There are mentions of child abuse in this chapter, but absolutely nothing graphic and I have no plans to head down that road. However, I felt it necessary to inform you ahead of time. This has been a warning.
There's a girl in the hallway of their apartment building. Quinn's just left the apartment after a fight with Scott about cleaning when he sees her for the first time. Scott's seen her five times in the last week alone, but she barely says hello to him these days.
She's young-maybe five years old-and has dark black hair and tan skin. She's ridiculously tiny, all skin and bones and Quinn almost heads right back into his apartment to get her food and call the police, but a shrill "Rebecca! Get back in here!" stops him cold. He watches the girl dart into an apartment, watches the door shut behind her, and just stands there for a few minutes, not sure if he really saw it, and absolutely not sure what the hell to do about it.
"She's being abused," Scott says to him a few days later, rubbing at his neck. It's been a few days since they've really talked, neither of them really sure how to bridge the gap after their latest fight. Scott's been watching him for a few days, though, so Quinn's not surprised that he's figured out what's on his mind. "I've called the police twice, but they told me that they couldn't help." When Quinn glances up, he catches Scott with his eyes closed, fingers pressed against his face and he watches as Scott lets out a deep breath.
Quinn feels his chest pulling, aching with the lack of progress. Scott joins him on the couch without a word. "I'm working on it, Quinn. Anybody who'll listen, I've been bringing it up to see if they know of a way to help, to find out for sure so something can be done."
"We already know for sure," Quinn says. The poor girl-Rebecca, he reminds himself-had spent the entire night, to Quinn's knowledge, in the hall. They aren't sure why, since Rebecca speaks to absolutely no one, but she was gone when Quinn left late the next morning.
Instead of saying anything, Scott just rests his head on Quinn's shoulder and pulls him close.
Rebecca starts sleeping outside their apartment, so Quinn leaves a blanket out there just for her. After a few days, her mother comes out and says, her voice clipped, "I'd appreciate it if you didn't encourage this behavior of hers."
Quinn manages to bite back the negativity threatening to spill from his lips, but Scott doesn't; instead, he has an argument that gets louder and louder until Quinn finally manages to get them to shut up. In the quiet of the hallway, the two of them just glance around, almost embarrassed, as though they'd completely forgotten their surroundings.
"I'm a foster mother," she says over tea and coffee one Scott's apologized, "and my husband is always at work so it's difficult to take care of five children in a three bedroom apartment all alone." Quinn thinks that that's probably a little much for a three bedroom apartment, but…
"I could help out," he offers. "I mean, even with lunch or something. I'm finishing my degree to be an elementary teacher, and I'm working a few days a week as a teacher's aide, but really, any experience with kids would be great."
Zoey looks surprised, but ultimately nods her head. "I could definitely use some help around meal times, if you're available?"
One night three weeks later, when Quinn's pleasantly aching and Scott's fingers are pressing hard into his shoulderblades, massaging down to his ribs, dancing across his spine, he says, "I think I want kids."
There's a long, painful silence. He's been fucking terrified about sharing this with Scott, even though it's maybe been obvious, and it's all culminating to this moment right now. It's definitely something they should've talked about earlier, but—honestly, he didn't think it'd be such an issue. His muscles tense, his hands go all sweaty, he feels like his heart's going to leap out of his chest. What if Scott doesn't want kids, if it's something he'll never budge on? Quinn's not sure if he can handle that.
"Good," Scott tells him softly, wrapping his arms around Quinn to hug him tightly. "So do I."
For the next week, there's a lot of adoption talk, surrogacy talk, everything talk between Quinn working, doing homework, and helping Zoey out with her kids. There's definitely no time for it to happen now, and it's far too early for them to be seriously talking about it anyway, but right now, that's enough.
Completely enough, actually, because he's just happy that he and Scott are back on track and that Rebecca's really just a quirky kid, like the other four of Zoey's foster kids, and that he's got a job and he's not failing any of his classes and really, he's doing pretty well for himself.