A/N: Sorry that this took so long to upload! It's been finished and up on my LJ account for awhile, but FF . net wasn't working with me at the time, and it just slipped my mind after that. I hope that this was worth the wait! Thanks to everyone who reviewed and read. This is the FINAL chapter/part (for real this time).
-Rachel-Part Two or Three Times (out of Ten) that Rachel says her Name and it Means Something More
They're competing at Nationals and everyone's adrenaline is running high. It's senior year and they know they have to do their best. They placed second—at Nationals!—the year before and they just know that this year it's going to be theirs.
When New Directions actually competes, they dance harder than ever and sing with more emotion and conviction than Vocal Adrenaline and all the other schools combined; they know they've got the competition beat. The judges are so impressed they almost seem as though they're going to give New Directions second and third place along with their first place trophy.
They obviously don't, but it's the thought that counts.
Mr. Schue is openly crying and everyone is just so happy that they finally did it. They're jumping around, hugging, and laughing with tears in their eyes. Hell, even Puck let a few tears fall as he picked up Santana, Brittany and Kurt in his arms. At the same time.
Quinn stands off to the side. She loves her team and she's got her own tears in her eyes, but it's all so intense. She feels so overwhelmed by the congratulations that she stands to the side so that she can have enough space to breathe. She looks into the crowd and sees her mom giving a standing ovation – the frantic clapping and excited whistling is a tad on the embarrassing side, but she doesn't mind it. She looks to the side of her mom and sees Judy's fiancé – he's clapping loudly, but in a more subdued manner. Quinn's actually glad they're together; she can see the adoration in his eyes as he glances between the stage and her mom/girlfriend of ten months. Mark doesn't care about the spectacle Judy's making of herself or that it might ruin his reputation, he's just showing his pride for his almost step-daughter and his love for the woman at his side. It's not the same way Quinn feels about Russell Fabray, but it is close. And maybe… maybe it's a little better.
She looks back at the rest of the Gleeks and notices that a certain brunette lead is missing. She glances around the stage for a second before her vision turns black. She's almost confused before a familiar scent wafts up her nose and a familiar voice whispers in her ear, "Guess who?"
"Rachel?" she says it like a question, but they both know she already knew who it was. Laughter rings in her ears and hands covering her eyes move to wrap around her waist.
"You always know it's me."
Quinn turns in the smaller girl's arms and laughs at the mock pout.
"Well if you didn't smell like such a fruit—" she's cut off by a smack.
"Quinn!" Rachel huffs, but her eyes are twinkling.
"Rachel." The blonde responds with a laugh.
"We did it!"
Rachel pulls the taller girl down so that hazel eyes are level with her own and their foreheads are pressed together.
Quinn hums in response; too focused on the chocolate orbs in front of her. She's pulled even closer so that they're lips are pretty much brushing when Rachel speaks again.
"Quinn." Her name is spoken just above a whisper and is pretty much drowned out by the commotion of everything going around them, but Quinn hears it. And she really only knows what's said because she's suddenly hyperaware of anything going on with the other girl.
It feels so intimate that Quinn's just about to close the gap so that she can actually feel Rachel's lips, but Rachel turns her head and kisses the corner of her mouth before moving up to her ear.
Quinn nods numbly when Rachel pulls away. Not far, but their bodies are no longer closely pressed against each other. Just hands in each other's grasps.
Then all of a sudden Mike picks up Rachel and spins her around while Puck does the same for Quinn. When they're each set down next to the group—and not next to each other—they're engulfed in a mass hug. Quinn feels eyes on her, looks over Santana's shoulder and finds Rachel's unwavering gaze.
She thinks it's the same look that Mark gives her mom. She even thinks that there's something there when Rachel says her name. 'Maybe,' she thinks, 'it might be love.'
They're sitting on Rachel's bed with a couple of envelopes spread out before them: Juilliard, Ohio State, and UCLA. Two of them are unopened.
"So did you get in?"
"I'm not sure; I didn't want to check without you here to give me reassurance."
"Rach, I'm sure you got accepted."
"See? That is exactly what I need." She picked up the envelope with the words The Juilliard School standing out prominently on the front. She opened it carefully and pulled out a sheet of paper. "I can't do it." Her confidence suddenly waned; she closed her eyes and handed the letter to Quinn. "Read it."
The blonde arched an eyebrow, "No please?"
"Please and thank you," the brunette said as she pushed the letter further into the blonde's hands.
"Wow, so demanding." Quinn laughed but she was really feeling as nervous as her best friend. She took a deep breath and picked up the letter; silently reading it to herself before she gave the verdict.
"I'm sorry, Rach."
Rachel frowned. "It's okay Quinn." She tried to put a smile onto her face, but it turned into a grimace. "I'm sure I got into some other schools."
"You only applied Juilliard and OSU…"
"… I know."
"It'll be okay." Her tone was solemn as she handed the letter back to the other girl. "New York will be good for you."
"It would be. I always thought I'd be leaving this—excuse me?" Rachel's voice got unusually high as she voiced her confusion. "Did you say—"
"Yup. You were accepted." The blonde grinned and pointed to the letter. "'Says they'll be sending another packet with the rest of the forms at a later date."
"Quinn! I cannot believe you let me think that I was rejected!"
Quinn laughed at the other girl's hysterics. "You couldn't believe you were rejected?"
"Ha ha. Well if you think it's so funny, we'll see how much you like being ignored!"
That immediately shut the blonde up, because it may not seem like it, but Rachel Berry was very good at ignoring people; and, contrary to popular belief, was very good at keeping her mouth shut. "Oh no! Rach, I'm sorry. Puh-wease don't ignore me!" She grabbed the other girl by her shoulders and pulled her against her chest—this was extremely easy due to the fact that the brunette had her back turned.
"I'm sorry, Rach." She whispered into the other girl's ear and felt her sigh. "You forgive me, right?" For some reason she really felt this. She needed to know she was forgiven, it was more than just this moment, it was everything she'd ever done and never really apologized for. "Please tell me you forgive me."
The change in her tone alerted Rachel to change in the direction of their conversation. She turned in the blonde's arms and searched the other girl's eyes. She could see so many emotions swirling in those hazel orbs. She knew what she had to do. She leaned forward and pressed her lips to the blonde's. It wasn't their first kiss, but it was the first of this kind. Their previous kisses had been good-natured or curious or drunken mishaps, but this? This was serious.
It was gentle, but firm. It held everything she wanted, but didn't know how to say. It said something simple. Always.
They pulled apart and Rachel wiped the tears running down Quinn's face. "Geez, crybaby," her voice was gentle and she was smiling softly. "You call me dramatic."
Quinn scoffed. "Whatever." She held one of Rachel's hands while the other one reached for the packet with her letter from UCLA to give to the other girl. "Read it."
She nodded and opened the envelope. "You were accepted." Quinn nodded and Rachel smiled, but Quinn could see the sadness in her eyes. "I'm proud of you. I just… I wish you weren't so far away."
"I don't have to be." She pulled the envelope out of Rachel's hands and pulled another piece of paper out. "I was accepted into NYU." She showed it to the brunette. "I start this fall."
There were tears running down Rachel's face. "Quinn… you… I…"
"Speechless, aga—" Quinn couldn't even finish her question for she was rendered speechless herself.
Quinn didn't have to think about it because this time it was definitely there. She could feel it in the kisses and when Rachel says her name, 'it feels like love.'
Quinn trudges up the three flights of stairs to her apartment. She's tired, sore and lonely. She looks around and sees that everything is how she left it. Nothing has changed in the past week and a half since Rachel left.
Quinn wants to call but her pride won't let her. It's something she should be over by now, her pride getting the best of her, but she isn't. She is and always will be a Fabray—even if her mom is now a Phillips—and Fabrays value their pride. It's something that was drilled into her since she was younger and it isn't something that will be easy to forget. It's stupid and it doesn't really make any sense, but she can't do anything about it… she hasn't even tried.
She looks at her phone and replies to a few messages from her new college friends—the ones that actually like her for her and not her reputation—and ignores the disappointment of not seeing any messages from her roommate. It really shouldn't be such a big deal. A week and a half isn't a long time, but it is the longest they've been apart since they moved in together a year prior.
Quinn sucks in a deep breath and lets it out slowly. She'll sleep it off; maybe Rachel will call later.
She wakes up a few hours later and she can tell that it's sometime in the evening by the artificial light streaming in through her window. She looks at her phone and frowns at the lack of any type of message from Rachel. She has quite a few messages from other people though: Brittany, Santana, Kurt, her mom and stepdad, Puck and the rest of the Gleeks. If only the brunette left on good terms… maybe this day wouldn't have turned out so bad.
She thanks them for their messages and decides to get started on some homework. But she can't concentrate; her memory keeps going back to that day nearly two weeks ago.
"Rach, why are you leaving? They only want to use you."
"They aren't going to use me Quinn! They see my talent, why can't you?"
"I do see your talent. I just don't see why you need to go on an internship with some sleazy acting company that no one's ever heard of!"
"It's not even that is it, Quinn? You just don't believe in me. I thought you were different… I thought you were my friend."
Quinn isn't sure why that last word hurt her so much but it did and she lashes out against the brunette. "I did believe in you, Rachel. But that was before you felt the need to whore yourself out to anyone who even says your name and talent in the same sentence. Oh wait, I did. Are you gonna get on your hands and knees for me too?" She scoffs and turns her head to keep from seeing the pain in Rachel's eyes. "You're pathetic. Just don't come crying to me when you contract something—STDs don't cancel out, you know."
Rachel's voice wavers when she's finally able to form a reply. "I-I'm sorry you feel that way. I'll get my things… See you… see you in three weeks."
She knows she shouldn't have been so hard on Rachel, but she was scared and anger is her only coping mechanism. She wanted to be strong for Rachel, she wanted to give her support, she wanted to be her friend… but she really didn't want Rachel to leave. She also knows that Rachel would've stayed if she had asked her to, but Quinn couldn't bring herself to do it. It all leads back to her pride and she hates Russell Fabray even more for that fact.
She lets her head drop to the cool wood of the kitchen table as she wishes for a chance to turn back time, or at the very least, make things right. Then Quinn remembers that wishing won't get her anywhere. She has to take initiative. Screw her father and his fucking pride. She's going to do this her own way.
She picks up her phone and her fingers move to dial Rachel's number before she has time to actually think of the digits. She presses send and brings the phone to her ear.
She takes a deep breath.
She lets it out.
'The number you have dialed is no longer—'
She lets out a frustrated growl and presses the end button.
Quinn doesn't know what to do. It took so much out of her to do this simple action. She lays her head in her arms and sobs silently.
This is the worst birthday ever.
Just then her phone rings and it's an unknown caller; she debates whether or not to answer while the phone rings a few more times.
The blonde almost swoons at the voice. She feels embarrassed to miss the sound of a person's voice so much, but she can't help it.
She was so surprised at hearing Rachel's voice she forgot to reply.
"Y-yes." Quinn squeaks and clears her throat. "Yes?"
"Oh thank goodness! I've been trying to reach you for so long, but you know how bad I am with numbers." The blonde chuckles lightly and Rachel continues. "I misplaced my phone the day after I left so I haven't been able to call. I tried to use other people's phones, but without you here to tell me my number or yours, I've been extremely out of luck! I keep calling this one man, because I was sosure that it was your number, but it obviously wasn't and he has blocked me. Me, Quinn, can you believe that?"
"No, Rachel. I can't." She can feel tears running down her cheeks because Rachel had been trying to reach her. Even though she was a complete mega-bitch to her and couldn't even swallow her pride to try and call the acting company, Rachel had made an effort. It made her feel better about the incident, because the brunette hadn't taken any offense to it. She was thankful for it and she had to say it.
"—I was running around and found a phone shop. Luckily my phone had a system of some sort to back up my contacts to my account. I didn't know it was possible, but they gave me a temporary replacement phone with my contacts synchronized so that I may call whomever I please. So, after much stress, I have finally located your cell phone number so that I could give you a call."
"Thank you, Rach."
"You're very much welcome, Quinn."
"No, I really mean it. Thank you. You're so good to me and I really don't deserve it… especially after what I said before you left. I just... I was scared."
"I know you were –huff- Quinn. I think that sometimes –huff- you forget –huff- that I know you better than –huff- you know yourself."
"Um, not to break the sentimental moment we have going on her, but what are you doing? It kind of sounds like you're—"
"I am not –huff- in the process of having intercourse, Quinn!"
"Okay, but if it's not sex then what is it?"
"I can't say –huff- at the moment."
'-Berry you're needed in the lair!'
"I'm sorry, Quinn. –huff- Could I call you back a little later?"
Quinn sighs affectionately. "I suppose." The blonde smiles and gets back to her neglected homework.
It's nearly midnight by the time Quinn's finished and Rachel still hasn't called back. She thinks that the brunette might have been lucky and just happened to call on her birthday because there was no mention of it while they were on the phone. Of course that could be due to the fact that the conversation was barely five minutes long, but it doesn't change the fact that Rachel could've said something before she hung up.
Quinn sighs. All of her overanalyzing is getting dampening the good mood she was having. She moves to set her head down on the small dining table just as her phone begins to ring—it causes her to slam her forehead against the wood and let out a curse.
The number is unknown, but it's familiar.
"So it has come to my attention that I have not given you the proper birthday sentiments."
"Hello to you too."
"Ah, yes. Hello again, Quinn… and happy birthday. I hope that it has been a great one so far."
"Thanks, Rach, but it's about to end," she looks to the clock on the microwave, "in six minutes."
"Well… I hope you've had a great day..?"
Quinn laughs; genuinely feeling a lot better than she was earlier. "It's been decent." She pauses for a second. "Thank you."
"Um, anytime. If I could do anything for you, don't hesitate to ask!"
The blonde shook her head.
"You could spend the last few minutes with me," she replied jokingly, but it really was what she wanted.
"I could. That is a very good idea." Pause. "Three more minutes. What do you wish for? Your wish is my command."
'I wish for you.' Quinn thinks. Of course it wouldn't come true, but that's the thing with wishes, they almost never did.
She hesitated. The myth on wishes was that if you said them aloud they would never come true, but with two minutes left there would be no way it would come true in the first place. She sighed she might as well be honest—she owed her friend that much.
"I wish you were here. I miss you and I feel so lonely with you gone. I'm sorry I said all that stuff before you left… I knew you were having that 'overly determined attitude' thing at the time, but I couldn't help it. I didn't know what to do and I was scared so I lashed out. I was scared of missing you too much. But it doesn't change anything because I still do. I miss you so fucking much."
It was quiet all of a sudden and Quinn was scared. More scared than the first idea of Rachel leaving, because everything she just said probably scared the other girl away forever.
"Thank goodness Rachel, I thought you hung up."
She was met with a dial tone.
Quinn turned her head so fast she was sure she pulled a muscle. There stood Rachel in all her 'vertically challenged' glory. Quinn's eyes filled with tears.
"Oh please tell me you're real or this really will be the worst birthday ever."
"I thought you said it's been decent?"
"Rachel!" Quinn leapt out of her seat and latched her arms around the smaller girl's neck. "It is you. Thank God." She closed the gap and pressed their lips together. It felt like longing and apologies and everything else all mixed together into the perfect kiss. Rachel pulled away but kept their foreheads pressed together.
"It is me. With a minute—well I had a minute to spare."
Quinn rolled her eyes. "Dork."
"You love me."
"Yes, I'm in love with an oompa loompa."
"Quinn!" Rachel stepped back with a shriek; her face aghast. "We already discussed that there is not an affectionate way of saying that!"
"No, you talked; I just pretended to listen."
"I was joking—I listen when you talk!"
"I'm going to have to take a line from Brittany and tell you that you are being mean."
"Did you really have to say that you were taking a line from her? I mean couldn't you have just said—"
"—It doesn't equate to the same thing!"
"Come on, Rach…"
"Don't 'come on' me!"
It takes a second before what Rachel said registers in her mind. When it finally did, she burst into a fit of giggles that turned into guffaws.
"Why are you—oh…" Rachel turned a brilliant shade of red after she realized what she had unintentionally said. "I didn't mean that!"
"So you do want me to..?" Quinn raises an elegant brow.
"W-wha… I…" The brunette huffs at the other girl's laughter. "You knew what I meant."
"I know, but it's still funny."
Rachel pouts. "I don't think it is funny that you're finding humor at my expense."
"Great, now that you've apologized, I think that we can get back to making up."
Quinn sighs. "So dramatic."
"So drama—wait, weren't you supposed to be gone for another week or so?"
"Yes, but I took an early leave."
"Is that allowed?"
"Not per se…"
"So you're saying that you just left?"
"I think it sounds more professional the way I said it…"
"Rachel, you're missing an opportunity to experience something amazing!"
"Now you're sounding like me… but I digress, I had better things to do."
Quinn crosses her arms over her chest. "Oh yeah, like what?"
"Things like…" Rachel's voice drops to a whisper, "Like making sure I was able to wish the one I love the most a 'happy birthday.' In person."
"Besides, there will always be other acting companies, but I'm sure there will only be one Quinn Celeste Fabray. Then again you know how bad I am with numbers, so I'd rather not take my chances."
Quinn's tearing up now. "Rach, I-I don't…"
She doesn't know what to say.
"You don't have to say anything. After all, you and I know that I can do enough talking for the both of us."
Quinn laughs and just like that she knows what it is. It's not just a thought or some feeling. It's everything and more and she's sure of it.
"Quinn," Rachel pauses and looks into her eyes. "I'm going to kiss you now."
There's a thin line between love and hate, and there is no way that she hates it when the brunette says her name.
So when Rachel whispers her name as she pulls her in for another kiss she knows…
A/N: Looks like we finally made it! Thank you everyone for reviewing, alerting, fave-ing and reading, I really appreciate it! Your support really helped me get through this. I'm happy with how this turned out, and I hope that you are too. This is my first completed multi-chapter fic and I'm glad that I'm able to share it with you all! Thanks again for everything!
BTW, this is dedicated to my "Little Idea Man"XAN. I have not forgotten about you; things have been pretty rough on my side and I apologize for not staying in better touch. As for my other fics, I have lost almost all of my motivation for them, but I would like to finish them sometime. I do have some other ideas for fics, though, and I hope you don't mind me going over them with you! (: