Quinn couldn’t help but hope that this was all a dream. Sure, things could have been much worse than they were, but the fact that he’d been hurt to this degree at all killed her. She had half a mind to tell him he was done, that he was staying home with her and Noah now, but she knew if she brought it up now she wouldn’t be anywhere near calm about it and he didn’t need that from her right now. She squeezed his hand back tightly, using her other hand to wipe the remainder of her tears away. She was quiet for a minute, letting what he had said hang in the air. She simply just looked at him, lingering on his eyes. It was as if she was trying to memorize every detail of him in that moment. She of all people knew him both inside and out, but she couldn’t help but feel like any second she wasn’t looking at him, she was missing the opportunity to do so. All it would have taken was one second, one miniscule movement, and things could have been so different. Whether for better or worse. What would she have done if things had been worse? If Sam had… She couldn’t even finish the thought. She’d lose her best friend, the love of her life. Noah would lose his daddy before he even got the chance to really know him. All she would have left of Sam would be memories, and whether they were good memories or not, she knew it wouldn’t be enough. That would have to be enough reason for him not to leave again, when she actually brought that up in conversation. For now she would leave it until he was at least a little bit better. She sniffled and nodded a little bit finally, letting out a quiet laugh at the mention of monkey bars.
"I don’t think monkey bars would be such a good idea, I mean, you did get…hurt." she couldn’t actually voice out loud what she knew had happened without crying again.
She thought about all the time they’d spent on the monkey bars as kids. The worst that had happened then was maybe a few scrapes or bruises. She knew that when Sam decided to join the military things were going to change drastically. Not only wouldn’t they be right next door to each other all the time, but she’d also have no idea what could be happening to him. Out there anything could happen at any moment, her standing at his hospital bedside now was enough indication of that. She squeezed his hand again before sliding it out of his reluctantly to pour herself a glass of water. Her hand shook just slightly and she was almost afraid she was going to end up pouring water everywhere. Thankfully she didn’t. She sipped at the cup of water, looking at him intently. Typically she couldn’t shut up upon seeing him back, but for some reason now she was at a loss for words. She set the cup back down on the bedside table and immediately reached for his hand again, already feeling that she’d been not holding onto him for too long. She didn’t let go of his hand as she stretched to reach the chair near the wall and drag it over so that she could be sitting right next to him. She leaned her chin on the mattress, a few inches from where his head was laying.
"You remember that time in middle school where we were trying to climb the fence at the back of the field? You thought you were being so cool because you could climb it and I couldn’t. So I tried climbing it myself just because I wanted to prove to you that it wasn’t that hard to do." she laughed quietly, her eyelashes fluttering a little, "I totally fell over the top of it, dislocated my shoulder. I remember the whole ride to the hospital you were apologizing to me over and over."
She wasn’t sure why she’d brought it up, probably just because she felt the need to say something and that seemed to be what came to mind. At least it was a halfway happy memory. Nothing too terribly bad had happened that day. She’d had to wear an awkward shoulder brace for a while that she got funny looks for at school, but Sam had never tried telling her something he knew she couldn’t do was cool after that. He’d always been the one to protect her from things. If only she’d been able to protect him from this. It hadn’t occurred to her at first that she’d promised Sam’s dad that she’d call as soon as she knew what was going on. As much as she didn’t want to move from Sam’s side, she knew she had to inform his dad what was going on, as well as check on Noah. How long had it actually been now since she’d dropped him off? She lifted Sam’s hand to her lips, kissing the back of it several times gently.
"I’ll be right back. I need to call your dad." she said quietly, leaving one more kiss on the back of his hand before untangling their fingers and standing up.
She knew that most hospitals asked for the courtesy of going outside if cell phones were going to be used -something about disturbance, she never really paid full attention to that. She took a deep breath of the cool air as she stepped outside, the phone already at her ear and dialing the Evans house. She almost thought she wasn’t going to get an answer when the dialtone went to a fourth ring, but then Mr. Evans picked up on the other line. She explained the status of what happened to Sam and what exactly the injuries he’d suffered were. She had to take a couple deep breaths in between explaining to keep herself calmed down but eventually it all got out. Noah had apparently been fussy most of the day until he’d finally fallen asleep again. She should have seen that coming though, he usually got fussy with the sitter when she left him. Normally she felt guilty, and while she did feel slightly so now, she also felt guilty that she wasn’t inside with Sam, so the phone call quickly ended with an ‘I’ll keep you posted, give Noah kisses for me.’ before she hurried back inside. For some reason she’d worried that Sam would have disappeared in her absence, so a tiny sense of relief that he was actually still there filled her as she entered his room again. Even though she knew the circumstances weren’t perfect, at least he was there for now. Just as quickly as before, she took his hand, lacing their fingers together.
"Your dad says you need to stop tripping over your own feet." she almost smiled at the joke his dad had made to her on the phone. "Noah’s been fussy today I guess, but that makes sense. He doesn’t usually like it when I leave him."
She sighed and rubbed her thumb gently over the back of his hand, leaning closer to him to kiss his forehead, then his cheek before sitting down and leaning her chin on the bed again.
"You’re not allowed to scare me like this anymore okay?" she whispered. "Ever."
“Sam! Come on, get out of there!” The six year old blonde called outside the bathroom door.
She heard shuffling and then Sam huffed out a sigh. “Quinn, I can’t. These are girl clothes.” He whined.
“Come on Sammy!” Santana called, clapping her hands, “We have to have the princess tea party, you’re invited too so you have to come.”
Quinn nodded her head at the brunette, “Sam, come on.” She drawled.
There was some more shuffling on the other side of the door, then she heard the lock click before the door opened. Sam folded his arms awkwardly over his chest and slowly shuffled his way back into Quinn’s room. He’d kept his t-shirt and jeans on underneath the sparkly purple dress and pink feather boa. The girls had dragged him into enough tea parties before, even Quinn by herself had conned him into them more times than she could count. She’d never really gotten him to dress up though, today it’d been Tana’s idea. Sam fidgeted uncomfortably and made an awkward face.
“How come I couldn’t wear boy clothes?” he asked.
“A’cause it’s a princess tea party, silly. You have to be a princess.” Tana noted matter of factly, playing with the jewel in the center of her princess Jasmine’s Halloween costume top.
“…But, I don’t wanna be a princess. I don’t even like tea parties.” Sam mumbled.
“Shhh, we have to make our grand entrance.” Santana said, “Wait! He needs shoes!” she pointed down at his socks and he wiggled his toes as if to make a point that he didn’t have shoes on.
“Here, wear these.” Quinn tossed a pair of purple sequined heels from her dress up trunk over at him.
He wrinkled up his nose, “Do I gotta?”
“Uh huh!” Both girls said at the same time.
Quinn pushed up the ends of the elbow gloves she was wearing. They were too big for her arms, they kept sliding downward little by little. She tucked strands of hair on both sides of her head behind her ears and reached to fix Sam’s hair. He swatted her hand away and they stuck their tongues out at each other. Tana and Quinn exchanged a glance with each other before each linking an arm with one of Sam’s, towing him toward the table where the tea party was set up. One of Quinn’s stuffed giraffe toys sat in one of the chairs, a plastic tiara on its head. The two girls unlinked their arms from Sam’s and curtsied toward the giraffe. Sam looked back and forth between the two of them confusedly.
“Sam, you’re a’poseda bow for the queen.” Quinn whispered, nodding toward the stuffed animal.
Sam looked even more confused than before as he glanced at the giraffe and back at the blond girl beside him. “Quinn, that’s your giraffe. My mommy gave it to you for your birffday, I a’member.”
Santana gasped over dramatically, “Sam! Don’t talk about the queen like that!
“But-” Sam was cut off when Quinn put her hand over his mouth.
The girls stared at Sam for a moment, waiting for him to curtsy the way that they had. He looked back and forth between the two of them and frowned as he heaved out a heavy sigh. He tried to copy what they’d done, but he didn’t care enough to actually do it right, so his curtsy looked something more like just bending his knees for a second and pulling on the skirt of the dress. The three children sat down around the white plastic table that Quinn had her tea party set up on. Quinn and Santana sipped at the fake tea and started talking to each other in fake accents that really didn’t actually sound like any real accent. Quinn glanced over at Sam who was busy staring down at the dress they’d made him wear with a look of distaste on his face.
“Sam, you have to drink your tea.” She noted.
He sighed and picked up the plastic cup and sipped at the nothingness. She noticed how Quinn and Santana exchanged a look before looking back at Sam again.
“I’m bored already.” Tana said.
“Me too. Sorry Kalula.” Quinn turned and kissed her stuffed giraffe on the nose before turning to look at Sam again.
Sam’s eyes lit up, “You mean I can take off the dress now?” he asked excitedly.
Quinn nodded, her blonde curls bouncing around her face. Sam jumped up and practically ripped the dress off over his head, kicking the sparkly shoes off in the process. Tana laughed quietly when Quinn reached to fix the bottom of his shirt since it had gotten pulled up in his hurry to take the dress off and Sam swatted her hand away. They both stuck their tongues out at each other again.
“So Sammy, what do you wanna do?” Tana asked.
“You mean I gets’ta pick?” he seemed shocked.
Both girls nodded, Quinn pulling up her gloves again, and Tana still stirring the plastic spoon in the imaginary tea.
“We picked the tea party, now it’s your turn.” Quinn said. “So what are we playing?”
An almost mischievous grin formed on Sam’s face and momentarily Quinn thought she should say ‘Just kidding!’ and continue on with the tea party. She knew Sam didn’t like tea parties so much, but he still tolerated them for he, the dressing up part though…
“You guys hafta play no matter what I pick.” He said, folding his arms.
Santana and Quinn looked at each other hesitantly. The blonde six year old pushed the gloves further up her arms nervously. She always played what Sam wanted to even if she didn’t always like it, just because Sam always went along with what she wanted to play. She wasn’t always necessarily happy with his choices, but today of all days she couldn’t really object, she had had him in a dress after all.
“Fine. What do you pick?” Quinn asked, rolling her eyes.
“Superheroes.” Sam answered.
That wasn’t new, Sam wanted to play superheroes all the time, she’d gotten used to it. She opened her mouth to ask him who was who, but he cut her off.
“I’m Spiderman, and you guys hafta be the bad guys.” He said.
“But I don’t wanna be a bad guy.” Tana whined.
“But you made me wear a dress!” Sam argued.
“I’m never the bad guy when we play Spiderman though..” Quinn muttered under her breath.
She and Sam looked at each other for a minute.
“You can’t be MJ if I’m a bad guy, Quinn. Att’s not fair.” Tana complained.
Quinn frowned and folded her gloved arms, giving Sam a look. The boy held his hands up as he shrugged.
“You guys choose that part. And start making your hideout, I gotta go get my web shooter.” He said, already hurrying out the door.
Tana gave Quinn a look, expressing her unamusement with the current turn of the situation. Quinn sighed and slumped her shoulders after shrugging. Next time they’d have to make sure to think about what they were doing when they put him in a dress. Because that Spiderman web was absolutely no fun trying to get out of their hair.
Oh hello. :) Always nice to have fans of my blog.
"Hey, look at me. Quinn, please."
Sam’s hand squeezed just slightly on her chin, but she still avoided his eyes. She knew if she looked at him right now all attempts at holding back her tears would be wasted. She was trying to be strong, though she wasn’t exactly sure why, it was only her and Sam here and he knew her better than she knew herself sometimes. In reality, she was terrified. When Sam had mentioned something about wanting to join the military after high school, she’d automatically assumed he was joking -after first being angry, that was sort of a given. Military? Sure, it sort of made sense, because he wasn’t really sure what to do right away and it would certainly occupy his time, but it was so far away, and not to mention dangerous. He’d be away from her all the time, and he’d be right in the middle of all the danger she’d always been too scared to actually watch or read about in the news. He would be one of those guys that was out there in the heart of it all, getting shot at and blown up. How was she supposed to be okay with that?
"Quinn Charlotte Fabray, look at me." Sam said seriously.
She chewed on the inside of her lip and slowly moved her eyes from where they’d been locked on the airport floor to meet his. Immediately, moisture pooled in her eyes. She bit down on her bottom lip to attempt at keeping some kind of composure. He just looked at her for a moment, not saying anything, and she felt like that was almost as bad as the day he’d told her about this idea and he’d apologized over and over and over because of how mad she’d been at the idea. She was going to be stuck with not hearing his voice for god only knew how long, and he wasn’t even talking to her now.
"Can you say something please?" she asked softly, her voice barely above a whisper.
He sighed and cupped her face in his hands, “I love you. Everything’s going to be alright, nothing’s gonna happen.”
She knew it wasn’t exactly realistic -the enviornment out there was unpredictable, anything could happen at any moment- but it’d been something the two of them had done since they were just kids, running around on playgrounds together. It was like his promise meant the world. Sam hesitated and she knew that he had to be thinking the same thing she was about how he couldn’t necessarily promise he’d be alright all the time, because there was no way of actually knowing that for sure. After his moment’s hesitation, though, he nodded once, brushing his thumb gently over her cheekbone.
Somewhere along the drive, her phone had gone off, telling her she’d received an email. She was barely containing her panic for the time being, and somehow managed to pick up the device out of the car’s cupholder to read it. The email contained the address to where they were taking Sam. At least now she wouldn’t have to drive around aimlessly to find where he was. She was exceedingly lucky she didn’t happen to run into any cops on her way because she certainly had no regard whatsoever for the speed limit as she rushed to the hospital. She needed to see Sam, she needed to see that he was okay, hear his voice. She just needed him. He had always been the one to keep her calm, to tell her everything would be alright, and now he was the one that wasn’t alright. He couldn’t be the one to hold her and comfort her, because what had happened to him was what the problem was. When she got to the Medical Center the email had told her they were taking Sam too, she bounded through the automatic doors, startling the receptionist at the desk. Quinn stammered something quickly, and probably pretty incoherently, about how she was looking for Sam Evans, that he was supposed to be brought here. The woman looked over some papers then scrolled down her computer screen a little ways until she must have seen his name there.
"He should be here at any minute. They had to get him on a flight here, these things take time." she replied calmly.
Quinn wanted to yell that she didn’t want there to be anymore waiting, time could totally suck it for all she cared. She was pacing back and forth, trying to take a couple deep breaths to calm herself down. The people sitting in the waiting room looked at her like she’d lost her mind, but she couldn’t care right now. It was only a few minutes after she’d finally sat down, her knees bouncing like mad, that the doors from the amublance entrance opened and a stretcher was rolled in. She’d already stood up and was trying to see if it was Sam on it, but before she could even see around one of the paramedics to find out, she heard his voice calling her name.
Somehow she managed not to run to run to his side, though she couldn’t imagine her hastened walking looking any less frantic than running. The paramedic looked down at her confusedly as she tried to wedge in between them so that Sam could see her.
"Miss, I’m going to have to ask you to wait out here in the waiting area. Your friend needs to be checked out again an-"
"I’m coming back there with him." She snapped.
The paramedic who’d been talking to her looked at one of the others who sighed and shrugged in response before saying that as long as she was out of the way for now, it was fine. She’d already looked away from him as soon as he’d started talking to look down at Sam. It took her a moment to realize that the full blown waterworks she’d managed to hold back at home, and on the drive here, even pacing anxiously in the lobby, were now in full swing. They told her she needed to wait in the room they were going to be keeping him in while they took him into another room to check out his leg -which she still wasn’t exactly sure what had happened to, other than the obvious. She sat in the chair in the room and tried to bring herself some kind of calm again. The crying had slowed down, and she tried to focus on whether she was crying because she was happy he was actually more okay than she’d originally feared, or because she was upset he’d been hurt at all in the first place. She wiped at her face and tried to look stronger than she felt as one of the nurses, some lady that looked way too young to be a nurse in Quinn’s opinion, came in and explained to her what exactly Sam’s condition was. He’d been shot, and though she knew that already, she still winced and ground her teeth together as she was told the news.
He would be okay, recovery time period was going to be quite a while -the femur was the strongest bone in the body, and his had been broken, as well as some serious muscle damage, it was gonna take some time. She should have been happy that he was going to be home for a while, but she was still worried. There didn’t seem to be anything else wrong, other than the fact that he’d had a momentary lapse of sickness when it’d first happened and the doctors said there was a high possibility of post traumatic stress. When they wheeled Sam’s stretcher back into the room, she held her breath for a second, just looking at him. If she didn’t take the time to really focus on his leg now that it was bandaged and splinted, it was almost as if nothing had even happened. She sat in silence for a moment, continuing to just keep her eyes on him. The doctors had already left the room after bringing him in, so it was only the two of them. After a moment, she sniffled and looked down at her hands.
"You promised…" she said softly. "You promised this wouldn’t happen. You said everything would be fine, Sam. This isn’t fine! You could have- What if you’d-" her voice broke off as she started to cry again.
She was being immature and irrational, bringing this up right now wasn’t the right thing to do. She should have been asking if he was okay, not bringing up a promise that she’d known he couldn’t keep even when she’d asked him to make it. She should have been standing at his bedside, holding his hand, telling him everything was going to be alright, and instead there she sat. Guilty was something she’d always been pretty good at feeling, even when people swore up and down that whatever had happened wasn’t her fault, she’d still feel sorry for it. Now was one of those times. All she could think was that if only she’d been able to convince him to stay, if only she’d somehow managed to change his mind about joining the military, they wouldn’t even be here right now. He wouldn’t be hurt and in the hospital. They could have been at home, probably watching some superhero movie they could both recite backwards and forward by now after having watched it so many times. She wiped at her eyes and sniffled again as she looked up at him from where she sat. She only stared at him for a moment before standing up to stand next to where he was laying. She felt embarassed for crying, which was new, because she’d cried in front of Sam over stupid things more times than she could count. The only difference was, this wasn’t something stupid, her outburst had been, but the situation was serious. She needed to be calm, she needed to be an adult. She took a deep breath and hesitated a moment before resting her hand gently on top of his, keeping quiet still.
Somewhere in the back of her mind, Quinn could hear her phone ringing, or at least vibrating. It’d been smart of her to put it on vibrate instead of leaving her ringer on, the buzzing against the wood of the nightstand was enough noise. She tiredly rolled over, careful not to disturb Noah who was still sound asleep beside her, and picked up her phone just as it went to voicemail. She blinked a few times as the bright light of her phone’s screen made her sleepy eyes sting a little bit. The screen read two missed calls, two voicemails. She sat up a little bit, raising a brow before clicking the button to call her voicemail and check the messages. The robotic woman’s voice in her ear was almost easy to ignore in her tiredness, but when there was a man’s voice in the message, she paid more attention. 'Mrs. Evans-' 'Her name's not Evans you tool. Its Fabray.' 'What?' 'They ain't fucking married-' 'Cochrane I'm in her voicemail-' 'Well her name ain't Evans and I'm sure she'd appreciate you getting the right name now wouldn't she.' 'Out of here Co-' Her fingers clutched tighter onto the phone at her ear as the message clicked dead and the robotic voice came back on telling her what buttons to push to skip, save, or delete. She glanced down at Noah as she chewed at her lip. Clearly this had something to do with Sam, now she was worried.
She hit the button to skip to the next message and nearly held her breath as the next message began in her ear. 'Miss Fabray, my name is General Marshall Wescott with the US Army, and I hate to do this over voicemail, but it is my duty to inform you of recent developments in regards to your boyfriend's deployment. He was involved in some combat early this morning, sustaining injury. Our medical team here have evaluated him, and while he is stable, we are boarding him on a plane direct to New York City for further treatment. An email will be sent to you within the hour containing the exact details of his current return. Samuel requested that we tell you specifically 'ten fingers, ten toes', prior to sedation for the journey home. We'll be in touch over the course of the next few weeks to check on his progress, as we are aware that there is no contact number for himself personally in America. Thank you.' For a moment, there was no sound other than the echoing heartbeat in her ears. Something happened to Sam? She couldn’t even take into consideration that he’d tried to tell her that everything was fine. ‘Ten fingers, ten toes.’ He would try and tell her that to calm her down. The fact of the matter was that she wasn’t calm, not even close. Once her phone was thrown down on the nightstand again she quickly and carefully picked up Noah. The baby stirred and started fussing a little bit at the sudden wake up call, but she shushed him quietly as she ran downstairs. Her mom must have been gone at work still because the house was empty. Noah was in full-fledged crying mode by the time she was buckling him into his seat.
"Shhh, baby it’s okay. It’s okay." She said softly, her voice shaking.
She was two seconds away from crying, but she was holding herself back. What could have possibly happened to Sam? Was he in some kind of critical condition to the point that he was dying? She wasn’t even sure she could call the number that the voicemail had come from back and find out exactly what was wrong. She wasn’t even sure where she was supposed to go, General Wescott hadn’t told her where exactly Sam was being taken, he’d just said New York City. There were at least four hospitals in the city. She could drive to everyone and figure out which one he was at, but she didn’t think she’d have enough calm left in her to make it that far. She was still in Sam’s shirt and her sweats, her hair probably looked absolutely crazy, and the frantic look on her face probably did little to nothing to help her look any better. She gathered together a diaper bag for Noah before she remembered that she’d left her cell phone upstairs. The baby was still crying loudly when she ran upstairs to grab the phone. In her rush, she completely forgot she hadn’t prepped a bottle or anything for Noah. She pushed her bangs up from her forehead, a heavy sigh huffing out of her mouth.
"Noah, please baby. It’s okay. Mommy’s gonna take you over to Grandpa’s, she’s gotta go see Daddy. Just stop crying, please.." She sniffled as a couple tears finally fell from her eyes.
How hypocritical of her to tell the baby to stop crying as she started. She tried giving him his pacifier, but he wouldn’t take it. After a minute she gave up in exasperation and slung the diaper bag over her shoulder before lifting the carrier seat with the wailing baby on her arm. She grabbed her car keys and hurried next door to Sam’s house -or Sam’s dad’s house since Sam wasn’t actually home for her to call it that right now. The doorbell ringing five or six times probably wasn’t the most pleasant wake up call, but Quinn couldn’t find it in herself to care about the disturbance. Mr. Evans opened the front door, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. She carefully pushed passed him into the house, setting Noah’s carrier down. She tried giving him his pacifier again and this time he took it, thankfully, before she turned to Sam’s dad again, folding her arms across her chest to try and contain herself more.
"I’m sorry, I don’t mean to barge in or anything, but… something.. something’s happened to.. to Sam." She stammered, trying to keep herself from outright crying. "I just.. I need you to watch Noah. Can you please, please take care of him? I need.. I have to go into the city, they’re taking him there. I have to- I have to go see him.. Have to make sure he’s okay.. I have to.. I just-"
In an instant there were arms wrapped around her, comforting murmurs in her ear. She half expected him to freak out even worse than she had, he was Sam’s dad after all. After a moment’s thought, she realized his calm had to be for her sake. It wouldn’t have made things any easier on her if he was freaking out too. He agreed to watch Noah, telling her that she needed to make sure that she was careful and that she let him know what was going on with Sam when she found out. She nodded and agreed to call him as soon as she found out what was going on. She wiped her eyes and kissed Noah goodbye before going back out to her car. She tried taking a couple deep breaths, gripping tightly onto the steering wheel. She needed to get moving. The city wasn’t that far from the town, granted she did have to figure out which hospital he was actually at. She’d spend whatever time she needed to driving around to find it. She needed to know he was alright, see his face, hear his voice. He had to be okay, she couldn’t be completely alright until she knew for sure that he was fine.
"What are we doing here? You’re not actually taking me to Cabo are you?" Quinn raised her eyebrows at Santana beside her.
Normally she would have asked way more questions considering Santana had just randomly decided to drag her to the airport on her birthday, but for some reason she wasn’t attacking her best friend with inquiries. She looked around the bustling airport curiously. The last time she’d been here had been almost a year and a half ago when Sam had first left for the military. That had been one of the hardest moments of her life. So maybe her and Tana’s jokes about running off to Cabo had never really seemed realistic, and maybe it still didn’t seem realistic that the latina had any plans to drag the blonde along on a vacation even if it was her birthday, but Quinn couldn’t come up with any other reason for their being there.
"Q, you and I both know neither one of us can afford a trip to Cabo." Santana noted.
Quinn looked back and forth, following the people rushing to get to their flights with her eyes. “So why are we here then?” She asked.
Tana had been focused on the screens with the flight lists for a while. She was silent for another moment before nodding and turning to Quinn again.
"Come on." She said, towing her by the arm.
They went up a couple flights of stairs to the higher exit terminals. She was more than confused. Neither one of them had plane tickets, or baggage to go through security checks -which somehow Santana had managed to talk their way out of altogether- so she wasn’t sure why they were here. Once they neared the waiting area outside of the flightgate marked 3B, they stopped. Quinn turned her confused expression on Santana.
"Tana, seriously, why are we here?" she asked again.
"Just wait, it’s a surprise." Tana answered.
Quinn huffed out a sigh and folded her arms over her chest, “Really Santana, we’re not in middle school anymore, surprise parties aren’t really my thing. And besides, who even has a surprise party in an airpor-“
"Will you shut up and turn around?" The brunette rolled her eyes.
She hadn’t even realized that the woman at the flight attendant’s desk had come over the intercom and announced that the flight had landed. Quinn turned around to look behind her and at first wasn’t sure what she was supposed to be looking at. It wasn’t until she noticed that there were guys coming off the plane in uniform that the realization hit her. And then there he was, the only one of those guys she really actually cared about. Sam. Sure, she’d seen him a few times over the past year and a half when he’d gotten the chance to come home for a few days or something, but it wasn’t the same as having him around all the time. Every time he came home again, the excitement was always the same. She felt like a little kid sometimes, the way she used to get when the rain went away and the two of them could finally go outside and play again instead of being stuck inside.
As soon as she’d seen him, she’d started running toward him. She probably looked pretty crazy, ducking around people with that excited grin on her face. She didn’t care though. Last time he’d been able to come home they’d talked about how likely it would be that he’d be around for her birthday, but he’d said he wasn’t sure. She hadn’t expected to be seeing him today, she really hadn’t known when to expect seeing him, that was one of the hard parts of him being gone. She couldn’t seem to wipe the smile off her face as she hurried toward him.
"Sam!" She called enthusiastically.
He looked up at her and smiled just before she ran into him, flinging her arms around his neck and holding on tightly. Sam laughed and stumbled a couple steps backward at the impact, but his arms wound around her and he hugged her to him just as tightly.
"Well hi." he chuckled.
Quinn felt him press a kiss on the top of her head before she pulled back just a little to look up at him. She refused to let go of him completely just yet. She looked over his face, checking for any noticeable injuries. Though, after a quick thought process, she realized if he’d had any sort of marks on his face that were that bad, she would have noticed them from a distance. She shook her head a little bit, the smile from before still clear on her face.
"I can’t believe you’re here." she said, surprised by how quiet her voice was despite how ecstatic she felt.
Sam smiled and tucked a piece of her hair behind her ear, “I missed you.”
"I missed you more." she replied.
"Oh, don’t even.." he smirked, leaning closer to her.
He touched his forehead to hers and she slid her arms more securely around the back of his neck as he kissed her. It never seemed to fail to send her senses tingling, and those butterflies in her stomach fluttering wildly when he kissed her. Though she never would have admitted it at the time, even back when they’d kissed at thirteen at the park, pouring down rain, trying to play Spiderman and MJ, the feelings had been there. To think they’d always laughed when their families told them they’d end up together. Sam pressed one more quick kiss to her lips again, then kissed her cheek before tilting her chin up gently and looking her in the eye.
"Happy Birthday, Quinn." he said.
She smiled widely, feeling her eyes sting with the happy tears she forced herself to blink back. She muttered a thank you and hugged him tightly again, nestling her head under his chin. She couldn’t have asked for anything better than having him home for her birthday, it was the perfect gift. What was she supposed to wish for when the candles were lit now? She almost laughed at that thought.
"Come on, Quinn. Just pedal, that’s it. That’s all you have to do is pedal.”
Quinn stared at the empty sidewalk path in front of her. She was sitting on Sam’s bike, both her feet firmly planted on the ground on either side of it. The helmet on her head wasn’t doing anything to really reassure the thirteen year old. The only reason she’d even agreed to this stupid idea was so she’d stop hearing from everyone how she’d ‘Never even tried riding a bike.’ Now she was going to try, and probably end up dead in the process. She chewed on the inside of her lip and shook her head a little bit.
"I can’t do it." she mumbled.
"Yes you can. It’s easy, you just sit and pedal, the bike does the rest." Sam said.
"But what if I fall?"
"You won’t fall."
"But what if Sam?”
Sam huffed out a sigh and rolled his eyes. “If you fall, which you won’t, I’ll run inside and grab the first aid kit.”
“I don’t want to fall…” she muttered under her breath.
She wasn’t the most coordinated person in the world. She knew that if she did actually fall chances were she’d end up with a broken something or other. She’d broken her wrist on the monkey bars once, how did that even happen? Only her.
“Look, I’ll follow you the whole way, and if you start to tip over or something, I’ll catch you alright?” Sam offered.
Quinn bit her lip, staring straight ahead at the pavement still before looking at Sam to meet his eyes, “Promise?”
“Of course.” He nodded, giving a reassuring smile.
She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. She nodded to reassure herself and lifted one foot up onto the pedal. Sam leaned closer to her just a little bit. Her fingers tightened on the handles as she brought her other foot up onto the pedal. She felt the bike start to tip over and immediately shot her foot out to catch herself, stepping on Sam’s foot in the process.
“I’m sorry!” she said quickly, moving her foot off of his.
Sam grit his teeth and took a deep breath, “Yeah, it’s okay.”
Quinn’s cheeks blushed a deep red and she looked down, biting her lip. Trying to learn to ride a bike was never a good idea. Whether people were giving her crap about having never tried or not. She’d barely tried now, but that still counted as trying. She carefully dismounted the bike and stood on both feet on one side, holding onto the handlebars to keep the bike up. Sam looked at her confusedly.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
“I tried, so now I’m done.” She replied.
“Quinn, you didn’t even move the pedals.” He laughed lightly.
She blushed again and looked down at the sidewalk, “Look, I’m just not destined to ride a bike okay? Plenty of people don’t know how to ride bikes and they do just fine in life. I’ll be one of those people.”
“Come on, you can do it.” He pleaded.
She looked up at him, chewing on the inside of her lip. Instead of the almost taunting grin she’d typically have gotten from some other guys they went to school with in this type of situation, there was a reassuring smile on Sam’s face as she looked at him. He almost always had been the one to take care of her. Whether that was making her feel better, or cleaning up her messes for her. Whatever the case was, he was never really the kind to make fun of her. And he certainly wouldn’t be the one to let her hurt herself either. Right?
“Fine.” She groaned reluctantly, getting back on the bike, “This is the last try though. If I fall or lose my balance and stop on your foot again, I’m giving up.”
“I already told you, you’re not gonna fall.” Sam said.
She rolled her eyes and shook her head. Her eyes focused on the path in front of her again as Sam repeated the same thing he’d been repeating for near an hour now about how all it took was focusing and moving the pedals. ‘The bike does the rest of the work.’ Shouldn’t that be a bad thing? An inanimate object, especially one that she was currently sitting on and trying to learn how to ride, should not be doing any work for itself. She clutched tightly to the handles on the handlebars and took a deep breath. She gave Sam a stiff nod when he asked her if she was ready to go now. She mentally counted to three and then nearly closed her eyes until she realized how stupid it would be to do that at this moment. She put her left foot up on the pedal and spared a glance at Sam next to her before bringing the right foot up too. To her surprise, she immediately started pedaling instead of tipping right over.
Sam laughed at first, which almost made her nervous enough to topple over again as she’d predicted, but somehow she managed to stay upright for the time being. He followed her along the way up the sidewalk, just like he promised he would. She felt like she was going painfully slow and practically boring him to tears, but when she glanced out of the corner of her eye at him, she saw that he was smiling. He actually looked like he was proud of her. Who’d have thought that simply giving riding a bike a try would actually make him proud of her. She’d never really seen a need for her to know how to ride a bike. She didn’t really have an interest in bike riding, and she always sat on Sam’s handlebars for the rides places anyway. Oh god what if after all these years he was finally starting to get tired of her?
After her thoughts took a turn for the worst, she realized her thinking about still having to pedal to move the bike had trailed off. The bike tipped over, and she nearly hit the ground with it, but Sam caught her under the arms. He lifted her up to her feet and seemed to examine her for injuries just as she did so for herself.
“You okay?” Sam asked her.
She nodded, looking down at herself still just to make sure, “Yeah, I’m alright.”
She unclicked the clasp on the helmet and took it off her head. Sam hid his mouth behind his hand, but she didn’t miss the way that he laughed a little bit. She rolled her eyes and smoothed her hair down, knowing that that had to be what he was chuckling at. She knew helmet hair was not a super attractive trait. She sighed and glanced back at where she’d originally started with the bike. Only about five feet, jeez that was pathetic, but at least Puck couldn’t give her crap for never trying now.
“Wasn’t so bad was it?” Sam asked, nudging her with his elbow.
“Guess not. I didn’t fall at least.” She noted, holding the helmet between her hands.
Sam grinned, almost smugly, “I told you I’d catch you.”