A Western Quitt Oneshoy
Warning: Hints of sexual and physical abuse
Blonde Curls and Dusty Boots
Quinn Fabray never questioned why everyone in Lima respected her father. He was the mayor, after all, and the entire town had him to thank for the Indians no longer shooting arrows into their rangers every time they went out scouting for some criminal. They say he struck a deal with the chief letting him take the riches soil just east of town that Russell was going to let the Cohen-Chang's have for their farm. Quinn knew different.
Jesse, Sheriff Schuester's deputy, had been there. Saw the whole thing. Watched as Russell, on his glossy stallion leading the rangers out to where the tribe was settling shot a bullet right into the chief's throat. That was how the real deal was struck and Lima never saw them on their outskirts again.
The carriage bumped along down the main street of Lima. The curtain over the window was pulled back just enough for Quinn to see out into the day. Heat waves sizzled off every surface, warping the image of the City Bank the Berry's kept. Quinn knew Leroy Berry well. He'd always come around, knocking on doors asking for late taxes. Many doors slammed on his warm brown eyes and mahogany skin. Quinn handed him their pay and wished him a good evening each time.
She'd pass their daughter, Rachel, at times but she never looked Quinn in the eye straight since Quinn accidently ran her down with her wagon once. Even if Quinn took her down to see Dr. Lopez and her dad paid for the splint for her arm. That was okay. Quinn never did like Rachel's pompous attitude much.
The carriage rolled to a stop and Quinn waited for Mercedes to come around and open the door before she got out, stepping onto the dusty ground. Heat licked the breath right out of Quinn's chest making her gaped.
"You all right, Miss Fabray?" asked Mercedes, hand held out ready to hold her steady.
"I'm fine, Mercedes," Quinn smiled to her.
Russell had hired Mercedes brother, Roy, as their main driver but the Jones' were so desperate for money, Quinn asked if Mercedes could be one too. It was better than kitchen work, Mercedes had said, and Quinn liked how she made an effort to keep away from holes in the road and drove the horses smooth.
A bead of sweat snaked down Quinn's back beneath her dress. She dabbed her forehead with a handkerchief. "I won't be long," she motioned over to the general store across the way. "Get yourself out of the sun. I don't know what I'd do if you pass of heat stroke."
"Thank you, Miss Fabray,"
Quinn grinned and walked away, rounding the carriage. Her dusty boots creaked up the stairs of the saloon and the doors banged as she pushed them open. The place was under par. Floor never clean and never every single light worked at the same time. She padded by a table where a man laid face down passed out in a pool of liquor. The eyes of a group of men in the middle of a game of cards flashed up to her.
Quinn smirked pleasantly, eyebrow cocked daring them to look her over the way they did all those other saloon girls. They wouldn't dare, not to the mayor's daughter. It was their life or one of their most precious appendages at stake for that offense.
"Afternoon, boys," Quinn greeted.
A collective chimed, "Afternoon, Miss Fabray," just as she made it to the bar.
"Miss Fabray," Puck said to her from behind the bar. He wiped his hands spot free clean on a rag.
Throwing a leg over a stool, Quinn smoothed out her dress but let the hem stay up just enough to show her naked calf. "Noah,"
He titled his head towards her. "What can I do for you?"
"You should never have to ask,"
A flash of a grimace crossed his face before he grabbed a glass and poured the deepest, red wine into it that reminded Quinn of blood. She took it up, tilting it to her lips and swallowed only a sip. She watched Puck all the while, catching the tightening in his neck and the worried shift of his eyes.
Quinn hid her smile as she laid the glass down and took off her hat so gentle blonde curls fell to either side of her face. "You'd never lie to me would you, Puckerman?"
"Even if my daddy told you to?"
He swallowed, his eyes careful on Quinn taking another shallow sip. "Yes ma'am,"
"I know," Quinn's teeth poked out from behind pink lips. Lips she had put all over Puck to break him.
Because Quinn knew the type of father she had, and Quinn knew boys like Puck and Jesse and even Finn who helped down at the Hummel's ranch had witnessed how he was. And to protect her daddy's name, Quinn made sure they stayed silent of every cheat, every lie, and every murder Russell had committed.
But even more, Quinn kept Puck wrapped around her finger to protect herself from things he had seen in the saloon that she did not want getting out. In return, Quinn kept quiet that he had knocked up the Berry's daughter the previous year only for her to loose the child before the news hit the town. Noah Puckerman was lucky, in some ways at least.
"Is my daddy here now?" she asked, finger tracing the rim of her empty glass.
Puck hesitated a moment. "Got here an hour before you."
Nodding, Quinn pushed the glass toward him. He filled it half way again and she took a drink. "And who did he request?"
"You know who he requested,"
"I want you to tell me,"
"Quinn-" her eyes snapped up to his. Puck's backtracked, finding his mistake. "Brittany, Miss Fabray. About a half hour ago he took up Brittany."
Quinn's lips pressed fine. Her eyes flickered to the overhang up a story. Doors lined the walls on either side giving way to rooms - rooms Quinn knew evil and disgusting things went on in. Things that she knew her father frequently took part in without the knowledge of his wife. But Quinn knew just like she knew every little thing about her daddy. And those times Quinn found herself up in one of those rooms, she felt just like him and his horrific self.
"I need you to do me a favor, Mr. Puckerman," He went to fill the glass again. Quinn jerked it back so it spilt onto the counter. Puck quickly went to clean it up. "Go up and let my father know that Mr. Motta from Ellis is in town and has requested his immediate presence."
"-Mr. Motta will only be in for a couple hours and he does not like waiting." Quinn peered up at him through thick lashes. "My father will understand a thing like time, you know that don't you, Noah?"
"Yes ma'am," Puck drew the dirty rag back and tucked into his belt. "I'll let him know."
"Thank you," Quinn said sweetly, but Puck had heard a thank you from Quinn many times and it was never as sweet as it sounded to be.
Quinn waited, watching Puck trail the wooden stairs, each step cautious and reluctant. She poured herself a full glass of wine, drinking it in gulps now as Puck reached the farthest back door and knocked. A few more knocks, it opened and Quinn turned away, hearing her father's angry voice hiss at him.
Tugging her hat back on, Quinn angled her body away, listening to the banging sounds of boots as Puck and Russell both came back down the stairs. Puck apologized over and over as Russell snapped at him, threatening to take away his job if he ever interfered with his business again. Quinn found herself smirking at that. Business, he said. Brittany should never be a part of his business.
The doors of the saloon opened and banged shut. Quinn heard her father's unmistakable whistle as he hailed Roy to draw up his carriage. She looked up, meeting Puck's tight eyes and locked jaw.
"She's waiting for you," he said and without another word, Quinn rose off the stool and marched up the stairs.
She had only scaled them at times during the night. It was different in the light of day when eyes flicked to her and watched her go up to places that were only meant for men and prostitutes. But Quinn ignored them, just as she ignored the drunken proposals that yelled out to her at night when she'd sneak up stairs to find Brittany. She'd ignore them just like the people would pretend to ignore the fact that she was the mayor's lovely daughter. Right now, in their minds for the moment, she was just another hag looking for some.
Quinn's fingers curved around the knob and turned. She took in a breath, steadying herself. The last time she had come in to see Brittany after someone had their way with her, Quinn's heart shattered into pieces. Such a pretty girl should not wear bruised wrists and puffy lips.
As Quinn opened the door this time, she found Brittany balled up on the middle of the bed wrapped in a sheet. Her crystal blue eyes immediately found Quinn and locked on. They locked onto her like the first time Quinn saw her just coming into Lima at thirteen with a family who hardly spoke a lick of English. It was that factor that landed Brittany in a place like this, her father working at the stalls shoveling manure, and her mother working as a maid like the blacks.
"Was it you?" Brittany's voice cracked.
Quinn felt her stomach churn. "Brittany,"
"Was it you who had him leave?" Brittany asked and Quinn nodded unable to speak. Blue eyes closed and a pained smile took to her reddened lips. "Thank you," she breathed.
Quinn felt bile rise up into her throat and her fist ball up so tight her nails pricked the insides of her hands. She knew the type of father she had, and at times regardless of how much of a lying, cheating monster he was, Quinn stilled looked up to him. He had power and he had money. He had respect and he had the fear of his people. But when it came to Brittany, Quinn wanted nothing to do with the man.
She moved across the room, turning on the faucet of the sink that was in the wall. Water sputtered out before it became a steady stream. Quinn picked up a washrag hanging on the rim and soaked it in the cool water.
"It's too early for you to be here," said Quinn. She knew Brittany only came to the saloon at night. At night when Quinn saw other girls like Dr. Lopez's daughter and the crazy April Rhodes whom Quinn saw passed around like a deck of cards.
"My mom didn't need my help today," said Brittany as Quinn walked towards the bed and sat down. She felt a smile at hearing the accent still present in Brittany's voice so different from the drawls Quinn was always surrounded by. "I thought I could help if I came-"
"Shh," Quinn touched the rag to Brittany's forehead, cleaning away the sweat pooled on her brow. The room was stuffy and sticky hot. She saw the labored breathing of Brittany's chest and it slowly ease as the cold touch her skin.
"I wouldn't mind," Brittany, continued on, eyes closed. "I wouldn't mind it if he weren't so rough. Why's he have to be so rough?"
Quinn held her voice steady though everything in her shook. "I don't know,"
"A lot of them are like that," Quinn shifted so Brittany could sit up. The sheet slipped off her shoulder, showing milky white skin. Quinn boiled at the mark of fingers that showed there. "I'd do whatever they want, I would."
"I know," she knew and Quinn didn't know why she didn't run away already. She had heard stories and a lot of them were unpleasant.
"Puck says I'm too young to be here," Quinn didn't say anything because, of course Brittany was too young. She touched the rag to the bruising flesh and Brittany winced. "You're never rough," she whispered and Quinn sucked in a breath. "Why can't they be more like you?"
"They don't respect you like I do," Quinn said instead of what she really wanted to say. That coming to Brittany wasn't about the things they did in the sheets.
To Quinn with Brittany, her heart would swell and her lips were careful kissing each bruise and promising that Quinn could never hurt her like that. That Quinn wasn't in it for just pleasure, that Quinn enjoyed Brittany and Quinn would be that moment of light into the hell she lived through with others. And Quinn wondered if Brittany had ever felt the same.
Quinn thought all those things as she helped Brittany off the bed and cleaned off. Bright eyes watched her all the while, as Quinn helped Brittany step into her clothes and get them all back on. She pinned long, blonde hair and braided it down her back just like Quinn had seen Brittany wear it when they first met. The youthful face that looked back at Quinn gripped her heart, squeezing so tight it broke all over again.
"Quinn?" Brittany said her name in that light airy one that Quinn knew too many others had the privilege of hearing.
But when they heard it, their minds went somewhere wrong. They heard the innocence and made it into something of lust. Quinn heard it and she felt sorry for starting something with Brittany just like those men – just like her father. It made her no better than them, going up to the room. It made her no better.
"You have all your things?" Quinn asked, voice even and face set. "You won't be needing to come here tonight."
Quinn dismissed her with a wave of the hand, going to dispose of the wet rang in the sink. "The Fabray's have more than enough in their vault to get you by for a week,"
Brittany chewed on her bottom lip, chin tucked in and brow creased. Quinn wanted nothing more than to smooth out those ridges."I can't accept money from you,"
"You do from my father," Quinn regretted saying it as soon as it was past her lips. Her voice dropped. "You will accept my money, Miss Pierce, and you will not return here the rest of the week. Do you understand?"
"Yes," Brittany sounded small, but Quinn knew she wouldn't argue with her. But Quinn wished it was because Brittany knew how much she cared about her rather than the fact that she was a Fabray and no one denied anything from the Fabray's.
"Should we go to the bank now?" Quinn stared up into Brittany's eyes, watching her mentally talk herself out of refusing again. "I've left Mercedes out in that god awful heat for much too long. We shouldn't keep her waiting any longer."
Quinn went to grab the knob, but a hand on her wrist stopped her, pulling her back. She didn't have time to prepare and focus on the lips that came towards her, taking hers in a sweet kiss.
Quinn didn't dare let the fact that these same lips had just been on her father's moments ago, but let herself recall all the times Brittany's had touched hers on forbidden nights in locked rooms where no heavy hand could hurt Brittany. On nights she knew Puck was doing his best to keep it quiet from the others. On nights Quinn tried to show how much affection she had for Brittany, hoping she'd realize it as more than just a job with her.
Brittany drew back, eyes casted down on the floor sheepishly. "Thank you," she muttered.
Quinn nodded, feeling that familiar lump in her throat taking her words away from her. Instead, Quinn took Brittany by the hand and led her out of the saloon and into her carriage to bid her ever most sincere welcomes.