"Why is it so easy for you to hurt me?"

"That's a funny question, coming from you."

"So answer it."

"I don't think so." She looked away.

Her slim fingers wrap around a tan, muscled wrist and grip it hard. "Answer the question, Rachel."

"I'm going to calmy ask you to let go of my wrist now."

Pulling her closer, the other speaks again. "Why is it so easy, huh? You make it seem like you could do it in your sleep. Why?"

"Stop trying so hard to lie to me Quinn."

"What?" she lets go of her, an eyebrow elegantly wraised above a hazel eye.

"It isn't working."

"What?"

"You've already said that. Try again."

"What are you talking about, Rachel?"

"I thought you understood. I know you, and I know-"

"You...you don't know anything about me, Berry." The words dripped with venom and a wall went up around the blonde while Rachel watched her build it.

"You don't need that. I'm not trying to hurt you." the brunette rearranged the chair Finn had been sitting in before she'd sent him off. It faced her now, and she motioned for Quinn to sit.

"Why am I sitting here? Why did I even come to this stupid party? I should just go. Now." She wanted to leave, and she didn't.

"So why did you come?"

I...I don't know. If you're so interested, why did you come?"

"Finn was-" She stopped as she noticed the look in Quinn's greenish eyes.

"Ugh...Finn. I guess you were right huh? You win." a grimace formed over beautiful features and she shook her head.

"This is the furthest thing from a competetion, Quinn." The two of them locked eyes, and the blonde didn't speak.

"But I recall what you speak of. Last year when the club was writing original songs for regionals." The blonde frowned at the mention of that conversation. Even while pushing Rachel away, she'd let her in more than she had anyone.

"You...were right. You have him now, and here I sit. Alone at this stupid party, talking to you." She looked over to the right at Brittany and Artie wheeling around with sparklers and then back to the determined coffee eyes in front of her.

"I suppose I was right. It's more complicated than it seemed to you then." You aren't alone, she said with her eyes.

"Why?" controlled curiosity was written in the way she furrowed her brow.

Rachel closed her eyes took in a breath, weighing her options before opening her eyes and staring deep into Quinn's. "It's true that I didn't want him to be with you, but-"

Quinn shook her head, hands gripped to white on the chairs arms and brows furrowed. "Why do you always have to do this? You sit there like that and talk with all the information in the world while I sit here and wonder what the hell you're getting at!"

Rachel continued on unhindered. "But I had always thought it was because I was in love with him. I was wrong. After you told me what you expected your life to turn out like, I decided that I would do my best to keep him away from you. Get him to...to be with me so that he wouldn't have a chance to ruin your life. Because I won't let you." the brunette had spent the last month and a half with someone she saw simply as an obstacle, and now, as a result of touching all over Finn once she saw Quinn show up, maybe she'd be able to drop the charade.

"Wait, what?"

"I know the only reason you've always acted the way you act is because of you were raised to believe that's all your life was supposed to be. The cheerleader, and the prom queen, and the mechanic's wife. But you're so much better than that Quinn. You're better than Lima, you're better than Quinn Hudson. You're better than being stuck here for the rest of your life married to a man you've never loved, wishing you'd realized it earlier. This, Quinn, this is earlier." Rachel's arms were flailing around rather randomly now and she just hoped that Quinn understood.

"What the hell, Berry?" She stood, anger beyond obvious on her face and kicked her chair over. She walked closer to Rachel, ready to put her fist in the brunettes face.

"Please try not to be angry, Quinn. I just...I want better for you!" she put her hand over the blonde's heart, ready to push her away if need be.

"Who the fuck do you think you are to want better for me?" This was crazy. Really crazy.

"Someone who cares enough to tell you what you're worth. What you deserve."

"Please. Why don't you stop pretending? No one cares about me! Not really..." No one.

"I do." the brunette nodded firmly and placed her free hand over her heart.

"No. You don't." Just-"

"Don't I, Quinn? Think about it." The blonde did think about it. And sure, Rachel did honestly show her more care than anyone else she knew, apart from Mercedes sophmore year, but the little diva was manipulative. "No. This is just about Finn for you. It always is."

"It isn't, Quinn. I don't care about Finn. I don't think i ever did. I wouldn't even be with him if i didn't think he wouldn't try to get you back when I dropped him." It's about you, it's always been about you.

"What?" They both looked over to their left as Finn walked up to them. "Rachel, what are you saying? I thought-"

"What now, Rachel?" She crossed her arms across her chest, pushing away the smaller girls hand, a question in her eyes.

"I"m sorry, Finn, but I don't love you. I never did. I just didn't want you to be with Quinn." She shot her coffee hued eyes to the blonde's again.

"I don't understand?"

"She's breaking up with you, Finn." Quinn spoke, now seated again.

"I am."

"But..no..Rachel. I..."

"I'm sorry, Finn. Goodbye." She turned back to Quinn, ready to continue their conversation.

He walked closer, dropping a cup half full of beer to the ground. "Why, huh? For Quinn? I should've known. You were always saying weird things about her. Like how she was 'very' pretty. And wondering how soft her lips were last year when i was with her."

Hazel eyes shot to brown before looking back at a drunken Finn Hudson.

" Did you tell her, huh? That you were to one who told me what corsage to get for her at prom? Ugh...I shoulda known, I shoulda known you were hot for her. That you're a fucking dyke and-" he was shut up by a fist to the face and once he hit the ground, a kick in the gut.

"Quinn, stop, stop. He doesn't matter, let's just go, okay? Okay?" The brunette held Quinn around her stomach, small hands splayed out over tight abs as she stopped her from further assaulting the fallen oaf.

The blonde nodded and allowed Rachel to pull her towards her own car, reaching into the taller girls pocket to grab her key before opening her door and pushing her to sit. She walked around and got in, starting the car and pulling off. They'd been driving for five minutes before either girl spoke.

"Was he telling the truth, Rachel? About...just...was he telling the truth?"

The brunette said nothing, keeping her eyes on the road, afraid to look over at Quinn and see the answer to an unasked question in her eyes.

"God. He was. He was. I don't even know why i asked. I already know. I thought that maybe you were, back at junior prom. The things you said to me, Rachel. No one had ever said those things to me. Not even him. That I was more than this face."

Rachel flicked her eyes over to see Quinn staring into her before looking back at the road. "I didn't want to say anything. But you looked so broken, over something that you were so much better than. I had to let you know part of what I knew. That you were more than a beautiful face, perfect lips and perfect hair."

When the brunette looked over at the blonde and saw the back of her head, she pulled the car over and put it into park.

"Quinn? Quinn will you please look at me?"

And so the blonde did turn her head and gaze into brown eyes full of the expectation of forthcoming pain.

"I don't know if I can deal with this, whatever this is. I'm not Finn, i'm not going to call you names or be angry. And I guess I know you too. If he hadn't shown up, I would never have known that you felt like this." I'm not saying no. I'm not saying no.

"I understand that you don't feel the same way. That maybe you can't. But I can't let you go, and I won't" she looked out her window and ran a hand through her hair, licking her lips and expecting that unfortunately, she'd be home alone again tonight.

"You told him what corsage to pick for me?"

"You were so beautiful, Quinn. I know you're mom must have been exstatic. And i just wanted you to be happy, too. Prom is a teenage milestone."

"I came to the party hoping to see you. Hoping that you could make me feel...something, anything."

"I love you."

"I know, Rachel." she squeezed the brunettes hand, a smile on her face.

"Let me sleep on it. I'm gonna go now, okay?" She opened her door and got out.

"Quinn, this is your car, remember?"

"It's okay, it's...a nice night, and my house is around the corner. But you know that. You can come pick me up tomorrow at noon and we'll go do something."

"But - "

She reached in and unclipped her house keys from her car keys. "And hey, don't cry when you get home. Everything is allright, okay? Everything is fine."

What about -"

"Don't answer his calls or read anything he sends. Goodnight, okay? Bye Rachel."

"I love you, Quinn." There was panic in her eyes. Maybe this was all a dream, maybe she would wake up tomorrow without the blonde's car in the driveway, without anything she longed for, and realize she'd been dreaming.

"I know, Rach. I'm going to pinch you now, just so you know you're not dreaming." She leaned in, grabbed a small, tan hand, and pinched the palm, a smile on her face.

"You see? Until tomorrow." With that Quinn closed the car door and started off towards her house on foot, not surprised to see her car following until she was inside and waved from her bedroom window.

Driving home, Rachel pinched herself a few more times just to be positive. Up in her bed, Quinn was listening to the brunette sing Pretending, part of a mix she'd made for the club featuring her singing solo versions of all the songs they'd sung that year. She knew everyone else had tossed theirs away, but though she didn't know why, she'd kept hers. She pressed play on Get It Right for the 20th time since Rachel had flashed her that huge smile and held her hand as she gave the blonde her 2 gb flash drive with "For Quinn : )" written across it in red sharpie. Thinking over the fact that she'd seen everyone else in the club toss theirs away, Quinn pinched herself when she realized none of them had anything written on them. That Rachel had set at her desk and written on this one especially for her.

It had been about an hour of her listening to music when her phone vibrated, Quinn picked it up and started typing.

Rachel: Hi.

Quinn: Hi. Not tired either?

No, I am. Just having trouble sleeping. I thought that if I talked to you, heard your voice, that it would be easy.

Are you saying I'm boring?

: P No.

Guess what I'm listening to?

The mix i gave you? You kept that? I heard everyone else through them away. They could've atleast used them as flash drives. It cost me one hundred dollars to make them, and I guess i knew they'd throw them away, but I really wanted to give you one. I was afraid you wouldn't take it if I didn't hand them out to everyone.

I probably wouldn't have. I was such a bitch to you. I'm sorry.

Don't be.

I am. Goodnight.

Goodnight

Now able to sleep as a result of talking to and hearing Rachel's voice via a recording of The Only Exception, Quinn tapped at her phone and hit talk.

"Quinn?" Rachel smiled on the other end of the line.

"Hi. You helped me be able to sleep, I thought I'd do the same."

"Really?"

"Really."

"i'm going to sing to you now Rachel."

By the time Quinn had finished singing Beyonce's Sweet Dreams she'd said "Are you there, Rachel? three or four times, and heard nothing but even breathing on the other line.

"Sweet Dreams."