Chapter 22: Winter dance part II
Chapter song: "It Might As Well Be Spring" – Dick Haymes
Time: November

"All right everybody," coach Beiste said into the microphone. "Let's give a big hand to the band."

The students clapped as the slightly older musicians curtsied and stepped away from the stage.

"The DJ will take it from here. It's 10 o'clock and there are two hours left of the McKinley High winter dance of 2011. Enjoy everyone!"

A shaggy looking guy stepped up to the desk and began playing some techno music.

"Sacre bleu," Gus exclaimed gladly. "C'est Stromae!"

Quinn was confused for a moment, until she recognized the song being played as "Alors on danse".

Along with the rest of the students, Gus began jumping up and down, moving to the beat.

"I'm going to go sit down," Quinn yelled to drown out the loud music.

Gus just nodded, quickly assimilating into the crowd of sweating teenagers.

Quinn squeezed through the pupils and exited the dance floor. She then poured herself a glass of punch and sat down at a nearby table.

She'd never enjoyed techno music; it was difficult to dance to, at least the way she liked to dance, it was always played too loud and the tunes were never really catchy.

She looked down to the bottom of her glass through the pinkish punch. Since when did I become the lame grandmother sitting alone at a dance, bitching about modern music? She took a long sip. Probably at the same moment I freaked out about not wearing any pearls, she snickered to herself.

"What's so funny, Fabray?" Santana asked, sitting down at Quinn's table.

"I feel old."

"You ARE old."

"I'm 18," Quinn stated, raising an eyebrow.

"Yeah, your body is, but mentally you're like a 60-year-old. Why do you think we call you 'Quinn-appropriate'?"

"Oh, thanks San," the blonde girl answered sarcastically. "And why is it again that you're spoiling me with your enchanting company instead of being on the dance floor?"

"'Cause your boyfriend stole my girl," she answered simply, tilting her head towards the before mentioned dance floor where Gus and Brittany were currently grinding against each other.

Santana scoffed. "You know, she still thinks he's the king of Europe."

"Honestly, I'm not sure he'd tell her otherwise if she asked him," Quinn giggled, looking at her two friends having fun. I didn't know Gus could be such a dirty dancer, she mused and once again she wondered whether she knew him as well as she thought she did.

"So, you're sure about not coming to the after party?" Santana asked.

"Definitely. This old lady needs her beauty sleep."

"Suit yourself grandma, but I think your boyfriend has changed his mind."

"For the last time, he's not my-…" Quinn decided to let it go. "Gus can do what he wants, he's a big boy."

"You'd know, wouldn't you?" the Latina smirked, thrusting her hips forward on the chair.

"You're so gross. Please go away." Quinn snarled, emptying her glass.

"Fine. But you shouldn't drink so much punch," Santana said, standing up. "It's filled with empty calories, and it'll make you fat." She walked away, ignoring Quinn, who was scowling at her.

She sure knows how to piss me off, the blonde thought, biting in the styrofoam cup. And I haven't even had that much punch. She knew that was lie, as her bladder told her otherwise a few minutes later

On her way back from the powder room, Quinn poured herself another glass of punch, oblivious to the raven haired girl's warning.

I'm not going to get fat from drinking a non-alcoholic drink at a dance. Triumphantly, she strode towards her table. That'll show her.

When she sat down, she noticed the song had changed to another techno. Looking at the dance floor, she could discern some of her friends amongst the ever moving crowd. She saw Santana and Brittany surrounded by footballers, Puck making out with Maya in the corner, Anna wheeling Artie around like a crazy person, Gus dancing with some girls from the drama club, Finchel giggling on their way towards the powder room (oh god, I did not need to see that, Quinn thought) and at last she spotted Tina, Mercedes and Mike trying to do the Macarena to the upbeat song.

Quinn smiled to herself upon seeing all of them enjoying themselves, when a thought suddenly hit her. Someone's missing. She didn't have time to look anywhere else in the gym, because suddenly a voice behind her said:

"I know I'm usually the perv, but you're sitting all alone, with a drink in your hand, watching sweaty teenagers grope each other. That seems pretty pervy to me."

Quinn turned around to see the blonde boy whom she hadn't been able to spot on the dance floor. "Sure, if I were a middle aged guy with my hand down in my pants, but I'm not; I'm a young girl in an expensive dress. I'm the most innocent a person can ever get."

"No, the most innocent a person can get is being an eight year old little girl named Stacey."

"Probably not, according to Freud."

"What?" The blonde boy asked confusedly.

"Never mind, the movie about him will come out soon, you'll get it then." She turned back around to her drink.

"Oh, I know Freud, I was just wondering which phase you were referring to," Sam said, taking a seat next to her.

This time, Quinn didn't play along. She just glanced at him before taking a sip of punch.

Sam sighed heavily. "I'm sorry Quinn… 'bout the other night. Wasn't my place to, you know- I was just a little surprised to see you there in the middle of the night and-"

"It was 11 o'clock, Sam."

"-and I was tired, so I overreacted and said some things I probably shouldn't have said."

She looked at him, her features softened a bit.

"Scratch that, I definitely shouldn't have said those things. I'm really sorry; I was totally out of line."

A small smile formed on Quinn's lips, much to Sam's happiness. "It's okay."

"Really?" He asked, surprised at how easily she'd accepted the apology he'd been too afraid to give her for weeks.

"Yes. I get it: you're the stereotypical protective big brother-kind of guy." Did I just say that out loud?

"I'm the what?" He asked blinkingly.

"Oh uh, never mind."

"You talked to Rachel?"

Quinn furrowed her brows nervously. "How did you know?"

"'Cause Finn told me to stop being the stereotypical protective whatever. When I asked him if he'd made that up himself, he told me that Rachel had delivered him that expression."

"Oh," Quinn murmured, looking at her drink. "Sorry."

"Nah, it's no big deal. I guess he's right, I was freaking out a bit, seeing you out on the street with Gus," Sam smiled and Quinn returned the gesture. "Speaking of Gus, where is your dance partner?"

Quinn pointed towards the spot on the dance floor, where the French boy was rubbing up against three girls at one time (all from the drama club, of course), while a few other girls were trying to get to dance with him as well. She sighed loudly and shook her head lightly, looking a little disappointed.

"Sorry," Sam said. Quinn turned her head to look at him. "Sorry you have to see him with all those girls," he continued upon noticing her confused look.

"That's okay, I ha-"

"Hate techno, yes, I know," Sam grinned, but quickly turned a bit more serious. "But he should still be sitting down here with you when you're his date."

Quinn regarded her ex. Always the gentleman, she thought. "It's all right. It's his first American dance, he's allowed to act like an American boy."

"Not all American boys would leave their beautiful date at a table all alone in a gym filled with other horny teenagers," he stated teasingly.

"They wouldn't?"

"I wouldn't." Sam looked at her intensely.

"I know." Quinn said while looking him straight in the eyes. After a brief moment, she turned her head towards the dance floor, unsure why he'd say that to her.

"You sure you're all right?" Sam asked, breaking the silence between them.

"Yes, of course," Quinn said rapidly. "It's just that he's my ride home, but I have a feeling I'm not going anywhere anytime soon."

"You wanna go home already?"

Quinn considered telling him about her mother's lacking trust, but decided against, since she discovered her mother had nothing to do with her wanting to leave at that moment. "Yes, I'd like to go home."

"I can drive you home," Sam suddenly offered.

"What?" Quinn asked in disbelief. "N-no, what about the after party?"

"Don't care about that,"

"Since when?"

"Since you won't be there."

Quinn's eyes widened.

Shit, he mused. He wasn't planning on saying that, it just sort of fell out of his mouth.

"No, I won't be there," Quinn said slowly. "But Mercedes will, Sam."

He opened and closed his mouth a couple of times, unsure how to save this. "Y-yeah, I know," he stuttered. "I was just planning on driving you home and then come back here and pick up Mercedes, and then we'd go to the party." Even Chewbacca would think that was a stupid plan, Sam thought and judging from the look on Quinn's face, she was thinking the exact same thing.

"It'll be a total waste of your time. I'll be a waste of your time," she said, shaking her head.

"You're never a waste of my time," he said, sounding more comfortable. "Come on, Quinn" he pleaded, putting his hand on top of hers. "I know the street where you live." He gave a big toothy grin when he saw her face light up.

Quinn immediately recognized the words. 'The street where you live', he knows, he knows my favourite song! "How did you find out?" she asked happily.

"Um, find out what? Quinn, I've been at your house like a thousand times," Sam chuckled, tilting his head.

"Oh, right," Quinn said quietly, casting her gaze downwards. Nice one, Quinn. He says a completely regular sentence, and I immediately think he's done a crime scene investigation to figure out which "My Fair Lady"-song I prefer. He didn't even say the exact title. Quinn exhaled. It must be the punch getting to my head. She lifted her glass and emptied it. Right, the non-alcoholic fruit punch. I must be wasted.

Sam looked at his former girlfriend, unable to understand what was going through her mind. At least she wasn't angry with him anymore. "Let me take you home, Quinn," he said, standing up and offering a hand. "Please?"

How am I supposed to say no to that? Quinn mused. "Sure. I'll just leave a note for Gus."

Sam groaned inwardly. If he's not her boyfriend, then why is she so considerate of him?

Quinn pulled out an eyeliner from her purse and grabbed a napkin from the table, where she was still seated.

'Gus, I've gone home.' she wrote, but then paused, unsure what to wright next.

I can't tell him who's driving me, she thought. There's nothing going on between Gus and I, I think, but no matter what, I cannot choose Sam over Gus so obviously. And what if Mercedes finds this? I feel pretty certain that Sam hasn't exactly told her that he's taking me home. Oh dear, what are we doing?

She clutched her eyeliner a bit, feeling Sam staring down at her. She then wrote: 'I was tired and you looked like you were having fun. Bonne nuit, bisous 3'

Once again Sam groaned, but out loud this time. It just about killed him seeing her draw that heart. He would have felt even worse, if he'd had known the meaning of the word she wrote before the heart.

"'Kay, I'm ready," Quinn mumbled, grabbing her purse, taking Sam's hand and getting up.

As she stood up, he let go of her hand and put his on the smaller part of her back. He then felt her tense up and immediately he let his hand drop again. He knew it was a little too intimate for her, but it really was just a habit for him.

Their eyes met briefly, but they quickly looked away, both affected by the obvious awkwardness. They began walking towards the exit, both of them hurrying a bit, as they both felt guilty.

This is completely allright, Sam thought as he opened his car door for Quinn. She's a friend and I'm taking her home. Nothing wrong with that.

When she got in the car, her dress slid up a bit, exposing some thigh. Sam gulped and blinked a few times. Okay, this is definitely not all right. He inhaled deeply and got in the car himself, gripping the steering wheel tightly and starting the car.

Quinn watched as his knuckles turned white. "Sam?"

"Uh huh," he said, keeping his eyes on the road.

"Please relax," she said softly.

Sam sighed heavily and loosened his grip a bit. "Sorry. This is kind of awful, right? The tension between us."

"Yeah," Quinn agreed. "I don't think it has to be like this. We should be able to be friends – like we were before the summer break."

"That's easier said than done," he scoffed.

"Come on, we just have to do what friends do."

"And what would that be?" He asked tentatively.

"I-I don't know," she murmured. "Eating ice cream together, I guess."

Sam turned his face to look at her. "Really? It's in the middle of the night in November and you want to go for ice cream?"

"Are you really that surprised?" Quinn giggled.

"No, miss Fabray, I am not," Sam laughed, turning to the right. "But I'm afraid the mall is closed and there aren't that many ice cream shops open at this time of year. Would a slushie from 7-11 be all right?"

"It'll do just fine," she answered, giving him a big smile.

Fifteen minutes later, they were sitting in the parking lot in front of the drugstore, on the roof of Sam's car, each with a cold cup in their hands.

"I love winter time," Quinn said with the straw in her mouth. "It's a great opportunity to wear pretty coats and nice boots. But I hate that all the outdoor ice cream parlors close and I have to go so many months with Dairy Queen and 7-11."

"You sound like an addict," Sam laughed.

"Maybe it's not so much the ice cream itself, but it's more the feeling you get when you buy an ice cream. That's why I'm always looking forward to March 1st; it's the first day of spring, there are only a couple of months 'till my birthday and, best of all, the ice cream stall in the park opens."

Sam looked at her, noticing the distant dreamy look in her eyes.

"Every year I look so much forward to that particular day, where I can go down in the park, buy an ice cream cone and sit down on the swings, knowing it's spring time."

"But it's still pretty cold March 1st," Sam noted. "You can rarely feel it's spring time at all, especially not here in Ohio."

"That doesn't bother me. Sitting on the swings with an ice cream in my hand, I'll know it's spring, no matter how the weather is."

They sat in a comfortable silence for a while, looking up at the stars. It was a clear night and the moon was right above their heads.

"… so beautiful," Sam murmured, his head tilted back.

Did he just call me beautiful? "What?" Quinn asked, looking over at him.

"The stars. They're so beautiful."

"Oh… yeah, they are." She couldn't figure out whether she was relieved or disappointed.

"I love astronomy. The way th-"

"Are you really going to give me that talk… again?" Quinn interrupted, quirking an eyebrow.

"I guess not," Sam smirked, looking at her. "Do you remember the first time we met?"

"I do," Quinn replied. "The first time we saw each other. You made a complete fool of yourself in front of everyone in glee club."

"I didn't mean the first time we saw each other. And actually that wasn't in glee club; that was when you performed that New York-song in the school yard."

"You noticed me there?"

"I did, but I'm not talking about that either. I meant the first time we actually met, you know, talked together."

"After you got slushie'd," she said slowly, reminiscing.

"Yeah, and you helped me afterwards. You were so friendly to me, and I didn't get it, 'cause I'd heard some of the jocks refer to you as the head bitch of whatever. But there you were, washing me with your soft hands, looking at me with your pretty eyes, being a total saint…"

Thank god he can't see my blush in this light, Quinn mused, though she was wrong.

Sam grinned at her reaction and finished his sentence: "… and you shared some really personal information."

"I did?" She asked.

"You don't remember?"

"I remember you hitting on me with your dorky manners," she teased.

"Speaking na'vi is not dorky. And as far as I remember, you were the one who brought up "Avatar"," he said poking her in the ribs.

"What are you tal-…" Then she recalled exactly what she'd said that day in the girls' powder room. "Oh god, I can't believe I actually said that," she whispered with a smile.

"I thought you were cute as hell," Sam assured her, gently bumping her shoulder with his own.

Quinn smiled but kept her eyes on her half-filled slush-ice.

"And look what you're drinking now," Sam said playfully. "I believe that is one blueberry flavored slushie."

Quinn let her mouth drop open, gasping loudly, as Sam put one arm around her to keep her arms still, while he with his other hand grabbed her slush-ice.

"You know, I always wondered what you'd look like as an Avatar," he laughed as he tipped the slushie over, the blue liquid getting dangerously close to the edge of the cup.

Quinn screeched. "No, Sam, NO DON'T!"

"Don't worry Quinnie, you're not even wearing pants!" Sam said in a teasing tone, wiggling the slush-ice right above her stomach while tickling her side with his other hand.

Quinn laughed, squealed and squirmed in his embrace. "No no no, Sam… please… no, please don't… not my dress!" She yelled in between her panting.

"You're right," Sam stated calmly, finally letting go of her. "It would be too bad to ruin that beautiful dress of yours." He put her slushie down between them.

"You can't do a thing like that to a lady," Quinn spat, trying to cover up her huge grin.

"Well, excuse me, madam," he answered in a mocking tone. "Can I at least get the pleasure of escorting milady home?"

"Why, I thought you'd never ask," Quinn said, letting him help her get down from the car roof.

"You know, I wasn't kidding before," Sam murmured gingerly as they drove the way towards Quinn's house. "You do look beautiful in that dress."

"Thanks." Quinn glanced over at him. "I wish I could say the same to you."

"Please Q, I've already been insulted numerous times tonight. Cream puff, bee gee… I don't need anymore."

"Sorry," Quinn chuckled. "You don't look that bad, though. I mean, not compared to…"

"Puck?" Sam finished.

"Yeah. Did he seriously come to the winter dance as a dog?"

"He did. He's so whipped."

"I think it's kind of cute that he'd do that for Maya. I never thought he was that kind of guy."

Sam looked over at her, knowing they were moving in on a sensitive topic for her.

"I mean, I know he can be sweet and caring," she continued. "But I've never seen him cave in like that for a girl. Not for Lauren Zizes, not for Santana, not for Mercedes, not for Rachel… not for me."

"Do you miss him?"

"No, I don't think so," Quinn said quietly. "Maybe I miss what we had, what we shared. But I don't miss him… at least not like I miss y-" Quinn swallowed the rest of the word, when she realized what she was about to say.

Their eyes met briefly, before he continued watching the road, as she looked down at her lap. They fell into an awkward silence, neither of them knowing how to carry on with the conversation.

It wasn't until they pulled up in front of Quinn's house that the silence was broken.

"Oh, I almost forgot!" Sam exclaimed, giving Quinn a slight shock. "Open the glove department."

Still not comfortable facing him after her revelation, she slowly pushed it open, revealing a long blue box.

"Take it out," Sam said.

When Quinn just sat with the box in her hands, not knowing what to do, he laughed.

"Open it!" He said, sounding very excited.

Quinn bit her bottom lip and slowly pushed the lid of. She gasped when she realized what it was. Inside of the blue box was an elegant pearl necklace consisting of cream coloured freshwater pearls held together by a golden lock at one end.

"Oh my gosh," Quinn whispered.

"I-I don't know if that was the one you wanted," Sam said quickly. "That day, at the mall, you just left the Dairy Queen so quickly, I figured you forgot to buy that. So I went back to the jewelry department after you'd left and bought that. I know it's not like big or flashy or anything but I thought it looked like something you'd wear. A-and Stacy said it was the prettiest one in the store, so…"

Quinn just kept on staring at the necklace.

"So…" Sam said tentatively. "Is it okay?"

"Sam, I…" Quinn began, finally looking at him. "It's so beautiful."

"Well, sometimes a girl just needs her pearls, right?" Sam smiled, referring to the conversation between Quinn and Gus he'd overheard earlier on that evening.

She just kept on looking at him.

"Here, let me put it on you."

Quinn turned slightly in her seat and lifted up her hair (god, just the sight of her neck, Sam mused), and he closed the string of pearls around her neck. She then turned back around and he took her in, as she sat there, in the moonlight shining through the windshield, wearing the pearls that he had given her.
She looks so beautiful. God, I miss her. "I miss you," Sam admitted quietly.

Quinn parted her lips slightly, but didn't know what to answer. She nibbled at her lower lip and that did it for Sam. He was suddenly captured by her appearance; her hazel eyes shining as brightly as the stars; her rosy cheeks looking oh so soft; her blonde hair cascading down her shoulders; and most importantly, her raspberry pink lips. The looked so inviting and Sam couldn't resist anymore.

He slowly leaned into her, as he gently put his hand on her dress clad thigh. He could feel her cringe a bit, yet she didn't pull away. He closed his eyes and just as their lips were about to touch, he inhaled the sweet scent of her perfume, enjoying how close they were. He could feel her warm breath on his lips and he wanted nothing more than to close the gap between them and finally uniting them after all these months.

But then his nose picked up another smell coming from her mouth; a sweet fruity scent, which he immediately recognized as the punch they had been serving at the school. Pineapple, orange and… mango, Sam thought, remembering the conversation he had had with Mercedes only a few hours earlier. And then he saw Mercedes' face in front of him, and he realized what he was doing.

"I can't," he said firmly, pulling away and taking his hand off of her thigh.

Quinn inhaled sharply and let her eyes flutter open. Sam then saw the hurt look on her face and felt like throwing up for doing that to her. "I-I'm so sorry Quinn, but I can't do that to Mercedes. S-she's my girlfriend and I can't cheat on her."

Quinn's breath hitched as she took in the situation. She felt the tears starting to gather in her eyes.

"Quinn, I'm-"

"No, you're right," Quinn said quietly. "I can't do this to Mercedes either. She's my best friend. I'm sorry too." She smoothened the fabric of her dress, where his hand had just rested a few seconds earlier. Then she reached up behind her neck and opened the pearl necklace.

"No, Quinn, you don't have to…" Sam tried, but it was too late.

Quinn grabbed her purse and got out of the car, leaving the gift on the seat.

"Please, Quinn." Sam said in a low voice.

"No, Sam. This isn't right." She closed the car door behind her and walked up to her house. As she put the key in the door lock, she was just about to turn around, but decided against it when she felt the tears sliding down her cheeks. Had she turned around, she would have seen her ex-boyfriend being just as miserable as herself.

Thank you for reading!
So, finally some Fabrevans interaction. Judging from previous reviews, I feel rather certain that a bunch of you will literally hate me now for not letting them be together. I'm sorry! However, I love Mercedes as a character and I actually enjoy Samcedes as a friendship - so I want to end their romance properly. Fabrevans is endgame for this fic, but there will be more back and forth before they get each other as well as the reactions of their fellow glee club members.
If I'm stalling too much for some of your likings, then I apologize. But I like writing about the chase, the insecurities and the battles, and as long as just a few of you don't mind the wait, then I'm not planning on speeding up the process - of course this story is latching towards its end, but the the two young lovers won't get each other just yet.