A/N: Sorry again for the late update everyone. It's been busy busy busy this month, with finals just around the corner. I made this chapter a little longer than usual to make up for it, though. This is my first time to write the glee-clubbers as an ensemble, so I'm praying that I did this right.
So anyways, I'm sure that you guys have seen the sneak preview of dentist dude by now. The scene was just way awkward in my opinion and so far, I'm still okay with Carl. They were cute in a way, I'd give them that, but I don't see in them the same phenomenal chemistry that wemma has. I just can't wait to see their love triangle unfold. Come on, Tuesday! Get here faster!
Oh, and thanks to the awesome 4cherryblossoms for beta-ing…again. Haha. But seriously, you've been a great help. :))
When Will and Howell arrived at the choir room, the glee kids had already settled down, chatting animatedly among themselves as they waited for their practice to begin. Noting his presence, the chatter gradually died down until all that could be heard were the two adult's footfalls.
"Hey guys. Sorry I'm late. I had some, uh, business to take care of," Will told them as they made their way towards the center of the room.
"Mister Schue, there's a beakless penguin behind you," Brittany warned him, her finger pointing at Howell who was trailing behind.
Will's brows furrowed as he thought about why she referred to the dentist as such. After taking a good look at the guy, he concluded that it must have been because of his white coat and black undershirt get-up, which could indeed remind someone of a penguin- one whose colors have been inverted anyway. "I'm positive that the figure beside me is no Arctic creature Brittany. Say hello to Doctor Howell everyone! He may not look like it, but he's one of our biggest fans," he said eagerly, gesturing towards Howell who made a small wave. Unfortunately for him, the kids weren't as eager as he expected them to be.
"We actually have fans?" Santana quipped, eyeing the dentist derisively.
"Only fifteen people liked our fan page on Facebook. The twelve of us, Mister Schue, Miss P and Jacob Ben Israel with multiple accounts," Kurt said, providing evidence to back up the cheerleader's sardonic tone.
"The anti-glee page has like, 1076 likes," Tina added for comparison.
"It's 2011 likes as of lunch time. I checked it on my phone earlier," Artie was quick to correct her.
Everyone's eyes turned towards Brittany when she raised her hand. "I like chickens and frozen yogurt," she said flatly. They stared at her for a moment before they turned their attention back to Howell.
"Everything they said, it's true," Puck broke the awkward air.
"Are you another spy for Vocal Adrenaline?" Quinn asked, obviously referring to Jesse who was not around that day.
Aside from earning a dirty look from Rachel, Quinn's remark also sparked an exchange of theories among the glee kids. Ideas were thrown back and forth in hushed voices that were too soft to be heard by the two adults, who could do nothing but look as the kids expressed their sentiments. A semblance of order was regained when Rachel stood up and took a few steps forward.
"While everybody else is busy absorbing their shock, I'd like to welcome you here in behalf of all the members of the McKinley High glee club Doctor Howell. It's good to know that there are still people out there who can appreciate genuine talent such as ours," she began, shooting a disapproving look to no one in particular before offering her warmest smile and a firm handshake to the dentist. Quinn and Santana rolled their eyes as she went back to her seat, while Kurt and Mercedes exchanged glances.
"Yeah. Sorry about that Doctor Howell. I guess we're just not used to, you know, having fans who aren't related to us and all," Finn reasoned, to which Matt and Mike nodded in agreement.
"It's all right, uhm-"
"Rachel. I'm Rachel Berry," she cut him off, knowing exactly where he was going. She then looked at Finn, prompting him wordlessly to introduce himself as well. Unfortunately, he didn't get the message - "What, is there something on my face?" – and Rachel had no choice but to get a little physical.
"I'm Finn," he blurted out after Rachel nudged him rather sharply in the ribs with her elbow.
"Ok then, thank you Finn, Rachel, and everybody else. I'm really sorry for dropping in like this so suddenly, but I simply can't pass up the chance to see my favorite musical act up close," Howell explained to them. By now, the group's doubts had more or less disappeared.
"Hold up, you're Doctor Howell right?" Mercedes clarified.
He glanced at the name sewn in dark blue letters on his lab coat. "That's what it says here," he replied, grinning.
"Would you happen to be Doctor Carl Howell?"
"Why yes, I am." He studied the teenager's face more closely. "Are you an old patient of mine or something? You seem oddly familiar."
"No, but I think we might've seen each other before. I'm Doctor Jones' daughter," Mercedes gladly informed him.
"Mercedes?" he asked, hoping that the name that had popped up in his mind was correct.
"That'd be the name, doc. My dad always mentions your name whenever he talks about work," she told him, much to his delight.
"Pete never told me that you're all grown up already. Last time I saw you was during your seventh birthday, I think." Howell flashed her one of his impeccable smiles. "Glad that I've finally been able to see you again after all those years."
"Me too doc," Mercedes agreed, returning the gesture.
"Ok, now that we're all settled, how about a little song number from our special guest today?" Will started the session with a request, causing the glee kids to start chanting.
"I'd really rather not," Howell politely declined.
"Come on doc. Show us what you've got," Will insisted.
"This wasn't part of the deal, Will," Howell reminded him jokingly, to which he only responded with a laugh.
The chanting grew louder. "Sing! Sing!"
"All right, all right!" He finally gave in. "But don't blame me if your ears start bleeding."
He walked over to the piano, where Brad was in his usual position by the bench. "Do I even need to mention what I want to sing?"
The pianist smiled, nodding knowingly before giving a signal to the other musicians. It didn't take long before a familiar tune began to fill the room.
When I was younger, just a bad little kid,
My mama noticed funny things I did,
Like shootin' puppies with a B B gun
I'd poison guppies, and when I was done
I'd find a pussycat and bash in its head
That's when my mama said
Howell walked towards the kids, who gamely sang the next line of lyrics. They leaned their bodies forward, their faces marked with mock distress. What did she say?
He answered their question in his signature baritone.
She said, "My boy, I think someday
You'll find a way
To make your natural tendencies pay
You'll be a dentist
You have a talent for causin' things pain
Son, be a dentist
People will pay you to be inhumane
Your temperament's wrong for the priesthood
And teaching would suit you still less
Son, be a dentist
You'll be a success
He motioned for them to stand up, which they quickly did, with the exception of Kurt and Artie, the latter of which was wheeled by Tina towards the rest of the group who had formed a semi-circle around the dentist. Kurt chose to stay in his seat in the back, his legs crossed and his expression unimpressed as he watched his fellow glee-clubbers sing the next few lines.
Here he is, folks the leader of the plaque! Rachel exclaimed.
Watch him suck up that gas, Quinn belted.
Oh, my god! Brittany cried out.
He's a dentist and he'll never ever be any good, Finn crooned.
Who wants their teeth done by the Marquis de Sade? Artie asked.
Howell sauntered towards Kurt, who remained glued to his seat. Undaunted by his seeming lack of interest, he placed a hand on his shoulder, much to Kurt's disapproval. Puck threw in Howell's direction two pens he got from a container on top of the piano. He caught it effortlessly. He pretended that it was a dental clamp, making jerking motions as though he were pulling a tooth from Kurt's frowning mouth.
Oh that hurts! I'm not numb, Kurt mumbled after heaving a sigh. He had no choice but to go along.
Oh, shut up. Open wide. here I come! I am your dentist. Howell shook his head, raising the object in his hand as high as he could. The metallic casing of the pens glistened as the light overhead bounced against it.
Goodness gracious, Kurt went along.
And I enjoy the career that I picked, Howell continued.
Really love it, Mercedes, Rachel and Santana chorused.
Howell pointed to himself. I am your dentist.
Fitting braces, Kurt continued.
And I get off on the pain I inflict, Howell carried on with his part.
Really love it, Matt, Mike and Tina sang.
Howell pretended that the pens he still held were now a drill instead of a dental clamp. Seeing this, Will and some of the kids made drilling noises to accompany his motions. I thrill when I drill a bicuspid.
Bicuspid, Finn, Artie and Puck repeated.
It's swell though they tell me I'm maladjusted
And though it may cause my patients distress,
Somewhere, somewhere in heaven above me
I know, I know, that my mama's proud of me
'Cause I'm a dentist and a success
Ah, Kurt said flatly.
Howell's voice grew a little louder. Say ah!
Ah, Kurt repeated in the same flat tone.
Say ah! Howell pressed, nearly screaming.
Ah! Kurt finally exclaimed in mock pain as the dentist pretended to have pulled out a tooth.
Heavy applause replaced the music once the last note was played. The guys wasted no time in giving Howell high-fives while the girls cheered him on. Even Kurt had to admit that he was good.
"Wow, that was amazing doc!" Will told him, clearly impressed.
Howell only smiled back, letting his perfect set of pearly whites do the talking. What was supposed to be time allotted for their practice ended up as a sort of mini-concert for their newly-discovered talent. When the session was over and all the kids had left, Howell did not waste time in letting Will know just how grateful he was.
"Have I told you how thankful I am?" Howell asked, smirking. He had taken a seat on the piano bench as he waited for the glee coach to finish up.
Will laughed. "Eight times. Nine if you count that one right there."
He watched Will as he straightened the edges of the sheet music that were intended to be used that day on the piano cover before proceeding towards one of the many shelves in the room.
"I always wanted to be part of a glee club," Howell admitted out of the blue.
"Weren't you?" Will asked, surprised. "But with that voice…," he then trailed off when he saw him shake his head from the corner of his eye.
"That isn't good enough," Howell finished for him. He took Will's lack of response as a prompt to explain. "We used to move a lot when I was a kid. I think I lived in every state at least once. Except Alaska, of course. Though you never know, maybe I just don't remember," he began, chuckling bitterly before continuing on. "So anyways, one time we were in Indiana. I was a high school freshman then, young and ambitious, ready to show the world what I have to offer. There was this new show choir group in our school, Aural Intensity-"
"We're competing against them in regionals," Will told him, cutting him off.
He nodded in acknowledgement. "I see. Well, I wanted to be part of that group. When I heard that auditions were being held, I wasted no time in readying myself. I practiced right after classes, before going to sleep, in the shower…anywhere I can. When the day came, I thought I did it. But no, I didn't. They told me I could be part of their internals department though. I ended up being their financial adviser." He paused for a second to catch his breath. "Did you know that I was the one who picked the name and motif of the group? I actually suggested oral and not aural. They thought that the wordplay was clever and a huge chunk of the budget ended up being used to pay for dental maintenance of the members. Before I moved here two years ago, I used to be their resident dentist." He paused once more as he noted the alarmed expression on Will's features. He knew exactly why he him such a look. "Don't worry Will. I assure you I'm no spy. I just, well, felt like sharing this for some reason I guess."
"No, no, it's okay. I'm actually glad that you trusted me enough to tell me all this." He went over to the piano and grabbed his bag. "To be honest, I never thought you were a spy doc."
He proceeded to the doorway, where he waited for Howell before locking the door to the room. "Ten times," Will said after the dentist expressed his gratitude yet again, earning from the fellow another bout of laughter.
While everyone in the choir room was having a grand time, the same cannot be said for Emma, who found herself at an Italian-themed restaurant downtown. The bistro was fairly new; in fact, it had its grand opening only two weeks earlier. She had always wanted to try out their already-famous spaghetti and meatballs- but definitely not with the Cheerios coach, who had just told her about their visit's real objective: assertiveness training.
"I don't think this is a very good idea, Sue," Emma differed, darting her gaze around nervously.
"That's what they said about the first airplane and look at what those naysayers' descendants are riding on their cross-continental flights to Timbuktu now," Sue told her, completely serious. "Go get 'em."
Emma gulped. There was just no arguing with Sue. It was either she did what she was ordered to do or her perfectly organized files get unsorted, or her office turns into a pigsty, or her tires get slashed... or whatever violent display of retaliation the woman would see fit. The first choice was clearly the best, no matter how much it was against her will. She swallowed again, clearing her throat of the lump that always surfaced whenever anxiety overwhelmed her. "Um, excuse me."
Upon hearing her call, one of the waiters quickly made his way over to their table. "What can I do for you ma'am?" he asked in a faux Italian accent.
"Too small," Emma mumbled.
"I'm sorry?" The waiter leaned a little closer.
"The serving. It's, uh, too small," Emma complained, gesturing towards the plate of spaghetti that the same waiter had brought onto their table minutes ago.
"That's the regular serving size ma'am. All meals served here in Caesar's Palace have a set serving size that I assure you is strictly followed by our staff," he explained simply, his words precise, as though this wasn't the first time he had said these words to someone. "If you have any more concerns, feel free to ask." Thinking that she was satisfied with his answer, he turned on his heel to attend to a newly-arrived customer. He was stopped in his tracks when Emma finally spoke up.
"Since when did regular equate to filling barely half the plate?" she challenged.
Panic instantly surfaced on the waiter's features. "I'm sorry ma'am, but can you keep your voice down? There are other people here with us today," he warned her, his forced politeness more visible than ever. "Look, I sincerely apologize if you find your order rather small but I am just a waiter and the serving size of food items is beyond my control. I can call our manager if you want."
Instead of calming her down, his statement only aggravated her more. Emma thought of herself as a person with high tolerance but even she had to admit that the guy's know-it-all air was getting on her nerves. "Oh, so you think you're better than me just because you're a man now don't you?" she asked him, standing up abruptly for effect. All eyes were drawn to the currently unfolding scene. The alarm on his face was priceless. "You men are all the same, acting all cool and smug and collected, thinking that sleeping and gallivanting with other women are as casual an act as breathing."
The latter part of her sentence confused the waiter. All he knew was that he needed to clarify himself before things got out of hand. "That's not what I-"
"Well let me tell you…," she interjected, pausing as she took a look at the nametag pinned on his chest. "…Veck. It's a free country damnit, and I'm free to say what I want, when I want. And right now, I want to complain about how we customers are being ripped off our hard-earned cash every time we step into this restaurant." She gestured towards the plate of spaghetti she had ordered. "Look at that. What do you see Veck?"
"Erm, spa-spaghetti?" Veck stammered.
"Wrong. What I see are lies, Veck. Lies!" She grabbed a menu from the table besides theirs, holding it up for everyone to see. "Does this look the same to you?" she asked, looking around as the people in the vicinity shook their heads either in answer or realization, she was not sure which. "You should know that I am not going to stand for this any longer. I'm through with consuming food items from an establishment that blatantly deceives its consumers. You have just lost yourself a customer. Arrivederci."
Emma slung her purse on her shoulders and hurriedly scurried out, with Sue trailing right behind her. Sue waved goodbye as they passed by the waiter, who had remained glued at his spot in front of their table since the beginning of the confrontation.
By the time they reached the parking lot, they noticed that the other customers had followed in their tracks. Judging by the number of people that had exited, it seemed that the restaurant would've been completely deserted by then. Guilt instantly tugged Emma' conscience. Sue, on the hand, couldn't be any happier. "Don't you just love the smell of fear and humiliation? Voltaire didn't see it coming," Sue said, giving her a pat on the back.
"It's Veck," Emma corrected.
"He can be Vanessa for all I care. Good job Ernie. Who'd expect that a fierce lioness thrived in that kitty-cat body of yours? I'm so proud of you I would cry…that is, if I hadn't gotten my tear ducts yanked out along with my ovaries." Sue leaned closer, her voice dropping low. "If you're lucky, this joint would be out of business in less than a week. Congratulations."
"Um, thanks. I think." Emma didn't know what else to say. She took her gaze back to the bistro to remove her feeling of awkwardness. This only caused her guilt to resurface. She was practically drowning in her thoughts about all the lives that she could have destroyed. She was brought back to her senses when she thought she heard Sue's engine roar. Turning around, she saw that the Cheerio's coach was already on her way out the parking lot. Acting on instinct, she tried to catch up with the speeding vehicle. This was no easy task, as her Mary Janes were clearly not made for running. "Wait up, Sue. Sue!" she called out as she ran, as though she could even hear her through that thick, bullet-proof glass.
The car stopped before reaching the road, giving Emma time to catch up. She caught her breath as the windows rolled down, revealing a very impatient looking Sue. "Thank God you stopped." Sue didn't say anything. She took this as a prompt to get in. She tried to open the back door but it was locked. She told her about it but she still got no response. "Wait. Aren't you going to give me a ride?" Sue shrugged. She then rolled her window back up and sped off into the road, leaving a very dazed Emma behind. "I guess not."
She stood there for a moment, watching Sue's car turn at the corner where it completely disappeared from sight. Not knowing what to do next, she looked around like a lost child who got separated from her parents. Her eyes were drawn to the grocery store on the other side of the road. Since she had nothing better to do, she decided to go inside. She was running low on peanut butter and grape juice, after all, so she saw no reason not to go.
A crisp air filled her lungs as she took her first steps inside the store; a crisp air that, she suddenly remembered, was also a microbe heaven. She froze at the thought of billions of disease-causing germs swimming all around her. She could've sworn that she saw one of those protozoans move behind a shelf of canned goods. Lucky for her, she regained her composure for some reason before she broke out into a heart attack. Her fear left as quickly as it came. She took this as a sign that her therapy was definitely working. The fact that she was able to hold the handle of the shopping basket without any form of protection for her immaculate hands was another indication of its success. It was only a partial victory, though, as she had the urge, which was most likely going to be heeded, to rub her hands with an insane amount of Purell.
Emma walked strategically from aisle to aisle just as she had always done, grabbing what she needed as she went along. The only exception was the dairy corner, which had not seen even her shadow since the incident. She was almost past the forbidden aisle when she thought she heard a very familiar voice coming from the area. She knew that she should just shrug it off and keep moving along, but her curiosity got the better of her. It was undeniable. That shrill pitch could only belong to one person.
"Hi, uh, April," she greeted her when their gazes met, pulling off the cheeriest smile she could muster while at the same time mentally berating herself about how this unwanted reunion that was about to happen could've been easily avoided if she followed what her gut was telling her.
So I here added two of the many things I want to see on the show this season- Carl singing The Dentist Song from Little Shop of Horrors and some kind of mention about Mercedes' dad and him being dentist buddies. For all you crack shippers out there, there's a hint of Cart (Carl/Kurt) here too. Lolol. Emma singing Touch-a had recently been crossed out from the list, so only a hundred more to go. Or was that a thousand? 8D
Also if you've noticed, I can't help but add another Paul Blart: Mall Cop reference. You just gotta love that movie. And Jayma, of course.
Did Carl's revelation change the way Will saw him? And what is April doing back in Ohio? Find out in the next chapter.
Review pretty please? :D