She watches him sleep, quietly tracing the outlines of his worn out face. It happens often; she's quiet and he snores, but she just likes to observe and waits patiently for him to wake up. He finally stirs, groaning a bit as he rolls towards her, and she giggles when he finally opens his eyes.
"Do you ever wake up late?"
She shakes her head no but continues with her laughter. It becomes infectious and he smiles too, slowly sitting up next to her. They sit in silence for a couple of moments, but they both know it's about time to carry on their day. He gives her a quick kiss on the head and they both jump out of bed, quietly scrambling themselves together.
"We should head over there today," he casually suggests, folding out the sheets. She smiles and agrees, bouncing out of the room to adhere to her daily routines. They both reconvene later, walking out the door hand-in-hand and swinging their arms in unison. It takes them a bit to arrive at their destination, but once they do, she lets go of his hand and instinctively floats towards the large oak tree. Her index finger runs along the inscription of a headstone, and she purses her lips to avoid a spill of tears. He walks up behind her, his eyes hazy as he locks gazes with the scene in front of him.
Quinn Fabray. Beautiful mother and daughter, with us for a short time but forever and always loved.
"Love never fails. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love." Corinthians 1:13
She touches the grave, and she's trying her best to stop her eyes from welling up. He notices and touches her shoulder gently. She whimpers and crouches on her knees. "Daddy, do you think she misses us?"
Of course I do. I'm right here.
He smiles. "Why wouldn't she?"
This seems to satisfy her, and the tears slowly cease. There is silence, but she stands back up and grabs his hand. "I miss her," she offers quietly and she glances at the large oak tree.
I know you do.
I miss you too.
He misses me also, more than he cares to let on (or feel).
I was young. I was young and pregnant, and right off the bat, there were too many complications with the whole thing to begin with. Nothing happened immediately after I gave birth; I was fine. For a brief moment, we were a happy family. Of course, as happy as you can get with a bastard child and a Mohawk boyfriend. It wasn't perfect, but it was enough and I wouldn't have had it any other way.
But in the end, I wasn't strong enough.
My body just couldn't keep up with the changes. I was too young, and my whole system had been slowly breaking down, right under our noses. One moment I was alive and colorful, singing and laughing while she giggled and he played the guitar. But suddenly, something felt weird, and I gave him a look and he sent me a confused smile. I tried to smile back, but what I didn't realize then was that I was just trying to hold onto him. To her. To my family. And then I crashed and he yelled my name and I felt him catch me, but there's nothing I could have done anymore. I slipped away.
I ride with him on the way to the hospital. He's holding my hand, instructing me to stay, to hold on. It's already too late, but I hold his other hand, squeezing it tightly for comfort. I don't think he ever felt it.
He cradles our little girl in the lobby. I pace with him. I sit with him. I cry with him. Other people arrive, but he's wrapped up in his own little world and I try to coax him out. Finally, the doctor walks in and his world stops.
"I'm so sorry, Mr. Puckerman."
He can't collapse because his baby girl is in his arms, but the ground underneath him starts shaking and he needs to sit, so he sinks into the chair and everything starts to wash away. He looks at his bundle, and that's the only part of me I've left him.
He sits alone on a park bench that night, and I accompany him. He's tired and sad and lonely, and he's fiddling with my cross necklace in his hands. It's a bit blasphemous to handle a holy ornament like that, but he finds strange comfort in it. He thinks he imagines me whispering in his hear, telling him that I love him. He didn't.
"Come back," he demands weakly, his eyelids heavy.
I'm always right here. I'm not letting you go.
"I don't know what to do. I'm going to screw her up."
No you won't. You'll be fine. You may need help in the beginning, but you'll do wonderfully. Just make sure you feed and clean her, and I'll take care of the guardian angel business. Okay?
My funeral is more morbid than I wanted. It's traditional and Christian, but I somewhat expected them to break out into song by the end (perhaps something Celine Dion – you would think Rachel would take any opportunity to insert a bit of Celine at any given moment). But everything is standard and respectful, and while I appreciate it, I'm still a glee kid and my heart is a song. Mr. Schuster and Coach Sylvester say they miss my spunk. Brittney misses my guidance. Mercedes misses my sass, and Kurt misses our conversations. Rachel misses my determination, and Finn misses my smile. My sister misses her Quinny and my parents just want my forgiveness.
And then he walks up and he doesn't know what to say because he just misses everything. He wishes I could just be there with them.
But I am.
I was there when our girl took her first steps. I was there when she fell into his arms, and I was there when she first called him "Daddy." I was there when she stumbled with his guitar and hobbled towards a piano. I was there when she first started school and learned to do her first cartwheel. I've been there since day one.
She's eight now, and she's so big it still amazes me. She's stubborn and feisty and smart, and she can throw a pretty impressive spiral. She has a major attitude streak when she's upset, and she's quick on her toes in sticky situations. There are a lot of moments where he wishes I was there to deal with some of her brash moods, and it hurts him sometimes to look at her so closely because the similarities are almost precise.
But he loves her, and I can feel that the most. Sometimes they both have nightmares, and I do my best to soothe them. There's only so much I can do.
He doesn't move on. He finishes school (though I'd like to admit that my silent pestering may have contributed greatly to this decision), and he gets a lot of constant help – from everyone. I'm consistently amazed by the sense of compassion he receives, and I feel guilty I've not shown enough when I was alive. But the whole time, he still stays with me, and the only other girl in his life is our daughter.
You have to move on, I push. You need to find your peace.
He starts taking her to music lessons because it was practically a given that she would come out with a good voice based on her parents' talent. The music teacher is young and beautiful, and he smiles at her occasionally through out the class. I feel like playing matchmaker because I can sense a connection. So I urge him with a tiny nudge, just a slight push into her direction.
"My old high school is having a showcase performed by the glee club. They're pretty good this year, and I was wondering if you'd want to come with me." I can't help but laugh; the infamous charismatic charmer Noah Puckerman is feeling anxious over asking a girl out. I almost want to poke him playfully in the chest, reminding him of his "irresistible stud" history.
"I'd love to," the music teacher smiles. I cheer in triumph.
Immediately afterwards, he finds himself under the oak tree, sitting next to my grave. I sit with him.
"I've met someone."
I smile; I'm glad.
"I could never replace you."
No one said you were.
Did you say it?
"I love you."
I never want to live without you. You've changed my life.
Did you say it?
We both did.
"I think I might be okay," he whispers.
Suddenly, the world glows brighter and I see a whirl of color flashing past my eyes.
I see a huge church filled with people as he and the pretty music teacher promise themselves to each other.
I see them hold their newborn son in the hospital.
I see our daughter win nationals – in both Cheerios and glee. I'm so proud.
I see him walking our daughter down the aisle as she pledges herself to her own husband.
I see the entire lot of family and friends gathering around the living room and singing Christmas carols. She has my voice.
I see happiness.
I love you.
He looks up as if he actually hears me. I know he did. I can feel his stare, and we both smile, and I walk away kissing the stars goodnight.
Thanks for reading! I would love any critique or advice you'd give me!