Quartie Headcanon Backstory
By Wilde Abrams
== Author’s Notes: ==
I’ve noticed that some of my readers have been concerned about the fact that I also read Quartie (Quinn/Artie) stories, seem to ship Quartie on Twitter and Tumblr, and that I plan on integrating Quinn into some of my Wildebrams fics and plan to write some separate Quartie stories in the future. I wanted to quickly address this.
Simply put, Quinn has always been one of my favorite characters along with Artie, from the very beginning. I always found their background interactions to be cute, always suspecting that there was more to their relationship than met the eye. In real life Kevin and Diana were good friends and wanted their characters paired in season 3, but of course that didn’t happen.
The episode Big Brother is one of my favorite episodes of Season 3 because of their storyline (even if RIB didn’t have the guts to follow through with where they were clearly heading). However, Artie’s dream in Glee Actually confirmed how close the two of them really were becoming, which was also hinted at by the clear affection between them in Goodbye, even though we never really saw it much on screen. Like so many things on the show, RIB started things and either lost interest or didn’t know how to deal with them.
Now that being said, Wildebrams is my OTP, that is not changing, but I also like Quartie. Their dynamic is actually not that different from Wildebrams and the sad thing is that there is so little Wildebrams stuff out there. It’s really discouraging when I do a search and find that two thirds of what comes up is my own stuff.
What does the fic author do when he wants to read fanfic? In this case, it means he has to read other ships (I also read a lot of Ryley, Finchel, Puckleberry, and occasionally Samcedes, although I don’t actually ship them), or multi ship stories, searching for my favorite characters. Unfortunately, half of them are Kyder (Ryder/Kitty), which I still don’t understand. The two of them hated each other for most of season 4 and got close for 15 minute of ONE episode. /RANT
The following is my headcanon of Quinn and Artie’s backstory and the parts of their friendship that Glee hinted at but never explored. It was originally written for, and will also appear as a section of future chapter of Wedding Song, in which Quinn talks to Kitty about her friendship with Artie, but I just couldn’t wait to share it with you. This will also eventually become the basis of other works, including the much more fleshed out stand alone story Quartie Backstory and possibly a series of one shots.
You may have noticed that I regularly feature a friendship between Quinn and Artie. Pretty much all of my other writings assume the events in this story.
# # # # # #
“He never told you how we met, did he?” Quinn told her.
“No,” Kitty answered. “I guess, I always assumed you met when you joined Glee Club.”
“No,” Quinn answered, smiling softly. “Our relationship goes much farther back than that. Artie and I first met back in Kindergarten. Because our last names were so close in the alphabet we were seated next to each other in class. We lived in the same neighborhood and rode the same bus to and from school everyday, so it was only natural that we became friends. Over time we became quite close-”
“-Wait,” Kitty interrupted. “That would mean that you knew him-”
“-Before his accident,” Quinn finished. “Yes.”
Kitty was clearly surprised by this. Quinn let that revelation sink in for a moment before continuing, “As I was saying, over time we became friends, good friends, and spent a good portion of our free time together. For much of our childhoods, he was my closest male friend, and actually one of my closest friends period, come to think of it.
“Then one Friday evening in early November of our third grade year, everything changed.” Quinn’s facial expression turned to anguish as she recalled the memory. “I remember that I was playing in my room with one of my other good friends at the time Sarah when my mom knocked on the door jam and told us that something terrible had happened. I could see tears forming in her eyes and began to get scared.
“She told me that my friend Artie and his mom had been in a car accident and been taken to the hospital. My eyes began to well up with tears as I swallowed deeply and asked if he was okay. She walked over and took me into her arms and told me that she didn’t know; tears running down her cheeks.
“Now you have to understand, my mother has never been overly emotional or overly affectionate so the fact that she was then was terrifying for me. I remember crying so hard that day, probably harder than I ever had before in my life.
“When I had exhausted my tears and settled down I asked my mom if we could go to the hospital to see if he was okay. She was reluctant at first, and my father was a selfish bastard even back then, so they really didn’t want to. But eventually I managed to convince them, and my mom took me the following morning.
“I remember being so scared of what I would find when we got there. The only thing we had been able to find out was that they were both alive and listed in stable – serious, but stable in Artie’s case – condition. I didn’t really know what that meant though. I held my mom’s hand as we entered the ICU where the two of them were being cared for.
“We saw James, Artie’s dad, getting some coffee from a vending machine and approached him. My mom gave him a hug and asked what had happened and how they were. We sat down and he told us that they had been hit by a drunk driver at an icy intersection on their way home from the grocery store. The minivan that Nancy was driving had been struck on the passenger side where Artie had been sitting and he absorbed the brunt of the impact. Nancy had actually come away from it with some minor injuries and a concussion, but Artie had suffered numerous injuries including significant damage to his lower back. The doctors said that if he hadn’t been wearing his seatbelt and the minivan had not absorbed as much of the impact as it had, that he likely wouldn’t have survived.”
Kitty’s eyes began to well with tears. Over the years she had coaxed various details of his accident out of Artie and his mom, but somehow here, now, hearing the story told through the eyes of a scared 8 year old child, it seemed more real. Quinn, seeing this reaction put her arm around the younger woman, drawing her close before continuing with the story.
“Nancy had finally awoken about an hour before, but Artie was still unconscious and the doctors didn’t know when he was going to wake up, and said it was best to let his body begin to heal itself and wake up on its own.
“I asked if I could see him, but was told that it wasn’t a good idea; that he had been injured very severely and it would be hard to see him that way because he would not look like my friend, but I insisted.”
A tear began to roll down her cheek as Quinn continued. “When I entered his room I wasn’t prepared for what I saw … I’m sorry you probably don’t want to hear about that part -”
“- No,” Kitty reassured her. “I want to hear this.”
“Are you sure?”
Kitty noded, “Yes.”
After an awkward few moments, Quinn reluctantly continued. “When I walked into the room I looked over and saw my friend, but as they had told me he really didn’t look like my friend anymore. He was laying in one of those hospital beds hooked up to all sorts of monitors and machines. He had a breathing tube, a feeding tube, and I’m not sure what all else hooked up to him. His chest rose and collapsed, but other than that he wasn’t moving.
“After a few moments to take this in, I drug a chair from the other side of the room over next to his bed and sat down next to him. I saw his hand laying there on the bed. After a few moments, I hesitantly reached out and took it. I was reassured somewhat when I realized that he still felt warm, and so I thought that there was a chance that he might hear me, so I began to talk to him, trying to get him to respond to me. I could feel the eyes of my mom and his dad on me but I didn’t care.
“I continued to talk to him for what seemed like hours, but I’m sure it was only a fraction of that time, and eventually my thoughts turned to what my mom and dad had always taught me about the power of prayer, and right then my friend really needed all the help he could get. I don’t think I’ve ever prayed as much or as long either before or since, even during the time when I was pregnant. I was so scared that I was going to loose my friend!
“Eventually my mom said we had to go, and I reluctantly left his bedside. But that night and every night for several more days I continued to pray just as hard. Each day I somehow managed to convince my mom to take me to see him at the hospital.
“When I had to go back to school the following Monday, the word had gotten out about what it happened and the teacher let us have a moment of silence to think about Artie, but of course we weren’t allowed to openly pray. Our classmates knew that he and I were friends of course, and some of them asked me about him, but I really didn’t have very many answers for them. All I could say was that he had been hurt really bad in a car accident, and was still I’ll asleep. Others began to talk about him in the past tense, as if he were already dead.”
“Kids can be so cruel!” Kitty observed.
“Yes,” Quinn told her. “Every day I convinced my mom to take me to see him for a couple hours in the evening, and every night, I prayed for my friend to wake up.
“About a week later my mom got a call while I was at school that Artie had woken up that morning. When I got home she was waiting for me. She sat me down and told me the good news. I remember being so excited! I beamed from ear to ear. But the news wasn’t all good of course. When she managed to calm me down, she told me the rest.
“I remember not understanding. Artie had woken up. My prayers had been answered. Just, not in the way I had expected. Artie was awake yes, and his life was no longer in danger. But he was unable to move his legs, and had lost most of the feeling below his waist. I remember crying again. I didn’t understand what this meant. It was then that she drew me close, and explained to me, very matter of factly that my friend was no longer able to walk, and it was very possible that it was a permanent condition. She said this in a very clinical way, and it was years before I understood that she had done that to prevent herself from crying.
“I remember being very confused and angry at God. I didn’t understand why he would do that to someone as nice as Artie. I understood why bad things happened to bad people, but not good people like him!”
“The story of Job,” Kitty said. “Sometimes bad things happen to the best of us. But eventually things happen according to His Plan, even if we don’t see it at the time.”
“Yes,” Quinn said. “But I was too young to understand that at the time. It’s a lesson that Artie’s paralysis taught me, and it gave me great comfort later when my life seemed to be falling apart after I got pregnant.
“Anyway, mom told me that she had been told that Artie had been asking to see me, and asked if I felt up to going to see him after supper. Of course I was! I had been waiting to talk to my friend for over a week.
“Mom seemed pleased about this, but cautioned me that Artie might not be in a good mood, and would need me to be strong for him. Of course I would! I was sad that he couldn’t walk, but excited that he had woken up, and I remember deciding that I was going to continue to pray for him to be able to walk again.
“I had always known Artie was a strong and positive person, but I don’t think I realized how much until his accident. When I got to see him that evening, he wasn’t quiet and depressed like you would expect. He was very excited to see me and had a big smile on his face when I got there. We chatted about general things and what was going on with our friends and school for over an hour before he told me about his legs.
“I told him that I already knew, but that it didn’t affect my relationship with him. He smiled. I didn’t have the heart to tell him about the kids in class who had been talking about him in the past tense.
“A few days later he was released from the ICU into a regular room. Only a few of our friends came to visit him in the hospital, although I continued to visit every day. Extensive tests were done on his spine and numerous treatments were looked into, but it was determined that his paralysis was permanent, and the decision was made to begin physical therapy to retain his muscle tone and a custom wheelchair was ordered.
“After another week or so, he was transferred to a rehabilitation facility, where specialists began to teach him how to be as self sufficient as possible in a wheelchair. I continued to visit him as often as I could. Those days were very hard for him. Overall he tried to stay positive, but he definitely had his bad days. I remember always thinking that I needed to stay strong for him.
“Artie wasn’t allowed to go home until late January and wasn’t allowed to return to school until mid February. His parents bought a wheelchair accessible van, and had some renovation done to their home. Wheelchair ramps were installed, his bedroom was moved into what had been a downstairs den, and their bathroom was completely redone to accommodate a handicapped person.”
“I know,” Kitty told her. “I’ve seen it.”
“When he returned to school I remember hoping that things would go back to being relatively normal for him,” Quinn continued. “Well as normal as possible for someone in a wheelchair. But I was deluding myself, and the fact that very few of our classmates and friends had visited him since the accident was very telling.
“I happened to glance at Sarah’s face the first time that she saw him. I had kept her up to date with what was going on with him, so she knew exactly what to expect, but the expression on her face was one of shock and disgust. It broke my heart.”
Both women began to cry.
Quinn wiped away her tears and continued, “Some of our other friends at least tried to be nice to him, but for the most part he began to be treated like an outsider by almost everyone. Before long some of our classmates, afraid of people who were different, began to bully him. I protected him as much as possible, but I couldn’t be everywhere at once. He tried to stay positive about it, but I knew him well enough to see it in his eyes. It was starting to get to him.
“Unfortunately he had missed so much school that the teachers determined that he wasn’t going to be able to catch up, so to add insult to injury – No pun intended – the next fall I progressed to 4th grade while he was forced to start over in third.”
“That’s why you graduated a year ahead of him, even though you’re the same age,” Kitty realized.
“Yes,” Quinn confirmed. “We remained friends outside of school, of course, but it wasn’t the same. I tried to keep an eye on him as much as possible at lunch and recess, but it wasn’t the same.
“Eventually my dad was transferred for work and we had to move to Fairbrook Township, which also meant transferring schools. We managed to keep in touch for maybe six months, but eventually we began to lead separate lives, started talking less and less, and lost touch.
“I was never really a thin child, but as I got older I entered puberty, my thyroid kicked in and I began to to gain weight. Eventually I was about 70 lbs overweight and hated the way I looked. I was chubby. I had zits.
“I assume from the fact that you seemed to know everything about me when we met that you know that my given name is Lucy?”
“Yes,” Kitty acknowledged. Everyone had heard the story of how the A.V. Club geek had outed her as a fake just before her Junior Prom to sabotage her campaign to become Prom Queen.
“I acquired the nickname ‘Lucy Caboosey’. I felt terrible about myself and didn’t have any friends. I was the only one in school who had to dissect her own frog in 7th grade biology because no one would talk to me and would agree to be my lab partner.
“I was miserable, and eventually I decided I’d had enough, so I decided to go all ‘Professor Higgins’ on myself. I joined ballet, went to a weight loss camp that summer, and lost some weight. In the process I found out that I was athletic and joined gymnastics and eventually cheerleading. I went on Proactiv for my acne. But people had long memories and the nickname still stuck.
“After 8th grade my dad got a promotion and transferred back to Lima. The promotion came with a significant raise, so I asked him for a nose job and he said yes. After that I asked them to call me by my middle name Quinn.
“All of my new Lima school records were recorded in that name, and for all intents and purposes, Lucy Fabray ceased to exist. My time in cheerleading in 8th grade had taught me the skills I needed to earn a spot on the Cheerios as a Freshman, and that year I managed to impress Coach Sylvester enough to make me Captain my sophomore year. Then I started dating Finn Hudson, the captain of the football team.
“In the space of two years I’d managed a complete transformation from the bottom of the school food chain to the top. No one knew about my previous identity -”
“- Except Artie,” Kitty added.
“Except Artie,” Quinn confirmed. “Although that nickname came after I moved away so he didn’t know about that part. The truth was, that while I recognized him right away, I had changed enough that I wasn’t entirely sure if he recognized me or not. While part of me wanted to talk to him and resume our friendship, I was afraid to. I was an almost completely different person than the one that he’d known, and we were on polar opposites of the McKinley High social hierarchy and that would not have been socially acceptable. So I kept putting it off.”
“I know the feeling,” Kitty told her, “From the moment I met him I knew that there was something about him, and really wanted to be his friend, but high school social class made that almost impossible.”
Quinn smiled and noded before continuing.
“When we saw each other up close in the hallway around the second week of school, he gave me a look almost of recognition, but neither of us said anything. The following Monday I caught Puck, Azimio, and Karofsky about to dump Artie out of his chair and toss him into a dumpster, and I had enough status as Head Cheerleader, and The Quarterback’s Girlfriend to stop it. But they still questioned it and I found out later that it wasn’t the first or last time that happened.
“As time passed, I became more and more concerned that Finn was falling for Rachel and decided the best way to keep an eye on him was to join Glee Club myself. Initially Santana, Brittany and I had agreed to be Coach Sylvester’s spies, but after she turned on me after word of my pregnancy eventually came out, I had no reason left to stay loyal to her and I embraced Glee.
“When I found out that I was pregnant, I was so scared. I didn’t know who to turn to. Every one of my so called friends was as determined to gain and maintain popularity as I was, and wouldn’t hesitate to use this news against me to knock me down. So I went and talked to the one person I thought I could trust.”
“Artie,” Kitty mumbled
“Yes,” Quinn answered, “Artie. I snuck over to his house after dark one Friday after the game and I spilled my guts to him. It felt so good to get it off my chest. He hugged me and made me feel better. He, like everyone else, assumed it was Finn’s and I was too scared to tell him otherwise. At the time I had no intention of anyone ever finding out it was Puck’s. Artie encouraged me to lean on the glee club for support, which I was reluctant to do, but I eventually did.
“Once I told Finn, our already strained relationship went from bad to worse. My fears of losing him to Rachel were very founded. We became strapped for money to pay medical bills, and he was unable to find work.
“At the same time Mr. Schue told us that Principal Figgins had not been willing to pay for for handicapped bus we were going to need for Artie to travel with us to Sectionals. Back then Glee was hanging by a thread, constantly in danger of cancellation, so they never wanted to give us money. Mr. Schue wanted us to do a bake sale, but no one was interested. Without thinking I said something about Artie’s dad not minding driving him, which while true, didn’t take into account how Artie felt about it.
“One look in his eye made me see how much I had managed to hurt him. I sought him out afterward and apologized. Then I convinced Puck and some of the others to help me do for bake sale after all, even though I really didn’t want to do it. And our first batch of cupcakes sucked and no one was buying them.
“That same week Mr. Schue decided to teach is all a lesson about how much harder it was for Artie – a lesson I thought I already knew, so I griped about it the whole time – and made all of us spend 3 hours a day in a wheelchair, and we learned a number in wheelchairs.”
“Proud Mary…” Kitty volunteered.
“Yes, you know it?”
“It’s in the New Directions’ YouTube account.”
“Oh. So anyway, our first efforts at the bake sale were less than successful until Puck brought in some cupcakes laced with just enough Mary-Jane to give everyone the munchies.’
“Then he did something that I still can’t believe he did,” Quinn continued. “He took money from for cupcake fund and tried to give it to me for my medical bills. I think I really shocked the hell out of him when I told him I wouldn’t take money from a friend in a wheelchair!
“Even after we were in Glee Club together, Artie and I didn’t really get the chance to spend any significant time together until he pulled my name out of a hat the following week and we had to prepare a duet together. We really enjoyed ourselves. It was fun! But of course deep inside I was miserable!
“I don’t think I’m supposed to know it, but when the glee club sang Lean On Me to me later that week during a particularly bad time of my pregnancy scandal, not only did he sing lead vocal, but he was the one who talked for rest of them into it.
“When word got out that puck was the father, not Finn, I thought Artie would be mad at me for not telling him, but he surprised me and seemed to take it in stride.
“Later that spring Tina found out that Artie’s secret dream was to dance, and even though she knew it was a huge long shot, she dug up some research and got his hopes up – that same research he’s participating in now – only to have them dashed by Ms. Pillsbury giving him a dose of reality.
“She talked him into doing a dance number with her but ultimately she ended up doing the dance with Mike, at his urging, while Artie sang “Dream A Little Dream” for them. I remember standing behind him as he sang. His whole body gave off for feeling of despair. Tina seemed oblivious to how miserable he was, and without really thinking, despite how miserable I was about my own situation, I reached out and placed my hand on his shoulder in support. I really felt for him!
“Artie is probably the strongest person I know. It was he singing through his pain that gave me the courage to sing “It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World” a couple weeks later during funk week.
“My baby was born literally right after we finished our Regionals performance – the one we lost – and afterwards I gave my daughter up to Rachel’s mom, Shelby Corcoran, who happened to also be the coach of the glee club that beat us, Vocal Adrenaline.
“Once I recovered physically, I dedicated my summer to getting back in shape, losing the pregnancy weight, and reconnecting with my friends. Well some of them. Part of me really wanted to get closer to Artie again. It would have been the perfect time to do it, but for some reason I never made the time.
“But I still hadn’t learned my lesson about how fleeting popularity and status were; and when school started I managed to get my old job as head Cheerio back and began pursuing Finn again, even though he was officially dating Rachel at the time. Well, let’s just say that in my quest for power, I forgot about my real friends again. Once again I got into a love triangle, this time with Finn and Sam, who had recently transferred in, instead of Puck.
“I’m not very proud of this, but I cheated on Sam with Finn, and when he found out he began dating Santana. Of course I was devastated, I really liked Sam, but not as much as Finn. Eventually I managed to get Finn to officially date me again, and I was happy for a few months. But, just before nationals, Finn abruptly broke up with me for what seemed like no reason. He was choosing Rachel over me again!
“After that I really lost it! I was so miserable that I didn’t care who I took down with me, and seriously considered sabotaging glee club’s attempt at nationals. But Santana talked me out of it, thank God! As it turned out, Glee didn’t need any help sabotaging itself. Rachel and Finn had an unscripted kiss on stage at the end of their duet, and the judges didn’t like it. “The kiss that missed” caused us to end up in twelfth place.
“We were all disappointed, but while everyone else channeled their energy into working hard for next year, I really went off the deep end and began handing out with the wrong crowd. I dyed my hair red, began dating an older man, got a lower back tattoo of Ryan Seacrest, and started smoking. When school started up the next fall I didn’t come back go glee club or cheerleading. Instead I began skipping classes and hanging out with the school’s girl gang The Skanks.
“Rachel, Mercedes, and some or the others each approached me, trying to get me to come back to glee club because they needed more voices. But I wasn’t interested.
“Santana and Brittany tried to get me to come back to the Cheerios as well because they wanted my help winning nationals for both clubs, but I blew them off too.
“Coach Sylvester, the manipulative bitch that she is, took advantage of my despair, and talked me into being in a commercial for her congressional campaign about my experience with glee club, spinning it so that it looked like me being in glee had cost me everything, instead of just my own screwed up choices.
“Shelby Cochran got a job at McKinley directing a second glee club and brought my birth daughter Beth with her. Puck found out and convinced me that we should work together to get close to her, and in conjunction our daughter.
“Literally everyone seemed to have ulterior motives for trying to get close to me. I was so bitter and angry!
“Well almost everyone. The second week of the new school year Artie approached me. I thought that he was a follow up to Rachel and Mercedes, and told him that he could save his breath and that I wasn’t going to come back to glee club. But he surprised me by telling me that I was wrong. While he would love for me to come back, the reason he was approaching me was just to say that he missed me, and let me know that he was there if I needed anything.
“I was stunned. I fought back my instinct to respond with a snappy retort, and instead told him that there was nothing he or anyone else in glee could do for me.
“The sadness in his eyes as he turned and wheeled away really got to me. That night I sobbed myself to sleep. Everyone else was trying to use me for something. Rachel and Mercedes for Glee, Santana and Brittany for Cheerios, Sue for her campaign, and Puck to help him get closer to Beth. But my old childhood friend, who I hadn’t really been that good a friend to in years, just wanted me to know he still cared and was willing to help me if he could.”
Kitty smiled. That seemed like something Artie would do.
“Puck approached me again, and was so miserable that I finally agreed. I had screwed up so many things in life, other than Beth. She was this perfect little thing that even I couldn’t screw up! And I was desperate to get close to her again. I dyed my hair back to blonde and re-joined glee club. But I shocked the hell out of Puck when I clarified that I didn’t just want to get closer to Beth, I wanted to get custody of her back from Shelby. He seemed uneasy with that, but went along with it when I planted suspicious things in Shelby’s apartment when we were babysitting and called social services.”
Kitty got a shocked shocked expression, even at her worst back in high school she would have never done anything like that, but said nothing as Quinn continued the story.
“I didn’t find out until later that Puck really was just using me to get closer to Shelby, who he ended up falling for. He sabotaged my attempts to sabotage Shelby and eventually confessed that he was sleeping with her. I was so heartbroken again that I almost reported her, but fortunately Rachel, of all people, talked me out of it.
“In the end the New Directions defeated Shelby’s group at Sectionals, and the members were re-absorbed in the New Directions at my urging. I got a new outlook on life and began planning for my future. I applied to Yale and when I was accepted I had every intention of leaving glee club, high school, and everyone in it in the past when I graduated.
“That was my state of mind when Rachel confessed to me that Finn had proposed to her. I urged her to make the best of her final months of high school but not to drag someone from her past into her future. When Rachel and Finn announced their engagement a few days later, I expressed my disapproval and was un-invited to the wedding that was to take place right after Regionals. But, eventually I changed my mind when I realized how deeply in love they were and was reinvited. Considering what happened to him, in retrospect I wish I hadn’t discouraged them. We all only have a certain amount of time on this Earth, and you never know when your time is going to be up.
“I rushed home to change clothes and raced back to the courthouse where the wedding was taking place. I was responding to a text message from Rachel urging me to hurry when I failed to notice a pickup truck run a red light and broadside me. I don’t really remember much of what happened next.
“Apparently word of my accident got back to the courthouse and the wedding was postponed. Artie badgered Sam into driving him to the hospital. From what my mom told me later she was a nervous wreck when the group of my friends appeared. Artie immediately began asking questions about my condition, and when they revealed that I had a spinal injury, he insisting that the emergency doctors at the hospital call Dr. Robert Hollenhorst, his own doctor. Apparently he is one of the best neurologists in the state. They were reluctant, but my mom insisted and he actually came and did my surgery.
“While my injury was similar to Artie’s, it wasn’t as severe. As you know, his spine was crushed in several places, though not actually severed. Mine was merely compressed. But the end result was the same. I was unable to walk. Mom told me that Artie hadn’t left her side until the surgery was over, and for long after the others had left. He also spent every spare moment by my bedside until I woke up sometime the following day.
“Over the next several weeks Artie came to see me every day, cheering me up and eventually helping me get used to my own wheelchair. Most of the others only visited once or twice, and Rachel couldn’t bring herself to visit at all because she felt so guilty.
“A few days before I was scheduled to come back to school, I convinced Artie to do a wheelchair number with me my first day back. I was still getting used to it, and had forgotten a lot of what he taught us when we did Proud Mary. But he assured me that I’d get better, and the group seemed to like it. After the number, I explained the extent of the injury and told them that everything else still worked. With a lot of hard work and prayers I was going to be able to recover and walk again.
“Then I sat there in front of everyone and I made the promise that I was going to be back on my feet dancing by Nationals. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the uneasy look on Artie’s face, which I brushed aside assuming it to be a twinge of jealously. But I later found out that it was more than that.
“Over the next several days, Artie and I spent a great deal of time together, becoming reacquainted with each other; We ate lunch, practiced for Glee, most everything. We were closer than we had been since we were very little. I had not received that amount of unconditional love and support in a long time, and never from a guy before. I remember when he helped me conquer the steepest accessibility ramp in the school by telling me that he believed in me and cheering me on as I did it. He was so proud of me when I finally reached the top!”
Both women smiled.
“A few days later it was Senior Skip Day, and the glee club all voted to go to Six Flags, but Artie convinced me to go somewhere else with him instead. He took me to a wheelchair park; and even though I didn’t think I was ready for that yet, he convinced me that I was and encouraged me as I went down the ramps after him.
“But it turned out that he had an ulterior motives for taking me there. He could tell that I was still depressed about my injury, and while I was adjusting to the chair, my physical therapy wasn’t having the desired results. He wanted me to see that the life that he lived, and that he thought I was then destined to live, wasn’t so bad, and he told me so.
“But I wasn’t hearing any of it. In a moment of frustration and anger I lashed out at the one person who had been the most supportive during my ordeal. I told him that while that was his life, I wasn’t like him and wasn’t going to live that way. I was going to walk again! I was getting out of Lima! I was going to Yale!
“As I wheeled away from him I could tell that I had shocked and really hurt him, but at that moment I didn’t care.
“It took me a few days to calm down and realize what I had done. Eventually I did talk to him and appologize, but I could tell that I’d really hurt him a lot, and things weren’t the same after that.
“Over the next couple weeks I continued to go to physical therapy, but it wasn’t working and I wasn’t improving, and without the support of my biggest cheerleader, I lapsed into a deep funk.
“One day after Glee club I was approached by Joe Hart, whom I’d recruited out of the God Squad into Glee a few weeks before my accident. He’d noticed that I was upset and asked me about my physical therapy. When I told him that it wasn’t doing any good, he offered to go with me. At first I was suspicious of his motives, but when he explained that to him, being a Christian was about actions not just words, I reluctantly agreed.”
Kitty noded, remembering the creepy “Teen Jesus” with the bare feet, dreads, and Bible verse tattoos all over his body who had mysteriously disappeared along with the irritating Sugar Motta three quarters of the way through her sophomore year.
“Over the next few days and weeks he did continue to go to therapy with me and I did slowly begin to make progress again. As it turned out, his movies weren’t as altruistic as he had said, though. It became increasing apparent that he was attracted to me, but uncomfortable with that attraction. I thought it was because of my injury, which depressed me even more, but he explained that it was really because of his beliefs about the sins of the flesh. I thought it was sweet, and I guess we started dating after that, though we didn’t put a label on it, and it was pretty innocent. We didn’t so much as kiss.
“Over time I did continue to make progress, and just before Prom, I was finally able to walk again with a little help; but I convinced him to keep it quiet because I wanted to surprise everyone, and he reluctantly agreed.
“I remember the day I took my first steps unaided, and how proud we both were, but the fact that my oldest friend and biggest cheerleader wasn’t there to see it somehow detracted from it.
“The day of prom came. I still wanted to become Prom Queen and had convinced Finn to campaign with me. For some reason, Finn walked in on me in the ladies room and saw me standing. He didn’t even allow me to explain. He flipped out and accused me of faking the whole thing to get votes. Then he rushed out and left. I was devastated!
“Brittany, who was Senior Class President that year, in her infinite wisdom had tasked Santana and I with counting the ballots even though we were both nominated. We both counted the ballots and got the same count. I had won by a single vote. But for some reason I didn’t want it anymore, and Santana and I agreed to give it to Rachel because she was still bummed about choking on her NYADA audition.
“As Santana and I sang Take My Breath Away as Rachel danced with Finn, who had won Prom King, I slowly rose to my feet and revealed to all that I could walk again. I caught Artie’s eyes in the audience and while I think I saw a hint of jealously, what I really was how proud of me and happy for me he was.
“Later that night after dancing with Joe, I sought out Artie and apologized to him again for being so mean to him; and we both cleared the air, and after that we both seemed to be okay and it was back to normal for us again. It somehow felt right that I had my last Dance of the night of my Senior Prom with my childhood friend.
“When I graduated high school, I had every intention of leaving the past in the past and began making peace with it and making amends with people I had hurt. I made peace with Finn, Rachel, and Sam. I helped Puck ‘motivate’ himself to study for and pass the European Geography test he needed to retake and pass in order to graduate. I also made peace with him over the circumstances of Beth’s conception. I told him there were no had feelings even though they wasn’t 100% true, because I knew it still bothered him. I also spent more time with Artie making sure that any more hard feelings between us were talked out. I really had no intention of seeing any of these people again until at least our ten year high school reunion, so I wanted as much closure as possible.
“When we won Nationals and it was time to graduate, I found that, while I still didn’t want to drag my past into my new future life, I was having a hard time saying goodbye to one special person. So I modified my initial plan, deciding that I would make an effort to keep in touch with a single part of my past, and maybe it would help me by helping me stay grounded.”
“Artie,” Kitty said. Not really a question.
“Artie,” Quinn confirmed.
“At first we talked every few days, but as weeks went on, our separate lives took over and we gradually stopped. Artie became busy with school and glee. I got involved with one of my professors. I followed through with what we seniors had promised and came back to McKinley for Thanksgiving week, when you and I met. Artie and I spent some time together that week, but most of the time I wasn’t at McKinley, was spent with my mom, who missed me terribly.
“A few days before Christmas, I was home again when Artie paid me a surprise visit. He told me about falling on the ice at school and about the dream he had where Rory Flanagan, an Irish foreign exchange student from the previous year, was his Guardian Angel and showed him what life would have been like if he hadn’t been in the accident that put him in his chair.
“In the dream Artie was a jock, and he, along with Finn and Puck had all been bullies. Glee Club had never been restarted by Mr. Schue, and apparently in that timeline I still texted and drove, and still had still had my accident, which neither of us really understood, and tragically without his support, I’d died of a broken heart. When he woke up he had a new attitude and had felt this strong urge to talk to me and make sure I was okay.
“As Artie described the dream, I could tell how realistic it had been for him, and both of us were physically moved to tears.
“Unbeknownst to him, the timing was perfect and I had been really having a hard time lately. I explained about the professor, and how it had become increasingly apparent that he had no intention of following through with his promise to leave his wife for me.
“Artie, the one person in Glee who had always genuinely missed me when I was gone and had always encouraged me, listened to all of this without judgements.
“When I was finished he hugged me and reminded me that I had more worth than to be the object of someone else’s selfish needs, and encouraged me to stop measuring myself by my relationships with men. We cried and hugged and were just lay there talking literally the entire night that night.
“That gave me the motivation to end the relationship, such as it was, when I returned to college after Christmas Break, and for a while I took his advice and focused on herself and my studies.
“But of course I am a slow learner, and by spring I had replaced the professor with a senior student who was the epitome of privilege, Biff Mcintosh – heir to the Mcintosh Apple fortune.
”Once again I had convinced myself that if she managed to hook up to him, he would bring me along into his world and I would have a happy future, such as had happened with my mother. But I was so scared of losing him that I hid most of my background from him including the existence of my daughter and the Ryan Seacrest tattoo. As a result, Biff had never really loved me for who I was. When I returned to Lima that spring to say goodbye when Glee Club was about to be cancelled again, I discouraged him from coming with me. But he insisted because he wanted to know more about my past and my home life, things that I had very carefully avoided telling him about
“In retrospect, I think I Artie may have suspected something and tried to warn me, but he was very proudly dating you at that time and I think he had a lot of other things on his plate; so he may not have noticed everything that was going on.
“As you may recall, surprisingly it was Puck who showed me how wrong for me that he was. He challenged my beliefs about my relationship, and in an attempt to prove him wrong I came clean with Biff. But, of course, he was right and Biff was Furious, called both of us very unsavory names, and the two of them literally got into a fight over me, Puck winning, and then Biff broke up with me and left.
“I was devastated after that, and Puck used his considerable charm to once again sweep me off my feet. He and I decided to give it a go again after that, and we lasted for over a year that time before it became apparent that, despite his time in the Air Force, he hadn’t really changed, and that we would never work long-term. It had only lasted that long because we rarely saw each other on account of he being in the Air Force, and I in college in New England.
“The final nail in the coffin of their relationship was when Puck had gone back to Ohio and hooked up with the mother of one of our friends at a wedding. We’d had had a fight and he took advantage of my absence – it was mid-term week and I just couldn’t get away – to return to his old cougar chasing ways.
“Over the years I’ve dated other men, some of whom I even convinced myself that I’d loved, but they all ended the same way in heartache, because I was never really there priority.
“But I have finally disavowed my relationships with men. I’ve been single for over two years now and have chosen to focus on my Quinn-dependence and career.
“So, the two of you never dated then,” Kitty said, not really a question.
“No,” Quinn told her. “There were times I thought he might have a crush on me, and I’d be lying if I said that the possibility had never crossed my mind.
“But we spent so much time in different social circles, and my high school life was so dominated by boy drama, baby drama, and just plain drama in general. The timing was never right, and in retrospect our friendship means more to me than my relationships with any of my exes, and I suspect that I wouldn’t have that if we’d actually dated, so I have no regrets.”
“You and Artie are very lucky to have each other and I’m sure the two of you will find a way to work through these difficulties. He really loves you and I can see how much you love him. It’s very apparent in each of your eyes.”
Kitty fought back a sheepish grin.
“Artie is a very special guy and I’m glad that the two of you found each-other. One thing I’ve learned is that if something is meant to work out it will, and knowing the two of you as I do, I’m convinced that you will.”
== Author’s Endnotes: ==
Apologies for the small Wedding Song spoilers that crept in. If you enjoyed this please review. I’ve actually been working on this for over a year so it’s a long time coming. Thanks!