Let me wake in the sun of my heart before
Leading you along this path in the dark
Where I belong until I feel your warmth
"Vampire Heart" by HIM
There’s a flower Lauren doesn’t recognize tucked into her locker vent when she gets out of her last class of the day. She’s running late to glee practice because her history teacher sucks and manages to make everything a) as boring as possible and b) take forever. Still, she takes the time to pluck the flower from the vent and examine it critically.
She likes flowers, even if how she likes them isn’t really how other people like them -- cut flowers are literally dying as you hold them, so it’s a little like giving someone death. Lauren appreciates the humor in that -- and this one is quite pretty, its petals spread wide, shades of blues and purples mixing nicely, with a slash of pink at the center of each petal. The stem is cool and still slightly damp; it can’t have been in her locker long, but there’s no one around.
It’s not really Puck’s style -- and if he did leave flowers, they would be inside her locker, because he takes great pleasure in breaking into it, what with him being a freak -- but now she’s really late for rehearsal and can’t give it much thought.
Almost she puts the flower on the shelf when she shoves her books inside, but at the last second she grabs it and carries it with her. It is pretty, and she should enjoy it while it still looks more alive than dead.
It’s the right move, because when she walks into the choir room carrying it, she doesn’t even have a chance to wonder at the chaos, not when Mike breaks into a smile so bright almost it hurts to look at him. Tina has a matching flower tucked into her hair. (In just a few minutes, Lauren will find a petal in a stack of Puck’s sheet music. She’ll cup it in the palm of her hand, flash it at Tina, and arch an eyebrow. Boys, Tina mouths and shrugs. They never do figure out what he does with the rest of the flower.)
Mr. Schue is handing out more sheet music, of course, and hands the last packet to her. No way could they figure out a setlist more than a week before a competition or anything logical like that. But she accepts it and goes to sit between Tina and the chair with Puck’s coat hanging over the back. Mike’s on Tina’s other side, and after Lauren sits down, he smiles again, softer.
She tucks the flower into her cleavage and leans toward him, which presses her side up against Tina. This is totally win-win.
“You big romantic sap,” she mutters, but his smile doesn’t waver an iota.
“I know how to treat my girls right.” He stretches his arm along the back of Tina’s chair, and his fingers brush against Lauren’s shoulder. Then he frowns a little. “My guys? Words are failing here.”
Tina giggles and turns to kiss him briefly. She rests her hand on Lauren’s thigh and fans herself lightly with her sheet music. “It’s really warm today. We should take advantage of the weather.”
“Supposed to be cold again tonight,” Lauren says, but tempers the meanness out of her voice. “But maybe we could go out to the reservoir.”
“Why don’t they make bench seats wide enough for four people?” Tina mourns. “No one thinks about what we need.”
Lauren rests her arm on top of Mike’s and twirls Tina’s hair around her fingers. “Until you design something for us, we’ll make my car work.”
Mr. Schue finally stops whatever he's doing with all his folders and calls them to attention. “Okay, guys, let’s try running through this. Mike, Santana, Brittany, front and center. We’ve got a lot of choreography to get through.”
Mike gives them once last grin and leaps down to the front, already spinning as he lands. Lauren lets out a quiet sigh; he loves to dance so much, and it’s sort of wonderful to watch him be happy.
Tina squeezes Lauren’s thigh, and they exchange quick smiles and stand up, joining the others as they prepare to run through harmonies behind Mercedes’ and Berry’s duet. Between the trio of dancers and the pipes on those two -- yes, even Berry -- it’s going to be kind of epic.
Show choir may still be incredibly stupid, but sometimes it’s kind of awesome, too. Especially when Tina reaches back and slips her hand into Lauren’s. She strokes her thumb lightly over Lauren’s skin while they sing and sway through the opening of the song, and Lauren’s heart feels so light and free.
Tina brings her legs up to her chest, her feet flat on the seat, and wraps her arms around her knees. The boys sprawl together in the backseat; every time Lauren glances into the rearview mirror, they’re sitting closer together, until Puck is tucked under Mike’s arm.
Lauren cranks up the heat and cracks her window. It’s too cold to roll it all the way down even with the heat on high, but she wants the fresh air in her face. Her iPod’s plugged into the stereo, on shuffle because she couldn’t decide what playlist worked best.
It switches from quiet piano music into guitars and keyboard. Tina gives this little squeak of excitement even as Lauren recognizes "Vampire Heart". They both lunge for the volume knob; Lauren gets there first because it’s closer to her, and she twists it hard to the right, blasting the song.
Tina grabs her hand, squeezing hard, and they sing at each other, energy rocking through the car, their voices loud and perfectly in balance. Tina brings Lauren’s hand up to her mouth, using it as a microphone, and Lauren can hardly keep singing, so much joy and laughter bubbles up inside.
Lauren wishes for summer, the windows down and the music up, the wind in her hair and the sky so wide and blue. She sneaks another glance at the boys and gives Tina’s hand a squeeze. She loves summer anyway, but the way this thing between the four of them is going, this summer will be unbelievable.
She pulls over at the reservoir, and the moon is bright where it peeks out through the heavy gray clouds. The song is winding down, but Mike launches himself out of the car anyway, gravel crunching beneath his feet as he spins into a leap that makes him look like he’s flying.
Lauren opens her door, but stays put, singing with Tina while Mike twists and turns, popping up onto his toes and then all the way down to his knees and back up again. Lauren presses her free hand dramatically to her chest while she sings; Tina rocks toward her, skirt fluffed up, and they come face to face, voices mingling in such a delightful way.
When the song ends -- the thrum of the guitar and their laughter -- Puck leans forward between the seats and shakes his head at them.
“Shut up, Puckerman.” Lauren beats him to the punch. His mouth turns up into a grin, but then shuffle kicks in again and “Paradise City” wails from the speakers.
“Now that’s more like it!” Puck slides out of the car and offers Lauren his hand. His fingers are rough against her skin, and it makes her shiver. She lets him pull her away from the car and spin her around. The drums kick in and she swings her hips to the beat, using her body to tempt him closer.
Tina climbs out the driver’s side too and slinks up to Mike, her skirt swinging and her boots tearing up the gravel. Mike gives her a little bow before he takes her hand, and they slide into an intricate movement.
Though it’s cold, there’s nowhere else Lauren would rather be than right where she is, her voice lifting in harmony with theirs, her fingers twisting in the air above her head while she dances, Puck’s hands on her hips, and Tina and Mike whirling around them. There’s a moment when the moon breaks completely clear of the clouds, and Lauren tips her face to the sky, and the four of them dance so wild and so free.
The backseat isn’t big enough for four people to hook up, but Tina climbs into Mike’s lap, and Lauren really doesn’t mind being pleasantly squeezed between the boys. Puck presses into her, his fingers twisted in her shirt, and Mike is delightfully warm against her back. Someone -- Tina, she thinks -- slips a hand into Lauren’s hair, twisting and tugging, and Lauren thrusts her hips at Puck because god, that feels good. How the hell did Tina know how much she likes having her hair pulled?
“Damn,” Puck mutters. He pulls back a little, watching them, his eyes wide and dark. “Do that again.”
Tina laughs, throaty and warm, and twines strands of Lauren’s hair around her fingers. She pulls steady and slow, tipping Lauren’s head back toward her; a slender hand presses against her throat, holding her carefully in place. The pressure on her hair eases, but Lauren stays tense, because she knows what’s coming. She hopes it’s coming, at least.
There’s a quick reshuffle behind her, and Tina’s mouth is at her ear, her breath warm and her teeth sharp. “You should see the way they’re watching you,” she murmurs, and there’s a tone in her voice that Lauren has never heard before, but that absolutely kills her. She squeezes her eyes shut and forces herself to breathe.
Tina fists her hand and pulls, hard and sharp. Lauren cries out and her back arches. It goes on and on, pleasure-pain that leaves her breathless. Finally Tina eases off, and Lauren’s left panting. Her lips feel sore and swollen, and she slicks her tongue across them.
Puck makes a dark noise and suddenly he’s kissing her, his mouth hard on hers, his hands clutching at her hips. Tina tugs hard on her hair again, using her grip to guide the kiss, and fucking hell, Lauren feels like she’s about to come just from that.
She loses track of who’s doing what for awhile, just knows that there are lips to kiss and breasts -- okay, so those are Tina’s -- to touch and the windows fog over. The car is warm, their bodies practically melting as they press together, and their mouths are so hungry.
Mike’s phone going off for the third time finally breaks them out of it. Lauren slumps against Puck, Tina in her lap, and Mike grabs his phone from the floor. When did it get down there? He shuts off the reminder alarm and groans.
“Curfew.” His mouth twists. “Sorry guys. You know how my mom is.” He leans into them, and they hold each other for a minute more, but then they have to untangle and rearrange their clothes. Lauren leaves the three of them in the backseat together and slides behind the wheel again. She has to take a second to calm herself, she’s so turned on she’s shaking, and it doesn’t help when Tina leans forward and lightly scratches her nails along the back of Lauren’s neck.
“We really need that four-person bench seat,” Tina says.
“We really need a bed,” Mike counters.
“We really need to get you home so your mom will keep letting you come out with us.” Lauren puts the car into gear, gripping the steering wheel so tight her fingers ache. She arches an eyebrow at the rearview mirror, even though they can’t see it. “Otherwise a four-person bench seat or a bed doesn’t do us much good.”
If Puck doesn’t have a death wish, he’s doing a good job of pretending he does, because he chooses that moment to lean across Tina and kiss Mike. He starts to put his hand in Mike’s hair, which will block Lauren’s view, and then he drops it, as if he knows she’s watching.
“Holy hell,” Lauren mutters and jerks her eyes back onto the road before they hop the curb and hit a house. “Holy, holy hell.” She hits a red light and lets herself take another look. Tina meets her eyes in the mirror, her hands cupped around the backs of their necks, and her grin is deliciously dirty.
“Next time,” Tina says, and digs in her nails, “we stay in for date night.”
“Oh fuck yes.” Lauren’s entire body aches and she can’t wait to get them alone again.
Puck’s breathing hard when he pulls away from Mike, and the way he licks his lips makes Lauren squirm. It’s a good thing there’s very little traffic near the reservoir this late at night, because she sits through a green light watching them. She’d keep watching, too, but the clock is ticking down to Mike’s curfew and there’s no way she wants him grounded.
She parks for a moment around the corner from his house so she can twist around in her seat and kiss him good-night. Puck kisses him as well, because only Tina will walk him to his door.
While they wait, Puck moves into the front seat and plays with her iPod, clicking quickly through her music, one hand on her thigh. She drags her nails lightly along the back of his hand, tracing designs into his skin.
Lauren drops off Tina next, and finally she pulls up in front of Puck’s place. He cups her face gently while they kiss, and she imagines she can taste the others on him, their kisses blooming against her lips.