Title: I Just Can't Wait to Pick You Up On Our Very First Date (Is It Cool If I Hold Your Hand?)
Rating: PG-13 | Teen
Prompt: Day #1 - First Date | Samchel Week
Word Count: 4,593
Summary: His mom been not-so-subtly suggesting he make his friendship with Rachel a little more solid since pretty much the day Rachel showed up with sugar cookies and declared herself Sam's friend-slash-singing partner-slash-chapstick provider.
I Just Can't Wait to Pick You Up On Our Very First Date (Is It Cool If I Hold Your Hand?)
Sam had changed his shirt three times; going from a casual t-shirt to a button down plaid to the pressed white shirt his mom made him wear to a wedding two years ago that he only ever brought out on big occasions. In the end, it had more to do with the fact that he was going to be late if he didn't pick something. So he grabbed his favorite blue shirt —in his head he always called it Avatar blue—, rolled the sleeves up to his elbows, and then took the stairs two at a time, surreptitiously sniffing himself to make sure he smelled okay. He'd already showered and put on cologne, but his dad always said he was a worrier like his mom. It took something big to get him worked up but when he did it was hard to get him to relax again.
He was also a fiddler, which was his keys were jangling in his fingers as he played with one and another and tossed them in the air, catching them as they bounced off his chest. He waved goodbye to Stacy and Stevie, the latter of which made kissy noises at him to tease him for his date. Rolling his eyes, his lips twitching, he crossed the lawn at a jog and hopped up into his truck.
He checked the time and muttered a Na'vi curse word under his breath before pulling out onto the road and taking off, the tires screeching a little at his exit. He frowned, hoping his mom hadn't heard that. When his phone didn't blow up with her complaining that he drive safer and that she wasn't paying for new tires if he ruined these ones, he figured he was safe.
Or more likely, she was just too happy about his date to bother. Considering she'd been a one-woman cheering squad for him, he wouldn't put it past her. She'd been not-so-subtly suggesting he make his friendship with Rachel a little more solid since pretty much the day Rachel showed up with sugar cookies and declared herself Sam's friend-slash-singing partner-slash-chapstick provider.
Totally her words.
"It's important to keep all tools related to your craft in the best possible shape, Sam. Given that you are such a strong and capable singer, even with your lack of training, you should make sure that upkeep regarding everything to do with singing is always top priority. Which means no smoking, no dairy, nothing that can damage your vocal chords, and almost as important is the visual half of things. You're already very handsome, so it won't take much, but since singing draws so much attention to one's mouth, it's important that you brush, floss, and keep your lips hydrated."
He stared at her, his eyebrows hiked, eyes a little wide. "Um, okay…"
"Thus, I made sure to get you a very strong lip balm that I think will help in cases of severe chapped lip problems." She waved a hand. "Not that I believe you have one, but in the event that one presents itself, it's good to know you're prepared."
"Yeah, that—" He nodded. "I guess."
She beamed. "Wonderful." She clapped her hands as he took the package from her. "I'm so glad you understand the importance of being prepared for any eventuality a performer might meet."
"So, did you want to sing or…?" He waved a hand behind him.
"Don't be silly," she said, still smiling. "I always want to sing."
She walked further into his house, past a both amused and slightly baffled Mary Evans, who was holding a container of sugar cookies, with her pink trolley bag wheeling behind her.
"It was nice to meet you, Miss. Evans. I apologize profusely now, seeing as Sam and I will be preparing for a duet and I'm sure my voice will find its way down here to no doubt cause stupefying awe."
Sam laughed, biting his lip to try and hide it. "Yeah, mom, Rachel and I are gonna be upstairs practicing." He pointed his thumb behind him at the stairs. "We'll try not to awe you too much."
Blinking quickly, Mary looked over at her son, rolled her eyes lightly, and told them both, "I'll bring up snacks in a little while."
"Oh, please don't feel obligated," Rachel said, shaking her head. "I brought some of my own because I follow a vegan diet and I wouldn't want to put you out."
"Vegan," Mary repeated. "I'll have to remember that."
The young diva grinned widely. "That's very kind of you, thank you."
Sam started up the stairs. "So I was thinking country," he called back. "Like you and Puck rocked Lady Antebellum."
"We were quite amazing, weren't we?" Rachel mused, moving to follow him, lifting her bag up to carry, slowing her progress down significantly.
She paused a few stairs up when Sam simply reached past her to grab her bag and carried it up easily. Wringing her hands, she looked up at him and said, "Oh, thank you."
He shrugged. "Anyway, so I don't know if you wanna go sad, like Allison Kraus and Brad Paisley, or old school like Jim Reeves and Patsy Cline, or maybe more upbeat and modern, like Jennifer Nettles and Bon Jovi?"
"Your love of country music is admirable, Sam," she told him, following him into his bedroom.
He rubbed the back of his neck, his cheeks flushed. "Yeah, well…" He shrugged. "I'm a Tennessee boy at heart…" He smiled lopsidedly. "I know you're more of a classic Broadway singer, but I figure, with your voice, we can cover just about any genre and still win it."
As she walked past him, she smiled over her shoulder. "I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
And it was.
For the next few months, after they actually did win the duets contest (not surprising), they kept up the friendship they'd built melding chords and lyrics, finding that their voices and personalities actually fit together pretty amazingly. Rachel was very confident, she knew what she wanted and she never failed to get it. She was strongly opinionated, occasionally loud, and she had a hard time admitting when she was wrong. Sam was laid back and usually had a joke (often a bad one) to break the ice. He was confident in some areas and insecure in others. He preferred video games and sci-fi movies to anything musical, but he liked the Disney classics and he knew every lyric to every song.
Between homework (she liked to help him with his math and never made him feel dumb), musical training (she encouraged him to do scales as soon as she saw him, reminding him that he would appreciate it later when he was on stage at the country music awards), and Rachel's love of making dinner for his family (sure, it was all vegan, but only him and his mom knew that for sure), they were spending just about every night of the school week together. She usually had ballet or singing lessons directly after school, but she always managed to come over when they were done. A few times she was still wearing her ballet outfit, which encouraged Stacy to ask her to show her how to pirouette or let her see her shoes. Sam just liked how her black leotard clung to her body; even if it did mean he spent a lot of time sitting on the couch with a pillow in his lap.
So it was pretty much inevitable that he asked her out. In fact, he'd been thinking about it for awhile, even before his mom started nagging him that Rachel was pretty and smart and single and it was about time he moved on from the last glee girl that broke his heart. It was just… There was history there. Quinn and Finn history. A part of him was a little worried that Rachel still had feelings for Finn, who was on-and-off again with Quinn and had been since she and Sam had broken up over the cheating thing the year before. And another part of him was worried that other people might think he was only dating Rachel to get back at Quinn or to make her jealous or something. Especially since that was how their friendship had been viewed from the very beginning.
But when he'd finally gathered up the courage and asked Rachel out on a date, the smile she gave him told him he probably didn't have to be worried; not about her still liking Finn anyway. And the others? Well, he figured they'd just have to deal with it. He couldn't base all of his decisions off whether or not the glee club would approve or dissect his motivations.
When he pulled up in front of Rachel's house, he was cursing himself out for not bringing flowers. He'd planned to but then he ran into the big problem of what he should wear and how he should do his hair, because for some reason he felt like his usual hairstyle just wasn't cutting it. And whether or not his cologne was too strong.
He hadn't been this nervous in awhile. Maybe since first asking Quinn out, even though he didn't like to compare the two.
He hurried up the lawn and readjusted his shirt, taking a deep breath and then checking his breath, his brow furrowed, as his other hand knocked on the door. It swung open when he still had his hand up at his mouth, which he felt embarrassed about until he realized that meant she was standing at the door because she was so eager.
He smiled. "Hey."
"Hi!" she said, brightly.
They stood there awkwardly for a minute before he finally spoke up, "Um, so I was thinking maybe we wouldn't go to BreadstiX…" He shifted his feet. "It's just, it's so full and everybody's gonna be there and I thought…" He shrugged. "Maybe something smaller, so we could actually hear each other talk…"
"Oh!" Her eyes fell for a moment, darting in thought, and her lips pursed. "This isn't because you don't want other people to see you on a date with me though, is it?" She lifted her chin, but he could still see a thread of insecurity in her eyes.
His own widened and his mouth gaped slightly. "What? No!" He shook his head. "I just—I—I was thinking…" Crap. He'd already screwed it up and she hadn't even left her house yet. "Rachel, I…" He blew out a sigh, his hands fisting at his sides. "I—I just meant that it's Tuesday and BreadstiX is going to be busy 'cause it's half-off pasta day and I thought… I mean I made reservations at a restaurant that has a vegan menu; it's small and like, intimate, and I thought it would be nice because we could talk and they have a jukebox and I didn't want it to be weird with half the glee club staring at us or coming over to bug us or Puck shooting spitballs at our table, so…" He frowned. "I'm sorry. I—Maybe I should just go."
He turned to leave, feeling stupid and muttering under his breath about how much he sucked, when her hand reached out and clasped his wrist.
"No, I'm sorry." She shook her head, taking a step out, holding her little purse tight to her side, twisting the chain strap around her finger. "I know you better than that, I just… It reminded me of a time when being seen out with me wasn't desired and I started comparing you to other people in my head and it—I got scared and stupid and I never meant to make you feel bad. I just…" She shrugged, her eyes ducking. "I really like you and I really want to go on this date, but I… I don't have the best track record with boys."
Slowly, his smile came back and he felt the weight of screwing up something before it started melt away. "So we'll call it even on putting a foot in our mouths, okay?" He held out his hand. "So, Rachel Berry, would you like to go on that date with me?"
She smiled up at him. "Well…" She took his hand. "I did hear something about a jukebox." She tapped his chest with her finger. "And music is always the way to this girl's heart."
He ducked his head, grinning, and squeezed her hand as they started down the lawn toward his truck.
On the way to the restaurant, she played with the radio; he always kept it on a country station but Rachel liked to fiddle to see what else was on. Unless Streisand happened to be singing, she usually brought it back to his favorite channel and sang along. More than once she'd credited him with "broadening her musical horizons in terms of the country movement."
While Josh Turner was singing 'Why Don't We Just Dance?,' she reached over and took his hand, twining their fingers and tapping the beat out with her thumb while she swayed side to side.
He worried for a minute that his palm was sweaty or that she might be able to feel the way his heart was racing, but when he looked at her out of the corner of his eyes, she was just smiling, biting her bottom lip.
He helped her out of the truck, partly because he'd parked farther from the curb than he meant to and partly because he liked touching her. She hopped off the side of the bench seat and he caught her by her hips, helping her to the ground, a little closer to him than probably necessary before he shoved the door closed, wincing as it creaked a little in protest.
The restaurant was empty except for one table in the back. He wasn't surprised; Tuesday was big for BreadstiX in a small town like Lima. The reservation probably wasn't even necessary but his dad always told him to be prepared. The woman at the front cashier's desk smiled at him in that way like she knew it was their first date and thought it was cute that he'd called ahead. She showed them to their table, left them with a couple menus, and took their drink orders before telling them their server would be with them soon.
Sam went back and forth between staring at the menu and glancing over it at Rachel.
She was tracing her bottom lip, which looked especially shiny because of her lip balm, while she read through the vegan options.
After the server came to get their orders, Sam dug into his jeans pocket and came up with a handful of quarters. "You get first pick," he told her.
With a grin, she grabbed up a coin and hurried over to the jukebox. He turned in his seat to watch her go; she was wearing a flowery sundress that fell to her mid-thigh; long, tanned legs on display. It wasn't new; she wore shorter skirts. But there was something especially pretty about her today. Maybe it was just because they were on a date or maybe because he'd spent so much time picking out his own clothes and couldn't help wondering if she did too.
Easton Corbin. Lovin' You Is Fun.
She rocked her hips side to side as she started back to him.
"Do you remember?" she asked as she retook her seat.
"It's hard to forget line dancing on the side of a dark, empty highway," he said, chuckling under his breath.
She laughed, her head falling back. "I'm surprised they joined us," she admitted, her nose wrinkling. "I mean, Mercedes was very specific when she said country wasn't her style."
They'd been on their way back from Regionals when the bus broke down on the side of the road. After an hour, a restless and amped up Rachel had decided she was going to work off some of her excess energy by dancing; since the bus was a little cramped for that, she climbed right off and walked down the highway, well within sight. Sam brought out his iPod and attached speakers and before he knew it, they were dancing to Easton Corbin's latest. There was something infinitely adorable about Rachel Berry in a taffeta dress, pretending to wave an imaginary cowgirl hat in the air as she line danced barefoot on the side of the road, her hair lopsided and her face flushed.
It was in that moment, Sam knew not asking her out would be the biggest regret of his teenage life.
"She did pretty good," he said, thinking of a laughing Mercedes joining them, dragging Kurt behind her.
"Noah showed a surprising talent for it," she added, nodding.
"I think his nana makes him take her line-dancing sometimes," he admitted, leaning forward and resting his arms on the table.
"Really?" She bit her lip to keep from laughing. "I can imagine that; he's always had a soft spot when it comes to Miss. Connie."
He stirred the ice in his soda and tried to think of something funny to say, but he was coming up blank. All he could think about was how he'd watched Avatar for the twenty-third time last night and had been practicing his Na'vi so he could tell her he really liked her. He was going over the pronunciation in his head because he didn't want to screw it up.
"I'm really glad you asked me out, Sam," she told him, interrupting his thought process. "I mean, I've talked about it with Mercedes and Kurt, who both suggested I just ask you out myself, and I had considered it, but…" Her nose wrinkled. "We're friends too and I didn't want to ruin that and then I wasn't sure if you liked me that way and Santana had made some rude suggestions that you were only hanging out with me to get back at Quinn and—"
He noticed suddenly that she was picking apart her napkin, leaving tiny little pieces of paper in a pile under her hands.
"—I know it's probably considered 'old-school'" she said, with finger-quotes and all, "but I guess I like the idea of a boy making the first move." She frowned. "Although that might have something to do with constantly feeling like I'm forcing my presence on people, whether they like it or not."
He covered her hands, stilling them, and smiled sincerely. "You're not forcing me to be here… Or to hang out with you." He shrugged. "I like hanging out with you. I like how you know all of these really random facts about actors and how you own all the Sigourney Weaver movies like, ever made and that you occasionally use music lyrics to prove a point…" He squeezed her hands in his. "I like that you don't think it's weird that I've watched Avatar so many times or that the only language I know besides English is a fictional one that probably won't get me into any college." He smiled. "And how you really like my comic books, or at least me enough that you're trying to read them."
"Both," she said, her eyes darting down before meeting his. "I mean, originally I started reading them because I really liked you and I wanted to find a unique topic of conversation that only we would share. But then I really grew to enjoy them, so…" She shrugged. Softly, she said, "I really do like you, Sam. And I know it's probably been difficult, with the history of Finn and Quinn behind us. It has been for me, at least. I don't—" She waved a hand quickly. "I don't feel that way about Finn anymore. I just know that we both have baggage there and some fears and I'd like to put them to rest so that we can move forward with us, wherever they might lead us."
"Hopefully to date number two," he said, laughing under his breath.
She grinned. "I'd like that."
The server arrived then with their starter salads and they were forced to break apart.
Dinner was a lighter affair, of talking about school and glee and family. He'd met her dads a few times and was amused by how much Rachel had taken after them. They were nice and funny and they welcomed him into their group as soon as he agreed to sing-along to whatever they pulled out of their musical repertoire. When he brought out his guitar, he swore there were stars in their eyes.
When dinner was finished, the table was cleared, and it was just the two of them again, the sun had gone down outside and Rachel was debating dessert.
There was one quarter left on the table and she pushed it toward him.
He walked over to the jukebox and put on Darius Rucker's History In The Making.
As he made his way back to the table, he offered her a hand.
She smiled, took it, and stood up, laughing under her breath as he twirled her under his arm. She curled one hand around his shoulder, the other held up in his, their fingers folded together.
This could be one of those memories
We want to hold on to, cling to,
one we can't forget
Baby, this could be our last first kiss
The door to forever
What if this was that moment
That chance worth taking
History in the making…
Their slow side-to-side shuffling was mostly just made of them moving closer and closer. She smelled good, like flowers. He might've smelled her hair once or twice before he realized that would look weird if she noticed.
He could feel her fingers gripping his shoulder a little tighter. When he turned his head, she was looking up at him. She licked her lips in that universal sign and he leaned down, his heart pounding in his ears so loudly he could hardly hear the music anymore.
As their lips slanted together, he let out a sigh, feeling his nervous energy fizzle away and be replaced with content. It felt right. His arm around her waist squeezed. Her hand slid up from his shoulder to bury at the nape of his neck. Her lip balm tasted like strawberries and for some reason, it made him smile. Her long hair was brushing his bare forearm, tickling his skin. She was warm and soft and pressed up tight against him. He could smell her perfume each time he dragged in a deep breath between kisses.
It was as the song was ending that they finally pulled back, their foreheads touching for a few seconds longer before he licked his lips and smiled, taking a step back. She let out a laugh and reached up, rubbing away the leftover shiny strawberry lipstick that clung around his mouth from hers.
They decided to skip dessert and instead paid the bill, hopping into his truck to drive around. She slid in closer this time, taking up the space at his side, under his arm. She fiddled with the radio like before, but she smiled when she settled on his station again and plucked at the buttons near the open collar of his shirt while he drove them around.
"I don't want to go home yet," she'd told him.
Her curfew wasn't until eleven, so they drove around Lima, up and down random streets, wasting gas and listening to the radio croon about new love, old love, lost love.
She took his hand as it hung over his shoulder and played with each of his fingers, tracing the shape of each nail and down to each knuckle, before she rubbed her thumb against a scar just under his thumb.
"I was eight. Lawn mower shot a rock at me."
She hummed, before pressing her palm up into his. She dragged a leg up, foot balanced onto the edge of the seat, and pointed at a scar above her knee. "I was dancing in the living room and I tripped; we had this marble fireplace and the edges were really sharp… My daddy cried because blood scared him and he kept saying that CPS was going to send a SWAT team to the hospital to remove me." She rolled her eyes fondly. "He's so dramatic."
Sam laughed. "Pot, meet Kettle."
She scoffed, slapping his chest lightly. "Anyway, while they were worried about that I was crying because I thought I'd broken my knee and I'd never get to dance again."
"But you were fine?"
She nodded. "Two stitches, but I didn't hit anything vital and while my knee was sore for a little while, it never effected my dancing."
"So if you had to pick between dancing and singing, you'd pick singing, right?" he wondered, brow furrowed.
"I think so." She nodded, lips pursed. "There's a thrill that goes with dancing; there's something amazing about how my body feels when I move." She looked up at him, her head falling against his shoulder. "I guess that would make my singing a little bittersweet though. Feeling the beat but never being able to move to it."
He squeezed her shoulder. "Good thing you don't really have to choose then."
"Yes!" She smiled, righting her head, but keeping it close to him. "What about you? What if it came down to… Hmm, singing and…" Her eyes glinted with mischief. "Avatar?"
And so it went until just before her curfew was up, asking and answering silly questions, singing to country music, and driving aimlessly around Lima.
As he walked her up the lawn to her door, their hands swinging between them, he turned to her as she stood on the stoop.
"I had fun."
"It was the best first date I've been on," she told him warmly.
"Something to aim for on the second date?" he asked hopefully, his eyebrow arched.
She smiled widely. "Absolutely." With her hands on his shoulders, she tugged him closer and leaned in to kiss him, lightly nipping at his bottom lip. With a hum, she stepped back. "Best first and second kiss too." She winked. "Gold star, Sam Evans." And before he could think on the metaphor much, she took a very literal pack of stars out of her purse and peeled one off to press against his chest, directly over his heart.
He touched it with his finger and half-smiled. "Cool."
She nodded, her cheeks blooming pink. "I… guess I'll see you tomorrow?" She played with the chain on her purse again, looking nervous.
"Yeah. At school." He tucked his hands in his pockets and started backwards. "Or, if you need a ride I could pick you up?"
"Sure!" she said eagerly. "I do like to be there kind of early though."
She tucked her hair behind her ear and nodded. "That sounds fine."
"Okay…" He ducked his head slightly and waved. "I'll see you at eight."
She waved back and backed up, bumping into her door.
He chuckled at the face she made, obviously feeling ridiculous. She walked into her house when he turned on his truck to pull away. When he hit a stop sign three blocks away, he saw himself smiling in the rearview mirror. He touched the little gold star on his chest and his smile only grew.
This was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.