This chapter isn't as long as the previous ones have been. But I'm sure everybody's thankful for a chapter.

Please be warned, this chapter isn't beta'd or anything, I wanted to get something out to everybody since it's been almost a month since the last chapter was posted.

I also wanted to give everybody an update... I've been dealing with a lot in my personal life, between my job and my family. I'm stressed beyond belief with everything that's going on, so... yea, writing has been hard. Hell, writing anything has been hard. So thank you all for baring with me, and thank you to those who've sent me PMs asking if everything's okay and if I was going to continue this. Little things like that help give me some inspiration.

I'm leaving on vacation on May 4th, to visit a very dear friend of mine in Oregon. I'll be gone from the 4th through the 13th, so I'm going to try to get at least one, hopefully two more chapters out before I leave in 3 weeks. Nothing will be posted or even thought of during my time away. I'm sorry, but I need those nine days to myself to just relax and have fun, it's like I've forgotten how to have fun lately and it sucks.

The First 24
Chapter 26

March 21 – 6:00PM

"Quinn's in the shower." Brittany spoke solemnly when Jeff asked where she was.

Now that the trial was over, they all had a new found respect for their dear friend. After learning the things Quinn had to endure, none of them questioned her multiple daily showers. They simply sat back and let it happen.

"Rachie!" Alex called out when he spotted the brunette pulling glasses out of the cabinet in the kitchen.

"Hey guys." The diva knelt down to accept his hug, it was soon followed by one from his older sister. "Have you two been good?"

Alex nodded, Jessica though, began a long speech. "I've been good. Very good I promise! So good that mommy and daddy are going to bring me out to see you guys this summer. They also said I could see your movie when it comes out. Isn't that awesome? What's it like being in a movie? Do you know any movie stars yet? Who do you know? Can I meet them?"

Quinn's soft laughter echoed from the doorway. "One question at a time squirt."

Both kids squealed in excitement before charging at the blonde. Quinn managed to wrap one arm around each child before she picked up Jessica, who was thrilled. "I missed you so much Quinn!" The girl nuzzled her face into the blonde's neck.

"To answer all of your questions…" Rachel carefully stepped up beside her wife and the inquisitive child. Her hand came to rest on Quinn's hip before she spoke. "It's very tiring working on a movie. No, I haven't met any other stars yet. Whenever I do meet someone, I'll be sure to see if you can meet tem too. And yes, it's 'awesome' that you can see my movie when it comes out."

Quinn gave her a small smile before placing Jessica back on the floor. "Hey, why don't you go say hi to Santana?" She gave Jessica a look that the girl didn't question before she ran off to find the Latina. "Rach?" The blonde tilted her head down the hallway before leading the way into Brittany and Santana's room.

"Honey, are you okay?" Rachel questioned once she shut the door behind her.

Quinn quickly sat down on the edge of the bed and shut her eyes. "Thank you." Before Rachel could speak, the blonde raised her hand. Even with her eyes shut, she knew her wife's habits. "This has been a trying time for everybody. I can't imagine what you've been dealing with. I know this hasn't been easy on you. Being in the position you were in and still are in must be hard." She let out a heavy sigh before opening her eyes and patting the space beside her. She waited until Rachel was seated before continuing. "I wanted to do this sooner, but I could never find the words. I never once stopped thinking about you while I was gone… hell, the first word I said when I woke up in the hospital was your name." Quinn brushed some tears away from Rachel's eyes with her thumb. "You've helped me come so far over these past few months… I don't think I'd still be here if it wasn't for you. I may have already healed a lot… but I'm also aware that I've got a long way to go. What I'm trying to get at is… I'm glad it's you who's helping me. I'm glad you walked into that locker room all those years ago and discovered a secret that I was too petrified to admit out loud to anybody."

"I love you Quinn… Don't ever doubt that I'll be here with you. We've been through so much already, but now we can begin to move past this and start planning our future."

"Our future family…" Quinn took Rachel's hand, laced their fingers together, and placed them over her ever growing stomach.

"Our family." The brunette whispered as she drew her wife into her arms and played with her short, choppy hair. "You know, I remember when you cut your hair like this in high school. I loved it."

"Really?" Quinn lifted her head to look into Rachel's eyes.

"I sure did. Even though we were in the middle of a huge fight when you cut it, I couldn't keep my eyes off of you. I couldn't wait to run my fingers through it for the first time." Rachel emphasized her point by dragging her nails gently along her wife's scalp.

Quinn didn't say a word. She just allowed her head to fall back onto the brunette's shoulder. The gentle, nimble fingers through her hair helped her to relax completely. She knew she'd been speaking the truth when she admitted to it being a trying time for everybody. The past week had been pure hell. There really was no other way to describe it.

At first, she was frustrated with herself for not being able to get through her testimony. She was disappointed mostly. But, as a former criminal prosecutor, she understood that it happened in almost all cases of sexual assault. Quinn unconsciously snuggled deeper into Rachel's embrace as her mind lingered on the night after her testimony.

March 19 – 8:30PM

Her body trembled as wave after wave of nausea hit her. Her knees were starting to ache, and her throat burned. There were no tears left in her eyes to cry. The feeling she felt now was a million times worse than when she discovered her own pregnancy. Outside the locked bathroom door, Quinn could vaguely hear her wife and friends talking to her. They kept lying, telling her it would be okay. Obviously it wasn't, or she would have stopped heaving over an hour ago.

Her eventual cross-examination came after their lunch break. She knew there was going to be no way of getting out of it. She answered every question honestly. She had nothing to hide. Each question was designed perfectly to discredit her… to show her as mentally unstable. They covered everything from Beth to her most recent suicide attempt in January. Thankfully, she was able to avoid any conversation about her pregnancy. None of their questions surprised her. She had been a prosecuting attorney for several years, she knew what was involved in cross-examinations.

Finally, her stomach seized it's cartwheels and she was finally able to relax against the wall. Quinn was starving, but knew eating would only bring her sickness back. She ignored one more call out to her as she stood up and started the shower.

"Quinn?" Rachel called out gently when she didn't feel her wife moving against her. "Honey?" She tilted her head to the side to get a better look. Quinn was asleep. The diva smiled before shifting to gently lay Quinn against the pillows. She was happy to see her wife finally able to fall asleep.

Rachel knew that Quinn hadn't slept for more than a few minutes at a time. She just hoped that nobody would mind that she was taking a nap.

"Sweet dreams." Rachel placed a gentle kiss on Quinn's cheek and left the bedroom.

"Quinn's food's getting cold, shouldn't someone wake her up?" Eileen dabbed at the corners of her mouth, having just finished her meal. The two kids had already eaten and had vanished into the living room to play with Santana's Xbox.

Brittany shook her head as she picked up her own plate to put in the dishwasher. "She hasn't slept much since she got here. Besides, that's what the microwave's for. Exactly why it hasn't been packed yet." The blonde smirked, especially since it was her idea not to pack it away yet.

Jeff leaned forward some to check in the living room. It was to make sure that both of the kids were still engrossed in whatever game they were playing. "How is she doing?"

"Honestly?" A slow smile crept to Rachel's face as she looked up to meet Jeff's gaze. "Now that all of this is over with and he's going to rot in jail, she's been doing better. We talked some earlier and it helped me to understand some things." She stood up to put her own plate in the dishwasher. "I'm going to go and check on her."

When Rachel pushed open the bedroom door, she was surprised to see her wife sitting up with a notebook sitting on her lap. "Hey…" she whispered as she closed the notebook and hooked the pen in the spiral.

"You're awake." Rachel closed the door behind her and approached the bed.

The blonde placed her notebook on the floor beside her. "I woke up about a half hour ago… guess I just wanted to be alone for a bit, but now I'm really starving."

The simple statement drew a small laugh out of Rachel. "Do you want to go and join everybody?" Quinn shook her head. Rachel instantly understood. "How was your nap?"

"Pretty good, I really needed it." She reached toward her wife, giving her the idea to crawl onto the bed with her. "I just want a few minutes with you first." And she did. When Quinn first woke up, she was disoriented. Especially since she was in Santana and Brittany's bed, alone. But once she was fully awake and registered where she was, she knew it was best that she was alone. Quinn stayed where she was for several minutes crying. Crying over everything that had happened to her. Thankfully, she was able to get her closure and it felt like the weight of the world had finally been lifted off of her shoulders.

March 20 – 4:50PM

Quinn was nervous when the jury had come back out after only a little more than an hour of deliberation. That usually meant good things… but not always. Santana apparently felt the same because the grip she had on Quinn's hand tightened.

"We, the jury, find the defendant, Jim Edward Fields… guilty on all charges."

A cheer erupted throughout the courtroom. People were applauding the verdict. To her left, she felt Rachel's arms wrap around her neck. To her right, she felt her hand released. There was no doubt in her mind that Santana and Brittany were hugging. But Quinn wasn't sure what she was feeling. Somewhere inside, she was happy. Jim had been found guilty on every single charge. Yet, there was something inside of her that still felt empty.

"You didn't break me." Quinn's eyes met with Jim's once he was standing. "You may think you did… you may have seen me at my absolute weakest where I was begging for my death… But look at me." She took a deep breath, swallowing down the bubble that was building in her throat when he smirked. "I'm very much alive, and stronger." He pursed his lips together to blow her a kiss. "What you did to me will take a lifetime to heal. But, I'm surrounded by people who love me and are willing to help… I hope you rot." She pulled away from Rachel and left the courtroom without another word.

"Where did you go just now?"

Quinn shook her head before tilting it upwards to press a sweet kiss to Rachel's lips. "I'm right here." She smiled then leaned in for a longer kiss.

Rachel reluctantly pulled away when the blonde's stomach grumbled. "I think you're hungry."

"The baby's always hungry… and sick…" Quinn scrambled out of bed and into the bathroom. She pushed the door shut behind her, knowing Rachel would be following. Sadly, it didn't go unnoticed by the guests in the house.

"You should be over all of this soon honey." Rachel shut the door and knelt down behind the blonde. "Have you been reading those books I got you?" Quinn nodded between retching. "And you've been through it all before." Rachel smiled, she learned that talking helped her wife to relax. "I'll always be here for you."

"I know…" Quinn sighed before sitting on the floor. "They… they saw me come in didn't they?" Rachel nodded. "I want to tell them…" The brunette's facial expression made Quinn laugh softly. "I'm becoming more comfortable with it all, I trust Jeff and Eileen."

"As long as you're sure."

Quinn finished her second plate of pasta. She hated the way that Jeff and Eileen looked at her. Usually, she was always full after just one plate of anything. It was rare for the blonde to eat so much.

"Can you please stop staring at me?" Quinn snapped at her friends. She couldn't help her town of voice… The way they looked at her made her feel like some sort of animal. She instantly regretted it when a look of pain and remorse flashed across both of their faces. "I'm sorry… I didn't mean to snap at you."

"No, it's fine. We know you've been under a lot of stress lately." Jeff spoke softly.

It was just the three of them at the table. Rachel had ushered Brittany and Santana into the living room with the kids to allow Quinn time to talk to their old friends. Last thing Quinn heard was Rachel singing. The kids had apparently talked her into playing Brittany's karaoke game.

"It's just… I can't help being so hungry… and being watched while I stuff my face makes me feel even more self conscious." Quinn put her plate in the dishwasher before she sat back at the table.

"We didn't mean anything by it Quinn."

The blonde let out a heavy sigh. "I can't help being so hungry… because I'm pregnant." The room fell silent, the only noise was coming in from the living room television. Quinn paused for a moment, her eyes darting back and forth between Jeff and Eileen. At first, she wasn't sure if either of them heard her. They simply stared blankly at her. She didn't want to have to repeat herself, it was hard enough admitting it the first time around, but with the looks she was receiving, she needed to. "I said-" she started to say again, but was interrupted by Eileen.

"You mean…" She paused – placing her fingers to her forehead in thought before continuing. "Is it from…?" The older woman couldn't even finish her question. Her hands started shaking as she took several deep breaths to calm her nerves. "It is?" Eileen asked when all Quinn could do was nod. "Oh, honey…" She stood up and wrapped her arms around the younger blonde.

Quinn was proud of herself. Two weeks ago, she would have shied away from the mere thought of the touch. Now, she gratefully accepted it. For several moments, she simply stood there with her arms around Eileen, savoring the contact that didn't belong to Rachel, or Brittany, or Santana. "We're okay though. It's going to be okay. Rachel and I are keeping it."

"What?" Jeff's shocked voice shot in.

The two women pulled apart before Quinn looked at him. "We tried for so long to have a child… I think Rach said it best when she told me that it wasn't meant to happen until now. And you know what… I believe her. I've always believed in fate. I've believed that things happen for a reason. The reason I dealt with what I did was so Rachel and I could have a child. Perhaps it was God's way of punishing me for the things I'd done in the past. But now… now that I've pushed through it, we're being blessed." It was the first time Quinn had spoken about God since the incident. But, every time she laid in bed, unable to sleep, she thought and prayed.

Quinn prayed for strength to pull through the trial. She needed strength to see him again as well as tell her story. He granted her all of the strength she required. Now that it was all said and don't with, she thanked him. Each night, she silently said a prayer from her childhood. Her faith had finally been renewed and that in itself, lifted the weight of the world off her shoulders.

"I don't know if I could have done it Quinn, I really don't. You're a very strong woman. Don't let anybody ever tell you otherwise." Jeff stood up and carefully stepped closer. He was mostly gauging Quinn's reaction to his presence. He also knew that the slow approach gave her plenty of opportunity to run if she felt the need.

"Thanks Jeff…" She stepped away from Eileen to wrap her arms around his neck. It was a very bold move on her part and it definitely caught Jeff off guard. Quinn had barely registered his hesitance to return the hug. The only thing she could focus on was the face that she was hugging a man. It may have been a man that she'd known for years and who would never hurt her, but it was a huge step. When he finally returned her hug, she could feel his hands shaking on her lower back. "I'm okay, just please… hug me…"

The man smiled softly before resting his chin on the blonde's head. His arms tightened around her waist and he simply held her close to him, providing her a different kind of security that she could never get from her wife or her other friends.

Big step for Quinn huh?

And just to let everybody know... I'm not religious, so everything that was written about Quinn and God... I apologize to those who are religious if I screwed something up with that. I don't knock people for their beliefs, I believe what I believe and you believe what you believe, just don't push it in my face and we'll be just fine :)

Next chapter will have some time skips in it. I want to start getting this story going in the direction that would be the ending lol.

Reviews, comments, concerns are always welcome.

See ya next time.