A/N: Oh my god, I'm sooooo sorry this is so late! The past couple weeks have been unbelievably crazy because I graduated last week so I had a ton of family in town for that, and then my gramma's been in the hospital for a month and I've had to deal with that, and just a lot of shit has been going on. I'm really sorry! :(
The silence in the car was absolutely deafening as Quinn, Brittany, and Santana searched for their lost friend.
The Latina was still livid from her previous argument with her girlfriend and therefore drove like a maniac (more so than usual, anyway).She was glaring out the windshield, flipping almost every driver, passenger, pedestrian, dog, and tree the bird, and muttering what Quinn was sure were profanities in Spanish.
Brittany, on the other hand, was seated in the backseat behind Quinn and shooting furtive glances at Santana while trying her best not to burst into tears. Her chin trembled frequently and she'd often had to close her eyes and count to ten while breathing deep and slow like Quinn taught her. To say she felt guilty was a massive understatement. She'd never blown up like that at anyone and she hated that her amazing, protective, perfect girlfriend had to be the first person to experience her wrath. When she wasn't stealing miserable glances at the driver, she was watching out the window for Casey.
Quinn was feeling entirely awkward. She was stuck in a small car with her two best friends after they'd just survived what was probably the worst fight they'd ever had and she felt like she shouldn't be there at all. That she should've let them duke it out and talk about it rather than making them come with her to find Casey. She could have done that on her own. Because, to be honest, she was pretty sure she was the only one looking for her right now anyway.
When the trio had searched all of Lima and still saw no sign of the other girl, they started to panic. Santana pulled into the 7-11 on the edge of town and parked in front of the door. She turned her frenzied gaze on Quinn. "Where the fuck is she?"
Taking a deep, calming (not really) breath, the blonde replied, "I don't know, San. Do you know where she lives?"
The Latina scoffed and rolled her eyes exaggeratedly. The incredulous "are you stupid?" look the other girl wore made Quinn want to punch her in the face, but she refrained. "Do I look like a fucking stalker to you, Q? Of course I don't know where the fuck she lives! I swear to God you're the stupidest fucker I've ever met!"
Quinn snapped. She understood that her friend was upset, she really did, but she did not have to take shit from her ever, whether she was pissy or not. She balled her fists in her lap and narrowed her eyes, glaring out the window at the flickering 7 in front of her. "You know what, San? I'm fucking sick of your moodiness right now. It was just a fucking question, for Christ's sake! I didn't fucking do anything to you so back the fuck off. I know you and B just got in the worst fight probably ever and you're upset, but you have no fucking right to be a bitch to me because of that. And you may think that you're the most worried about Casey right now, but you're fucking not, okay? I-" her voice crackled as a tear she hadn't even known was there worked its way down her cheek. "I'm fucking scared, San. I'm scared and I need you guys and neither of you are helping right now." More tears gathered in her eyes and she let them fall, covering her face in her hands and allowing a muffled sob to escape.
Brittany and Santana surged toward their friend instantly. Guilt over their selfishness and fear for their missing friend reduced them to tears as well, and the three of them wound up holding each other and crying. These past few days had brought them closer than they had ever been, but had also cost them a bit of their sanity.
Tap tap tap!
"What the fu-"
Her first instinct when she saw Santana's car parked in front of the 7-11 was to get the hell out of there before she was seen. But as Casey got closer and noticed that there were not one, but three bodies in the car and they were locked in some sort of awkward group hug, her curiosity got the better of her and she crossed the parking lot to the car. Upon reaching the driver's side of her friend's car, she caught a glimpse of Brittany's face and furrowed her brow. Why is she crying? Alarmed, she tapped on the window with her pointer finger.
A muffled "What the fu-" came from within the car as Santana swung her head angrily toward her window, but she stopped short upon realizing who the culprit was. Casey watched, puzzled and uncomfortable, as all three of her friends observed her carefully. Then, all at once, they sprung from the car and attacked her with hugs and questions.
"Where the fuck have you been?"
"Why didn't you come to school?"
What the hell is wrong with you?"
Quinn pushed Santana and Brittany away and wrapped her arms tightly around her friend, burying her face in the other girl's shirt. "Don't ever do that to me again, Casey Hart. I was so worried when I couldn't find you, I thought something happened or something, I was so scared...Please, please, don't ever scare me like that again," she sobbed.
Casey, unsure of what was going on but feeling the need to comfort her friend, held the girl close to her and whispered, "Shh, Quinn, it's ok-kay, I'm okay…I won't do it again, I promise, just please stop crying."
Santana spoke up then. "We looked everywhere for you! Where the hell have you been, Casey?"
The taller girl shrugged. "I went to C-Carmel for the day. I-I didn't think I could handle b-being at school today." She paused and looked down, ashamed.
The Latina gave her a puzzled glare. "Why not?" The short-haired girl shrugged again and mumbled something unintelligible. "What?"
"I s-said, I was-I was afraid that after everything that happened yesterday you guys would hate me."
The raven-haired girl's expression softened. "Are you serious? If anything, all of that shit made us love you more. We just want to protect you, Case. Honest."
Brittany added, "Yeah! You're part of our family now! And San and Q are super protective of our little family. Right guys?"
Both Cheerios nodded, genuine smiles showing Casey that the statement rang true.
Casey returned their smiles with a watery one of her own, wondering how in the world she managed to worm her way into the three girls' inner circle when no one else had ever been allowed in before.
Suddenly, her eyes lit up. "Oh, but you know who I found?"
Brittany frowned and asked, "Jesse St. James? I hope not. He's a jerk. He threw baby chickens at Rachel."
Casey furrowed her brow and shook her head. "N-no. But guys, I found-" she paused, taking a deep, shuddery breath. The other three girls watched her with rapt attention. "I found my little brother. I found Andrew."