As soon as Sectionals were over, Quinn sat down in the school library and started to plan. It wasn’t like she had parents that cared where she was or even a place to stay the night, since Finn had undoubtedly told his mother and her belongings were probably waiting on the curb.
Of course, she immediately ran into a road block. 1.)Find a place to stay. She stared at the words she’d written until her eyes started to sting and then she started to weep. She laid her head on her arms and bawled because places to stay meant money and money meant getting a job and nobody hired pregnant girls.
The gentle brush of someone’s hand over her hair had her jerking and looking up. Kurt’s face was drawn in worry and pity and she would have said something biting, if only she could stop sobbing.
She toppled into his shoulder and it was a good thing her mascara was waterproof or he might’ve put her out of her misery for smudging his sweater.
“I need a job,” her voice was muffled by his shoulder but even she could hear the fear in it.
Kurt straightened, tugging her back to look at her face. He nodded, then commanded, “Get your things.”
He started shoving her things into her pack, motioning for her to help.
“Where are we going?” she asked, bewildered. There were times, honestly, when she wished she could rescue herself. That her ‘entitled bitch’ persona had come with survival instincts. But Quinn realized that she’d been raised to rely on someone else to make the hard decisions, even as she knew that couldn’t last.
“We’re going to get you a job,” Kurt said staunchly, chin rising. “And a place to live. If a woman as flighty as Lorelai Gilmore can survive being pregnant and on her own at sixteen, so can you. With a little help from your friends, of course.”
His smile pinched at the word ‘friend’ and Quinn had always realized that Finn was the kind of guy to attract all kinds of attention but she hadn’t thought beyond Rachel within the Glee sect. Not that any of that mattered now.
He must have taken her renewed tears as gratitude or pregnancy hormones because he rolled his eyes and said, “Yes, yes, there’ll be time for that later. For now, we need to leave.”
And Quinn followed him because she didn’t know what else to do, scrambling into his gigantic vehicle and buckling in when he gave her a pointed look. The ride over was painfully quiet, neither of them really interested in starting conversations.
When he pulled up outside of a garage and turned off his behemoth of an SUV, Quinn just sat blinking at it. It looked…dirty.
“My dad owns it,” Kurt said, twisting his fingers in his lap. “He’s needed some after school help for a while, he just doesn’t like bringing in new people.” The twitch of his lips was pained and Quinn couldn’t imagine living through the kind of hazing he had. Being ostracized was bad enough.
“I don’t know anything about cars,” she said, feeling helpless. Here was her first real opportunity and she was going to blow it by being unknowledgeable.
“It would be secretarial work,” Kurt said, trying to sound reassuring. “Paperwork, filing, phones, customers, that kind of thing.”
Her spirits lifted because that was all stuff she could handle. “Okay. Who do I talk to?”
“Ah,” Kurt said, eyes widening a little bit. “Why don’t you, uh, let me do the talking? I’ll just, uh, be right back.”
Quinn felt a moment’s panic as he scrambled out of the vehicle and into the garage. Obviously, he hadn’t spoken to his father about any of this. And her father didn’t even want anything to do with her, why would someone else’s?
But Kurt stepped into the doorway, an older man with only the slightest resemblance to him hovering protectively behind him as he waved her in. Quinn took a deep breath, then hauled herself out of the safety of Kurt’s monster and pasted a shaky smile on her lips.
“Quinn,” Kurt said, stepping to her side and taking her hand, startling her a little bit in his familiarity. “This is my dad, Burt Hummel. Dad, this is Quinn Fabray.”
“Hello, sir,” she said, swallowing back fear. Because next came judgment and shunning and Quinn didn’t want to cry in front of this man as she had her father.
“How you doin’?” he asked, nodding his head curtly as his eyes moseyed down to her belly. He pursed his lips, then looked at Kurt. “That crack you made about bringing home a pregnant girlfriend when you told me you were gay…”
“Still true,” Kurt asserted even as he squeezed Quinn’s hand.
“Yeah, well,” Burt said, shrugging. “Show’er around. And, uh, there’s that space upstairs you wanted to turn into a studio. It’s not much but it’s got a bathroom and heat.”
Something flickered over Kurt’s face and Quinn almost said the job was enough, that she couldn’t take Kurt’s space, too. But he was smiling and nodding and dragging her through the shop, careful of grease spots.
“It’ll need work,” he said quietly, briskly. “The wallpaper’s a nightmare, the bathroom fixtures are pea soup green, and it needs furniture but it’s got a small kitchenette and, like Dad said, heat.”
Kurt led her into the upstairs room, open space except for the bathroom, and at first, she balked. The wallpaper was plaid, for God’s sake, and she could hear the muted sounds of work going on in the garage below. But the floors were a nice hardwood and it was big enough for one person.
“I don’t think I can afford it,” she said, even as her heart beat out a frantic rhythm.
“Dad says you can stay here rent-free until after the baby’s born,” Kurt said, shrugging. “Then he figures you’ll want to find a new job because Garage Secretary isn’t very glamorous. And the space kind of comes with the job.”
She paced into the kitchenette, then turned to look at him. “I think I’m going to like it here.”
Kurt lit up. “Well, we need to get you a bed, at the very least. And curtains. Maybe a little table to do your homework on.”
She gave a little laugh that caught in her throat. “First, I think I need to get my things from the Hudsons’.” Her breathing hitched. “Will you come with me?”
Kurt was an unlikely knight in shining but he gamely nodded. “Sure. Let’s just go tell Dad what’s going on.”
Quinn wound her way around the cars and garage debris as Kurt spoke to his father. Burt pulled Kurt into a loose hug and Quinn’s breath caught.
Burt Hummel loved his kid. Despite who and what Kurt was, it was really obvious to anyone looking. Quinn thought for just a second about giving her little girl to him. He’d give her unconditional love which, obviously, would be an excellent thing. Puck was an ass and Quinn herself was no angel and if their daughter took anything after them, she was going to be a hellion.
Kurt called Mike and asked him to get Finn out of his house and Quinn could only be grateful to be able to put yet another confrontation off for another day. Her tear ducts had already had quite the work out.
Pulling to a stop in front of the Hudsons’, Quinn felt the bile start to creep up her throat. Even if Finn was gone, there was still Ms. Hudson and Finn’s mother had always been his biggest supporter.
Before she could decide to say never mind, she didn’t need the clothes, the front door was pulled open. Ms. Hudson stood in the doorway with her arms crossed.
“Well,” Kurt said, sounding almost as nervous as Quinn was. “This is going to be awkward.”
But he got out of the vehicle, came around, and helped her down. Ms. Hudson shifted aside as they paused on the front step and soundlessly shut the door behind them.
Kurt kept glancing at her as they stuffed her belongings into hefty bags but if Quinn opened her mouth, she would either puke or sob.
“I’ll get them,” he said, when she reached for a bag, his eyes lingering significantly on her baby bump. “I’m gay. That doesn’t mean my dad didn’t raise a gentleman.”
So Quinn swallowed and nodded and trudged up the stairs. Because she was going to start making things right and she might as well start with the woman that had been ultimately kind to her, despite her disappointment.
Quinn stopped in the doorway of the kitchen, fidgeting with the bow on the front of her dress as she watched Ms. Hudson peel the label off her beer bottle.
“Ms. Hudson, I just wanted you to know you raised a great son,” Quinn said, throat tight. Ms. Hudson didn’t look at her but her hands stilled on the bottle. “He was good to me, even when I didn’t deserve it, and if there was any way I could go back and change things, I would. Not because I’m finally feeling the consequences of my actions, but because I hurt him. I hurt so many people with this mistake but he’s the one I regret the most. And I am sorry. For hurting him and for hurting you.”
She wanted to add that she’d been scared and Finn made it so easy to lean. That she’d had nowhere else to go, no one to turn to. But those were just excuses and, while they were true, she couldn’t hide behind them anymore. Quinn Fabray was finally going to grow up.
She turned away when Ms. Hudson stayed silent, eyes locked on the tips of her toes, which were all she could see of her feet.
“He’s like his father, you know,” Ms. Hudson said softly, startling her. “That sweet cluelessness, he gets it from his father. So I can’t say I understand how you could take advantage of that, because I don’t. But I can say he’ll forgive you. You just have to give him time.”
Quinn turned to look at her, eyes swimming. “Thank you.”
Ms. Hudson studied her, then nodded. “And I wouldn’t have asked you to leave. I said as long as you needed and I meant it.”
Quinn closed her eyes as tears started to streak her cheeks. She jerked when warm, motherly arms wrapped around her, then melted into the comfort. God, why couldn’t her parents have been a little less self-righteous and a little more understanding?
The hitches in her plans came one right after the other right after the other. But the Glee kids circled ‘round and brought their parents with them. (The Great Insurance Battle of 2009 was settled by Burt after he made a phone call to her father that everyone pretended never happened and threatened to call the cops for child abandonment or endangerment or whatever fit her situation best. The card arrived in the mail a week later and covered almost all of her doctors’ bills, although she made sure the remaining bill came to the garage for her to pay. She’d decided she didn’t want anything from her parents.)
Mercedes dragged her mother over to the garage and Ms. Jones took one look around, glanced at Quinn, then shook her head as she said, “This just ain’t gonna do. You need color, honey, and something besides a blow up mattress because in a couple more months, you won’t be able to get off of it.” She eyed Quinn’s waist and said, “Not to mention, them baby doll dresses aren’t going to hold out forever. You gotta plan now, sugar.”
Quinn settled her hands over her bump protectively. “I need all the money I’m making for food and doctor bills.”
Ms. Jones pursed her lips, then nodded. “At least you got priorities.” She pulled three hundred bills out of her wallet and passed it to her daughter. “Mercedes, take her to the thrift store and find some clothes we can alter. Kurt, pick out a pretty paint color and some small knick knacks. Leave the furniture to me.”
Quinn twisted her hands in her ruffled blouse. “I can’t take your money, Ms. Jones.”
“Hmph,” Ms. Jones said, shaking her head. “It ain’t charity, honey. It’s just something to help you find your feet. If you were keeping her, people would give you thousands of dollars worth of stuff and I guarantee, within a month, you’d trade it all for free babysitting. Besides, except for the painting, because pregnant ladies shouldn’t paint, you’ll be helping me with everything. Mercedes hasn’t got the patience for sewin’ but the next few months, you’re gonna have nothin’ but time.”
And because she’d given away her pride the night she’d given away her virginity, Quinn nodded with a humble, “Thank you.”
That was the last ‘thank you’ Ms. Jones got because the woman was a designer tyrant and she didn’t care that Quinn was pregnant (except for painting projects). Two weeks after they started, Quinn’s little apartment was finally starting to feel like a home. Pale blue walls, white accents, a sitting nook in one corner, her twin bed in the other, it was lovely and Quinn felt like she’d earned every bit of it.
Ms. Jones wasn’t any less pushy when it came to the altering of the clothes, for which Mercedes repeatedly apologized, but Quinn had been taught to sew by her grandmother, so she kept up okay.
Any after school time she wasn’t spending in the garage office or at Glee, she was spending at the Jones’s, laughing and eating, and singing. And when Mr. Jones bowed his head to pray before dinner, Quinn didn’t feel like he was using God to judge her. He was just asking for the happiness and health and safety of everyone at his table.
And she finally stopped blaming God and started thanking him for good people.
Kurt’s home was, oddly enough, all the way across town from the garage. And if her father hadn’t confiscated her car, that wouldn’t have been a big deal. But he had and it was ridiculous to ask Kurt to drive clear across town every day to take her to school. But as her bump started to bulge and winter settled over Lima, Quinn couldn’t keep walking the mile and a half to school, either. But she wouldn’t inconvenience Mr. Hummel any more than she already had, so she made sure she was gone before he got to the garage for work.
On a particularly harsh day, she thought about throwing in the towel and staying home but everybody got panicky when she didn’t show up on time, so she fought into the lovely navy pea coat Ms. Jones had helped alter and clomped carefully down the stairs.
She startled to see the van idling in the garage parking lot and started over to tell whoever it was that they didn’t open for business until eight when the window rolled down and Artie cheerfully waved at her.
Her relief was tempered slightly by a dash of annoyance. She never asked because she was trying to stand on her own two (miserably swollen) feet but the Glee kids just kept doing things for her. It was hard to stay angry at Artie, though, because his cheer was infectious, so she clambered into the second row of seats, pulling the door closed and letting the warmth wrap around her.
“I saw you walking into the parking lot yesterday,” he said, twisting around to look at her. “You should have said something. I live right up the street.”
“I was doing okay,” she said, rubbing her mitten-covered hands together to get the warmth to seep through the wool. “Thank you for the ride, though.”
“We all respect what you’re trying to do,” Mr. Abrams said, cutting Artie off. “But you have to be careful, Quinn. Please don’t hesitate to ask if you need something.”
Quinn waited for annoyance to rush her at his presumptuousness, for horror at the idea of the Glee parents having a powwow about her situation to overcome her. Mostly, though, she just felt warm.
She leaned forward and awkwardly hugged Artie, chair, belly, and all, as she mumbled, “Thank you, Mr. Abrams. I would appreciate a ride to school in the mornings.”
“Good,” Mr. Abrams said and she saw that Artie got that endlessly cheerful smile of his from his father. “Because one more morning of seeing you walking up the street and my wife was going to have kittens. ‘Pregnant women should be treated as Queens, Amos,’ she said. ‘They need chariots, Amos,’ she said.”
“Although she loves your coat,” Artie cut in, looking at her with a twinkle in his eye.
“I’ll be sure to let Ms. Jones know,” she said, settling back so the seat belt wasn’t pressing so hard against her front. “We put a lot of work into this coat.”
The mile and a half passed quickly and Mr. Abrams unloaded Artie with practiced ease before carefully helping her onto the pavement. He pulled her into a quick, surprising hug before clapping Artie on the shoulder, climbing back into the van and leaving.
Artie tugged on her coat before he started to wheel away. “He likes you.”
“Good,” she said, taking a deep breath as she fell into step beside him. Her chin went up as people whispered behind their hands or turned away from her. “I like him, too.”
Thank God for Glee.
Rachel, of course, gladly took the whole adoption situation in hand, managing to be thoroughly helpful, yet make the situation all about her in typical Berry fashion. She passed off pamphlets and adoption anecdotes with equal regularity and it wasn’t until Quinn was sitting at the Berry’s dining room table discussing open vs. closed adoptions with Rachel’s dads that she realized that Rachel hadn’t pressed an opinion on her. Thinking for a second, Quinn didn’t recall Rachel expressing an opinion about any of this after apologizing when Babygate blew. And she hadn’t been hot on Finn’s heels, either.
Rachel excused herself, something about a quick nightly ritual, and Quinn was pretty sure she was supposed to feel uncomfortable. David and Dorian Berry were homosexuals and her father had always quietly looked down his nose at them. Quietly, because each were influential in Lima in their own right.
But Quinn liked them. David wasn’t the most socially graceful individual in the world (absolutely where Rachel had gotten that trait) but he was still, in his own way, charming. And Dorian could make even the most mundane situation hilarious. They were kind and funny and loved each other equally and their daughter fiercely. That they were homosexuals paled in the face of all that.
“Quinn,” Dorian said carefully and she tensed all over. He wasn’t the serious Berry, that was David, and to hear that tone made her nervous. “Are you sure you don’t want to keep the baby? You need to be positive before you decide on adoption.”
“I thought about it,” she said, just as seriously. She cleared her throat. And, for about five seconds, with Puck, she had thought about it. “But I’m not ready to be a mother, especially a single mother. I knew, almost from the moment I found out I was pregnant, that this baby would be better off in someone else’s home. At first, Ms. Schuester wanted her and, even if she was crazy, I knew Mr. Schuester would be a good dad. And all little girls need good daddies.”
David and Dorian exchanged a glance before David settled a cautious hand over hers and he said, “If your mind is made up, we would very much like for you to consider us as candidates.”
She looked from David’s warm, anxious eyes to Dorian’s unnaturally serious face. David’s hand was comforting over hers. Dorian had deep laugh lines because she knew he smiled all the time. She could hear Rachel’s muted singing from a floor away. Quinn was pretty sure it was that song from Aladdin.
Quinn started to nod and smile and laugh as tears started making tracks down her cheeks. “Yes. I couldn’t think of anyone better.”
As David squealed and wrapped her in a happy hug, as Dorian’s laughter boomed through the house, as Rachel bounced into the room, drawn by her fathers’ merriment, Quinn knew she’d made the right decision. But she could think of parents that would have been just as good as the Berrys. Burt Hummel would have taught her daughter to punch with a fist, then hauled her off to dance recital, where he would have attended every show. Carol Hudson would have fought tooth and nail to give her the world and to protect her from it at the same time. The Jones’s would have taught her to make old things new again and that forgiveness and acceptance were of God’s teachings, too. And the Abrams would have taught her that each day was precious, even as they taught her to make good decisions.
But the Berrys, wonderfully unique and crazy and loving, they would be good for her daughter, too, so Quinn let relief overtake her as Rachel squealed against her ear.
Life was finally starting to feel less hard.
The backstage area was buzzing. New Directions, those upstarts from William McKinley High School, had swept Regionals. Quinn, quite frankly, was in shock. Not just at the win but because, during the last of their performance, she’d seen her parents in the audience. Her father had looked constipated and her mother resolute and it didn’t shock Quinn at all that it had taken her mother nearly six months to get her father to see her, if only from a distance.
But she pushed that away because Mr. Jones picked her up and twirled her, laughing, and Quinn couldn’t help joining him.
She passed from the Jones’s to the Abrams to the Berrys, stopping just a moment longer with them to look at little Sophie. She had Puck’s eyes but, for the moment, she mostly looked like Quinn. Quinn was privately betting Sophie’d have dark hair, too, though.
She reluctantly tore herself away from the happy, if slightly exhausted family. She was on a mission and nothing was going to deter her.
Quinn hooked her arm through Burt’s, tugging him away from the wall he’d been leaning against. “There’s somebody I think you should meet.”
“If it’s the squirrelly little guidance counselor, I’ve already met her and I have my doubts about Principal Figgins’s decision making process,” he grumbled but gamely allowed her to tug him through the crowd.
Quinn rolled her eyes, unwilling to defend Ms. Pillsbury and her antibacterial wipes. “It’s not the guidance counselor.” She pulled them to a stop beside Carol and Finn and said happily, “Burt Hummel, meet Carol Hudson. You’re both single widowers raising sons in Glee club. And you’re both free this Friday. Start there.”
She bounced up to kiss Burt’s cheek, then tugged Finn out of what was undoubtedly going to be the most awkward meetcute of all time.
“Quinn, I don’t know if my Mom’s going to be happy about this,” Finn said, looping his arm around her waist.
They’d gotten back together just a few weeks after she’d given birth. It was rocky but Quinn was willing to work at it. Finn was a forever kind of guy.
“She will be,” she insisted quietly, watching as the two adults moved closer as they spoke. “Burt’s a great guy. They’ll fit perfectly.”
Quinn still lived over Burt’s garage and worked in the office. She still went to the Jones’s for super and rode to school with the Abrams’s. And she occasionally babysat Sophie while the Berrys were at Temple, explaining to her daughter that it didn’t matter what flavor of God she believed in, as long as she loved and respected those around her. She still went to sleep thanking God for Glee.
It could have been better, more normal, but, hey, life was good.