A/N: This story is roughly based on the song "Somewhere With You" by Kenny Chesney.
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters of this story.
Sam opened the door to his room. He didn't bother to turn on the lights. He tossed his jacket in the general direction of his desk chair, walked straight to his bed, and threw himself on it. He let out a long sigh and stared at the ceiling that was illuminated by the street light from outside their apartment in Memphis. He could hear the sound of the music of some video game coming from Stevie's room. He wasn't in the mood to go over there and tell him it was way past his bedtime.
As he laid there in his bed, Sam tried to figure out what was this feeling in his chest. The feeling that had been bothering him for a while.
He sat up again, struggling as if a weight was pressing down on him. He looked across the room to see his guitar leaning against his desk. It was moments like this that his guitar called to him. He stood up, crossed the room, sat down on his desk chair, and picked up his guitar.
He aimlessly strummed a few random riffs, not really playing anything in particular. The sound of the guitar soothed him. He turned slightly and the neck of the guitar accidentally knocked against his mouse, automatically waking his laptop from its sleep. He blinked against the brightness of the screen that suddenly illuminated his dark room. His chat window was the only thing open. One name stood out.
She was online.
Sam's hands automatically went for the keyboard, but then he flinched back.
He bit his lip, thinking it over. He really wanted to talk to someone right now. Despite their sudden break up, he still was on speaking terms with Mercedes, albeit long distance. One of the many admirable qualities that she had was that she was such a great friend. She was level headed, very honest... almost too honest. She really was a voice of reason. She was the perfect person to talk to when something was wrong.
With that thought, he clicked on her name and started typing.
Sam sat back, staring at the screen. Maybe she really wasn't there.
Wrong. "Hey, Sammy! What's up?"
He let out a breath he didn't know he was holding. He lifted the guitar off of his lap and put it back in its former resting place. He scooted the chair closer and started typing again.
"Nothing much here... Just wanted to talk to you." Sam inwardly flinched. Did that come off wrong? Like he was a little desperate?
Before he could think more about it, she replied. "Sure. You want to video chat?"
Video chats were usually reserved for serious, important chats. Did she assume it was something like that? Sam shrugged to himself. Well, honestly, it did seem like one of those moments.
A few seconds later a video chat invite popped up and he clicked to answer it. He remembered it was dark and flipped his lamp light on. He started running his hands through his now short hair. He dropped them once he saw Mercedes appear on the screen.
His heart caught in his throat.
"Hey, Sammy." She smiled.
"Hey... you look really good." Sam mentally kicked himself. His mouth ran away with his thoughts.
Mercedes smiled shyly and looked down. "I just came back from a party. I didn't bother to change yet."
Sam nodded. "Oh cool... with the others?" What he meant by the others was rest of the New Directions crew. He kept in touch with them as well, mostly via the internet. Besides Mercedes, he talked to Mike the most. He was the closest he came to a best friend in Lima.
Sam missed Mike. He missed them all. He missed her...
"No. It was a cookout with Shane's family."
Sam felt his stomach do a turn "Ah, yeah. That's great. How is he?"
Mercedes looked away and started scratching at the back of her neck. "He's doing... well. He got accepted to Ohio State on a football scholarship not too long ago. That's what the cookout was for."
Sam shifted in his seat. "Cool. Tell him congrats for me."
"I will." Mercedes said in an almost offhanded tone. "How's... Megan?"
That feeling that he was wallowing in not too long ago washed back over him. "She's..." He was about to say she was doing okay. But he was sure she wasn't. "We broke up." He let the words drop like a dead weight.
Mercedes's eyebrows creased with worry. "I'm sorry to hear that, Sammy. Why did she break up with you?... if I may ask."
Sam ran his hand through his hair. "No... I broke up with her. Tonight."
Even through the camera of her laptop and his screen, he could see something flicker in her eyes. He wasn't sure what it was. "Why?" She simply asked.
Sam took a deep breath. He shrugged his shoulders. "I... I'm not really sure. I guess..." He looked out the window as he started letting his mind search for the answer. "I guess... I just didn't feel it." He looked back at Mercedes who was perfectly still, patiently listening to him. "I didn't feel like I was in the relationship. Not really. It wasn't like..."
He stopped himself. He couldn't say it. Not to her.
It wasn't like how it used to be with you and me...
In that moment a single memory came to his mind.
It was a warm summer day. Early June. He and Mercedes went to the park, one of their frequent date spots because at the time Sam didn't have the money to take her to someplace like the movies. None of that seemed to matter. They enjoyed being outside, they simply enjoyed each others' company.
They were by the pond skipping rocks. He would exclaim something about failure in a Sean Connery voice every time a rock wouldn't skip. Mercedes would laugh hysterically and whack him lightly on the arm, then continued to show him how it was done. She was so much better that this than he was.
They started feeling drops of what seemed like rain. They were too into their little game by the pond to care, but the light drizzling quickly became a bit of a downpour. They ran for the small bridge by the pond. Sam shook his long hair, water spraying everywhere. Mercedes laughed as she braced herself.
They sat there in comfortable silence. They were just left with their own thoughts as they watched the rain pour down.
"I hate my life." Sam let his thoughts loose in a single breath.
It weighed heavily in the air. "Sam, don't say that." Mercedes turned to him.
"It's just... no matter what I do, it doesn't seem like it's good enough. No matter hard I work, it just feels like my family's situation will never get better. I can't have my family suffer like this forever... but it just seems like there's nothing I can do."
Mercedes reached out and took hold of his hand resting in his lap. "But you are doing something about it. Sammy, you're supporting your family. Without you, things would be a lot worse. It's only just a matter of time before things pick up and you'll be back on your feet... It will be because you helped your family keep afloat. You're amazing, Sammy. A real life hero." She gave his hand a squeeze.
Sam felt his chest swell with those encouraging words. He turned to look at Mercedes. She was wearing a warm smile, her chocolate brown eyes shone with a hint of red from the little bit light shining through the rain clouds, her hair curled naturally because of the rain.
She just took his breath away.
"You're right...I don't hate my life. " He admitted with a whisper. "How could I hate it when there's someone like you with me?" He leaned forward and gently brushed her lips with his own.
Life wasn't so bad when all that mattered at that moment was the smell of Mercedes' favorite perfume, her soft lips, and the soothing sound of the rain.
"It wasn't like what, Sammy?"
Sam was snapped out of his thoughts. He looked up saw Mercedes tilting her head, waiting for his answer. He cleared his throat. "It wasn't like... what I think a relationship should be. I... know she liked me. And I liked her. I mean, she was a nice girl. But I really didn't like her like that."
He really wanted to tell Mercedes everything, like he used to, like he always did. But he couldn't. He couldn't tell her that sometimes... he would think about her.
Whenever Megan would giggle about a joke of his, he would think about a louder, unrestrained kind of laugh. A laugh that would never fail to make him smile.
Whenever Megan would hum a tune, he thought about a certain singing voice that would move him almost to tears.
Whenever he would kiss Megan, for a second he couldn't help but think about strawberries and cocoa butter.
When he closed his eyes, he would think about the pond, that spot under the bridge, and the rain.
"I understand what you mean." Mercedes said with a tinge of sadness.
Sam stared back at her. That look in her eyes still remained. Before he could question her more about it, she continued, "Yeah, it'll be alright. You did the right thing. You can't be in a relationship for the wrong reasons." Her voice wavered and got quiet. "Um, Sammy... it's pretty late, I'll talk to you more if you want later. Okay?" She rushed her words. It seemed like she had something else to do.
"Sure. I'll talk to you later." He couldn't help but frown a little. The end of their conversation seemed to come too soon. "I miss you." His words fell out desperately. "I miss you and everyone else..." He caught himself.
Mercedes smiled solemnly. "I miss you too..." Sam's stomach did a flip. "We all do."
"Good night, Mercy." He managed to whisper as he felt his chest clench.
"Night Sammy." She whispered back and with that, the call ended.
He fell back on his chair. That was it. It was because of her. That's what it was all about. He should have known. He just never wanted to admit it to himself. Talking to her about it... almost talking about it made him realize that.
The feeling came back. He blindly reached for his guitar again. After a few more minutes of picking riffs, he strummed a familiar tune. He sang the words in his head... but one line managed to leave his lips in a whisper.
"'Cause when I close my eyes, I'm somewhere with you."