A/N: I apologize this update took a while. Thank you all for somehow not giving up on it.
Still not mine; don't sue. POV will still be shifting back and forth a bit .
I'd also like to give a HUGE shout-out to T... You're amazing! Thank you soooo much!
Reviews are always welcome.
Thanks for reading!
Rachel has never been one to encourage anything other than complete and rapt attention in class- or well, while waiting for it— really, it's the principle. But then, out of the corner of her eye, she noticed the blonde staring at her a moment ago.
With her heart hammering quite irrationally in her chest, she had planned on catching her gaze, and maybe smile in that suave way she sees in the movies, and ask her if there was something—anything— she needed. She might have wanted to throw in a British accent too—because, well, it's sexy.
Only, that totally didn't happen; that embarrassingly dorky side of her brain decided to take over and issued the—whatthefuck— Kung Fu Staring Contest challenge.
She internally rolled her eyes. Geez, Berry, you're so smooth, it's ridiculous.
When Quinn let out a little snort as she shifted in her chair to face her, arched a brow and locked eyes with her in acceptance of her challenge, she was met with a sharp, almost piercing stare. Then, a second or two later—well, there it was: a sudden, almost imperceptible shift in those eyes. She stared back in slight awe as hazel orbs seemed to soften as they focused on her and she watched, fascinated, as specks of gold swirled and danced within those depths.
Oh… Oh dear…
Involuntarily, her own eyes fluttered, as she felt a jolt inside her chest. She may have momentarily forgotten about breathing—
"You lose," Quinn murmured, a smile tugging at the corner of her lips. "You're not very good at that," she chided softly before swiveling around to face the front of the room at the sound of the bell.
She let out the breath she had been holding with a silent whoosh and bit savagely on the inside of her cheek. And in that moment, she knew— in that way you just know things sometimes— Quinn Fabray had just about reeled her in.
Totally, utterly, irrevocably so.
She sat quietly at lunch- not for the first time- totally fixated by thoughts of Quinn, oblivious to the ruckus of the boys huddled around her, or the noisy clatter of the crowd filling up the lunchroom. All the while her eyes have been flitting between the Cheerios table across the room-three seats at the head still conspicuously vacant-and the cafeteria door.
Not that, you know, she had been wondering where the blonde was. It's only been four and a half minutes into the lunch hour, after all.
Where is she?
Her eyes glared at the swinging doors.
And almost as if she willed it, the cafeteria door flew open to reveal three Cheerios sashaying in.
Quinn, with her hands on her hips, glided in.
Full crush alert.
A fair eyebrow arched in that curtsy-before-me-or-get-out-of-the-way way of hers as students parted to let the trio through.
Full, a hundred thousand percent, old fashioned crush.
She could not take her eyes off her even if she tried. The sunlight streaming through the large windows caught the ends of her golden hair and oh dear she had never looked so good in that red uniform. She watched as Quinn led Santana and Brittany over to the Cheerios' table the blonde's eyes found hers- in that way they always do- and the corner of soft, pink lips tugged up in a soft smile.
Her heart suddenly did a half flip, a toeless lutz and a one-and-a-half toe loop in rapid succession, and she tucked a strand of hair behind an ear, her face flushed, as she returned the other girl's smile.
Dazedly, she's now somehow aware that she had reverted to the behavior of a twelve-year old.
Heavens, I wouldn't be surprised if I started doodling 'Rachel + Quinn'— with a heart dotting the i — at the back of my notebooks.
Not that she'd actually revert to that kind of juvenile behavior. Not really.
Not yet, at least.
Quinn's eyes flew open to the sound of birds chirping happily right outside her bedroom window and a smile slowly spread on her face.
She was officially ungrounded—
Smirking as she threw her covers off, she sat straight up and flung her legs over the side of the bed.
But today the way I play the game is not the same, oh yeah!
She spread her arms out, threw her head back. "Think I'm gonna get me some haaaaaaappy!"
"Quinnie?" A knock and a beat later, the door cracked open and Judy popped her head in. "I was wondering if you were up-"
"I'm up-" She whipped around to face the door and pinned her arms to her side, "obviously."
Her mother's eyes twinkled. "Right… We're picking up your car from the shop today-?"
"Yup!" she started to walk backwards towards the adjoining bathroom. "I'll be ready in 30-"
She reached for her make-up bag, and spent another fifteen minutes alternately applying and removing make-up. She wanted to put something on which looked natural and subtle, yet defined.
Not that she was actually taking the time to fix herself up in the (planned) chance event she bumped into someone she knew around town.
She'd gathered from the grapevine (Jacob) that a certain brunette almost always, without fail, jogs four laps around the park at the corner of 6th and Main.
She would later worry about how the school's resident perv knows about this tidbit and what she will do to him if she ever finds out he'd been stalking her. There were far more important things to figure out at the moment.
So, how do you show someone you're interested in them?
She wrinkled her nose and tried to recall the rules from Teen Vogue: If a girl was attracted to a boy… well, attracted to anyone—her pupils will dilate.
Can't do anything about that now, can I?
She would also unconsciously lean forward, laugh at their jokes, and expose her wrists and palms.
Experimentally, she leaned a little towards her reflection, holding out her palms as she did so.
I look like Jesus.
She tried adding a flirty little laugh. "Heeheehee!" she exclaimed, "Oh, Rach! You're too funny!"
I look like a laughing Jesus.
She groaned loudly in frustration as Judy called for her downstairs.
Really, should it really be THIS hard?
Rachel tugged the dog leash when it stretched taut as the little Yorkshire terrier yapped playfully at a passing jogger.
It was a crisp Saturday morning. She had stepped out onto the porch earlier for her morning run and was pulling her hoodie on when Puck's truck screeched to a stop at the curb. With a promise of a guitar lesson and a flash of his disarming smile, he had her grudgingly clambering into the passenger seat.
They had been sitting on the park bench for fifteen minutes when she had felt the stirrings of impatience.
"Tell me again why we're doing this?" she ground out, irritated by Puck's behavior, who was leaning back against the bench leisurely.
"Because, sitting at a park bench with a dog is an excellent way to meet chicks," he replied with assured cockiness. "Chicks dig dogs."
She raised an eyebrow at him pointedly. "You don't even own a dog. Where did you even get this pooch from?"
Puck shrugged, "I borrowed it."
She snorted. "A terrier? Really?"
"Beggars can't be choosers."
"You think girls will actually believe you own this little fella?"
"That's why you're holding onto her-"
"-and what will you be doing?"
"I'm just gonna sit here and be badass and awesome and when girls stop to coo at her, I'm gonna-" he made a swiping motion with his hand, "swoop right in."
She rolled her eyes at him, "Remind me again why I agreed to be an accessory to your misogynistic endeavors?"
"I tapped into your anal need to be the Ultimate Supreme Badass Chick," he poked her side playfully. "Seriously, Rach, who do you even plan on serenading?"
Her cheeks flamed at the question.
She wasn't really actually going to serenade her, for Barbra's sake…
-At least not until she has gathered sufficient evidence that the blonde would be agreeable to it.
Really, Berry—how hard have you fallen?
But has she?
She had tried to convince herself over the past couple of weeks that this thing with Quinn was nothing more than a small case of infatuation. Quinn was, after all, rather beautiful and she could be really charming.
But from the lurch and flip of her stomach, it was beginning to seem like maybe she was feeling something a little bit more.
She and Quinn were, well, friends—that, she was fairly sure of.
Until recently, that is.
Do friends regularly engage in harmless flirting- tossing and parrying playful innuendos at each other?
Do friends often find themselves in endless staring contests with each other, sharing furtive glances across the lunchroom or from opposite ends of the hall?
Does one's heart hum ecstatically at the mere thought of one's… friend?
Friendship seemed to fuzz at the edges as she looked back at the recent developments of her relationship with the blonde. There was a sudden lightness in her lower stomach and a shiver ran up her spine at the thought.
"Also," the boy continued, "this would be an excellent way to meet new girls-"
She glanced at him skeptically. "What's wrong with the girls at McKinley?"
"Nobody catches the Puckasaurus' fancy no more-" He shrugged noncommittally.
You have got to be kidding-
"Well," she huffed, affronted "McKinley happens to be brimming with ladies of exceptional beauty and grace, who are not only intelligent but are also extremely witty—not to mention unbelievably talented and blessed with stunning eyes and a husky, eargasmic voice… " Her voice trailed off; Puck was watching her and wearing a rather amused expression. "Or, you know…" She cleared her throat as she felt warmth spread up to the tips of her ears. "—but what do I know…"
She threw Puck a look before pulling her legs up on the bench and crossing them; she leaned an elbow on her left thigh, and rested her chin on her palm. She turned her head indignantly away from the boy whistling silently to her right as she let her other hand, the one holding onto the leash, lay limply on her knee.
Eargasmic? Really, Berry? Really?
"Awww! What a cutie!" she heard a girl coo a couple of minutes later.
She rolled her eyes. She hated it when Puck's right about girls sometimes.
"She is, isn't she?" She could almost hear the smirk in the boy's reply. "Would you like to pet her?"
"If it's ok with her," the girl giggled.
She held back a snort.
"Sure, it is. Here," Puck offered. "See? She likes being scratched behind her ears."
There was a brief pause before the girl let out a small chuckle. "Oh," there was a faint trace of uncertainty in her voice. "Well, yeah, I guess your dog's pretty cute, too."
She turned her head around to find sparkling blue eyes and a megawatt smile.
"Seriously Q, it's too early on a Saturday morning to be so chipper." Santana slumped down in the front seat next to her.
Having dropped her mother off back home after picking her car up from the shop, she had intended to spend the first day of her newly regained freedom at the mall. Being a little too early in the day for that, she decided the park may be a good place as any to kill some time first.
She heard it's a rather interesting place to go people watching. Saturday morning joggers can be…entertaining.
"Oh shush, Santana!" Quinn adjusted her rearview mirror; Brittany was sprawled in the backseat. "Buckle up."
"She's right, Q." Brittany yawned. "What time is it? I've only had two hours of sleep, tops."
As Santana smirked while she put on her aviators next to her, she rolled her eyes and backed the Mini Cooper out of the Lopez driveway. "You and your shenanigans-"
"Shenanigans? Really, Fabray?" The Latina guffawed. "You've been stalking Berry far too much-"
"Hi," Blake was grinning down at her.
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Puck gaping at the statuesque blonde.
She might have been too, actually, who knows?
Puck nudged her and she managed a croaked "Hi". She cleared her throat as Blake's grin stretched wider.
"May I-" the blonde's voice trailed off a little, her eyes twinkling with amusement. "—scratch you behind your ears?"
Puck choked on his own breath.
She couldn't help the smirk that pulled at her lips when she realized what Blake was doing. "Hmmm," she pretended to think it over. "Maybe not today…"
"You'll let me know then, if I may-" the blonde tilted her head to the side. "—pet you?"
The boy next to her let out a tiny whimper.
"Oh, I will." She returned her lopsided smile, "You know… I haven't seen you around these parts before-"
The blonde arched her back and pulled one knee up to her chest; Puck's eyes just about fell from their sockets.
She snickered at the absolute absurdity of it all.
"I've been told the view was a lot better around here," Blake straightened up to her full height. "So…maybe I'll see you around?"
With a short wave, the blonde put her headphones back on and began to jog away, but not before looking over her shoulder and flashing her an impish grin.
"Wow-" Puck whispered in awe next to her. "…wow."
Still snickering, she leaned over to pet the dog's head. "You done good, girl," she cooed. "You done gooood."
"What was that?" Puck, mouth still agape, was regarding her with wide-eyed astonishment.
"That," she grinned, "was your theory being put to practice."
Blake was brilliantly devious; she had to give her that.
Puck continued to gape at her for another ten seconds. "Do you… do you know her?"
Flashbacks of that fateful day filtered through her mind. She smiled wistfully. "I might've met her before-"
"No shit." Puck rubbed his hand over his strip of hair. "And if I hadn't known better, I'd say she was hitting on you-"
She shrugged, willing her face from flushing.
A beat later, the boy's eyes widened. "Holy fuck! She was! She totally was and-" a grin slowly made its way across his face. "Berry, you were enjoying it!"
"What?" She gaped at him incredulously. "No, I wasn't-" She paused, her eyes flicking down the path where she could still barely make out the tall blonde's jogging figure.
Ok, well, maybe just a little tiny bit—
Puck, bless him, saw right through her.
"But…" he was studying her carefully, his features suddenly eerily serious. "But you were… you were totally enjoying it."
If it were someone else, though—
She caught the look of shocked comprehension that flickered across the boy's face.
Ididnotjustsaythatoutloud… Ididnotjustsaythatoutloud… Ididnotjustsaythatoutloud—
He slowly held a palm up as a teasing smile began to form on his lips. "Waaaaaaitaminute-"
"Holy. Shit. Berry-"
Oh heaven help me— this isn't happening.
"You're crushing on someone at McKinley, aren't you?" he had leaned forward in anticipation and wiggled his eyebrows suggestively. "Who is it? Who's the lucky… lady, Rach?"
Oh fuck! Fuckfuckfuckityfuck!
"Come on—you can tell Uncle Puck-"
There was a sudden burst of playful giggling from a distance.
Oh, thank g-d—
True to form, Puck glanced around towards the source of the sound. His face lit up in recognition. "Oh hey look, it's the Unholy Trinity-"
"The what?-" slightly puzzled, she craned her neck to where Puck was looking at.
Santana, Brittany and Quinn were walking up to a bench a little further up the trail.
Holy Sweet Barbra!
Puck turned back around to face her. "Hey, let's go over and say hi," he beamed and stood up. "We'll talk about this later."
"No!" she exclaimed without thinking, hand shooting out to clutch at the hem of the boy's shirt. She immediately realized her gaffe when she looked up at him; he was watching her closely, an eyebrow arched in bemusement.
She stared back at him, mouth opening and closing foolishly, while she tried to fabricate a convincing reason as to why she wouldn't want to go over to where the three girls were lounging on the park bench. "I mean… over there?"
"Yes, Berry, over there." He tilted his head in the direction of the three girls.
"But… well… we don't really have to, you know…" she tried to say as nonchalantly as she could- painfully aware of how tongue-tied she sounded. And that her cheeks were beginning to flush.
Puck's brows knotted in slight confusion. "Why not? I thought you guys were getting along—"
"We were," she said quickly. "I mean we are. But… they might be discussing something, you know, important- we wouldn't want to intrude…"
The boy chortled as he leaned over to take the dog leash from her. "What the hell would they be talking about that's so important?"
She shrugged helplessly. Behind Puck she could make out Brittany looking over. Abruptly, she ducked back down, hoping the boy's wide frame hid her from sight. "I don't know," she hissed, "world domination, perhaps? How would I know…?"
"Oh, look!" Brittany exclaimed excitedly. "I see Rachel over there!"
Quinn froze in her seat as she fought the urge to look over. She had actually zeroed in on her on their way over to the bench.
Play it cool, Fabray. You're cool. You're cool.
"Oh… nope," the taller blonde tsked, "I don't see her anymore…"
Santana sipped her coffee quietly next to her with a smug little smile on her face.
"Oh! Wait! There she is again! Puck was like, hiding her… Oh, oh, oh! She's getting up!"
She self-consciously straightened her shirt a bit. She didn't really want to seem overly eager. But her heart was pounding a mile a minute and- "Are they… are they coming over?-"
"Uhm…no," Brittany pouted, slightly dejected. "She's leading Puck away."
She finally raised her eyes to look in the direction of where the brunette had been and found her pulling a confounded looking Puckerman by the arm.
Well there goes my morning—
"So Quinn," Santana, smirking, had leaned back against the bench, "I can't wait to hear about your plans for the rest of the day—"
"Shut it, Lopez."
Rachel blew her bangs from her eyes as she tried to get comfortable in the front seat of Noah's truck.
"Cop-out," the boy mumbled next to her as they turned into her street. She pursed her lips tightly and glanced at him out of the corner of her eye. It freaks her out how Noah seems to know her all too well.
A little too well.
They screeched to a stop in front of her house and as she unbuckled herself, Noah poked her shoulder. Turning towards him, she found him quietly observing her.
"It's cool, Berry, I get it," he shrugged as his brows furrowed a little, "I think."
"I… I don't-"
He was again watching her closely and she fought from squirming under the intensity of his gaze.
"Yeah," he nodded, almost to himself. "I think I get it."
"Get what?" She gulped, fearing his answer.
He flashed her a winning smile in return. "Bro Tip Number 295: Make shit happen. There are enough obstacles out there for you to not have to hold yourself back as well."
Her eyes narrowed in slight confusion over his words.
Did he really just say that?
She slowly climbed out of the truck and as she closed the door, she threw him a frustrated glare. "What does that even mean?"
On Monday afternoon, she was a few feet away from her Jeep when she heard the intro of the Rocky theme blare from a nearby car speaker. She found Finn kneading Sam's shoulders as the blonde boy craned his neck side to side and jogged slightly in place.
She stopped next to her vehicle's door to lean against it as she motioned to them with her hand. "Do I even wanna know?"
"Today's the day, Rachel," Finn grinned at her. He stopped kneading to thump Sam's chest a couple of times. "Today, my boy here will ask the Queen Bee out. History will be made."
In her Quinn-induced daze, she had inadvertently forgotten about that tiny, little, minute detail: Sam wanted Quinn as well.
Well… this sucks—
"I'm asking her out, Rach," Sam had a look of firm determination on his face. "It's now or never."
Uhm… How about never?
Her mind reeled as she flattened her back against the door of the Jeep, ignoring the harsh coldness of its steel surface.
If Sam asked Quinn out, wouldn't she say yes?
There was a moment, out on the field, not too long ago, when she personally witnessed how Quinn had blatantly flirted with her friend—
Oh dear g-d…
"Quinn would have to be stupid to agree to go out with you," Puck's voice broke through her distressing reverie. The mohawked boy leaned against the Jeep next to her.
"She was stupid enough to go out with you-" Sam shot back as he shrugged Finn's hands off of his shoulders.
"Don't call her stupid," she snarled at both of them with a little more venom than she had intended.
There was a moment of pause; Sam was glancing nervously at her, Puck had an unreadable expression on his face, and Finn just looked downright confused.
"Right. She's right," Finn finally interjected. "Don't call her stupid. It's… It's not nice."
She rolled her eyes at him.
"So let's go over this again." Finn thumped Sam's back. "They should be done with their showers right about now. Did you give Santana the Breadsticks voucher this morning?" The blonde boy nodded. "Good, they should be halfway over there right about now. Do you have the flower?" Sam fished inside his backpack and drew out a single rose. "Awesome. Now just go by the script we worked on and you'll be ok. Wait-"
He reached into his glove compartment and, with a flourish, handed Sam a bottle of aftershave. She watched in distaste as Sam slapped some of it on his cheeks.
God that putrid smell—
Finn glanced at his watch. "Five o'clock, Quinn should be heading out of the locker room any minute now. Let's go!"
Finn yanked her behind a row of lockers and pushed her to a crouching position. Why she agreed to be dragged into this undertaking, she will never understand. Perhaps it's the masochistic need to witness Quinn accept Sam's invitation- not unlike the feeling you get when watching a train wreck: you know you need to look away but you just can't. And as they simultaneously peered around the edge to watch Sam approach Quinn by her locker, she heard the blonde boy clear his throat—and she gulped down the massive lump in hers and waited.
"Hi, Quinn-" Finn whispered next to her, as if he was reading from a script.
Sam ran his hands through his hair and smiled shyly at Quinn. "Hi, Quinn!"
Quinn slammed her locker shut and turned around at the sound of Sam Evans' voice. Her eyebrows rose in acknowledgement, "Evans."
She took a discreet step back as the horrible stench of his aftershave assaulted her senses.
"You look really pretty today," the blonde boy smiled at her.
Ok what is he up to?
"Here," Sam held the rose out, "this is for you."
"Oh." She glanced at the flower briefly before taking it. "Thanks."
"Listen, Quinn-" the boy shoved his hands in his front pockets. "I was wondering if you might wanna hang out sometime."
She stared wordlessly back at him.
"Uhm, I was thinking, maybe, you know…" Sam pushed through. "… If I can take you out on Saturday?"
The barbecue was this Saturday.
Rachel felt her chest constrict painfully.
"Oh," the other girl appeared to think it over.
Oh here it comes…
"Come on, come on, come on-" Finn chanted, urging Quinn on.
Say no, say no, say no… She countered.
A few agonizing moments later, Quinn gave Sam a hesitant smile. "I'm sorry. But I've already made plans for the weekend."
She pumped her fist as Finn banged his forehead lightly against the locker and groaned.
"Shit!" The tall boy slapped his hand against his thigh in frustration. "She wasn't supposed to say that."
"Oh…I, uhm… well…" Sam had a decidedly lost look on his face as blood rose to his cheeks.
"Improvise, Evans, come on!" Finn was now gripping the edge of the locker in anticipation.
"Next week, then?" He asked again, hopefully, his pitch rising a little. "Any day next week. I'm flexible."
Quinn gave him a regretful smile. "No. Sorry."
"Fuck," Finn hissed next to her.
"Week after next?" he was bordering on desperate now.
"Sorry," Quinn took another hesitant step away from him. "I'm not… really… interested right now."
"Oh… really? Oh. Well, uh…"
Despite her jubilant mood, she felt a slight twinge of pity for Sam.
She nudged Finn a little too forcefully. "You might wanna get your fighter out of there, Hudson."
"Shit-" Finn mumbled as he pulled himself up and scurried towards the two. With a "Hey, Quinn! Yo Sam we gotta go-" he threw his arms around Sam's shoulders and whisked him away, their figurative tails tucked between their legs.
She watched silently as Quinn glanced down at the rose in her hand with a pensive look gracing her features. She stepped out from behind the locker and leaned against it. At that moment, the blonde looked up and hazel eyes met hers; she was looking at her, like she'd known exactly where she was the whole time.
Her heart leapt to her throat when Rachel stepped out from behind the lockers; it lodged itself there as the brunette took tentative steps toward her. Questioning brown eyes bore into her hazel ones as Rachel closed the distance between them. Finally, the shorter girl stood a couple feet away from her, hands firmly tucked into the front pockets of her jeans in that way she had always found so ridiculously charming.
"So…" A gentle smile tugged at the corner of the other girl's lips. "Saturday, huh?"
She leaned against her locker door as she twirled the rose with her fingertips. "Yeah."
Rachel scuffed her sole against linoleum floor before propping a shoulder on the locker door next to hers. Quinn's breath hitched at her sudden nearness.
"Hot date?" the quiet question was illuminated by the sparkle in chocolate eyes.
"You bet," she replied just as softly, not wanting to break the spell they have suddenly found themselves in.
Rachel nodded to herself before once again meeting her gaze. "Someone I know?"
She smirked playfully. "Maybe-"
"Someone attractive, I'm sure-"
She flushed. "Indescribably so-"
Rachel's lips twitched. "And talented-"
"And modest," she giggled despite herself. "Definitely modest-"
The brunette chewed on her bottom lip thoughtfully. "Someone… special, perhaps?"
They stood at a standstill.
She finally pursed her lips before pushing herself away from the locker with a mischievous twinkle in her eyes.
She leaned in a little closer to the other girl as she vainly tried to hear herself speak over the racket in her chest.
"Oh, you have no idea-"