A/N: This is one of the last few times I will be saying this… THANK YOU. To all those who have been reading this fic from the very start, those who didn't give up when things got a lot to angsty, seriously THANK YOU.
Here's another chapter, a shorter one; just patching things up because planning a wedding with 250 guests isn't easy even if this is just a fictional wedding. HAHAHA.
Two days later, Quinn found herself inside the waiting room of Christina Bailey, MSW, LCSW, CASAC, BCD. She didn't know what the abbreviations stood for but she knew, upon research that she is one of NYC's most trusted therapists.
The trusted didn't apply to her because well, she doesn't really trust anyone.
She was still mad.
In fact, she spent the last two days avoiding her mother – who was staying until the wedding – and Santana – who was trying her best to… avoid her, too. Santana was giving her space but her mom just wouldn't back out.
It was Judy's most annoying trait as a mother… she just wouldn't back out when it came to controlling Quinn's life. Sure, she's changed from being the perfect Christian mom but she still tended to be controlling at times.
Some people never change.
Maybe, the reason why Quinn was inside that fancy-looking office was because some people just wouldn't change. It included her, obviously.
She hadn't seen Rachel for the past two days and she knew that Rachel had been worried about her. Quinn also avoided her because she was too humiliated. It was hard for Quinn to earn her confidence back – she had to earn that confidence for six straight years and yes, one little family chat changed it all.
Rachel understood. Of course, she did. She always understood Quinn.
When they were on the phone last night, Quinn just cried and Rachel just listened. Rachel didn't say anything; she just listened because Rachel understood.
Rachel always understood Quinn.
"Ms. Fabray," Dr. Bailey's secretary called.
Quinn looked up.
"Would you mind waiting for another ten minutes? Dr. Bailey is having a small problem with her appointment right now."
Quinn just nodded.
She was about to reach out for another magazine when the door chimes echoed inside the room, signaling that someone just entered the office. Quinn looked up and saw a smiling Brittany walking towards her, with a newspaper at hand.
"Excuse me, Miss. What can I do for you?" the secretary, who looked like she was in her mid-20s, asked Brittany.
Brittany turned to the secretary and smiled, "I'm her friend. I came here for her."
The secretary just smiled at Brittany as she tucked a strand of hair behind her ear.
Did the secretary just flirt with Brittany?
Quinn just offered a small smile as she felt Brittany sit beside her and started turning the newspaper she had in hand.
"What's a seven-letter word for burst of bad temper?"
Quinn nearly chuckled. Brittany was such a sweetheart. She thought for a while and then answered, "Tantrum."
Brittany scribbled out and then asked again, "Three-letter word for the pig's pad? I tried pen but it's wrong."
Quinn thought of it again, "Sty."
Silence took over them as Brittany scribbled again. After writing sty, Brittany folded the newspaper again then playfully bumped Quinn's shoulder.
Quinn looked at her and smiled.
Brittany bumped her shoulder again and smiled as well.
"How did you know I'm here?"
"Out of the many ads on top of the table, this one's the catchiest: Take a moment. Imagine how your life would be if you got over a bad habit or moved over a hurtful memory."
Quinn chuckled. That's what actually caught her.
"You know, a therapy won't work if you're not wholeheartedly in it."
Quinn sighed, "I need to do this."
"Do you want to?"
"Does what I want matter at all?"
"It's all that should matter."
Of course, Brittany's the one that could do that to her.
Brittany then stood up and stretched her hand out to Quinn. "Come on. Let's get you out of here," she offered.
While standing, Brittany browsed her newspaper again, "What's a five-letter word for selling merchandise on credit?"
Quinn thought for a while and when she figured the answer, she knew she had to come with Brittany, "Trust."
Brittany smiled as she nodded.
Of course, Brittany Pierce-Lopez always knows what to do.
Santana had been reading the same sentence on her book for about 10 times now and she still couldn't comprehend what it meant. That's what you get when you're Santana Lopez and you meddled with Quinn Fabray's dysfunctional life.
"You didn't have to do that," a voice spoke behind her and now, she knew her day couldn't get any worse.
"And you didn't have to spook me like that," Santana said as she turned to look at a very angry-looking Rachel Berry behind her.
Rachel sighed heavily, "Santana, we agreed we'd talk to her about it; the two of us!"
"Berry, you're causing a scene," Santana said as she looked around and there are already a few people looking at them.
Well, they're in a crowded Starbucks after all.
Rachel furiously sat across her and looked at her straight in the eyes, "You have no idea how much you pulled Quinn's strings when you did that."
"Trust me, I know –"
"You don't!" Rachel almost yelled. "Santana, stop making Quinn's decisions for her," Rachel said, hurt lacing on her tone. "She cried non-stop last night and do you know how much that hurt?"
Santana swallowed as she looked away.
"I don't understand why you feel the need to live Quinn's life for her. I know you saw her at her lowest and I am sorry for being the cause of that but Quinn is getting okay in her own little ways. If anyone would see the obvious changes, it would be you. It should be you."
It was a Rachel Berry-sized rant and Santana knew it would come eventually.
She didn't know what to say.
Okay, she went out of line going to Judy about it but she had the right intentions.
She sighed heavily as she tried to contain her building emotions. Leave it to Santana Lopez to mess things up just when everything was doing fine.
Rachel took a shaky breath and then released it, "She was doing okay, Santana. She didn't need anyone doubting that."
"I didn't doubt it, okay!" she cried. "For goodness sake, of course, I saw how much her self-healing has worked over the years but don't blame me if I get scared that she'll have attacks from time to time. I'm afraid I wouldn't be there to hold her hair up when it happens again!"
Santana had tears in her eyes.
Oh no. She won't cry in a public place.
Rachel's tears brimmed in her eyes, "Don't you think I can do that?"
Santana looked away.
"You still don't trust me."
Santana crossed her arms in front of her chest as she leaned back on her seat, still not meeting Rachel's gaze.
Rachel nodded realizing that after all this time, she still hasn't earned Santana's trust.
"Look, Santana. I know where you're coming from, I really do and I understand if I don't ever gain your trust for the rest of our lives but you have let Quinn go. You have to let her be okay in the way she wants to."
Santana sighed, "I just don't want her to fall back on the same patterns again."
"She won't if we don't keep on reminding her about it," Rachel said as she tried to blink her tears away. "We both know that Quinn only lashes out on people if she thinks she's not good enough and when we doubt her like that, telling her she needs help, that's what is going to keep her falling back on the same patterns."
Santana huffed in frustration. "I didn't think Judy will bring your fathers all the way here to talk to her about it. The interrogation wasn't my fault."
"Santana, this is not just about what happened two days ago. This is about you, learning to let Quinn go. If you don't trust me, trust her and her judgment. Trust the Quinn who dwelled on healing herself over the past few years. She's a grown up woman, Santana as much as you are."
"She's fragile, Berry."
"You think I don't know that? I do. Believe it or not, I do. That's why I am excited to be married to her because I want to be the one taking care of her. I admire the way you care about Quinn but at some point, you have to let her go. You're not going to lose your best friend in the process of it, if that's what scares you."
Santana looked at Rachel tentatively then looked away again.
"Of course, every now and then, she'll be all cold and Sophomore Quinn again because that's just how she is. That's how she deals with her feelings and we just have to let it be. It doesn't mean she's going to slushy me again or throw you again against the lockers."
"Do you really think it's going to be that easy?"
"Nobody said it will be easy. I know Quinn and she's complicated and moody and she easily gets jealous but I love her," Rachel said in a breath. "I love her and I will be there for her until she's reminded of the person she really is, every time she loses it."
Santana sighed in frustration, "I messed up again, didn't I?"
Rachel nodded, "Big time."
"Fuck Quinn and her ninja skills. She kind of found a way to avoid me the past two days."
"She's really mad at you."
"Believe me, I know," she said as she rolled her eyes. Santana looked at Rachel and then said, "You're right. I don't trust you 100%."
"But you kind of bitch-slapped me with your long sentences again and okay, I'm sorry."
Rachel's eyes grew wide because Santana Lopez just apologized to her.
Santana Lopez apologized to Rachel Berry.
Do you see the wrong things in that sentence?
"Your eyeballs are poking out of its lids, Berry," Santana said seeing the expression on Rachel's face. "I'm sorry for underestimating you."
Rachel smiled victoriously, "Does this apology include all the underestimating you gave me in high school?"
Santana rolled her eyes, "Look, it's not gonna be easy for me to just let Quinn go like that. I've been her mother slash father slash best friend and slash her occasional girlfriend for the past six years and I'll always be around, every now and then, but I swear I'd try to keep my nose out of your relationship. Just promise me one thing."
"Don't ambush me on a public place again."
Rachel laughed, "Truce."
Santana sighed, "I honestly don't know where this leaves me and Quinn."
Rachel shook her head, "I don't have any idea, too but she'll come around."
Santana only sighed.
"You said yourself. You've been Quinn's mother slash father slash best friend and slash her occasional girl friend for the past six years. The Quinn we know wouldn't drop it just like that."
Santana smiled sadly, "Fuck Quinn and her dramatic life."
Rachel laughed, "Her life that has Santana Lopez in it. It must be very dramatic."
Santana laughed, "Come on. Half of Quinn's shit is about you."
"Half of it is yours, deal with it."
Santana just smiled. Well, it looked like she's back to square one with Quinn and Rachel.
Brittany took Quinn to the Boathouse Restaurant in Central Park and the two went boating.
"Remember the last time we went boating here? You were really honest with me back then."
"Now, tell me, how do you feel?"
Brittany laughed, "I don't understand why you still say you're fine. You know I know you're not."
"It's not easy for me to open up like that, you know."
"I know. San is a lot like you."
"Brit, can we go back now? My schedule with Dr. Bailey is kind of important."
"Come on Q. If you talk to her unwillingly, the therapy wouldn't work. Talk to me instead."
Quinn stayed silent because she really didn't know what to say.
Brittany sighed, "You know, it scares me when you go all cold like that; the way it scares me when Rachel is not rambling."
Quinn managed a small smile.
"Ask me if I agree with them."
Quinn looked at her.
"Do you think I need help?"
"Yes," Brittany said while looking straight into Quinn's eyes.
Quinn sighed sadly.
"But not because something is wrong with you. Nothing's wrong with you. Ask Rachel. She'll tell you you're perfect."
"I'm okay, Britt."
"I know but it doesn't mean that you don't need to talk about it."
"I don't want to talk about it."
"That's the part that makes me believe that you need to talk about it," Brittany said as she pulled Quinn closer to her. "You and Rachel are getting married, Q. If there's one thing I have learned about getting married, it's the truth that you have to set aside your issues to make it work."
"See? We'll have to forget about it anyway."
"What exactly is it?"
Quinn looked at her in confusion.
"What exactly is your issue, Quinn? The one issue that you need to set aside to make room for Rachel in your life?"
Quinn thought for a moment, "I don't know."
"See? You'll never be able to set it aside if you don't even know what it is. Knowing the problem is half the solution."
Here comes Brittany's inner Nicholas Sparks.
"B, they're all worried about the bulimia. That it's gonna come back and I'll burden Rachel with it and it's going to affect our marriage."
"No," Brittany said as she kissed the top of Quinn's head. "They're worried about you, doubting yourself again when times get rough. It's what caused the bulimia back then, Q – when you felt that you weren't good enough. It's also the same reason who had sex with Puck in high school."
Quinn just listened.
"The self-doubt is the unhealthy part of it, not the bulimia," Brittany said it like she said it every day. "Quinn, when you get married you have to be sure, not just of your partner but of yourself, more than anything else. It could get really ugly."
"You're so in love with Rachel and that's not a bad thing but when people are so happy, they tend to forget the complications that a decision might bring. This marriage is gonna change everything. You have to believe everyone that was present two days ago because if you'll notice, all of us there are married or were married in Judy's case."
Quinn thought for a while and realized that Brittany was right.
"I know Rachel wouldn't mind holding your hair up when you get attacks again but do you want her to?"
Then, it hit her.
"Do you really want your marriage to go through the same ground that your history with Rachel had long gone over with?"
Brittany knew she pulled a string.
"Santana just wants you to get over it. I understand her and I'm not being biased because she's my wife. You're happy when you're with Rachel and San doesn't want to see your old self messing up with what makes you happy right now. You have to let it go, Quinn. You have to learn to talk about it because it's the only way to deal with it."
Brittany took Quinn's hand and then continued, "I believe you are okay but you have to prove it to yourself. You cannot just fall back to the same old ways again when things get hard. Do it for Rachel. Do it for your future family."
"It's not that easy."
"Nothing worth having comes easy."
"My life is so complicated."
"It's not. The way you're dealing with it is what complicates it," Brittany said as she smiled. "Or the way you're not dealing with it is what makes it complicated. You have to learn to trust you, over again because you're going to share yourself with someone else now. Do you want to share this Quinn with low self-esteem with Rachel?"
"No. She deserves the best."
Brittany smiled, "Then, think about it. Not just the therapy but everything that it constitutes. Think of it as a rubber band – the more you stretch it and the more you resist letting it go, the more it hurts when it snaps back at you. "
"It's about trust, Quinn. You have to learn to trust yourself over again. If you can't even trust yourself, you'll never be able to trust Rachel enough. You can never give something that you don't have for yourself."
Then, it was silent again.
What's it with Brittany and boats and lakes?
"I know I am. You just failed to see the point when they ambushed you because deep inside you, you already believed something is wrong with you. You doubted yourself right away instead of seeing their intentions. That's the part you need help for."
Quinn sighed contentedly.
"It was wrong of them to corner you like that but at least give them a chance just for the sake of their intentions."
"Did San send you to talk to me about forgiving her?"
"No," Brittany said as she turned to her newspaper again. "You and San can never live without each other. You'll come around but it's gonna be different this time."
Quinn nodded because she was right.
"I need to get back to Dr. Bailey now," Quinn said as she smiled weakly.
Brittany was right.
She needed this not just for herself but for Rachel.
Brittany shook her head, "I know someone who can help you."
Quinn looked at Brittany, "San went through a few sessions of anger management last year. We trust her and she's qualified for your case."
"Santana went through anger management last year?"
"I didn't know," Quinn said in complete shock.
Brittany smiled, "I didn't know about it either until she finished eight sessions. She said she needed to do it because she didn't want to keep yelling at me when she gets all messed up."
Quinn could not get herself that Santana would go through that without her knowing.
"She's doing really good with her temper now," Brittany said as she shrugged. "She's just waiting for you to talk to her again to refer Dr. Carter but since I don't think you both are going back to talking terms anytime soon, I'll give you the card. I know where San keeps it."
"Thank you, Brit," Quinn said as she leaned her head on Brittany's shoulder.
Brittany just nodded and began shuffling her newspaper again, "Quinn, what's a three-letter for psychic letters? San and I have been solving this since last night and we really can't figure it out."
Quinn chuckled. Of course, Brittany didn't need to say she's welcome. She'd always been welcome. She smiled, "Try ESP."
Brittany scribbled, "Oh my God. ESP? That's it!"
ESP turned out to be right.
"Okay, I'm buying you coffee if you solve the nine-letter word for wipe out."
Quinn smiled. That one was hard.
She thought for a while.
"Your coffee is waiting, Baby Q."
She counted on her fingers, thinking if the word she had in mind was consisted of nine letters. Brittany just watched her, as if challenging her.
Then, Quinn smiled victoriously, "Eradicate."
Brittany smiled as she scribbled.
Who cares if she stood up Dr. Bailey, she's got free coffee anyway.
Quinn spent the next few days talking to Judy about the whole thing.
Judy explained her intentions, although Quinn didn't really need to hear it. She understood right after Brittany explained it to her. She apologized to her mother for acting the way she did and Judy understood.
Her mother even went as far as offering to help her find a new therapist but she just told her that she already got one. And instead of letting the situation get awkward, they decided to learn new recipes instead.
Quinn also visited the Berry men and apologized to them personally. Of course, the Berry men understood. Everyone understood her and it made her feel even guiltier about how she easily lashed out.
It made her want to take that therapy.
It made her want to stop hurting the people around her and for once in her life, she agreed that she needed help.
And she was going to get it herself.
Two more days and Quinn found herself sitting by the waiting area of Dr. Jessica Carter's office.
Brittany was right about her, she seemed really nice. She talked to her on the phone already and unlike her heavy feelings toward Dr. Bailey, she felt somewhat safe with Dr. Carter.
Never in a million years did she think she'd get psychological help for her issues but there she was, waiting for her first session.
She still didn't know where to start but at least, she'd be starting.
She was about to take out the book she'd been reading recently when a voice interrupted her, "If I was a basketball player, I'd be a bad one."
Quinn looked up in surprise and confusion.
Rachel just smiled at her, "Because I keep on missing you."
Oh God. How she missed Rachel's classic pickup lines.
Blushing, Quinn just smiled.
Rachel smilingly sat beside her and took her hand with both of hers. "I hope you don't mind if I keep your hand in mine," Rachel said with that look on her face.
"Why?" Quinn asked.
Rachel only shrugged as she lifted one hand and pointed to a sign above them: Don't leave your valuables unattended.
Quinn laughed because admit it, that was a good one.
"Nicely done, Rach."
Rachel only shrugged her shoulders as she kissed Quinn's hand.
"What are you doing here and how did you know where I am?" Quinn asked. As far as she was concerned, she didn't tell Rachel where she was having her sessions.
"I bribed Brittany," Rachel said laughingly, remembering how she bargained with Brittany about teaching Lily how to sing Don't Rain on My Parade at the tender age of three.
Quinn chuckled, "You're not supposed to be here. You have a show tonight."
"Quinn…" Rachel said as she sought Quinn's eyes. "This is more important that any show in my life, okay?"
The blonde just looked at her fiancé, "It's the first time you'll miss a show in your entire career."
Rachel smiled, "I bet my understudy is crying her eyes out right now."
Quinn laughed, "You didn't have to do this."
Dr. Carter's secretary approached as she called, "Ms. Fabray, Dr. Carter is ready for you. Shall we?"
Quinn looked at the middle-aged woman before turning to Rachel, seeking for some sort of assurance that she's gonna be fine.
Rachel squeezed her hand and smile, "You'll be fine, baby."
Quinn swallowed. Maybe, she can still back out. She looked back at the secretary, "I –"
"Madame, can we have a moment, please?" Rachel asked the secretary.
Understanding what was happening, the woman smilingly nodded, "Just approach me when you're ready." The woman then walked back to her desk.
Rachel turned to Quinn and cupped her face, "Baby, you can do this. No one forced you to be here this time. You want this."
Quinn's heart was hammering against her chest because there are issues about her life that she didn't feel so comfortable talking about.
"I will be sitting here and I will wait for you, no matter how long the session lasts. And after you come out of Dr. Carter's office, I guarantee you that I still love you all the same."
Quinn closed her eyes because Rachel sounded so honest, so sincere and she loved her more for it.
Rachel, on the other hand, knew that what she said was lie. She knew, that once Quinn makes it out of her first session, that she'd love her even more because Quinn did it for her, despite herself; despite her issues.
When Quinn opened her eyes, she found Rachel's in an instant, "I'll be sitting here thinking about the name of our first baby boy. I brought Santana's baby names book with me."
"I thought you wanted to have a girl."
Rachel contemplated, "I realized that I may also want to have a baby boy. I want him to play football and sing but I don't want him to be a giant."
Quinn laughed again and needless to say, it was the most beautiful thing Rachel has heard in her life. It has always been.
"You can do this Quinn," she said as she kissed her chastely. It was soft and short but it was enough to make Quinn feel that she wasn't going anywhere. She leaned their foreheads together and said, "I'm not going anywhere, Quinn. If you don't trust you," she smiles, "trust me."
Tears immediately formed in Quinn's eyes.
"I love you, Rach."
"I love you more, Quinn. Now, go. I have to think of baby names!"
And that was all the assurance Quinn needed.
For the next chapter, well, there's no stopping this wedding now.