Disclaimer: I hold no claim or right to profit from this story – unless you count reviews as currency and then, yes, I do hope to profit.
Summary: 12 years later Quinn turns up on Puck and Rachel's doorstep to return an unwanted gift. At least Grace thinks she is unwanted. What will it take to convince her that she is wide of the mark?
A.N. My first Glee fic – please be gentle.
"This is all your own fault, you know," her mother said as she dragged the dark haired girl along the sidewalk.
The child said nothing.
Quin sighed in pure aggravation, wondering not for the first time what she had ever done to be cursed with such a sullen child. You would think that having your entire bright future derailed by a teenage pregnancy would be punishment enough for any youthful wrongdoings – making the occasional gleek cry, having sex with your boyfriend's best friend in a moment of frustration, surely she had paid her dues by now. As she looked down at the chubby eleven year old shuffling beside her, watering eyes hidden behind thickly rimmed glasses, she realised her penance was still ongoing.
Quinn came to a stop as she reached the street number that matched the address in her book. Looking up at the New York brownstone, she was a little disgruntled to find it to be a very attractive residence in a subtle high-class way. They're doing well for themselves, she thought sourly. She comforted herself with the thought that the Pasadena mansion she called home could fit three of this shoebox into it. As she raised her fist to rap on the front door, her lifelong cross to bear tugged on her designer coat pleadingly.
"Please, Mommy," her teary voice begged – whined, Quinn heard – "Please don't leave me with them."
For a moment a flicker of maternal feeling pricked Quinn's conscience, a ghost of the emotion she had felt when she first held her newborn daughter and imagined a future with a pretty blue eyed blonde girl who would bring credit to her mother in the form of cheerleading championship trophies. But then her blue eyes had turned hazel-green, and the blonde baby curls had darkened to brown, and one day she turned around to find herself looking at the female translation of that same smug jerk that had blown her life to pieces by knocking her up. With a sharp tug, she freed her coat from Grace's white-knuckled grip.
"You should have thought about that before you embarrassed your stepfather with that display at his press conference," Quinn replied coldly.
"But I didn't mean to embarrass Howard," Grace cried. "When that nice reporter asked me about what kind of man he is, I just wanted to make him sound heroic so I told him about that time I walked in on him and Consuela and she had just fainted onto the bed and he was giving her mouth to mouth and then I think he was about to start thumping on her chest like they do on those hospital shows except he was much more gentle about it and seemed to be trying to get a really good grip first and – "
"Enough," Quinn barked, instantly cowing the little girl. She didn't need any more reminders of her husband's seedy fascination with the household staff. She shut her eyes as she remembered his parting words last night, just after he had booked their flight; I didn't rescue you from the hell of single motherhood just to have your little bastard serve me up at my own press conference. She hated it when Howard reminded her how much she owed him, how magnanimous he, the 24 year old law student, had been to take pity on the beautiful pregnant 17 year old and whisk her away to a life of luxury and respectability that exceeded all her Lima-escape dreams. If sometimes she questioned whether putting up with his numerous infidelities was worth the price, she was quick to turn her thoughts in a more positive direction like jewellery. Or clothes. Or the pool boy who came Mondays and Thursdays.
Speaking of pool boys, she thought as she heard footsteps approaching from the other side of the door. It swung open to reveal her first foray into the art of slumming.
"Hello, Puck," Quinn said, her mouth popping the "p".
"Quinn," he replied, shock clearly written over his features. "What are you doing here?"
"Noah?" a voice called from behind him. "Who's at the door?"
"Come and see for yourself, Man hands," Quinn called back. The feminine heels paused a moment and then put on a speed spurt so that soon there was long brunette hair brushing at Puck's shoulder. Puck put his arm around his wife's waist but positioned her slightly behind him, as though to protect her from some threat.
"Quinn?" Rachel said doubtfully; it had been 12 years since she had seen the scourge of her high school existence. The smoothly polished blonde woman before her had come a long way from the pony-tailed cheerleader who wore her Cheerio uniform as incessantly as a cartoon character, and she was almost unrecognisable. Except for the supercilious way she looked down her nose as she raked Rachel over with her contemptuous stare. That was hard to forget.
"In the flesh," her nemesis replied. Her eyes slid slyly back to Puck. "You remember my flesh, don't you, Puck?"
"Not really," he said coolly. "I was pretty damn wasted that night." He flicked her over with his own contemptuous stare. "Obviously. So, one more time, Quinn. What are you doing here?"
Quinn pulled Grace, who had gone unnoticed trembling at her mother's back, in front of her.
"I just dropped by to return a little something you left with me, Puck." So saying, she gave the child a shove towards the astonished couple standing in the doorway. "Grace, meet your father."
"Hi," the child mumbled, eyes glued to her shiny black Mary Janes. Too scared to look up and see the hungry look that flared in Puck's eyes, or the compassion in Rachel's.
"What are you saying, Quinn," Puck said cautiously as he reached out a hesitant hand towards the daughter he had never met.
"What I'm saying is I've put 12 years into her." Quinn snapped her fingers at the cab driver who immediately hauled two large suitcases up to the porch. Then she turned her steely gaze back to the man she held responsible for ruining her life. "You can take it from here."
That said, Quinn turned on her Jimmy Choos and walked away without a backward glance.
A.N. Should I go on?