I'll start with saying Happy New Year! Now I'll move onto apologizing for taking so long to write this. It was my Everest! It's about as long (big?) as Mt. Everest, too. Sorry to those who think it's too long, I just found myself not wanting to say goodbye to these characters and this story. I had to really end it, ya know?
Anyway, thank you so much for sticking with this story despite the long time in between updates. Thank you for your support and kind words. It was extremely overwhelming in the best way possible. Thank you to yourkat for editing this and being patient with me; you're my sweetpea ; ]. I hope you enjoy it and it was worth the wait. Thank you again; I've really appreciated taking this ride with you.
Chapter Twenty: Tentative Title
Rachel Berry flailed around in her bed, waving her arms madly, in an attempt to silence the loud, obnoxious noise that was disturbing her sleep. She had only dropped off a scant hour before, around two o'clock, and felt as though the jarring racket was coming from inside her head and not from her bedside table.
Basically still asleep, Rachel's hand wrapped around her vibrating, noisy phone and placed it beside her ear. "Rachel Be-" That's all she got out before she was asleep once again.
"Mrs. Berry?" The voice on the other line asked. "Mrs. Berry?!" Louder still.
Rachel's eyes wrenched open in alarm. "Yes? What? How may I be of service?" She slurred, completely out of it.
The man on the other line chuckled: he loved his job. "Mrs. Berry? Is that you?"
"Mrs. Fabray." She mumbled, nuzzling into her pillow and ready to be asleep again.
"This is Mrs. Fabray? Mrs. Quinn Fabray?" He asked, truly puzzled; he was almost positive he was speaking to Rachel Berry—her voice was quite distinctive.
"No, Rachel this is." She said through a deep yawn before smacking her lips thoroughly, eyes closed.
The man grinned as he shook his head. "Rachel Berry, my name is Jamal, and I'm calling on behalf of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, ma'am."
"Lovely, lovely." Rachel murmured, her eyes closed and almost entirely checked out of the conversation.
"Yes it is, ma'am." He chuckled softly. "Mrs. Berry, I want to congratulate-"
"Mrs. Fabray." Rachel responded, close to sleep once again.
"I'm sorry, ma'am?"
"My name Fabray." She grunted back, slightly disgruntled in her half-asleep state.
"Yes. Um. I apologize, Mrs. Fabray. It's just that, I have you here under Berry, not Fabray."
"Berry's my stage name."
"Oh." Jamal was fairly certain that his audience was on her way to dreamland soon. "Mrs. Fabray, is the other Mrs. Fabray there? If so, could I please speak to her?" Jamal asked, double checking that he was allowed to deliver this particular news to Rachel's wife. Since Quinn Fabray was Rachel's wife and representation, he was cleared to do so.
Rachel sighed loudly, very annoyed: she was sleepy! "Quinn's in Lima. With Mercedes. Or Santana and Brittany. Or Noah. I don't know. Would you like to leave a message?" She asked through a yawn.
Jamal was starting to hate his job a little. "No…uh, Mrs. Fabray…I just wanted to congratulate you on behalf of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for your selection of merit for distinctive achievement in the industry, and nominate you officially for the eighty-seventh Academy Awards as Best Actress in a leading role for Which of You, I Love."
There was a long silence on the other end, and Jamal held his breath as he waited for the shrieks of excitement. They didn't come.
The sound of Rachel's snores filled the line and Jamal frowned. "Mrs. Fabray!" He shouted loudly, positive that people outside his small office had heard him and were laughing.
Rachel jerked awake. "What? What's going on?" She mumbled, her messy bed-hair curtaining her face. She brushed it away and inhaled harshly to wake up. She could hear yelling from her phone and quickly picked it up from her pillow and placed it to her ear. "Hello?!"
"Oh thank God! Mrs. Fabray-"
"No, this is Mrs. Berry." Rachel corrected, still smoothing her hair as she stared down at her phone at the unknown number before placing it back next to her ear. "Quinn is out of town; may I take a message?" She asked, wiping the sleep from her eyes.
Jamal sighed in relief and frustration—thankful that Rachel seemed to be finally with it, but frustrated that she had yet to catch on. "No, Mrs. Berry, I wish to speak with you. My name is Jamal from the-"
"Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences!" Rachel shrieked clambering to sit up properly in bed. She grabbed her neglected pillow/poor Quinn substitute, and held it to her bare chest as her wide eyes stared unseeing across the dark room.
She had fallen asleep. She had promised Quinn, Jesse, her fathers, and everyone from Matt's production team she would not fall asleep just in case this call came. When she had received the news about her Golden Globe nomination a week prior, everyone assured her the Academy would be calling next. Secretly, Rachel tried to put it at of her mind. The Tony and Golden Globe nominations were enough for one year. To receive an Oscar nomination on top of that would truly mean that Rachel Berry had sold her soul and forgotten about it or something. She'd been very fortunate already.
And, sure, when she got the call that she had been nominated for a Golden Globe she was thrilled! But they practically gave those things away to whomever was walking by on the street. Academy Awards, on the other hand…This was why she needed Quinn next to her, not anywhere else—she needed her alarm-wife! The moment should be crystal clear, not a fuzzy memory!
Jamal chuckled. "Yes, Mrs. Berry. I've called to congratulate you on behalf of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for your selection of merit for distinctive achievement in the industry, and nominate you officially for the eighty-seventh Academy Awards as Best Actress in a leading role for Which of You, I Love." Jamal repeated, reading off the typed, prewritten words he was required to recite.
Rachel slapped her hand over her mouth to prevent herself from screaming loudly as she quickly hopped to her feet and began jumping up and down on the bed, quite naked. "Oh my, God, oh my, God, oh my, God!" Jamal laughed loudly on the other line, finally getting the reaction he wanted.
"Congratulations, Mrs. Berry. Officially, the nominees for Best Actress will be announced later on today …" Rachel promptly stopped jumping as she stood frozen on her bed. "…so you'll see the official press conference-"
"Wait, wait, wait! WHAT?!" Rachel shrieked, suddenly wide awake and very anxious.
"The press conference will-"
Rachel waved him away. "No, no, no! Did you say best lead actress?!"
Jamal frowned as he double-checked his notes. "Yes, Mrs. Berry, ma'am. Lead actress."
"No, no, no, no, no, no! Supporting role! Not lead. Supporting! I'm the supporting actress!"
Jamal paused and spoke very slowly. "No, ma'am. Your costars were placed as supporting, you're the lead."
Rachel was shaking her head hard left and right. "No, no, no, no, no, no! My part was small. Miniscule, even! Supporting!"
"I don't know what to say-"
"I was just nominated for a Golden Globe and that was for Best Supporting Actress! Supporting!"
Jamal's brow furrowed. "That sometimes happens, ma'am and-"
"Twice! It's only happened twice! Most recently for Kate Winslet's 2008 performance in The Reader! There's some mistake! I shouldn't be allowed to be nominated for Best Actress!"
Jamal was nonplussed. "Ma'am…you're the title actress, correct?"
"What? Um…" Rachel was shaking her head again. "Well I suppose that I'm the you in which the title speaks, but technically, there are three different actresses all playing the you in the which of you!"
Jamal had no idea what she had just said since he hadn't seen the movie yet, but he did know that his phone call should have been over by now. "Look, Mrs. Berry, I'm just the messenger. I'm sure your wife could shed some light-"
"Quinn!" Rachel jump, slapping her hand over her forehead. "I have to call Quinn! She can clear this entire thing up! You'll be receiving a call from my wife and she'll set you straight." Rachel nodded firmly.
Later, Jamal would wonder for quite some time why he said what he was about to say: it was only going to lead to further hassle. "I'm sorry, ma'am, but there's nothing to clear up. And I'm sure Mrs. Fabray was the one who submitted you for the lead actress seeing as she was credited as one of the producers for the film."
"But, Quinn fixes everything!" Rachel declared, snapping her hand to her waist as she stood atop her bed, feeling as though the matter was closed because she had said her wife's name.
Jamal was shaking his head again. "Mrs. Berry, the nominations are closed. The ballot is closed. Voting is closed. There is nothing to change."
Rachel gasped. "But. Quinn!"
"I'm sorry, Mrs. Berry. There's really nothing that I can…"
A thought occurred to Rachel, her heart hammering, as Jamal babbled on. "Who else is nominated?!"
"Who else is nominated?!" Rachel repeated, firmer still.
On the other line, Jamal's mouth opened and closed anxiously. He was told that some nominees often asked the question, and you were clearly prohibited from revealing the information.
"Oh, come on, Jamal, you can tell me. It's just us here." Rachel said, somewhat hysterically, but trying to sound sweet, flirty even. Mostly she just sounded hysterical: she had reason to be.
Jamal looked around his small office and got up from his desk to peek out between the Venetian blinds. No one was around.
"I really can't tell you that, Mrs. Berry." He whispered.
Rachel smelled weakness.
"Look, Jamal, you've been absolutely so kind to me. Patient, sweet, understanding—all I need is this teensy weensy little favor from you. And someone of your obvious power can give me the knowledge I seek."
Jamal felt himself blush slightly as he double-checked that the coast was clear. "I'm really not supposed to…"
"Jamal," Rachel began, one hand clutching her phone tightly to her ear while the other gripped her neglected pillow/poor Quinn substitute against her naked body as she paced, back and forth, on top of the short distance of the bed. "You could very well save me from a great deal of distress if you would just tell me the other Best Actress nominees."
He gulped loudly as he hurried back to his desk. Technically, he wasn't even supposed to know the other nominees. Everyone was given a name, phone number, typewritten monologue, category, name of film, and to whom the information was allowed to be released. But Jamal and the other people in charge of calling up the nominees had talked amongst one another. They were all locked in the small office without their cell phones until the news was to be broken later that day. It didn't stop them from passing notes in the caf, however.
He was weakening: Jamal had seen A Date a Month. He took his long-time girlfriend to the film, expecting to be bored senseless. He had not been bored. He may have teared up at the ending…
…And again when he watched Rachel and Quinn's wedding special…Really, what would be the harm? The nominations were going to be revealed only later that day…
Jamal cupped his hand over the phone and whispered, "Meryl, Mirren, Winslet, and Dench; that's all I can say."
Rachel threw back her head and laughed loudly in relief before collapsing down on her bed. "Jamal, you are a prince amongst men; thank you!"
"Uh…sure. Um…good luck."
"I don't need luck, Jamal: I have the four murderesses of the Academy Awards to keep me safe. Thank you so much, and have a pleasant day." Jamal stared blankly at his phone, completely confused. For the first time ever, if his training taught him anything, a nominee was displeased that they were up for the coveted award. He couldn't understand why Rachel Berry seemed so anxious about her leading lady nomination, and was actually relieved that she was up against, perhaps, the stiffest competition the Academy Awards has or had ever seen.
"Actresses." Jamal muttered to himself before getting up to stretch.
Rachel ended the call and flopped back on her pillow feeling immensely better as she nuzzled into her neglected pillow/poor Quinn substitute and yawned loudly. There was absolutely no way that Rachel would beat out any one of those ladies for the Oscar.
And she couldn't be happier about it.
Hiram Berry was swaying his hips along to the oldies hit blaring around the kitchen on the radio while his daughter-in-law manned the stove and sang. Behind him, Leroy was doing his own dancing as he set the kitchen table. Hiram, however, couldn't help but notice, as he swiveled his hips, that Quinn was religiously checking her cell phone while she cooked their breakfast in between choruses of You Can't Hurry Love. And although she hit every note and never went sharp, Hiram saw the worry between her smiles.
"How do you manage to get your hash browns so crisp, Quinn sweetie?" Hiram asked over her shoulder, ignoring Leroy's loud singing as he continued to dance around the kitchen table.
Quinn smirked and quirked her eyebrow as she looked up at him. "You're not going to distract me. And I will smack your fingers with my spatula if I see any reaching!" She threatened lightheartedly, holding the spatula up close to the man's face with a playful smile.
Hiram threw his hands up. "No reaching, sure, sure, wouldn't dream of it. Anything you say: you're the chef!"
With her gaze fixed on him, however, it was easy for Leroy to slink up and snatch some of the breakfast burrito that was cooking in another frying pan. Quinn caught the action out of the corner of her eye and twisted to face her other father-in-law to shoot him a teasing glare. Leroy's innocent smile was very reminiscent of Rachel's.
"Hey, hey, hey!" Quinn scolded, swatting her spatula when Hiram's hand made a dive for the hash browns. "That's it, out of my kitchen, go!" She commanded, pointing her spatula at them as they tried to appear guiltless. Instead of leaving, both men took a seat at the table and waited to be served.
"Hear from Rachel yet?" Hiram asked, lounging back in his chair as he crossed his legs dramatically. Quinn came to realize these men did everything dramatically. In comparison, Rachel was downright modest.
Quinn's shoulders drooped as she flipped a burrito. "No. And I'm worried."
Hiram and Leroy traded disappointed looks. They hadn't heard from her either. The calls for the Academy Award nominations went out the previous evening—or wee hours of the morning, really. If they hadn't heard from Rachel, it must mean she didn't receive any good news.
It was why Quinn was so desperate to hear from her wife. She had stayed up most of the night waiting for Rachel to call shrieking her excitement. Or even a call early in the morning to hear from a sad Rachel that she hadn't heard from the Academy. But nothing.
She had texted and phoned Rachel repeatedly. Everything went unanswered or to voicemail. "Well, it could have been stiff competition this year." Leroy sighed dramatically, almost as though it was all happening to him. "It was a lot to hope for that we'd receive a nomination so early in our career." His voice broke, and Quinn looked over her shoulder as she turned off the stove to see tears in his eyes and Hiram consoling him.
"Next movie." Hiram told his husband, rubbing his back.
"But we worked so hard!" Leroy stressed, accepting the napkin Quinn handed him after she set the food out onto the table and took a seat at his side.
Quinn smiled sympathetically. "Rachel has a very long career ahead of her, Lee, she'll get her Oscar. I promise."
"Yes!" Hiram said as he slapped the table and pushed up his glasses. "And after breakfast we'll just have to watch the press conference to see what hacks were nominated instead of our girl. We'll rip them to shreds!"
"That does sound like fun." Leroy mumbled as he brushed away his tears.
After breakfast and cleanup, the three moved into the living room to sit in front of the television to watch the award announcements. Quinn clutched her phone tightly in her hands, leaning forward on the couch between her fathers-in-law as other category nominations were read aloud.
She just wanted to hear Rachel's voice. After her meeting with the restaurant investors and dinner with Puck the previous evening, she had called Rachel in hopes that she was still awake—unaware that she had let slip that she loved Rachel over their quick phone call, and unaware that her wife was reeling from the effects. After trying several times, Quinn conceded and tried to go to sleep. Her work in Lima was wrapping up, and she couldn't wait to be home again.
Missing Rachel was like a constant ache. She was getting crabbier as the days passed. Whether it was because she just wanted to be around her wife, or was getting rather horny, Quinn didn't know. But she was sick of Lima. She missed New York; even that unidentifiable smell that permeated the city. She was ready to be home.
"And the nominations for Best Actress…"
"This is it, this is it!" Leroy said as he bounced next to Quinn. He scoffed. "Meryl again!" He complained, folding his arms across his chest with a look of disdain on his face.
"You love Meryl Streep, though." Quinn mumbled, feeling her heart sink. Even though she didn't receive a phone call from Rachel, a tiny sliver of hope resided in her that perhaps, maybe, Rachel was just still asleep at home and that's why she hadn't yet called Quinn. Or maybe she slept through the phone call from the Academy. Or maybe her voice was too hoarse from screaming her excitement after getting her nomination so she was resting it so she couldn't call…and her fingers were broken so she couldn't text…
"Well, I don't love her anymore!" Leroy declared haughtily. "What a bitch." He huffed as the actress' picture was shown on the screen.
The next nominee was announced and, this time, Hiram scoffed. "I always thought Helen Mirren was a poor man's Judy Dench!"
"Are you freaking kidding me?!" Quinn whined as Judy Dench was announced as the third nominee.
"They're all washed-up actresses!" Hiram casually commented as he gestured at the screen before placing his hand back on his cheek. "They never choose anyone young these days."
"…Kate Winslet, for her role in Blind Causalities; a true story about a sight-impaired lesbian who changed the lives of a South African village…"
"Who would even see that movie?!" Quinn seethed.
"This is horsepoo!" Leroy dismissed regally and got to his feet to distract himself. Quinn and Hiram's eyes stayed glued to the TV miserably as Leroy retreated to the kitchen.
"And Rachel Berry, for her role in Which of You, I Love; the story of…" But the words were drowned out by the Berry men and Quinn's screams. As Hiram and Quinn jumped to their feet, stunned, Leroy ran back in the room, hopping excitedly up and down as they all traded wide-eyed stares and deafening shrieks before leaping into each other's arms to hug their exhilaration.
As the two presenters on screen discussed the nominees, all three of them turned to stare, still shocked. Rachel's picture was just below Helen Mirren's and next to Kate Winslet's. They were beaming as they looked on, not even able to comprehend what was being said.
"My little girl's an Academy Award Nominee!" Leroy cried out.
"A Tony, Golden Globe, and Academy Award Nominee!" Hiram rejoined.
"That Tony is hers!" Quinn said fiercely. Knowing, without a doubt, that Rachel worked her ass off on that stage each and every time, night after night.
Leroy nodded. "And so is that Golden Globe and Osss-ooohhhh." Then it sunk in. Slowly, all three of them moved backwards, eyes still on the screen, and collapsed onto the couch. Leroy chewed on his thumbnail as he stared at the pictures of the four celebrated actresses that surrounded his daughter. On the other side of Quinn, Hiram's hand cupped his cheek and shook his head as his wide eyes soaked in the bleak outlook. Quinn was biting her lower lip as her cell phone was quickly being spun in between her hands.
"Well…she could always pull-off an upset." Hiram eventually got out in a monotone voice, eyes still trained on the TV.
"If anyone could do it, Rachel could." Quinn said passionately.
"Who are we kidding…she's screwed!" Leroy pouted and huffed back against the couch.
"Maybe that's why she didn't call me. Maybe she found out who else was nominated and was too depressed?" Quinn said as the announcers began reading off the Best Actor nominations.
"Perhaps we should call her again?" Leroy said, already wiping tears away from his eyes.
Without a word, Quinn got off the couch and placed her cell to her ear. It had been Conduit Studio's idea to place Rachel in the Best Actress category for the Oscars, and Best Supporting for the Golden Globes. At the time, Quinn agreed; Barbra Streisand's first Academy Award had been for Best Actress, and Quinn thought Rachel would be excited if hers was as well. She wanted it to be a surprise for Rachel. Conduit made a lot of good points about statistics and chances of winning a Golden Globe versus Academy Award and other things Quinn didn't bother listening to. Now, however, after seeing the stiff competition Rachel would face, Quinn wasn't so sure. As Rachel's phone went to voicemail, Quinn rolled her eyes at herself, feeling slightly guilty that she was doubting her wife's chances.
"Rach, sweetie, I really want to hear your voice, okay?" Quinn told the voicemail quietly so her fathers-in-law couldn't hear. "I just heard you were nominated! I'm so proud of you! I know you're going to win. Those four other unknowns are nothing compared to you." She chuckled, rolling her eyes again at her corny lie. "Please, please call me back? Okay, superstar? I-I just want to hear your voice."
Hundreds of miles away, Rachel Berry clicked off her cell phone—not bothering, or wanting to delete Quinn's voicemail—and tossed it on the bed beside her as she stared up at the ceiling. Her first instinct was to call Quinn and tell her she wasn't worried about the Oscars. That she was barely thinking about them. That she just missed Quinn.
Her next instinct was to ring up Jesse and demand he come over at once to help sort out everything racing through her head. But instead, Rachel lifted her notebook up and brought it close to her nose as she inspected the newest song she had written earlier that morning: Fear versus Happiness.
Rachel couldn't really afford to lie about in bed. With the news of the Academy Award Nominees out now, Wink and a Nod would have sold out shows all weekend. She was sure her cast mates would be throwing her a party. She'd want to be at the theatre early to prepare for the chaos.
Instead, Rachel rolled over onto her stomach and flipped through her notebook. Titles like: Behind the Lies—a song about falling in love when it starts with a lie—Growing Through the Pain—Rachel's story of all the torment she went through during her youth and high school, and coming out on the other end—The Thing I Didn't Even Know I Missed—a song dedicated to Shelby—and The Will to Risk it All—an unfinished song that had smudges and tear marks on the page.
She got to a fresh page and her pen hovered over a blue line as she thought. It wasn't fair to Quinn that she was shutting her out. She had received each phone call and text message her wife sent her over the last ten hours, but she wasn't ready to talk. She didn't want to speak to Quinn without being able to tell her exactly what she was thinking. To address Quinn's hasty I love you and be able to respond accordingly.
So Rachel wrote. She wrote and wrote and wrote some more. Sometimes it was just freehand: a stream of consciousness that had no rhyme or reason except to clear Rachel's head. Other times, Rachel was inspired by a certain memory; a fight in high school, a particular day in New York when Quinn looked breathtaking, those five days they didn't see one another after the truth came out…
Rachel wrote feverishly as her bent legs swung in the air. Ink from the pen coated her fingers, but still Rachel wrote. She giggled as memories came to mind of her tempting Quinn, and began writing a particularly naughty song entitled: In Just a Towel.
When the time came to get to the theatre, Rachel didn't hesitate to pack her notebook along with everything else she'd need for her first show. In between shows, Rachel had every intention of writing some more; it was becoming very therapeutic. She would text Quinn when she got to the theatre, explaining to her wife that she was fine, just needing some alone time to think. She wouldn't lie. Not anymore. Rachel just wasn't ready for the complete truth either.
Because, at the end of the day, it wasn't just fear stopping Rachel. It wasn't the fact that she'd been hurt so many times, she realized. It went beyond that. It had hit her very hard and made her set her pen down and push her notebook aside.
The problem, the real problem, was that she realized that Quinn Fabray was too good for her. And Rachel didn't have the faintest idea on how to change that.
Hours later, Quinn threw her purse on the table and ignored the way the full glass of rich Merlot swayed on top of the pristine tablecloth. "Macallan, neat." She barked at the waiter at her side, not bothering to address him or her dinner companion as she ripped off her blazer and flung it on the back of her chair before taking a seat.
Without looking at Puck, she pried the wine glass from his hands and drank deeply, eyes on the ceiling as she chugged, ignoring Puck's surprised and slightly annoyed demeanor.
After swallowing the last sip, Quinn jerked the glass away from her lips and breathed heavily. "Now, what's this meeting about?" She asked, aggravated, as she scanned the menu of the fancy restaurant, unsure as to why she was summoned away from her brooding for this unscheduled dinner. They had seen each other just the night before, so Quinn felt little joy over seeing Puck yet again when she could be religiously staring at her cell phone, willing Rachel to call.
Puck reached over the table to retrieve his empty wine glass, tilted it upside down to watch the lone burgundy drop slowly slide to the rim, and then placed it down next to his plate as he indicated to the nearest waiter he needed a refill. He watched her for a moment as she angrily flipped a menu page, brows inverted and eyes narrowed in concentration. It hit him so suddenly that he slept with this girl once. Not Quinn, but the girl she was currently acting like.
"What's yourproblem?" He asked darkly, picking up his own menu to remind himself what he was getting. Mostly he was hoping it would become a barrier of sorts in case Quinn threw something at him.
Quinn scoffed down at her menu and ripped over another page. "This is, what, the fourth meeting this week for your freaking restaurant? If I'd known I'd be doing virtually everything, I wouldn't have bothered giving you the goddamn investment!" Quinn hissed, turning over another page with ire.
Puck smiled up at the waitress who was refilling his wineglass, aware that the woman was pouring faster now to get away from Quinn and her bad mood. She scurried away just in time for their waiter to arrive with Quinn's scotch, eyebrows to his hairline as he watched the waitress quickly escape, and set down the tumbler before hightailing it out of there as well.
"They're going to spit in your food, you know." Puck said around the lip of his glass, appraising the way she dismissed his comment with an eye roll and a huff. She practically tossed her menu down before tearing her teeth into a dinner roll and ripping away. "Well, you're in a pleasant mood."
She scoffed again, eyes on him this time. "Cut the crap, Puck; why are we here? I thought the restaurant was finefor a few months."
Instead of answering, he again watched her scan the restaurant, looking surly and bad-tempered. It wafted off of her, and he had no idea what he had done. Their dinner the previous night had been nice. They had a quick bite to eat with another investor and happily discussed Puck's Bar-Be-Que with enthusiasm. What had happened in the last twenty-four hours that had made High School Quinn appear?
For a third time, Quinn scoffed as her hazel eyes snapped to his, her mouth open in indignation. This scoff, however, was louder and downright appalled much like her glare. But Puck refused to back down. Quinn would be leaving town soon, and he didn't want to part on bad terms.
"You are as crass and immature as you were in high school, Puck, and I'm so sick of-"
"Whatever, you miss Rachel and you're horny. Just say it, Fabray, and quit acting like such a bitch."
The glare only got worse. Quinn leaned forward over the table menacingly, her eyes slits. "I've put up with a lot of shit from you over the years, Puckerman, and I've put it all aside because I was willing to believe that you've changed. I put it aside for Rachel, and her, and because I made some mistakes, too. But I'm busting my ass for you and I'm suddenly wondering why the hell I would do that for someone who-"
"You don't have to tell me how much it sucks going without." Puck interrupted casually, leaning back in his chair to appear as though Quinn wasn't scaring the hell out of him. "I used to date this girl who lived in Cincinnati, and we could only get together every other weekend 'cause of her job. You just miss your wife; I get it." He shrugged, looking around the restaurant and not at Quinn's hardened stare.
But Quinn wouldn't relent. She wanted to be in a bad mood. Wanted to take it out on someone. Because the person Quinn really wanted to take her mad mood out on was currently not returning her phone calls.
She had received a text from Rachel earlier that day once she got to the theatre. It simply said that she was fine, not worried about the Oscars, and she just needed time to think. That was most unlike Rachel. Something was off. Something was really off.
Rachel didn't take time to think. She thought out loud and with an audience. And what, exactly, did she need to think about? Why wasn't she chatting Quinn's ear off as she went over Academy Award statistics on first-time nominees, reading the reviews on the other celebrated actresses' films and the likelihood they'd win over Rachel, a screen-per-screen recap on her performance in Which of You, I Love and exactly why Rachel would be best suited to win the award?
Just what the hell was Rachel "Thinking about"?!
"Let's just order our damn food." Quinn grunted as she took a big swallow her scotch and gestured over to the waiter to return. He did so…tentatively.
Puck continued to watch Quinn's bad mood progress. His eyebrows rose when she ordered another scotch, but remained quiet until the waiter left, scared for both his and the wait staffs' lives if he mentioned anything with spectators present.
As she sucked back her straight scotch, he sipped his wine. "Since when do you drink that shit? I thought New York made you buck the WASP lifestyle."
Quinn rolled her eyes.
"I guess it's genetic." He mumbled as he glanced around the room. His gaze jerked back to Quinn at the sound of her loudly slamming her tumbler down.
"Do not. Compare me to them." She seethed, staring him down.
Puck was over this. "Will you cut the shit and tell me what the hell is wrong with you?
The waiter was back with their food, and she and Puck dropped into silence as several waiters served them. The soft chatter around the room filled the void along with the hypnotizing sounds of forks and knives scraping ceramic plates.
Quinn chewed her lip. She knew she was being a raging bitch. She had effectively terrified the wait staff, alienated Puck, and was pretty sure the two women a table over were gossiping about her—if their sideways glances were any indication.
She just couldn't understand it. Why was Rachel suddenly acting as though Quinn was a first-date-gone-bad and ignoring her phone calls until she caught a clue? Up until yesterday, Rachel was behaving like an adorable, needy mess, and Quinn wanted that back. She loved that. She needed that. The distance was so hard, and she was racking her brain over what Rachel could need space for. They had space. Hundreds of miles of space!
Was it because, days earlier, Quinn didn't want to get out of Rachel's comfortable, childhood bed to retrieve her laptop so they could have Skype sex? Quinn was pretty sure the phone sex they had that night was above par, and Rachel hadn't seemedangry at the time, completely understanding that Quinn was too tired to go all out. Could that be it?
Was it because Quinn had made a rather excitable find antiquing with the Berry men, and Rachel was feeling left out? Couldit be the fact that she was bummed about the intimidating company she was currently keeping in her Oscar nomination and felt like her thunder was being stolen? Mad that Quinn placed her in the Best Actress category instead of Best Supporting?
Just trying to come up with excuses for Rachel was exhausting her and making her even crankier. She felt like they should be passed this kind of stuff. Rachel should be at the point where she was sharingwith Quinn, not cutting her out. The half-assed text she received earlier wouldn't cut it.
Quinn tossed back the rest of her scotch and quickly ordered another. "You haven't even eaten yet." Puck pointed out with a disapproving frown.
Quinn rolled her shoulders and neck, eyes closed as she answered. "Food is for the weak."
Puck frowned harder. "Food is for the awesome. Now eat that weird crap you ordered and tell me what the hell is wrong with you."
She sighed. "It's not weird crap, it's garlic Udon noodle stir-fry with tofu, you cultureless Neanderthal."
Puck grinned, pleased that she made the comment without her earlier malice. Maybe the scotch was helping. "Yeah, whatever. It costs enough, so eat it." He answered before taking his own advice.
"I just don't understand it." Quinn began, skating a finger around the lip of her fresh scotch. "I mean, usually when she's upset about something, she picks fights. Like, when we first started really falling for each other, she used to start stuff because she was frustrated with how perfect I was acting." Quinn breathed out as she watched the amber-colored scotch swirl around the glass, recalling their many heated arguments that seemed as though they were placeholders for sex. "Rachel only gets really quiet when she's seriously hurt. And I haven't done anything to hurt her, Puck, I haven't!"
Puck remained quietly sympathetic as he watched her take another sip of scotch: Obviously it was the reason she was now opening up. He could only imagine what it was like being married to Rachel Berry.
"And if someone else hurt her, she would talk to me about it. Unless they made her feel as though she wasn't good enough. And the only way she would feel that," Quinn continued to contemplate, speaking out loud although she had already forgotten about Puck's presence, "is if someone made her feel as though she weren't good enough for me. Which is ridiculous, because the latest issue of Black Curtain, the one she's on the cover of, is the highest selling issue, and she looks unbelievably gorgeous in every single picture. Like, seriously sexy." Quinn stressed as her eyes slid closed and the photos of Rachel flipped behind her eyelids.
Puck nodded firmly, agreeing one-hundred percent.
"Never mind the fact that she is nominated for a Tony, Golden Globe, and an Oscar, so she can't doubt her talent. And she's doing these really adorable things lately," Quinn said, cocking her head to the side as she softly smiled, eyes fluttering open. "Learning to cook and cleaning up after herself. And I mean even more than she has been. She already does all the laundry because she knows how much I hate laundry rooms. And she put on this really hot dress and was all supportive for my big meeting at Conduit, acting like this trophy wife, which, can I just say, made me hotter than anything."
Puck's eyes widened as he learned forward smirking: Quinn neversaid stuff like that, so she must be drunk.
"I didn't even knowthat I would like that. Maybe some things just are genetic. Without meaning to, I somehow became a 1950's husband and like having a little woman to take care of." Quinn smirked lecherously before frowning. "But I kind of like being a 1950's housewife, too. I like taking care of her. And she likes taking care of me." The smirk was back. "When I get home, she's going to make me a dinner of my choice while wearing an apron…and only an apron."
"Oh, I know." Quinn said, eyes finally up on Puck's. "Can you imagine those legs in only an apron? That ass?" Puck smirked. "Wait…" Quinn frowned. "Stop imagining!"
"Sorry, Q, you started it."
Quinn's glare was back in full-swing. "I will destroy you, Puckerman!"
Puck was quick to hold up his hands as his eyes scanned the restaurant—a few people were looking in their direction. "Q, chill. I was only kidding, and you should know that by now: I toldyou about my crush." He mumbled, looking down at the table as his cheeks turned red.
Quinn waved her hand flippantly as she draped an arm over the back of her chair and reclined slightly as her scotch swayed in its tumbler. "Rachel trumps Tina." She dismissed before taking another gulp of scotch.
Puck's head jerked side to side as though he was afraid someone had overheard Quinn. "Dude!"
"What?" Quinn spit out unapologetically. "Rachel could kick Tina's ass in anything, Puck, anything."
"So not true." Puck defended.
"Tina didn't seem all that impressed with the exchange." She drawled out, now bored with the proceedings. She remembered Rachel recapping what Tina had said just the previous week when Tina had been in New York. Rachel had told Quinn that Tina hadn't been too excited about her and Puck's night together.
Puck gasped as his face reddened with anger and embarrassment. "She said that?!"
Quinn rolled her eyes. "In so many words."
Puck continued to gape at her. "I-I-I was nervous, okay! Puckzilla is a stud!" Quinn only shrugged. "Im'a change her mind, Q."
"That's lovely." Quinn breathed out, eyes quickly closing in exasperation and she ran her fingers through her long hair. "Why isn't she calling me?!" Quinn said through a clenched jaw, checking her cell yet again in the hope that Rachel had called.
"I'll rock her world."
"So happy for you."
"I got with every chick in that choir room and saved the best for last." Puck nodded firmly.
"You mean you screwed up with the second best—me—by knocking her up and were too stupid to keep the best. But thank you for that: Rachel is extraordinary." Quinn smiled serenely, hoping to rile Puck up further.
"You're being really mean tonight." Puck pouted and crossed his arms.
"I absolutely love how childish every boy in my life is. Please, keep pouting, I'm sure Tina will rush in here at any moment and swoon."
"At least Tina returns my calls!"
Quinn gasped loudly and set her scotch down on the table as she rounded on him. "At least my first time with Rachel was actually good—amazing even. Perfect!"
Puck's face exploded bright red. "Well no one is talking shit about me! The whole restaurant thinks you're a colossal bitch, and they aren't wrong!"
Without answering, Quinn jumped to her feet, causing her chair to fall over. Her face was set in anger, ignoring the waiter who was currently picking her chair back up, and threw her napkin onto the table as she grabbed her cell phone and purse to hurry off towards the restrooms.
She pushed call on her phone without even realizing she had selected the number, and paced just outside the bathrooms as she waited for the girl on the other end of the line to pick up.
In New York, Rachel sat on the living room floor as she stared down at the German Shepard puppy at her feet, Fiddler on the Roof playing softly on the TV in the background and her opened notebook on the table before her.
"See, you like My Neglected Pillow, Rufus, I don't see what Jesse's problem is." Rachel grumbled.
Rufus had just been treated to a live concert of Rachel Berry's notebook-full of songs—all two dozen of them. The poor German Shepard was very confused as he watched his sitter for the day cry, unsure as to where Jeremy, Lydia, and/or Quinn were, and wishing his new walker would take him back outside.
The past few hours the puppy had watched the girl sing and cry as she read from her notebook. Between each tune, Rachel would explain to the pup what each song meant to her. Ask for his reactions. Blow her nose particularly obnoxiously and sob her uncertainty.
Rachel blew her nose rather harshly yet again, thinking about how that neglected pillow was a terrible stand-in for her wife. "You must understand, Rufus." Rachel implored the German Shepard who feigned interest. "I've tried to be the best everything! I've taken vocal, dance, and acting lessons since before I even turned one!" Rufus doubted that, but wagged his tail nonetheless. "I've always taken impeccable care of my body and health, excelled at my studies, and read countless how-to books on friendships and relationships throughout my adolescence and teen years in the hopes that everyone would stop referring to me as the loud girl with the two gay dads!"
Rufus whined as he watched Rachel's eyes water yet again.
"But Quinn still deserves more!" She choked out in a dramatic sob. Rufus refrained from rolling his eyes and instead placed his head on the girl's knee. "She's so amazing, Rufus. Just perfect for me! And I want to be perfect for her! But how can I become better?"
Rufus looked up at Rachel with his big brown eyes and snorted, getting Rachel's eyebrows to invert as she softly touched her hand to her nose. "Rufus! I will not get a nose job!" The dog licked Rachel's knee in apology, and she scratched his head.
"I know that I've made a lot of mistakes with Quinn, Rufus, I know that. I've made a lot of mistakes in all my past relationships. That's why I'm trying to fix my issues now with Quinn. She deserves so much.
"What she's done for me these past two years…" Rachel trailed off as she inhaled deeply and let her eyes slip closed, picturing how wonderful Quinn had been. With that in mind, her eyes fluttered opened as she looked back down at the puppy. "She's done these grand things, Rufus. These wonderfully romantic gestures to prove to me that she cares. Just doing the laundry won't cut it. I must show Quinn that she's the one for me. That I-that I love her."
Rufus whined as he licked his lips, hoping Rachel would get the hint that he was hungry.
"I know, buddy." Rachel said with a sad smile as she rubbed his head. "It will be hard." Rufus drooped in disappointment. "It will be so scary…admitting how I feel. After all the disappointment…" Rachel teared up again, but recovered quickly with a painful chuckle and a roll of her eyes. "Look at me, getting all weepy, making this about me. This should be about Quinn. So what, I never had any friends growing up…I have friends now. And so what that all my past relationships ended with extreme humiliation and disenchantment…I have Quinn! And Quinn is remarkable! And…and who cares that my own mother has rejected me…I have two extremely loving fathers! I have the career of my dreams! I have so, so much."
With a firm nod, Rachel took a deep breath. "That's it! I will tell Quinn that I love her. Jesse was right—don't tell him I said that. This should be about Quinn and making her first time hearing I love you special. And nothing will change. She won't suddenly find me too suffocating. She won't unexpectedly pick up and leave the second I truly allow myself to get comfortable. She won't abruptly feel as though I'm not good enough and sleep with the first sorority slut that tells her she's a fantastic quarterback.
"And, if Quinn needs further reminding, I think it's only fair that we start putting her first a little more. She says she doesn'twant to move to California, but perhaps she's only saying that for our sake. If she wants to work for Conduit, then we'll just have to go. We'd love California! We'd do brilliantly in California with all the driving and wide-open spaces and fake people!"
Rufus didn't look convinced, so Rachel offered him a blinding smile that was just a tad forced.
"It may be hard at first, Rufus, but we owe it to Quinn!" As she absentmindedly rubbed the puppy's head, Rachel's teary-eyed gaze went to the TV to distract herself.
She would do what she'd have to do. She wanted to do it all for Quinn. Quinn deserved it. Rachel had gotten her way for two years. She was ready to put her wife before herself. To open up until she bled if it meant making Quinn happy.
"Oh! This is my favorite song!" Rachel cheered as she turned up the volume on the TV, already preparing her voice so she could perform for the puppy that was, no doubt, eager to hear Rachel's superior rendition.
Rufus whined again.
But, at that very moment, just as Rachel was about to really wow the German Sheppard, the apartment door busted open, slamming against the wall. While Rufus took off towards the bedroom to hide, Rachel jumped to her feet in alarm, her only weapon stretched out before her.
A very out of breath Lydia, hunched over, cell in hand, reached out her arm towards where Rachel stood holding her notebook in front of her in defense. "Phone…for…you." Lydia gasped.
Rachel's mouth snapped closed as her brows furrowed. She slowly lowered the notebook and hesitantly approached the panting Lydia. "There's a phone call for me?" She asked, truly puzzled by the girl's sudden appearance and the odd reason behind it.
Lydia bobbed her head before placing the cell against her ear. "I did it." She wheezed into her phone. "I got here in less than five minutes."
On the other line, Quinn nodded firmly, glad she called the girl. She knew if she dialed Rachel, her wife wouldn't pick up; too busy avoiding her. "Well done. You can go home now. You get a raise." Lydia beamed and handed her phone over to a puzzled Rachel before swiftly turning around and closing the apartment door behind her, confusing Rachel further.
"Hello?" Rachel asked tentatively into the phone.
"I'm out to dinner so I can't really talk, so let's cut the shit: I'm wet. I'm beyond wet for you right now, Rach. I miss you so much it's all I think about. I'm currently in the bathroom at a very expensive restaurant, barricading myself in here until you make me come. I'm so ready for you, Rachel, so ready. I'm against the door with my skirt up to my hips and my blouse unbuttoned with my breasts—tits-wait, no, I'm not really comfortable with that word yet, so breasts—hanging out. My nipples are so hard and I can't stop pinching them wishing it was you doing it.
"I don't know why you're not talking to me. I don't know why you need space or even if I'm the problem. But I do know that I've missed talking to you today—missed being with you this past week. I do know that I'm horny as hell and it's turning me into High School Quinn. I'm pretty sure that there is a line of people outside wishing to use the restroom. I further know that I don't care about them, only you. So I'm going to keep massaging my breasts—wait, I think I'm drunk enough to say tits-tits—as my other hand continues to play with my clit, and I'm not letting you off this phone until I'm screaming your name."
Rachel's legs shook until she slumped down on to the floor, her mouth and eyes wide, and gripped Lydia's cell phone tighter in her hand. "Are…are you-are you…phone sex raping me?" Rachel asked softly in astonishment.
On the other line, Quinn gasped loudly as she circled her clit faster—just hearing Rachel's voice was doing it for her. "I was hoping you'd be into this too." Quinn breathed out, getting Rachel's eyebrows to arch.
She could feel her whole body warming just imagining Quinn, hearing her voice, her heavy breathing, the words she was using. Her traitorous hand had already wondered down her stomach, and Rachel glared at it as she listened to Quinn pant on the other line.
But, Rachel had missed Quinn. So, so much! She felt a constant ache inside her swell larger every moment she went without hearing her wife's voice. She had resigned herself to the fact that she wasn't allowed to talk to Quinn without being in the place she needed to be—where Quinn needed her to be. She wanted to know exactly what she was feeling, be brave enough to face it, and open up entirely to the woman she loved.
Quinn's phone call really put a kibosh on that plan…in the best way possible.
"You're masturbating right now?!" Rachel asked in awe, whispering the words as though shewas the one—not Quinn—doing something very naughty in a very public place.
Quinn's heavy panting was answer enough, but her breathy "yes," ignited the best kind of shiver through Rachel. She swallowed thickly as she balanced her phone between her shoulder and cheek, and quickly undid the ties on her yoga pants.
"You're in the apartment?" Quinn moaned out, wanting a visual.
Rachel nodded awkwardly as she yanked down her pants. "Yes, the living room floor."
"Fuck, that's hot. Where we-"
"Right before you left, yeah." Rachel confirmed, both women remembering the sex they shared right before Quinn left for Lima.
Quinn's eyes slammed shut as she slid a finger through her wetness and back up to rub her aching clit. "What are you wearing?"
Not wanting to lie, Rachel quickly flailed her legs and kicked hard until she was free of her pants, balanced the phone precariously on her shoulder as she ripped her tank top off, and shucked off her panties—only squeaking lightly when she almost fell over. "Naked. I'm completely naked!" Rachel panted, slightly out of breath from how fast she managed the task.
Quinn's eyes rolled back into her head as she envisioned Rachel. "Spread your legs nice and wide for me." She husked.
Rachel clapped her hand over the mouth piece of her phone. "Rufus!" She shrieked out to the dog hiding somewhere in the bedroom. "Stay in the bedroom, sweetheart: you're way too little to see this." The answering whimper was enough for Rachel, and soon, her legs were spread and her left hand was braced against the living room floor. "Okay, I'm ready for you, what do you want me to do?"
Quinn whined deep in her throat at Rachel's words. What she wouldn't give to be with her wife. "I changed my mind; I want you on the kitchen table." Quinn rumbled, flicking her clit back and forth as she let the fantasy play out, clawing at her rumpled clothes to give herself more skin and space to play with.
Rachel's eyes went wide at the request. "Quinn! That's far from sanitary! What if we have guests?!" She said crossly, however, already on her feet.
"Keep saying stuff like that: your righteous indignation is so fucking turning me on right now." For a moment, as Rachel went to hop onto the table, she thought her wife was being sarcastic. But the sob of pleasure that came through the line made Rachel think otherwise. She cocked her head as her eyebrow rose with the realization. "You must really love me." Rachel mumbled under her breath as she got situated on top of the table.
"What?" Quinn asked distractedly, not catching Rachel epiphany, too caught up with the visions of Rachel on the table, naked, legs spread wide, touching herself for Quinn.
Rachel cleared her throat to pause for time. "I said…'it's hardly sanitary to be touching yourself in a bathroom, either.' You should really not do that Quinn…not without me there, at any rate." She smirked, getting situated on the tabletop.
"Mmmm, now I'm thinking about the benefit and what we did in the bathroom." Quinn reminisced, pinching and stroking her clit as she recalled Rachel riding her.
Rachel's head thumped against the wall as she swallowed thickly, the muscles in her neck straining. "That was the start of one of the best nights of my life." She groaned, visions of her and Quinn in the bathroom, and later, in their bedroom, quickly flickered behind her closed eyelids. Laying on top of Quinn, cupping her hands softly just under her wife's jaw to keep hazel eyes locked on her own, and moving in tandem as that intense gaze owned her.
Quinn's body shivered as she heard the sincerity in her wife's voice. The emotion that was laced throughout. It had been one of the best nights of Quinn's, too. It made Quinn's hand slow its pace until she was circling her clit with longer, harder strokes and only one thing on her mind.
"I want you here with me, Rach." Rachel, neck still arched, let one hand cup her breast and squeeze while the other caressed between her thighs, wanting Quinn with her as well. Feeling the weight of her wife's body against hers. Licking away her sweat. Panting in her ear without a phone line and distance separating them. They both moaned at the shared thought. "Or, better yet…" Quinn began, her hips rolling steadily as she imagined Rachel slowly fucking her. "I want to be where you are."
"Fuck, Quinn, always." Rachel replied, now, too far gone to censor her words, her thoughts. "I want to be anywhere as long as it's with you."
"Don't shut me out." Quinn whispered desperately, circling her clit even harder and faster than before, wanting to feel the connection with Rachel that had felt severed.
"I don't want to shut you out, baby; I don't want to be away from you." Rachel whined, two fingers now sliding through her wetness in deep, long strokes. The way Quinn fucked her best.
"Talk to me, please, always talk to me. I love hearing you talk. I love hearing what you have to say."
I love you was on the tip of Rachel's tongue in reply. But through the haze of her impending orgasm, Rachel knew now wasn't the right time. She wanted to give Quinn the perfect first time: romance and passion, what Quinn deserved. With that thought, she concentrated on her wife, her love, and moaned as she thrust harder; wanting to give something to Quinn to know that she belonged to her.
"I'm yours, Quinn, do you hear me? I'm yours! Nothing and no one will ever change that."
"That's it, Rach. Fuck, it feels so good." Quinn gasped, the sounds of Rachel's pleasure pushed her until she felt weightless, and chills and shivers and love rushed and rolled throughout her body. She softly chanted Rachel's name as she heard Rachel echo Quinn's back, coming just as hard as Quinn.
As Rachel's body arched violently with her pleasure, she whispered yours until she couldn't speak at all, slumping against the table, unable to move.
In a bathroom stall, in a fancy restaurant, just outside Lima, Ohio, Quinn Fabray came into her hand, sagging against the door, smiling serenely as she listened to her wife's jagged breathing. She sighed happily as she felt the tension of the entire last day disappear. "That was fantastic." Quinn breathed out, her smile only getting wider.
On the other line, Rachel chuckled back and drooped further onto the table. "I'm going to need to thoroughly clean this table."
"That good, huh?" Quinn asked playfully.
Rachel laughed lightly and moaned as she dragged one hand through her disheveled hair as she answered. "That good." They were both silent as they recovered, contentedly exhausted. Propping herself up on her elbow, Rachel's smile slowly vanished. "I'm calling you tomorrow."
Quinn hummed a reply, not fully ready for thinking.
"I'll call you when I get up, and on my way to the theatre, and in between shows, and when my last show is done, and when I get home, and…"
It was Quinn's turn to chuckle now, a rakish sound that made Rachel smirk. "There's my girl." She smiled, flicking her blonde hair over her shoulder before carefully fixing her clothes and bending over to pick up her forgotten purse.
As Quinn stood in front of the bathroom mirror and straightened her tousled appearance, Rachel's mind zoomed with thoughts of Quinn. Of how she felt. What she could do to make Quinn's first real I love you the most monumental moment for the girl. How grand and memorable it could be.
Rachel smiled as the ideas came. She would need help. She'd need to start planning immediately. Many, many items needed to be purchased and arranged to insure her success.
Not wanting to waist another moment, Rachel hopped off the table, grabbed her clothes, and raced to the bedroom to collect a legal pad to jot down all her ideas. "Rach?" Quinn asked, halting her makeup touchups as her eyebrow rose, listening to her wife's struggling noises through the phone line. "You okay?"
"Fine, fine, perfectly fine." Rachel assured, her voice muffled as she stuffed her shirt over her head. Changing her mind, she quickly left the bedroom, hopping into her yoga pants and balancing the phone on her shoulder as she went, hurrying into the kitchen to get cleaning supplies, and back to the table to spray it profusely.
"Are you sure? You sound a little crazy right now. Are you in crazy-Rachel mode?" Quinn asked as she carefully reapplied her lipstick, popping her lips and smiling at her appearance happily—the world felt right again now that she was easily talking with Rachel.
"Just doing a little cleaning," Rachel sing-songed back, scrubbing at the table before blinking down at the reflection in its surface—she had been using her bra and panties instead of the paper towels in her other hand. Her brow crinkled in confusion at her own antics, Rachel gave up and sprinted back into the bedroom to start compiling her list of things she'd need to declare her everlasting love and devotion to her beautiful wife.
"Rach?" Quinn asked calmly, smiling as she heard Rachel's heavy panting floating through the phone line, and turned to the side to inspect her appearance in the bathroom mirror—her clothes looked only somewhat askew. Rachel hummed and Quinn grinned, aware she only had half her wife's attention. "Why aren't you talking about the Oscars?"
Rachel scribbled down a few things she'd need to buy for Operation: Declare My Love (candles, flowers, bacon-covered chocolates…) as her mind continued to race. "It will be fine, Quinn." She answered distractedly.
Quinn laughed, completely charmed and in the moment. "Because you know you'll win or because you won't be upset if you lose?"
Rachel, barely paying attention but loving the sound of Quinn's laughter and voice posing as a backdrop for her thoughts, scratched out what she had just wrote—procuring McKinley's glee club wouldn't be difficult, Rachel just wasn't sure they were good enough for what she had in mind.
"Not worried." Rachel mumbled as she wondered just how expensive seventy-two long stemmed roses—a dozen for every year she'd known Quinn—would run her. But after doing the math, Rachel scribbled out that idea and went onto the next.
With her hand on the bathroom door, Quinn smiled and sighed, knowing she had lost her wife to whatever she was planning, and wouldn't have her any other way. "Care to share why, exactly, you're so calm about losing out an Academy Award nomination, superstar?"
Finally finding her way back to the conversation, pleased with the list of things she already complied for her operation, Rachel frowned at the question. "I see no reason for us to talk about this, Quinn. I won't win and it doesn't make sense that we should dwell on it: there is always the next film." Rachel replied haughtily, wanting to steer clear of the topic altogether. "Besides," she stressed with an eye roll, getting Quinn's eyebrows to rise in amusement. "Shouldn't you be more concerned with my next project? That is, after all, what I'm paying you for, wifey."
Quinn bit her lip as she smiled at Rachel's flirty banter. "I wasn't aware you were paying me, superstar."
Rachel smirked. "What do you call what just took place, baby?" Quinn laughed and Rachel lit up at the sound. "I'll call you first thing tomorrow."
"Miss you like crazy, Fabray."
"Right back at you, Berry."
As Quinn hung up, she still heard Rachel's squeals of delight echoing throughout the bathroom. She shook her head with a chuckle and finally opened the bathroom door only to be greeted with a very disgruntled woman and her young daughter, who was doing the well-known pee-pee dance.
Quinn offered them a beaming smile. "I apologize endlessly, ma'am, and hope I can make it up to you by buying you and your party dinner?" The woman's mouth dropped open, but Quinn ignored her as she got down to a knee to smile at the little girl. "How does that sound, sweetheart? If mommy says yes, how would you like a big ice cream sundae?"
The little girl clapped and cheered, getting Quinn to smile.
"I'll make sure it's taken care of. And have a lovely dinner." With that, Quinn swept passed the woman and headed out towards the restaurant. As soon as she neared the table, she spotted the male waiter she had treated horribly, standing near Puck who was looking bored and pissed, drumming his hands miserably atop the tablecloth.
Without missing a beat, Quinn dipped her fingers in her purse, extracted the first bill her fingers touched, and smoothly took the waiter's hand to make the exchange. "My most humble apologies for my earlier behavior." The waiter's eyebrows flew up as he felt the note slip into his hand and took in Quinn's brilliant smile. "Being away from my wife makes me very cranky, and you and your coworkers do not deserve the backlash."
Puck chuckled behind his wine glass, taking in Quinn's still-flushed face and over-all euphoric demeanor. It was obvious why Quinn's mood had suddenly shifted.
"Please do see that the woman who exits the bathroom with her daughter and their party are taken care of for the evening on my charge. And offer a round on me to the entire restaurant with my most sincere apologies for my behavior." Quinn gave the waiter another glowing smile before sweeping into her chair and gulping down the water in the glass in front of her.
Puck watched on, shaking his head and smiling, as waiters all over the restaurant carried out Quinn's orders. He noticed a lot of appreciative glances being shot Quinn's way from the surrounding tables as their fresh drinks were brought to them, and a lot of cell phones out tweeting their good fortune.
Once the water was drained from her glass, Quinn turned to Puck and offered him a blinding smile. "I'm sorry about that." She said musically, all the tension wiped clean and replaced with a serene smile. "Let's get some dessert!"
Meanwhile, in New York City, Rachel, with Rufus in tow, was banging loudly on Lydia and Jeremy's apartment door with her wild, crazy eyes and determined, fixed smile. When Jeremy answered, Rachel swept by him in a tizzy, dropped Lydia's phone onto the couch beside her where the girl was watching TV, and let Rufus off his leash so he could play with Trevor—the black Lab was wagging his tail at the sight of the puppy.
"Fellow friends of me and Quinn, we have a very important job to accomplish and a limited amount of time in which to succeed. I suggest we turn off the television, put away the marijuana, and get to work!"
Lydia and Jeremy were staring at Rachel blankly with their eyes narrowed.
"Right now, right now!" Rachel cheered, clapping her hands to spur the pair into action. Jeremy raced to Rachel's side, looking excited and eager. Lydia huffed loudly and slowly got to her feet—she had a feeling this job wouldn't warrant a raise. Rachel appraised her two friends before shooting her gaze to the Lab on the floor. "You too, Trevor!"
Quinn tiredly trudged up the steps of the Berry home as she yanked off the navy blazer she wore to dinner with Puck and juggled her glass of water and purse. Both Hiram and Leroy had seen the drunken state she was in and banished her to bed without their usual late-night movie. They pronounced that she was to stay in bed to at least eight the next morning, and was forbidden to perform her usual breakfast duties—they would be serving her breakfast in bed for a change.
Without bothering to turn on the lights to Rachel's childhood bedroom, Quinn slinked inside and dropped her jacket and purse onto the floor before slipping off her dress as she kicked aside her ankle boots. She would just sleep in her panties and camisole, not worrying and too drunk to change.
She felt much better now that she had spoken to Rachel. Whatever issues Rachel had before were, for the moment, on the back burner. Quinn wasn't naive enough to believe that everything was now fine between them, but the issue could hold until she was back in New York and able to confront Rachel in person.
Quinn had no idea why her wife was suddenly okay with not winning an award. An Oscar, this early into her career—film career, no less—was puzzling. It was somewhat reminiscent of how Rachel behaved in high school. And, if Rachel was smothering Quinn with love and affection, hell-bent on proving that their relationship was the most important thing to her, then Quinn would be worried for a completely different reason.
But Rachel had been avoiding Quinn as well. Although that now appeared to no longer be the case, Rachel had been avoiding her. So what was Rachel up to? To not take Quinn's phone calls and unconcerned with losing out on an award? An award that would eventually fulfill Rachel's greatest dream of an EGOT! Something just wasn't right.
With a deep, tired sigh, Quinn slipped under the covers and rolled over onto her side, ready to cling to the fluffy pillow she had been using as a poor Rachel substitute. Or she would have, if there wasn't a head currently residing on it.
Quinn simultaneously screamed as she jerked up in the bed, quickly flicking on the bedside lamp and scurrying out of the covers.
The bedroom door burst open, the Berry men filled the space in a panic from hearing their daughter-in-law's scream, both men looking petrified. Quinn took in the form of Jesse St. James, disheveled from just being woken, sitting up on the other side of the bed. "Jesse!" Quinn yelled, equal parts terrified as she was surprised. "What the hell are you doing here?!"
Jesse rubbed his eyes as he promptly yawned with exaggeration. "God, Quinn, turn out the lights, will you? I'm clearly trying to get my beauty sleep."
Quinn turned around, wide-eyed, to look at the Berry men, who seemed just as surprised by his appearance. Rearing back on him, Quinn put her hands on her hips and hissed back. "What the hell are you doing here? In Lima and my bed?!"
Jesse sat up and rolled his eyes. "It's hardly your bed, Quinn." He answered calmly. "Hello Mr. and Mr. Berry." Jesse smiled charmingly and waved with a delicate flutter of his fingers. Quinn rolled her eyes as she threw up her arms, not entirely surprised by the boy's behavior, but exasperated nonetheless. Leroy waved back much in the same way—even if he was slack-jawed—as Hiram adjusted his glasses.
"Well, seeing as you're not being murdered, dear, Lee and I will get back to the wedding special." Both men had taken to watching it repeatedly because Rachel and Quinn were too cute in their minds. They left with quick good nights, letting Quinn sort out the sleeping situation. Quinn sucked on her teeth as she stared down at him. But as she watched Jesse fidget in bed, almost sheepishly, Quinn felt her anger drain. She quickly found a pair of shorts and put them on, not so comfortable in only her underwear with Jesse there.
"Move over, would ya." She mumbled, motioning him to do so with a flick of her hand. Jesse's face lit up as he scooted over enthusiastically. She took an embellished breath to keep her anger in check—phone sex with Rachel could really change her mood—and stared up at the ceiling as she felt his eyes on her. "What happened?" She asked grudgingly.
Jesse mirrored her position, blanket up to his chin, and frowned. "Your wife's psychotic."
Quinn stifled the urge to agree. "You're fighting with Rachel?"
"Yes." Jesse growled back quietly.
That was interesting. Fighting with Jesse? Not talking to Quinn earlier? "Why?" Quinn asked, hoping to get insight into Rachel's need for space.
Part of Jesse wanted to spill it all. Everything from Rachel's ridiculously awful song; her complete inability to confess her undying love to Quinn; and Quinn letting slip over the phone that she loved Rachel. But, there was the bet he had with Lydia and Jeremy to consider. The bet they made way back when Rachel and Quinn had their engagement party. A bet that had grown exponentially over the last few months. It started out as a fun game between the three, waiting to see when the two girls would give into their love and lust for one another.
If Quinn or Rachel declared their love on either a Tuesday or Thursday, Jesse would win the bet. It was neither a Tuesday nor a Thursday. So, instead of coming clean on everything—it wasn't even his place to do so, anyway—he mumbled back, "She mocked my love life."
Quinn turned her head on the pillow and narrowed her eyes at the boy still staring up at the ceiling. "That's not really Rachel's style, Jesse. Are you sure it wasn't me or Lydia?"
Jesse turned on his side and propped himself up on an elbow to look down at Quinn. "It was Rachel. She said all this stuff and sang me her dreadful song, and with my show going on the road for the next five weeks, it just seemed like a really good idea to get out of the city."
Quinn was still puzzled. "You got in a fight with Rachel and it made you want to leave New York?" Jesse shrugged, averting his eyes. Suddenly the truth was clear. "You came here to try to win Holly Holiday back, didn't you?"
Jesse flopped back down on the bed. "I just don't understand what her problem is! Why isn't she madly in love with me?!"
Quinn sighed and turned fully to face him. "What did you do?"
"I did some social network stalking and found out Holly was at the Lima Lounge for karaoke night. You have to understand, I was really upset over my fight with that horrible wife of yours and got a little drunk with Lydia and Jeremy. Next thing I knew, I'm on the Red Eye headed for Ohio. It only made sense to go to the bar: I mean, it was karaoke night, Quinn, it was practically a sign that I should go."
Quinn calmly nodded. Then she wondered exactly when she started to understand statements like "It was karaoke night, Quinn, it was practically a sign that I should go." Probably around the time she fell for Rachel.
"Anyway." Jesse went on, gesturing wildly. "I showed up at the bar and did a rather fantastic 80's mash-up of Eddie Money's Take Me Home Tonight and the Outfield's Your Love."
"Of course!" Jesse's agreed. "And it went perfectly. We went back to her place and-"
Quinn held up her hand. "Spare me those details."
"And I thought that this time things would be different! But she kicked me out after!" Jesse said indignantly. "I mean, Quinn, if I had only sung one of those songs I would understand, but that mash-up was flawless!"
"So you came here." Quinn filled in, sitting up to run a hand tiredly through her hair.
"I can't go back to New York because I'm sure no one else can fit in the damn city while Rachel's ego is taking up residence, and I will not check into any of the flee-bag motels Lima has to offer. So I'm staying here."
"The Berrys' have a guest room, you know." Quinn stressed, barely able to hold in her sarcasm and contempt.
Jesse only shrugged. "Rachel's bed is more comfortable." Quinn rolled her eyes and considered the guest room to sleep in for the night. Somehow, the idea of leaving Rachel's old bed in favor of the cold guest room made her feel even farther away from her wife.
"We're not cuddling." Quinn huffed as she slunk back down under the sheets.
"Understood." There was a moment of silence that was soon filled with the sound of Jesse sniffing loudly. "You smell like a distillery."
"I was out with Puck."
"Again?" Jesse asked as he nuzzled into his pillow.
"Again. You better not snore."
"You seem to spend quite a bit of time with Puckerman." Jesse grumbled. Quinn ignored the comment. "And I was under the impression snoring reminded you of Rachel; wouldn't it help you sleep better?"
"Shut up, St. James."
"Night, night, Quinn."
"Cute panties by the way."
The next morning the Berry men brought Quinn and Jesse breakfast in bed. All four of them sat on Rachel's bed while they ate, discussing their plans for the day. And, as promised, Rachel had called just as Quinn went to work on the dishes—Jesse was conveniently too busy to help.
Initially, Quinn had been very excited to see her wife's smiling face on her cell. However, once Quinn answered, it became very clear that she still didn't have all of Rachel's attention.
Several times during their short conversation, Rachel had asked Quinn to excuse her while she took another call or covered the mouth piece of the phone to speak with someone. Then Rachel abruptly told Quinn that she needed to go and hung up with a mysterious tone that confirmed that Rachel Berry was up to something. She wasn't avoiding Quinn—she did promise to text and call again, both promises she fulfilled—but she was decidedly distracted whenever they communicated.
Phone calls were interrupted. Texts took longer than usual to get answered. Subject-changing subterfuge.
Quinn was positive her wife was up to something.
For the most part, Quinn was free for the day. She really only had a quick meeting with Artie, who had big plans for filming a music video for both Mercedes and Sam's boy band, and drinks later with Tina, so she had a lot of time to speculate about her wife.
Jesse was adamant that he tag along, and Quinn was too busy wondering anew over Rachel's perplexing behavior to fully shut him down, and instead, welcomed his presence if only to squabble with someone. The pair was still bickering over Jesse's "notes" for Artie on his creative vision for the music videos when they walked into the bar where Quinn was meeting Tina. Quinn checked her phone one last time before stowing it away, slightly irritated that Rachel had yet to reply to her text.
"I just don't understand why you were babying him. Is it the wheelchair thing? Because I have no problem telling him his ideas suck." Jesse told her as she ignored him, glancing around the bar and trying to find her friend. He kept yapping as Quinn scanned the dark bar just outside Lima's city limits and found a pair of eyes examining her from the back corner booth.
Quinn easily dismissed the older man, recognizing him as a member of her church back when Quinn was still a "good girl," and spotted Tina on a stool, talking and laughing with the girl next to her. Tina caught her stare and Quinn smiled brightly as Tina waved happily, motioning her over.
"Hey!" Tina exclaimed, jumping up to hug Quinn. Once they separated, Tina came face to face with Jesse, her arms still outstretched from her hug with Quinn, and recoiled harshly. "Um…Jesse." Tina greeted awkwardly.
But Jesse wasn't looking at Tina, too busy smiling at the girl Tina had just been chatting with. The girl in question took in Jesse's comically-wide smile, Tina's confusion and discomfort, and Quinn rolling her eyes.
"Quinn, this is my friend Aphasia and fellow Jane Addams Academy teacher. Aphasia, this is my friend Quinn Fabray." Tina then made a face as her smile dropped. "And Jesse St. James, who is not my friend." Tina clarified vehemently.
Quinn and Aphasia smiled at one another and shook hands, just as Jesse wrapped an arm around Tina's waist. "Tina, always the kidder!" Jesse joked, his eyes on Aphasia, before getting Quinn's attention. "This one is Tina, right?" He mouthed. Quinn nodded, getting Jesse to beam before turning back to Aphasia and holding out his hand. "Aphasia, what a beautiful name. I believe it means the condition that robs you of speech—how fitting." Jesse smiled charmingly.
Aphasia didn't look impressed, getting Jesse's arm to fall to his side when she didn't accept his hand. "Jesse St. James." Aphasia mentioned coolly. "Vocal Adrenaline, right?"
"So you've heard of me?" Jesse smirked. Aphasia, however, remained stoic, ruffling Jesse's confidence.
Tina shook off her look of disgust and turned to her friend. "Quinn, have a seat. I was just telling Aphasia all about the amazing job you got me."
Aphasia finally removed her gaze from Jesse to smile at Quinn. "Yeah, Quinn, sounds like you got some skills in the agent world." She said, impressed with what she'd seen and heard of Rachel and Quinn.
Quinn blushed lightly. "Tina really deserves all the credit. I'm just lucky enough to know all the right people. I'm sorry, but you look familiar. Did you go to Carmel high school, too?" She asked Aphasia, wondering if that was how she knew Jesse. Quinn took the seat next to Tina, leaving Jesse to stand awkwardly amongst the girls.
Tina looked at her coworker and laughed as Aphasia's expression darkened. "Hell no! I'm a proud graduate of Jane Adams Academy and former member of their glee club!" She said, rising slightly from her seat to shake her ass. Both Jesse and Quinn's eyes honed in on the action while Tina laughed at her coworker.
A light bulb went off for Quinn in that moment as Aphasia took her seat again. "Yes!" Quinn said, smiling. "I remember you guys! Sophomore year we scrimmaged with you at our school; you performed Bootylicious. We competed at Sectionals that year."
Tina shook her head, instantly knowing how Quinn made the connection. "How did no one know you were gay?" She asked Quinn playfully.
Quinn gave Tina an eye roll and a smile before turning back to Aphasia. "So you teach there now?"
"Uh huh. Our glee club director, Ms. Hitchens, was a big inspiration to me." Aphasia said before taking a sip of her drink through her straw. "I was a bit of a handful back then-"
"A bit?" Tina laughed.
"Yea, a bit!" Aphasia answered, but her attitude was negated with a smile, getting Quinn to laugh at the exchange. "Anyway," she continued, shooting Tina a playful mind-your-business look before it morphed into a slightly sadder smile. "Ms. Hitchens got sick my senior year and the glee club had to disband. She kicked that cancer's ass like the bad chick she is, but we were all really scared for her. Made me turn my shit around."
"That's truly inspirational." Three sets of eyes turned silently towards the boy they had all forgotten about.
"Yeah, well," Aphasia moved on, noticing Quinn and Tina's soft smiles over Jesse's ass-kissing ways. "I had a lot of summer school to catch up on and some community service, but I managed to get into college and decided that I wanted to do what Ms. Hitchens did and straighten some kids out to show them there's more to life than pick pocketing and robbing banks."
"You robbed banks?" Quinn deadpanned as Tina giggled.
"I also said pick pocketing, blondie, so don't test me." Quinn held up her hands and smiled, noticing that Tina was laughing harder still and that Aphasia was only kidding. "Yeah, so, I'm gonna continue teaching at Jane Adams and maybe even take my glee club to Nationals one day—if we can only beat those damn New Direction kids—while my girl Tina here goes and takes New York by storm."
"Hey, leave New Directions alone!" Tina said, turning to poke her friend in the shoulder.
"Yeah!" Quinn fake-glared. "We'll wipe the floor with Jane Adams!"
"Vocal Adrenaline will beat all your asses!" Jesse rejoined to dead silence.
Aphasia winked at Tina and Quinn and turned on her stool to face the boy. "Why don't you make yourself useful, pretty boy, and go get us some drinks?"
Jesse's face lit up at "pretty" and he smiled delightfully at the girl. "I'll be right back."
"You do that." She answered, giving him a look that implied she was not at all impressed. Jesse felt his spirits wither, but he wouldn't give up and hurriedly took off towards the bartender.
"I think someone has a crush on you." Tina giggled to her friend as Quinn laughed beside her.
"Good luck with him, Aphasia, he doesn't give up easily." Quinn warned.
Aphasia turned back towards the two girls, looking away from Jesse, as her face broke out into a huge smile. "Are you guys kidding?! That's Jesse St. James, four-time Nationals winner and former lead vocalist for Vocal Adrenaline. Never mind all the shit that boy got going on now in New York on Broadway and an upcoming movie in L.A.!"
Quinn and Tina exchanged mystified expressions. "You…like Jesse St. James?" Tina asked, eyes wide.
Aphasia nodded enthusiastically. "While me and my moms were crashing at the homeless shelter when I was in high school, Jesse used to come perform weekly. Boy be fiiiine!" Aphasia stressed before turning back to look at Jesse. He was too busy doing everything in his power to get the attention of the disinterested bartender.
"Are you serious?" Quinn asked doubtfully, also looking at the boy with an eyebrow arched.
"Why did you act like you barely knew him?" Tina asked with a laugh.
"Because I can't be acting like every other fangirl, throwing myself at him; I have to play hard to get. He's so not housebroken, but we'll see what we can do about that." Aphasia nodded confidently. When Jesse returned, practically running, Aphasia glared at him. "Took you long enough!"
Rachel was, to be fair, a little tired. She had a very late night over at Lydia and Jeremy's planning her operation and another grueling day on stage. In between sound checks, interviews on her recent Tony, Golden Globe, and Oscar nominations on network new shows, signing autographs for fans, and performances, Rachel was hard at work calling different vendors to ensure that her operation to declare her love to Quinn went off without a hitch.
She felt bad, truly, that she was almost too busy to talk to her wife. She tried her very best to keep updating Quinn on her progress and mood throughout the day, but there was just so much still left to do!
But, Rachel conceded silently, it was perhaps for the best that she didn't have a lot of time to chat with Quinn. Less time to talk, less chances to declare her love and spill the beans on Quinn's upcoming surprise.
And, maybe, less chances to talk herself out of everything. Because, while Rachel knew without a doubt that she had been madly in love with Quinn Fabray for the last two years—and possibly longer—she was still a tad nervous to fully face that love when she had so much to lose. Keeping busy cut down on the likelihood that she'd run scared again.
"Hello." Quinn said as she picked up her phone, her tone somewhat clipped. She hadn't heard from Rachel in several hours. Luckily for Quinn, Aphasia and Jesse were still at the bar long after she and Tina had left for the night. As she lay in bed, grateful that Jesse wasn'tin it, she was slowly driving herself crazy willing her phone to buzz to hear from Rachel.
"Hey, you." Rachel cooed back, only a little surprised by Quinn's less than friendly greeting.
Rachel listened as her wife took a deep breath on the other line, almost as though she was preparing herself. "Are you angry with me because I was too lazy earlier this week to get up to grab my laptop so we could Skype-sex?"
Rachel's eyebrows furrowed as she halted in the doorway of her dressing room. Her performance had ended a little over two hours ago, but she hadn't yet left the theatre. She had autographs to sign, coworkers to celebrate with, and the operation to finalize.
She was exhausted, but actually had some free time to talk to Quinn. "Nooo?" Rachel drawled out, thoroughly confused with Quinn's logic. "I thought our phone sex was well above average, and, if I remember correctly..." Rachel thought with a sly smile. "It was well above average for you as well."
Quinn sat up in bed and ran a hand through her hair, not at all amused by how sexy Rachel was acting. "You have to tell me what I did, Rach, you have to! I'm going crazy over here not knowing! We've barely spoken today and it's obvious that I'm the cause. Whenever you do get around to talking to me, you seem distracted!" She panted, tired of putting this conversation on hold. "And you're fighting with Jesse!" Quinn finished lamely as she slapped the covers of the bed. She felt that it was a very important point, though.
Rachel dropped her bag onto to the floor and fell down onto the couch of her dressing room. "Quinn, I promise you that I'm no longer avoiding talking to you and-"
"Ah hah! So you admit it! You were avoiding me!"
Rachel's eyebrows crinkled again as she glanced around her dressing room in confusion. "Quinn, I already admitted as much to you yesterday."
That was true, Quinn conceded, but she was tired of letting everything slide. "But you're fighting with Jesse!"
"Jesse's an ass." Rachel dismissed with an eye roll as she tiredly dropped back on the couch.
"Ah hah, so you finally admit it!"
Rachel chuckled as her eyes slipped shut. "That's something else I'm fairly certain I've already admitted."
Quinn heaved a sigh. "We've barely talked today."
She could feel herself cracking, so close to telling Quinn about her huge scheme. Biting her lip to keep from spilling everything, Rachel rolled over onto her side. "If I swear to you on my first Tony—which I shall be receiving in only a month's time—that I'm not avoiding you and only am extremely busy, can we please change the subject?"
Quinn considered that for a moment. "Fine."
"Thank you. I swear on my first Tony I'm not avoiding you. Now, please, change the subject. I will talk about anything else."
"Anything?" Quinn asked, eager for her wife to agree.
"Anything." Rachel responded.
Quinn waited a beat. "Why aren't you bringing up the Academy Awards?"
Rachel covered her face and laughed miserably. "Quinn!" She whined. "Anything other than that!"
"But you said that-"
"I know what I said!" Rachel stressed in a painful groan. "But that has to do with the other thing, and I just really don't want to get into it."
Quinn shook her head, truly puzzled. "The Oscars have to do with why you were avoiding me?"
Rachel blew out a breath. "Yes." She answered after a moment.
Although Quinn would like nothing more than to pursue the subject until she got to the bottom of Rachel's feelings, she knew that she couldn't. It was official: the distance was just too much for Quinn. She hated being away from Rachel. If only so she couldn't properly fight with her stubborn, idiotic wife.
Quinn smiled at the thought of how ridiculous Rachel could behave. She couldn't help it: Quinn just really liked her. Of course she loved her, was in love with her, and desired her. But she just really, generally liked Rachel. She was this brilliant little ball of sunshine that made Quinn forget that bad things could happen. That bad things had happened to Quinn.
"Hey, Rach?" Quinn asked, her smile growing.
"Yes, Quinn?" Rachel answered back, relieved by Quinn's now playful tone.
"Who's your best friend?"
Rachel chuckled softly. "You." She expelled easily, wishing she was with Quinn so strongly in that moment.
"That's right, Berry, me."
"So proud of yourself for that, Fabray."
Quinn hummed her agreement and finally got comfortable under the covers. Rachel just did that for her. She could stress and worry all day long. And then hear her wife's voice and know that everything would be fine. They would be fine. Their marriage would be fine. She just needed to be in the same room with Rachel. She'd even settle for the same state.
Rachel also collected herself and felt human for the first time in forty-eight hours. It worried her that Quinn was freaking out about her behavior, but, she rationalized, it would all be over soon. Once her plan was executed, everything would be perfect.
"So, tell me about your night." Rachel said, getting comfortable on the couch, in no hurry to go home where Quinn wouldn't be.
"It was nice." Quinn began. "Your ex boyfriend is in town and has been annoying me to no end. Did you know he was here?"
Rachel knew Quinn was talking about Jesse. There was a certain way Quinn said "ex boyfriend" that was both annoyed and affectionate all at once. "Jesse's in Lima? Why?"
"Holly, of course." Quinn grumbled. "But I think he's finally over her." Rachel smiled as she heard Quinn's pleased tone. "He's currently on a date with a friend of Tina's who has a parole officer. I seriously can't think of a better match for him…"
The next evening, Quinn was zoning out as she stirred the Massaman curry she was currently cooking for dinner. She was mentally counting down the days until she'd get to see Rachel—three. Only three days.
Their phone conversation the night before alleviated most of Quinn's worries, but she was going slightly out of her mind. The distance between them was starting to feel farther every day.
And she was horny. She'd deny it until her last breath, but she may have masturbated to one of Rachel's old Myspace videos she found on her wife's desktop computer earlier that morning.
Deny it to her last breath!
For many reasons.
"When will dinner be ready, sweetheart?" Leroy asked as he dropped his chin to Quinn's shoulder. Quinn managed not to jump ten feet in the air as her face turned red. She had, yet again, been fantasizing about Rachel. With Leroy there, Quinn couldn't help but feel a little guilty.
"Twenty minutes." She told him, giving him the best smile she could muster under the circumstances.
Leroy frowned, mistaking Quinn's discomfort. Fearing his daughter-in-law was tired of her stay, Leroy couldn't help but ask, "Are we making you feel like a servant? Are we demanding too much of your time? Hiram can be such a diva." Leroy said as he stood up straight, folding his arms as he rolled his eyes.
Quinn chuckled as she shook her head. Leroy was clearly the diva, however, Quinn now knew where Rachel received her inability to hang up her wet towels: Hiram just couldn't seem to be bothered either.
"I love cooking and spending time with you two; I don't feel like a servant."
Leroy looked unconvinced and narrowed his gaze down at her. "Are you sure? Because it may have been a tad presumptuous of us to make you redecorate the living room."
Quinn laughed again. "Truly, Lee, I'm enjoying myself. I just miss Rachel."
Leroy nodded, pleased. "Yes, our girl is quite miss-able."
"Yes, quite." Quinn agreed easily as she stirred coconut milk and vegetable broth into her skillet.
Leroy smiled sympathetically down at his daughter-in-law, easily seeing her sadness. He kissed the top of her head and squeezed her shoulder. "You'll see her soon."
Quinn nodded but kept her mouth tightly shut. She wasn't about to mention how worried she was over Rachel's distant behavior. They had a nice conversation the night before after Quinn promised not to push Rachel for any details. They had gotten off the phone late, and Rachel swore she would call Quinn the next evening, but Quinn was still nervous. Something was troubling her wife.
She'd be home soon, so whether Rachel wanted to or not, she'd have to face Quinn. Have to speak to her about what was bothering her. Quinn just hoped that whatever it was could easily be fixed. Because the alternative was making Quinn's stomach twist violently.
As Quinn slowly stirred the simmering coconut milk in her broth, the doorbell sounded, the notes reverberating gently.
"That will be Jesse and his date!" Hiram boomed, quickly bypassing Quinn and Leroy in the kitchen to get the door.
Quinn huffed loudly and returned to the meal. Earlier that morning, Jesse had knocked rather loudly on Rachel's childhood bedroom door in an effort to wake Quinn—she had placed a chair securely under the knob to keep the boy out.
She tiredly dragged herself out of bed to answer his persistent knocking and was almost bowled over by his enthusiastic jumping. His night out with Aphasia after the bar had been a success, and he had asked the girl over to the Berrys' for dinner. He was there to beg Quinn to cook …and to be on her best behavior.
It took over an hour for the negotiations. They went back and forth quite a bit, arms folded, game faces on. In the end, Quinn agreed to make dinner and behave, as long as Jesse slept in the guest room while he and Quinn were staying at the Berrys', and went back to referring to Quinn as "Mrs. Fabray." It took another hour for Quinn's smug smile to vanish.
As Quinn continued to move around the kitchen, she could hear Jesse introducing Hiram and Leroy to Aphasia. She couldn't help but smile as she listened to Jesse's nervous babbling.
Stifling her laughter when Jesse pointed out the architecture of the house to cover the awkward silence, Quinn gathered her mushroom and tofu potstickers and made her way into the dinning room with a beaming smile.
"Hey, Quinn." Aphasia nodded, looking a little relieved to suddenly have a familiar face. "What'cha got there? I'm starving."
Quinn sat down the tray as Leroy and Hiram instantly sat up straighter at the first sign of food. "Just a little appetizer before dinner. Please, help yourselves."
Her fathers-in-law and Jesse made a dive while Aphasia hung back, looking slightly confused as she stared down at the hors d'oeuvre. "What is it?"
Quinn quickly turned away to head back to the kitchen, keeping her smile concealed: she really liked this girl for Jesse. She knew that she'd promised to be on her best behavior, but this night seemed like it would be rather fun. It was important to Jesse that the Berry men and Quinn liked Aphasia, therefore Jesse would be a nervous lunatic. That was super fun for Quinn.
Her phone buzzed on the countertop, and Quinn answered it happily. "I really wish you were here right now. Jesse is freaking out."
Rachel laughed softly on the other line. "Quinn, please do go easy on him."
Quinn held her cell tightly to her ear as she cupped a hand around her mouth, hoping her voice wouldn't carry into the dining room. "Seriously though, Rach, I think he's sweating."
"Will you stop that?!" Rachel laughed, louder this time. "He sounds like he really likes her. And you must know how much your opinion matters to him."
"That's what makes this so much fun." Rachel laughed freely again, making Quinn's smile soften. "I may be home as soon as Wednesday." Quinn whispered, her tone quiet for a different reason now.
"Wednesday, huh?" Rachel whispered back, getting comfy in her chair. She had finished her matinee show and was wasting time looking over the script for A Sweetness. Technically, she didn't need to be off-book for many months: filming for the musical-turned-movie wouldn't start until the fall, but Rachel needed to clear her head, and memorizing lines always did the trick. Until now: she couldn't stop thinking about her wife and needed to hear her voice.
"Yeah, Wednesday. I'll get in early…so…we could talk before your show?"
"I'm looking forward to it."
Quinn snorted. "Calm down, Rach, no need to jump for joy." Rachel smiled, hearing the playful tone in Quinn's voice.
"You're such a jerk, Quinn Fabray." Quinn smiled as she sighed, loving their banter. She got up to check on dinner as their conversation lapsed into comfortable silence. "I am looking forward to it, you know. I miss you…terribly."
"I know, Rach, me too." She stirred dinner absentmindedly as the doorbell rang, but hardly registered the sound. "You're going to call me after your show, right?"
"Of course. And…I thought that-well-I know." Rachel took a deep breath as she geared up for what she was trying to say. Placate her wife in some way to let Quinn know that she was ready to make their relationship completely real and serious. "I know I've been distant…and-well-what I'm trying to say is…maybe…Quinn?"
But Quinn was no longer listening to her stammering wife. She may not have registered the doorbell, however, the sound of two new voices a room over had grabbed her attention so thoroughly she completely forgot she was talking to Rachel and dropped her wooden spoon and phone.
"Uh, Quinn?" Quinn whipped around towards Aphasia where the girl was standing in the doorway of the kitchen. "Some old people are here to see you." She said, gesturing over her shoulder as she took in Quinn's tense frame and wide eyes. "Also, I think you forgot to add some ingredients in those potskickers, 'cause they didn't taste so good. Quinn? Are you okay? Your eyes are completely buggin' and you look like you're about to lose some fingernails if you keep diggin' em in the countertop like that." Aphasia slowly approached Quinn, scared the girl would snap. "And I think someone is screaming at you from your phone."
Suddenly, Quinn grabbed the front of Aphasia's clingy black strapless dress and jerked her forward until they were almost nose to nose. "Is that my parents out there?!"
Aphasia regarded Quinn carefully. "WASP-y looking types?" Quinn nodded slowly, her fear only worsening. "Look like they could drink me under the table?" Another nod. "Back catalogs of Brook's Brothers and blonde hair dye all over the house?" Quinn's grip tightened until her knuckles went white. "Quinn, I think your parents are here." Aphasia told her calmly.
"What are they doing here?!" Quinn rushed out as her face paled to chalk-white.
"I'ma guess they be here to see you, girl."
"Fuck fuck fuck, shit shit shit, damn it damn it damn it!" Quinn hissed as she finally let go of Aphasia to spin around to cling to the countertop, glancing unseeingly at the kitchen.
"Jesse's not letting them in if that makes you feel better." Aphasia told the panicking girl. She got no response. "There's a high-pitched squealing coming from yo' phone."
Again, no answer. With a shrug, the girl picked up the phone from the floor.
"Hello? Oh, hey girl, it's Aphasia. Yeah, Jesse's date. Oh, you know, it's goin'. Yeah, I remember you from high school, too: you got some pipes. Totally caught you in that badass movie where you were all crazy and ho-ing around with your shrink. Yeah, I heard about that! You best win that Oscar: but they usually give it to some old bitch that was in some boring movie about something depressing. Uh huh. Uh huh. Yeah, she here. She's kinda freaking out. Hmm? Oh, her parents are here and-okay, you so did not need to scream in my ear like that! Talk about pipes! Okay, okay, I'll put her on. Quinn, it's for you."
Quinn ignored Aphasia's outstretched hand as she focused all her attention on the muffled voices coming from the Berrys' living room. She could faintly hear her father's voice over the thundering in her ears.
Suddenly, calm settled over Quinn in the form of Rachel's voice. Aphasia had placed her cell next to her ear so Rachel could speak to her wife. "Quinn? Are you breathing?" Rachel asked firmly. Quinn nodded in response, not ready to speak. "Who cares if they're there? My fathers will not let them in. Jesse will not let them in. You don't have to see them nor speak to them. Do you understand me?"
Quinn took a cleansing breath as she nodded, smiling slightly. Rachel was absolutely correct. They had talked about the possibility of Quinn running into her parents while in Lima. She just never considered they'd come to her. But her wife was right. There was no reason she had to see them. And she also knew the Berry men and Jesse wouldn't let them get too far. She just needed reminding. Just a small reminder from Rachel that she wasn't sixteen and pregnant or eighteen and miserable.
She was happy. Independent. Successful. In love.
"Thank you." Quinn breathed out in reply to Rachel. Rachel nodded back firmly, finally halting her worried pacing as she gripped the back of her chair. She was relieved that Quinn seemed composed, but Rachel was not okay. She wanted the Fabrays as far away from her wife as possible!
"Now, what are you going to do?"
Quinn smiled at Aphasia and took the phone from the girl as she leaned back against the counter she had been bracing only moments before. Taking another confident breath, Quinn responded. "I'm inviting them to dinner."
Rachel refrained from gasping loudly and stomping her foot. She watched her emotions play out in windows before her and kept it all to herself. Instead, she merely made a humming noise that could pass as intrigue. "That's what you really want?" Rachel asked carefully, ignoring the voice in her head that was screaming her worry and anger. She also had to grip her chair tighter to avoid literally running to Lima, Ohio.
"No, that's not what I want." Quinn responded as she watched Aphasia quietly leave the room. She ran a hand through her hair and resisted the urge to look into the window above the sink to check her reflection to make sure her appearance was flawless. "What I want is to be at home, in bed, with you. Or at the theatre watching you perform." She took another deep breath. "Or even lying upstairs in bed with Jesse, for crying out loud. What I don't want to be doing is dealing with my parents."
Rachel's eyebrows inverted. She placed a finger in her ear, sure she missed what Quinn said over the loud announcement that echoed in the small room she was in. "Laying in bed…with…who?"
"Rach, what do they want?" Quinn asked wearily, ignoring Rachel's confusion.
Instead of answering immediately, Rachel bounded towards her bag to extract her laptop and hastily opened it. "Get on Skype." Rachel demanded.
Quinn's eyebrows flew up. "You want to Skype-sex now?! I thought you weren't pissed at me for that!" She whispered heatedly.
Rachel clucked her tongue as she rolled her eyes. "Quinn, I'm not initiating Skype-sex. Although, now that you mention it, would it be too much to ask if you got off your butt to retrieve the laptop every once and a while so I can actually see you?!"
Quinn gasped loudly. "I knew you were upset with me for that!"
"Get on Skype so I can attend dinner with your parents, Quinn! If you're inviting them to stay, I damn well will be there for backup and support! If they so much as backhandedly compliment you, I will go all Betty Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane on them!"
Quinn blinked owlishly. "I don't know what that means."
"I'm going to go off on their asses!" Rachel growled. Quinn covered her face with her hand to stifle her laughter—she knew Rachel was trying to sound tough and not just adorable—and sighed heavily once she got a hold of herself.
She may have asked Rachel why her parents were there, but, truly, Quinn already knew the answer. She may have seen this coming if she had a moment to consider. Ever since she saw the man from her old church parish in the bar, Quinn figured something like this would happen.
It was simple, really. Or maybe it was just simply Fabray: appearances. The man in the bar that recognized Quinn most likely inquired to Quinn's parents if they knew their daughter was in town. Wanting to save face—their daughter may be a heathen in their eyes, but she was a some-what famous heathen—they probably told the man from their church that they were aware of the fact and saw Quinn from time to time, under the guise of "saving" her, no doubt. Nevertheless, they were here to keep up appearances on the off chance that one day Quinn wrote a memoir or gave an interview declaring that her parents had disowned her, not once, but twice.
It was the same reason they attended her wedding. If Quinn denounced them publicly, the Fabrays could claim that it was their daughter's unholy ways and they'd triedtheir very best to sway her back to the flock, all to no avail.
And maybe that was why Quinn was planning to invite them to dinner. "Once a Fabray…" and all that. Quinn knew the idea of appearances was still firmly ingrained within her. She would deny any other reason. Being disowned twice snuffed out any hope that her parents had changed their minds and could finally love her.
She would deny any other reason.
"Quinn?" Rachel sounded through the phone. "You still there?"
Quinn took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "I'm still here."
The eerie calm tone of Quinn's voice made dread flood through Rachel. "Are you okay?"
This time Quinn did look at her appearance through the window over the sink and deemed herself presentable. In more ways than one. "I'm just fine."
Rachel was not appeased. In fact, her fear grew. "Can I have Skype-dinner with you?" She asked tentatively.
Quinn chuckled as she took the far exit out of the kitchen towards the back den away from the living room. She quickly went up the stairs and into Rachel's bedroom to retrieve her laptop. "You can have Skype-dinner with me, yes."
Rachel accepted the small victory, but was still on guard. She was waiting for Quinn to pull away. To shut her out. To be high school-Quinn.
"Do you even have time for this, Rach?" Quinn asked calmly as she turned on her computer.
Rachel almost scoffed. "Even if I didn't, I'd make time."
Quinn laughed as she shook her head, allowing herself to truly smile. "Rachel, you're the Tony-nominated lead in a Tony-nominated musical; the show can't go on without you."
Rachel huffed, not amused. "Now you want to Skype-sex?!"
Quinn laughed louder this time, logging into Skype. "Just because I bring up your nomination doesn't automatically mean I'm initiating any type of sex. Also, hi!" Quinn said, smiling as her wife's face filled the screen of her laptop.
Rachel granted her wife a fleeting smile before she frowned. "Then I suggest you don't bring up my nomination: you know how much of a turn on it is. Now, tell me, how are you really?" She asked as they both hung up their phones.
Quinn's head cocked as the sound of voices grew louder: It was clear that, to the Berrys and Jesse, the Fabrays had started to wear out their welcome. Acknowledging Rachel's question and the worry in her tone, Quinn turned back to her wife and locked eyes with her. "Rachel, I'm not worried about my parents."
Rachel's eyebrows furrowed in confusion. "You're not?"
"No." Quinn said softly as she shook her head.
"Yes." Quinn nodded. "Honestly.
Rachel was even more confused than before. "You're not going to push me away or become serial killer, high school-Quinn?"
Quinn chuckled, her eyes shining with endearment as she gazed down at her wife. "No, Rachel; I'm not that girl anymore."
Rachel nodded slowly, taking in Quinn's words and their meaning.
Quinn watched her carefully, smiling at the pout on her wife's lips. Then she took in the background behind Rachel. "Hey, where are you? That's not your dressing room."
Rachel glanced over her shoulder where floor to ceiling windows took up the space. "The bar around the corner." Rachel lied easily.
Quinn furrowed her brow, unsure. But just then, the sounds of yelling drifted up to the bedroom, distracting her. "Okay, we should really get down there before your daddy beats up my father." Quinn could hear Leroy shouting the loudest out of everyone, using his indignant voice and words far too big for a screaming match.
Rachel motioned with her hands to get a move on. "Yes, please; it would reasonably upset daddy to mess up his manicure!"
When Quinn entered the room tentatively, laptop balanced on her hand, the room became quickly silent as every head turned towards her. It was clear, even if Quinn hadn't heard the heated words that were trying and failing to remain hushed, that she had just walked into a fight: Leroy and Russell Fabray were toe to toe with their spouses just over their shoulders, with Jesse attempting to get in the middle, red-faced, and obviously trying to instigate something with Quinn's father as well.
"What's going on?" Rachel asked in a whisper from the laptop. Without a word, and barely a glance toward her parents, Quinn flipped the computer around so Rachel could see the scene.
"Dinner's ready." Quinn told the group in a forced-civil tone before heading off to the kitchen with her wife. As she stood in the doorway of the kitchen, she took a deep breath. "I'm setting the table for seven." She said over her shoulder; inviting her parents to stay without having to actually ask.
"That didn't look good." Rachel said quietly as she was placed on the countertop by the stove. "And you really should set the table for eight to be polite. Just because I'm not there doesn't mean I don't want to be included."
Quinn hummed her agreement as she gathered dinner and an extra plate for phantom Rachel, happy to have a reason to smile. She didn't really feel the need to inform her wife that adding an additional place setting was ridiculous. If Rachel wanted to feel included, Quinn was just fine with accommodating.
When she could no longer stall for time despite enjoying Rachel babbling about how old Quinn's parents looked and how confused Aphasia seemed in the background just behind Jesse, Quinn brought Rachel and her plate out to place her down at one of the two remaining seats. The group sat in a tense silence. The Berry men were at the heads of the table. Quinn wondered how upset her father was that he was placed in a lesser position, just to Hiram's left, with Judy across from him. Jesse was next to Russell, his face stony and red, with Aphasia sitting opposite. That left Rachel beside Aphasia, a request Rachel made so she could stare daggers at her father-in-law. Quinn felt quite bad for the man. But more so for Aphasia, stuck sitting between a laptop and a lush. If there was another date between her and Jesse, Quinn felt fairly certain that the two would marry: it was quite a bit of drama and theatrics for a first official date.
"This looks delicious, baby, you've really out-done yourself." Quinn shook her head as she smirked, setting down the main course on the table and ignoring her wife's compliment. Rachel was baiting her parents-in-law into a fight. Quinn was sure she'd be hearing a wide-range of terms of endearments and compliments from Rachel to goad the Fabrays into a confrontation. It intrigued Quinn that she was looking forward to it, not at all nervous.
"And…what exactly is this?" Aphasia asked carefully, looking at the food before her. "Like…soup…or a stew or something?"
"It's Quinn's Massaman curry, Aphasia." Rachel explained quickly and eagerly. "It's really quite fantastic. Sweet and peanutty, spicy with a tang: Quinn is an excellent cook." Rachel informed the table, looking around as best she could from the small screen as she nodded, almost daring someone to disagree, but obviously proud of her wife.
Once Quinn was finished with setting the table, she tucked her dress underneath her as she took her seat beside Jesse. Unfortunately, the years couldn't quite erase the way her body tensed up as her father cleared his throat. "I don't see any meat on the table." His tone wasn't curious, nor was it challenging exactly, just a statement. Nevertheless, it bugged Quinn. If her father had been dining anywhere else, he never would have opened his mouth out of manners.
The long silence that followed Russell's almost-question blanketed the room. Taking a deep breath, Quinn removed her napkin from her plate and laid it out on her lap. "That's because there is no meat; this is a vegan dinner. Everyone, please, help yourselves."
The dinner was a silent affair as people ate. Quinn didn't bother to look at her parents to see if they were enjoying the meal. She did, however, dote on Leroy sitting next to her. Made sure he had enough veggies. That he got a good-sized portion of water chestnuts—his favorite. That his wine was filled. That he was smiling. Certain times, whenever Quinn gave her father-in-law special attention, she'd look over at Rachel to see her wife smiling at her in a way that made Quinn forget that her parents were even there, that anyone was there.
Quinn found it valiant of Jesse to try and continue on with his date with Aphasia despite the fact that the boy seemed quite upset that the Fabrays were in attendance. When he wasn't chatting a—somehow, don't ask Quinn how it was possible—fascinated Aphasia's ear off about his career and his life before New York, Rachel was commenting on topics Jesse would raise in between complimenting Quinn's culinary abilities, appearance, personality, intelligence—whatever occurred to her wife at any given moment.
Hiram was silent as he ate. As were Russell and Judy. Leroy was only talking to Quinn. Jesse really only spoke to Aphasia, and vice versa, with Rachel interjecting to support her friend and to praise Quinn. Quinn was clinging to Leroy as she silently encouraged her wife with smiles and long looks.
Although the meal itself seemed enjoyable enough, the whole thing was a mess.
"At least you're on your best behavior." Jesse whispered to Quinn as everyone politely dabbed at their lips with their napkins, the dinner portion of the night finished.
Quinn leveled Jesse with a look she reserved only for a certain ex of hers before rolling her eyes. "I'll get dessert." She whispered softly. She felt Leroy squeeze her hand as she stood, and smiled at him, taking the strength he offered into the kitchen with her along with everyone's dinner plates.
As soon as she splayed her hands on the countertop, taking a deep, well-deserved breath, Quinn wished she had brought her laptop into the kitchen with her. She hadn't been lying to Rachel earlier when she said she wasn't worried about her parents. She wasn't.
What she was worried about, however, was her parents insulting the Berrys—all three of them. She was worried another fight would start. Quinn was worried that she'd feel something. That she'd realize she missed them. Or would want their approval.
So far all Quinn felt was pissed that she missed out on a whole night of making Jesse a nervous wreck.
Sighing loudly, Quinn uncovered her double "chocolate" torte and carried it into the dinning room. This time, however, while still tense, the table was no longer silent. Far from it.
"How dare you coming into my house and speak about my wife that way!" Rachel screamed from her laptop.
Judy's chest expanded. "You're not even here, and as far as I'm concerned, young lady, this is no longer your house!"
"Don't you speak to my daughter that way!" Leroy countered.
Russell glanced up from the table and down at Leroy. "You will notyell at my wife, Leroy!"
Rachel looked up in arms. "You're correct, Judy; this is no longer my house. But it is the house of my fathers, and I will not allow this insolence to continue!"
Judy's expression matched Rachel's. "Seeing as how this concerns my daughter, I will say whatever needs to be said!"
"What the hell happened?" Quinn mumbled from the dining room doorway, double "chocolate" torte in hand, as she stared at the scene: her mother, standing, and leaning heavily on the table, yelling passed Aphasia at the computer screen as Rachel yelled back; Leroy, also standing, with an air of indignation surrounding him; Jesse looking bored; Aphasia, confused and slightly afraid; Russell, red-faced, yet composed for the most part; and Hiram, his hands covering his shaking head.
"What happened? Rachel happened." Jesse said with a huff.
"Rachel?" Quinn whispered to herself, beyond confused.
"I don't see how it's any of your business, Judy!" Rachel yelled. "You not only abandoned your daughter once, but twice!"
Judy swelled with anger. "And, yet, here I am! Trying to make an effort. And I'll be damned if I'm kept in the dark any longer!"
"You will have no say! No say! I don't care if I have to lock Quinn up for the rest of our lives in an effort to keep her away from the likes of you and your opinions!"
Quinn stood, mystified, as she watched her mother and wife go toe to toe…or as close to it as possible considering there was a laptop involved. Exactly how long had she been in the kitchen for that she missed all of the hoopla?!
"Jesse…what the hell are they arguing about?" Quinn asked, stumbling a little towards the table.
Jesse rolled his eyes and relieved Quinn of the double "chocolate" torte. "Baby names."
"Baby-" The words hardly made sense, until they did, and then Quinn was blanching and recoiling as she shook her way through the fog. "Baby names?!"
"The Fabrays have strong names, young lady, strong names!"
"I don't give a flying hoot what the Fabrays have! My wife and I will be the ones picking names for our children!"
Quinn was so thoroughly confused. "How the hell did baby names even come up?!" She asked Jesse in a whisper as the boy cut eagerly through the dessert, and Rachel and Judy continued their yelling match.
Jesse shrugged, plopping a huge piece of cake onto his plate. "Your parents asked about grandchildren, Rachel filled them in on your timeline, Judy offered some names." Jesse pointed at the torte with his fork. "Is this double chocolate?"
Quinn ignored him. "Wait…" Her head did another confused shake. "What, exactly, is our timeline? What timeline? How could Rachel have a timeline?!"
Jesse, in turn, ignored Quinn. "This is definitely double chocolate." He moaned, Quinn only just hearing his pleased sound effects over the constant screaming of her wife and mother.
"Uh, Quinn?" Quinn's neck snapped towards a thoroughly anxious Aphasia. "Is there, like, something you could do?" She asks, arching around Judy as the woman shouted at Rachel.
Quinn's mouth opened and closed several times as her anxious eyes darted back and forth between her mother and her wife. She felt badly for Aphasia, she did, but Quinn honestly didn't even know where to start. She had never, not once, stood up to either of her parents, and Quinn knew Rachel: there's no way in hell her wife was giving up the fight, as crazy as it seemed.
Because, honestly, Quinn knew it had very little to do with future baby names and everything to do with Rachel standing up to Quinn's parents on Quinn's behalf.
The firm hand on her shoulder got her to look up. She expected it to be Leroy's, but he was still attentively listening to the argument. Glancing to her left, Jesse was leaning over his torte as though someone may come along and steal it. That only left one person.
"Why don't we go outside and let those two…" Russell gave an unsure shrug, not exactly sure what was happening.
Quinn blinked harshly as she stared over at her father. There was no warmth in his tone, only exasperation and bewilderment. It seemed genuine enough, though, so Quinn nodded and got to her feet. "Maybe you should rescue Aphasia, Jesse." Quinn hissed down to the boy before finding her wife's eyes across the table. Quinn motioned to Rachel with a tilt of her head that she was leaving. Rachel nodded quickly and headed back into the fray with Judy.
It was cooler outside than in the house. The wind felt good against Quinn's warm face, and it was only as she pulled her cardigan closer that she realized she was shaking slightly. Nervous energy. Being around her father, alone, always made her feel out of sorts, and that had only multiplied over the years, it seemed.
It felt unreal to Quinn, to be looking up at her father in that moment. That in his outstretched hand was a cigar. Without knowing why, Quinn took the cigar and allowed her father to light it. She twisted the cigar in her fingers until it was fully lit, and Russell nodded, impressed, before dealing with his own.
They stood, silently, in the Berrys' backyard, staring out at the well-groomed lawn where trees and flowers were blossoming into summer. "I find it's best to just let Judy say what she wants to say. She'll quiet down after that."
Quinn glanced up at her father. He was still looking out into the yard, apparently at ease. A part of Quinn wanted to agree, wanted to say it was the same with Rachel. The other part, a much larger part of Quinn, wanted to stay quiet. So she did.
They smoked their cigars in peace. Neither Fabray was much good at conversation—especially when Russell wasn't drinking—and after the years of frosty silence between them, finding topics of conversation proved challenging.
It did occur to Quinn that it appeared as though her mother had been honest to Rachel: they were trying. Judy was trying by being a nagging, overbearing mother-in-law, and Russell was trying simply by getting Quinn away from the carnage. For a cigar, no less. To the average person, smoking a cigar is only smoking a cigar. But to the Fabrays, it meant acceptance.
The last time Quinn saw her father smoke a cigar was at her sister's wedding. He was laughing and clapping the back of Quinn's new brother-in-law, whose name evaded her at that moment, all smiles.
The Indians won: Russell would smoke a cigar. He landed a new client: Russell would smoke a cigar. Any occasion that Russell was proud or happy to be a part of, he would smoke. The fact that he was currently smoking with his daughter was profound. It gave Quinn just the right amount of pleasure.
"Everything all right out here?" Both Fabrays turned at the sound of Jesse's voice, Aphasia at his side. Quinn nodded slowly as she watched her father stub out his cigar.
"I should go back in." He mumbled before heading for the door. Quinn and Jesse watched Russell until he was inside.
"You smoke now?" Jesse asked as he waved his hand in front of the white cloud Quinn just exhaled. "You do realize I'm going to have to tell Rachel this, correct?"
Quinn ignored him, however. Her mind was racing. Not about her parents, per se, or even about Rachel's impending lecture on smoking. "Do you think I should call Shelby?" Quinn asked suddenly, flicking her gaze towards Jesse.
Aphasia stood quietly at the door. She could tell the subject that was just raised was a serious one. Normally, she'd get out of dodge and give them privacy. However, Aphasia really did not want to go back into the house where all the crazy people were. So, instead, she just stood silently as she watched Jesse approach Quinn and lean against the railing, apparently deep in thought.
"I think you should discuss with Rachel the prospect of your daughter entering in to your lives. Don't you think?"
Quinn was shaking her head as she took a long pull on her cigar. "No, Rachel and I have already talked about Beth: if she wants to be a part of my life, it will be her decision when she's eighteen. I meant that I was thinking about calling Shelby for Rachel, not for me."
Jesse mulled that over for a moment. "Why, exactly, would you call Shelby for Rachel?"
For the first time since Jesse came back into her and Rachel's life, Quinn fully appreciated him: only Jesse could really understand the importance of the question. "Jesse." Quinn began, lowering her voice so only he could hear. "I just stood in silence with my father for, what, ten minutes? Those ten minutes of silence meant more to me than I can express. He was a horrible, horrible man, and yet, here I am, still craving his approval."
"And you think Rachel wants Shelby's approval?"
"You don't?!" Quinn asked with disbelief.
Jesse turned his back to the yard and leaned heavily on the railing, folding his arms in contemplation. He could see through the blinds where everyone was sitting at the dining room table. It appeared as though the two families had calmed down some.
"I think Rachel was just fine until she met Shelby. I think that if Shelby never interfered in Rachel's life, Rachel may not have gone looking for her. What she did to Rachel certainly changed her." Quinn nodded, agreeing. "However…" Quinn's cigar was at her side, forgotten, as she waited for Jesse to finish. "I think that this is one of those things Rachel just needs to deal with. If, at any time, Rachel would like to pursue a relationship, then so be it. Or, if Shelby tries to make contact again, we'll reevaluate."
"Jesse, Shelby's rejection has influenced her to the point where she feels like she's not good enough for me!"
He nodded, slower this time, before he straightened and look over at her. "Quinn, your parents are here. They were at your wedding. Are you suddenly going to call them weekly? Get together for the holidays?" Quinn's eyebrow rose incredulously. "I didn't think so. We all have things that have made us who we are. This is one of those things that Rachel has to get over. There is no perfect ending when it comes to Shelby and Rachel, nor you and your parents. Rachel will just have to accept the people who are in her life and appreciate them."
Quinn bit her lip at the truth of Jesse's words as she watched the boy head towards the door. "Jesse?" Quinn called suddenly. He turned to look at her and it was all she could do to push down her smile. "It's Mrs. Fabray, not Quinn." Jesse smirked and slid the door open.
As Aphasia went to follow him inside, Quinn made a last minute decision and stopped her with a hand on her shoulder. Aphasia glanced over at Quinn quizzically. "I swear to God, Aphasia," Quinn said slowly, her expression stony. "If you hurt him, use him, and/or upset him in any way, I promise as his agent, friend, and family, I will do everything in my power to see to it that your life is forever miserable. Agreed?"
Aphasia did her best not to smirk. "Agreed. And don't worry, Quinn, I won't tell him about this." Quinn nodded, thankful that it wouldn't get back to Jesse, and Aphasia went back inside, following the man Quinn was fairly certain she'd one day marry.
As Quinn continued to puff on her cigar, thinking about her wife, Aphasia took her seat at the dining room table, relieved that things had appeared to calm down. Jesse was back to eating his torte—the only reason he stopped was when he realized Quinn had left the table with her father, of all people—Russell was looking disinterested, and the Berry men, Rachel, and Judy were all hunched over where they sat, with pens in their hands hovering over paper.
"So it's agreed." Judy said, taking off her glasses as she glanced down the table where Rachel was on the laptop screen. "Russell and I get one veto over names, your fathers as well, and if the four grandparents, as a unit, all disagree, the name is vetoed."
Rachel referred to her own notes before looking up at Judy. "That is correct. For each child we have, the rule applies. However, according to paragraph four of the contract, if two or more children are conceived at a time, no additional vetoes are permitted."
Judy was suddenly smiling. "Twins runs in my family." She gushed.
Leroy was all smiles as well. "Mine as well, hot dog, twins!" No one brought up the irrelevance.
As Rachel ducked her head to refer back to the notes she made on the pending contract they were all writing up, Judy watched her carefully. "I suppose Quinn will be carrying first?"
Rachel didn't look up. "Why would you assume that?" She mumbled, too deep in thought to notice the look on her mother-in-law's face.
"With your career and all…" Judy mentioned as casually as possible, trying to keep the disdain form her voice. She kind of liked the idea of Quinn being a breadwinner and didn't want her giving up her fledging career so soon. And, yes, she would like another chance at being a grandmother, but if the plan was that Rachel would carry Quinn's baby and Quinn would carry Rachel's baby, she was excited to meet a little Quinn again. If her daughter was to carry first, she'd have to wait longer.
Still reviewing her notes, Rachel answered. "I was actually planning to carry first. Should we discuss holidays and visitation rights, or should we wait until Quinn's present?"
At the sound of Jesse's fork dropping, everyone turned to look at the stunned boy. Judy, however wasn't deterred, and looked back towards the laptop. "I think it would be best to discuss that now."
Rachel gave her mother-in-law a long, appraising look before shaking her head. "We'll wait." She was pretty sure Judy only wanted it discuss it without her daughter present because she knew Quinn would put up a fight having her parents in their future children's lives.
"You're willing to give up your career for children?"
For the first time since negotiations began, Russell had spoken. It was enough to garner Rachel's full attention. She looked at her father-in-law suspiciously. "Why wouldn't I? And just because I'm planning on having children doesn't mean I would be giving up my career. I love your daughter, Mr. Fabray, and I adore the idea of carrying her children. Now, I think it's best if we plunged right into…"
Everything that came out of Rachel's mouth next was lost on Jesse. He had completely forgotten about his torte. About Aphasia. About performing, even! His expression was one of shock, his mind reeling. He slid his chair back from the table with a jerk, the screeching, dragging sound drawing everyone's attention his way yet again. "I have to excuse myself." He mumbled, wiping his mouth off with his cloth napkin before springing to his feet and quickly heading upstairs.
His cell phone was ringing shrilly in his ear as he paced the guest bedroom, stunned. Did Rachel really just say what she had said? Was this really happening? He was pretty sure he remembered his friend explaining to him that Quinn being a woman made her the perfect fit for her future stardom: babies and career. She wouldn't have to take time off from the stage to bear children. Quinn would carry them. Suddenly Rachel was willing to potentially throw it all away?
And, furthermore, she just declared her love for Quinn out loud in front of witnesses.
As her friend, it was his duty to act. And quickly. The time had come. And Jesse would be damned if it went on even a day longer. He didn't care about the bet anymore. Rachel Berry was going to declare her undying love for Quinn Fabray if he had to get Barbra Streisand to force his stubborn friend to do it!
Back downstairs, everyone was enjoying coffee, tea, and lighter conversation as they continued with their talks.
"When Quinnie comes back in, I think we should talk to her about coming to stay with us for the remainder of her time in Lima, what do you say Russell?"
Well, everyone was enjoying themselves. Until that.
"Absolutely not." Three voices rang out.
Judy Fabray glanced at each Berrys unsurely. "I believe that will be Quinn's decision. Right, Russell?"
"Right, dear." Russell rejoined dryly, not really into the conversation.
Rachel, not for the first time since Aphasia told her the Fabrays were inside her childhood home, felt a wave of fear collapse down on her. She knew that her wife would not want to go stay with her parents. But would she turn them down? Especially since they seemed so keen on having Quinn back in their lives, despite not being totally onboard with all of Quinn's decisions.
Rachel knew how strong the desire was for parental acceptance. And here the Fabrays were, accepting Quinn and even Rachel. Was it just for show? Would they take the first opportunity to try and brainwash their daughter away from Rachel? Would Quinn let them? And, more importantly, would they end up hurting Quinn somehow in the process?
"I think it's for the best that Quinn remains with my fathers." Rachel stressed adamantly. She was waved off by Judy.
"Nonsense, dear. It will give us a chance to catch up."
"Rachel, sweetheart, I think the laptop is dying. I may have to get the power cord." Hiram said.
Rachel shook her head, ignoring her father, too caught up in Judy's words. "Quinn is staying with my fathers!"
"We should let Quinnie decide where she wants to go."
"No, no! Quinn would be much happier with them!" In the background, Rachel heard a disembodied voice mumble through the intercom, getting her to curse. "Lousy timing!" Rachel said under her breath.
"Should I retrieve the power cord, darling?" Hiram asked, already rising.
Rachel shook him off and got to her feet, leaving the quiet of the small enclosed room. "Don't bother, dad, I have to go. Quinn will stay with my fathers, understood? It's very, very important!"
Leroy squinted at the laptop as he watched his daughter. "Rachel, sweetheart, where exactly are you? That doesn't look like your dressing room or the apartment."
"That's because I'm not in my dressing room or apartment." She told him quickly, lugging her bag over her shoulder and moving faster, barely balancing her laptop on her palm as commuters quickly scuttled around her. "Quinn will stay with my fathers and that's final! I will be unable to be reached for a few hours but insist upon this being adhered to or else our contract will be ripped up and all hopes of having a little Bitsy or Tristin the Eleventh will be lost forever!" Beside Rachel, the woman holding out her hand to retrieve Rachel's ticket looked at her curiously.
"Have a safe flight, Mrs. Berry." The woman mentioned, still giving Rachel an odd look.
At the sentiment, Rachel's face morphed into a wide, pleased grin. "And to you a lovely day, thank you." As she entered through the breezeway, she smiled down at her laptop. "It's always so thrilling to be acknowledged by fans."
The Berry men, Fabrays, and Aphasia gaped at her. "Rachel, where are you flying? Is it here?!" Hiram asked excitedly, Leroy lighting up at the thought.
Rachel smiled again. "Yes! But you must not tell Quinn; it's a surprise!" She then shook her head to clear it. "Now where was I? Yes, right! Quinn will not be going anywhere and no one's pet parakeet has to suddenly disappear." Hiram and Leroy both traded glances, getting the Whatever Happened to Baby Jane reference. "Capisce? Excellent. Must be off. My love to all!"
Rachel closed her laptop and smiled at the flight attendant. The man recognized Rachel instantly and personally escorted her to her first class aisle seat. "We'll be leaving shortly for Ohio, Mrs. Berry. Is there anything at all I can get you?" He asked as he stored her bag in the overhead compartment.
"I'm just fine for the moment, thank you." Rachel answered politely.
"Very well. Ring if that changes. And, if it's not too much trouble, would you mind signing something?" Rachel beamed back.
Back in Lima, as the Berry men and Fabrays looked at one another quietly, still reeling from Rachel's pronouncement, Aphasia sighed loudly as she flopped back in her chair. "Jesse seriously better be worth all this bullshit."
Lydia and Jeremy were asleep, dozing comfortably on their couch as Trevor snored on the floor, the TV halfway through its Real Housewives marathon. Jeremy jerked, fully awake, at the loud chiming of the phone.
"Tell Rachel to calm the fuck down." Lydia mumbled, nuzzling her pillow, before dropping off to sleep again.
Jeremy grinned broadly at the sight before picking up his cell. He also assumed it was Rachel, but seeing the name flashing across his screen, Jeremy beamed. "What's up BFF?"
"This isn't the time, Jer, we have a Code Red!"
Jeremy frowned, his eyebrows furrowing. "Jesse, my man, I have no idea what that is."
It was Jesse's turn to frown. He was pacing the guest bedroom of the Berrys' house, running a hand through his hair anxiously. "Code Red is what we came up with that night we made the bracelets, Jer!"
Jeremy was back to smiling. He reached over Lydia's head to grab a blunt and sparked it as he inspected the hemp around his wrist. "They're some killer brocelets, Jess."
Jesse allowed a moment in his panic and scheming to agree before he shook it off. "Jeremy, we have to commence with Operation Spoiler. Repeat, commence with Operation Spoiler! Where's Lydia?"
Jeremy was confused. He pulled hard on his blunt. "She's asleep, dude. And what the heck is Operation Spoiler? I thought we were doing Code Red."
Throwing his head back and groaning, Jesse prayed for patience. "They're the same-never mind, wake Lydia immediately and put her on the phone."
"You people have too many operations, man. Hold on." Jeremy mumbled as he nudged Lydia awake.
The girl blinked slowly up at her boyfriend. "Is it Rachel? Because if I have to listen to her ramble on about her stupid operation any longer-"
Jeremy was shaking his head, hand over the mouthpiece of his phone. "Nah, it's Jesse. He is going on about codes and operations, though."
Lydia rolled her eyes and sighed in exasperation as she sat up, ripping the phone away from Jeremy. "Look, St. James-"
"No, you look. What I'm about to suggest will have you and Jeremy, once and for all, wining the bet."
That stopped Lydia in her tracks. Her eyebrow slowly rose. "The bet?" She clarified, trying to keep the excitement out of her voice.
Jesse sighed deeply as his eyes slipped closed, feeling as though he was physically in pain. "Yes, the bet. I have a way for it to end by tomorrow."
Lydia was more than intrigued. "Go on." She said, ignoring Jeremy's frantic gesturing in an attempt to get Lydia to tell him what she and Jesse were discussing.
"I swear on my Queen commemorative plates that I can have Rachel telling Quinn she loves her by maybe tonight, definitely by tomorrow. All I need is Jeremy to make one little phone call." Jesse told the girl in an airy voice that did not reflect his mood.
Lydia's eyebrow went higher as she glanced over at her boyfriend who was choking on a large puff from his blunt. "Jeremy? Really?" She asked skeptically, unsure how her boyfriend could pull off something so seemingly impossible—although how, Lydia wasn't sure; those two girls were really fucking dramatic when it came to telling one another how they felt.
"I swear." Jesse confirmed.
"Your commemorative Queen plates and $500?"
Jesse's eyes slipped closed again as his jaw tensed. He cursed at himself under his breath for ever allowing the cash prize to get that high. "Yes." Barely slipped out between his teeth.
Lydia's smile curled as she stared at a nervous looking Jeremy. "What does he have to do?"
Jesse took a deep, calming breath, allowing himself to revel in the feeling. How essential he was to the plot. He was fulfilling the key role in every rom-com he had ever seen: he was going to save the day and push the two unwilling lovers together, finally, and, in doing so, become a romantic hero selflessly. He could practically picture Quinn on her knees, weeping her thanks.
The thin, balding man beside Rachel on the plane glanced her way as her cell phone started playing Hits from the Bong. She smiled sheepishly at him as she extracted her cell from where she stashed it.
"We'll be taking off in a moment, Mrs. Berry." The flight attendant told her from the front of the plane, a few feet away.
Rachel nodded to the man. "This will only take a second." She said before answering her phone. "Jeremy? Is everything okay? You didn't lose a dog, did you?"
Jeremy bit his lip, holding the script Lydia and Jesse had written up a little higher to read. "Hello, Rachel." He said before clearing his dry throat. "Hello."
Rachel's eyebrows furrowed at the slightly off tone of Jeremy's voice. "Hi, Jer? Is everything okay? I'm on the plane and we're about to take off." Jeremy was the only one who knew that Rachel was flying to Ohio to surprise Quinn. She knew that Lydia would spill the beans and she still wasn't speaking to Jesse, so when she started putting together her operation to declare her love to Quinn, Jeremy was the only one privy to all the details.
Jeremy spared Lydia a nervous look, but the girl waved him off, silently telling him to go with the script. "Everything is just fine, Rachel. Hey, I have something very important I have to tell you."
Rachel's confusion doubled as she listened. Jeremy sounded as though he was reading from a script—very poorly. "Oookay? What is it, Jer?"
"It is about Quinn. And your relationship." Rachel had no idea why he sounded so formal, so serious.
"What about Quinn?" The man sitting beside Rachel looked her way once more so she lowered her voice. "And our relationship?"
Jeremy cleared his voice again, gripping the notebook he was reading from tighter. "I was talking to my BFF Jesse earlier this morning, and he mentioned that Quinn was spending a fair bit of time socially with Noah 'Puck' Puckerman." Jeremy glanced up at Lydia when she slapped his shoulder. "What?!" He asked his girlfriend, rubbing at his sore shoulder.
"You sound like a freaking idiot! Be more casual!"
"Jer? Are you there?" Rachel asked.
"Uh, yeah." Jeremy answered, unsure how to come off more like himself when reading lines. "Um…anyway. Jesse and I got to talking, and I found myself concerned with the amount of time Quinn seemed to be spending with her…" Jeremy quickly searched his vocabulary for a more casual-sounding word than acquaintance. "…baby daddy."
Rachel blanched at the term. It had been a long time since she had thought of Puck in that way and was surprised Jeremy knew about Beth. "Well, Jeremy, Quinn is helping Noah with his business. They are friends, after all." The flight attendant motioned to Rachel it was time to hang up, the plane's engine rumbling louder. "Look, Jer, I really have to go-"
"They had a sleepover!" Jeremy finally shouted, sensing it was best to cut to the chase. Lydia threw her arms up in exasperation. She wasn't completely sold that Jeremy was the right person for this job, but Jesse did have a point: if Jesse delivered the news, Rachel probably wouldn't believe him, thinking he was being overdramatic or paranoid as usual if she even picked up the phone to speak with the boy she was still fighting with; and Lydia would never have made the call to Rachel even if Quinn was having sleepovers with Puck, her allegiance being to Quinn. Jeremy was neutral.
Rachel absorbed the information slowly. "Be that as it may, Jeremy, I still don't believe there is any cause for concern. I trust Quinn. And I trust Noah…mostly." Rachel conceded.
"So Quinn told you she had a sleepover with Puck?" Jeremy asked.
Lydia frowned at him. "That's not on the script!" She demanded, reaching out to grab the phone from him, Jeremy jerked out of the way and scrambled to avoid her.
"Well…no, Quinn didn't tell me. But we're not required to tell each other every little thing. I'm sure it was harmless and innocent." Rachel finished with a decisive nod. "Look, Jeremy, I really do have to go. Was there anything else?"
Jeremy, now with a flailing Lydia on his back, trying and failing to take the phone from him, was struggling to come up with a way to drive the point home to Rachel. "Rach, I think something's going on between them. I talked to Quinn the other day and she mentioned that she had missed Puck and was enjoying hanging out with him and other stuff that sounded weird."
Rachel gaped soundlessly for a moment. Quinn had made it quite clear to Rachel that, while Puck had changed a lot, she was still more than annoyed dealing with him so frequently. So why had her wife told Jeremy something different? Was she lying to Rachel to spare her feelings, worried that if she told Rachel she was enjoying Puck's company Rachel would become jealous or insecure?
"Mrs. Berry?" Rachel glanced up at the flight attendant at her side. "I'm really sorry, but I'm going to have to ask you to get off your phone." The man winced, clearly uncomfortable having to ask.
"Of course, yes." Rachel answered him in a voice devoid of emotion, still faltering over Jeremy's news. "I don't want to be another Alec Baldwin. I apologize." She told the man, getting him to smile and head back to the front of the plane. "Jeremy, I must go. I'll-I'll speak to you later."
"Rachel, wait!" Jeremy said, all to no avail: Rachel had hung up. Lydia slowly slid down her boyfriend's back, looking pissed.
"You completely butchered that! Now Rachel will never tell Quinn she loves her!"
Jeremy blinked slowly at his girlfriend, clearly confused. "That's why I was calling her?! I thought I was supposed to be making her jealous!"
Lydia shook her head at him. "Jer, why the hell would we want that?!"
"Well I don't know! I wasn't listening when you guys were hatching this stupid evil scheme!"
Lydia huffed loudly. "The whole point was to get Rachel to declare her love so we'd win the bet!"
It was Jeremy's turn to huff. "Lydia, what the hell do you think Rachel's operation was about? She's on her way to Lima right now to declare her love to Quinn!" Lydia's eyebrows inverted and she stared owlishly up at her boyfriend. "Duh, Lyds!"
"Shit!" Lydia cursed, thinking about all the harm they could possibly have caused. "We got to call Jesse!"
Rachel turned her phone off and sat quietly, hands in her lap, as she mulled over everything she had just learned. She then turned to the man next to her. "I apologize for that." The man barely spared her a glance. "My silly friend was just being paranoid or something." She said with a laugh, still believing that everything was fine and all a miscommunication. "Must be all the pot he smokes." She told the disinterested man at her side. He gave her an awkward smile and went back to his book, the plane beginning to taxi. "Jeremy is just being ridiculous." Rachel sighed. She rested her head back against her seat and closed her eyes. The flight would take a little over an hour. Just enough time to wind down and run through her checklist for her big operation. It was expected to be a peaceful flight.
But of course, it wasn't…
Rachel had her head bent over her notebook of ideas for her operation reviewing everything she had planned. A row over and behind were two women quietly chatting. When Rachel first boarded, she had noticed their curious glances and dismissed them with a quick smile. But their soft voices were reaching her now, and Rachel's ears perked up at their discussion.
"Did you see that piece of trash? I always thought Meryl had better taste than that. Completely shocking!"
"That film was dreadful. No way will she win the Oscar." Rachel bit her lip as her head cocked to the side as she listened.
"Better Meryl than that Winslet girl. Worst performance I've ever seen."
"Terrible lesbian, just terrible. She won't win the award." Rachel swallowed thickly and glanced over her shoulder to see the two older women with their heads closely together, sharing the latest Entertainment Weekly.
"When I took Morty to see the Helen Mirren picture, do you know what he said? 'Worst British accent I've ever heard'." Both women roared with laughter. "I said 'Morty, she is British!' He didn't believe me!"
Rachel felt her heart begin to race. "Excuse me?" She asked softly, leaning over her armrest to better address the two women. They looked up at her in surprise and smiled.
"Yes, dear?" Morty's movie date asked.
"I couldn't help but overhear your discussion on the Academy Awards." Both women nodded eagerly and Morty's movie date showed Rachel the magazine. There, on the glossy page, was a picture of herself filling the entire space, beaming back. It looked as though the picture was taken at Sundance; that felt like a lifetime ago.
"Me and Betty think you're a shoo-in!"
"Entertainment Weekly agrees!" Betty supplied.
Rachel shook her head as she tried to make sense of everything. "Wha-what about Judy Dench?!" Rachel asked desperately, suddenly very nervous.
The two women shared a chuckle and an eye roll. "Complete crap in that movie!"
"May I see that magazine for a moment, please?" Rachel asked worriedly. The women passed it over and Rachel quickly read the article that basically summarized everything Rachel had just overheard the two women saying.
When she passed the magazine back, Betty winked at her. "Congratulations, honey!"
Rachel gave the two women a weak smile and a small thank you and turned to face forward. Suddenly an anxious mess. The plane hadn't even reached Pennsylvania, and Rachel's dramatic side was starting to rear its ugly head. The man beside her, obviously avoiding Rachel's panicked eyes and loud, uneven wheezing, was little to no use to the girl. She quickly hit the flight attendant's button five times before her new friend showed up, just as she felt a cold sweat breaking out on her forehead and the back of her neck.
"Mrs. Berry, are you all right? You don't look so good." The flight attendant said as he took the empty first class seat the aisle over from her as Rachel guzzled the water she had.
No, Rachel was not all right. Between the news of the Oscars, Jeremy's phone call, and her discussion with the Fabrays, Rachel was suddenly feeling claustrophobic. "I apologize profusely; I'm just going a little crazy right now and if I don't talk it out I may lose my mind!"
The flight attendant smiled and nodded. "I took two semesters of drama my sophomore year of college: I understand the process."
Rachel exhaled loudly. "Thank God; a fellow thespian!"
He smiled back and nudged Rachel's knee with his own. "And family. So what can I help you with? Having trouble with a part? A character's back story not making complete sense to you?"
Rachel seized on the convenient cover story. "Yes! Exactly! I have this new part I'm researching, unsure if I will accept it unless I find the motivation behind the character's actions."
The man grinned. "Spill!"
Rachel carefully looked around the plane. "This won't keep you from your job?"
The man waved the idea aside. "How often do you get to sit down and talk to a Tony, Golden Globe, and Oscar nominated actress?! Dante will cover for me. Now tell me everything!"
Rachel would have liked to start with freshman year of high school, but the flight was only an hour. So, instead, she dove into what she knew from Jeremy's phone call, assuring Andrew the Flight Attendant that Quincy's love for Rebecca was real. She, of course, threw in some other troubles: Quincy's parents who longed to keep he and Rebecca apart, the job offer to a far-away shore that would cement Quincy's title as a powerful prince, and how Rebecca and Quincy had deceived the kingdom into thinking they were in love so that Quincy could escape his king and queen parents, and Rebecca could rise up from the destitute life she lived.
Andrew was a fabulous audience. But he asked too many questions. Regardless, Rachel made a mental note to meet with Ainsley about her epic tale: she was quite pleased with the story she fibbed.
After Rachel reached the part about the court jester's warning letter, cautioning Rebecca about Quincy's ex, Noel, she sat quietly, hands on her lap, as she awaited Andrew's verdict.
"That was beautiful." Andrew whispered as he wiped his eyes clear of tears.
"Thank you." Rachel amended with a slight bow of her head.
"How does it end?" Andrew asked breathlessly.
"Yeah, how does it end?" The balding man beside Rachel asked, book forgotten on his lap.
Rachel threw up her arms. "That's it, I don't know! They're still working on the ending and they need my insight." She lied easily.
"I think Rebecca should ignore the jester's warning. He doesn't really know Quincy and Rebecca's love." The balding man stressed earnestly.
Andrew nodded reverently. "I agree with 4A."
"Oh, sorry, Fred." Fred introduced himself, leaning passed Rachel to shake Andrew's hand.
Once introductions were made, Rachel was back to panicking. "I agree that Rebecca should ignore the warning from the jester. But what about the king and queen? What about the job offer to distant shores? What about the evil curse-"
"What about the love between Rebecca and Quincy?" Was asked just behind Rachel. As she, Fred, and Andrew turned, 5C popped her head up over Rachel's seat. "Isn't it obvious that they are madly in love? What's taken Rebecca so long to say how she really feels? Quincy is the perfect man, she should go ahead with her plan to declare her love."
"I agree." Fred interjected.
"Me too." Andrew rejoined.
"So do me and Betty!" Rachel glanced back at the two women she spoke to earlier. All around her, Andrew and the other passengers started talking earnestly about the love between Quincy and Rebecca. How silly it was that Rebecca hadn't told the man how she felt. What was wrong with Rebecca? Why couldn't she open up? Why couldn't she say what was so obvious?
Rachel's hands covered her face for a moment as she took a deep breath and blocked out the voices around her. She had a plan. An operation. She knew the story. Knew how she wanted it to end.
So she ignored the conversations going on around her. She dismissed Jeremy's phone call chalking it up to Jeremy being too high to function. She disregarded the Fabrays, Puck, Conduit's Californian job offer to Quinn, the Academy Award nomination—she overlooked it all and just thought about her wife.
Flashes of everything, big and small, exploded behind Rachel's closed eyes, past and present. The two of them together, through everything.
When Rachel's eyes finally fluttered open, Andrew was back at the front of the plane, speaking through the intercom, telling everyone to return their trays to the upright position and fasten their seatbelts.
She wouldn't be in Lima for another hour and a half. But at least she knew how the story would end, how she was determined for it to end, even if the odds seemed against her…
In Quinn's humble opinion, Jesse St. James was the biggest ass that ever lived. She was pacing the guest bedroom with Jesse pacing opposite.
"What is wrong with you?!" Quinn asked for perhaps the hundredth time. And just like all the other times, Jesse winced.
"I said I was sorry." He mumbled pathetically.
"You just had to get involved, didn't you? You just had to scheme and plot and put your special brand of Jesse St. James flair on this! I told you that I could handle it! I told you that Rachel and I would be fine! But nooooo you just had to swoop in and ruin everything!"
Jesse halted his pacing to fold his arms across his chest and glowered at her. "I said I was sorry."
"Yeah, Jesse!" Quinn turned to face him, seething as she stared him down. "That doesn't change the fact that you've probably scared her away! She's going to jump right back on a plane and retreat back to New York, ignoring my phone calls and freaking out!"
Jesse stared at the carpet as his mind raced. "How was I supposed to know that she was on her way here?! How was I supposed to know that she had some big operation planned?!"
Quinn turned away, running a frustrated hand through her hair. "It didn't concern you, Jesse. You had no right-" Quinn cut herself off, too angry and too scared to continue on. She visibly deflated and sank down onto the bed, covering her face with her hands. "Can you just not be here? Can you just go?" She asked without looking up at the boy.
"Should I go to Rachel's room or leave the house?" Jesse asked softly.
Quinn tiredly rubbed her face and sighed deeply, ignoring him, and went to Rachel's bedroom where she closed and locked the door. Her parents had left a half hour ago. The Berry men had already cleaned up and retired for the evening. She was exhausted.
Her parents had not gone quietly into the night. It took Quinn far longer than she would have liked convincing them that she was fine at the Berrys', and that she would stop by before she left to go home to New York. Her parents' car was barely out of the driveway when Jesse came to find her, Aphasia in tow, explaining about the phone call he had received from Lydia, and everything Lydia and Jeremy knew about Rachel's operation. It was hardly the way she wanted to end her day.
With the stress of dealing with her parents still weighing on her, Quinn would've liked nothing more than to crawl into the bath to soak while she chatted with Rachel—via phone or Skype, either would do. For now, a shower would have to suffice.
As Quinn stripped off her dress, the sound of the front door closing had her hurriedly moving to the window to look out onto the street. The silhouettes of Jesse and Aphasia crossing the lawn towards the girl's car made Quinn's heart drop, hoping against hope that it had been Rachel.
All she wanted was Rachel. The one person she probably wouldn't be seeing or talking to. Quinn turned the water all the way to hot, desperate to burn her anger and sadness down the drain.
Waiting for Rachel Berry to admit how she felt had been easy for Quinn most of the time. She never felt impatient or frustrated. It was clear in everything Rachel did that she loved Quinn.
It really had been easy.
But, suddenly, with everything that had happened in the last hour, Quinn didn't want to wait another minute to hear her wife's voice, her declaration of love, something that would make Quinn believe that everything would be okay. To feel Rachel's arms around her, holding her tightly, lovingly, the way only Rachel could, and the way only Rachel had.
No one had ever held Quinn before Rachel. Even prior to New York, in high school, only Rachel Berry had managed to make Quinn feel safe, feel accepted, just feel. And, now, with the uncertainty of everything, she felt the confrontation with her parents' fully. Things that hadn't even bothered Quinn previously felt like mountains.
Quinn rested her head against the cold tiles of the shower as she turned off the blistering steam. She sniffled once and dragged her hand against her eyes before stepping out to wrap herself in a soft towel. Through the steamed mirror, Quinn appraised her appearance and took a deep, calming breath. It came to her then that it would be okay. She would return to New York early and drag Rachel Berry back into her life. Maybe she had been going about everything all wrong. Maybe she shouldn't have been so patient. She should have told Rachel that she loved her sooner. After all, Quinn was a big part of the reason Rachel had hurt so often in high school and even later. There were scores of reasons why Rachel could doubt Quinn, to be wary and tentative. How could she have married Rachel and not have told her she loved her? How could she have made love to her without looking deeply in her eyes and admitting what she knew to be true for so very long?
Yes, Quinn knew what she had to do. And she would do it right away, no more wasting time. She'd have the Berry men ship her things back to New York; packing took too much time, as well as checking baggage. She'd hurry into Rachel's bedroom, throw on whatever would cover her up, and race to the airport, wet hair and all.
So, without further ado, Quinn ripped open the bathroom door, and came face to face with her wife.
For a moment, neither Rachel nor Quinn breathed as they stared at one another. Rachel watched Quinn's chest start to heave under her towel, up to her parted lips, to the swirling emotion in her wife's hazel eyes. Quinn's gaze chased each freckle on Rachel's face, and absorbed every emotion that flicked as Rachel looked at Quinn with so much pain it caused Quinn's heart to clench.
For a moment, Quinn felt like she was looking at a stranger, unsure of what was to come. Until Rachel's eyes filled with tears, and she sank to her knees with a shuddering gasp unlike anything Quinn had ever heard.
Quinn was struck as she watched Rachel sob into her hands, her small body shaking with the force of her tears. She held her towel close to her body, ready to offer whatever Rachel needed, but wary of what was about to come out of her wife's mouth.
With a trembling breath, Rachel spoke. "I'm so sorry, Quinn! So, so sorry!" Quinn started, unsure of where it all was coming from. What the apology meant. Rachel looked up at Quinn then, lowering her hands to show her sorrow. "I'm so sorry." She stressed softly, eyes stinging from still unshed tears.
Quinn swallowed with difficulty. Her body was tense as she breathed shallowly. She couldn't look away from Rachel, down on her knees, quietly crying. She had missed her. God, Quinn had missed her wife, her best friend, the love of her life, her Rachel. Everything felt surreal. Moments ago, Quinn was more than ready to board a plane to find her. But Rachel had found her first, and she was crying. Was it because she was about to pull away? Separate herself from Quinn completely?
Quinn braced herself and tried to remember to breathe. She tried to form words as she looked down at her sobbing wife. Wanted to ask if she was okay. Ask what Rachel was sorry for. She was struck completely silent as the weight of her love and the realization settled heavily, truly feeling how great the loss would be if Rachel was to leave her.
It had been a long road to this moment. For both girls, but even more so for Rachel. She had frantically left the airport without her bags. Agonized over what she'd say on the cab ride. Tried and failed to rehearse because the desperation felt too profound for words. And, as she looked up at Quinn, she felt her heart seize out of love and devotion and the very real fear that capsized as she wondered if it was already too late.
"Quinn." Rachel whispered brokenly, shaking for so many reasons. "Quinn. Quinn, please don't ever leave me."
Quinn felt her body jolt forward at Rachel's plea, almost as though everything within her fought to prove otherwise before Quinn even gave herself permission to comprehend what Rachel was asking. She stopped herself, however, before she fell to her knees to take Rachel into her arms. "I-"
Rachel only cried harder, but she shoved it down so she could get what she wanted to say out. What had taken her almost two years to get out. "You deserve more than this." Rachel said as she stared up at Quinn, trying to make her understand. "I wanted more for you than this. Because I know how amazing you are, Quinn. I've known for…forever! I saw it in that scared girl who seemed so lost and I see it now; I see it even more now, Quinn. I see you."
Quinn forced herself to swallow this time, frozen at everything she was hearing as her heart pounded absolutely. Trying to make sense of the tone, the meaning, what would follow. "Rachel-"
"And I'm sorry." Rachel said in a choked gasp that mixed with her sobs. "I'm sorry that I didn't show you more. I'm sorry that I couldn't tell you more often how much it meant to me. How much you mean to me. How you changed my life and put me back together and gave me reasons to feel and succeed and you just gave me reasons, Quinn! You gave me everything, Quinn Fabray, and I never let it in because I was so, so scared that I'd lose you. That by me being me it would mean I would lose you one day. That I would cast you in a role just to not be so alone. Or feel something that I was terrified to feel. Or to be the fool who only imagined perfection. Because I know what we have is as close to perfect that can ever be and I'm constantly terrified that it can't be real because it's me who is feeling it.
"But it was never you, Quinn. I see you. I know how astonishingly remarkable you are and the woman you've become. And I'm so sorry that I couldn't let that in. That I couldn't feel it entirely. But I want to change that. I want to change because I'm so tired of being scared of what I feel for you. You have to believe me. I'll do anything for you to believe me!"
Quinn did fall then. Her knees gave out and she was kneeling in front of Rachel, staring at her wife with watery eyes. "Rachel-"
Rachel cut her off with a shaking of her head. Her eyes slipping closed as tears leaked. As she trembled, Rachel's eyes opened and she glided her hands and fingertips up Quinn's bare arms until she was cupping Quinn's face. "I told myself so often that I couldn't love you. That you'd never be mine. In the beginning it was to protect myself. Later because I never thought it could be true, that you would never be able to feel the same." Quinn's breath caught as she bit her bottom lip, aware that she was crying. She shook her head to dismiss Rachel's words, but Rachel ignored her. "Now…" Rachel softly stroked Quinn's soft cheeks and wiped the tears away with a small, pained smile. "I was so scared that if I said it, that if I told you how I feel, that it would become real and all this would go away."
Quinn gave a nod of understanding, the vision of her wife blurry through her tears. "Rachel, I-"
Again, Rachel shook her head. Quinn fell silent, unsure of what to do or what to feel. Mostly, what she felt was elation that Rachel was right there, in arms' length. She felt relief. Wonderment. Love. Hearing Rachel say those things, not only about Quinn, but insight into how Rachel saw everything, made Quinn cry harder. Made her love Rachel harder. Made her heart throb with her adoration.
Rachel's gaze dropped, but her hands stayed softly cupping Quinn's face. "You make it impossible not to love you, Quinn Fabray." Quinn made a noise of protest, and Rachel looked up at her sharply. At the sight of the emotion pouring from Rachel's stare, Quinn felt her heart jump. "Do you have any idea-if I could make you see-" Rachel cut herself off and gave a raw, watery chuckle before focusing fully on Quinn. Her tears came faster than before. "Quinn, I will do anything to prove to you how extraordinary you are. I want to do anything and everything. I've been racking my brain for the last…year to try and be the person you deserve. And I won't stop. I'll never stop trying to come up with ways to be that person for you.
"I know who I am. I know how I can be. But I want to change that, Quinn. I'll be whatever you need me to be. I'll do whatever you need me to do. We can move to California so you can take that job. I can be your secretary. I'll call clients and stuff envelopes. I have no problem with putting my career on hold so you can truly start yours. I'll do all the cooking; I'm getting fairly good. I'll do all the cleaning and will continue to do the laundry. If you want to start another dog walking company in California, I'd be more than happy to walk dogs for you, you wouldn't even need to pay me! I want to do this for you, Quinn. I'll be your biggest fan. I'll go to board meetings with you and Hollywood parties. Hold your purse as they take pictures of you, and smile the entire time because I'm so exceptionally proud of you, Quinn! I want you to have everything you ever dreamed of and then stay up all night with you so you can come up with new dreams to achieve!
"Let me show you, Quinn. Please, Quinn, let me show you how much I love you, because I do. I love you so much, Quinn. I love you! I love you so much that I can't be scared anymore, because every moment I don't tell you I love you feels like a wasted moment and I don't want to waste any more time. We've already wasted so much time. Let me prove to you that I can do this. I can do this, Quinn. You just can't leave me!"
Quinn's body was shaking with the force of her sobs. She took Rachel's hands from her cheeks and covered her eyes with them, letting her own tears pour into Rachel's palms. She held them there, finding comfort in touching Rachel, her soft skin, her scent, and tried to wrap her heart around the words and love pouring from her wife.
With an almighty breath, Quinn lowered Rachel's hands from her face and held them in her lap as she took in the magnificent sight of her wife. "Rachel-"
"You don't have to say anything yet." Rachel said, tripping over each word through her tears.
Quinn squeezed the hands within her own as she shook her head, smiling brilliantly. "Will you shut up." Rachel's jaw snapped shut, and her lips disappeared as she refrained from saying more. "Rachel Berry." Quinn began in a whisper. She felt tears rolling down her chin and falling onto their joined hands. "There has been exactly one person my whole life that ever believed in me. Exactly one. One person that has always been there for me no matter what. That has encouraged me and made me feel as though I was special. That I was beautiful inside and out. That made me see that I could become something. That I could become whomever I chose to be and accomplish whatever I wanted. That I mattered.
"How could you ever believe that you haven't already shown me, Rachel? I am who I am because of you. And you give me this confidence without even trying. You're always unassuming, you've never judged me. You've always looked at me as though you were waiting for the next amazing thing I would accomplish. In high school, now, always, you constantly are reassuring me."
Rachel forced herself to listen. To accept. To soak in the words and believe them. And she could believe them. She felt them. The way Quinn was looking at her. How carefully she was touching Rachel. Everything that had happened the last week, month, year—lifetime—together. All of it felt like a beginning to this very moment.
Quinn squeezed Rachel's hands again, compelling Rachel to understand. "You were always the better person, Rachel. Always. And the fact that you wanted me in your life, offered your friendship, came back for me and brought me here, gave me control of your career, trusted me with it, encouraged me to make more of myself, allowed me to love you and trusted me with your heart…Rachel, I love you! I have always loved you. I loved you in high school, I loved you when I kneeled in this very room and poured my drunken heart out to you, and I've loved you every single day since, only more. Because you gave me the chance to see you. And I do see you, Rachel. I saw the pain you've had to deal with, and every day I try to heal it bit by bit like you've healed me. And I'll never stop trying either. Because I'm not going anywhere. Do you hear me, Rachel Berry? I'm not going anywhere! I'm too selfish. I want you for the rest of my life. I want us forever. I'll be your biggest fan. Forever."
Rachel's body heaved as she absorbed the credence of Quinn's words. She never, in her whole life, felt so full of love and joy. She was crying again, out of happiness and relief, from the promise and their future. Quinn loved her. She was looking at Rachel and telling her how much she loved her.
It was Quinn's turn to wipe away Rachel's tears. She did it carefully, tenderly, with a loving smile that made Rachel move closer to her wife. She slid a knee between Quinn's and squeezed the hands holding her own.
Quinn took advantage of the closeness and rested her forehead against Rachel's. "I want to stay in New York." Rachel's breath caught and released in a comforted sigh. "I want to see you on that stage every day and night." Rachel chuckled, more tears falling; Quinn swiped them away with an even bigger smile as she continued to whisper. "I want to watch you take the world by storm. I want to be next to you and be there for you and thank you every day for making me into someone that Rachel Berry can love. We'll do it all together. Whatever happens next, we'll do it together. We'll be unbelievable. We'll be perfect. Because we'll be together, and happy, and in love."
"But what about your job offer, Quinn? I can't let you give that up: it means too much to you."
Quinn's eyes fell closed as she gently placed a kiss on Rachel's cheek, getting Rachel to whimper. "I don't want the job, Rach. I don't want it. I want what we have already."
"What will you do? They could blacklist you."
Quinn tilted her head and placed a kiss on Rachel's other cheek. "I don't care about that. If it's something you're concerned about for your own career—"
Rachel was shaking her head, her hands racing back up Quinn's arms until she was cupping her wife's neck. "No. No, I don't want you doing anything you don't want to do. You're right; we'll figure it out. My career is the last thing I'm worried about."
"We've already got this far without them." Quinn was smiling as she tilted her head again, this time placing her lips beside Rachel's ear. "My little Tony, Golden Globe, and Oscar nominated superstar."
Rachel giggled, realizing that Quinn was flirting with her—if the sultry tone of her wife's voice was anything to go by. "Well, I've had years of training."
Quinn's deep, rumbling laugh echoed softly in Rachel's ear. "I love you, Rachel."
"Oh, God, Quinn, I love you. So, so much."
"So much." Quinn echoed softly, her smile pressed against Rachel's cheek. "Are we going to talk about your Oscar nomination?"
Rachel huffed as she leaned forward, burying her face into Quinn's bare neck. "Let's not ruin this. How about we talk about getting you out of this towel instead." Rachel purred, her hands poised at the opening of the terrycloth covering Quinn.
Quinn laughed louder this time, halting Rachel's hands to move them down to her hips. "I'm on to you, superstar." Quinn taunted, her eyebrow jumping playfully. "You're not getting out of the conversation this time."
Rachel sat back on her heels with a humpf and a pout. She crossed her arms for good measure, but it was hardly effective because of the way her eyes danced over Quinn's half-dressed body.
Quinn's fingers took a hold of Rachel's chin until Rachel was looking her dead in the eye. "This is because of the curse, isn't it?" Rachel pouted harder as she looked away from Quinn's smile. "Rachel?" Quinn asked in a teasing tone, removing the distance Rachel had just created. "Rachel?" she repeated again, her lips on Rachel's neck. "Is this about the curse?" Rachel's eyes slipped shut as she inhaled sharply. She felt Quinn's breath tickling her earlobe. "Is it?" Quinn asked again, but she already knew the answer because of her wife's sudden silence.
"I'm not being silly." Rachel answered firmly—or as firmly as she could considering what Quinn's tongue was doing to her.
"I never said you were."
Rachel humpf'dagain. But again, it was ineffective: her hands were currently slipping underneath the hem of the towel that sat high on Quinn's thighs, neither girl able to remove their hands from one another.
"But…you are being a little silly."
Rachel pulled away harshly, her eyes almost as wide as her gaping mouth. "How dare you say that, Quinn Fabray! Take it back!"
Quinn giggled, moving forward until Rachel was forced down onto the floor. Quinn hovered over her, a predatory smile stretching wide. "No."
"How can you even say that?!"
Giggling mischievously, Quinn ducked her head and returned to her previous work: sucking and kissing Rachel's neck.
Rachel tried her best to focus. "Luise Rainer! Vivian Leigh! Joan Crawford! Bergman! Liza!"
It was proving a difficult task, this focusing business. Rachel's eyelids fluttered as she clamped down on her moan. Breathlessly, she tried to continue. "Helen Hunt. Emma Thompson. Nicole Kidman."
"She doesn't count because no one would want to stay married to Tom Cruise."
"Fair enough." Rachel groaned, her toes curling. "Susan Sarandon. Gwyneth Paltrow. Julia Roberts. Charlize Theron. Hilary Swank."
"Did you seriously memorize the list?" Quinn asked in between sucking, leisurely working her way up to Rachel's jaw.
"One must…one must know these…these things…oh god." Rachel moaned, her hands reaching out to twist in Quinn's towel. "God, I love you! Halle-Halle Berry. Um…Reese Wither-Wither-Witherspoon, Jesus, Quinn. Sandra Bullock, Kate Winslet, and Natalie Portman is now with that woman!" Rachel quickly rushed out before jerking Quinn's chin up to connect their lips.
They had shared passionate kisses. The first passionate kiss took place in that very room only a foot away. Throughout their two years together, they had shared many more passionate kisses. But this kiss, they would later both agree, was by far the most passionate. Because their passion wasn't born out of lust or experimentation. Alcohol infused or fearful. This kiss was pure love, the realization that the other loved them absolutely, and that they were brave enough to welcome it.
Quinn knew that Rachel enjoyed when Quinn sucked on her bottom lip, and Rachel knew that Quinn loved getting her tongue sucked. As they moaned into their kisses, Rachel hastily disrobed Quinn and ran her hands against the pale skin quite earnestly.
They had missed one another. In every way. It would be a very, very long time until they spent another night away from one another.
Quinn lay naked atop Rachel, panting, whispering and declaring her love. But before other more pleasurable matters could be addressed, Quinn wanted to deal with the topic at hand.
"You do know that the curse doesn't apply to us, correct?" She asked breathlessly. Rachel was currently massaging the small of her back, but her hands didn't seem to be content with their present terrain: ready to move onto a more southern locale.
"I think it's time that you be quiet." Rachel rushed out before wrapping her lips around Quinn's earlobe.
Disentangling herself from her wife's impressive assault, Quinn stared down at Rachel affectionately. "Rachel, just because some Best Actress winners' relationships failed after receiving an Oscar, doesn't mean all of them are doomed to the same fate."
Rachel brushed Quinn's wild, tangled hair out of her wife's hazel eyes. The action caused Quinn to connect their lips in a quick, soft kiss. "Sixty percent of Best Actress winners' relationships fail after winning the award, Quinn!" Quinn giggled and kissed Rachel again, despite her wife's continuous tirade. "Sixty-one percent after 1993!" Another giggled kiss. "The curse is real, and I for one don't want to win if it means I lose you!" Rachel got out against her wife's mouth.
Quinn smiled fondly, propping herself up to better view her wife. "So, assuming this curse is real, you'd rather never win an Academy Award if it meant we'd be together?"
Rachel's eyebrows furrowed deeply as she gazed up at her wife. "Quinn, I'm in love with you; yes, I'd rather have you than some award." Quinn smiled as she shook her head. This was a very un-Rachel comment to make, and it further cemented the knowledge that Rachel wholly and truly loved her. "Besides…" Rachel continued, her dark hair fanning out around her on the soft carpet, her eyes, for the first time in a while, not on Quinn. She appeared somewhat sheepish. "It just means I can't win a Best Actress Oscar…I can still win for Best Supporting, or Best Original Score, or-"
She was cutoff by another kiss. This one lasting far longer than the rest, reminding Rachel that she had a naked Quinn Fabray on top of her, and the conversation should have ended a while ago.
But, alas, Quinn didn't seem to be in a rush to get to the fun stuff. She pulled away and pointedly looked down at Rachel. "Don't you think, after all we've been through, that we can easily kick the crap out of that curse?"
Rachel stared up at Quinn, mesmerized and lightheaded from just having Quinn's tongue in her mouth. "We have been through a lot." She mumbled, distractedly, her hands again skating down the pale, naked back.
"We have." Quinn confirmed with a nod.
"And we do love each other."
Rachel sighed contentedly. "Immensely."
Quinn ducked her head until she was buried in Rachel's neck. "Immensely." She repeated in a whisper. "Nothing will change that. Not an ex boyfriend, or my parents, distance, or a curse."
"That's right." Rachel conceded in wonder, taking Quinn by the cheek to gaze in Quinn's eyes. "We'll be fine. Nothing can keep me from you."
"Nothing." Quinn agreed as she lovingly ran the back of her fingers down Rachel's cheek. Her lips drifted towards Rachel's until she was breathing softly against Rachel's mouth. "Now take me home."
One Year Later…
Quinn Fabray was surprised that she had agreed so easily. It may have had something to do with the fact that she had learned from past mistakes. It may have had something to do with the fact that Rachel had asked so, so, so nicely. Telling Quinn that it would be a way to clear the air, quiet the rumors, and a lovely excuse to brag. It certainly didn't hurt that it would make Quinn more money. Regardless, she found it fairly easy to say yes.
It all started with a favor from a friend. Kurt Hummel's New to New York hour-long show was projected to be a hit. And it was. The show followed the twenty-something new-to-New-York gay, single man around the city, exploring the up-and-coming, investigating the unexplored, and sprinkling his own brand of special Kurt-ness on everything he tried.
It was a reality show darling.
But, with sweeps-week coming up, Kurt wanted to do something different, something "classy," something Barbra Walters-esque. So he called his friend Rachel Berry and asked to interview her.
Naturally, Rachel agreed. She was, after all, quite the darling herself. Because of her wide-spread fame, interview requests were pouring in from all different arenas, but given the unique nature of her and Kurt's relationship, she trusted him far more than any of the other calls she had received.
The challenging part was getting Quinn onboard. Because, Kurt said, it was one thing to land the "incomparable" Rachel Berry—that would give him quite a bit of cred—but it was a whole different animal to also acquire an interview with the elusive Quinn Fabray.
Kurt thought he was a flat-out genius and a rather fantastic wordsmith how he persuaded the happy couple to agree to the sought-after interview. Really, though, Rachel was just looking for a reason to have an interview with her wife, and having a friend conduct it, made it all too easy for her wife to consent—the lingerie and fulfilling a few of Quinn's scandalous fantasies certainly helped.
The fact that Quinn was billed as an executive producer on New to New York didn't hurt, and once Kurt ran the idea passed Charlene Swain, it was as good as gold. Kurt, Charlene, Rachel, and Quinn all sat down and mapped out questions. Quinn, of course, demanded that a certain level of privacy would remain. Just because she agreed to an interview didn't mean all topics were open for discussion. She'd play her part, smile for the camera, hold Rachel's hand, and be on her best behavior.
She should have known that it wouldn't have played out like that. Not with Kurt and Rachel at the helm.
"So, Quinn…" Kurt said with a beaming smile, hands folded on his lap, his one leg kicking out in his excitement. They had already reviewed Quinn and Rachel's relationship, their careers, and other boring topics the public were previously familiar with. This portion of the interview was something he and Rachel cooked up when Quinn wasn't looking. "Tell me about your birthday party."
Rachel's lips immediately disappeared as she tried to hide her smile. Holding Quinn's hand in her own, she could feel her wife tense. Kurt remained quiet as he waited for her answer.
"It was nice, thank you." Quinn responded slowly, a fake smile resting on her lips as she mentally plotted the murder of Mr. Hummel.
"I'm happy to hear that." Kurt said calmly. He glanced down to his notes, for no reason but to draw out the dramatics, before glancing back up at Quinn. "My sources tell me you received a celebratory lap dance for the occasion. Care to share?"
Quinn forced a stiff smile and squeezed Rachel's hand tightly; Rachel quickly looked away to refrain from laughing. "By 'sources,' Kurt, do you mean you?" Quinn all but hissed.
Kurt offered a faux sympathetic smile in return. "I cannot reveal my sources, Mrs. Fabray." Quinn's eyebrow slowly rose, but she figured she'd have to answer now.
"I would hardly call it a lap dance." She scoffed, her eyes rolling.
"A woman sat on your lap while she danced. What would you call it?"
Quinn's eyebrow rose to alarming heights as she stared down her friend. "The woman was my wife, and it was innocent! For crying out loud, my parents were there witnessing along with fifty-some people. It was hardly scandalous."
Rachel chuckled softly as she recalled the aforementioned lap dance. It really had been innocent. It was merely a rib at Quinn, a delightful way to embarrass her wife, all while sharing an inside joke with her.
Fifty-seven of their closes friends, past and present, with co-workers and family mixed in, gathered in The Plaza Hotel. Rachel had booked it a year in advance, wanting to give her wife a luxurious birthday celebration that had (almost) everyone in the world she cared about in attendance.
The evening had been festive but low-key, just as Quinn wanted. The food was perfect, the venue (of course) exquisite, and the company had Quinn laughing and entertained for hours.
After the two-foot red velvet (vegan) cake was cut, Jesse took Quinn by the hand and led her over to the chair in the middle of the dance floor with a smirk. Quinn did not like that smirk, but she sat all the same.
"All right, ladies and gentlemen." The DJ announced in his mic. "We have a real treat for you, so gather around the birthday girl while Mrs. Rachel Berry gives a performance of a lifetime!"
Naively, Quinn thought Rachel was about to sing a song. Perhaps an original number that she had been working on. But when the DJ started playing Foxy Brown's I'll Be, Jesse, Lydia, and Jeremy all had to hold Quinn down to keep her in her seat with Rachel danced in her brown, slinky dress she wore for the occasion.
Russell Fabray averted his eyes. Judy Fabray waved her arms in the air and danced as she sipped her Manhattan. Ainsley and Charlene Swain rapped along to the lyrics. And all their friends from Lima, New York, and everywhere in between, crowded around to watch Rachel sit astride her blushing wife, beaming as she promised Quinn: "I'll be good."
Kurt smiled at Quinn before giving the camera a flirtatious wink. "If it wasn't scandalous, Quinn, why were you blushing so hard during, and why are you blushing so hard now?"
Quinn refrained from rolling her eyes at the rhetorical question. She merely fixed another smile on her face. She knew Kurt understood by her expression that he better move on quickly.
"Let's switch topics for a moment." Quinn only tensed further, not enjoying Kurt's sudden gleeful smile. "How about we address all those cheating rumors." Quinn was definitely going to kill him.
But, of course, this only made her wife excited. "Oh, yes, can we?!" Rachel asked, bouncing in her seat happily.
Kurt laughed and nodded. "I'm assuming you have something you'd like to share, Rachel?"
Rachel beamed at the camera and, in turn, at Kurt. "The very first time I read a tabloid accusing me of cheating…" Rachel's eyes slipped shut as she inhaled deliciously. "It was thrilling."
Quinn shook her head as she smiled. Only her wife…
Quinn had been in meetings for most of the morning. She was working hard trying to get her new entertainment agency underway, and was speaking to several of the Swains' contacts to try and, not only cement herself in New York's entertainment industry, but also try and reach out to other media sources. She was learning a lot.
When she stepped out of the Swains' apartment building, she was greeted with a horde of photographers and, even more unexpectedly, her wife.
She had only caught the end of whatever Rachel had been saying, but the paparazzi were laughing loudly, and Rachel was beaming. "Rach…hey?" Quinn said uncertainly, eyeing the camera crews and photographers.
Rachel beamed, and, without warning, a magazine was thrust in Quinn's face. There, on the glossy cover, was a picture of Rachel looking mischievous. "I'm cheating on you, Quinn, how crazy is that?!" More laughter echoed around her.
"Wait…what?!" Quinn asked in confusion. Rachel pushed the magazine in Quinn's left hand and securely took the right within her own. She started walking down the block, Quinn, and the paparazzi, trailing.
"I was doing some shopping with Jesse earlier today at that cute little consignment shop ten blocks from the apartment. You know, the one with that couch you won't let me get?"
Quinn glanced over her shoulder, very aware that they were still being followed, and tried to catch up with whatever her wife was talking about.
"Uh, yeah. The one with the feather boas out front?"
"Exactly." Rachel confirmed. Quinn looked down at the magazine in her hand and finally read the title caption: Rachel Berry Stepping Out! "Anyway, when we were leaving, I saw this magazine at the newsstand! Isn't it amazing, Quinn? I've really made it now!"
Quinn's lips twisted as she tried to make sense of it all. Suddenly, she stopped walking, effectively rooting Rachel in the spot next to her. "Oh my God."
Rachel smiled widely. "I know!"
Quinn turned to her wife and smiled. "Rach, there's a cheating rumor about you!"
Rachel jumped up and down before throwing herself in Quinn's arms. "And it's with the newest It Guy, Quinn!"
Each paparazzo furiously captured the moment, all shaking their heads at Rachel Berry's behavior. She was, by far, their favorite celebrity to follow. But we'll get to that later.
From that day on, both Quinn and Rachel enjoyed keeping a tally of the different cheating accusations made from all different sources. The scoring was tricky. It depended on how famous the other person was, the notoriety of the source, and how much publicity it received.
Perhaps it was a tad unorthodox to celebrate cheating rumors. But both Quinn and Rachel were of like minds: there's no such thing as bad publicity. And besides, they were exceptionally secure in their relationship. If people were going to attempt to tear what they had down, they might as well try and have fun with it.
There were a few times, however, when the game was less fun…
Rachel was at home, sipping tea, reading over a script Quinn had given her a few days before. Rachel wasn't completely sold on the idea of being in a Blockbuster film, but her wife pushed, so Rachel decided to at least give it a read-through.
She had just gotten to the part in the script where her character, some evil, badass villain, started fighting with the "good guy," when Quinn burst through the door.
"A reality star?! They have me cheating on you with some reality star?! Are you freaking kidding me?!"
Rachel hid her smile in her script and ignored her wife. She had seen the tabloid earlier that day and laughed in anticipation.
Quinn had had lunch with Serena Woodsgrove two days earlier. Serena, fresh off her fantastically trashy reality hit Gold Rush, had requested to meet with Quinn in the hopes of making the fledgling manager slash publicist slash agent her representation. Quinn only took the meeting because she didn't want to get a bad reputation of blowing off potential clients. But she had no desire to take on a client that had become famous because she was the trashiest not winner on a show about being a gold digger.
Throughout the meeting, Quinn got the feeling that Serena had been coming on to her. Even if Quinn hadn't been happily married, she still would have been wary of the woman—she was on a television show about being a gold digger!
Now, as she studied the close-up shots in the magazine of her and Serena sharing lunch, she realized she was being played. The girl clearly wanted it to seem as though her and Quinn were sharing more than just a meal. Serena probably tipped off the paparazzo, hoping he would snap the vague pictures, eager to circulate rumors.
Rachel continued to study her script as Quinn flopped down on the chair beside her. "This is complete bullshit! This rumor just cost me points! You just totally took the lead!"
Rachel couldn't contain her excitement any long and let her script drop to the table. "It sure does! I told you my cheating rumor with Christopher Plummer was going to have me pulling ahead!" Rachel cheered.
Quinn rolled her eyes as she lounged back in her seat. "You, completely drunk at a party, draping yourself allll over that poor man, should hardly put you in the lead!"
Rachel gasped. "Quinn, we sang a duet together. And not just any duet-"
"Making an eighty-something year old man, who didn't even freaking sing in the movie, perform The Sound of Music with you while you danced around, scarcely qualifies. You were begging for the tabloids to pair you two together!"
Rachel shoulders dropped as she gave her wife a concerned smile. "Quinn, it's not my fault that our chemistry was so profound he was quoting as saying that 'If The Sound of Music was filmed today, not only would I have beaten Julie Andrews out for the part, but I would have made the Captain a much more interesting character.'" Quinn rolled her eyes again. "We danced the Ländler for crying out loud. We had a connection."
Quinn got up from her seat and promptly trashed the magazine with the pictures of herself and Serena, before breezing passed her wife on the way to the bedroom. "Rachel, the fact that you ship yourself and an eighty year old man together, worries me beyond belief." She said before shutting the bedroom door, rather harshly, in Rachel's opinion.
Rachel sat alone in the dining area as she thought about her night with the Captain and what her wife just said, and then called out to her. "So does this mean we're not doing another duet of The Lonely Goatherd before sex?"
There was a long, quiet pause. Until Quinn opened the bedroom door. Rachel smirked and hopped to her feet, already warming up her voice.
"So, let me get this straight." Kurt said with a slow smile. "Not only do you not mind the cheating rumors, you encourage them?"
Rachel bobbed her head earnestly, her wide eyes bright and serious. Quinn just rolled her eyes. "You have to understand." Quinn began, looking almost put-out by the question. "We're always together. There's never a night we don't spend with one another. The idea that Rachel could be cheating on me…" Quinn chuckled quietly and slid her arm over her wife's shoulder. "Rachel just doesn't have the time." She finished with a shrug.
For her part, Rachel leaned into her wife with a bubbly smile, confirming Quinn's comment. Kurt was bored. "And you, Quinn? Would you have the time? I mean, I must agree: if Rachel isn't performing, she's practicing. What about you? You have clients. You have business elsewhere. What's your excuse?"
Quinn granted him a thin-lipped smile. "You sound like you meant to say alibi." She said dryly.
Kurt knew damn well that neither Quinn nor Rachel would ever cheat on each other. He just wanted to play the bad guy to show the American people that it was true. "I'm just saying Quinn, being too busy to cheat? Sounds a little unromantic, wouldn't you say?"
Again, Quinn offered a shrug. "I'm busy when Rachel's busy. If she's practicing, I'm watching. If she's performing, I'm there supporting. The same could be said for my 'clients,' or 'business elsewhere.' We travel together. We usually meet with clients together. What can I say?" Quinn drawled, skating her hand down Rachel's shoulder to her arm until Rachel reached up to lace their fingers. "We like being around one another."
Kurt was even more bored. "But, surely, there are times when, even if you're together, someone tries to make a play?"
Rachel's lips disappeared once more to conceal her smile. Quinn, however, didn't bother masking her stretching grin, evil and wicked as it were: she couldn't help it when the memory hit…
"But we need to get rid of these clothes, Quinn! Now that this place is officially ours, we need to start acting like grownups!"
Quinn smirked and crossed her arms over her chest. "I'm not getting rid of your high school clothes. I'm not. And you can't make me." Quinn whispered in challenge.
Quinn and Rachel had just recently finalized the sale on their apartment, officially making it theirs; a project they started on as soon as both Quinn and Rachel returned from Lima—only a short month prior.
Now that they owned their home, they wanted to change some things. With the changes came more changes. Out with the old and in with the new. Expanding their bedroom closet was the first item on the list, and Rachel was tired of seeing the trash bag-full of her old things take up space.
"You're being ridiculous." Rachel said through a smile. "I don't wear them anymore."
"Maybe you will." Quinn retorted, imagining her wife dressed up as High School Rachel. The scene played out in Quinn's head quickly, with both of them acting like their high school selves, until High School Rachel was seducing her. Maybe they'd pretend to be in glee club, after hours, at the school. Quinn may have to dig up her old Cheerio uniform…it sounded ridiculously hot to Quinn, and she was already planning a trip to McKinley to act the scene out.
"Quinn! You're not even listening!" Rachel shrieked as she took in Quinn's dazed expression.
"No, I'm not." Quinn stated defiantly as she crossed her arms over her chest. "I'm too busy picturing you in these clothes and having a lot of sex with you. So no, Rachel, you can't throw them away."
Rachel's eyebrow popped as a smirk took over. "Oh really?" She asked as she advanced on Quinn.
"Yeah, that's right." Quinn mumbled as she leaned down, biting her lip slightly as she eyed Rachel's mouth.
"Well that's too bad, Fabray, cause I'm not keeping them. I don't wear them anymore!"
Quinn was smiling smugly for a moment before she slipped out of her t-shirt. "Then maybe I will." Rachel laughed wildly as she watched Quinn stuff a particularly Rachel-like sweater over her head. Her wife was already wearing a pair of pink booty shorts that belonged to Rachel that declared Diva on the ass. She looked like a very glamorous dork, and Rachel enjoyed the view.
"Perhaps we could keep these clothes for a little longer." Rachel hummed as she slowly approached her wife.
"I knew you'd see things my way." Quinn purred back as she ran her hands down the pale blue sweater. "Rachel!" Quinn screeched out in laughter as her wife tackled her into the closet. They both tumbled down onto a trash bag full of Rachel's old things, laughing as Rachel lay on top.
"Tell me more about what you were picturing." Rachel breathed out against Quinn's lips.
"I think it requires a Cheerio uniform, too." Quinn whispered back as she brushed her lips against Rachel's. "Something tells me if you put that on, things will get very, very interesting." She purred as her hands ducked under the tank top Rachel's was wearing, unexpectedly picturing their roles reversing: Quinn in Rachel's old clothes, with Rachel in a Cheerios uniform.
"I like the sound of this. You should probably keep going." Rachel husked as her voice caught, Quinn's hands finding her breasts.
"It would be my pleasure." Before their lips could meet, however, the doorbell sounded and they both groaned as Rachel buried her head in Quinn's shoulder.
"I would rather appreciate people not visiting us. I have half a mind to tell all our friends to just go to hell."
"Agreed." Quinn panted. "I just need you."
"Mmmm, I love you." Rachel moaned as she sunk her teeth into Quinn's neck. "Now, tell me, how do you need me?"
Both girls groaned again when the doorbell sounded once more. "I need you to hold that thought, my love, and we'll get right back to it." Quinn breathed out before shimmying away from her huffing wife. For a third time, the doorbell rang and Quinn grumbled as she made her way out into the living room with Rachel trailing her.
Quinn smirked at the door as Rachel blew her a kiss from the couch and returned the gesture before swinging open the door. Rachel couldn't see who it was, and really didn't care, but instead flipped on the TV as she waited for her wife to return.
As Quinn took in the form in front of her, she realized it wouldn't be quite as soon as she had hoped before she was back underneath her wife. Although not happy with the realization, she did manage to muster up the brightest smile she could as she lazily leaned against the doorframe.
"Well, hello there, Finn." It wasn't really a matter of if, but when Finn Hudson would find himself in New York City and at their door. Quinn guessed it had something to do with the fact that their old friends were filtering in and out of their city somewhat frequently now, and Finn felt left out. It really was just a matter of time. And as always, Finn's timing was horrendous. Quinn wanted back on her wife.
"I wanna see Rachel." Finn stated, staring her right in the eyes with his fists clenched before glancing over her shoulder, trying to see into the apartment.
"Fantastic." Quinn beamed back. She kept her eyes on the boy though. "Rachel," Quinn called out in a sing-song tone. "It's for youuu!"
Inside the apartment, Rachel frowned as she muted the television. Okay, so let them in, Quinn, Rachel thought. If there were such a thing as having better manners than Rachel Berry, Quinn Fabray would have them. Okay, so Quinn knew a little better than Rachel what constituted what one does at the right place at the right time. So Quinn not inviting someone into their apartment was suspicious. Quinn knew all of Rachel's friends and coworkers—old and new—and had met the Berry family tree. What was left were people from their past—again, Quinn knew all of them—and people in the industry. Quinn dealt with people in the industry, Rachel did not. So who the hell could be at the door and why wasn't Quinn inviting them in?
Then the answer hit Rachel, and she clucked her tongue as she rolled her eyes.
Quinn was rhythmically drumming her nails on the doorframe as she smiled up at Finn. He tried to stare back at her stoically, but all he managed was to look daft, in Quinn's opinion. But she wouldn't move until her wife answered.
"It's for me?" Rachel called back from the couch as she continued to flip through the channels, in no rush to get up.
"Yep!" Quinn answered with another smile up at Finn.
"Well who is it?" Quinn chuckled when she heard the smile in Rachel's voice. Oh, she knows who it is, Quinn thought, her smile turning devious.
"It's your ex boyfriend." Quinn answered, her voice going up an octave in sarcasm that Finn would most likely miss.
Inside the apartment, Rachel chuckled softly. "Which one?"
Now it was Quinn's turn to chuckle. She knew what Rachel was doing. Obviously, if it were Jesse, he'd already be in the apartment annoying the crap out of Quinn. Puck would have called. Who else but Finn could it be?
"It's the one we both dated." Quinn answered, throwing a wink to Finn in the process. His jaw clenched tighter.
Rachel was trying her hardest to keep her laughter down. She needed to clamp both her hands over her mouth to stifle the noise. When she could finally control her breathing, she yelled back, "Which one?"
Quinn ducked her head and bit her bottom lip hard to avoid laughing in Finn's face. She was pretty sure he could see her body shaking with silent laughter though. "Rrrachel!" Quinn squeaked out playfully, schooling her features into a more somber expression as she rolled her eyes at Finn, as though she was appalled at Rachel's behavior. "Honestly, Finn, I apologize. I don't know what's gotten into her. Over her shoulder she yelled at her wife. "It's Finn, Rach. Now stop being rude. The boy has traveled so far to see you!"
"Okay! Just let me put my clothes back on!" Quinn tucked her lips into her mouth to, again, avoid laughing in Finn's face. She knew her wife was rolling around on the couch in silent laughter, very proud of herself for the remark. But Finn was not amused. His jaw clenched tighter as he appraised what Quinn was wearing: they were obviously Rachel's clothes; that was clear even to someone as oblivious as Finn.
Rachel quickly wiped the stray tears that had fell from her laughter before she shut off the TV and took a deep, cleansing breath, getting into character. She swept to Quinn's side, smiling brightly as she leaned against the doorframe. "Helloooo, Finn, what a pleasure to see you!"
At her side, Quinn was smiling just as widely as they both looked up at the boy. Finn was a little taken aback at the warm greeting from both of them, but he recovered quickly until he was just smiling down at Rachel. "Hey, Rach."
"Hello." She sang out, still grinning. They all stood there in silence for a long moment until both Quinn and Rachel's smiles faltered briefly. Was he planning on speaking? "Was there something we could help you with, Finn?" Rachel asked politely.
"Yeah…actually…there is. Could I, like, maybe speak to you alone, though?" His eyes darted to Quinn briefly before returning to Rachel. Her brow was furrowed as she appraised him.
"I don't think that-"
"That's a lovely idea." Quinn interrupted her wife. "Why don't I get you both a glass of cold lemonade and you two can catch up?" Finn's face brightened momentarily, but Rachel's face darkened as she caught Quinn's eyes and grabbed her wrist softly.
"Now, Quinn, I think that's a very bad idea." Rachel said slowly, her eyes bearing into her wife's.
"You do?" Both Quinn and Finn echoed.
"Yes I do." Rachel said firmly to Quinn before turning to Finn. "Yes I do, Finn, because as my manger, agent, and publicist, Quinn must be present for everything I do or I would be reneging on my contract. Isn't that right, Quinn?"
Quinn stared down at her wife as she tried not to laugh. "Yes, that's right, Rachel. Our contract. How silly of me to have forgotten." She turned back to Finn and smiled sympathetically. "It's in the contact. Sorry, Finn. I sometimes forget about that silly thing, almost as though it's not even real." She and Rachel shared a haughty laugh before slowly spinning back to Finn.
"Anything you'd like to say to me, Finn, you must say in front of Quinn." She and Quinn simultaneously nodded, as though it was as serious as cancer, and Finn slowly nodded before he readjusted his stance, as though he was preparing himself.
His eyes briefly shut before he opened them, first looking at Rachel, before he glanced back at Quinn in challenge. "That's fine. It's best if she hears this."
Quinn gestured over her shoulder. "Should I be taking notes?" Rachel's tongue quickly darted out of her mouth as she ran it over her top lip to prevent herself from smiling. The sarcasm was once again lost on Finn.
"No, I think you'll remember-"
"Oh, Quinn, that reminds me." Rachel said, cutting Finn off as she snapped her fingers; she really only just remembered what she needed to tell Quinn. "In an hour I have to run to the Laundromat to pick up your outfit for your meeting." Quinn's eyebrow quirked as she stared at her wife; Rachel was being serious for a moment, and Quinn allowed her body to relax as she tried to remember what she had laundered.
"Your meeting with Delilah."
"No, I know what meeting you're talking about, but what did you take there? My black dress?"
"I may have picked you up a new outfit to take for the meeting."
Quinn smiled shyly, pleased. "You bought me something?"
"Well…don't be mad," Quinn's puzzlement deepened as Finn's eyes went back and forth between the pair. "But I may have seen the most perfect thing when I was walking Rumpy the other day and couldn't stop myself!" Quinn's smile slid off her face.
"You got me a pantsuit." She deadpanned as she crossed her arms against her chest.
"Now, Quinn, I compromised! It's not a pantsuit, but a skirt suit. Still feminine, but professional and quite sexy if I say so myself and-"
"Rachel," Quinn whined as her shoulders slumped. "I do not want to wear a suit of any kind! It's so predictable!"
Rachel folded her arms across her chest as she frowned up at Quinn. "How is it predictable? It's a skirt, not pants!"
"Because! Half of my success is based off the fact that everyone thinks I'm a pushover with my sun dresses and cardigans. It lulls them into a-"
"False sense of security, I know, I know! You've said so a hundred times!"
"Then what's the problem?!"
Rachel sighed deeply. "The problem is that I think that you look quite dashing in a suit and I found the perfect scarf to go along with it in order to make it even more-"
"Your fetishes have no place in a boardroom meeting, Rachel Berry!"
Rachel gasped loudly. "My fetishes! Quinn Fabray, I'll have you know that my 'fetishes' are usually-"
"Rachel, I know what your fetishes are, I've known you long enough." Quinn said through a grin.
"Fine." Rachel conceded as she swept her bangs across her forehead. "But this conversation isn't over and you will be in that skirt suit, scarf included, if you know what's good for you."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah."
"Hey!" Both girls jumped simultaneously at Finn's loud yelp as Rachel went to close the front door over. They had both completely forgotten about him.
"Finn! I'm so sorry." Rachel apologized, placing a hand over her heart out of shock.
But Quinn was bored, already through with playing the game on Finn and now eager to be alone with Rachel and her fetishes. She rolled her eyes and went to make her escape, but Rachel's soft hand clamped over Quinn's wrist to prevent her from leaving.
Rachel really didn't feel like dealing with Finn either, but if she had to tolerate him, she at least wanted something pretty to look at. Something pretty was Quinn. And plus, she and her wife were both so witty together and had the perfect bantering rhythm; it could make Finn's appearance interesting and bearable.
"I'm deeply sorry about that, Finn. Sometimes I get so caught up with Quinn that I forget myself." Quinn rolled her eyes and sucked on her teeth sharply at Rachel's shameless plug of their relationship. "Now, what was it that you came here to discuss?"
Finn nodded, pleased that the girls were finally paying him attention. It had been so weird watching them speaking back and forth. It was just like high school…only…different? But now that he had the floor, his face darkened as he took out the rolled-up magazine he had stowed in his back pocket. "I came because of this." He grumbled angrily as he thrust the magazine toward Quinn.
Quinn smirked before clearing her throat to hide her slip-up. The cover of Black Curtain magazine with Rachel on the cover stared up at her. Beside her, Rachel colored dramatically as the memory of catching Quinn post-masturbation flooded her mind. "Am I led to believe you came all this way for me to autograph this for you, Finn? Honestly, you could have just sent it in the mail."
Finn's face contorted heatedly. "No, Rachel! I came here because you shouldn't be doing that stuff!"
Rachel's face scrunched up in confusion. "Appearing on magazine covers?"
"Posing like—like—like you did!" Finn shrieked. "Guys at the garage have you pinned up on the wall! They, like, say stuff to me about how I let you get away, and if you were their girl they'd never let you pose like that! But Quinn does?! How don't you see how messed up that is?!"
Rachel paused and scratched her nose as Quinn idly flipped through the magazine. How come she didn't originally see the article claiming new vegan recipes? She was already itching to try them out for Rachel. Oooh chick'n scallopini with wild mushroom risotto, Quinn thought excitedly, Now why didn't I think of using the chiffonaded basil with—
"She's not even listening!" Finn screeched suddenly. Quinn whipped her head up to find Finn glaring at her.
"No, go on, I'm listening." Quinn mumbled as she flipped the page.
"You'll have to excuse Quinn." Rachel said, running a lovingly hand across Quinn's back. "She's just distracted by the recipes She loves to cook, and she's magnificent at it." Rachel stressed as her eyes rolled into the back of her head. Beside her, Quinn beamed as she continued to search new recipes.
"Well…she shouldn't let you do that stuff. You look…slutty or something."
"Yeah, Rach, stop posing like that." Quinn mumbled before pulling her eyes away from the magazine to look up at Finn. "Okay? I told her. And she listens to everything I say because I control her. So, we good here? You can go now?"
Finn crossed his arms over his broad chest and frowned. "No, I'm not going yet. I came here to talk to Rachel."
"You want her back, and you're going to try and take her to Lima with you?" Quinn asked off-handedly with a flick of her wrist before turning to Rachel. "Did you need help packing, Rach?"
Rachel had a faint smile on her face as she shook her head at Quinn's baiting. "Doesn't she have a lovely sense of humor, Finn?"
"Aw, Rach, you're the funny one." Quinn beamed back just as brightly before turning to Finn. "It really makes complete sense why you'd want Rachel back. She's the whole package."
"Quinn, you're too kind. And a liar. When everyone standing here knows that it's you that's the real catch. Finn, seriously, you should stay for dinner. Quinn's cooking is truly out of this world. Our first night here she made me the most amazing baked ziti with roasted vegetables. And it was her first time cooking vegan. Just superb!" Rachel gushed. "But she'll only make it on anniversaries because it's a 'special' meal." She explained with an eye roll.
"Rachel, stop. You are the most kindhearted person that I've ever met. Finn, listen to this. I'm leaving this meeting and it's raining so ridiculously hard, I mean, torrential downpour! I'm about to make a mad-dash out of the building where the town car I called was waiting, when all of a sudden, this pink blur comes shooting out of nowhere, head to toe in rain gear, brandishing an umbrella. The men I was in the meeting with were so jealous because their wives didn't even bother showing up. But here was my wife, holding an umbrella over my head to guide me to the car. Not even concerned that her pink slicker hat was half drowned."
Finn's face was scrunched up in confusion as he watched the pair.
"Where would I be without you, Quinn? In Lima, Ohio, also known as nowhere, that's where. You inspire me every day. Every time I'm on stage I feel your presence and it makes me give so much more of myself. Finn, she goes to every show, every show! She knows it means the world to me and she's there, front and center, every time. Seriously, who wouldn't want a woman who is so supportive?!"
"Rach, come on!" Quinn stressed, blushing brightly. She turned to stare at her wife, suddenly glad to have an audience to gush about Rachel to. "How could I not be at your every performance? You give so much of yourself up there that I'm constantly in awe. Talk about magnificent, you lay your soul bare for everyone to see. You are so unbelievably talented and it's so effortless that it's impossible not to want to be around that all the time. Finn knows what I'm talking about, you remember her in glee? And trust me, she's only gotten better."
Finn was ready with a comment this time. He had seen both Rachel's movies, and even a bootleg copy of Wink and a Nod. But he was cut-off by Rachel.
"But the way you are with people, Quinn, the way you assert yourself. How personable you can be. Charming. You can adapt to any situation with a plethora—that means 'a lot', Finn—of different types of people. You're just so smart that you can easily slip into any situation. That's an invaluable quality. A quality that is so obvious by how you have gotten me to where I am now. And furthermore, it's self-evident in your business, both businesses-"
Quinn was laughing as she shook her head at Rachel. "Rachel, you can bring a whole audience to tears!"
Rachel huffed loudly, ready to change the subject. "Finn, I'm not exactly sure what I'll do about it, but I feel as though I should warn you that I won't be at all cross with you if you choose Quinn. So, if you're here to win the heart of a woman, I suggest you pick Quinn over me: she is the perfect woman."
Quinn scoffed loudly and turned to look at the deeply confused boy still standing in the hallway. "I'm a bitch, Rach. Right, Finn? I'm a bitch. You're the sweetest person I've ever met, Rachel! He should obviously pick you."
"I'm a diva, Quinn. Finn knows. Remember all those storm outs? I would do them all the time if Quinn wasn't there to prevent them. It's because she's the perfect woman, that's how she prevents my diva storm-outs."
Quinn was shaking her head, not at all appreciating Rachel putting herself down. If there was a diva in their relationship, Quinn felt quite certain it was herself. "Just stop, Rachel. I make a lot of money. Finn, honestly, could you date a woman who makes substantially more money than you?"
"Substantially means a great deal more, Finn." Rachel supplied with a smile.
"Yes, thank you, Rachel. I make a lot more money than Rach, and I think we all know that that would bother you, Finn." Quinn mentioned delicately, shooting him a careful smile.
Rachel threw up her arms at the well-placed argument. Finn, indeed, looked as though that piece of information upset him. "But you can do your job anywhere, Quinn. Sure, it involves travel, but with me, Finn, you'd have to live in New York City. And there aren't many mechanics around here because no one really drives. So what would you do in New York? Nothing, that's what. You'd be a freeloader, and we both know how delicate your male ego is." Finn's brows furrowed as he thought that over, not happy with the thought. "At least you could go back to Lima with Quinn. And, Quinn, didn't you once tell me how you longed to be in real estate?"
Quinn allowed a small smirk at her wife before schooling her features again to look up at the boy. "That is true; it's always been my dream to sell houses in the booming Lima real estate market. But just think of all the crap I'll put you through, Finn. I mean, not only am I a bitch. And not only am I really wealthy, but also I'm super pretty. You won't be able to trust me with all the travel. Who knows who I'll end up kissing? After all, I can't really help myself. I'm a cheater, Finn. A cheater. And only you can do that. At least Rachel will be here, safe and sound, tucked away under her very busy schedule."
Finn cocked his head as he mulled that over. His frown and furrowed brow seemed permanent now.
Rachel noticed the wheels slowly turning in Finn's head, and fought harder to drive her point home; the boy really should pick Quinn. "True, I really don't have any time. That's what makes our relationship so perfect, Quinn. Your job is me. It's the best of both worlds. But just think of all those glamorous events you'll have to attend, Finn. You'll have to get dressed up and escort me to events where people won't pay you any attention because they'll be too busy looking at me. You'll have to hold my purse while people take picture after picture of yours truly. They'll call you Mr. Berry, Finn, Mr. Berry!"
Finn's eyes widened at the news and Quinn took notice. She was about to bring up another argument when something occurred to her. She frowned as she turned to Rachel. "They never call me Mrs. Berry."
"That's because you're famous in your own right." Rachel paused for a moment as she took in Quinn's slightly hurt expression. "Wait…would it not bother you if they referred to you as Mrs. Berry?"
Quinn considered that for a moment. "I don't know? No, probably not. I'm kind of proud of you so I think I would just feel proud."
"Really?" Rachel asked quietly, looking up at Quinn with big eyes.
Quinn tilted her head, unsure as to why Rachel would be so surprised. "Sure. Why wouldn't I? You're incredible." Quinn whispered, her hands finding Rachel's waist. They stared at one another for a moment while the vision of flashing bulbs went off and people yelling at Quinn to turn to pose for a picture played in her mind. Suddenly Quinn was biting her lip as her nose scrunched. "Damn…now I kind of wish they'd call me Mrs. Berry."
Rachel bounced a little before she wrapped her arms around Quinn's neck. "Well, we could always just legally change your last name, you know. One quick trip to the courts and then everyone would have to call you Mrs. Berry!"
Quinn licked her lips at the thought. "Can I think about it?"
Rachel froze as her eyes widened. "Oh my, God! Are you serious? I was just kidding! Would you seriously change your name?!" She was bouncing again.
Quinn laughed at the sight of Rachel's excitement. "I don't know, Rachel. I think Fabray suits me…but…I kind of like the idea of really being a part of your family. I obviously don't care about my own and it would be nice to pass the Berry name on seeing as how you're the last one…"
Rachel squealed loudly. "My fathers are going to freak out, Quinn!"
Quinn chuckled quietly as she tightened her grip around Rachel's waist. "I said I would think about it!"
Rachel threw up her hands. "Yes, of course. I'm not mentally filling out the paperwork in my head right now or anything!"
"I'm thinking about it."
"No, I know. I heard you."
Quinn smiled adoringly at Rachel as her wife tried to keep a straight face. But her enthusiasm was obvious. They allowed another full moment of just staring at one another before the looming, shifting presence next to them had them sharing an eye roll.
Rachel turned back to Finn as Quinn slipped her arm around her wife's waist. "Well, it was great seeing you Finn. Let us know when you've made your decision over which of us you choose. And maybe next time when you stop by you can do more talking."
Quinn gave the boy a beaming smile that was laced with sarcasm. "Yeah, just jump on in to the conversation, big guy. I know that our combined celebrity status can be intimidating and overwhelming-"
"Those words mean 'scary' and 'great', Finn." Rachel supplied with a straight face.
"But feel free to catch up." Quinn finished with another big, fake smile.
"Finn, are you sure you didn't want to stay for dinner?" Rachel asked kindly. "What are we making tonight, Quinn?" She asked, turning slightly to look up at her wife.
"Tonight I was going to teach you how to make a vegetable 'cheese' casserole."
Rachel untangled herself to jump up and down as she clapped. "Oh, that's right! Quinn's teaching me how to cook." She told the boy. "I'm her sous chef! That means that I help out in the kitchen for the real chef. Which is Quinn."
Quinn patted Finn's shoulder. "So…it was great seeing you, Finn, and the next time you're in New York give us a call and we'll get you tickets to Rachel's show. I would get you tickets for tonight's performance, but it's sold out." She winced with false regret.
Rachel nodded slowly and regretfully. "And it wouldn't be fair of us to use my star status to acquire tickets for you at the determent of young Broadway lovers, who stand in line hours before curtain for cheaper tickets; the arts are very important for young people, Finn."
Quinn nodded along, taking Rachel's hand in her own. "But you keep us updated on which of us you're interested in and we'll talk then."
Rachel beamed and patted Finn's other shoulder. "It really was great seeing you. Hope you're well and we'll catch up soon. Bye!"
Quinn slammed the door with a resounding bang before Finn could even realize what was happening. Rachel looped her arm around Quinn's as they went back into their apartment. "What a lovely visit."
Quinn nodded as she led Rachel into the bedroom. "It was fun seeing him."
Outside the apartment, Finn Hudson stared at the door in confusion. It would take a further ten minutes for him to realize that he would never see either girl ever again. He got lost many times on his way back to the train station.
Inside the apartment, Rachel glanced up at her wife and haltered their progress on their way into the bedroom. "Were you serious about changing your name, or was that just for Finn's benefit?"
Quinn smiled and swung their joined hands back and forth. "Both?"
Blush erupted across Rachel's cheeks and down her neck out of sheer pleasure and sudden shyness. She glanced down at their hands before looking up at Quinn from underneath her eyelashes. "I was thinking of changing my name, too."
Quinn's eyebrow shot up. "Oh?"
Ducking her head again, Rachel cleared her suddenly dry throat. "I thought, maybe, I'd keep Berry as my stage name, but legally change it to Fabray?" She looked back up to see a softly smiling Quinn.
"I think that sounds like a really good plan."
Rachel nodded once, allowing herself to smile as well. "We'll make a trip tomorrow to the court house."
"We'll bring Rufus: I have a walk with him from nine until noon."
Rachel's smile got wider. "He'll be most pleased to witness the monumental event!"
Quinn's smile turned into a smirk as she slowly approached her wife. Rachel backed up, unknowingly headed into the closet where they last left off. "Now." Quinn husked, eyes roaming all over Rachel's body. "Where were we?"
Kurt cleared his throat loudly for the third time, very aware that both his interviewees had checked out of the conversation, and were, by the glazed looks in their eyes, sharing the same illicit memory. "Perhaps we should move on?"
Both girls shook their heads to clear the lovely memory of the very hot closet sex they had shared. "Maybe it's best we should." Rachel said, somewhat dazed, and squeezed the hand in her own tighter.
Kurt smiled softly at the pair and reviewed his notes. "Speaking of exes, I heard that you were both in Jesse St. James' wedding party, and, in fact, Rachel, you sang at the event?"
Rachel nodded at the easy question. "Yes, I was Jesse's best man, and Quinn was a groomsman along with our mutual friends, Lydia and Jeremy. I sang a mash-up during the ceremony that the bride and groom chose to reflect their respective taste: Queen's I Was Born to Love You, with Destiny's Child's Dangerously in Love."
Kurt's nose crinkled in slight disgust. "Sorry I missed that."
Quinn squeezed Rachel closer to her side. "Rachel nailed it."
Kurt nodded. "I'm sure she did. Moving on, and speaking of weddings, I heard you two shared a private ceremony on your one year anniversary. Would you like to talk a little about that?"
Both girls smiled softly, exchanging tender glances. "We just wanted to reaffirm our vows." Quinn answered, not wanting to expand on the topic.
It had been Rachel's idea. She wanted to have a wedding with Quinn where they could pronounce their love verbally. It had been a very small, private service, and, like their two other wedding ceremonies they had, they cried throughout. They also kept telling one another, over and over, how much they loved each other while Rabbi Greenburg went through the service, as Rachel's fathers, Jesse and Aphasia, and Jeremy and Lydia stood around them.
"Mazel tov." Kurt said stiffly, eyes on his notes. "I suspect my invitation just got lost in the mail." He mumbled, hurt.
Quinn and Rachel both smiled. "It was very small and private." Quinn assured. Both girls did feel badly that they hadn't invited anyone else. They really wanted just close friends and family there. Only Jesse, Lydia, and Jeremy knew the full story—everything that had happened between the girls—and Quinn and Rachel wanted a celebration with people who understood how far they'd come and what it meant.
"Fine." Kurt replied, wounded, but willing to move on for the moment. "Let's discuss far more interesting things besides how boring and in love you are." The girls chuckled and held one another a little closer. "Both your careers have exploded and don't seem to be slowing down in the least; let's talk about that, shall we? Quinn first?"
Quinn nodded and sat up a little straighter. "My agency, while small, is really making an impact. I've managed to expand into television and film, all while keeping my roots in theatre and music; it's…very exciting." Quinn said, blush sweeping over her delicate features. She didn't want to brag, but she was damn proud of herself.
"Not to mention," Rachel spoke up, very willing to brag. "Her very popular dog walking business here in New York City. By far the largest!" Rachel boasted, looking straight at the camera, her face set, almost as though she was trying to hypnotize people into using the service.
Quinn ducked her head, pleased by the compliment, while Kurt chuckled. "I suppose it doesn't hurt that you yourself, Rachel, do a fair bit of dog walking for the company. I can only imagine what it would be like to have a star of your quality walk my Pomeranian."
Rachel blinked back at Kurt. "I do walk Ethel."
Kurt rolled his eyes. "But I know you. When you showed up at my door with the newest Broadway hunk, Asher Sawyer, I almost lost it!"
"All apart of the service!" Rachel beamed. And it was true, not just for Kurt and Ethel the Pomeranian. Rachel thought it would be a nice touch if she escorted some of Quinn's clients around the city to get better acquainted, or, for the ones already familiar with New York City, share a nice chat while they dog walked. The clients loved it, and it brought in many new customers. And the paparazzi loved it as well. Mostly because Rachel Berry was never short on conversation.
She'd walk around the city, chatting with the paparazzi as though they were old friends. If she made a stop at Starbucks to pick up a drink, or a sandwich at that corner deli she loved best to take her wife, she'd happily purchase a snack for whatever cameraman (woman) waited outside for her. It was at the point where Rachel knew each paparazzo's drink order. Rachel chalked it up to the fact that she had been preparing for the paparazzi her whole life; she never felt the need to attack anyone with an umbrella. By now, she was damn good at it dealing with them. But it was give and take. All Rachel would have to do was give the paparazzi a wave, and they knew that Rachel wanted to be left alone. She gave them so many perfect picture moments and one-liners that they liked keeping her happy.
"Let's talk about A Sweetness." Kurt said, moving the interview along. "It's already getting Oscar buzz, and Broadway, on the heels of the reboot, want to put it back on the stage. Comments, Rachel?"
Rachel put her "thinking" face on and answered carefully. "I loved the storyline right away. The character enchanted me and I was very excited when the producers decided to give it new life on the big screen. I truly hope it finds its way back to the stage, because it never really got its due the first time around."
"Would you be interested in finding your way back into the role?" Kurt asked with a smirk, hoping to get a scoop.
Rachel smiled mysteriously. "It's been mentioned, however, at this time, I'm just enjoying a little time off. Wink and a Nod is touring, and I'm reviewing scripts." Kurt frowned, disappointed. "But," Rachel said with a secret smile, getting Kurt to perk up. "I wouldn't be opposed to, perhaps, making a few appearances."
Kurt shook his head, chuckling. "Oh, I'm sure. But back to the Oscar buzz. This would be your second Academy Award nomination in only two years. Can we, maybe, talk about your first Oscar nomination?"
Quinn was laughing and shaking her head before Kurt even finished his request. Looking lovingly down at her wife, she noticed Rachel was already blushing hotly as she rolled her eyes at herself.
"Do we have to?" Rachel whined, ducking her head into her hands.
Rachel had every right to be embarrassed. It was a well-known joke, now, in the industry, about how Rachel Berry did not want to win the Oscar, in fear that the curse would ruin her marriage. How it all came out, though, was the embarrassing part.
Rachel had been on edge all week leading up to the Academy Awards. After hair and makeup (read: Kurt) had done their part, Quinn had to put on Rachel's gown for her, her wife was shaking so badly.
"What if I win and I'm in the middle of my acceptance speech and you suddenly stand up and shout out that you don't love me and never did and leave right there and then?! Quinn! That could happen!"
Quinn sat beside Rachel in the limo on their way to the Dolby theatre, quietly reading as she held Rachel's hand. "Win or lose, Rachel, I'm still going to love you." Quinn sat down her book as she thought about what her wife had just said. "And I think I have a little more class not to just jump up and announce to everyone that I don't love you and never did. I'm sure I would at least wait until you were off the stage."
Rachel gawked at her wife until Quinn started to laugh. "Are you trying to be funny? Do you think this is FUNNY?!"
Throughout the ceremony, Rachel was a shaking wreck, gripping Quinn's hand as though her life depended on it. Quinn kept trying to reassure Rachel, and Rachel would listen to each word, inhaling slowly, soaking up her wife's affections.
It didn't stop Rachel from tensing when the Best Actress category came around. The previous year's winner, Helena Bonham Carter, stood on stage and said a bunch of things Rachel couldn't make heads or tails of. If asked, Rachel couldn't supply who even hosted the event. She was too busy holding onto her wife for all that she was worth, while wiping away sweat, and counting the beats of her racing heart.
"Rachel," Quinn whispered softly into her wife's ear. "Whatever happens, I'm going to love you forever. I will stay with you forever. Even if you throw me out, I'm not leaving. You hear me?" Rachel took a deep breath as Helena Bonham Carter started to name the nominees, and nodded. She was aware that the camera was on her, showing the audience at home her reaction. She just kept her eyes on Quinn. Ignoring how her body was shaking head to toe. She just stared at Quinn and found herself.
It was a very curious moment for Rachel when she heard Meryl Streep's name being called instead of her own. When she had lost her Best Supporting Golden Globe to Amy Adams, Rachel felt real devastation. Hearing that she had lost the Oscar to Meryl, an award she didn't even want, didn't make her feel any better.
Her body sagged against Quinn's as she finally breathed. Quinn kissed the side of Rachel's head softly. "You're my superstar? Okay?"
Rachel nodded, and clapped along with everyone else as Meryl Streep took the stage. Rachel felt like the sound had finally been turned on; she couldn't remember hearing anything that happened all night.
"Wow." Meryl said, once she was holding the award and standing in front of the microphone. "This is…unexpected." The celebrated actress said to the audience as she gazed at them over her glasses. She took a deep breath as she scanned the crowd before her. "And, also…undeserved."
The audience gasped loudly as chatter broke out.
"I am very thankful to the Academy for granting me yet another award, but I cannot, in all good consciousness, accept this when I feel as though my performance was sub par. Not when there's someone else who deserves it more."
"Oh shit." Quinn exhaled slowly and gripped Rachel's hand. Rachel looked up at her in confusion.
"What's wrong?" Quinn could only stare back at her wife, already seeing where this was headed.
Meryl was talking again. "I spoke earlier with some of my fellow nominees. Judy, Helen, Kate, and we felt very strongly about what would happen if any of us were to win. And, since it was me, I would like to ask if Mrs. Berry would join me on the stage and accept this award for her brilliant performance in Which of You, I Love!"
The audience erupted in cheers as they jumped to their feet, very much so enjoying anything Meryl had to say or do, but mostly because they were witnessing a very historic moment. There had only been a handful of times when an Academy winner handed their award over to someone else.
Nonplussed, and still very out of it, Rachel got to her feet along with everyone to clap. "Rachel!" Quinn hissed, grabbing her wife's hands in her own. "What are you doing?!"
Rachel frowned at Quinn. "Quinn, when Meryl Streep speaks, you stand. It's like the National Anthem."
Quinn was shaking her head frantically, her watery eyes wide as she stared at her wife. "Rachel, Meryl freaking Streep just gave up the award for you!"
Okay, maybe Rachel hadn't really been able to listen. It wasn't her fault that she was still a mess over being nominated and then losing.
"Wait." Rachel said, shaking her head hard. "WHAT?!" Looking around, Rachel could see the audience turned to face her. A camera pointed at her. And Meryl freaking Streep laughed, staring directly at Rachel. "I'm going to throw up, Quinn. You can't let me throw up on stage on Meryl Streep!"
Rachel wasn't sure how she found herself up on stage, standing next to Meryl Streep and Helena Bonham Carter, but since Quinn was at the edge of the stage, she was pretty sure Quinn had escorted her there.
Meryl put the award in Rachel's shaky, sweaty hands, and then engulfed her in a hug. She mumbled a few things, but Rachel heard none of them. She just kept her mouth shut so she wouldn't vomit down the woman's back.
She was guided over to the podium, where Rachel came face to face with a standing ovation. Suddenly, Rachel was a little more coherent: an applauding audience could do that for Rachel Berry.
"Oh my God." She breathed out, sure the audience could hear her racing heart through the mic. She found Quinn, still standing by the edge of the stage, and took deep breaths as their eyes locked. "Ms. Streep?" Rachel said, turning suddenly to find the woman.
"Yes, dear?" The woman moved to Rachel's side.
"Meryl? May I call you Meryl?" The audience laughed loudly, Quinn cried harder through her laughter, and Meryl threw back her head as she laughed along.
"You may, dear."
"Meryl, this is overwhelmingly generous of you. But, while I am indeed tremendously grateful, I have a very quick question; if it's not too much trouble." Meryl nodded. "And Ms. Bonham Carter, if you have any insight, I'd love to hear from you as well." Again, the audience laughed, and Helena moved to Rachel's other side, both women poised on either side of Rachel to speak into the mic.
Rachel took a shuddering breath, trying to regain any sense of solid ground. Her eyes found Quinn's again. "Is this an official win? Like, does it really count? Because I've only been married for a few short months, and I would like to remain married to my wife, if that's not too much to ask. Because that Best Actress curse really scares the hell out of me."
Rachel pouted, arms crossed, as Kurt and Quinn continued to laugh, tears streaming down their faces. Rachel's little declaration had set the whole audience off then as well.
"It's not funny!" Rachel chastised them, to no avail. "How about we talk about my Tony acceptance speech! That was more articulate. Or, the Grammy I just received!"
"But they're not as funny!" Kurt responded, finally getting a hold of himself. Rachel hmpfed in reply.
However, they did talk about Rachel's Tony win. She had cried passionately throughout the whole thing. Quinn cried harder. She managed to thank Ainsley and Charlene Swain—they were crying as well—and spent most of her speech gushing her love to Quinn.
The Grammy nomination had been a shocker. And all thanks to Mercedes Jones. She had been nominated for Best R&B Album and had won. And, because Rachel was billed as the producer on the album, she got herself a Grammy.
If you would have asked Rachel Berry years before if she would have minded earning the coveted G in EGOT by means of producing, instead of winning the award because her own album was nominated, she would have said hell yes! But Rachel rather liked the idea that Mercedes had trusted her to produce. That she had friends. That she was well-rounded enough to even produce. That she was being taken more seriously because of it. She was, actually, immenselyproud of the award.
The interview was winding down. Kurt only had two more topics that he wanted to address. The first was a little salacious; therefore, Kurt was excited.
"Let's discuss your marriage further. How do you keep things interesting? Is it difficult because of your hectic schedules? Difficult to find time for each other?"
Rachel cocked her head in thought as Quinn glanced away from the camera: this was an area she did not like to talk about. With anyone but Rachel, that is.
It hadn't been hard getting Rachel onboard to go to Lima and sneak into McKinley for a little role-playing. Quinn had gotten the keys from Sue, and Quinn and Rachel had snuck into the school and into the choir room for a little after hour's fun. First, Quinn was in the Cheerios' uniform. Then Rachel. Then neither of them. But for times when the girls couldn't travel to spice up their love life, they settled for wherever they could get it. They were quite thorough.
Rachel didn't mind doing the laundry. She just thought that it would be best to cure Quinn of her hatred of laundry rooms. After two spin cycles, Quinn declared herself cured. It didn't stop the girls from exploring the rinse cycle, and even the fluff cycle on the dryer—they learned very quickly that it was preferable to have sex on the dryer when it wasn't so hot.
"We just make time for one another." Rachel said with a shrug. "Plan dates, go on trips: the usual." She said casually, even though lecherous thoughts were racing through her head.
Kurt was completely bored by that answer. "And how about the future? Hmm? Any plans for little Rachels or Quinns running around?"
Quinn let Rachel handle it. "We're a little young yet, but we'd like to start exploring our options. There's a lot to consider. But we have time."
Since Rachel wasn't working, currently, she had had a lot of time to think about babies. It didn't help that she and Quinn would regularly babysit Santana and Brittany's baby boy. Rachel would take him out with her as she did her dog walks. Or to the theatre. Once he was born, Quinn hired Santana at her agency, and the little tyke was often in Quinn's arms, even while she conducted meetings. The pull towards babies was getting stronger each day.
Kurt sighed whimsically. "You two live in a fairytale." He gushed, getting Quinn and Rachel to smile at one another. "Like you live in a romantic comedy!"
At this, both girls laughed loudly. It had become an inside joke to them, the concept of romantic comedies. Rachel used to wish everyday to live in one. To have what two romantic leads shared. She spent most of her life trying to orchestrate just that. Until, one day, the Captain of the Mean Girls drunkenly declared her love to her.
It was unexpected. Out of nowhere. And completely not apart of Rachel Berry's life plan. But, somehow, it became the best thing that had ever happened to her. And to Quinn as well. Rachel quickly learned that the best moments could not be planned. The operation Rachel had spent so much time on, was almost completely forgotten once her plane touched down in Lima. If it wasn't for the horse and carriage that pulled up outside the Berrys' house, Rachel would have thrown the whole operation out the window. She much more enjoyed the spontaneity she and Quinn shared. Although, the carriage ride itself had been very romantic.
As Quinn and Rachel smiled at each other, holding one another tightly, they couldn't help but disagree with Kurt: they didn't live in a romantic comedy. Sometimes it was hard. Messy. Their past certainly was. They had, however, managed to work through it all. It took time. Not the length of a movie. No amount of montages could erase how Quinn treated Rachel in high school, nor the lie they both had shared. But, what they did every day was better than any grand romantic gesture, or a well-placed musical number. The small things. How Rachel removed her hair from the bathroom drain after a shower. Or Quinn counting to ten instead of letting her anger get the best of her. Sometimes it was boring.
To Quinn and Rachel, though, it was all magical. Because they had managed to find each other, and grown with one another. And that was better than any romantic comedy either girl had ever seen.
"So, anything else to add before we rap up this interview?" Kurt asked.
Both girls just shook their heads, pleased with what they had already offered. They were eager to be alone. The interview had left them both nostalgic.
"Okay, that's a wrap." Kurt told the camera crew. He winked at both girls and got up, all around them the sets and cameras were being dismantled. "I just have to go over everything with my producer. Make sure everything looked and sounded good. Okay?"
"Sure." Quinn nodded.
"Yep." Rachel confirmed.
"You guys can hold on a little longer?" He asked, wanting to make sure he wasn't putting either of them out.
"Kurt," Rachel said with an eye roll. She collapsed against Quinn's side and was immediately ensconced in her wife's arms. She felt Quinn lay a kiss to the top of her head and smiled. "Stop worrying about us."
"Yeah." Quinn agreed, squeezing Rachel tighter. "We'll be just fine."
"Mmmhmm." Rachel agreed, feeling quite comfortable and at home. "We'll be more than fine."