Hello again chums! Hope you are all well and that this update isn't too late? I would like to say there was some grand reason for my tardiness, but alas it is just the fault of Skyrim! As in, um, 132 hours invested so far and still one main quest to go! However I swear to pay more attention to my writing from now on…honest! A word before you delve into it however, as this chapter isn't very heavy on the Faberry interaction and there are a few other couples featured. I just thought as it was nearing the end it was fair to spread the love and reveal a little about how some of the others are getting along. I apologise if you don't like it as much but there is a lot of Santana in this one and the next chapter is almost exclusively Faberry, anyhoo…read on my chums and let me know what you think!
Blinking at the screen in disbelief, Quinn couldn't help but smile at the words she still half believed weren't really there…THE END! She'd done it, she had actually done it, and although nobody might ever see it performed or even know of its existence outside of the Berry household, the knowledge that she had in fact written an entire musical was, well to be honest it was amazing. Winning the quarter-finals basketball game, winning Sectional's…none of them actually came close to the odd sense of achievement mixed with pride that she felt at the completion of her first, and maybe only, artistic work. Sitting back on the bench, she finally let the smile morph into the full fledged grin that had been trying to emerge for the last few minutes, cracking her knuckles with a sense of satisfaction she hit save and flipped the lid of the laptop closed. Opposite her, in the cafeteria of William McKinley High School, Rachel raised an expectant eyebrow. Quinn had actually forgotten for a moment where she was and had to stop herself from visibly reacting to what seemed, to her, to be the sudden appearance of her girlfriend and friends.
Actually, it was only really Rachel that was paying any attention to what the blonde had been doing as Santana and Brittany were far too busy feeding each other from a cup of fruit salad, Dave and Artie were flipping through a sketchbook of Dave's, occasionally giggling and nodding emphatically. Opposite them Mike and Tina were flipping through a sports magazine (for the hundredth time) that had done profiles on the school's team as they approached the play-off's. Quinn's grin turned into a warm smile and she found herself wondering what might have happened if she had never acknowledged her true self, never had the guts to be the person she was instead of the person she thought everyone else wanted her to be. Glancing across to the table which contained the rest of the Cheerio's and jocks, she couldn't help but cringe internally before looking hastily back at her own friends. True they might be considered the losers, the outcasts…but she was a hell of a lot happier sat here being herself with them than she had been sat with the 'in crowd'. Her ruminations ceased abruptly when she was subjected to a dual assault from one very impatient girlfriend! The toe of one soft but surprisingly firm leather ballet shoe tapped her shin gently, looking up she was met with the familiar brown eyes of Rachel Berry…and suddenly remembered the diva's silent question, flushing slightly at her forgetfulness, Quinn nodded, the brunette gasped excitedly.
"It's really finished? All of it…the songs, the music and the script!?"
Unable to stifle her chuckle at Rachel's enthusiasm, the basketball player nodded again.
"Yep, for good or for bad it's completed…I mean, I know it may well remain stuck on my hard drive until the laptop blows with no one but you or I aware of its existence, but…I'm feeling kind of good about the fact I wrote it at all."
She'd been speaking in a low voice so as not to interrupt their friends; she was also, perhaps, slightly protective of her first piece of creative work. Rachel however blew all that out of the water when with her usual theatricality she leapt up and across the table to engulf Quinn in a congratulatory hug.
"Quinn it's something you should be proud of, there aren't many seventeen year olds that can claim they have written an entire musical before they even finish high school!"
Rolling her eyes at her girlfriend's enthusiasm, the basketball player nonetheless readily accepted the exuberant hug and shower of butterfly kisses that Rachel insisted on raining down all over her face. It was then of course that she noticed the silence that had fallen across their table, and, swallowing nervously, Quinn cleared her throat to get her girlfriend's attention. Realising she had inadvertently alerted the rest of their little group to what Quinn had been working on, Rachel cringed before murmuring.
"Oh…sugar! I'm sorry baby, I know I wasn't meant to mention it to anyone else was I? I just got so excited that…"
The athlete abruptly stopped the flow of apologies falling from the diva's lips by gently pressing her own to them for a moment, when she felt Rachel relax she pulled back and shrugged one shoulder.
"Don't sweat it supernova, they had to know sometime and at least they are our friends…it's fine, but um, maybe you should get off my lap so I could talk to them about it?"
Starting slightly at the realisation of where they were and the position they were in, Rachel hurriedly leapt from Quinn's lap to sit next to her, threading the fingers of one hand through the athlete's. Looking across the table the basketball player was confronted with the raised sculpted eyebrow of Santana Lopez, and the infectious smile of Brittany Pierce, grinning she rolled her eyes.
"Cool it Lopez, I was going to tell you…eventually, I was just nervous! I mean, I started the whole thing mainly as an exercise to keep my mind occupied. Truthfully I never expected it to go anywhere but once I had the rough idea for a story the whole thing fell into place, including the style of music."
Waving a hand airily, the Latina leaned forward.
"Screw the artistic crap Fabray, just tell me there's violence, sex and hot women in it?"
Laughing at Brittany's exasperated expression, Quinn nodded.
"Of course! I mean…back when I started it I was still coming to terms with who I was and how I felt about Rachel. I wanted to write something happy for someone and…"
Trailing off nervously with the realisation of what she had almost revealed, the blonde chewed on her lower lip for a moment as she took in the expectant look on her friend's face. It wasn't that she thought Santana would be mad at her, but it was something she was nervous about confessing aloud in public. As if sensing this, the Latina's expression imperceptibly softened and she gently nudged Quinn's foot under the table (where no one could see her being soft) before speaking quietly.
"Spit it out Fabray…I don't think anyone's going to hold something against you that helped you regain your, even now, questionable sanity."
Grinning widely as she heard Rachel's feigned snort of irritability, Santana tipped a discreet wink at Quinn who finally relaxed and nodded.
"Okay, well I based my main characters on you and Brittany, I wanted you guys to be happy because it was clear to me that you were meant to be together. I didn't want to base it on me and, um, and Rachel because that was a hornets nest that I really wasn't brave enough to poke way back then."
Rachel smiled affectionately and lay her head on Quinn's shoulder, returning the smile, the athlete inclined her head just far enough to kiss the crown of Rachel's head before glancing back towards her best friends. Although she couldn't swear on it, she was fairly positive that Santana's eyes were shining with unshed tears, luckily Brittany rescued both of them from the situation by speaking softly but enthusiastically.
"Quinn that's…so sweet, and incredibly romantic as well! Do we get to see a copy of it, I mean considering you based your two main characters on us it would be nice, but you don't have to if you don't want to. I mean, showing people a piece of yourself is kinda a big thing so we won't be offended if you don't feel ready."
Smiling in wonder at the way the tall blonde dancer had effortlessly latched onto the reason she was so nervous about showing anyone her musical, Quinn found herself having to swallow a lump in her throat. Writing was a very personal thing, whether you were aware of it or not it was inevitable that the writer would put something of themselves into their work, and while it was that which breathed life into the typed words, it was also that which made it a very sensitive thing to reveal. Brittany, god bless her, knew this and was giving her the escape she felt she needed, ironically it was the issuing of the 'get out of jail free' card that gave her the courage to plough ahead with it.
"I tell you what, why don't you guys come over tonight, we'll order in and you guys can get a look at it and hear some of the music…not the lyrics, my voice isn't powerful enough to carry some of the tunes, but I've laid down the music for about eighty percent of the tracks."
Rachel's eyes widened and she sat up straight in shock, swivelling in her seat she pinned Quinn with a surprised look.
"When on earth did you do that?! I know I can be quite self involved but I'm sure I would have noticed you playing various instruments in the house."
Smiling soothingly, Quinn shook her head.
"You don't need to panic Rae…you weren't being oblivious I promise. When you were at your various dance and acting classes I spent time at home, or more often here in the school's auditorium or choir room so I could use the different instruments and recording equipment."
Relaxing slightly, Rachel let herself sink back into the basketball player's arms, once she was sure the diva was calm again, Quinn looked up at the two Cheerios expectantly.
"So what do you say? You up for an evening of junk food and bad musicals?"
At the gentle slap on her leg and irritated muttering from Rachel, the basketball player quickly corrected herself.
"I meant, healthy but tasty food and possibly okay musicals?"
Brittany looked towards Santana beseechingly as she clasped one of the Latina's hands in both of hers. Pretending that she was only agreeing to appease her better half, Santana sighed and nodded.
"Fine, we'll be there…but there better be more than carrot sticks and celery on offer Berry or I'll get angry, and you wouldn't like me angry!"
Quinn smirked at the accidental reference to the Hulk, her jaw dropped however when she heard Rachel actually say out loud what she had merely thought.
"Santana, you are aware you have just referred to yourself as a green monster that mindlessly smashes things up, although I suppose in retrospect you are more than a little bit like the Hulk."
The table fell silent, Mike glanced at Quinn, his eyes wide with shock, Tina clapped her hand to her mouth to stifle a giggle as the similarities between the Marvel character and the Latina cheerleader suddenly occurred to her. Artie audibly gulped while Dave smirked to himself as he had made the connection months ago during one of his and Quinn's DC versus Marvel arguments. Rachel belatedly realised her faux pas and her eyes widened, trying to backtrack, she held up both hands and started babbling.
"Oh, I ah…meant that in a merely, uh, sociological observational way rather than an actual way, because it's not like anyone here wants you to rip off your clothes, god forbid!"
At Santana's shocked and even wider eyes, Rachel yet again realised she had placed her foot firmly in her mouth and tried again to backtrack, physically moving away now, even as she spoke.
"I didn't mean that to sound like no one would want you to take your clothes off because you are ugly, because I mean, clearly you aren't, there are plenty of people here who I'm sure would attest to how good you look naked…oh god, no, wait! I didn't mean that lots of people had seen you naked because you're a slut or anything, I just meant that…oh dear, well, what I was thinking was how all the cheerleaders have seen you naked and the football team probably and…"
She was cut off with a yelp as Santana lunged for her, at that point the diva bolted for the door with one very irritated Latina in hot pursuit yelling all sort of threats as she pounded after her. Face palming loudly, Quinn leapt from her seat and snagged Brittany's elbow indicating the direction their girlfriends had ran off in.
"Come on Brit, we better go find them before they break school property…or each other!"
Nodding eagerly, the blonde cheerleader grabbed Quinn's hand and pulled her along as she started running after the others, the basketball player just had time to yell over her shoulder.
"Stanley, can you grab our stuff and take it to English!"
A millisecond later the two blondes had disappeared, shaking his head fondly, Dave moved over to slide Quinn's laptop into her messenger bag when a hand landed on his. Glancing up, he caught the mischievous eyes of Mike Chang…and knew immediately what the tall dancer was planning.
"Dude you can't, you heard how shy she was about this! If we invade her privacy she'll never forgive us!"
Softening his gaze, Mike removed his hand but spoke gently.
"I'm not doing it to upset her man, you know I love her like she was my own flesh and blood…which is why I know that even if Rachel, Brittany and Santana all tell her that it's great she still won't do anything about it!"
Pausing with his other hand still on the laptop, Dave sat back down and glanced towards Artie who shrugged as if to say, 'it can't hurt to listen'.
"Okay, so what are you thinking?"
Sliding into his seat and motioning Tina closer, Mike began to explain…
After finally tracking down Santana and Rachel, who were running in circles around the newly erected water fountain in the quad, Brittany and Quinn were able to safely neutralise the situation without any bloodshed or unexpected fountain baths. The rest of the day went by without any major incidents, Quinn and Rachel got berated for playing footsie in English, Puck and Cameron got detention for flicking rubber bands at each other and Santana predictably pretended to be bored by the whole thing whilst simultaneously secretly smirking at her friends' antics. Glee club was relaxed, even though they were going to Regional's in less than two days, the whole club felt happy with the way they had come together to present both numbers, and even more reassuringly, Miss Holiday could find nothing she thought they needed to go over!
By the time evening rolled around, Leroy and Hiram had made a strategic withdrawal to a friend's house for dinner and Rachel had done her usual over the top job of getting ready for guests. Sighing yet again at the many plates of cookies, cake's and other treats that the diva had carefully set out, Quinn deftly snatched a lemon cupcake before turning to her frantic girlfriend.
"Rae, sweetheart…I'm pretty sure Santana was joking when she said she'd make you swallow your Streisand collection if there wasn't enough junk food!"
Propping her hands on her hips and scowling at the unrepentant basketball player for stealing one of the cupcakes, Rachel huffed irritably.
"Well I can't be sure after my awful words this afternoon…I mean I really didn't say it the way I meant to, first I made her sound like a mindless thug and then a slut! I'm surprised I'm still alive to be honest!"
Sighing Quinn licked the icing from her thumb and walking over wrapped the nervous diva in an embrace, kissing her softly.
"She knows you were joking supernova, Santana really likes you okay? She's just…weird about the way she shows it that's all. I mean I'm her best friend and I love her, but it would probably take a zombie apocalypse for her to admit that she loves me back in front of anyone…it's just the way she is."
Sighing slightly, Rachel leaned forward into the basketball player's strong arms and closing her eyes, inhaled the faint scent of her cologne.
"It's okay you know Quinn…I mean I know she only puts up with me because of you, it's not like we'd be friends if you and I ever split up and I know that. I know she doesn't like me but I just don't want her to hate me, for your sake."
Frowning in confused surprise, Quinn looked down and used a forefinger to tilt Rachel's chin upwards until she could see the tear filled chocolate brown eyes.
"Do you honestly still think that baby? After everything that's happened this year do you really not think Santana likes you?"
Quinn was honestly shocked, she knew without a doubt that Santana loved Rachel and considered her to be one of her best friends. She, like Quinn, still carried a lot of guilt over the way they had treated the girl in junior year, but she had been working like mad since then, along side Quinn and Brittany, to ensure that no one so much as touched a hair on the brunette's head for fear of retaliation. However…she also knew how standoffish Santana could seem to those who didn't know her very well, and despite her knowing how much the Latina felt for the little diva, she could conceive of the fact that it might not be so clear to Rachel herself. A fact confirmed when the girl in question merely shrugged and snuggled in closer to the basketball player.
"It's okay stud, I don't mind, I mean I know Brit likes me because Brit pretty much likes everyone and so long as our relationship doesn't cost you your friendship with Santana then everything's fine with me."
Before Quinn could say another word Rachel extricated herself from the blonde's arms, and, placing a firm kiss on her lips, smiled brightly then headed off to check the guest room was set up. Letting her arms drop back to her sides, Quinn set her jaw stubbornly and decided that the first thing she was going to do when their friends got there was take Santana aside, she knew the Latina valued her rep more than anything bar Brittany, but there was no way Quinn was willing to have the woman she loved walk around thinking she was hated when she was not…she'd spent enough of her high school life having to do that and it ended tonight. Less than twenty minutes later the duo arrived and after letting them in, Rachel was shocked when Santana was swiftly pulled away from Brittany by a determined Quinn, even Brittany looked slightly awed at the basketball player's show of dominance. Shaking off her best friend's hand, the Latina frowned heavily but made no move to head back towards Brittany's side, at the combined wary and shocked looks Quinn cursed internally and forced a smile.
"Sorry, I just need a quick word with S, it won't take long but it's sort of private…between her and me?"
Brittany took the explanation at face value and shrugging, looped her arm through Rachel's and headed towards the kitchen asking cheerily if the brunette had any Dr. Pepper as she'd forgotten to brush her teeth before coming out. Both Santana and Quinn smiled fondly as they heard Rachel gently lecturing the dancer on proper dental care, Santana raised an eyebrow as her gaze caught the basketball player's questioningly.
"So where's the fire Fabray…you aren't pregnant again are you?"
Rolling her eyes, Quinn grabbed her friend's arm again and headed towards the guest room upstairs, firstly to dump the bags off and secondly because it was far enough away from the kitchen for them to talk without being overheard. Once inside, the blonde closed the door and leaned on it while she watched Santana take a seat on the end of the bed and try to appear as though she wasn't anxious about whatever it was that Quinn wanted to talk to her about. Letting a breath out, the basketball player slumped down till she was sat on the floor cross-legged, it was then it occurred it to her that she had no idea how to approach this…so she decided in true Santana style to keep it real.
"Look…Rachel still thinks you don't like her, and before you even start I know you say you don't because of your rep and all that, but she really thinks that if it weren't for me you would hate her. I know how important it is to you to be a hard ass but I'm asking you to just talk to her, make her understand that she isn't that girl that people only put up with for the sake of others."
Pausing to clear the lump in her throat and swipe away some unexpected tears that were falling for the hurt she imagined her girlfriend was feeling deep inside, Quinn forged on, unaware that Santana had opened her own mouth to speak.
"I just…firstly, she thought that dating Finn would protect her from being labelled a loser which was bad enough, but now I find out she still feels that way, but about being with me…maybe not in such a drastic way because the rest of the glee club really do appreciate her for who she is now…but for her to think that she's only tolerated by someone, anyone, simply because she's with me…well it, kills me a little inside to know that Santana."
Finally stopping long enough to look up from where she had been drilling a hole into the floor with her pained gaze, Quinn noticed that Santana had moved and was crouched in front of her. More importantly, she was smiling, properly, in place of the usual smirk, or that oft-used wicked grin…was the genuine soft smile that Quinn had probably only seen her best friend use about three times before.
"Hey…Quinn, calm down okay? I sort of got the feeling she felt that way this afternoon, I mean I know she'd only started babbling and couldn't stop but the chase was instinctive. However she looked truly terrified, not that I might dunk her in the fountain but that I might genuinely hurt her, and believe it or not that made me hurt, because as annoying as the small fry can be, she's a genuinely amazing person with a huge capacity to love and care for people."
Quinn stared at her in mild shock causing the Latina to roll her eyes before mirroring her friends cross-legged pose and carrying on.
"There's no need to look quite so surprised Fabray, I'm not as self involved as everyone thinks, and when you were falling apart and wouldn't let anyone else near you…she somehow found a way and brought you back to yourself, better than that actually, she brought you back enough so you could find the real you. I'm always gonna care about her…okay I admit it, I'm always gonna love her, if only because she was able to do that for you when I…when no one else could."
Sensing the cleverly masked hurt behind the revelation of how she truly felt about Rachel, Quinn reached out and laced her fingers through her surprised best friend's. When she finally got the Latina to lock gazes with her, the vulnerability in them almost took her breath away as she realised the importance of the gift Santana was offering her. The two of them had always had a strange relationship; to everyone else it seemed to be an antagonistic friendship born of necessity. But they had always known that no matter their outward behaviour towards each other (usually dictated by the laws of the high school hierarchy) they would gladly step in front of a speeding car for each other if it was ever needed. But this, well this was something altogether new between the best friends, Santana was allowing Quinn to see her as she was, with no mask in place, no Brittany there to help cover over a slip of real emotion and nothing to detract attention from the situation. Yes, Santana was indebted to Rachel for saving Quinn, but she was also hurt, hurt that although the blonde knew her better than anyone bar Brittany, she hadn't been able to trust her with whatever she had trusted Rachel with. Feeling her knees shaking even though she was sitting down, Quinn held onto her best friend's hand a little tighter and blowing out a breath prepared to answer the unasked question.
"That night…the night of Sam's farewell party? I was in a bad place, and I don't mean the angry or sad drunk place either…I mean the darkest place I've ever been. I'd glimpsed it once when I gave Beth up for adoption, but this was ten times worse, this was something I couldn't talk about to anyone. My parents had kicked me out and I was living in my truck, the girl I loved was with a guy I couldn't stand, everyone was happy and I didn't want to…I couldn't step all over that, you and Brit had only just cut through all the bullshit and finally confessed how you felt about each other and it was one of the few things I felt genuinely happy about. I got drunk, not tipsy or squiffy or any other gentle adjective, just down and dirty stinking drunk, and I decided I was going to just end it, I meant to kill myself that night."
Santana's hand tightened around hers painfully and the blonde could see the pain, anger, confusion and horror mixed in with the hurt at being kept out of her best friend's torment. Forging ahead, needing Santana to know why she had done what she had, why she couldn't tell the Latina her biggest secret, Quinn squeezed back to halt the questions and carried on hurriedly.
"Rachel had followed me, I didn't know that and I didn't realise but she had, and when she saw where I was and that I was most likely planning to jump off that bridge she stopped me. She made me realise that even in the darkest place I'd ever been it was possible for someone to light a match and help you lead yourself out of it. I talked to her partly because of how I felt for her and partly because I was drunk, I told her what…what started this all off, this need to be anyone but me. She listened and she didn't pull away from me, she didn't condemn me, she held me close and helped me…and not only am I still here but I'm feeling better than I ever have, the cause of things is still there but I know it doesn't have to define me anymore!"
Swallowing down the hoarseness in her voice, Santana blinked her eyes rapidly in the vain hope it would quell the tears before they started to fall.
"I…get all that and it's why I love the small fry, but what I don't get is why you couldn't talk to me?! You know me, you know the real person and not just the act, god Fabray if anyone knows about having to pretend to be someone you aren't it's me!"
Smiling sadly, Quinn sighed.
"I know and that's partly why, I love you S, and you were finally being yourself, you were happy and you had something so pure, so untainted that at the time I couldn't bring myself to talk to you. Back then I considered that the poison I felt I contained would have seeped out and polluted your own happiness. I know now that it's bullshit, but back then I was so happy for you both I didn't want to ruin it, I couldn't, so I kept it to myself…but I will tell you, not tonight because I want this to be a happy night, but I'll tell you S, I just don't want to make you mad, not at me but at the situation I was in."
Her hazel eyes pleaded with the Latina, she needed her to know that she hadn't told her because she cared for her, not because she didn't. It must have worked because dropping her own chocolate brown eyes for a moment, Santana let out a breath before looking up with another one of her rare genuine affectionate smiles.
"I love you too Lucy, and I understand, I mean you're right, it is bullshit and of course I would have listened and helped you…but I understand that at the time you couldn't see that. However, I feel it fair to let you know if you do it again I'll kick your skinny ass all the way to New York and back."
Laughing with a mix of relief and warmth for her often prickly friend, the blonde leaned forward and without any urging Santana met her halfway in a hug that was both gentle and furious at the same time. Both of them needing to convey the affection they felt for each other with more than words, because sometimes words just weren't enough, and this was one of those times. Holding onto each other tightly, both friends cried silently for a long while, using the shoulders of each other's hoodies to wipe their tears on, eventually they separated and smiled shyly, Quinn was the first to speak.
Slugging her friend's shoulder gently, Santana hauled herself to her feet, then helped the basketball player up.
"Like I said, it's already under control, come downstairs with me and I'll show you…it's like I said earlier, when I saw that she thought I might genuinely hurt her I knew I had to do something, and so I asked Brit. Typically she knew just what to do right off the bat and I came here ready to do it, but…I'm glad we had this talk, really glad."
Smiling back, Quinn nodded her agreement before taking a breath, as one they headed for the bedroom door and towards the kitchen where they could hear their girls giggling together happily. Looking wary, the two walked into the kitchen only to pause in shocked amusement as they took in the sight of their girlfriends standing there with moustaches made out of icing, Santana regained her voice first, which was lucky as Quinn was no help at all when she started giggling uncontrollably at the sight.
"Um, what on earth are you guys doing?"
Rolling her eyes as though it was obvious, Brittany skipped over to Santana and threw her arms round the girl's neck happily.
"We're making evil villain moustaches out of the leftover icing! Though you guys are losing the competition right now cos you haven't even started, well you haven't anyway."
At that Santana looked over her girlfriend's shoulder to see Quinn eagerly using a forefinger to start constructing her own evil moustache. Chuckling, the Latina shook her head fondly and started to make her way over to the bowl of icing and their friends, noticing the slightly wary look in Rachel's eyes, she sighed and decided now was as good a time as any to reveal how she felt about the little diva.
"Rachel…relax I'm not mad at you for this afternoon okay? I wasn't even mad at you then really, it's just habit. Q here tells me you don't think I like you and I guess that's partly my fault because I know I can be a little hard to read."
At the pointed and exaggerated coughing from both Brittany and Quinn, the Latina smirked and confessed.
"Okay, I'm a lot hard to read!
As three heads nodded in sync, the Latina couldn't help but smile slightly as she propped one hand on her hip and carried on.
"Anyway…as I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted! I know I'm hard to read but the fact is Be…Rachel, that if I didn't like you, I wouldn't make an effort to hang out with you at all, Quinn or no Quinn."
Smiling politely, the little diva still looked far from impressed and taking a deep breath Santana moved forward until she was within arms length, Rachel didn't tense but she did look at the other two worriedly. Quinn just nodded with a small smile while Brittany's grin was wide and her nod of encouragement so enthusiastic Rachel was surprised her head stayed on her shoulders. Turning back to the Latina, the little brunette actually gave a gasp of surprise when she saw the genuine and very reassuring smile Santana was showing her. Before her mouth could get the message from her brain however, she blurted out.
"You are so much prettier when you smile like that."
Slapping a hand over her traitorous mouth, Rachel wondered if she was about to lose a tooth. Santana however just chuckled and reaching down, squeezed the diva's hand gently.
"Smile like what exactly?"
Knowing she was in no imminent danger, Rachel relaxed and smiled herself as she replied honestly.
"Like you mean it, like its not just for show."
Sighing softly, the Latina gently pulled Rachel into a hug, resting her head on the slightly smaller brunette's shoulder she waited until Rachel mirrored the pose and relaxed before speaking.
"Listen up small fry, I care about you okay, not only do I like you but I kinda love you…I mean you rescued my Captain! Just because I can't shake the habit of a lifetime when I'm at high school doesn't mean I'll ever hurt you or deny our friendship okay? Anyone hassles you, you come to me and Brit if you can't go to Quinn, it's you me and the two blondes from here on out Rach…you hear me?"
Finally accepting the fact that Santana was in fact her friend and had her back rather than looking for an opportunity to stick the knife in it, the diva relaxed and hugged back with all her Rachel Berry enthusiasm. Santana just laughed, partly in genuine amusement and partly in relief that Rachel finally believed her. Eventually the two of them broke apart and turned to see Quinn and Brittany busy embellishing their icing moustaches with the last of the silver balls and tiny sugar stars. As one the two brunettes dived for the bowl of icing and soon the war for the evilest icing moustache was on! It was over an hour later before the four of them even remembered the musical they were meant to be reading, sprawled all over the Berry's' comfortable sofa's with bellies full of Chinese take out, cakes, cookies and about half a pound of chocolate icing, it was Brittany that suddenly sat up with a yelp that made the other three jump.
"Quinn I forgot! We were meant to be here to read through your musical weren't we, I can't wait to hear how you portrayed me in it!"
The basketball player flushed and tried distractedly to clean the last of the icing from her upper lip as she stalled them.
"Well we don't have to, I mean we're all kinda full and tired, and it's all the way upstairs in my school bag! Plus in ten minutes the movie channel is showing Lady & the Tramp, and you know how much you love that one."
Three very unimpressed looks were shot her way and heaving an extremely exaggerated sigh, Quinn moved Rachel's feet from her lap and hauled herself up with an equally exaggerated groan. Peering back to see if it had, had any effect she was met with the exact same expressions from a minute ago, muttering under her breath, she moved to head up the stairs when Rachel's voice stopped her.
"Quinn baby…come here."
Expecting a last minute reprieve, the basketball player happily walked back towards her now standing girlfriend. Instead of Rachel giving up and letting her off, the little diva reached up and kissed Quinn's upper lip thoroughly, cleaning the last of the icing from just under her nose and the corner of her mouth.
"Okay done now! That was distracting me, go get the musical baby I've been looking forward to this all day!"
Still slightly off kilter from the extremely arousing method of cleaning her face, the blonde just nodded dumbly and headed upstairs without any further objection. As Rachel sat back down next to the other three on the sofa, Santana high-fived her with a wicked grin.
"Nice moves Berry!"
Giggling happily, the little diva just shrugged a shoulder, moments later Quinn was back and handed over her laptop and iPad, both of which had the musical on them as she had used both at various times and synced them to keep things up to date. As her friends eagerly accepted them, she chewed on her lip anxiously and mumbled.
"What am I supposed to do while you guys read through this huh? I'm gonna be on the edge of my seat obsessed with what you think until you finish!"
Frowning for a moment in thought, Rachel suddenly smiled brightly and heading to the entertainment centre extracted Quinn's prized metallic blue Xbox controller and handed it over.
"Weren't you in the middle of trying to rebuild the thieves guild?"
Accepting the controller happily, the basketball player grinned, settling herself in the gaming chair Leroy had brought her, she slipped on her turtle beach headset before powering up the console eagerly. Within five minutes, Quinn was so deeply immersed in the world of Skyrim, Rachel doubted she would hear a bomb drop let alone hear what they might be saying. In fact, one weekend when Rachel had, had several teaching jobs at the dance studios as well as lessons of her own, she had needed to stay overnight. When she had left, the blonde had powered up the console and had still been on it when Rachel had returned the next day. At first she assumed Quinn had just spent her free time on the console over the weekend, it wasn't until she saw the play log that she realised it had been one continuous twenty-seven hour session! After that her game time had been cut drastically, more out of concern for the possibility that it might affect her head injury than anything else, so tonight's free pass was like an unexpected Christmas present.
Occasionally, there was a gasp or other comment from one of the three readers (or swearing from the gaming Quinn) as they worked their way through the script. Several times, Brittany would lean closer to Santana who would kiss her forehead or temple softly while murmuring reassuringly. Rachel had read most of it before of course but she had only read the script and not the music, this time she read all of it and while there were things she thought they could improve or tweak…she loved it! Turning off the iPad, she set it to one side and wiped the happy tears from her eyes, looking up she saw Santana and Brittany doing the same. They all glanced over to the entertainment centre where Quinn was heavily involved in a fight with something that looked like an abominable snowman, an ice troll, Rachel corrected herself automatically. Clearing her throat to gain the little diva's attention, Santana inclined her head towards the basketball player and smirked.
"Is it safe to interrupt her and ask if we can hear the music…I mean, I know there's a possibility that I'm biased as the main characters are based on Brit and I…but that was a really good musical, I think if it had the right performers behind it, it could do well…in a local theatre at least."
Brit nodded enthusiastically as did Rachel.
"More than a local theatre if I get my way but…yeah, she's actually very talented at writing, both the music and the script itself. Hopefully, if the scout from Julliard likes her, then I can persuade her to pursue script writing as one of her choices. For now however, I'll go and see if there's a chance we can listen to the music."
She walked over to Quinn, who had quite obviously forgotten anything but the game she was playing; tapping the blonde on the shoulder lightly, Rachel was relieved to see she hadn't surprised her. Pausing the game, the blonde slipped the headset off and looked up questioningly before remembering they had been reading her musical.
"Oh…you ah, finished it then?"
All three nodded and when there was no further reaction, Quinn chewed her lower lip and ventured.
"So…was it okay? I mean it's only a first draft, well, technically it's the second if you factor in how many rewrites and edits I did when going over the various acts, although that was a bit at a time and not as a finished piece, so I guess you can't really call it a second draft because…"
She was cut off abruptly when Rachel reached down and kissed her softly but very pointedly, pointedly enough that the words and worry in Quinn's head turned into static. When the fuzz cleared and she could focus on her surroundings again, she saw Brit and Santana smirking at her, realising Rachel had just asked her something, she cleared her throat before speaking.
"Sorry honey, what did you just say?"
Grinning fondly, the little diva repeated herself softly.
"I said that we all loved it and we'd kind of like to hear the music that you have done for it, if it's okay with you that is?"
Shaking her head to clear the last of the erotic haze, Quinn saved her game before standing up and glancing questioningly at all three of them.
"So, it didn't totally suck then?"
Brit shook her head emphatically saying how much she loved it, Santana snorted and shook her head before gesturing to Rachel to be the voice of reason.
"No it didn't suck, I told you that before and now two other people agree with me so you know it's not just me being biased. We all liked it and we would really like to hear the music you've composed so far, perhaps we could practice singing some of the numbers…just to see how it sounds when it's all put together?"
Rubbing the back of her neck, the basketball player couldn't help the small shy grin that crept over her face, knowing her friends were willing to help her out with this made all the difference and she finally nodded.
"Okay…I'll go and get the CD's I've made so far, you'll have to read the lyrics off the laptop or iPad though because I haven't printed anything out, didn't really see a need until now."
Quinn abruptly headed off up the stairs two steps at a time, Rachel turned to the two Cheerio's with a grin.
"This has suddenly turned into my kind of party, singing, music…the only thing missing is Barbra herself!"
Clapping her hands together happily, Rachel practically skipped to the kitchen to top up their soda's. Face palming loudly, Santana groaned, resting her head on her chuckling girlfriend's shoulder she muttered.
Brittany was still laughing loudly as a confused Rachel walked in with a tray of drinks, shortly followed by an equally as puzzled Quinn with a stack of CD's. The rest of the evening, and in fact the start of the next day, was spent with the four girls playing the music and fitting the lyrics to them. Quinn was ecstatic as with the input of the others, she managed to improve the lyrics and also mix up the timings a little to get a better sound. The only drawback was that the next day at school the four could barely keep their eyes open, Santana got yelled at by Coach Sylvester for falling asleep on the bench, Brittany managed to sleep her way through the entire Spanish class, while Quinn and Rachel fell asleep in the auditorium at lunch and missed an entire lesson, only just making it to their last class of the day! As the next day was the Regional's competition, glee club was more about organising what time the bus would be leaving and where they would all meet, not to mention last minute checks on costumes and performance times.
There were four very loud sighs of relief when Miss Holiday let them all go, laughing slightly, the supply teacher directed a partly concerned, partly amused look at the exhausted girls.
"As for you four, might I suggest you actually use tonight for sleep instead of…whatever else it was you were doing, and trust me, I'm not asking!"
Smirking at Holly's expression, Puck pulled back from the noogi he was busy giving Cameron and raised a lascivious eyebrow at his exhausted friends.
"If she isn't then I will!"
Santana smiled sweetly whilst flipping him the bird, Brittany however answered honestly…it just didn't sound as clean as it actually was.
"We were up all night making music, it was super fun but kind of more exhausting than it sounds."
Puck's jaw dropped and even Cameron flushed slightly as her mind dropped straight into the gutter next to his, there was the dual sound of Quinn and Santana face palming as Rachel rushed to explain.
"She means that in the literal sense Noah, as in lyrics and stuff like that, we were making music in the musical sense, not in the physical one!"
Even Holly couldn't stop from laughing at the dazed expression on the mohawked boy's face, knowing he probably hadn't even heard what Rachel had said; she shook her head.
"Alright you reprobates, get the hell out of my choir room so I can go home and get drunk in front of a Jerry Springer marathon."
At that, the last of the glee club picked their bags up and began to file out eagerly; well, most of them did anyway. Quinn, Rachel, Brittany and Santana however could only manage a shuffle, once in the car park they said their goodbyes and headed home. Yawning, Quinn and Rachel were glad to realise that their dads were still at work as they collapsed onto the diva's bed in exhaustion, the basketball player managed to kick her sneakers off using only her feet before she snuggled up to her girlfriend. The little diva smiled faintly and began to play with the hair at the nape of Quinn's neck; the blonde stifled a yawn and murmured sleepily.
"Well, with four of us fine tuning it, we could have an actual workable musical before the end of the year…that's cool, even if we don't ever get to perform it."
Closing her eyes, Rachel echoed Quinn's yawn.
"Don't discount that just yet stud, there's always a spare hall somewhere that's crying out for a decent show. I can't wait till tomorrow and Regional's."
Smiling tiredly, the basketball player turned her head far enough to kiss Rachel's temple softly.
"You aren't nervous are you? I mean usually before a competition you're all on edge and making list upon list, then double and triple checking them all, not to mention ringing everyone who has anything to do with costumes, make up or choreography."
Blowing a slight raspberry at the gentle teasing, Rachel merely snuggled closer before half whispering her reply.
"I know…looks like you're having a calming effect on my crazy huh?"
Nodding in reply, the last thing Quinn was aware of was a faint but definite whiff of apples that she assumed was the diva's new perfume. The two slept through dinner, and apart from a nightmare, which caused Quinn to thrash about in the middle of the night until Rachel calmed her, they didn't stir until the alarm went off. The next morning, they groggily blundered through showers, dressing and breakfast. Luckily by the time they got to the school they were fully alert and more than ready for the day ahead, which was, luckily, an uneventful day and although the members had been half expecting something to go wrong…it didn't! Six o' clock rolled around and they were all at the minibus, ready to go and wow the crowds at Regional's, that, of course, was when the spanner got thrown well and truly into the works, and it all started with an innocent enough announcement. They were all paired up on the minibus waiting for Miss Holiday who was just double checking they had the outfits carefully packed and that the instruments were safely in the jazz band's van. Finally getting on board, she indicated the bus could head off then turned to face the excited performers.
"Okay, we're on our way, to victory and National's hopefully!"
There was a resounding cheer from the glee club and amongst the rousing yells and applause, someone asked if she knew yet who the judges were going to be, smiling widely Holly nodded.
"Yep, I found out just before we left and believe it or not, there's actually a couple of genuine celebrities this time instead of local ones."
Grinning, Puck rubbed his hands together and waggled his eyebrows.
"Sweet, so who is it…and do I have a chance with any of them?"
He promptly disappeared under a barrage of candy, shoes and general yelling, ducking for cover behind Cameron he yelled his surrender, shaking her head Holly decided to put him out of his (and apparently everyone else's) misery.
"Okay you guys, let the letch up and I'll tell ya! Apparently they have organised for Jason Priestley from Beverly Hills 90210 to be there as well as a guest DJ and some official from the arts world."
Having had experience with a lot of DJ's because of her past relationship, Cameron smirked and shoved Puck off of her shoulder before asking.
"Cool, which DJ is it?"
Holly accepted the fireball Quinn had passed her, and, before popping it in her mouth said.
"That new one working out of Miami, she's pretty hot property apparently, 'Just J' I think they said she was called, I mean I've never heard of her but I Googled her and she's all over the club scene."
Sitting back down to face forward and talk to the driver about Lord knew what, Holly missed what happened next, the rest of the glee club however did not. Cameron went pale and grabbed at Puck's sleeve hard enough that he winced and turned to ask her what was wrong.
"I don't feel well…I think I'm gonna throw up!"
Giving a little girly high pitched yelp, the jock moved out of the way and grabbing Quinn's bag of candy emptied the contents into her lap and passed it to a now green Cameron.
"Jesus Puck…what's your problem?! If you wanted one you only had to ask you…"
Quinn stopped abruptly as she heard someone very definitely throwing up, craning round to the seat in front of her along with Rachel, she saw Cameron emptying her guts and Puck gingerly disposing of the now full bag out of the window. The brunette diva went straight into glee captain mode and leaping from her seat fetched a bottle of water from the bag at the back and rushed back to Cameron. Wincing at the foul taste in her mouth, the drummer wiped her mouth on a tissue and accepted the water gratefully.
"Thanks…I, look guys I don't think I can go on tonight."
It was said so faintly that Rachel could hardly hear it, when the words registered however her eyes went wide with panic and she turned to Quinn, the basketball player squeezed her shoulder reassuringly before speaking to Cameron while the diva calmed herself enough to talk without yelling.
"Okay…is it a stomach virus, you seemed okay at school before Cam?"
Swallowing more water and avoiding the searching hazel gaze of the athlete, Cameron blew out a breath carefully.
"No, I mean…yes, I think anyway…it just sort of came on all of a sudden, maybe it's food poisoning, who knows what they put in those fish sticks they serve in the cafeteria!"
Smiling weakly, she hoped against hope that Quinn would take her answer at face value, she knew she would be leaving them one performer short but Holly could fill in if it was needed…sadly, Quinn was not born yesterday, and of course Puck had to open his big mouth.
"Don't be a doofus Cam, you didn't even have the fish sticks, you brought a subway to school the same as me…we stopped on the way in and both got the same, so it can't be that!"
Sighing internally, the drummer managed a very weak smile before being pinned by the questioning hazel eyes of Quinn Fabray, which was bad enough, but when teamed with the faintly hurt and bewildered brown ones of Rachel Berry she caved.
"It's not that I don't want to, I mean…I do, but, but I just can't, not if Jess is there."
They all looked at her in puzzlement until she sighed again, picking at the label on her water bottle she explained.
"Jess is my…ex I guess, I mean we dated for a while but we were friends long before that, anyway when she got the chance to make it big we sort of fell out and things got messy…it didn't end well. She did, however, become a famous DJ, named 'Just J' so now you see the problem, if I go on stage with you guys and she sees me she may mark you down deliberately…because of me, and this club doesn't deserve that."
By now the entire minibus was listening in on the conversation, they were pretending not to but it was kinda hard, a minibus wasn't exactly private after all. Sensing she was going to have to say more to get across how vital it was that she didn't take part for their sake's, Cameron shifted in her seat and blowing a strand of hair out of her eyes continued.
"I…stood her up okay? I was meant to meet her at the airport so we could leave for L.A together but I, I got cold feet about the whole thing. When I was like, ten, my mum had an affair with an MP, it was all very sordid and nasty…to escape the publicity and the reporters hounding us, dad moved us here and took a new job. I didn't want to be anywhere near the press again, including as the partner and co- writer of some of her tunes."
Clearing her throat, it was Brittany that spoke next from the seat in front of the drummer.
"Why didn't you just tell her why?"
Shifting again, the drummer fiddled irritably with her belt buckle, chewing on the inside of her cheek.
"She knew, I mean she knew about the thing with my mum so she must have known what she was risking, what I was risking, but she didn't mention it…not once!"
Quinn rubbed her temples with a thumb and forefinger before smiling bleakly.
"So you were mad at her, for not noticing or saying something? You were mad, scared, and you ran?"
Hating the stark but nonetheless accurate words, Cameron just flushed bright red and nodded. Blowing out a breath, Rachel suddenly found herself the centre of attention as the other members turned to her, assuming her mantle of glee club captain; the little diva shook herself and smiled slightly.
"It sounds like you two certainly need to talk, but…are you really going to run a second time? If you don't perform then we might not be able to take part, it will depend on whether or not they allow Holly to come on stage with us. We need you up there on stage, and I for one know I'm willing to take the chance that she might mark us down because even if she does the other two judges will be so impressed that it won't matter!"
Cameron couldn't help but smile back as she saw Rachel Berry assume her biggest, brightest show smile, letting out a breath the drummer hesitated for a moment before eventually nodding her agreement…much to everyone's relief. Patting Cam on the back, Rachel almost slumped back into her seat with relief and slowly conversation returned to it's previous levels…although Santana was strangely quiet, Brittany turned to her questioningly.
"Are you okay baby?"
Starting slightly, the Latina realised she'd been staring off into the distance, kissing the dancer's nose, she nodded slightly.
"Yeah I was just…thinking, ya know, about Cam and this DJ chick. I remember what it's like to be that scared of something, I mean it's different I guess but the actual fear is the same."
Brittany nodded, then whispered so no one else could hear.
"Why don't you go talk to her, she looks like she could use some friendly advice, and no offence to Puck because he's a sweet guy but I'm not sure his advice would be the best."
Half smiling, Santana glanced back to see what the others were doing, Quinn was asleep, snoring faintly and Rachel was going over their itinerary for the night with Kurt and Blaine. Mike and Tina were being stomach-churningly cute again whilst Dave and Artie were going through yet another sketchbook. Drumming her fingers on the armrest of her seat for a moment more, Santana made her mind up and leaning across to kiss Brittany she murmured.
"Save my seat for me gorgeous, I'll be back in a few minutes okay?"
The dancer smiled back sweetly and winked, taking a deep mental breath Santana walked over to where Puck looked like he was trying to tell Cameron about his latest conquest. The Latina's shadow fell over them and he looked up…and abruptly scampered off to catch up with Brittany when he caught the very pointed look Santana was giving him. Sliding into the seat next to Cameron, the Latina was gratified to hear the drummer swallow audibly, it wasn't that she wanted people to be scared of her per se…but a little fear came in handy now and again! After a tense minute's silence, Cameron spoke haltingly.
"Um, can I…help you?"
Turning so she could face the nervous English girl Santana smiled, not her genuine one but not her menacing one either, a nice normal pleasant smile.
"Actually I think I can help you more than you can help me, although if you tell anyone I'll put your drumsticks somewhere even a contortionist couldn't reach."
Swallowing again, the drummer nodded cautiously in agreement.
"Well…okay, but I already said I was going to perform and I will, I won't let you guys down."
Rolling her eyes, the Cheerio settled back in her seat.
"Not that you idiot, I meant the whole fear thing…fear is one thing I know a lot about, if it weren't for my friends, I would never have found the courage to tell Brit how I felt about her. Instead I would have stayed in the shadows, watching the person I love find happiness with someone else while I grew more and more bitter because of my own cowardice."
Recognising something of herself in those words, Cam frowned down at her chino's, nervously twisting the silver Celtic ring she always wore on her right ring finger.
"Sometimes it's not that easy Lopez, there are other things to take into consideration, if the press finds us again then it could all get messy, plus why would I want to bring Jess down by having her described as the DJ that's dating the daughter of a famous philanderer. It would only hurt her, put pressure on the relationship and maybe bring my dad's life crashing down around his ears again!"
Looking at the visibly shaking shorter girl next to her, Santana paused then lay her hand on one of Cameron's, squeezing comfortingly.
"Did you ever talk to your dad about any of this, about the possibilities there might be if you had gone with Jess?"
Darting her eyes to the window and the scenery rushing past, Cam sighed slightly before admitting.
"No…I didn't want to worry him or upset him by bringing up the past, besides, I mean the chances are with Jess on the music scene, she would have found someone better suited to her…"
She trailed off thumping her leg lightly with the hand Santana wasn't holding, smiling wryly, the Latina couldn't help but think it was like having a conversation with herself last year.
"Listen up English, your dad loves you and would have wanted you to be happy and you know it! As for her finding someone else, yeah, she might, but if you never took the chance to be with her then you can't blame her…and you'll also never know if it might just have gone the distance."
Snorting slightly, Cameron blew her hair out of her eyes before muttering belligerently.
"So what, I go up to her and tell her that I want to give things a go? I'm sure she'll love that…two years after I stood her up!"
Shaking her head, Santana fought the urge to smack the drummer upside the head; if it hadn't been for the faint but definite trace of hope in the girl's tone, she may well have done it.
"There's really only one question you need to answer here Cam, do you still love her?"
Blinking back tears, the drummer looked out the window again; she was quiet for so long that Santana thought she wasn't going to answer, until she heard the very quiet reply.
Nodding decisively to herself, the Latina squeezed the drummer's hand again and spoke firmly.
"Okay, so here's what you do then, you seek her out at the competition, either before or after, whichever is easiest for you. And when you find her you tell her the truth, just be brutally honest and tell her you were scared, terrified in fact and the panic caused you to run. Tell her you're sorry, that you know you hurt her and you wish you could take it back, then you say that you understand if she doesn't want to hear from you ever again but if she would like to, then you're open to talking about what happened."
Frowning, Cam finally lifted her blue eyes to meet Santana's brown.
"But, I mean what if she says no…or walks away and I never hear from her again!"
Smiling sadly, the Latina shrugged one shoulder.
"Then as hard as it's going to be you walk away and move on, and you let her do the same…but at least you'll know for sure rather than always wondering what could have been. I'm not saying it won't hurt like a son of a bitch if she does walk because it will, it might even hurt if she doesn't, but wouldn't you rather just tackle it now you have the chance instead of having it weigh on your mind?"
Staring down at the hand with the silver ring on it, Cameron was silent for a long time before looking up, this time she didn't look lost or scared but…decisive. Nodding her head towards Santana, she managed to muster a weak smile.
"Okay, okay you're right, I've carried this long enough, when we get there I'll find her and for better or worse I'll tell her, at least then the ball is in her court, right?"
Grinning, the Latina clapped Cam on the back companionably and stood up, her Cheerio façade well and truly in place as she made her way back towards Brittany, as Puck hurried back to check she hadn't killed Cameron, Santana took her seat gratefully. It was as she was letting her head fall to rest on the dancer's shoulder that she caught the discreet wink Holly sent her for a job well done. Smiling contentedly to herself, the Latina happily allowed Brittany to run her hand soothingly through her hair, easing her into a light doze. The calm ended when they got to the venue, at least as far as Rachel was concerned, up until then she was Quinn's supernova, calm and manageable…when they got there however, Rachel Berry diva extraordinaire had replaced her, itinerary firmly attached to the clipboard that was seemingly super glued to her hand. As she barked out orders for Dave and Puck to make sure the instruments had arrived safely, and for Kurt and Blaine to double check their outfits were still neatly pressed, Santana turned to Quinn and raised a questioning eyebrow.
"You really love all of her, even this side of her?"
She only half meant the question and Quinn knew it but she answered honestly, with a love struck grin, the basketball player shrugged one shoulder.
"Yep even this part of her, every part of her…and you have to admit she definitely has the talent and drive to get to Broadway!"
Looking back at a scowling Puck and irritated Artie who had, had all the bags thrust at him, Santana smirked.
"True, if she lives that long, looks like there might be a mutiny if you don't get over there and soothe some ruffled feathers, you know she always calms down when you're around, even at show time!"
Nodding happily, the blonde walked over towards Rachel and effortlessly plucked the clipboard from the diva's hands, turning to Artie, she then took half the bags from the struggling boy who smiled gratefully.
"Rach, calm down okay? Everything is under control but we need to get in the green room, get changed and maybe take a few calming breaths before you bust a blood vessel."
Cringing slightly, Rachel chewed her lower lip and glancing apologetically at Artie, turned to Quinn who was juggling rucksacks. Taking two of them from the blonde so she stopped her impromptu rehearsal for the big top, the diva scrunched her nose up in thought.
"I was in scary diva mode again wasn't I?"
Chuckling slightly, Quinn nodded and with her hands full, leaned across so she could brush noses.
"Yep, but it's part of why I love you, now help me get these inside and let's get ready to kick some ass!"
Tutting slightly, the rest of the glee club couldn't help but giggle as they heard the diminutive brunette start lecturing Quinn as they walked inside.
"We are not going to kick anything of the sort Quinn Fabray! We shall go in there and do our best as we always do, if we happen to simultaneously show the other teams how awesome we are then it's an added bonus."
Chuckling, the Latina who was trailing behind them, paraphrased.
"So…we're off to kick ass then?"
Rachel threw her hands up in defeat as Quinn roared with laughter and the rest of the team traded high fives and 'hell yeah' yells, even Holly couldn't help joining in the laughter, pulling the disgruntled diva in for a hug even as she did so. There were mild histrionics on Rachel's part later when she realised Cameron had gone AWOL ten minutes before the performance, Santana stepped in however and reassured the diva that there would be no problem and by the time the group number came round, Cameron would be behind her drum set just like they had rehearsed. Apart from that it was plain sailing and before they knew it, Dave, Santana and Rachel were ready to step out onto the stage for the first number. Artie straightened the taller boy's letter jacket with a half smile.
"You look good, and you have no reason to be nervous D, you sound terrific and you're going to blow them away…so get out there and kick ass, or as Berry insists on calling it…tush!"
Leaning down, Dave kissed Artie softly and closed his eyes for a long moment.
"I doubted I could do this…Hell I doubted I could even be myself but now I'm glad I did, and I'm glad you were all as forgiving as you were, I want to win this, not just for me or even for you, but because this group deserves it."
Smiling softly, Artie pushed at the big lug gently until he waved and took his place on the darkened stage behind the lowered curtain. Brittany and San were far too busy locking lips and had to be almost forcibly separated by an exasperated Quinn who was trying her best to prevent Rachel from going into meltdown! Once the grumbling Cheerio's captain made her way to her mark, it just left Rachel, taking a deep breath she psyched herself up, picking a stray piece of lint from the front of her squirrel sweater, she caught Quinn's eye. The look she sent the basketball player made her knees feel like jelly and she prayed that Hiram and Leroy were going to be in bed when they got back, especially if they won. Blowing the diva a kiss, Quinn couldn't help but be enchanted by the way she caught it and placed it over her heart, seconds later she was off and on her mark leaving the blonde to murmur happily.
"That's my girl!"
Hurrying off, she prepared to change into the outfits Blaine and Kurt had organised for the group number , western cut blue jeans, cowboy boots, plaid western style shirts and of course a Stetson. Tipping the brim backwards jauntily, Quinn mimed shooting a six-gun, much to the amusement of the rest of the club! Seconds later, they all paused as they heard the opening notes of Quinn's song, grinning the basketball player knew that they'd won even before the song ended. The three performers rushed off the stage to change while Kurt went out onto the stage to thank the audience for the applause and to introduce the rest of the club. As soon as the drums started up and Puck and Artie strummed the opening notes to Lady Antebellum's 'Stars Tonight', she felt her own hidden performer kick in, and grinning with the sheer exuberance of being on stage and feeling at one with her piano, she lost herself in the song.
Watching the rest of the gleeks belting out the tune whilst walking off the stage to mix with the audience, and even enticing a few to dance with them, Quinn wondered where National's was taking place this year and how much money they would have to raise…because she was fairly certain they would be going. Half an hour later with the trophy firmly in the grasp of New Directions, it was safe to say the gleeks felt pretty invincible, the only drawback was Holly allowing Rachel to hold onto the trophy until Monday. Because as much as Quinn was glad they had won, sleeping with the damn thing between them in the bed was not what she had planned!