Characters/Pairings. Mike/Tina; implied Quinn/Artie and Puck/Rachel; with smudges of Finn/Santana and Matt/Brittany; with Kurt and Mercedes, of course!

Disclaimer: Glee © Fox


Freshly Squeezed

By sakuracherish814


The first time he sees her since school let out is, ironically, the very next day when he ran into her at the mall.

And it was definitely a sight he would not soon be forgetting. Or ever forget, really.

It wasn't that she looked bad. Quite the opposite, really. She was in a very summery outfit: all shades of yellow. It vaguely reminded him of the outfit she'd worn during the girls' "Halo" and "Walking on Sunshine" mash-up during their first semester, except her hair was slicked back in a yellow scrunchie, the dress was shorter and short-sleeved, and she wore yellow flip-flops.

(Not that he'd been paying that close attention to her. Honest.)

When she finally noticed him as well, she walked up to him and greeted him "good morning" but all he seemed capable of saying was, "I thought you were Goth."

And she'd just laughed because, apparently, even Goths don't wear black in the summer. Or maybe that was just a Tina thing.

He kind of hoped he could find out.


The second time he ran into her was only days after that, and (much to his dismay), he seemed to be even more tongue-tied than before.

He was at 7-11 grabbing some cherry-flavored fruit snacks for his pesky little brother after their dad couldn't take the whining, and she'd rounded the corner and into the aisle, inducing him into what could only politely be called a stare. She wore a halter top – baby blue – with matching flats and white shorts. Very short white shorts. As in almost Daisy Dukes status.

Only after prolonged throat-clearing, snapping her nail-polished finger nails in front of his eyes, and nudging his shoulder did she finally get a response from him.

"I didn't know you had such nice legs."

And they both pretty much turned as red as the fruit snacks.


Shortly after that, at the end of their first week off, he found out she liked fro yo.

He was always at Planet Fro Yo in the mornings because it was his uncle's place and, come on, who could say no to free fro yo for breakfast? He'd always go there, at least during the beginning of summer, so he was surprised he'd never seen her there before. Or, with a guilty realization, she must've been there – he just never paid attention to her.

She walked in with a jumpy little girl in tow, whom he guessed was her younger sister, looking down at her phone as they got into line.

That sparked an idea in his mind.

He whipped out his phone – iPhone, of course, 4G – and scrolled through the contacts until he reached hers.

(They'd exchanged numbers during their partnership for their ballad duet, and he kept it solely because she was in glee. Nothing else. Seriously!)

He texted her: 'Morning (:'

Then he looked up, and a minute or two later, he watched her face scrunch up in confusion as she received the text.

With a sort of dread, he realized that maybe she'd deleted his number, and now it made him sound like stalker.

However, a minute or two later, she replied.

'Morning, Mike. Um, I don't mean to sound rude or anything, but is there a reason why u r texting me?'

He chuckled silently at this.

'Ha ha. Boredom?'

'Oh, I see'

'I like your shirt, btw'

He looked back up at her, and as he guessed, she blinked in surprise.

But just as she was about to reply, her little sister tugged at her arm, and she leant down so she could whisper into her ear – whatever she'd said, it made Tina blush furiously in an instant. They "fought" (he had to go through the same thing with his brother when the little punk had stumbled upon him dancing) for a few short minutes until finally the sister relented, and Tina breathed a sigh of relief before finally replying. Then she slipped her phone into her back pocket as they reached the yogurt machines.

'Where r u?'

He contemplated replying back, but instead, he just watched her swirl the yogurt into hers and her sister's cups. They stalled a little bit with the toppings after her sister went a little overboard with the gummy bears, and he took this chance to put his phone into his back pocket and grab his half-eaten yogurt, rising from his chair.

As they reached the counter, about to pay, he stepped up beside her.

"Mike!" she breathed in surprise. "You scared me. What are you doing here?"

"Is this a friend of yours, Mike?" the cashier, a girl in her early 20s, asked with interest as she gestured to Tina.

"Yeah, can you put her on my tab?" he asked.

"I don't know," she hesitated. "Your uncle won't appreciate me handing out free yogurts."

"Tell him I told you, he won't mind," he insisted, knowing it was a good enough argument, but he threw in his signature puppy-dog look for good measure.

It worked. "Fine, fine," she agreed, wiping the price from the screen. Then, to Tina, she said, "You've got your work cut out for you with this one."

Mike abruptly grabbed Tina's elbow. "Bye Cat," he said, glaring at her as a smirk spread across her face, and dragged Tina with her little sister back to his table.

"Um, thank you," she said as they sat down.

He shrugged. "No problem. My uncle's the manager."

She made an "ahhh" sound as she spooned some yogurt into her mouth.

"Is he your boyfriend?" her little sister asked suddenly, and quite loudly as well.

Tina gulped down on her yogurt. Hard. "Nina!" she exclaimed, blushing furiously again.

He just laughed.


The very next day, she came in, alone this time, and looked around, spotting him at the same table. Instead of getting in line, she waved and walked over to him.

"Morning," she greeted. "Can I sit?" she asked, gesturing to the empty chair across from him.

"You don't want yogurt?" he asked.

She looked back at the forming line and shrugged. "I'm kind of not in the mood anymore. The line's long. Maybe later," she reasoned as she sat. They just sat there in silence for a moment, and she fidgeted. A lot. He recognized the way she used to fidget all the time while sitting in the choir room after school for glee and wondered, with a slight grin, if he was the one making her nervous.

"So… how are Finn and Matt and Puck?" she asked conversationally.

"Oh, good," he said. "I haven't seen much of them lately, though."

"Out with their girlfriends?"

"Yeah. Is it the same with you?"

She laughed and nodded. "They're always out with their boyfriends. Well, except Mercedes, but she's always with Kurt, so it's pretty much the same."

"No wonder why you came here to talk to me," he mused, and they both laughed.

"Probably," she shrugged. "It's hard not to feel happy for them, though, I mean, they're in love. What can you do?"

"Yeah, I guess," he agreed. "I mean, I've never seen Puck so… whipped by a girl before, if you know what I mean."

Tina nodded. "Rachel's a piece of work."

"And Matt and Brittany, there's no real surprise there."

"The surprise is Finn and Santana," she reminded. "I think it's really changed her, you know? The other day I ran into her in the mall and she actually stopped to talk to me."

"I'm surprised she hasn't eaten Finn alive," he joked, eliciting a larger laugh from her than he'd expected, and he'd come to realize she had the prettiest laugh.


Mornings became his favorite time of the day.

For the rest of that week, and the next week, Tina came by and instead of getting in line right away, they'd sit at what had become their table and talk for an hour or two until finally her parents called her back home for lunch. They weren't exactly the closest people in glee, and he knew the both of them were pretty shy, so he was surprised at how easy it was for them to talk.

Cat, of course, was a nuisance. At first, she'd just throw smirks at him while Tina wasn't looking.

Then those smirks escalated to her walking over to them during her mid-morning break and throwing jokes and innuendos.

But he knew that she must've said something to her uncle who, that Saturday morning, actually came in hours before he was supposed to. He claimed it was because he just felt too energetic that day, but when he instantly became interested in Tina, throwing her compliments left and right and joking with her like they were old pals, Mike really wanted to him to disappear.

Tina, however, remained polite during the whole experience, graciously accepting the random compliments and laughing at his jokes that made no sense at all.

That day had also been the first day they hung out outside of his uncle's Planet Fro Yo.

"Oh, look at the time, Tina," Mike said hastily, rising to his seat and tossing his yogurt into the trash can behind him before walking around the table and taking her arm. "It's almost noon, you're dad's going to want you back for lunch, right? Here, I'll walk you."

And he steered her out of the place before she, or Cat or his uncle, could utter a word.

As they slowed to a casual walking pace a few blocks over, she laughed. "Your uncle's charming."

"He's annoying," he corrected. "Sorry about that."

"Don't worry about it," she reassured. "Actually, my parents are going out to lunch with my grandparents, and they took my sister, so I don't have plans."

"Oh," he said. Well didn't he feel like an idiot? "Why didn't they take you?"

"I told them I was going out with friends."

"I thought you said you didn't…"

"Oh, I just told them that so they'd let me stay. My grandparents live two hours away, and they left in the morning, so…"

And, it wasn't until a blush crept on her face and she cleared her throat abruptly, looking away, did he realize she stayed to see him.

"So… in that case… do you want to… hang out?"

"Yeah, actually. I'd like that."


The next day, she didn't come into Planet Fro Yo, but instead, she sent him a text.

'U busy?'

His reply: 'No. y?'

'Can I call you real quick?'

'Sure'

Not a moment later, his phone rang, playing his "OMG" by Usher ringtone.

"Hello, Mike Chang speaking," he answered in his most secretary-like voice, which earned him a laugh.

"Morning," she greeted. "Sorry for the last-minute notice, but do you think maybe you could come to the mall with me? I was supposed to meet Rachel and Quinn here, but, of course, Puck and Artie will be with them, and I really don't want to bail on them, but I don't want to be a fifth wheel, so maybe if you were there with me—"

"I'm there," he interrupted, and he heard her sigh in relief on the other end. "What time?"

"12 sharp. Meet me in the food court?"

"Sure."


She waited for him, ironically, in front of Panda Express, which made him chuckle. Her hair was tied up again, and he couldn't help but find her cuter like this. (Not that she wasn't cute before. Or that he ever thought her as cute before. Or – you know, just forget it.) "Thanks for coming," she said as he walked up to her. "You saved me."

"Hey," he said, nudging her shoulder, "us Asians got to stick up together."

She laughed. "Right."

"So when are the others coming?"

"Now, probably. We're supposed to meet them in front of GameStop."

"Let me guess – Puck picked the meeting place?"

"Most likely."

He laughed, and then bowed, offering his arm. "Shall we?"

She beamed back at him. "We shall."


When they met the other four in front of GameStop, Tina hugged Rachel and Quinn, who instantly began catching her up on their summers, but she couldn't help but overhear Puck, Artie, and Mike behind them. Mike was pounding fists with them, and the usual "how's your summer been so far" started their conversation.

That is, until Puck pretty much bluntly asked, "So are you and Tina a thing now?", which brought a blush to her face which she was thankful Rachel and Quinn didn't seem to notice.

Mike laughed, but also didn't deny anything. "She asked me to come with her."

"Like a date?" Artie prompted.

Since her back was to them, she couldn't tell what silent gesture he'd made, but whatever it had been, it made Puck and Artie went "ahhh" simultaneously.

"So," Rachel spoke up, bringing the guys back into their conversation, "where shall we start?"

Puck looked into GameStop, then back at Rachel, and arched his eyebrows. She rolled her eyes. "Fine, but not too long."

Puck nearly ran in, but he stopped himself and looked to Artie; Artie looked at Quinn. Quinn sighed. "Go ahead." And the two were off.

This left Mike, who looked at Tina. "You could go, if you want to," she reassured.

He shrugged.

She stretched up on her toes and whispered, "This may be the only time you'll get to hang out with them as just the guys."

He grin spread across his face. "Good point," he said and waved before following them in.

"Since when were you and Mike a thing?" Quinn asked, a smile plastered on her face as she watched Mike leave.

"Oh, we're… we're not," she corrected.

But Quinn just said, "Uh-huh," in an unconvinced tone, exchanging knowing smiles with Rachel.


The rest of the day was spent walking the whole mall, twice. They stayed in stores they loved the longest, and only spent a few minutes in other stores browsing simply because they were bored. Puck and Rachel had their arms linked the entire time (except when the girls went into places like Forever21 and Charlotte Russe; though when they went into JCPenny to try on bathing suits, he looked like he wanted to burst into her changing stall and never leave). Quinn and Artie were holding hands pretty much the whole day.

To say this made it awkward for Mike and Tina, who just walked beside each other but never touching, would be a great understatement.

Other than that, Tina couldn't help but find the whole experience quite comfortable. She'd been stressed that maybe asking Mike to accompany her would not work out – in fact, she'd been terrified that asking him to come would've just made matters worse. But, as the day went on, and it quickly turned to afternoon, she couldn't help but notice how much she loved it.

They were all lounging around at one of those areas in the mall where they have couches and a table so you could rest.

Quinn was on Artie's lap, her legs draped over the side, the two of them talking softly to one another, and Rachel shared a couch with Puck, curled into his side as he held her.

Mike and Tina occupied the only other, which only sat two, so they were quite close, and the couch was so comfortable, she couldn't help but begin to feel sleepy.

Absently, she rested her head against his shoulder, her eyelids suddenly heavy.

She heard Rachel yawn, "Looks like she's nodding off, Mike."

"Looks like you're nodding off, Babe," Puck reminded, earning a sleepy laugh from his girlfriend.

But she couldn't hear anything else – just Mike's soft laugh which finally put her to sleep.


She woke up curled against something, a jacket on her shoulders that she hadn't worn earlier, and suddenly it was much darker.

Her eyes flickered open, and she realized she was in the parking lot, and she was in Mike's jeep (she saw a wallet-sized photo of him and his two brothers – one younger, one older – and their parents taped to the dashboard). Then she was faintly aware of the fact someone was talking.

Mike. He was on the phone, with Matt, it sounded like, though she couldn't be certain.

"Yeah. Well, I hope you and Brit have fun tonight," he was saying.

She heard the buzz of Matt's voice on the other end.

"Naw, man, I'm not one for threesomes," he joked, and they shared a laugh.

Matt was talking again.

"A date? Well, I…" There was a pause, and Tina immediately shut her eyes again, hoping he thought she was still asleep. "I'll get back to you on that."

Matt said something else, and then Mike replied, "'Kay, man; night," before ending the call.

It was silent for a few moments until finally Tina decided to "wake up" again. She shifted, groaning slightly as her eyes fluttered open, but as she looked around, she noticed that she was leaned across the passenger's seat and lying against Mike, both of her arms loosely wrapped around his. This instantly brought the blood rushing to her cheeks.

"Morning," he greeted with a chuckle.

"Morning," she replied back groggily. "Where are we?"

"Parking lot outside the mall. It's almost closing time," he answered.

"Did the others leave?"

"Yeah, about half an hour ago."

"Sorry. I didn't mean to fall asleep."

"Don't worry," he reassured. "You were light as a feather."

She'd been about to ask what he meant, but it dawned on her that she fell asleep while they were still in the mall.

Which meant that Mike must've had to carry her through the mall and out to his jeep.

She thanked God that it was dark enough to hide her blush, which was increasing with each passing second.

"I… I should get going," she said as she sat up, and Mike's jacket slid from her shoulders and onto her lap, making her shutter at the cold.

"Here, I'll give you a lift," he said, starting his jeep and reaching to turn up the heater. "And," he added, cutting her off before she could get her protest out, "I'm not letting you walk home along in the cold." But, as the warm air blasted from the fans, and she brought his jacket back over her shoulders, she smiled sleepily and leaned over, resting her head on his shoulder again. And as he reversed out of the parking spot, her hand found his free hand, and suddenly she was lacing their fingers together before she could register it.


"That boy seemed sweet," her mother commented the next morning at breakfast. Tina recalled the previous night: her falling back asleep as he drove her home, him insisting on walking her straight to the front door, her sister screaming from inside the house "Is that your boyfriend, sis?", her father suddenly there interrogating Mike.

"Yeah, he is," she agreed sleepily. "Very sweet."

"Are you two…" Her mother paused, trying to word her question correctly before deciding to just ask straight out. "Is he your boyfriend?"

Tina blinked. Sure, she figured the question was bound to come up, but she still hadn't thought of the answer.

"To be honest," she admitted, "I don't know what we are."

"Are you two friends, at least?"

Tina nodded. At least I would hope so, she added in her mind.

"Well, that's good then," her mother said, trying to sound helpful. "'Friends' is a good start."

"Not really helping, Mom."

"Sorry."

Tina sighed, instinctively checking her phone, only to be surprised she had an unread text.

From Mike. According to the time, it was sent last night, probably a little after he'd dropped her off.

'Morning :D (well, it will be when u read this) U up for some DDR at the arcade tom.?'

She chuckled at the text before replying.

'G'morning! (: U'll kick my ass, tho.'

His reply came a few minutes later: 'I'll play nice.'

She laughed.

'U kno that's not wat I meant.'

'Ha ha. I know (: It'll be fun. U know u want to.'

'Not as easy without ur puppy-dog eyes, huh?'

'Wud it work if I used em?'

'Probably. Alright, I'm in. (: Wat time?'

'Now?'

'I'm eating breakfast'

'Ok. In an hour?'

'Sounds good. See ya (:'

She slid her phone closed, and her mother arched an eyebrow at the grin that had plastered itself on her daughter's face, but said nothing.


She spotted him waiting outside the mall's arcade, leaning against the wall, hands in his pockets as he tapped his foot to the music coming from inside. She found herself smiling, perhaps a little too eagerly, as she picked up her pace, and was suddenly at his side. "Hey Mike," she greeted, before peering into the darkened arcade lit up by various games in session.

"Ready?" he asked, arching an eyebrow at her as he offered her his arm like he had yesterday.

"I'm no match for your skills," she reminded as she took his arm.

"You'll have fun, trust me," he said and – how dare he – he threw on his puppy-dog eyes.

She groaned. "Fine," she relented, and she glared at the way he grinned triumphantly as he steered her towards the DDR machine.

And when they got a standing ovation from their fellow arcade-goers at their amazing dance off DDR-style, the flush on her cheeks was solely because she was tired from trying to keep up with Mike's dance skills; it had nothing to do with the way Mike planted a kiss on her cheek when they stepped off.


When they were strolling around the park a few days later, Tina told him, "It's my grandparents' 50th anniversary next week."

"Oh, how awesome." And he'd meant it, too. Until she explained a moment later exactly what this meant. Then things were not so awesome.

"Our family is going down there for the week," she elaborated. "And all of my aunts and uncles and cousins."

He felt his heart sink a little. Okay, a lot.

"A week?"

"Well, five days, maybe? My parents aren't sure."

"Oh. Sounds fun," he offered, trying to sound happy for her.

She made a face. "I guess." She sighed. "I'll get bored eventually, though."

"Text me then. You know I won't be doing anything interesting." Not without you here went unspoken.

She beamed at him. "Aww. My hero."


It wasn't until two days later, when her family left for their mini-vacation away from home, did the truth settle in.

Crap – he missed her. A lot. And (according to her goodbye text) she left just two hours ago. He misses her more than should be healthy.


She sat there, trying to drown out the sound of some Barbie DVD playing on her sister's portable DVD player, and the oldies Chinese music her parents insisted on listening to, and even her own music that blasted in her ears via earphones. If she was too distracted for her music, there was a serious problem. And she knew what – or who – it was.

She missed him. After two hours she missed him because she knows it's going to be a whole week until she sees him next.


The next day he's over at Finn's house owning them at Halo 3 (but what else is new?). It's the four of them, and the picture is somewhat what it used to be. Him, Finn, Matt, and Puck on the couch, cursing at each other and at the game, except now Artie was part of the picture, too, with his wheelchair right beside them, curses streaming from his mouth almost as badly as Puck. Brittany and Quinn sat on the second couch, oblivious to the screaming as they conversed, as did Santana with Rachel (Tina was right, Santana did change), as if this was totally normal.

But, even as he was declared the winner for the fifth time in a row, nothing feels nostalgic or comfortable as it seems to be with everyone else.

He feels his phone vibrate in his back pocket, and as soon as he sees Tina's name on the caller ID, he's tossing Artie his control, telling him to take his place for now, he has a call.

As soon as he gets into Finn's kitchen, he picks up. "Mike?" Tina asks rather eagerly from the other end.

"Hey, Tina." He's relieved to hear her voice, probably more than necessary, but he doesn't care. "It's only been a day. Bored already?"

"My aunt just got here and, oh God, they're singing karaoke downstairs, do you hear that?"

Yeah, he did, and it had him bursting into laughter.

"Where are you?"

"The guest bedroom. I have the door locked. Do you have time to talk? I really don't want to go back down."

He craned his head, looking back into the living room at the others, before sliding himself onto the chair at the kitchen table.

"I'm all yours."

He doesn't leave the kitchen until 3 hours later.


Was it wrong to miss someone so much after only getting to really know them for only a little over a month?

If that's the case, then Mike was really, really screwed.

Damn.


She doesn't text or call him for two days, and to say he was bummed out would be a big fat lie. He was crap.

But when she finally texted him, it was a text that took three whole messages to complete, telling him that she left her phone at a restaurant and they had to spend the whole day tracking it down because someone had picked it up, and her parents took it away from her for causing such trouble, until they relented the next day and returned it to her.

And, frankly, while it was good to know she wasn't avoiding him or anything, he couldn't have cared less because now they were texting again.

For an hour, which turned into hours, which turned into all night until finally, somewhere around 3 in the morning, they both crashed.


"You're in love, man," Puck told him the next day.

"I'm not," he lied, but hell, the whole world knew he was.

Puck laughed. "Please. I'm an expert in that department," he reminds, looking back down at his phone as, conveniently, he receives a text from Rachel. "You'll eventually find that one person where you'll spend every single day for the rest of your life being whipped because, hell, she's just worth it."

A moment of silence passed until finally, "Let me guess. It's Tina," comes from Puck's mouth.

"No," he shot out a little too quickly.

But, his phone vibrates on the table, it's a text from Tina, and that smirk never leaves Puck's face for the rest of lunch.


Finally – finally – she returns six days after she left, and the moment her bags are tossed onto her bed, she calls up Mike.

He picks up after the first ring (something that puts a smile on her face every time). "This is Mike Chang speaking," he said in his thickest Chinese accent.

She laughs, plopping herself onto her bed. "I'm back."

A pause. "Huh?"

"We just got home. Literally."

Another pause. Then, "Sweet. So you busy?"

"I have to unpack first and then, knowing me, I'll need a nap."

He laughed. "Okay. Meet me at the park at, hmm… 6-ish? We'll drive down to the beach."

"Of course," she said. "Sounds great."

"Awesome. It's a date."


"It's not a date," she insisted later during a three-way with Mercedes and Rachel over the phone.

"Girl, it'll be the two of you down at the beach for the entire afternoon," Mercedes reminded. "If that doesn't scream date, I don't know what does!"

"Mercedes has got a point," Rachel agreed. "Noah has taken me down to that beach and serenaded me with his guitar numerous times."

"Well, that's different." Which she knows it's not. But it wasn't until later when she found herself putting on one of her best summer outfits, and then singing along with him as they blasted Paramore in his jeep, and then walking alongside him on the sand as he picked up a pretty shell and handed it to her did she realize that, yeah, it kind of was a date.


She's over at his house the next night (which her parents don't know too much about – Mercedes told her to say that the two of them were over at Rachel's house; her dad's were gone for the weekend, and no one ever really second-guessed Rachel because she never gave them a chance to speak if they questioned her). His parents were gone with his little brother in tow to spend the night at their cousin's, and his older brother was out at another party, not due to return until that morning.

As they are prepping themselves for movie night – blankets, check; popcorn, check; phones on silent, check – Tina picks a random DVD and pops it in. Sound of Music.

"Why do you have this movie, exactly?" she questioned as Julie Andrews began running across the screen, reminding her very much of Rachel as she merrily belted the notes.

"Mom's a sucker for it," he answered.

But neither of them pays much attention to the movie.

When it reaches the part where Georg von Trapp declares his love for Maria at the gazebo, Mike and Tina's eyes are on each other, and as the song reaches the climax, his lips are on hers. And she's parting them for him, and her hands place themselves on either sides of his face, deepening the kiss, and neither of them remembers how to stop.


The next morning, she's gone, with a text on his phone saying: 'I'm so sorry about last nite. I just couldn't help myself. I'm so sorry.'

He doesn't know what it's like to have your heart broken, or even stabbed at, but as he sits himself up on the couch, the TV and DVD player turned off (most likely her doing), her warmth gone, he has a strong feeling that his heart is never going to beat properly ever again.


God, she was such a coward.

She sat on her bed, hunched over with her arms wrapped around her knees and her hair covering her face as she cried and cried and cried. Mercedes sat on her left, an arm around her shoulder, stroking her arm reassuringly, while Rachel was on her right, occasionally playing with her hair (because they knew, after some serious girl talk one night, that this calms Tina down).

"Why did you run?" Mercedes asked her softly, squeezing her slightly as her sobs started to subside.

"I don't know," she said, voice raspy from crying. "I just… after Artie, I couldn't…"

She whimpered again, fresh tears streaking her face, and cried into Rachel's shoulder.

Rachel patted her softly, Mercedes rubbed circles on her back, and the two of them locked gazes, both seeming to know what they would need to do.


"Babe, we're dudes," Puck reminded for what must've been the hundredth time since this intervention started.

She rolled her eyes, crossing her arms over her shoulder and glaring at Puck, Finn, Matt, and Artie as they sat before her on her couch.

"And why, for the hundredth time, does this make you all seem perfectly incapable of doing me this favor and talking to your heartbroken best friend? Do you like seeing Mike in a depression?" she asked impatiently, tapping her foot now. As one of her dads entered the living room with a tray of iced tea, she shot him a look, and he retreated back into the kitchen.

"Rach, it's not that," Finn insisted. "We're all worried about Mike. It's just that guys aren't exactly great with that kind of talking."

"Apparently."

"Give the guy some time," Artie suggested.

"It'll only make his melancholy increase drastically to the point of no return!" she exclaimed, adding, "And no, Noah, I am not being too dramatic!"

"Wait," Matt interrupted, "maybe it would help if we knew why Tina left him."

"Well, according to what Kurt told me they got out of her," she said, "it's because she's trying to keep certain distance from herself and others, or at least others she may be romantically interested in. She's been through a rough break up and it's probably just a method of protecting herself."

When a guilty look crossed Artie's face, Finn patted his shoulder softly.

"So she's afraid if she gets too close to Mike she'll just end up being hurt again?" Puck guessed.

Rachel nodded.

"Where is Tina?" Matt asked.

"Upstairs. In my room with Kurt, Mercedes, Brittany, Santana, and Quinn."

"Our girlfriends have been up there this entire time?"

"Not the point, Finn!"

But at that moment, someone knocked on the door, and Rachel's eyebrows furrowed before she went to answer it.

"Mike?"

The room was dead silent for a minute.

"Hey, Rach," he said weakly.

"What are you doing here?" she asked as Puck, Finn, and Matt stood from the couch.

"Tina's parents told me she was over here," he explained.

"She is," Rachel confirmed. "Did you want to…"

But her voice trailed off as she noticed Mike staring over her shoulder, and she turned around to see Tina standing on the bottom step of the staircase, staring straight back at Mike. Kurt and the other girls were a few steps behind her, and everyone's eyes darted from her to Mike and back to her, another beat of dead silence passing through.

Tina was the first to speak. "How did you find me here?"

He seemed to flinch slightly at how coarse her voice was from crying. "Your parents told me you were here."

"You called my parents?"

"I went to your house first."

"Oh."

Rachel pulled Mike in gently, silently closing the front door behind him, before crossing the room to stand at Puck's side.

Mike looked around the room, suddenly aware of everyone else, before his eyes returned to Tina.

"Tina, I," he began, before stopping himself short and taking a deep breath. He tried again, a bit more confident this time, but his voice was still barely above a whisper. "Tina, I'm sorry for whatever it was I did. I should have paid more attention, and I'm sorry."

He walked up to her, and he looked like he wanted to reach out and hug her, but was afraid to, as if he was afraid she was going to shatter if he did.

"We can take things slow, I don't mind," he continued. "Tina, I just want you, and whatever happens I'll be able to—"

But she grasped his shirt, pulling him forward as she stretched up on her toes, their lips meeting in the middle. There was a collective sigh around the room from their audience that neither seemed to hear. Like a few nights ago, Tina placed her hands on either side of his face and deepened the kiss, which he returned with equal fervor. All the girls and Kurt got watery-eyed like they'd reached the climactic happy ending scene of a romantic chick-flick, while the boys smiled proudly at Mike.

Eventually, when Puck cleared his throat and said, "Um, we're still here"—earning him a slap by Rachel—Mike and Tina broke apart and laughed, breathless.


As the day wound down, they were all over at her house, her parents gone with her sister in tow to pay a surprise visit to her aunt.

The others were in the living room – Matt and Brittany sat on one side of the couch, Brittany in Matt's lap, while Kurt and Mercedes occupied the rest; Artie had his wheelchair beside Kurt, who sat at the other end of the couch, with Quinn nestled on his lap as usual; Puck and Rachel occupied the loveseat, Rachel sitting at the end with Puck stretched out over the rest, his head in her lap; Finn and Santana sat on the carpeted floor, Finn's back against one of the loveseat's arms, his arms wrapped around Santana as she sat curled into his side, her head on his shoulder.

As they were chatting outside, Tina stood at the island in the middle of her kitchen, stirring freshly squeezed lemon juice, sugar, water, and ice in a pitcher.

Mike stood beside her, dumping the wrenched-out lemons into the trash.

He pecked her cheek, which made her pause and peck him back, only this one landed on his lips.

"I love you," he said.

"I love you more."

"Liar."

They both looked at each other, smiles stretching across their face as the same thought seems to pass between them.

"Best summer ever."


A/n.

Not much to say; this was written randomly because I just can't get enough of these two!

(Sorry for any overlooked errors. Just notify me and I'll fix it ASAP.)

So you read it. Love it? Hate it? Please review it!