When Everything's Made To Be Broken
Chapter 1 - How It Started
It started with a song. On the first day of my freshman year at McKinley, I had a song stuck in my head. I spent the entire day replaying it in my mind over and over again. It's because of this song, and the resulting fact that I spent most of the in-between class time talking to my only friend Kurt at our lockers about it, that I was delayed getting to my last class. When I entered the room, there was one seat still available. Front row, farthest to the left, directly in front of the teacher's desk. To say that I was disappointed would have been an understatement. It wasn't necessarily the fact that I'd have to stare at old Mrs. Smith's sagging, wrinkly face up close for a year that bothered me, but the people that would be sitting around me. In the seat behind my desk was a red headed girl I'd never seen before but who had on a Cheerio uniform and was already making googly eyes at the boy sitting behind her. In the seat next to mine was one of those kids that smelled in elementary school and smelled in middle school and only smelled worse in high school. But the real kicker was that sitting behind the smelly kid and next to the ginger Cheerio was another cheerleader. But not just any cheerleader, oh no, of course it was the Queen Bee herself. The almighty Quinn Fabray.
I had heard the stories about Quinn Fabray. The ones in the sixth grade about her having two boyfriends at the same time, the ones in seventh grade about her getting herpes (when no one even knew what herpes was), and the ones in eighth grade about how her parents were going to send her to some private Christian school because they found out about the boyfriends and the herpes. All turned out to be rumors, of course, but the fact that she was someone who people would sit around making up gossip about was enough in itself to be intimidating.
But here are the facts that I knew about Quinn Fabray at that point in time:
1. Quinn Fabray was a good Christian girl.
2. Quinn Fabray was an excellent cheerleader.
3. Quinn Fabray was in the Top Ten of our grade.
4. Quinn Fabray was popular and her social life was only going to thrive in high school.
5. Quinn Fabray was the most beautiful girl I'd ever seen before in my life.
That first day of Geometry I spent the whole forty-five minutes listening to Quinn Fabray and the ginger Cheerio talk about their summers while I pretended to listen to Mrs. Smith's lecture about the necessity of math. Quinn had gone to Bible Camp for a month and spent the rest of the summer volunteering at her church as a youth leader at a Vacation Bible School. I didn't learn anything surprising from eavesdropping on their conversation, which is wrong I know, but I did grow to have a great appreciation for Quinn's dedication to her religion and her complete and utter love for all things relating to Jesus Christ. I thought it resembled the way I felt about music, in a way.
After that I was hooked on knowing more about her life. I listened in on Quinn Fabray's conversations for two weeks until Mrs. Smith decided we were too rowdy of a class and deserved a seating arrangement. I kept my front row desk, but Quinn and the ginger Cheerio were moved across the room. It was unfortunately like that for the rest of the year.
My sophomore year I got another class with Quinn. This time it was English and we had a happy, chubby, balding, middle-aged man named Mr. Garret. On the first day he said that he was "so cool" that we could call him "Mr. G" anytime we wanted. Also on the first day, I made sure to get a seat near Quinn. I was able to claim the desk right behind her, in the very middle of the room. On her left was a friend of hers, a Cheerio I didn't know, and on her right was her boyfriend Finn Hudson. I had heard little about Finn. What I knew was that he was the football team's new quarterback despite only being a sophomore, he was freakishly tall and smiled a lot, and his locker was right next to mine.
I took up my old habit of eavesdropping on Quinn's conversations easily enough and heard all about her summer at Bible Camp, her church volunteer work, the dress her mom bought her for her first day back at school, and, much to my delight, that she had heard a rumor that the Spanish teacher at McKinley was starting up a Glee Club.
When the bell rang, I went straight to the foreign language section and found Mr. Schuester. He directed me to the signup sheet he had just posted on the wall outside his classroom and I remember how ecstatic I felt to be the first one to put my name on the list. Every day I made sure to go past that list and check for more names. Of course Kurt added his the same day, as did Mercedes Jones who I hadn't met but had heard was a great person unless you made her angry, but it wasn't until four days later that anything else was on there. Tina Cohen-Chang, Artie Abrams, and a penis drawing.
That next Monday, before class started and before Finn and the other Cheerio arrived, Quinn turned around in her desk and faced me. It was the first time she ever talked directly to me.
"Hey, not to be creepy or anything, but I noticed that your name was on the Glee Club signup sheet. Do you know when auditions are?"
I was so stunned that she knew my name and could recognize it and that she was talking to me that a few random sounds slipped out of my mouth before I could create a comprehendible answer for her. "Friday! Friday after school in the auditorium. This Friday. Right after school. That's what Mr. Schue said." That was also the first time I ever felt like a complete fool in front of her.
"Great. Thanks." And that was the first time she ever smiled at me.
"You're very welcome. Are you, um, are you planning to audition?"
"Well I was thinking about it. I don't know if it would conflict too much with my Cheerios schedule or not." I remember the exact way her head tilted slightly to the right as she mulled it over. "I think I'll audition anyway. It sounds like a lot of fun."
And then her friends showed up and she thanked me again for the help and talked to them until Mr. G started a class discussion about whatever book we were reading. But my mind was on Quinn Fabray. She knew my name. She knew who I was. She talked to me. Popular, beautiful, amazing Quinn Fabray talked to me.
That Friday at the auditions I sang wonderfully, like I knew I would, and so did everyone else. I was excited because together we would make a great group but I couldn't help being disappointed too. Quinn didn't show up and only myself, Kurt, Mercedes, Tina, and Artie did. Mr. Schue said it was a great start to a great club, but we all knew the truth. We'd need a lot more people if we wanted to actually compete in any competitions. It was a big deal back then.
That weekend I hung out with Kurt for the first time outside of school. I mean we were friends, but we had never really been friends until Glee Club happened.
The first thing he said when we sat down at what would become "our table" in a local coffee shop in town was, "Okay, first thing's first. If we're going to start hanging out more you have to know a few things. One, don't mention anything about Glee Club to my dad. Two, you have got to start dressing better. Seriously, don't you have two gay dads? How do they let you walk out of the house dressed like that? Which brings me to my last and final thing, I am not gay."
So we spent the next few weeks getting coffee, going shopping, talking about Broadway, getting to know each other better, talking about things we should do in Glee Club, and avoiding the obvious fact that Kurt was the most flaming homosexual there ever was.
Meanwhile, in my English class, I continued to listen in on Quinn Fabray's conversations. It was harder to do, because Mr. G liked to talk all period long, but occasionally we'd have a few minutes here and there to talk. It took a month of this before I could sense that there was some trouble in Quinn and Finn's relationship. And after hearing some gossip from Kurt about how the two fight and argue all the time outside of school, I decided to be brave and take action.
And on the first of October, I tapped Quinn on the shoulder before English class started and when she turned around I asked her how she was.
"Oh I'm fine, thanks for asking. How are you?" She smiled.
"I'm good, thanks." I remember how nervous I was. "So, um, I was just wondering if everything was okay because, well, I heard some gossip going around about you and Finn."
"Oh no." She sighed. "What are people saying?"
"That you two fight a lot? I don't mean to pry or anything, I'm just, you know, offering myself as someone to talk to if you need it."
"Wow, well, thank you, Rachel." She smiled while she said my name. "That's really nice of you." And that's when Finn entered the room. "You know, maybe we should hang out sometime."
"Glee Club is every Tuesdays and Thursdays after school in the choir room. You should come." I remember how accomplished I felt. Talking to Quinn, making a good impression, and helping out Glee Club all at the same time.
"I've got Cheerios practice Mondays thru Thursdays after school every week. I would go, if I could. My schedule gets booked up pretty fast though. But we should definitely get together sometime." She said before turning around, giving Finn and hello kiss, and spending the rest of the period passing notes to him.
I told Kurt about the encounter at lunch that same day.
"Rachel." He took my hand. "If I didn't know any better, I'd think you had a major girl crush on Miss Quinn Fabray. I get it, she's gorgeous and popular and she has an amazing figure, but she has a boyfriend and, I don't know, maybe you forgot, she's Quinn Fabray."
"I do not have a girl crush, okay." I pulled my hand away from him and crossed my arms. I remember contemplating the idea though. Did I have a girl crush on Quinn? I certainly admired her and thought she was pretty and smart and yes, she did have an amazing figure, but did that mean I had a girl crush?
It was then that I also contemplated that maybe it wasn't a girl crush. Maybe it was a real crush.
"Rachel, sweetie, listen to me." Kurt leaned forward and whispered, "Quinn Fabray is the straightest and most holy girl the world has ever seen. Whatever it is that you're doing, you should stop. There is no chance there. I know you say you're straight, and I'm sure you are, but we've all got those…wandering feelings and those exceptions and all that jazz, but come on. Quinn freaking Fabray? You've got more of a chance witnessing Cher and Barbara Streisand have a gladiator fight to the death."
I tried to listen to Kurt, I really did, but after a few weeks of trying not to talk to Quinn, and trying not to listen to her conversations, and trying not to question my maybe crush on her I got sick and tired of trying. And around the last week of October I decided to talk to her again. But I didn't have to initiate any conversation. She did it for me.
She turned around in her seat and smiled and placed our last essay prompt on my desk and asked if I could explain what exactly it was asking of her. And I did. And then when class ended she let Finn and her Cheerios friend leave without her and waited to talk to me.
"Thanks for explaining that again. I can't believe I didn't get it the first time." She laughed. She had a beautiful laugh.
"It's no problem, really." I assured her.
"Well, thanks anyway. You're really sweet, Rachel." She paused. "But um, remember when I said we should hang out sometime?"
"Well, and I'm really sorry that it has to be this way, but it turns out I can't hang out with you. My parents say I'm not allowed to."
I remember how genuinely sorry she looked. It somehow made what she was saying less upsetting. She had that ability, though. Or maybe it's more of a talent to be able to make bad news less hurtful.
"Why not? Is it because I'm Jewish?" It was the only reason I could think of at the time.
"Oh no, it's not that. Of course not." She reached out her hand and gently held me own. "Trust me, this has nothing to do with you being Jewish. My parents are in no way Anti-Semitic."
"Then what?" I remember wondering if there were rumors about me like there were rumors about Quinn.
She was quiet for a few minutes before she said, "It's your dads."
"Oh." I felt devastated to say the least. I felt sad that Quinn wouldn't be able to hang out with me. I felt defensive over my dads. But mostly I felt rage at her parents. There were a million things I felt like saying but I only seemed capable of saying one thing. "Oh."
"I'm so sorry, Rachel. I really am. I've been meaning to tell you. I asked them if I could hang out with you a few weeks ago and that's when they told me I'm not allowed to see you outside of school. I'm so sorry. I tried to reason with them but it's no use." She bit her bottom lip and let go of my hand. "I've got to get to class."
And she left. I didn't talk to Quinn Fabray again for the rest of the semester. And she made no attempts to talk to me. I guess we both felt awkward about everything. Kurt said it was for the best, and looking back I still can't decide if it really was for the best or not. I guess I don't know if it would have changed everything that happened next.