Our Brilliantly Tangled Thanksgiving
Quinn wanted to meet the person who invented the Christmas light string. She wanted to know if this person was particularly fond of spending inordinate amounts of time trying to untangle massive, ungodly, and inexplicable knots on the holidays. And then, she wanted to kill this person; to just shove him or her off the roof that she was standing on right now, working herself into a frustrated frenzy trying to untangle the fucking lights she was hanging.
Jesus. Quinn contemplated just jumping off the roof herself. She might break her leg, and then her father would have to hang the lights for her. She actually took a step closer to the edge, dragging along the mass of jumbled lights, but halted when she saw Beth down below.
The toddler was sitting in puffy pink winter clothes in a playpen with some coloring books. She looked up and flailed her little arm around at Quinn with a grin.
Quinn had to smile. "Hey baby girl! Mommy's about to hurt herself, isn't she?" Beth giggled. Well, okay then, if that's how she feels about it. Quinn looked down and found that the lights were wrapped around her legs like a death trap. "Yep. This is not going to end well." She muttered distractedly.
After much swearing, irrational rage, contemplation of murder, and mistreatment of inanimate objects, Quinn had untangled one of the five light sets that were needed to reach around the house. She was lying on her back, staring at the sun and wishing it would just end her right now like an ant, when she heard Beth laughing again.
Quinn stood up and moved carefully to the edge of the roof, stepping around the mess of light strings she had made.
"Rachel?" she said loudly, surprised to find the girl standing in her front yard bouncing Beth around on her hip, grinning like the damn sun. Quinn wanted to jump off the roof for an entirely different reason now. She tried to control her face but a smile forced its way out.
Rachel almost dropped her baby she was so startled.
"Oh my God! Quinn! I didn't know you were up there!"
Quinn put her hands on her hips as Rachel walked closer to the house, looking up. "I don't usually leave my eighteen month old daughter outside in the cold with no supervision, Rachel."
Rachel ignored this. "What are you doing?"
Quinn sighed, brought back to the reality of the reason she was on this fucking roof. She gestured to the knots of lights around her. "I'm having some lighting issues."
Rachel looked dubiously at the one strand that was already up. Quinn narrowed her eyes. No way. Nobody is allowed to judge her for what these lights have turned her into. Not even Rachel Berry.
"Would you like some help?" Rachel asked, transferring Beth so that the little girl now sat on her shoulders.
"Look Mommy! I'm tall like Rachel!" Beth exclaimed, holding onto Rachel's hat. Quinn snorted.
"I think you were already as tall as her, sweetheart." She said, crouching down as Rachel gasped. If Quinn pitched forward right now she'd probably snap her neck, but, you know, then there would be no more lights. Plus, Rachel would…might catch her.
"I brought you a pie, Quinn Fabray. A homemade pumpkin pie." Rachel huffed. "And I rescind my offer to help."
Now Quinn gasped. Pumpkin pie! "Wait, you made me a pie?"
Rachel looked at the Tupperware box that was sitting next to the playpen. "Well, yeah. I made one for everyone in glee club."
Quinn's heart stopped fluttering. Oh.
"You made twelve pumpkin pies?" she asked flatly.
Rachel nodded. "You're my last stop. I wanted to be able to play with Beth." She bounced on her toes and Beth wrapped her arms around Rachel's head. "I hope I'm not intruding."
Quinn smiled and stood up. "Not at all. My parents just made a mad dash to the store before it closes and we have to have a Thanksgiving dessert without Cool Whip." God, Quinn winced at the thought. It would be a travesty.
"Can I come up there?" Rachel called, walking backwards and setting a protesting Beth back in the playpen. She shook a stuffed Eeyore around in front of the girl to placate her. Beth giggled.
Quinn really didn't want to be the cause of Rachel injuring herself, but she looked at one of the strings of lights that she had hurled across the roof in outrage an hour ago, and sighed. She needed help. Apparently mental help as well, seeing as her heart started beating faster when she realized Rachel would have to go through her room to get here.
"Yeah." Quinn told Rachel, who stood looking expectantly up at her. "Just, uh, up the stairs, first door on the left, and out my window."
Rachel grabbed her pie and walked through the door out of Quinn's sight. Quinn looked at her daughter below.
"Beth. Mommy's having problems. Lots and lots of problems."
Beth clapped her hands.
"You tested them before you brought them up here, right Quinn?" Rachel asked, crawling along the roof on her hands and knees, next to an untangled string of lights.
Quinn rolled her eyes. She was about to strangle somebody with these fucking lights. This string had, like, seven thousand bulbs in it, and one loose one made the whole set not work.
"Yes." Quinn replied simply, gritting it through her teeth. She didn't want to 'fly off the handle,' so to speak, because that would only result in somebody flying off the roof.
Rachel nodded, focused on the bulbs she was checking. "My dads put up our lights in December. We didn't used to, because it's for Christmas, you know, but they're just so cheerful and bright, I convinced my dads to buy some."
"Found it!" Rachel exclaimed, holding up a section of the string. "It was a loose bulb."
As they hung the third string of lights, Quinn's parents pulled up in the driveway and then made their way over to Beth in her playpen.
"Quinn, how's it going?" Her mom called.
Quinn stepped closer to the edge so that her mom could see her, and Rachel followed.
Mrs. Fabray clapped a hand over her mouth. "Oh my gosh! Rachel's with you! Russell! Russell, Rachel's helping Quinnie on the roof!"
Quinn nearly stepped over the ledge, but Rachel put a hand on her arm and smiled sweetly at her.
"Hi Mr. and Mrs. Fabray. It's nice to meet you. I guess you know who I am?" Rachel asked.
Oh, God. Don't ask that question. Quinn looked for an escape route. She was fucking trapped with these deathtrap lights. She focused on the smell of the turkey wafting out of her bedroom window. Then, she started wishing it would catch fire right at that moment; if the house burned down, Rachel wouldn't remember anything her parents said.
"Oh, honey, call me Judy!"
"And Russell." Quinn's dad interjected, tossing Beth up in the air and catching her again.
"And of course we know who you are! Quinn's told us all about you. You're the talented, beautiful Rachel Berry who's going to be a Broadway star someday." Judy babbled.
If Quinn's eyes were lasers, her mom would be annihilated by now. Quinn knew Rachel was looking at her, but refused to meet her eyes. Her face was on fucking fire, and she focused on the lights instead. Oh, she loved the lights; they were just the best thing ever. She never wanted to look away from them.
Rachel hadn't said anything.
"Well, I'll leave you girls to finish up. It's looking wonderful! Rachel, if you need anything at all, just come on inside and ask, okay?" Judy assured.
"Of course, Judy." Rachel replied.
Judy looked at Quinn next. "And Quinn…" she winked. She fucking winked, and then walked through the front door with Russell. Quinn shut her eyes and nearly flung herself off the roof when she felt a hand on her back.
"So, two more strings, right?" Rachel said lightly, watching her with wide brown eyes. Quinn was grateful. Eternally grateful. Yeah, she was just going to block out the past five minutes from her memory. Maybe even this whole ordeal. Goddamned Christmas lights.
They hung the rest of the lights without incident, incident being death or injury, because there were definitely a few arguments, but that's just what masses of angry, tangled lights do to people.
Rachel grabbed Quinn's hand excitedly and moved to the window. "Come on! Let's go plug them in!"
Quinn didn't allow herself to be dragged through her window. "What? No, we have to wait until dark to plug them in."
Rachel pouted. "Why? I won't be here then."
Quinn bit her lip to stop herself from smiling. Her heart was doing that weird thing again; it was probably just immense relief that she wouldn't have to touch any more lights for a month.
"It has to be dark, for the, you know, big reveal." Quinn shook her head. She hadn't meant to sound like a huge dork. Really, it was something her parents would say.
Rachel nodded reluctantly. "You're right. Like the lighting of the tree in Rockefeller Center."
Quinn just went with this.
"Can I come back when it's dark?" Rachel asked hopefully.
Quinn grinned. "Of course." She, herself, wouldn't be able to move after Thanksgiving dinner, let alone make her way to somebody else's house, but maybe tofurkies were less mind-numbingly warm and filling and wonderful. Now her mouth was watering.
Rachel hadn't let go of Quinn's hand, and pulled her to the window again. "Can we play with Beth before I go back?"
Quinn was still grinning like a fool. "Of course." She said again. All she could ever say to Rachel was 'of course' or 'yes' or 'god, yeah, do whatever you want, I'll just stand here and watch you, grinning like a dumbass.'
They stepped into the playpen, where Beth hugged their legs excitedly and babbled in her nonsense language, then sat down next to the little girl.
"Hey baby girl." Rachel cooed, pulling Beth into her lap. "Are you excited for Thanksgiving dinner?"
Beth nodded and bounced up and down. Quinn laughed.
"She doesn't even know what she's having yet."
"What do you have for Thanksgiving?" Rachel asked.
"Hmmm," Quinn eyed Rachel. "Pumpkin pie. Lots and lots."
"And tryptophanic, slumber-inducing turkey." Quinn's stomach grumbled and Beth giggled, wiggling out of Rachel's grasp to pat Quinn's tummy. "Mashed potatoes, vegetables, green bean casserole, mac 'n cheese, rolls, stuffing, and gravy on everything."
"Everything?" Rachel asked with a grin.
Quinn nodded sagely. "Absolutely everything."
"We have pretty much the same. Plus tofurkey for me." Rachel said. "Beth, I think your mommy has an unhealthy fixation with pumpkin pie."
Beth stopped rubbing Quinn's tummy and walked, or toddler-staggered, over to hug Rachel.
Quinn rolled her eyes. "Beth, don't encourage her, she's being a meanie, honey. And, Berry, you brought me the pie, so…" Rachel narrowed her eyes at Quinn.
"I want pie." Beth blurted. Rachel smiled and brushed blonde hair out of her face.
"Maybe, if mommy doesn't eat the whole thing, she'll let you have a piece." Rachel remarked, watching Quinn out of the corner of her eye. Quinn just shook her head and lay down with her back against the grass because she couldn't contain her grin.
"Why weren't you watching the Macy's parade this morning, Rachel? Just so you could wander around the neighborhood handing out pies?"
Rachel was silent for a moment, but then answered with an emphatic, "Yes."
Quinn chuckled to herself. She imagined the giant, inflatable star float that was Macy's logo would go perfectly in Rachel's backyard. Anybody walking by would know immediately, 'oh, so that's where Broadway star Rachel Berry lives.'
Quinn's stomach grumbled again, and Rachel's followed right along. Beth rubbed Rachel's tummy with a serious look on her face.
"Rachel's hungry." She said worriedly, looking at Quinn. Quinn grinned, and then huffed, because, really, her daughter cares more about Rachel's grumbly tummy than Quinn's. Whatever, Quinn couldn't really blame her. She watched as Rachel stood up, and then crouched down and kissed Beth's forehead, and then her red cheeks. Then she kissed the cheeks again and mussed up the light blonde hair, smiling fondly at the toddler.
"You're coming back after you eat, right? When it's dark?" Quinn asked. God, don't sound so desperate; control yourself, Quinn.
Rachel nodded. "Absolutely." She assured brightly. She looked down at Beth and put a hand on the girl's head. "Beth, baby, make sure you get some pie, okay. Don't let mommy eat it all. And make sure you tell her you're thankful for her, okay?"
Beth nodded vigorously and hugged Rachel's legs goodbye. Rachel could probably convince Quinn's daughter to jump off a cliff. Quinn felt like she was going to fucking cry. Rachel leaned down and wrapped an arm around Quinn's shoulders.
"Have a wonderful meal, Quinn. Something I'm thankful for this year is you. And Beth. So…I hope you like the pie."
Quinn's vocabulary had vanished into thin air. "You too, Rachel." She managed to say. "To all of that."
She watched until Rachel turned the corner out of sight, and then gathered Beth up into her arms and walked into the warm house. Oh God, that turkey was the greatest smell in the world. And, oh God, her mom looked like the Cheshire Cat.
"Quinnie, did Rachel go home?" Judy asked. Her grin was slightly manic.
Quinn nodded, not willing to provide her mother with any more information that could be used to torture her.
"Rachel!" Beth exclaimed randomly. "I wanna play with Rachel!"
Judy nodded knowingly, with the most annoying damn smile in the world. Quinn narrowed her eyes as her mom took Beth from her.
"I think Quinn wants to play with Rachel too."
Quinn was recovering from her Thanksgiving coma when her phone rang. She didn't know if she would be able to lift her arm up to answer it, but she tried anyway. Hey, look at that. Success.
"Hello." She said. Her eyes were closed and she was sprawled on the couch in the living room. Her mom was on the loveseat, and her dad was in the armchair. Beth was asleep on her dad's stomach. Dinner and pie had definitely been successful.
"Hey Fabray, you eaten yet?" Santana asked.
"Yes." She has definitely eaten. It was the reason she wasn't capable of anything more than monosyllabic answers right now.
"Ah, so you're in the coma stage right now. I need you to move your lazy ass and entertain me, Q."
"Why?" Quinn asked.
"Britt's family is over here, like her whole family, so the house is fucking packed, and the turkey caught on fire, and I got put in the backyard when I lost control of the fire extinguisher. Dinner's delayed and B's in a wrestling match with her cousins, and I'm bored." Santana stated nonchalantly.
"Mmm." Quinn hummed.
"Is something wrong with you?"
Quinn forced her eyes open and rolled herself off the couch to crawl into the dining room. "Have some of Rachel's pie to tide you over." She suggested. She focused on keeping herself from vomiting at the mention of pie.
Santana was silent for a minute. "Is that some kind of sexual innuendo you're trying to make? 'Cause I have no idea what the fuck you're talking about."
Quinn frowned. "Wait, she didn't bring you a pie? What about Britt?"
Santana sounded dubious of Quinn's sanity. "Trust me. The only pies we have are each other's."
What was that even supposed to mean, dude. Like, really. It just was not necessary. Now Quinn was dealing with images and-Beth came toddling into the dining room, rubbing her eyes and with her hair all sleepily messed up. Perfect brain bleach. She tugged on Quinn's shirt.
"Santana, I have to go. I'm just gonna forget I ever heard that last statement, okay. Um, just, I don't know, beat up some of your little cousins or something. And be thankful."
Quinn hung up and scooped Beth up. Rachel Berry made her a pie, and missed the Macy's Day parade to give it to her. Quinn felt delusional and light-headed, and she realized that, God, yes she and Beth had eaten the whole pie.
Quinn was waiting by the door with Beth, both dressed in their jackets and wooly hats, when Rachel rang the doorbell. No, she wasn't pathetic, she was just eager. Eager to see if all that fucking around with knotted strings of lights would pay off. She could see her parents trying to be ninjas, watching from the living room.
"Hello again Quinn! And Beth!" Rachel greeted brightly. "How was your meal?"
Quinn smiled at her. "So good. How was yours?" she asked, stepping outside and shutting the door behind her.
Rachel grabbed the extension cord and followed Quinn out to the sidewalk in front of the house. "It was wonderful." She said. "This is so exciting!"
Beth was gazing at Rachel like she was a goddess. Quinn was nervous, and not just because they were very probably about to burn down the house.
Rachel tried to hand Quinn the extension cord and the plug.
"No, you can do it Rachel. I'd have killed somebody, probably myself, if you hadn't come along and helped, so, go ahead."
Rachel grinned at her and made a funny face for Beth. Beth giggled and looked expectantly at the now dark house. Quinn bit her lip as Rachel held up the cord; God, her heart was racing. This shouldn't be so freaking exciting.
Rachel plugged the lights in, and…Absolutely nothing happened.
Fuck. She hated Christmas lights.
Really though, Quinn had never known Christmas lights to work properly the first time they were tested out. It was just a law of nature. Rachel tried the other socket in the extension cord, and then sighed and looked up at Quinn sadly. Beth looked like she'd just watched her bunny die.
Quinn needed to fix this.
"Wait here." She told Rachel, before heading inside, then into the garage, and opening the garage door. Quinn motioned for Rachel to join her and they picked up the light boxes off the floor from where Quinn had angrily thrown them that morning.
Rachel immediately went for the instructions. Quinn stared at the pictures like she was looking for the answers to the universe. Beth started whining, and Rachel hummed a little Frosty the Snowman to settle her down.
"Oh, Quinn, the socket is over capacity." Rachel proclaimed, gesturing to the tiny writing on the instructions. "We have all five strings plugged into one socket, and it says it can only take three."
Quinn just stared at her. God, if only she'd known that sooner.
"So, we just reverse two of the strings so they plug into the other side of the porch." Rachel continued.
Quinn sighed. She really never wanted to touch those goddamned lights again. Then she looked at Rachel, with her fuzzy pink hat and bright eyes, and Beth, her flushed face pressed into Rachel's neck, ready to start crying any minute now.
This is how she found herself fumbling around in the dark on the roof at nine o'clock. At least they didn't have to untangle the lights this time.
She was clipping the second string of lights back onto the porch when her parents came out.
"Ahh, didn't work, huh?" Russell said to Rachel. He didn't look surprised. He seemed amused, and Quinn wanted to leap off the roof and punch him in the face. But no, that was the lights talking.
"Don't fall off the roof, Quinnie!" her mom called from below.
Quinn rolled her eyes. Really, 'cause that was exactly what she had been planning on doing. How could her mom not think it would be a good idea?
She finished the lights, climbed back through her window, and walked out the front door with a scowl. A scowl that vanished as soon as Rachel smiled and put an arm around her.
"I think we should let mommy do the honors, right Beth?" Rachel asked the little girl in her arms.
Beth nodded tiredly. Quinn was sure she had no idea what she was agreeing to, which was probably dangerous where Rachel Berry was concerned.
Quinn took the extension cord and stood next to Rachel, her parents were a few feet away, on her other side.
She took a deep breath, and plugged the cord in.
The house lit up perfectly.
Rachel cheered and put Beth down so that the little girl could toddle over to her clapping grandparents. Quinn grinned. Success at last. The house was glowing; the porch and the second story windows were outlined, and Quinn could see them in Rachel's eyes. Rachel, who brought her, and only her, a homemade pumpkin pie instead of watching the Macy's parade go down the streets of New York.
Quinn turned to face her. She really had lost all control of her actions at this point. Putting up Christmas lights had made her crazy.
Rachel looked up at her with a confused smile on her face.
"So, I heard I'm the only one you brought a pie to." Quinn said, lips quirked up. Rachel's smile faltered, but Quinn didn't let her speak. "It was amazing by the way, and I'm not ashamed to say I ate the whole thing. Well, I'm a little ashamed, but, whatever."
Rachel opened and closed her mouth a few times. "Quinn, I-"
Quinn cut her off. "Happy Thanksgiving Rachel Berry." She leaned down and kissed the girl sweetly on the lips. She lingered for a moment, until Rachel kissed her back, but unfortunately couldn't prolong it any more than that because she could hear her parents giggling like school children in the background.
When Quinn pulled back she just gazed into Rachel's eyes. They were bright and dazed and happy; Rachel flushed and smiled at her.
Quinn registered that Beth was tugging on her pants.
"Mommy! Mommy! You kissed Rachel! I wanna-I wanna kiss Rachel!" Beth held her arms up for somebody to pick her up, which Rachel did after regaining her bearings. She stuck her cheek out for Beth to kiss.
"Give me a kiss then spaz." She said, staring at Quinn the whole time. Quinn smiled when her daughter kissed both of Rachel's flushed cheeks. Loudly.
"Kiss mommy again." Beth ordered, pointing a little fist at Quinn.
Rachel grinned and leaned up into Quinn, only breaking eye contact so that she could kiss Quinn's cheek. Quinn was sure she was about to freaking burst into flame. Thankfully her juvenile parents had vanished inside the house.
"Happy Thanksgiving Quinn Fabray." Rachel said softly.
Just then a whole section of the Christmas lights went out.
Happy Thanksgiving indeed.