Title: Better Where it's Wetter (1/?)
Rating: PG for this chapter, due to change in later chapters
Disclaimer: I don't own Glee or any of the characters in the fic (I might own some original characters appearing later though). Atlantis is a geniune company for gay cruises, but I've never been on one so most of the details are made up.
Summary: rq_meme prompt: Rachel and her dads are going on a LGBT family-friendly cruise for the summer and Rachel's told she's can bring a friend. Who else to bring but Quinn?
Notes: The original prompt called for a cruise for three months, but I thought three months would be a heck of a long time for the average cruise, not to mention expensive (correct me if I'm wrong? ) So it's three weeks now, longer than average but good enough for the story. Hope OP doesn't mind.
Mr Shuester leaned over to the board, drawing a messy line with his pen beneath the scrawled word, 'Beginnings.' He turned to the rest of the club, clapping his hands together and feeling dismayed when he realised no one was paying attention.
The kids looked suitably distracted considering it was their penultimate Glee rehearsal before they broke for summer. Most were chatting quietly together in their normal groups - Mercedes, Artie and Tina, with the newest addition of Quinn. Santana and Brittany were lost in each other, while Matt and Mike were busy throwing a football to each other and occasionally over to Finn and Puck.
Only Rachel sat quietly, clutching a stack of brochures in her hands, mouth moving quietly as though reciting something. Odd - normally, by now she'd have been up and urging the others into practising warm up scales. Mr Shue clapped again, louder this time. Thankfully, the kids turned around and (mostly) paid attention.
'Beginnings,' he began. 'A fresh start. The start of something new.'
Predictably that set off some of the boys crooning a version of the old High School Musical song mockingly. Mr Shue rolled his eyes - none of them would admit they'd ever watched the film, but they knew the song just a little too well...
'Guys!' He waved to get their attention. 'Please pay attention - this is your last assignment of the year. You guys are going to come back after summer and it'll be a new start for all of you.' His eyes roved over each of them in turn, offering each a smile. 'It's been a rough year for everyone, but I'm so proud of how far everyone has come. So to celebrate that, this week I want you to pick a song to reflect on everything's that happened -' Mr Shuester broke off, seeing Rachel's hand in her air. 'Rachel?'
'I hate to interrupt what sounds like a surprisingly good assignment, Mr Shue...'
'Well, thank you.'
'However, I'm afraid I won't have time to have the entire Glee club in one place after today. I won't be able to attend the last Glee rehearsal, so it important I do this now.' She stood up, holding up the brochures. 'If I may, I would like to address the club as a whole.'
'Can't it wait?'
She shook her head, brown eyes wide and pleading. 'No, I've put this off long enough. Today is the last day.'
Mr Shuester sighed, throwing his hands up. 'Okay, Rachel. Shoot.' He pulled out a chair and sat next to Brad, who threw him a sympathetic look. The brunette began to move along the rows of chairs, handing them all a colourful brochure from the pile in her arms. She gave them out upside down and the wrong way around.
'I didn't have time to prepare a Powerpoint, so I'm afraid you are all going to have to simply look at these brochures as a visual aid instead.' Puck attempted to turn over the brochure, but Rachel slapped his hands as she came back to the front. 'As you all know, my dads are insistent on me becoming a well rounded individual. They like me to experience as much culture as I can and as a result, we like to spend our summers travelling. This year, my fathers came up with a different idea.'
Rachel paused, glancing over at her team mates who were all pretending not to be trying to read the brochure upside down. 'You may open them now.' As one, the Glee club flipped them over.
'Atlantis?' read Finn in confusion.
'Aren't they that company that organises LGBT cruises?' piped up Artie, looking a little disturbed at the picture of three half naked men in Speedos on said cruise ship that greeted him. Beside him, Kurt raised his eyebrows on seeing the same picture. 'Rachel, don't tell me you're trying to convince the Glee club to go on this...'
'Knowing Rachel, she's already booked it!' interjected Mercedes. 'Let me tell ya now, Rachel, there's no way you're getting all of us on some ship, even if you think it'll "help us bond" as a club.' The others grunted in agreement. Rachel scowled.
'Excuse me! Would you let me finish my presentation?' The others shut up, albeit reluctantly, and Mercedes still looked like she wanted to continue protesting. Rachel cleared her throat authoritatively. 'As I was saying, I would have much rather spend our holiday money on a trip to New York so I could see Wicked for the tenth time.'
'Wait, you've seen Wicked nine times? Jeez.'
'As I was saying,' said Rachel loudly, speaking over her team mates, 'my dads have decided on a different approach for our activity for at least part of the summer. We will instead be sailing from New York for three weeks for a vacation on board, as Artie pointed out, an LGBT cruise ship. Now, my dads have informed me that I will be allowed to bring a single friend with me.' She looked expectantly around the room. 'So, any offers?'
There was a pause as the others processed this information. Then, as one, everyone in the room quickly launched into their excuses as to why they couldn't go with Rachel. The brunette had to shout to get their attention and make them explain in an orderly fashion, one by one.
Finn seemed a little confused on what LGBT meant. Once someone explained to him (not Brittany, who was sure it was a type of sandwich - 'That's BLT,' Santana had told her gently), Finn was adamantly against going.
Puck had simply cocked his eyebrow and insisted he still had his 'Puckasaurus' image to uphold and it wouldn't stand if anyone found out he'd gone on a cruise, let alone a gay one.
Santana and Brittany both said they needed to attend Sue Sylvester's rigorous summer Cheerios training sessions, and anyway, as Santana said, 'they wouldn't want to get on a cruise with a load of lesbians anyway.' (Everyone in the room, including Brittany, stared at Santana incredulously at that point).
Matt and Mike cited football.
Kurt, for his part, looked a little tempted, but regretfully informed Rachel that he had plans with his dad. Mercedes, Tina and Artie didn't even pretend to look interested - they simply shrugged and all three said it 'wasn't their thing'.
By now, Rachel was getting desperate - she even glanced over at Mr Shuester, whose eyes widened and he rambled how it wouldn't be appropriate, and anyway, he wasn't sure it would 'be his scene'. Rachel's eyes slid past him to Brad who was sitting at the piano as usual. He ducked behind his sheet music and pretended he wasn't there.
Rachel planted her hands on her hips and sighed. 'Are you telling me that no one wants to make this trip with me?' she said in exasperation. 'I'm not adverse to going with my dads alone by any means, but I think it might be ... awkward without someone my age there.'
'You didn't ask me,' said a voice from the back. The brunette's head snapped around to where the voice had come from. No way - that couldn't have been who she'd thought it was. But sure enough, Mike and Matt parted to show Quinn who looked just as surprised that she'd spoken up as everyone else.
'Q, you're gay now?' asked Santana in disbelief. Quinn immediately snapped, 'You don't have to be gay to go on a gay cruise.'
'Admittedly, it does help,' Rachel added. Quinn ignored her.
'I'm not gay. But - I don't know, it might be fun. And anyway...' She lowered her head slightly, averting her eyes. 'I'd quite like to get away from home for a while. Three weeks away sounds good.'
Everyone in the room nodded sympathetically. Nothing more needed to be said about it. Though Quinn had moved back in with her mother and things seemed to have improved, it was obvious they were still struggling. The stress of working through the tension in the (now reduced to two members) Fabray household was taking its toll on both inhabitants and each member of the glee club could see its effects on the ex-Cheerio.
'Wait, so you're willing to risk so much time alone with Berry? I'd end up throwing her overboard,' joked Santana. Brittany chastised her gently. 'She knows I'm kidding, B.' She said this with a look at Rachel that told her that the Latina probably hadn't actually been joking.
However, Quinn simply shrugged. 'It's fine. I've dealt with Berry for a year already, a few weeks should be cake.' The blonde grinned. 'And if she gets too much, I can lock her in the cabin.'
'I am still in this room, you know!' Rachel stomped her foot petulantly, but it wasn't a proper diva tantrum.
Ever since Quinn's pregnancy it seemed like she'd been making an effort. Rachel would admit to being worried she would return to how she had before, but even on that first day back at school she'd even made an effort to engage in small talk with the brunette.
Granted, she'd told Rachel she was talking too much and walked away... but she hadn't insulted her. And now Quinn was signing up to spend time with her? This was definitely a big step. 'Are you sure this is something you want to do, Quinn?' Rachel asked her.
Quinn nodded shyly. Another change. The Quinn before the pregnancy never looked shy. 'It really is. I mean, if you want me to come.'
Quinn gave her a small smile. Rachel sent her a radiant one in return.
Their eyes met and they both held the gaze.
Rachel felt the beginnings of a kind of fluttering in her stomach region. She groaned internally upon recognising the source of the strange sensation - by now, after having known Quinn for so long it was definitely not the first time she'd felt these kinds of flutters around her. Lately with the blonde's attempts at being vaguely cordial towards her they'd been harder to ignore.
So she stood there, with a goofy smile on her face, completely caught in the moment while the butterflies tap danced and pirouetted inside her belly.
Santana interrupted them in the end. 'If you guys are done eyesexing...'
The moment was broken and both the blonde and brunette blushed as Rachel hurried back to her seat.
She couldn't and didn't fight the rising feel of elation caused by knowing that finally, after many years, she'd been able to actually invite a friend to go somewhere on holiday with her.
After the first few years of being rejected her dads had gently suggested maybe she stop trying to get her classmates to go with her and their holidays simply remain a family thing. When the extra ticket had emerged, it'd seemed like a good idea to try at least one more time. Initially it'd seemed like history was going to repeat itself. But it hadn't.
Rachel sat back and half-listened as Mr Shuester went on, the grin on her face irrepressible.
A few rows back and some seats away, Quinn glanced over at her and then sat back too, a smile on her face as well.