Author's Note: I'm not really sure what I was thinking with this one shot. I blame it on four things. One, my love for my two favorite characters. Two, my inability to sleep. Three, my caffeine buzz. Four, my buzz from having just watched Iron Man 2.
Started 5/9/10 around 2 AM. Finished 5/9/10 around 4 AM.
I'm obsessed with the idea of this pairing. I'll probably write more with these two.
As for this story in particular, I'm not sure if I will continue it or leave it as it is. I'll let you all decide.
Leave me a review and let me know what you think!
Disclaimer: I don't own Glee!
Quinn Fabray never really wanted to leave school when the final bell of the day rang. Sure, it didn't make much sense. Her life at the high school was pretty much a living hell. But if she said that out loud she sounded all melodramatic. She sounded like Rachel. Because even though she knew she had it bad compared to some kids, she knew she didn't have it quite as horrible as others. That was how Quinn liked to think about it. On a good day that is. Other times she allowed herself to swim in her own misery. It wasn't like it ever made anything better but it was nice to just cry every now and then. Because, though she hadn't admitted it, she was scared. She fought her fright every moment of her life. Perhaps that could explain her after school situations.
She never left when the school day was through. She couldn't bring herself to leave right away. She figured it was that last bit of having been a Cheerio that wouldn't leave. She figured she was so used to staying after for either cheer or glee that she still hadn't adapted to having freedom after school. So maybe that was why she always found herself wandering among the halls, still feeling invisible even when the only people that populated the area were those that didn't have lives or just had too much on their plate. Even to the lowest of the food chain she was invisible. What had happened to her? She still didn't understand how she could have fallen so far.
As she walked past the doors of the gym she could hear Sue's voice over a megaphone. Despite the fact that she was no longer a Cheerio, her former coach's voice still made her freeze in place. She flicked a strand of blonde hair away from her eyes and turned toward the door keeping her out of the gym. She could almost picture herself there with them if she really tried. She could see herself standing among the other cheerleaders, arms clasped in front of her, brushing against a uniform that still managed to fit. She could see the stoic expression on her face though she knew the irritation was probably present in her eyes if not her facial expression or posture. When someone joins the Cheerios the first thing they learn is to rid themselves of the ability to show any sort of emotion in Sue Sylvester's presence.
Quinn had to physically shake her head to eliminate the thoughts playing across her mind. Thinking about the Cheerios still hurt. It was a tender spot that she wasn't sure would ever really fade until she was actually out of high school. Until then she was positive it would always sting. After all she was forced to see the uniforms every day. On an off day she was positive she could hear them mocking her. Although some days they actually were mocking her. Half the time Quinn pretended like she didn't hear them. Because although she was, mostly, broken she still managed to hold her chin high. She figured if she acted like what they said didn't affect her that they would stop. Somehow it never actually worked out the way she wanted it to.
It was in those moments that she actually felt some sort of sympathy for Rachel Berry. That girl had to put up with this on a daily basis. And, to make the situation worse, she had been putting up with it since she had set foot in McKinley. Quinn had never really imagined the humiliation of being slushied. She had always laughed, just like all the rest of them had. But then she had fallen victim to the cruel act. That was the first time she glimpsed into the life of Rachel. It only got worse from there. Now even she had pornographic pictures of her drawn along the bathroom stalls. Different people added to the pictures in various shades of ink. The latest one finally showed her pregnancy. Basically, as she would later sum up, she was walking in Rachel's shoes and it was giving her blisters.
Lately though she realized how much she disliked the girl. She had her days. She did honestly feel grateful for Rachel telling Finn. She was too much of a coward to do it herself. But it still stung. At one point Finn had looked at her like she was a goddess. Now though, he barely glanced her way. Rachel had been with Puck too, her current arm candy of sorts. Quinn would be lying if she didn't admit that she had caught Puck glancing at the sophomore's legs especially those days where her skirts seemed extra short. Plus it wasn't just her legs that he was admiring.
Quinn visibly shuddered just a little. Her arms were bare and the air seemed cooler than usual. She wasn't sure if the shudder had been her reaction to the temperature or the reaction to how long she had been thinking about Rachel Berry of all people. After deliberating for awhile she suspected it was for both reasons and before she really knew what possessed her she was heading toward the direction of her locker. She had been lurking around the halls longer than usual. If she stayed any longer she might have reached a creeper status. That is, if anyone saw her. Which would be very probable considering, if she remembered correctly, Sue would let the Cheerios have their one minute bathroom break in about five minutes.
Her footsteps seemed louder than usual. Then again, they were bound to. The hallway always seemed to provide an echo when one was alone in it. But she concentrated on the sound of her feet against the floor as she walked toward her locker until she was standing in front of the familiar sight. Her fingers were already working on the combination when she shivered again and she pulled the door open. She felt a frown tugging at her lips. Her cardigan wasn't there like she had hoped. She sighed with mild irritation before grabbing the two text books she would need for homework tonight and slammed her locker door shut. Perhaps that was a bit much. She blamed it on her more than usual thoughts directed at Rachel. Even subconsciously the girl's diva fits were rubbing off on her.
It took Quinn a full five seconds to realize where she probably left her forgotten piece of clothing. The choir room always seemed a little bit toasty after learning new choreography. It wasn't so much that it was strenuous work, because their choreography was relatively light. It was the fact that having so many bodies crammed into a room after a while led to, well, body heat. Even now she could remember taking off the cardigan and placing it next to the chair she almost always sat in. She hoped that Schuester was still somewhere in the building. Maybe not necessarily the choir room, but his office or something. If he was that would mean the choir room was still open. If not then Quinn would have to wait until Monday to retrieve her belongs and she honestly didn't want to wait that long.
With the idea of time in her mind she set off just a little bit faster toward the room. In the distance she could hear the gym doors opening. The sound was followed by frantic footsteps of teenage, overworked girls trying to fight their way to a bathroom before they heard an angry voice through a megaphone. Quinn wondered if that could have been one of the reasons her speed increased. She really did not want to deal with an exhausted, hungry, bathroom deprived cheerleader. She wasn't sure she could take it. No, she knew she couldn't take it. But thankfully the room she was in search of came into view.
She slipped into the room quietly, letting out a sigh of relief at having found it open. But the sound turned into that of a strangled breath. She wasn't alone in the room and she was almost positive the other inhabitant hadn't noticed her yet. Frankly, Quinn hoped to keep it that way. It wasn't that she hated the boy in question, because she didn't. Hate was a very strong word. But she wasn't exactly fond of him either. It was more of a feeling of indifference that often leaned more toward dislike than liking. She accepted him though. That was better than nothing.
Her eyes flickered from his form, perched at the piano looking frantically over sheet music, to the set of seats. She smiled at the sight of her yellow cardigan set neatly right where she left it. She tried to walk quietly, she honestly did. She really wasn't in much of a mood to talk to anyone right now, let alone Jesse St. James. She still didn't trust the guy. Rachel had broken his heart, so he said, and seemed relatively loyal to the club, but she still did not trust him. She herself had been a spy at one point in time. She knew how easy it was to blend in. These glee kids weren't the brightest either. The rest of them seemed content to ignore him but not Quinn. Perhaps it was the bad karma that caused him to notice her.
"Quinn Fabray," He smiled as he turned, surveying her stance. One corner of his lips was higher than the other.
"Jesse," She replied, trying to sound pleasant. She really didn't understand why using her last name seemed necessary.
"What are you doing here? I'm here often because I always like being ahead with learning the music, but I never see you around after school unless we have a glee," He stood from the bench as he spoke. She thought he talked a little too much. Just like Rachel. She also found it ironic that he never saw her even though she was positive she had been around when he was.
"I left my cardigan," She pointed in the general direction as she spoke. "I kind of wanted it back so."
"Oh let me," He spoke after she trailed off. It was almost like she had never stopped talking the way he automatically jumped in. She had wanted to deny his help, thank him for offering but politely decline, but he had already crossed the room and was scooping up the yellow fabric.
"Thanks," She said with a closed lip smile, accepting it from his hands before putting it on. She felt warmer almost instantly and that brought a smile to her lips that showed teeth. She saw her way out and quickly tried to make her escape. "That's all I was here for, so I'll be going."
"How do you get home?" He blurted out before he could stop himself, causing Quinn to raise one brow.
"I walk," She replied curtly, shifting her weight from one foot to the other.
"I could drive you today if you like. It's pretty chilly outside," He replied as a cover up.
"Oh no that's alright," Quinn wanted to believe that he was being sincere, she really did, and she tried to. But it just didn't seem logical. If Jesse was a spy, and she suspected he was, his niceness was to be expected. He would need to cozy up to everyone in the glee club in order to finish his job effectively.
"Please, I insist."
"Alright," She caved after an awkward silence passed and she walked toward one of the chairs and set her things down. "But I don't want to interrupt whatever it was you were doing so…go ahead and finish up."
She watched as he smiled as a thank you before sitting himself back down at the piano. Her hands were clasped tightly, resting in her lap. She was staring intently at the pattern of her dress. After a beat she heard the beginning of their newest song fill the room. Jesse's voice came next. Quinn felt herself fighting back a smile as she realized he was singing Finn's solo. To make things more humorous, she realized he sounded better singing it too. Perhaps, if she was in a giving mood, she would mention that to Schuester. If she really wanted to get his attention she could make up some excuse about thinking that Finn was being overworked. Then again, she wasn't sure if she should test it after the little heart to heart she had just had with the Spanish teacher.
"Jesse why did you break up with Rachel?" Quinn found herself asking. She knew the story floating around glee club but she wanted to see if he hesitated before answering. She felt a little bad as the music abruptly stopped.
"Why would you ask me that?" His voice wasn't harsh or accusing, just curious, she noted. But he did not turn to face her right away, and he had avoided the question.
"Curiosity," She shrugged, her head tilted a little to one side.
"She cast me opposite two other guys. I was under the impression it was just me. I was humiliated. I can understand her reasoning to a certain extent but I can't help but think that I should have been enough for her," He sighed, turning to face her completely. "Plus the guys were two of her ex's and who's to say that nothing happened between them while they were filming?"
"It sounds like you don't have very much faith in her," Quinn retorted. She wasn't sure why she said that, it just sort of happened. But she had realized his little speech seemed like just that, a practiced speech.
"I don't know what to think, Quinn. I've seen the glances she throws at Finn when she thinks I'm not looking. How do I know she doesn't still hold feelings for Puck as well?" He seemed honestly confused by the situation, Quinn could give him that.
"I trust Puck. I don't think he did anything with Rachel. Finn promised to stay away from Rachel for your sake. I don't think he would break that promise," She replied. Concerning Puck she was almost lying through her teeth. She was guilty of wondering the same thing. But Jesse didn't need to know that.
"You put a lot of trust in someone who has such a bad reputation," He replied with amusement in his tone before pausing. He apologized momentarily afterward, claiming that he thought he was out of line. Quinn hadn't minded much. "Speaking of bad reputations."
"Yes?" Quinn inquired after he paused. He seemed to be deciding whether or not to ask his question.
"Is it true you were behind the glist?" He asked with a smile playing across his lips. He didn't even wait for an answer; she suspected it was because it was written all over her face. He had caught her off guard. "I sort of suspected it was you after I eliminated Puck as an option. You put yourself first, that was kind of a dead giveaway."
"Thanks," She replied through gritted teeth. She wasn't sure if she should be offended or not.
"How did you get away with it? I thought the culprit was going to be suspended. I was actually expecting a second glist too." He ran a hand through his dark hair.
"Schuster figured out it was me. He let me off the hook since…well, since I haven't exactly had it the easiest lately," She confessed, frowning to herself. Her eyes were trained on her hands. It was the truth and she wasn't sure why she was sharing it with him.
"That makes sense," He smiled at her, nodding his head in approval. "I have one more question if you don't mind."
"Go for it," She replied while leaning back in her chair, a smile playing at her lips.
"Why was I as high on the list as I was? If I recall correctly, you had me placed at number five. I was under the impression that you weren't exactly fond of me," He had one of his brows raised after he spoke and she smiled again.
"It's not that I'm not fond of you, I just don't trust you. I'm under the impression that you're a spy, I've been there and done that," She smirked at his expression. "But you aren't as annoying as the other people in this club. You're the only person who really doesn't seem to judge me. Mike and Matt do, I can see it in their eyes. It's sort of comforting having you around. You're a total stranger; things are different concerning you."
Quinn's smile faded when she finished her little speech. She watched the emotions flicker across his face. He was taking in the information he had just been given. Every now and then he would lick his lips as if he meant to say something, but he never got around to it. He sort of just nodded to himself, one corner of his lips shooting up as his eyes lowered to the ground. If Quinn was being honest with herself at that moment she would admit that she could understand why Rachel found him attractive. Not that she would ever admit to it out loud. There was no way she could own up to that. Though, she realized, it might have been amusing to see Rachel's reaction to her train of thought.
"I wish that you believed in me more than you do," He replied after a beat, looking up so that his light eyes met hers. "I don't want enemies in this club. Honestly, since I broke up with Rachel people sort of keep their distance from me. I think they only tolerated me because of Rachel and Rachel really isn't even that well liked among all of you."
Quinn was surprised. She hadn't known that Jesse could talk that fast. It was almost unbelievable. But she found herself nodding along with that he was saying. It was the truth after all. Most of the people only put up with Rachel and her drama queen antics because she was the star. They all knew that if Rachel left the club they would have no chance at Regionals. More than half of the club wished that wasn't the case too. Kurt and Mercedes were at the top of the list of not being fans of Rachel. Maybe close enough to Finn and Puck at this moment in time.
"I'll make a note to start talking to you more. After all, I kind of owe you for the ride," She was teasing, and by the expression on his face she knew he was aware of it. But his smile grew and he nodded. After a beat she extended her hand. "Hi, I'm Quinn Fabray. I'm an ex Cheerio who has made some poor decisions. I'm currently one of the biggest losers in the school thanks to my fall from grace. I hate my language class, I eat far more candy than I really should lately, and I'm honestly looking forward to maybe being your friend."
She had her hand floating between them for awhile. She felt the smile slipping from her face. He was staring at her with the strangest expression on his face. Quinn sort of just felt awkward now with him looking at her like that. She felt her hand drop just a little and her lips were parted. She quickly captured her bottom lip between her teeth, a nervous habit of hers, but refused to break eye contact. After another ten seconds he smiled and grasped her hand in his.
"Hi, I'm Jesse St. James. I'm an ex member of Vocal Adrenaline who, if I'm being honest, sometimes contemplates whether or not I made the right decision leaving that group. I'm not very well liked because people here don't trust me. I sort of have a passion for language but I can't stay awake in my history class because of the teacher. I prefer skittles to chocolate and I'm hoping that you and I do become friends."
Quinn had noticed a tentative smile spreading across her lips while he was talking. When he had finished it had morphed into a full blown grin and she shook his hand before dropping it. They didn't really say anything after that. They both stood from their chairs, Jesse heading over toward the piano to grab his sheet music, and Quinn reaching over to retrieve her bag. They walked to his car in silence but they had a pleasant enough conversation in the car. Quinn was beaming with the idea of making a new friend, even if it was one that wasn't well liked like Jesse. She suspected that was why she was so enthralled with the idea.
It was an accident the first time they spoke. The occurrences after that weren't accidental at all.