It's always been in the back of her brain. The idea, the methodology. At first, she decides it's about social hierarchy, claiming what she needs to climb to the top and stay firmly planted, visible and vote-worthy.
It works. For a while.
But it's not enough. She still has a grip on the top of the (figurative) pyramid, but the ground's giving way and there's no tiara to cling to, no overtly tall oafish boyfriend to hold her up.
She needs something else.
The idea of a fresh start really appeals to her, but she can't bail on New Directions, not now, not after everything. They've all worked so hard and she wants to see it through. She even feels like she owes a little something to Rachel, because it's not her damn fault that Finn's like a ping-pong ball, ricocheting between them.
There's also the fact that Rachel's the only one who seems to "get" her. For all their drama, they have their moments, short interludes of understanding.
Still, when the idea develops into an actual plan of action, she can't bring herself to tell her. Not right away. Kurt's the only one who knows (and, by default, Blaine) because she needs his help with the execution and because he literally has something she needs.
"You want what?" he asks. The request is enough to get him to look up from his copy of Italian Vogue.
"Your uniform. I'll buy it. Or... them, I guess. You have more than one, right?"
He closes the magazine, because now she has his full attention. At first he was thinking it was a costume party thing, but now that she's speaking in plurals, he knows something is most definitely up. "Why?"
She's prepared for the third degree but it's still difficult to vocalize, because she's still not really sure about all the details. There is one, though, that's crystal clear. "I want to transfer to Dalton."
The look on his face is somewhere between amused and annoyed, because he can't quite tell if she's just fucking with him. "You're thinking of Crawford," he says, sipping his blended skinny vanilla frapp.
"No. I'm not."
She's fully aware that Crawford Country Day Academy is the sister school to Dalton. But that's not what she wants.
"Quinn?" Now he's curious, because she can't possibly be serious. And if she is, well that's just... fascinating. As it is, he's itching for any good stories, because school's been out for a whole week and the most he gets at home is the sports news shot back and forth between his dad and Finn at breakfast, and that's only if Finn has even rolled his lanky ass out of bed before eleven.
They're off in a corner of The Lima Bean and it's not really that busy. Regardless, she waves him closer and she's already practically leaning across the table before she speaks again.
"I want to transfer to Dalton." It's a direct repeat, distinctly enunciated for clarity.
"Is this... some kind of immersion journalism project?" He wouldn't put it past her, the girl in front of him was bound to try anything for a shot at a scholarship.
"No. Kurt, please. Just, let me buy the uniforms." Her tone shifts from confident to strained.
"Okay. Uh, yeah. Why not? I don't need them." He leans back in his chair, hands together as he considers their similar waistlines. "Come by tomorrow and I'll fit them for you. I'm taller, so we'll need to hem the slacks. And you'll want the blazer taken in to accent your-"
"No." Again with the negative. "I mean, yeah, hem the pants. But I don't want to... accent anything else."
"You really want to transfer," he realizes. "As a..."
She shrugs, but it's not because she's unsure.
He strokes his chin as he studies her, an evaluation already forming. Not judgement, though. He supports this, whatever it is. "You'll need another hair cut. The bob's adorable, but you'll never pass. Not even there." He's already projecting various styles and cuts onto her head. "Doesn't have to be drastically shorter than it is, just... different."
"Okay." She's relieved that someone else is on board, even if she hasn't divulged everything.
"You should probably talk to Blaine."
They're in her room, because they can't do this at Kurt's. Finn lives there and while she knows this can't stay a secret forever and despite whatever satisfaction it might give her to confuse the hell out of him, she's not quite ready for that step in the process.
Blaine's there, too, seated at the vanity, legs crossed, his back to the mirror. He hasn't asked too many questions, because Kurt's filled him in. Quinn actually requested it because, while Kurt loves gossip, he also manages to keep his mouth shut when it's important and Blaine seems to abide by that same philosophy.
She needs support and they're it.
"Stop fidgeting. Honestly, you'd think this was your first fitting." In addition to the numerous impromptu alterations Kurt's done for Glee Club, he knows her prom dress was professionally fitted, and it's obvious she's well versed in tailoring etiquette. Except her right leg won't hold still.
Quinn catches the glare shooting up at her from below and she plants her foot on the floor. "Sorry."
When Blaine finally speaks up, it's to ask something Kurt couldn't answer. "What do your parents think of this?"
"My dad's irrelevant. Mom's... working on it."
"Quinnie." Judy's voice is part warning, part concern, both parts directly related to the fact that Quinn's face is buried in a pint of Ben and Jerry's New York Super Fudge Chunk.
"Finn broke up with me." Quinn drops the spoon into the carton. "Again."
"Oh, honey." What kind of boy breaks up with a girl at a funeral for goodness sake?
"It's... not a big deal."
Judy doesn't believe that, at all. "I know you stopped carb counting after prom, but you seem to be over-compensating if whatever happened isn't that important to you."
"I can deal with losing Finn. It's..." Quinn's not sure how to put her thoughts into words.
They've been in family therapy together ever since she returned home to Fabray Manor and both of them have worked through a lot. Really, the problem was Russell, because the mother/daughter dynamic has always been, for the most part, good. Less good when Judy drinks, but even at her worst, she's never been at all like him.
But this is more than just a chat about boys or even a discussion about sex, it's about change and shifting expectations and Quinn's not sure how her mother will respond.
"... I thought I wanted to be prom queen."
"It's okay that you didn't get it. There's always next year. And you should try for Homecoming Queen, too."
"I'm sorry. Go on."
"I don't want to run next year. For any of it. I don't even want to go to McKinley." The words are hard enough to get out and this is the easiest part of the conversation.
"All right. That's fine. We already considered originally sending you to Crawford, but you were so fixated on Cheerios."
"I know. But... I don't want to go there."
"There are only so many options, Quinn."
"I want to go to Dalton Academy."
"But that's an all boys school." Judy stares at her, then begins to laugh. It's genuine amusement, because she thinks Quinn's pulled a good one over on her.
Quinn pulls the spoon out of the ice cream and secures the lid before rising from the couch and exiting to the kitchen. It was worth a shot.
"Quinn?" Judy quickly realizes it's not a joke and follows after her daughter.
The younger blonde shoves the ice cream to the back of the freezer and carelessly pushes the appliance door shut. "I don't actually want to bbe/b a guy, if that's what you're thinking."
She really doesn't. She knows because she's considered it, wondered if that's what all this means. What she discovered was, she likes being a girl just fine, but ever since she took control of her life after Bellville, everything's been about expected appearances: Cheerios, Celibacy Club, Prom Queen. Even pregnant, she did her best to cling to whatever representation people responded to best. She's good at social manipulation, it's how she got to where she is. Or was.
Either way, neither place is where she actually wants to be.
Judy nods. "Do you think you're..."
There are probably a million variations of the way that question could end, but Quinn knows what her mother is asking.
"I don't know."
Maybe she has an idea, but this already feels like enough of a bomb to drop and she doesn't feel like getting into a deep discussion about how her infatuation with Rachel Berry actually has nothing to do with Finn and is only partly related to the little diva's path to inevitable success.
She has no idea how to read her mother's expression and she's already mentally packing up her bedroom, trying to determine what will and won't fit into the spare room at the Jones residence.
"But this is something you really want." It's not a question. "To go to Dalton."
"Then I suggest you figure out just how you're going to make that happen."
Quinn can tell her mother doesn't entirely understand, but the crushing hug she's currently receiving from Judy suggests that she's willing to try.
Kurt presses two fingers to his mouth, the tailor's tape draped over his neck as he looks her over. "It's uncanny, really." He won't let her look in the mirror, yet. "You still need a haircut, but I think we're done, here." His hand waves in dismissal, giving her permission to turn around.
Everything about this screams Bad 80's Movie, but as she straightens the tie and brushes her hands over the lapels of the blue blazer, all she can think about is how she's never felt so right about anything as she has her current reflection.