There was still another hour left of the ride home and Rachel was antsy from the caramel frapp she'd picked before they'd left Columbus. The bus was quiet, because everyone else seemed to be fairly exhausted from the day of walking tours. It hadn't been the most exhilarating field trip of all time, and most of them had already been to the state capitol at some point in elementary school. But this trip had been for their government class and had proved quite informational about processes at the state level.
Perhaps if she were looking for a change in careers later in life, Rachel would consider something in politics. Though there didn't seem to be much glamour in the day to day of it. So, maybe not.
Quinn had seemed fairly interested, however. Given the amount of notes she'd taken and the stack of brochures that Rachel had watched her collect throughout the day.
But now it was evening and they were all headed back to Lima.
"Quinn?" Rachel asked, quietly.
"Hmm?" The other girl had her sweater tucked up under her head as she leaned against the window, eyes closed.
"Would you mind if I used your netbook to play solitaire?"
They were sitting together, because they were something like friends, at this point. Ever since Rachel broke up with Finn in October, things had been slightly awkward within New Directions, but Quinn was uncharacteristically friendly with her. Perhaps it was because, when it came to choosing sides, it made sense to select the individual who hadn't ended their previous relationship with you at a funeral. Or maybe they were just growing up and getting over the petty things.
The computer was already sitting on top of Quinn's backpack, so Rachel picked it up and flipped open the cover. She also dug her iPod out of her own bag, but the battery was near death, so she packed the device away and just kept the headphones, which she plugged into the netbook. Quinn wasn't totally adverse to quality showtunes and Rachel figured the music selection had to at least contain their songs for sectionals.
Once iTunes opened, she scanned the list of albums and artists. Like most things with Quinn, there were some surprises to be found. It was as if Quinn Fabray only ever showed one facet of herself at any given time, each one more different than the next. The Motown was a given, as was the Christian rock, and she supposed the 80's pop wasn't anything out of the ordinary. But there were also names like Amy Winehouse and Joan Jett and Shakira, plus others that Rachel didn't even recognize.
There were also several playlists, labeled with simple titles like "driving" or "running" or "relaxing" and the songs within each one definitely seemed to reflect their intended motivation.
It was the one called "wishful thinking" that caught Rachel's eye.
Inside were songs like Selena's I Could Fall in Love, Nat King and Natalie Cole's duet of When I Fall in Love and the overly sentimental 90's Vanessa Williams and Bryan McKnight ballad, Love Is. They were all songs Rachel had sung in her own room, in front of her mirror, hairbrush in hand, longing for some kind of epic love that would sweep her up. She'd once thought that would happen with Finn, but he was never the grand romantic she needed.
Rachel wondered when she'd find that person, the one who made sweeping gestures and understood her need for declarative acts of romance.
Two months later, in the middle of February, she'd find a mix cd in her locker, unlabeled, yet the track listing would be identical to the one she saw that night on the bus.
There would be a note that simply said: Solitaire's for lonely losers. Be my valentine?
Rachel would stop wondering after that.