Charlie went to Coach Sylvester the next day and was promptly handed a uniform, berated for taking so long to join, told to get the hell out of the office, and that she better kick ass on the field or Sue would be kicking hers. Quinn wisely chose not to say anything when her sister came to class glowering in the identical uniform with her hair swept up into a ponytail. The rest of the class was confused and many started to ask questions, but the more than ever identical sisters told them all to shut their mouths.
Charlie really did love the sport itself, it was just all the other things that came with it that she had a problem with, but if it turned out that her passion for cheerleading wasn’t what it used to be, quitting was not something she was at all opposed to. But at least now she was giving herself the chance. She had Rachel to thank for that.
The two of them had spoken very little after what happened in the auditorium. It wasn’t an angry divide, but it was a sad one. Rachel didn’t apologize to her for what happened and Charlie was grateful, because apologizing would have made it worse. She knew the other girl felt like she’d made a mistake by kissing her, but Charlie didn’t want to be thought of as only a mistake. She meant something to Rachel, all three of them knew it. So she was not about to be dismissed as only the ‘mistake’. When they ran into each other now, the two girls smiled and said “hello”, but that was all.
It wouldn’t be for forever. Time needed to do some healing first. They both knew that.
It was a little over two weeks later when Sam Evans called her name.
He walked through the crowd towards her locker still sporting the leftover shiner from last week’s practice where Finn had ‘accidentally’ elbowed him in the face. He wasn’t taking the demotion too well, but even after his suspension was lifted, he wasn’t able to convince Coach Beiste to give him back his spot. Not because of the suspension, but because Sam was the better player and Finn wasn’t able to best him.
Thus, the elbow.
“Dude, you’re gonna kill it today!” A guy in the hall cheered loudly as he went by, causing a bunch of others to shout out in agreement.
Ah, right, they had a game today. The football team had miraculously started on a winning streak the moment Sam stepped onto the field as quarterback. School spirit had never been higher. Quinn thought it was hilarious and that the whole school should bow down to her sister for making it happen. Charlie wanted it kept under wraps, as always, but she thought it was funny too.
“Evans!” she cried with a smile. “Got the game in hand today, don’t you?”
“Hope so,” he replied, ducking his head shyly.
They weren’t exactly friends, more like acquaintances, but enough to acknowledge each other in the hall and make small talk when there wasn’t anyone better around. She didn’t think he was doing anything more than saying hello so she gathered her things and closed her locker.
“I’ll put my money on you,” she said with a wink and went to leave, but there was a hand on her elbow.
She turned back and looked up at him curiously. It was then that she noticed how sweaty the boy was. He seemed incredibly nervous, like he was about to…
Oh, no. Tell me he’s not.
“I was, um, wondering… I mean, I know we don’t know each other that well and all, but I was kinda thinking, maybe you’d, uh, want to go out with me sometime? Or just hang out? Whatever you want. It doesn’t have to be-”
She sensed a ramble coming on and interrupted quickly.
He looked taken aback. “W-what do you mean?”
“Why now?” she repeated patiently. “You’ve been here for over six months. Why are you asking me out now?”
When he blushed, it was possibly one of the cutest things she’d ever seen. It surprised her how adorable she thought he was just then.
“I…I thought you wouldn’t go for a guy like me. The new kid. No rep. Second string. I thought you’d think I was a loser and laugh at me for trying. Especially when your sister is…”
“Yeah, I get it,” she snapped with an eye roll, though it was more out of exasperation than unkindness.
“But now that I’m quarterback and we’re winning, people are starting to look at me differently. I thought…I thought maybe this would be my chance. That you would look at me differently too.”
“Let me get this straight. You thought that I was a shallow, bitchy, girl who wouldn’t give you a second thought unless you were a star football player and popular?”
All the color drained from his face.
“No! God, no! I-I didn’t mean it like that! I swear! I don’t think you’re like that. I think you’re awesome. I see you around all the time and I always want to talk to you, but I just never thought I was good enough and you’re so beautiful and I could stare in your eyes forever and-”
Charlie started laughing, which cut off his embarrassing babbling.
“I’m messing with you, Sam,” she said with a grin. “I know why you thought that way. You saw my sister and you thought I’d be like that too. Plus, I’m wearing the uniform now. I’m surprised you even knew the difference today. No one does anymore. I keep telling Quinn I’m gonna go brunette just to keep people from mixing us up.”
“I like your hair,” he said genuinely. “You wouldn’t have to dye it for me to know the difference.”
Damn. Okay. He got points for that one.
“If you say so. Well, lesson one, Sam? I’m not Quinn. I’m Charlotte Fabray and I don’t care about any of that school status and popularity bullshit. It’s all her and none of me. Lesson two? I’m not dating right now.”
He was crestfallen.
“However,” she said carefully, the lightness disappearing into sincerity now, “I would be open to a friendship at the moment. And maybe…when I’m over my no-dating phase…maybe we could see where we are.”
He nodded thickly and she could see him grabbing on to hope again. It made her smile. She may be dragging a battered heart right now, but it didn’t keep her from smiling at that boy.
“But if you want me, Evans, you gotta work for it. Even if just for friendship.”
“Win the game tonight.”
“And you have to join the Glee club.”
Now that he stumbled over. She wanted to laugh. The game she didn’t care about, this one was the clincher. The boy said he liked her. She wanted to know just how much before anything ever got started.
“Uh…wait…what? No. No, I can’t do that. I just started to get some rep in this school and you want me to trash it?”
“My terms,” she shrugged. “Up to you. Am I worth it?”
At that he took a deep breath.
“You don’t even know if I can sing.”
“No, you don’t!”
“And you can play the guitar.”
He stared at her wide-eyed. “How could you know that?”
“Tsk. Sorry. Answers are only given to friends.”
He squared his shoulders determinedly, standing up a little straighter, and raised his chin.
“Good,” she said with a pleased nod. “Today, 3:30 in the choir room. Don’t be late.”
When she passed Quinn in the hall, she knew her sister was seeing the boy behind her pumping his fist in the air excitedly. Her twin lifted an eyebrow as if to say ‘really?’.
Charlie just shrugged. ‘Why not?’
Her next class was spent with a smile on her face as she thought about Sam’s boyish exuberance. Maybe it really could happen. She wasn’t toying with him about the ‘no-dating’ thing, it was the last thing in the world she wanted right now, but it came as a genuine surprise how much she liked the idea of spending more time with him. A friend was something she really needed.
Sam Evans?Stranger things have happened.
(PART 1) (PART 2) (PART 3) (PART 4) (PART 5) (PART 6) (PART 7) (PART 8) (PART 9) (PART 10) (PART 11) (PART 12) (PART 13) (PART 14) (PART 15) (PART 16) (PART 17) (PART 18)