Rachel entered the flower shop, eyes wide at the selection there. She was still in her Regionals dress, disappointment still fresh in her heart, but there was no time for that. Especially since Beth Fabray was just born.
"Hello there," a British voice echoed through the large shop, startling Rachel. "May I help you?"
"Hi yes, I'm Rachel Berry, and I'm looking for a bouquet to send to a girl."
"Ah," the florist smiled. "Young love, I completely understand. Is there any particular meaning behind this bouquet?"
"Actually, miss, sorry, I don't think I caught your name," Rachel scrambled for words, cheeks pink at the thought of her loving Quinn Fabray.
"Luce," she said warmly, striding over to the counter, beckoning the younger girl to follow.
"Yes, Luce. Alright. Well, I hate to correct you, however it isn't a case of young love. Actually, it's more of a case of 'My fellow glee club member has had a baby and though we have quite a history of one sided animosity deriving from her, it would be rude to not send her flowers for the birth of the child she has to heart breakingly give up'." She rambled, all in one breath. "Which is certainly not young love."
Luce stared at her, cogs whirring in her mind. The way this Rachel girl talked about the girl she intended on sending flowers to reminded her of her own Rachel. "Right. I've got just the arrangement."
She sent Rachel Berry off to the hospital with a quickly put together, but beautiful arrangement of lilies.
A month later, Rachel was back at the shop, arms crossed and impatiently dinging the bell on the counter. "Sorry, sorry!" Luce said, darting out of the back of the shop with a large box in hand. "Hello!"
"I looked up the meaning of lilies."
"Oh," Shit. Luce blanched at the frown on the girl's face and put the box down. "Well, I thought it fit the occasion."
"How did you know?" Rachel asked quietly, voice wavering. "I didn't say a thing, but you knew."
Luce sighed, knowing that she owed Rachel a long, long explanation. "When I lived in England," she started, rambling off into the story of herself and her Rachel.
Hours later, after several cups of tea, and a crying jag, Rachel sat up and nodded, eyes rimmed red. "I doubt my story will end as well as yours."
Luce shook her head, dropping another sugar cube into her lukewarm tea. "Fate works in mysterious ways. Next time you're sending this Quinn girl flowers, try gardenia."
"Gardenia," Rachel repeated, wracking her brain for the meaning. "Do I have to google that one too or will you tell me what it means?"
Luce chuckled, ruffling Rachel's hair. "It means 'secret love'."
Rachel nodded, storing that tidbit away for the future. "Thank you. For the flowers, for the tea. For the talk."
"Her name is Lucy," Rachel blurted out, causing Luce to choke on her tea.
"Quinn's name is Lucy. Lucy Quinn Fabray." Her eyes widened comically as she handed a napkin to the woman gasping for air. "I don't believe in coincidences."
"Well," Luce struggled for words, "oh bloody hell."
"This has to mean something," Rachel pressed, desperate for any inclination that she and Quinn were destined for each other. "Luce, please, tell me that this is a sign, that it's real."
She sighed, biting down on her lip as she took in the incredibly hopeful expression on Rachel's face. She knew what it was like to feel so drawn to someone that it physically hurt. She knew that euphoric feeling of hope in one's chest when it seemed like all the signs were pointing to your heart's desire. But she also knew the crushing disappointment that might or might not come with all those signs. "Rachel," she laid a hand on the girl's shoulder, daring to look into those brown doe eyes. "I'd be lying if I told you that something is going to happen, you know that."
Rachel's lip trembled, her eyes shining with tears as the bitter tinge of heartbreak filled the air. "I know," she muttered, looking away. "I have a tendency to want things too much."
"It's alright," Luce soothed, pulling the girl into a hug. "Love is the hardest, most traumatizing experience in the world, but it's also the most memorable. Have faith, Rachel, and I promise you everything will work out in the end."
"Okay," she sniffled, pulling back from the hug with a teary laugh. "okay."
"Just a moment!" She yelled out to the front of the shop, quickly saying her goodbyes to her Rachel, who was falling asleep back at their house. Expecting an impatient business man at the counter, she rolled her eyes and marched out with a curt, "Can I help you?"
The tall young man at her counter grinned bashfully. "Hi, uh, sorry 'bout the bell, it's just prom is tomorrow and I kinda need this now."
Ah. Prom. She remembered Rachel ranting about finding a date to the glorified dance the previous week. "Standard corsage?"
"Actually," he dug into the pocket of his khakis for a slip of paper, and handed it to her. "There. That's pretty good, right?"
She stared down at the familiar scrawl, familiarity sparking her interest. "Wrist corsage, gardenia, light green ribbon," she muttered, marking down the order. Surely Rachel wouldn't. No, of course not. "Nice handwriting," she chanced, pushing the paper back at him.
"Oh, that's not mine." He blushed, quickly shoving his hands in his pockets. "My friend Rachel wrote that for me. She's pretty cool."
"And this corsage is for her?" She asked, despite already knowing the answer. So this was the infamous Finn.
"It's for my girlfriend, Quinn, actually."
She nodded once, barely paying him any attention as she rung up the corsage. "That'll be twenty dollars, and it'll be done in an hour."
"I always thought I'd be selling that gardenia to you," Luce drawled as Rachel entered the shop. At least the girl had the shame to look embarrassed.
"I wanted her to have the best prom she could possibly have," she retorted, head held high.
"What the hell is on your cheek?"
At this Rachel ducked her head, turning to the sunflowers. "Quinn and I had a confrontation at prom during which I became the outlet for her frustration. Before you give me that British glare of yours, I'll have you know that she apologized immediately and we had a heart to heart."
"Come have some tea," Luce sighed, knowing she couldn't change the girl's mind. Bloody American teenagers.
An hour into their bi-weekly therapy session, a beautiful blonde stormed in, clothing spotted from the rain. "Hi," she rushed to the counter, brandishing her corsage and failing to see the familiar brunette just a few feet away. "I need to know what this flower means and who purchased this for me."
Luce took one look at the blonde girl and arched an eyebrow. "Gardenia," she said, as if reading from a book. "It stands for secret love. As for the person who the idea originated from, I can't-"
"Quinn," Rachel spoke up, cutting Luce off. Quinn's head snapped to the brunette, surprised that she was in the shop. "The corsage was from Finn."
"I'm not stupid, Rachel." She murmured, advancing on the girl. "If it was left up to Finn, I would have gotten a carnation that wouldn't have matched my dress, let alone something with this much thought. You know whose idea this was, don't you?"
"Quinn," she tried again, looking desperate to Luce for help, but the woman did nothing but shrug, backing away from the counter, sliding towards the back room. "I- If I were to disclose this information to you, I need you to stay calm and process it before formulating a response."
"Just tell me."
Raising her chin high, Rachel prepared for what could potentially break her heart. "The corsage was my idea."
"Did you know?" Quinn asked, voice colored with tears and hope. "Did you know the meaning of the gardenia?"
"Yes," Rachel breathed, meeting hazel eyes fearlessly.
"Do you mean it?"
Rachel Berry's world was torn apart that day as Quinn stormed out of the flower shop, tears streaming down her face and corsage in hand.
Luce sat behind the counter, fingers drumming to a tune kept within the confines of her mind as her Rachel hugged her from behind, nipping at her neck playfully. "You spend too much time in this shop, love."
"Maybe," Luce chuckled, leaning back to receive a chaste kiss, pulling apart as the bell jingled, signaling the opening of the door. "Hello," she called, brow furrowing at the sight of Quinn Fabray's ducked head.
"I'll see you later lover," Rachel grinned, pressing a sloppy kiss to Luce's cheek and making way for the entrance, holding back a chuckle at the look on the younger girl's face. Oh to be young and in denial.
"Rachel's not here," Quinn stated simply, eyes still flickering around the crowded shop in search of the elusive brunette.
"No, she's not."
"Why did Rachel send me those flowers?"
"You know, Quinn." Luce set Rachel Berry's usual mug atop the counter and gestured for the blonde girl to take a seat. "Sit down, let's talk."
Wrought with hesitation, Quinn made for the stool, stopping abruptly as if her body had willed her forward, but too late, her brain had realized what was happening. "I don't- I can't-I need to talk to Rachel."
"Any idea what you're going to say?" She asked, almost casually, as she poured the steaming tea into the mug, sliding forward a plate full of creamers and sugar packets. The smell of the tea lured Quinn in and she faltered only when her hands grasped the mug.
"I-," she shook her head, quickly taking a sip of the tea, scalding her tongue in the process. "No."
"Sometimes," she came out from behind the counter and held a finger to the petal of a daisy. "when words get lost, I've noticed that flowers say just about everything you can't."
"But I don't know what I want to say."
Luce smiled sagely before tossing Quinn a book filled with flower meanings. "Take your time."
She sent Quinn home with a bouquet of purple hyacinths.
Rachel sat on the front step of the porch, hands clutched tightly around the bouquet of purple flowers that had been dropped off at her doorstep. Rain soaked the front of her jeans, and she shivered, as the breeze blew raindrops that soaked through her sweater and to her skin. She'd been sitting there for at least two hours, right when the skies started to darken and rain started to pour from the heavens. And yet, Quinn Fabray was nowhere to be seen.
Her hand snuck within the pocket containing the note that came with the flowers, fingers tracing over words she had repeated endlessly to herself.
Forgive me, and take these words that I could not speak as the truth; I love you too. I've been running for so long that the ground has given way, and I no longer know what I was so afraid of. Forgive me for running, forgive me for my cowardice, and let me build you a world.
"Rachel?" The door opened behind her, startling her. "What are you doing in the rain?"
"Quinn!" Rachel clambered to her feet, hands shaking, heart beating so quickly that it rivaled a hummingbird. "I, I've been waiting for you."
"I've been here this whole time," she murmured, eyes darting rapidly from the flowers to the rain soaked girl. "You- How long have you been out here?"
"Does it matter?" The brunette asked, a soft, beautiful smile playing at her lips. "Does it really matter?"
"I suppose not."
"I loved your flowers," Rachel started, looking down nervously at the bouquet. "And your words. I don't think I've ever met anyone as poetic as you." Shakily, she extended a hand, "And if your offer still stands, there is no one I'd rather have build me a world than you, Quinn."
Hazel eyes bore into Rachel's hands, and slowly, Quinn moved forward, taking Rachel's hand and the other wrapping around the brunette's waist. She stepped forward, unintentionally backing Rachel up so that they stood under the light drizzle of rain. Foreheads pressed together, breaths became one and Rachel searched Quinn for an ounce of uncertainty. "I don't know what I'm doing," the blonde admitted, the feelings of their noses brushing spurring the butterflies in her stomach further. "But you make me feel like falling is the best thing that will ever happen to me."
"Fall with me," Rachel whispered, her words causing their lips to brush just the slightest bit. Sparks flew, Quinn ignited, and pressed her lips to Rachel's, their faces wet from the rain, and bodies burning with the everlasting flame of love.
The bouquet of hyacinths dropped to the porch as Rachel reached up to tangle her hand in Quinn's hair, tugging the blonde in for a deeper kiss. Luce was right all along, Rachel thought briefly, fate did work in mysterious ways.