On the couch, Quinn snuggled against Sara, who was curling Quinn's hair in her hands. Quinn remembered the first time Sara had touched her like that. It had been after that attack in the club in France. "Are you okay?" Daniel asked. Quinn was between hi m, and Sara, on the sofa in their hotel room. Daniel reached out to put his arm around Quinn, but she flinched. Instantly, she felt guilty, since she knew there wasn't an evil bone in his body. "I'm sorry. I'm fine, and I know you're a good person, but I can't stand being touched by a man right now," Quinn answered. Sara snaked her arm around Quinn, and pulled her close. Quinn let her head rest against Sara's stomach, while Sara curled Quinn's hair. In the grasp of comforting safety, tears began to spring to Sara's eyes. Before then, Quinn had thought Sara was superficial. That night showed Quinn that Sara was just self-protective.
Gabe entered the living room, placing his cup on the table. "Coaster," Quinn shouted out, pointing towards the table.
"I'll clean up any rings later," Gabe replied.
"Like you cleaned that one, and that one, and that one," Quinn returned, pointing vaguely at cloudy spots all over the table.
"That wasn't all me," Gabe said.
"Oops," Smith picked up the meatball that rolled off his plate, while he tried to sit on the floor. He picked it up, blew off a few dust bunnies, and popped it on his mouth, leaving a pool of marina sauce on the floor.
Sara pointed to a tissue box on the table, "Use that, and clean up that sauce."
"I'll get it later," Smith insisted.
"Hey, did anyone wash my jersey yet?" Daniel called from the top of the stairs. "Quinn?"
"Why would I be washing your jersey?" Quinn called back. There was a long moment of silence, and then a forlorn voice confessed, "Because I snuck it into your laundry.
Jumping to her feet, Quinn yelled, "That is it. Everyone, get into the kitchen."
"I don't want to," Daniel said, "There's wooden spoons down there."
"Get your ass down here, before I come up there with an espanador," Quinn shouted. She turned to Gabe, and Smith. "Kitchen, now."
"I'm eating," Smith complained.
"Do you want me to get an espanador?" Quinn asked.
Shriveling back, Smith said softly, "But I don't know what that is?"
"You don't want to find out. I'm going to the laundry room for three minutes, but when I come back, everyone better be in that kitchen," Quinn threatened. "Or you'll see how much worse a portuguse menina can be than a latina chica." With that warning, she stormed off to the laundry room. When she came back, dragging a mountain of cleaning supplies, four people were standing in the kitchen. Dropping all the supplies on the floor, Quinn breathed heavily and said, "I am not a maid. I am not paid for that shit. If I lived here rent free, I would do all the cleaning, and all the laundry, but I don't. I don't do other people's laundry, I don't do all the dusting, vaccuming, or window washing, and meu Deus, Smith, I told you that you couldn't keep a porquipine in your room, until you cleaned up some floor space."
Daniel and Gabe exchanged looks. "We've a porquipine?"
"I caught it myself. After I lost the viper in the house, I was feeling lonely," Smith told them.
"There's a snake loose in the house?" Sara asked.
Quinn shook her head. "It wrapped itself around a hot water pipe, and that was she wrote."
"What does that mean?" Smith asked hopefully.
With a painful expression, Quinn lied, "That I gave him to the biology department on campus, for study."
Happily, Smith responded, "Oh, at least he's leading a useful life."
Quinn continued, "I don't know if it's because I used to be a maid, or that both Sara and I are girls, but we are not going to do more than our fair share anymore. Smith, by the end of the day, I don't want to see a single object on your floor. I want everything put away neatly, with clothes hung up, all your laundry done, bed made, and I want your floors smelling fresher than pinsole, or I'm taking that porquipine, until it is done. Daniel, you'll be doing your own laundry, while you help Gabe clean the living room, kitchen, stairs, and hallway. I don't care how the labor is divided, but get it done by five, or I'll never cook dinner for any of you again."
"Why doesn't Sara have any chore?" Daniel complained.
"Because she pulls her weight around here," Quinn chided.
He mumbled, "You sure she's not just in bed with the sheriff?"
"What was that?" Quinn wanted to know with a testy voice.
"No, she's just in bed with her TA, these days," Gabe muttered.
"Meu Deus, esses meninos!" Quinn picked up the plastic duster, "So you wanna complain, and negotiate? Let's negotiate, portugues mama style."
"Run," Daniel and Gabe chimed together, each grabbing a cleaning product. They were halfway out of the kitchen, when they each took a step back to grab Smith, "Come on, Smith."
Quinn tapped her palm with the duster, and looked to Sara, "I think it's time for a date with a porquipine, and some margaritas."
"I'll blend some ice," Sara took her hands off her hips, and moved towards the freezer. Secretly, she was impressed. She didn't know Quinn had it in her.
"You've really made an impression on Quinn," Gabe said, changing into his pajamas.
"That was all her. She's been changing, now that she's out from under your thumb, and now that her employers aren't related to you," Sara replied.
"You talk like I abused her," Gabe snapped.
"Maybe not," Sara replied, "But you certainly never treated her in a way that gave her any favors."
"And you did?" Gabe challenged, "Or are you forgetting how good it feels when she looks at you like you're a goddess she worpships?"
"She doesn't do that anymore," Sara said softly, "And it's not fair that you forgive her, and not me, just because you've known her longer."
Gabe pulled his shirt over his head, and sighed. "That's not why I forgive her. It's because I-."
When Gabe's voice trailed off, Sara filled in for him. "Love her."
"I'm responsible for her," he answered.
"Why?" Sara pushed.
"I don't know," he picked up his clothes, and threw them into the hamper.
"It's because you love her," Sara's voice drifted before it found its way back. "And not me."
"I wouldn't have dated you for three years if I didn't care about you. You're sexy, and smart, and any guy would be lucky to have you," Gabe replied.
"You care, because I'm your girlfriend, and you'll always care, because you started caring in the first place, but you only dated me because there was no reason not to," Sara said dullly, "Because I'm pleasing to look at, and I can verbally spar with you, and I was enough like her without you having to commit the disapproving act of getting in bed with the help, but I'm just not enough like her, for you, am I?"
"You know what your one fucking flaw is? That you're so goddamn insecure," Gabe told her, his words more fiery than his tone. Softly, Sara returned, "Other than arrogance, you're biggest flaw is that you are a very, very simple man, despite how smart you are. You are so simple, you don't even think, or process emotions. You just feel them, then act. Feelings to you are like books in a library. All you see is part of the cover, while you walk on by."
"At least there are books in my library," Gabe responded. The brief look of hurt on her face was one of the few moments her emotions were so obvious. "I'm sorry, that wasn't appropriate."
Quietly, Sara changed the subject. "Are we going to sleep in the same bed tonight?"
"We just admitted that we don't love each other, and you want to keep trying?" Gabe asked. And she thought Quinn could be pathetic.
"Three years is a lot of time to just throw away. Every couple has their rough spots."
"I don't want to do this, any more," Gabe said, "Not because of your affair, or because you think I like Quinn. I don't want to do this, because we're clearly not what the other needs. I don't make you feel the way you want to feel. In the beginning, it was fun, and flirting, and we mistook that for compatibility, and passion, or maybe we wanted fun, but now we want other things. Sara, we reached the end of the road along time ago, but we kept driving any way."
"I don't like just giving up."
"You don't like failing. You didn't fail. Well, you kind of did, with the cheating, but it was with a girl, so you get points for cheating in the hottest way possible, that leaves your ex the least angriest," Gabe replied, "So we'll count it as a win."'
"So what do we do?"
Running his fingers through his hair, Gabe said, "You can't move anywhere else, and I don't want to go back home. I guess, we'll just move the gym into the living room, and I'll live in the basement, for now. I'll move tomorrow, tonight, I'll just keep sleeping on the couch, and we'll have to be okay living in the same house." Before she could respond, he grabbed a pillow, and a blanket, and left.
Daniel, and Quinn, were on the back porch. "Do you like this Simon guy?" Daniel piqued, "Or is he just a fling?"
"I don't know. He's so hot, and gentlemanly. And he's portuguese," Quinn answered, "And I can't see myself having a future with someone who isn't portugese."
Scrunching his nose, Daniel replied, "Aw, it's just a fling. Minha menina quente is nostalgic for the flavor of the homeland, is all."
Now Quinn scrunched her nose. "I keep forgetting that you're part Brazilian. And I'm not nostalgic. I just want certain things. Like I want to speak portuguese in my house, and have my partner know what I'm saying. I want my kids to speak it. I want them to know how to make traditional foods that I make, and hear all the traditional stories that I heard. I want them to have forty cousin, half named Ana, the other half called Maria, who are all disappointed to hear your mother named you something unique. I want them have three or four last names, and I want them to have a heritage. I don't want someone who just understands my culture, but who share's my heritage. Not the one I have as the help's kid, but as a part of a very old culture, as a part of one of the oldest established, modern countries in Europe."
"You can't just settle for someone who loves you a lot, and wants to share your life?" Daniel said, at the end of her spiel.
Quinn smiled, "If it comes to that, I guess I could settle. I wouldn't be happy about it, though. I got to go to sleep. I've work early tomorrow."
"Good like with your Brazilian spice," Daniel called after her. Quinn shook her head, and slipped back inside the house. Daniel entered shortly after, running into Sara. "Hey, what's up?"
"Nothing, I'm just going for a walk," Sara said.
"Yea, I just need to get out of the house."
"Wanna go for a drink?"
"Yeah, okay," Sara agreed. She grabbed a coat, and followed Daniel outside, while putting it on. Daniel grabbed the collar of the coat, and helped her slid the jacket on.