Chapter Eight: Tough Love
"Ryan, have you seen Puck anywhere?" Dana asked on their way to her locker after the final bell. He shrugged and pointed a ways down the hall to where Puck stood over Santana, leaning against her locker, kissing him gently on the lips. Without saying anything to Ryan, Dana stormed down the corridor and tapped Puck roughly on the shoulder. "Can I talk to you, Puckerman?"
"What do you want, Fabray?" he asked, quite obviously frustrated that she interrupted his moment with Santana.
"I want to know why you're so damn okay with the fact that we…"
"Okay, let's talk."
But by the time Puck intervened, it was too late. "'We' what?" Santana inquired, one hand on her hip. "Why are you so obsessed with my man, Fabray?"
"Obsessed?" Dana scoffed. "I don't need to be obsessed. Why don't you ask your boyfriend what he's been up to recently?"
Santana's jaw dropped. "Y'know, I don't need this, Puck." And without missing a beat, Santana had smiled at an approaching boy, wrapped her arm around his waist and was walking off with him.
When she was out of their sight, Puck pushed Dana by the shoulders, not too hard that she got hurt, but hard enough to make her lose her footing.
"What the hell?" she shouted, shoving him back.
"What is your problem?" Puck's voice was raised in such a tone that made Dana feel a little unsafe. "I thought you were cool. Why'd you have to do that for?"
"Tell your girlfriend you cheat on her? Or point out the fact she's a slut, too? I was helping you out, dumb shit."
"Bringing up the night we were together? Why? You got one night of fun, but it just wasn't enough… it never is," Puck smouldered a little, but didn't lose his control. "Admit it, Dana, ever since that night, you've wanted something more from me – some kind of commitment that you know I can't give you."
"And now you ruined things with Santana, the hottest chick at this sad school!"
Puck stormed off, leaving Dana alone in the hallway to realize that everything he'd said to her was completely, utterly, one hundred percent true.
"I spend more time in this auditorium than my own house," Rachel admitted, laughing along with Charlie, pulling her by the hand toward the stage – skipping as quickly as they could. "Look, here,"she pushed Charlie to centre stage, still holding her hand.
"Is this what you wanted to show me?"
"Shut your eyes and take a deep breath. Feel the audience watching you, feel the power of your voice…"
Charlie took off her toque, put her hat and gloves in it and threw the bundle somewhere in the wings, then faced the empty seats and shut her eyes. Taking the deep breath, Charlie felt herself on a stage in front of hundreds of people. "Okay, this is cool," Charlie chuckled softly, squeezing Rachel's hand out of fear. "They're watching me – what do I do?"
"Sing," Rachel simply stated. "Sing from here." She pushed Charlie's stomach, "But most importantly, sing from here," and then she moved her hand from her stomach to her heart.
Rachel took a step away from Charlie, letting her face the imaginary audience on her own. With her crutch gone, she inhaled deeply and started to sing. As she continued the soft ballad, Rachel snuck up behind her and wrapped her arms around Charlie's waist, continuing the song. Charlie's eyelids fluttered open and she turned around, burying her face into Rachel's hair. "Thank you."
"For what?" She felt Rachel smiling into her shoulder.
"For making me feel special."
That evening, Quinn came home from Finn's house, planning to go straight to her room and study. Unfortunately, things don't always go as planned. She was going to pass through the living room, but that turned into her final stop. Her parents stood shoulder to shoulder behind the coffee table.
"Hi Mommy, hi Daddy," she squeaked.
Neither of them had smiles on their faces. "We got an interesting piece of mail today," Mr. Fabray said sternly, tossing a thick envelope onto the table. Quinn picked it up and read the cover. It was addressed to her, and it was from the doctor. "Why would you need an obstetrician, Quinn?"
"I…" She was in absolute shock. She hadn't prepared to deal with this moment yet. "Mommy?" Mrs. Fabray couldn't even look her daughter in the eye.
"What's going on?" Dana asked. She was wearing her Lima Bean uniform and Charlie followed close behind her, wearing a confused look on her face.
Mr. Fabray glared at them. "Where have you girls been?"
"I was at work, and Charlie was at the library, so I gave her a life home. What's going on?" Dana repeated. She was the only one of the three of them who wasn't afraid of their father.
He found Quinn's eyes again and shouted, "What's going on? Your sister is a harlot. That is what's going on!"
Both Quinn and Charlie started to tear up. "I made a mistake, Daddy! I made a mistake…"
"Damn right you made a mistake. I will not have a whore living under my roof, bringing shame to my family!"
"Daddy, no!" Charlie gasped.
"Quinn, you have half an hour to pack your things and get the hell out of this house."
"Dad, please…" Quinn sobbed.
"You're wasting time."
Quinn and Charlie ran upstairs to pack everything she'd need. They knew he wasn't kidding around. Dana took a few steps toward her father until she was nose to nose with him. "Quinn isn't the one bringing shame on this family, it's you."
"You can get out, too!" Mr. Fabray bellowed. Dana didn't even blink. She turned on her heel, remembering her guitar case and school bags were still in her trunk, gripped her car keys and slammed the door behind her.
"Oh God, Quinn," Charlie said through heavy tears, "what are you gonna do?"
"Finn will probably take me in… I hope…" She folded a shirt and threw it in her suitcase on top of the other essentials as quickly as possible. "Bye Charlie," Quinn said. And within ten minutes, Charlie was completely alone, bawling her eyes out into what used to be Quinn's pillow.