A/N: I know, I know, I should be working on Cheated Hearts. And I have been, but I had to take time out to write this.
For a little while (I admit embarrassingly) I was writing to Brad Falchuk on twitter every day with constructive criticism and general writing tips (many courtesy of Judy Blume). It didn't take very long for me to get bored with that, but as I was telling someone about it and I commented on how hopeless it seems that Glee will ever return to it's original quality at this point, she asked me, "Well, if you were the one writing the show, what would you try to do to get it back to the way it was?" That got a lot of ideas popping up in my head and of course the one I couldn't let go of was Quick-themed.
Given the question that prompted it I originally imagined this story complete in episode format, but I've never found script format particularly pleasant to read (only watch played out) so I tried to re-work it into a story. I'm not sure how well it came together everywhere. The songs might be worked in a little weirdly and some of the descriptions of scenes cutting back and forth between things happening simultaneously may be hard to follow as well. But in the end I hope it managed to come together and that all of you reading can picture it like it's playing on TV screen in front of you.
Also, I was rushing to finish this before the new episodes started airing and it most definitely became super AU so please forgive any typos. Though, given that, as you'll plainly see, I constantly try to fix plot holes from the show in the story for the characters featured, I suppose it could still be considered slightly AU from what Glee has become for its characters.
For those interested, there's a little more information on where I would have gone with all this, taking the question that prompted it into serious consideration, at the end of the story.
Summary: It had never taken them very long to get everything wrong. Now, despite how far they've drifted, they finally start to learn how to get things right. Set post "A Very Glee Christmas," this is a Quick romance.
Hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: I own nothing. If I did, this would be on TV and not the internet.
This Love is Waking Up
Quinn's sitting on a hospital bed, legs hanging off the side and leaning against the pillows behind her. She has the most perfect baby ever born bundled in her arms- in her arms for the last time. Tears run freely down her face.
This is the moment of goodbye and she wants it to be something more than simply sitting here crying. A song pops in her head and she starts singing softly, voice cracking with emotion, "The moment I wake up, before I put on my makeup, I say a little prayer for you. While combing my hair, now, while wondering what dress to wear, now, I say a little prayer for you. Forever, forever, you'll stay in my heart and I will love you." She stops because she knows the rest of the lyrics and she knows they'll be a lie (forever, forever, we never will part). So she repeats the last line over again, a promise to her daughter, "Forever, forever, you'll stay in my heart and I will love you."
A knock at the door startles her. Puck pokes his head in and tells her solemnly, "It's time."
He comes in with a nurse following him. He walks right up to them, kisses their daughter on the forehead, runs a thumb over her cheek, and takes a half a step back.
She closes her eyes and kisses her daughters forehead, says another silent goodbye to her, and pulls away.
The nurse takes a few steps forward then, closing the space so she can take the baby and she lifts the baby out of Quinn's arms.
They can't see her in the nurses' arms, but their eyes follow the nurse longingly as she leaves the room all the same.
When the door closes behind the nurse who's carrying away her baby, Quinn lets out a violent sob and crumbles. Puck scoops her up in his arms and holds her until she doesn't need him to anymore.
Quinn wakes up with a small start. She dreamed of that day so frequently since it happened nearly eight months ago that it never surprised her much to be waking up from it.
She blinks rapidly, trying to get rid of the stinging in her eyes. She had spent enough nights crying, she didn't want this to be another one, she didn't want to do it anymore at all. As she rolls over in her bed and curls up small, she wonders why feels like she does, why she still feels the way she does. She did the only thing she could, she did the best thing for her daughter, so why did it still hurt so much?
In the morning Quinn gets up, goes to school, and works harder than she's ever worked at anything to seem like the same girl she was before…everything.
At least once practically every day though, the feelings that she tries to keep buried overwhelm her. In those moments, sometime she feels like bursting into a song to express what's settled in her heart. Sometimes she's so near giving in that she can hear the melody in her head.
Pain in my heart
She's treating me cold
Where can my baby be
Lord no one knows
She's just as popular as ever, but as she walks down the halls or sits in a room among the closest thing she's got to friends, with the glee club, she still feels absolutely alone.
Pain in my heart
Just won't let me sleep
Where can my baby be
Lord where can she be
She smiles when she's supposed to, laughs when she's supposed to, and sometimes finds herself hiding in a bathroom stall crying as silently as possible because… it's hard. She smiles right and laughs the same as ever, but it takes such effort. And when it doesn't, when she smiles because something makes her smile and laughs because something makes her laugh, she ends up crying.
Another day, as again it is though
I want you to come back, come back, come back, baby, 'till I had enough
A little pain in my heart just won't let me be
Wake up at restless nights
Lord and I can't even sleep
Stop this little pain in my heart
Any genuine joy feels like…moving on. And though she's tired of the restless, dream-filled, tearful nights and the constant ache in the very core of her being, anything less feels like letting go of the daughter that's already gone. And she's not at all ready for that, not sure she could ever be.
Another day as again it's rough,
I want you to love me, love me, love me, baby, 'till I get enough
Pain in my heart, a little pain in my heart,
Stop this little pain in my heart
Stop this little pain in my heart
Someone stop this pain
Someone stop this pain
She never follows through on the desire to sing out though. Never stops pretending throughout the day. Because isn't the first step to getting over something admitting you're going through it? She'd rather than keep the pain in her heart. Pain is better than nothing at all.
Everyone around Puck would probably say this year is going much better for him than last year. The football team doesn't suck quite as bad, his best friend is talking to him again, there's no girl pregnant with his kid who he has a complicated and largely non-romantic relationship with and who occasionally had quite violent mood swings due to the pregnancy hormones (she claimed).
But if anyone actually bothered to ask, Puck wouldn't hesitate to say that this year honestly felt like it was a hundred times worse than last year.
He understood why everything played out the way it did. It all made sense to him- giving away the baby, Quinn not wanting to be around him because he was a reminder of what they lost, Quinn needing to move on and pretend for self-preservation (and not for her image like everyone seemed to think). He got it all and he couldn't be bitter about it, but he was angry. He was seething with anger about it constantly, that this was the ending that made sense for him, for them.
It's taken him a long time to realize, but it eventually came to him that this wasn't the way he wanted his life to go. In fact, the way he's realized he does want his life to go was not something he would have ever imagined for himself. It makes him feel like one of the losers he makes fun of, but all he can think about most of the time is how he's not going to get what he wants for his life. He already got an ending where his desires were concerned, one that, regrettably, made sense.
Puck tries to accept that this is his life now, headed away from the direction he wants. He tries to move on. Takes on the randomest of things just to be doing something at all. But it always comes back to what he still wants and can't have. He's found that occasionally letting himself express that can help him deal. Of course he never expresses anything too real in front of anyone (his only exception: "Beth") so he sneaks off to do it alone.
Winter break had felt unbearably long even if he usually enjoyed any day he didn't have to go to school. Not to mention that it was preceded by Christmas songs (what happened to Hanukah?) and sectionals (with a particular duet he had to ignore). So within a few days of being back in school he finds himself itching to play something that feels like a release and heads off to the auditorium when he knows it will be empty an hour after school lets out one day.
Alone on the stage sitting in a chair with his guitar, Puck sings.
There was a time
I had nothing to give
I needed shelter from the storm I was in
As he sings memories rewind in his mind. Moments playing in reverse that he wishes he could undo (or re-do in some cases).
He recalls two hours ago, sitting on a desk in a classroom, Santana a couple of desks away filing her nails. They had just stumbled in there laughing and seeming like they were more than they really ever were because Brittany and Artie and Quinn and Sam had been in the hallway this classroom was connected to.
And when it all got too heavy
You carried my weight
And I want to hold you
And I want to say
He remembers three weeks ago when he stopped him and Rachel. He remembers saying that it was just because of his friendship with Finn, but it was more than that and they both knew it. Rachel wasn't an idiot, he knew that she could read him well enough that his other reason for stopping didn't need to be said. She was a good friend to him, like he had been trying to be to her, so she didn't mention the unspoken truth that hung in the room. She just let him go and started to realize why her idea may have been flawed.
That you are all that I need
For you, I give my soul to keep
He remembers two months ago, coming back to school and seeing Quinn walking down the hall holding hands with Sam and smiling like she used to with Finn. He already knew about this change. Santana had told him- an oddly nice, if not self-serving in her whole jealousy ruse, thing to do. Even though he tried to be prepared for it, it still stopped him in his tracks and eventually made him turn and walk the other direction even if it wasn't the way he needed to go.
You see me, love me
Just the way that I am
For you I am a better man
He remembers three months ago, driving into a wall because of…everything and only belatedly realizing that there had been an ATM there.
I said you are the reason
For everything I do
I'd be lost, so lost without you
He remembers a week before his unexpected crime, Quinn whispering harshly to him at his locker after school.
"I thought you understood the way things need to be now, the way I need them to be," she told him.
"I do," he returned, "What made you think I don't? I've been doing everything you said to. I don't talk to you and I don't even see you outside of glee club."
"Glee club is the problem-"
"You said we could both stay. We barely have enough members as it is."
Under the stars
At the edge of the sea
"I know. I'm not saying you have to leave or I have to leave…I just," she looked like she didn't want to continue, but she started this conversation because it felt necessary, "I need you to stop…making anything in glee club about us or me."
He hadn't been sure she had noticed that. It had never been planned on his part, just kind of happened. Things in his life usually came back to her, glee club had just been one thing that demonstrated that lately. And obviously it was something she was mad about, which he didn't want, so it was time to try and talk himself out of trouble. "What are you talking about?" he played confused.
There's no one around
No one but you and me
Less sure of herself, she answered, "The other week- looking at me during that song Rachel sang. And yesterday- you practically sang that whole song to me. Not to mention your song choice."
"First, you know I don't think before I do things. I sang a song I knew. And second, who am I supposed to focus on when I sing? The hottest girl in the room or would you rather have me sing to Kurt?" he returned.
"Pick any other girl."
"I thought you were having fun with the song," he offers, "isn't that what glee club is supposed to be?"
We'd talk for hours
As time drifts away
"It was fun," she confirmed and glanced away as she confessed, "until it ended. Then, because it was you singing and…it reminded me of…" she struggled and found she couldn't finish her words. Instead she concluded, "It wasn't fun for very long."
"I'm sorry," he said softly, "you know, I never mean to hurt you."
"I know," she agreed just as quietly, a small smile almost forming, "that's why I wanted to talk to you about this."
"I'll stop," he promised before she could get to mentioning it, "It'll never happen again."
I could stay here forever
And hold you this way
Somehow, she felt a bit sadder than when she walked up to him. But she should be relieved so she tries to be as she says, "Thank you."
Coz you are all that I need
For you, I give my soul to keep
He remembers eight months ago, sitting on a hospital bed and holding her as she cried.
You see me, love me
Just the way I am
He remembers ten months ago, sitting on his bed and the two of them feeling the baby kick as they traded glee club gossip.
I said for you I am a better man
He remembers seventeen months ago when he had been walking through the parking lot with her after their respective practices and had mentioned in a rant about various things how hot she was and she had stopped walking to her car and asked if he wanted to hang out with her.
I said you are the reason
For everything I do
I'd be lost, so lost without you
He remembers two and a half years ago, sitting in the bleachers next to his best friend and having to lie about having watched all the cheerleaders in their first performance of the new school year. Because even though it dragged on for five minutes, he had only been watching one of the many girls out there.
No, no, no, no
I'd be lost, so lost without you
As he finished the song, Puck opens his eyes, having shut them for the last few memories with Quinn. As much as he wishes he could change everything that ever happened between them so they had the possibility of a different ending, he couldn't help but label memories with her and of her as his best.
He takes in his situation- singing alone in the auditorium (again), all angsty like a girl. He feels like hitting something and wishes his target could be the person he's become. But then again, it would be nice to finally be the person he's become. To stop going after every girl, to stop being the rebel, and just be the guy who would do anything, be anything for just one girl.
If only they didn't already have their ending, maybe he could be that guy. For now, the song and honest expression over, he'd just have to keep trying to move on.
Yesterday, Quinn had been at school late because Coach Sylvester had a scheming meeting about how they were going to sabotage an opposing team. As she made her way out of the school she heard music coming from the auditorium and didn't think twice about entering. It hadn't even crossed her mind that it could have been Puck and as soon as she saw him she surprised herself by hiding in the shadows instead of leaving.
She couldn't look at him without thinking of their daughter. That was why, towards the end of summer, she had told him that it hurt too much to be around him. It did. There was always an ache in her over her daughter, but the ache turned into agony when she was around Puck. (Because then, she was reminded that she didn't only lose a daughter, she gave up their daughter, and somehow that meant that she gave them up too because two people just can't survive that. Right?)
As she listened to him sing, hiding in an alcove near a door, she heard the sincerity in his voice and, not for the first time, missed him.
Someone says, the same someone currently waving a hand in front of her face.
She's pulled out of her thoughts of the previous day quickly as she realizes that the person trying to get her attention is Sam.
"Sorry," she apologizes immediately, and hopes her smile is reassuring so he doesn't ask too many questions.
"It's okay," he assures with a kind smile as he takes the chair next to her on the risers as the rest of the glee club continues to find their way into the choir room. "What had you so distracted? I must have said your name about five times," he asks curiously.
She waves it off, "Just Cheerio stuff. Nationals are only two months away, pressure is starting to build."
"Well there's no need to worry. You guys are great. I'm sure you're going to win," he says sweetly.
She prays her smile in return looks genuine because he's a good guy and he deserves a girl who smiles at him and means it. It's not his fault she has too much baggage to be that girl.
"Everyone take a seat," Mr. Schue asks as he stands in the center of the room looking excited. Once everyone has sat down he continues, "I was thinking about how to win regional's this year and some things occurred to me. We should be trying to, for lack of a better word, pander to the judges. And judges like it when teenagers seem like good, fun loving teens- and not the stereotypical overdramatic group that they can often be. I think judges would also like something that reminds them of their own youth. So your assignment for the next two weeks is to come up with songs and performances for songs that represent a teenage life- in a positive way- and that might make a judge feel reminiscent. Since I don't know what ages our judges might be, to stick to that last part for your song choices a good rule of thumb to follow would be to choose a song that was written before you were born. Okay? Sound good to everyone?"
A debate came for a long time after that but Mr. Schue eventually declared that he wasn't changing his mind about the assignment. As usual the whole meeting was a nice distraction for Quinn for a while. The actual assignment presents her with a problem though. She hasn't felt like a teenager in a long time, she's not sure she can accurately identify a song with a teen spirit anymore.
If only "Papa Don't Preach" didn't have so many strings attached to it.
The day after the glee club meeting is Friday. It seems like any other Friday, anticipation over the weekend settling in with the student body by second period.
Quinn had already written off yesterday. It wasn't like it was the first time she had spent most of a day thinking of Puck after her decision that they needed permanent space between them. As usual she told herself it was just from residual feelings over them because they had to remain stunted- never getting to be anything before everything fell apart. (She didn't always believe in that idea that she had planted in her head though.)
Puck's day had been pretty average so far. Lauren talked to him more than once though and he's starting to worry she's gotten the wrong idea about his compliment about having rocked his world and his lack of hostility toward her. He hadn't actually meant anything by any of it; he was just so extremely grateful that she got him out of that port-o-potty. In being nice he was just trying to show his gratitude. Maybe he'll have to start being mean though to make sure they're on the same page about his non-existent interest in her (or any girl besides Quinn).
It's as Puck is walking down a hallway after having been at school late for detention pondering whether he should actually be mean or if he should just be honest with Lauren that something unexpected happened.
It wasn't at all unusual for Quinn to be at school after it had ended or for the two of them to nearly cross paths (one usually turned and took a long way to their destination if they saw the other coming- when they weren't supposed to be talking, it was just easier). Today though, Quinn was heading for her locker to get her bag and books when a nearby classroom door opened. Four teachers stepped out first and though she could hear them talking Quinn didn't pay any attention (it's not like she cared what some random teachers were talking about). If she had been listening though, she could have known what was coming. After the four teachers stepped out, gathering around the doorway they just exited, Mrs. Knight, an English teacher that was supposed to be on maternity leave, stepped out with her one month old daughter in her arms.
Quinn stops at the sight of the baby, still four lockers from her own. Everyone was cooing over the baby and Mrs. Knight's smile practically takes up her whole face. Quinn can't be here. She knows that. If she's going to hold it together, if she's not going to cry at school as she promised herself she'd never do again (after every time she did it over the course of the last year and a half), she simply had to be away from this scene. She makes a dash for the nearest familiar room- the choir room.
Puck stood at the end of the hall. He had seen Quinn coming and was going to turn around as per usual, but then he saw the teachers come out of the classroom, Quinn freeze, and then leave. He didn't think about going after her, he simply follows. And later, when he finally does think about that impulse, he realizes that he was right to go after her. He was the only person who could see everything in that hallway and know what it would do to her. Furthermore, he was the only one that could understand why it would have an effect on her. It was hard to see a little girl now that there was one that was both his and not his out there in the world.
When he opens the door to the choir room Puck finds Quinn standing about twelve feet away and to the left, near the piano, with her back facing the door both of them had just come through.
She has her eyes turned to the ceiling, trying to blink away the water beginning to gather. Arms still wrapped around herself, she turns at the sudden noise of the door closing.
As she stands there and just looks at him, not really seeming surprised or grateful or disappointed, Puck stops in his intent. For a long time now he's been gauging all of his actions based on her (or at least trying to) because it seemed like whenever he didn't he'd end up really hurting her (and messing them up even more). So not having a reaction from her to go on, he stays awkwardly two steps in from the door.
There is silence as they stand twelve feet apart, eyes fixed on each other. They had noise and other people or prying eyes in nearly all of their interactions for months upon months now. But here, now, all they had was silence and solitude and absolutely no distractions; two people in a lonely room with no other option than to confront their truths.
After thirty seconds of silence with their eyes holding each other's, Quinn's eyes well up with long held tears and she lets out a soft sob.
Puck doesn't consider what he should or shouldn't do anymore. At the sight of her tears he walks up to her until he's right in her space and wraps his arms around her (holding her as she cried was probably the thing they had done more than anything else together).
She had her face covered with her hands, the backs of which were now pressed against his chest. As she cries, she also sighs a little at the familiarity of his embrace and the ease it brought despite her decisions and their history.
For a few minutes, he does nothing but rub her back and hold her tight. But listening to her cry has always broken his heart so he's got to do something else to help her stop crying. He doesn't know what he's going to say, but he hopes that something funny, something that will make her smile will pop in his head. Just going for it without any plan, he pulls away enough so that he can tilt her head up to him. He wipes away her tears with the pads of his thumbs and gets distracted from coming up with something cleaver to say by the way she's looking at him (surprised and something knowing).
Her hands turn so she no longer has the backs of them pressed against his chest but her palms pressed there, feeling his racing heart sharply. She's having a whole lot of trouble breathing. If she didn't know better, she'd think she was asthmatic. But this isn't a real physical disorder, this is just the way things are with them (on the occasions when they actually manage to get past everything else).
He closes the small space between them and kisses her- gently, tentatively, because he expects that he's making the wrong move here despite how right it feels. He thinks she's kissing him back (she is), but he wants this enough that that could be in his head, so he pulls back a little and opens his eyes, looks in hers. He doesn't see any objections in them so he leans in again and kisses her with more zeal. She returns in kind.
In a lonely room, with nothing to let them escape being honest, she cried and he held her because of their history, and he kissed her and she kissed him back because of their past and what seems like will always be their present.
This, here, is so sharply familiar to Quinn. Kissing Puck makes her feel like the gentle hum of a melody and the loud crescendo of a song all at the same time. The melody side of it caresses her, making her feel like her mind is somewhere far away and all she has is this dream state she's floating through. At the same time the crescendo is all-consuming, taking over every bit of her and making her forget that a world or a right or a wrong exist outside of this moment.
She doesn't know how long they stay there like that and neither does he. At a loud noise in the hall she jerks away abruptly. She wipes at her mouth and closes her eyes, upset with herself for not remembering the boy who had given her a ring.
He's still catching his breath a bit and glad for that because he doesn't know what he should say (what he wants to or should he try to guess what she wants to hear?).
She saves him because she can't confront this right this moment. "Can we just not talk about this right now? I need to go," she says and she doesn't wait for a response before fleeing for the side door.
Puck spends the next several hours debating whether or not he should call her and whether or not he should stop by her house. With everything lately though he's been lost and this situation proves no different. He spends a long time thinking about what he wants and what's right before eventually stealing his mom's car keys after she falls asleep and driving a familiar route.
After "the incident" Quinn goes home and shuts herself in her room. Her mother knocks on her door a few times offering things like "ice cream and girl talk" or "Chinese for dinner while we watch a romantic comedy." She had been trying (occasionally- when the divorce didn't have her depressed) to repair their completely broken relationship. Normally Quinn took up her mother's offers when they didn't interrupt her plans, but tonight she turned down everything.
Making out with Puck had gotten her thinking and as much as she's been trying to live her life like last year is so far in her past she can't even remember it, she knows she needs to confront everything. Maybe if she had sooner she wouldn't get herself into messes like the one that will definitely be created by today.
Thinking about Puck meant thinking about Beth though. She still doesn't want to think about her daughter. Thinking about the situation feels like acceptance and then maybe moving on for real and she doesn't want that.
It takes hours of evaluating and re-evaluating what she feels but has been burying and what she wants without considering what everyone/anyone else would think about what she wants, but she finally makes several decisions. She's kind of a mess, make-up long washed away by tears, hair fairly untended, and wearing clothes she doesn't normally wear out of the house, but once she's made her new decisions she doesn't bother tend to her current state at all. If she waits, she fears she'll manage to talk herself out of what she wants (again).
She gets in her car and follows a path she hasn't let herself go before. She pulls up to a house that has its lights on, knocks on the door, and says what she came to say as soon as the door opens, "I want my daughter back."
Shelby Cochran had been having a pretty good night. Had being the operative word.
Beth had fallen asleep early meaning she could go to sleep early and maybe actually get some sleep- a concept she barely remembered.
Then came the knocking though, followed by more knocking.
She tells Quinn with a tired sigh, "Well come on in and join the club."
Quinn wondered what she meant by that only until she got three steps into the house and sees Puck sitting on Shelby's couch.
Seeing that both of them seem surprised to see the other there, Shelby comments, "I guess this wasn't planned together. How serendipitous that you both decided to stop by the house of someone with a baby after midnight on the same night."
Shelby sits down in a chair across from Puck and gestures for Quinn to take a seat on the couch next to him. After Quinn has tentatively sat down, Shelby tells them, "Okay, say what you came to say. And it's late so we don't need to re-cap that both of you want her back, let's just skip to why, what's changed."
Quinn glances at Puck and since he doesn't seem to be jumping in with his answer, Quinn takes that as a cue that it's okay for her to go first even though she got here second. "Nothing has really changed," Quinn begins, "I always wanted her, I just knew better than to think I could keep her so I spent my whole pregnancy trying to accept that she wouldn't be mine. But she still feels like she's mine, and I still miss her like she's mine. I miss her so much that I can't be myself or any person I like without her. I can't be without her, I need her."
"Yeah, uh, ditto," Puck stumbles. That wasn't really what he was thinking that got him here though. He offers his own thoughts, "I thought I would be fine with all this because having to take care of a kid in high school seems like a drag and not very smart given that my mom wouldn't help at all because she thinks it's a terrible idea since Quinn's not Jewish. But I haven't been fine with this at all, not even for a second, for the last eight months. I can't just go to football games and glee practice again like everything is the same as it's always been, not when there's someone out there that's part Quinn and part me and that I don't know at all."
"I understand," Shelby tells them honestly, "I know how hard it is not to be a part of her life. On Rachel's first birthday my agent got me an audition for a Broadway musical, the first one I ever got. And instead of going to it I found myself driving back to Ohio and parking across the street from her dads' house only to later find out from a neighbor that they had taken her to Chicago for her birthday to see some of one of her dads' family there."
Shelby takes a deep breath and offers, "On top of knowing how hard this is on you both, I also know that according to state law you can take her back. It hasn't been a year yet so you do have the right to do that." Quickly she rushes on, "But I really hope that you won't do that and not only because she's my only family, but because I'm the only family she's known too. I really hope you both give this decision a lot of thought before taking it to court. I've been her world for eight months. She could probably adjust to you two being her parents and never seeing me again just fine eventually, but do you really want to make her adjust? Do you want to put her through something like that at this point in her life? I know how hard it is to accept, it took me until pretty recently to accept that Rachel already has a family that doesn't include me the way I want, but Beth already has a family too. I'm very open to discussing expanding that family to include you in a capacity if you'd like to do that, but I'm the only mother she's known and I hope you'll consider that."
Quinn glances at Puck again to find him staring back. She can read it in him that he's not sure how to respond to anything Shelby said either because he hadn't thought of any of it before just like she hadn't.
Seeing that both of the kids in front of her seemed to be stuck, Shelby proposes, "I think we could all use time to think about everything and I definitely need some sleep. So how about this? We get together two weeks from tomorrow/what is now today technically and we talk again about what both of you want. I hope that if you do decide you want to get custody back you'll do me the courtesy of telling me in person then and not acting on it until after we talk."
"I'm fine with that," Puck agrees.
"Me too," Quinn chimes.
"I know you'd probably like to see her," Shelby tell them as she gets up and starts searching for something, "but by some miracle she's managed to sleep through both of you knocking so there's not a chance in hell I'm going to do anything that risks waking her up. She's not the best sleeper, so sorry, but if you were in my place you would do the same thing." She digging through a stack of stuff on her kitchen table as she says, "Ah-ha." She comes over to them holding out a picture, "But since you don't get to see her right now, you can take this, keep it. It's from last week."
Quinn and Puck get caught up staring at the picture of their daughter who looks so different than they remember. Shelby only lets them do this for about a minute before ushering them out the door and telling them that if they ever have the urge to do this again before they see each other in two weeks, do it in the daytime.
They needed to talk, that much was painfully obvious. So, just after one in the morning, they find themselves at Denny's- the only place in town still open for them to go to.
Despite the need to talk about everything, they've been sitting in silence on opposite sides of a booth for nearly two minutes. Their waitress has even come, dropped off some water, and left again without so much as a word being said. All the things that need to get said are stacked against them and neither knows where to start.
Eventually, Quinn's curiosity about the beginning prompts her to ask, "How did you end up at Shelby's tonight?"
This conversation called for complete and constant honesty, they both got that the second they found themselves alone in Shelby's front yard. So Puck tells the truth, "At least three times a week, when I can't sleep, I take my mom's car and drive by Shelby's. I don't know why. Seeing a dark house doesn't exactly change anything. Then tonight I was thinking about today and everything else as I was driving over and when I got there I found myself parking, getting out, and knocking on her door. I guess I just got tired of pretending not to want the things I'm not supposed to anymore." Before she can respond to his last comment, ask him exactly what he meant by that, he returns, "How'd you end up there?"
"I never let myself drive anywhere near her house and I never let myself do a lot of other stuff either," Quinn answers. She changes directions explaining, "Even though my water was breaking and I was freaking out thinking I was going into labor and going to have a baby really, really soon, I did hear my mom's offer about keeping the baby. I didn't think it was smart to consider it though. Everything was already so hard, it was easier to stick with the decision already made, ignore that the possibility she offered even existed. I've been doing that with a lot of things for a while now. I've ignored things to make situations easier. But in doing that I realized that I've been ignoring everything I want too. I've told myself that I'm just doing what's smartest and what's right, but everything feels so wrong that I've been doubting all of my decisions. In doing that I went all the way back to the decision to still give her up even though my mom made it so I don't have to and I miss her so…I ended up on Shelby's doorstep."
Puck asks the hard question, "So are we really going to take her back?"
"I want her," Quinn answers honestly. She offers with regret, "But Shelby did make some good points so…I don't know what to do now. Being smart about everything didn't end up feeling right, but acting just on what I want isn't feeling completely right either."
"Yeah, I know," Puck agrees, "I want her too, but as I was driving over here, I realized that if I did have her with me I wouldn't have anywhere to go. My mom wouldn't let me bring her home, it was hard enough to get her to let you come there and she only ended up agreeing because she knew you'd give up the baby if you only had a bad environment like my house to bring her into."
Thoughtfully, Quinn considers what would have happened if she had her daughter back. She considers, "My mom would pay for everything we'd need for the baby, no problem. She's still trying to make up for abandoning me so she'd probably give her everything she needs and then some. But…I couldn't let my mom pay forever. We'd need money and neither one of us has a job. That could be fixed but what about college? How would that work? Or what would happen while we're at school and glee club and your sports or Cheerio's practice? Would we quit everything? Because I don't see us having much time to spend with her otherwise."
"And she already has Shelby," Puck says, saying the difficult thing again, "and she knows Shelby as her family and she doesn't know us. And we told Shelby she could be her mom and if we take her away, we'd be making Shelby lose two daughters."
It sounded really cold and mean, but Quinn knew she wasn't going to take Shelby's feelings over everything into consideration. Beth was her daughter, it was her right to be with her if she chose, and Shelby knew what she was signing up for with adoption anyway. So how Shelby would feel about their decision or what it would do to her, Quinn wasn't really concerned with that.
She was, however, worried about how taking her daughter back, if they did, would effect Beth. Shelby had made a good point. Beth knew her as her mother and had spent the last, very long, eight months with her. Was it okay to take away the only family she knew? Quinn considered how she had been feeling since she moved back home. Besides it being weird to be there after being thrown out and without a baby despite the fact that she had one, it was also weird because her dad wasn't there. She didn't want her dad to be there, especially since the last time she saw him he was kicking her out and currently had no desire to see her. But even if she didn't always like them and never thought her parents were right for each other, they were her family and it left her feeling odd that they had changed, that her parents would never be together again. So if parents that she didn't have a close relationship with effected how she felt lately, what would it do to her daughter to have the only parent she knew never around her again? Would it be scaring for her? Would she always harbor a resentment toward her and Puck for some reason she's not sure of because she can feel that someone's been missing from her life? Would it really be in her best interest to have her whole life changed?
Puck's thoughts had echoed Quinn's and he offers, "I guess there's a lot we need to think about."
"Yeah," she agrees softly.
"What about today?" he questions, putting it out there because he didn't want it to get glossed over by everything else they were dealing with now. Since she doesn't immediately have an answer, and for fear that she'll say something that will make him hold his tongue, he continues, "We may be uncertain of what's right about Beth and taking her back or not, but I know we only have two choices for us. We're either definitely not anything and today was a mistake or it wasn't. I know which way I'd like things to go, but I'll deal with things either way."
"Which way do you want things to go?" she's quick to ask.
"I want to be with you, just you," he answers immediately, knowing it was how he's felt for a long time now, "for real and for good."
That was…something. "I thought you were with Santana," she comments because it's necessary- this was supposed to be an honest conversation, they couldn't go on assuming or ignoring.
"That was just pretend. She wants to make Brit jealous. I haven't done anything with her since the whole sexting thing," he tells her, completely ignoring that he wasn't supposed to be saying anything about Santana's jealousy ruse- she threatened a whole lot of bodily harm. He sees apprehension in Quinn's eyes at the mention of the sexting and he knows they have things to clear up about last year. Now is the time to do that so he continues, "I did a lot of stuff wrong while you were pregnant. I know that. What I've wanted hasn't changed in probably two years now, but… we'd get to a good place like we did that night we babysat together and then I still dropped you off at Finn's. Or we'd hold hands one day and then we'd go three days without talking even though we were living in the same house. I wasn't good at dealing with stuff like that- the fact that we weren't really something but weren't really nothing either. Apparently I don't do well with uncertainty, I get bitter and stupid. So I need a label. We're either nothing or something. And I get it if we have to be nothing because, like you said before, it hurt you to be around me because of everything."
There are a lot of things he's said in the last minute or so that are swirling in Quinn's head and making her dizzy (in a good way). She tries to focus on a response though. "Actually," she begins slowly, still gathering her thoughts, "I don't know how right that theory of mine was- that you'd only bring up the pain or that our history ensured that we had to be in each other's pasts." He starts to smile a little at the positive direction this seems to be heading compared to before, which makes her smile a little. She explains, "Earlier, when you came in the choir room, I had been trying to ignore what I had seen in the hall and I was doing okay at that. But then you came in and seeing you…I couldn't move past it anymore. Seeing that little girl then you being there forced me to think about Beth…and then I cried. But then having you there was…nice."
"Nice?" he repeats, thinking that was a good thing but not completely sure.
"Yes," she says, still with the hint of a smile, "followed by being really nice."
Okay so it definitely seems good. "Really nice?" he echoes again with a real smile.
"Yes," she confirms softly again, her smile matching his across the table. She asks the hard question this time, "So. Where do we go from here?"
His smile gets a little bigger.
They order coffee and food because they have quite a long night ahead of them. Around five in the morning they both finally head home to get some sleep- many things still unresolved. Quinn gets up after only a few hours and briefly meets with someone else before meeting with Puck again at noon to continue their discussion. They're making some huge decisions though (most of which are over due) and talking through things for the first time ever so it's not a quick process by any means. By Sunday evening though, they finally have everything settled; both knowing and agreed about all the things they want. On Monday, and through Wednesday, they work very fast to make sure they can make their choices realities for on Thursday they're going to start changing everything for good.
The first thing Will Schuester notices upon entering the choir room on Thursday is that it's emptier than it should be given that glee club was supposed to start over ten minutes ago (he got sidetracked by Figgins).
"Where's Mike?" he asks the room at large, but he knows who he'll likely get a response from.
"He's sick," Tina answers.
"Oh. You guys were doing your duet today though, right? I guess you can just perform it when he gets back."
"It actually wasn't working too well as a duet so I was just going to do it alone if that's okay," Tina returns.
"Absolutely," Mr. Schue responds. He moves on to the next absence, "And where's Quinn?"
No one volunteers a response and all eyes, including Mr. Schue's, go to Sam. Feeling the stares, he says, "Don't ask me. I haven't talked to her since she broke up with me last Saturday."
"Sorry, Sam," Mr. Schue offers, feeling bad for assuming that they were still together. Really, after so many years of dealing with teenagers, he should know better than to ever assume two people were ever still together.
"Wait, you're single?" Santana asks Sam, a mischievous spark in her eye.
"Uh-huh," Sam confirms, naively not catching on to why she would ask and simply continuing to feel sorry for himself.
"You're taking me to dinner," she orders.
Before Sam can respond (not that he'd turn her down- he doesn't feel safe doing that), Finn questions Santana, "What about you and Puck?"
Santana laughs in that "you're-such-an-idiot" way in response to Finn and says with a roll of her eyes, "Please."
Trying to get the kids back on track, Mr. Schue asks, "Speaking of Puck, anyone know why he isn't here?"
Finn mutters it, but he whole club hears anyway (making them all very uncomfortable). "Ask Rachel," he says bitterly.
Not one to back down, Rachel speaks up offering, "I haven't seen him in days. I think he's been ditching."
"No, I saw him earlier today," Artie reveals. Puck had been working really hard at being better, with their new friendship he had seen that. Technically he had no idea where Puck was, but he feels like everyone should be giving the guy the benefit of the doubt that he isn't off doing something stupid so he tells them, "That…lady, the one that was assigned to him after juvie, sometimes she stops by to check on him, that's probably where he is."
Mr. Schue sighs and concludes, "Okay. I guess we'll just have to extend this assignment a while longer to let the guys that are absent make it up later. Tina, do you want to go first?"
Tina eagerly accepts and gets everything set up for her performance, explaining that she was going for the original version of "I Think We're Alone Now," not the one by Tiffany.
Meanwhile, outside the girls bathroom nearest to the parking lot, Puck waited. Inside the restroom, Quinn changed out of her cheerleading uniform into something more comfortable for what she had ahead of her today.
With the guitar and tambourine players ready, Tina begins her song in the choir room.
That's what they say when we're together.
"And watch how you play!"
They don't understand.
Quinn comes out of the restroom, hair down and wearing regular clothes- a rare and nice change. Puck smiles at her and holds his hand out which she takes happily as they head for the door and her car.
And so we're running just as fast as we can,
Holding on to one another's hands.
Trying to get away into the night,
And then you put your arms around me and we tumble to the ground,
And then you say, "I think we're alone now.
There doesn't seem to be anyone around.
I think we're alone now.
The beating of our hearts is the only sound."
As they get to Quinn's car, Puck comes to a stop and turns to face Quinn, holding both of her hands in his. He checks, "You sure you still want to do this?"
"Yes," she confirms with a smile, completely certain. Then she panics for a second thinking he might have asked because he was having reservations (though originally it had been his idea) and she returns, "Do you still want to?"
"Hell yes," he promises earnestly with a smile.
Look at the way
We gotta hide what we're doing.
Cause what would they say
If they ever knew?
They kiss briefly before sharing another smile and getting in Quinn's car- Puck in the driver's seat.
And so we're running just as fast as we can,
Holding on to one another's hands.
Trying to get away into the night,
And then you put your arms around me and we tumble to the ground,
And then you say, "I think we're alone now.
There doesn't seem to be anyone around.
I think we're alone now.
The beating of our hearts is the only sound."
The car heads East out of the parking lot and in twenty minutes they'll no longer be within Lima city limits. In a little over four and a half hours they'll be at their destination, everything they need in the trunk of the car (two small bags with changes of clothes and other necessities, some very important notarize paper work, a couple of small jewelry boxes, and the dress Quinn was once supposed to wear to a chastity ball).
Charleston, West Virginia. It's not a city most seventeen year olds would run off to together, but for them, it's the perfect destination.
First thing Friday morning they go to the local courthouse to see a judge and get things set in motion appropriately. First thing Monday morning they go to the local courthouse to see a judge, sign some papers, and make legally binding promises of forever in front of the judge and two secretaries (who were nice enough to capture both video and photos of the moment) that they seal with a kiss. Finally, mid Tuesday afternoon after they've extended their escape from their everyday lives for as long as they could to revel in their new state, they head home to Lima exponentially happier than when they left.
It really isn't surprising that within three minutes of being back on campus Mr. Schue has found them. After they finished at their lockers they were headed his direction anyway.
What is surprising is that he launches right into talking without observing anything about them first. (Like the fact that he found them together at Puck's locker, or that they're holding hands, or that Quinn's still wearing her gloves, or that Puck's left hand is stuffed in his pocket awkwardly.)
"Where have you two been?" he begins. "You've missed three days of school and when I called your houses I got weird responses. Quinn, your mom just told me, "Oh, not to worry, she'll be back soon." And Puck, your mom either called you an idiot or me one and said, "He's off ruining his life even more." What has been going on?" Finally through with all the things that had been occupying his mind that he wanted to say to them, Mr. Schue takes stalk of what's right in front of him. His eyes narrow at their clasped hands and he comments, "That's new. Well…not new I guess exactly, but it is this year."
Rather than commenting on anything Mr. Schue said out in the open in the hallway, they skip to what they had already planned on doing. "We need to talk to you," Puck tells Mr. Schue, "in private."
Mr. Schue leads them to his classroom and shuts and locks the door behind them. Worriedly, as he comes to stand against his desk across from them, he asks, "Nothing's wrong is it? It's not Beth or Shelby, right?"
"No," Quinn answers, and with a smile continues, "We have some big news we wanted to tell you, but we don't want the whole student body knowing right now, we don't need their criticism and it could hurt at least one person besides."
"Okay," Mr. Schue says slowly, not sure he's following.
Rather than saying anything, Puck and Quinn glance at each other, smile, and she takes the glove off her left hand the same time he takes his out of his pocket. They hold up their left hands for Mr. Schue with matching joyous smiles.
Mr. Schue's eyes look like they're going to pop out of his head. It takes him a while to come up with something to say but he eventually stumbles, "H-h-how? Aren't you both underage?"
"We got consent," Puck answers, "Her mom and my dad. My dad walked out on me a long time ago so he owed me and her mom abandoned her so she owed her. It was pretty convenient."
"And West Virginia requires the parents giving consent to be there in person normally, but we wanted to do this on our own so we got lucky that signed notarized consent and talking to each of our parents on Skype, with proof of their identity, was enough for the judge we saw. After that it was just a three day waiting period to get the marriage license- that's why we were gone so long," Quinn adds on.
Mr. Schue rubs his hands over his face and lets out a tired sigh. This was definitely not the type of thing any teacher training ever offered advice about dealing with. Kids who were on drugs or pregnant or getting bullied were popular topics, but two kids who had gone off and gotten married after quite a rough history from what he knew, that was something he had no idea how to react to.
They knew their news was going to be quite a shock to anyone they told so they had decided that divulging some of the details of how they made their decision could help.
"We know it sounds like we did something crazy," Quinn begins explaining, "but we put a lot of thought into this. I thought we couldn't be together after everything, but it turned out we couldn't be apart either."
"So we were definitely going to be something again," Puck picks up, "and when Quinn asked me what label I want as something, I figured why not just go for the ultimate one? After everything, "boyfriend" felt pretty weak. And I know that she's the person I want to be with for good anyway, so why not just make it official now?"
"And if we can survive giving our daughter up and everything we put each other through last year and still want to be together, then we'll survive anything. So I agreed, there's no point in waiting, not for us," Quinn continues. She takes Puck's hand, gathering a bit of strength to say what else they needed to tell, "We've both been having a really hard time with the adoption. And we both thought the solution was to take Beth back. I think a big part of each of us will always want to do that, but we know that we can't give her the life we want her to have, we don't have the means to. But we realized that what we need to do to get through this is lean on each other instead of pushing away. We need each other."
Puck gives Quinn's hand a little reassuring squeeze as it seems like it's getting difficult for her to continue. He picks up where she left off, "Shelby was actually pretty great about everything. We've talked to her on the phone a couple of times and she thought having each other would help fill the void for each of us and she was happy to see we're so committed to each other because she decided that, since we want to be, she's going to let us be a part of Beth's life. She's naming us her God parents and we're going to start monthly visits this Saturday."
Quinn smiles a little and offers, "Now, she'll always get to know that she wasn't a mistake that we abandoned because we couldn't deal with it. She's the thing that brought us together, the person that's had the biggest and best impact on our lives."
"Yeah, her existence got me past my womanizing ways, and let me realize the life I really want," Puck interjects with a smirk to Quinn.
"And having her taught me to get over what other people thought about me. It took me a while, and I kind of reverted back to it, but I've finally accepted that and it's what allowed me to go after what I want. And this is what I want," she says with smile to Puck and glance at her plain silver ring, "So Beth made it so that we grew up enough to be together. And she'll always know that she gave us the best things in our lives and that we'll always love her for that as much as we'll always love her because she's ours even though Shelby's her mom."
"We know my parents, Quinn's parents, and you, all had marriages from high school relationships that really didn't work out at all, but we were kind of hoping that since our situation is so different from any of those, and since we gave this a lot of thought like we just explained, maybe you could be happy for us," Puck proposes for the both of them hopefully. Mr. Schue had been a big support and mentor to them both over the last year and a half so neither had wanted him to be disappointed in their decision.
Mr. Schue chews his lip for a second. He thought he'd be completely stuck about what to say or do, but it turned out he had gotten lucky because these kids just made things pretty easy on him. He smiles and tells them, "Of course I'm happy for you both." He hugs them both offering congratulations and continues, "You're right. I was shocked and ready to say you guys aren't thinking clearly because it's a big commitment, and because there are so many examples of things like this not working. But you two have survived a lot so I agree that you'll be able to survive anything else that comes along. So you won't here any judgment or talk of your decision being crazy from me." He has to add on though, concerned, "You do realize that first, if you keep wearing your rings your secret isn't going to stay secret for long? And second, being married in high school is going to be difficult. I mean, going home to different places at the end of the day-"
"We moved into my mom's pool house," Quinn interjects, "We were going to get an apartment with my savings and get jobs, but my mom doesn't want to lose me again so she offered the pool house and said that she'd only accept rent after we've had jobs for four months and had time to save for other things too."
"Oh, and the rings," Puck realizes and they both take off their rings and switch them to the opposite hands. "Told you we thought this through," Puck reminds Mr. Schue.
"Yes, we've thought this through enough to know that as much as we want everyone to know, everyone knowing will get a lot of people ridiculing our decision and we just go married- we'd like to enjoy that for a while before we get the backlash of the student body," Quinn adds. (Plus, she was worried about Sam finding out she got married only a little over a week after breaking up with him. That seemed kind of awful of her, she thought.)
"Well you can count on me to keep it quiet," Mr. Schue promises. He then asks who else they're telling so he makes sure he never mentions it to anyone else even if it seems like they know- he's had misunderstandings like that before (Coach Beastie is getting told when Puck explains why he missed practice and that's it for now besides their families).
Mr. Schue congratulates them again and lets them know that Coach Sylvester managed to commandeer the choir room and the auditorium simultaneously yesterday so their Tuesday practice got pushed to after school today instead.
Eventually Quinn and Puck head off to their classes feeling even better than they did when they got to school because in telling Mr. Schue everything and to have him agree with them, it was like validation. He was an impartial person who could see what they saw (they had both been secretly a little concerned that their judgment had been clouded by each other).
Meanwhile, while the newlyweds head off to class happy, Mr. Schue sits in his classroom and lets out a heavy sigh. He doesn't know if the kids were making a mistake or getting things right in a way he never had in his life, but he knew they needed his support (they pretty much said just that) so he was definitely going to give it to them.
(After his first period, he goes to see the last person in his life that eloped. It had been a while since they talked, but seeing what Quinn and Puck did, he realized he needed to talk to her.)
Quinn and Puck get lucky when they go to glee practice. They walk in separately (they didn't need to be together here, not yet- even if they had held hands a few times during the school day when they were away from crowds) and when Puck comes in second, one of the few open chairs is next to Quinn.
Just as Mr. Schue attempts to start the meeting, Finn (oblivious to Mr. Schue's greeting) asks Puck, "Hey man, where have you been? You missed our game on Friday."
"And Quinn was gone exactly as long as Puck was. Someone's hooking up again…ew," Santana comments just because she can.
"Where I was or what I was doing is no one's business," Quinn retorts primly.
"Agreed," Rachel chimes in, "but the fact that both of you would have missed two practices had yesterday's not been rescheduled is highly problematic. No one should be missing practices when we're only three weeks away from regionals. When I thought I was getting sick two weeks ago you didn't see me skipping a practice. Instead I went to my doctor and demanded a B-12 shot. Short of being hospitalized no one should be absent."
"I don't normally agree with Rachel," Mercedes prefaces, "but she has a point. At this point, any of us screwing up puts the whole team at risk for losing."
Santana, taking advantage of the opportunity, adds, "And since they put us at that risk by skipping rehearsals I think that means they do owe us an explanation for why they were gone."
"No that's not necessary," Mr. Schue interjects, but no one is listening.
"I have to say, I don't see what the big deal would be about you guys saying why you were each gone. You were just sick or something, right?" Artie says naively.
"Nah, you were just ditching, right?" Finn asks Puck.
Before Puck can say anything, Santana accuses, "And Quinn was probably off having work done…they didn't do a good job by the way."
"Why would you assume Puck ditched?" Artie questions Finn.
"Didn't do a good job at what? Her nose? Her ears? I can't tell what's changed," Brittany asks.
"We had a math test?" Finn offers in return to Artie.
"I'm captain of this glee club and I've already declared that they don't have to answer for where they were. Though possibly they should be punished. Why isn't anyone listening to me?" Rachel demands to everyone at large, though no one is paying attention to her.
Finn and Artie continue their back and forth as well as Santana and Brittany. Mercedes and Tina start talking about their plans for the next weekend as Sam, Lauren, and Mike sit silently watching the conversations and Rachel continues to talk to herself.
Mr. Schue tries to interject that they're moving on from all of this right now…several times.
Meanwhile, Quinn simply rolls her eyes at it all, strongly considering yelling at everyone to shut up. But Puck isn't doing so well with everything (he has some deep-seated issues about people arguing around him courtesy of his parents). In fact, the next time someone (Finn) asks him where they were after all of the uproar started, he yells, "We were getting married not…oh, whoops." (Everyone was left wondering if he was responding to Finn's claim before his question, where he suggested that Puck had missed that much school because he was playing his Xbox. Or to Santana's suggestion that they had been off kidnapping "their love child.")
Though the room had previously been very loud, it was now silent.
Quinn looks over at Puck, eyebrows raised and comments, "You kept quiet about not actually being with Santana for months but you didn't even last a day with our secret?"
Puck shrugs and suggests, "I like our secret better."
"Puck and Santana were only pretending to hook up?" Mercedes questions confused.
"No. We were constantly hooking up. We had a lot of sex," Santana denies as she shoots both Puck and Quinn a death glare.
All of a sudden Finn starts laughing and then, seeing everyone looking at him, apologizes to the room at large, "Sorry. I just spaced out for a second and imagined that Puck said he and Quinn got married."
"That happened," Rachel informs him evenly.
"Oh," he realizes. Then, "But…you can't be married. We said we'd be each other's best men. And what about a bachelor party?"
"Turns out I didn't care about the party. And you are my best man- whenever we have a real ceremony," Puck answers.
"Cool," Finn returns, but then he gets that concerned look again and questions, "Will I have to wear a tux?"
"Probably. She made me rent a suit just for the courthouse," Puck returns.
Quinn's quick to add on, "The answer's not probably, it's yes."
As Finn contemplates eventually being required to wear a tux, silence settles over the room again.
"This is weird," Mercedes comments after several seconds of silence.
"But it's also good…right?" Artie checks.
"It's very good," Puck promises.
"Good. Then congratulations guys," Artie wishes sincerely with a smile.
"Yeah, congratulations," Tina agrees.
Mike echoes her and gives Puck a congratulatory fist-bump.
Mercedes checks with Quinn, "You sure about this Q?"
"Yes," Quinn answers confidently.
"I have no reason to be concerned?" Mercedes continues.
"No," Quinn swears.
"Okay then, congrats girl. And Puck," Mercedes tells them.
Meanwhile, Mr. Schue watched the slow responses of the glee club. Santana was making a face (kind of like she was disgusted) ever since the news came out. Brittany…he wasn't sure she was following. Sam didn't seem too happy at all. And while Artie and Tina managed to muster some genuine glee over the situation, the rest seemed wary (except Finn who was a bit of mystery since he managed to get sidetracked). It didn't seem like the safest of situations to let the kids keep talking given how rocky they had been as a group recently. So, he tries to take control again saying, "I know this is a surprise to everyone, and I know all of you have thoughts on this- though please be respectful of Puck and Quinn no matter what those thoughts are- but for right now we have practice to get back to." Noticing that both Puck and Quinn seem to have something they want to say and remembering their earlier conversation, Mr. Schue tacks on, "Oh, and they don't want their news to be spread around campus yet so please be respectful of that as well."
"Oh. Too late," Santana says, slipping her phone back into her bag and not looking all that sorry.
Well, there was nothing anyone could do about that now so Mr. Schue continues, "Okay, so let's move on to the new assignment."
"Actually," Quinn speaks up, "we had time to kill waiting for the marriage license so we ended up doing the last assignment."
"Oh, okay. Well come on up, let's hear what you've got," Mr. Schue says excitedly.
They hesitate and Puck explains, "We were kind of hoping to just do it for you. It's kind of a duet and…I don't think everyone's going to want to hear it. We know not everyone's going to be okay with us so we…actually just Quinn doesn't want to do anything that could be insensitive to anyone."
Right, there was Sam and possibly others who wouldn't want to see the two of them together so, thinking quickly, Mr. Schue suggests, "Well, how about this? Everyone take a five-minute break. If you want to see Puck and Quinn's song for our last assignment come back then and if you want to miss it come back in ten minutes. Everyone needs to come back though because we have other business we need to get to."
Everyone scatters, but Puck and Quinn stay in their seats releasing heavy sighs with twinges of relief in them (at least no one called them stupid or crazy yet).
They had that thought too soon though because as soon as it looks like the room has cleared, Santana pops back in and tells them, "You guys are idiots." She punches Puck in the arm (hard- he says "Ow!" in response) as she tells him, "And thank you so much for nearly outing me."
"She's the one that said it," he says blaming Quinn.
"You had to tell her so she could do that and you weren't supposed to do that," Santana returns. Then she smiles (it's a little creepy) and adds, "Besides, I can't be mad at Quinn. This is so going to get her kicked of Cheerios and I'm going to be head cheerleader again. This is going to work out so great for me."
As Santana leaves in a very good mood, Quinn hits Puck and admonishes, "You threw me under the bus to Santana."
"I was just telling the truth," he defends.
Quietly, she asks the question they're both thinking, "Do you think anyone will come back?"
"At least one or two of them probably," he guesses and hopes that he's right. They had been really happy lately, just having gotten married and all, it would suck if everyone hated that they were together and definitely put a big damper on their happy mood.
"I'm sorry for telling everyone," he tells her sincerely. He hadn't meant to screw up so quickly.
"It's fine," she assures, they were going to have to face all of this eventually anyway. Looking on the bright side, she smiles and tells him, "Besides, now we can wear our rings on the correct hand again."
"That's right," he agrees and takes her hands in his, moving her ring from her right hand to her left. She does the same for him before kissing him briefly.
They break apart at the sound of the door and find Mr. Schue coming in. He takes a seat in front of them and offers, "Sorry for how everything is going down so far. But I think some of the guys are really happy for you." He adds supportively, "And I know I definitely am."
Before anyone can say anything else, Artie comes rolling in with Mike and Tina and Mercedes.
"So Mr. Schue, two glee club members just got married, that's something we should celebrate as a glee club, right?" Artie questions.
"Yeah," Mr. Schue confirms slowly, knowing this had to be going somewhere else.
"Good," Artie declares, "because all of us," he says with a gesture to the people he entered with, "just tried to pool our money in the hall to see what we could do and it turns out that between us we only have enough to buy the newlyweds a slice of pizza each. So we were hoping maybe you'd be able to help us out."
Money is kind of tight, but Mr. Schue can't refuse his glee club actually wanting to do something nice for one another. He smiles and agrees, "Absolutely. How about I buy a bunch of pizza and stuff and you're all invited over to my place tonight to celebrate?"
They're all happy about it, naturally. For the rest of the wait to see if anyone else is going to come back, Mercedes comments on Quinn's ring (which, in her opinion, was a "poor excuse for a piece of jewelry") and Artie offers to help Puck catch up on his missed school work.
Finn comes in about a minute before they're supposed to start again. He walks over to Quinn and Puck and everyone that surrounds them with his hands stuffed in his pockets. Embarrassed, he says to them, "I just realized I never said congratulations."
Quinn and Puck smile, relieved. Finn hugs them both and smiles like he's genuinely happy for them. It's a huge weight off their shoulders that he seems so okay with everything.
Soon after Finn has given his hugs, Rachel marches in and up to the happy couple (which makes Finn walk away from them even though he hadn't wanted to yet). Rachel stops in front of them and says, "If this interferes with glee club in any way we will be having words. But otherwise…mazel tov!" She smiles and, against both of their protests, hugs both Quinn and Puck before taking a seat next to Finn even though she knew he didn't want her sitting next to him right now.
Brittany and Santana saunter in at the last second, seeming to pay no attention to any of the changes.
No one expected Sam to come back, so when the door began to open they all took notice. But then it shut. Then it began to open again. Then it shut. Then it opened again and Sam stepped through, only to look at all of the glee club looking at him and turn around.
Quinn hops up and catches him before he leaves. "I'm so sorry," she offers quietly, "I didn't want anyone to know so that you wouldn't have to know that I-"
"I always thought you still loved him," Sam interjects turning around to face her. "I actually told Finn that when I was talking to him about asking you out," he continues, "I should have trusted that I was right." He sighs and tells her, "And it's okay- I know you weren't trying to hurt me or anything by doing all this. You did it because it's what you wanted and I'm glad you got what you wanted."
"Thank you. That's really great of you," Quinn says gratefully and though she knew he was a good guy, she's still surprised by how well he's handling this.
"Well," he says with a shrug, "Puck was always really decent to me, even a friend to me, despite the fact that I was apparently dating the girl he wanted to marry. So I kind of figure if he could get past everything and be good to me, I can do the same in return for you guys and for the good of the glee club." Or at least that was what he wanted to think, but, he has to ask, "But…exactly how sappy is this duet you two are going to do going to be?"
"Very sappy. I picked the song," Quinn admits.
It only takes Sam a second to consider what she's said to realize, "Yeah, okay, I don't know if I'm really that good with everything yet so maybe I'll just listen from the other side of the door this time."
"That's fine. Whatever you need to do," Quinn accepts with a smile, relieved that he wasn't bitter or angry or really hurt.
While Sam ducked back out of the room, Lauren comes through one of the other doors. Puck figures the fact that she's back before he's about to sing with his wife must mean he was way off thinking that Lauren liked him, which was good, he really didn't want to deal with anything like that.
"Okay," Mr. Schue begins taking center-of-the-room again, "it looks like we're all back…sort of. Mr. and Mrs. Puckerman, go ahead with your song."
Puck grabs his guitar from across the room before joining Quinn in the center of the room in front of everyone, Mr. Schue having taken a seat on the risers with everyone else.
"You should all know that Quinn chose the song and I think it's a horrible choice," Puck prefaces.
"Then why are you singing it?" Mike asks, somewhat innocently.
Finn makes a whipping sound in response that makes everyone snicker.
"Hey," Mr. Schue says calling a desist to the laughing half heartedly, "Puck did the right thing and it's a good thing, Puck, that you've already learned that when you're married you always have to do what your wife wants."
"That's right," Quinn agrees with a playfully smug smile to her husband.
"Just because you got what you wanted doesn't make this song any better," he retorts quietly.
She rolls her eyes and tells him, "Just start playing it already."
She smiles at him and he gives her another smile as he does as she said and starts playing "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now"- a slightly slower acoustic cover of the original Starship version.
Puck sings, facing Quinn, essentially singing to her, "Looking in your eyes I see a paradise, this world that I've found, is too good to be true, standing here beside you, want so much to give you, this love in my heart that I'm feeling for you."
Quinn sings, smiling softly at Puck, "Let them say were crazy, I don't care about that, put your hand in my hand baby, don't ever look back, let the world around us just fall apart, baby we can make it if were heart to heart."
Together they sing the chorus, "And we can build this dream together, standing strong forever, nothing's gonna stop us now, and if this world runs out of lovers, we'll still have each other, nothing's gonna stop us, nothing's gonna stop us now."
"I'm so glad I found you, I'm not gonna lose you, whatever it takes I will stay here with you, take it to the good times, see it through the bad times, whatever it takes is what I'm gonna do," Puck sings, promising every word to her as he does so, as he had done before.
"Let them say were crazy, what do they know, put your arms around me baby, don't ever let go, let the world around us just fall apart, baby we can make it if were heart to heart," Quinn sings reminding both of them of their decisions about how their lives together would be- carefree of the criticisms of others because they had each other.
Together again they sing the rest of the song, not taking their eyes off of each other and smiling gleefully the entire time like none of their audience was even there:
And we can build this dream together
Standing strong forever
Nothings gonna stop us now
And if this world runs out of lovers
We'll still have each other
Nothing's gonna stop us, nothing's gonna stop us
Ooh, all that I need is you
All that I ever need
And all that I want to do
Is hold you forever, ever and ever, hey
And we can build this dream together
Standing strong forever
Nothing's gonna stop us now
And if this world runs out of lovers
We'll still have each other
Nothing's gonna stop us
Nothing's gonna stop us,
Nothing's gonna stop us now
It isn't until the loud round of applause from everyone (and cat calls from Artie and Mercedes) that they finally remember that there are other people in the room, which breaks their trance and stops them from making out in front of everyone -which they were very near doing (if only Puck hadn't been playing his guitar which was sort of in their way as a result).
Since they're already behind, it doesn't take long for Mr. Schue to usher them to sit back down and he starts explaining their next assignment (songs from popular movie soundtracks- which apparently Puck and Quinn kind of just did thanks to some movie called Mannequin). Since there's no need to hide anymore, they hold hands throughout the rest of the meeting and Puck plays with the ring on Quinn's finger, eventually kissing her hand just because.
Tonight everyone will act happy for them at Mr. Schue's. The glee club will give them a "wedding cake" (that actually read "Happy Birthday"- it was short notice) and a first dance. But tomorrow, with the news having spread like wildfire around the school, criticisms will start in. Some people will be nice enough to whisper about them behind their backs, but most won't. Most of their peers will think they did the most insane thing they could have possibly done and most of their elders will think they did one of the stupidest things they could have done. But as the song they performed said, they'd be okay as long as they had each other. They had already weathered so much, they'd be fine through all future storms because they had the one thing that would always save them- each other.
(By their ten-year reunion, when a lot of their classmates have gotten married and divorced or separated, they'll still be together. The same will be true at their twenty-year reunion and the thirty-year that no one will go to. When that time comes, not a single person that ridiculed them for getting married at seventeen will feel like they were right to do so. Because no matter how drunk anyone at any reunion is, every person that encounters them eventually comes to see that Quinn and Puck are a couple that is going to make it until forever. And they were lucky enough to wake up and realize that at seventeen so that their forever could last a little longer than most peoples.)
A/N: I hope you enjoyed reading!
I know an entire episode that's basically only from two character's point of views seems like an idea that may not work and perhaps I am biased as a Quick shipper. But I thought something that focuses on a few characters, trying to rectify the leaps in numerous, sometimes opposing directions that the writers have been making the characters take unexplained, and using flashbacks and close examinations of individuals would help make the characters the focus of the show again. Then from this point I would have used Puck and Quinn's big change to act as a chain reaction of sorts for all past and present couples to re-evaluate their relationships or lack their of. For instance, as mentioned briefly, I would have used it as a way for Will to realize that he had been being a selfish douche for a while now and Emma had been a good friend to him in the past, he should be doing the same for her now (establishing their friendship again before even considering possibly getting into some Wemma). From relationships I would have transitioned into individual evaluations of characters/catching up with all of them while creating a suspenseful build to regionals (which was pointedly brought up towards the end of the story to start on that path). Not that any of this is even slightly relevant as we'll all get to see where the real writers have decided to go with second half of the season very, very soon.
(For those of you wondering if I'd continue this to write the above scenarios, I will not be doing that. I have Cheated Hearts to get back to. Which is still having the contest mentioned on my profile for any CH readers reading this.)
Oh, and the songs were, in order: "Pain in My Heart" by Otis Redding (though not intended to be performed like he did the song- that wouldn't suit her voice), "Better Man" by James Morrison, then during the kiss, in my head, I always imagine the last minute and a half of Iron and Wine's "Flightless Bird, American Mouth" playing, "I Think We're Alone Now" by Tommy James and the Shondells, and "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" by Starship.
Thank you for reading!
Reviews= love, so please leave one:-D