When Quinn offered to take over at the tub, Sam had no problem with it. “Go ahead,” he told her handing over the washcloth he was using. “Just make sure to get all the paint off of her face. And be careful. She splashes.”
Sam moved over to the sink and pulled his shirt over his head before tossing it in the hamper by the door. He didn’t put the clean shirt on though. He figured he’d just get paint on it, so he grabbed a clean washcloth and started washing the paint off of his face. Most of it had dried already, but a little bit of water and some soap helped it come right off. He noticed a little paint on the edges of his hair, but he left it figuring that he’d just shower later. After he was cleaned up, he slipped his shirt back on and turned around to watch Quinn finish up Zoe’s bath.
Quinn smiled at him and took the washcloth, happy to be of service. “Noted,” she assured him, starting to wash the paint off of Zoe’s face. She played with her as she bathed her, getting splashed in the process, but Quinn was having so much fun that she did not care. She could handle a few drops of water, no problem. Once Zoe was all clean, she lifted her out of the tub, wrapping a towel around her. “Let’s get you dried up,” she said, proceeding to do just that. At some point, she noticed that Sam was all cleaned up. Quinn handed him the towel and took a step back, letting him take over.
While Quinn was changing, Sam got Zoe’s bath water running and flipped through the menu trying to figure out what he wanted to eat. “Pick your poison,” he told Quinn as he handed her the menu when she came in. He quickly went back to finishing running Zoe’s bath. The sooner her bath water was set up, the sooner he could wash his own face and change his shirt.
"Hop in, bug," he told his daughter as she took off her underwear and leaned on the edge of the tub. After he helped her in, he made sure there was enough bubble bath and tossed in a couple of her bath toys from the bucket by the tub. He pretty much had the bath time routine perfected by now.
Quinn could tell that Sam was on a mission to give Zoe her bath, so she tried to stay out of his way. She took the menu from him and started to flip through the pages, her eyes scanning the numerous items for something she would like to eat. Oh! They had sweet & sour chicken. Yum! She chose one more thing off of the menu and then went into the bathroom to ask Sam what he would like to order. Once he told her, Quinn made the call, ordering take-out for them to be delivered to the house.
She tucked her cell phone back into her pocket and then watched Sam give his daughter a bath. Clearly, he had her bath time routine down pat. “If neither of you mind, I can take over from here,” she said, kneeling in front of the tub. She wanted to give Sam an opportunity to change before dinner, but she didn’t want to intrude on what could be a father-daughter thing.
"Lemme ask her," Sam said before turning and calling out to his daughter who ran down the hall in nothing but her underwear. "What are you hungry for?"
"Chicken noodles," the little girl nodded.
Sam turned and looked at Quinn. “That’s code for chicken lo mien. How does Chinese sound?”
"You look fine," he laughed when Quinn said she looked like a mess. "I mean, I think we all look a little bit crazy right now. I can lend you a clean shirt if you want to change out of your paint mess though. And if you follow me, we can get you cleaned up and set up a bath for this little one."
With that, Sam scooped Zoe up with his free arm and carried her into the bathroom. After setting her down on the ground and the take out binder down on the counter, he headed into his room to grab a couple clean shirts. One for him and one for Quinn.
Quinn stifled a giggle as she witnessed Zoe run down the hall in nothing but her underwear. She thought all children were adorable, but Sam’s daughter was especially adorable. No wonder Sam was wrapped around her little finger. Chicken noodles. Quinn raised an eyebrow at that. Did she mean chicken noodle soup? Sam seemed to sense her confusion, acting as a translator for her. “Oh,” she commented afterwards, nodding her head at him. “That sounds great.”
Quinn laughed as she gave him the once-over. He did look a little bit crazy right now too, which made her feel better about her messy appearance. She actually had a change of clothes in her car, but she kept that to herself and followed him. Going back out to the car right now seemed like such a hassle. “Thanks,” she said, taking the shirt he offered her with a grateful smile. She changed quickly and then met up with Sam again. The shirt was a little big on her, but at least she no longer looked like a work of art.
"Long time no see," Sam laughed when Quinn greeted them in his driveway. Zoe giggled and waved. After he unlocked the front door to let them in the house, he set Zoe on the ground. "Why don’t you go put your dirty clothes in the hamper, and then get ready for your bath. I’m gonna help Quinn get what she needs to clean up." As Zoe ran down the hall, Sam headed towards the hall closet and pulled out a couple of beat up washcloths. Then he grabbed the takeout menu binder from the kitchen. "What are you in the mood for?" he asked. "I figured we could order some takeout from somewhere, and then by the time we’re all cleaned up, the delivery guy should be here."
Quinn got out of her car and followed them inside the house. She smiled watching Zoe head down the hall to do as she was told. She was a vision in paint. What are you in the mood for? She’d assumed that they were going out for dinner, but takeout was a much better idea. Quinn was glad that Sam had made the suggestion. “What’s Zoe in the mood for?” she responded. “I’m flexible.” Once they’d figured out what to order for dinner, she asked him where she could wash up a little and change. “I look like a mess right now, I’m sure,” she said, laughing at herself.
Sam put the finishing touches on the mug after correcting a couple spots where paint had been splattered during their fight. He figured it might have been best if they finished up and left pretty quickly since the workers were starting to give them dirty looks.
"You hungry?" he asked Quinn. "I don’t really think we should go out to eat like this, but we could clean up at my place and eat something there." In truth, Sam just didn’t want their afternoon to end. It really had been a quick trip to Color Me Mine, and he didn’t feel like he’d gotten to spend enough time with Quinn. He knew she was engaged, but there was still a part of him that wanted to keep spending time with her. Probably more time than was entirely appropriate.
Quinn was glad that she’d come. She’d had a lot of fun and honestly, she was kind of sad that she was about to bid them both goodbye. You hungry? Quinn looked away from her mug and up at him. Was she hungry? She supposed she could eat. A part of her was grateful for the excuse to spend more time with them. They were great company. “I could eat,” she answered him, giving him a small smile. “That sounds like a plan to me.” Finished mugs in hand, they left Color Me Mine. She got into her car and followed Sam back to his place. She noticed then that there was paint on her clothes despite the fact that she’d been wearing an apron. Thankfully, she kept spare clothes in her car out of habit. Otherwise, she’d look rather silly at dinner. They arrived soon enough. Quinn got out of the car and greeted them anew, “We meet again.”
"Okay, okay, truce!" Sam laughed when Quinn broke free and started jabbing her paint brush everywhere. Zoe was bouncing around in her seat laughing and waving her paintbrush in the air but not really hitting anyone with it. "We’re gonna get kicked out if we keep this up."
Sam sat back down at the table and smiled over at Quinn. He hadn’t really meant anything by it when he told her that he was paying for old time’s sake, but now it really did feel like he was back in high school. Quinn had always been beautiful to him, but she looked even more beautiful when they were goofing around and he’s painted her face. There was just something wonderful about seeing her let herself be silly when she had always been so formal back in high school.
He shook those thoughts from his mind though. Quinn was engaged, and having feelings for her again wouldn’t change that. Instead, he turned to Zoe and laughed at how messy she had gotten. “Looks like someone is going to need a bath when we get home.”
Quinn stopped using her paintbrush as a weapon the moment Sam called a truce. “Truce, truce,” she echoed in agreement with him. He had a point. Quinn noticed then that one of the employees was keeping a watchful eye on them. He looked like he was on the verge of asking them to leave. To be honest, Quinn was surprised that no one had kicked them out already. Perhaps, they were used to paint fights breaking out. Sam and her had had quite a few back in the day.
Quinn followed his lead and took her seat at the table again. She hadn’t been so silly in awhile. Sam had always had a knack for bringing out that side of her. As she looked at him now, she felt her old feelings for him resurface, but she was quick to suppress them. She’d always be fond of Sam. He’d always have a special place in her heart, but she couldn’t think of him like that, not anymore. It just wouldn’t be appropriate for so many reasons.
"I think we all need a bath," Quinn added with a soft laugh. She finished painting her mug, rather pleased with the results. There were some random splotches of paint on her cityscape from their paint fight, but she didn’t mind. It would serve as a reminder of all of the fun she’d had today.
"Okay, you’re gonna get it now," Sam laughed when his daughter started helping Quinn paint whiskers on his face. He wrapped an arm around Zoe so she couldn’t get away and started painting little pink hearts all over her cheeks and forehead. He let Zoe go as she giggled over how silly Sam looked. Walking around the table, Sam dipped his paintbrush in the red and smiled down at Quinn. "So, I’m thinking a clown nose to go with that mustache," he smirked. "Maybe some freckles, too." Before she could dodge him, Sam wrapped an arm around Quinn and pulled her close. With a few quick flicks of his wrist, Quinn had the perfect clown nose to go with what was already painted on her face.
Quinn laughed. She had a feeling that there was an epic paint fight ahead of them. She watched in amusement as Zoe finished the whiskers on Sam’s face, giving her a high five once she was done. She retreated again afterwards to the other side of the table. There was a less of a chance that she’d be attacked that way. In case Sam tried anything though, she had her paintbrush in hand.
She got distracted watching Sam paint little pink hearts on Zoe’s face, so when Sam walked around the table, she was caught off-guard. It took her a minute to register what he was about to do. “No!” she shouted before dissolving into a fit of giggles. She tried to run away, but he wrapped an arm around her and pulled her against him. Unable to lift her paintbrush to attack him in the position she was in, Quinn was forced to let him give her a clown nose and freckles.
When she finally broke free, she thrust her paintbrush toward him, not caring where her paintbrush landed or the strokes she was making. In the chaos, she managed to get Zoe a couple of times too.
"Oh, some things changed," Sam told her. "I no longer feel guilty about eating the cake, and I don’t spend like ten hours at the gym trying to work off the junk food I eat. I just end up chasing this one around the house. You’d be surprised how many calories you burn while giving a kid pony rides and playing dinosaur princesses.
"You did not just do that," Sam smirked when she got paint on his arm. He was all too familiar with paint fights with Quinn. There had been more than one time when a paint fight had been initiated between the two of them, and in the past they’d ended with laughter and kisses over their creations. Part of Sam thought that he was too old for that stuff now. He was a dad and couldn’t do silly things like that in public anymore. But another part of him missed the way things used to be, and that’s the part of him that took over when he dragged his paintbrush over Quinn’s upper lip. "Love the mustache, Q," he said with a smirk.
Quinn smiled. She remembered very well how much time Sam had spent working out back in high school. “I can imagine,” she assured him, winking at Zoe. You did not just do that. “It was an accident!” she exclaimed, putting her paintbrush down and throwing her hands up in defeat. “I swear!” He seemed to believe her, so she allowed herself to relax, which she regretted seconds later when he swiped his paintbrush across her upper lip, giving her mustache. “Oh no you did not,” she said, picking up her paintbrush again. After struggling with him some, she managed to give him whiskers on one side of his face and a cat nose. “Zoe, you do the other side!” she instructed her in between giggles, keeping her distance from Sam to avoid retaliation.
"Yeah, if I can be helpful in any way, I’d be glad to do whatever it is that you need me to do," he told her. Back in high school, Sam had always assumed that he and Quinn would end up together. When he’d given her that promise ring in high school, he’d meant what he said about wanting to marry her someday. But they’d grown apart and lead their separate lives. Sam didn’t regret the path that his life had taken him on. He’d loved and lost and experienced pain, but he had Zoe, and she was the single most important person in his life. Sure, he wondered what would have happened if high school had gone differently, but any reality where he didn’t get to be Zoe’s dad wasn’t a reality he wanted to live in. He’d found happiness, and now he wanted to help Quinn with hers even if it did make him think about what might have been. "We’d love to," he replied. "Anything where I get to eat free cake is always a plus."
"Thank you," she responded, genuinely touched by his offer. Quinn was hardly surprised by his offer though. Sam had always been a nice guy. Most of the time, he went above and beyond. The way they’d ended things in high school was still one of her biggest regrets. Sam hadn’t deserved that. He’d done nothing but treat her right while they’d been together. Temptation was a terrible thing indeed. Oh, well. That was in the past. They were exactly where they were supposed to be, she was sure. Still, she wondered sometimes… What if?
Quinn laughed at his words, snapping out of her thoughts. “Some things never change, huh?” she teased him, glad that they would be joining her. She dipped her paintbrush in some white paint, which she needed to highlight the buildings she’d painted. As she withdrew her paintbrush, she got some paint on Sam’s arm. “Oops,” she said, not really sorry at all. Quinn remembered the time that something similar had happened then. Who could forget an epic paint fight that had ended in kisses?