Rachel froze for a full twenty seconds before she was able to react. She shifted the doorknob in her grasp and inched backward.
"Uh...I'm sorry, I didn't know anyone would be in here. I'll just—"
"Stop," Quinn said sharply, folding her arms. "Do you really think I'd be in here for any other reason than that I knew this was where you'd be?"
Rachel opened and closed her mouth wordlessly. She actually couldn't think of any other reason for Quinn to be here, with no lunch or books or backpack, now that she mentioned it. But this could only mean one thing—all her hard work had gone to waste. And now Quinn was going to wreck Rachel's newfound acceptance of their status as friends with some unnecessary amendment to her first reaction. She felt like crying again.
"Would you stop gawking at me and sit down?" the blonde asked impatiently, and because the brunette could see the discomfort beneath her irritability, she obeyed.
They were silent for a moment while Rachel set her lunch bag and book on the table, glancing anxiously into hazel eyes and silently begging for mercy. Quinn's jaw clenched and unclenched several times before she finally spoke.
"I'm very angry with you," she said spitefully, and Rachel couldn't help it—she gaped again.
But at least she had words this time. "You-you're mad at me? What did I—"
"Besides running off instead of hearing me out and then using Puck to avoid me?" she snapped, gnashing her teeth around Noah's name.
Well, Rachel couldn't argue with that. She did—vaguely—remember Quinn trying to say something or other at one point, and she had to admit that she hadn't really been paying much attention. And she had run off, and she had used Noah as a device, and she had been avoiding the blonde. The only thing she couldn't figure out was—
"Why are you mad about that?"
Quinn growled in something akin to frustration, throwing up her hands. "Why do you think? I've been trying to talk to you for five days, but you won't look at me, you won't answer my calls, I—"
"My phone is broken," Rachel said hurriedly. "I'm getting a new one." She smiled nervously in an attempt to placate the aggravated cheerleader.
She sighed, rolling her eyes. "Fine. Whatever. The point is, I didn't want to corner you, but that's what you made me do anyway."
She folded her arms again, slumping back in her chair, and Rachel might've laughed at the petulant way she did it—like a five-year-old girl who wasn't getting her way—if she wasn't afraid Quinn would get even more upset with her. She sighed instead, trying to figure out what to say to that.
"Quinn, I...I just wanted to leave things as they were," she said carefully, and the blonde's eyes snapped to hers. "I mean, I get it. You don't hate me, but that's as far as it goes. It's perfectly understandable, and I can learn to acc—"
"See, that, right there. That's it exactly." She huffed, shaking her blonde head. "Did you really expect something else after you caught me off-guard like that? I mean, I-I thought I was dreaming for a minute there. It was a lot to take in all at once, and the only thing I could think was that you think I hate you—and that it's not true. And when I actually knew what I was going to say, you wouldn't let me talk."
Rachel was flabbergasted. "I-I'm sorry. I just...I was a little caught off-guard, too. I was expecting you to tell me you never wanted to see me again, or...or something."
"Yeah, I got that," she grumbled, rolling her eyes again.
Her brow furrowed. "What do you—"
"For someone who's supposedly in love with me," Quinn retorted mockingly, "you seem to have a pretty low opinion of me. 'You couldn't be less desirable to me if you rubbed yourself on a leper'?" Her brow arched high, and the brunette swallowed her guilt at the defensive move.
"Well…first off, that one was Santana's idea." Blonde eyebrows popped up, so she hurried on. "And second…Quinn, you have to admit that our dealings in the past haven't always been the most pleasant," she said calmly, keeping her voice low so as not to incite her wrath.
The blonde immediately looked away, grinding her teeth. Rachel was tempted to tell her to cease that, since it would only serve to mar her perfect dental record, rather than washing away the guilt she felt. But first of all, she didn't want a black eye. And second, Quinn's teeth were not the issue here. Though they were still quite lovely.
"I had to be prepared for any possibility," she added, twisting the end of her sleeve around her thumb.
Quinn nodded curtly. "I guess you forgot a few."
Rachel allowed herself a small smile, hoping that it wouldn't be completely inappropriate under the circumstances. She didn't immediately have her head taken off, so she let the smile grow a little and said quietly, "I guess so."
They were quiet again, though the brunette didn't feel quite so distressed this time. Quinn wasn't yelling at her, and for the most part, she simply seemed offended by Rachel's lack of consideration for her feelings in the matter, which was fixable. She was hearing her out now, and she'd had her reasons for behaving the way she did. If Quinn still wasn't satisfied, she could always work to make it up to her.
Before that line of thought could progress into territory that should be saved for the privacy of her bedroom, Quinn mercifully spoke.
"So Santana knew."
She looked extremely displeased with this information.
Rachel squirmed. "Yes. She and Brittany caught me trying to come up with scenarios and she read what I had—without permission, I might add." The blonde's lips twitched. "She corrected me and, after some persuasion, she agreed to help me in generating insults on par with your skills. I wasn't doing a very good job of that on my own." She sighed. "And…actually, she's quite possibly the only reason I told you."
Quinn's brow arched again and the brunette sank in her chair a little with the intensity of her gaze.
"She informed me that she would tell you if I did not, and with her self-admitted love for 'stirring shit up', I felt that it would—"
"No, I mean…why was she the only reason you told me? If you were coming up with scenarios already, then…."
"Oh, well, I did intend on telling you in order to get rid of these feelings, but I was too nervous to actually go through with it until it was almost too late, and then it was only because I didn't want you to go on with your life believing I was some crazed stalker with a mural of pictures of you lining my bedroom walls." She cleared her throat.
Quinn's lips twitched again. "I see."
Rachel nodded, and they fell into silence again; the blonde shifted a couple times, but kept her gaze on the brunette, who sank lower and lower into her chair. The unwavering attention was a little discomfiting. Not to mention, arousing. It was making the diva a tad bit…squirmy. She fought to regain control of her faculties.
So, they had established that Quinn still did not hate Rachel, that they were both caught off-guard and therefore handled things poorly, and the cheerleader had said she knew what she wanted to say. Although she still hadn't actually said it. The brunette opened her mouth to voice the query when she realized something else the blonde had said. Her eyes bugged.
"Wait, did you say you thought you were dreaming?" she blurted. The 'that I confessed to being madly in love with you' part was implied.
The corner of Quinn's mouth curved upward into a smirk resembling the ones Santana often gave Brittany, Rachel thought. Bats were suddenly flapping around in her stomach and a flush was creeping up her neck.
"It wouldn't have been the first time," the blonde purred, and Rachel thought she might just die.
She'd known Quinn was sexy (obviously), but when she talked like that, it sent heat straight to her core and—wait, was Quinn flirting with her?
Her cheeks were flaming when she stammered, "Uh…y-you said that you were going t-to say something. B-before I left, that is. I-I'm sorry I interrupted at the time, but if you'd still like to say it, I'm here and listening." She smiled sheepishly.
The head cheerleader's head tilted as she considered the brunette across from her, and Rachel promptly crossed her legs. Why did she have to keep looking at her like that?
"Stand up," Quinn ordered, doing so herself.
Rachel flapped her jaw. "What?"
She'd wanted to tell her to stand up? That didn't make very much sense. She'd already been standing and—
Twisting her shirtsleeves anxiously, the singer obeyed the command, sliding her chair back in out of habit and smoothing out her skirt. She nearly leapt out of her skin when she realized how close Quinn was now standing to her, the proximity sending another wave of heat over her body and goose bumps over her arms. She was suddenly thankful for her cardigan.
The blonde kept edging closer, and Rachel backed the little space she had left until her thighs hit the table behind her. She grappled at the edge of it and peered nervously up at Quinn, who was leaning toward her. The action may not have seemed menacing except for the predatory smirk on the cheerleader's lips that the brunette had come to fear. She leaned back as far as she could.
"Wh-what are you doing?"
She really hated stuttering, and it was all she seemed to be doing today. Quinn's smirk grew.
"I've always been more of an 'actions' person," she said lowly, and Rachel only had about a nanosecond to try and figure out what she was talking about, because the blonde eclipsed the distance remaining between them and kissed her.
It took Rachel a moment to realize that that was what was happening. After all, it wasn't every day that Quinn Fabray cornered her in a library cubby and kissed her. Hell, it wasn't every day that Quinn Fabray kissed anybody, let alone girls. Let alone Rachel Berry.
Fortunately, the fact that Rachel had confessed her love for Quinn rather recently seemed to have given the blonde the confidence she needed not to be put off by the brunette's lack of response; her lips stayed firmly against hers, working until she suddenly seemed to realize what was happening and pressed back into the head cheerleader with gusto. Rachel quickly hooked Quinn in her arms, swinging them around her neck and keeping her in the kiss—though she didn't really seem to be planning on going anywhere, since her hands were currently squeezing the brunette's sides and tugging her flush against her body.
When the diva grew bold, slipping her tongue along the seam of the perfect pink lips she'd been fantasizing about for…well, ever, Quinn moaned into her mouth and Rachel thought it was the most beautiful sound in the world. Until the blonde stepped back, out of the kiss, and she panicked immediately, wondering if she'd moved too quickly. The feeling was multiplied when Quinn turned away, toward the door, and Rachel was just about to apologize when the cheerleader pushed it shut and then turned back to the brunette with that predatory smirk and glint in her eyes. The sight of it sent a shudder down Rachel's spine and she was struck speechless for quite possibly the first time in her existence.
She had no idea it was possible to feel this happy. Or this aroused. She was practically humming with both emotions, and if the slightly goofy, crooked grin Quinn shot her before she dove in for another scorching kiss was any indication, she was feeling just about the same way.
This time it was Quinn who was looking to deepen the kiss, and they both moaned when their tongues met. The blonde searched for dominance immediately, and Rachel willingly gave it up to her, only asserting herself with a nip to the lip when her counterpart pulled away for air. Quinn's eyes darkened at the gesture and she made a sound that Rachel thought sounded fairly similar to a growl, and it sent another chill down her spine. She went to sooth the spot with her tongue, but before she could get close, she felt firm hands grabbing at her rump and lifting her onto the table.
She yelped, but the sound was muffled when Quinn yet again claimed her lips and then tugged at her thighs, bringing tanned legs around her waist until they were flush against each other. Rachel moaned at the feeling of the cheerleader pressed tight against her heat and squeezed her with her legs. Quinn moaned again, as she had when the brunette slipped her tongue along her lips, and the diva decided to classify it as the blonde's 'happy' moan. It sounded distinctly delighted. And Rachel wondered how on earth this was actually happening.
She definitely wasn't dreaming. The nails scraping lightly up and down her back, underneath her shirt; the insistent lips and tongue worshiping and devouring at her mouth; the silky tendrils caressing her fingers as she wove them through; and the warm body pressed tight against her were all evidence to suggest that this was, in fact, really happening. The question was how. How had Rachel Berry gotten lucky enough to have this, the least likely of all of her dreams, actually come true? She knew she shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth, but God, really? Quinn Fabray was kissing her? And would probably be doing a lot more in the near future if the sounds she was making were any indication?
It was then that Rachel realized that they were moving fast—extremely fast. They hadn't even gone on a date yet. Unless…maybe Quinn didn't actually want a date. Maybe this was her way of telling her she was attracted to her and she was looking for a one night (or one lunch, in this case) stand. Maybe—
"Is this clear enough for you?" Quinn suddenly purred, and Rachel shuddered as she felt her breaths washing over her lips, just centimeters away.
She wanted to say 'yes, please God, don't stop kissing me,' because God. Quinn's lips were even more amazing than she had imagined them to be. She was beyond perfect, and Rachel wanted her so much it was becoming a physical need, or at least it felt like it. But she hesitated, because…well, she didn't want to be a quick lay, and even though it was clear Quinn really did feel more than friendship, it wasn't clear what her intentions were.
Quinn sensed her hesitation, and that happy smirk she'd been wearing faded a tad. She backed off—not out of Rachel's arms, but just enough for Rachel to be able to breathe, at least. The brunette smiled gratefully, feeling her cheeks heat even more when the blonde started caressing her hair out of her face. She felt a grin coming on, but swallowed it back in favor of regaining her breath.
"What does this mean, Quinn?" she asked quietly, and the blonde sighed, running her fingers through the hair at Rachel's temple.
"I like you. I…." She dropped her hand and her gaze, swallowing audibly. "I might…l-love you."
Rachel's heart swelled and she felt a grin blossom on her face, despite that 'might.' Quinn could actually love her back. This was positively the best day ever. Including when she saw 'Wicked' with her fathers in New York and saw Idina Menzel going into the bathroom afterward.
"I can't say that's what it is right now, but if the way I feel when you smile at me means anything, then it's definitely heading in that direction," Quinn said hurriedly, her cheeks going an adorable shade of pink. She winced. "Please don't tell Santana I said that."
Rachel grinned, and her heart felt like it was going to burst right out of her chest when Quinn smiled back. She stroked the blonde's hair that she'd decidedly messed up, trying to pet it back into place.
"Your secret is safe with me," she assured her teasingly.
Quinn's smile widened, and she leaned in for another kiss, lingering for a moment before pulling back just enough to look into the brunette's eyes. She nudged their noses together lightly, bringing a smile to Rachel's face.
"So, you like me. I love you," Rachel said, seriously considering both statements and what that meant.
It took her a moment to notice the blindingly gorgeous grin Quinn was giving her. She couldn't help but smile back.
"Just…that. You saying that to me," she said shyly, blushing again.
The brunette felt another goofy grin coming on. "Well, it's true. I love you."
She was expecting another of those beautiful smiles. Instead she was nearly knocked back onto the table with the force of the kiss Quinn landed on her. She had to abandon her hair stroking duties in order to keep herself from falling back to the wood with a thud. And from squashing her lunch. She was kind of hungry, come to think of it.
Oh, well. Rachel would happily go hungry for one meal if it meant she could keep kissing Quinn. Despite the fact that having three nutritious meals a day was a very important part of one's adolescent years. She wondered if Quinn had eaten yet, though. She couldn't have that. The blonde needed to stay fit and healthy for her active schedule and—wow, she didn't know anyone could curl their tongue like that. She let out a little whimper, at which point Quinn started crawling over her on the table. She pushed her lunch bag out of the way and started to give in to the cheerleader's pressing when a familiar voice interrupted their heated makeout session.
"Oh, hell no. If I don't get to have sex on that table, no one does."
Quinn jerked away from her lips and the two scrambled off the table, hurrying to straighten their tops and skirts while Santana and Brittany looked on with smug and happy smirks, respectively. Rachel didn't know about Quinn, but she felt about as red as a tomato at that moment.
"I knew they would get together!" Brittany squealed, clapping happily.
"Yep, you called it, B," Santana acceded gently, then narrowed her eyes at Quinn. "'Bout time you grew some balls."
The head cheerleader rolled her eyes.
"May I just point out that that is physically impossible for any female to—oh." Rachel flushed, but it was tempered by a smile when she felt Quinn's arm slide around her shoulders.
"Did you give her the tickets?" Brittany asked brightly.
Rachel frowned. "Tickets?"
Santana huffed. "Are you a moron? Seriously?"
"Look, we had other things to discuss," Quinn said defensively, ducking when Santana went to smack her upside the head. "And would you stop doing that?"
"Would you stop being a dumbass?"
"What tickets?" Rachel blew out impatiently.
"Brit told you to do that part first," Santana growled.
"It was going to be so romantic," Brittany confided to Rachel, pouting.
The Latina rubbed her arm comfortingly. "Yeah, it was going to be all corny and shit. You would've loved it. And Q messed it up. Again."
"Well, it might've been nice to have a little warning before Rachel dropped the L-bomb on me the first time I 'messed it up'," Quinn hissed, and the brunette shot her a wounded look. She hurriedly bent to kiss her cheek, almost reassuringly, leaving a smile on her face instead.
"Please, like you would've believed me? You had your head so far up your own ass—"
"San," Brittany said gently, and she huffed.
"Fine. But she's still a moron."
"I beg to differ," Rachel cut in, lifting her chin. "There are few students in this school with as many extracurricular activities as Quinn who are able to maintain such a high GPA, and—"
Santana rolled her eyes. "I meant emotionally, Two Shoes."
"It's not her fault she was raised in an environment which encouraged the notion that natural human emotions are unacceptable and—"
"I think you have a new nickname, Little White Knight."
Rachel frowned. "That is not in the least insulting, other than the obvious indication that I am less than female. However, you have far better nicknames to express that particular idea. Are you feeling well?"
Quinn let out a low, throaty chuckle and Rachel leaned into her with a happy grin. Santana, on the other hand, pursed her lips and glowered at the diva.
"Sure it is. I'm insulting your height, of course." She scoffed. "You need that horse to reach Barbie's lips."
There was a brief halt in conversation while even Santana internally rolled her eyes at herself. Brittany grinned.
"She didn't mean it as an insult," she confirmed.
"I'm hungry," Quinn commented, ushering Rachel toward the door.
"I did, too!"
"Me, too," Brittany agreed. "Do you think they'll have noodles again?" She bounced on the spot.
"Whatever you do, don't eat the meatballs," her fellow blonde cautioned.
She looped her arm over Rachel's shoulder again after she had gathered the book and her lunch bag. She quickly shoved the book on a shelf after a particularly frightening glare from the librarian.
"I so did mean it as an insult," Santana muttered as they left.
"Is anyone going to tell me what tickets you were all talking about?" Rachel asked impatiently.
"Took you long enough to ask," the Latina replied. "I'm surprised you didn't start strip searching us."
Quinn sighed, reaching into waistband of her Cheerios skirt and handing two tickets over to the brunette. The other two peered on while Rachel quickly read over them and then promptly squealed, throwing her arms around Quinn's neck.
"Tickets to 'West Side Story' at Mershon Auditorium? How did you get these? They were sold out when I went to the website," she said excitedly, grinning up at the blushing blonde, who glanced uncomfortably at Brittany and Santana.
Santana grinned cheekily. "Go on, tell her, Q." She leaned close to Rachel's ear, clasping her hands together mockingly. "Your wittle sweetie bear—"
"Shut up, San! I…I just went to get them after school last Thursday when I heard they were selling them. That's why I was so impatient when you asked me to stay after," she explained sheepishly. "I was going to get four tickets, but after you told me…you know, I-I thought it could be our…our first date." Even her ears were red.
Brittany squealed and crushed Rachel in a bear hug before the brunette could do just that to Quinn. "I told you it was romantic!"
"She forgot the part where she had to drive all the way to Columbus and back, waited in line for six hours—in the cold, in her Cheerios uniform, and, oh, yeah, what else did you do? Get into a fistfight with some guy who cut in front of you?" Santana mocked, grinning wickedly. "Whipped."
"You got into a fistfight?" Rachel gasped.
"It wasn't a fistfight!" Quinn yelped, cheeks so red Rachel was a little worried. "I…he cut in front of me and I told him to get out of the way and he wouldn't so I shoved him. No big deal." She whirled on the Latina. "And you said you wouldn't tell anyone!"
"Mayor Munchkin isn't 'anyone,' and you have to give me some mocking rights," Santana retorted.
Brittany smiled. "She's just making sure everything is out in the open with you guys. Plus, she thinks it's sweet, too."
"I do not."
"You are absolutely the sweetest person, Quinn Fabray," Rachel said happily, and reached up to kiss her.
After a few moments, Santana cleared her throat.
"I'm going to pour water on you like a couple of cats in heat if you don't stop humping each other in public."
Quinn rolled her eyes while Rachel blushed, burrowing under the blonde's arm.
"Can we go to lunch now? The noodles might all be gone," Brittany pointed out, a little panicked at the idea.
"Right, let's get going," Santana said, linking pinkies with her blonde counterpart as they headed down the hall.
Rachel smiled up at Quinn, pressing a quick kiss to her lips before they followed after them, the blonde with a blissful smile on her face. They reached the cafeteria doors a moment later and Rachel hesitated, tugging briefly at Santana's arm. The Latina eyed her critically, but stopped obediently—for once. Quinn frowned back at them.
Rachel bobbed her head. "We'll be along in a moment."
Quinn smiled and bent down for another kiss. She tilted their foreheads together and whispered against her lips, "I love you, Rachel Berry," before scurrying after her fellow blonde. Rachel's grin could've rivaled the sun's brightness. Her gaze lingered on her girlfriend's retreating form for a moment before she turned her attention to her fellow brunette.
"All right, what do you want, Two Shoes?" she grouched. "I swear if you talk for more than two minutes, I'm going to sock you in the face. I've always been curious to see how well you can sing with a bruised lip. And won't it be fun to go on your first date with Goldilocks without—"
"Thank you, Santana."
The taller of the two eyed the other for a long moment, surprised by the briefness of that statement. Rachel smiled a little, and Santana privately thought it was the most genuine smile she'd ever seen the little diva give. Her lip quirked of its own accord, though she tried to shove it back down.
"Yeah, don't get used it," she said harshly, trying not to betray herself.
Rachel grinned. "Shall we?"
And they rejoined their girls side by side, still privately smiling to themselves.