In the wake of quiet after dawn, where my deep sigh eclipses your tired yawn, where sleepy eyes linger longingly, is swept away in disquiet forlornly. Too much time too much not touched, and oh pronounces in burden's decree. Without much more to whispered waylay, until again we sleep unsoundly.
In all fairness, she had a right to be crying. She stood in front of her mirror and stared at her reflection with contemplative judgment. What would others think when they saw her? Would she pass inspection? Deemed adequate? Did she play the part of a grieving daughter well? Through the shimmering of tears, Rachel Berry nodded at her reflection before practicing the proper head bow. Did she look sad enough? Was it too over the top? Was her head low enough?
For more than ten minutes Rachel practiced her part. It kept her mind off the fact that it wasn't really a role, just real life. She, however, wasn't granted the absolution of having the day off. There would be cameras and paparazzi at the grave site and she didn't fancy reading for the next few days that she didn't appear sad enough at her own father's funeral.
With a heavy sigh, Rachel wiped away the natural tears and left her childhood bedroom. There was no more time for grieving; she needed to go.
As to be expected, the funeral was a dreadful affair. She was positive she'd be reading on Page Six the next day all about how she hadn't sung at the event. Her daddy understood. If her dad was still alive, he would understand. Why couldn't everyone else? He died not even forty-eight hours prior and Rachel couldn't find it in her heart to sing.
The Rabbi spoke soothingly and Rachel tried to listen all while bowing her head suitably and wiping away tears at the appropriate time; not too often, but often enough so people knew she was crying. She was comforted by the fact that her daddy would randomly give her approving nods and conspiring smiles to let her know she was convincing. It was the only time they would genuinely smile; bonded in the knowledge that her dad would be laughing hysterically that Rachel had to "perform" at such an occasion. She hated that she had to care, but nothing hurt more than going through a difficult time and then having to deal with people criticizing you for not handling it "correctly."
After she placed the stones on the grave marker, Rachel let her daddy lead her away and momentarily forgot about head bowing techniques or too many tears. Her dad was gone. And she wasn't sure how she was going to fathom that. But it wasn't like she didn't have time to deal. Sadly, it hadn't been a surprise. What it was, was long and drawn out. The way you never want it to be. The way that is always still surprising in the end.
"Do you know her?"
Rachel glanced up to look at her dad before following his eyes. At the sight of Quinn Fabray standing just on the rough edges of the cemetery, all black sundresses and matching cardigans, Rachel's eyes widened behind the huge frames of her sunglasses. "Quinn?" Rachel breathed out in shock.
Rachel's daddy tilted his head as he tried to recall the name. It didn't take long. "Do you still talk to her, honey?" He asked in confusion.
Rachel silently shook her head, eyes still big with wonder, and swallowed thickly. "Not since high school."
From across the way, Quinn noticed Rachel's gaze on her and she brought her hand up in a sad wave that matched her smile. Not seeing someone after a few years has a way of giving you amnesia. Suddenly it's all bright smiles and tight hugs. But seeing someone at an affair such as a funeral has a different effect. Suddenly it's all loud tears and impossibly close hugs. Rachel had no idea what Quinn Fabray was doing at her dad's funeral, that was true, but she was even more clueless over when exactly she collapsed into the blonde's arms and started sobbing. She couldn't even recall when she approached her. She'd later be told she had run into Quinn's arms.
Quinn's cautious eyes darted around the cemetery as paparazzi collected their money shot. But she continued to shush Rachel soothingly as she held her close on the soft grass. Rachel was half on top of Quinn, settled awkwardly in her lap, as she cried hotly against Quinn's shoulder. They sat like that until Rachel's daddy's shadow started to blend into darkness—a stoic silhouette of a tall, broad-shouldered man that pocketed his hands so as to allow his daughter the comfort she sought instead of his own.
For most of the car ride back to the Berrys', Rachel just stared at Quinn in amazement. What was she even doing here? How did she find out? Why would she care? They sat, side by side, in the backseat as Rachel's daddy quietly drove to the soundtrack of easy listening misconstrued as white noise.
Several hours later, Rachel and Quinn sat across from one another in Rachel's childhood room. It was just as she had left it upon graduation, only much smaller. Quinn twirled a throw pillow between her hands as she sat on the bed, looking at her surroundings. Rachel only had eyes for Quinn. "What are you even doing here?" Rachel finally asked in wonder.
The pillow stilled and Quinn's gaze found a confused Rachel. The tiny diva was tucked up tight in her desk chair in front of her bedroom window as though she were the outsider in the room. "Rachel, you're father died, why wouldn't I be here?"
Well that's all well and good, Rachel thought, but still, why are you here? "We were never friends." Rachel stated in confusion, her shoulders lifting and shaking slightly as though the question had been an obvious one.
"But we never hated each other either." Quinn answered just as evenly. "I heard through my mother and thought you could use a friend. Is-is that not okay?" She was suddenly unsure of herself. Quinn never considered for a second that Rachel may not want her there. Never considered that it wouldn't be a good idea. She had heard the news and didn't give a second thought to jumping in her car, making a quick stop at Wallmart to buy a cheap black dress, before making the trip. Rachel's father died. So she came.
Rachel's back hit her chair and her grip around her legs loosened. "No, Quinn," Rachel whispered softly as she glanced down. "It's very thoughtful you came and I appreciate it a great deal."
Quinn let a soft, long breath as she nodded, glad that it was a good thing she was there. "I could use a drink." Rachel mumbled after some time. The silence had been natural. Small talk and grief sometimes don't go together when you're just comfortable with your company.
"We can go somewhere?" Quinn offered as she placed the throw pillow back down on the bed, already prepared to leave. But Rachel shook her head.
"I don't want to see anyone." She whispered.
Quinn's mashed lips moved from side to side before she shrugged. "We can go to my mom's. I'm sure she has loads of alcohol."
Rachel allowed herself a smile and chuckle combo at Quinn's attempt to lighten the mood. They exchanged smiles that spoke of their past—good and bad—before Rachel relented with a nod. "Okay."
Quinn makes the trips back to Lima quiet often, as a matter of fact. At least once a month she shares dinner with her mother. Even though her schedule is busy, Rachel could claim the same. Their paths, however, hadn't crossed in five years. They all had drifted apart not long after they graduated college. They were too busy finding jobs, getting married, or moving away. There would be a random Facebook Likes, or a message quickly typed under a newly posted picture that they should get together, but the glee kids were just no longer kids and things came up.
When Rachel was in town, it would be for hospital visits or to bring a home cooked meal for her daddy. When the glee kids were in town it would be for birthday parties or Christmases. They would always just miss one another. And as time went by, carving out available meet ups became trickier and the motivation behind them easier to forget. They were all still a family, though, and that was why Quinn had come.
"Puck's sorry he couldn't make it," Quinn said as she dusted off a bottle of vodka before pushing it aside in favor of another. "He was the only one I got a hold of before I left. He's in Wisconsin for business or something." Rachel nodded from the couch as she watched Quinn bent over inspecting her mother's liquor cabinet. "I know Mercedes is in Houston-"
"On tour, I know. She texted me Wednesday."
"Yeah," Quinn breathed out before finally finding a bottle she liked. She held it up to the light before grabbing two tumblers and striding over to the couch. "You still talk to everyone?"
Rachel accepted the two fingers of scotch from Quinn and shrugged. "Not everyone. Kurt, Tina, Mercedes, Finn, Noah…" She shrugged again before taking a slow sip. "Who you'd you expect, I suppose."
Quinn nodded as she sipped. She knew Rachel spoke to everyone at one point, like they all had, but you do lose touch so easily. The last time she could recall trading Facebook messages with Rachel was just under two years prior. Quinn remembered because she smiled when she saw Rachel had Liked her status: "Will sing for rent money." Then she remembered laughing when she received a birthday card four months early in the mail with a five dollar bill inside. It was signed "And interested audience." Quinn then, in turn, messaged Rachel. Just the lyrics to Mary Had a Little Lamb, but she had purred with laughter when Rachel's reply had been, "Practice! I heard you go sharp from here!"
But again, you get busy. Quinn had been lucky enough that she didn't have to practice singing. She got signed to a design firm and soon was busy decorating starter houses that became large homes and then small mansions. Lima became Cleveland and Cleveland turned into Chicago and soon Quinn was spending five dollar bills on expensive coffees and thick design magazines. Never the one Rachel had sent though. No, that she framed. When asked, Quinn would brag to company that it was her payment for a sold-out concert she had performed. It proudly hung by the large bay window in her living room. But mostly because Rachel had autographed it.
Two drinks deep and they were both sprawled out on their respective couches giggling about the past. Quinn's left arm was draped over the back of the couch while her right dangled off of it with her tumbler tightly in her hand. They spoke of glee club, solos, song choices, funny moments, embarrassing moments, complicated relationship triangles, squares, hexagons, losses, wins, and spotty chorography.
"No, no, no!" Rachel giggled as she hopped off the couch. She still held her glass of scotch and pointed at Quinn with her free hand. "Do you remember this dance." Quinn head fell back onto the arm of the couch as she laughed, covering her warm face as she watched Rachel side-step, turn, cross-over, turn, and repeat until unnecessary.
"How did we ever win competitions?" Quinn chuckled as Rachel continued dancing to the song of glee club past that only they could hear.
"No idea." Rachel breathed out, panting slightly as she moved.
Quinn sat up on an elbow and sipped. "I mean, we never prepared! We'd decide moments before going up on stage what we'd sing, throw in some simple figure-eights that were more like stage transitions than dancing, and be shocked when we didn't win!"
Rachel's hands were on her knees as she laughed at Quinn's truth. Quinn smiled at the sight. "Okay, come on," Rachel waved over, "Let's do a routine together."
Quinn shook her head in amusement before peeling herself off the couch to stand at Rachel's side. "Wait, hold on!" Quinn declared suddenly. She took one more hearty swallow to finish off her drink before setting her glass and Rachel's down, and tossed off her cardigan. "Okay, I'm ready." She declared as she got into position.
But Rachel was no longer set. Her eyes were wide as she stared at Quinn's tattooed arm. The full sleeve of black and white ink had nearly sobered the diva up. "You-you-you got…What am I even looking at?"
Quinn glanced down at her arm in confusion. "Oh. Yeah. I have tattoos now. Now come on, I want to do the Cell Block Tango one." Both of Quinn's arms dramatically shot up over her head as she remembered how the dance began. Rachel shook off her surprise but quickly became a professional.
"On my count."
One more glass of scotch and a lecture from Judy that the girls were louder than a gaggle of teenage girls at a sleepover, and Rachel was at her childhood door saying goodbye; Quinn had insisted on walking her home to make sure she got there safely.
It was late and Rachel was exhausted. She knew she didn't have to go home. Her daddy was still with his brothers and her dad's family talking. He was happy she had a friend and wanted her where she was smiling. But Rachel needed to see him, even for only a brief glance to know that he too didn't disappear.
"When are you going back to Chicago?"
"Probably tomorrow." Quinn answered with a shrug. She leaned heavily against the door as Rachel rested a shoulder to the frame. "You? When do you go back to New York?"
Rachel shrugged and smiled sadly. "Not sure." Quinn nodded in understanding. She couldn't even imagine suffering a loss and then having to perform for an audience. But Rachel was strong. There was a lot Quinn couldn't imagine doing that Rachel did every day.
"You should visit, though. When was the last time you were in New York?"
Quinn sighed as she tried to remember. "Last year, I guess? When I went to that show with Kurt."
Rachel nodded. "I remember. I was supposed to go to that show with you two but my throat was scratchy and you saw Wicked anyway instead of bringing me herbal tea and bereavement cards."
Quinn's throaty chuckle made Rachel smile. "I apologize. I could only steal away for a few hours. Some of us work off Broadway, you know."
Rachel bit her lip and ducked her head, pleased that she and Quinn's banter stood the test of time. Their chuckles turned into soft sighs before they were just smiling at one another fondly. "You'll come visit." Rachel demanded as she pointed threateningly at Quinn with a furrowed brow and a pout on her lips.
"I will." Quinn whispered with a nod.
"But you can't just say you will and never do. This is a for real promise. One that you'll keep and accomplish in no longer than a month." Again, Quinn nodded with a smile.
They were silent as they continued to smile softly at one another. "I feel as though I should have the perfect, life-affirming quote to recite to you to properly show my appreciation for all that you've done for me today. But since I do not." Rachel whispered with a smile as she moved closer. "I'm going to hug you now." Quinn chuckled and ducked slightly so that Rachel could wrap her arms around Quinn's neck and Quinn could take her waist. "Thank you so much, Quinn." Rachel's forehead rested on Quinn's bare shoulder and tried to transfer her gratitude through her embrace—hugging Quinn just a little tighter and longer to try and fully get her point across.
When they parted, Quinn held Rachel's cheeks softly with her palms and stared at her directly in the eye. "And you promise me that if you need anything, anything at all, you'll let me know. Okay?"
Rachel nodded. When her father died, Quinn had wished someone had been there for her. Someone she hadn't expected to see. She didn't even have a relationship with the man and she had still been devastated. But Quinn hadn't told anyone of her father's passing and there hadn't been an obituary. It wasn't surprising when no one showed up for the service. Just old colleagues of her father's who chatted amicably over drinks and laughed about their retirement days.
"Quinn?" Rachel said suddenly, opening the door wider and getting Quinn to halt her progress down the driveway.
"Yeah?" She asked softly over her shoulder before turning slightly back.
"Spend the night?"
In the time it takes to gasp sharply, Quinn's mind had already concocted a litany of images that she hoped hadn't showed on her face. She slowly expelled a breath so her voice wouldn't quiver. "Sure." Rachel stood aside so that Quinn could pass, but Quinn stopped just short of the doorway. "Can I run home first to grab a few things first?"
Not fifteen minutes later the two girls were in their pajamas sitting on the roof access right outside Rachel's bedroom window. The air was chilly and they tugged their hoodies closer to their bodies to ward off the chill. "I wish we were still drinking."
Quinn just nodded. She knew that feeling. The one where you started thinking again and wished you wouldn't. "I have some weed in my bag."
Rachel giggled into the shoulder of Quinn's hoodie and Quinn smiled at the sound. "Who are you, Quinn Fabray?"
By the time Rachel was high from the contact of Quinn blowing streams of smoke into her mouth—she would not partake in the actually smoking—her eyes were closed more often than open out of sheer exhaustion—and maybe a little from the weed.
Quinn took one more hit and blew it towards the sleepy town before stubbing out the joint on the roof's shingles and silently pulling Rachel to her feet and back through the window. They fell into bed and soon Rachel was snuggling deeply against Quinn as Quinn's tattooed arm held Rachel close to her. Their "Goodnights" were incoherent and they were asleep before the lingering smoke faded with a sharp sway.
Thirty days exactly passed before Quinn mustered up the courage. Vacation days weren't a problem. Her firm wasn't a bustling mess of activity. It wasn't even a matter of money. Quinn just wasn't sure if she could. But there she stood, on Rachel Berry's Park Avenue doorstep, nervously heaving her duffle bag over her shoulder before she took a deep breath and knocked.
She was immediately scolded, of course. Quinn should have known that "no longer than a month," meant visit as soon as possible. But before Quinn could even get out an apology and gather a fake excuse, Rachel whipped out a baggie from behind her back and shoved it in Quinn's startled face. "I bought marijuana!"
Rachel looked like a proud kid producing their A-heavy report card. So Quinn schooled her confused expression into one of mind congratulations with a quick flip of her eyebrows. "Awesome?"
Not five minutes later, the two were sitting on the cramped window sill. Quinn was rolling up a joint as Rachel bounced excitedly at her side. She was babbling, she knew, but she needed to fill her mind with useless storytelling instead of thoughts of the pending act she was about to partake in. Because, when one is close to Rachel Berry's mouth, softly blowing smoke between suckable lips, one needs to distract themselves instead of acting on their baser instincts.
So she just nervously licked the rolling paper as she tried to explain why she chooses joints over bowls or blunts or bongs or or or…why does Rachel keep licking her lips? Or one-hitters. It's because she's classy. Because she's stylish and retro. She doesn't even care that they burn quickly and don't hold a lot of weed. That she needs to spend so much money to keep herself in rolling papers. Sometimes a phonebook or a quick tear from the bible works. No, Rachel, I only rip from Leviticus. Besides it takes thought and effort. It takes skill and focus. Because it's an art. Because…you do have a lighter, don't you?
She was babbling. But Rachel kept licking her lips and they were so close and a month is a long time to see someone. Even if it was only one day, for only a handful of hours you saw them. Even if five years before that was the last time you were face to face.
And where did you get this weed? Rachel, we are not smoking something you bought down an alleyway two blocks south of it doesn't matter where because you didn't know them and yes I'm flushing it! But I made pot brownies so it's okay and I was going to make hash brownies but since you don't smoke, or rather, inhale weed at all but that one time, I thought we'd start small. But eat only one and do it slowly because it will be enough.
She was babbling. But Rachel looked just so happy that she was there and she was wearing so little and it doesn't matter that you were unaware of Rachel Berry's beauty until she was sobbing in your arms at her dad's funeral—you see it now. You feel it now.
But Quinn had underestimated and the pot in the brownies was even too unsubstantial to get Rachel high. Neither of you mind, however. It's just nice to eat pot-lite brownies with someone that you've always known. Even when you didn't know you knew them.
As Quinn glanced around the open space of Rachel's apartment, Rachel watched her closely and smiled at the quick assessment happening before her eyes. "I decorated it myself."
Quinn nodded, her eyes on the bright color scheme of yellows and oranges. "Yeah, I read that."
Rachel smiled briefly, wondering what else Quinn had read about her. "Would you like to redecorate it? I feel like a change." Rachel breathed out in contentment.
Quinn was nodding as the changes took form in her mind's eyes. "Very much so." It wasn't that she didn't like what Rachel had done with the place, more like she wanted to leave her mark. So that Rachel would look around and see Quinn everywhere.
Rachel's finger tapped on the rim of her wine glass as she continued to watch Quinn mentally work. She silently placed her wine glass down on the floor and stood until she was walking on tiptoes to where Quinn sat in her chair. Quinn's head turned just as Rachel sat astride her and weaved her fingers deeply into Quinn's short hair with a quick catch of Quinn's top lip between her own.
Quinn's body would shift and Rachel's would move to accommodate so they were never not touching. Rachel would turn her head slightly and Quinn would grasp Rachel's bottom lip and slide her tongue deeply in Rachel's mouth to give her reason to. Quinn would moan loudly and Rachel would find new skin to climb and cover so she could hear it again. Their languid movements weren't soft or careful, but a slow build of an erotic grind that spoke of want and passion.
No more than heavy pants and hungry stares passed between them as Rachel urged Quinn's zip-up hoodie roughly down her shoulders and arms. The loud echoing of their breathing and moans roared louder with each press of their lips and swipes of their tongues until Quinn was fumbling with the fabric of Rachel's tank top as their hands brushed on Rachel's journey to Quinn's belt.
Rachel sat up hastily as Quinn finished the job she started, her pounding heart and shaky hands shucking off her jeans until she was kicking them to the floor and Rachel was repositioning herself down on Quinn's lap. The feel of their thighs sliding together renewed their kisses until they were sloppy and unfocused. All thoughts were solely on the feel of the rising and falling of Rachel's hips against Quinn's. Their hands fisted hair and caressed skin as they grappled with the wheres and the hows and whens of their touches until it was all too much.
Quinn hands ran up Rachel's thighs and slipped underneath the hem of her shorts until she was holding Rachel's hips steady and constructing a slower, firmer rhythm as their eyes locked. Their parted mouths panted as they stared until a flick of Quinn's wrist pushed aside Rachel's panties and Rachel's eyes slammed shut and she licked her lips.
The quick thrusts of her hips against Quinn's fingers kept Quinn in constant contact with Rachel. With the limited amount of space in which to work, Quinn's knuckles brushed against Rachel's hard click with each down stroke of Rachel's thrusts. She plunged deeply inside of her and marveled at each emotion that contorted Rachel's beautiful face.
Rachel's forehead dove for Quinn's shoulder as her hands pushed Quinn's bra down passed her breasts. She sunk her teeth into the pale skin as her hips moved faster and Quinn's fingers sunk deeper and firmer into the growing wetness.
The slow build of the increasingly higher whines were still deep with need and the almost of it all. Rachel panted heavily in Quinn's ear and groaned hotly as her body stiffened and stilled while she came. Quinn only held her tighter while she cried out her release and didn't remove her fingers from inside of Rachel until the tears stopped.