I've had this story for a while and I realized that I needed to get it out before season 3 airs. Sorry for any mistakes, I've read it so many times that I'm sure I missed things. Hope you like it! It's four parts total.

Beth is one of the few girls her age that really doesn't mind babysitting during her summer vacation. Sure, she enjoys going out with her friends most nights, but she also has a weird appreciation for having nights where she can just take it easy. There is something about it all that makes her feel good about herself. She's needed and she's trusted, both of which are hard to come by at seventeen. Okay, sixteen and a half. She'll be getting her license soon, she'll be visiting colleges, and before she knows it, she'll be going to college. The thought scares her more than she cares to let on. She isn't sure she's ready for that next stage of her life, mostly because she can never imagine herself on a college campus. Not that she doesn't want to go, it's just that she can't yet picture herself in a dorm room watching TV marathons with her roommate when she should be studying. She also couldn't imagine herself going to high school, and that had worked out just fine.

But still, she knows how to appreciate the moments before they pass her by. She supposes that she'll miss her small town of losers when she has to leave it in two years, but she'll probably miss moments like these more. The moments when she feels a sense of pride about who she is and how she was raised. The few families that she babysits for are somewhat regulars and she knows how to handle the kids, and it isn't exactly hard considering all the kids absolutely adore her. That's why she rarely passes up a chance to babysit, it's easy and she's at least making some cash for when she has to start buying her own things.

She often wonders if she has an invisible magnet around her that attracts kids to her, it's a silly notion but she really doesn't know how to explain it. Perhaps it's because her mother had her at almost the same age that Beth is now. Could things work like that? Was it genetic? Regardless, as her summer wears on and she starts researching colleges, she finds herself looking for schools with both a strong musical program and an equally strong education program. Maybe she can work out a double major? She's a Fabray, and Fabrays get what they want.

The sounds of the two year old boy screaming on the couch next to her makes her heart drop for a split second before she takes in the situation. His older sister is just teasing him and the crisis can be easily diverted, thankfully.

"Leave him alone, Julianna."

"It's not my fault that he's not tall enough to reach it."

Beth stands from the arm chair and holds her hand out expectantly, "Don't steal your brother's blanket and hold it above your head."

Julianna sticks her tongue out at her babysitter before she tosses the blanket back towards her baby brother and goes back to watching the Disney show that has been keeping her occupied almost the entire night. Beth's job has been fairly easy so far.

Beth watches with a small amount of amusement as the blanket doubles as a magic trick and silences the boy. She glances at the clock above the stove in the kitchen and realizes that it's nearly their bed time.

"TV goes off in five minutes and then it's time for bed."

It's a pre-emptive strike that she has to make or else the oldest will connive her way out of anything. She needs to be warned at least once.

"But it's the summer," The girl whines.

It's a valid statement but she has never allowed a kid to be awake when their parents got home and she's not about to break her perfect record tonight.

"Bed in five," Beth reiterates as she fixes the boy a bottle.

His eyes come to life as Beth stands in front of him with the bottle of watered down apple juice and he immediately holds out his arms for her to pick him up. She carries him up the stairs and brings him into his bedroom, she puts on the light classical music that he normally falls asleep to, plugs in the night light, and shuts the door. She guesstimates that it took about five minutes total so Julianna shouldn't give her a problem.

She couldn't have been more wrong.

"But it's summer."

Beth bites her tongue, she knows what it was like to have her freedom taken away during the summer.

"I understand but it's also almost nine o'clock."

They've been arguing back and forth for nearly an hour, a testament to how conniving the six year old can be.

Beth has turned off the television six times and she's mere minutes from losing her cool. And she rarely loses her cool around children. But Emerson finished his bottle twenty minutes ago and still hasn't fallen asleep, so he's been crying for twenty minutes straight. She not only sees it on the video monitor, but hears it on the audio monitor in the kitchen, and can hear him upstairs. Her patience is thinning by the second.

"Upstairs. Now."

"You're the worst babysitter in the whole world!" the girl yells and stomps towards the staircase.

Beth flinches as she hears the girl's bedroom door slam and tries not to let those words affect her too much. She's an awesome babysitter every other time. She takes a few deep breaths before lightly jogging up the stairs to tend to the crying two year old. Normally the protocol is to let the boy cry until he tires himself out but she rarely lets that happen. She picks him up and instead of ceasing the waterworks, he just continues to cry. This has never happened before. She goes to her back up plan and that's to sing him a lullaby. She knows her voice is soothing, she's in three different chorus groups both in and out of school, she can't even count how many solos she's had so far in her life.

She tries another song, and another, but the boy continues to cry. She knows what she has to do but she isn't quite sure she wants to sell her soul to the devil.

"What do you want?"

Beth balances the crying toddler on her hip, "You have to get him to stop crying."

"Did you sing to him?"

"Of course."

"Why should I help you?"

Beth isn't sure when the tiny brunette went from being an angel to something resembling Satan but she's desperate. She hates when kids cried.

"I'm desperate, I'll do anything."


Red flags go off in the back of her mind. She's seen enough movies to know what that word means, especially in the tone of voice the girl just used.

The boy continues to wail in her arms as she alternates from rocking back and forth to doing a funny jig.



Beth closes her eyes and silently prays to the high heavens for Julianna's request to be somewhat reasonable.

"I want a bedtime story."

Beth stops her weird dance and looks at the girl in confusion, "A bedtime story?"

The girl nods as she puts the picture book she was looking through down and scoots further up her bed and under the covers. Granted Julianna is only six but she acts like a twelve year old on most days. For some reason, Beth thought she'd be too old to want to hear a lame bedtime story.

Oh, what the hell.


Julianna holds her arms out and Beth puts the boy on the bed next to his older sister.

"Emerson! Do you want to hear a story?"

The boy's cries are dying down a significant amount as his face turns towards his sister's. Beth watches in awe as Julianna speaks to him in a baby friendly voice and begins to wonder if he even understands her or if it's just the familiar way she's saying it. Regardless, it works.

Beth laughs to the ceiling and whispers a thank you before moving towards the girl's bookshelf in the corner of her room.

"What do you think you're doing?"

"Picking out a bedtime story?"

"You have to make it up!"

Beth rakes through her brain for some kind of cute bed time story. Sure there are thousands but she's pretty sure a six year old will recognize one of the dozen Disney tales that she's thinking of.

"I don't know any bed time stories."

Beth watches with panic as Julianna begins to push her brother towards the edge of the bed for their babysitter to take. His tears aren't even dry yet and he's about to start with round two.

"Okay, okay. I'll make one up."

Julianna smiles and pulls Emerson back towards her. It's a serious touch-and-go situation.

Beth sits at the edge of the bed and smoothes down the pink comforter as she tries to think of something, anything, that will be suitable enough for a six year old. Or, at least, interesting enough. She has her title at stake here. She can't be known as the worst babysitter in the whole wide world for another minute. She'll show the girl that there will never be another babysitter like her.

Beth's mom would sing her to sleep almost every night to the song she was named after, and sometimes her real dad would occasionally play along with a guitar. There were only a few nights that she was ever told a bedtime story, and she was sure that they would love it as much as she did growing up.

"Alright, I've got the best bed time story in the whole world. Are you ready?"

Julianna nods eagerly and Beth chuckles as the boy tries to mimic her movements.

Beth is going to tell them the story about how her parents got together. She'll have to be quick and clever to make it easy to follow and easily adaptable to their age group but she doesn't think that it will be a problem. It was not too long ago that she was all about once upon a times and happily ever afters.

"Okay well, there was a girl—"


"What's wrong?"

"You have to start with Once upon a time."

Beth smiles and ruffles the girl's brown hair before getting more comfortable on the bed, "Once upon a time…" she winks when she sees Julianna smile wide, "There was a beautiful Queen, who ruled the land. No wait, a princess," Beth stops to think, "She was the Queen Princess, and she ruled the land of McKinley…"

Quinn had been running around all morning. No, all month, for this party. It was her mother's idea and the day of her daughter's first birthday was finally here. She looked down at the list in her mother's elegantly scripted black cursive and squinted her eyes. Okay, so she knew that someone's first birthday was a big deal, but it wasn't like her daughter would even remember it. Although, she supposed that was why her mother had hired a video production team to capture every moment. Since when did the Fabray residence turn into a reality TV program?

Quinn didn't understand the need to have two different piñatas, a chocolate fountain, a DJ and a band, a petting zoo, and a bounce house. Her mother had finally lost her marbles. She knew right away that the boys would alternate between drinking from the chocolate fountain and playing who's the strongest with the piñata. She could already see her younger cousins taking the various farm animals for a ride, and she was positive that the bounce house was going to have a hole in it before the food was served. But this was for her baby daughter, and she was Quinn's entire life. Even if she had video tapes stacked as high as the ceiling for evidence that this day occurred, she couldn't wait to tell her all about how unbelievably happy everyone was to be there. And you know what? She didn't get a baby shower so make that three piñatas.

Two pastry shops, three party stores, and four grocery markets later, Quinn was in her backyard surrounded by her good friends, most of her family, and the people she cared about most in the world. Especially her daughter.

But something was off, she didn't realize it right away but the feeling didn't leave her. It was like a small fruit-fly that was teasing her in front of her face but never to be caught when swatted at. It unsettled her, something was definitely not right. But she made constant mental check lists in her head as the party continued on. She remembered to say hi to her third cousin from Iowa, she hung up her wet towel from her shower earlier, Beth had everything she could possibly need, and everyone had smiles on their faces. She was just being silly. She always thought she forgot something when she was about to travel somewhere, too. And she often felt like she forgot something when she'd leave Beth home with Judy on those rare Saturday nights that she'd go out with friends. Everything was fine…everything was perfect.

It wasn't until after the cake had been devoured, the bounce house deflated, the chairs stacked, the tents taken down, the presents opened, the relatives gone, the caterers paid, and the Judy knocked out that she figured it out. It wasn't until long after Quinn finished the last note to Beth's song that she realized what had been missing.

Rachel Berry didn't show up to her daughter's first birthday.

"What's a Royal Jester?"Julianna asks Beth with eyebrows so scrunched together that she can't help but giggle at the six year old.

"It's someone who performs for the townspeople of McKinley."

Julianna frowns, "Why didn't the Royal Jester attend the Birthday Festival?"

"Shh, you'll see Jules. Now, where were we? Ah, yes. The birthday extravaganza was over and the Queen Princess had to get back to her royal duties…"

Quinn was tired Monday morning. She'd been up late virtually the entire week prior trying to pin down last minute arrangements for the party and ever since discovering that Rachel didn't show up, she'd been trying to come up with reasons why. She even went as far as sifting through all the RSVP responses to see if Rachel ever planned to attend the party.

She had in fact planned to attend, so the blonde continued to come up with plausible excuses. Sure, she'd been furious at first but her nerves calmed when she realized who she was talking about. Rachel Berry was never tardy, and in turn that meant she was never absent. There was probably a valid explanation for it all. Maybe there was a family emergency? No, because then she'd call. What if she couldn't call? What if she'd been kidnapped? No, because there would have already been flyers on every street sign and open canvas in the small town. She could have been sick in bed, or maybe Berry finally grew some balls and did something rebellious enough for her to be grounded without use of a phone.

Whatever the reason, Quinn was sure that she'd get a seven page hand written apology letter before homeroom. Berry was always thorough like that.

What she got instead surprised her, because what she got was silence. Not even a bat of an eyelash, or a hint of acknowledgement as the students congregated on the second floor near their lockers before the bell rang signaling the start of another long week at McKinley. Quinn slammed her locker shut and made her way to homeroom. Maybe Rachel hadn't seen her standing a few lockers down. Yeah, she was probably just guilt stricken and still thinking of a good way to apologize.

Most of her morning classes flew by but she found that instead of listening to her teachers she was either making up more excuses for the brunette or actually periodically watching her as she participated in class from across the room. After each class her plan was to catch up to Rachel and interrogate her until she cracked, but either the brunette stayed after to talk to the teacher causing her to arrive late to her next class or she'd get lost in the mobs of McKinley after quickly leaving the room. But this was normal behavior for Rachel, she was an over-achiever so it was no surprise when she'd stay after to talk to their teacher. Quinn refused to let this get to her because it wasn't proof that Rachel was avoiding her, it was just proof that this was the normal routine. Quinn and Rachel rarely gave each other the time of day unless they needed something from the other one.

Lunch approached and at least then she knew that she could put up a façade and fake her way over to the girl's lunch table with false pretenses. At least the occupants of the table didn't look immediately frightened as the shadow of the cheerleader loomed over them. Maybe her daughter's first birthday doubled as a peace treaty amongst the group, maybe they'd finally feel comfortable enough to approach her outside of glee. She was tired of conversing with people that wore the same thing as her every day.

Rachel continued to unwrap her lunch before taking out a green notebook that Quinn recognized from their English class, and it was only because the blonde also color coordinated her classes. Quinn chatted mindlessly with Mercedes as she watched Rachel divulge herself into her daily journal assignment and occasionally take bites from her sandwich.

Well, maybe she forgot that the party was that weekend. That happened to Quinn before when she forgot Brittany's birthday party. But in her defense, it was the fifth birthday party that Brittany had that year. Santana should've just asked Mrs. Pierce what day Brittany was born instead of throwing a last minute party every time the girl would announce it was her birthday.

"I'm glad you all had fun this weekend, I'm sure Beth is going to love the video that you guys gave her."

"Did you watch it yet?" Artie asked.

"I've been kind of busy," She admitted, she had every intention of sitting down to watch it but she got kind of distracted, "But I can't believe I didn't know about it."

"Well it was Rachel's idea."

Ah, so further proof that Rachel planned on going to the party.

The video she was referring to was a small video that the group made of them singing a few songs to Beth, as well as a few solo songs that they wanted her to hear. And of course, each member sent their birthday wishes and personalized messages of wealth, health, and happiness for the rest of her life. All Sue Sylvester sent her was a contract for her to sign that said she had a guaranteed try-out for the Cheerios when she entered High School. Quinn ripped it up as soon as she opened it.

"It was really nice of you guys," Quinn replied and waited for Rachel to look up and start explaining how she came up with the idea or went about accomplishing it behind the blonde's back, but nothing came. She continued her English short answer questions and acted as if the conversation wasn't even happening.

Quinn refused to be the first one to crack, she wasn't going to come right out and demand an explanation, she had more grace than that. Besides, Rachel was the one that messed up so she should apologize. Quinn was stubborn, but she soon found out that Rachel could be just as stubborn.

The rest of the day, Quinn tried to talk about Beth or her birthday party to anyone that would listen as long as Rachel was within earshot. Was Rachel wearing earplugs or invisible headphones? Why wasn't she responding or even acknowledging what Quinn was talking about?

By the time glee club rolled around at the end of the day, she was seconds away from initiating one of Sylvester's self-proclaimed ethical torture methods that she practiced on competition caught spying on their practices. It wasn't even about finding out why she'd blatantly skipped the birthday party, it was finding out why the brunette seemed to not even care. Deep down Beth probably wouldn't even give a cry about who showed up to her first birthday, it was Quinn's feelings that were hurt. She had her mask, she just wanted to defend Beth's defenseless honor, but in reality, she just wanted to know why Rachel was acting so indifferent on bailing.

Rachel naturally stayed after glee practice to hassle Mr. Schuester about something and Quinn made the last minute decision to stay after as well. The blonde stood at the piano as she watched both her teacher and Rachel go back and forth about assignment ideas that Rachel thought of over the weekend. Over the weekend when she didn't show up to Beth's birthday party, Quinn mentally seethed. Every so often Schuester would send Quinn a look of apology that the conversation was taking so long, she supposed that he assumed the blonde was there to talk to him. As if. She wanted to know what the hell was going on with the crackhead across from her.

Schuester bolted from the room as soon as Quinn made it clear that her business had to do with Rachel. Good, no one to witness her strangling the singer should she continue to stay silent.

"How was your weekend?"


"Mine was good. Beth's birthday was fun, too. Come to think of it, you weren't there. Why didn't you go to my daughter's birthday party, Berry?"

Rachel continued to pack her school bag and fish out her car keys before turning to look at Quinn.

Quinn wanted to take a step back when she was met with the cold and empty brown eyes that were normally sparkling with life. She had the overwhelming urge to feel guilty for something but she'd done nothing wrong. She wasn't even mean when she asked her. And it was a simple question. Rachel's mouth opened and for a second it looked like Quinn would get her explanation but at the last minute her mouth snapped shut and the auto-pilot took over her body again before Quinn could question Rachel's pained expression. It was the first time in— well, now that she thought about it, almost a week that she'd been acknowledged by Rachel. That she'd been face to face with her. Why hadn't she noticed? Maybe it was because she was so preoccupied with the party arrangements that she thought nothing of it.

How could this silence between the two of them be the most meaningful conversation she's had all day?

"You could apologize," Quinn's voice came out low and needy, she'd wanted it to be just as indifferent and disappointed as Rachel's expression.

Rachel shook her head an inch before closing her eyes, stepping past Quinn, and walking out of the room. Quinn didn't turn to watch her leave, and she didn't move from her spot until she heard the janitor whistle as he swept the hallway. She turned and looked down at her white knuckles grasping the black piano. She shouldn't feel this affected by Rachel's silence, and she shouldn't feel so emotionless after being penetrated by those eyes that were so eerily unfamiliar to her. She had no idea how any of this happened, or what to make of any of it.

All she knew was that Rachel Berry was ignoring her and she had the overwhelming urge to find out what she did to warrant that reaction.

"Is the Royal Jester going to get in trouble for ignoring the Queen Princess?" Julianna asks with wide eyes, "Why is the jester ignoring her? Is the jester mad at her?"

Beth chuckles and pats the girl's ankle to calm her down, "You have to listen," She reminds her, "So, the Queen Princess decided to consult her Loyal Listener…"

Baby Beth turned out to be a phenomenal listener, Quinn learned later that night as she let out all her frustrations.

"I mean, look how cute you are! Who wouldn't want to come to a party to celebrate your life?" Quinn asked as she tickled the infant's stomach.

Quinn rested her forearms on the side of the crib and rested her chin on top of them, she let out a heavy breath as she watched Beth suck on her favorite pacifier. She looked up at her mother like she was the coolest thing in the world. Quinn laughed and brought her hand down so that the baby could grab hold of it. Why couldn't everyone look at Quinn that way? She felt both incredible amounts of sadness that her child was already growing up so fast but entirely happy that she'd made the right decision in keeping her. She almost wanted to crawl in the crib with her just to be closer to her. Instead, she settled on picking the girl up and sitting with her in the rocking chair in the corner of the room. She'd sing to her.

The next morning, Quinn waited at her locker until she saw the brunette arrive at hers. Quinn shut her locker and assumed the power position, she didn't want Rachel to see her confidence faltering.


Rachel let out a small sigh and pulled her locker open. Quinn frowned as she was met with the colorless metal door and pushed herself off the locker she'd been leaning against to come up around the brunette's other side. She bit her tongue from commenting on Rachel's blatant rudeness.

"Silent treatment?" Quinn asked, "Cute."

Rachel continued to unload her books to their appropriate spots before she began gathering the ones she needed for her first three classes. She acted as if Quinn wasn't standing right next to her. Normally, everyone at least flinched when the blonde invaded their personal space.

"Not that I care but is there any particular reason?"

Rachel closed her locker and trotted off to her class and this time Quinn stood stunned as she watched her go. Rachel got to her door just as the bell was ringing and the blonde realized that she was now suddenly late for her own homeroom class. She scowled in the general direction of Rachel's classroom and hurriedly made her way to her own class. She still had the rest of the day to get Rachel to crack, she wasn't worried.

Except, she was worried. Especially once glee rolled around, because Rachel was able to dodge every single one of Quinn's attempts, and it often left the blonde both looking and feeling foolish. But now, she not only managed to ignore Quinn but she managed to stay entirely silent in the company of other people, too. Even Mr. Schuester scratched his head in confusion when Rachel made no attempt to raise her hand to share what she had prepared for that day's lesson.

Quinn couldn't understand it as she sat on the top riser next to Santana and Mike, Rachel had managed to do the unthinkable. She somehow managed to stay silent almost the entire day, or at least, when the blonde was around.

She kept to herself in the classes that Quinn shared with her, and she didn't even once try to raise her hand to answer any of the teachers' questions. Fine, maybe Rachel was tired of constantly showboating or maybe she just didn't know the answers.

But the brunette was nowhere to be found during lunch time. And Quinn knew via Mercedes who heard from Tina that Rachel was in the library finishing up her lab report for Physics. Lies, Quinn thought, after she went through her syllabus for the marking period and found that all their Physics labs were done for the year. What the hell?

"Physics lab? At least use a class that we don't share together," Quinn said as she cornered the girl after their Physics class two periods after lunch.

Rachel simply just kept walking, not bothering to turn around to offer Quinn any kind of explanation. Quinn followed her to her locker though, not ready to give up.

"Okay, joke's over. I get it, you're ignoring me. Congrats, you've accomplished what you wanted. Happy now?"

Quinn smirked when she saw Rachel falter a bit as she reached her locker. So she wasn't indestructible. Quinn waited to see what Rachel would have to say for herself. And when the brunette continued to pick out her books without any sign of hearing Quinn, the smirk slid from her face. Who does she think she is? Ignoring Quinn Fabray? If anything, the brunette was the one that should be ignored.

"What is your freaking problem?"

Rachel offered nothing. Not a shrug and she didn't even spare a look towards her. Not that she'd gotten anything out of her since two days prior in the choir room. Quinn had enough. She slammed the girl's locker closed with brute force and narrowed her eyes at the side of Rachel's head. Quinn thought that maybe intimidation would do the trick, but the brunette still didn't even turn to look at her. She stared dazed out at the front of her now closed locker door a little startled.

Rachel shut her eyes tightly as if she was repeating a mantra over and over in her head, and when she opened them again she turned and walked the opposite way of her classroom. Quinn guiltily watched in History as Rachel took an unprepared for not having her text book, or the chapter questions that they had to do the night before. Instead of offering a ten minute long explanation or attempting to point an accusatory finger in Quinn's direction in order to blame the confrontation in the hallway, she just took out another notebook and began copying down the notes. For once in her life, Quinn wished that she wasn't smart enough to take the Honors classes because virtually all of her core classes were shared with Rachel.

She found herself not so much expecting for Rachel to confront her about making her unprepared but hoped that she would. Something, anything to acknowledge the blonde. At least, get mad, or storm off. But she just gathered her books and quietly made her way to her next class which was luckily not shared with Quinn. The blonde didn't even think she could take it, and it was bugging her to no end that Rachel thought she could keep up this charade. Not on Quinn's watch.

There was no way that Rachel could stay silent again during glee. That was something that Quinn was sure of and that was why she was glaring at the back of her brown hair as she'd already gone forty five minutes without so much as a word to anyone. She didn't even sing! What was going on in the world? Did Quinn fall on her head after she'd gotten out of the shower and end up in an alternate universe? One in which had her not only being ignored by the lowest person on the social ladder but actually caring that she was being ignored? There was no other explanation.

Summer was in a week and then they'd be seniors. Quinn had every intention of spending every second with her daughter. She loved the weekends during the school year like any other high school kid but not for the same reasons. She loved lying on the pink blanket with Beth as she played with random toys, or bringing her to the park on the exceptionally nice Spring days and she couldn't wait to bring her in the pool with her. She shouldn't have to worry about Rachel Berry ignoring her the week before summer started, because she had other stuff to worry about.

But she realized that if she didn't get Rachel to at least speak to her than she'd be wondering all summer. And she didn't want to spend her summer worrying about the brunette.

"Why won't she talk to her? Everyone has to talk to the Queen Princess!"

Beth laughs as the little boy next to her also mimics her yelling, "So the Queen Princess began questioning some of the townspeople…"

Quinn found Mercedes by her locker the next morning after she'd tried to talk to Rachel first.

"Have you noticed anything different about Rachel?"

Mercedes finished her text to someone and raised an eyebrow towards Quinn and laughed, "Why do you care?"

"I don't. She's been acting differently. Just…quieter than usual, that's all."

Mercedes shrugged and shut her locker door, "Maybe, but it's a nice change."

Quinn wished that she could agree.

"Whatever, just ask her if she's alright or whatever."

Mercedes didn't understand Quinn sometimes but she didn't bother to question her concern.

She found Finn at lunch after searching the cafeteria for the brunette, who apparently was now working on her final History presentation. At least she'd chosen something that they actually had due.

"What did you do to Rachel?"

"I don't know, what did I do?"

Quinn rolled her eyes, going to Finn was probably a bad idea.

"She's sulking like an idiot. Did you say something to her?"

"Um," The boy scratched his head, "No, actually. I haven't talked to her in a while."

"Well maybe you should talk to her so she's not depressing everyone," Quinn shot back before leaving his cafeteria table.

She didn't even bother with Santana or Brittany. And Puckerman was normally useless. Tina, however, was like her best friend or something.

"Tina, you're good friends with Rachel right?"

"Rachel? Rachel who?"

"Um, Berry?"

"Oh, I didn't— Sorry, kinda. I wouldn't say good friends but—"

"Has she been acting weird lately?"

"Not more than usual." Tina laughed, "Why?"

"Just wondering."

She walked away from Tina and took her seat just as Rachel entered the choir room with a trailing Finn.

Another day went by without a word from Rachel and Quinn was out of options. But, by the end of the week almost everyone was commenting on how weird Rachel was acting.

"Maybe someone glued her mouth shut," Puck threw in.

"Are you a moron?" Quinn snapped.

"What? It's not like that's not something you would do."

"Yeah seriously, I'm confused as to why you even care."

"Yeah, didn't you get someone to slushie her yesterday?"

Quinn sat in silence. It was a moment of weakness and one that she deeply regretted. She felt claustrophobic and out of options. Maybe Rachel would finally react if Quinn treated her poorly. She tried being nice, she tried intimidation, she even tried being overly nice by holding doors open for her, and the only thing that she didn't try was being the bitch everyone still believed Quinn to be. No amount of showering could wash away the disgusted feeling she felt, she entirely lost her appetite and she didn't even feel worthy enough to be in the same room as her daughter. She was utterly disappointed in her stupidity. She thought that maybe if Rachel reacted than she'd talk to Quinn and then she could apologize to her for both the slushie and whatever it was that she did to warrant the silent treatment. But Rachel didn't react. She didn't even look down the hallway in Quinn's direction. And Quinn felt even sicker to her stomach when she saw Rachel at the end of the day still in the same clothing. It had been that long since anyone had been hit with a slushie that she didn't even feel the need to bring a change of clothes. Quinn was an absolute monster.

"I apologized for that, it was a misunderstanding," Quinn lied, about the misunderstanding part, not the apologizing part.

Well, she tried to apologize, and it seemed like Rachel had been listening but she only walked out of the bathroom at the end of Quinn's long speech. She didn't even care that she was being brutally honest with her intentions about why she told Karofsky to do it. Even Karofsky didn't feel right about it.

"Yeah, sure. Maybe she's just over school, I know I am." Mercedes offered.

Everyone straightened up in their seats when Rachel entered the choir room, and everyone stared at each other when she made no move to say hello to any of them. The other members were offering up various excuses and maybe if Quinn could just believe them she would stop thinking about it.

Quinn didn't even know why she was getting her hopes up in believing Rachel would respond to the letter she'd left in her locker earlier that day. Who even knows if Rachel read it or not, it was just another apology. She'd been up later than usual as she tried to write it without sounding like too much of a loser.

There was not a doubt in her mind that the reason behind her cold shoulder was because of Quinn.

"Does this story even have a happy ending?" Julianna whines.

"You wanted a bedtime story, and I'm telling you a bedtime story. You're going to have to wait and see…"

On the last glee practice of the school year, Quinn had nervously sat on the top riser.

"Anyone have anything they want to sing before I let everyone go?"

It was kind of bittersweet with a side of sad. Everyone couldn't wait until summer vacation started for all the obvious reasons but everyone knew that summer lost its steam at the end of July and that within a week they'd all miss each other.

Quinn was willing her arm to raise but she felt paralyzed.

"Anyone?" Mr. Schue asked again.

Everyone looked around and shrugged. Quinn had prepared a song to sing, she wasn't sure why. Maybe it was to thank the glee club for all their support with Beth over the year, or maybe it was one last attempt at getting Rachel's attention. But she was afraid and she shouldn't have been.

"Alright well," Mr. Schuester clapped and let out a half wave, "Have a great summer."

Quinn stayed seated long after the rest of the club had left and zoned out for a while. Her phone rang and broke her out of her trance, her mother was calling to let her know that she was running late so Quinn needed to pick up Beth from daycare. She smiled to herself as she realized that this was the last day that she'd need to pick her daughter up for a long time and couldn't get out of that school fast enough.

Summer was spent exactly the way she daydreamed it would be. Her house was always the summer hangout spot and she was never so grateful. She could see her friends and she wouldn't have to lug her daughter's things with her. The entire glee club hung out a total of 12 times over the summer, she knew because Rachel wasn't present at any of them. She found out at their 2nd get-together which had been Tina's birthday at Breadstix that Rachel was spending the first half of her summer at various singing and acting camps and the second half she'd be spending with her cousins at her Grandmother's house. Just as well, Quinn thought, she wasn't really expecting Rachel to speak to her if she were to show up. She was actually kind of glad that Rachel had her summer occupied so that it wouldn't hurt as much should the brunette decline the invitations. Quinn knew for a fact that Rachel was still home the first time they hung out at the bowling alley, and that was enough for her to maybe be grateful that Rachel was off somewhere overachieving with her family.

Just like every other summer, it ended sooner than she could have hoped and before she knew it, she was sitting in front of the mirror putting on some light makeup for her first day back at McKinley. She was a senior, and nothing was going to stand in her way of the things she wanted. She was a Fabray, and Fabrays got what they wanted.

Except, maybe Rachel speaking to her.

She found herself going through the same list of excuses on the first day of school that she did the Monday after Beth's birthday party. Maybe Rachel didn't see her in the senior hallway before homeroom, and maybe she was still in summer mode like many of the other students who were zombie-ing through the hallways with nice tans and smelling like chlorine. And just like the year before, every single one of her honors or AP classes were shared with Rachel. Except this year, Quinn sat either behind her or next to her in all of them. She waited for Rachel to politely turn to her and ask how her summer was, just like she did the year prior. But it never came.

Quinn still fed herself lame excuses as to why she was still getting the silent treatment, and thanked the heavens that glee practice wasn't started until the following day.

"Hey Berry," Quinn offered easily as she slid into her seat behind Rachel in AP Statistics.

She chuckled to herself when Rachel made no effort to turn around.

"How was your summer?"



She heaved a loud sigh and instead opened her notebook and doodled in the margins of it until the teacher came in to start the class.

Quinn rolled her eyes at a joke that Santana made about one of the new freshman in their lunch and forced herself to laugh. But how could she laugh when in her peripheral vision she had the glee table which was missing the brunette that day. She refused to let the fact that Rachel was nowhere in sight get to her, it's not like the brunette ate lunch there yesterday, saw Quinn and then decided not to eat lunch there that day. That was ridiculous.

And Quinn absolutely wouldn't allow herself to cry as she sat and listened to the brunette gush about the amazing summer she had to Finn after he'd asked. She couldn't cry in the middle of the choir room full of people, how embarrassing? She was already the head cheerio, and now that she was the senior captain, she was expected to be unbreakable. Sue could practically smell tears. No, she couldn't do it in the choir room, but they almost came out effortlessly the second she stepped into her bedroom. She willed herself not to cry in front of Beth either but she simply broke down. At least her daughter was too young to really judge her.

She wanted to give up on trying to get Rachel to talk altogether but each time she saw her she couldn't help herself. Maybe that time would be the time, maybe today was the day she'd speak to her. Quinn wasn't even concerned with feeling foolish anymore when Rachel would walk away from her in the hallway, and she really only started to say hi to her at the beginning of their first class because it was starting to feel familiar. She was kind of desperate. Actually, she was really desperate. She wanted to let it go but she just couldn't. She needed to know why.

She glanced over at the glee table like she did everyday and didn't see Rachel. She'd already finished her food and Santana was boring her that particular day. She decided to take a walk. And it wasn't so that she could find out where Rachel ate lunch every day. Okay, so it was. But whatever, she was just curious.

The choir room had a music class going on, the library was virtually empty, there was only one couple making out on the bleachers, and she was in the middle of walking to Mr. Schuester's office when she facepalmed and turned around to walk the opposite way.

The auditorium should have been the first place she checked.

She slipped inside and quietly made her way down the side steps until she saw the back of Rachel's head as she sat in the center of the third row. She actually let out a small sigh of relief. She knew that Rachel would probably bolt as soon as she realized that Quinn was in the large room with her but she also didn't want to sit creepily in the dark, either. She closed her eyes and made her way closer until she was in the same aisle.

"Hi." Quinn's voice broke through the silence softly.

She almost took it as a good sign that Rachel didn't close her books and leave so she proceeded with caution. She walked into the center and took the seat one away from the brunette. She sat in silence for a few seconds as she raked her brain for a plan of action. Her impulse control needed work, it was slacking.

"How's your day?"

That was pointless.

Quinn cleared her throat, "I liked the song you sang yesterday in glee."

"Finn seemed to really like it too, I bet he was thinking of the mailman or Beiste again." Quinn laughed and turned her head to face the brunette hoping that maybe she'd be laughing too. Her chuckle died though and she brought her eyes back to her lap.

"How'd you do on your Stats test?"

Hopefully there wasn't anyone actually sitting creepily in the dark because they'd probably be cracking up at how stupid Quinn looked while Rachel Berry continued to work on her homework. Quinn knew she should have gotten up and left to save some face but her feet were glued.

The bell rang loudly throughout the room and echoed a bit. Quinn watched helplessly as Rachel packed her bag and stood from her seat before walking out of the aisle the opposite way. Quinn wasn't sure if she could consider it a breakthrough or not.

"See you—" The door shut behind Rachel, "in English," She finished lamely before she also stood from her seat and made her way back into the hallway.

She really wasn't expecting to find Rachel in the auditorium again the next day during lunch, she figured that the brunette would wise up and go to a different location. She proceeded with the same caution that she exhibited the day prior and took the same seat.

"I can't believe Mr. Hammer kicked that kid out of class yesterday," She mused. "I guess he deserved it." she shrugged, "He did call the teacher a pompous asshole," Quinn laughed lightly, "he totally is though, isn't he?" she turned to meet the side of Rachel's face again and let her laughter turn into an easy sigh.

She kind of felt crazy for talking to herself, but it's basically what she'd been doing the entire period. What she started to do every day during lunch. The routine kind of just, happened.

"Beth is so close to saying her first word." Quinn took a bite of her salad, "I can't believe I'm seventeen and I already feel like my daughter is growing up way too fast. Out of everyone at this school, I never imagined I'd be the one to be a teen mom." Quinn pressed a button on her cell phone so she could see the picture of Beth on the background, "Thanks a lot Celibacy Club."

Quinn would get to the auditorium five minutes into lunch and walk to the 3rd aisle and sit one seat away from Rachel as she worked on her homework or sifted through sheet music.

"Is it hard not having a mom? Sometimes I want to ring my mom's neck but then I see Beth and it kind of calms me down, you know? Like, one day Beth is going to be 17 and she's going to spite me for no reason. We'll probably get into stupid fights over boys. God, I love my mother but I hope I don't turn out like her. I don't want to give my daughter a reason to ring my neck." She glanced at Rachel out of the corner of her eye, "Sorry, I'm being insensitive today."

And as the days went on, the deeper their one sided conversations would get. It still bothered Quinn that Rachel blatantly ignored her and it still hurt like hell but she found that she'd rather do this than not at all.

"Have you sent out your college applications yet? I'm sure you'll get in to wherever you apply." It became futile for Quinn to even turn to look at Rachel when she talked but she still did it anyway, "My mom wants me to go to college, and I kind of want to, too. It's what I've been working towards all my life, you know? My mom said that we could move to wherever I get in, and I've been doing research about the difference between part time and full time students. I almost think I could do it, I'm just scared." Quinn played with the skirt of her uniform, "I don't know what I'm scared of though."

Quinn tended to talk about everything from what happened in their classes to what songs she was thinking about singing for glee. Sometimes she told Rachel about Beth's progress in the talking department and other times she told her about what she did over the summer. Occasionally she'd spend the entire period in silence and one time she even used it to take a nap. She doubted Rachel even cared, she was probably happy that Quinn was quiet for once.

Quinn had been straightening up the nursery one night while Beth was playing and she found the video that the glee club made them for her 1st birthday. She still hadn't watched it and she couldn't get to the DVD player fast enough. She needed to see what Rachel said on it.

Beth finally figured out that it was the TV that kept saying her name and her attention had turned to it. Quinn pulled her into her lap as she sat Indian style on the floor and the two watched it together. The songs they sang were amazing and beautiful and Quinn couldn't help but cry a little at how thoughtful all their messages were. Each time a new face would come on the TV screen, Quinn would make sure to ask Beth who it was. Beth reacted to everyone but Rachel, who was the last person on the tape.

"Greetings baby Beth! Happy first birthday, you don't know me but I hope someday you will. I don't know when your mommy is going to give this to you but you were a beautiful little girl and I'm sure you'll grow into a strong, independent, and beautiful woman. There needs to be more of us in this world!" Rachel winked at the camera, "And now I will give you the Rachel Berry list of things you need to know for the world. Number 1, if you're ever sad about something…sing about it. Number 2, if you don't know how to sing, call me immediately so I can yell at your mother. Number 3, the only man with a Mohawk that should be trusted is your father. Number 4, don't ever let somebody tell you that you're not good enough, because you are. And Number 5, if someone is mean to you, tell them you know Rachel Berry. And don't worry, that will mean something by the time you're old enough. And now, I've prepared a special song for you that I believe will sum up this entire video. It's entitled Baby Girl and it's originally sung by Will Hoge. Okay, here goes."

With rapt attention, Quinn watched the brunette on the screen singing a song she'd never heard before but by god it was beautiful. Raw, full of emotion, and soothing, it was better than a lullaby. Even Beth stopped everything to pay attention to the brunette on the screen. The lyrics were meaningful and resembled just about everything that Quinn wanted for her daughter in the world. How did Rachel find a song so perfect and so amazing? She was singing with such conviction that Quinn felt as if Rachel was singing to her own daughter. But she wasn't, she was singing to Quinn's daughter, the daughter of someone who never really gave her the time of day. The blonde felt guilty, and it was for so many reasons. Why hadn't she given Rachel the time of day before? Now that Rachel wasn't even speaking to her, it was all the blonde craved. And how could Quinn accept this song that Rachel so thoughtfully put together? What would the brunette sing to her own children? Why hadn't she saved this song special for her own daughter one day? Why was Quinn crying so hard, and why wouldn't the pain in her heart go away?

She promised herself she would at least wait until lunch to confront Rachel the next day, and she barely made it. She didn't even bother waiting the five minute cushion time that Quinn normally allowed Rachel to have in order to get settled. No, she waltzed into the auditorium unannounced and Rachel hadn't even gotten to her seat yet.

"I don't understand," Quinn stated as she approached the somewhat startled brunette, and she really didn't bother to let Rachel respond because she knew she wasn't going to, "You put together this amazing video for Beth, and you sing this beautiful song for her, and then you don't show up to her birthday. And then, you ignore me for two weeks, you leave for the summer, and when you come back you still won't talk to me," Quinn was breathing heavy but didn't really have time to register Rachel biting her lip and looking torn, it was the most response she'd ever gotten from the girl.

"I just don't understand. Rachel, you need to make me understand. I know I'm a horrible person but do I really deserve almost five months of the silent treatment? I'm going crazy! You talk to everyone except me and I want to know why. How many times have I sat in that damn seat and apologized to you for everything I've ever done, how many times have I rambled about the stupidest shit just so you'd maybe respond?"

The blonde started pacing as her emotions began to spin out of control, she'd given herself multiple pep talks about what she'd say to the brunette and how she'd present her case but all that flew out of the window when she saw Rachel that day. She couldn't continue to put herself out there only to be ignored, this would be the last attempt she made at getting Rachel to speak to her. It hurt her too much to hear her words echo in the space between them, unanswered. She actually felt at times that she was dreaming or going crazy, the psychological toll it was taking on her was unwelcomed and starting to worry her. She couldn't keep on like this.

She knew that she'd be pushed to this desperate brink and she was hoping it would be later rather than sooner. This was her last stand, her Pickett's Charge, her Alamo, her now or never; if Rachel didn't tell her why then she'd just have to accept it and move on. She didn't want to move on. She'd invested so much time into Rachel that she kind of was hoping to get a friend out of the deal. She surely lost connection with her other Cheerios, ditching them if she saw Rachel down the hallway and not even bothering to show up at lunch anymore. She was probably in hotter water with Santana than she was with Rachel. In the beginning, she told herself it was about winning, it was about getting Rachel to talk so she could restore some of her dignity. But the winning aspect was entirely lost, she just wanted a friend. She'd been emotionally detached for so long that she was craving attention from someone that pretended they weren't alive. There was something seriously wrong with her.

"You make me feel like I'm worthless, and I still keep coming back because I can't not try. I've been trying so hard. What do you need me to do? I'll do anything. It's like I don't even exist to you anymore!"

Quinn was gearing up what else she could throw at the brunette. Not like she hasn't been brutally honest with her in the past but this was raw emotion that was coming out, it was like her heart had taken over her mind and started doing the talking.

She stared at Rachel, refused to break eye contact with the brown eyes that rarely looked at her, she stared until her eyes began to burn. Rachel, for the first time in almost five months, was actually looking at her. Quinn hated the feeling she got as the brunette continued to look at her as if she'd never been so divided. The blonde began to silently pray that Rachel would say something to her, as she often did when she'd try to engage the girl, but nothing ever came. Rachel opened her mouth and a millisecond later it closed.

"Please," Quinn's voice broke with her resolve as she felt more tears slide down her cheeks.

Rachel shook her head to break her eye contact and with the motion, Quinn realized that the brunette had started to cry.

"Rachel, please."

Quinn watched helplessly as the brown eyes disappeared behind concentrated eyelids and Rachel began to slowly shake her head as she backed away from the blonde. Her bottom lip turning white from the pressure of Rachel's teeth biting into it to keep from breaking down. Quinn no longer cared how vulnerable she looked to the brunette. She'd never put herself out there before, she saw people do it in movies all the time, but she never imagined it would feel so horrible. Her heart felt heavier and heavier with each tear that escaped from Rachel's normally soft eyes, each silent second that passed between them brought her closer and closer to shattering into a thousand little pieces. They weren't even friends, why did Quinn care so much? She couldn't stand the sight of the brunette so broken and it was all Quinn's fault. That much she was sure of.

She'd only witnessed the girl cry a few times but never at the hands of Quinn. She figured that Rachel didn't want to give the blonde the satisfaction of seeing her affected by Quinn's pointless and cruel nicknames from years past. But there she was standing in front of Quinn with tears in her eyes. She broke Rachel and she had no idea how to fix her.

"Please, Rach."

Quinn was struck motionless as those brown eyes continued to penetrate her as if Rachel was telepathically telling her what she did wrong. Quinn tried to understand, tried to meet her halfway, tried to pretend she knew what she had done to the girl.

5 months. She was met with Rachel's silence for 5 months.

The blonde hesitantly stepped forward, hoping to reach out to Rachel but the movement broke the spell they were both under and the brunette turned away from Quinn and was out of the auditorium a moment later.

Quinn couldn't believe it. She absolutely refused to believe that Rachel was continuing to ignore her. What did she have to do? What needed to be done? They'd known each other since pre-school, and at one point in middle school they were even close enough to have a few sleepovers. High school they went their separate ways but nothing Quinn did to Rachel would warrant the silent treatment for so long. Especially because whatever issues they had with each other were long gone since the birth of her daughter. Quinn invited Rachel to the baby's first birthday for goodness sake.

No. Quinn refused to let this go on any further.

She ran out of the auditorium hoping to find Rachel somewhere in the hallway still but there were only a few stragglers that were taking their sweet time in getting to the cafeteria for lunch. Rachel spent her lunch period in the auditorium every day so Quinn had no idea where the girl would go if that option extinguished itself. She walked into the cafeteria to find most of the students staring at her with confused expressions. People still considered her the center of attention even if she no longer cared about any of that. Maybe they were confused as to why the blonde was making an appearance in the cafeteria, or maybe they were concerned with the blonde's bloodshot eyes and wet cheeks. Quinn ignored every single pair of eyes on her and made her way to the table that housed most of the glee club.

"Have any of you seen Rachel?"

"What did you do to her?" Mercedes asked quizzically.

The defensive and accusatory tone that Mercedes was using let Quinn know that Rachel most definitely had been through the cafeteria.

"Where is she?"

Mercedes answered by crossing her arms over her chest and raising an eyebrow, there was no way she was breaking. Quinn decided to go after the weakest link.

She didn't even have to settle her gaze on Artie before he cracked, "Bathroom."

Quinn turned and went back the way she came, not even bothering to send a sneer in Mercedes' direction.

She started with the bathroom on the first floor, it made the most sense. She pushed the wooden door open and called out the brunette's name simultaneously.

She was met with the sight of Rachel at the opposite end of the bathroom with Kurt in front of her while he dabbed a paper towel on her face.

"Go away, Quinn," Kurt spoke calmly.

"Not until she tells me what I did."

"I know what you did, and I think you need to back off."

Never in her life had she heard Kurt speak with such malice toward someone.

"Kurt, listen—"

He turned around to face the blonde, still obscuring most of Rachel's body.

"No you listen, Fabray. Rachel's one of us and we protect our own."

Quinn found herself scoffing before she could realize it was happening, "Since when?"



Quinn felt her spine stiffen as she heard Rachel's soft voice come from behind Kurt. The boy turned to look at her and nodded before turning back to glance at Quinn.

"I think you should just leave her alone, she's giving you what you wanted."

"Kurt!" Rachel cried.

Quinn didn't know whether to push passed the boy or beg him to explain, "What does that mean?" she felt panicked.

Kurt had obviously said too much and Rachel was not pleased with him.

"I'm not leaving this bathroom until Rachel talks to me or someone tells me what I did, I don't deserve this."

"Trust me sweetheart, you deserve worse."

"Enough," Rachel spoke up again.

"I'm serious, I'm not leaving this bathroom until I know."

"Suit yourself," Kurt replied before putting his arm around Rachel's back.

Quinn tried to use her eyes to plead to the brunette but it was no use, she broke eye contact the second she felt Kurt tug her towards the door. The blonde could do nothing but let the two of them pass by her and leave the bathroom.

She stared at her reflection in the mirror for a few long seconds and she felt like punching the mirror. She'd keep to her threat of staying in the bathroom until someone told her what was going on. It was her own weird version of a stand-off or a sit in, maybe a protest. She shared two classes with Rachel after lunch, surely the brunette would take her seriously once she realized that Quinn really was staying in the bathroom. She'd stay in there all night if she had to.

Well, not all night. Beth had to be picked up from daycare at 4:30 that day, but she'd gladly continue her protest the following day if she made no progress by the end of the day.

All she had was her cell phone to keep her company. She barked at anyone that tried to use the bathroom.

"Get out," she spoke as she heard the door creak open, she stopped bothering to look up when an intruder would come in.

"Wow, you're seriously still in here?"

Quinn's eyes snapped up at the sound of Mercedes' chuckles, she wasn't expecting anyone to actually come for her. It was the last period of the day and she had a lot to think about in that time.

"What do you want?"

"I just wanted to see for myself," she shrugged before walking across the bathroom and taking a seat next to the blonde that was leaning up against the far wall.

"See what?"

"You know that people are calling you the Bathroom Troll, right?"


"You really don't know?"

Quinn's neck snapped towards her friend, "You do?"

"I'm not supposed to know, but Kurt tells me everything," she shrugged, "So, yeah. I do."

"Will you tell me?"

"I don't think that's such a good idea, Quinn."

"You have no idea what I feel like."

Mercedes still didn't seem comfortable with telling Quinn what she wanted but probably didn't want to hear, "You really hurt her bad."

"Nothing worse than what I used to do to her, she's never reacted this way before. I mean, just last week Santana told her that she looked like a gnome and I saw them talking in glee the next day."

"Santana's not you, she can get away with stuff like that because Rachel and her have a common understanding now."

It was a bullshit excuse and Quinn was furious that Rachel could forgive Santana so easily but didn't extend the same courtesy to the blonde.

She needed a way to make Mercedes understand what she was going through with not being able to talk to Rachel.

"How did you feel when Coach Sylvester took away tater tots last year?"

"What does that have to do with Rachel?"

"Just answer."

Mercedes thought about it, "Helpless, I guess."

"That's how I feel all the time. It's exhausting, between this whole thing and Beth waking up in the middle of the night, I feel helpless. Sometimes I just cry with my daughter because I don't know what else to do."

Mercedes frowned with sympathy but Quinn didn't want it, "You need to see someone, a therapist, maybe?"

"What I need is for Rachel to talk to me."

"Why do you care so much?"

She had no idea.

"Because for the first time in my life someone managed to break down my walls and she didn't even have to try. I sat next to her every day for a month in that damn auditorium and told her everything about my life. Good, bad, regrets, wishes, dreams…literally everything, Mercedes. She didn't even bat an eyelash!"

"She overheard you telling Santana that you wished she didn't exist," Mercedes blurted out before she convinced herself not to.

"What? I never said…" Quinn could literally feel the color drain from her face as her heart sank into her stomach.

She did say that.

She said that and a lot more. Rachel probably heard everything.

It was the week before her daughter's first birthday and her mother was stressing her out with preparations for the party. She was having a terrible day and Rachel happened to be where she deflected her anger to.

Quinn felt nauseous but there was nothing in her stomach. She skipped lunch to follow after Rachel. Mercedes' sympathy only made her feel worse now.

"That's w-what she's b-been doing? Not existing?"

"I guess. Look, all I know is that she was coming to find you to see if you needed help with the party and that's when she overheard you talking to Santana," Mercedes told her, "Why would you even say that? I mean, Rachel gets on my nerves sometimes but wishing she didn't exist? That's harsh, Quinn, even for you."

"I didn't mean it, I was just so stressed and she was annoying me all day."

"Well, I guess you know why now."

The fact that Rachel had been so persistent all day was to offer her help made Quinn feel even worse. She wasn't sure that it was possible to feel any worse than she already did. Rachel was just trying to be a friend.

Quinn swallowed back the lump in her throat, "Did she hear everything?"

"Like that you wanted to un-invite her to the party? Or that you wanted her to lose her voice so she'd stop talking so much?"

This time Quinn did crawl over to the toilet to up heave whatever her stomach would offer her. She hated herself. The last time she felt the weird guilty pit in her stomach was on Christmas when her aunt overheard Quinn calling her an alcoholic. This didn't even compare to that. She couldn't believe that she'd allowed herself to say those things about Rachel to begin with behind her back, let alone being careless enough for Rachel to overhear. It was a moment of frustration and displaced anger that broke her down enough to take it out on someone else.

She heard the water running behind her before she felt a cold paper towel pressed to the back of her neck, it felt like two years ago. Quinn would get nauseous in biology and find the closest bathroom, Mercedes normally helped her through the sickness. Quinn dabbed at the corners of her mouth before leaning against the stall wall.

"Kurt was worried when she didn't show up to Beth's party so he went to check on her afterwards and she broke down," Mercedes continued.

Quinn really didn't want to hear anymore but she was a bit of a masochist.

"She begged him not to say anything to you, I guess she was embarrassed."

Quinn shook her head and looked down to her lap as Mercedes continued to tell her what she found out through Kurt.

"So now that you know, maybe it would be best if you two just didn't talk anymore."

Quinn snapped her attention to her friend, "No way."


"Save it," the blonde replied, "I'm going to apologize to her and I'm not going to leave her alone until she accepts my apology."


"Because she's my friend!"

"No offense, but I don't think that she considers you a friend."

"Well she's mine, and I hurt her. I need to make it right."

"She's spent the last five months ignoring you, what makes you think that she'll start talking now?"

"Then what's the difference?" Quinn replied. She really had nothing left to lose.

"The difference is now you know why she's ignoring you, she's going to think you're talking to her out of guilt."

"I'll make sure she knows that's not the only reason."

"Why is this so important to you? I've never seen you so upset over something."

"She's the closest thing to a friend that I've ever had," she paused to read Mercedes' sad expression before laughing humorlessly and dropping her head back against the wall, "Pathetic, huh?"

"Pathetic because it's Rachel?"

Quinn's eyes went hard and threatening, "Pathetic because the person I consider my best friend hasn't said one word to me in 5 months."

"I'm sure you'll figure something out," Mercedes patted her shoulder softly, "Look, I've really gotta get back to class. Are you going to be okay?"

Quinn nodded distractedly, "Yeah."

Mercedes debated briefly whether or not she should leave her friend alone in her state but ultimately the prospect of a detention slip had her walking back to her Math class.

Quinn sat for a few minutes longer until she realized that she'd just thrown up in one of the school bathrooms for the first time since being pregnant and had no dental hygiene accessories in her locker since the birth. She heaved a sigh and stood to her feet before leaving the bathroom and gathering her schoolbooks. She wasn't going to glee that day. She was going to stop home to brush her teeth and pick her daughter up an hour early from daycare so that she could think about everything she just learned.

"Tell us another story, something with an actual happy ending!"Julianna cries as her fist makes contact with the comforter in frustration.

Beth laughs, "Who said that this one doesn't?"

"The Royal Jester doesn't want to be friends with the Queen Princess!" the girl whines.

Beth smirks before raising an eyebrow, "Well maybe the Queen Princess has a few tricks up her sleeve…"

Quinn managed to fool Judy Fabray for a grand total of two days until she realized that her daughter had been skipping school on purpose. And even when her mother confronted her on the third morning, Quinn kept up the charade and Judy ultimately allowed her to stay home but only because she could tell that her daughter was hurting for some unknown reason. But it had to be pretty big, Quinn never missed school.

Her long weekend was rather relaxing, but she couldn't go more than ten minutes without imagining the humiliation that Rachel must have felt as she overheard Quinn's horrible words. She wanted to try to apologize in school but what if Rachel walked away from her again? What if Rachel involved everyone else this time? It was hard enough to know that both Kurt and Mercedes probably thought less of her after learning what she'd inadvertently done to their friend. She couldn't face Rachel after knowing that the brunette thought she was a monster.

But she wasn't made to give up.