A/N: Oy vey. This took me quite a while. Yes, this would be that Puck-and-Quinn-have-a-history-fic I've mentioned that I wanted to do. Why wasn't it up sooner? 1. The pre-Christmas season kept me quite busy with the usual holiday hoopla. 2. I recently decided to go for my Masters degree and it took some time to hurriedly get that set up for the coming semester. 3. After "Sectionals" I had a decision to make. Naturally if they were to have a history and the first interaction we see between Quinn and Puck in "Preggers" is quite angry and hostile then that means that everything has to fall apart at least once between them. That would be quite a depressing way to end a story so I spent some time deciding if I wanted to do that or take on the massive task of tackling not only their past, but their present (as in things that took place during the first 13 episodes), and their future. As you may have guessed by the use of the word "epic" in the summary- I decided to go with the latter. Since this story will then be so massive (in both chapter length and overall length) I attempted to get a head start by writing out the thirty or so page first chapter before posting this much shorter prologue. For more information on the potential updating habits of this story, please check my profile.

Notes: There are some important things to note for this story. The first is that though I did do a bit of research on Ohio to be able to include more accurate information, I've never been there and there were some things that googling did not allow me to find so for those of you reading from Ohio, I apologize for any horrible inaccuracies.

Second, though it will be mentioned in the story, just to make it absolutely clear, this story starts about the second week of April of Puck and Quinn's sophomore year of high school (since I believe that they are currently juniors and if not it's a little late to re-arrange everything).

Finally, I hope you enjoy the story.

Disclaimer: I do not own Glee. If I did, they wouldn't be on hiatus for so long.

Cheated Hearts

0. Prologue: Two strangers meet on the road and find their time and their place

Things ended between them a few times.

Things began between them a few times.

The thing that became clear though, to them at least even if no one else would ever know, was that it wasn't just a fling.


It starts in a way no one would expect: mid-afternoon in a bar on the outskirts of town.

It's not a bar exactly. It used to be. About a year earlier though they had their liquor license taken away for serving alcohol to minors. The owner had gotten lax with carding over the last decade or so because while it used to get plenty of traffic, being the main road to the towns to the North on the North Dixie Highway, since interstate seventy-five was built hardly anyone came out that way anymore. Sure, housing developments were ever encroaching towards the country where the bar was located, but it hadn't seemed to help business. A bar that couldn't serve alcohol didn't help business either. They were sort of a grill now, serving lunch and dinner, but it was barely being kept afloat by the occasional customer.

As fate would have it though, for a while, the best customers of the former bar would be two high school students.

She's there to escape.

He's there by chance.

The first time he comes there isn't her first time there. He walks in holding his little sister's hand and stops at the bar that's right in front of the door to ask the owner behind it if his sister can use their facilities. Though normally he'd charge a buck for such a thing (had to make money somehow), the owner couldn't charge two kids and simply told him around the end of the bar, towards the back.

Puck feels his sister clutch his hand harder as they wander further into the establishment. It's late afternoon outside and the sun is shining brightly, but it's dark in here despite that. "Come on," he encourages. As he leads her to the back, he thinks he notices blonde hair in a booth, but he's more concerned with his sister's imminently exploding bladder (or at least that's how she had described it in the car).

They arrive at the door labeled "Women's" in the hallway off of the small room of tables and booths off the side of the bar, but his sister hesitates. She looks up at him and says, "I don't want to go in there."

It looks kind of shady, but he doesn't want her to know that because he knows from driving this road that there isn't anywhere else to stop for a while. And they really don't have time to stop again anyway. So he lets go of her hand and walks into the restroom himself. He checks all the stalls, makes sure she'd be the only one in there and that there aren't other doors in it (just in case). "It's good," he declares coming back out to her, "Go ahead."

She heads for the restroom immediately. It's safe if he says so.

He hears her click the lock on the main door as soon as she enters and he's glad she's smart enough not to be too trusting. But since it's locked he doesn't need to stand guard right outside it. He wanders out of the hall, back into the room of tables and booths and checks the time on his phone. When he reads that it's already after four he curses softly to himself.

As he's putting his phone back, he notices a movement of blonde again out of the corner of his eye. He takes a few more steps into the room so he can see the booths. He can't tell who it is, but there's someone in the back booth in the corner, someone with blonde hair. It intrigues him. He wouldn't expect anyone to be in this place, everyone knows they don't serve alcohol anymore. He wanders a few more steps into the room out of pure curiosity. And he's shocked to see that he knows the girl with the blonde hair that's cowering and clearly trying to not be seen in the corner.

He momentarily forgets about his dilemma and why he's there because this is just too good. "Jesus Freak," he greets with a smirk as he saunters over to her table.

She may have been trying not to get caught, but she's learned from years of being popular and being her parents' daughter that the best offense is a good defense. "STD, how predictable for you to be in a place like this," she responds, small pleased-with-herself smile in place as always.

"And how interesting for you to be here," he volleys, her comment rolling off his back like it was nothing. Usually he had a temper, but teasing her was fun (and rare in opportunity).

The smile falls from her face as she considers her options. Ever since she decided to spend time here she's worried about the possibility of running into someone she knows. She's prepared for this, made plans, but given who it was that caught her and the way he walked in, she hates what the most reasonable course of action is. She cuts past their crap and gets to the point, "I could put a pedophilic twist on the fact that you're here with a much younger girl. I'm guessing you don't want me to have any reason to spread that around school. Just like I don't want anything about me being here spread around school."

Her comment about making him sound like a perv for being with his sister makes him want to hit something. But it also makes him remember his sister and how they need to get out of here soon. He tries to move it along prompting, "What are you suggesting?"

"We both tell each other the real reasons we're both here. If one of us hears anything about ourselves and why we were here we know the other told and we tell their secret. Thus, we both have a really good reason to protect each other's secret, because it will in turn be protecting our own. A sort of mutually assure destruction," she explains. She was studying the Cold War when the inspiration struck for this particular back up plan. She figured knowing each other's secrets was like each of them having an atomic bomb and since neither one of them would want to be destroyed, they'd be compelled to keep those secrets and help the other keep theirs so that they didn't get hurt by the aftermath.

He knows his sister could be out at any second so he doesn't have long to think about this. It makes sense to him at first and given the lack of time, he'll just have to go with it. "Okay," he agrees, "you go first."

She picks up the pen lying in the AP chemistry textbook in front of her and starts playing with it, twirling it between her fingers anxiously. She looks away from him to the surface of the table because it's easier to say that way. She explains, "I…hate being at home. About a year ago my dad started coming home from work earlier and earlier. He gets home about the same time I do now and him and my mom are always there when I'm there. And they're suffocating. I can be in my room, just trying to get through my homework, and they'll be knocking on my door every five minutes because my mom wants to comment on how thinking that hard will give me wrinkles in my forehead or my dad just found his old tapes of the 700 Club and wants me to watch them with him. I tried hiding out at places in town like the library, while I tell them I'm doing charity work or tutoring or hanging out with friends, but it was too easy to get caught in town and have to come up with a reason for why I wanted an escape. Since I got my license last month and my dad got me a car I've been coming out here to get away from…everything."

He's not sure he gets that. But then again he doesn't really care. Except, she somehow feels a lot more real than she had just a minute ago. Before she was this untouchable teen royalty. Now, she was just another teenager with parental issues.

"Your turn," she prompts, finally looking at him again. She's glad to see that there's no smirk or smugness to him. She doesn't know him very well so she didn't know how he'd react. She worried he may just make fun of her, tell her she's being a stupid spoiled rich kid or something, and leave without following through with the deal.

He glances back to the bathroom. He doesn't know what's taking his sister so long, but he did check everything out so she should be okay. He knows he doesn't have much time left so he turns back to her and rushes through his reason. He dives right in, "My dad left seven years ago. Most of the time my mom handles everything really well. Takes care of me and my sister. But every once in a while she'll go through these periods where she drinks. A lot. They last anywhere from two weeks to about six, they're rough because she doesn't work during them and the last time she did it, last year, I had to use all of her savings to get us through it. She's about a week into one of those times now, we don't have any savings anymore. I got a job last week, supposed to start today- the Burger King, at the mall. But I can't leave my little sister at home where she'd either be alone or with my wasted mom. And I can't afford a babysitter. She doesn't really have many friends and I can't dump her on any of their parents anyway. So I'm trying to get her out to Beaverdam, my grandma lives out there right off of the Dixie Highway. If she doesn't finish in the bathroom soon though I'm probably going to be fired before I even start. I'm supposed to be at work at five."

"But the mall's on the south side of town," she points out because he's heading north for about twenty more miles and it's after four and he actually expects to get back to town and then across it in forty or so minutes? That's impossible.

"I know," he says defeated. He's just about accepted the fact that he's going to lose this job and he's almost ready to just head home and start looking for a new one. But if he could make it, they could really use money as soon as possible. He had to sell his Playstation to get them through last week and next he'd have to sell his guitar, which he really doesn't want to.

The words leave her mouth before she can stop herself, "I'll watch her."

"What?" he asks, because he's sure he had to hear wrong. Quinn Fabray did not just hear his pathetic life story and offer to help. That'd be like alternate universe weird.

Thank God she's good at thinking on her feet and that she's smart. She easily explains, "I babysit all the time. I'm good at it. Plus if I watched her here, if she didn't mind, you'd make it to work on time no problem."

It feels like this is out of pity and he hates pity. He responds, "Look if this is you being all charitable in some 'What would Jesus do?' moment, you don't need to. We'll be fine. I can handle this."

"This isn't charity exactly," she explains, her eyes narrowing because she wants to make sure she puts this simply enough that he can understand that her offer isn't about him (wouldn't want a guy like him to get that kind of idea). She continues, "I could use a legitimate reason to spend even more time out of my house and it'd be even better if I wasn't lying to my parents. Plus volunteer work looks really good on college applications. In trade for my time I would naturally expect you to write a letter verifying that I performed volunteer services for you."

Well if there's something in it for her then it does sound much more believable that she's offering. He doesn't really know her that well, but he doesn't see it as realistic that she'd actually do something just out of the goodness of her heart. Now that he knows she'd expect something from him in return it feels less like charity too.

He glances at his watch again and realizes his sister has been in the bathroom for about ten minutes. "Hold on," he says to Quinn and jogs back to the small hall off of the room with the tables and knocks on the women's bathroom door. "Kelyn," he calls, "everything alright?"

"Yeah," she responds promptly, which relieves him greatly, "I'll be done in a minute."

A minute? She's killing him here. But he resists saying anything because it's his little sister and he just can't.

He's so going to lose this job though and they really need the money- even though the pay kind of sucks. He walks back to the table Quinn's at already begrudgingly accepting that he's going to have to do something he really doesn't want to because his family will be better off. She's working on homework or something again, but she looks up when he's standing at the end of her table again. He checks, "So you'd really watch her for free? And be willing to stay here until I get off at ten?"

Ten was a little later than she was expecting, but then again she had always looked for excuses to spend time out of the house and now that one had come up, she wasn't going to let it pass her by (even if she never thought she'd be doing any favors for Puck). "Yes," she answers to both questions.

He hates asking for help or accepting it when it's offered, but his situation has him backed into a corner and unfortunately this looks like the best way out. "Alright," he agrees, "if my sister is willing to stay here then you have a deal." He notices that Quinn isn't looking at him as he agrees though, she's looking behind him. He glances back and sees his sister standing at the other end of the small room waiting for him. Instead of walking by the four booths lining the wall, he cuts through the three tables in the middle to get to her quicker.

"Who's that?" his sister is fast to question, still looking at Quinn curiously.

The words he would typically describe Quinn with won't fly with his sister, especially if he's going to get her to agree to stay with her. It feels weird to say something verging on nice about her, but he forces himself to because the situation calls for it. "Quinn, I go to school with her," he answers, "and she's going to be here for a while tonight, just as long as I'm going to be at work actually and she offered to watch you. What do you think of that? Do you want to stay with her instead of stuffy, old grandma?"

He's not sure if Kelyn's listening to him because she's still looking at Quinn with a kind of wonderment. The idea that she's not listening gets validated when his sister doesn't respond to his question, instead commenting, "She's really pretty."

Pretty? Hot sure- that cheerleading uniform at their school does wonders for many fine females. He glances back to her because pretty was a word that threw him. And he sees it, her. How in the hell he missed it he's not sure. Usually he's on top of these things, noticing a girl, better than any guy he knows (and if this is lapse was cause by the pressures of responsibility then he hopes he never has any ever again). She's not in the cheer uniform. She's in a soft, blush pink sundress with some little white cardigan. Her hair is down. Her lips are pink. And her eyes meet his for a second as she glances up from her work. She's fucking gorgeous he realizes. And he has no idea how he just had a conversation with her because despite all his cockiness, right now she looks like the kind of girl who would make him nervous, who's so far out of his league it isn't even funny.

It's when her eyebrows wrinkle in confusion that he realizes he's just staring at her. Prompting him to turn back to his sister quickly. He doesn't have time to dwell on how un-smooth that was though, he really has to get going if he has any chance of making it to work. He asks his sister again, "So do you want to stay with her?" Again his sister doesn't respond, but she's not looking over at Quinn inquisitively anymore either. It feels like she's hesitating so he offers in way of persuasion, "I think you'll like hanging out with her. She's cool. And she's a cheerleader. Maybe she'll teach you something."

He isn't surprised when Kelyn's face lights up at the word cheerleader- he found her watching the Bring It On movies just about any time any of them were on TV. "Okay," she agrees happily.

He tries to ignore that he is officially going to accept help and from Quinn Fabray of all people. He has things to do, his family to save. He walks his sister back out to his truck so she can get her backpack and the stuff she brought to keep her busy. When they come back in the bar he tells her to wait a few tables away for a minute, he needs to talk to Quinn alone. He rushes through his instructions because he knows he's running short on time. He comes back to her table quickly and doesn't wait for her to look up from her homework before reaching into his pocket and putting an inhaler down on the table as he explains, "She was diagnosed with asthma about four months ago. She's never had an attack but if she ever does I'm not letting her be more than two feet from an inhaler. Don't take her anywhere in your car. Don't leave here. If something comes up and you need to get a hold of me I'll have my cell, she'll give you the number. Don't mention anything about my mom. She doesn't know about our mom's…issues and as far as I'm concerned she never will. You tell her, and you should know that I have absolutely no problem hitting a girl."

The list of rules is ever so slightly insulting (it's not like this is her first time watching a kid), but she can hear the protectiveness in his tone too (which makes him seem less like the jackass she thought he was). So she simply responds as politely as she can, "Any other rules?" She may have said "rules" more biting than she intended, but practiced bitchy habits are hard to break.

Is she getting an attitude with him? Seriously? After she offered to help him? What kind of psycho crap was that? But as his eyes narrow at her a piece of her ensemble becomes apparent that he missed while he was staring at her before. Her cross. This prompts him to add, "Yeah, don't try to convert her. If she tells me you talked to her about Jesus and adopting him as her personal savior or some crap then I'll-"

"Hit me?" she guesses, mocking clear in her tone. "What makes you so sure I wouldn't hit you back?" she questions antagonizing him.

He laughs. "Because it might make you break a nail, cheerleader," he says, actually managing to make calling her a cheerleader sound like an insult.

"As if taking you down would require enough effort that I'd break a nail," she retorts easily. She's not really sure why she's arguing with him. Normally she only fought with people when she had a reason like to validate her social status or because they were losers and deserved it. But with him there was just something about the way he talked to her, sort of like she was completely unimportant, that really got under her skin.

"Oh it'd require a lot of effort on your part. Have you seen these guns?" he questions and he's about to take of his jacket to show her as he continues to prove that she's delusional, but his sister interrupts.

"Noah," Kelyn calls, still in the spot he told her to stay in.

His head snaps to her immediately and he remembers what he's doing here.

"Noah?" he hears Quinn question.

He turns to her briefly and explains quickly, "Only my mom and my sister call me that. If you ever repeat it-"

"I know, I know, you'll beat me up," she says and it still sounds teasing.

He lets out a quiet growl of frustration because he doesn't have time to argue with her about that anymore. He turns back to his sister and calls, "Kelyn, come here." His sister comes quickly and he doesn't waste time introducing, "Kelyn this is Quinn, she's going to watch you for the next few hours here while I go to work."

Quinn had been caught off guard for a second by the introduction. Despite sort of knowing him for almost two years, she's sure she's never heard Puck say her name. It sounds really weird. But she breezes past it and puts on a warm smile as she says, "It's nice to meet you Kelyn."

"Hi," the girl responds a bit timidly.

Puck figures that's good enough for him to leave, especially since he only has thirty minutes to get to work now and it's all the way across town. He crouches down to her level and asks his sister, "You sure you're okay with this? Because if you don't want to stay here you don't have to. I'll take you home right now and I'll just find a different job."

"I'm good here," she assures with a smile.

He smiles at her because she's a really good kid, makes things easier. "Alright, give me a hug," he orders, but she's happy to comply. He releases her after a few seconds and promises, "I'll be back in a while, okay?"

"Okay," she agrees.

He stands up and waits for his sister to put her things on the opposite side of Quinn's booth and climb in. Once she does he gives a small nod to Quinn, because he's not good at saying things like "thank you." He heads for the door before something comes up that ruins this.

As Puck gets to the door, Kelyn, who's now standing on the booth and watching him go calls using a term of endearment that was just theirs, "Bye egghead."

"Bye buba," he calls back automatically just as he reaches the door.

It's only when he gets outside and back into his truck that he realizes that Quinn Fabray just heard his sister's nickname for him and just heard him call his sister by his affectionate term for her. Also, he just left his little sister- who had many embarrassing stories about him- with the head cheerleader of his school. He has a feeling he could regret this, but in twenty minutes he's being taught how to work a fryolator, wearing a paper hat, and suffering through these humiliations because his family needs him to. In that he's reminded that it doesn't matter what may happen as a result of this, as long as his family survives this latest dark period, that's all that matters.


Once Puck left, Quinn sat at the table simply smiling while trying to come up with something to say. She had babysat before, but usually for people from church and at the kids' houses where they were comfortable and she had a TV to park them in front of or board games to play with them.

Luckily Kelyn was curious enough about something to speak up, "Are you Noah's girlfriend?"

That's not the kind of start she was looking for, but at least it's something. "No," she denies honestly. The girl seems little puzzled by that so she continues and asks, "Why would you think that?"

She shrugs and answers, "You're pretty and Noah's girlfriends are always pretty."

"Oh. Thank you," Quinn stumbles through the polite response. She honestly didn't think Puck had girlfriends. Sure he'd even gone out with her closest friend Santana a few times and they'd go out for up to two weeks straight, but she'd never heard anyone put the label of "boyfriend" on him. This is all getting strange though and she figures it would probably just be best if she tries to forget who's little sister she's watching. She notices the backpack and other bag sitting on the other side of the booth by Kelyn and questions, "So what'd you bring to do?"

"Stupid homework," Kelyn answers with distaste.

At the answer Quinn can completely see Puck in his younger sister, and not in a good way. What kind of example is he setting for her? She supposes it's good that he at least made her bring her homework to do, but obviously he wasn't setting a good example about how to feel about it. She suggests brightly, "Well I have homework to do too. How about we both do our homework first so we don't have to worry about it later? We can make a list of what you have to do so you get to cross it out and know exactly what you have left." Kelyn doesn't seem so thrilled with the idea of having to do her homework at all. Quinn doesn't know how to fix that really, but she tries on a whim, "It's what I always do." She figured the chances of Kelyn looking up to her at all already and therefore wanting to copy here were slim, so she's really surprised when it works and the girl digs out her homework and starts making the list with her help.

Quinn starts to think this just may go okay.


Puck feels like he's surrounded by grease. He just changed out of the stupid uniform and he still feels like he's greasy, like he can taste grease, smell grease. The other people working didn't seem to feel the same affliction, but he figures it may just be a price of running the fryolator. It's not a good price, but he really likes that it's in the back where no one can see him. If he has to wear a paper hat he's at least not going to get caught in it.

He leaves work the minute the clock strikes ten. If there's anything he's supposed to stick around for like cleaning up or something, he doesn't stay long enough to find out. Screw it, he's only here until his mom gets over her depression again. He hasn't eaten since a short shift apparently left him without dinner break rights, but he doesn't stop to grab something. Instead, he heads straight for the bar to get his sister.

When he finally gets back to Foster's he's surprised to see a few trucks in the parking lot. He finds the owners of the other vehicles as soon as he enters, both of them hunched over a plate of food at the bar. The bar is brighter than it was during the day since the lights are on inside now and he's glad to see that it doesn't look completely shady. Seems pretty clean at least. He heads to the far back booth without hesitation. Quinn's reading a book and doesn't seem to notice him approaching. When he finally comes around the back of the booth to the seat he left his sister in he finds her spread out on the bench, asleep.

He doesn't know when it was that Quinn noticed he was there, but suddenly she's whispering to him, "She tried to hold out, wanted to be awake when you came to get her, but she fell asleep about twenty minutes ago."

He nods and takes his eyes off of his sister for the first time since he got there. He notices her bags, neatly packed and on the floor next to her side of the booth. He notices a plate of food on her side of the table, and one on Quinn's too. "Shit," he swears, "I forgot about food. How much do I owe you?"

"Nothing," she responds immediately. She already thought this through.

"Look, I don't want your charity and I don't need it," he retorts, anger bubbling up within him. Sometimes he hates the guy his life forces him to be. He spent the whole night hating that he needed help, hating that he had to leave his sister with someone he didn't really know, hating that he had to work a crap job because his mom wasn't sober enough to go to hers, and most of all, hating that he knew it all led back to his jackass dad leaving them. But he was the man of the house now so he'd deal with all the things he hated and he'd make sure they were all fine, it was his job. And if someone offered him one more handout because they felt sorry for him for having to take care of his family, he probably wasn't going to be able to hold back hitting something anymore.

For the first time ever, she's a little bit afraid of him. It's not that she actually thinks he'd hurt her, she doesn't, but there's something in his eyes during his somewhat hushed outburst, like he's so near to his breaking point. She's never really been one to give into feelings over a thought out plan though so she continues with what she had planned to tell him, "It's not charity. We split my dinner."

"Then tell me what it cost so I can pay you for half," he demands, getting more than a little frustrated.

She can see him getting closer to that dangerous breaking point, but she refuses to be intimidated by that. She's Quinn Fabray, and she will get what she wants (especially since it's actually a rather nice thing she's doing, she thinks). She retorts evenly, "No."

"No?" He questions. He has no idea what's so complicated about this. He wants to pay for his sister's dinner; she had to be out some money paying for her, why in the world wouldn't she let him? Plus, since when do people say no to him? That never happens.

"No," she repeats firmly, "I know money is an issue for you right now and it wouldn't be very Christian of me to expect you to pay, would it?" She can see he's ready to retort (probably pointing out how she doesn't usually have a problem not being very "Christian" at school in her Queen Bee persona), but she quickly adds, "So I will accept your money for what you owe me in a month, when things have hopefully turned around, and no sooner."

He had been ready to fight her on this, but he snaps his mouth shut. He hates that she's doing something nice for him (and being kind of bitchy about it- which is all kinds of confusing). He hates that she has a point. It would help out if he didn't have to pay right this minute and chances are that in a month his mom would be back at work and they'd have at least some money again, making it far less of a big deal that he pays her. He knows what he should do, but despite having to do lots of things he hasn't wanted to for the sake of his family, doing them doesn't get any easier. "Fine," he agrees tightly, "next month."

"Good," she agrees, pleased-with-herself smile in place as usual because she got what she wanted.

He starts to pick up his sister's bags, sling them over his shoulder, because they have to get out of here- his day is still far from over.

She's thrown for a moment by the fact that he's already preparing to leave. She doesn't know what she expected of him, but somehow it wasn't that. She see's her opportunity slipping away so she blurts out, "When are you working again?" He stops what he's doing, stands back up and looks at her like she has some kind of ulterior motive, like he's suspicious. She feels like she's misleading him in her intentions, which she definitely doesn't want to do so she explains, "The more volunteer hours the better. And she was wonderful, it's easy to volunteer for something good again. If you need it." She's not exactly sure why she's doing this. It's not for the volunteer hours, though that is a plus. It will get her out of her house again and she does like that. Normally she doesn't feel compelled to help other people, but there's something about this that has compelled her. She tries to write it off that Kelyn was a good kid, much nicer to be around than other's she's watched, and in doing this she'd be helping to keep the girl oblivious to the bad in her world- keeping her in the days of innocence she wishes she were still a part of (before she realized just how much her parents don't care about her).

He wants to decline the offer. It was hard enough to accept help from the Jesus-Loving Head Cheerleader already. But he has to work the rest of the week (except Friday, couldn't talk his boss into letting him have it) and for the same hours. Logically, he knows it'd be a lot easier to bring his sister somewhere that's only about fifteen minutes from work and home than all the way nearly an hour to his grandma's. Plus, she called his sister wonderful and damned if he doesn't have a soft spot for that. "Tomorrow, Wednesday, and Thursday, four-thirty?" he proposes.

That's a lot of time, but whenever she's at her house she doesn't usually want to be there so she figures she might as well take the opportunity. "Sure," she agrees.

He nods, because he can't muster up the appropriate gratitude just yet. He adjusts his sister's bags and makes sure they're secure on his shoulder before he leans over his sleeping sister and picks her up. She molds to him, resting her head on his shoulder and slipping back into slumber immediately. Getting a closer look at her when he went to pick her up, and given how peacefully she's sleeping, he knows that his sister must have been pretty well taken care of. For that he finds the push he needs to say genuinely, "Thanks." He turns his back and proceeds to leave because he still isn't comfortable enough with getting help and being grateful for it to stretch the moment any longer than absolutely necessary.

She knows that a thank you would be the polite response, but she doesn't expect it from him. Especially with his eyes so genuine. His eyes? Since when does she notice them? She shakes her head because that wasn't normal and kind of weird and she proceeds to pack up her things.

Tonight, neither of their nights turned out like they expected. Neither one of them knew whether that was a good thing or a bad one yet. But with the promise of tomorrow, they would continue to find out.

(Here's something you should know: Eventually, she'll be pregnant by him and she'll insist on writing that occurrence off as the result of wine coolers and "feeling fat" and he'll go along with it. But this by chance run-in harshly shoved them onto a path that ensured that nothing between them could ever be so simple.)

A/N: Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed the prologue and PLEASE REVIEW if you have the time.

Happy New Years Eve and New Years to everyone!