Characters/Pairings: Puck/Quinn/Mercedes, Beth, cameos from Shelby Corcoran and the Misters Berry
Word Count: 2,757
Rating/Warnings: PG-13, AU, mention of polyamory, no spoilers for Season 2
Summary: Beth meets her birth parents for the first time.
Notes: This is the second timestamp serving as a coda to my gleebigbang fic here.
My mom introduced me to Rachel Berry’s fathers. “This is Simon Berry and his…partner, right? Or are you married by now?”
Simon Berry stared at her. “We live in Ohio.”
“Yes. Right. So, this is his partner David and they’re driving down to New York for the weekend to watch Rachel on Broadway. They’ve generously offered to give you a ride. Noah and Quinn will be expecting you. Okay?”
As if I could say no. I felt like backing out. Maybe I shouldn’t have decided to meet my biological parents. To be honest, though, the fact that they lived in New York was half of the reason I’d decided to go. I nodded in response to my mom’s question.
“We’ll be by 6am Friday morning to pick up Beth, Shelby,” David Goldman said. “We should arrive in New York late that evening.”
“Great. Thanks again.”
“It’s no trouble, and not even out of our way. Goodbye.”
That’s how I found myself standing outside of an average-sized brick house in Brooklyn. Mr. Berry and Mr. Goldman were expectantly sitting in the car, waiting. I sighed and climbed the five steps to the door, where I raised a hand to press the doorbell…
And the door swung open. “Thank fuck I caught it before you rang the bell. The twins finally went to sleep and the bell would’ve woken them up. And then Mercedes would kill me, no lie.”
“Um,” I said.
The guy frowned. “Crap, that wasn’t the first thing I wanted to say to you. I’m your, uh, biological father, Noah. Call me Noah. Come in.” He held the door open for me and I warily stepped in. I vaguely registered a car horn beep as Mr. Berry and Mr. Goldman drove off.
“Rachel’s dads dropped you off, huh? Come on, let’s sit in the kitchen. Want something to drink? We’ve got water, cranberry juice, and my secret stash of Red Bull that I suspect both Quinn and Mercedes know about.”
“Uh, cranberry juice. Thank you.”
“No problem.” Noah went over to the refrigerator. “So, did they play show tunes the whole way? All featuring their favorite child star, I bet.”
I nearly laughed. “We also listened to the news, occasionally.”
We sat in awkward silence then. I sipped at my cranberry juice and looked around the kitchen. The walls were a very pale purple, and the stovetop gleamed. The room appeared newly finished.
Noah cleared his throat. “Look, Beth. This is probably awkward as fuck…sorry.”
“I’m a teenager. I curse.”
He looked relieved. “Yeah. Your…Quinn is still at work, and Mercedes is finally getting some sleep, so it’s up to me to tell you more about us, if you want, and then I’ll show you where you’re staying so you can take a nap if you want. You’re probably pretty tired.”
“Yeah,” I said. “Um, you mentioned twins? When you opened the door,” I qualified.
“A boy and a girl. Sasha and Steven. They’re only a month old, and so fucking tiny. They’re Mercedes’ and mine. And Quinn and I have a two-year old son, Adam. We’re trying the whole Supernanny time out technique on him. It’s not a picnic.”
I think he noticed my jaw was hanging open. “What?” he asked.
I took a careful sip of my cranberry juice. When I began to speak, my voice sounded foreign to me, and I wondered why I felt indignant on behalf of a woman who hadn’t done much more than give birth to me. “Who’s Mercedes? And-and why do you have kids with another woman?” I hoped I didn’t sound as judgmental as I felt. It would be just like me to ostracize the dad I’d just met for the first time in my life.
“What exactly has Shelby told you?” he asked, surprised. “You obviously didn’t even know about the kids.”
“She just told me that you and Quinn are my, uh, biological parents, and you’re married and you live here in New York.”
Noah hastily swallowed his Cheez-Its. “First of all, Quinn and I aren’t married. Not technically.”
“You have a ring,” I pointed out.
“We all have rings,” he explained. “It’s symbolic more than anything else. Second, Mercedes is our partner.”
My jaw dropped again. I took a gulp of my cranberry juice. “Um.”
“I’m never gonna say this again, because to be honest, it’s kind of creepy saying this to my kid.”
I mentally jerked at the outright mention of my relationship with him.
Noah continued, “We’re a threesome.”
“Um. Okay. Uh…where am I sleeping?”
Noah jumped up eagerly. “Lemme show you.”
I had just fallen asleep when I was jerked awake by the sound of a cell phone ringing. Noah was watching TV in the living room. He clicked it off with a muttered expletive and ran up the stairs. “No, no, no, no.” I could hear him hurry down the hallway upstairs.
The sound of babies crying filled the house.
Footsteps sounded on the staircase. They weren’t Noah’s, I could tell. It had to be the mysterious Mercedes. I couldn’t see her from my room, but I could hear her on the phone.
“Diane, I swear, if you’re not calling me to tell me something good, preferably something along the lines of an additional month of paid leave, I will kill you. I’m on maternity leave! You do know what that is, don’t you? I was actually asleep for the first time in two days! … And this is supposed to interest me? … Mr. Castorini? I would rather be a backup singer for J.Lo than … he’s dead? Who did it? … I’m not jumping to conclusions; you know what the poor guy’s will looked like! … His wife? Not to be coldhearted, but I really should’ve put money on that … She wants me to represent her? Tell her I’m on a psych-approved leave thanks to all the grief her late husband caused me … No, tell her! … Yeah, sure. Thanks, Diane … Yes, I agree that was a valid reason to call me. You live to fight another day. But, seriously, leave a text next time, ‘kay? Now the twins will be up for another three hours…. Yeah, ‘Bye.”
From what I’d heard of the conversation, I wasn’t sure if I liked her or thought she was a homicidal maniac. Possibly both. She moved back up the staircase, and then all I could hear was the babies crying. I grabbed my iPod and tried to get back to sleep.
I woke to the sound of a woman talking. The voice wasn’t Mercedes’; this had to be Quinn.
“So the birth father has been MIA for about six years,” she was saying. “According to the birth mother – who obviously hasn’t been a model parent either – he showed up two days ago with an eight year old he swears is hers, and he’s all amped to collect child support. Birth mother says she doesn’t know if the kid is hers. Here’s your juice, Adam.”
Judging by the clinking of pots, I figured they were in the kitchen. The very thought made me hungry for dinner, but I decided to sit tight for a few minutes more. I wanted to delay the awkward reunion as long as possible.
“How could she not know if the kid is hers or not?” Mercedes asked. “I mean, either you have a kid or you don’t. You’re pregnant for nine months, give or take, and then you spend hours in labor. Who the hell forgets that?”
“But what does this have to do with you or the agency?” Noah spoke up.
“I’m the supervisor of Rosie’s caseworker and the BM wants me to help her claim reverse child support on the BF.”
“But Rosie’s not even in the BM’s custody anymore, right? And isn’t the BM the reason why she’s in the system anyway? And you’re not a lawyer, so how can you help her claim anything?” Mercedes asked. “Also, why am I the only person in this house who cooks?”
“I cook!” Noah protested.
“You make coffee.”
“And omelettes,” he said. “Don’t forget those.”
“Quinn?” asked Mercedes.
“You cook so well, Mercy. And besides, I come home late! You know I do my share on the weekends.”
“I’m home all day with two babies who don’t keep bankers’ hours and a toddler who thinks n-a-p is a bad word!”
“Mama,” Noah said.
“Hon,” Quinn said.
I could hear kissing noises, and decided to cut my self-imposed exile short. I made a lot of noise to signal my wakefulness, including knocking over my weekend bag.
“Beth!” Noah called to me.
“Yeah?” I called back.
“Dinner’s ready whenever you are!”
“Um, okay. Thanks.” I knew I looked a lot like Quinn when she was my age because my mom had a picture of some singing club she was in back in high school, but I was pretty sure she didn’t have a recent picture of me. I squelched the urge to hide in my room.
Quinn stared at me when I paused in the doorway to the kitchen. She was seated at the kitchen table, in the same seat I’d sat in hours earlier. Noah was leaning against the kitchen counter, arms wrapped around Mercedes. She smiled at me. “Hi, Beth. I’m Mercedes.”
“Hi,” I said. What else could I say?
“I figured you’d like baked ziti because your…uh, Noah and Quinn are obsessed with it. Mixed veggies as a side. Shelby said you like apple pie, so we’re having that for dessert.”
I was pleasantly surprised. “Thanks!” I said more enthusiastically than I’d said hello.
“You’re so beautiful,” Quinn said softly.
I didn’t know what to say to that.
Mercedes jumped in. “Quinn is a little overcome. Babe—”
Quinn began to cry silently and I felt uncomfortable. “Um, I’m gonna,” I gestured back to my room.
Noah wrapped an arm around Quinn’s waist. They walked into the living room together and sat on the couch. Mercedes and I glanced at each other.
“I feel like I’m watching a Lifetime movie,” she said. “No offense.”
“I feel like I’m in a Lifetime movie,” I admitted.
She smiled wanly. “Glad we’re on the same page.”
I sat in the seat Quinn had vacated and got a close look at Adam. Mercedes set the dish with the baked ziti on the table. “He’s got a serious case of the Terrible Twos,” she said.
“Are they really terrible?” I wondered out loud.
“Uh huh. We’ve resorted to techniques from Supernanny,” she said confidentially.
Noah had mentioned this Supernanny thing, too. I still didn’t know who or what that was. “Is…is she like a consultant or something?”
Mercedes looked momentarily confused. “Oh! Yeah, you’re too young. It was a TV show. Tell you what. Quinn has the episodes with the worst kids saved on her computer. We can watch after dinner. It’s hilarious, unless you’re a parent. Then, it’s just foreboding.”
Quinn and Noah returned. She looked mostly composed and slightly embarrassed. “I’m sorry about that,” she said. To me, I assumed.
“Um, that’s fine?”
“Mama. Food!” Adam demanded.
“Agreed,” Noah said.
Dinner was interesting. Mercedes told us about the client I’d overheard her talking about on the phone. She explained the story from the beginning, and she and Noah produced estimates of the amount of money they would’ve won if she’d had the cojones to start a pool at the firm where she worked. Quinn was disapproving. Conversation then turned to world events, domestic stuff like the price of detergent, and the untimely death of some guy named Ken Tanaka.
At one point, Quinn apologized for their monopolizing the conversation. I shrugged. “No, I like listening to you guys.” It was true. I could get a feel of the dynamic between them, and it made more sense why they were all together, even if it did still creep me out.
After dinner, we watched two episodes of the Supernanny show and I nearly died laughing. Quinn, Noah, and Mercedes mostly looked worried, and slightly terrified of the possibility of their kids growing up to be terrors like the ones in the episodes.
“So, do you want to go sightseeing tomorrow?” Quinn asked me.
“Yes!” I said, with all the excitement of a girl who’d never left Lima, Ohio.
“Noah’s on baby duty with Mercedes tomorrow, so it’ll be you, me, and Adam.”
“You should see if Kurt’s available,” Mercedes suggested. “He knows some cool, off-the-wall places. And they’re not all gay bars and boutiques, Noah,” she said.
“I didn’t say anything!”
Mercedes rolled her eyes.
“I’ll call him,” Quinn said. “Unless you mind, Beth. I just want you to see more than Times Square and the Empire State.”
“No problem,” I said, although I had no idea who Kurt was. From Mercedes’ aside, though, I figured he was gay. Maybe some friend of theirs?
“And, Beth,” Quinn said.
I waited expectantly.
“I’m so glad you decided to meet us. We all are.”
“Also,” she continued, “Noah?”
They seemed to communicate with their eyes, and it seemed like Mercedes was following the silent conversation without a problem. So weird.
Noah toyed with Quinn’s ponytail as he talked to me. “Shelby’s obviously done a great job with you, and a helluva better job than we could’ve. We’re not trying to be parents now. You’re too old for that, and you probably wouldn’t want that shit anyway. This is kind of like the trial run of possibly being friends, or something like that. Quinn?”
“I just don’t want to lose touch with you now that I’ve met you. I know we don’t know each other, and there’s only the DNA that gives us any sort of bond, but…I don’t really know what I’m saying. Mercedes?”
“Noah and Quinn are saying that they hope you don’t hate them for doing what really was the best thing for you, all those years ago. They want to keep in touch with you. And I want to keep in touch with you, too, because – to be honest – it’ll be interesting as hell to see the girl version of Noah and Quinn’s DNA combo. I wonder if you had the Terrible Twos, too?”
“My mom says I was an angel at two,” I said.
“See?” Quinn said to Mercedes. “Don’t make fun of my DNA.”
“But I was a terror at five,” I finished.
“Yes!” Noah said. “You’ve got a badass in there somewhere. And as much as Quinn likes to deny it, she’s also a badass. I don’t know who she thinks she’s fooling.”
I inwardly smiled at the thought.
“Good job, mama, by the way,” Noah said.
“Thanks,” Mercedes said.
The babies upstairs began to cry again. Mercedes groaned.
“Wanna meet ‘em?” Noah offered. “Before Mercedes feeds them.”
I nodded. The four of us trooped upstairs, where I leaned over two cribs and stared at the twins that were obviously Noah’s and Mercedes. They were pretty cute. I said so.
Quinn picked up the boy, Steven, and Mercedes picked up the girl, Sasha. They sat in the rocking chairs along the sidewall of the nursery. Noah was tickling the boy’s soles. I pressed my finger into the girl’s hand and she wrapped her tiny fist around my finger. She stopped crying and looked at me solemnly. Then, she made a tiny noise and gave me a glimpse of her gums.
“She smiled!” Mercedes said.
“Really?” Quinn said, excitedly.
“It’s her first smile,” Mercedes said to me. “And she gave it to you.”
Quinn smiled at me, teary-eyed again.
“She likes you,” Noah said. “And she’s picky.”
“She is not!” Mercedes said.
“She’ll only sleep with the blanket with the strawberries all over it. How does she even know the difference?”
“She’s intelligent,” Mercedes countered.
Noah shrugged and rolled his eyes.
I looked around at them. Obviously, we wouldn’t become One Big Happy Family, and I wouldn’t want to, anyway. But we could keep in touch, and maybe we could get to know each other. Like it or not, we were connected. I wanted to see what this new aspect of my life held.
It was then, with my finger still in Sasha’s fist, my birth mom and dad and their partner surrounding me, and Sasha smiling at me once more, that the Lifetime-movie feeling came over me. I embraced it without hesitation. Sometimes it was the perfect description for a moment that was otherwise indefinable
[Timestamp #3] >>