supposed to." He reflects for a second, seeming surprised that he said it, that he meant it. He shakes his head slightly, glances at his shoes, looks back up and says, "There comes a point when doing something just isn't an option anymore. That point is usually when there's a family involved. If I'm right about what I think I know, then you still have a chance to go after what you want, make things right. But the point that you won't be able to anymore is coming pretty quick. Just, keep that in mind."
He doesn't want to chance it and ask, because maybe what Mr. Schue thinks he knows isn't what's really going on. But then again, he's the one that was yelling, he's the one that pulled her in the auditorium to have a public-ish chat (he's the reason she comes to school looking like she won't make it through the day). He owes her. He asks, "Are you going to say anything to Finn?"
"No," he responds, "this is between you and I think things will turn out better for all of you if it stays that way." He sighs and adds, "But Finn's a good kid and I…I'm not going to let him make big decisions on false information. You should tell him the truth, just be completely honest, he won't be happy, but you're good friends and if you do that I think he'll eventually understand. If you choose not to tell him though, I'll have to and I don't think that will go as well for you."
He nods in understanding. He wouldn't expect Mr. Schue to let Finn be with and provide for Quinn and change his future for her and their baby when he's become enlightened to the knowledge that it's not Finn's.
Mr. Schue claps him on the shoulder as he passes him to head backstage again.
He stands there for a long moment. He thinks that maybe Mr. Schue is right. Maybe if he told Finn the truth, the real truth that compels his every move but that he's only admitted to himself less than a handful of times, maybe he'd understand in time. If he told Finn then he could be a real father to his kid and he'd save his best friend from getting trapped into teen-aged parenthood.
But on the other hand, and this is where he thought Mr. Schue was wrong, it wouldn't get him the thing he shouldn't want. Because she wanted him to lie. She wanted him to leave her alone. She wanted Finn. And telling Finn the truth would ruin all that.
So maybe in the long run their friendship would be ruined without the possibility for repair and he'd lose his best friend. But she'd get what she wants. And after everything, he wanted her to have that.
Afterwards, it's surprisingly not awkward.
They lie in her bed staring at the ceiling. Her head is on his chest, her body curled into him. His arm is loosely around her.
They're like this for fifteen minutes of comfortable silence before he glances at her nightstand. There's a picture of her and Finn from last spring's formal there.
"This was a one time thing? Just between us, right?" He would have stated it as a fact. But for the first time in his life someone picked him and he dared to hope.
She looks up at him to find him looking somewhere else. She follows his gaze to the picture and confirms, "Yeah. It has to be." She turns away from the picture, glancing down, "I can't be that girl. The one that cheats on her boyfriend with his best friend. I know I am that girl. But I can't be her to everyone else."
He strokes her arm soothingly as he responds, "I know." He gets it. She doesn't want to mess up everything she's worked for. And he's a guy who would mess it up. He offers, "It was-"
"Don't," she cuts him off, turning her head to meet his eyes. "You're honest with girls and I don't think what you think this was will be the same as me. Why do that? Why say something the other won't like if we don't' have to?"
He nods accepting her logic.
They lie in silence for several more minutes.
Finally, she can't resist at least asking one question. She turns over and leans up slightly so part of her chest is resting on his. She looks at him imploringly and asks, "Noah, I need to know, was I just another notch on your bedpost?"
He doesn't even blink before he answers firmly, "No."
She wants to believe him because she knows that he doesn't lie to girls, but she's run in the same circle of friends as him for a long time and she knows no girl has ever meant anything to him before so she has hard time believing that she does. She bites her lower lip, hesitates, but asks, "This isn't the first time you're lying to a girl, is it?"
"No," he repeats. It scares him to admit something true to her, something real about them, because he's never said anything like this before, never even thought anything like it. But this is his only chance, they're over after this. So he gathers the courage he needs and explains, "And I can prove that you're not just any girl. First of all I never stay."
"What do you mean?" she asks, truly not understanding what he means.
"Five minutes after and I'm usually out the door," he admits easily, it's who he is.
She thinks as she tries to estimate as she says, "You've been here…"
"A while," he supplies, hoping she'll leave it at that.
"Why?" she asks.
"Didn't want to leave," he responds honestly.
She smiles at him. He can't resist smiling back.
He continues, "And another reason this is different-and I'll deny this forever if you ever tell anyone." He grabs her hand and places her palm flat on his chest, over his heart. "Still hasn't stopped racing," he explains, "you're the only girl that's ever made me nervous."
"Really?" she smiles pleased.
"Yeah," he confirms softly, lacing his fingers through hers on the hand that's on his chest.
She stares at him as he stares at her. Not for the first time that night, that month, or that year even, she wishes things were different. She wishes he was better. She wishes she was better. She wishes that she hadn't decided to make the cute freshman quarterback hers and to spend so much time trying to make him want her.
She stares at him and knows that despite how everything was and how everything is going to have to be, she doesn't really regret this, him. She had thought about her first time before. She had thought about what it would be like if it was with Finn. She knows he'd try to make it special, but that it'd probably end up being awkward and clumsy and probably disappointing. She wanted her first time to be like the way Noah made it though. She didn't think it really had to do with how experienced he was, instead the way he felt about her. Because he was gentle and careful and considerate. And they weren't together and he had never said he loved her or even liked her. But she felt loved by him, and for that, it was a perfect first time (that she didn't want to feel as guilty or bad about as she did or would).
They talk for a while longer, lying together in her bed. The room is filled with stares, genuine laughter, and soft whispers.
Finally, they know her parents will be coming back in a while, with the potential of being early. So he gets dressed and so does she. She walks him to her front door. For the first time, it gets awkward.
He turns around at the door, faces her, looks at her.
She's standing before him, looks at him, and doesn't know what to say. She decides, not to say anything at all. She takes a step forward, into him, slides her arms around his neck and stands on her tiptoes to kiss him.
He tries to remember every second of kissing her because he knows it will never happen again. He knows that this is goodbye.
The kiss ends, but he holds her for a few more minutes before he finally forces himself to let go.
He walks out the door and back to his truck. He never thought the best thing to happen to him could feel this bad.
(Later, he'll go after cougars to try to forget how good it felt, how bad it felt, or, more simply, how it felt to feel something for her.)
After their second act they all run back stage on a high of an amazing performance. And there are no divisions of clicks for the moment. Right now, they're just a group of really happy high schoolers.
But then they start drifting off into separate groups. He's talking to one of his football teammates. Sort of at least, mostly he's trying to look like he's not watching her. She's talking to Brittney. And Finn, predictably, is huddled up with Rachel- looking at her the same way he does when they're performing a love song (makes him want to punch someone).
He see's Quinn notice where her boyfriend is. He feels bad instantly (he knows what it's like to want someone who doesn't want you back). He see's her lip quiver a bit, her eyes tearing. Then her hand flies over her mouth and she darts off.
It's the eleventh time he's seen her throw up today and he doesn't think it's normal. And he hates how no one ever goes after her. She's always left to deal on her own (with a situation that's his fault).
He looks at Finn. Finn hasn't even noticed that she's run out of the room. Hasn't taken his eyes off of Rachel.
He knows that if he goes after her now Finn could see (he doubts it though), Matt, who he's talking to, is definitely going to notice, and there's a pretty good chance the rest of Glee will notice and put two an two together. And they won't be like Mr. Schue, they won't not tell Finn. He could ruin everything if he goes after her.
But the simple truth is that he wants to go after her. He wants to make sure she's okay, he wants to take care of her, he wants to be with her. And it only takes him three seconds to come to that conclusion and run after her.
He finds her in the girl's bathroom that's off of a hall from the backstage area. He figures it's safe to go in if she's in there- he knows it's a one-hole situation like the guys. So he doesn't knock, just twists the handle and lets himself in, shuts the door firmly behind him making sure it clicks into place.
She's sitting on the floor of the one stall, back against the wall, tears slowly rolling down her face as she tries to dab them away with a bit of tissue she has clutched in her hand.
"What are you doing here?" she asks, trying not to notice that she's the first one to come after her.
He sits down across from her in the single handicap stall, legs stretched out toward hers, and says, "Your hair is down this time. Thought you might need someone to hold it back."
"You came to hold my hair?" she asks doubtfully and not because she doesn't think he wouldn't, but it just sounds like an excuse.
He doesn't answer her question. Instead, he changes the topic and asks, "Why aren't you heaving? You ran out of there like you were going to."
"Sometimes," she explains, "I feel so nauseous that I think I'm going to, but I don't always get sick."
"Good," he responds with a sigh of relief before he could stop himself.
She raises an eyebrow.
He gives up and admits, "You've been getting sick a lot. I thought something may be wrong. Have you seen a doctor yet? Do you know if this is normal?"
She can't see a doctor. What if her parents find out? She's angry and scared because she so so so doesn't want to tell them. And she lashes out at him, "Why do you care?"
She looks down at her lap again, eyes filling with tears. She hears him move and then she feels a hand on her chin, gently nudging her to look up.
His eyes are serious as he tells her firmly, "I care." He stares in her eyes, waits for a sign that she believes him, but all he can see are more tears forming. He elaborates, "I told you I would take care of you and the baby. And even you've said, I don't lie to girls."
He takes his hand of her chin and leans back again a little, giving her some space, allowing her to think.
She doesn't look away this time, but asks, "Take care of us out of guilt? Obligation? As a friend?"
Before she can continue to question he cuts in, risking it all, "As something more, if you want." He knows she called him a Lima Loser. And he knows he doesn't deserve her. And he knows that by stepping up and taking responsibility for them there's a really good chance that he'll spend the rest of his life in Lima. But the thing is, he knows that any guy who gets to spend their life with Quinn Fabray could never be a loser, regardless of where he is. He knows that the guy who gets Quinn Fabray is the luckiest sonuvabitch ever. And maybe it's cocky or selfish, but he really wants to be that guy.
She knows she can't be reckless, she knows that every decision she makes now is for two. And she wants to believe that the first guy she was with wants her more than anyone ever has. Logically though, that doesn't really make sense. She voices this thought pointing out, "We've never dated, we've never even spent that much time together. You've never been in a relationship. So I don't see how you can sit there and offer a serious future. I know you probably mean well, but if you really don't lie to girls then you can't pretend that you think we'd actually work. We wouldn't."
"Yeah," he says in a sigh, surprising her by agreeing with her. "We probably won't work. You're too religious," he says, offering a reason it won't work.
"You're not religious enough," she fires back.
"You're self-righteous," he points out.
"You're self-absorbed," she returns.
"You can be cruel," he says.
"You have anger management problems," she volleys. "And," she adds, "You're uncivilized."
"You're too civilized," he returns.
She scoffs and begins, "That doesn't-"
He talks over her with his next reason, "And you're too hot."
That erases the end of her previous sentence from her mind. "What?" she asks baffled as to how that's a problem.
"It's distracting," he defends with a shrug.
She laughs because this feels ridiculous. They would never work, so why should she try to be with him and give up on Finn, who things work with (sometimes). But she's sure that she's going to lose Finn. Whether or not he still thinks the baby is his, she's going to lose him. Impending solitude though shouldn't mean she should just take the first offer that comes her way.
He sighs and surprises her again by saying, "You're right. I can't honestly say that we'll work. Or that in ten years you'll still want to be with me." He slides forward, toward her, and reaches out to brush a stray tear from her cheek. He continues and instead of fighting for her by doing what she wants, for the first time, he's fighting for her so he can show her why he's always been fighting for her in the first place. He says, "But I can say honestly that I will be there for my kid forever. And that I want to be with you today. And that I know I'll want to be with you tomorrow. And that right now, I honestly can't imagine that I wouldn't want to be with you ten years from now."
The thing is, she realizes as she listens to him, Noah hasn't been just any offer or any guy for a long time now. But she's messed up so much lately. She's sixteen and regrets are already piling up on her. She doesn't want to make another mistake. Reckless abandon was how they ended up in this situation.
But then again…
She launches herself forward and into his arms, her arms wrapping around his torso tightly. She cries, because she always seems to be doing that lately. And after a minute of letting herself be wrapped up in him, feeling more safe and less alone than she has since she found out she's pregnant, she pulls away slightly and says, "I've screwed up a lot lately and I can't do that anymore. I can't mess things up more. And I don't know what to do right now. I don't…"
"It's okay," he cuts in, "You don't have to decide what you want to do about the baby, or Finn, or me right now. There kind of is a deadline for the baby part. But for everything else, you have time to think about it. And I'm here if you want to talk about it. Though, I can't promise that will go well- you know how I am with talking."
"I think you're better than you think," she assures with a small smile.
He rolls his eyes doubtfully and repeats, "Yeah, well, you have time to consider what you really want."
"I want you," she confesses earnestly. His eyes widen, but she continues quickly because she doesn't want to get his hopes up, "And I'll probably want you tomorrow too. But further in the future…"
"You don't know," he finishes for her, "I get it. This is a big decision and you should be sure."
She turns around, so her back is resting on his chest, his arms wrapped around her waist, her hands holding them in place, not letting go. They sit for a while in silence, simply together. "I wish everything was different," she confides.
"Me too," he agrees and kisses her temple in a quick peck as he holds her against him in his arms.
Eventually, they realize they should probably leave the bathroom. He stands up first and helps her (not that she actually needs it yet since morning sickness has made her lose weight, but it's the gesture that counts).
He doesn't check to make sure no one will see them this time. She doesn't bring the idea up- after all, her supposed boyfriend didn't even notice she was gone so she doubted she had anything to worry about.
They walk out the back door with his arm around her, fingers coming around to splay on her abdomen (where she knows a baby bump will probably soon appear). She thinks that maybe this was all wrong. Maybe they were wrong before that one day, they were wrong that day, and they're still wrong. And maybe them being together in the future is (or will be) wrong too. She leans into him further as they continue outside and thinks, maybe wrong isn't as bad as she always though.
"Drive you home?" he suggests. He knows she has her car. But, and he feels like a sorry-assed-pansy for thinking it, he misses giving her rides home.
She has her car. And it doesn't make any sense to leave it there and let him drive her home. But she missed the rides the day she slept with him, and missed them even more since. "Sure," she accepts.
They never had made any sense anyway.
But maybe, they didn't need to.
Maybe, they'd make it anyway.
A/N: Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed it.
And remember, feedback is love.