Shane returned to school on Thursday, as per his suspension. He spent the previous days dwelling on Mercedes' last words to him. At times, he'd grow upset as he repeated her demands on his mind. On other occasions, he felt the guilt smack him over and over again from what he'd done to provoke her into…well, pretty much hating him now. Through the ups and downs of emotions, he still felt sure that he was over her; besides, if he had any desire to rekindle his relationship with Mercedes, it was now and forever snuffed.
As he walked down the hallways of McKinley, he felt the judgmental eyes of his peers on him, making him feel smaller than he ever thought they could. He was never one to make waves, but it was obvious that word of his involvement in the prank had spread like wildfire. Some people stared at him as though they were trying to picture him stirring the dog food into the slushie cup—they'd even cowered towards their lockers as he passed. Most people pokerfaced whatever the feelings were that were actually running through their minds; a handful of others shook their heads at him, holding no shame in expressing their disappointment in the jock.
Shane did his best to ignore all of them but he knew he didn't need the reminders of what he'd done. After tending to his business at his locker, he slammed the door and strode off to his first class. Unfortunately for him, that class was Government—the one and only class he shared with Mercedes. He'd heard from some friends that she hadn't come to school on Monday or Tuesday; he didn't know about Wednesday, but she was back now. As he sidled past a column of desks to his seat in the back, he couldn't help stealing a glance at her.
Mercedes however, had been—deliberately or coincidentally—engrossed in a conversation with her blonde bestie, Quinn Fabray. When their teacher called the class's attention to the front, all conversation died down and the lesson began. Shane felt like he'd missed a month's worth of material, rather than three days, and it didn't help that his eyes kept wandering back to Mercedes. He wanted to apologize to her again and make sure she was alright but it was all really just an excuse to test out whether or not she really wasn't going to talk to him again. He knew better than to follow through with that desire though—he'd dated her long enough to know when she was dead serious and when she could be persuaded otherwise.
When the bell rang, Shane shoved his notebook into his backpack and got up to leave quickly when he noticed how gradual Mercedes was packing up. He wasn't going to be able to avoid her for the rest of the school year, but during Government that day, he chewed on the thought of how well he knew Mercedes and decided it was best to respect her wishes as best as he could and just leave her be. If this prank taught him anything, it was that he needed to do that.
Mercedes headed out of the classroom beside her wheelchair-bound friend, who had been filling her in on what she'd missed in Government, as well as Glee club and the God Squad.
"Sam and Joe let me step up as a pseudo vice-president while you were gone. We prayed a lot for you, and Joe wanted to make a card to have the whole Glee club sign for you."
The dark diva smiled, "Aw. That was really thoughtful of him."
Quinn smirked a little, "Yeah—that's Joe for you."
"Thanks for stepping up with the God Squad meetings," Mercedes added as they rounded the corridor to their lockers.
"Think nothing of it," the blonde replied. "As for Glee club, you haven't missed a whole lot there. Occasional bickering—mostly from Mr. Schue and Coach Sylvester over one of the songs for Nationals. But a lot of people have missed you. Especially Sam, Kurt, Tina and myself."
At the mention of Sam's name Mercedes frowned a bit. But she addressed each of them in her response, "I called Sam last night. I need to talk to him in person—I know that, but I did feel really bad for just cutting him off ever since Saturday."
"He's been pretty convinced that you were mad at him for leaving you with us after everything at prom."
"I know…I'm not mad at him, and I told him that a lot…but a text or a call's not the same as being told in person. I've missed you, Kurt and Tina a lot too though."
Reaching Quinn's locker, the two smiled softly at each other, "Well, like I told you in Government, it's good to have you back Mercedes."
"Thanks Quinn." They hugged and then performed their exploding fist bump, giggled softly and then parted ways for their next class.
As for speaking with Sam, she didn't see him until lunchtime. He had just entered the cafeteria when Mercedes spotted him from her table, consisting of herself, Kurt, Blaine, Quinn and Joe. "I'll be back," She told her group of friends as she rose up and sped-walked across the room. She tapped him on the shoulder just as he reached the front of the lunch line and when he turned around, he hardly looked thrilled to see her.
Mercedes took this into consideration as she said, "I'm really sorry I hardly talked to you these past few days. Can we talk now?"
Sam pursed his lips and swallowed. "Sure." He set his tray down and left the line to follow her out of the cafeteria and towards the quad.
"I know I told all of this to you on the phone already, but…I was just so humiliated. I didn't want to see anyone since it had happened."
Sam opened his mouth to say something but Mercedes held her hand up, "Hold on."
She took a deep breath for her own sake—confrontations with Sam usually made her a little anxious, no matter what they were discussing. "I know with what I just said…that it doesn't make things any better but what I'm trying to say is…while I gave you the same treatment as everyone else, I shouldn't have. You're my man. And I didn't treat you like you were by shutting you out."
"I get why you did it," Sam replied.
Mercedes' brows rose while her lips fell in a slight but visible frown. "You do?"
"Yeah. I still can't believe what had happened to you but I can't imagine how you feel."
"I'm okay now."
Sam reached out to cup her cheek, "And I'm glad you are. But Mercedes…if space is something you need when you're upset or hurt, just…tell me that a little more clearly next time okay? I don't want you to shut me out again, but if it's what you need, just tell me that okay?"
Mercedes placed her hand over his as she nodded. It wasn't her finest moment—ignoring his calls and some of his texts, and avoiding seeing him, or anyone for that matter. It almost made her feel a little more guilty that Sam was taking this so well. "I'm really sorry, Sam."
"I forgive you, baby." He pecked her lips and she returned the peck.
"A few of us have a table near the middle of the cafeteria. Wanna join us?"
Her eyes were hopeful that he didn't already have other plans during lunch today but she patiently watched while his lips curled into a crooked smile.
"Yeah after I get my food. But hey, what are you doing Saturday night?"
Her brows came together, "Saturday? Um…other than homework, nothing. My parents are going to Chicago for the weekend to visit my brother, so I was just gonna chill at home. Why?"
She saw Sam's smile few—a look of contemplation flashing across his face that she only barely caught.
"Don't make any plans Saturday night. I wanna take you somewhere."
Mercedes face quickly formed to intrigue and confusion, "Somewhere?"
"Yes. And that's all I'm saying, so don't bother fishing for details."
Her face scrunched but a definite smile was present; he knew her too well sometimes. "Fiiiiine. I won't fish. But make no mistake, Evans—I'll be wondering what the hell you've got up your sleeve."
Being his witty self, Sam grinned at her, "Nothing but muscle, baby."
Shaking her head, but grinning as well, she swatted one of those muscular arms and headed back to the table with her friends.