After Quinn headed back to sit with her mom, Sam rejoined his family and got Zoe settled in for the service. He pulled the Toddler’s Illustrated Bible out of his daddy bag - which he pretty much couldn’t leave the house without if Zoe was with him - and made sure that she was going to be able to sit comfortably for the hour. It had been awhile since he’d had to leave service early with her because of crying or the need for a potty break, but he didn’t want to take any chances. Not when he wanted Quinn to meet Zoe afterwards. And that meeting would be much easier if his three year old wasn’t upset about something or other.
When mass ended, Zoe was a little tired, but she was her normal smiley self, so Sam saw no issues with keeping her there a little bit longer to meet Quinn. So daddy bag slung over one shoulder, Sam picked up Zoe and held her at his side so she could be at eye level with the adults. When Quinn came over, Zoe was cautious about the new person, but she shook Quinn’s hand anyway. “Zoe, this is my good friend Quinn,” Sam told his daughter. “I’ve known her since before you were even born, and she’s so excited to meet you.”
"I am very excited to meet you,” she assured her, giving her a warm smile. Quinn loved children. Someday, she wanted to have children of her own. That was the one thing that Neal and her disagreed on, unfortunately. Oh, Neal loved children too. He just didn’t trust himself to be a good father. He was constantly worrying that he’d turn into his. He’d come around though, Quinn was sure. One day he’d see himself the way she saw him. He was already twice the man his father never was. “Your dad and I are old friends,” she told Zoe. “You know, when you’re old enough to understand, I have so many embarrassing stories about your dad to tell you.” She winked at her, sending a teasing smile Sam’s way.
Getting Zoe ready for church was always a struggle for Sam since she never seemed to want to go. He couldn’t really blame her for it though. He hadn’t wanted to sit through mass when he was three years old either. But he wanted to raise her right, and if that meant that he had to chase her around the house until he could finally catch her and get her into her dress clothes, that’s what he was going to do.
When he finally got her to church, his family was already sitting there in their normal pew, so Sam sent Zoe to go sit with her aunt Stacey while he grabbed a bulletin and lit a candle in the back for his late wife. He always did that at the beginning of the month as a way for her presence to still be there. Because even though it had been quite some time now, it was weird to go to mass and not hear her singing along with the church choir.
"Hey yourself," Sam smiled when he noticed his friend was there. "I think everyone’ in the pew already. Zoe wanted to go sit with her Aunt Stacey right away."
"Ah," she said in acknowledgement, following his gaze and spotting the Evans family from a distance. Stacey caught her eye, and she waved at the younger blonde, who waved back eagerly. Quinn was looking forward to catching up with her later. She would go over there right now, but mass was starting in less than a minute. "We can talk later," she told Sam. "Father Augustine looks like he’s ready to begin." She excused herself and returned to her mother’s side. From where she was sitting, she had a good view of the Evans family. The little girl sitting next to Sam must be Zoe. By the time mass had ended, Quinn concluded that Zoe was such a daddy’s girl. She had been too once upon a time.
Her mother was going over to a dear friend’s house, which left Quinn to leave the church on her own. Instead of filing out of the church like most others, Quinn searched for Sam in the crowd. Where Sam was, his family was sure to be. She smiled when she spotted the group of blondes, heading toward them. “Hello!” she greeted all of them, hugging the people she knew and introducing herself to the others. “You must be Zoe. Your daddy talks about you a lot, you know.” She extended her hand for the darling little girl to shake.
Quinn was in an incredible mood. She usually was on Sundays. Sunday was usually the day that she got to relax a little. She could relax a little every day now that she was taking a mini-break from her career, but that had yet to sink in. Hence, her incredible mood today especially. She washed up, got dressed, and then went downstairs to make breakfast for herself and her mother. Halfway down the stairs, however, she realized that her mother had beat her to the punch. “Hmmm, everything smells great,” she commented as she strode into the kitchen. She grabbed a strip of bacon from her plate and took a bite. God, that was delicious. Some things never changed.
"Is Neal coming for a visit anytime soon?" Judy questioned the moment the two of them were settled at the kitchen table. Quinn nodded her head at her in response. "He’ll arrive on the morning of Christmas Eve and leave the morning after Christmas," she told her. Her mother frowned at the information, but nodded her head in understanding. She knew how busy her future son-in-law was. The fact that he would be here even briefly for the holidays was a blessing. They made small talk during breakfast, and once they were finished eating, Quinn got up from her seat to help her mother clean up.
About fifteen minutes later, the two of them were all set for Sunday morning mass. Judy was pleased that her daughter still made time for God despite having moved to Hollywood and become famous (and thus, very, very busy). Quinn led the way, making sure to lock the front door behind them. The church was close, so they often walked to church. Bad weather was the only thing that kept them from doing so. There was still some time before mass started when they arrived, so Quinn went around to greet some familiar faces. She was talking to Mrs. Daniels when she spotted Sam. She was surprised to see him alone. Where was Zoe? Where were his parents?
She excused herself, making her way over to Sam. “Hey, you,” she greeted him, giving him a warm smile. “Where are the rest of the Evans?”
Definitely. Zoe and I never miss a mass.
Great! I look forward to meeting her.
Hey there Fabray.
Hey, Sam. Will I be seeing you and Zoe at church later?
"Maybe I should give my opinions on your fashion line then," Sam laughed before taking the last sip of his coffee. "You can just do the opposite of whatever I think would work. Could be phenomenal. But I’d love to see the scripts and tell you which ones I’d like to see you in the most." Sam thought it would be pretty cool to see a script before it was turned into a movie, and it would be pretty awesome for him to get to help Quinn make choices about which roles she’d like to go for.
When Quinn asked about Becca, Sam had to take a moment before he could speak. He knew he was the one that brought up his late wife, but it was still hard for him to talk about her. “We were in the same art class, actually,” Sam told her. “An illustrations kind of thing. I was taking it for my major, and she was using it as one of her electives. She was studying to be an elementary school teacher, and she thought that it would be a good idea to know how to draw for that. It’s funny really. She was probably the worst artist in the class, but she never quit for a second. She was too determined for that. When we were in that class together, we sat at the same table, and she would always flip through my sketchbook and be so jealous that her projects were never as good as mine.”
Quinn laughed, nodding her head at him in acknowledgement afterwards. “I trust that you’ll keep the scripts I show you hush hush,” she said, smiling at him. Even though they’d grown apart over the years, she still trusted him without a doubt. Quinn noticed his hesitation in talking about Becca. She’d been prepared to change the subject when Sam started talking, effectively shutting her up. She listened to him intently. The story of how they’d met was endearing, really. “Thank you for sharing that with me. It sounds like the beginning of a beautiful love story,” she commented, the smile on her face never wavering. She could tell that Sam had loved his late wife very much and that he still felt empty from the loss of her, even though a considerable amount of time had passed. She wanted to learn more about Becca and his relationship with her, but she had pried enough for one day. She should probably head home anyway. “My mother’s waiting for me to come home with the groceries, so I should probably go,” she said, the tone of her voice apologetic. “Do you want to walk back together or stay awhile?”
"I wouldn’t be able to do that," Sam replied. "A real date every other week doesn’t sound like enough. I mean, when Becca was still here, we tried to make time for each other every night, and we had date nights twice a week no matter how busy we were." Sam didn’t really talk about Becca often. His parents made him at times because it was supposed to be therapeutic to talk about that loss, and he answered any questions Zoe had about her mom, but bringing her up like that didn’t happen often for him. And it wasn’t that he just didn’t want to acknowledge the fact that she was gone. He had come to terms with that a long time ago. And it wasn’t that he didn’t like to think about her because he thought about her often. Little bits and pieces of her went into the characters he wrote and drew on a daily basis. He just didn’t know how to talk about her easily with other people. "Well, I’m not sure how helpful I’d be when it comes to the fashion line, but I’d love to hear about the movies and give you my input on whatever I can."
Neal and her would make more time for each other if they could, but most of the time, they weren’t even in the same city. It hadn’t always been like this. When they’d first met, he’d just been cast in his first big movie role, and she’d just started out in the industry. They’d had plenty of time for each other then. Almost every night had been a date night, but as they’d become more famous - individually and as a couple - the frequency of those date nights had dwindled until they were having one once every two weeks. That didn’t mean their love for each other had dwindled. They still loved each other now as much as they had back then, maybe even more. If there was one thing she didn’t doubt, it was Neal’s love for her. Sure, sometimes Quinn wished that they could see more of each other, but she knew how important his career was to him just like he knew how important her career was to her. The bottom line was that they made things work. They both had an amazing career and someone to share it with. What more could either of them ask for?
"It’s hard," Quinn admitted. "We don’t go a day without talking though, so that helps." She laughed. "Honestly, I wouldn’t trust your opinions on my fashion line," she said. "I’m deciding between a few scripts though. That I’d love your help with.” Quinn was glad that Sam had brought Becca up. It gave her the perfect opportunity to ask about her. In the end, her curiosity outweighed her hesitance. “…How did you and Becca meet?” she questioned finally. “I mean, if you don’t mind my asking.” She knew of Becca, but she really didn’t know all that much about her. If Sam shut her down right now though, Quinn swore she’d never ask him about Becca again.
"You never stop moving do you?" Sam asked as he sipped at his coffee. "I mean, you’ve already been in a ton of stuff, and even when you’re supposed to be planning your wedding, you’ve got multiple movies and projects lined up, and you’re working on a fashion line and doing interviews. You’re practically a superhero." Sam didn’t know how she could handle it all. He worked from home and still barely had the time to do everything he needed or wanted to do. He thought it might have something to do with the fact that he was a single dad, but he was still exhausted half the time, and it seemed like Quinn never missed a beat. "I totally get it. I’m the same way with my writing. It doesn’t matter if it’s one of my graphic novels or a kid’s book or something special for Zoe. I just dive into it and work pretty much nonstop other than to take care of my kid." He had to laugh at the idea of Quinn reading his books to the kids she worked with. Not because it was funny that she’d read his books to them, but because it had to be interesting to sit there and watch a kid dislike a book that one of your old friends wrote. "I think I could maybe show you the story boards. I mean, they’re still a work in progress, but I could always use more opinions in the early stages."
"No, not really," she answered him honestly, laughing softly at the comparison. She was no superhero. "Neal’s telling me to slow down all the time, but that’s kind of hypocritical coming from him," she continued. "He’s busier than I am. We have a proper date once every two weeks if we’re lucky." Quinn wasn’t surprised that Sam understood where her drive stemmed from. After all, passion was what drove him too. She was happy to hear that Sam was willing to show her his storyboards. "I’d be happy to offer you my opinions," she assured him, adding afterwards, "Oh, and if you’re interested in taking a look at any of my projects - current or upcoming - just let me know. I’d be happy to share them with you and eager to hear your opinions on them." She finished her cappuccino, toasty warm once again. Quinn looked up at him afterwards, her eyes locking on his. She wanted to ask him about Becca. She was curious about her, about the lucky woman who’d gotten Sam to propose for real, but now wasn’t the time…if there was ever going to be a time.
"That’s actually a really great idea," Sam smiled. "I could buy some small toys and movies and things that she’s been asking for and after a certain number of days, she could pick something special from the treasure chest. And she’d be able to see what she’s working towards getting, so she would have the motivation to actually do her chores. And she’d love the decorating part. She’s a little artist like me, you know. I’ve got a tub filled with her coloring books and craft supplies and all sorts of stuff like that sitting on a kid’s craft table in my office. So whenever I’m working and can’t play with her, she’s allowed to come in there with me and make her own little story books and pictures as long as she doesn’t make too much noise." Sam never got tired of talking about Zoe. He knew that some people found it annoying when parents went on and on about their kids, but he couldn’t help it. Zoe was pretty much the most important thing in his life, and he was so proud of her for just being an awesome little kid.
Sam was really enjoying this chance to talk to Quinn again. He’d forgotten how much fun they’d used to have together before they grew apart, so he was definitely going to take advantage of the time that she was spending in Lima as a way to rekindle that friendship they’d had in high school. “I’m actually working on the storyboards for two different children’s books right now, and my most recent graphic novel is going to be available in stores next month,” he told her when she asked about what he was working on. “What about you? What’s your next project? Or are you taking a break to focus on the wedding and all that? Because I know how stressful all the planning can be.”
Quinn had no doubt that Zoe was a budding artist, and anyone could see how important she was to Sam. She worked alongside him. How adorable was that? “Wow, I’m impressed,” she said, answering his questions afterwards, “I’m taking a little bit of a break, yes. I’ll be working on my fashion line for the spring and I may do some interviews here and there, but my focus will be planning the wedding.” She took a breath, taking another sip of her coffee. “After the wedding though, I’m back to being busy, busy, busy!” she continued. “I have several movies lined up among other things.” She was primarily an actress, but Quinn liked to dabble. She had so many things in the works. She was looking forward to starting her charity up the most. “Feel free to stop me at anytime by the way. I tend to ramble on when I talk about work. I just really love what I do, you know?” she said, sure that Sam would understand. She was certain that he was as passionate about his job as she was if not more. Wanting to focus on him for a moment, she confessed, “I have all of your children’s books. Any chance I can get a sneak peek of the ones you’re working on? The kids I work with usually adore your books. Usually, because there’s always a hater or two.” She chuckled softly. Wasn’t that the truth?