AN: Hate to break the news, but... this is it. The grand finale. 95% converstation, the last 5% near the end. It's not the final chapter, but it is what we've all been waiting for. First, drama. Then some pieces fitting together. You know :) I have been wondering a lot about this chapter, how to make it right. I still don't think it's the best it could possibly be, but I do think that it's probably the best that I can make it. I hope you'll like it.
Whoa. Chapter 11 had, like, 5 reviews overnight. KUDOS & LOVE FOR ALL OF YOU! All you readers, you are really, really, way cool, and reviewers get extra kudos.
Enjoy the chapter!
Disclaimer: I don't own Glee, The Parent Trap, or anything I may refer to.
The room still smelled like lavender.
It was Quinn's first thought after opening the door, after being enveloped in the scent of lavender. It had been a little over 10 years since she had been here, and very little had changed. The shelf with pictures had grown. Beside the pictures of Rachel, Daniel and Elijah and the Glee club pictures were pictures of Susie with her mother and grandfathers. Beside that, though, the room looked and felt the same.
She peeked into the closet, and saw argyle and plaid. Also, a pant suit. She smiled at the memories, but frowned a little when she didn't see the light pink argyle sweater and dark blue plaid skirt that Rachel always loved so much.
"Where are the pink sweater and the blue skirt? You used to love those things!"
"I still do," Rachel said, blushing. "I... They're in New York. I couldn't just leave them here!"
"Seriously? You leave for New York head over heels but you manage to pack those ugly things?"
"They were my favorite things to wear in High School!" Rachel said defensive, and Quinn laughed lightly.
"So you," she said in a loving voice.
"And you know you like it," Rachel teased.
This was when Quinn switched back into serious mode, still looking around, letting the memories flow back in.
Her eyes rested on Rachel, who was sitting with her legs crossed on her old bed. Quinn swallowed.
"Is something wrong?"
"Just the memories," Quinn replied, gesturing around vaguely, then gesturing to Rachel, then gesturing to the bed in particular.
"I know. Come, sit down."
She sighed, but went to sit beside Rachel. She felt better in this room, but the close proximity to Rachel made her tense up. The memories felt like they were all bursting through at the same time, and the pressure they brought made her head hurt and her heart ache.
"Quinn, why were you so insistent on having a clean break? Why couldn't we keep in touch? I've missed you like hell the last decade."
Of course. Why build up when you can just cut to the chase?
"You know me, Rachel. It's the way I roll. I like to do things well, and having you reminding me of your existence every so often wouldn't exactly have helped me to mend my broken heart. You can also just tell me why you gave up." Quinn managed to control her voice so well, Rachel almost couldn't hear the pools of hurt and shed tears beneath the other woman's voice. Almost.
"You know why. It wasn't working. It felt like all the fun was sucked out of our life. I didn't think that us as a romantic couple was a good idea any longer, it was making neither of us happy, and it would have created a horrible environment for the girls to grow up in. But that doesn't mean that I didn't want any contact with you at all for 11 years!"
"Well, you called me once," Quinn reminded her.
"Beside that, of course. I'm still sorry about that, I know that wasn't what you wanted. Not that it matters at all now."
"It was okay. I had a constant reminder of you striding around my house, so..."
Rachel nodded, and bit her lip, before admitting:
"Also... I saw you. 3 times."
"You saw me! Where, here in Lima? Or in New York?"
"Here! But I hid. You were in New York?" Rachel asked, awed.
"Coward. Yes, I went to see Wicked with Allie."
Rachel blinked owlishly.
"Wicked? As in, Wicked? My Wicked?"
"As in, the Broadway phenomenon with Lima's very own Rachel Berry starring as Elphaba."
"You took Allie to Wicked?"
"Of course, how could I not?"
Quinn's voice was tender, but she was a shocked when Rachel's eyes went a little watery after that confession.
In a gesture of comfort, she put her hand over Rachel's. Quinn immediately regretted it, as soon as the physical chemistry flooded inside of her body, but she found herself unable to move. Rachel recollected herself after a few seconds, but neither moved their hands.
"Thank you. For taking Allie to Wicked. I imagined she would see me, too, and it would make her proud, and I was so said when I realized that it wouldn't happen. I really wanted her to see it, too. I knew that I had little a chance of ever meeting her again, but some part of me never could let go of the dream to have both of our girls know where they came from. That's part of why I take Susie to visit Lima very frequently."
"I think Allie will want to go to New York a lot now, too. To see you."
"She's always welcome. She's a great kid, and ever since the summer I have discovered that she's very easy to love."
"Same goes for Susie! I would love to see her again, too. And loveable."
Quinn paused before looking into Rachel's eyes.
"She's a lot like you."
"I know. Sometimes I think a little too much, but she's got your smarts, and your beauty," Rachel replied, before bumping her shoulder into Quinn.
"Allie's a lot like you. The sarcasm was almost too much to take."
"Well, she's got your strength, and your smart mouth, though I don't know how she got it. She was barely 3."
"You actually start picking up information that helps forming your personality after about 14 months, so it's very logical that she has a few traits that are reminiscent of me. It's impressive that they have lasted until her 14th, more than Susie with you, since you share actual genes. I swear, it scares me at times. I look at her and I just see you in her."
The emotion in Rachel's voice made Quinn somewhat uncomfortable, and she really didn't feel like acknowledging it. She also wasn't sure that she wanted to hear what Rachel was about to say.
"Quinn... I apologize. It was never my intention to hurt you, and it wasn't inevitable either. I should have stayed and fought longer, tried harder. There's nothing I have regretted more than leaving you. I mean, when we had it good, our life together was truly amazing and everything that mattered, all I could have wished for, and I left all that behind. If I could do it over, I would have done it so much differently. I would have fought for the girls, for you, for our life. I am so sorry that I didn't try harder to make it work out."
The intensity of Rachel's words and her gaze burned a hole through Quinn's stomach, through her chest, into her heart. The words struck a definite chord inside of her, and while the words were still ringing, Quinn had to fight off the urge to kiss the brunette.
"I think that Allie and Susie really are sisters now, and that they love each other," Quinn said, jumping to a different subject.
"Do you think we can separate them again? Or would that make us wrong mothers? I think that it may be best to keep Allie here and Susie in NYC, switching them back, and that they get to visit each other a lot. Vacations and stuff, maybe some weekends."
"I don't think that's what they truly want, Quinn," Rachel said in a small voice. Quinn rolled her eyes, saying in an irritated voice:
"Of course it isn't. They want to be a family, be together, they want us to be together. All kids with divorced parents want that. But that's not an option."
Quinn felt herself choking up, but her eyes narrowed.
"You can't be serious."
"I am! I'm dead serious! They want it, and I don't see a reason why it couldn't be, so far."
"How about, you live in New York and I live in Lima?"
"Is that your only objection? Because you know that solely logistics are not a real argument."
"Like hell they aren't! One of us is supposed to just pick up and leave, according to you, and one of the girls is forced into a new life too!"
"I'm not saying it's not a big deal. I'm just saying, that logistic problems are the definition of solvable. Also, neither of the girls would be forced into a new life, since both of them have been living the other one's life since August. They would know what they were getting into, and I bet that they would love it, too."
"You can be logical all you want, but this is crazy!" Her voice went an octave high, it felt like a hand had a death grip on her throat. What was Rachel thinking?
"Also, I would do it. I would come here if it would make Susie and Allie happy. And I think it would."
"You love New York, it's your home, you're a Broadway star for crying out loud! Why-why-why would you do that?"
"Why wouldn't I? If it would make them happy."
"No, no. Don't give me the why not. I want a reason. I need a solid reason. I can't believe that you're actually talking about this like you're thinking about it!"
"Even you must admit, it's a scenario worth contemplating, Quinn," Rachel said, her voice sharpening, growing louder and surer. "If you need a reason so desperately, I will happily oblige and at least give you my reason. My reason is that I'm approaching 30, and the only time in my life I have been happy was when we were together. It's the happiest I have ever been, and if I don't get that back, I'm getting scared that it's the happiest I ever will be. I don't want the highlight of my life to be before I have even turned 20, and I have thought about it, and I have been getting fairly sure that the only way for me to ever feel that way again is to be with you. And if that is what it takes, then I will do my best and try my hardest to achieve my goal. You know how I am about goals. How we both are. If it would be just about me, I wouldn't be selfish enough to rip Susie away from her home. But I am getting surer and surer that she's waiting and wanting to be ripped away from her home, or at least her home the way it is now!"
"Come on, hurry Susie!"
"Allie, I really don't think we should be going upstairs. They might be there."
"That's why we're going, stupid!"
"But what if they want to discuss things in private, and that's why they went upstairs?"
"Once again, that's why we're going!"
Allie dragged Susie up the stairs, a determined glint in her eyes and a devilish smile on her face.
"No, no! Eavesdropping is rude! We can't! We really shouldn't." Susie protested.
"Okay, turn back around, coward, since you're not curious. But I'm going up there!"
Allie released Susie, who almost fell down, but quickly restored her balance.
She heard Allie race up, and after 3 seconds, she followed her sister.
Upstairs, she found Allie looking through the keyhole and both her grandfathers with their ears against the door.
"Great, my family," Susie muttered, before being shushed by her grandparents.
Susie heard first Quinn take a step, then Rachel stepped after her.
"It's an insane idea, Rachel. It's crazy."
"We can handle crazy, Quinn. Come on."
A short silence, before Rachel broke it.
"Did you love me?"
Silence. Quinn stepping back. Rachel stepping forward.
"Did you miss me, these 10 years?"
"11," Quinn said softly.
"Don't you still care, somewhere?"
Another step back from Quinn, another step forward from Rachel.
"Oh, they're right in my view now!" Allie said, grinning.
In a cracking voice, Quinn admitted:
"Don't you think we can get that love back? I know I can, can you?"
"I do, I can, I mean... so much!"
Her voice was soft, but it rang clear through a thin door.
"So the emotional department is coming together. And I've got a feeling that we're still good in the physical department."
"Oh, do you?" Allie could hear the smile in her mothers voice alone, but to see it on the face made her feel even better.
"Quinn's kissing Rachel!" Allie said excitedly.
She looked back.
"Now Rachel is kissing Quinn!" Possibly even more excited.
Allie looked into the keyhole again, and mouthed a soft:
They heard a soft thud, some uncoordinated stumbling, a loud crash and the sounds that erupted next from the room, weren't the kind of sounds that Daniel and Elijah thought they wanted to be explaining to the kids, despite the fact that they both had probably had an excellent sexual education.
"I think we can go now," Daniel said, softly tugging at Susie, who willingly came with him.
"Come on, Allie. Let's go back downstairs," Elijah said, trying to nudge Allie away, but the girl was glued to the keyhole.
"No way! Ah, come on, really?"
Elijah picked the girl up, and carried a still protesting Allie all the way to the Berry living room, thinking that it was just like old times. But that he and Daniel would have to give them a weekend for 2 and take the children. He doubted Allie and Susie would become truly happy living with those 2 horndogs.
A little later that day, Quinn remembered her favorite smell in the whole wide world. The scent of Rachel, close to her, mixing with lavender.