cruiscin_lan: (roll call)
cruiscin_lan ([personal profile] cruiscin_lan) wrote2010-09-05 08:08 am

Fic: Less Like Friendship, Mercedes/Quinn, rated R

Title: Less Like Friendship
Rating: R
Pairings/Characters: Mercedes/Quinn
Warnings: Spoilers for all of season one.
Word Count: 5375
Disclaimer: This Glee fanfiction is based upon the television show of the same name. All characters and situations other than my own are sole property of Ryan Murphy Productions and 20th Century Fox Television.
Summary: Quinn spends her summer grappling with the feelings she has for Mercedes.
A/N: Repost of fic written for the [livejournal.com profile] gleefics Hot Summer Nights fic exchange, based on the prompt “hot summer nights,” kind of. Thanks go to [livejournal.com profile] susurrussnight for looking over the draft and [livejournal.com profile] cameroncrazed for beta'ing.

- - - - -


The move back home is more exhausting than she expected it to be. It’s not as though she has a lot of stuff - a duffel bag of clothes, most of the larger sizes already passed on to others, her backpack, and a purse full of personal items. No more than what she had when she left home for the first time and ended up at Finn’s house. It all fits into the backseat of her mother’s car with room to spare.

At first glance her room looks exactly the way she left it - same duvet on the bed, pens and pencils arranged in neat cups on her desk. She drops her duffel on the floor and opens the closet, hoping to find some of the dresses she regretted leaving behind - they’d fit her better now. To her surprise, the closet is empty. There’s not even a hanger left.

“Where are all my clothes?” she asks her mother.

“I packed them away,” she answers. “They’re in the basement. I was going to drop them off for you but I didn’t know where you were staying.”

It’s a bullshit answer, but Quinn pretends to believe it, even when she finds the word “Goodwill” written on the cardboard box, still legible even after her mother’s attempts to black it out.

The first Sunday she’s back her mother wakes her up early by shouting up the stairs. “Quinn, are you ready to go?”

She rubs the sleep from her eyes as she comes down the stairs, groggy and confused and still wearing the sweats she fell asleep in the night before.

"I hope that’s not what you intend to wear to church."

“I didn’t even know we were going to church,” Quinn grumbles. “What time is it?”

“It’s almost nine-thirty; I let you sleep in.” Her mother clasps the banister at the bottom of the stairs as though she’ll tip over if she lets go. “If you hurry and get ready we can still make it to the ten o’clock service.”

“I don’t want to go to the ten o’clock service.” She says it without thinking, but it’s true. She hasn’t been to her regular church since leaving this house. In fact, the only time she’s been to church at all in the past few months was with Mercedes and her family, and with them it was always a choice, not an obligation. Still, she found it a lot more uplifting than the stodgy congregation her own family had always belonged to, and now that she’s seen that spiritual greener grass on the other side, she can’t imagine going back to the status quo.

“I’ve been going by myself since your father...” her mother starts, but can’t finish her sentence. It takes her a moment to recover. “It would mean a lot if you came with me, Quinn,” she says. “We can’t let their judgment bother us.”

Quinn’s caught up in pity and anger all at once. Her mother wants to use her a shield, a distraction, and while it pisses her off it also makes her feel needed, and wanted, and she turns around and heads back to her room. “Ten minutes,” she says. “I’ll be ready in ten minutes.”

- - - - -


It’s not long before Quinn can’t stand her mother’s attention at all. It’s either too fawning, too apologetic, or too passive-aggressive and steeped in long-stored resentment. She wishes her mother could just drop the act and be outright mean sometimes; part of her wishes she’d been there to witness her mother’s discovery of her father’s affair, just to see how her mom had reacted. School and glee club are her only respite from her mother’s neediness, but when they’re over, Quinn feels like she’ll suffocate if she has to spend all day at home.

She’s itching to get out, and the first time Mercedes calls after school lets out, Quinn answers it on the first ring. There’s an exchange of greetings, a superficial discussion of what they’ve been up to since school let out, and then Quinn blurts it out: "Is it all right if I come over sometime? Just to hang out?"

“It’s more than cool,” Mercedes replies, and Quinn can hear her laughing through the phone. It’s the most reassuring sound in the world. “I was gonna ask you that, actually, if you’d just waited.”

Plans are made, and even more plans are made after that, and plans continue being made until the end of summer or infinity, whichever comes first.

- - - - -


Sometimes they go out; sometimes they stay in. Quinn doesn’t mind either way. It’s already a very different summer; the last one had been full of parties and Cheerios and Finn, and while sometimes she missed the sense of excitement, Quinn’s strangely grateful that her life has slowed down, so she can appreciate what she has instead of always trying to move on to the next best thing.

One night they’re up late trying to finish a season of Nip/Tuck on the Netflix instant view before they realize it’s past curfew. Quinn hadn’t even noticed - her phone was set to remind her, but she realizes she left it on vibrate and didn’t hear it, and she’s a little disappointed to see that her mother hasn’t even tried to call her.

“You can stay tonight,” Mercedes says. “My mom says the door’s always open to my friends, and especially for you.”

Quinn smiles and dials her mother. She doesn’t so much ask permission as explain that she’s going to stay - if she drove home now and was pulled over, she’d be in trouble. The Lima cops were super strict about curfew (probably because of idiots like Puck nailing the Hummels’ lawn furniture to the roof in the dead of night). “You don’t really want to pick me up, do you?” Quinn asks for extra emphasis, knowing full well that her mother has probably been helping herself to the contents of the liquor cabinet since early afternoon.

It's the first time Quinn stays over since the night before regionals, but it still feels more like home than her mom’s house does now. They finish watching the episode and head upstairs, and Quinn follows Mercedes into her room. Mercedes beckons her to her dresser drawer, opening it so Quinn can choose what pajamas to borrow. Quinn selects a pair of pants with a drawstring she can adjust and insists she can wear the shirt she’s wearing. “It’s comfortable to sleep in, really,” she says. “I’ll just take off my bra.”

“Do you want your room tonight?” Mercedes asks. “I think I gotta get clean sheets for the bed if you do. My brother came home last weekend and I don’t think he stripped the bed when he left.”

“You don’t need to do that. I don’t mind sharing a room if you don’t,” Quinn says, but really what she means is I don't want to have to sleep alone.

“I could get the air mattress down from the attic,” Mercedes suggests.

"You don’t have to take the trouble,” Quinn says. “I guess I could stay in the other room.”

“Well, I don't mind sharing a bed if you don’t," Mercedes says. “I mean, it’s a queen.” She smiles. “It’s ‘cause I’m such a daddy’s girl.”

“That sounds fine,” Quinn replies. “I think it could be fun.”

They stay up half the night talking in the dark. Every so often the night silence is broken by a crack of laughter, and one will frantically shush the other while trying not to laugh herself.

They fall asleep rigidly, side by side, but when they wake up in the morning they’ve edged a little closer, each one unconsciously seeking the warmth of the other’s body.

- - - - -


She can’t name the moment her feelings toward Mercedes turned from gratitude to friendship, nor can she determine when friendship gave way to something more romantic. It isn’t a sudden thing, like a halo of light with a heavenly song, or a hammer to the head. Rather, it’s a gradual awareness of a growing longing, like something slowly burning in the pit of her stomach. When she tries to trace this feeling back to its origins, she can’t; it’s like it’s always been there. She doesn’t know if this is true, or if it’s so powerful and pervasive that it smolders its way into her every memory of Mercedes - the time she watched her keel over in the cafeteria with hunger, or when Mercedes laughed at her for insisting on doing a funk number.

The more she sees Mercedes, all through June and into July, the more keenly she’s aware of her crush. And while Puck still calls on occasion, she doesn’t want to talk to him, and if she answers her phone she makes an excuse five minutes into the conversation and hangs up.

She likes Mercedes, she realizes, but she doesn’t like that she likes her. It’s nothing against Mercedes - Mercedes is wonderful, Mercedes is perfect. It’s the nagging thought in the back of her head that says this is wrong, this is so wrong whenever she lets herself think of Mercedes in ways that cross the normal boundaries of friendship - when she considers how soft Mercedes’ lips must be, or wonders at the texture of her hair when tangled in grasping fingers. The nagging voice sounds a lot like her father’s, and it’s almost comforting in its familiarity. She thinks to the one other time she can recall when the voice spoke so clearly - the one time with Puck - and she considers the ways her life would be different now if she’d only listened then.

So the next few times her phone rings and Mercedes’ name appears on the caller ID, Quinn lets the call go to voicemail, even when there’s nothing she wants more than to hear Mercedes’ voice.

But she can’t ignore Mercedes forever. She doesn’t want to. She’s only able to push her to the back of her mind for two days, maybe three, before she reneges and calls her back.

“Yo, what gives?” Mercedes says instead of hello.

“I’m sorry, I lost my phone,” Quinn lies. “It was in my car the whole time. I feel stupid.”

“You could have at least facebook-messaged me or something,” Mercedes snaps at her. “Kurt left for cheer camp this week, and you know you’re my only other social outlet.”

The thought of being Mercedes’ only friend right now is oddly satisfying, seeing as Mercedes is her only friend right now. But Quinn realizes it’s a jealous thought, and jealousy is indication of a possessiveness less like friendship and more like ardor, and she tries to bite back at the voice in her head - this is wrong, this is wrong.

“Who’s on the phone, sweetie?” her mother asks as she wanders by, highball in her hand.

“It’s Mercedes, Mom.”

“You should invite her over here for once,” her mother suggests, loud enough that Mercedes can hear it through the phone.

“I’ll be over in a few,” Mercedes tells Quinn, hanging up. Quinn doesn’t even have the chance to protest.

- - - - -


The Jones home is fun. The Jones home is vivacious. There’s always laughter in the Jones home. By contrast, the Fabray house is cold, and quiet, and much like the interior of a mausoleum, Quinn thinks sometimes, full of dead hopes and dead dreams and dead feelings of love the people who live and once lived here had for one another, a long time ago.

Having Mercedes over to her house feels inappropriate, almost embarrassing. Quinn watches Mercedes’ eyes wander from the expensive furniture to the high ceilings and the ornate decor, and there’s more in what she doesn’t say than in what she does. “Nice place,” she remarks, but Quinn is quick to usher her upstairs to her bedroom, where she feels at least remotely comfortable.

“This is my room,” Quinn says, and immediately feels stupid for saying something so unnecessary. Of course Mercedes walks in and makes herself comfortable right away, sitting at the edge of the bed, bouncing a few times like she’s trying to get a feel for the place.

“You don’t mind, do you?” she asks, a little too late to be polite, but she knows Quinn won’t deny her.

“It’s cool,” she says, sinking into the chair at her desk nearby. She sits sideways so she can see Mercedes, and they chat a bit and try to brainstorm something fun to do. Neither of them has the cash to go out, and a night on chatroullette doesn’t really appeal to either of them, and as they continue listing ideas Quinn’s hand wanders on the surface of the desk, and she absently lifts up a book and brings it into her lap before she realizes it’s an edition of the Bible her mother left for her, one specifically aimed and edited towards Christian teens.

She turns the book over in her hand, flips through the pages absently. "Do you think God hates gays?" She doesn't look up when she speaks; instead she stares intently not at the book but through it. She can feel her face grow warm with shame and embarrassment. It wasn't something she'd meant to ask. The question had just come out on its own, after it had simmering in her psyche for so long.

But Mercedes doesn't tolerate foolishness. "That's a stupid question," she answers, sitting at the edge of the bed and folding her arms. "You should know better than that."

Quinn looks up now, trying to blink back tears in her eyes. She doesn't know why she wants to cry, but there's a sting in the back of her throat and her voice feels wafer-thin. "Why?"

"Because God is love," Mercedes tells her. "So how could God hate anyone? It would be like saying that love is hate. It doesn't make any sense."

The paper goes fwhp fwhp fwhp beneath her thumb as she skims the pages. The abbreviated names of the books are printed close to the margins for easier reference, but Quinn knows their full names. Deuteronomy. Judges. Leviticus.

"Quinn, what is going on with you lately?"

Quinn looks up from the book again, but she can't stop herself from crying this time and lowers her head. "Have you ever wanted something," she begins, but her voice catches and she pauses, repeats: "Wanted something that you knew you couldn't have?"

Mercedes uncrosses her arms and leans forward, putting her hands on her knees and cocking her head. "Are you talking about when I had a crush on Kurt?" she asks plainly.

"Oh no," Quinn says, wide-eyed. The memory terrifies her. "I was such a bitch to you then," she insists. "I'm so sorry about that. I'm so sorry."

"Quinn, that was before - that was before anything, really," Mercedes replies. "That's all water under the bridge."

But Quinn can't let it go. "I can't believe I was so awful to you."

"Everybody's gotta have some hard knocks in their love lives; you know that." Mercedes rises to her feet and walks over to Quinn’s dresser, grabbing her hair into a ponytail while she looks around for something to hold it with. "I was bound to get hurt anyway, whether or not you got involved. But that doesn't even matter. What matters is that we're all friends now." She pauses, runs her hand along the scattered items on the dresser, still searching. “You got a hair tie anywhere?” she asks absently before she finds one on her own. "Is that why you were asking about God and gays?" she asks suddenly. "You're not going to try and make Kurt straight or something, are you?"

"Oh, definitely not!" Quinn's caught somewhere now between laughter and crying, and instead of doing either her cheeks grow rosy and she sets the book back onto her desk. "It would be easier to make Mr. Schue's hair straight."

Mercedes laughs. It's a genuine bust-a-gut guffaw, and she doubles over. When she lets go of her hair it bounces over her shoulders in curls. "Can you imagine Mr. Schue with straight hair?" she says, gesturing and making silly faces, trying to convey the image of him she has in her head and failing.

Quinn loves it when Mercedes laughs. She lets the sound wash away the tension she feels, at least for the moment. "Hey, you want to stay over tonight?" she asks impulsively. It definitely wasn’t in her plan, but she feels light-headed and light-hearted, and could use the extra company to keep herself grounded.

"I don't know,” Mercedes says. “I guess I should call my mom and ask."

"At least stay for dinner," Quinn says. “My mom’s a really good cook, and she’d love it if you stayed, I know.”

Mercedes smiles and nods, and for the first time in weeks, there’s a meal at the Fabray house where the conversation is neither stilted nor awkward. When she leaves, Quinn helps her mom clear the table, and when Judy says “I think we should have her over more often” for the first time in nearly a year Quinn completely agrees with her mother.

- - - - -


The next time Mercedes comes over, they sit at the edge of the Fabray’s swimming pool, letting their legs hang in the water. It reaches halfway up their calves - Quinn has her dressed pulled up underneath her, and Mercedes has rolled up the bottom of her capris to keep them from getting soaked. It's a humid Ohio afternoon, and Quinn can feel the stickiness on the back of her neck.

"You sure you don't want to go for a swim?"

The coolness of the water is a pleasant relief, but Quinn isn't comfortable in her body any longer. She still has pregnancy weight to lose, and stretch marks, and she can't even imagine how bad she'd look in a swimsuit. "I can't find my bathing suit," Quinn lies.

"Do you even have one besides your Cheerios one?"

Quinn shakes her head and looks down at her feet. The surface of the water distorts their appearance, and when she lifts one up and out of the pool, it glistens in the unrelenting sunshine.

"Wanna go shopping for one later?" Mercedes suggests.

"That's okay," Quinn replies. "I'll probably find it as soon as you leave anyway."

"Are you sure?" Mercedes asks. She can read between the lines, picking up on Quinn's discomfort and guessing there's a reason why. "You know, there are a lot of really nice one-piece suits this season."

It gives Quinn a little hope, and she lifts her head and smiles. "Yeah?"

"Yeah," Mercedes says, and then she's distracted."You have something in your hair. Hold still."

She leans in, thumb and forefinger pressed together. Quinn feels as though their faces are dangerously close - their breaths mingle for a moment while Mercedes seeks out the speck she saw. Quinn can't help but stare; her skin is so clear, her eyes are so bright, her lips are so full and round and it almost hurts to imagine how soft they are.

"It was a bug," Mercedes says, smiling, flicking it away.

"Thanks," says Quinn, and then, all at once, she can't control it: "Can I kiss you?"

Mercedes squints at her, wondering if she heard correctly, and Quinn realizes it's hopeless and backtracks.

"I - I didn't mean that," she stammers. "I said it as an accident."

Mercedes just stares, and Quinn feels itchy in her own skin.

"Oh my god," she mumbles, a fierce blush rising to her cheeks. "I'm so embarrassed."

"I'm sorry," Mercedes whispers, like there's a frog caught in her throat. "Don't be embarrassed.”

"You don't have any reason to be sorry," Quinn answers. "I'm sorry. God, I'm such a freak." She plants the palms of her hands on either side of her thighs, pulling herself up from the edge of the pool.

Mercedes places her hand on Quinn's shoulder and stops her. "I'm sorry," she says again, more emphatically this time. "I should have figured it out sooner."

"Figured what out sooner?" Quinn asks, her heart fit to break at the answer.

"That you like me," Mercedes says, lowering her voice, "the way I like you."

It’s a rush in so many ways to hear her say that. Her ears are pounding, her mind is racing, her hands are growing clammy. Words catch in her throat en route to speaking. She shudders. She smiles. She cries. She runs her hand along the small of Mercedes’ back and scoots closer, setting her chin on her shoulder.

"Not now," Mercedes says. “Are you crazy? What if your mom saw us?” And then: "Can I stay over tonight?"

“You’re always welcome to,” Quinn says, nuzzling Mercedes’ neck, reckless for a moment before Mercedes’ clears her throat and she sits up straight again.

They catch each other looking at one another through the sides of their eyes, and they’re caught somewhere between laughter and lust and love and it’s a beautiful place to be stuck.

- - - - -


It's strange, at first, but exhilarating all the same. They're in bed again, under the covers together, and at first it's no different than every other summer night when they'd share a room. Only now to speak they use their arms and lips and fingertips. Instead of sharing secrets and dreams they’re crawling close to one another, caressing one another’s faces and running their fingers through one another’s hair, their breathing shallow and ragged and fast.

For Quinn, it’s awkward and weird to touch someone else in ways she won’t even consider touching herself, but she’s the one with experience and even though Mercedes is a diva in every other way, it’s obvious she expects Quinn to take the lead in the bedroom. They start just by kissing, which Quinn knows is a strength of hers. She presses her lips against Mercedes’ with assertiveness, but softly. There’s sucking and nibbling and licking, her hands wandering all the while. And when Mercedes plays at the hem of her t-shirt or presses her palms to her sides and stomach, Quinn could swear there’s an electricity surging up through her.

When the central air in Quinn’s house fails and no one can repair it for a few days, it becomes an excuse to sleep next to one another without the limitations of clothing. The air is humid, and the small hairs on the backs of their necks become sticky with sweat, but that doesn’t keep them from inching closer to one another during the night until they’re right next to one another, shoulder to shoulder, skin against skin. They drape their arms over one another, and Quinn lets her fingers twist in the tight, coarse curls between Mercedes’ legs. There are gasps and moans and a compulsion to reciprocate on Mercedes’ part, but because of the oppressive heat, they both doze off in their pursuit of pleasure.

In the gray light of early morning, they try again, and they have to muffle their mouths with pillows to keep from crying out.

- - - - -


By the time August rolls around, they wake up in bed together at least four or five times a week, and spend most of their sleepy summer days together. But though she’s managed to ignore it for so long, the nagging feeling comes back - this is wrong, this is wrong - and it’s making Quinn question everything she and Mercedes have established.

It’s lazy afternoon in August when she finally decides to bring it up. They’re trapped inside by an oncoming thunderstorm; they look out the window in Mercedes’ kitchen, watching the dark clouds tumble over one another in their hurry. It’s a bad enough storm that the meteorologist on the radio has warned for the possibility of tornadoes afterwards, but Mercedes doesn’t seem concerned. She helps herself to a popsicle. “Red or purple?” she asks Quinn.

“Doesn’t matter,” Quinn replies, and Mercedes hands her the purple one as she puts the box back in the freezer.

There’s a flash of lightning, a crack of thunder, and Quinn takes it as a cue from the heavens. "School's starting up again in a month," she mumbles, not sure where else to start.

"Tell me about it," Mercedes replies. “I’m looking forward to back-to-school shopping, but that is it. That reminds me, are you busy Saturday? There’s a weekend sale at -”

"I'm worried, Mercedes,” Quinn interrupts.

It’s clear that Mercedes doesn’t like the tone of Quinn’s voice - it’s helpless, and hopeless, and pitiful, which is so very unlike her. "Worried about what?” she asks.

"I'm worried about us,” Quinn answers. “About this. About what we have. About who we are to each other."

“So, like, are we dating or are we just friends,” Mercedes answers, the words even and devoid of emotion in a way that sends a chill up Quinn’s spine. She knows what’s coming, and it’s too late to stop now, so Quinn continues.

"I just think people at school will give us a hard time if we’re... you know, together,” Quinn goes on. The words sting like barbs. “I don't know if I can go through something like that again."

“Are you breaking up with me?” Mercedes asks, crossing her arms to indicate her displeasure, even if it means getting sticky popsicle juice all over her sleeve. “Because that’s what it sounds like.”

“I don’t...” Quinn is so confused now, by her own thoughts and her own feelings and the continual nagging voice in her head, but she keeps talking even when she just wants to shut up and pretend this conversation isn’t happening. “I don’t think we can break up if we weren’t ever together in the first place, Mercedes.”

“So what is this?” Mercedes says plainly. “What exactly are you trying to say?”

“I just think, like, maybe we shouldn’t be together together when the school year starts, is all,” Quinn continues. “Like, we’re not going to be able to spend every night at each other’s house anyway, so maybe we should stop, like, what we’ve been doing and just go back to being friends.”

Mercedes’ lets her mouth hang open a little bit, and even as the rain pounds ruthlessly against the glass of the kitchen windows, Quinn can’t hear anything but Mercedes’ silence, and feels lost.

“I don’t think I can do that,” she says finally, and it’s missing all the power and glory it usually has. “You know what, Quinn? Maybe you should just go home right now.” She throws her unfinished popsicle into the sink and turns away. “I think I need to be alone.”

“Mercedes,” Quinn says, “it’s pouring.”

“Then leave whenever,” Mercedes replies, already walking away. She doesn’t even turn to speak over her shoulder. “I’m going upstairs.”

Quinn taps her fingers on the counter-top impatiently as she waits for the rain to stop falling. She watches Mercedes’ popsicle melt in the sink, sticky and sweet and wasted, and pretends she’s not feeling sick at heart.

- - - - -


The next few weeks pass by in an interminable fog of boredom and misery and loneliness. They don’t talk to one another except online or through text - each correspondence falsely nonchalant. They don’t see each other until school starts, and when they see each other they exchange small smiles, quiet hellos, noncommittal see you laters.

The first glee practice back is the worst. She’s a few minutes late, and Mercedes is next to an obviously clueless Kurt, who beckons for her to come sit by them. For a moment Quinn is grateful that Mercedes hasn’t filled Kurt in on their summer activities, nor apparently trash-talked her in any way, but that moment fades quickly when Quinn sits next to Kurt, and Mercedes is unable to hide a scowl.

School is even worse now when it was back in May, back in June. She’s no longer pregnant, but that doesn’t stop people from whispering behind her back. She’s mocked for her tumble down the popularity pyramid, she’s judged for giving her baby away, and even though there are others looking out for her, she doesn’t have an ally any longer.

In chemistry, she’s in the same lab group as Brittany and Santana, and she watches them link pinkies beneath the slate slab table sometimes.

During a class demonstration, their teacher drops a gummy bear into potassium chlorate melted over a Bunsen burner, and it’s almost as though he set off a firework. There’s a miniature explosion going on in the vial, flashy and hissing. Brittany turns to Santana and asks what, exactly, is going on - she wants to copy her observations down in her notes as precisely as possible.

“See, the bear is made mostly of sucrose,” Santana explains. “And when the sucrose combines with the potassium chlorate, the molecules rearrange themselves to fit each other better, and then you have carbon dioxide, water, and potassium chloride.”

“So they, like, started out as sucrose and potassium chlorate,” Brittany repeats as she writes, “and then when they meet, they share molecules, and turn out different.”

“Yeah,” Santana replies. “Kind of. I think. That’s basically how chemical reactions work, right, Quinn?” she asks, ponytail bobbing.

But Quinn’s mind is elsewhere. She’s distracted by a different kind of chemistry, something she only just figured out. She needs to find Mercedes as soon as possible.

- - - - -


She can’t get her alone until after school, when Kurt finally leaves her side for Cheerios practice. She finds her at her locker, but when Mercedes sees her coming, she rolls her eyes and slams the door shut.

“Mercedes, wait,” Quinn says, and she picks up her pace to catch up. Even as Mercedes is walking away, Quinn weaves her arm through Mercedes’ elbow and pulls her close. The gesture catches Mercedes by surprise, and she comes to a full stop and her things fall to the floor. “I’m sorry,” says Quinn, and they both drop to their knees to pick up the scattered textbooks and binders and pens. “I’m sorry, Mercedes, I didn’t mean to.”

“It’s okay, they’re just books,” Mercedes mumbles.

“No,” Quinn says. “I’m sorry.”

Mercedes halts. “They’re just books,” she says again.

“I don’t mean the books, Mercedes,” Quinn says. “I mean... I mean everything else. I was wrong. Everything I learned this past year - it was all about being true to yourself, and what you believe in."

“What are you trying to say?”

"I believe in you,” Quinn says. “You’re the only one I believe in, really.” She struggles to keep the words from catching in her throat, but there’s no way to stop the tears in her eyes. “What I said to you before - during that thunderstorm - I was wrong. I was so totally wrong. And I’m sorry I ever said those things to you. And I’m sorry it took me so long to realize that I was wrong.”

“Quinn, we’re at school,” Mercedes says, standing up again. Quinn follows suit. “Are you sure you want to be having this discussion here? Now?”

Quinn doesn’t answer; instead she brushes Mercedes’ arm with her fingers and gently brushes her lip against her cheek, where God and everyone can see. Mercedes blushes; her breathing staggers. Quinn reaches for her hand. “I want to be with you,” she tells her.

There’s a flash of indignant anger on Mercedes’ face, just for a second, like she’s not one to be pushed aside and then reclaimed so easily, but she relents, and links her fingers with Quinn’s.

And so plans are made, and even more plans are made after that, and plans continue being made until the end of the school year or infinity, whichever comes first.

Post a comment in response:

From:
Anonymous( )Anonymous This account has disabled anonymous posting.
OpenID( )OpenID You can comment on this post while signed in with an account from many other sites, once you have confirmed your email address. Sign in using OpenID.
User
Account name:
Password:
If you don't have an account you can create one now.
Subject:
HTML doesn't work in the subject.

Message:

 
Notice: This account is set to log the IP addresses of everyone who comments.
Links will be displayed as unclickable URLs to help prevent spam.