Everything's perfect. Even though they weren't able to get their regular table at Sardi's (okay, regular is pushing it, they've been here twice before), this one's actually better, things are lining up exactly the way Quinn pictured they would when she decided, three weeks ago, that this was going to happen.
Rachel had been standing at the sink, washing the morning coffee mugs and singing along to the third Madonna song in a row that had played during a Z100 80's weekend. The song in question had been "Dress You Up" and there had even been a few specific dance moves as the cups found themselves in the dish drainer.
That was the day Quinn realized she was ready to ask Rachel to marry her.
They've been together six years, give or take. The beginning's still up for debate (and probably always will be). Rachel counts from the first time they kissed (like, legitimately kissed, not the cheap imitation versions that occurred during a few rounds of spin the bottle), which was during Spring Break of senior year. Quinn counts from the first time she actually called Rachel her girlfriend, which was at Puck's graduation party, two months later.
Whatever the case, they've made it this far together, through school and fast paced city life. There were also two periods of time where they were "off", the first for a week, the second for nearly a month, but both of those were while they were still in college and now they're not. Now they live together in a small but cozy two bedroom in Astoria, Queens. As much as Rachel would love to live in the glamour of the city, their neighborhood is safe and friendly and they don't live in a shoebox.
Rachel's always auditioning and manages to land small roles here and there, but she makes her money working as a member of the singing waitstaff at a tourist trap diner in Midtown. But at least she's singing for pay. Quinn's put her communications degree to work as a lifestyle blogger, but more than anything she runs a hell of an eBay store, because she always has an eye for the weirdest crap that people seem to want.
Their life together works and it works well. They've been talking about getting a puppy, since Quinn's usually home during the day, and Rachel's Daddy was always allergic to pets. Plus, it's a step.
And Quinn's ready to make an even bigger one.
Right now, there's a small velvet box totally burning a hole in her pocket.
Across the table, Rachel looks stunning, even in the simplest cocktail dress. Her hair's swept up in some Hepburn (Audrey, not Kate) inspired style and she just looks classy and elegant and like she's never belonged anywhere but here on West 44th Street. Quinn's wearing a classy pinstriped slacks and waistcoat ensemble (the pants were essential for the pockets), and she fidgets with the sleeves of her shirt as the waiter clears away their plates and asks if they'd like dessert (Rachel orders coffee for both of them).
Once he's gone, Quinn mentally steadies herself and goes for it.
She rests her hand across the table, palm upward. "Rach?"
"Hmm?" Rachel's hand immediately rests atop the open one in front of her.
"I love you."
"I love you, too, Quinn."
"And, we've been through a lot together and I know sometimes money's tight and I know we're still at the beginning of a lot and things will probably come up that are really hard and will take some work..." She tries to read the expression on Rachel's face, but all she can pick up is that she's listening, intently. "But that doesn't matter, because we're doing it together and I can't even imagine doing any of it with anyone else, ever. So," she reaches into her pocket and slips out of her seat, still holding Rachel's other hand.
"Wait, Quinn, why are you...?" The question overlaps with Quinn's.
"Rachel, will you marry me?" She pops the box open to reveal the princess cut diamond inside. It had set her back a little, but not a ridiculous amount, given her well-honed eBay skills.
Rachel stares at the ring, but doesn't take it. She doesn't say anything, either.
"Rach?" She worries she's sent her fiancee (does that count, yet?) into some kind of shock, which isn't unreasonable, given Rachel's flair for the dramatic.
"Quinn it's... it's beautiful," she finally says, then looks around at the restaurant and Quinn can actually see the realization of everything about the evening settling in. "I..." And then she's up, out of the chair, and Quinn's still down on one knee, watching her assumed fiancee-turned-flight-risk escape through the dinner rush.
All she can do is watch her go, because she wasn't prepared for this and it's like her legs don't work, because they're still in proposal mode.
"I suppose you won't be needing the coffee?" says the waiter, standing over her.
"No, I won't," she sighs as she snaps the box shut.
What just happened?
Seventeen minutes pass before she receives a text that simply says: "At Kurt's."
Quinn doesn't know if that means that she should also go over to Kurt's or just leave Rachel alone or what. She's still completely lost as to what she did wrong, because they've even talked about the future in this specific capacity. There's a binder in the kitchen, two drawers down from where they keep the silverware that's totally dedicated to brainstorming about weddings. Before she can re-analyze her actions for the eighth time since it happened, her phone rings. It's Kurt.
"Tell me you didn't."
"I... what, propose? Yeah, I did."
"Oh my god. Okay, tell me everything."
"I bought a ring, took her to dinner, asked her to marry me, and she ran away."
"I really hope you're not paid by the word at your job."
"Just... is she okay?"
"She's pacing and at the rate she's going, she'll probably wear a hole in my living room rug. And it's not from IKEA."
"Do you have any idea why-"
"-Of course I do."
"Then, for God's sake, Kurt, tell me!"
"Okay, listen. Go home, get on her computer and open the folder titled My Fair Funny Girl."
"I'm not just going to-"
"Quinn. It's okay."
"Send me a picture of the ri-"
She hangs up before he finishes. But she snaps a photo and sends it, anyway. At least someone will enjoy it.
She catches a cab to the apartment and hates the feeling of dread that settles in her stomach as she enters the space alone. As per Kurt's instruction, she grabs Rachel's laptop off the coffee table and turns it on. They share just about everything, but they also have a pretty good grasp on respected privacy, so she feels a little weird logging into the account (even though they know each other's passwords, anyway) and finding the correct folder.
Inside is a slew of contents, from pictures to audio files and video clips. It seems a little disorganized for Rachel, but then she finds a spreadsheet that counters that very thought. It's still a bit cryptic until she realizes that she's looking at a very detailed proposal plan. The videos are clips of proposal scenes from their favorite films, the mp3s are songs that hold meaning for them (and some of them date all the way back to New Directions), and the pictures are of various locations they often frequent around the city.
Rachel's been trying to mix and match the best combination to create the most meaningful experience.
The door opens and she startles at the sound, but then it's just Rachel. It's not until the lamp next to the couch is switch on that Quinn realizes she's just sitting in the dark with the computer on her lap.
"I... Kurt told me to look." She doesn't want Rachel to be upset with her any more than she already is.
"I know. I told him to tell you."
Quinn nods and is about to say more, but Rachel just turns and walks to the bedroom. It's probably better to let her just go. But then maybe she's supposed to follow, so she shuts the laptop and pushes herself up off the couch. Except now Rachel's walking back into the living room.
Quinn sits. "I didn't know-"
"Until..." she has to find her own place to live?
"I've been planning for six months. I was scheduled to ask you next Friday, because it's the anniversary of the first time we saw a Broadway show together."
"Wicked," Quinn confirms. It had been on the Nationals trip with the glee club.
Rachel knees between the couch and the table so she can flip the computer back open and search for a file. "You... totally screwed it all up."
"I didn't... I always thought you would want..."
"Quinn, one thing I know about myself is that I can improvise." She pulls up a photo on the screen of the Bandshell at Central Park. "I was going to hire those guys from the 14th Street station."
"The ones who do all the Motown covers?"
Rachel nods and brings up iTunes and selecting a song. You'veReallyGotaHoldOnMe (The Miracles version) begins to play and Quinn can't even think of anyone else in the world who has song that begins with "I don't like you, but I love you" as something that means so much to them.
"On top of improvising, being with you has taught me to compromise, even when I really don't always want to." Rachel turns from the table to the couch and leans her arms on Quinn's knees as she looks up at her. "So, Quinn Fabray, even though you rained all over my parade..."
Quinn manages a small smile. "I thought nobody did that."
There's a smirk and a glare that signals for her to shut up. "... I realize I did the same to you when I stormed out of Sardi's tonight. I'm sorry I did that."
"I was stuck on one knee and couldn't chase after you."
"Well, now I'm on both and I'm not going anywhere." Rachel turned back to the table and grabbed something she'd apparently brought back from the bedroom. Somehow, Quinn had missed it. "Lucy Quinn Fabray..." There's a different velvet box presented to her and inside was a modest but still gorgeous ring inside. "Will you marry me?"
"How much would you absolutely murder me if I walked away, right now?"
"Just answer the question."
Quinn pauses, briefly, for dramatic effect, then says, "Yes."
Rachel grins and pulls the ring from the box, eager to slip it on Quinn's finger. Once it's in place, she looks at it, then up at Quinn. "You know, that's a lot of work just to ask a question that has a yes or no answer." She grabs the collar of her new fiancee's shirt and pulls her down into a kiss.
"At least you got one," Quinn mumbles.
"That reminds me," Rachel says as she pulls back enough to look Quinn in the eye, one side of her mouth upturned. "I think you have something for me."