A/N: Are you sensing a pattern yet?
Yeah, ideas for these two just keep prodding at my brain demanding to be written. And since I have the time…
I've neither hear nor read anything about tonight's episode, "Mash-up," so this doesn't take anything that may or may not be in it into account except for this apparently imminent Slushie War.
And I apologize for any typos you may come across while reading. The longer the fic, the more spacey my proofreading skills seem to be.
Disclaimer: I own nothing, just borrowing for purely recreational purposes.
Ten weeks (closer to eleven, and thank God the technician didn't mention that).
She's ten weeks pregnant (eleven). Which means that in less than thirty weeks she's going to have a baby. In less than thirty weeks she could be a mother to a little girl.
Except she can't. She just can't. She's seventeen and this isn't how she planned her life. She's not supposed to have a baby. She can't have a baby.
(But she wasn't ever supposed to give one up either.
She's having a little girl.
She always wanted one.)
She's not supposed to have a baby like this.
Ten (eleven) weeks in, and she still can't believe she's pregnant.
How did her life turn into this?
Ten (eleven) weeks earlier…
She's the last one to leave their locker room after practice and she's trying to stop crying as she heads to her car. She would have waited in the locker room until she calmed down so she didn't run the risk of anyone who still happens to be there catching her crying, but her parents wanted her home really soon- they were hosting Bible study tonight.
It's just the luck that she seems to be having today that she can't get to her car without running into someone. Ten steps out the locker room door the guys locker room door opens and out walks Puck. He's never been mean to her like he is to most people and she knows he won't make fun of her now or anything, but that doesn't mean she's okay with him seeing her cry, because she's not at all.
"Hey," he says greeting her. He notices the tears. He doesn't know what to do with a crying girl. Stupidly he asks, "Bad day?"
"Yeah," she replies simply. But he continues keeping exact with her pace, not even looking where he's going because he's looking at her concerned. And it's nice that he's concerned so she offers a bit more of an explanation, "Weigh ins today were rough. Coach Sylvester can be awful."
He nods as if he gets it but he's only semi-sure he does. He still doesn't know what to say. He really only has one way of dealing with things so he offers it to her, "I could key her car or let the air out of her tires if you want."
She laughs a little. It just seemed like such a him answer. But she doesn't want to encourage him either so she stops her laugh short and responds seriously, "Thank you, but please don't do anything like that. She'd crucify you anyway."
He says something quietly, a whisper. The words she catches of it sounds like, "Worth it." She doesn't ask him about it though, she's gotten to her car- tears almost completely stopped.
"Bye," she says.
"Later," he responds as he moseys on to his truck.
Tossing her bag in the back, she settles into the front seat. She takes a deep breath, trying to make sure she's calmed down before she starts driving. As soon as she finally turns the key in the ignition though, she bursts into tears again.
Coach Sylvester spent at least thirty minutes berating her because she's captain and she's supposed to be setting an example and she gained three pounds. It took all her strength not to cry in front of anyone, but the moment the locker room was empty she just couldn't help it. Like crying now, she couldn't seem to hold back the tears.
Five minutes later when she leaves the parking lot, tears still rolling down her cheeks a bit slower now, she doesn't notice that there's a car following her.
She doesn't go home. She can't go home with red-rimmed eyes and plus, after the day she's had, she doesn't really want to. So she drives around town, towards the outskirts of town where all the dairies are. It smells, but she's lived in Lima all her life so she's used to it- unfortunately. Plus, it's quiet out here and no one's around for miles.
Except, she finally notices, someone is around. There's a truck fairly far behind her. She doesn't concern herself with it.
Twenty minutes later, she's forced to confront the truck behind her because it's suddenly right behind her and honking. And it looks an awful lot like Puck's truck and him in the driver's seat?
She slows down, signals, and pulls over. She get's out of her car and watches him do the same as she demands immediately, "Are you following me?"
"No. I come out to the middle of nowhere all the time," he sarcastically responds as he approaches her angrily. He's been following her twenty minutes and she's not going anywhere- it's pissing him off.
"Why did you follow me?" she's quick to question, arms folded and crossed across her chest.
He's quick to defend his actions explaining, "You were crying, a lot. And then instead of going home, you turn a completely different direction. Who knows what you were going to do? You're a girl, which means you could be heading off to do something insane and over dramatic- like kill yourself. And since you headed out of town I thought I should follow to make sure you don't do something stupid."
"There are so many things wrong with that," she says disbelievingly, shaking her head slightly. She decides to begin with the worst of it and work her way back, "First, what kind of girls are you hanging out with that you've come to the conclusion that we're all insane and overdramatic?"
"Cheerleaders," he's quick to respond with a smirk.
Her eyes narrow at him, "Don't you mean cougars?" She sees the surprise cross his face and continues, "Finn tells me things you tell him. He's bad with secrets."
He shrugs like he doesn't care and brushes it off, "Cougars, cheerleaders, they're all the same. They're all women and they're all nuts."
Thinking about some of her friends (Santana just broke up with Puck over a credit score and had a rare emotional moment over the loss of tanning), some of her school mates (Rachel), and some of the older women in town (that woman down the street from her who killed her husband because he accidentally ran over her cat a few years ago), she couldn't really argue with Puck that there wasn't a considerable amount of crazy in their town. She sighed and picked another attacking point, "And why do you feel the need to go after me anyway?" She fully expects him to say because of Finn, but he doesn't.
He looks away from her, which is how she tells that he's being honest. He tries to say it nonchalantly, "Can't just sit by and let like the only sane girl in our school do something crazy."
It's sweet, in it's own way. She knows he knows how to get himself out of trouble though so she doesn't assume that he really means it. But it makes her expression soften and her stance relax- a lot less on guard. Even if it wasn't honest, at least he made the effort to tell her a nice lie and so she decides to offer a bit of truth. She explains, "I'm not going to do anything crazy. I just… it's been a bad day. My parents are hosting a Bible study thing tonight and there are going to be tons of people there as soon as I get home and I just didn't want to see any of them. I don't want to have to deal with anything there. So I was just driving around."
He just drove twenty minutes out of town because she didn't feel like going home? He can feel himself tensing up. "This is why I never do anything nice," he informs her as he points an accusing finger at her. "We're out here in the middle of nowhere because you had a bad day?" he questions like it's ludicrous.
Her mouth hangs open just a bit. Seriously, he's criticizing why she's upset? She had a very valid reason for feeling like crap and she informs him of just that. She defends passionately, "At weigh ins today it was announced to all the Cheerios that I gained three pounds. And then Coach Sylvester berated me in front of everyone about it forever."
He rolls his eyes. This has to be the most ridiculous thing he's ever heard. He argues, "Are you serious? Have you not looked in a mirror? You're so fucking gorgeous it's insane. I swear to God I never pass any classes I have you in and it's all your fault. Because I spend the entire class staring at your legs in that skirt, or your lips and how you purse them when you're trying to figure something out, or your eyes and how they're either impossibly brown or green, or your hip-"
The "s" on the "hips" he was saying gets cut off by her lunging forward and kissing him, hard. She gets called hot all the time. She's called beautiful sometimes, by whoever her current boyfriend is and her dad. But it's always left at that; unoriginal and not always that sincere. No one has ever complimented her about anything so fervidly. And sure he was yelling and he was angry, but it was more real than anything ever has been and she suddenly found herself kissing him, eyes shut tight.
Her hands clasp to his face, holding him in place. But she doesn't need to because he's not fighting it, not at all. He's wrapping his arms around her waist and crushing her to him and returning the kiss extremely enthusiastically.
It's tongues and teeth and completely graceless. But it happens, for a whole minute and a half before she starts thinking again and shoves him away. She knows that it was her and she can't meet his eyes. She says to the ground, "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have. I don't know….I'm sorry." She runs the short distance back to her car, starts it again, and speeds away as fast as possible.
It happens so fast, he's barely able to wrap his head around the fact that she's not kissing him anymore before she's out of sight.
She drives ten minutes further out of town before pulling over and crying again. Only this time, it's for a completely different reason than before. Because she liked Finn more than any past boyfriend and she's never cheated before, but she just cheated on him, and she has no idea why.
So she cried in her car for an hour because something horrible had happened.
(And it didn't feel horrible at all.)
The next day, a couple of hours after school as the sun is setting, she's at his door- a case of wine coolers in hand. She's here to make it clear that yesterday was her one and only moment of insanity (it's the only explanation she's willing to let herself believe), apologize again, and present a peace/ please forget about it completely offering (hence the wine coolers).
She's in her cheer uniform still. She didn't want to change out of it because then it might seem like she changed for him and she definitely doesn't want to promote that idea. She did take her hair down though. She tells herself that it's because she doesn't care about her appearance for this encounter. She takes a deep breath and rings his doorbell. She puts on a confident smile and holds the gift out in front of her.
He answers and his brow immediately furrows in confusion.
She doesn't give him a chance to jump to conclusions, she immediately explains, "I'm here to apologize for involving you in my lapse in sanity yesterday. I was vulnerable and you were literally the only one there. Anyway, I have a peace offering for you never mentioning it again. Wine coolers were the best I could get." She's usually even and controlled, but she says all this with a hint of rush. She finally takes a breath at the end as she holds the beverage out to him.
It takes him a minute to realize what she's said, what she's implied. He doesn't agree with her opinion of the day before. Which shocked the hell out of him as he laid awake at three in the morning when it came to him. He doesn't say anything about that though, he's not sure he's ready for it. Instead he slips into easy habits and does something that most people wouldn't usually think of- he tortures her further by bargaining. He smirks and offers, "I'll accept your apology and forget about it like you want, if you have a drink with me." He knows she doesn't drink, but attempting to corrupt people has always been fun in the past, why shouldn't it be now?
She doesn't want to do it. She got yelled at again today at practice because those three pounds hadn't magically disappeared over night. And though she's still in the same place she believes that she won't be risking any more mistakes by agreeing to his terms because the suggestion seems so Puck- full of asstastic intent. She sighs, glares at him for good measure and agrees shortly, "Fine."
He takes the wine coolers from her and opens the door for her to enter. She's never been in his house before. It's small compared to hers, it's even smaller than Finn's.
He walks over to the tiny kitchen and grabs a bottle opener. He walks past her to the couch, sets the pack down on the coffee table and proceeds to open two wine coolers.
She figures there's no point waiting for some manners to kick in and for him to actually offer that she sit down. So she goes to the other side of the couch and sits gingerly on the edge of the couch cushion (if there was any other furniture in the living room/ dining room/ kitchen she would have picked a further place, for piece of mind).
He hands her a bottle and leans back with his own in his hand as he resumes his previous activity- which was apparently watching The Food Network.
"So this is what you do with your afternoons?" she questions.
He shrugs, "Someone has to cook dinner and this gives me ideas. Plus, the Italian chick is hot."
"What about your parents?" she asks. In all the time she's known him, she can't remember him ever mentioning them.
"My mom's on the nightshift this month, she is about every other month. And my dad walked out as soon as she told him she was pregnant with me so he's definitely not cooking dinner," he responds honestly. He's learned that there's no point in hiding the truth, if he does, it just gives people another reason to feel sorry for him and he's never been okay with that. He doesn't like to talk about it a lot though either so he takes a swig of his drink and changes the topic in saying honestly, "This stuff tastes horrible. It's sweet as hell."
She doesn't know what to say about the things he said about his family. Clearly though, he doesn't want to talk about it and she has no reason to try and make him. So she accepts the change in topic and takes the tiniest sip of the drink in her hand, "It's not bad. Reminds me of slushies." She watches him and notices how he makes a point of not looking at her. He takes a big gulp of the drink and makes a face as he does it. It dawns on her and she guesses, "You don't actually drink slushies do you? You just buy them to throw at people?"
He shrugs carelessly because he really doesn't care that he does it. He does feel a little weird about buying them and never drinking them because he hates the taste, but he admits the truth easily enough, "The guidance counselor said I need to stop communicating with my fists."
She laughs because it's all sort of ridiculous. "So you got creative and found a loophole in her words?" she asks, laughter still in her tone.
He defends, "She never said I couldn't throw things at people. Which is better than actually hitting them it turns out because it's less sexist- I can do it to girls too."
Girls doesn't really mean girls she knows because she's only ever seen him harass one girl. "Like Rachel Berry?" she asks and she can't help how her tone gets vulnerable at the mention of her.
He's not stupid, he can sense the change. And since that moment that turned his world upside down yesterday he's wanted to do all kinds of things that would make him a horrible best friend. But right now, when he know he can choose to be a good friend, he does. He responds, staring at his lap instead of looking at her (it's easier), "He doesn't want her."
"Yes he does," she whispers solemnly. She can feel it. He's pulling away from her. And she's been growing more certain by the day that he's going to be the first guy to break up with her (or cheat on her). The first guy she really liked and whose popularity was just a perk, and he doesn't want her the same way. She can change his mind though. She's always made the things she wants happen and she can't let this be any different. She doesn't want to dwell on this now though, she spends enough time thinking about it. So she gestures to the TV and asks, "So is this what you're going to make yourself later?"
On screen Giada De Laurentiis was making salmon with lemon, capers, and rosemary. He knew she was just trying to change the unfortunate topic that had come up and he was all for something that wasn't going to depress her. So he explained, "Nah. It looks good, but I try to make something my mom can reheat before she leaves for work the next day and fish doesn't work so well for that."
Her eyes narrow at him skeptically. "You weren't lying before?" she asks, "You do actually cook?"
"Yeah," he confirms, "feel free to raid the leftovers in the fridge if you don't believe me."
Eating anything does sound really good at the moment. Ever since yesterday's weigh in she put herself on a strict diet of water and energy bars. So she's starving, but she's also determined. She tries to politely turn down the offer, "That's not necessary. I believe you about the cooking. And I'm sure it's good, but I can't-"
"Right, the whole weight thing," he jumps in catching on to what she really means. "So you didn't do what I said and look in a mirror then?" he asks, echoing his words from the previous day, the one that was supposed to be forgotten.
She doesn't let herself look at him. He's doing that sweet in his own way thing again and she feels awful (because it doesn't really make her feel awful at all).
He's never been big on using lines on girls- likes to pride himself on not needing them. But he's a guy and she doesn't know him that well and so he thinks that she grows quiet and is ignoring his mention of the day before because she doesn't believe him. He informs her quietly, "I don't have a reason not to tell you the truth." He sees her eyes ever so briefly flick to him quickly and considers it a victory. He continues with something else honest, "And you really should eat something, anything because I have a feeling you're a light weight and if you haven't been eating then this one drink could have much bigger effect on you and there's no way I'm driving you home if you get too drunk to drive yourself."
How he managed to say something that was both thoughtful and bastardly she had no idea, but he was definitely a pro at it. She was smiling even though she didn't intend to and found herself getting up and heading to his kitchen.
He makes her what he calls an "Italian egg sandwich thing the hot lady made," and she eats every last delicious bite of it. He waits a couple of minutes after she's finished before he breaks out laughing, "I can't believe you fell for that. You know wine coolers have next to no alcoholic content."
She doesn't drink, how was she supposed to know? And he had gotten her started on a second since she finished her first halfway through the sandwich and insisted she might as well have another since she was already eating something to absorb the alcohol. Somehow, since getting her to eat by lying to her was once again a sweet/bastard thing to do, she was both pissed and smiling. He's still laughing so she grabs the pillow that's next to her on the couch and hits him with it as hard as she possibly can.
He's always up for a fight.
In some totally cliché way they end up on the ground trying to pin the other down to hit them, laughing the whole time. (She's never felt more free, neither has he.) And then he's on top of her and close and staring in her eyes smiling and so is she and the pillows fall from their hands and they just stay like that, close and staring and still.
She has this unfamiliar (yet wonderful) feeling staring into his eyes. Her stomach feels fluttery and her heart starts pounding. She feels like he can see her, the real her and not the one she's always trying to be for other people, and at the moment it doesn't scare her.
But she soon realizes this is a bad place to be. She's with Finn and before something can happen she says, "I should probably go."
"Yeah," he agrees coming out of the moment he could swear they were having. He gets up off of her and takes a step back, giving her the distance she seems to want and he doesn't offer her a hand in getting up for the same reason.
He's okay with letting her go from the time she broke their moment until she got up and took her first step toward his door. Then, he just can't let the chance pass him by. He takes one giant step to catch up with her as he calls, "Wait."
She turns to find him right in front of her. She can feel it getting dangerous again and knows she should probably continue leaving anyway, but she doesn't.
He rocks back and forth on his feet nervously. He looks in her eyes and finds the courage he needs to take the risk. "I've had a lot of things that meant nothing," he begins, "but I'm not sure that that's what yesterday was." He confides, "I'd like to be sure." He glances toward her lips meaningfully and meets her eyes again, "All you have to do to get me to stop is say no." He gives her an out because he knows he's screwing over his best friend with this, but if he gives her the option and she still wants to give in too, maybe, somehow, it makes him less of an ass.
His eyes don't leave hers. He cups her face in his hands. He pauses, gives her time to hit him, shove him, simply run away. But he's never been one to think his luck will last so he goes for it. He kisses her, gently.
It's different than the first kiss. It's purposeful and sweet and graceful.
She didn't say no. And she didn't hold out not kissing him back for a single second. Just standing there, with him looking at her before he kissed her, it was real moment number two in her life. She shoved real away last time, but she didn't want do that again. She wanted this reality to last as long as possible. So she clung to it, to him. She wrapped her arms around him and kissed him back.
He pulls away after less than a minute, stares in her eyes again. Then, he leans in slowly again, like he's giving her the chance to change her mind back to what he expected. He repeats this action ever minute for five minutes.
Finally, she's caught on to why he keeps stopping to look at her as if she'll disappear and giving her the chance to stop him from kissing her again. And she's tired of it. Breathing slightly labored, she informs him, "I'm not going to say no."
And it's only seconds later that he's kissing her more intense than ever and picking her up and moving them back to the couch.
And she stays true to her word. She never says no. She never thinks of Finn. She never thinks about the cross she can feel around her neck or celibacy club. She just knows that she's never felt more real or fantastic as right here with him and she doesn't want that to stop. She doesn't think about how not stopping means sex until she's actually having it.
And when it's over it comes crashing back to her.
She's never made so many mistakes as she made in that one day.
(The most confusing, plaguing part is that not all of them felt like mistakes.)
They only have two face-to-face conversations after the day she gets pregnant. The first was when he found out she was pregnant and confronted her about it, told her he'd be there, and she ran away in tears unable to handle school anymore that day (she's never ditched before).
The second conversation is the following day. She shows up late to glee and he catches her, seemingly waiting for her, before she goes in.
"You left," he begins in hushed tones because they're still in an open hallway, "I woke up and you were gone. Not even a note. You didn't give me a chance to be there for you. And just because you're still choosing Finn doesn't mean I'm going to let you do that to me again especially since this is my baby you're having."
"What do you want?" she asks to move this conversation along and brushing past most of what he said. She found out she was pregnant three days ago and thinking about anything else is so impossible. She wishes she could blame him, she tries to blame him, but she remembers the thoughts in her head that day so clearly (she remembers the feelings she had that day even better, especially when he's near- which is what she really can't handle right now, anything that makes her think it wasn't something to regret).
What does he want? That's a good question and he's not positive enough of an answer to ask for too much. He had an answer before he found out about the baby, but now, he doesn't want to be the guy that runs, but he's not exactly keen on the idea of being a teenaged father either. He goes for the safest bet of the moment, the one that buys him time, "I want to prove that I'm here for you and the baby. I don't want to mess up what you want. But I want to be involved."
"Fine," she agrees because arguing takes more time. She sees people pass them in the hallway and look twice at how they're standing, talking, close together. She amends, "But we can't be seen together, ever. I don't want to give anyone a reason to suspect the truth. And I don't want to be like Mr. Schuester and Ms. Pillsbury."
He gets it. Everyone knows that there are things Mr. Schue and Ms. Pillsbury are obviously feeling and ignoring and hiding. She doesn't want them to turn into two people who everyone seems to know the truth about. Given that she still wants Finn, he's not surprised. He wishes things were different, but he's realistic enough to realize that he probably won't get a better offer than being involved with one major condition. "Sure," he agrees, "We'll figure something else out."
They go separate directions, neither to glee (though he does join the next day).
What he says to her in that second conversation nags at her for a few days. She never thought about the fact that he may care that she left or that how she left could have any effect on him. She knew it wasn't nothing to him, but when she fled the scene when he fell asleep she wasn't thinking about anything besides herself and how she couldn't deal.
Part of her has felt bad about it since the day it happened, but she feels worse for the way she left things now. So, she decides to finally write him a note.
She writes: I'm sorry I ran out that day. I just couldn't handle any of it.
She slips it into his locker and thus unknowingly finds there way of communicating without anyone catching on.
He doesn't respond to the first note with any kind of response to what she wrote. Instead he writes her: Saltines are supposed to help with nausea. You should probably eat some before school and keep them handy throughout the day.
She writes him a simple response the next day: Tried it. Works. Thank you.
She knows he wants to be in the loop, but when she doesn't have anything to say about the baby she wonders if he still wants to hear from her. She doesn't really have anyone to talk to. No one knows the truth yet except him and Finn- and Finn may just be more terrified than her.
She frets over whether or not to leave him another note for a day, until she gets one.
He wrote: What is up with these songs in glee? Mr. Schue was cool in Acafellas, but these songs are a sappy suckfest. What the hell?
She can hear the complaining words in her head and it's a nice distraction from the many things that have taken up permanent residence there lately.
They trade pointless notes for the next two weeks, while that old lady is in glee. The only one of substance traded between them is one from her to him: Act normal. Which is his reason for not blowing off the old lady when she hits on him, because she always does it in front of his teammates and he never would have blown her off before, so he doesn't now.
Eventually though, he has something else to write, something important for a change. It's the longest note he ever writes her. It reads:
I just told everyone in glee you're pregnant. I'm sorry. They were already on the right track guessing what's been up with you. I know you said to act normal, but the other day Santana wanted to get back together again, like she usually does when the weekend's approaching and she hasn't found any other guy for it. I didn't want to. She seemed suspicious and I'm pretty sure that she caught me slipping a note in your locker yesterday. I didn't want her to figure out you're pregnant on her own and jump to conclusions. I told everyone's its Finn's, like you want. I'm sorry for telling, and for letting you get in this situation in the first place. I let one thing led to another when I knew I shouldn't have.
If it helps, I don't think Mike or Matt care and I don't think the glee kids will tell anyone, they're pretty alright- and I never said that. And Brittney looked confused, I'm not sure she understood what I was saying.
I understand if you don't write anymore.
She cries when she reads it. She can't believe he told. She can't believe that she sees the logic of his decision and actually isn't pissed at him. Santana always tries to rekindle things when she gets lonely and he goes along with it for the fun. And Santana has been her closest friend because she's the only other Cheerio who is genuinely passing her classes (not at successfully as her, but still). She knows that Santana is smart enough to figure out the truth and when she knows that what Puck did would throw her off the truth and she's grateful. If Santana found out that she was with her on-again off-again boyfriend, she'd definitely tell the truth to Finn and everything would be ruined.
She hates the way they look at her now (or at least how she thinks they look at her- definitely how Santana is looking at her). And she knows that her secret being out to a few people means the chances of it getting out to everyone are increased. But then, the first practice back after the invitational, Arty greets her with a really sweet smile and when they're rehearsing choreography and Kurt has her hand he gives it a reassuring squeeze. She didn't expect anyone to be nice to her after the way she's treated lots of other people. She didn't expect the other glee kids to treat her nicely when she's Coach Sylvester's mole (not that they seem to be aware). She's never had anyone be genuinely kind to her at school, it's the best thing that's come out of this so far.
So, after the few days of no notes, she writes to him: Brittney understood you. She came up to me later that day and asked me how the, "B-A-B-E" was doing. It was sad.
It's easier to write the meaningless notes and she lets it slip into his locker before school starts. But the rest of the day she can't stop thinking about what he wrote. He seems to think that her condition is all his fault. And she really wants to blame him because then it means that she didn't screw up so hugely. But it's not true. So, for the first time, she writes him a second note in one day and slips it in his locker before fifth period. She writes: One thing led to another because we both let it. Remember, I kissed you first. I felt like I didn't know right from wrong and maybe I still don't. But what's happening now is as much my fault as yours. Don't think otherwise.
It's the first completely and truly honest thing she's written him. Something she's never admitted out loud, something private that she thinks about but never thought she'd tell anyone. But she wanted to tell him, felt like she owed him that.
He writes a simple reply of thanks that she finds in her locker by the end of the day and then they change the topic back to easy and unimportant for a while because they both know it can't stay like that forever.
And they're right. By the end of the week she knows she has to tell him the decision she's made. She doesn't feel like she can explain. She has so so many reasons for her decision they come out as this muddled mess and if he really needs to hear it she'll try. But first, she tries to get away with simply telling him: I made up my mind, I'm giving it up. Are you okay with that?
It takes a couple of periods longer to get a response from him than she's been growing used to, but eventually one does come. He responds: I'm good with whatever you think is best. If you change your mind or stick with this decision, either way, I'm still here.
When she tells Finn later that day she assumes it will go well. He must care about her more than Puck so of course his reaction should be just as, if not more, understanding (not that he could really be more understanding than Puck). But he doesn't take it well at all. They end up fighting because she has to defend that it's her decision to make and that she's doing this for the both of them and how it's what's best.
And not for the first time the idea pesters her that maybe she only ever liked the idea of Finn. Maybe this is reality with him and in reality he doesn't understand her or want her or need her. And maybe in reality with him she doesn't understand him or want him or need him.
She cries all night, puts on a smile the next morning (as usual). Finn finds her first thing and apologizes for his behavior, tells her he'll do whatever she wants, he swears, because he only wants to see her happy. Usually, she falls for it completely every time when he acts like the idea of him she has to rectify the real him that's hurt her, and she accepts the apology this time, puts the smile back on, but the idea that the real Finn isn't who she thought he was doesn't go away this time.
(Not that this real Finn is bad, but just not the idea of the guy she thought she liked so much. And maybe that means that in reality, the Real Finn and the Real Quinn, don't belong together like she thought.)
Ten weeks pregnant (closer to eleven).
She doesn't warn him that she's going to the doctor, not until the day the appointment has arrived. She knows he doesn't want to mess her and Finn up because she doesn't want him to, but she also knows that he wants to be involved and so she doesn't tell him even though she's known the appointment has been set for weeks because she's afraid of him trying to talk her into letting him go somehow. (She's afraid and she'll cave and let him.)
So, the day of the appointment she leaves him a note at the end of the day so he can't respond: I have a doctor's appointment this afternoon. I'll let you know how it goes first thing in the morning.
E-mail, texts, phone calls, everything leaves records and they both know it. The line against that was drawn along time ago and neither are crossing now. So he waits.
She wasn't lying when she told Finn she was terrified in that room. And she wishes his hand wasn't shaking in hers and that he didn't need someone to drive them and that he could have pulled it together.
She's been preparing her whole life to be independent. She's worked hard for everything she has, status, titles, flawless grades, and she's done it all without any help from anyone. She's never needed anyone before but she needs someone now. She chose Finn to be that person. But he keeps falling apart nearly as often as she does. She feels bad because he doesn't actually have to be falling apart, he's not the father. But she thought he'd be stronger for her. She thought he cared enough to man-up and be the guy she needs right now. But he hasn't been.
It takes her less than thirty seconds to get the gel off her pelvis and fix her uniform after Finn leaves the exam room. But she takes another minute to take some deep breaths so she doesn't start crying. She doesn't want to cry in front of Mr. Schue, the really nice teacher who drove them and who she's trying to take down because she got herself in a deeper hole than she realized. And Finn was too terrified to drive a straight line today, which is why Mr. Schue is there in the first place and why she can't cry as she so immensely feels like.
The next morning, she has the note ready: Everything is fine. It's a girl.
The paper is ripped in really weird way this time, completely uneven and jagged. She had to rip around the tearstains.
After first period, she finds a response from him in her locker: It's good everything is good with the baby. How are you?
And the guy who wasn't even there is suddenly taking better care of her than the one that was (in the back of her mind, she suspected things would be like this). It makes her happy- for about ten minutes before Finn messes it up. He suggests a name and then tells her he wants her to be like Rachel. Why doesn't he just leave her and go after her already then? Everyone can see it's what he wants.
She writes back angrily: I was managing, but he knows I need to give it up and he just suggested a baby name: Drizzle. Have you ever heard anything more ridiculous?
She doesn't write about Rachel, she'd rather ignore that reoccurring problem as long as possible. And she doesn't think that he may not appreciate being written to about her current boyfriend/guy who thinks he's the father/his best friend because he asked how she is and honestly, frustrated and mad at Finn is how she is.
She's not really that surprised to find that he kind of defends Finn in his own way when he writes back: Yeah, Finn's never been great with names. I got this lizard when I was like eight and he tried to help me name it, suggested stuff like turtle or dog. He thought it was funny.
She knows how much he cares about Finn despite the situation he ended up in with her. She thinks that the biggest reason he's going along with her lie is because he wants to protect his friendship with Finn (the other reasons he may be going along with it scare her more).
Her anger towards Finn ends up melting the tiniest bit because of the note and she finds herself responding: I've always hated those weird names, like the ones most celebrities name their kids. Classic is better.
He responds: Like Rebecca or Arella (my great grandma's name, I'm told).
She spends her fifth period class, AP American History, completely distracted by the short note. She told herself she wouldn't think about names. She wasn't going to think about naming a baby she'd have to give away. But it got a lot more real when she found out it was a girl yesterday. And Puck's suggestion didn't feel insensitive and it didn't hurt like Finn's. Instead, she feels a bit more at ease because something clicks. She responds: Rebecca. I really like that. Plus it's from the Bible.
The school day ends and she finds what she expects to be the last note from him for the day (they have glee, but her locker is sort of near the music room, easy to get caught). It reads: From the Torah too. She's really important in Judaism. Or at least I think my mom told me that. Rebecca- a name that fits two religions. Maybe you can suggest it to the parents you choose to adopt her, tell them it means something to you, and then you can leave something with her forever.
He sits near them again as practice starts. She's noticed him doing it. Just like she's noticed the way he'll duck his head and his eyes will glance to her, or how he'll raise an eyebrow at her sometimes like he's worried or as if to ask, "Are you okay?" She knows that it's all one of the things she told him she didn't want (something catchable), but she still hasn't told him to stop.
She's definitely not telling him to stop today. Today, she came to school more terrified than ever because the image of the little girl that's inside her (the one she has to give away) hasn't left her mind since she saw her. Today, the guy who thinks he got her pregnant acted like he didn't care about her more than he ever has before. But he made today better. It was a bad day that turned hopeful and good and that made her cry in a good way.
The next morning she has a note ready for him, because it's her turn to leave a note. She wishes it could be something that actually means something or even something stupid and distracting like they used to do just a few days ago. But she has other things she needs to say now.
She's already told him how she got herself stuck being Coach Sylvester's mole, which she does feel guilty about. She's never had anyone who she's considered a true friend, someone who doesn't just want to be around her because she's popular. So she doesn't feel bad about her covert status because of the glee club (even if a few of them do seem to be genuine to her). She feels bad because Mr. Schue has been really kind to her and he's going to be the father to her little girl, a good one, she's certain. She feels bad that she's gotten herself trapped in a situation where she has to break him down. But Coach Sylvester could take away cheer, which means a lot to her, and she's not ready for that to happen yet so she either has to help or ensure that nothing goes the way anyone wants. She knows that Rachel is always good for some kind of overdramatic action so she probably only has to stir the pot more, so to speak. Coach gives her the opportunity, but she knows she doesn't have the heart to really commit to it despite the rehearsals. She's always committed to all her different roles because of the promise they held. But the presence of a baby ended most of those promises and has made her tired of acting when she knows nothing she wants will come of it. So, she writes to Puck to enlist his help: Soon, I'll have to make a scene at glee. I'll be making a suggestion against Mr. Schue, I need you to catch on to what I'm saying and get Brit to go along with you and trade to Coach's side. If I don't get her what she wants she might get suspicious. She might find out I'm pregnant and if she does then my parents won't be far behind. They can't find out.
His quick reply is: Yeah, I'll go along with whatever. You aren't telling your parents though?
The topic has never come up before so they've somehow managed to avoid it. She can't tell her parents though and she tells him exactly why: I can't. They'll hate me. They might even disown me.
He responds: I know it's not what you want, but I want you to know. If they disown you, I'd still be there for you, you could still count on me. And my mom would be cool. Not thrilled, but she did start making me promise to give her grandkids at my bar-mitzvah.
She responds with a simple sincere note of thank you before heading off to her next class and somehow, the rest of the day isn't so bad. All of the glee kids end up alone in the music room together and they have a genuinely good time together singing "Ride With Me." She's the one that stands next to him this time. He's sitting and stationary, has to be as he's playing the guitar. But she could be moving around the group of glees as much as everyone else is (Tina's been around the whole group and even Arty has moved more than her), but she stays virtually in the same spot, near him.
He keeps making her horrible days better with a few sentences on scraps of binder paper. She starts to wonder how much better each day could be if she let him be more than that.
The next morning, she opens her locker eagerly because it was his turn to leave her a note first.
She smiles as she reads because she loves the notes where he makes some little confession. And this, this is a really good one.
He wrote: I never used to have you on my mind, now you're there all the time. It makes me feel like a sap. And it makes me feel good. Really good.
She's smiling brightly as she takes the necessary books out of her locker. She puts the note on top of them as she cradles them in her arm and tries to shove some of her cheer stuff in the locker at the same time. In the process, the books, note included, slide from her arms and thud on the ground.
Before she manages to quickly scramble after them, someone else already has and reorganizing them in a neat pile in his hands before offering them back to her. The note is still on the ground and as he hands the books back and she says thanks he notices it and squeals, "Oh, what's this? Is it a love note? I never took Finn for a romantic." Kurt picks up the piece of paper before she can even get a hold on the books that are in her arms again. "Or as being especially literate," he adds as he turns the note over to find the writing (she had regrettably left it unfolded, she doesn't think he would have read it if the words weren't right there unfolded in front of him).
He glances at the quick message and holds it out to her with a raised eyebrow, "This is not Finn's handwriting."
"You know Finn's handwriting?" she questions with a much-practiced intimidating glare.
Which Kurt is apparently immune to. He waves it off as he responds, "Please. Even he knows about my crush. I thought for sure that you knew that that's why I've always been jealous of you."
He was jealous of her, that actually made her feel kind of good. A lot less people seemed to be jealous of her these days, it was nice to know there was still one. Although, she was surprised by the reason. She questions, "I though you'd be jealous that you're not a Cheerio."
He shakes his head and replies seriously, "Red's not my color." He scans her in her uniform and adds, "And it's not yours either."
"Excuse me," she begins angrily. She looks perfectly fine in red; she has to, she wears it every day.
He holds up a hand again as if it's not important and continues, "Anyway, it looks like I have another reason to be jealous. Even in your 'condition' you still have a secret admirer. That's impressive."
She smiles because it's kind of flattering.
He loops his arm through hers and begins walking with her to her class (she has no idea how he knew where her first period was). He questions conspiringly, "Do you have any idea who it is? Any name on any of them? Drawing? Distinctive penmanship? Someone you once caught near your locker you wouldn't expect? It's not a teacher, is it?"
"It's not a teacher," she quickly denies, but she can't say who it is so to cover her tracks she amends, "I don't think." She responds to the rest of his questions by simply saying, "I have no idea who it is actually."
"Well that's easily solvable," he informs her, "just have a friend hang out some where they can observe your locker between classes sometime and see who slips in a note. I could do it if you-"
"No," she jumps in much more forcefully than she intends. She sees his eyes light up in realization and she knows the jig is up. "Don't watch my locker and please don't tell anyone," she begs.
He pauses before offering, "I won't tell if you let me walk with you like this every morning to our first period classes." He gestures to the room she has math in and to one just across the hall that she assumes he has some class in as well.
She can't hide how baffled the suggestion makes her.
He explains, "To get to walk the halls once a day with Quinn Fabray there's a lot I'd be willing to do."
She's touched, which is why she knows that she can't accept his offer when it seems like he didn't think it out. She points out, "Soon, who I am won't be someone you'd want to be seen with."
He waves her off again. "Yes it will," he assures. He glances meaningfully to the scrap of paper that's lying between her and her math textbook and adds, "And it doesn't seem like I'm the only one that thinks that."
It's a really sweet offer and she can't turn down anything like that anymore- even if she still thinks that he doesn't know what he's getting himself into. So she smiles and says, "With split-up glee I guess I won't see you later. But tomorrow, I'll wait for you at my locker."
He smiles and says goodbye with chipper. She goes to class realizing that this whole mess may have just made her her first real friend since childhood.
She spends her math class trying to think of what to write back to Puck. His last note was sweet so she doesn't want to go for something meaningless in return.
She scribbles down: In hindsight, I'd still choose you.
She scribbles it out though. She's not sure she's ready to declare that yet, to him or anyone else.
She decides to admit: I started watching The Food Network in the evenings, a while ago.
She almost doesn't go through with sliding it into his locker. What if he thinks it means more than it does? What if he doesn't get it? What if….She puts it in his locker before she can fret anymore.
He responds with: It's good, isn't it?
She can't tell what he's really asking. Did he get the hidden meaning but isn't sure so he's checking to make sure? Or did he miss it entirely and is just asking if she likes a television channel?
The bell rings and her thoughts are interrupted by her AP English class starting. This class is like some kind of cruel joke today though. The topic for the day is conciseness. They're going to examine how to get to the point of something in as few words as necessary, how to eliminate anything that can be eliminated. So the teacher has an example. A famous six-word story that was written by Ernest Hemingway. He writes it big across the board: For sale: baby shoes, never worn. The words strike her immediately. She doesn't hear anything else for the rest of class, though she does try to because she needs to and catches something about an assignment of their own six-word story. But she can't even begin to think about schoolwork right now, not with those words haunting her.
The thing is, there hasn't been a single moment where she hasn't cared about the baby. Being a Christian wasn't the only reason she didn't even consider abortion. In fact, she's not sure it had anything to do with it at all. She just couldn't kill something that already meant something. The baby was, is, a part of her.
Rationally, she knows that being seventeen doesn't incline her to be a good mother. She's tried so hard to be everything, played so many parts, because it's the only way her parents ever seem to give her the slightest bit of attention. She has issues with them and she knows it. So logically she knows that a child (technically) with parent issues won't make the best parent (she always hoped that after she moved away she'd resolve the issues, forget about them before starting a family). Plus, at seventeen she doesn't have a job nor does she qualify for any that could pay an amount she could raise a child on. And if she keeps a baby she may never make it out of this town.
Rationally, she knows that just because she's seventeen doesn't mean it's impossible for her to be a good mother. If she got lucky she could get a scholarship to a school with family housing or at least enough financial aid to go start at community college part time. If she got lucky then maybe her parents would help (maybe someone else would too, but the only one she's come to have any faith in is Puck).
But she's having a baby so rationally she knows she shouldn't count on luck.
(Although maybe, maybe, she'd be a good mother because of how much she worries about whether or not she would be.)
As worried as she's always been about what she's going to do for or with the baby in the future, she's always been much more concerned with the present. Does being tossed in the air on a regular basis hurt the baby? Does the fact that she doesn't sleep much anymore because she's awake worrying about the baby hurt the baby? Does the vast amount of time she spends throwing up hurt the baby? All these questions and so many more were always on her mind from the second she found out there was a baby.
When she told Finn she was terrified right before the ultra sound, it wasn't just because she knew everything was about to become even more real. She was worried something would be wrong. She doesn't know if she can handle it if her little girl isn't okay, if she loses her.
But she made the decision because it's best for everyone. And she's going to lose her little girl no matter what. She could write that Hemingway line and have it be her true story.
She spends the break after her fourth period English class crying quietly in a bathroom stall. She doesn't go to her next class. She stays in the stall, she cries more. She feels so alone in this.
Finally, halfway through the period, it dawns on her that she hasn't been alone in this. Maybe Finn hasn't been able to say a single thing to her confidently and Rachel had ulterior motives in being her friend and the other few people who have been nice to her don't know the whole truth. But Puck, he's done exactly what he hastily told her he'd do. He's taken care of her.
So she writes a note to the only person she can, the only one she's been honest with (the only one who seems to understand her). She admits: I love her. I want her. I wish she could be mine.
After slipping the note in his locker she finds a note from him in hers asking her if she's okay. He must have been worried when he didn't get a note from her in between last period.
She finds a response from him after lunch. It reads: Me too. And if you want her to be yours, I think you should keep her. Although, honestly, I'd prefer if she was ours. There's no rush in deciding anything right now though. Take a break. Stop worrying. I'll throw a slushie at someone for old time sake if you want.
Ours. The word sticks with her. She's been thinking about that more and more. And she keeps leaning towards changing her mind, picking him for good. But she worries about that too. Yes, they've had a month of notes that are basically her biggest reason for coming to school and the only thing that helps her get through the day. Plus, she always thought that guys, and him especially, wouldn't keep up a relationship when it didn't include their favorite part- physical contact. And here he was only glancing other girls' ways because she told him to keep up appearances, while having this deeply intimate no-contact relationship with her. But they'd only been keeping this quasi relationship up a month, maybe they were still in some sort of honeymoon period. If they were, she wasn't about to bet her future, change everything, on something that could just be fluke (even if it was the only thing that felt real, because maybe she was wrong about that).
While the one word plagues her, the rest make her feel better. She tells him not to throw anything at anyone. She never disliked his jackass tendencies, but she's liked that he's seemed calmer lately (since her, and she knows it) and has stopped beating people up completely (off the field at least).
Later that same day, Coach Sylvester reveals that she knows she's pregnant and that soon everyone will know. Her world falls apart for what feels like the millionth time in the last month. (She feels the concerned gaze from her right more than the hand from her left. She's too broken to notice now though.)
Finn holds her as she cries and his voice shakes as he tells her everything will be alright. In a normal situation she would appreciate his good intentions. But today isn't normal. Today her life was turned upside down (again). Today, like she has so many times before now, she needs him to be the person she needs and he's not being that guy. He's smiling and he's trying, but he's just not that guy. And that's still clear even after dress rehearsal. (She wonders that maybe he can't seem to become the guy she feels she needs, because he's not the guy she needs.)
She leaves school straight from dress rehearsal and locks herself in her bedroom and cries until her parents get home. She makes up an excuse about some huge project as to why she eats dinner in her room and not with them. They usually give her her space, so she's surprised to hear a knock on her door just before nine.
It's her mom, with an envelope. She holds it out to her as she explains, "Someone just knocked on the front door. No one was there, but this envelope with your name on it was there." As soon as she takes it, her mom adds, "What is it?"
She's comforted to find that it's sealed and therefore her parents couldn't know whatever it may hold (she seems to live in constant fear of them finding out lately). She finds a post-it inside, soft yellow, and familiar handwriting scribbled across it.
Everything is going to be okay.
You're the only sane girl, remember?
You'll make it through anything.
Kurt and Arty and Finn were sweet (and begrudgingly she must add Rachel to that list) and it made her feel just barely better. But this, this makes her feel like the broken pieces she shattered into at the news were mended back together. She resists the small smile that it induces because her mom is still awaiting an answer.
She looks up from the note and lies easily, "One of the Cheerio's just quit. How cowardly not to do it in person."
"And odd," her mother adds buying it, "it's not like she'd get in trouble." Her mother contemplates her own words for a second and amends, "Actually, that Sue Sylvester is, though a successful coach, more than a little off balance. It makes sense that you girls would be cautious with her."
She agrees to end the conversation as she lies again that she has her "project" to get back to.
She reads his note twenty more times. Instead of adding it to the box of all of his notes that she has stashed under her bed, she sleeps with it under he pillow. The next day, she still can't part with it. Her hands shake as she gets ready for school and reading it seems to bring her solace so she carries it with her for the whole day.
When she get's slushied later that day and she goes into the girls bathroom to clean up, making sure the note has survived is the first thing she does. (It did.)
Things turn from bad when she was just pregnant to beyond awful when everyone knows she's pregnant.
School is unbearable, not to mention insane. The social order is completely out of whack and suddenly slushies are flying at anyone.
She still looks forward to the notes though. And Kurt in the mornings. He still walks with her and gabs about anything that doesn't have anything to do with her present situation.
It's the notes though that are getting her through each day (and not the hand that's in hers more often than ever). They've both been getting more and more honest in them and it feels good, she's never connected to anyone like this.
He writes her sweet things like: Everyone's crazy except you and me.
He writes her angsty things like: I don't think it's ever going to hurt this good again.
Sometimes, he just seems to know when she's about to fall apart and writes a simple: Breathe.
And she knows that he's become her solid ground, the thing that saves her. She falls apart, she breaks, and he's that one steady thing that makes it all okay again (well, okay as it can be given the situation).
What's being referred to as The Slushie War persists seemingly without end. Then, in glee one day it's suggested by Mr. Schue (so naively hopeful) that maybe if the original slushie thrower (Puck) and the original slushie victim (Rachel) walk the halls together, make peace, the war will end. No one has the heart to tell Mr. Schue that there's no chance it will work.
Rachel quickly agrees to give it a try (she knows it's because she wants to help save Finn- who, like her, has been getting the brunt of the slushie throwing).
Puck agrees to do it easily too (she knows it's for her, because he gives her that ducked head glance, the one she could never bring herself to tell him to stop).
They try Mr. Schue's plan out the next morning. She passes them as she's walking to class with Kurt.
Puck has his arm looped with Rachel's and she almost laughs at how obviously fake his smile is.
Then, she realizes she was looking at them. And she's not alone.
When she turns to Kurt it's obvious her momentary lapse didn't go unnoticed because he's wearing his raised eyebrow, don't-lie-to-me-because-I-already-figured-out-the-truth look. "Interesting," he comments.
"You said you wouldn't say anything," she reminds.
"I won't," he swears. As they reach their classes he adds, "If the only person to make me smile was doing so through the best notes ever, I wouldn't let them walk away though. Even if they are just pretending to be on someone else's arm."
He leaves her with that food for thought, which he seems to have a knack for doing. It's kind of annoying given how much she already has to think about. Plus, he's a topic that she's already always thinking about.
Later, he writes to her how walking a hallway with Rachel Berry (or rather having to listen to Rachel Berry for an entire stretch of hallway) was the most difficult thing he's ever done. It makes her laugh for the first time in so long she can't think of the last time she did it (definitely more than three days ago when her secret came out).
But her day breaks her again because that afternoon the one other thing that kept her going- the fact that she was still cheer captain- was taken from her. Coach Sylvester kicked her off of the Cheerios. She was surprisingly nice about it saying that as good as she was and as much as she liked her, pregnant just wasn't a condition she could compete in and the longer the team depends on her the more damaging it is to them. Coach Sylvester being oddly nice doesn't make her feel any better though because she loved cheer, she was good at it, and it was another thing that her life wouldn't get to have anymore.
She cries all night. Doesn't tell her parents why. Doesn't care that they're concerned and maybe more suspicious than ever. She's already lost so many things, what's one more?
The next day, for the first time in her high school career, she doesn't wear her cheer uniform to school.
Her parents are always gone to work before she leaves so luckily they have no idea. (She doesn't know what she was thinking the previous night by giving them something to catch on to. She vows that no matter how upset she gets, no matter how many things fall apart, she's not going to slip up like that again.)
As soon as she sets foot on campus it becomes obvious to everyone that passes that she was kicked off of the cheer team (and they all know why). She gets glares and stares and whispers and they don't go away for a single second.
It's not his turn, but she finds a note in her locker: I'm still here waiting for you, for when you're ready. And more than that, I'm just still here for you.
It's the first good thing of the morning. The second is that Kurt not only still walks with her, but he gushes about how he loves her so much in the outfit she selected, tells her it works for her way better than that cheer uniform ever did. Jeans and one of those excessively poofy shirts, who knew?
Even her teacher looks at her different in her first period class though and ignores the fact that everyone is whispering around her. She needs a distraction, badly. So she writes him a short, pointless note about how her math teacher clearly tried for a youthful hairstyle today and failed miserably.
He responds in kind, easily taking the hint to distract her.
Then, she finds herself in her English class again. The board says that those six-word stories are due today. She grabs a clean sheet of paper and proceeds to try and come up with something (which appears to be what ninety percent of her classmates are doing as well). She's lost enough dreams, she's not going to let college be added to that list so she knows she has to ignore the whispers and get through this assignment, quickly.
She starts writing the first thing comes to her mind and to the person she's always writing to. She writes: I changed my mind. Please rescue me.
Damn. Seven words. It can be easily fixed though.
But, she stares at it there before her, she realizes how true it is, and thinks maybe she shouldn't change it at all. Maybe she should just give it to the person she wrote it for.
That's a big decision and though she wants to think about it, remembering all the dreams that have been killed lately, she grabs a new sheet of paper and starts a new story. She goes for the most positive thing she can think of in her life at the moment (one of the few things she has to cling to) and writes honestly: Turns out, I'm not really alone.
She turns it in and spends the rest of the period wondering if she should give him her first attempt, the seven-word one. She knows she meant it because it does seem so clear now that five weeks ago (and again back twelve weeks ago) she chose the guy who she had wanted to be real, but not the one that ever was. She knows that if his scraps of paper with words on them can make her feel so much better (can make her feel so much) then being with him could be one really great thing to come out of all of this.
Whether or not she thinks he's right for her isn't the issue anymore. She knows the answer to that now. The real question is, is she ready to take that leap?
She rewrites the two short sentences a few more times. Thinks about it.
She hears the whispers and catches the looks and if the truth comes out she's just going to get more of that. She's not sure she's ready for that, she's not sure she's strong enough for it.
She turns to her next clean sheet of paper and writes: Today I'm running out of distractions.
She gives him the latter note.
He feels horrible and kind of great at the same time. It's completely screwed up.
He feels horrible because he got his best friend's girlfriend pregnant, because he got a girl pregnant.
He feels great because she writes to him. He gets little pieces of her every day.
He's never been in a real relationship. He's never even really believed in love. But he's suffered through enough romantic comedies with his mom to know when he's found something good, something real, something rare. So he doesn't run from her.
She does, however, run from him.
When he gets that chance, after everything has changed, he vows not to screw it up. His mom is a fan of LOST and he's learned from that Sawyer/James/Jim character never to give the girl you want a reason to keep not picking you. So he tries really hard not to. And he thinks he's been doing a good job.
He may feel like a sappy idiot for some of the things he's admitted to her, but he realized a while ago that she's worth being a sappy idiot for. Plus, he's had this idea that if he sticks with it all long enough, if he just continues to be there for her, to want her, maybe she'll come to want him too.
But the day where she changes her mind hasn't come yet, which is why he's here trying to hide her note from Finn (who's sitting next to him in their history class) as he reads it.
He had a feeling that today would be awful for her, given the fact that cheer was taken away from her yesterday. He starts to think of something to write that could serve as a distraction as she seems to want.
As he begins his search for a piece of paper (he tends not to come to school actually prepared), he notices something different about her note. There's some kind of indentations on the note- like remnants of words from the paper that was in front of it. He knows it's probably just schoolwork, but it's grabbed his attention and it's not like he's going to do the class work anyway.
He could read it if he had a pencil, which he doesn't. He doesn't bother asking Finn, he knows he usually borrows supplies too. He asks the girl on his other side, who luckily supplies him with what he's searching for. He shades in over the indentations and it's actually working. It's more faint in some parts than others, but thinks he can read it: I changed my mind. Please rescue me.
That doesn't seem like a school assignment. That seems like something meant for him.
It also seems too good to be true though.
He thinks that maybe he got the words wrong. But he doesn't want to wait and ask her. He's waited so long already.
He puts the paper on Finn's desk and asks, "What do you think the shaded part says?"
Finn gives him a curious look. He's awfully intense about some note. Then, Finn reads it. He notices the actual words on the paper first, which is interesting. Then he reads the others and things get weirder. He answers his friend's question though, "I changed my mind. Please rescue me." He's completely dumbstruck by this whole exchange so he's quick to ask, "What is this? Who's it from?"
Puck gets the confirmation that she wrote what he thought she did, what he's been waiting for her to write and can't believe it. But he's getting what he wants and he's not going to miss out on that just because she didn't actually give him that note or because he's sitting by his best friend who this will hurt. If she thought it, believed it enough to write it down, he's going after it. He's never passed up chances and he's not starting now.
He stands up without answering his friend's question. He grabs his stuff from his desk and the note from Finn's. He says simply, "I'm sorry."
He walks out the door to the yells of his teacher.
It is the worst day possible to get a sub in a class. Naturally since there's a sub no one is paying the slightest attention to the tiny man in the front of the room. Instead, they're not whispering, they're just openly talking about her. The nicest word she hears about herself: hypocrite.
She tries to block it out and get to work on her homework- might as well do something productive. She opens her binder and is met with the note she didn't give him. She doesn't know if she was wrong or right, if she should take the chance or was just being smart to play it safe.
She puts the note aside and tries to concentrate on her homework.
Her life used to be so full of possibilities; possibilities that she worked really hard to have. And now, so many of them were gone. Her dreams of prom queen, homecoming queen, a cheer scholarship, leading her team to victory at nationals, of growing up and someday having a completely normal family, they were all ruined because the first time she felt something real she tried to hang on to it.
The talking about her gets louder and very obviously directed at her. She keeps her head down and tries harder to ignore it.
Suddenly, the door to the room opens and Puck comes walking through. He looks right at her as he walks to the sub and hands him a note.
The sub reads it and questions, "Sue Sylvester, that lady on the news, huh? She's kind of…scary. Glad it's not me she's sending for. Is it safe to let a kid go to her office?"
"Yeah," Puck responds simply. He's relieved to find a sub in her class. He knows he probably didn't get Sylvester's signature even close to right.
For once the kids are paying attention to the sub because they know one of them is getting out. He asks as he reads the note, "Which one of you is Quinn Fabray?"
This dumbass named Jerry who's always wanted to be the top of the social food chain, thinking he's entitled to it just because his daddy has the biggest dairy in town, pipes up and says pointing, "It's this pregnant slu-"
He's cut off by a punch to the face, courtesy of Puck. He really missed hitting people who pissed him off. It felt good to have a good reason to do it again. He looked around the rest of the class and asked, "Anyone else got anything to say?"
It's completely silent in the room for the first time. Most of the class isn't meeting his eyes, but the rest are shaking their heads no- they know better than to pick a fight with Puck. The sub seemed to catch on quick too for even he looks fearful.
"Quinn," he prompts and nods his head toward the door.
She has no idea what's going on, but she grabs her stuff and heads for the door. She has to pass by Jerry to get there, who's nursing his jaw, and the guy has thrown about five too many slushies at her. Suddenly, she's glad there's a sub and takes advantage of the situation. As she walks by him she stomps on his foot, hard (and she's so glad Kurt suggested wearing healed boots today- reminding her that she might not find them comfortable in a few more months). "Whoops," she says flatly as he screams in pain.
She proceeds out the door, Puck close behind.
As soon as the door shuts behind them she questions, "You just had to go and hit him? You can get expelled for doing something like that you know?"
"He deserved it," he defends, "plus most girls would appreciate someone protecting them. God, are you always going to be this difficult?"
Always? That's new. Plus, she realizes, this is the first time they've talked face-to-face in weeks. How did they start off arguing? Right, that was her, but he's the one who clearly didn't consider his future. To protect her, she reminds herself. Maybe she really should have just let it go at the moment. She ignores the argument she's already started and questions, "What do you mean?"
He pulls a piece of paper out of his back pocket and unfolds it for her as he responds, "I got your note. The real one."
She doesn't have to ask what he means, she can read it there in front of her. He managed to find the words she didn't give him. The ones she wasn't sure she was ready for.
"Do you mean them?" he asks hopefully.
She sees the hope, the vulnerability in his eyes and wishes she had the faith to give him the note in the first place. Because she does mean them. Does she want him to save her? Absolutely. He's already been doing it but she does indeed want to make that a permanent thing. She's made a lot of mistakes lately, but she doesn't feel like changing her mind and picking him would be one of them. Everything that goes along with it though, hurting Finn, giving everyone more reason to hate her, those she still doesn't know if she can take.
Yet. He's already been making everything better. If she gives him the chance now, maybe those things won't be so bad because she'll have him.
"Yes," she answers confidently- a weight lifting from her shoulders. She sees his surprise and she knows she seemed intent on keeping things the way they were, but she explains, "It was wrong of me to pick Finn. He's great as a high school boyfriend and since he is I thought that meant he'd be what I'd need still, despite everything that's changed. But I was wrong."
He nods in understanding, eyes meeting hers and asks, "So you're picking me now? Going to let me be the father?" She nods affirmatively. He continues smiling at her, "Good."
Since he doesn't ask she knows she has something else to tell him. She knows he wants her, he's told her as much, but she's still nervous somehow. Maybe it's because this is real, more real than anything has been. She clears her throat a little and finds her voice, "You could be more than just the father."
"Really?" he questions, looking like he's trying to stop himself from smiling as big as he is.
"Yeah," she confirms casually, "if you want."
"I want," he's quick to declare. He holds his hand out to her and says, "Well then, let's go."
She takes his hand as she questions skeptically, "Go where?"
"I'm rescuing you," he says as if it should be obvious.
Noticing that they're heading toward the exit that leads to the parking lot she questions, "What does ditching have to do with rescuing me?"
"We're not ditching," he informs her as he opens the door for them, his other hand still hanging on to hers, "I talked to Ms. Pillsbury, told her the truth and she's going to show us some colleges that have family student housing."
"Really?" she questions surprised.
"Nope," he informs her as they reach his truck, "I just said that to get you out the door. But would you be okay with that? I thought you were giving her up?"
She shrugs, "It couldn't hurt to be better informed on other options, right?"
"Yeah," he agrees easily as he opens the passenger door for her, "we'll go see her about that tomorrow then."
A few seconds later they're pulling out of the school parking lot.
She's lost track of how many times her world has turned upside down in the last few weeks, but she knows that this is one of them. Only this time, she knew she was doing it. This time, she was sure it was a good change. Because this time was the only time where her possibilities weren't being eliminated, they were growing.
Maybe she could keep her little girl, name her Rebecca, get financial aid and a scholarship and live at a university for a few years. Maybe Puck would be willing to follow her to whatever school and help out. Maybe things between them would work out and by the time she gets her degree they'll be a real family- not normal necessarily, but she knows now that chasing what's real means chasing what's right.
They're different possibilities than she expected to have, but they're possibilities nonetheless.
She's seventeen and pregnant.
She's twelve weeks pregnant.
And she knows now, not all of her choices were wrong.
And maybe, things will still turn out good. After all, she does have so many possibilities.
A/N: Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed the story.
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