Hello everyone, here's the new chapter. It's longer than the other and there's (finally !) Mike Chang in it :)
Hope you'll enjoy it.
And thanks to my beta-reader dax-fox.
Running into you
She runs until she can't breathe.
She runs until her whole body is aching. But for the first time it's not pain she's feeling. Her face must be flushed scarlet and she'd rather not think of the mess her hair must be in. But the adrenaline, still running through her veins, makes her feel so... free.
The speed, and the wind on her skin, even the way it hurt felt wonderful; it was like she was flying.
She can't have her perfect life back. Never. No matter what Mr Shue says.
She will never get her perfect family back. Never. No matter how hard her mom tries to make it work.
Let's not even talk about her reputation (And please don't mention her boyfriend).
She will never be a virgin again either. But there's something she can control. Something she can get back. Just like before, or even better; something so simple:
So she continues to run, every morning without fail. It helps her sleeps at night and even helps her to think more clearly. Or not to think as the case maybe, she's not sure. But it helps either way.
Each morning, she chooses one CD among the ones she stole from Jason's room, securely fixes the walkman into her jacket inner's pocket, and once she jams the headphones in her ears, it's on.
And she runs.
Leaving everything behind, she runs.
She doesn't know how long or how far she goes. She doesn't care. She just runs until her body hurts too much for her to keep going on. And it helps. Eminem's anger speaks to her own; although she does have to skip all the songs about his daughter. But it helps. She feels stronger. She still won't talk to Puck and she's keeping her interaction with her mom to the strict minimum.
But it helps. She's coping. This time it's true.
"Quinnie darling, Mr Shuester's here. He'd like to see you, if you're okay with it."
She nods. It's not the first time Mr Shue has stopped by her house since the whole regional thing, but it's the first time she has agreed to see him. She feels stronger now. Yes, she's stronger she tells herself, one last time before entering the living room and facing her Spanish teacher.
He doesn't do a good job at hiding his surprise but he also seems genuinely happy to see her.
"Hi Quinn. You seem..." Pale ? Messy ? Sick ? Ugly ? Fat ?
"..good", achieves Mr S with a smile.
She's better at hiding her surprise than he is. Once a Cheerio, always a lying manipulative bitch, right?
"Thanks", she even manages to utter, "Why are you here?"
"To...check on you. Your fellow glee clubbers have been worried, you know? All of them, we've been having summer glee club sessions. Not proper work though, no assignments or that kind of stuff. Just a gathering for the ones who didn't left. We sing and dance. It's all very casual. You should come. We would all be very happy if you did." She just looks down, not knowing what to say.
"Please, at least say you will think about it."
She smiles. "I'll think about it Mr Shue."
She's standing all alone in her bathroom in front of the giant mirror. She closes her eyes and takes a deep breath before letting the towel covering her nudity drop on the floor. It takes all her courage to have the guts to open her eyes. But she does it. Slowly she examines every inch of her body; she doesn't stop until she has spotted every ounce of fatness and every single stretch mark. Some part of her just wishes she could circle all of them in red so everybody could see just how ugly she is, but she pushes this crazy thought away and carries on her with her daily routine.
Today she left for her run a little earlier than usual. Its 6:30 and she's listening to Brain Damage from the Slim Shady LP. She goes out through the back door to be sure not to wake up her mom, and as sunlight falls on her skin she decides it's early enough for it to be safe to pass by the park. She generally refused to go there because it was too close to Puck's house and one of his favourite hanging out places to boot (and it also happens to be where he lost the big V to Santana). But today it feels like a good idea.
She's at the middle of the CD when she gets there, and at the first repeat she tries to raise the volume, when she suddenly runs into another early runner.
The impact's pretty violent. Her (Jason's) walkman falls on the grass while she falls on her ass a little further off, the headphones still wedged in her ears. However all of that isn't as violent as the shock she feels when she recognises the voice of the other runner.
"Gee Q, are you okay?" asks a very concerned Mike Chang. He offers her his arm, like a perfect gentleman, to help her get back on her feet; she accepts it gratefully trying not to fall and to focus on something to say. But the stupid wifebeater he's wearing isn't really helping her to concentrate. And she can't just stare at his arm without saying anything. It will be too embarrassing.
"I guess," she manages to answer still confused.
"Do you want to sit for a while maybe?" He asks, concern still clearly showing on his face, without releasing her hand.
She nods before remembering..."Wait! My Walkman!"
"Oh, go sit I'll get it for you, ok?" Before letting her go to the nearest bench he squeezes her hand and strangely, strangely, she finds it comforting. It just seems so natural, she wonders if he even realises what he just did.
Strangely she obeys, and goes to sit down like a good girl. She's way too confused about the fact that the first person who touches her in weeks is Mike Chang and that, strangely, she doesn't mind, to resist him.
"So what's your deal Quinn?" he says, sitting next to her.
She looks up to meet his eyes, and she knows she must look as confused as Brittanny when she's in algebra class (or to be honest, any class).
"What do you mean?" She asks, still feeling a tad bewildered.
"I mean what's your deal with the old school stuff? A walkman and a rap CD released before the 21st century. I would never have pictured you as an Eminem fan..."
She laughs, one of those irrepressible fits of laughter. She feels a little stupid, but more than that, she feels relieved. What was she so afraid of? Their conversation is just so...normal, light. Even his teasing is pleasant.
"Hey what's so funny Q?" he seems a little anxious that she might be mocking him.
"Nothing", she says with a bright smile. He smiles back, and it feels good.
"It's not mine actually; the walkman and everything. I stole it from Mercedes brother's room. It's my running music though. Please don't tell anyone."
"By anyone, I assume you mean our fellows glee clubbers, the ones you've made a point of avoiding since the beginning of the summer."
"Don't worry Queen, your secret's safe with me," he says with a little chivalrous bow that makes her burst into another amazingly gleeful fit of laughter. He used to call her Queen before; it was some kind of private nickname, joke or whatever. Most other people just thought he still had trouble speaking English, but she knew exactly what it meant. Or at least she thought so.
"So I guess you've been going to Shue's summer glee," she says after a while.
"Yes. Everybody misses you there. I missed you. There's no one to stop Rachel anymore, she's...worst than usual, can you even imagine that?"
"Not sure I want to. It sounds scary..."
"You have no idea." he says in a dramatic tone.
"You're not really making me want to come."
He shrugs. "That's ok. Right now I've got you all to myself anyway. Plus I know you're gonna come eventually. By the way, did you get our texts?"
"How could I not? You guys harassed me for weeks! I even got some from Rachel! Oh, and, do you have any idea how scary Brittany's spelling is?"
"Actually, yes, she tried to sext me once. It was even more awful than Rachel's personality."
"Ew!" They both start laughing again.
"Like you said. Anyway, did you get my texts?"
"Yes," she answers in a lower voice. "They were really sweet, even though I didn't read all of them. I'm sorry. I'm also sorry I didn't answer any of them."
"You didn't have to, Q," he says, putting a comforting hand on her shoulder. "Answer I mean. Don't be sorry, ok? Those texts were mostly to let you know you're not alone; that we're here for you."
Tears start welling in her eyes. It feels like she's been holding them back for such a long time that she can't do it any longer. Soon the familiar salty taste is there again, and before she can understand what's happening she's crying on Mike Chang's white tank top and holding him tight. She can feel his hands on her back, his fingers tracing circles on her shoulder-blades, his breathe on her neck and his voice whispering sweet things in her ear.
"It's gonna be ok, Queen. I'm here for you. Everything's gonna be ok. You've got the right to cry, don't hold back. You're gonna feel better afterwards. I'm here. It's ok."
She almost believes him, she most defiantly wants to. When she finally stops, he doesn't let her go right away. He keeps his arms around her a little longer, and she keeps resting her head on his torso and hiding her face in his (now wet) wifebeater.
"A little longer and I was gonna sing you Mocking Bird," he says gently, breaking the looks up at him in a way that makes him understand he just said something really stupid.
"What? It's an Eminem song; I thought it was your thing now?"
"I skip all the songs about his daughters," she explains, avoiding his eyes.
"I'm sorry Queen. So sorry..."
"Don't be. It's okay. I'm okay; just glad you didn't sing it." He smiles and it's contagious. Looking at his curled lips she realises just how close they are now. With a blush on her face, she gently removes herself from his embrace.
"Do you feel better?" he asks, genuinely concerned.
"I guess so," she nods.
"Do you want me to walk you home or something? You shouldn't run right now."
"I don't...don't really want to go home," she says in a voice which betrayed a little too much her sadness for her liking.
"It's ok. We can just stay here, or I can leave you alone if you want, or we could go see if something's already open in town and get a latte or whatever."
"The last one sounds like a plan"
They end up at the local fast-food restaurant. It was the only thing that opened this early in Lima. There's no pancakes or latte, so they both take milkshakes (she has to elbow him very hard so he gives up on his crazy idea to order a cheeseburger this early), and go sit in this practically desolate place.
"So why were you running so early?" she asks between two sips of her drink.
"Well, now that Kurt has left us I'm the skinniest guy on the football team again. Figured, I would work on it during the holiday. Plus I actually like to run."
"Are you stupid? You're super fine like you are. Please don't become like Karofsky or something." He laughs, and she can't help but blush a little at what she just said.
"Thanks, Q. Don't worry, even if I tried to, I would never become like Karofsky. I've got the weirdest metabolism ever. Even when I work out and eat like crazy I don't gain muscles or weight, I just...well look," he says showing her his arm. "It's like I'm unable to grow muscles, they just carve themselves more or something. I get stronger but it doesn't show."
She finds herself trying not to blush or stare once again. "Do I really have to point out that any girl would be super happy to have your metabolism?"
"Whatever. Why were you running so early Queen?"
"Well, I was the most pregnant girl on the Cheerios team..."she mocks.
"Are you serious?"
"Kind of. I want my body back. But I guess I also miss the daily training and the way it used to make me feel after, when all my body was so sore that I could feel every inch of it. Like I was more alive; now you must think I'm crazy."
"Not at all. In some strange way, I get it. But you don't need that to be beautiful, Queen."
She looks down and for a while they don't say anything.
"Please come to glee, Quinn," he says in a soft voice, so soft it makes her shivers.
Then their conversation goes back to casual and humorous subjects; like their running habits and her new found passion for rap. When the place gets a little too crowded, they leave and she allows him to walk her home. Just before she opens the door, he catches her arm.
She turns back to face him. He looks down, and his hand follows the same way until it softly reaches her own hand; like he is afraid to break her, like he's somehow ashamed of grabbing her so suddenly.
"You're sure you're ok Queen?" He says, finally looking up to meet her flashes him a small smile and nods.
"I'm feeling better."
This time it's true. Not like all the times her mom asked her this very same question.
"Thank you," she adds and she hopes he understands that what she really means is 'thanks to you'.
"Please come to glee today," he asks again, before letting go of her hand.
"I will," she says.
But she doesn't. She's too afraid, instead she texts him.
She doesn't have to wait long for the answer.
I told you: don't be sorry Queen.
The next morning she isn't very surprised when, coming home after her daily run, she gets another text from him:
Mr Shue's place, 4pm. If u don't come i'll drag u there myself.
In that case u better get ready 2 come pick me up. Don't be late.Q
Thoughts ? Any comment ?
HELP : Could someone please tell me more about Ohio and the american school system ? I'm french and I don't want to make mistakes. Plus there's a lot of things you don't find on the internet. Like is there lake in Ohio ? How much hours of class do you have in highschool ? I know we dont have the same class.