Part II – Mr. Schue
Quinn and Sam sat next to each other on the back row in the choir room: their thighs touching, their fingers intertwined. She felt so happy right now. Quinn smiled and took a look around the Glee club. It was the only place where she always felt welcome. She had had the times of her life with these people, with Sam in particular, and she loved them – one and all. As Mr. Schue talked about their years of high school coming to an end - and thereby the end of the Glee Club -, nationals and how thankful he was for the last three years, Quinn was thinking about the future. She wondered what was going to happen to all of them. Whom would she keep seeing, who would stay in Lima Heights, who would do greater things, whom was she going to miss the most? They had been through so much together. She was tearing up just by the thought of this ending. This was her life. She shook her head as if she could shake out reality.
"All right, have a nice weekend, everybody!" Mr. Schue smiled at the students and gathered his papers on the piano.
The thirty-something teacher regarded the kids, who weren't really kids anymore; they were laughing and chatting loudly. It had been three wonderful years. This unique group of people had brought back happiness in his life at a point where he needed it the most. They had showed him what was important and especially what was important to him. He owed them everything but he didn't quite know how to express it. For now they were just focusing on Nationals. He really believed in them this year. They were finally one unit – one well-working, loving, drama-free unit. As they walked out of the door one by one Mr. Schue studied them carefully. These young people whom he had spent so much time with and whom he had gotten to know so well. The last ones to leave the room were Sam and Quinn. From a sudden impulse he yelled out the latter's name.
She and Sam both turned around.
"Do you have a second?" He didn't exactly know what to talk to her about, he just felt like speaking with her.
She smiled "Sure." Then she turned to Sam "You don't need to wait for me."
"You sure?" He shrugged "Okay. Can I still come over tonight?"
Mr. Schue felt slightly uncomfortable watching this, but this was nothing compared to other situations he had seen this young girl in.
"Of course. Be there at 8." She stroked his cheek before he left.
Young love, Mr. Schue said to himself and smiled. It made him think of Emma.
Quinn watched Sam as he walked out the door and then turned to Mr. Schue. She straightened her dress as she walked towards her teacher and Mr. Schue caught a glimpse of her white slip. It reminded him of the first time he had ever really noticed her. She was auditioning for the Glee club with Brittany and Santana. He had found her interesting almost immediately. Beautiful, a good dancer and a sweet voice. Too bad about the attitude, he had said to himself. But she was a Cheerio – the head cheerleader – a bad attitude was what once could expect. Then she became pregnant and it was then that he really got to know her. He had comforted her and held her when neither Finn, Puck nor her parents had been willing to. Mercedes had been a great help too, but Quinn had needed a male figure. Not just a father figure or just a partner, but both. And he could be that guy. He had realized how fragile this girl was and he was glad he could be there for her. She grew so much during that year. She learned so much. And after giving birth to Beth; seeing her lying down on the hospital bed with her baby in her arms. Seeing the smile on her face. It was then he knew that he loved her. Not in an inappropriate sexual way, it was just the fact the she was important to him. And he loved her for being important – for being someone he was interested in and cared for.
Quinn had reached the piano and leaned against it with a curious smile on her face.
"I just…" Mr. Schue was at the other end of the piano fumbling his papers. "I just wanted to know how you're doing?"
"Uhm, fine thanks," she said while tipping her head. "Was that what you wanted to talk to me about?"
"Well, I guess. I don't know, it's been some time since we last talked. And now school is almost over… how are you doing, Quinn?"
"It's been three long years-" she said and looked down while instinctively suppressing an urge to rest her hand on her stomach. That had been a habit of hers ever since her pregnancy. "But I… I think I'm happy now." She smiled and looked into his eyes
"I'm glad." Mr. Schue returned the smile but then frowned a bit. "I saw you tearing up during class. You would tell me if there was something up, right? I mean, you know you can always count of me. I'm here for you."
"I know, Mr. Schue. I was just overwhelmed by everything. Time passes so fast. You don't realize it when you're in high school. You're too caught up with indifferent boyfriends, unfaithful bad boys, obnoxious enemies, proms, cheerleading, grades; all those things that are totally unimportant as soon as you graduate-"
"Your grades aren't unimportant, Quinn" Mr. Schue interrupted grinningly
"My point is that you don't realize how all these things, these people, have all been a great part of your life and whether you like them or not, you are going to miss them when you're out of high school. You're going to miss the relationships you had with all the different persons. It's never going to be the same again." She walked round the piano and sat down on the piano bench while sliding a finger across the ivory keys without ever pushing down. "I've never really appreciated my time here. I couldn't possibly have felt sorrier for myself after I had Beth. I've always just wanted to be more popular, be more perfect, get better grades... feel more loved."
Mr. Schue walked round the piano and sat down next to her on the bench, as she continued:
"I've never just been thankful for what I had, what I'd experienced, what I'd get to experience. Every day was a constant struggle to become more perfect, more of an ideal in the eyes of… I don't even know who. I was never satisfied; I was always searching for more. Until now." Her eyes met those of her teacher's as a tear strolled down her cheek. "I'm in a good place now. I'm finally in a healthy relationship. I'm on friendly terms with both Finn and Puck, Santana and Brittany are my girlfriends again and Rachel… well I can talk to Rachel without punching her now."
Mr. Schue raised an eyebrow.
Quinn's voice went up a pitch as she stated: "I can! And that's progress, remember last year's prom?"
"Sadly, I do."
They both laughed and he put an arm around her as she leaned her head on his shoulder.
"I'm just sad that it took me three years to find myself and to be comfortable in my own skin. Comfortable enough to be nice towards other people. I've finally learned to appreciate my time here at McKinley High and now that time is ending. I was too slow." Her voice cracked as she spoke the last words.
"Hey hey, it's okay." Mr. Schue lifted her chin from her chest and turned her face in his direction. "Look, you're looking at this the wrong way." He wiped her tears away with his right thumb while his left arm was still wrapped around her. "Some people go through high school miserable. They never get to talk to the people they really want to talk to, they never get to do the things they really want to do. And most important, they never learn to appreciate their high school years. But you, Quinn, you are not one of those people." He put his right hand on her thigh. "Sure you've had a hard time, but look what you've accomplished: You've experienced love, loneliness, hatred and happiness. You've been exposed to probably the most difficult thing one can put a teenage girl through, but still managed to come back strong. You've been the head cheerleader. You've sung a duet in front of god knows how many people at Sectionals… and you'll get to perform once again in front of an even bigger crowd before you graduate."
"I just found out that the set list for Nationals has to be longer than the set list for regionals, so we have to fill out three additional numbers. I was thinking of giving a Santana a solo, then you could all participate in a group performance and then you and Sam could do a duet for the third number? You have to write the number yourself, but I'll be here to help you of course."
Quinn squinted and stuttered: "I-I don't know, mr. Schue. I don't think I'm ready for-"
"Quinn," Mr. Schue interrupted. "You are a beautiful, intelligent and sweet young woman. You are a straight A-student, a lovely singer not to mention a wonderful dancer. I don't know why you're never willing to trust yourself."
Quinn smiled shyly and took her teacher's hand which was placed on her thigh. She held it for quite a bit while caressing it with her thumb. "I don't know what to say."
"You could say that you were up for it?" Mr. Schue smiled.
"Of course, I'm up for it and I'm sure Sam is too. I mean, I'm..." She looked into his eyes. "Of course."
"Good." He sighed. "Don't look at this as you being too slow to learn to appreciate this part of your life. Look at it this way: you've learned to be grateful for everything just in time so that you can graduate with the best possible memories and with the best friends in the world: all of the Glee club members. And of course, your old Glee club teacher."
She giggled and blinked timidly. Mr. Schue looked at his student. She had a grateful expression upon her face, smiling with her pearly white teeth. It was a smile he rarely got to see, but it always cheered him up. A smile so innocent and so true. Her cheeks were a little rosy from the crying and her beautiful hazel eyes were glittering and perfectly accentuated by her long black lashes. In this light her eyes almost looked dark brown. He thought of Emma and suddenly Quinn's hand felt very small and fragile as it lay in his big coarse hand. He quickly let go of her hand and stood up.
"So, it's a deal then. You and Sam will perform at Nationals" He avoided her eyes, not knowing that they weren't exactly searching for his either.
Affected by the tense situation Quinn quickly got up from the piano bench as well and straightened her dress. "Yes, it's a deal, uhm-"
Their eyes met for a brief second and they both looked down again. "Bye Mr. Schue."
"Yeah, bye Quinn."
Quinn walked towards the door to the choir room while shaking her head lightly. Why was it always like this with her and older men? She didn't know if it was because of the way she dressed, because of her eloquence, because of her looks or because of something else. Her mother claimed she just had a flirty nature and that it was her own fault. But surely a decent man like Mr. Schue wouldn't get affected by some flirty teenage girl, he was much too good for that. Then why had it gotten so awkward? She felt so embarrassed. She had just sat there and stared at him holding his hand. She wasn't even considering that her signals could be interpreted wrongly. It didn't cross her mind at all, because her thoughts had been a completely different place: she was so thankful for him trusting her enough to ask her to perform a duet at nationals. And for being interested in her. For caring about her. She was thankful for all the times they had stayed after Glee club talking. Thankful for all the times he had covered for her. For all the times he had been protecting her. For all the times he had been a father to her. For all the times he subtly had let her know that he loved her. Quinn was so thankful for… for absolutely everything. And suddenly she realized, just as she reached the opening to the choir room, what she had forgotten to say all along. She turned around and ran right into the arms of Mr. Schue, who was still standing next to piano. She threw her arms around his neck and he wrapped his around her waist as she whispered into his ear: "Thank you, Mr. Schue."
He smiled and stroked her hair when he felt her tears streaming down her cheeks and hitting his collar bone. He kissed her on her forehead and held her just a little bit closer before letting her go. They smiled at each other and once again the student walked towards the door to the choir room. Quinn was wiping her tears away while grinning at her own sensitivity, when Miss Pillsbury walked in.
"Oh, hello Quinn," she said with her soft voice. Quinn just gave her a big smile before exiting the choir room.
Emma looked wondering at Will Schuester as she got near the piano. "Is… is Quinn allright?"
Will smiled and gave Emma a big hug before pressing his lips against hers. He then looked at her with a satisfied expression upon his face "Yes, she is. She's all right."
"Good." Emma said happily. "Are you ready to go?"
Will nodded and took her hand. They left the choir room hand in hand.
Sorry for all he grammatical errors; English is not my native language. Oh, and sorry for all the plotwise mistakes. I've not watched the entire second season yet! The characters thoughts and actions are based on what I've been interpreting throughout watching the show. Some of Quinn's thoughts and ideas are quite inspired by my own as I'm the same place in my life as she is currently. Therefore I apologize if they are out of character.