She'd really expected the bus station to be some kind of shady hole in the wall, populated with crack dealers and prostitutes. Instead, the Columbus Greyhound terminal was clean, well lit, and featured a well stocked snack bar.
The bus ride had been tolerable. It fell somewhere between the luxury coaches of the Cheerios and the standard yellow school bus New Directions always took if their competitions were in driving range. Still, she was a little irritable because some guy across the aisle just wouldn't stop snoring and all she wanted to do was pinch his nose so he'd wake up. She managed to restrain herself by writing in her journal for most of the trip.
There were still two weeks before school was supposed to start and she hadn't even spoken to Rachel since the last day of junior year. Not in person, anyway. They sometimes liked each other's Facebook statuses and made occasional comments, but they didn't chat or anything.
So, when Quinn got a text that said, "I possibly did something that might be considered stupid," that was sent from Rachel's number, she at least felt obligated to find out what the hell had happened.
Driving would have been easier, but Mack was installing a new stereo (which Quinn was pretty sure was stolen, but whatever) in her car and she wasn't bringing it back until the next day.
And now she was two hours from home, scanning a bus station for someone she hadn't seen in months.
She spotted Rachel on the far side of the waiting area, her purple plaid backpack on her lap.
"Hey." Quinn dropped onto the bench next to her and took the opportunity to retie her bootlace.
"Hi." At first, Rachel barely looked up at her, but once she caught full sight of Quinn's new wardrobe, she couldn't help but stare. "This is new." It was practically magnetic, the draw between Rachel's hand and Quinn's pink hair.
"And this isn't?" Quinn asked as she glanced up at the station around them. She absently swatted Rachel's hand away from her head. "What the hell are you even doing here?"
Quinn hooked her sunglasses in the front of her shirt and turned to actually face Rachel. "You're not serious."
Rachel shrugged and fixed her eyes on the floor.
"Aw, shit. You are."
"I'm not sure how I feel about your new vocabulary."
"I'm not the only delinquent. You're the one running away from home to star on crappy reality shows."
"I mean I'm not starring on it."
"You didn't audition."
Rachel didn't reply. Quinn leaned forward, elbows resting on her knees, and made an effort to catch Rachel's eyes.
"I spent two hours listening to some jackass suffer through his sleep apnea. Tell me what's up."
"Okay. And the next level happens when?"
Rachel shook her head. "Doesn't matter. I'm not going."
"Wait. You came all the way over here, on a damn bus, auditioned for American Idol and now you're bailing on it?"
"Quinn, I didn't make it."
Quinn shook her head. The hair dye had to have seeped into her brain or something. There was no way Rachel had just said that. "Like, you were late?"
"As in, they didn't want me."
"Well, they're idiots." Quinn's reply came out much faster than she'd anticipated, but she certainly meant it.
"Maybe they're right."
"Rachel," Quinn rested her hand on top of the backpack. "They're wrong. You're abrasive, you're annoying, and your bangs sometimes make you look like you're twelve, but you have an amazing voice. You know that. So... fuck them."
"Your very colorful language isn't necessary, but I appreciate the sentiment."
Quinn laughed and leaned back against the waiting room bench. "Seriously, though, that show is bullshit. I'd rather get a tramp stamp of Ryan Seacrest before I thought they made the right decision rejecting you."
"Given our history, that's a statement of improvement about our relationship."
"And what even is our... relationship?" The word felt funny coming out of Quinn's mouth. Like it belonged there, but it wasn't ready to surface.
"We're friends, aren't we?"
"I guess we are."
Rachel slid her hand over Quinn's arm and gave a light squeeze. "Thank you."
"Buy me some of those snack bar nachos and we'll call it even."
"Do you have any idea what that cheese product actually contains?"
Quinn didn't and she didn't care to find out. And even though she knew this moment would pass and the school year would begin and life would begin that constant cycle of screwing her over, she knew Rachel would always be there, somehow.