Disclaimer: glee ain't mine. If it was I wouldn't have to resort to fanfiction to see Samcedes happening.
A/N: Another Samcedes story for you. It's not going to be long. Perhaps one or two more chapters. It's different but I really love it and I hope you will too. Please don't forget to review. Love.
Chapter one: The girl with the orange book.
It was a warm July evening. Summer was here, finally, and for once it wasn't shy. The sun had been shinning in a sky of pure blue. Not one cloud in the horizon and rays of sun had teased Sam though his windows all day long. It was dark out now but that didn't keep him from wishing with all his heart he could have made the best of it. However, as fate would have it, he had been stuck inside for what seemed an eternity now and try as he might, there was no getting away.
Feeling like the walls were closing in on him, Sam pulled on his bowtie and undid the collar button of his stark white shirt. The night was not overly warm but in his current state of mind, Sam felt as if he was suffocating.
Look for the silver lining, he told himself. It was something his father used to say. In dire situations, look for the silver lining, Noah Evans always told him. This didn't exactly qualify as 'dire' but it was close enough. Taking a deep breath, Sam looked around himself and tried to do as his father had taught him; he looked for the elusive silver lining.
He was in the National gallery. He usually loved this place. It was one of his favourite museums in London and he loved coming when no one was around. Being born into privileges has its good sides. Tonight, however, the event left a bitter after taste in his mouth and he found himself resenting the place. Still, as far as hiding place went, this wasn't so bad. It wasn't outside but it was better than being downstairs with the hordes of buffoons and hypocrites.
He pulled on his tie once again. This time, it came undone under his insistent fingers. Sighing, in defeat and relief, Sam pocketed the cloth. What kind of masochist retard invented the bloody things in the first place, anyway? He resumed his tour, letting his mind drift and focus on art pieces instead of his growing frustration.
It wasn't often that he had cause to complain. He rather enjoyed his life actually but on days like this, when his so-called duty became a suffocating burden, he wished for simpler times. He wished for his father's wise words. This was why he was not completely disgusted at his cousin for choosing the gallery for his silly party. Art always had a soothing effect on him. The history that came with each painting was humbling and made him forget his troubles even if it was just for a little while.
So he kept on walking and he immersed himself in each masterpiece entirely. So much so that when he stumbled upon her, he had forgotten all about titles and engagement parties. She was in one of the smaller rooms, so small in fact that most people didn't know of it or even see it. She was sitting on a wooden bench in the middle of the room. She had a book in her hands and she seemed to be completely lost to the rest of the world outside of the story. The book cover was orange and for some inexplicable reason that made his lips twitch in amusement.
Her presence in this room should have been strange –everybody was either networking downstairs or outside, wishing they could get in- but Sam was too distracted by the girl to pay attention to the circumstances.
From what he could see (her profile), she seemed to be in her early 20's, just like him. She had a skin as dark and smooth as chocolate. She was dressed for the occasion; a ball gown of deep purple hugged her body. The dress seemed to be shimmering as if minuscule constellations of stars had landed on it for the evening. Appropriate, he thought. He smiled when he saw that she had discarded black high heels and that her toes were peeking out from under the hem of her gown. Her hair was held up in a simple but elegant chignon. (He allowed himself a short moment to curse his mother because he actually knew what a bleeding chignon was.) She was curvier than today's society allowed but he liked it. She seemed alive; she was real. He liked that a lot.
He was about to make his presence known when he heard a sniffle; a subdued, heart-breaking little sound coming from her side of the room. Looking more closely at the hunched form on the bench, he saw a single tear crashing down on a book page. The girl with the orange book was crying and he suddenly felt the urge to embrace her.
She wiped the tear away and in doing so, looked up for the first time since Sam entered the room. Her arrested gaze stopped on him and Sam felt himself freeze from head to toe; even his breath caught in his suddenly throat. Somehow, without really looking at her, he had known she'd be beautiful. However, he had not taken into consideration how much the full impact of her eyes would be beautiful to him. Even from afar, her eyes were magnetic and piercing. He couldn't quite see their colour but he had the feeling they were deep and if he decided to join her, he could get lost in them. Knowing this girl and acquainting himself with the colour of her eyes suddenly seemed of great importance.
"Hello," he called simply. Simple is always good, his father had liked to say.
"Hi," she replied looking suspicious.
"American?" he asked surprised.
She raised an eyebrow. "Got a problem with that?" she shot back. Fire. He liked that. Sam hid a smile by bringing a hand to rub over his lips. He shook his head decidedly, trying to look contrite and non-threatening.
"Mind if I join you?"
He saw her hesitate but in the end she relented. For some insane reason, people seemed less suspicious of polite strangers. She nodded.
"It's a free country," she said with shrug. She dismissed him by returning to her book as he took a seat beside her. Not too close but not too far either. He sprawled his long legs in front of him and linked his fingers over his stomach. They stayed like that for a long while, in the quiet of an empty museum room. Sam felt himself relax for the first time that day. Whoever Miss Orange Book was, he was grateful to her for that; peace and quiet.
Sam was contemplating taking off his jacket when he heard another sniffle. He looked up at the girl to find tears streaming down her cheeks and her cute little nose scrunched up as if by doing so she could stop them. He quickly searched for his pockets, trying to locate a tissue but he only found his discarded tie. Shrugging, he extended it to her. She looked at him strangely.
"Take it," he said nudging article of clothing in her direction.
Still no response. She just kept staring at him as if he was deranged.
"It's not going to bite," he promised with a small smile.
"Perhaps not but what exactly is it?" she asked looking at the tie as if she had never seen one.
"It's a bowtie. You can have it; you obviously need it more than I do," he tried to explain while mentioning awkwardly toward her face. He was so smooth, he thought dryly.
"You want me to tidy myself up with your tie?" she arched an eyebrow sceptically. She seemed to be a master of the eyebrow lift.
"Eh," he shrugged, acknowledging the silliness of the situation, "Why not?"
"Because it's a tie," she enunciated each word as if she were talking to a child, an obviously mentally challenged child. What did it say about him that he felt a ridiculous urge to smile as he looked at her puffed up, wet and cross face?
"I am aware of that fact," he said dryly and she started to frown at his tone. "Now, you have two choices here: you could stop arguing and just take the bloody thing and use to clean your face of the snot coming out of your nose or you continue to argue irrationally with me. Either way, I'm good," he taunted her with what he hoped was a charming smile. He saw the corner of her luscious mouth tug upward and a strange sensation started in his belly.
Eventually, she tugged the tie from his fingers and started drying her face. As discretely as the situation allowed, she blew her nose. When she was done, she turned fully to him.
"Thank you," she said softly.
"I'll keep the dirty bowtie, if you don't mind," she said with al wince.
He chuckled. "It's all yours."
They exchanged smiles.
"I'm Sam," he said finally introducing himself and held out his right hand for her to shake.
"Mercedes," she said taking his hand in hers. Sam had to swallow because his mouth had suddenly gone dry. Her skin was so soft and delicate. He actually had to make himself let go of her hand. Trying to stay focused, he struggled to make conversation. Astonishing, considering he had been brought up for the sole purpose of being able to make conversation while remaining charming and engaging.
In the end, he just said the first thing that came to mind. "What is this book that has you in tears?"
"A stupid book is what it is. It's called One Day," she said looking down at the closed book on her lap.
"David Nicholls," he said, suddenly realising why the book cover had attracted his attention, besides its startling colour. "Heart-wrenching," he commented lazily.
"It's stupid! I knew I shouldn't have read it but Kurt insisted," she was mumbling in anger and Sam bit back a smile; she was an absolute delight. He didn't miss the mention of another man but he decided to store that piece of information for later.
"It's a good book," he insisted trying to get a reaction out of her.
"I hate reading love stories written by men. It's always tragic. What's the point of writing a beautiful story and then tear it apart by killing half of the equation? None! No point whatsoever! Stupid men! Shakespeare started it and they all followed like sheep. Stupid tragedian sheep!"
She was practically fuming now. It was obviously something she had thought about previously.
"The tragedy only makes it real and leaves a bigger impact on the reader," he continued to argue just to see her eyes flash in anger again.
Caramel, he thought with a delicious shiver.
Her eyes were the colour of melted caramel.
"Oh, please! Why do people always say that? Why does death and loss make something real? I'm not saying hardship isn't part of life or that death isn't either but does it mean good feelings are cheap? Does it mean that the story of a man and woman struggling through life together and being happy together is less real, less valuable than the story of a husband who loses his wife in a traffic accident? Male authors always make it a point to separate their characters and I believe it's because they enjoy putting their readers through hell! It's a stupid book, written by a stupid boy and I'm clearly the stupidest because I've been crying over it!"
She finished her angry tirade by shoving –rather forcefully- the book in her handbag. When she was done with that, she sent the bag flying under the bench. Sam had to dig his fingers in his palms and concentrate on the pain to avoid laughing.
"Better?" he asked with a straight face.
"Much, thank you," she said and tipped her chin up. Sam grinned at her spirit.
"You know," he started unable to resist teasing her some more, "Shakespeare's body of work is rather impressive and his stories weren't all tragedies."
She narrowed her eyes but he could have sworn he saw her lips twitch. He wasn't the only one enjoying the exchange, apparently.
Her voice was dripping with sarcasm. "Strangely enough, his most famous play finished with a double suicide," she argued back and seemed rather satisfied with herself.
"Ha! But it is a love story! People quote Romeo and Juliet to this day not for their tragic end but for the love they shared."
"Psh! Romeo and Juliet is about two overdramatic, horny and rich teenagers with mentally challenged families and friends. Idiots!"
He brought a hand to his chest and gasped in mock outrage. "Are you really bad-mouthing good old Billy?"
Her eyes were completely dry by now but they twinkled mischievously at him.
"So what if I was?"
"It's blasphemy, darling!"
"You British and your Shakespeare! It's pathetic, really."
"At least we have a Shakespeare. What do you lot have?"
And suddenly they were laughing freely, the echo of their joined mirth bouncing along the walls. Sam felt warmth spread throughout his chest. There was something, a sort of contraction. It wasn't unpleasant but it was new. Different.
Mercedes had one of those crazy sorts of laugh: loud and free and not in the least self-conscious. She laughed with her whole body. Her head was thrown back, she clapped her hands in delight and her feet had risen from the floor as if she wished to contain the moment inside herself. It was lovely and it made him want to laugh even more.
It took them quite a while to finally settle down. They couldn't look at each other without bursting out again. When they eventually calmed down, her eyes had softened and she smiled warmly at him. She took in his appearance and her gaze turned quizzical.
"Why did you leave the party?"
He shrugged, feeling uncomfortable. He didn't want to tell her who he really was; he didn't want the easy-going atmosphere to dissolve just yet.
"Why did you?" he countered.
"I wanted to finish my book," she answered as if it was obvious.
"I'm sorry, I'll leave you to it then," he began to rise but she grabbed his arm and pushed him back down.
"You don't have to tell me if you don't want to," she said with an understanding smile. It was that smile that decided him. For the first time in his life he took a leap of faith. Here, in this old place, during this strange evening he decided to trust this beautiful, witty and charming stranger.
"It's my cousin's engagement party," he told her simply. She looked puzzled by the statement but after a couple of seconds her eyes widened in surprise.
"John Evans is your cousin?"
He nodded and squared his shoulder, readying himself for her reaction.
When she saw his reaction, she shifted slightly on the bench. "You don't look like an aristocrat," she finally said, her tone of voice clearly teasing. He relaxed. "I heard they were old and eccentric."
"I like to think of myself as an eccentric," he said with a smile and a wriggle of his eyebrows.
She scoffed mockingly but her gaze was still warm and tranquil, there was no judgment in their caramel depth.
"Oy! I could be downstairs getting shit-faced, being completely unoriginal, ordinary and boring. Instead, I am here with a defensive and crying American water pot who dares to compare Madonna to Shakespeare!" he defended himself with good humour and she started to laugh again.
"You're right! You are a freak!"
They grinned at each other.
"So? If John Evans is your cousin, that makes you Samuel Evans, Lord Kingswood," her face still clear and completely open.
"Indeed it does," his voice was surprisingly steady. He still had not gotten used to being called by his title. Lord Kingswood had always been his father and even when he held the title, he didn't really like being addressed as such. "I prefer Sam, though."
"Me too," she smiled and once again she made him forget. "People have been looking for you," she informed him.
"People always are," he said with a sigh before wincing at the pompous statement.
"Fleeing a family reunion… how very common," she baited him.
"It was either that or chucking the bride-to-be down the stairs. On the other hand, the papers would have loved that," he dead-panned. The press had been merciless in its taunting about the noble festivities. He would be angry if he didn't share their opinion.
"What's wrong with her?"
He chuckled humourlessly. "She's the first human being capable of functioning without the use of a brain."
Mercedes giggled and he almost started at the sound. Somehow he had not imagined her as a giggler. He usually cringed visibly (to the point of rudeness) at the sound but coming from Mercedes it sounded sincere. It wasn't badly used as a feminine ploy like other young women did.
"Poor girl, it must be hard for her," she said with false compassion.
"Oh no, not at all. She appears to be blissfully ignorant of the fact." Mercedes shook her head at his rudeness and he smirked, unrepentant. "My idiot cousin seems to suffer from the same disease, so I'll have to tolerate her, I guess."
"You're a Marquis or something, right?" he was a duke actually but he chose not to correct her, "can't you have her shipped to the continent or something of the sort?" she asked with a horribly posh accent.
He laughed. "Do you think we do that?"
"You do in the books I read."
"You need to read something else. We are not violent people; we're too lazy for that," he said dryly.
"Well, F.Y.I, the most productive serial killer was an English noble. A lady in the 17th or 18th century killed more than 200 of her servants so she could bathe in their blood. Too lazy, my ass!"
"That we know of," she nodded in triumph. She seemed to love having the last word and she was so very efficient at giving it.
"How-," he started to ask but was interrupted by Lady Gaga. Born this way could be heard from under the bench.
"Sorry," she said and leaned over to grab her bag. He didn't like that her attention had been taken away and decided to bring it back to him.
"This is a museum. Not turning off your mobile is against the rules and very rude," he whispered teasingly while she went through her gigantic bag. She looked up long enough to glare at him and he had to clench his jaw tight to avoid laughter.
"What's up?" she answered the phone with a soft smile. Immediately, Sam's curiosity was peaked. "Missing me, are you, white boy? … Shut up! You dragged me here. You insisted. You said it would be fun… You big liar! I did not! I wanted to stay at the hotel and watch misfits! … So go look for something or someone to so," she accompanied the statement with a wriggle of her eyebrows, as if her interlocutor could see it. "You are such a snob!" she was laughing now and even though Sam was annoyed by the caller's interruption, he found himself enjoying the sound of her laughter. "Fine, I'll meet you at the front entrance in five minutes," Sam's heart sank at the news. "Stop pouting!" and with that last order (that Sam had thought was directed at him but actually wasn't) she hung up.
She turned to Sam with a sad smile.
"You have to go," it wasn't a question; it was a hopeless statement.
"I'm afraid so. My friend Kurt is getting really bored and he has the patience of a five-year-old on a sugar rush," she explained and although her voice was apologetic and she was rolling her eye, it was obvious there was a world of affection between her and this Kurt person.
Sam's lips flattened and his heartbeat accelerated in irrational jealousy. He reeled at the sensation. He had felt more emotions in thirty minutes with Mercedes than he had in the last year. She made him feel alive and it took a monumental effort on his part not to let it show and allow her to stand up.
"I'll walk you down," he offered getting to his feet as well.
"Oh, you don't have to."
"It's alright. I have to get back, anyway."
He nodded and offered her support while she put her heels back on. They headed back to the party in complete, and for the first time in the evening, awkward silence. They reached the main entrance more quickly than Sam would have liked. Mercedes took a look around in search of her "friend". He was trying not to pout too obviously when he was suddenly grabbed by two pairs of strong arms. He protested but was soon lifted off the ground.
"You wanker!" Sam heard John and Phillip roar in laughter as they started to carry him away from Mercedes. She had apparently missed the whole ordeal. He tried to break free but when he managed to, he saw Mercedes being engulfed in a bear hug by a good looking man.
Two seconds later, he was dragged away by his idiot cousins and she disappeared from sight.
A/N: so? Thoughts? Questions? Comments?