This is the end, sadface. Sorry, I would have posted this sooner but the site wouldn't let me log in, Ru'...Anyway, thank you all for reading and reviewing this story, I hope you enjoyed the journey.
It had been one year since I saw Rachel, actually saw her.
It was the beginning of something so amazing that the weight of it all was lost on me while it was happening. How could I ever have imagined that a drunken kiss at 3 in the morning would lead to everything it brought me? It was spur of the moment, the alcohol and desire combining to form a deadly toxin that allowed me to let go of my reservations for just a few minutes. That was all it took, a few minutes with Rachel's lips on mine and I was a goner. Never in a million years would I have approached her had I not been masked behind the liquid courage I spent 6 hours working towards.
She was so beautiful and I never wanted anything more in my life.
A year later and we were back in the same house, with the same people, and it felt like nothing had changed. It felt as if we were at the same exact party as we were one year before.
I was seated on the same couch as I nursed my red solo cup full of whatever concoction my chemist of a girlfriend made me, and I was watching my friends interact with each other. How we all became so close was a miracle. We protected each other and we always would, I had no doubt about it. I closed my eyes and when I opened them I expected to find Sam next to me with his hand protectively around my back while he talked to Finn and Rachel about workouts. The sense of déjà vu I felt was overwhelming and a little scary, I felt trapped and for a second I actually believed that it was a year ago and nothing had changed.
Rachel caught my eyes from across the room and she gave me a close lipped smile, as if she was thinking about everything I was thinking of. She knew. It was so simple, she knew exactly how lucky we were. Her eyes were kind and I could tell by Mercedes' raised eyebrow that she threw her a barely passable excuse before walking towards me on the couch.
I stared up at her through heavy eye-lids with a goofy grin on my face, she tended to call it my drunk face, and I giggled childishly every time she called me on it.
"You're adorable," she smiled as she reached her hand down for me to take.
I didn't ask any questions, I slipped my hand in hers and allowed her to pull me up.
"I love you."
She looked confused for a split second, probably not understanding where my sudden outburst came from, but her face smoothed into an easy smile in no time.
"So we're at that level of drunk, huh?"
I nodded and my cheeks tingled from the smile that refused to leave my face.
"Very well," she tugged my hand and I followed her without another word.
My relationship with Rachel amazed me. We spent our entire Christmas vacation together and still weren't sick with each other. If anything, I wanted to see her more. New York had been an experience. We spent the majority of it walking the random streets and pretending we'd lived there forever, Rachel fit right in.
I couldn't wait to hear back from Columbia.
"Are you having fun?" she asked.
The cold air hit my hot face and it felt amazing, Rachel closed the side door and helped me down the steps.
I nodded, "Are you?"
She sat on the steps and pulled me down next to her.
"Of course," she replied as she rested her head on my shoulder.
"Why are we out here?"
"I was right," she replied instead.
I set my cup down and wrapped my arms around her waist until I had a good enough grip to pull her into my lap. Her momentary squeal stopped once she realized I just wanted to be closer to her.
"About spending the new year how you spent New Year's eve."
"You're right. I spent all year locking you in bedrooms so I could molest you."
She nudged my shoulder but couldn't contain her laughter long enough to scold me properly, "I'm serious."
I wasn't superstitious and I knew that I spent the year with her because I wanted to.
"We'll spend every New Year's Eve together, Rach."
"I know," she answered simply before her forehead came to rest against mine, "And Valentine's day, and 4th of July, and Thanksgiving, and Christmas."
"I can't wait," I tilted my neck back and kissed her lips softly as my hands sought out her warm body under the sweater she was wearing, "Happy Anniversary," I breathed against her when I pulled away.
"We didn't get together officially until March," she reminded me.
The time line of our relationship was slightly complicated but I always considered New Years our starting point.
"This was it for me."
She smiled softly and for a second it looked like she could have cried.
"Does that mean I get extra anniversary presents?"
"Of course," I tickled the sides of her stomach.
The door behind us opened and loud chatter and music hit us in sync with the heat.
"It's almost midnight!" Sam told us excitedly.
Rachel and I shared one of our silent looks before she hugged me closer and looked up at him, "We're good."
The door closed a few seconds later and Rachel and I were left alone again, "We're going to miss midnight," I told her.
Truthfully I was glad that Rachel would rather spend the last few seconds of the year with me, we were in our own little world once again.
"Someone once told me that midnight was overrated," she smiled her mischievous smile.
"They sound incredibly smart and sexy, you should probably stay with them forever," I teased as I cupped her cheek.
"That's my plan."
We could hear the countdown through the door but none of that mattered, Rachel's lips were already on mine again.
She was beautiful, she loved me, and that was all I needed.
We weren't perfect...
Quinn stared at the keyboard and rubbed the pressure points on the side of her temple as she struggled to come up with the perfect ending line for her short story.
She wrote when she felt inspiration and she certainly was feeling a lot of it over the past week or so. It was just something to do in her free time, something that she did to re-live and remember the first year her and Rachel spent together.
She started writing it one weekend during her junior year of college after she and Rachel got into a particularly brutal fight. Quinn left their apartment with the intentions of staying with her sister for two days until Rachel had cooled off enough to talk. She didn't even make it a full day. She lasted 4 hours, two of which she spent writing, and jumped in the next cab back to their apartment to apologize for whatever she did to upset her brunette. Rachel was crying as she clutched a picture of the two of them to her chest by the time Quinn got back to her.
They always dreamed of playing house together and after their first year of college, they got to do just that. They found a small, one bedroom apartment that needed a lot of work but it was theirs to fix up. They refused Judy Fabray's offer to hire them a painter and they refused the Berry's offer to hire a carpenter. They did, however, accept the credit card numbers so they could purchase the furniture and decorations of their choice. They spent almost the entire summer into their sophomore year painting the walls in their new bedroom and living room.
Naturally Rachel cried when they packed up their things a year after their respective graduations but Quinn promised her that their new home would be just as special to them. It was bigger and had the much needed floor space, eventually Rachel warmed up to the new place. They chose their first apartment based on the distance it was between both of their colleges and they chose their second apartment based on the distance it was to their jobs. It was also around the corner from a killer Thai place.
Quinn dropped her hands to her sides and leaned back in the black leather computer chair, she was staring at the computer screen with her glazed over eyes until she felt something heavy plop into her lap.
She glanced down to find their golden retriever looking up at her with sad eyes, "Did she kick you out of the kitchen, too?" she asked the dog with a small laugh before scratching behind his ears, "Join the club."
She noticed the small white folded up piece of paper tucked into the dog's collar and rolled her eyes before pulling it out and reading it.
You can come back out now.
Quinn shook her head in amusement before looking back down at the golden retriever to speak to him in the voice she used when she wanted to be overly playful.
"C'mon Charlie, C'mon boy," she grabbed the rope toy off the desk and dangled it above his head until he started jumping for it. She broke out into a light jog as the dog chased both her and the coveted toy.
Quinn entered the living room and threw the toy into the corner where his bed was and watched with a laugh as the dog skidded across the hardwood floor to get it.
"Must you rile him up?"
Quinn turned to see Rachel leaning up against the island that separated the kitchen and living room with her palms on the counter.
"Must you use him to do your work?"
Rachel walked around the marble countertop until she was in front of Quinn who took a seat at the high top barstool, "I called your name like three times," she pouted.
Quinn placed a kiss on her lips, "I must have been really distracted."
"Are you ever going to let me read what you've been writing for the past three years?"
Quinn smirked, "One day."
Rachel raised an eyebrow at Quinn's coy tone but she left it alone, "People will be here any minute."
The brunette appraised her girlfriend's wardrobe choice, "Jeans? Really?"
"I have to dress up every day for work," Quinn reminded her unnecessarily, "I'm wearing this."
"I'm going to freshen up," Rachel told her before spending the next 3 minutes making out with Quinn, "Okay seriously, now I need to freshen up."
"You look beautiful."
"You're just saying that so you'll get some later," she called over her shoulder as she walked down the dimly lit hallway into their bedroom.
Quinn bit her lip before she tiptoed around the island and into the kitchen where Rachel had set up the hors d'oeuvres. She knew that she shouldn't pick at the food because it was the reason she'd gotten kicked out of the kitchen earlier but she was hungry. She made sure to scurry away from the fruit platter once she heard Rachel's heels clacking on the hallway floor.
Rachel finished putting her earring in and narrowed her eyes at Quinn's guilty face before her eyes glanced at the food but before she could open her mouth to scold the blonde, the call box next to the door buzzed.
Rachel continued on to the door and Quinn called Charlie to follow her into their shared office while the guests got settled in for their New Year's Eve party. Quinn entertained her friends from the marketing firm she worked at while Rachel introduced some of her cast mates to their friends from high school that made the trip. After two hours, Rachel's eyes met Quinn's and they shared one of their secret smiles before Rachel excused herself from the conversation she was in and grabbed one of her cast mates to help her in the kitchen.
Quinn downed the rest of her wine quickly before she turned back to Kurt, "I need a refill." She held up her empty wine glass for proof, "Continue this conversation into the kitchen?" she asked before lightly grabbing his wrist.
She really didn't care about the fashion show he got to go to when one of the interns called in sick, she just wanted to carry out Rachel's plan so she wouldn't get scolded later on. They were playing match maker, once again. Kurt continued to gush without pause and Quinn continued to smirk in Rachel's direction as they walked into the kitchen. Quinn's job was to get Kurt there and Rachel's job was to introduce the two boys in hopes that their match making record would remain perfect. Quinn re-filled her wine and glanced out and into the living room where everyone was co-mingled. Puck's girlfriend was Quinn's friend from college, Mercedes was dating one of the production assistants at the theater Rachel's show was at, and they had at least three more couples throughout the apartment that had resulted from their handiwork.
Whenever one of them would protest about being set up on a blind date, Rachel would turn to Quinn with her bedroom eyes and claim that she had perfect taste.
Quinn and Rachel stuck around for the obligatory 15 minute cushion time to ensure that both Kurt and Rachel's cast mate were compatible enough to carry a conversation by themselves. Quinn's hand found Rachel's lower back and she began to run her nails in a teasing manner as she soaked in the alcohol, chatter, and warm feelings.
High school was filled with ups and downs but what high school experience wasn't? They took it one day at a time but couldn't help but look forward to a time when they wouldn't have to curb their feelings for each other. They couldn't wait to be somewhere where they wouldn't have to worry about parents. Their first year of college was their trial run for the real world and Quinn often claimed that the happiest day of her high school career was the day she was accepted into Columbia. It was a stressful 4 day span where Rachel knew she was attending New York University but Quinn's fate was still up in the air. Rachel often throws her head back and laughs when the blonde recalls receiving her letter of acceptance but if she was being honest, it was probably her favorite day as well. They'd be in the big city together, and instead of the possible three hour commute to visit each other, they were 2 subway lines away.
Had the blonde's older sister not lived in the city as well, Quinn knew that she would have been severely homesick during her first year of college. Rachel knew that if it wasn't for Quinn, she'd be the exact same way. They adjusted, adapted, and fell in love with the place they now call their home.
Quinn leaned in and pressed her lips to the brunette's temple, "I love you."
Rachel turned with a curious eyebrow, "What was that for?"
"I need a reason to kiss you now?"
Rachel shook her head before resting her head on the blonde's shoulder, "Of course not."
"These two lovebirds," Kurt gestured to Quinn and Rachel as they once again were caught forgetting a world existed outside of the two of them, "Now they are a Nicolas Sparks' novel waiting to happen."
Jason, Rachel's cast mate that she was trying to set up with Kurt nodded fondly, "So you all went to high school together?"
Kurt jumped in before either girl could answer, "Oh yes. And let me tell you, these two hated each other. They were like oil and water for the longest time.
Jason's attention snapped towards the girls and he studied their mischievous grins before shaking his head, "Nope. I don't believe it."
"I was a pain in her cute ass," Rachel laughed before ducking her bashfulness into Quinn's shoulder.
Quinn continued, "And I secretly loved riling her up with my teasing."
Jason shook his head to readjust his shaggy brown hair, the movement reminded Quinn of Sam Evans and that was one of the reasons they wanted to set Kurt up with him.
"So how'd you two finally get together?"
Kurt once again went to open his mouth with the juicy details but found that he had nothing to contribute. He turned to his old friends, "Actually, how did you get together? I don't think anyone knows."
Rachel lifted her head off of Quinn's shoulder and smiled wide as her eyes danced across the blonde's face. Quinn had her drunk face on, lazy smile and half-lidded eyes. She loved her girlfriend's drunk face.
"New Year's Eve," Quinn replied still staring down at Rachel.
The brunette nodded and drew her lower lip into her mouth for a moment before continuing, "Junior year of high school."
"Really?" Kurt dragged out, not knowing he was at the very same party they allegedly got together at.
"Something romantic, I hope?" Jason asked, judging from the way the two acted around one another, he just knew that they were the romantic type.
"I knew it. You two kissed at midnight when you disappeared!" Kurt was proud that he cracked the case and turned to Jason to explain how the girls were nowhere to be found at midnight.
"Actually no," Rachel answered, "We technically didn't kiss at midnight."
Quinn laughed to herself before turning back to the two boys, "It was three in the morning actually, just a drunken, sloppy hook up."
Both of them frowned, hoping they'd have something a little more exciting to talk about. Kurt had always wondered how the two of them got together. He only started to notice something different between them when he was at the Fabray's house for the annual 4th of July party and next thing he knew, they were making Youtube videos together.
Always the romantic, Rachel squeezed Quinn's side and got her to yelp, "She set the clock back to midnight so I could have my first New Year's Eve kiss."
Jason aww -ed and Kurt found himself also tilting his head in pride at Quinn, unaware that she was craftier than he'd ever given her credit for. No wonder Rachel was entirely smitten with her after all these years.
"That is downright adorable," Jason smiled and fanned his eyes, "So this is your anniversary as well?"
Both girls nodded, "7 years."
Kurt shook his head, "I can't believe you've been together for 7 years and you're only 24."
Rachel rolled her eyes, "Don't remind me! I feel like an old lady!"
Quinn continued to rub the brunette's back fondly as Jason held his hand to his chest, "You guys have to make a toast or something."
Rachel shook her head, "Oh no," she untangled herself from Quinn and began to busy herself by checking on the dip that was heating up in the oven, "Quinn's not one for public attention."
It was true. Quinn didn't like the spotlight anymore, she had enough of it in high school and it almost prevented her from pursuing Rachel in the first place. She was more of a quiet romantic, she didn't mind professing her love in every way possible if it was just the two of them. Both boys frowned at Rachel's back before turning their eyes to plead with Quinn. The blonde bit her bottom lip and turned to look out at who was in attendance for their little New Years get together. All people who were important to both girls in some way, with the exception of the girls' parents, but they'd see them in a few days when they flew back to Lima for a delayed Christmas holiday.
She met Santana's eyes as she laughed with Mercedes and Brittany. Santana was the only one who knew of the plans that Quinn had in store for Rachel later that night. She needed someone she could trust, and she also needed someone who could be brutally honest with her. After she and Santana practiced their Trust Test ritual, the blonde knew that her secret was safe.
Quinn turned back to the boys and nodded her head a few times and both of them squealed with delight as they clanked their glasses with the closest utensil available. Rachel stood up after hearing the hush fall over the apartment and felt Quinn's hand in hers as she pulled her into the living room.
Quinn's eyes nervously met the quiet and curious eyes of their house guests as they watched her take a few deep breaths. She saw Santana's smirk in the back of the room and recalled their conversation from earlier in the week.
"You're sure you want to do this?"
Quinn stared down at her shaking hands as she thought about Santana's question.
She had never been so sure of something.
"You know this means you have to spend the rest of your life with her, right? Like, forever?"
Quinn smirked and looked back up at her friend while they waited for the jeweler to come back, "That's my plan."
She felt Rachel squeeze her hand and it brought her back down to reality. She shook her head from the memory and cleared her throat before turning to meet the curious brown eyes that seemed to light up every time they met her own.
She could feel the silver band burning a hole in her thigh as it sat nestled in her front pocket, the diamond practically bulging through the jean material. She knew that she was doing it that night but she wasn't planning on proposing in front of everyone. She was going to sneak Rachel off like they always did at Midnight, except that night she was going to ask her to marry her.
But they had their secret moments, their soft confessions, and their silent proclamations. Rachel lived for grand gestures and who was Quinn to deny her the chance to have the grandest of them all?
They were never supposed to fall in love with each other. Kids in high school 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. But it did last and Quinn wanted nothing more than to have it last seventy more years. They were different, they always were.
Quinn forgot everything she had practiced in the shower earlier as everyone waited for her short heartfelt speech to wrap up. No one expected her to drop down on one knee at the end, not even Rachel.
"I was going to wait until midnight to do this, but…"
"Midnight is overrated!" Rachel squealed as the tears rushed from her eyes, finally realizing what Quinn was about to do.
Both girls laughed as the wetness in their eyes made it harder and harder to see, and Rachel screamed yes before Quinn could officially get the question out there but neither of them cared as they clung to each other through the whistles and applause from their closest friends.
Rachel was the best thing that ever happened to the blonde, she was her savior. And Rachel often told her fiancée that she was her guardian angel. Sure, sometimes they clashed but sometimes they got along so well that it was sickening. Sometimes Rachel popped her gum too loud while Quinn was working at home, and other times Quinn wouldn't leave the brunette alone while she ran through her lines. Most of the time, the only way Quinn could concentrate was if Rachel was popping her gum, and Rachel loved when the blonde nagged her because she liked when Quinn needed her. Somehow all of their imperfections brought them closer together.
And just like that, she knew what the last line of her working short story was going to be.
They weren't perfect, far from it…but their imperfections made them perfect for each other.
And she couldn't wait to read it to Rachel as they started another chapter of their life together.