After the Storm?

Chapter 4

Author's Notes: Thanks again everyone for the follows and the adding of my story on to your favorites list. I am really happy about that; but please leave reviews I really want to know how this works for you guys- what you like and what you don't. It helps keeps the creative juices flowing.

Disclaimer: I do not own Glee or any of its characters (just the story around them). I also do not own the song Heart of Mine by Boz Scaggs.

After the Storm

Chapter 4 – While you were away- Part 1

Yesterday:

Chloe sat in the bar which was located inside of her hotel worrying. She was still trying to figure out what she should do about Mercedes being missing.

Chloe: Margarita please!

She called out to the bartender.

Chloe: (Whispering to herself) This is your standard hotel bar: faux low lighting, sparkly glasses that are always lined up but you never actually see them used. Hmm? She thought to herself. Generic married couple sitting at a table in the back trying to "keep it fresh"; a couple of tables with two or three older men in suits in for the "seminar" down the hall in the conference room, and two beautiful women sitting alone at the bar trying to hit on the handsome bartender.

Chloe: Welcome to everywhere U.S.A!

She said as the bartender brought her the first of four Margaritas that she will drink this afternoon. Chloe winked at the bartender and he just smiles at her.

Chloe: Well at least I am one of the beautiful women tonight! She chuckled.

Chloe drinks the first Margarita and calls for a second one.

Chloe: Everyone knows that the first one doesn't count!

She yelled after him. He just smiled at her again.

Chloe: Oh, your hoping for a big tip tonight aren't ya? She said to herself.

Chloe this is why you cannot find Mercedes now! Just stop it already! She starts drinking her second drink when her cell phone rings.

Chloe: Mercedes! Is that you? Oh, hi mom. What? Why do I sound like what? Mom, this is really not a good time to talk and I'd like to keep this line free. No, nothing's wrong. Yeah, I know, I know (She said in a sing song voice) don't blow this opportunity… What do you mean someone like me? Forget it Mom, I've got to go. (Pause) How much money mom? I'll see what I can do; give me a couple of days and …. Tomorr… The show's tomorrow Mom… Yes, I know I am not the one singing… yes, yes I know I am not the one with any talent. Okay, tomorrow. I am hanging up now! My head hurts. Okay, alright, yes, $600 alright! Goodbye.

She hangs up the phone and proceeds to tell the bartender to keep'em coming!

Woman: Mother's can be something huh?

Chloe: Uh huh, you don't have to tell me.

Woman: Rough day it seems.

She says as she drinks a shot of what seems to be vodka and asks the waiter for another one.

Chloe: I could have had better. She said, as the bartender brings her the second Margarita.

The woman was a very pretty blond, tall, and thin. She looked like she was in her mid twenties. Chloe thought. The kind I would normally hate instantly on principle alone, but she actually seemed alright.

Chloe: Why are you here drinking alone in the early afternoon?

Woman: Man problems.

Chloe: That's why I only sleep with them- nooooo problem!

She said while raising her glass for a toast. Then the young woman raised hers also and both women drank.

Woman: Hey! Bartender let me get another shot for me and my friend here, on me.

Chloe: Thanks

Woman: So if you are not here for man problems? And… I already kind of heard your parental issues…sorry, but that seemed new. So why are you drinking alone in the early afternoon?

Chloe: Job issues.

The bartender now brings over the shots as well as Chloe's third Margarita; and placed them down on the bar in front of the two women.

The bartender winks at the blond.

Chloe who is starting to feel a strong buzz at the moment yells out.

Chloe: Traitor!

The bartender lowers his eyes and scurries to the other end of the bar; and the woman just laughs.

Chloe: Well, I guess you won that round. She said to the woman.

They drink the shot.

After a few minutes Chloe is starting to feel a little dizzy and like she is going to throw up any minute.

Chloe's phone rings again.

Chloe: Mercedes! I've been looking for you everywhere! How are you! Where are you! Why didn't you call or text me back! You know you have to rehearse in less than 2 hours! Low blow, you know how I feel about my mom. Hurry up, right now, you leave! Bye!

Chloe hung up.

The room was really starting to spin now.

Woman: You don't look so good. (She reached into her purse and brought out a mini-mouthwash that would be found in your hotel room bathroom).

Woman: I always carry this in case of emergency. Go to the bathroom let one go and then gargle. No one will know it was a bad liquor day! She smiled.

Chloe: Thank you.

She took the bottle and slowly walked to the ladies room; after about fifteen minutes Chloe returns.

Chloe: Thanks! I owe you one. She said.

Woman: I ordered you another 'Rita while you were gone, you have to drink it the smell of mouthwash after sitting in a bar is a dead give away that you've hurled! You're not driving right?

Before Chloe could answer she got a text message from Mercedes to meet her in the garage.

Chloe: No, I am not driving.

Chloe drank almost half of the drink but she immediately felt like she wanted to throw up again.

Chloe: Thanks… again… for… everything.

She said extremely slowly so that she could hold down this last drink. Chloe signaled the bartender and paid for her drinks.

Chloe: I've got to go now my ride is here. Said that way too fast; she thought.

Woman: Ok, no more worries about job issues.

Chloe: (Speaking slowly) Fixed….now.

Woman: Ok, good.

Chloe: Hey…what's…your…name?

Woman: Jessica.

Chloe: I'm Chloe; no…more… man problems. She said as she turned to leave.

Jessica: I'm sleeping with this bartender tonight- no problem!

She called after her.

XXXX

6 years ago

Mercedes had been in L.A. for 3 years now and it had always been the same thing; everyone loved her voice but she could never be the face of a label, not a brand, not without a lot of work.

At first Mercedes could write it off as their loss her first year there. She would call or Skype with Sam and he would always reassure her; and she would go out and fight the good fight again the next day.

After a while though she would start these fad diets that where making her sick; by the time she had been in L.A. for 2 years she was starting to believe them. She became anxious about talking to Sam about the same thing over and over again.

How many times can I keep reminding him of how everyone here thinks I am ugly? She thought to herself. Before long he will start paying more attention to it too. So she stopped using Skype and started returning less and less of his calls.

By her 3rd year there, she stopped even leaving her apartment except for work and the lone singing gig at a club here or there; but by now word had gotten out that if she had been serious about a career she would have listened and handled her weight problem already!

Now she was becoming a joke.

She had no idea how much this had truly affected her self-esteem until she found herself sitting in a doctors office looking at gastric bypass options. She was miserable, lonely, and watching her dream slip away and most of all she was now hating herself, because she had lost her Sam. It had been about six months now since she last blew off his phone call; and another one never came.

She walked out of the doctor's office beaten. She walked to a nearby park and sat down on the bench; her tears fell indiscriminately although she never uttered a sound, she was just empty.

Mercedes: What?

A man was standing near the bench and asked.

Man: Is it okay to sit down?

Turning her head to quickly hide her tears.

Mercedes: That's fine. She said.

The man spoke again.

Man: I'm Joe by the way. He said as he took a seat.

Mercedes: Mercedes. I was just leaving.

Joe: Do you know if I had a dollar for everyone who has cried in this city because of broken dreams? I could stop playing lotto. He chuckled.

Mercedes: Thanks but…

Joe: (Interrupting her) Don't have the right look, right?

That was it Mercedes lost it.

Mercedes: (Yelling) You know what, no one asked you what you thought of my looks!

She burst into tears again.

Joe: And that is the answer that you should give to the people in your industry.

Mercedes continued to sob.

Joe: You're here to sell your talent and nothing else, sweetie.

Mercedes: But they don't want me!

She said still crying. Joe reached in his pocket and gave her some tissues.

Joe: They don't want anyone until they do, that's the way it is around here. If you don't mind my asking; how long have you been here?

Mercedes: 3 years.

Joe: Is that it? I have been here all my life and I've heard the same thing they have told you at least a million times.

Mercedes: Really? She said calming down some.

Joe: I am a white guy with dreads- what do you think?

Mercedes: (Chuckled) Yes, but you can cut them.

Joe: But I am not going to on principle. When I become famous it will be the real me and on my own terms. I don't need the fame; I just need to love what I do.

Mercedes: What do you do?

Joe: I'm a drummer but I also play guitar & piano if I have to; and I sing a little too.

Mercedes: I sing too.

Joe: Do you love it?

Mercedes: I do.

Joe: Then that's all you need. Never become famous because of the fame itself. You should love what you are doing so much that people will be willing to pay money just to watch you do it.

Mercedes smiled at him.

Joe: I am happy with playing my music even before becoming famous; and because of that, then and only then, can I still be happy playing it even if the fame goes away.

Mercedes stopped crying altogether now.

Mercedes: Thank you Joe.

Joe: You said you sing right? Well, my band is rehearsing around here tomorrow why don't you come by so that I can watch you do what you love to do.

Mercedes: I will.

XXXX

6 Years Ago

Sam had just left the library after studying for his English Lit exam, the University of Maine in Farmington had its problems but their resource center for dyslexic services was a great help. He would be the first to admit that college was quite challenging due to all the reading and writing that was required.

He walked along the quad until he returned to his dorm room; he was really ready to just relax.

His roommate was this guy Artie Abrams. He was in a wheelchair but he wanted to make movies so he was in the writing program with Sam. Students with disabilities where able to get the ground floor apartments on campus; and they also received discounts on housing, so Sam decided to sell the dyslexia thing.

Sam: Hey, every little bit helps. He thought.

Artie was actually a popular guy, and we did have impersonations in common; except every time that Artie did one the person had an African-American flare to their lingo.

Sam felt a little unsettled and on nights like this when it was quiet and a little warm – he really missed Mercedes. It reminded him too much of their summer; that they spent together, hanging out, listening to music together, singing, family barbeques, beaches, & the carnival tilt-a-whirl.

He often wondered what he had done wrong that she had stopped taking his calls. At first he started thinking that maybe she had gotten her big break and maybe he just wasn't good enough for her anymore; even though she didn't seem to be that type of person.

The only thing was; he hadn't heard anything on the radio yet, he was sure he would have heard something of hers by now. He also grew a little weary of trying to find anything out from her parents. He knew that they really liked him and did not want to hurt his feelings by telling him anything one way or the other; he couldn't blame them though, he knew where their loyalty had to lie.

So that left only one other thought in his head; that she had found someone else and just wanted to avoid the awkward conversation. This had broken his heart even more. He went into his room and laid down on top of his made up bed with the lights turned off; just thinking about it made his heart break all over again.

He put on his headphones and started listing to something that explained exactly what he was feeling at that moment. The music began to play…

One day you may find true love that will last forever and ever.

'Til then you'll spend a lifetime wishing one together.

You never thought she'd say goodbye,

And you'll never understand the reasons why.

Heart of mine

How will you keep from dying?

Stop reminiscing,

Who is she kissing?

Heart of mine

Oh, what's the use in trying?

No one can mend you now.

Ummm, love plays cruel games

You can believe she's found another lover.

Does she miss me?

Sometimes you just can't help but wonder.

No you can't hold the hands of time,

And you'll always be the one she left behind.

Heart of mine

How will you keep from dying?

Stop reminiscing,

Who is she kissing?

Heart of mine

Oh, what's the use in trying?

No one can mend you now.

And you'll never understand the reasons why.

Heart of mine

How will you keep from dying?

Stop reminiscing,

Who is she kissing?

Heart of mine

Oh, what's the use in trying?

No one can mend you now.

Oh, heart of mine

Heart of mine

Heart of mine

It played on repeat until he fell asleep.

Author's Notes: Please remember to leave a review! I hope you will continue to read and enjoy.

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