I was never supposed to fall in love with her. People at that age didn't fall in love and expect it to last; at least, the rational part of their brain didn't allow them to expect it to last. We were different, we always were. High School sweethearts were supposed to be cookie cutter; alpha male and trophy girlfriend, the ones that got voted in their senior superlatives. They were the ones nominated for Homecoming Court and would win Prom King and Queen; they were the couple that everyone hated to love. Hallways would part like the red sea for them; they were gawked at and envied until the day they graduated. I was supposed to be one half of that relationship.
I don't even remember what lead to my realization, when I started noticing my enemy in a different light, when I started to walk on eggshells when she was around. I was blindsided, in the most beautiful way someone could be. It was crazy really, feeling the ground beneath your feet remove itself. I blame the alcohol coursing through my veins at the time; it was a stupid idea to drink, especially when in the company of Noah Puckerman. Not that he would ever dare to make a move on me with the glaring eyes of Sam Evans watching his every move. I don't know what gave Sam the impression that I was something he could claim though, maybe it was when I had accepted the ring he offered me. It was a security that I couldn't afford not taking.
I saw her. I'd known her practically my whole life but for the first time I actually saw her.
It hit me like morphine in my veins, it hit me like Chris Brown, it hit me like Finn hit the mailman. All the evidence was there, it had always been there. My paternal grandfather passed away when I was young, too young to remember the horrible man that he actually was to other people, but I did remember how I asked my mother what happened when you died. She gave me the dumbed-down standard Catholic explanation, hoping to ease my small and wandering mind. My sister, however, told me that right before you die, you see your whole life played out like a movie before you. What was happening in my mind at that moment must have been what she was talking about. Things that I didn't even remember happening were playing before my closed eyelids, things that I never wanted to remember again.
She was beautiful.
It was ten minutes to midnight and couples were pairing off as the new year approached. Some people were wearing silly glasses made out of the year, while others were wearing metallic paper hats. Some people had pots and pans, getting ready to bang them into the night air. Tina had supplied everyone with noisemakers. You could feel the anticipation. For one night, we were allowed to be as childish as we wanted. We were allowed to be as loud as we wanted because there were people houses down that were surely louder than us.
The glee club was under the same roof, the original glee club, from when we started. Kurt was back and Matt even made the trip to see his old friends. They both brought some of their new friends and of course everyone took a liking to them.
Santana was making flirtatious eyes at Puck while Brittany sat on Artie's lap. Tina and Mike were thumb wrestling while Kurt and his friend were animatedly talking to Mercedes. Finn and Rachel were sitting across from Sam and I on the wrap around couch, the boys were sharing weight lifting tricks. Everything just seemed so normal. Two years ago it wouldn't have felt normal.
The alcohol was my camouflage. It was blatantly obvious that I'd been quietly watching her as I lazily sat on the dark green couch. Not caring that my posture was not what a young lady's posture should look like. I was too drunk to care about that, but for some reason, I was too drunk and cared that Rachel was upset about something.
She was so beautiful and it was obvious that she was so sad.
"Excuse me," she politely spoke up before getting off the couch. Her red cup appeared to be empty and she made her way towards the kitchen.
Finn didn't even bother to turn and look at her. For someone that was trying to get back into their girlfriend's good graces, he was failing effortlessly. I could see Rachel out of the corner of my eye, always aware of where she was for some reason. She didn't come back and it had been a few minutes.
"Babe? Where you going? You're gonna miss midnight," Sam, always so curious and careful.
My eyes were on the entrance to the kitchen, I could only see half of the room from where I was and something in me begged to see the other half.
"Just getting a refill," I answered absentmindedly.
He didn't respond, he went back to telling Finn what he ate after his Saturday workouts.
Rachel's wasn't in the kitchen but I did take a minute to refill my drink and downed it almost immediately. The alcohol stopped burning a few drinks before, my throat numb to the liquid poison that always got me into more trouble than one should allow. I took a chance and walked out the side door, not knowing what I would find.
Of course, it was Rachel. She always was predictable. If we had been in school, she'd of been in the auditorium.
"Quinn," she wiped her eyes furiously, obviously startled by my presence. I was a little startled by my presence too.
She nodded, "Just getting some fresh air. What are you doing out here?"
"Oh um, Finn asked me to check on you," I lied.
The sad look in her eyes was back.
"Right, heavens forbid he should check on me himself," she mumbled, I berated myself.
"Uh, I lied."
She looked up suddenly, confusion and worry plastered on her face easily. For someone claiming to be a divine actress, she wore her emotions quite well.
"He didn't ask me to come out here to check on you."
Her face fell immediately.
"I uh, I just wanted to see if you were okay."
She showed the slightest hint of a smile at my confession. I shouldn't have felt anything for that smile, it was none of my business.
She huffed, her hot breath making white smoke in the freezing air, "This is my first New Year's party."
I had no idea what she was getting at, "Oh?"
"Are you not having fun or something?"
I couldn't help the faint tone of defense in my voice. If you were invited to a Puckerman party then you were lucky enough, everyone had fun at one of his parties.
"It's not that," she struggled, "it's just—"
I looked back in the house through the door, everyone laughing and talking animatedly on mute. It still amazed me how well people could get along when we weren't in the halls of McKinley. I turned back to Rachel, she looked like she was in physical pain over something.
"Spit it out, Berry. I don't have all night, it's almost midnight."
She was wringing her hands together nervously. She was making me nervous just by watching her.
"You know you spend the new year how you spend New Year's Eve?"
I used to tell myself that as well but how could I believe that after everything I'd been through up to that point. It used to be the most important thing on my mind when deciding what to do on New Years. It didn't matter, I always ended up at Puck's.
"You really believe that?" I asked.
"I'd like to."
"So what's the problem? You're in there with Hudson, why are you sulking out here?"
She crossed her arms over her chest protectively; it was far more different than when she would normally cross her arms. She seemed to sink into her own body, a sure sign that her defenses were wearing down.
"Forget it, Quinn. Go back inside to Sam as I'm sure he's looking for you."
I wasn't sure if it was meant to be an insult to herself or not; that my boyfriend probably was looking for me while hers didn't seem to notice the obvious sadness she's had all night.
She turned away from me.
"I didn't mean that," I spoke up, it would have been so much easier to just go back inside and pretend I never cared about her in the first place. But I did care, and ultimately that won out. "What's this all about?" I gestured towards her and the bushes around us, not that she could have seen me.
Her shoulders shrugged, her back still turned towards me, "I don't know if that's how I want to spend the rest of the year."
"You mean with Finn?"
She nodded wordlessly and finally turned back around. I bit my lip and looked down.
"I should want to spend tonight with my boyfriend, I should want to kiss him at midnight, and I should be looking forward to the new year with him."
I didn't know what to respond with, half of me begged to find out why she didn't want any of those things, and the other half of me felt some weird relief that was unexplainable. So I ignored it.
I understood it, I really did. I just didn't have anything to offer her.
"I've never been kissed at midnight," she continued after my elongated silence.
"A lot of people haven't," I countered, hoping to make her feel somewhat better.
"I don't want my first time to be with him."
I didn't feel comfortable asking if she was referring to a kiss at midnight or having sex. We were acquaintances at this point, but certain things were above our friend level.
Suddenly the music got louder and a blast of heat rushed the side of my body. I turned to find Sam.
"What are you doing out here?"
I cleared my throat and turned to look at him before allowing my eyes to go back to Rachel. They did that a few times.
"Umm, Rachel got sick. I'm keeping her company," I lied.
Rachel was just out of Sam's eye line from where he was standing in the doorway, I could see from the corner of my eye that she was confused and so was he.
"Give me a few minutes," I told him, biting back my irritation.
"There's like 30 seconds until Midnight," he whined.
"Fine," he sighed before finally closing the door.
"What are you doing?" she asked when I turned to look at her.
I shrugged, I had no idea what I was doing.
"I don't want you to regret starting your new year with something you don't want to do," I answered. It surprised me that an explanation could come out of my mouth so easily.
"You're gonna miss midnight," she replied, unsure of why I was being so caring.
I could hear everyone inside starting to count down. It didn't feel like I was missing much.
"It's overrated," I answered, throwing her a small smile.
We were silent as we listened to the yelling of our friends, we could hear other house parties doing the same thing.
I couldn't deny the strange and unexpected attraction I felt for Rachel that night and I couldn't really explain the need to stay with her as the clock ran down.
Both of our heads turned towards the house when the yelling reached its peak.
"Well, Happy New Year's, Quinn."
The pots and pans rang throughout the street, getting louder and louder as more people joined. Suddenly the side door opened once again.
I bit back the distaste I felt at hearing her name coming from his mouth. After learning the new information about Rachel's true feelings for the boy, I couldn't help but blame him entirely for ruining her New Years, and maybe mine for that matter.
She looked at me in panic, her eyes wide.
"Finn, why don't you—" I began.
It was too late, he'd already stepped through the threshold and began stalking his way towards the petite girl, not even realizing that I was trying to speak to him.
Her figure disappeared around his large arms and stocky body, I looked down in order to avoid the scene.
"Sam said you were sick," he said to her.
I couldn't hear the response that she mumbled into him but I'd already seen enough.
"I'm gonna just," I started, Finn continued to ignore me as he watched Rachel carefully, "go," I finished lamely.
I didn't know what was wrong with me.
"Quinn," Rachel called out as I made my way up the steps, she somehow escaped the embrace of the giant and reached out for my hand, she squeezed it once as she looked up at me, "Thank you," she whispered.
I gave her a faint smile and with that came a silent understanding.
Sam found me a few minutes later in the kitchen, I refused to think about Rachel and Finn still being outside together, and it was easier to forget about it if I just drank it from a solo cup.
"There you are babe," he snuck up behind me and for some reason I felt dirty when he circled his hands around my waist.
I let him continue to kiss me, because when I closed my eyes, I could almost pretend that it wasn't him.
It took the party longer than normal to die down, and it could probably be credited to the fact that there really wasn't a curfew on New Years. People were still drinking and still having fun, nearly three hours later.
My eyes had been on Rachel practically the rest of the night, I wasn't sure if she was aware of them or not. She actually was an incredible actress when she needed to be and that was the only thing that settled my stomach when I'd hear her laugh at something Finn would say.
It was completely unlike me to be so enthralled with someone and be so open about it. It could be entirely blamed on the diet soda and vodka that I'd been drinking since I arrived at the house.
"You kissed Berry at midnight, didn't you?"
I felt the couch dip next to me a few seconds before but I didn't turn to see who it was. I should have, maybe I could have curbed my blatant intrigue with the singer across the room. I was busted as far as I was concerned.
"What are you talking about, Santana?"
"Don't play with me, Q. You were both MIA and I think you tongued."
My face betrayed my internal reaction, "Gross, she wasn't feeling well," I told her, the lies still flowing easily.
I felt Santana's shrug on my shoulder, "Maybe you should of, 'cause then you'd be the one that has Rachel's attention instead of that ogre."
I took my time in drinking from the cup, needing to stall in order to find a response for Santana.
"You spend the next year how you spend New Year's Eve," she continued.
I groaned inwardly and rolled my eyes, "Not you too."
"I have a feeling you're going to be watching Berry from a far for the next year if you don't do something about it."
Santana was infuriating almost all of the time, she had this way about her that she could spit the truth and would remain unharmed. She was always convinced she was right. But as I turned to study her, I noticed her gaze lingering toward something she wanted as well, something she'd wanted for a while. I felt bad for her, she actually had the opportunity to do something about it, but she was afraid. I could have retorted with a witty practice what you preach comeback but something told me that she was trying to save me from heartache that she knew about first hand. Brittany was smiling for someone else now and that killed her.
"And don't even get me started on the lack of your denial," her smug smile was back in place.
She patted my thigh before sauntering towards Puck, she'd never learn. I turned my attention away from them when they started to kiss. My eyes found Rachel, she'd been watching me and didn't mind getting caught. I took a deep breath and began gnawing on the inside of my lower lip. If I went through with what I was about to, there was no turning back.
I stood from the couch before anyone else could join me and I walked up to the small group listening to Finn tell a story that most likely didn't matter to anyone but him. Rachel had somewhat of a confused smile on her face as I approached her.
"Help me with something?" I asked lowly, already grabbing her forearm.
She nodded before turning back to the group, when no one acknowledged her departure she began pulling me away instead.
Once we were down the foyer she stopped walking and laughed, "I don't know my way around this house," she admitted, "You needed help with something?"
"Yeah, follow me," I gulped, I was going to do this, regardless of the consequences. In the end, I could blame it on the alcohol.
She followed me up the stairs and down the short hallway until we stopped in front of a door with a caution sign on it. I opened it, the smell of cologne and general boy hitting us with full force.
She closed the door behind her.
"Why are we in Puck's room?" she asked, looking around and clearly becoming bashful once she noted his choice in décor. The half naked girls made me blush the first time I was in his room too.
"Stand here," I told her before walking around his bed and towards his night stand.
"How drunk are you?" she asked me, slightly amused.
"Drunk enough," I threw over my shoulder, "but that doesn't matter."
I found his alarm clock sitting exactly where I knew it would be and it took me a few tries to set the clock back to the time I wanted.
Her brows were furrowed when she read the new time on the clock. 11:59.
I was already back in front of her by the time the realization dawned on her face.
"Quinn," she whispered.
I'd lose my nerve if I thought about it any longer.
I stepped closer to her and when she didn't move out of my way, my lips hesitantly pressed against hers. She gasped out and simultaneously I felt her hand on the back of my neck, pulling me into her. My eyes were slammed shut as I felt her finger nails dig into my skin, my hand gripping her hip as I slowly backed her up near the door. I was moving on pure adrenaline even though my body felt entirely paralyzed as it pressed flush against her. How could something feel so good? Her other hand fell down to my hip while my free hand gently guided her backwards. She let out a small whimper as her back hit the bedroom door with small force. The movement causing us to break apart for a couple of seconds.
"You needed a new year's kiss," I told her breathlessly as she pulled away a few inches to look at me.
I hissed lowly as I felt her grip around my neck tighten, her lips crashing back into mine without any warning. Her lips moved frantically against mine, not getting enough of me, and the thought alone made my entire body quiver. I pressed further into her and didn't seem to have any trouble keeping up when I felt her tongue against mine. Her mouth was warm, and I could taste the lingering alcohol from earlier. It was oddly enticing.
"We shouldn't be doing this," she breathed against me, making no move to push me away, if anything she was pulling me closer, "We both have boyfriends," she tried again, her palms on my cheeks.
"I know," I replied, my throat dry and itchy, "We should stop," I answered absently, my lips traveling to the corner of her mouth and along her jaw.
I felt her moan as it traveled through her body.
"Okay," I smirked against her before finding my way back to her swollen lips, latching on for dear life.
We continued to kiss, too intimate for a drunken hookup but too sloppy for something deeper. It was just me doing her a favor, and her getting the kind of kiss she'd always wanted…and then some. A lot more of it.
Neither of us heard the knock on the door, or maybe we did and wrote it off as coming from one of us. It wasn't until the knock got louder and a voice accompanied it.
"Rach? You in here?" the voice sounded through the other side of the door.
I could feel Rachel tense beneath me as I had her pressed against the door that her boyfriend was on the other side of. We were so dead.
I groaned lowly and dropped my head to her shoulder; she made no move to push me away so I wasn't going anywhere. Besides, I needed her to hold me up, I had the strangest feeling I'd collapse if she moved away.
"Yes! I'll be down in a second," she squeaked, I laughed against her collarbone, her low cut v-neck sweater had shifted a bit during our impromptu get together.
She inhaled sharply as I found my lips moving against her skin, a blank canvas that was dying to be painted on with my tongue. I shivered when she subconsciously dropped her head back to give me a better angle.
"You okay?" You could tell he was nervous, as if he was ready to break the door down.
I bit down softly at the base of her neck.
"I'm fine," she hissed out.
She pushed me back by my shoulders and held me up right, her eyes throwing knives at me. My eyes felt heavy as I watched her flushed cheeks redden after I gave her a taunting smirk.
He had chose that moment to start caring?
Her head ducked back towards me and I felt her lips press against mine again, perhaps silencing me or perhaps because she couldn't resist. I really couldn't resist her in that moment, I had a taste and I wanted the whole thing. Adrenaline was pumping through me, her lips jumpstarted my racing heart once again, I felt invincible as I realized that her boyfriend was on the other side of the door and she chose to continue to kiss me as if she had no other option.
"Stop it," she whispered lowly to me, playfully with hints of teasing. God, she was intoxicating.
I rolled my eyes and turned my head to gaze at the clock, 12:11.
She cleared her throat expertly, "Yes, I'm positive."
"Oh, okay. Hey, is Quinn in there with you?"
Both of our eyes went wide. I wasn't expecting to hear my name, it was like a punch in the gut.
"Sam can't find her anywhere," he added.
I shook my head no, hoping that she'd listen to me. The last thing I wanted to do was see my boyfriend who couldn't turn me on nearly as much as Rachel just did in the last ten minutes. Not even close.
"Yes, we're talking," she answered.
I sighed and pulled away from her. She took the opportunity to straighten her outfit and run some fingers through her tousled hair. I should have probably done the same thing but I was too busy thinking about what just happened. What was the matter with me?
"Talking about what?" I could practically see his confusion.
"Um, girl things?"
I sat on Puck's bed, my head in my hands. I was so screwed.
"Quinn?" Rachel hesitantly approached me, I rubbed my hands over my face before looking up to find her worried expression, "I should, um…" she gestured towards the door with her thumb.
Of course, why would I have thought anything would change? I was drunk and she was sad.
"No, yeah. Go ahead, I'll um, see you at school in a few days," I answered.
She looked like she had wanted to stay, or further inquire what had happened between us, but she turned back towards the door. I looked away as her hand went to the doorknob. I had no right to want to reach out to her, to demand her to stay, to try and convince her to be with me. It didn't mean that I didn't want those things, I just had no business wishing for them. When did I become so disillusioned?
"Um, thanks Quinn, for ya know, this."
God, it was so awkward.
"Anytime," I answered, I threw myself back on the bed when I heard the door close. "Such a freakin' idiot," I mumbled to the ceiling.