I tried to get it together, I really did. Since trying to hold back tears had never worked for me, I always gave myself 20 minutes to sob, just to get it completely out of my system. I set the alarm on my phone, and, once the time is up, I get up, making sure to take the time to both wash and moisturize my face, and face my problems head on. Once the pressure in my head had eased, the answer was usually pretty clear, even if it wasn't necessarily what I wanted it to be.
That wasn't what happened this time. I had already snoozed my alarm twice, and I still wasn't totally under control. I was a sniffly, red, drippy, disgusting mess and there was no way that I was going anywhere near a mirror in the foreseeable future.
Mercedes had been a bitch today. But was that any excuse for me to act like such a jerk? Granted, she had attacked me the minute I walked in the door, without even giving me a chance to defend myself.
Is that how we want to remember this? I'm cool with it if you are, but let's make sure that we're on the same page of delusion.
It wasn't a delusion! It was exactly what had happened. She invited me over, just so she could start bitching about how Finn was my favorite and I liked him best.
Except I guessed that that was wrong. Mercedes had invited me over to hang out. I was the one who had brought up her quitting the Cheerios. Granted, I hadn't done it with the intention of starting a fight, but I had to admit that I had started the ball rolling.
She had been the first one to start yelling, which was her fault, but I guess I could have done a lot better at not losing my temper and fighting back. Neither one of us was clean here, but she had certainly scored a few points.
But how was I supposed to know that she felt left out if she never told me? I wasn't a mind reader. If she wanted to spend time together, she could have called me just as easily as I could have called her. Right? Right?
Certainly. I can definitely agree that you're both a pair of bitches. That's what you're really asking me, right?
I guess so. But did Galinda have any actual suggestions, or did she just want to make me feel really bad about my behavior? Because I was doing a good enough job of that on my own, thank you.
My phone rang shrilly, and my heart leapt in my chest. Maybe it was Mercedes, wanting to apologize. If it was, 'I'm sorry' would be the first words out of my mouth. I could beg. I could even grovel if I had to. I breathlessly snatched at it. "Hello?"
"Hey, kiddo." Dad sounded confused at my over-enthusiastic greeting. "How are you doing?"
Overflowing with ennui, thanks for asking. I didn't say that though, since I knew he wouldn't get it. Dad tries, but the trials and tribulations of his highly strung son were a foreign country to him. He could visit, but he was in no position to actually do anything. So I perked myself up. "I'm fine. What's up?"
"We're swamped here, and Evan's talking about just ordering a pizza for dinner. I wanted to check in with you, just in case you had already started something."
Well this was fortuitous. "No, I haven't started anything. I….I fell asleep and I just woke up." Hopefully the lie would cover any strangeness in my voice, though I couldn't help but wish that he would notice how upset I was and at least ask what was wrong with me.
He didn't. "I should be home by 8, then. I love you."
"Me, too." I hadn't really expected him to ask, so I didn't sound as disappointed as I secretly felt.
Since lying here and pitying myself wasn't accomplishing anything, I sat up and rubbed at my face. First order of business, call Finn. Second order of business; get something for myself to eat. I had already left several messages for him, but he's never been very good at things like checking his messages.
Sure enough, this time he answered. "Hey, Kurt."
My father might not recognize false perky, but I do. "What's wrong, Cowboy? Why did you mother take you out early today?"
He made that cute little whuffing noise into the phone, and I just knew that he was waving his hand in the classic 'you know, no big deal' gesture. "Ah, just some stuff."
"What kind of stuff?" I knew that Finn hated being pushed, but if I didn't at least nudge him sometimes, he would never share half of what was going on in his head.
"Can we not talk about it right now?" There was nothing mean in his voice, just tired. "I kind of need a little time to just think it over myself."
"Of course. Just let me know when you're ready to talk."
"Ok. What's wrong with you? You sound like someone stomped your puppy, except you don't have a puppy. Did someone stomp on your clothes?" He was in full on problem-solving mode, something that never failed to lift my spirits.
"I got into a fight with Mercedes." Finn probably wouldn't be able to help me, but at least he could provide a sympathetic ear.
Sure enough, he made a sad little noise. "About what?"
"Apparently it was a bitch off, and neither one of us came out looking good." I tried to sound flip, but it didn't exactly work.
"But what where you actually fighting about? I'm pretty sure that it didn't start with a 'who's the biggest bitch' contest." He was quiet for a second, and I could just imagine the gears turning in his head. "Or did it?"
I wasn't sure how to tell him that we were fighting about him without making him feel like it was his fault. "No, it didn't. She doesn't feel like I spend any time with her anymore, which is kind of true. So I told her that if she wanted to spend time with me, she could have called and asked to do something, right?"
"Yeaaahhhh." He was doing that drawn out thing that meant he didn't exactly agree with me. Or possibly it meant that he was yawning.
I was on a roll, though, and I didn't want to have to stop to clarify things. "Then she tells me that she wants to quit the Cheerios! So suddenly it went from 'we never spend any time together' to 'I want to quit the one thing that we have left to do together. I don't get women at all!"
"So you're mad because Mercedes quit the Cheerios." Finn's voice was a little strange, and I wished that I could see his face to get a better idea of what was going on.
He also wasn't being as helpful as he probably thought he was. "No! Aren't you listening to me? I'm pissed off because of her sending me mixed signals."
"That's not what it sounds like. It sounds like you're pissed off because she quit the team on you."
"Well, I'm not. Mercedes can do whatever she thinks is best for her, I don't care. I'm pissed off because she just expects me to read her mind, then jumps me when I can't possibly do it. It's unfair to both of us." For some reason, Finn's questions were making me nervous.
"Oh." He sighed heavily. "Because it kind of sounds like you're pissed with her for quitting the Cheerios. Cause, you know, things aren't working out the way you wanted them to. It's ok to be pissed about that. It's not ok to act like a jerk about it, though. But maybe it's just me that it sounds like that to." It was like he thought he could just keep repeating himself until someone listened to him.
As far a Finn's speeches went, it was actually one of the longer ones. My boyfriend talks a lot, but a most of the time it's just teasing or vague repetitions of what's been said to him. It surprised me to find out that he had deep thoughts about things, since he almost never shared them. Mostly he just gave people his stupidest grin and said the first thing that popped into his head. I have no idea why he does that, but it's kind of sensitive subject with him, so I don't bring it up.
It was only then that I realized that I was pissed with Mercedes for quitting. I was willing to tough it out, and she had promised that she would do it with me, but now here I was, facing Coach Sylvester all by myself. Why was it that I was supposed to keep trying and never give up, but everyone around me could just crap out whenever they felt like it? "Maybe I'm kind of mad about that."
"I would be. A little. Did she say why she wanted to quit?" He was circling now, slowly zeroing in on the real problem.
And now we were at the part that made me look like a raving lunatic. "Coach told her that she had to lose 10 pounds before last weeks pep rally, and she didn't think she could. So I guess she wasn't eating enough and she passed out today in the cafeteria. She said that being on the Cheerios was dangerous for her health."
Finn blew another whuff of air into the phone, but it wasn't a happy whuff this time. It was the angry one, the one that was closer to a snort. By the way, I do know how strange it is that I can correctly interpret what is essentially a puff of air. "Fucking knew that this, screw it, how do I, bitch." The words were strangely distant and muffled, and I knew that he had pulled the phone away from his face so I wouldn't overhear him trying to sort out his private thoughts.
When he came back to the line, he was quiet, but it was a 'calm before the storm' sort of quiet. And when you're talking about Finn Hudson, that sort of calm is the most dangerous thing in the universe. Yes, he can be hurtful when he's screaming and out of control. Yes, he can even be violent if he happens to come across you right after he finds out that you been letting a little lie about paternity go around school. But when he's calm, he's in total control of himself. His focus becomes very sharp, and he can rationally think out the best way to hurt someone. Right now, I was hoping that I wasn't in his line of fire.
"What else did she say?" His voice was so tightly controlled that it trembled a little.
"Basically that I was an inconsiderate jerk, and if I wanted to make time for her, I would have, and it's my fault that she can't pick up a phone, and-"
"Not Mercedes. I don't care about her right now. I want to know what else Coach Sylvester said. Pacifically, what she said to you."
The word he wanted was 'specific', not 'pacific' but now was not the time to argue that point. "She told me to lose weight, too." He already knew this, why was he asking again?
"How much weight?"
"I already lost the 10, so just 5 more." Even as the words were coming out, I knew that they were a mistake.
"15 pounds. She told you to lose 15 pounds. Funny, that's the same amount she told Quinn to lose. Then it was five more. Then five more. She was never small enough to throw, no matter how tiny she got. She said it was too hard for the boys to throw her." His voice had risen a bit, which was good. If I could rev him up enough, he might abandon this line of questioning.
"Well, no one's going to be throwing me anywhere." At least I hoped not. Coach had looked at me earlier and made a few comments about fliers, which caused my stomach to do an uneasy flip. My athleticism was best observed from the ground, no fifteen feet in the air.
"That isn't what it's about, and you know it!" Now he was frustrated, which was another good sign. With Finn, frustration tended to turn rather quickly into temper snit and kicking things. "It doesn't matter if you won't be thrown anywhere, it will be something else. The issue is that you aren't good enough for her, and you never will be. No one will. Mercedes doesn't want to play her game, and I don't blame her."
Why was it that when it came to helping himself, Finn was like a freaking infant, but when I just wanted to do a little bitching, suddenly he was all wise and knowing? The fact that he was kind of…well…right didn't help matters either. I was used to being the smart one, and the capable one, and it was disorienting to say the least to have Finn take over that role. "So this is my fault."
"Maybe. Maybe not. Without the whole Cheerios, thing tell me what else happened. What you said and what she said." There was a rustling noise, and I knew that he was sprawling out on the bed, getting comfortable so I could have his full attention.
I wished that I could be there with him, to lay my head in that space in the crook of his neck that seemed to be made just for me. It was easer to talk about the hard stuff when I had him to be close to. "She said that all I ever want to do is spend time with you, and that I don't love her any more. But I do! She's my best friend and I love her with all my heart." Maybe Finn's newfound wisdom would work here.
"We do spend a lot of time together. Do I hog you? Because I don't mean to, I promise." Suddenly the wise old Finn was gone, leaving the disjointed teenage boy in his wake. "I don't want to make you not have friends or anything."
"It's not you." I wanted to be sure that he understood this, because it was the truth. Finn was the surface of what we were fighting about, but there were other, more worrisome, issues underneath. It was just easier for Mercedes to blame him because they weren't close, and it's always easier to blame the outsider for things. "It's me. I could have called her yesterday when you were shopping with Rachel, but I didn't. "
"Why not?" His breaths had become soft again, and I knew my chance for provoking him into a temper tantrum had passed. That was ok, though, since I was actually curious about his advice. Prada knew I wasn't doing very well under my own steam.
"I don't know." That wasn't the entire truth, though it was close. The entire truth was that I just hadn't thought of it. In retrospect, I probably could have used her advice, though, or at least a sympathetic ear to tell me that, no matter how badly I sucked at bottoming, Finn would still love me.
We didn't suck at bottoming. We did suck something, but that's another conversation entirely.
"Would it help if I told you that this is really normal? It sucks the root, and not in a good way, but it's normal. Trust me on this one. Puck and I have had the same fight about a million times." Some of his confidence was back.
It appreciated the gesture, but it was a little hard to believe that the hot and cold, bizarre, somewhat manipulative relationship that Finn and Puck shared bore even the slightest resemblance to what Mercedes and I had. Hard to believe, but I desperately wanted to. Because, no matter how much they hurt each other, and lied to each other, and hated each other's guts, Finn and Puck always seemed to be alright with each other in the end. I wanted that for Mercedes and I. "Really." I wanted it to sound questioning, but it came out bitchy. I hate it when I do that, but somehow the bitch voice has become the default emotion.
As usual, Finn ignored it. Quinn always claimed that he was too stupid to understand that the bitching was directed at him, but I knew he got it. He just made a conscious decision to ignore it. I could never decide if that was complete foolishness or absolute genius on his part. When he answered his voice was pleasant. "Really really."
"Explain yourself, please." I tempered my voice, though it wasn't nearly as pleasant as his had been. I wasn't sure I could make my voice as pleasant as his had been. Maybe it was something I should work on.
"She's jealous of you. You have a boyfriend and she doesn't. You have someone else that you call first, and hang out with all the time, and she doesn't come first to you any more. So she's jealous, and now she's sulking. Puck did the same thing when I got Quinn, and I did it when he first got Santana. That was before they were just having sex like monkeys. It sucks to think that you're second best, when you were first best just a little while before."
That…actually, it made sense. "You know Finn, you're incredibly intelligent sometimes."
"You think so?" There was that funny hitch in his voice again.
"I know so. How do I fix things?"
He was quiet for a long time, far longer then I felt the question asked for. Finally he spoke. "I'm not sure."
My heart dropped. I had been counting on Finn to help me out here, and get me out of the mess I was in, even though I was starting to realize that the mess was mostly my own fault. "But I thought you said you said you'd been through this with Puck!"
"Well, yeah, the jealousy part. That's not that big of a deal, because usually the newness of having a girlfriend wears off in a few months, and we had time for each other again. It helped." He took a deep breath, the sound audible even through the phone. "But you're kind of up shit creek, because you and Mercedes actually got into a big fight about it. Plus, Dude, it sounds like you were kind of mean to her."
"She was mean to me! Why am I the only one getting blamed here!" By the way, I was fully aware that I sounded like a pre-teen girl, something Finn was gracious enough not to bring up.
"I'm not only blaming you. She was mean, too. But you may need to go a little further then just apologizing. Luckily, I have lots of practice at this, so we should be able to work something out." He was back to sounding confident again.
That was good, because I didn't have much practice at apologizing. Dad and I never really did it for each other. I would scream and he would withdraw, and then, eventually, things would go back to normal between us without us ever really acknowledging what was wrong in the first place. I never had to apologize to friends or a boyfriend, because I never really had either. "Should I get her jewelry or flowers or something?" Those were all romantic things that girls liked, right?
"Yeah, I'm thinking that a little groveling might be in order. I'm good at that, too, so I can help you."
"I'm not doing it. There is no way I'm begging another person for forgiveness. I have my pride, Finn." There were times when all I had was my pride, and I couldn't give it up.
"Then she's not very important to you as a friend." I could just imagine Finn doing that funny shoulder jerk that he always did when he was making a point.
And he had certainly made a heavy one. I could have my pride at all costs, but only if I was willing to give up the most important person in the world to me, after Finn and Dad. "She is."
"Then apologize. The really nice thing about it is that, if you say it first, the other person almost always will forgive you back, even if they aren't really done being mad. I think they like hearing that you really, really, regret acting like a jerk. Or maybe they're just tired of fighting, too, and want the whole thing to be over."
I had to be sure. "So, if you were me, you would be the first to apologize? Even though we were both wrong?"
He thought about it for a few seconds, though I suspected that that was mostly for my benefit. Once Finn makes up his mind about something, he's pretty much set. "Yep, you first. Not because you're more wrong then her, but because I'm talking to you."
And we were back to Finn-speak, where most things failed to make sense. "Come again?"
Luckily, he's pretty good about knowing exactly what part of what he'd said confused you. "If I were talking to Mercedes, I would tall her to apologize first, just so I know someone is going to do it. Sometimes being right doesn't matter as much as you think it does."
I was coming to realize that. "I'll apologize tomorrow. It might be a good idea to let her cool off for at least the night."
"Yeah, that might help. When you do apologize, try getting on your knees. Chicks love that."
That was probably because the sight of 6'3 Finn on his knees was a lot funnier then tiny 5'8 me could ever be. "I love you Finn. I know I don't say it as much as I probably should, but I love you more then anything."
"I love you, too." No matter how many times he said it, the words never took on that robotic quality that meant he wasn't really paying attention to the words. It was a wonderful trait, and I hoped he never lost it.
I really had to go and start rehearsing my 'I'm sorry I was such an asshole' speech, but I had to try and help Finn out once more. "Are you sure that you don't want to talk about whatever's bothering you? I promise I won't treat you like I treated Mercedes…."
"I'm sure. Mom's taking me to the doctor tomorrow morning, so you don't need to pick me up. I should by back by third period, so I'll meet you at your locker."
Finn always met me at my locker after third. It was the time of day when I had the biggest risk of getting harassed by the hockey team, since they were getting out of practice then. His protectiveness was so precious.
Then the rest of what he had said sank in. Why was he going to the doctor? "Are you alright?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. It's just a check-up." There was a slight waver in his voice, so slight that I barely heard it.
Now I was officially worried. There was no way that Carole would deliberately schedule a doctor's appointment during the school day, especially a check-up. Not to mention I knew that he had had a physical at the beginning of the year. We all had to have one before we could participate in any extracurricular activities. So either something was wrong with him, or he wasn't going to the doctor at all. Either way, he was lying to me, and that thought scared me. Not so much because I thought that he was in any danger, but because I never wanted him to feel like he had to lie to make me happy.
He isn't. He already told you that he isn't ready to talk about it. You're pushing him, and he's trying so hard to not be rude to you. Back off, and I'm sure he'll tell you all about it in the morning.
"Ok. You have a good night, Cowboy, and I'll see you tomorrow."
"Bye, Kurt. Love you."
Once I had hung up the phone, I sat on the bed and practiced a few different apologies. Odd how two simple words could be so hard to say. And what exactly constituted groveling? Would I have to get down on my knees? I looked down at my white pants and shuddered. Hopefully not. Oh, maybe I could just call her! I had a suspicion that I would be better with over the phone groveling then face-to-face anyway.
Ok, I could do this. I mentally went over what I wanted to say a few times, just so I wouldn't panic and forget the words. Then I dialed with shaking hands. I just had to remember that I loved Mercedes, and she loved me, and we would get through this, no matter what.
Except she didn't pick up. That was weird, because I knew that she always babysat her sister on Thursday nights. Maybe her phone was off, though I had never known it to be in the past. It must be in the charger. I sent her a quick text, asking her to call me when her phone was fully charged. There, mission accomplished. All I had to do now was wait.
Which I did. I waited, and waited, and waited. There had been more then enough time for her to charge her phone, and there was still no reply. Where was she?
Do I really need to spell this out for you? She's home and her phone isn't in the charger. She's ignoring you. She specifically told you that she doesn't want to talk to you ever again, and I think she meant it. This is going to be a little harder then you think it will.
Yeah, I had kind of thought that that might be the case, even though I hadn't wanted to believe it. It had been less then two weeks ago when Coach was rolling her eyes and telling us that we needed to get a show on Bravo. And now it was over.
How was I supposed to apologize if she wouldn't even speak to me? Finn wasn't going to be much help here, since both Quinn and Rachel were much more the type to seek him out for a good scream-fest. If Mercedes just ignored me, then I was stuck.
Quit whining. So she isn't taking your calls, big deal. She can only avoid you for so long. If nothing else, she has to see you in Glee. Try getting a little creative; it may earn you some points.
Creative I could do. I was still upset about things, but at least now I had a goal in mind, which always made things easier. I picked up my lap-top and nodded to myself. Ok, how was I going to fix this?