Author's Note: I apologize for the long and hideous delay in chapters. I've been horribly busy between finishing up College for the Semester and working and running calls(paramedic :)) so my timing has been a little shifty. That, and I haven't had a single urge to write in god only knows how fucking long. However, that urge has slipped away now and I can officially present you with my next installment. Enjoy!
The front door creaks open as she slides into her house. The air is still, quiet and Quinn stops a moment-holding her breath as if expecting her mother to jump out from behind a corner and tackle her to the ground for the remarks she'd made earlier in the day. Yet, nothing happens. Tip toeing into the foyer, she peers back ever so slightly into the living room, letting out a sigh of relief as she sees her mother once more, unconscious on the couch. The bottles have been strewn across the room and the smell of dry vomit fills the air. Quinn gags lightly as she covers her mouth to block out the smell before turning away and dashing up the stairs. Shutting the door behind her, she stands in her bedroom-looking around. She's still desperately trying to wrap her head around the events from earlier, and the deal she'd managed to strike up with Shelby-however each time she thinks about it, there's this incessant pounding in her head and she feels as if she's just swallowed ten golf balls.
Wiping her sweating palms on her dress, which she decides, needs to go-she stalks towards the dresser. The pure rage and desperation she'd felt earlier has begun to seep it's way back in as she tears open her top drawer and spills the contents onto the floor, before repeating her actions with the second and third ones. Clothes have now been scattered in a pile around her feet as she runs a shaking hand through her hair and in one swift motions, pulls her dress up and over her head and off to the side somewhere. It lands haphazardly on her bed, but she's too anxious to give a fuck.
Grabbing a white off the shoulder top and her signature ripped skinny jeans, she quickly pulls them onto her body, sighing in satisfaction before turning and heading for her closet. She grabs a small duffel bag, shoving in enough clothes to last her a week(she's not sure how long she's actually going to stay there, this whole deal still seems incredibly bizarre if she's being honest) and drops it onto the floor. She grabs her toiletries, cigarettes and phone charger as well as her notebook and a pen(in case she has some strange ass urge to write or draw because well, this is Rachel fucking Berry she's living with and she's going to have to find something else to drown out her incessant rambling and 6am vocal practices) and stuffs them into her bag before hoisting it over her shoulder. She drapes her navy blue cardigan lazily over the duffel bag, not really wanting to put it back on before she heads back downstairs.
She sets the bag down in the foyer as she steps back into the living room, stopping in the doorway a moment to gain her composure. Now this was going to be the hard part. Convincing her mother to let her stay there. Swallowing the snowball of emotions, she slowly walks towards the couch, stepping around the dry puddle of vomit and crouching down at her mother's side. Shaking her lightly, she watches as the older woman's eyes slowly flutter open and meet her own. What Quinn is expecting is a scowl, a string of curse words and maybe a slap or two, but what she is met with is enough to throw her for a fucking loop.
Her mother's eyes are downcast, a look of regret etched upon her face as she flashes Quinn a small smile. Judy slowly brings her legs off of the couch and sits up, watching as her daughter moves from her crouched position to take a seat upon the glass coffee table across from her. There's a look of fear in Quinn's eyes, hesitance even, and Judy cannot honestly blame her for that. Her daughter's words are slow, cautious and small. "I'm going to stay with Shelby and Rachel for a few days." It's not a question, Judy realizes. It's not even a demand, it's just a simple statement-one that's been set in stone. Judy nods her head slowly, cringing lightly at the pain that radiates through her head. She doesn't argue, she knows it will do no good for her or Quinn.
"I think that's wise," Judy mumbles, her tone full of guilt and regret. She takes a moment before speaking again. "I'm sorry Quinn."
Quinn nods, knowingly as she laces her hands together and rests them on her crossed legs.
"I know you are. But I also know, that this cannot keep happening. I need a mom, I need you and you can't be there for me if you're going to continue to do this shit." She says, albeit calmly-yet Judy can hear the slight edge in her tone and cannot help but wince lightly. She doesn't blame her daughter for being upset, she has every right too-hell, she's upset with herself. It's the first time she's been able to see things clearly in over a year. Now that the foggy, boozy haze has dissipated a little, Judy cannot help but see things in a new light. She wants to get better, she tells herself, she tells it to Quinn all the time-granted, she's drunk or just plain hungover and fucking miserable when she says it, but she means it regardless. However, after the year they both have had, and since Russell has left, things haven't been better. She promised herself and her daughter things would change, yet they only seemed to get worse. She knows that something needs to change, Quinn is right about that and she cannot help but snort at the notion that her daughter is more of an adult then she is herself.
Quinn can see a tiny spark in Judy's eyes, she can almost see the person her mother once was-before everything went to shit and she ended up pregnant and alone at 16. But the spark fades quickly and Quinn can do nothing but sigh softly. "If you need me, you call me though-okay?" She whispers softly, reaching out to rest a hand upon her mother's. It's cold and slightly purple, she notices and she can't help but wonder if maybe she should take her back to the hospital, just to make sure everything is alright. Even though, she knows it's not and that it hasn't been for awhile.
"The same goes for you Quinine." Quinn chokes back a sob, flashing her mother the faintest of smiles. She sniffles and wipes at her nose, she can't remember the last time her mother had called her that. At least not in a loving way. Quinn squeezes her mother's hand once more before standing up and brushing off her jeans. Sparing one last glance at the woman, she turns on her heel and walks out-stopping to pick up her bag and grab her leather jacket off the coat rack. Opening the door she is met face to face with a gush of cool, summer air and she cannot help but smile weakly as she locks the door behind her securely and cautiously steps back across the street-checking both sides for any oncoming cars.
When she reaches Shelby's, she pauses. She doesn't know whether she should knock or just go on in. Her questions diminish however, when she sees the older brunette open the door and usher her inside. Quinn smiles at the woman weakly, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear as she rocks back and forth on her heels.
"How'd it go?" Shelby asks, her voice soft and soothing, as she leads the young blond into the living room, taking her bag, coat and sweater from her and setting it aside. Quinn takes a seat and waits a moment, trying to still the shaking in her hands and the nerves that have suddenly shot through her stomach.
"It went okay." She croaked out, voice raspy and full of exhaustion. "She was somewhat sober when we talked...I told her that I was staying here and that she needed help. She seemed to think so too, and almost made me believe she wants it-but I think it's still too soon to tell."
Shelby's heart aches for the girl as she wraps an arm around her and pulls her into a warm embrace. She can feel Quinn relax lightly as she rests her head on her shoulder, the exhaustion from the days events seeping in. She wants nothing more then to console her, to say something, anything to make the girl feel some semblance of hope-but she's unsure of what to say. Slowly pulled herself out of the embrace, she takes a moment to look a the young blond, and it's then that she sees the true emotional toll this has taken on her. The young girl has faint red streaks on her cheeks, their faint-but they are there, and her eyes are hallow and sunken in. Dark purple bags adorn them, and her lips are cracked and bruised, most likely from biting them. The girl's weight is dangerously low, and she's a sickly pale color. A small, sad sigh escapes Shelby's lips as she watches Quinn's eyes droop and then fly back open, watching as the girl tries to fight off the exhaustion plaguing her. Standing up, she slowly pushes on Quinn's shoulder, shushing her as she lays her back on the couch and drapes a blanket over her. Quinn tries to protest, but nothing falls from her lips and she can no longer keep her eyes open as her head hits the soft pillow and she snuggles deep into the warm blanket draped over her. She's out cold within five seconds.
Shelby smiles softly as she watches the girl finally succumb to her slumber, and then quietly back tracks from the room and back into the foyer where Quinn's things are. Picking them up, she hangs the girl's leather jacket on the coat rack she has by the door before hoisting the duffel over her shoulder and draping the navy blue cardigan she was wearing previously on her arm and heading up the stairs.
She sets the blonde's things on the guest room, making a mental note to show her around the house when Quinn wakes back up, before heading down the hall and stopping into the nursery to check on Beth. The toddler is still out cold as Shelby peers in on the crib, leaning down to place a light kiss on her forehead. Smiling in satisfaction, she once again disappears into the hallway and heads to her final destination, Rachel's bedroom.
She knocks lightly and waits until she hears her daughter's soft; 'come in,' before she steps inside. Rachel has been perched upon her bed and is reading over a few psychology text books, for what reason-Shelby does not know-but she does know she intends on asking about that later-but first things first. She needs to explain the situation with Quinn.
"Hi honey." She whispers, out of habit. Rachel's brow furrows in confusion as she looks at her mother.
"Hi mom, why are you whispering?" She asks, chuckling. "Last time I checked, Beth's room was down the hall."
Shelby cannot help but chuckle lightly at the notion as well as she nods her hands and takes a seat upon Rachel's bed.
"Sorry, it's a habit-I guess. Quinn is asleep on the couch and Beth's three sheets to the wind in her crib, so I guess I was still cautious that they'd hear me and wake up," She explains, reverting back to her normal tone.
"I see." Rachel concedes, before her brow furrows once more. "Wait, why is Quinn asleep downstairs? What happened?" She asks, tone quickly turning towards concerned.
"Calm down Rachel," Shelby says, before her daughter can start to freak out. Rachel nods once and relaxes, the books on her lap-long forgotten. "She's fine-now. Let's just say she's going to be staying with us for a few days."
"Why?" There is no sign of anger or resentment. Just puzzlement.
"She's had...well," Shelby sighs, shaking her head. "Actually I think it's best if you heard it from her. But that doesn't mean I want you to push it out of her-understand?" She waits a moment until her daughter nods her head before continuing. "Let her tell you when she's ready."
"Does her mother know?" Rachel asks, the worry slowly creeping back in. "Is she okay with this?"
"Yes, Quinn's mother does know-and yes, they agreed that it would be best if Quinn stayed here for awhile. But what I'd like to know from you is two things. The first, what's with the psychology books?" She chuckles, and Rachel's cheeks take on a slight red tint. "And second, are you alright with all of this? I know this was supposed to be our summer together, but-"
Rachel immediately cuts her off, smiling widely.
"First, well-that takes longer to explain, so I'll answer the second question first instead. Yes, I am okay with this-as long as Quinn is okay then I don't mind. It's still our summer here together and it's not like we won't be able to see each other-we live in the same house." She reminds, laughing lightly. Shelby smiles. "Chances are, we'll be sick of each other in the next week anyway?" She adds with a wink.
"Good point," Shelby laughs. "Now back to the first question-the Psych books? Are you taking a Psychology course next year that I don't know about?" She jokes. Rachel grins and shakes her head.
"No, but I did take AP Psych this year and it was actually interesting to say the least. If my Broadway career were to ever fail-or god forbid, something were to happen to my voice-which by the way, neither will happen, I'd like to have a back up plan and I think Psychology would be a good one. Besides, I'd make a good shrink, don't you think?" She concedes, laughing lightly.
Shelby snorts, before nodding her head. "Yes, you would make a good Psychologist and I think it's very mature and logical of you to have a backup plan in mind and know that if-as you said-god forbid something were to happen and you couldn't make it to Broadway, you would have an alternative-and one that you would still be able to enjoy."
"However," Rachel pipes back up a moment later. "I was looking at these books to see if I could try and figure out what's going on in the mind of Miss Quinn Fabray. I mean, don't get me wrong-she's always been somewhat distant, cold and closed off but it seems to have progressed over the summer. You've seen it first hand, heck-I'm pretty sure the entire town of Lima has-but like I said, it's as if she's got this iceberg around her heart. She's now refusing to let anyone in, she's quiet, she smokes which as a former cheerleader is not something I would have expected her to do-and she's very...well, hostile. I've looked over some of the symptoms and this might sound absurd coming from a 16 year old, but it's highly likely she could be bipolar. You've seen her-she's happy one minute, pissed off the next which by the way, excuse my language and-"
Shelby cuts her daughter off, resting her hands on the young girl's shoulder and looking her in the eyes.
"Honey," She laughs. "Breathe. I understand your point and while that's very sweet of you to try and figure out what's wrong-you also need to realize that A) Quinn is not bipolar, she's just a teenager and as you would know-all of them are extremely temperamental at times, and their hormones sky rocket within seconds, and B) that having a baby changes a person Rachel. She may not be doing somethings she should do, or normally would do, but that's just it-she's changed. You can't expect her to be the same girl as she was before she had Beth. And I bet if you sat with her for awhile and let her explain, you'd understand her situation a lot better."
Rachel sighed knowingly as she nodded her head and looked down at her Psychology books defeated.
"I just..." She pauses, licking her lips before looking up at her mother, tears pooling in her eyes. "I don't like this. I mean, Quinn and I are not friends by any account-merely acquaintances but she's just...she's scaring me mom. I've seen her at her worst, and that was well, bad but this...I've never seen her like this. I want to make it better and I don't know why, I just do-but I can't because she won't talk and she won't explain anything and she's just so closed off. I thought if I or preferably a shrink could diagnose her then maybe I'd be able to understand all of this a little better but it's just so hard. I don't like seeing her this way."
Shelby's features immediately softened as she draped an arm around her daughter's shoulder, much like she had done with Quinn earlier, and smiled weakly when Rachel rested her head in the crook of Shelby's neck. "Oh Rachel-I know you don't like seeing her like this-but like I said, you've got to give her time to figure things out for herself and tell her on her own accord-not on yours. I know it may be hard and at times, it may seem like the world is ending, but I can promise you that it's not. Just trust me Rachel, she'll tell you-she just needs to figure it out for herself first. She needs to understand what she's feeling before she can open up to anyone you and me included. I think what you're trying to do is wonderful sweetie, I really do, and I honestly believe that your heart is in the right place but you cannot rush things, especially people as delicate as Quinn. You've just got to let things take their own course and hope it works out in the end-which I can assure you, it will. Just try and relax, alright? It's summer."
Sniffling, Rachel nodded her head before slowly sitting up and closing the texts books that were strewn out in front of her and setting them on the bedside table, before turning back to her mother with a small smile. "Thanks mom. I don't know about you, but I could do with a hot shower right about now." She chuckled, "This whole Quinn situation has made it feel as if someone's been kicking me in the kidneys."
Shelby smirked, shaking her head at her daughter's exaggeration before she stood up and helped her daughter do the same. "Alright well you go take your shower and I will be downstairs in the kitchen, cleaning up a bit if you need me. But try and stay quiet alright? I'd like to keep Quinn asleep for as long as possible, she looks as if she could use it."
Rachel scoffs, rolling her eyes.
"That's the understatement of the century," She mumbles under her breath as she trails her mother out of the room and then disappears into the bathroom. Shelby cannot help but chuckle as she heads down the stairs, shaking her head along the way.
Teenagers, she thinks silently. She's not sure if she'll ever understand them.