Author: cloogle PM
Mercilessly, she continues to assaults my senses until I think I can no longer bear the frenzy of sensation in my pelvis, abdomen, heart and head. Nothing feels quite like desire. Nothing hurts better than love. She is the best I never had. AU.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Angst - Quinn F. & Rachel B. - Chapters: 26 - Words: 139,749 - Reviews: 1,392 - Favs: 1,150 - Follows: 1,658 - Updated: 12-10-12 - Published: 02-23-11 - id: 6770186
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
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"Remember no man is a failure who has friends." - Clarence - 'It's A Wonderful Life'
Glancing up, the sky takes my breath away; William Turner has painted the horizon today. My throat catches as a glug of air tries to work its way into my lungs. Morning sunshine blazes through the sparse clouds. I'm feeling good. Incredible actually. Life is fantastic. I'm grateful, oh, so grateful for everything I have. My family, friends and job. So blessed. The wonder of the everything washes over me. The worst of it, the best of it. The grim rubbing shoulders with the beautiful. A cold shower suddenly turned warm.
Naya grabs me roughly from behind, her fingers niggling at my waist and making me squirm. "Hey, girlfriend. Whatcha pondering?"
I inhale and smile. "World stuff."
"You on that kick again?" She grins into my shoulder. "C'mon, showtime."
Begrudgingly, I let her take me by the hand and, like a disgruntled four-year-old, I pout. "Do I have to, Nay? I wanna stay out here."
"Mark!" she yells and he approaches. "Dianna's being bratty and won't come to set," she jokes.
I find myself lifted into the air and swept into Mark's arms; he's carrying me 'Officer and a Gentleman' style and running into the building. Everyone is watching, and I just can't stop laughing. Today's gonna be a good day.
Kevin is playing 'Beware of the Blob' through his phone. He and Jenna dance to it: she pops her cheek with a finger and he follows suit. Heather is having her hair fixed but is bouncing with the music. The comb gets tangled in her ponytail, but she does it anyway. Matt and Harry are trying to out spin each other and, much to Matt's chagrin, Harry is winning. As I quietly re-check my script, Cory suddenly whispers something wholly unrepeatable in my ear. It makes me jump and then smile widely. He's as gleeful, no pun intended, as a child. Moving on, he does the same to nearly every unwitting person in the room. No rhyme, no reason. He reaches Amber, who nearly jumps out of her skin and chases after him, pulling at his pants and almost causing him to knock himself out on the sound equipment hanging from the ceiling. Sometimes I never want these days to change. We behave badly, but no more than a bunch of playful puppy dogs; biting, scratching, straddling, nuzzling, head-butting, rolling over each other. It feels natural so we do it without thought. Maybe it's actors, or maybe we'd be the same if we all worked for the IRS. I don't know. Our everyday is everyone else's Christmas party. We don't need mistletoe for an excuse to kiss our friends.
These days, I gladly take the rough with the smooth. And here comes Little Miss Rough. And, yes, of course I mean Lea. She's just attacked Chris by smearing wet lady kisses across his neck. He's swiping at her but she won't give up. Eventually he tweaks her nipples through her shirt and bra and she stops, looks aghast, then pulls on his like they're pinball release knobs. He squeals and runs away. Her eyes are bright. No doubt she's been chugging back energy drinks again. Setting herself up for the stream of consciousness tirade that will later fall from Rachel Berry's lips as she prepares to slap the smirk from Quinn's face.
The music has changed to a new London rap artist that Kevin has discovered. He's standing on the seat of Artie's wheelchair and getting down with his bad self. I look down, then when I look back up some time later, Lea has her knee held up to up Chord's waist; no mean feat for a girl of her height. Together they dirty dance. I mean, really dirty dance. They're practically sweating. It looks a little inappropriate because they're in their character clothes. I glance back to my script; my words are staying in my mind but the correct placing isn't. Ugh. Lea is now distracting me once again; she's being given a piggyback across the room by Naya. Crazy. I love how crazy they all are. We are all a little mad here. Some days I like to think that I'm Lea's favorite puppy to play with. Other times I know I'm not.
Suddenly there are hands creeping around my waist causing my abdomen to tense. A hot cheek presses on the back of my neck, and an 'I love you' is whispered into my shoulder. I'm just grateful she's in my life. So totally grateful. This part is the smooth.
It wasn't always like this. We lived together. It was fine. It wasn't a Boston marriage, just two girls living independently together. Happiness. Long, philosophical talks over wine. Short, silly talks over tea and cake. Weary, work-based talks over breakfast and coffee. Lea was someone I looked to: my go-to-gal; my rock. Twirling me around and catching me when I needed her.
Oh, she's still there, still a most wonderful friend. But I started to feel differently, and it got hard. What do you do when you fall for your closest friend? Do you risk telling her? No way. But not to... is like lying. So I do tell her, in my own way. I mention love. We talk of forever. I move on.
Like a magician she allows me to tirelessly pull emotion from her sleeves like knotted handkerchiefs. I need to give her a break. Give myself a break. Lately, I've stood back; it's harder to be close than distant. I still appreciate her hugs. It's easier when we're with other people. Lea has a habit of making you feel like you're the most important person in her life. She'll grab you, catch your gaze with hers and the look she gets in her eye is like she's never seen anything more beautiful. But she does it to us all. If I kid myself that I'm anything special to her, I'd never be able to control this. Alone with her I forget to remember that her affections are indiscriminately applied to everyone she cares about. We happy many.
She's steadily rising up the echelons of stardom. Soon we will lose her into the A-list. Maybe another couple years more. I'll make it last. As a romantic, I enjoy the harsh internal gnaw of unrequited love. I can appreciate the glow of need, without the need for a taste. I feed on my affection and it's enough to keep me going. Perhaps I'll tell her when we're ninety years old. She'll laugh. She'll laugh when I tell her that I've always loved her.
I'm so thankful to have the comfort of friends. I need them more than anything right now.
"I was born with an enormous need for affection, and a terrible need to give it." - Audrey Hepburn
She's practically rubbing my face on her breasts. Again. Lea's cuddles are nothing if not intense. I'm a little bit drunk. We are all fairly trashed, actually. Lea is incredibly drunk and has somehow acquired a stetson. We're in the VIP lounge of some place, the name of which has escaped me. I didn't take much notice, but as long as I'm with my friends, I feel safe. Sparkling lights filter through the darkness like fireflies and music thrums pleasantly through the air. The dinner table is covered in junk and food that we've been throwing at each other. A bread roll hits Heather between the eyes and she makes the most comical face. That girl should have been in silent movies. I once told her this, but she took it as an offensive remark. It wasn't; I meant she was as funny as Buster Keaton; she can kill with just a look. People should know me by now. I'm so not mean. Silly girl. Unless she had intended her retort to be sarcastic. We do that a lot around here and sometimes I forget. I'm not surprised they despair of me.
Anyway. So, yes, I'm wedged against Lea's cleavage. It's not sexual; just coddling. I'm kinda sitting beside her, slumped down on my chair. It's awkward, but warm and she smells delicious. She's talking to Cory. The last time I looked at him his eyes were pointing in different directions (caffeine overdose), so I'm pretty sure the conversation they're having is riveting. I can't hear anyway. Both of my ears are covered, one by her hand, the other by her chest. All I can hear is her heart beating and the rumble of her voice. It's like being driven home when you're a little kid; the steady motion of the wheels lulling you into a safe and gentle sleep, finally to be carried into the house and put immediately to bed. I like that feeling... and this one. Her chest rises with a deep inhalation and my eyes close.
The cab ride is not restful. Jenna and I jam Lea between us; her arms interlink ours. We're not being chummy, just trying to stop her from climbing into the front to take the wheel. The stetson has disappeared; I think the owner appeared before we left. She's spunky tonight; loud-mouthed and raucous. Intoxicated, over the limit and under the influence. I've never seen Lea drink so much, and she doesn't hold it well at the best of times. Traditionally, she's the one tending to everyone else. Maybe she didn't eat enough. Silly thing.
This evening she had danced sweetly around the room saying to people: 'Ask not what your Lea can do for you - ask what you can do for your Lea' in her bastardized version of JFK's legendary quote. She had demanded chaste kisses and close hugs. Sometimes I think she can't believe her life. The amazement shines through. There is no reason she doesn't deserve this; deserve those people who would lay their cloaks over puddles for her. Jenna reluctantly gets out of the car at her block and requires many assurances from me that I can deal. Which I can. I can deal.
The journey to Lea's floor is interesting. She has become more sedate and is half koala bear-ing me. I must admit, it's extraordinarily cute. The muzak rings strangely in my ears and I wish I was still dancing. It reminds me of when I used to stand at the back of the elevator in my dad's hotel in San Francisco. I'd take that ride for hours and just watch people. Sometimes I'd press the buttons on their behalf. Servitude suits me. If I look back on those days, I see them time-lapsed: hundreds of people rushing back and forth in a blur as morning turns to night in barely a matter of seconds. I wouldn't change those days, or the person I was. The person I am.
My eyes close as I feel the sudden stomach-lurching rush from floor 5 to 15. It makes me pleasantly woozy. Her fingertips dig into my side and a joy zips through me like a static shock. Naturally, Lea lives in a high rise apartment building. She's a New Yorker and they're not happy unless they're hundreds of yards above the street... or on it. We reach her door and she plants her purse in my hand to retrieve the key. I open up.
"I wanna make something spicy!" she shouts with renewed vigor, flying through as I lock up and attempt to keep Sheila and Claude from escaping as they weave between my legs like a pair of Peter Pan's lost shadows.
"Crapola," I exclaim as I run to pull her away from the stove. Our, oops... I forget myself, her cats are better behaved than she is. "Lea, no!" I fling my arms around her waist and hug her back to my front. Responsibility floods my body, washing away the fuddle of alcohol in my brain. My legs are steady; hers bend loosely at the knee like a marionette's.
"Let's play The Game of Life!" she enthuses as I pull her comically towards the couch, away from all things kitchen-dangerousy.
"You're incredible, you know that?" I shake my head.
"I do." She smiles.
As I sit down, she lands on my lap and the wind is knocked out of me. "Lea?" I whisper due to lack of breath.
Turning so that she is sideways on, she looks at me with wide, curious eyes. Her pupils are dilated. "Yes?" she says under her breath, suddenly pretending our conversation is covert. Eyeing Claude suspiciously, she leans in and, where before she was merely pressing against the boundaries of my personal bubble, she now completely pops it. Her glossed lips fall to a rest against my right temple. It's not a kiss; instead she's keeping her balance, using her mouth as an anchor.
"Get off, sweetie, before I have to push you," I insist with a nudge.
Obediently, she shuffles off me, leaving just her legs resting on my thighs, crossed at the ankle like she's a CEO and I'm her desk. Or perhaps I'm her lackey secretary, since she's now looking at me like she's about to say: 'Ms Agron, take a letter!' I hold her still and gently ease the high heels from her feet. "You're good to me," she mutters, curling her unbound toes, "and one day I will take you for a wife."
Not before she takes Theo, Jon, Chris and maybe some guy from Vampire Diaries for husbands. Even then I'd have to wait for the divorce from Jenna to come through. "Sure you will." I pat her knees, lift her legs out of the way and go to the refrigerator. "Drink this or you'll feel like death tomorrow," I insist.
"Yes, ma'am." She salutes and, watching the level sway, takes the open bottle unsteadily like she's balancing an ostrich egg on a toothpick. The look of concentration is adorable.
I get a bottle for myself and feel like a protective mother as I stare at her feebly sipping the water. "So," I breathe, "epistemological solipsism versus realism... go," I challenge mockingly.
"Huh?" She squints at me to focus.
My eyelids close lazily as I smirk. "I'm only teasing. I'm pretty sure you couldn't differentiate between an apple and a mango right now."
"I can!" She points assertively. "Oranges are orange."
"I said mango, poindexter."
Lea laughs and indicates for me to join her. Kicking my shoes off, I sit down and bring my sore feet onto the couch. Leaning back, I tie a braid in my hair to stop it from falling in my eyes. "Dianna, will you stay here tonight? Please?" she asks, her words much more lucid. "I won't steal the covers," she bargains.
I consider it, worrying at my bottom lip. I've broken my own rule, the one about not being alone with her. She looks at me expectantly, her pupils still dilated but her gaze now steady, strong and dark. It hurts to keep reminding myself that she wants me only as a friend, a companion. I am so drawn, but the lure is false. She doesn't understand why I'm taking so long to reply. One half of me feels overjoyed, like I've just been danced into bed by someone I love. The other part of me remembers the truth.
Lea paints broadly with her affection, never sticking within the borders of the canvas that contains her lover and her family. I feel her hand slip into mine and I swear my heart physically shudders. I want to be drunk again so that I could kiss her and we'd blame the alcohol, the night, the moment. I'm tired of this scratched record, weary of running this loop that constantly glitches just as I reach this very point, only to skip back or jump. She places a kiss on my left cheek, whilst cupping the other in her palm possessively. It's time to lift the needle and stop this sad song before the vinyl is completely ruined. "I'm sorry," I mutter, "I can't."