"Anything else, Miss Berry?"
"That will be all."
Quinn called me earlier and told me to meet her at her old office, which is why I'm at her favorite sandwich place on Sixth so I can pick her up some lunch. We've barely seen each other all week, she's been in her office and I've been in the recording studio. I must say, I've missed the whole collaborative effort behind making an album, it's fun to get my hands dirty, so to speak.
I throw the sandwich to my driver and he doesn't even need to ask me where it is that we're going next. We pull up to the curb at Quinn's office building and even though I haven't been here in a month or so, it still has an overwhelming sense of familiarity. I've missed it, and I'm glad that Quinn has decided not to sell it. I kind of miss Erin, she was so pleasantly content at her little receptionist's desk, day in and day out, without a care in the world. Bless her soul.
Quinn's office door is ajar and she's on the phone with someone. She smiles at me when I enter and I take a seat on her tan couch that has yet to be broken in. I set up her sandwich and snacks quite nicely and I wait patiently until she's done tending to whatever it is that she's doing. I'm such the Suzy Homemaker.
"Sorry about that," Quinn apologizes as she gets up from her seat and walks over to the couch, "God, I've missed you." She tells me after she gives me a kiss.
It's weird how much I've missed her but I haven't realized it until right now, as I'm sitting next to her. How did I survive the last two days without seeing her? Never again.
"I brought you some lunch," I grin wide, I'm so proud of myself.
"I see that," she picks up her sandwich and I hear her stomach grumble a bit, "But I need to talk to you first."
"Oh good!" I sit up straighter, "I have news for you too! But you first, you first."
"Remember last week when we were at Kurt's and he was so flustered about his backer pulling out, and his partner leaving, and he didn't know how he'd be able to pay for a lot of the things and he'd have to fire someone off his already small staff, and—"
It's a nice change of pace and I find it adorable but I'm impatient and can't wait to tell her my news. Actually, I don't think she's going to like my news too much so maybe it's better that she keeps talking.
"Right, well I was thinking… I need something to do and I do have a bunch of money that I'm not using, and I'd be helping out a friend, and it's a sure investment and the return I would get is probably going to be through the roof, so if it works out I could take it further, and—"
"You need to get to the point."
It's not that I'm bored, it's that she's almost making me dizzy by how fast her lips are moving. The last time I saw her this wide-eyed and manic was in high school during her prom queen campaign of terror. I shake off the chills I get and try to focus.
"I'm going to financially invest in Kurt's boutique."
I never paid attention in my business classes in College. How could I? It was a waste of valuable rehearsal time and I resented them. I always claimed that someone else would handle those aspects of my life for me. I was right, at least.
"Of course, it's a private investment."
"So you just like give him money and that's it?"
She tilts her head back and forth and I know that she's dying to make me understand, but bless her heart for knowing that it will never happen, "Well it's slightly more complicated than that but you have the right idea. He needs money to continue building his business and this is the perfect opportunity for me to learn the basics, especially because he's about to take off after people see you in one of his original designs, he needs more manpower and I can help him get it. It's the perfect time to strike."
This is so not what I was expecting when she told me she had news.
"This is something you want to do?"
Quinn always made it perfectly clear in high school that she would go into something boring like real estate. Imagine my surprise when she showed up as my therapist, eight years later, and now my surprise as she's telling me she wants to hand her money over to help someone that I never thought she'd be friends with. The universe has a funny way of laughing in your face, I've grown to realize that, but it doesn't mean I accept it right away.
"I've never given it much thought because it's what my dad wanted me to grow up to be but this is different, it feels different anyway. And I might be good at it, who knows. It's something to try right?"
"I feel like you're good at everything you do."
"Says the winner of every award out there."
Seriously, bless her heart.
"I don't have my Oscar yet."
I find myself unable to stop the smile from stinging my cheeks. Why is she so perfect?
She continues, "The point is, I've been giving it some serious thought and I want to do this."
I survey her more closely. Her eyes are wide and desperately trying to communicate to me that this is something she wants to do. Her thumbs are caressing my knuckles as she holds my hands so that I'll give her my undivided attention. Though, her methods are questionable because how could I pay attention when I have her massaging my hands? She's slightly biting her lower lip in anticipation and her eyes brows are raising in such a childlike way. Like she's asking her parents if she can go to the park after dinner, or begging them to let her have a sleepover on a school night. I have been looking for employment options for her, just in case she calls on me to make her another presentation, but this is right in front of us and requires no research on my part.
How can I say no to that face?
"Well you seem pretty excited about it."
"I am! It's like a whole new world, I'd be behind the scenes and that's perfect for me. I'd be involved in some decisions and meetings but Kurt would still be doing most of the work. I already have an office that I can work from," she gestures around, "We can re-decorate if you want," this sounds awfully like a form of hush money or a bribe, "maybe pick out a nice long table for meetings? Who knows what will come of this but it's fun not knowing!"
"How many Red Bulls have you had?"
"Two…five, besides the point," she rolls her eyes and squeezes my hands, "I haven't told you sooner because I wanted to finalize everything first. Please tell me that you're okay with this, I didn't mean to keep you in the dark or anything."
I could milk this and pretend I'm upset just for the sake of doing it.
"Of course, I'm fine with it. I've never seen you talk so passionately about something before."
"I talk about you this passionately."
"When do you ever talk about me to other people?"
"Fine, I talk to you passionately."
She does have a point. But she's never this wired when she does.
"I'm more than okay with this."
She smiles wide and pulls me into her in a crushing kiss, I'm a little breathless when she pulls away, "Now onto my next surprise."
"You mean there's more?"
She nods, "I'm going to audit some classes."
She stops as if she wasn't expecting that to be my response, she shakes her head and thinks, "No, Columbia."
"Why not NYU?"
She laughs like I should already know the answer, "Because I graduated from Columbia and they have a special auditing program for alumni."
I wiggle my hands out of her grasp and eye her, "I'm sure NYU does too."
"Well I didn't go to NYU for my masters, I went to Columbia."
"Whose fault is that?"
"Is this really an issue?"
I watch her closely for a few seconds, "Will you buy me things from the bookshop?"
It's always a good sign when there's no hesitation. And I need a new favorite sweatshirt since she commandeered my previous favorite sweatshirt.
"And can I surprise you some days for lunch?"
"Will you wear your glasses around my apartment more?"
"You're going to Columbia! Yay!"
I clap softly and bare my teeth as I grin. She rolls her eyes and shakes her head before she nudges my knee expectantly, "So what's your news?"
I'm still on a high from picturing Quinn in the front of her classes, taking notes with her sexy glasses, being all studious and stuff.
"I fired my publicist! Yay!"
She doesn't look as excited but I was anticipating that, my yay kind of dies off as she hops up from the couch. I knew she'd react like this, which is why I bought her a sandwich to butter her up.
"Are you out of your mind? Why would you do that?"
"So you're going to Columbia, huh? Pretty awesome, right?"
"Don't try to change the subject, this is serious."
It was a horrendous attempt at a diversion anyway.
"So you're allowed to Daddy Warbucks your money around and go to school again but I fire one little publicist and the world is ending?"
She stops and peers down at me, "Well have you hired a new one?"
"What are you going to do?"
"I have a plan."
"I don't like your plans."
Well that's just rude, this plan is bulletproof. Or fool proof. Whatever, she doesn't need to worry. I'm a master at planning.
"Another round of tequila!" I shout to the waitress after Quinn is finished flagging her down.
The music is loud and pumping through our ears, I can barely hear Quinn when she hisses next to me.
"This is your plan?"
I look around the dimly lit bar and smile. Oh yeah. It was perfect! Even though we are somewhat secluded from the rest of the bar-goers, it's still too loud and crowded to talk coherently.
"Part one," I tell her and she shoots me a nervous glance before turning to the other two occupants of the table, Brittany and Santana.
"Don't you dare, Rachel."
Honestly? It was her own fault that she didn't find it suspicious when I suggested that the four of us go out for drinks. Santana still frightens me somewhat but I was about to make her an offer that she couldn't refuse.
I pretend I don't hear her and reach across the glass to get Santana's attention.
It's game time.
"Santana, come to the bathroom with me?"
She downs her shot and nods, I follow behind her and leave Brittany and Quinn to themselves. I know Brittany will be occupied for hours because the table doubles as a fish tank. That's right, Rachel planned ahead. I throw a wink back at Quinn before I link arms with Santana and follow her to the bathroom.
I may have had more tequila than I thought so it took a little longer than I expected to get my proposal out but she seemed to get the gist.
"Are you telling me that you're going to pay me to be a ruthless bitch?"
I wonder now if I should have used that as my opener.
"What else would I have to do?"
"Give people shit for talking bad about me, hold press releases, and deal with the media."
Naturally I'm leaving things out because quite honestly, I have no idea what the hell a publicist does anymore. My publicist cared more about the paychecks than my image.
She studies me in the mirror, "But I get to be a bitch?"
"You get to be a bitch to everyone but me and my small staff."
She tilts her head back and forth a bit as she decides, "I can live with that, but do I work from home or something?"
"I'll buy you an office here in the city," I rush out.
"You sound desperate."
"I am. I fired my publicist yesterday and I need someone right away, I need someone I can trust."
She chuckles as she continues to pat her lips with lip gloss, "You shouldn't trust me."
Don't I know it.
"Probably not but I know you'll be perfect for this. All you have to do is make me look good and do damage control when people find out about me and Quinn."
She throws her lip gloss back into her purse and turns to look at me, "You're pretty good at persuading."
I've always been good at persuading.
"I need someone that will be able to protect Quinn, I know you've been doing it since high school."
Not exactly always protecting Quinn but she was the closest thing to a friend behind Mercedes. And Mercedes certainly wasn't going to be able to take time off from her job in Los Angeles to tend to me. I have to use the resources available to me. I'm just trying to talk her up so that she agrees to this. I need Quinn to realize that all my plans are amazing.
"Well that's half true."
At least she can admit it.
"So you'll do it?"
I know I'm hopeful but if this doesn't pan out, I'm screwed.
She shrugs dismissively and begins to walk out of the bathroom, "I'm drunk, I have to think about it."
I hurry to block her exit, "You get a brand new office in the city, and I'm paying you to be a bitch, what more do you need to think about? What do you do for a living anyway?"
Wonderful, excellent phone etiquette. And she's had to be nice to people for so long that I know she's just dying to get her bitch on.
"You're right, I'm in," she holds her hand out for me to take and I end up engulfing her in a hug instead.
"What did you do?"
"Nothing," I answer innocently, glancing over my menu to keep myself occupied.
She has no proof of anything.
I'm surprised she's lasted this long without knowing a damn thing. When Santana and I got back from the bathroom we ordered one more round of drinks before Brittany announced that she was hungry. Quinn was more than happy to get out of the loud lounge and get to someplace secluded and quiet, I think she had her motives when she suggested the back table at a practically deserted diner. The bar crowds wouldn't be out for another two hours.
Quinn looks across the table at Santana, "San?"
"Don't worry about it," Santana replies, not bothering to look up from her game of tic-tac-toe with Brittany on the back of the diner placemat.
"Berry," Quinn turns to me, and even has the lady balls to lower the huge menu away from my face. She knows my anxiety about not being ready with my order when the waitress arrives. "What have you done?"
Oh, using the last name? She must mean business, I wish I wasn't so turned on by it.
"You win again," Santana smiles before placing a kiss to Brittany's temple while she draws another board, "And Quinn? Please don't speak to my client that way," Santana smirks and folds her arms across her chest.
It's classic Santana. I can't believe how much I've missed that simple gesture after all these years.
"Tell me you didn't."
"Quinniebaby, meet my new publicist."
I give her the cheesiest grin that I can manage and it's not too hard considering how many shots of tequila I've had and Quinn's eyes go wide. I'm sure it's because of the news that Miss Lopez will be taking the reins on all things publicity but there's a chance she's also a little shocked that I used one of the nicknames I've been dabbling with. I can't decide between Quinniebaby, Quincess, or Quincicle.
"You didn't," she reiterates.
"Oh, but we did," Santana answers smugly.
"Do you understand how bad of an idea this is?" She turns to me, "Rachel, sweetheart, this is a terrible idea," Quinn's eyes are pleading but I think this is a terrific idea.
It's absolutely perfect. Santana is already the biggest bitch I know so she can handle her own. And she's our friend. Well, she's Quinn's friend but now she's my friend by default. And I'm paying her, which kind of means that I'm in charge of whether or not she has a job, it's not like she can cross me. And we'll get to see them more, I mean Connecticut isn't farther than the average commute, but I was running out of positive things for my list. I can't remember them all right now because tequila hates my memory but I know I have a nice poster board waiting at home on why this is a good idea. And it has glitter on it to make it pop, I know how much she enjoyed the last poster board I made. Quinn will understand soon enough.
"As Miss Berry's publicist, I demand to know why the hell we are just finding out now that you two are dating."
Shit. I didn't even realize that I let it slip about our relationship.
"You guys are dating?" Brittany asks, "So didn't see that coming."
A silence falls over the table as the three of us stare at Brittany as she doodles on her placemat and happily sucks down her Vanilla milkshake. I guess we're all just a little perplexed by her lack of intuition. She was always oddly aware of the strangest things.
She looks up and smiles, "Just kidding. I read it on Jacob's blog that you two were canoodling in Ohio together," she beams as Santana leans in and kisses her temple again, "I tricked you."
"Jacob still has a blog?" Quinn asks.
"More importantly, you still follow it?"
"Watch it," Santana warns lightly. I raise my hands in surrender, "We've kind of known you've been dating for a while. I don't appreciate finding out from Berry, Q."
"We're not dating," Quinn responds automatically, it appears that she's still in deny everything mode, "Or canoodling," she adds as an afterthought.
I grab her hand under the table, "We're dating," I correct, "But the general public doesn't know yet, and that's why I hired you."
Santana leans back into the cushion of the booth and I can feel her legs stretch out in front of her until her heels are rested next to me on our side of the booth. She's getting comfortable. And when Santana gets comfortable, she gets wicked.
"Well if I'm going to do my job properly, I'm going to need to know every single detail. You guys gettin' freaky yet? Are you a top or a bottom? Is Quinn shy in bed? I bet Rachel loves your tongue."
Quinn seethes, and her grip on my hand tightens protectively, "No. Fucking. Way."
Quinn turns to me with determined eyes, "Fire her right now."
"Down girl, I'm joking," Santana laughs, "Don't worry, both your dirty secret and career are safe with me."
Well when she puts it that way, maybe this isn't the greatest idea I've ever had.
"Maybe this isn't the greatest idea I've ever had."
I run my finger over the windowsill and take in the view that it provides. The city is so beautiful and calm when you're looking at it 15 stories above the ground and from behind a virtually bulletproof window pane. It's not the best view I've ever seen in my life, but it sure is better than the last place.
Quinn approaches me from behind and I can hear her softly laughing to herself. She's probably biting her tongue so that she doesn't tell me I told you so for the fiftieth time.
"Well you can't fire her now, she's already too excited about this," she reminds me.
Oh trust me, I know how excited she is about this. I didn't think that she could even reach that level of excitement about something. She called me her savior. Her savior! I didn't realize how badly her life sucked in her profession of Telemarketing.
This is the fourth office space that we've looked at so far today and it seems to be the best option. Quinn takes a second and also looks out the window. She's thinking the same thing as I am in this moment, she hasn't immediately bashed the view so I think that we've finally found a decent frontrunner in the office search.
I realize now that she's misunderstood me.
"Oh no, I'm not talking about hiring Santana, I've come to the conclusion that it was a brilliant idea," I turn to her and beam, "I'm talking about picking out an office. I should have just let her do all the work."
She nods thoughtfully and I follow her eyes to find a delivery man unloading his truck to the small eatery on the corner across the street from the building we're in. She breaks her gaze and shakes her head, she totally just went somewhere else on me. She's been doing that a lot lately. The amount of money that I would pay to be inside of Quinn Fabray's brain at any given moment, it's probably a magical place.
"It's not that bad," she comments in my ear as she steps away from the window and tilts her head back to study the white molding lining the ceiling.
I turn to watch her go, "It took me months to find my loft."
It doesn't appear that she's even listening to me, she seems far more interested in the paint color of the wall than what I'm trying to convey to her. Which is simply that I'm picky and a brat. The first step is admittance. Maybe having a new therapist each week is doing some good.
"Bad market at the time?"
She's still not paying attention to me.
"No, I'm just spoiled and need to have the best of everything."
She stops and turns to me with an amused smile on her lips, "I don't know," she gestures around, "it's kind of fun."
She makes me feel like I'm being a poor sport when really I'm proud of myself that I've lasted this long. I get antsy very easily now that I'm used to not having to wait for things.
"What part of this is fun?"
She sucks on her teeth and it makes a funny noise, "I don't know, maybe the part where we both get to pick something out together?"
It sounds like she's about to pick a fight with me but her tone is the furthest thing from agitated or hurting. I can tell that she's actually enjoying this, and the only reason that I'm even on this little rendezvous is because Quinn suggested that we tag along for the hard part.
"Yeah but it's not for us," I remind her, as if she's forgotten that little minor detail.
Come to think of it…maybe she has forgotten that fact.
She turns away from me but I can still hear her mumblings, "Consider it practice."
She shakes her head and now she's studying the flooring. Alright seriously, you don't moonlight as a carpenter so you really don't know what you're looking for while you survey the tiling.
"Nothing," she hums uneasily.
Sounds to me like she wants me to forget that she ever made the comment in the first place. That's not how Rachel Berry works, and I'm pretty sure she's already received and understood the memo. Naturally I'm going to press on, it's exactly what she doesn't want me to do.
"As in the two of us picking out an apartment together?"
It's not a completely far off guess, there were really only a few options as to what she was referring to.
But she ignores me and squints her eyes towards the far wall. She's running out of distractions, there are four walls, a window that I'm standing near and naturally a floor and ceiling. She's now just pretending to be more interested in the sheetrock than me so that she can avoid my questioning. It only makes me want to know more.
"Can you look at me?"
She turns and heaves a sigh from her chest, "One day," I know my eyebrow just sky rocketed, she holds up her hands in surrender, "Maybe…I don't know."
Well then. Wasn't exactly expecting myself to be right.
"I didn't realize."
She laughs it off like it wasn't a big deal, like she's not hurting at the fact that I was surprised by her response, "Forget I said anything."
"Yeah," I trail off, I'm so confused. "Okay."
Her smile is almost sympathetic, it's almost reminiscent of a time when I didn't have her, it almost makes me want to cry. It feels like there is something inside my chest, pounding and desperate to get out, why do I feel like this? I'm sad. Why am I so sad when this breathtakingly beautiful person is standing mere feet away from me?
She shrinks back into her body as she crosses her arms over her chest and continues to slowly walk around the space as if she's searching for anything that may be wrong with it.
I turn to Lauren who is looking anywhere but at the two of us. She may have felt slightly uncomfortable with our conversation, my bad.
"What do you think?"
"You're asking me?" she points to her chest, "Why does my opinion matter?"
I see Quinn shoot her one of her amused smiles.
"Well, as my assistant you'll be spending plenty of time in this office."
"I don't know what gave me the impression that you'd finally attend meetings with your publicist. I thought that was the point of hiring Miss Lopez."
I ignore her blatant sarcasm, "Do you like it?"
She looks around. For Christ's sake, I'm sure Quinn would be more than happy to list out everything right and wrong with this place, she's been keeping a detailed track.
"I definitely think that it's the best that we've seen today, and might ever see. The location is great, and I think Miss Lopez will be satisfied with the size and view."
Such an informed answer, well done.
"Done," I announce, just glad to get this matter over with, "Have them fax you the papers for signing."
"You're sure?" Quinn asks from behind me.
"I like it," I tell her, "Do you?"
"Good, it's settled," she shoots me a confused glance, I don't have time to stand around this office and talk about feelings, I want to get the hell out of this claustrophobic place, "I'll be in the car."
I walk out the door and practically break the elevator button as it lights up. It's not going to come fast enough and I know that Quinn is going to follow me to question my sudden shortness with her.
I shouldn't be acting this way, I shouldn't be snippy or give her an attitude, but I'm not exactly the world's best person when it comes to feelings and displaying my emotions. Not after getting crushed so many times in high school. Something just, I don't know, hit me. It wasn't necessarily a good feeling and it wasn't exactly bad, but it was something that I wasn't used to.
I hear her call my name as the elevator door slides shut and I close my eyes and hold onto the silver railing for dear life. I just need fresh air. I know I can make it.
I'm half expecting Quinn to be waiting for me in the lobby with a thin coat of sweat glistening her forehead and breathing heavily. I'm actually relieved when the only person that meets me in the lobby is the security guard at the front desk. I nod as I hurriedly make my way past him and throw on my sunglasses before getting to the sidewalk.
I feel significantly safer behind these tinted barricades.
Just breathe, Rachel. Breathe and you'll feel better. You'll figure out why you're acting weird, you'll give Quinn an explanation and everything can go back to normal.
If only it was that easy.
"Rach," Quinn calls to me, I don't mean to show how disappointed I am to hear her voice, it should be calming me, not making me flinch, "What's going on? What's the matter?"
"Nothing," I rush out, "I'm fine."
I think I just managed to do the opposite of convincing her.
"You don't look fine."
"I said that I was fine."
She steps back like I'm physically burning her. I feel guilty and it adds an overwhelming reaction to my already confusing feelings.
"Why are you being like this?"
Nothing agitates me more than when someone asks me why I'm being a certain way.
"Why am I being like this? You're unbelievable."
"I'm sorry," I sigh and run my fingers across my forehead.
"Do you mind telling me what the hell is going on with you right now? Everything was perfect all day and all of a sudden it was like you snapped, after I— oh god."
She seems to realize what it was that triggered my sudden coldness.
"You're not fine."
Of course I'm not fine.
I avoid looking at her but she can't tell my eyes aren't on her under my sunglasses. I focus on the delivery man still unloading baked goods from his truck at the pastry shop across the street. Five minutes ago, that sight was calming and something that Quinn and I shared together. Now, it's just a reminder of a memory that I messed up.
"I need to go," I move past her and towards the town car.
"Where are you going?"
I hold my hand up when I see Charles making a move to get out of the car to open my door, "I just need some time to myself."
She turns to fully face me as she stands in the middle of the sidewalk, "What does that mean?"
"Please just let me, let me just have some time."
I grip the handle and open the door to the car, "Rachel," it's almost a question. I turn to see what she has to say, it's the least I could do right now, "Are you- are you breaking up with me?"
"How could you even ask me that?"
I slam the door closed and walk towards her.
She shrinks back, obviously not expecting that reaction from me, "What do you expect me to think?"
"Think of me a little more highly than that."
She sighs, "You're right, I'm sorry."
"I promise I'll call you."
"You know that I love you."
"I know, Quinn."
"Berry! I'm glad you're here, I need to talk to you."
I haven't even been able to fully walk through the door and already she's being needy. Maybe this wasn't the best place to run off to.
"What is it?"
She ignores my irritation and closes the door once I'm out of the entryway.
"I can totally do this publicist thing."
When she says things like that, I seriously question whether or not Quinn was right when she said it was a terrible idea to hire her. No. All of my ideas work out and I refuse to ruin my perfect record over this. I'll go to the grave before I admit that one of my ideas is terrible.
"That's why I hired you."
"I know but I've been reading about it, like what I have to do, I think I can actually do this."
I see she's received the literature I sent to her house last week. I bought out the Entertainment section at Barnes & Noble and forced my assistant to give me all her old college textbooks from her Communications classes. Wait until she has to go to the seminars.
I walk down the foyer like I've been to her house a thousand times. This is my first time. I can tell that Brittany called dibs on the decorating. White porcelain cats line the hallways on shelves but I'm too distracted to be creeped out. I know better than to make fun of them. I continue until I find their kitchen and sit on one of the high barstools in the middle of the room. I rest my forehead on the table as I wait for Santana to look up from the book she had in her hand and realize that I'd relocated.
"What's up your ass?"
"Nothing." I mumble into the wooden table.
She stands on the opposite side and leans against it with her elbows, "You and Quinn have your first fight?"
I shoot up and glare at her, "No!"
She laughs, "You sure?"
I'm distracted by the book that she lays on the table.
I don't think it's one of the books that I required her to read. Looks like she's taking some initiative. Thank god.
"Why? Did she say something to you? Did she tell you that we were fighting? Because we are not fighting."
She pushes off the table and walks towards the fridge, "Do you want anything?" she gestures.
"We're not fighting."
She pulls the door open and grabs a water before turning around, "It's perfectly normal to have a fight with your—"
I hit the table with my fist, "We aren't fighting."
She twists off the cap and raises her hands in surrender as if she's entirely innocent and non-deserving of my outburst.
"Okay, you're not fighting. Why are you here?"
"Quinn and I, we had—"
She smirks and rests against the table again, "A fight?"
If she was within reaching distance than I would hit her.
We did not have a fight. Quinn and I don't fight. It wasn't even a disagreement. It was a—shit, I don't even know what it was.
"God damn it! No, I overreacted about something and it was stupid."
That's what it was, stupid. On my part.
"What was it?"
At least she refrained from using the word fight.
"We were looking for a stupid office for you, and she made a comment, about living together one day."
I need her to know that this is all her fault. If we hadn't been looking for her office than I wouldn't have overreacted for nothing and Quinn probably wouldn't be left alone somewhere near Midtown.
"So? That's a big step!"
Does she not understand? Doesn't anyone understand without me having to voice it out loud?
"Why? Me and Brittany have been roommates since college."
Worst example she possibly could have thrown at me. They've been attached to the hip since Santana punched some boy for making fun of Brittany in 6th grade when she was disqualified from the spelling bee in the first round. She's always had trouble with silent letters.
"How is that different?"
"Because you've known Brittany since middle school."
"And I'm pretty sure you've known Quinn just as long."
She thinks she's just so quick. First of all, the closest Quinn and I ever got to being friends in middle school was the time she tripped Jacob Ben Israel in the hallway after he stole my Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper. She returned it to me, I thanked her, and she actually smiled at me. Then she told me she liked the rainbow-tailed unicorns on the binder and that she wished her parents would let her get one. I was speechless until I overheard her lunch table making fun of it later that day. She didn't defend the poor Trapper Keeper and I was silly to believe we had something in common.
I like to think that maybe if we hadn't been in eighth grade, we could have struck a friendship over it. It's nothing to dwell on but now that I'm thinking about it, it seems completely fitting that Quinn would like my choice of Trapper Keeper designs. She totally had a crush on me and I refuse to believe otherwise.
"Once again, that's different."
"Christ, how is that different?"
"Because my relationship with Quinn growing up was far less friendly than your relationship with Brittany."
Like that wasn't front page news every week? She knew better than anyone else.
"I think you're making too big of a deal out of this."
I'd make a snarky comment if I didn't actually need her advice. Like it or not, Santana has been Quinn's friend since they attended the same summer camp and she knows her better than anyone. She knows about Quinn's first kiss, her first crush, her childhood secrets, her first time…well, everyone knows about that. And besides, Santana is oddly perceptive so I'm sure that she knows things about Quinn that not even she knows.
As much as I like to believe that I know everything about Quinn, I don't know half as much as Santana does.
"How am I supposed to respond?"
She pauses for a second, probably not expecting me to sound so vulnerable, "I don't know, maybe you should be happy that she's even looking forward to taking that step with you."
I meet her eyes and she busies herself by taking another sip of water. Those words sound recycled.
"You talked to her, haven't you?"
She shrugs, "She called an hour ago."
Just fucking fantastic.
"Look, I get that you've just reconnected or whatever and you just started dating but there's actually nothing to be afraid of."
I should be alarmed that I'm willingly discussing my relationship with her. She better not pull a fast one on me and alert the gossip blogs.
"That's not why I'm afraid," I finally admit.
"Why are you afraid?"
Her voice is soft and she's inquiring because she actually wants to know. Something is letting me believe that it's okay to tell her everything but I can't be careless with my feelings. I mean, if she's kept Brittany after all these years, she's not the spawn of Satan anymore, right?
"You want to move in with her, don't you?"
Why is it so easy for people to read me?
I don't want to answer her question because the answer scares me.
I'll have to create a diversion.
"How did you react when Brittany started planning your future?"
"She's been doing it since high school," she shrugs.
"It didn't freak you out?"
"Actually…no. It's kind of fun to plan stuff like that with her."
I know what she means. I used to love going through the wedding scrapbook I started making after I watched My Best Friend's Wedding for the first time. And I can't forget about how I would steal real estate magazines from the post office when I was 14 so I could scope out potential dream houses to purchase one day.
"You like her, don't you?"
"More than I thought I ever would."
It's not even a question.
"Then do yourself a favor and go back to her, she's a nervous wreck."
The thought of Quinn, by herself, most likely pacing with her hand running through her hair, has me panicked. I just completely left her without any hint of what was going on in my mind.
"Um hello? She's afraid that she scared you away."
"Then why the fuck are you here?"
I look around the kitchen and realize for the first time that I'm in Santana Lopez's house in the suburbs of Connecticut, "Why am I here?"
I stand and shoulder my bag. Her house is really home-y but I can't help but start imagining things that I would change about it. Like, when I someday move away from the city and find a house on a col-de-sac with a park nearby. White rocking chairs on the wraparound porch while the 4th of July block party goes on into the night, people watching from a distance, judging the various cold pasta salads from earlier in the day, and pretending not to be exhausted from day drinking in order to watch the store bought firework display the neighbor puts on.
The only person I see when I look to the rocking chair next to me is Quinn Fabray with her thousand watt smile and teasing laughter.
"I don't know. Look you don't have to settle down and buy a house like Britt and I did, we're different. But you guys, you work. For whatever fucked up reason, you work."
I just want to see Quinn right now. I need to feel her arms protectively around me, I need to feel her breathing against my neck, and I need to feel her lips on mine.
"Thanks? I think."
"It's a compliment and I don't hand too many out, so be thrilled. She's actually pretty in love with you, if you told her you wanted to move in with her, she'd have movers at your apartment within the hour. If you wanted to marry her, she'd fly your ass to Vegas on the redeye. You want a kid? She'll get you a puppy until you find the perfect donor."
"Whoa, let's not get ahead of ourselves."
That all sounds amazing but I'm not about to start discussing that with Santana.
"Point is, she'd do anything to make you happy."
She's never been so sure of something in her life, it seems.
She continues, "And I know that you'd do the same for her."
Once again, not even a hesitation.
"So then why the hell are you still standing there?"
Trust me, I've been dying to walk away and get back to Quinn.
"I thought it would be rude if I were to walk away while you were in the middle of your speech," I shrug innocently.
"Get out of here!"
She begins to move towards me and points to her front door.
"Okay, I'm going! Christ."
"You're welcome for the advice."
I reach the door and pull it open before slipping out into the early evening, "That's what I pay you for, wise ass."
"Rach," she breathes out as she pulls the door open and I throw myself into her before I could even register that my feet were moving.
I had to buzz up to her apartment so she knew I was coming but her relief as she opens the door settles my nerves. Honestly, I was expecting her to slam the door in my face once I got up here.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry," I whisper into the crook of her neck before pulling away to cup her cheeks gently, "I didn't mean to leave you on a sidewalk in the middle of Hell's Kitchen. I just needed to figure out what was going on with me."
Of course she does.
She reaches out behind me to push the door closed and leads me further into her living room.
"I freaked you out earlier with the whole apartment thing, didn't I?"
"No, it's not that."
"Are you sure? Because you seemed to freeze up on me after that."
"Nope, everything's fine."
I'm trying desperately to keep my voice calm and even so that she doesn't think that she did anything wrong. She did absolutely nothing wrong.
I step away from her, "Don't do that," I plead.
"Don't do this then," she gestures between us.
"I'm not doing anything."
She stares at me for a few long seconds and I can feel my defenses crumble to the ground effortlessly, "I freaked you out."
"Okay, I was freaked out."
She runs a hand through her bangs, "I knew it."
She looks tired and worn down. I hate that I've done this to her.
"Not for reasons that you think."
She looks up with the smallest amount of hope in her eyes, as if she's praying there's a reasonable explanation for all of this, "Then why?"
"I guess, I guess I was freaked out because I didn't realize how badly I wanted all of that."
"All of what?"
I shrug and begin to slowly walk around her living room, my eyes trained on the decorations on her wall to keep my composure, "I don't know, the apartment hunting, furniture shopping, decorating, moving in together, getting a puppy, having dinner parties, red-eyes to Vegas, watching movies on our couch, lazy Sundays, wraparound porches with white rocking chairs…"
I turn to look at her finally when I hear her soft response. She's zoned out, staring at the floor with wide eyes. Great. "Now I'm freaking you out."
Her eyes snap up and she shakes her head, "No, no. That all just sounds…really good, I guess."
I'm working up a speech in my mind that will retract everything I said but her admittance stops me. I turn to look at her more fully and she shows the smallest smile on her face as she watches me.
I can't help my own smile and I feel like a ridiculous fool.
"But it's too soon," I reply, making excuses as to why we can't quite do all of that yet.
"So soon," she agrees.
It feels like she's just agreeing because she's distracted.
"I mean, we just started staying at each other's apartments, we can't move in together so soon."
She nods, "And buying an entire new place would be like skipping eight steps ahead."
She sits on the arm of the couch and I slowly walk over until I'm in front of her, "It would be so easy if we were just friends, I mean friends move in with each other all the time."
She reaches out for my hand, "I don't want to be just friends."
I can't believe how relieved I am to hear her say those words.
"We can't be just friends," I agree.
She's staring into my eyes and I don't feel the least bit uncomfortable by it, "So many steps ahead."
"It's a big commitment."
"But I want it so bad."
"So bad," Quinn breathes out as she tugs my hand until I'm inches away from her face.
I feel her lips on mine and it's the sweetest release of anxiety and emotion.
"Maybe we can compromise?"
She smiles softly, "I love compromising."
"I found a Home Depot."
"Home Depots are nice."
"I got a key made."
I bite my lip and nod before reaching into my bag and pulling out the plastic bag that the key is currently held in, "To my place."
She watches intently as I struggle to get the bag open so I can place the key in her hand, "As in your apartment?"
"As in my apartment."
She turns the key around in her hand a few times, entirely amazed with the small shiny metal. She's looking at it as if she's never seen anything so beautiful, "You're giving me a key to your apartment?"
Her voice is shaky and she doesn't know how to react. It's one of the few times that I've seen her on the verge of tears. I'm praying they're happy tears.
"You're always there anyway," I shrug, as if it's all the reason in the world.
"A-are you sure?"
I smile wide, so maybe I have a few other reasons. "I rather love the idea of coming back to my place to find you reading on the couch, in your glasses."
She laughs and shakes her head, "I don't know what to say."
I tug her arm until she's standing in front of me, "Put the key on your key ring, and kiss me," she arches an eyebrow and I blush under her smirk, "You know, if you feel like it."
Her lips find mine again and I sigh into her mouth. After I left Santana's, I was all hopped up on adrenaline but I still had an hour car ride to sit through. I was trying to find the perfect compromise for Quinn and I, getting an extra key made the most sense. It wasn't too forward but it was a gesture that held just the right amount of commitment. The adrenaline wore off by the time I pulled up to Quinn's Chelsea apartment and I was working purely off hope and nervous jitters. It feels amazing to be done with this conversation and back in her arms, the temporary road block threw us off track for a bit but nothing feels better than solidifying everything with one of her kisses.
I pull back and smile shyly when she pecks my nose. She walks towards the table next to her door and picks up her keys out of the bowl she keeps there. I watch as she struggles to get the key on the ring and it's not my fault that a small squeal escapes my lips when she dangles the set of keys with their new addition in the air.
She grabs the folder of takeout menus off the table and holds them up. Of course I was starving, I'd been on missions all day, I wasn't thinking about eating. She sifts through the menus and pulls a few out. I take off my jacket and quietly walk up behind her and loop my arms over her stomach. I rest my cheek against the back of her shoulder, "I'm Rachel Berry, of course I've had reoccurring daydreams about what our place will look like one day. I guess I've never been with someone that has wanted the same thing, let alone you Quinn. It caught me off guard."
I feel her entire body shake as she chuckles, "Why do I get the feeling that it's what you think about during your therapy sessions?"
My hands slide under her shirt and scrape the skin of her abdomen as she picks out dinner for us, "Because it is, and it's scary how well you know me."
She hums softly, "So you feel better?"
I nod against her back, "Tomorrow are you free? I was thinking we could practice by picking out some furniture for Santana's office."
She turns around in my embrace and places a kiss on my forehead, "I have a meeting in the morning with Kurt, but after that, I'm all yours."
"That's what I like to hear, Fabray."
"And we'll get you a key to my apartment too?" she asks shyly, unsure if it will scare me off or not.
I'd love to have a key to her apartment so I don't have to wait outside in the cold anymore but I don't want her to think that it's something she has to do. "Only if you want to."
She wiggles her eyebrows playfully and her voice lowers seductively, "Oh, I definitely love the image of finding you walking around naked."
I hit her shoulders and back away, "At least my daydreams are rated PG!"
She eyes me curiously, "Are they though?"