Mercedes took a deep breath and opened up the door to what had been Theodora's room. Almost three months since the memorial and she finally felt ready to face it but it was hard. Theodora had the room that looked out on the street, it was a little larger than the other bedrooms but not by much. Walking in, Mercedes was caught by the lingering scent of Theodora's favorite perfume, Yves Saint Laurent's Opium. Her aunt horded her stash and never over used it. "When you wear perfume you should leave an air of mystery, niece. Not smell like you've been dipped in it," her aunt was fond of saying, especially after an encounter with one of the more enthusiastically scented church sisters. Mercedes smiled at the memory.
Putting the boxes she brought in with her off to the Mercedes walked over to the armoire and rubbed suddenly nervous hands on her thighs before she reached out and pulled open the doors. The plan was simple: go through the clothes and other remaining items that had not already been given to friends and family and sort them into several piles: church, Goodwill, thrift. "I can do this," she said out loud, "I can totally do this."
As long as she stuck to the plan and did a little at a time, Mercedes knew could finish this task . Even though there was no rush Mercedes didn't want to wait too much longer to take care of at least some of the items. It was easier than living with the memories.
She'd been working steadily for about and hour and a half when there was a light tap at the bedroom door.
She turned, a detachable fox fur collar in her hands and saw Kurt looking in. " I thought you were out for the afternoon."
Kurt shrugged and sat down on the bed. "I wasn't feeling particularly inspired and decided to come home." He looked around at the piles then at his lover. "I thought we were going to do this together, he said quietly.
Mercedes looked down at the collar and draped it over one of the armoire doors. "I thought I'd get a jump on it." She took a deep breath, feeling tears threatening. "I don't know. I know you were going to do this with me but I thought maybe. I could start.”
Her voice drifted off as Kurt opened up his arms. Mercedes came over and sat down, before being wrapped up in a warm hug. "You were going to be big and brave and try and tackle it by yourself. Sweetie, I loved her too."
Mercedes turned her face to Kurt's chest. "It still hurts," she whispered. Kurt didn't say anything. He just hugged her tighter as the tears began to fall.
Puck walked through the front door of the brownstone, hanging his bag on on a hook along with his jacket Not just any hook; his hook. Quinn had gotten a hold of a label maker when she was setting up the basement apartment and during a fit of organizational zeal tagged the space above each hook with the name that Quinn thought they should have. Kurt's was Peter Allen, Mercedes was Lady Day, Puck was Neil D. and Quinn's was Tippi.
The smell of frying chicken set Puck's stomach to rumbling and he snagged the fresh loaf of bread that he picked up from the grocers on the way in.
Though he sometimes felt like he was in the midst of a whirlwind Puck wouldn't have it any other way.. He'd gone from being single to finding himself in a relationship with the two people he least expected to have back in his life.
It wasn't without challenges. Puck's partner, Mike Di Geronimo, tread carefully . Mike didn't fully understand Puck's relationship but he was keeping an open mind about it. At least one of his friends, Marcy Sims had pointed him the direction of the local chapter of GOAL, the Gay Officers Action League,but Puck was wary even if it was in a supposedly open environment. His precinct might be able to deal with him being bi if he wanted to press the issue but him being in a real time relationship with two other people? That could be a challenge for some and Puck wasn't willing to court fate.
Quinn's voice pulled Puck from his reverie. He smiled at her. 'sup, Q?"
"Not much. You're just in time."
"Are they both in there?" Puck nodded in the direction of the kitchen.
“They are." She looked behind her then said softly, "It was a little rough today. Mercedes started cleaning out Theodora's room."
Puck sighed and shook his head. "I knew that was going to be hard. I thought Kurt was going to do it with her."
Quinn nodded. "He was, Mercy jumped the gun. She’ll be okay." She walked by him, setting the plates she was carrying down on the dining room table. "Bread?"
Puck handed the loaf over to her. "I'll go in and say hello."
He walked into the kitchen, noticing the tense set of Mercedes' shoulders. "Hey you two."
Kurt looked up from where he sat with a cutting board and a pile of vegetables. "And how was your day, constable?"
"Ever eventful," Puck replied. He walked over and kissed Kurt, his fingers slipping into the other man's hair before he pulled away. Puck then walked over to Mercedes who was taking the last of the chicken out of the pan to drain. Reaching around her, he turned off the burners, took the tongs out of her hand then wrapped his arms around her, pressing against her back.
"Quinn told me what happened" he said . “You okay”
Mercedes didn't say anything at first, just leaned back into his strength and rested there.
He slipped his hands up to her shoulders and began a slow massage, fingers digging into the tight places until she relaxed.
“I'm okay,” she said. Turning her head, she looked up at him with a wistful smile. “I got a little overwhelmed but Kurt came and now you.”
"If you want to talk," he began and her hand covered his.
"Thanks. I love you." Mercedes replied. A slight cough came from the kitchen entrance and they all looked up to see Quinn standing in the door way, wiping her hands on a towel.
"I don’t know about you but I'm ready to eat."
"Well, far be it from me to keep you from your food, Quinn," Mercedes said as she pulled away from Puck.. She turned and kissed him quickly before gathering up the plate full of chicken and going into the dining room. Puck looked over at Kurt, who was putting the veggies in a bowl already filled with lettuce.
Kurt nodded. "A little. I'm thinking about leaving the store."
Puck's eyebrow went up.. "That's a change. Why?"
"It was never supposed to be permanent. And I'm not sure how much more I want to deal with some of my more bitchier coworkers” Kurt picked up the salad bowl while Puck gathered the necessary utensils. They talked as they walked.
”Mercedes and I are both doing okay money-wise. The estate settled quickly and we've put away some finances over the years. I'm at a point where I want to dedicate more time to the music. I'm going to talk to Mr. Wentworth. He might have some ideas.”
Puck nodded. Kurt's boss, Cedrick Wentworth, was nice as bosses went. Plus the man's taste was solid. And truth be told, Kurt was probably right in thinking about shifting his work schedule. There was no way anyone could ignore the changes that were hovering on the horizon. The limited edition memorial mix tape they'd put out in honor of Theodora had gotten a lot of notice from the independent music community And though they'd taken a break from putting on their monthly salons, Puck knew that Mercedes and Kurt were both itching to start up again.
He and Kurt set their offerings on the table and took their seats. Both Mercedes and Quinn insisted that they'd have dinner together as often as they could. There was something to be said for coming home to food and friends and as Puck looked around the table, he realized there was no place that he wanted to be than right there.