Day 1- Missing Scene Quartie
Quinn sat in the girls’ bathroom, touching up her makeup. Prom was almost over, and people still wanted to take pictures with her. She’d felt liberated after giving her crown to Rachel, though it stung a little more than she’d thought it would. After standing onstage, the entire school was up in arms about her, gushing about her bravery. All she’d wanted to do was show how strong she was, and how strong she’d always be…not to be seen as this poster child for overcoming disability.
The music from the gymnasium flooded the bathroom when the door opened, and Quinn could feel a body lingering behind her. “…The other sinks work.” she said, trying not to sound too annoyed. When she didn’t hear an answer, Quinn turned. At first she looked up, as she had been for the past few months, but then she realized that this person was just at her height.
“Artie, this is the girls’ bathroom.” Quinn choked out. The two really hadn’t spoken much since the skate park debacle. And now here she was, proving she had been right about not being in a chair forever. The look on Artie’s face was indifferent, and he didn’t move. His sapphire blue eyes peered at her, gazing past her eyes, into her soul.
“When did you start walking?” he asked in a bit of a monotone. Quinn could tell he was trying not to sound hurt. She didn’t know why he’d be hurt, but she could definitely hear it in his inner monologue.
She fiddled with the skirt of her dress. “…Two weeks ago. A little longer.” she nodded, keeping her eye on her lap. After a long, awkward, painful silence, Quinn looked up. “I’m sorry.” she managed to get out. She hadn’t noticed the dam of tears forming in the back of her throat. “I’m sorry what I said to you at the park. I didn’t mean it the way it had sounded and I…” But Artie cut her off.
“Quinn.” he gazed at her, managing to gravitate her eye contact to his. “You don’t need to be sorry. You got what you wanted. You worked for it, and you got it. I’m so proud of you.” he was smiling now, sadly. She could tell that he meant what he was saying, but she couldn’t help but still feel so sorry.
“No. Artie. Listen. What I said was wrong, and out of line, and you were just trying to hel-“
“I was trying to hold you back.” Artie shouted over her, his voice echoing in the bathroom walls. Quinn had never heard him raise his voice…speak his mind angrily, yes, but never shout like that. “Those few weeks we spent together….me teaching you how to work the chair…singing…alla’ that.” he gave a chuckle. “I was afraid that if- when - you started walking again, you’d forget I existed.”
Quinn was taken aback, and the tears were falling. Shoot. She’d just reapplied that makeup, too. How could he think that? How could he ever…”You were there for me,” she said through tears, “Every day. You were at the hospital every day for me. You were the first person I called when I found out about my situation and you think I’d forget that? Never. If anything, I have you to thank for me being able to stand again. If you weren’t there to pick me up when I was in Hell, I wouldn’t have been motivated like I am now. I’d have given up. Do you know how much that means to me?”
Artie smiled down at his feet. Quinn could tell she’d gotten through to him. He looked up, rolling toward her, and held out a hand. With his thumb, he wiped away Quinn’s tears.
“You know…” Quinn said, clutching his hand and pressing his palm to her cheek, “…Joe may be my boyfriend, but…I wish it had been you there to see me take my first steps.” They were face-to-face. And all she had to do was lean forward…
Artie gave yet another nonchalant chuckle, pulling his hand away from her cheek, squashing everything Quinn had been thinking. “Me too.” he nodded. “Me too.” Artie rolled backward, and out of the door.
Quinn sat there, biting her lip. Artie’s Me too kept echoing in her mind. Him too.