Like so much of Quinn's life lately, the passage of time seems to slow down to nothing. Waking up in her painted room for the first time seems like weeks ago, not this morning. So much has happened in these past few days. The only good thing that had come out of the past two days was Quinn's mom. It had been Judy's idea to go see Cats. Quinn had been despondent for days; Judy knew she wasn't eating. She hardly left her room, and when she did, her eyes were always red and swollen.
Judy had come in one morning and sat down on her daughter's bed. Quinn was still sleeping, curled around her pillow and facing the window. It had been years since she and Quinn had spent any quality time together, and Judy missed it. Despite living under the same roof, her little girl had grown up without her, and something inside Judy ached to fix whatever was tormenting Quinn. She reached out, bringing her hand up to stroke Quinn's hair, and she felt a tug of affection when Quinn whined, curling further away from her and into her pillow.
"Quinnie," Judy had whispered, bracing herself to lean over Quinn's shoulder to kiss the girl's cheek. "Wake up."
Ever since she was a little girl, Quinn had been impossible to rouse in the morning. Judy brushed the back of her finger over Quinn's cheek like she used to when Quinn refused to wake up, smiling when Quinn's face scrunched up like it always used to. She did it again, tickling Quinn's cheek with the pad of her finger. Quinn whimpered, her shoulder twitching to try to dislodge Judy's finger, but Judy just smiled warmly down at the sleeping girl and stroked her cheek again.
Quinn had whined, rolling over and burying her head in her mom's hip.
"Morning, baby," Judy said softly, stroking Quinn's hair. "Wake up," she teased when Quinn squeezed her eyes closed. "We're having a girls day today, like we used to, remember?"
Quinn responded by wrapping her arm around Judy's waist.
"The painters are coming to paint your room today, so I thought we'd go out to lunch. I made appointments for us to have our nails done, and then we'll go to that restaurant you like for dinner, and I got us tickets to see a show tonight. Just you and me."
It was like her mom was a whole new woman. She was fun and carefree, trying on dorky heart-shaped sunglasses just to make Quinn laugh. To Quinn, it had felt like the best day in a long time.
Quinn sighs, remembering that day and how wonderful it had been, despite the circumstances. She'd needed her mom, and she remembered how terrible it felt the last time she'd needed her, when Judy had been too scared but do anything other than ignore her. This time, Judy took the initiative, and she didn't stop until Quinn was happy.
Quinn looks over at Rachel. The brunette is lying next to her on the basement floor, eyes closed and peaceful. It reminds Quinn of the beginning of the summer, when she and Rachel started to do yoga. When they were finished, they would lie down on their backs and just rest, mostly for Rachel's benefit, like they're doing now.
Rachel breathes evenly, ankles and back relaxed. It's nice, Quinn thinks, to see her like this. Rachel's hand moves, slowly lifting off of the floor, and fishes a cookie out of the container. Quinn rolls onto her side and watches as Rachel brings the cookie to her mouth. A couple crumbs fall down her cheek and into her hair, and she doesn't try to shake them out.
"You'll make yourself sick if you keep eating those," Quinn says softly, reaching over to pluck the crumbs out of Rachel's hair before cupping Rachel's cheek. Rachel allows her head to roll to the side, following Quinn's hand. She never opens her eyes, just pops the rest of the cookie into her mouth and hums happily at the taste.
"They're too good," Rachel says quietly. "You could have some, too, you know."
"I made them," Quinn says, taking her hand away from Rachel's face to tuck it under her own head.
"So enjoy them," Rachel says, opening her eyes lazily to look at Quinn.
Quinn shakes her head, smiling at Rachel. "I've already had two."
Rachel's brow furrows as she looks at the container. "Only two?"
"Mhmm," Quinn answers her.
"The box is more than half gone. Did I eat all of those?" Rachel's voice rises nervously.
"I had two."
"Crap," Rachel whines, rolling onto her side and clutching her stomach. "Why didn't you stop me?"
"I made you cookies," Quinn replies. "You're supposed to eat them."
"You were supposed to share them with me," Rachel pouts.
"Another time," Quinn giggles, "when I don't have anymore baby weight to lose. I promise."
Rachel opens her mouth, but stops, remembering what had happened the last time Quinn referenced her baby weight, when Rachel had shaken her head and told Quinn she was beautiful, and Quinn had run away without a word to Rachel for the rest of the night. Rachel had meant it, because Quinn was beautiful. She still is, and Rachel makes a note to tell Quinn at a better time. Now though, she looks at Quinn's face, blonde hair framing her gentle features, and Rachel wonders how Quinn could think anything else about herself.
Rachel lifts herself up to an elbow and holds herself over the small gap between them to look down at the blonde. Quinn looks up at her, and Rachel lifts her free hand to cup the blonde's cheek. She bends down, brushing her lips over Quinn's before pressing down firmly. Quinn is soft and pliant beneath her, and when she gently sucks on Quinn's bottom lip, the blonde makes a soft, satisfied noise and rolls onto her back. She's so, so beautiful, and it's all Rachel can do not to press herself down and hug Quinn until there's no space between them.
Quinn sighs into Rachel's mouth as she feels the brunette climb timidly on top of her. She feels Rachel trembling, the brunette's thumb stroking her cheek softly. She cups the back of Rachel's head, threading dark, silky hair through her fingers as she reclaims her lip and kisses Rachel back. She places her other hand on Rachel's side, holding her in place. She wants to be closer, has wanted to be closer to Rachel since the brunette opened the door this morning, and she tilts her head, scratching Rachel's scalp soothingly. Rachel arches her neck into Quinn's hand, sighing appreciatively. The brunette pulls back for a moment, forcing her eyes open to smile shyly at Quinn before brushing her lips across the blonde's once more. Warmth spreads through Quinn when she feels Rachel's tongue poking delicately at her lip. Quinn shudders, trying to get rid of the tingling feeling in her stomach, and she parts her lips hesitantly. The hand on Quinn's cheek slides into her hair as Rachel tentatively dips her tongue into Quinn's mouth. Quinn meets Rachel's tongue with her own and whimpers, quivering when her body erupts in a warm flush. When she grabs onto Rachel's shirt and pulls her closer, Rachel lets out a soft noise and draws her mouth from Quinn's, breathing tremulously for a moment before giggling into Quinn's cheek. She draws back, gaze full of warmth as she looks at Quinn before slowly pressing kiss after kiss down Quinn's cheek. Rachel sucks Quinn's earlobe into her mouth, pulling on the sensitive skin, and Quinn gasps, arching into her. She trembles, turning her head to meet Rachel's lips, and Rachel squeezes against her.
"Rachel," Quinn breathes, holding the brunette's forehead against hers.
"Quinn," Rachel murmurs.
Quinn takes a moment, sliding her foot up to raise her knee. She leans her bent leg against Rachel's hip, and the brunette drops in closer. Quinn squeezes her eyes closed, marveling at the effect Rachel has on her. She didn't feel this need to be close with Puck, this magnetism that she feels with Rachel, and she certainly didn't feel it with Finn. The realization causes Quinn to blink her eyes open, and she stiffens slightly, even as she tips her chin up to take Rachel's lip into her mouth. The brunette whimpers.
"Rach," Quinn mumbles against Rachel's lips, pressing one more kiss against her before dropping back.
"Yeah," Rachel slurs ducking her head to rub her nose along Quinn's.
"What-" Quinn pauses, scared, terrified, and shakes her head, kissing Rachel again.
"What's the matter?" Rachel asks, concerned, as she looks down into Quinn's eyes. She strokes her thumb back and forth over the shell of Quinn's ear, and Quinn shivers, from the touch or the eye contact, she doesn't know.
"What are we doing?" Quinn whispers, barely audible, and when Rachel falters, Quinn feels the breath leave her chest.
Rachel breathes quietly, looking down at Quinn. "I- I don't know."
Quinn squeezes her eyes shut as the pleasant, warm weight of Rachel's body becomes suddenly stifling. She's ruined everything so far: her parents' marriage, her child, her reputation, Finn, Puck, they'd all left her because of it. Whatever she'd done, it seems she's never been able to figure it out, it keeps happening no matter what she does, and she'd done it again. She turns her head away when she feels Rachel easing off of her, moving back to sit on Quinn's knees.
"Oh my god," Quinn breathes, sitting up. "I have to go. I have to- I can't do this," Quinn scrambles off of the floor, and Rachel slips to the floor with a thump.
Rachel is on her feet in an instant, and she snags Quinn around the waist just as the blonde places a foot on the first step.
"Quinn, no! Stay." Rachel's plea comes out with a pang. She rests her head between Quinn's shoulder blades, holding her tightly, unwilling to let go.
Quinn turns around, stepping back to the ground before looking up at Rachel. "Why?"
Rachel gasps, lifting a hand to cup Quinn's cheek. She steps closer, looking at Quinn's shoulder.
"That's not what I meant. It's not. It's true, though. I don't know what we're doing," Rachel whispers, stroking her thumb tenderly over Quinn's cheek as she raises her eyes to Quinn's, "but whatever it is, I want to keep doing it." She tips her head up, brushing Quinn's lips with her own.
Quinn bites her lip, shaking her head even as she steps closer, leaning her forehead against Rachel's. "But... Finn."
Rachel nods, pulling away and covering her eyes. "I know."
Quinn exhales shakily. "I've hurt him too much. I swore I'd stop."
"It wasn't working with Finn," Rachel says quietly, bringing her hand down from her face and looking up at Quinn slowly. "I tried, but I don't feel the attraction to him that I once did. He's excellent leading man potential," she says, and Quinn chuckles, nodding, "but it wasn't right long before this happened," Rachel finishes, motioning between her and Quinn.
"What are you going to do?" Quinn asks, resting a hand on Rachel's waist and trying to keep the bubbling emotion out of her voice. It doesn't feel like she has much to worry about, with the way Rachel's looking at her, with all that's happened today. It's funny, how a month ago she and Rachel never even talked, and now Quinn can't imagine what her life would be like without Rachel in it.
"I'll tell him just that," Rachel says, stepping toward Quinn and taking her free hand. "I was going to anyway. I just... hadn't yet. We can tell him about this later," she squeezes Quinn's hand and Quinn drops her chin, smiling shyly.
"When we know what we're doing," Quinn says quietly, rubbing her thumb over the back of Rachel's hand.
"Yeah," Rachel murmurs, smiling up at Quinn. "When we know what we're doing."
"You're... what?" Finn scratches the back of his head and drops down to sit at the edge of his bed. The mattress bounces under him, and he rests his head in his hand.
"I thought this was what I wanted," Rachel says earnestly, pulling Finn's chair over to sit in front of him. "I really, really did, but it's not, Finn. I'm so sorry."
Finn sighs, his shoulders slumping forward dejectedly. "You're sure?"
Rachel nods silently, face full of empathy. Finn looks back up at her and traces a finger across her cheekbone before cupping her face. She watches him sadly, but she doesn't push her face into his hand or cover it with her own like she used to, and he drops it back to his lap.
Rachel looks at him, eyes searching his face before she stands. He follows her, towering over her and opens his arm hesitantly. Rachel hugs his waist, and he squeezes her lightly before letting her go.
He calls her back when she gets to the door, and she turns around slowly.
"Puck is having another Glee party at his house this weekend," Finn shrugs. "He wanted me to tell people."
Rachel nods slowly and offers him a smile. "Thank you, Finn. I'll see you this weekend."
Finn nods. "See you."
Rachel is standing on the front step, head ducked low and hands clasped when Quinn opens the door. Quinn steps aside and Rachel enters the house, timid and smiling.
"Hi," Quinn says, twisting her hands as well. "So?"
"There's a party at Puck's house this weekend, if you'd like to go," Rachel meets Quinn's eyes and nods reassuringly, and Quinn feels the pitted tension from Rachel's house leave her chest.
Rachel nods. She steps over to Quinn and reaches a hand up to her cheek, brushing the hair away from her face. She freezes, looking over Quinn's shoulder until Quinn giggles, snaring her arms around Rachel's waist and tugging her closer.
"My mom is at the grocery store."
Rachel relaxes, looking up and meeting Quinn's eyes. She feels a familiar calm surround her, and rises to her toes to press her nose to Quinn's. Quinn hums happily, and Rachel wraps her arms around the blonde's neck. The house smells like Quinn, and she brushes her lips over the blonde's, trying to capture the scent. Quinn hums again after a moment and guides Rachel back down. She takes the brunette's hand and walks toward the stairs.
"My room is painted."
Rachel's face immediately brightens and she skips to catch up with Quinn. "Do you like the color?"
Quinn nods. "It's perfect."
Rachel bites her lip as they climb the stairs, tucking her hair behind her ear with her free hand. "Are you ready for a new beginning?" she asks, looking over at Quinn's shoulder.
Quinn takes a breath, and Rachel sees the door as they get to the top of the stairs.