"Trying to catch a peepshow, Berry?"
"If you don't want people to walk in on you, try locking the door."
"The lock's broken." Quinn broke into tears. It actually wasn't a break, since she was crying before Rachel pushed the door open.
"Nothing. I'm having the time of my life." She sniffed, then looked up at Rachel, fully intending to glare at her until she left. Instead, she noticed the other girl was covered in Cherry slushie. She sniffed again, then pushed past Rachel toward the sinks. Wordlessly, she took a damp paper towel and started wiping the dripping slush away.
"What are you doing?"
"I'm fully aware. This isn't the first time I've been hit." Rachel caught their reflection in the mirror, her face covered in red dye #2 and Quinn's still red and puffy around the eyes and nose. "We're quite the pair."
"Don't try to be cute. I'm just feeling generous."
She stood in silence as Quinn mopped up as much of the mess as she could.
"There's no way I can get it out of that shirt."
"It's okay." Rachel pulled off her cardigan, then unbuttoned her white (and, now, splotchy pink) blouse. She dug into her backpack and pulled out a clean pullover sweater.
Quinn peaked an eyebrow as the other girl stripped down. She wasn't turned on or shy or anything. She was just surprised that the other girl seemed so prepared. Also, for someone not involved in sports, she was in decent shape. Tight stomach, toned arms, cute bra, too--
"I work out every morning. Singing and dancing is just as rigorous as any sport."
"You were checking me out."
"I was not."
"I didn't mean it in a sexual context. But you were checking me out. Wondering why I'm in shape."
"Get over yourself, Sasquatch."
Even though they were cordial and maybe even kind of friends, at least inside the walls of the music room, the name calling had yet to cease. This was mostly out of habit.
"That hardly makes any sense." Rachel pulled the sweater over her head. "I am way too short. Yeti, maybe."
Quinn just shook her head and began to wash her own face. Rachel proceeded to pull various bottles out of her bag and line them up on the sink. There was facial cleanser and moisturiser in the mix.
"You can use any of this, if you need to. I find the school soap to be too abrasive for the face." With that, she pulled a small hair dryer out of the front pocket of the bag and began to wave it over her hair.
Quinn thought about turning down Rachel's offer, but the girl was right. And it was important to look good, even if she was no longer a Cheerio or popular or important to a majority of the student body. When the hair dryer shut off, she voiced the question that had surfaced the second Rachel began this little routine.
"Do you do this every time?"
"It's imperative to look good at all times, because your time to shine may come at any given moment. I can't let other people's cruelty bring me down."
And suddenly, Quinn hear the words coming out of her mouth, "The baby... it's not Finn's."
Rachel dropped the bottle of Oil of Olay SPF 15 into the sink. "What?"
"I don't know why in the hell I just told you that."
She picked the bottle up out of the sink. "Probably because you're feeling guilty and vulnerable."
"You don't always have to answer everything with brutal honesty."
"Yes, I do. Lying just creates unnecessary problems."
"Sometimes you have to lie."
"Like to Finn?"
Quinn just nodded. If she said anything, right now, the tears would be back. It didn't matter, they were coming back, anyway.
"You have to tell him." Rachel began to pack everything back up in her bag. "It's not fair to him. He's trying really hard to support you."
"And, you realize what all this means, right?" She continued before Quinn could respond. "You're going to have to come to my house for Hanukkah because this baby is half Jewish."
"But I'm not even keep--"
"It doesn't matter and I don't care. This baby will have a lot to deal with, depending on what you choose to do with your life. But, for now, while we're kind of friends and now that I know what you just told me, you owe it to her."
Quinn nodded. She was afraid to say anything, because she didn't want Rachel to yell at her, again. Actually, she wasn't yelling, just speaking very directly. "Um... when, uh, is Hanukkah."
"On the 25th day of Kislev."
Quinn wondered if this was how Brittany felt, sometimes. It was like Rachel wasn't even speaking English. "I don't--"
Rachel broke into a smile. "This year it starts on December eleventh."
Almost month away. Maybe Rachel would forget about all this by then.
But Rachel didn't forget. And Quinn was glad she didn't By the time December eleventh rolled around, a lot had happened.
About a week after her conversation with Rachel, she had a strange moment of unlikely courage and told Finn he wasn't the father. This, of course, led to a fight between Finn and Puck, which happened during football practice and resulted in them getting both benched and suspended for three games and two days, respectively.
The glee kids kept saying they weren't choosing sides, but they were. At the very least, they kept it out of the music room and didn't take it out on Quinn.
Somehow, she suspected that Rachel was responsible for the lack of backlash against her.
So, when it came time for Quinn and Baby's first lessons in Jewish holidays, she was kind of excited. And glad for a friend like Rachel. Also, somewhere during the month the prefix of "kind of" had been lost.
Quinn was actually interested to see what she might learn in all this. All she knew about Hanukkah was that it wasn't the Twelve Days of Christmas. She once asked Puck about what the holiday was actually about, but he just said, "Eight days of chocolate money and fried food. It's pretty fucking cool." Rachel's enthusiasm to educate her was a pleasant surprise. Quinn took her faith seriously, despite her obvious failings, and to see Rachel concerned about religious balance was intriguing, to say the least.
When Quinn rang the doorbell to the Berry house, she could hear Rachel shouting something. The door opened to reveal one of her fathers on the other side. Because he was African American, she assumed he wasn't the Jewish one. Then again, she wasn't sure.
"Hello, you must be Quinn."
"Daddy!" Rachel practically skidded to a stop before nearly colliding with the man. "I said I would get it. Hi, Quinn."
Rachel herded her inside and introduced her to both of her fathers, shooed them into the kitchen, then led Quinn into the living room. "Sit down. I'll be right back."
Quinn sat on the sofa and took in the room around her. A menorah, she knew that much, sat on the mantle of the fireplace. On either side of it, as well as on the floor around the hearth, there were wrapped gifts. It looked a lot like Christmas, just without the tree.
"Okay," Rachel breezed back into the room. In her hands was her laptop, which she promptly set on the coffee table. She dropped onto the couch, right next to Quinn and opened the computer. "I have made a presentation. And an outline."
"I am not at all surprised."
"Do you need a beverage before we begin?"
"Is this going to take a long time? Forget I asked that. Yeah. I've have... what do you have? Maybe something hot?"
"Tea? Apple cider? Hot chocolate?"
Rachel vanished into the kitchen and emerged a few minutes later with two steaming mugs. She handed one to Quinn. "Careful, it's hot."
"I figured." Quinn took a sip of the hot chocolate. It was really hot. But also very tasty. "Thanks."
"You're welcome. Now, about Hanukkah, it's not just about eight days of presents or chocolate money or fried foods." She activated a video on her laptop.
Rachel appeared on the screen. "Hi, I'm Rachel Berry. And this is Hanukkah 101."
Quinn looked at the real Rachel sitting next to her. "Is this absolutely necessary?"
"Just pay attention."
Quinn sighed and settled back on the couch with her drink. On-screen Rachel continued on, "This is part one of an eight part series explaining the history and rituals of the traditional Jewish holiday Hanukkah, or Chanukkah." Both variations of the word appeared at the bottom of the screen.
Virtual Rachel began an introduction to the history of the holiday. Quinn sat quietly and tried to listen, but all she could really think about was how much work Rachel had put into this video as well as anything else she had up her sleeve. The segment ended and Quinn suddenly hoped there wouldn't be a pop quiz, because she wasn't really paying attention.
Rachel leaned forward and snapped the laptop shut. "Now, first things first." As Rachel rose, Quinn realized how warm she'd been with the other girl right next to her.
Rachel's dads joined them in the living room while she explained about the lighting of the Menorah, how a candle was added each night, from right to left. She sang three blessings, all in Hebrew. Quinn could see how religion and showmanship went hand in hand with this girl.
"And now we eat!" Rachel all but pushed Quinn into the kitchen, where an array of food was lined up on the counter. After she convinced Quinn that applesauce and sour cream weren't a horrible combination to eat atop potato pancakes, she dragged her back out into the living room and once again directed her to the sofa.
"We will end tonight's lesson with the dreidel game." She produced the spinning top and two bags of chocolate coins, which was a holiday crossover item Quinn was definitely familiar with. Rachel called the money "gelt".
"I once got in trouble for finding the stash my mom bought for Christmas and eating my way through half of it."
"Did you get sick?"
"Yeah, but it was totally worth it."
Rachel explained the rules and they took a few turns spinning the top until Quinn had commandeered all of the gelt. "Technically, once you win, you're supposed to redistribute, because that's what's fair. But you can keep it. This time."
That was the end of night one.
The next seven nights were very similar, with Rachel's video event explaining the miracle of the oil that burned for eight time longer than it should have. Each night, Quinn noticed something else about Rachel that she hadn't noticed before. The quality of her laugh, the specific way she tested her hot chocolate with tiny sips until it cooled enough to drink, the particular combination of hair product and lotion she used, the strict adherence to rules even in a simple top spinning game. Okay, that last one wasn't really any kind of surprise. What ultimately shocked Quinn was that she dreaded the end of the week. On night number eight, she didn't want to go home.
They played one final round of the dreidel game, which Rachel won. She split her winnings with Quinn, then said, "Traditionally, you would open a gift on each night. But, we obviously didn't do that."
"I didn't expect to."
"But, I do have something." Rachel handed Quinn a flat package.
"You didn't have to--"
"It's technically for the baby. Even though it's considered bad luck to by things for a baby before it's born. According to my Aunt Edna, anyway."
Quinn thought about protesting, saying she wasn't keeping this baby, but Rachel already knew that. Instead, she opened the gift. It was a children's book of Bible stories.
"It covers both parts, you know, of the Bible. Yours and mine. You're supposed to read to them, while they're still in there."
"Rachel, this is..." Quinn bit her lip, not wanting to cry. "Thank you." She excused herself to the bathroom.
After several minutes, Rachel knocked at the door. "Quinn?" Hearing no response, she tried the handle and peeked inside. "Are you okay?"
Quinn leaned against the counter, arms wrapped around herself. "What is it with you and bathrooms?"
"You're the one always locked away in them." She shut the door behind her. "I hope I didn't... overstep. With the book."
"No, it's great. Very thoughtful." Quinn focused on the floor.
"Can I make a confession?"
"You don't need my permission."
"I wish it wasn't over." Rachel leaned on the wall directly across from Quinn.
"I liked having you come over."
"I liked coming over."
"You could come back."
"What? For, like, Passover?"
"Sure!" Rachel's eyes lit up. Quinn just knew she was already planning out the next video series. "But, you can come back for non-holidays, too."
"That wouldn't be weird?"
"No." Rachel lingered against the wall, but her eyes kept drifting to Quinn's lips.
Quinn noticed another thing about Rachel. She could be shy, sometimes. "Would it be weird if I..."
Rachel shook her head.
The small space between was suddenly non-existent as Quinn kissed Rachel, her hands tracing up the brunette's arms. Rachel's hands caught Quinn's waist and held her close as their lips continued to make contact.
Quinn leaned back. "This isn't just part of the holiday, right?"
"Well," Rachel tucked a strand of hair behind Quinn's ear. "It is the celebration of a miracle."