Title: The Three Stages of Love
Disclaimer: I do not own Glee.
Pairings: SQ, PQ, FQ
Summary: Quinn Fabray has loved and been loved three times in her life. Three different times, by three different guys, in three very different ways.
A/N: My second Glee fic ever! Enjoy everyone! I hope you like it.
Quinn Fabray has loved and been loved three times in her life. Three different times, by three different guys, in three very different ways.
They say that the first stage of love is characterized by a certain kind of falling – a tripping, even. It's quick, it's accidental. It's wonderful.
One minute, you don't give a damn. The next, you're in so deep you don't quite know how to free yourself.
She met Finn Hudson at the Titans-Cheerios mixer at the beginning of her freshman year at William McKinley High School. It was an annual party where the football players and the school's cheerleaders were supposed to mingle and build rapport, seeing as how they'd be spending a lot of time together in promoting "school spirit" within the institution.
Tall and a bit awkward looking, Finn was sitting by himself near the buffet table, munching on fish sticks as the people in the room danced and chattered.
"Hey, this seat taken?" a tiny voice had asked.
"Uhmm…sure. I mean, no. You can have it. The seat," he'd replied, blushing. The girl in front of him was very pretty – and hot – and he didn't quite know what to do with himself.
A bit tipsy from the punch, Quinn had only giggled before settling beside him.
"I'm Quinn Fabray," she said then, putting her hand forward for a handshake.
He was blushing again and Quinn, in her youth and innocence, thought no one could have been more adorable at the moment. She was used to guys hitting on her – she was the prettiest girl in school, after all – but his shyness was something relatively new. More so because he was a football player – they were supposed to be cocky macho men, after all.
Without having any second thoughts, she took his hand and dragged him to the dance floor. He hesitated, at first, but her big smile and sparkling green eyes got the better of him and he soon found himself twirling Quinn around amidst the crowd of red and white clad bodies.
"Sorry, I'm not that good of a dancer," he mumbled into her hair, as they danced through a slow number.
"It's fine," she replied, "You're cute enough to pull it off."
With that, Finn found himself relaxing even more and by the end of the night, he'd gathered enough guts to ask her out on a date.
"I would love to!" she exclaimed, hugging him, before running to the car where her father was waiting.
Five dates, two kisses and three football games later, they became a couple.
Quinn thought she was on top of the world. Nothing could've been better.
Falling in love is a lovely thing. But the second stage of love, disillusionment, is nothing like it.
They say disillusionment comes when the shine and the glamour of falling has worn away and is faced with the challenge of actually growing together with the other person. It happens the moment one realizes what the other's flaws really are – and are left with the choice of either accepting said differences…or running away.
Somewhere along the way, Quinn Fabray had found herself spending more and more time with Noah Puckerman, Finn's best friend. He was funny, bad ass and exciting – had that X-factor Finn seemed to be missing.
One afternoon, Finn was off visiting relatives in a nearby town and she found herself feeling quite fat and depressed. In a span of three hours, she found herself drunk on wine coolers and unceremoniously "deflowered" by Puck on her fluffy pink bedspread.
What started out as friendship (and a hook-up) soon evolved into something more as Quinn got herself knocked up at seventeen.
Through the drama, rejection and her downfall, she found herself clinging to the only other person who seemed to understand what she was going through. Seemed.
In all fairness, Noah Puckerman had tried. When Quinn got kicked out of Finn's house, she moved into Puck's and he tried his best to keep her comfortable. But as the days turned into weeks and the weeks into a month, he began slipping into old ways.
No longer would he go home with her after school or buy her food to satisfy her cravings. When he slipped into the house at 9 o'clock while she was doing her homework, he'd reek of Santana's flowery perfume and she'd try her best not to punch him in the face. For the baby's sake.
"Hey babe," he would usually say, giving her a peck on the cheek. He'd talk to her tummy for about a minute before going up to his room.
Quinn would stay alone in the guest room downstairs, wishing herself away from the lonely household.
Puck still had his moments, of course, but they'd be far and in between, mostly when he remembered that he actually did have a baby inside of her. Beth, he'd said.
"Did you love me?" she'd found herself asking as they stared at their baby's small figure in the hospital.
"Yes, especially now," he'd replied quietly, after a moment of silence, his gaze on Beth still.
It was perhaps at that moment that Quinn Fabray felt her heart break for the second time.
Because Puck, she'd realized then, didn't really love her per se. He loved his baby. Their baby, actually. But if it weren't for Beth or for the fact that he'd seen that little child as his lifeline out of his messy life, Quinn doubted he would have come back to her for anything.
Except maybe for a kiss or boob touch now and then.
The last stage of love is supposedly that of genuine and true love. When one says "I love you," love is used as a verb. It symbolizes how love is an act of choosing, of deciding to continually grow with another person in spite and because of his faults.
One falls, is disillusioned, but loves anyway.
Samuel Ethan Evans.
When Quinn Fabray first started going out with him, a lot of people thought it was Finn all over again – her being the head cheerleader dating the star quarterback. Or former quarterback, really, after Sam's shoulder injury.
Still, there had been a lot of talk about popularity. People found them adorable enough, yes, but Quinn knew a lot of them also didn't really think they'd last. And you know what? She'd feared that too.
Being with Sam had been so easy. It was so hard not to like him! He was funny and sweet – and yes, a little dorky – and he made her so happy that it actually scared her.
She fell so hard and so fast.
"I wanna marry you…someday. But until then, will you accept this promise ring?"
And there it was, that promise. That giving of hope that he was going to stick by her through everything – the same promise Finn and even Puck had made to her at some point. But she'd been so broken, so damaged for so long that she didn't really want to believe anyone anymore.
Then the Karofsky incident happened and the Hudson-Hummel wedding. It was perhaps then that Quinn realized just how great a guy Sam Evans really was. Sure, he was nice guy like Finn. But he had the backbone she had always suspected Puck to have. It was almost like Sam was the best of both worlds.
The next Monday at school, she was wearing his ring and it felt like she was actually living her fairytale this time. Finally.
Or at least, for a while.
Because then Shelby Corcoran came back to town and brought baby Beth (Fabray-Puckerman) Corcoran with her. Shelby had gotten an offer to perform in a theater in New York – her first big break in years – and had asked if Quinn could take care of Beth for a while, at least until she'd settled down in New York. Two weeks maximum.
And so all hell broke lose. Why wouldn't it?
It'd been months since she'd seen her baby girl and she cried the moment little Beth's green eyes fluttered open.
Oh how Quinn loved that little girl!
But then the two weeks ended too soon and off little Beth had gone, back to her Mama Shelby.
Suddenly all the happiness was ripped from her heart and she felt so old, old, old.
"Am I a monster?" she asked Sam quietly, crying inside her car – much like she had when she first found out she was pregnant.
He was quiet for a moment before pulling her into a tight hug and whispering in her ear, "No. You're Quinn Fabray – and you're a wonderful girl. You're a mother who loved and still loves her daughter enough to let her go."
At that point, she'd thought all was right in the world again. Because even if no one else believed she'd made the right choice, at least Sam Evans did.
But then that still didn't seem to be enough. Quinn had doubts and they gnawed at her insides like no other. She still felt like a failure. And failure was not something she dealt with well.
It didn't help matters that Noah Puckerman had suddenly decided he wanted her again. Typical.
So one tearful moment, as they held each other, in tears, for the baby girl they somehow lost and the future they might have had together, it crossed Quinn's mind that maybe she'd been wrong. Maybe Sam wasn't the one after all. She'd had a baby with Puck – and if she loved that baby then maybe she should honor her by staying with Beth's father.
Before she even opened her mouth, her expression already told Sam everything .
Approaching the former parents, Sam merely gave them a sheepish smile before he leaned down to whisper in Quinn's ear, "Lor menari." Then he gave her a light kiss on the lips and walked out the door of Breadsticks – perhaps even out of Quinn's life.
And though Puck's arm remained around her shoulders for the rest of the night, Quinn had never felt so empty in her life. If losing Beth had taken away most of her heart, it seemed as if the little of it she had left was slowly slipping away as well.
Sam was supposed to fight for her. He was supposed to yell and scream and punch Puck and demand that she stay with him. But he let go of her.
He let go of her like she let go of Beth.
Because she loved Beth. Because Sam loved Quinn. For real.
It had been weeks. Sam Evans had unceremoniously quit the Glee club, citing that he'd decided to concentrate on football instead.
And though Quinn cheered enthusiastically during every game and made sure to cross his path every single time, Sam never spoke with her again – never even seemed to have spared her a glance.
She wondered if it was because he hated her now.
Or because she'd clung even more to Noah Puckerman – her only safety net in the midst of everything, it seemed.
Quinn knew Puck still cheated on her. It was part of who he was. But he seemed to be as broken as she was and at least, this way, they would only bring each other down. No one else was getting fucked over because of Quinn Fabray's mistakes.
"What are you doing here?" Sam asked in surprise, as he stared at the small form of a cheerleader sitting alone on the bleachers at the football field.
Shrugging, Quinn, sighed before replying quietly, "Puckerman's screwing someone again. And I didn't feel like seeing him." Laughing, she continued, "Some things never really change, y'know?"
"Uhh. Yeah. I guess. Look, I…" he hesitated, knowing the other football players were probably waiting for him for their post-game festivities. But Quinn looked so alone and really, who was he kidding? He was still in love with her. "I…"
"Go, just go," she said exasperatedly.
"Look, it's just…"
"Just go okay!" she said with more force. "It's what you're good at anyway."
"Just leave!" she yelled, standing up. "It's what always happens anyway. All of you…every single one of you. None of you ever stayed. You all left. Finn. Puck. Even you. None of you! None of you ever fought for me!"
Before he could reply, she'd stormed down the bleachers and disappeared.
Quinn Fabray was praying fervently in the church where Carol and Burt had gotten married when she heard footsteps behind her.
Having an idea of who it might be but refusing to acknowledge it – or to give herself false hope – she continued to pray for guidance, for comfort, something she had not done sincerely since her pregnancy more than a year ago.
And though she didn't hear any footsteps leaving the area, she silently hoped that by the time she turned to face the doors of the church, no one would be standing there.
"What are you doing here?" she asked as sternly as she could.
"I just…I just wanted you to know that I did fight for you. I still am," he said quietly, forcing his hands into his pockets. "That was me fighting, Quinn. I knew you'd never be happy until…until you dealt with it, you know? You'd always be looking over your shoulder, trying to look for baby Beth. For…even for Puck. I knew you'd never be sure until you tried it for real. You'd never be truly happy."
Speechless, she tried opening her mouth before realizing she really did have no idea how to respond.
"I came here, taking a chance, because I remember how you told me before that this place was always where you felt most at home…even when you were having doubts with your religion. And…and I just wanted to say sorry, I guess. For not making it clear. For pushing you away and not making you realize that this was…is my way of fighting."
"Sam…I – " she started.
"No Quinn, it's okay. I respect what you're going through. And it's okay," he said with a smile. "And I'm here if you want me to be. And even if you might not want me to be here now, I have a feeling I'll always be here anyway. I've got it bad, Quinn." Taking out something from his pocket, he tossed her a tiny box. "And I'm a guy who sticks to his promises," he finished, as Quinn realized that he'd just given her back the promise ring she'd slipped back into his locker after the Breadsticks incident.
And with that, he turned his back and walked out the door – from Quinn – for the second time.
But this time, this time, Quinn Fabray didn't feel alone – like breaking – at all.
Because she'd fallen. She'd been disillusioned. And her heart was still ready to keep loving.
It might not have been the right moment yet but she knew.
When the time came, it would be Sam Evans that she would choose. That she would love truly.
Somehow, she just knew.
Quinn Fabray has loved and been loved three times in her life. Three different times, by three different guys, in three very different ways.
And that third time?
It was real.