Author's Note: Hey y'all! So. I updated. Yup. Nothing special about that or nothing. *Spots the lighting of torches and the sharpening of pitchforks* See, what had happened was… The way my bank account is set up… That joke is like a couple years old now… I'M SORRY! So I've been lacking motivation to write this story and it especially didn't help that my computer lost its damn mind and deleted the original first half of this chapter, thus making me have to rewrite something I was happy with, which ain't never good with me. Yup, so I can come with a bunch of excuses or I could just present the chapter. So here's the chapter. After you finishing rereading this entire story to remember what the hell the plot is, would you be so kind as to leave me a review? Please and thank you. –DMH
Magic Mikes and Manic Mercedes
"Dude, it is… something o'clock in the morning. What the hell are you doing here?"
What the hell was he doing there?
Sam tried to think back on his eventful morning. First, he had woken up – maybe – next to a beautiful woman. Then he had an epiphany about his relationship – or lack of one – with said beautiful woman. Then he had an epiphany about his life on the drive back to his place. And then he thought about that epiphany in the shower for an hour. And then he decided that he was depressed beyond all hope. So he wanted to see one of his friends today. And that's what he was doing there.
He opened his mouth to explain to his buddy, Mike Chang, but the tired man just held his hand up for silence and walked away from the door, leaving it open hopefully to let Sam in and not just because he was too sleepy to remember to close it. Sam closed the door once he was inside and followed Mike to his freshly renovated kitchen – all finished cabinets and chrome appliances. He sat on a stool as Mike clanged around his kitchen without a word, but with several yawns and it wasn't until the other man set a mug in front of him that he realized that he had been lost in thought. Or fantasy, rather. Mike glanced at the stove to make sure the teapot was on and then plopped down on the stool across from Sam. Then, slowly, he reached out to poke his friend in the nose. "What the hell are you doing here? It's butt'clock in the morning."
"It's 11:43," Sam said after a glance to his phone.
"It's Saturday," complained the other as he poured spoonful after spoonful of sugar into his own otherwise empty mug. "So it's buttmunch o'clock in the AM."
"The hell are you doing?"
"Tina won't let me have coffee until after the wedding because she says it makes me jittery and nervous so I need to get my fix somewhere and why the hell are you asking me questions? I ask the questions here. Why are you here?"
"I can't come visit my friend?"
"Not at the break of dawn – excuse me – Not at the break of ass, you can't," Mike groused, stuffing a spoon of sugar into his mouth.
"Diabetes is gonna go well with your tux."
"Why. Are. You. Here?"
"Mike. I'm a stripper."
Mike blinked at him and then spooned himself some more sugar. "This isn't some existentialist crap, is it? Because my brain can't handle this right now."
"It kinda is."
"Is it about your lady friend?"
Sam's eyes widened with surprise that his friend, half asleep in his cup, was so spot on. "Yeah, it's about her. How'd you know?"
Mike opened his eyes – which he had closed – just enough so Sam could catch the way they rolled. "You only talk to her more than Tina talks about table arrangements, man. You're all serious about her. It creeps me out."
"I don't talk about her a lot."
"Every time we talk."
"I'm not… serious about… it."
"Once, you called her 'Mother Mercy' and you crossed yourself. Sounds damn serious to me." Sam twisted his lips thoughtfully at this newest epiphany, but Mike gave him no time to ponder it. Instead, with a yawn, the man gave a follow up. "So she has an issue with you being a stripper?"
He nodded, his eyes dropping down to his lap. He hadn't been ashamed of what he had to do for money in years. But now. Now that he'd woken up this morning on the real world side of the bed… "I think so. Yes."
Mike sighed and drummed a random beat Sam didn't have to glance down to know his feet were tapping along to. "Do you two talk?"
"What do you mean?"
"Talking is something that occurs when you're not trying to put each other's body parts in your mouths."
"Do you have discussions? Do you talk about what she likes or your future plans? Does she know your favorite TV show? Have you mentioned your siblings? Talking other than the stuff that happens after sex or leading to sex?"
Mike raised a point there. They had talked. In bed. In between rounds of sex. At dinner. "We went out on a date and talked then, I guess."
"One date? When?"
"Yesterday. Last night."
"And that's when she decided that she couldn't be with a stripper."
"Um, no. This morning-"
"You mean earlier – Wait! You guys had sex again and then she decided that she couldn't be with a stripper?"
"She didn't say that exactly."
"Then I don't understand. Actually, I don't think I ever understood. What?"
Sam groaned in aggravation. "I have no idea what happened, man. We were doing so well. The sex is awesome." He crossed himself. "She's just amazing and beautiful and talented and hilarious. And our date went really well, I thought. But this morning, I brought up the date, y'know, to suggest another one since our first one went so well and she just gets this look on her face… And I realized that I'm a stripper so… yeah."
"So that's a bad thing?"
"I forgot how some women don't like it. So yeah, it's bad."
The pot began to whistle, so Mike got up and turned off the stove. He returned to the island and poured first Sam's cup and then his, then tossed tea bags into both mugs. After he put the teapot back on the stove, he said, "Whenever you talk about her, it always sounds like you two enjoy each other. At least you do, so I'm guessing that she enjoys you a lot, too. So maybe you should try talking to her about it. Explain to her what your life's like or something."
"You think that will work?"
"I don't freakin' know. Just try it."
"You really are the worst friend ever."
"I tried," said Mike, lifting up his mug to take a sip. Sam did the same and immediately scowled at the taste.
"This is disgusting!"
"Tina's mother gave me this. You. Will. Deal," Mike said with finality before lifting his own mug back up and sipping out of it, almost defiantly. Sam set his own tea down and crossed his arms. Mike sighed. "Drink it with me, man. I'll convince Tina to make pancakes whenever she wakes up if you do."
Sam picked up the repulsive drink again. "As long as there's blueberries in them."
"Done." Then the two were silent because they were trying to gulp down the rest of the tea without throwing up. When Mike was done, he got up and poured another cup. "Want some?"
He shook his head. "Masochist. So are we playing video games or something until your fiancé wakes up?"
"We're not doing anything. You can sleep on the couch. I'm going back to bed."
"It's after noon now!"
Mike shrugged and gave a dramatic yawn, stretching his long arms above his head before hopping off the stool and wandering towards the door. "Good night."
"Thanks, Magic Mike," Sam called after his friend when he got up and walked out of the kitchen.
"Damn you, Channing Tatum!" growled Mike, shaking his sugary tea in the air as he rounded the corner.
"I decided that I need to be forgiven," Santana said as soon as Mercedes opened her door. "But before I decided that, I decided to go to eat all of the breadsticks you left over my place, so now I need to sit down before my stomach decides to give you back the breadsticks."
Mercedes scrunched her nose and stepped aside so the other woman could walk in. Santana did, then she took her usual spot on the couch and stretched out, rubbing her stomach. Mercedes sat down on her overstuffed chair and tucked her feet under herself. There was a moment of silence that only the background noise of Breaking Amish could break until Mercedes sighed.
"So…?" she prompted and Santana stared back at her in confusion.
"So you want to be forgiven?"
"Yeah, I already said that."
"That wasn't an apology!"
"You let me into your house! We're watching Amish people!" Santana tossed up her hands, her face a mask of shock. "This feels forgiven."
"We need to talk."
The groan her friend gave was long and ridiculous, dragged out until Santana was breathless and her voice was cracking. "Fine. Let's talk."
"Okay," she said, unwrapping and then rewrapping her head scarf as she leaned closer to the other girl. "You start."
Santana rolled her eyes, but said, "I'm sorry for the hurtful things I said to you."
"And I'm sorry I hurt your feelings."
"And I'm sorry I said that thing about you not understanding relationships. That was out of line."
"And I'm… sorry for acting all crazy."
"…And I'm sorry for ignoring your phone calls."
"And I'm sorry about the 'Red Wedding' episode of Games of Thrones! What the hell else do you want me to say?!" Santana squawked and Mercedes fell against the arm of her chair in a fit of giggles. Santana sighed and shook her head. "I can't stand you."
"Yeah. Lies," Santana admitted, sending a small smile her way that Mercedes just had to return. Then she climbed off her chair and onto the couch so she could cuddle close to her bestie. "Noooooooo, stop! I had too many Stix! I'm gonna die! Get ooooooooooooff!" Mercedes ignored her and didn't say another word until Santana was flat on her back and Mercedes was on top of her, her face snuggled against her shoulder. "I hate you so much."
They watched an hour of the Amish Mafia marathon like that before Santana had to get up to get some water. Then they discussed Sam to which Satan's Sound Advice gave her: "I suggest you get some cinnamon and a pair of kneepads because that's the only way I see you cleaning this mess up."
"I brought you some apple pie and an apology blowjob," Mercedes said as soon as he opened the door to his apartment. Sam looked, scruffier that usual – maybe because it was Sunday.
He was silent for a moment, staring thoughtfully at the container in her hands, and she was scared he was going to reject her like she rightfully deserved, but then he stepped aside and waved her in. As tempting as it was to turn and walk backwards so she could keep her eyes on his face, she had forgotten how steep the staircase up to his place was, so she had to keep her attention on that. She did, however, manage to distract herself from the steps long enough to say, "I thought you were going to turn me away."
"You had me at 'apology blowjob'," he told her as they reached the top. She giggled and he laughed and, like that, they were in that good place again. Almost.
She decided to just take the plunge. "I'm really sorry, Sam. It was thoughtless of me not to consider your feelings. I feel as if you think I was just using you, but I wasn't… Well, I kinda was, but I was holding back my emotions about us-"
"Let's just head inside and start on the pie before we start talking about emotions. Stomach full of pie and then emotions, please," he said softly, pushing the door and stepping to the side so she could walk in. She glanced around his apartment as if she hadn't been a sex slave in the days prior and she startled when he placed a hand on the small of her back and nudged her towards the kitchen. He'd obviously been eating when she walked in and she stood awkwardly as he sat back down on the stool he had abandoned to answer the door and lifted a piece of turkey bacon to his mouth. He glanced up at her as if waiting for her to do something and she stared back blankly until he used his foot to push out the stool beside him in silent invitation. Yeah, this wasn't weird at all.
She climbed into her seat and set the pie down, grateful that she could make her fidgeting hands useful in pulling the pastry out of its container. He stood, the sound of the stool dragging across the floor abrupt and loud and not helping the awkwardness of this situation at all, and he moved to his cabinets and drawers to pull out plates and utensils. A final scrape of his chair and he was sitting beside her again, cutting the pie and putting it on plates and she suddenly wanted to throw the pie in his face or pull her hair out. Or pull his hair out.
Because she really didn't want to be the first person to say something, but he was interested in pie and only pie apparently and part of her felt like she deserved this, but another part of her wanted to take her pie, steal his turkey bacon and go home. Instead of acting on impulse, she sat straight like a big girl and watched him eat the damn pie without looking at her and listened as he made sex noises – damn right, he better make sex noises. That's her grandma's recipe – and calmly tried to set him on fire with her mind.
When that didn't work, she said, "I don't want you to be my boyfriend." And he looked up at her with an expression that was as heartbroken as one with a mouthful of delicious pie could be; which happened to be surprisingly very heartbroken. She quickly amended her words by reaching out to stroke his hair. "No, I mean, I don't want anyone to be my boyfriend right now. I'm at a really weird place in my life – well, not even weird, it just feels like things are finally starting to move forward. With finishing school and finding my job and a new place to live, I'm finally on the right track, but it's still so new to me and… and I do have feelings for you, but – at this moment of transition in my life – I don't think I'm ready for a boyfriend. At all."
That sad look in his eyes didn't dissipate and he took the saddest bite of pie she had ever seen in her life, but he nodded. "No, I get it." He dropped his fork and used his newly freed hand to scratch the side of his neck. She watched his Adam's apple bob a few times before he asked, "So this has nothing to do with me being a stripper?" And then he was looking at her with eyes so clear and determined that she blushed.
"Don't be sorry, Mercedes," he told her, his brow furrowing. "Just be honest. You don't like that I'm a stripper."
"No, I wouldn't say that I don't like it-"
He nodded. "Because you've reaped the benefits of it. Go on."
Mercedes bristled at that and took a big bite of pie because obviously it was anything but humble judging from the way he was staring her down and she totally needed a piece of that. "I'm sorry if I'm not completely comfortable dating a man who takes his clothes off and slides around on women's laps for a living."
"But you're comfortable having sex with one?" he countered and she really, really wanted nothing more than to steal all his bacon, turkey or not, in that moment. That would do him right.
"Maybe I'm not comfortable with how comfortable you were having sex with me."
"What does that even mean, Mercedes?"
"It means…" She nibbled her lip as she tried to un-jumble her thoughts and get down to the bottom of what was actually bothering her. "It means that you're a stripper and women put their hands all over you… And sometimes you put your hands back."
She was slightly upset that her voice had tapered off softly a bit at the end of her statement because, maybe, if she had said it with a little more confidence, he wouldn't be gaping at her now.
Sam finally shut his mouth and shook his head. He scrubbed his hand down his face and sighed, "Mercedes, you are the first woman I've ever… touched back. Stripping is seriously the least arousing thing I've ever done. Even when I was sixteen and light breezes could make me hard."
"You've been stripping since you were sixteen?" She didn't quite know how to take that.
"Yeah and never have I once… done any of the things I did with you," he finished lamely.
"Am I supposed to feel special about that?"
"No, you're supposed to acknowledge that I'm not a prostitute."
"I don't think you're a prostitute."
"Obviously you do, Mercedes," he said and all the anger and conviction that had his eyes burning before seeped out and left them pale and sad. "But I get it. We won't date. It's okay." Then he added, as if it was an afterthought, "But I like you too much for this to just be a sex thing. I mean, it's a really, really, really good sex thing, don't get me wrong, but I want… I want more, Mercedes. And I don't think I can make myself stop wanting more. I don't want to."
She was quiet for a long moment and then she said, "Give me my pie back."
"Give me back my pie, Sam."
He looked at her as if she had just broken out in the hammer dance. "What? No!"
"Give it back."
"Why?! Because I won't be your booty call anymore? Mercedes, that's craz-"
"Just give me my pie!"
He deliberately picked up the pie plate where most of the dessert sat untouched and slowly, to her shocked amazement, he licked the top of the pie, sloppily and all over, then nonchalantly set it back down with a challenge in his eyes. So she launched herself at him.
They crashed onto the floor, him landing hard on the floor and her banging the crap out of her ankle on a stool as she landed on top of him. Sam made a pained noise and, when she glanced up to look at his face, he covered it with his hands as if expecting her to hit him. She considered in, but instead, just buried her face into his shoulder and tried to focus on the pain in her ankle rather than everything else. She failed.
"I feel so stupid."
"You kinda should. You attacked me because of booty call pie."
"Shut up, Sam," she sniffled and suddenly his arms were around her and he was sitting up and trying to look at the face she kept hidden in his t-shirt.
"Baby, are you crying? Don't cry."
"But I feel so dumb," she sobbed, rubbing her wet cheek against his shoulder. "I like you so much! Why did I do that? Why did I say those things to you?! I shouldn't care that you strip!"
"No, no, it makes sense, Missy. Not many people look at strippers and think 'I want to date this person'. It's okay," he tried to assure her, but she just shook her head and shuddered with new sobs.
"It's not okay! I made you feel like crap!"
"No you're not. I broke your damn heart for a stupid reason. Look at you. You're pathetic," she argued and he opened his mouth to counter that, but ultimately ended up closing it again because he kind of agreed.
So he just held her until his shirt was no longer needed as a tissue. When she finally glanced up at him, her eyes red and puffy and her pout the cutest freaking thing he'd ever seen in his life, he asked, "Were you seriously gonna take the pie?"
"I was upset. Shut up."
"So I don't have to be your boyfriend right now," he told her, much, much later, between a few lazy thrusts and the tightening of her grip on his hair.
"I want it… I want it."
"Me to be your boyfriend or it?"
"Both! Oh God, both, Sam! Both! Both! Booooooooooooooooooooooooth!"
A/N: So, all that is posted here has been written for a long time now. Like since the last chapter, I think. And I didn't post it because a sex scene didn't fit in it. And I wanted a sex scene. And now I'm just like eff it, I'll write sex in the next chapter. Sex and Artie. Sigh. – DMH