They say when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.
Life hands Puck a baby wrapped in pink and tells him to make lemonade. He's going to fuck it up, he knows it, but he can't bear to let her go.
He makes a checklist of what he can and can't do, and he ends up staring at a list of "no's." Beth whines a little in her crib and makes some sort of gurgling noise.
"Kid…" Shit, he's going to fuck it up. Why'd he even — well, there's no use asking himself that. If he had to choose between losing her forever and becoming the worst teen dad in history of ever, he'd pick the selfish one.
He stares at the baby wrapped in a soft blanket, staring up at the ceiling with wide green eyes. Green. Fuck, they're so green.
"Yeah, I know." She doesn't answer, but waves a tiny fist in the sky, like she's holding up a white flag.
His thumb hovers over Quinn's name in his contacts. She had made it quite clear that Beth was going to be his, not hers, not theirs, but even still, he thinks she might want to know how it's going.
Which is fine. Just fine to an extent. He's exhausted and ready to drop dead and never wake up again, but Sarah is cradling Beth at the moment without his help, making soft cooing sounds that must be a rare genetic thing only found in girls, because whenever he tries to hum at her she starts to cry.
So really everything's okay, and maybe Quinn wants to know that.
Except he doesn't call her, and she doesn't call him, and that's that.
He seriously considers dropping out of school.
And then one day he does.
He's tried singing to her, but whenever he opens his mouth she starts to wail uncontrollably. He's found that she can't stand him. Some sort of cruel, cosmic joke, because her mother hates him, too.
He rests his chin on the bar of her crib and stares down at her. "Please don't hate me." It's a beg, a plea. He's given up everything to keep her and she already can't stand him.
She looks at him with those guys — God, they're so fucking green — and promptly begins to sob.
He falls asleep like that, his chin on the side of her crib, his arms locked around it like he's protecting it. When he wakes up, his back is stiff and his eyes are sore.
He blinks down at his phone, flashing incessantly on the floor.
One missed call: Quinn
He thinks about setting everything on fire.
He doesn't call her back.
"Your mom thought I'd be a terrible daddy," he whispers to her as she sleeps on his chest, her fist curled into his shirt. She's so tiny, so breakable, yet he thinks he's getting better at this.
She hiccups a little in response.
He breathes in baby-scent. "You think she was right?"
He finds himself wondering if he's learned how to make lemonade. "I think she was wrong." It feels good to be right about something, for once.
Beth shifts silently in her sleep.
Quinn appears at his doorstep in a church dress on a Sunday afternoon.
She blinks at him, like something's changed; maybe he has. Puck doesn't feel the same. He's too tired to feel like he's young anymore. "Hi." Her voice is soft and distant.
He seriously considers slamming the door in her face, but something about the way she stands there feels like something familiar. It aches in his heart, stretches in his lungs.
She sways gently on her spot. "Can I see her?"
"I —" Puck takes in a shaky breath. "Yeah. Yeah, sure."
Light filters through the white curtains in his living room the next morning, and Puck blinks awake to find Quinn lying next to him, her head parallel to his. She holds Beth in her arms, coveting her to her chest like she's afraid to let go.
Puck doesn't remember the last time he felt like everything was going to be okay.
The sunlight feels like lemonade.