Chapter 18: Getting Wasted
Author's Note: Several months later, I'm back at it again. Life has been keeping me busy, but little by little I've been working on getting this next chapter together. Your patience and continued interest in this story is very much appreciated. I hope this installment meets any anticipation and expectations!
Quinn dragged her feet despondently as Brittany and Santana physically pulled her by the hands down the street toward Puck's house.
"Guys, I told you, I'm not in a party mood. I just want to sit at home and watch crappy reality shows."
Puck's house loomed at the end of the road. It was in no way outwardly ominous, but there was a dread that built up in Quinn's gut with every step closer she took nonetheless.
There was more to it than that, of course. From the moment she admitted to herself that she had any kind of more-than-friendly feelings toward Rachel, the thought of seeing her romantically involved with someone else prompted a deep ache inside her chest.
Santana rolled her eyes and tightened her grip on Quinn's wrist. "Come on, Q, there is no way we're turning down this chance to celebrate. Do you know how rare it is for high school kids' parents to go out of town and actually open up an opportunity for a party? That basically never happens in real life."
Brittany chimed in, "You should be more excited. The party is because we won regionals!"
Santana raised her eyebrows jovially. "Another event that is likely to never happen again in real life."
Regionals. The performance after which Rachel and Puck kissed in the middle of the hallway for anyone to see. Quinn's stomach turned as the memory flashed before her eyes. She groaned audibly as she was yanked up the stoop to face Puck's front door.
Brittany rapped her knuckles sharply on the door, and before Quinn could make a break for it, it swung open to reveal an already inebriated Tina Cohen-Chang, who welcomed them each with an enthusiastic hug. Just inside, they were greeted by their host and a blond boy Quinn didn't recognize.
When Puck spotted the newly arrived trio, he immediately pulled the new guy over to them. "Evening, ladies! This is Sam. He just moved here from… somewhere. He joined the football team so he's already met a bunch of the guys. As Cheerios, I'm sure you'll make yourselves well acquainted."
Quinn was momentarily surprised by Puck's passable manners. She couldn't help wondering if it was a result of Rachel's influence.
Sam blushed and nudged Puck gently in the gut. When Santana inevitably questioned his presence at this particular party, he went on to tell them about how he was in a band with some friends at his old school and that he was thinking about joining glee since McKinley seemed to be lacking in the garage band department.
He was about to launch into the story of how he learned to play guitar, when Mike approached them and announced that the group was going to play a drinking game.
They wandered further into the living room, where their fellow glee clubbers were gathering in a circle. Puck shuffled a deck of cards deftly as Matt placed a beer can in the middle of the circle. Puck spread the cards in an even, continuous ring around the can, then explained the rules.
"The game is Kings: we go around the circle, when it's your turn, you take a card. Each card has a rule. If you draw a two, it's 'two, you,' so you pick someone who has to take a drink. Draw a three, it's 'three, me' so you drink, and so on. After every turn, you stick your card under the tab of the beer, and whoever's card cracks it gets to chug and we start over with a new can. If you draw a card and break the circle around the can, you chug the drink you already have. After this we can pull out the table and play Slap Cup or Pong or whatever."
Quinn squinted at him as she cracked open the hard cider that was passed to her from a box off to the side of their huddle. "Honestly Puck, how do you even know all these drinking games?"
"You know, I'm just very seasoned and experienced," he responded with a waggle of his eyebrows.
Quinn averted her eyes and took a long swig of her drink. Her annoyance eased ever so slightly when she heard Rachel say to Mercedes, half under her breath, "Please, you know he spent half the afternoon on Google searching 'best drinking games.'" Rachel giggled, and Quinn hid a smirk behind another sip of her cider.
The game began, and Quinn found herself able to keep up with the perfunctory rules a bit too well for her liking. If she was going to be forced to be at a party she didn't want to attend in the first place, she sure as hell wasn't going to be sober for it. Fortunately for her, after a few rounds of purposely flubbing the rules and "having" to drink, she started to get a little tipsy, messed up naturally, and got to drink a little more.
Before long, the whole group was vaguely drunk and beginning to get restless, so they shifted from the slower pace of sitting on the floor with a deck of cards to the faster-paced Slap Cup. Solo cups and ping pong balls flew through the air as the glee club's laughter and babble grew to an uproarious level.
Quinn found herself thoroughly enjoying this second game. As it turned out, Rachel was truly terrible at it, and watching her try and fail so spectacularly to bounce a ping pong ball into a cup before the person to her left could beat her to it was one of the most surprisingly entertaining displays Quinn had witnessed in her time as a high school party attendee. Plus, the way Rachel's tongue poked out of the corner of her lips when she tried to concentrate was wholly endearing.
After a few rounds, most of the cups had been slapped beyond use, and a number of people drifted from the table toward the speakers for dancing. A small group remained circled around the table as Puck proposed a game of Survivor Flip Cup. Quinn made to wander to the dance floor but was yanked back to the game by Santana, whose competitive nature was quickly taking over. Sam, who had also been coerced into joining Santana's team, shot her a companionable grin.
Opposite them, Puck and Mercedes had teamed up and were scanning the room for a third. Simultaneously, they spotted Rachel, who happened to be wandering by the table, and hooked their arms through her elbows to drag her to the game. It only took a moment's pleading to convince her to join. Quinn could see that she was already relatively tipsy, otherwise she would have put up a much longer and more comprehensive argument as to why games like these were not of interest to her.
"Alright gang, you know how it goes," Puck announced to those gathered around the table. "You chug your beer, you flip your cup, then the next person goes. First team to finish wins. But," he held up a finger for emphasis, "since we're in Survivor mode, at the end of each round, the losing team votes off one of their members. In the next round, you keep the same number of cups, so someone takes over the eliminated person's drink."
"Yeah, yeah, we get it." Quinn could feel herself rapidly losing patience with Puck's sudden need to over-explain everything and make himself look cool by acting like he knew more about drinking than the rest of them. "Let's just play."
Puck frowned, but nodded in assent. Quinn swirled the beer around her cup in attempt to dissipate the foam and avoid meeting the gaze she could feel coming at her from Rachel's area of the table.
Santana and Puck, matched up against each other at one end of the table, held up their cups and cheers-ed to start off the round. They both drained their cups with great speed, almost mirroring each other with the pace at which their drinks were brought to their mouths and then lined up at the edge of the table to be flipped.
Santana flipped her cup a split second before Puck, and Quinn thrust her cup toward her lips. The the fizz from the beer made her eyes water, but she powered through and got it all down.
As Quinn attempted to flip her cup from the edge of the table, she saw out of her periphery Rachel finishing her own beer with a small burp. Quinn grit her teeth in frustration as her cup refused to land upright on the table. Her jaw dropped, equally dismayed and impressed, when Rachel landed her cup on the first try.
Quinn finally landed her own cup as Mercedes began drinking, and she let out a sigh of relief when Sam proved his worth by downing his drink in what seemed like a single gulp. He and Mercedes were neck and neck, and it seemed like the round might be a tie, but at the last second, as their cups landed on the table, Sam's stabilized immediately while Mercedes's wobbled and ultimately fell to the floor.
Santana and Sam both threw their hands up in celebration and clapped them together in a victorious high five over Quinn's head. Quinn allowed herself a grin and returned Sam's friendly nudge on the shoulder.
As the one who was unable to land her flip in time, Mercedes was eliminated from her team. The remaining five players set up for the next round, with Puck volunteering to take over the extra cup between him and Rachel.
In the next round, despite outnumbering their opponents and only having to drink and flip one cup each, Quinn's team found themselves unable to land their cups before the other team. Santana bowed out, literally, with a curtsy and twirl of the hand, saying that the dance floor was calling her name.
In the following round, Sam and Rachel squared off to start. Although Sam was able to chug and flip his first cup, having opted to take on the extra in Santana's absence, he struggled rather tragically when it came time to flip his second. Quinn hadn't even gotten a chance to drink her cup by the time Rachel and Puck finished off their line.
With an apologetic glance, Sam slid his cup over to Quinn, who was left dejectedly as the sole member of her team.
Quinn sighed in resignation and steeled herself as she refilled the three cups that were now hers alone to drink and flip. She raised her glass to cheers with Puck to start the round, then focused exclusively on the task before her. Doing her best to block out any progress on the other side of the table, Quinn drained her cups as quickly as she was able, blinking fizz-induced tears away until her third and final cup was empty of its contents. With a deft flick of two fingers, the cup somersaulted securely onto the table.
Quinn let out a low belch as she finally lifted her eyes to the other team. As she did so, Puck just barely landed his second cup. Their headway hadn't even reached Rachel. Quinn had survived the two-on-one match-up and would face off directly in the next round for the championship.
Quinn's teeth clenched involuntarily when Puck hugged Rachel into his side. His speech only slightly slurred, he said, "Next one's all you, babe. All this beer is going right through me, I gotta go break the seal." He gave her shoulder one last squeeze before he headed off in the direction of the bathroom. Quinn turned away from them under the guise of grabbing another can of beer when she heard him utter the pet name. She distributed beer evenly between her three cups, and took a moment to take a couple of swigs to finish the can off before tossing it in the empty box they were using for recycling.
With her cups full and the next round imminent, there was nothing left for Quinn to do but raise her first Solo cup and wait for Rachel. Rachel topped off her own cups, lifted her first from the table, and, at last, locked eyes with Quinn over the viscous, puddle covered table.
Without warning, Quinn's pulse began to race as she held Rachel's warm, slightly beer-glossy gaze. Rachel touched her cup to Quinn's, touched it to the table's surface, then brought it to her mouth. Quinn blinked then forced herself to follow suit. For some reason her throat seemed suddenly too dry to allow the beer to go down smoothly. She spluttered a bit as she finished her first cup, foam lingering at the corners of her lips. She managed to get it flipped on the second try. She glanced up to check on Rachel's position just in time to watch her expertly land her second cup.
Rachel, clearly inebriated and focused intently on the game, reached for her third and final cup with perhaps too much enthusiasm, and knocked it on its side, sending its contents streaming onto the table. Mercedes, who had remained in the background as a spectator, shouted, "Zamboni!" and pointed excitedly at the puddle that Rachel had created. Quinn watched, jaw slack, as Rachel put her lips to the table without hesitation and sucked at the spilled beer until it was little more than a sticky film. Quinn felt a tingling in her gut when Rachel lifted herself back into a straightened position and, seemingly in slow motion, licked the residue from her lips.
Seconds later, Quinn could do nothing but look on as Rachel flipped her last cup, having left Quinn definitively in the dust.
Quinn's reverie was broken when Puck, who had returned from the restroom just in time to see Rachel land the winning flip, charged back to the table and raised Rachel onto his shoulders in drunken celebration.
Quinn spun away from the sight. The sudden motion combined with the amount of beer she had consumed caused her to stumble directly into the path of Finn, who was passing by with a loose bag of wine that had been freed from a box.
"Whoa, careful Quinn," he said, swinging the wine away from where it had nearly collided with her head. "You're supposed to slap the bag, not the other way around."
From behind her, Quinn heard Rachel giggle. She glanced up at Finn's rosy-cheeked face, then at the pink bag of cheap wine. Wordlessly, she grabbed the bag's spout, pulled it directly into her mouth, and turned the little plastic knob. She drank until she could feel the liquid sloshing in her stomach.
She pulled the wine nozzle from her lips. She felt instant regret as the sugary wine interacted with the alcohol that already swarmed her system.
She took a deep breath in attempt to calm the unsettled sensation that began roiling in her gut. For a moment, she thought she was in the clear, then before she knew it, she clapped a hand over her mouth and was sprinting for the bathroom.
Quinn was bent over the toilet when she heard the door close. Wiping her mouth with a wad of toilet paper, she looked up to find Santana standing over her with her hands on her hips.
"You okay?" Quinn could only nod as she slumped against the wall. Santana regarded her for a moment. "Good." Santana walked over and flushed the toilet before flipping the lid closed and sitting on top of it. "Well, with those pleasantries out of the way, what the hell is going on with you, Q?"
Quinn heaved a breath as the swimming in her vision began to subside. Sweat coated her skin in a slick sheen, but the cool bathroom tile seemed to help. Her intoxication was rapidly combining with acquiescence to her friend's question and the vulnerability of her current situation.
She leaned her head back, closed her eyes, and told Santana everything.
After a long pause, Santana sighed heavily and slumped back against the tank of the toilet. "Jesus, Q." She shook her head, eyebrows raised. "I mean, damn. I knew we had a lot in common, but…" Quinn cocked her head, and Santana deflated a little. "You love Berry. And I'm, well… I'm in love with Brit."
Quinn took a moment to take this information in. The confession itself was shocking, but the truth Santana had shared, given everything, was less so. Quinn's initial surprise wore off quickly, and she found herself thinking that it made all the sense in the world. Santana and Brittany… of course.
Quinn swayed a bit as she stood, then she wrapped an arm around her friend's shoulders. With a sincere, supportive grin, she said, "I can't say I fully saw it coming, but honestly, I see it. You two would be great together. You two… make sense."
Santana's eyes glistened as she shook her head in what could only be understood as relief. With a watery laugh she quipped, "Yeah, okay, whatever. You're drunk." She looked Quinn in the eyes, and Quinn saw a silent thank-you in her gaze. "You good to go back out there?" she asked with a jerk of the head toward the door.
Quinn nodded, took a moment to rinse her mouth out in the sink, then followed Santana back out into the throng.
When they re-entered the party, they were immediately met with the sight of Puck and Rachel standing very close together and talking intensely in a corner, as well as Brittany and Mike in the center of the room dancing raunchily for the entertainment of the others. Despite the shenanigans taking place throughout the room, Quinn's vision tunneled until she couldn't see anything other than Rachel and Puck, whose faces were far too close together for her comfort. She couldn't make out a word they were saying, but her inebriated mind was working overtime to fill in the blanks.
Her face flushed with heat. In her daze, Quinn noticed the new guy, Sam, walking by her. "Fuck it," she muttered, marching up to him. She felt Santana grab at her elbow but shook her off.
"Whoa, sorry," Sam held up his hands as Quinn clumsily collided with him.
Quinn shook his apology off impatiently. "Do you, um… Let's make out."
Sam looked slightly taken aback as he drunkenly registered her proposition. "I mean… I, yeah okay."
Quinn gave one last glance in Puck and Rachel's direction before she leaned into Sam and placed her mouth on his.
Behind her, she heard Santana sigh an exasperated, "Oh for fuck's sake."
She closed her eyes and pretended that it wasn't Sam who was kissing her. His tongue found its way inside her mouth, a little rough, a little awkward, but if she tilted her head just so, she could almost make herself believe…
"Alright, that's enough of that." Strong arms forced their way between her and Sam, and she opened her eyes to see Santana's disapproving glare boring into her. After a beat, Santana turned to the group and clapped her hands to gain their attention. "Let's play another game! I'm not here to sit around and watch people randomly couple off."
Quinn couldn't help but notice Brittany pointedly disentangle herself from Mike as the group's dancing slowed to a halt.
Tina brought a hand to her stomach. "I don't know if I can do another drinking game, there's a lot of liquid already in my stomach."
Finn, who had polished off the wine that had remained in the bag after Quinn's turn with it, stumbled over and dropped a heavy arm around Quinn's shoulders. "What if we do sum'n like Truth or Dare? Then y'only have to drink if you like, super duper don't wanna answer a question or whatever."
"Perfect! Truth or Dare it is," Santana declared, deciding for everyone before a debate about what to do could take off. Without too much wrangling, everyone gathered around and took a seat to enjoy the game.
It was tame enough to start out, with mild questions like "What's your type?" and "If you had to pick a teacher to have a fling with, who would it be?" along with dares such as prank calls, wall twerks, and trading pants.
Eventually it was Quinn's turn. Kurt, having been last to accept a dare (giving a mini strip tease to "Pony" by Ginuwine) had the honor of coming up with the truth she'd have to answer or dare for her to complete. He eyed her carefully, then, with an all too knowing expression, dared her to kiss the most attractive person in the room. This prompt was followed by a long, sweaty pause.
Quinn's eyes darted around as her palms grew clammy. "I, uh, I changed my mind, give me a truth."
Kurt looked like he was contemplating pushing the matter, but relented. "Fine. Um… what was it like kissing the new guy?"
The room went silent as they waited for her answer. Quinn's eyes automatically went to Rachel, who she found was watching her intently. Quinn remained silently for a long moment. She could feel the gazes of everyone else around her lingering on her face, trying to figure out what she was thinking as her jaw worked wordlessly open and closed.
Finally, unable to come up with a response that wasn't too honest without being an outright lie, she quipped, "Lips like those, the man clearly knows what he's doing."
Her fellow glee clubbers broke into giggles, relieved at the break in the room's sudden, inexplicable tension.
Across the room, Rachel stood abruptly. When several pairs of eyes followed the motion, she mumbled something about running to the bathroom and was gone. Puck began to rise from his own place, looking like he might follow her. Kurt placed a hand on his back to stop him and followed her out himself. A moment passed in which the group milled about uncertainly before Mercedes redirected group into another dance party.
Quinn remained at the perimeter of the dance floor. For some reason, her motivation to join in was lacking.
Sam, somewhat hesitantly, sauntered up to her. Over the blaring of the music, he said, "So uh, that was some kiss."
Quinn saw the hope in his eyes and deflated. "Look, Sam. It's Sam right?" He nodded. "I'm really sorry I dragged you into it, but I was just trying to make someone jealous. Or I was jealous. Or some combination of the two, I don't know. But I don't want to give you the wrong impression. You seem cool, and I think we could potentially be friends, but…" her only half-worn off drunkenness prevented her from being able to complete the thought. "You get what I'm saying?"
Sam blew out a long breath. "Oh. Well… I'll admit my ego is a little bruised," he rubbed bashfully at the back of his neck, "but I kind of had my eye on someone else too. So, no harm no foul, I guess." His eyes darted toward Mercedes, which Quinn did not fail to pick up on. She smiled and playfully knocked into his side as his face reddened. When he glanced at her again, Quinn encouraged him to go dance with her. He squeezed her arm in a friendly side hug before following her advice and throwing himself into the center of the jostling bodies.
Quinn watched her friends for a while with a small, slightly melancholy grin, then decided to head outside for some air.
When she stepped onto the porch, she found Kurt sitting on the stoop, nursing a bottle of cider.
He glanced at her over his shoulder, then went back to gazing at the moon. Quinn regarded him, then asked, "You okay?"
He shrugged, taking a sip. "Oh, I'm fine. Just lamenting a mild crush on the new guy Sam, who I know is obviously straight. The usual."
Quinn took a seat on the step beside him and put a hand on his shoulder with what might have been too much understanding. He sighed and leaned gratefully into the comforting touch for just a moment.
After a short time in which he gave her an appraising look, he said, "Rachel just left. She's walking home. I tried to get her to stay, but you know her when someone tries to change her mind. I think you two…" he paused. In a mildly surprising show of affection, or support, or maybe camaraderie, he reached out and squeezed her hand. "If you want to catch her, you still can."
Quinn feigned confusion. "Why would I… ?"
Kurt raised an eyebrow at her knowingly.
She paused for just a moment as she took in his meaning, then she took off at a run.