Author: itwasadream PM
Starts the summer before Senior year when Rachel and Quinn find themselves working together but by the time school starts, things have drastically changed. Not necessarily for the best. Eventual Faberry. Rated M for later chapters.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Angst - Rachel B. & Quinn F. - Chapters: 20 - Words: 80,004 - Reviews: 668 - Favs: 731 - Follows: 378 - Updated: 02-17-11 - Published: 01-03-11 - Status: Complete - id: 6619537
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Alright. First chapter of a brand new fic. It's moodier than BWYDT. Issues aren't resolved by the end of each chapter but there are lighter moments. I wouldn't classify it as angst over fluff. It's a good balance of light and dark. More angsty in the beginning, fluffier towards the end. If you're looking for something fluffy all the time, stick with the prequel to BWYDT which will be posted on my blog starting tomorrow, 1/4/11 (link on my profile).
As the first chapter of the fic, it's mostly just build up. Hopefully it will be enough to bring you back for another chapter or two when things really get going around chapter 3. This is a progressive fic that will take a few chapters to get to where the action is. I know that's one of the hard things about reading. You just want to jump right in there but I couldn't do it with this particular fic. I promise that if you hang in there, it will be worth the wait.
There are mini time jumps in the first several chapters so you will need to pay attention to the headings. Once school starts, it will fall into a day-to-day setting.
Feel free to leave me comments or send me messages, good or bad. I don't mind hearing what you would like to see done differently. I'll see what I can do to fit it in there as long as it will work. Angst is a different style than I'm use to. I can do issues, but I tend to like to resolve them quickly (it's just part of my personality) and move on to the happier stuff, so this fic was a particular challenge for me. Anyway, I hope you enjoy.
Two weeks before senior year begins:
"What the hell was that?" Quinn asked bringing her hand to her mouth. She backed up a step and looked at Rachel with shock and horror plastered all over her face. Rachel knew she had just messed up and her stomach dropped.
The diva could feel her heart thudding rapidly in her chest. Her skin was burning as panic swept over her and she started sweating as her ears registered a ramble of "I... uh... Quinn... I..." But never manged to get her mouth to form anything remotely close to an actual sentence. She was floundering in a sea of panic. What did she just do? Why did she do it? What good did she think was going to come out of it? She shifted her weight and played with her fingers while she swallowed audibly around the hard lump in her throat that was cutting off her air supply.
"You kissed me." Quinn stated in pure disbelief, barely above a whisper as she stared at the brunette with a dropped brow and unblinking gaze. "You just kissed me."
"Quinn, I'm sorry." Rachel apologized and took a step closer, but Quinn took a bigger one backwards, still holding her fingers to her mouth where the brief and regretful connection had been made. The reinforced space between them made Rachel's blood go cold with rejection.
"Don't." She ordered, lifting her other hand and raising a finger in protest. "Just... just stay there. I... I need to leave." She said, taking another few steps backwards towards her car.
Rachel found herself taking small, desperate steps towards her, holding out her hands, begging her to stay for just one more minute. "Please, let me just-" She knew she had messed up but she needed to know that things were going to be okay. "Quinn, I'm sorry." She needed to know that Quinn wasn't going to hate her for the rest of her life, that the blonde wasn't going to see her at school and turn around and walk away so she didn't have to be near her. Leaving her with a constant reminder that she had once again screwed everything up for herself and everyone around her. She just needed the smallest sign that she hadn't just ruined everything they had built over the summer. "Quinn, I'm sorry. Can I please just explain?" But she didn't find it.
Quinn shook her head, staring hard at the now tearing brunette before she turned and ran to her car. There wasn't even a second's worth of hesitation before the headlights came on and the car peeled out of the parking lot. Rachel stood, shaking as she cried, and watched the blurred taillights disappear in front of her. This wasn't what she wanted. This wasn't what she had hoped for, what she had been so lost in thought with. No. This was the beginning of heart break like she had never felt before.
Six weeks before Senior year:
"Oh, no." Quinn held up her hand and shook her head. "Oh, no, no, no, no, no. You have got to be kidding me. This is some sort of elaborate joke, right?"
"Is there a problem Miss Fabray?"
Yes. She's about five two, insanely annoying, and standing right in front of us. Quinn pursed her lips and avoided her boss' disapproving eyes, hoping her silence would be an acceptable enough answer to keep her from having to provide a typical Fabray response that would result in her losing the summer job her mother was requiring her to have.
"I didn't think so." Mr. Matthews, a tall, bumbling, arrogant man with thinning browm hair and patchy, oily, pale skin taunted. Why anyone would ever eat at an ice cream shop run by such a vile looking man was beyond her. She was only there for the money and it didn't require her waiting tables or frying burgers, so she couldn't pass it up. "Now that your attitude is back in place, perhaps you can begin training our new employee."
Quinn closed her eyes in dramatic repulsion and opened them again, looking away from a nervous and out of place Rachel Berry. The blonde's bottom lip drew taunt in anger as the man snickered as he walked away, leaving Quinn fuming and Rachel a little less than amused herself. She was tired of being the one always picked. Tired of being the one who people intentionally hurt or having her feelings walked all over as if they didn't exist. She hated feeling like the world and everyone in it would enjoy their lives so much more if she was just to go away. It was a horrible feeling to not feel wanted. Forget being appreciated, she wasn't even wanted and she was tired of it all.
They both waited in silence until their boss disappeared behind the swinging double doors leading to the back and Quinn took a sudden step closer to the petite diva, making her uncomfortable with the invasion of her personal space. "What are you doing here?"
"I would have thought the answer to such a question would have been obvious. Even for someone with a cheerleader's IQ." Rachel had thought that the comment was silent but judging by Quinn's reaction, it wasn't. A sudden wave of panic washed over the diva and then this strange sensation of freedom. Her unexpected actions had left her out there and feeling completely vulnerable, but it brought with it an adrenalin rush that she found addictive and freeing.
Quinn pulled her head back, not expecting the insult but she recovered quickly with another step forward, causing Rachel to take one backwards. "Find. Another. Job."
The diva recovered just as quickly and crossed her arms over her chest defiantly. She raised her chin slightly in the air, producing a smug smile for the cheerleader to scowl at. "I think I might enjoy this one far too much to part with it just yet."
"You don't even eat ice cream. You're vegan. You should be appalled to even stand in this shop."
"While your ability to remember any detail of my life is flattering, your condescending tone has left me less than amused and therefore much more inclined to maintain my employment here." While she had to admit that her confidence in the confrontation was drastically out of character, seeing the blonde stumble was empowering. She could actually see the appeal and might even see why Quinn was so keen on acting this way.
The blonde dropped her brow and shook her head in animated confusion. Who was this girl? She wasn't Rachel Berry. Rachel would have just rolled her eyes and demanded that they skip the argument and start the training. Rachel would have defended her position here, explaining why she would be willing to work in an ice cream shop when she probably wrote letters to every major distribution company, complaining about their treatment of the animals used in the production of their product.
"Look, I don't know what crawled up your butt and died, but I'm not going to take the attitude. Especially not from you."
The diva met Quinn's strong gaze with her own. "Then get over yourself and stop giving it to me. I can remain civil if I am assured that you are willing to do the same. I'm not going anywhere despite your protests, so you can either make this arrangement functional or miserable. That choice is solely yours."
Rachel stood her ground, still holding her arms over her chest and kept a stern look on her face, waiting for Quinn to make her decision. The blonde looked back to the doors her boss had vanished through and growled lightly. She needed this job and she was already walking a thin line with the man. "Just keep your mouth shut and your question to a minimum." She demanded before turning around and heading back behind the counter. Rachel followed a good distance behind her, not wanting to push her luck. She may have been putting up a good front, but even just that much of a verbal confrontation had her heart pounding from nerves.
"Where do we start?"
"We start with you telling me now if you are going to complain about having to serve someone ice cream or if you are going to lecture the customers for their choice of summer treat." The diva pouted again, turning her eyes away from the blonde and to the long case of ice cream tubs on display for the customers to select from. "Actually, on second thought, by all means. Lecture away. If you run away some of the business then maybe Mr. Douche Bag will fire you and grant me an early Christmas present." Rachel returned her cold stare to the blonde who had already broken their silent agreement of tolerance. Quinn realized it and looked away in apology, to proud to actually say the words. "If you do, he will fire you."
The warning was a little rough, but Rachel could sense a sliver of sincerity in it and relaxed the tension in her shoulders. It was a weird interaction they had going on. It was almost one of equals at the moment. Maybe that's what she had been needing to do all along. Stop taking people's shit and dish it back every once in awhile. She wouldn't have to be mean like Quinn, just mean back. It would only be in response to her treatment. She opened her mouth to ramble on about her appreciation for the blonde's concern but opted for a simple and light "Thank you" instead.
"Yeah. Don't mention it. Really. Don't." The diva nodded her head lightly and returned to her inspection of the various flavors and colors of ice cream. "Everything is pretty straight forward. They tell you what they want and you give it to them. Everything's labeled. They want toppings, you give them toppings. What you're going to have to learn is the cash register and the shakes and smoothies." Quinn explained walking backwards until she reached the counter with the smoothie maker. "We have cheat sheets for ingredients though, so it's still not a big deal. You'll be fine. And I'll work the cash register until you learn it. You can look over my shoulder or something."
The pair fell into an awkward silence. Quinn was huddled in the corner of two counters, looking at the ground while Rachel remained where she was, arms crossed, staring out of the glass door entrance. "So, now what?"
"Now we wait until we have a customer. There's a lot of down time." A lot of down time leaving you more than enough time to drive me to commit murder. "So why are you working here? I thought you would have found a summer job giving dance classes or vocal lessons... Actually, I didn't even think your dads would make you work."
"And why wouldn't they? Am I not like every other teenager?"
"No. You have two dads that spoil you and allow you to think that you're the best at everything and therefore more inclined to spend your summer vacation honing your talents, not working in an ice cream shop."
Rachel huffed. "What about you? You're parents are the wealthiest family in Lima. Why do you have a summer job?"
Quinn looked down with an expression Rachel hadn't seen on her face in a while. Embarrassment and pain. "My parents divorced last year. Mom has been a house wife for the last twenty-three years and... I'm just having to help out a little."
Rachel was actually impressed with the openness the blonde was showing and decided to follow suite. "I was giving lessons. However, my critiques were not easily accepted by my pupils' parents and I have found myself without students. I... may have also damaged my Daddy's car just slightly and am being held responsible for the repairs."
The blonde couldn't help but to smile and failed at holding back a little laugh. Rachel couldn't even accept the blame for something she had done wrong, or what she 'may have' done wrong. "How did you damage the car?"
Rachel brought her hand to the glass case and ran her finger along it as she walked its length. "I backed into our mailbox." Quinn scrunched her face in confusion. "It is one of those rod iron, ornate mail boxes that weigh over one hundred pounds and didn't move much when I hit it."
"I'm sure, but it's your mail box. How did you not know where it was?"
"I was a little distracted. That's all."
Quinn shook her head, knowing the only time Rachel was ever short on details was when it was either going to get her in trouble, or laughed at. "Spill it."
The diva raised her brow and shook her head. "I have no idea what you are referring to, but if-"
"You know exactly what I'm talking about. What had you distracted?" Rachel opened her mouth and met Quinn's amused eyes but then looked back down again, never responding. "Okay. That's alright. I'll figure it out eventually. And that is free game for harassment, because I would laugh at anyone who managed to do something like that."
Rachel laughed nervously. "Then I'll see to it that you never find out. No offense, but you are one of the last people I would willing provide that information to. Santana's the only one that beats you out."
"Well, it's nice to know that I'm not the biggest bitch you know."
The brunette shook her head. "You come off as the second." Quinn didn't know why but the joke hit her a little harder than she had anticipated. She actually felt a stab in her gut at the confirmation that the diva saw her as a bitch. She should. Quinn had given her every reason, but it was just different to hear it in words.
Still, the blonde pushed the pain away and went stone-faced to hide the hurt. "Then I guess I might just have to work a little harder to regain my title."
"No." Quinn whispered harshly, trying to keep her voice down so the customers didn't hear her. "Jesus, it's a milk shake. How hard is it for you to handle that?" She grabbed a fresh pitcher and quickly made one herself, leaving Rachel staring into her disaster of a concoction and feeling more useless than she had in a while. It really wasn't hard, but she just couldn't seem to figure out what she kept doing wrong and it made her feel stupid and a chore just to be around. She watched as the blonde turned around with a beaming smile and handed the customer the shake and proceeded to collect the money. Rachel was suppose to be watching but figured Quinn wanted her space more.
Once the customers left and the door shut with the ringing of that stupid bell, Quinn's smile fell back into her predictable scowl she had been wearing all day. Rachel leaned back against the counter and continued to look at the failed shake. "What did I do wrong?"
"You drowned it. You need to pay more attention to the amounts of the ingredients you put in there. No one wants a shake that is more like a soup. It needs to be thicker."
"How do I get it thicker?"
Quinn turned around and looked at her coldly. "You put the right amount of ice cream in it."
"I couldn't scoop it out of the tub. It was too hard." Rachel explained in a bit of a whine and the blonde rolled her eyes. She could handle Rachel's rambles better than her whining.
"If your that much of a frickin weakling then keep a cup of hot water when you scoop. Dip the scoop in the water and it will glide through the ice cream easier." Rachel stared at her as she snatched the cup from her hand and ran the ice cream scoop under hot water and then easily managed to obtain a full serving of hard chocolate ice cream before plopping it into the cup and handing it back to her. "Simple enough for you?"
Rachel accepted the cup and nodded her head, looking at the drowning scoop of ice cream. "I would have never thought about the hot water."
"That's because you don't eat ice cream." Quinn explained. Her tone may have been annoyed but she was providing the diva with an excuse. "Why are you here? Are there no other places you could get a job?"
Rachel suddenly felt like she was in the way again. I mean, Quinn couldn't even bring herself to face the diva as she spoke to her. Instead, she stared at the counter in front of her. "It's the middle of the summer. Most jobs have already been filled. It was either this or McDonald's and I am not frying animals. While the treatment of animals within the dairy industry is atrocious, they pale in comparison."
"Comparison to being eaten?" Quinn joked with a smile, seemingly oblivious to the wincing the diva was doing. "But they just taste so damn good. I mean, nothing is better than a huge chunk of steak sitting on your plate, marinating in it's own juices. God, my mouth is watering just thinking about it." She grinned to herself and then shot the smug look over her shoulder to the scolding brunette. "Doesn't that sound delicious to you, Stubbles?"
"How was your first day of work, Kiddo?" Mark asked as his daughter walked into the house looking completely defeated. The tall, thin, dark skinned man sat on the couch in the living room while Rachel stomped her way in and collapsed down next to him in her typical dramatic fashion.
"Is that question really required? Or can you not tell by my emotive body language?"
He looked at her with pursed lips before flipping the TV off and shifting in his seat to half face her, an arm propped on the back of the couch. "Long day? Drama with dairy? Or something else?"
"The something else made it and extremely long day and even managed to overshadow my drama with the dairy." The diva pouted, dropping her chin to her chest. "Quinn Fabray works there."
Mark could barely hear the mumble but figured it out rather quickly. "That's the cheerleader, right?" Rachel nodded. "The one that Finn lied to you about?"
"No. That was Santana, the only one that would have been worse for me to be stuck with on a day to day basis for the remainder of summer vacation."
"Oh. I see." He nodded his head slowly. "Then this is the cheerleader whose boyfriend you stole."
Rachel looked up at him in disbelief. "You make it sound as if you're scolding me and taking the side of one of the people who has made my life miserable for the last three years."
"Always the drama queen." He teased, pulling her into a reluctant hug. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make it sound like that. I'm just trying to keep all of these cheerleaders straight. You know they all dress the same and act the same... and probably think the same. Do you think it's the uniform that sucks away any ounce of unique personality they might have possessed at one time?"
He could tell Rachel was smiling now. "It might be."
"I think it is. But anyway, how horrible was she? Are you going to look for another job at McDonald's?"
The diva shook her head as she sat back up. "No. She... she wasn't as bad as she could have been. Highly insensitive to my vegan beliefs and definitely lacking with patience, but it could have been worse. I just felt unwanted all day and it was emotionally draining."
Mark nodded his head slowly and ran a hand over his daughter's hair. "Well, maybe you two working together will give you a better understanding of one another. She might see you for the wonderful person you really are and likely to be more receptive of it without your fellow peers around."
"Doubtful." Actually, Rachel had already thought about that and just didn't want to admit it yet. Between Quinn and Santana, the blonde would be the one more open to the possibility of not really a friendship, but at least an understanding. She had helped Rachel with Finn that once, but other things had distorted even that friendly gesture. She was over high school. It was all a joke anymore. People who were friends one day were talking behind your back the next. People who helped you off the ground were quickly the ones pushing you back down.
"Hey. You never know. Don't rule out the possibility until you've at least tried."
"I'll try. It's just whether or not she will see it as my attempt at maintaining a level of civil interactions or me just trying to piss her off by sticking around. But judging by her attitude today, I don't see tomorrow being any different."
"Tomorrow's a new day. So let it be. Don't bring today into it."