Bella Notte is another Samcedes-heavy fanfic of mine, BUT this is written more like an actual Glee episode, so there's moments of Klaine, Brittana, Finchel, Tike, etc. and plenty of moments between friends. While Glee is on its hiatus, I keep wondering how prom is going to go this year. Since junior prom was a special night for Samcedes, I wanted to reflect that for their senior prom too, but not have the entire focus on them. This fanfic is also entirely un-related to my "On Our Way" series. As always, I apologize for any errors here, and I welcome any feedback! REALLY, it's very helpful to me. :)
Simple piano notes sounded from the television as Mercedes sat on her living room couch. She dipped her hand her bowl of pretzel sticks and plucked a few out to munch on. The house was hers up through the weekend while her mom went out of town to visit her older brother. Had she planned to not go to prom sooner, she would have gone with her mom but now it was too late. The elder Ms. Jones was already long gone, and Mercedes was planted on the couch at home with her movies. Halfway through her viewing of Because I Said So, her phone buzzed repeatedly, indicating an incoming call. When she looked down at the ID, she slid her finger across the screen and held it up to her ear. "What's up, Kurt?"
"Are you really not going to prom, Mercedes?"
She rolled her eyes and sighed, "Yes. I don't wanna go anymore." Knowing that this was going to turn into a lengthy conversation, she groped the couch for the remote and hit 'pause' once she found it.
"The New Directions all have to go though. We're doing the music again, remember? Figgins apparently loved us too much last year and I found out he bribed Mr. Schue with the money for Nationals.
"I'll call and tell him I'm sick."
"But your dress!" exclaimed Kurt, thinking fast for more reasons. "You can't let our flawless afternoon of shopping last weekend go to waste, the night before the big event!"
"It won't be the same, Kurt."
"Look. Screw not having a date. Just go stag—who cares? It's our senior year! We don't get another prom after this."
"I don't care. I don't want to be the rain cloud fifth wheel to prom while everyone else is having a good time with their dates."
Kurt was silent for a moment, and then his voice quietly came through the receiver, "You really wanted to go with Sam." It wasn't phrased as a question, but rather an observation.
Mercedes took a deep breath as if she didn't want to admit it aloud. "Yes, I did. But he doesn't want to go with me. He hardly talks to me anymore and I guess I can't blame him."
"Sure you can."
He ignored her, "This is ridiculous, Mercedes. Sure I can understand him being butthurt for like a day or two but Valentine's Day was over two months ago!"
"I know. And I still love him. You know I do. But it doesn't matter. He's made it pretty clear that I hurt him too badly for him to care anymore. I made this bed and now I gotta lie in it."
"Alright but pleeease consider ditching that bed just for one night?" he lightly begged. From there his naturally falsetto tone sang a line from her favorite musical, Dreamgirls. "One night only, one night only…"
Although she was giggling, Mercedes said, "Okay, stop it."
"Think about it," replied Kurt. "And if I have to come over there to help you think about it, I will."
"Thanks Kurt. I'll talk to you later," she said while still wearing a soft smile.
"Love you, Troubletone Jones."
"Love you more."
Sam's back was slouched against the wall while his pajama-clad butt and sock-covered feet molded to his bed mattress. Sprawled out on either side of him were some of his old comic books he'd brought with him from Kentucky. And in his lap sat a sketchbook where he was making geometric shapes with a pencil. By the end of the night, he'd hoped that he would have his alien robot complete, but a muffled creaking of wood told him he might have other plans that evening.
Outside of the basement-turned bedroom, footsteps descended upon him. Sam looked up just as the creaking sound was proceeded by several urgent knocks. He closed his sketchbook—bookmarking the page with his pencil—and started to gather up his comic books. Once they were in a hasty pile he called, "Come in," to the door.
An always slender and poised Kurt twisted the knob and crossed the threshold in no time. "Thanks," he said while closing the door again. After adjusting his jet black bathrobe, Kurt folded his arms across his chest. "So I wanted to ask you something."
Sam started to pick up his sketchbook again, figuring that he could multi-task a conversation with Kurt and progress on his sketch. However when he glanced up at the brunette, his concentration fragmented. Simply by the accusatory stare he was receiving, he could guess what was coming next, so he asked, "Is this about prom and Mercedes?"
"I don't want to talk about it."
"Sam I don't care about your plans to go stag. Per se. And I already know what happened between you and Mercedes." When Sam stared incredulously at him, Kurt waved him off while plopping down on the bed, "It's kinda hard not to notice the cold shoulder you've been giving her in Glee club lately. Besides, contrary to popular belief we're still best friends and we still talk to each other about what we go through."
"Then you know why I don't want to talk about it," retorted Sam.
"Just tell me something before you blow me off. Are you mad at Mercedes for her decision to be single?"
And already firm-faced Sam lifted his gaze from his sketch book to give a meaningful glare at Kurt. It easily translated to, "What do you think?"
Understanding and unfazed, Kurt blatantly told him, "Well you're a hypocrite. This time last year, you were single, right Sam? And why was that? Because Quinn cheated on you with Finn. You were exactly in Shane's shoes last year. Like it or not, Mercedes was in a relationship while you chased after her, and now you want to feel justified in being pissed at her? At least she had the decency to be honest with Shane and you, rather than waiting for it to blow up in all your faces."
If he were reading solely into looks, it didn't seem like his rant was penetrating Sam's mind. The blond athlete was still glaring at his sketchbook. After an exasperated sigh, Kurt stood from the bed and strode to the door. Before taking his leave he stared at Sam—who seemed to be staring too hard at his sketchbook and motionless pencil—and told him, "You know, not that you couldn't just find this out for yourself, but she still loves you."
Sam gave a long, hard sideways glance at the closed door. When he finally pried his gaze away, his lips smashed together, and he snapped the sketchbook shut. It was bad enough to have Kurt say all he'd said to him, but it was worse to know that he was right. Sam didn't want to hear about his hypocrisy but it was the truth. The only Aloe Vera to ease his burn were the last four words Kurt uttered in his room. Mercedes could have been upset with him for pursuing her so strongly; she could have flat out blamed Sam's move for them not being together now. Hell, she could have done just the opposite and dropped Shane like a bad habit and pretend no time had passed between them. That was how he had approached things. But that wasn't Mercedes at all. And infidelity wasn't Mercedes. And he'd pushed her towards that out-of-character act. Of course his intentions were good…weren't they? He wanted her to realize her true feelings, and in a way he succeeded. But there wasn't much joy behind the success—not when it results were what they'd transpired to.
His eyes traveled to the freestanding rack to the right of his bed. Hanging in the front of the row of clothes was the suit he'd planned to wear for prom. This past Christmas, his dad gave him one of his old suits similar to the one Sam had worn to the junior prom. The difference this year was that he hadn't planned to wear his bolo tie. He got off of the bed and stepped up to the storage bin where more of his clothes were. Down the left side was a shoe box that he withdrew; he lifted the lid, took out his bolo tie and held the triangular charm in his palm. The last time he'd worn it to school was the week he'd sung "Bamboleo/Hero" to Mercedes. And before that, he'd worn it to the prom with Mercedes. He smiled to himself at the memories while closing his hand around the silver piece. After thinking to himself for a long moment, he closed the box, placed it back inside the bin and hung the bolo with his suit jacket. With a new flame to fuel him, Sam crossed the room and darted upstairs to find Kurt.
Mercedes hadn't meant to fall asleep downstairs, but by the time she awoke to a brand new day, she was indeed curled up on the couch with her remaining pretzels. Her mind was groggy, but not enough to let her forget that the day of prom was finally here. All of her excitement for this day had been let out like a deflated balloon. She'd made her last attempt to assess Sam's attitude toward her Thursday afternoon, and that was when she'd made her decision not to go. As she picked herself up from the couch, yawning and stretching, she recalled the encounter in her mind on her way upstairs. She'd approached Sam at his locker towards the end of the school day and greeted him. "Hey." She asked him how his Spring Break was. "Great." She asked if Stevie and Stacie were excited to have him home for the week. "Totally."She asked him if he was going to prom. "Yep." And before she could ask him any more about it, he told her, "I gotta go. Swim practice. See you around." It was the longest conversation they'd had since Valentine's Day but she wasn't oblivious to the meaning behind his clipped responses.
Standing in the bathroom now, Mercedes sawed her toothbrush over her teeth while staring at her reflection in the mirror. It would be a lie for her to say that the conversation didn't sting at the very least, every time since it happened, she would try to remind herself that he had every right to feel how he did. He'd done so much to show how much he cared about her ever since he returned to Lima. He did more for her than anyone had ever done—even Shane. He cheered her on when she was his competition; he serenaded her openly and in private, he put her name in lights and always made her smile with his wit and silliness. And that was Sam—the guy who always knew how to love wholeheartedly and lay his feelings out in the open. She saw him do it with Quinn when they dated and he had done it with her, even when it wasn't the most appropriate time to do so.
Mercedes spat in the sink and shook her head, trying to shake the thoughts away. She knew all of the reasons why she fell for Sam in the first place because they were still true about him today, even if he wasn't really speaking to her. They just weren't thoughts that she could bring herself to dwell on today; if she did, there wasn't a doubt in her mind that she would be recalling them in the most miserable manners possible. Instead, she spent her day with her iHome playing a shuffled playlist from her old iPod. The teen diva sang along to almost all the songs that came on while she did all her homework and cleaned up the less conspicuous areas of the house. From there, she showered and dressed in the most casual garb Mercedes owned—grey sweat pants and a plain black shirt. She even skipped applying make-up to her face; with no plans of going anywhere that day, why bother dressing to impress?
With half the day gone and nothing responsible left to do, she popped a bag of popcorn, dumped it in her former pretzel bowl and chose another movie for herself. All things aside, she was still in the mood for something romantic, but nothing too cheesy. Moulin Rouge was a contender but its ending always made her tear up, so she settled on The Count of Monte Cristo. While she hadn't read the book yet, it was one of her favorite movies; she could quote several lines from it. And throughout the time she'd been watching it, that was exactly what she did. During the dialogue preceding the climactic fight scene however, she had once again been interrupted by a call from her best friend.
"Still not going Kurt," were the first words out of her mouth upon answering.
"You're home, right?"
Her brows came together as she warily answered, "Yeeaah? Why?"
Instead of getting an answer through the phone, she heard the doorbell ring, followed by several urgent raps on the door. Mercedes let the movie play on while she walked herself and her phone to the door. When she opened it, her eyes widened at not only the sight of Kurt, but Tina and Rachel as well. The two girls had their hair already in pristine up-dos and were towing dress bags behind their heads and large shopping bags in their hands. Kurt had a bag draped over his arm and a shoe box in that same hand while his free hand pulled his sunglasses down the bridge of his nose. "Just as I feared ladies," he commented, staring dead at Mercedes lax head-to-toe appearance.
"Kurt, Rachel, Tina—what are you doing here?"
"You didn't think we were really going to let you miss prom, did you?" asked Tina, smiling at her close friend.
"Yeah, Kurt told us you were planning to skip, but we wanted to make sure that didn't happen."
Mercedes rounded a disapproving look at Kurt but he shrugged it off, "I had to call reinforcements. Anyway, let us in because we're getting ready here and we're not leaving without you."
Another flat-faced expression was impressed upon Kurt by Mercedes, but she stepped aside with a sigh, "Why do I feel like I'm going to regret this?"
"Oh please," countered Kurt. "I don't steer you wrong Mercedes. Now come on, we only have an hour to finish getting ready."
With enthusiastic grins from Rachel and Tina, Mercedes was ushered up to her bedroom. Kurt excused himself to the kitchen briefly before following after the girls. Once they were in the lavender and cream-colored room, Rachel and Tina unloaded their bags on Mercedes' bed, revealing their dresses, shoes, make-up and jewelry. Kurt set his shoebox down with their things and removed the lid. As Tina and Rachel forced Mercedes to sit so they could start on her hair and nails, Kurt picked something up from the shoebox and walked over to Mercedes' view. He held his palm out to reveal a pair of gold spherical earrings and matching bracelet. As Mercedes reacted happily to the surprise, Kurt explained, "Since your mom and I are the only ones who've seen your gown, I knew they'd be perfect with it."
As his words sunk in, Mercedes features transformed from joy to shock. "Kurt, are these your—"
"Yes," he interrupted. "They were my mom's. But I want you to have them."
The longer Mercedes stared up at him, the harder it became to fight off the tears that were growing in her eyes. Tina stopped pinning back her hair just as she rose to her feet to throw her arms around Kurt. Mercedes blinked away her tears and as Kurt returned the embrace she whispered, "Thank you, Kurt."
They pulled apart after a moment but paused to look at each other until Kurt noted, "Good thing we haven't done your make-up yet."
Tina, Rachel and Mercedes all giggled softly at him; after passing the jewelry off to Mercedes, he scanned her iPhone for fun pre-prom tunes to listen to. In no time, Rachel had all of Mercedes fingers and toes painted in the color Kurt insisted matched her dress the closest. Tina pinned back parts of her weave in a half-up-half-down style, and gave the ends a light spiral. And after Kurt helped link the bracelet around her left wrist, he excused himself to the bathroom to get changed.
All three girls helped one another with their gowns. Rachel's gown was a simplistic midnight blue silk taffeta dress with thick straps that hung off her shoulders. It flared slightly at the waist and stopped at her ankles. Tina was clad in a knee-length strapless black satin gown that held notable compliments of glittery canary mesh. It fringed the bottom and lined the sweetheart neck. She'd found identical mesh material to create her hair accessory and sew around the end of her dark, wrist-length gloves. Finally, they were able to see Mercedes' gown. The previous week, she and Kurt found a regal, emerald green, chiffon halter mermaid gown. The sweetheart bust, coupled with the way the material swept to one hip allowed the dress to flaunt all of her curves marvelously. And in just the right light, the tiniest speckles of gold would sparkle at the bust, as well as the tail of the foot-long train.
She'd strapped on some gold, open-toed pumps and finally allowed herself to look at her reflection in the body mirror mounted on the back of her bedroom door. Tina gave her a hairstyle she hadn't commonly worn, but loved. And in addition to primping her nails, Rachel gave her face natural tones of browns and bronzes, but her luscious lips popped with a lightly glossed-over cherry red lipstick. Although still felt like she'd regret going to prom, she allowed herself the honesty that she looked fabulous; that was enough to make her at least smile.
Coming up behind her reflection, Rachel and Tina appeared on either shoulder and joined in her smiling. "Mercedes you look so beautiful," commented Rachel. Tina nodded—her smile spreading to a grin.
Seconds later, Kurt knocked on the door, "You're all decent right? Because I'm coming in now."
"You can come in Kurt," answered Tina.
The slender male opened Mercedes' bedroom door again and stepped inside, revealing his own prom garb. "This year I decided to give one more ode to the late King of Pop, thanking him again for making the unfashionable, fashionable."
All of the girls stared, impressed by the authentic Kurt Hummel military jacket. Like his slacks, it was black but with two pillars of gold buttons—the columns growing further apart as they rose up toward his shoulders. Along one of the two lapels, Kurt encrusted several tiny gold rhinestones from the base that appeared more scattered with the width. The other lapel was reserved for his boutonniere. Underneath he donned a thin gold dress shirt, but the jacket had by far been the most impressive part of his attire. Tina and Rachel gasped when he pirouetted and revealed that the jacket also sported coattails.
"Only you, Kurt," Mercedes commented, grinning proudly at her friend.
He beamed a slightly smug smirk at her, "I know. And look at you, Mercedes. Tell me you're not happy this didn't stay in your closet to collect dust!"
"Yeah Mercedes it would've been a shame if you hadn't gotten to wear this tonight," agreed Tina.
She looked down at herself with a closed-lipped smile and then looked to her friends, "Thanks you guys. Really, I mean it."
Rachel was smiling wider than any of them, and then as if she couldn't help herself, she threw her arms around the diva. In the lowest of tones, Rachel whispered to her, "Tonight's gonna be fun Mercedes. I promise."
She hadn't let Mercedes go until Kurt clapped his hands and said, "Okay! Grab your purses and boutonnieres ladies! We need to get downstairs."
As Mercedes retrieved her glittery green and gold clutch, she checked the time on her phone—the sight causing her brows to knit. "Kurt, why are we leaving so early?"
Before he could answer, the doorbell rang. Rachel squealed, grabbed her purse and Finn's boutonniere in one hand and Kurt's wrist in the other. "Come on!"
Still appearing confused, Mercedes looked to Tina. Tina just smiled at her and threaded her arm around Mercedes. "Just trust us, Mercedes." She grabbed her black velvet clutch and her yellow boutonniere for Mike, and walked arm-in-arm out of the room with the dark-skinned teen. As they trekked slowly down the hallway, Mercedes heard Rachel and Kurt's voices intermingled with known masculine voices. Finn's voice carried to the second floor as he complimented his fiancée on how stunning she looked. She also picked up on Blaine and Mike's voices giving Kurt kudos for his original ensemble. This was the part about prom she'd no longer looked forward to. Everyone was all matched up and even if they didn't dance with their significant others the entire night, they would all always have someone to go to during the slow numbers. All of the dread she'd felt upon her friends' arrival came rushing back before she and Tina reached the top of the stairs. Her chest felt tight, as if her dress was suddenly keeping her lungs from expanding. She closed her eyes tightly and speedily wished that she could instantly be back in her sweats, on the couch finishing her movie.
Tina felt Mercedes' linked arm cling to her own. She tightened her own arm against Mercedes', forcing the other girl to stop just before they reached the stairs. "Mercedes?"
The elder of the two opened her eyes again, looking entirely too distressed now.
Tina frowned as she reached up and tucked some strands of Mercedes' hair behind her shoulder. She kept her voice low as she said, "Listen, when Kurt told Rachel and I about this plan to get you to go, I made him promise that if you really weren't having a good time then the four of us were coming back here right away. We'll pop some popcorn and watch movies til we all crash."
None of them had planned to tell Mercedes this beforehand, but Tina's concern for her friend loosened her lips. It seemed to be the remedy for uprooting Mercedes' planted feet however; she nodded and gave Tina a gratuitous hug before the two girls finished their walk to the stairs. Tina descended first, smiling wide at the sight of Mike in his tux. He stood in front of the open front door, with his hands behind his back until Tina was off the stairs. Mike spun around and when he'd made a full 360, his hands came to his front with a plastic case containing yellow rose corsage. Rachel pulled a camera from her purse and quickly snapped photos as Mike and Tina took turns pinning the flowers to one another. Another flash went off around them as they pecked each other's lips.
"Okay! Take some of Finn and I!" Rachel excitedly demanded while holding the camera out.
Mike grabbed it, and Tina, Blaine and Kurt watched them exchange white calla lilies with blue ribbons attached. Rachel then stood on her toes and looped her arms around Finn's neck while his hands came around her waist for their not-so-candid photo.
"Okay Kurt, now you and Blaine!"
Blaine turned a perky gaze on Kurt, already holding an encased red rose in his hands. He smiled to his boyfriend, but the sentiment was not yet returned.
"Oh! Right, hang on a sec!" said Kurt, dashing past Finn and Rachel towards the kitchen.
Still at the top of the staircase, Mercedes took one deep breath and used Tina's promise as her crutch to lean on as she made her descent.
"Ooo la la. Looking good, Mercedes!" Blaine commented, bringing all five sets of eyes on her.
"Owww!" Mike howled with his hands cupped around his mouth. Finn, Rachel and Tina were all grinning up at her as Mike turned the camera on her.
Unable to help it, Mercedes grinned bashfully and lowered her gaze to the stairs to watch her steps the rest of the way down. "Thanks you guys," she half-heartedly responded. She exchanged glances with Finn, Mike and Blaine and said, "You boys look really handsome."
"You don't think the bow's too much?" Blaine joked while tugging on the gold neck accessory.
Everyone chuckled and giggled at him until Kurt came rushing back into the room carrying two clear boxes. "Okay!"
Mercedes arched a brow, "Uh…Kurt? Why are you giving Blaine two boutonnieres?"
Kurt huffed from his mad dash, "I'm not," and jutted one of the containers out to Mercedes' chest.
Reflexively she accepted it and looked down. A white lily lay curled in the center with bits of baby's breath surrounding the blunt stem and green ribbon. Her forehead smoothed out while she brought a subdued smile back on her face. She looked to Kurt meaningfully and then let her gaze wander amongst the group again while asking, "Alright who wants to pin it on me?"
Shortly after "me" left her lips, Mike and Tina stepped aside from the open door. "How about you pin it on me instead," asked a low, familiar voice, "and I can give you this one?"
Mercedes bulging eyes reacted one step ahead of her brain. Her mind caught up quickly however when her smile transformed dramatically to a dropped jaw. She nearly dropped the boutonniere box when Sam stepped through the threshold, clad in a suit not unlike the one Mercedes recalled him wearing last year. She even noticed his bolo tie.
"Sam!" she breathed, still not over the shock.
He stepped towards her, holding a clear box that contained a white lily wrist corsage with a broad gold ribbon. His eyes lowered to the corsage and then returned to Mercedes. With settled lips Sam swallowed and then spoke again. "Mercedes, you look…gorgeous. I have more I wanna tell you but for now…" He took one more step, positioning himself directly in front of her and lowered himself to one knee. The corsage box was presented to her; he looked up to fix his sage irises on her, ignoring the blond strands that fell over his lashes, "Will you go to prom with me?"
Their friends stood watching with baited anticipation for Mercedes' answer. Kurt tucked his lips into his mouth, while his eager eyes easily translated to a repeated plea for her to accept this prom proposal. The same gaze could be found in Rachel and Tina's brown hues.
Seconds passed and Mercedes hadn't uttered a word. She'd picked up her jaw, staring back at Sam with anguish carved deep in her features. A couple of times her lips parted but no sound came out. Before dejection could reach his heart, Sam uttered, "I'd get it if you said 'no'."
Mercedes' eyes popped again as she quickly blurted out, "No!"
Her friends gasped and Rachel sadly echoed, "No?"
Coming to a quick realization, Mercedes jumped, "Oh!" she looked at Sam, who was now staring crestfallen at the floor. "I didn't mean—you guys! Hold up!" The more she took in her friends' saddened and disappointed, the further she seemed to be struggling with her own words. Mercedes pursed her lips and shook her head while she reached out to Sam. Her fingertips brushed his bangs from his eyes to gain his attention. "Sam, I didn't mean 'no' as in I wouldn't go with you. I meant 'no' as in I wasn't going to say 'no' to you."
His head raised, "Um…"
Mercedes chuckled once and then gave one clear answer, "Sam. My answer is yes. I will go to prom with you."
Relief washed over Sam's face, and was quickly followed by a growing smile. Rachel squealed, "Yay!" as she leaned into Finn and Mike readied the camera to snag a photo. The flash went off as soon as Mercedes and Sam smiled at each other.
Another flash surrounded them as Sam wound the gold ribbon around Mercedes' right wrist; another picture was taken of Mercedes pinning the boutonniere to Sam's lapel.
"Alright you two get together," Tina cheerfully commanded
Mercedes and Sam stared at each other with their own forms of panic.
"For a picture," added Kurt with a roll of his eyes. "Although you both could do us all a favor and—"
"OH-kay, look over here Sam, Mercedes," said Tina.
Sam stepped close to Mercedes side; his hand hesitated, hovering near the small of her back. It wasn't until she rested her hand on the small of his back that his own hand cupped to her hip. He blushed lightly but smiled with her for the photo. Once it'd been taken, they stepped aside to let Blaine and Kurt get their photo-op.
"Guys we better get going," said Finn after they'd done several arrangements of group photos.
"Yeah," agreed Mike. "I don't want to lose our table at Breadstix, especially after being verbally harassed for expanding our reservation at the last minute."
Mercedes locked up the door behind the eight of them, and followed Mike and Tina to Mike's Camry while Rachel, Finn, and Blaine rode in Kurt's Sentra. During the drive, Sam repeatedly stole glances at Mercedes; although she noticed, she pretended not to and gazed out of the passenger window instead. When they arrived and were seated at Breadstix, their group ran into Brittany and Santana, who in the middle of a meal with a few other Cheerios and their dates. Tina was the first to greet them—giving her fellow glee girls praise on their prom dresses. Brittany donned a powder blue party dress while Santana wore a fiery floor-length red and black print.
"Well, well. Trouty and 'Cedes have finally gotten back together?" asked Santana. "Because I was on the verge of putting you two on blast for heading down the same path as Hobbit and the Beanstalk when it came to your songs in Glee. You know—singing to each other and only each other while the rest of us had to sit back and watch, although for a minute there it was a little refreshing to hear you two and not and Frankenteen and the Dwarf."
Finn narrowed his eyes and exhaled an incensed sigh while Rachel balked at Santana, clearly offended.
"Hi to you too, Santana," Sam replied coolly.
"And no, we're not back together. We're just going to prom together," added Mercedes.
"You guys look great," Brittany commented in an airy tone. "Mercedes you look like a Black Little Mermaid."
"Thanks Br—um, Brittany?" Mercedes pointed a finger but quickly withdrew it, "You have marinara sauce on your nose."
Santana looked to her girlfriend, who was attempting to stare down the bridge of her nose. She smiled innocently and picked up her napkin to wipe off the sauce as Brittany shrugged. In a matter-of-factly tone the blonde explained, "It's the meatball's fault."
Everyone cast their own reactions to Brittany's explanation; Mercedes merely smiled and said, "We'll see you guys later."
The round table they were led to was arranged so that everyone was able to sit beside their dates. Sam pulled the chair out for Mercedes, triggering another smile on her face. "Thank you," she said.
Neither one had spoken to each other much since she accepted his prom proposal. Mercedes had been nervous of what the 'more' was that he had to say to her, and Sam had been nervous of how to go about bringing it up. Rather than addressing it then, the two made small talk with their friends during dinner and headed off to the school with Mike and Tina.
When the group of friends arrived at the gym, they were amazed at the spectacle of the gym. "Bella Notte" was the theme, bannered above the stage. All the balloons, streamers and table cloths were varying shades of red, black and white. People were already bobbing and gyrating to Artie and Puck's rendition of "Ice Ice Baby". Mercedes' head ducked and swayed as she looked through the crowds and finally spotted Quinn. Still bound to her wheelchair, she waved her fist to the beat, smiling a genuine smile up at fellow God Squad member Joe Hart. It didn't appear that he'd come in a formal jacket, but he had no problem matching Quinn's pastel pink gown with a rose-colored button-down.
Not far from them, danced Rory and Sugar in black and white apparel; Rory kept his garb simple, while nothing was simplistic about Sugar's get-up. Mercedes giggled and shook her head at them, and as her other friends passed her by to dance, Sam whispered in her ear, "Would you like to dance?"
Mercedes looked at him and said, "Yeah, let's go." She led the way out to the dance floor toward the front of the stage and shook her hips to the beat. Artie spotted her from the stage and winked as he wheeled over to join Puck. She kept on dancing with Sam and giggled when he body-rolled himself to his knees.
They danced until the end of the song, and as the two boys exited the stage, Mercedes excused herself from Sam to say 'hi' to Quinn and Joe. During Rory's solo, the three friends exchanged hugs and conversed with one another.
"So are you and Sam here together?" Quinn asked in her raspy, soft-spoken voice.
Mercedes nodded as she crouched beside her friend's wheelchair, "I wasn't going to come at all but…Kurt, Tina and Rachel surprised me at my house. And then Sam came with their boyfriends to ask me to come with him. I couldn't say no."
Smiling, Quinn told her, "Well I'm glad you didn't."
Mercedes returned the smile and said, "I think I am now too."
They gave each other one more hug and as they did Quinn said, "Love you, Mercedes."
"You too, Quinn!"
Joe wheeled her off to the punch table while Mercedes picked up the next dance with Artie. Puck returned to the stage with Santana to sing "Promiscuous Girl". At the end of the song, Mercedes told Artie, "I'm gonna go find Sam but I'll catch you later for our song, alright?"
"You know it!" sassed Artie.
Mercedes started weaving through the crowd as the next song started—the first slow song since they'd arrived. Though she recognized the song she didn't find Sam until he started singing the lyrics. She turned around to face the stage again and saw him looking right at her while he sang Usher's "U Got It Bad". She blushed deeply and edged her way toward the punch table; his pointed gaze made her feel like a spotlight had fallen on her.
He glanced away a few times during the song, but for the most part she was the center of his attention. When he finished, Rachel and Tina took the stage to perform a duet version of Katy Perry's "E.T." and Sam went to find Mercedes. His confidence peaked enough for him to say all he wanted to her. He assumed that she was still by the punch table but when he got there, she was nowhere in sight. His brows twitched as he turned, slowly scanning the room.
"Hey, Bee Sting!" Sam whipped back around at the punch table to face a track suit-clad Sue Sylvester. "Looking for Aretha?" she asked, speaking over the music.
Ignoring the nicknames, Sam said, "Yeah."
Coach Sylvester jerked her head toward the gym doors, "Saw her slip out just a second ago. If you hurry you can catch her, but be careful—you slip and fall too close to her you might swallow her whole."
Sam pursed his lips and flatly responded, "Thanks," before jogging out of the gym. Right after the doors closed behind him, he looked up and down the hallways. Halfway down one corridor, he saw Mercedes emerging out of the girls' bathroom. Feeling a little bit foolish for worrying, Sam quit his hasty steps and walked over to her. "There you are," he stated casually but when he got close, he took in her somber expression and asked, "Are you okay?"
"Your song," she whispered. "That was for me?"
Sam rubbed the back of his neck, "Yeah…pretty much."
Mercedes shook her head at him, looking somewhat irritated. "I don't get it Sam. For the past two months you've hardly spoken to me. The next thing I know you're at my door asking me to prom and singing songs to me again."
His face fell. "I wanted to talk to you about everything."
"So talk," insisted Mercedes. "I promise I'm listening because I really wanna understand."
The tall blond went quiet when he pinched his lips together. Silence. He inhaled deeply and then said, "I'm sorry Mercedes."
Her irritated expression hadn't been etched away, but she kept her mouth shut while he went on. "I'm sorry for how I've acted towards you—since Valentine's Day and even before that. Well…okay hold on. I'm not completely sorry because I did want to be with you and I still do. But I went about it the wrong way and I shouldn't have pushed you into the situations that you ended up in. For that, I'm really sorry."
The edges of her razor-sharp expression started to dull now as she noticed the absolute sincerity in Sam's voice. She wanted to speak up but he kept speaking, so she closed her mouth. "And I'm sorry I was pretty cold to you lately. You didn't deserve that, but I was hurt.
"Like I said, I just wanted to be with you and it's hard sitting in the same club and some of the same classes together; seeing you every day and just wanting that. Wanting to be able to hold your hand and make each other laugh. You act like a diva in glee club," he saw her smile which made him smile too, "but you weren't one when it came to our relationship. You let me love you and you gave as good as you got."
"I really thought you hated me Sam," Mercedes admitted.
"No, I don't. I don't think I could."
She smiled again and nodded once. "And Sam I didn't mean to hurt you. I didn't want to hurt anyone but instead I hurt everyone." There was no interest in bringing up Shane specifically, but he was included in that statement. "At first, being single to figure things out was really hard for me too. I wanted us to be together too but I knew it was wrong then. I wasn't in a place to handle that yet. Then it got a little easier and things got a little clearer for me, but at the same time it was also still hard because you and I didn't seem to be on good terms."
"Which is my fault," interjected Sam.
Mercedes hadn't argued that, nor had she agreed. "And tonight…it didn't exactly happen the way I thought. I kinda thought the way you did when you came back to town; that everything could just pick up where we left it and it'd be okay. And I shouldn't have had that expectation but I let myself get hopeful for it until I talked to you on Thursday. After that, I wasn't gonna come tonight."
"I know," Sam spoke. Mercedes raised a suspicious brow at him.
"Kurt," they said in unison.
They looked away from each other awkwardly until Sam asked, "So…what do we do now?"
Mercedes rich chocolate hues returned to his face, gazing meaningfully at him. It didn't take much for the sight of him to make her smile. "Well…" she reached for his hand and wove her fingers between it, "Now we take things one day at a time. That's all we can do. And tonight, we'll finish enjoying our prom. Because it'll be our last one and you and I should make the most of it." As soon as the words left her mouth, she came to fully comprehend what Kurt was trying to stress to her the previous night on the phone. She knew all along that he was right; it was their senior year. There were no do-overs to a night like this and had it not been for her nearest and dearest friends, she would have missed it. But being there with Sam, and having the night unfurl as it had…she couldn't have asked for a better prom night.
Sam squeezed her hand and nodded one happy nod. "I couldn't agree more."
As they walked hand-in-hand back down the hallway, the gym doors burst open with Coach Roz hauling Rick "The Stick" Nelson by the scruff of his suit jacket out of the dance. Not far behind her, Sugar and Rory emerged with large red stains splattered across their clothes. Sugar was wailing profusely about how expensive her outfit was while Rory muttered about his only nice clothes now being a wreck.
"Oh can it, Princess," demanded Coach Sylvester who was escorting them out as well. "Seeing as you and Clover aren't here with any seniors, you shouldn't have been here to begin with."
Rory looked up at his fellow Glee club members and said, "Oh, Mercedes! Artie's lookin' for ya. Sugar and I are goin' home." He gestured to his punch-stained suit right before being yanked by a devastated Sugar down a different hallway.
Mercedes grinned up at Sam, "Come on. Artie and I have been working on a fun one."
Sam followed her back inside the gym where he sifted through the crowd to find some familiar faces. Meanwhile Mercedes joined Artie, Joe and Quinn on the stage. Mercedes stood towards the back with Joe and Quinn while Artie took center stage. He gripped his mic, gave a nod to the band and then whipped his head back to the crowd to count off, "1-2-3-UH!"
Almost instantly, everyone recognized the introduction to "Hey Ya" and started clapping, shaking and gyrating. Joe, Quinn and Mercedes clapped at the appropriate moments and sang the repetitive chorus and back-up cues. In no time, a large dance circle opened up in the center of the floor. Various students took turns entering the circle to show off some moves; Mike and Tina, Kurt and Blaine, Santana and Brittany, Rachel and Finn couldn't resist either. Puck even managed to pull Lauren Zizes into the center for a few seconds. Mercedes caught Sam pulling Mike and Brittany in the center with him while she, Joe and Quinn repeatedly mandated, "Shake it! Shake-Shake it!" into their microphones. The three best dancers in the senior class generated cheers, whoops and hollers throughout the gym in no time.
At the end of the number, Principal Figgins took the stage to announce the class's prom king and queen. "Due to a recent incident, which will not be further discussed, Rick "The Stick" Nelson has been disqualified from the running."
Very few people expressed disappointment from this while the other candidates stepped onto the stage. Among four other senior girls, Quinn had been nominated again, but her campaign hadn't carried the vigor as last year. She accepted the nomination with complete gratitude and wasn't heard mentioning it again. Santana was also in the running, along with Brittany and Becky Jackson. For the king candidates, Finn, Puck, and—to many students' surprise—Jacob Israel were on the stage.
"Your 2012 prom king is…" drawled Figgins as he lifted the envelop flap. "Finn Hudson."
A vast majority of the student body clapped and cheered for Finn—including his running mates—as he stepped forward to accept his crown and scepter. He grinned and then faced the crowd, waiting to hear who he was going to dance with.
"And the 2012 prom queen is…" a greater hush fell over the gym for the anticipation of the queen. When Figgins saw the name he smiled and looked toward the female candidates, "Quinn Fabray."
Of the 8 students on stage, Becky was the only one that appeared stunned—besides Quinn herself. The former Cheerio cupped both hands over her mouth while Santana rolled her eyes, smiling at her friend and took the initiative of wheeling Quinn up to the other side of Principal Figgins. He placed the sparkling tiara on her head and handed her a bouquet of roses while a procession of cheering and clapping carried on for her. Finn came around and bend over to hug her while Figgins said, "And now, the king and queen will have their dance."
Both Finn and Quinn looked out to the crowd and spotted Rachel. Her lips were curved in a closed-mouthed smile as she nodded to the two of them. Finn smiled back at her and then kindly wheeled Quinn down the ramp to the floor level. Kurt and Blaine stepped up as others cleared the stage. The two listened to the flute introduction before splitting vocal duties on Stevie Wonder's "My Cherie Amour".
Their friends looked on as Finn gracefully spun Quinn's wheelchair in a couple of circles. She rested the flowers and Finn's scepter in her lap as they joined both their hands and playfully waved them back and forth to the rhythm. Quinn giggled and smiled throughout their dance and when the song ended, they hugged once more. The prom queen handed Finn his scepter back, and he quickly ran it to Rachel before returning to the stage with all of the Glee boys. They performed an entertaining rendition of "Party Rock Anthem" and later came back to do "DJ Got Us Falling In Love".
At the next slow song, Sam found Mercedes and held his hand out in a silent request. Rather than accepting his extended hand, she smirked and reached her hands around his neck. Sam smiled crookedly at her and curled his arms around her waist. The two swayed slowly to Joe and Blaine's strummed acoustic guitars and split the vocals for Dashboard Confessional's "Stolen". Mercedes turned her head, allowing her cheek to be pressed to Sam's heart. A content smile returned to her face when Sam lowered his cheek to the top of her head; she felt the vibration of his voice as he murmured along with the chorus. And then without warning, Sam gently pulled he and Mercedes apart, but grasped one of her hands. He raised her hand high above her head and guided her into twirling around.
Mercedes giggled but was more than cooperative. His smallest of actions made her feel like a princess. And after a couple of twirls, she was drawn close to him again where they resumed their intimate swaying. By the time Joe and Blaine were harmonizing on the final, "heart," lyric, Mercedes locked gazes with her very own heart thief. Freeing one of her hands, she slipped her fingers up the back of Sam's neck and into his dark blond crop. As Sam bent his head toward hers, her smile re-appeared, only to vanish once their lips met. Her other hand soon became free to join the other while Sam seized her hips, bending his fingers into the chiffon material. Their heads tilted in opposite directions to deepen the kiss; Mercedes gasped at Sam's ferventness which only triggered a smile on Sam's face in between their kisses.
Someone cleared their throat rather loudly beside them. Reluctantly the newly reunited couple parted lips and looked to see who was interrupting them. "Oh! Mr. Schue, I didn't know you were here," spoke Mercedes.
"Sorry to bother you guys. Congrats by the way?" mused Mr. Schuester.
Mercedes gave an answering smile, prompting Sam to grin and Mr. Schue to speak on, "Since Rory left, we have a few more minutes for another performance before the end. Either off you think you could pull of a last minute solo before the final dance?"
The couple looked at each other until Sam suggested, "How about a duet?"
Mercedes brows rose, but she didn't argue. She looked to Mr. Schuester and he said, "Great! You guys will be second-to-last. There's a couple more songs from Finn, Rachel and Artie, and I think you girls all had one. Then you two will be on after that. Okay?"
"Sure thing," answered Sam.
Once their teacher wandered away, Mercedes said, "I really hope you have something good in mind."
Grinning crookedly again, Sam said, "I do. And I know you know it. I just need to go talk to some of the band guys."
Before Mercedes could ask another question about the duet, Sam disappeared into the crowd. She shook her head, feeling too caught up in ecstasy to be annoyed that she didn't know what song Sam had in mind for them. But she didn't have much time to fully dwell on it anyhow; while Finn took the stage to sing Ne-Yo's "Closer", Tina and Rachel cornered her to gush about the kiss they witnessed.
"I don't wanna get into it too much right now—it's too loud, but…"
"But?" Tina echoed with a smile.
"Things are looking up. I'll just say that."
Rachel and Tina both squealed and pulled Mercedes in for a hug.
"Alright I gotta go find Mike," said Tina, "but congratulations Mercedes! I knew you two would find your way back to each other!"
"I'm with Tina. I'm so glad you and Sam are getting back together. I might not have always said it to you but I could see how happy you were when you were around him. You deserve that so much Mercedes."
The chocolate-skinned diva grinned at her friend and then accepted the sudden hug she was given. She hugged Rachel back but let her go as Finn neared the end of his song.
"My turn!" she declared. "See you later Mercedes!"
"See ya, Rachel."
Seconds after Rachel and Artie started to sing "American Boy", Sam returned in time for them to get in one more upbeat dance together. During the number, Mercedes made a more assertive attempt to get Sam to tell her what they were singing together but he didn't give in.
"You're gonna know it. Don't worry," Sam would always reply.
She ran out of opportunities to extract the song out of him because the girls were up. They performed another throwback number: the Spice Girls' "Never Give Up On the Good Times".
The stage nearly cleared upon their finish, with the exception of Mercedes; Sam joined her, grabbing one of the available microphones and stood at her side. Mercedes turned toward him slightly and though she was smiling to the crowd she spoke to Sam from behind her teeth in a semi-nervous voice. "If I don't know this song, you're gonna get such hell."
Sam muttered back, "Just relax and listen." He looked behind her, to the current drummer and nodded.
Within two beats of the bass and snare drums and a couple other twinkling and wavering percussion notes, Mercedes was smiling. Sure enough, Sam had been right; it was clear as day in her smile alone. She held her microphone close to her chest and glanced out at the crowd for a moment as people started to pair up. From over Blaine's shoulder Kurt winked at her and she widened her smile for him. Seeing as she was all too familiar with the duet, she knew that Sam started, so she slowly shifted her weight from one foot to the other, swaying as watched him sing.
"Woke up this morning and heard the T.V. saying something about disaster in this world and it made wonder where I'm going. There's so much darkness in the world, but I see beauty left in you, girl. And what you give me lets me know that I'll be alright… 'Cause if your love was all I had in this life, well that would be enough until the end of time. So rest your weary heart and relax your mind, 'cause I'm gonna love you girl until the end of time. You got me sayin' ohhh, yeah…"
Mercedes' smile widened further as Sam stepped closer to her, but she managed to relax her face enough to sing, "Now if you're ever wonderin' about the way I'm feeling; well baby boy there ain't no question—just to be around you is a blessing. Sick and tired of tryin' to save the world. I just wanna spend my time being your girl. And what you give me lets me know that we'll be alright. 'Cause if your love was all I had in this life, that would be enough until the end of time. Rest your weary heart and relax your mind, 'cause I'm gonna love you boy until the end of time. Boy you got me sayin' ohhh yeah…"
True to the Justin/Beyoncé rendition, Sam and Mercedes echoed one another through the next portion of the song. "This one's for the lovers—if you're out there, let me here you say, yeah-ee-yeah yeah..."
"This one's for the lovas—if you're out there, let me here you say yeah-ah-yeah…"
Together, they finished the song and harmonized the final line of lyrics beautifully. Their fellow prom-goers clapped for them while the rest of the New Directions joined them on stage for the last dance. Finn picked up one of the microphones as he stood center stage. "Uh…hey guys. So this is the last song of the night." Several people, "Aww"ed and "Boo"ed which he just chuckled nervously at, "Yeah I know. I'd be booing right along with you since I'm sure most of you here are Seniors like me and a bunch of the guys up here. This is our last year at McKinley. No more proms. No more football games. No more Cheerios…" his gaze averted from the crowd to his friends, "…no more Glee Club." For a moment, Finn's eyes lowered to the floor but he quickly brought it back up. "All of these lasts…well, we need to make them last. Make all the moments count because someday, we're gonna look back at our time in high school, whether we mean to or not. And for some it might seem like it was nothing but hell while others will have nothing but good. No matter where you relate, there's two things you'll for sure have after graduation: friends and memories. So, the New Directions and I just want to say thank you to everyone who's given both of those to us."
Once Finn finished speaking, a small number of violins broke in. A drum beat followed and soon after, Brittany sang, "And so we talked all night about the rest of our lives—where we're gonna be when we turn 25. I keep thinking times will never change. Keep on thinking things will always be the same."
Puck and Mike picked up the next part, "But when we leave this year, we won't be coming back—no more more hangin' out 'cause we're on a different track. And if you got something that you need to say, you better say it right now 'cause you don't have another day."
Rachel sang next, "'Cause we're moving on and we can't slow down. These memories are playing like a film without sound and I, keep thinking of that night in June—I didn't know much of love but it came too soon."
Before the chorus, Santana sang, "And there was me and you, and then we got real glued. Stay at home talking on the telephone with me. We'd get so excited and we'd get so scared, laughing at ourselves thinking life's not fair. And this is how it feels…"
As a whole, they all sang, "As we go on, we remember all the times we had together. And as our lives change, come whatever we will still be friends forever."
The next verses featured solos from Quinn and Sam, before the group joined in for the chorus again. The final verses were sung by Finn and Kurt, and throughout all revisits of the chorus, Mercedes added a soulful flare. A few of the seniors on stage and on the dance floor were tearing up; others smiled and some did both, but by the end of the song, everybody was embracing somebody that mattered to them.