In Greek mythology
It's said that humans were originally created with four arms
Four legs, and a head with two faces
Fearing their power
Zeus split them into two separate beings
Condemned them to spend their whole lives in search of their other halves
—Plato's: The Symposium
February 20th, 2017
It started a week ago when Quinn was eating dinner alone, hopping channels and restricting herself to the solitary glass of wine. There was something saddening about eating alone, hunched over on the couch in the apartment and for the first time she felt a rush of despair and loneliness. Being alone suddenly felt like walking on a frozen river; there is always that danger that you'll plunge through. And when the ice finally did creak, so intense and panicking was the sensation that she had to stand for a moment to catch her breath. She instantly called Rachel.
"What's up?" Rachel said, concern in her voice.
"I have a question," she said with her eyes closed, trembling. "I think it's crazy you live alone."
"I mean you've been here at my place most nights."
"I don't have to be."
"No, I want you to be."
"Quinn, are you..."
"Are you asking me to move in with you?"
Quinn smiled, feeling a sense of déjà vu. This was exactly the same way she had proposed to Rachel. Through the phone. Lack of sentiment in every way. Quinn was in New Haven at the time and had been missing Rachel too much. It can't even be classified as a proposal, more a suggestion, Hey Rachel let's get married, you live too far away from me. And she found herself repeating a similar phrase. "Let's move in. You live too far away from me."
"We're in the same city, Quinn."
"It's not close enough."
"Let me think about it."
Quinn had expected a yes. "What's there to think about?"
"I don't know. Living together."
"We've lived together once."
"I hardly recall it happening."
"Well, it happened and we got along extremely great. Surprisingly. Besides, you'll be saving lots of money."
"And where will you take your other girlfriends, Quinn?" She teased, a warm giggle.
"We'll go to hotels in the afternoon."
And it was settled, just like that. Except, Quinn hadn't expected to be wrangled into packing all of Rachel's belongings for her while she's been off gallivanting somewhere catching up with her Broadway and college friends for the past few days. She figured since she had purposefully left Rachel alone in high school to pack for NYADA, and again in college when they decided to get an apartment together in New York, karma was back to haunt her again. Rachel's belongings had accumulated substantially.
After two days of non-stop hard work and without the slightest possibility of thank you sex in the near distant future, the bedroom now contained nothing but the bed, an open suitcase and seven or eight cardboard boxes, two of which were labelled, 'Rachel 1' and 'Rachel 2'. The last of Rachel's possessions, the boxes contained notebooks, letters, wallets of photographs, and she carried them to the living room to spend the rest of the afternoon going through memory lane and in the process sorting the meaningless ephemera-ancient bank statements, receipts, old take-away menus, all of which she stuffed into a black bin-liner—from the stuff Rachel would want to keep and the stuff to be held in storage.
The way the material had been packed meant that she worked through it in reverse chronological order, starting with the fallout of their relationship, the first six months as a married couple, the wedding, back through college and eventually at the bottom of box 2 the beginning of their relationship. She ignored the divorce documents Russell had sent over and avoided reading Rachel's journals and notebooks of the time they were separated. It seemed unfair—she imagined Rachel peeking over her shoulder and scrambling to knock them out of her hand—so instead she concentrated on the other years.
She was about to open the honeymoon photo album when she heard the sound of jangling keys and the front door opened.
"Hey." Quinn said, a blush heating her face.
"Hi." Rachel murmured, one corner of her mouth turned into a smile and she bent down to kiss Quinn passionately, tasting richly of chocolate frosting.
"Are you wearing my clothes?" Quinn eyed her Louis Vuitton jacket. "I've been looking for that everywhere."
"You left it here, so technically it's mine." She peered inside the box. "What are you doing?"
"Going through some memories," she patted the floor beside her indicating for Rachel to take a seat. "Wanna go through it?"
Rachel laughed at Quinn's enthusiasm. "Is there a toy underneath all that pile?"
"You never know what we're gonna find."
The first six months of their marriage wasn't particularly eventful. After their honeymoon to Hawaii, they resumed working. Quinn started filming a low-budget independent film in San Francisco and commuted back and forth. Rachel made Quinn keep all the plane tickets and itineraries. Rachel was doing her last few shows for Avenue Q, and in the box contained an oversize farewell card from the cast and crew, some of whom have become her close friends. The photo album from their honeymoon saw them sun-baking, as well as snorkeling. There was a photo of Rachel sitting outside surrounded by lush tropical plants, and Quinn snapped it while she was taking a sip of her coconut drink.
Rachel pulled out the white rose-ribbon wedding album which had been placed on its side. It came attached with the guest book and wedding organizer. Not a single photo in that album caught Rachel in a bad angle. She looked like a Hollywood starlet, right down to her perfect eyebrows, cupid bow lips defined by dark lipstick, and finger-waved hair. In every picture, Quinn and Rachel were touching each other, both their faces displayed adoration, plain and simple.
Quinn remembered watching Rachel slowly approach her down the aisle. She felt her body temperature rising as she gazed at her—she had the strangest feeling that she had been waiting for that moment her whole life. She didn't know what made her legs move, but she made her way down the aisle to meet Rachel, like a leaf in the wind, swept along, carried away by forces stronger than she was.
May 24th, 2015
Once in a while you find yourself beatifically propelled into the Onrush of Life and the Clarity of Things and the Purposes of Purposes. And there is nothing stopping you; it's one of those moments you've been waiting for your whole life. There were portals opening from Rachel's brain to the universe, there was such a purity in the light and the shape of clouds, everything was magnificent. Especially Quinn, standing in the center of the archway, a gigantic grin on her face. She was so enraptured by Quinn's beauty that she thought she was flying, and it filled her with a joy so all-encompassing she was afraid to blink, not wanting to break away from Quinn's potent stare.
"Rachel, are you ready?" Hiram said, staring down the aisle.
"No," she squeaked nervously. "Is this really happening?"
"It's happening." He said trying to sound calm, tears blurring in his eyes.
"Daddy, are you crying?"
"No," he said, just as quickly. "I don't cry." Rachel put her arms around him and held him close. She was about to talk when he said, "I watched you and Quinn talking last night on the front porch. You're so perfect for each other, laughing and whispering. You were just—you. Quinn loves you for being you and I know you've struggled with that in the past, and I was kind of afraid—"
"Daddy, you don't—"
"Rachel, let me say this." He glanced up and everyone was staring at them warily. "I probably should have said this yesterday."
"It's my wedding, they can wait." She said and held his hand.
He took as deep a breath as possible and continued, "As I was saying, I was kind of afraid you would change for someone, and you'd have to lose the diva attitude and start talking like a normal person at normal speeds. I see you with Quinn and you don't have to be anybody else. It's all I've wanted for you, Rachel."
She waited another beat wondering if he was going to say anything else. She saw his lips tremble and hugged him before he could crumple. "I don't want to make you cry so I'm going to say, let's get this wedding started before Quinn is overcome with panic-stricken anxiety and runs."
He laughed and held her a little longer. "Her sarcasm has rubbed off on you."
"So I've been told."
He held out his arm and Rachel took it, making their way down the aisle. The band began playing their wedding song and everyone stood from their seats, smiling at her, their faces filled with happiness and elation. She was vaguely aware of Judy and Frannie in the front row, Shelby holding Beth in her arms on the opposite section in the front row, Mr Schue beside them, Santana was making funny faces at her beside Quinn, but Rachel could see the happiness in her eyes. Brittany was happily clapping to herself and doing little jumps. Beneath her chest, her heart fluttered. Beneath her veil, her face flushed.
It wasn't until she met Quinn half way she was suddenly aware of everything around her again. Her knees suddenly buckled and Quinn caught her limp body in her arms, and then Quinn kissed her right there in the middle of the aisle. The feeling that was stirring inside of her was unlike anything she'd felt before. It was as though her soul had been asleep for hundreds of years, and was now slowly waking up to a world that was entirely made of sunlight.
Hiram cleared his throat rather loudly. Quinn pulled herself away, a glint in her eyes. Santana at the front said, "Oh come on, can't you two wait until afterwards to make out?"
Quinn buried her face in Rachel's shoulder for a brief moment. She whispered, "I think I'm going to kill her."
Laughing, Rachel took her hand, and her skin tingled on the softest part of her palm. She sighed as she glanced down at their intertwined fingers, standing in their position at the center of the archway. She waved at her fathers who were both crying. Santana continued to make faces at her and Rachel thought about smacking her in her face with the bouquet and immediately giggled. Quinn's eyes widened and Rachel shook her head, squeezing her hand in reassurance.
As the ceremony began, Rachel's fingers around Quinn's tightened, she kept her gaze focused on the warmth of her hazel eyes. Perhaps it was the heart's way of reminding the mind that our true selves were revealed more in our eyes than in our words; whatever the reason, she felt the magnetism of Quinn's eyes, pulling her in and she was flooded with everything Quinn felt for her. The images flickered through her: the first time she saw Quinn at the riverbank, their first kiss, their first date, and the first time they had sex, which had been a failure but it showcased who they are as a couple—unconventional in every way, yet they were perfect because they loved each other and it was all that mattered.
She could see the desire—raw, hard physical need in Quinn's eyes. That made her want Quinn more, the feeling doubling in on itself over and over until she couldn't bear it one second longer—
Rachel took one step and kissed her, tenderly, the minister had been talking but she didn't care. Her skin was ravished by chills as Quinn trailed her hands up her arms then down her back until she reached her waist. Quinn tilted her head down slightly to accommodate with Rachel's height, and she pulled Quinn closer until their chests were pressed together.
Santana pried Quinn away from her and said, "You know, if we wanted to watch two lesbians making out most of us would be at home watching porn. Just hold it together, geez."
Rachel felt her cheeks flush red and Quinn shot her a glare. Quinn signaled the minister to continue, only to be interrupted by Puck, who stood from his seat. "I have something to say."
"I haven't asked whether anyone objects yet." The grumpy old minister said.
"I wasn't going to object." He merrily walked up to the front, pushed the minister to the side and stood between Rachel and Quinn.
Rachel said through gritted teeth, "Noah, what are you doing?"
"I have a speech I want to say."
"Can't you say it later?" Quinn's voice was heated, almost to the brink of wanting to hit him.
"Hey, you two are making out before you're supposed to. This isn't a typical wedding anymore. Now, listen, this is important." He reached into his pocket and unfolded the paper. Before speaking, he cleared his throat and eyed everyone nervously. "Hello everyone—"
Rachel rolled her eyes and grunted. "Noah—"
"Rachel, shush," he proceeded to read his speech. "I know you both told me not to say anything, but I feel like I have to—"
"No, you don't," Quinn interrupted. "Get off the..."
"Stop interrupted me," his voice loud enough to block out Quinn's last words. "It's a weird thing to do, reading a speech. I wanted to do something to mark the day and this seemed like the best thing to do."
"This isn't your day, Puckerman." Quinn reached out to grab the paper in his hands but he was too quick.
"Quinn, just let him talk." Rachel said, eager to get on with the rest of the ceremony.
"Does this even have a point?" Santana said. "How come you get to speak and I don't?"
Puck ran out of patience and his gaze sharpened. "Alright, everyone needs to shut up and let me talk." He glared at Santana, then Quinn and Rachel, letting them know he wasn't happy with their behaviors. Obviously he had been preparing for this. "Right, what was I saying? Okay." He straightened his tie. "To be honest, I think I went a bit nuts when I found out in high school that you two were having sex—"
"Hey!" Rachel glared at him. "Noah, if you're—"
"What? You don't have sex?" He asked sheepishly. "By the looks of the way you make out, I'm pretty sure the sex is awesome."
"Oh my God," Santana shifted in discomfort, grimacing angrily. "What the hell kind of wedding is this?"
"Alright, alright," Hiram scowled from the front row. He clapped his hands together to get everyone's attentions. "Let's just let Noah get on with his speech. No more interruptions."
"Finally!" Puck said. He continued, "So as I was saying. I went a bit nuts. I mean, Quinn and Rachel in love? That's some crazy shit right there." He paused, expecting someone to interrupt. Everyone remained silent, listening intently. "Then I thought, this shit isn't go to last. Quinn is going to crack one day and go back to being straight and Rachel will go back to Finn and—" He quickly reverted his eyes away from Quinn's deadly glare at Finn's name. "—they'll be this annoying couple that don't make sense. Two years later, here we are. I've always had a soft spot for Rachel, she's my Jewish princess, and Quinn, well, I've always loved Quinn some way or another."
Puck turned to face Quinn. The scene seemed as though he were the minister and conducting the ceremony. "You're a great girl, Quinn, but sometimes you can be really selfish, and I'm ashamed to say that I didn't think you deserved Rachel. But then I see you together at parties, hanging out on a normal day, I even over-hear your phone calls, and Rachel always lit up and sparkled with you the way I've never seen her sparkle with anyone."
He turned to Rachel and she beamed at him. "Rach, I want to thank you. Quinn's smart and kind and funny, and she can be the loyalest—is that a word?" Rachel nodded. He thanked her with his eyes and continued, "She can be the loyalest person you'll ever meet. Since you've been in her life you've made her very, very happy. She glows, she just glows with all that shiniest and I'd like to thank you for taking care of her, especially after Beth, because I wasn't there to put her back together. So," he folded the paper and slipped it back into his pocket. "I want to say no hard feelings to either of you for having sex without asking me to join, and I wish you the best of luck for the rest of your lives."
Feeling a sudden swell of affection for Puck, Rachel instinctively looped her arms around his back, rubbed it and then kissed his cheek. "That was very sweet."
He embraced Quinn and then padded his way back to his seat. The minister resumed his position. Everyone was beginning to stir in their seats from the heat and the unexpected long ceremony. They were no longer filled with that happiness buzz people were supposed to get at weddings. And then the minister said,
"If anyone can show just cause why they may not lawfully be joined together, let them speak now." He didn't even wait a second before saying, "I now pronounce—"
"Rachel," Quinn said softly, stroking the palm of Rachel's hand with her fingertips. "I know we agreed no vows because you couldn't write any, but we'll—"
"We'll just make something up now." Rachel began to shake with anticipation and Quinn put her hands on either side of her shoulders. She said,
"This day, four years ago—"
"No, it wasn't. It was—"
"Oh, okay," Quinn took a step closer. "This day three years ago, we promised each other that no matter what happens we'll get through it all. Today is basically a renewal of those promises." Quinn gave her a lazy grin, making her warm all over. "Rachel, I didn't decide to fall in love with you. It snuck up on me disguised as hatred—"
"And jealousy," she added with a faint smile. "You were jealous."
"I was not."
"That's okay, I know the truth."
Quinn exhaled an annoyed breath. She didn't argue and resumed talking. "When I broke up with you in high school, and we got back together a week later, I was so scared, more scared than I'd ever been. I thought for sure you'd never forgive me for leaving you. That day I came over and we watched—"
"Funny Girl four times and you never complained." Rachel dropped her gaze to Quinn's breasts, pushed against the low neckline. She eyed it with appreciation and snapped her eyes up to meet Quinn's again. "I honestly thought you had been abducted."
"I was trying to be nice."
"I was testing your limits."
"Anyway," Quinn mumbled. "Ever since then you've never brought it up again. In all our years together. Nor did you ever bring up all the horrible things I did to you. You always knew whether I needed to be held or let me be. I don't know how you always know—"
"You're very easy to read. Or it could be because I've dissected your personality."
"You make everything easier."
Santana pushed the minister aside and stood between them. Now Rachel really wanted to smack her with the bouquet. Instead, she said, "What is it now, Santana?"
"Can you two stop interrupting each other with your bizarre form of communication and just get on with it? I'm literally dying from dehydration and if I die here I'm going to haunt your children and your children's chidren and—"
Rachel ignore Santana's outburst. "Quinn," she was a little embarrassed at the hesitation in her voice. "I love you for many things, your beauty, nature, even your sarcasm. You've inspired and supported me as well, through everything. There have been times when I was frazzled and distracted because of shows and criticisms, you were always there to make me laugh and encourage me. Sometimes I honestly don't know what you see in me, or why you fell in love with me. You're my best friend as well as my lover and I don't know which side of you I enjoy most. And I promise, just as I promised you on this day two years ago, I'll always come back to you. We'll find our way back to each other."
Santana was using her new-found power in the center of the archway to her advantage. "Let's give these two a round—"
"We're not done, Santana," Quinn said cheerfully.
"You cannot be—"
"Rach, through your eyes I see the world differently." Quinn held her gaze, running her fingers along Rachel's forearm. It was a mystical experience. "You taught me how to feel good about myself, how to improve myself and how to think. You didn't just see the prettiest girl, the selfish girl that wanted everything. You love me for the person I am inside, and you saw something in me from beneath my flesh and bones, reached in and pulled me out. I'm extremely grateful for you every day and I promise that no matter what we'll always find our way back to each other."
When Quinn kissed her, a great love welled up within her, starting with a tingle in her feet. She knew they would be in it forever, that their love was infinite. They had found the secret glue that held all things together.
There was a smirk on Rachel's face as she continued to flick through the wedding pictures. Brittany and Santana posing lovingly, the glee kids prancing around on the dance floor, Rachel's grandmother as well as Quinn's, their families gathering around to congratulate them. Photos of the garden which had been redecorated with lush green lawns and trimmings of magnificent topiary designs of lions and zebras. A giant red tent for the reception, with the words Congratulations spelled out with roses.
Quinn's favorite photo of herself is the one where she is accepting a gift from Rachel's grandmother. For a week the lady had hardly spoken to Quinn and in fear, she thought she had done something wrong. All fears were squashed when she personally gave Quinn a blue music box clock shaped like a cottage and the two figurines were of herself and Rachel, which now hung on their wall. Well, now it was in one of the boxes, but soon it'll be back on the wall.
"Do we have a video?" Rachel asked.
"Yeah, but I took it."
Rachel pointed to a photo of Puck delivering his speech during the ceremony. "We have his speech on video, right?"
"Yeah, your dad recorded everything."
Quinn stared at the photo of the two of them kissing in front of the archway and felt her past and present dissolve into each other. What would her future with Rachel be like now? She had thought they would lead a simple life, and six months later they went through the biggest obstacle only to come out—stronger? Or simply hoping for the best?
"Are you scared of the future?" Rachel asked, closing the album.
Rachel murmured softly, "We're different now, aren't we? For starters, I didn't fall in love with you in two weeks, and we got to really know each other before anything became serious."
Quinn reached out to stroke Rachel's hair, gently touching her face. Despite this new version of Rachel, there were still things about her that drove Quinn crazy. She was always so cheerful, no matter what was happening around her. She still hummed to herself while she walked down the street, in the car, doing chores, basically all the time, and she'd wave to strangers driving by in their cars. One time they were walking around New York and an old lady came out from her balcony to do something, and she waved at the stranger and said, It's such a great day. I hope you're having a wonderful day.
Her legs wobbled, her eyes blurred, and her heart began beating funny inside her chest. Rachel had come back, and they had kept their promises.
"I have faith it'll all work out." Quinn paused a moment and then said, "Let's keep going."
Next item down memory lane was a box marked, 'Meetings with Quinn', containing metro tickets, folded menus of all the places they ate out together in New York and New Haven, and all the cities they went to. She opened an envelope and stumbled upon a photograph she had taken of Rachel during the winter of 2013. She lay half naked on Quinn's dorm room bed, legs crossed at the ankle, arms stretched above her head. The photo was taken on a drunken, amorous evening after watching Titanic in French. Quinn had found the photo beautiful, but Rachel had snatched it from her and insisted she would destroy it.
Rachel gasped and took the photo out of her hand. "Oh my God! I look horrible."
"No, you don't." Quinn took it back. The fact that Rachel kept and secreted it suggested that Rachel had liked the photo more than she let on. "You said you were going to destroy this."
Rachel rested her chin on Quinn's shoulder, mumbling, "I secretly like it."
Quinn was slammed with nostalgia so frightening she had to take a moment to catch her breath. She sat in silence for a moment to gather herself.
"Quinn, are you okay?"
"Yeah," she kissed the top of Rachel's head. "Just—never mind."
They continued through college. There was an assortment of birthday announcements, wedding invitations, particularly Mr Schue's, all the tickets Rachel had gotten for Quinn to see her in Dorothy of Oz and Avenue Q, which was practically every single show. Rachel even kept all the receipts from the restaurants they went to afterward. At the end of the pile was an envelope of a series of letters from Phil which are so sexually fixated and pleading.
"Who the hell is this?" Rachel said, flabbergasted. "Why would I keep these?"
"Phil was the lightning director for Avenue Q. He had a crush on you." She hated him. She said with malice, "Phil the pervert. He'd slip these letters into your bag."
Rachel quickly folded it, putting it back in the envelope, and threw it in the bin. "We don't need that."
"Finally you come to your senses."
There were playbills from the shows they went to, as well as a load of movie tickets, and Quinn recalled the dates and their activities throughout various ones. There was a selection of witless postcards Rachel had sent to her while she was on the road during Avenue Q—San Francisco is MAD—I miss you, baby, wish you were here. Chicago THE BEST CITY IN AMERICA—Aren't the monkeys in the picture so cute? I miss you lots and lots! Washington ROCKS—I come home next week! I hope you're not sneaking your other girlfriends into the apartment while I'm away. I love you.
Then they come across little notes Quinn had written to her while in college. Mostly post-it notes she left lying in the room. Home is wherever I'm with you. I went out to get some snacks. You're so adorable while sleeping, etc etc. Rachel's post-it notes were lengthy. I am on my way to the grocery store to buy milk, eggs, sugar and maybe some tea. I'll be home late tonight, going to have dinner with the gang and walking around the city for a little while, etc etc. There was a pile of old essays, study notes, scripts from some of her auditions.
Rachel grabbed the Evita script, scanning it while chewing her bottom lip. "Do you think I would've been good in Evita?"
"Of course." Quinn said honestly, but not knowing what else to say.
"Would the recognition have happened just the same, do you think?" The look Rachel gave her was a mixture of exasperation and sadness.
"Baby, I've always believed that no matter what you do you were always going to succeed." Quinn smiled sincerely. "It could've even been some flimsy play in a theater not big enough for ten people and you would've found a way to make it end up in the Ambassador Theater."
Rachel leaned across to kiss her. Her mouth was soft and she pushed Quinn onto the floor. The piles of Rachel's belongings dug into her back, but she was too mesmerized to pull away. Instead, she endured the pain. It was worth it. Rachel slid her hand beneath her shirt, and Quinn simultaneously lifted Rachel's shirt. Rachel was warm and, strangely enough, smelled of fabric conditioner.
Rachel rolled away from the kiss. "Later."
That was enough to get Quinn's blood pumping.
Back in the box, they found piles of papers marked with tiny holes from pin-boards. There were a lot of 'to-do' lists, calendar reminders, as well as student houses, and random information Rachel found while looking at notice boards around NYADA. Quinn found tedious paperwork concerning the agreement of their first apartment, and the one they're in now. Rachel saw a cardboard tube and in it, rolled up tight, was her NYADA graduation certificate, untouched.
"Wow," she examined it with her fingertips. "I really did graduate." Her smile faded and her eyes continued to scan it, as if detecting its uniqueness. "This is real, right?"
"Yeah." Quinn was saddened at the sight, she may have felt a little guilt, she wasn't sure.
She stared at Rachel searching for an emotion, but Rachel refused to meet her gaze. Quinn could see the clenching of her jaw and tremble of her lips. Her heart seemed to go quiet. Her whole life didn't flash before her but she got a kind of edited show: Rachel's name being called, Quinn was the first to stand and cheer for her girlfriend accepting her certificate, Rachel beamed at her from the stage and at that moment Quinn had never loved her more. That's probably a lie. She's said it so many times to herself which one is true she wouldn't even know. It all seemed true.
Rachel wiped her tears and uttered, "Is—is it possible to feel as though I knew my emotions during that time? Not just the feeling of happiness, but of seeing you and my dads and whoever attended?"
"How do you know I attended?" It was a habit of hers to crack a joke when things got serious. Sometimes she didn't know when to shut up. "I'm sorry, I—"
Rachel smiled and finally raised her head up to look at Quinn. "You don't have to apologize."
Quinn felt the world was kind of a treacherous place, or that the body, at least, was a treacherous thing. The way our body works. The way the brain works. Why couldn't there be a cure for everything from cancer to depression to amnesia?
She hated moments when she didn't know what to say to Rachel. All she wanted to do was take away the pain and the best she could offer was a few reassurances and jokes that probably never worked most of the time. Once in a while, if she's very, very lucky, she'll say something profound and would feel a degree of relief and a palpable buzz of excitement at knowing she had successful made Rachel feel better.
"Rachel," she began, leaning in close. "I know—what I want to say is, it'll get easier." Why could she not be like one of those people who had the answers to everything? "I'm sorry, that was not good advice. I'm here for you and—"
"I know, Quinn." Rachel's girlish grin made her heart pound, and she leaned in to kiss Quinn's nose. "I know about your limited repertoire when it comes to emotional situations."
"I hate it."
"Emotions aren't you're strongest suit, however you're great at making me laugh, cracking inappropriate jokes, teasing me—"
"Giving you orgasms."
"I was actually going to say thinking about sex."
Quinn glanced at her, puzzled. "I only think about sex with you."
Rachel's smile widened, her brown eyes bright and Quinn felt that palpable buzz of excitement. "Should we resume down memory lane?"
In a torn paper wallet contained graduation photos, most of them were taken by Rachel herself. She took photos of her dads, her dads with Quinn, one dad with Quinn, another dad with Quinn, a few with her peers. Quinn has forgotten the names of many of Rachel's friends. Still, she was struck by the youth of their faces and also by the fact that Rachel's best friend at NYADA, Tilly Kendra annoyed her greatly.
Rachel held up a photo of herself and Tilly, making a funny face at the camera. Quinn had taken photo. "Tilly looks so young here. Funny story, Quinn, she told me today that you don't like her."
"She's alright." She answered while flicking through a sequence of photos. She held up a photo of Rachel pulling a mock-heroic face, spectacles perched at the end of her nose. "This is too cute."
"I wore glasses?"
"They're not yours, they're Tilly's."
"Oh." She placed it down and said, "Are you jealous, Quinn?"
"Of course not. I'm so much prettier. She just annoys me."
Rachel moved on and examined a photo of Quinn pulling an absurd model face, sucking in her cheekbones and pouting while Rachel wraps one arm around her neck and leaning in to kiss her cheek. Quinn told her that after the photo was taken they went to the graduation tea-party, the bar and then to a party at someone's house Tilly had told them about. The house was packed and virtually destroyed, the party spilling out onto the street. Hiding from the chaos, they had found a spot on a sofa in the living room together and stayed rooted there all evening. It was where Rachel first kissed her in front of all her graduating classmates. Quinn could swear a few hearts were broken that night. It was Rachel Berry, why wouldn't anyone want her?
Now they've come to high school, and Quinn felt embarrassed afresh by her callow high school self. In a box marked 'Glee Memories', were, well, photos of the glee kids from 2012. There were photos of Rachel at the movies with Kurt, Mercedes and Tina, others of Rachel with Santana and Brittany hanging about. A few shots of Rachel with Puck when he got her drunk at one of his wild parties. Photos of them at the beach, Rachel in her favorite yellow bikini. Photos from Prom; Quinn and Rachel dancing close, laughing, Brittany squeezing Rachel in a tight embrace, a photo of Finn staring angrily at them in the distance. Kurt as Prom King, Brittany his Queen. Digging further, she found some with Finn before the fall-out of his friendship with Rachel, mostly ones when they were dating. She swiftly tore it all in two and plunged it deep into the bin-bag.
There was a bundle of letters Quinn had written to her, labelled neatly, 'Quinn's Letters to Me', wonderfully kept in an envelope that she sometimes re-reads. They were numbered from 1 to 36. 1 being the first letter Quinn had ever written to her. Rachel unfolded it and began reading silently.
Quinn pretended to flick through Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verse. A book she had claimed in high school to be the greatest poem ever written. Of course, now after expanding her literature, the poem has been bumped down to number seven. She looked up when she heard a gasp. "What?"
"I know that poem."
"It's a popular—"
"No, I meant, I recalled it clearly the day we settled the divorce. Your dad and my lawyer were arguing and the poem came back to me." With a soft sigh, she put it down, tears stung her eyes.
Surprised, Quinn stared at her. "Rach, why are you crying?"
"I don't know," she smiled through her tears. She was gathering herself, composing her senses. "I think everything's going to be, okay, Quinn. With us and the future and—this is the first time I've ever felt okay with losing my memories."
God was suddenly being extra-special to Quinn because she had one of those rare moments of comforting words and said, "Rachel, I love you. We're going to get through everything from today onwards. This last year has been extremely difficult and we came out stronger than ever. We fell in love all over again. How many people can say that?"
In that first microsecond Quinn could see Rachel's sadness turn into a huge smile as her brain took in the words. The paper discarded, Rachel attacked her and she fell backwards, Rachel peppered kisses on her face. God had been extra-special, let's hope he keeps it up for a while. Or even better, forever.
After a good half hour of tongue thrusting and lip biting, they continued going through the boxes, thumbing through the rest of the high school graduation photos with Quinn adding her comments from time to time. There were a lot of beaming faces from the glee kids, Santana wore half-smiles, cocky and defiant. There was a photo of the two of them hugging, Quinn's grip on Rachel was desperate, as if she were afraid to let her go. Which at the time, she had been. Examining the photo closer, Rachel looked a little plumper in the face, mouth split in a wide grin, her cheek pressed to Quinn's.
Putting them aside, Rachel picked up the pile, 'My letters to Quinn', all neatly numbered 1 to 83. They were all four pages or more. Rachel had always had a lot to say. She read letter number 1 aloud.
I'm writing this letter as you sleep. Did you know that you snore? It's very adorable. I want to thank you for staying over tonight, and for restraining from teasing me relentlessly. I sometimes feel as though you keep it inside so as to not hurt me. Although I don't quite understand your sense of humor, I do laugh at them because I know you're joking.
I read this delightful quote a few months ago. In Greek mythology, it's said that humans were originally created with four arms, four legs, and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them apart and condemned them to spend their whole lives searching for their missing halves.
It's become my favorite quote. I never thought such a thing was possible, or even thought of such things. Now I understand
"Rachel," Quinn said, momentarily. "Are you really going to read all that? Its seven pages long. Can't you read it in your own time?"
Rachel glanced at her and then skimmed through the pages. "Let me just read you this."
I thought of telling you this in person, but it's sort of embarrassing, so I'm going to tell you on paper. As you've overheard today, Tina mentioned I've always had a crush on you. Which is very true. In Freshman year our lockers were next to each other and you'd visit it in the morning, after fourth period, lunch and then when school is over. I doubt you ever noticed, but I was always there waiting for you. Cheesy, right? I can't believe I'm telling you this. Then, you know, you were on the Cheerios, popular, straight as a traffic pole, and I gave up. Tina found the calendar I made for myself of your timetable and one day I blurted it out to her that I had a crush on you. I thought she forgot about it, to be honest. And then Finn happened and you know how the story goes.
Rachel's cheeks were red, down to her neck. Quinn wanted to say something sarcastic, but restrained from embarrassing her any further. Instead, she let her gaze travel along the angles of Rachel's face, and lingered on those long eyelashes. Then she traveled down further, catching sight of a silver sparkle in the corner of her eye. Rachel was wearing her wedding ring. It was strange to see it on her after all these months. She couldn't help but be aware of all it symbolized.
Quinn's imagination took over, thinking about the time she and Rachel went rowboat riding. Quinn paid for two weeks worth of lessons so she could take Rachel for a romantic rowboat ride. It was exciting; everything around them was aerated by salt and southerlies. Laying in the wooden boat with their feet dangling to the side, they sun-baked for hours, and when it got too hot, Rachel stripped and dived in, pulling Quinn with her. They swam circles around the boat. When they got out of the water, they dried themselves naturally, and Quinn watched—mesmerized—at the way the droplets of water dripped down Rachel's thighs. She'd trace her fingers along there too.
Later, they waited for the train in the mid-afternoon heat. Rachel reached her arms around Quinn's neck, nuzzling her face into her ear and nape, all the while kissing her lightly. Quinn's hands remained on her back and they kiss for what seemed like hours in the middle of the crowded train station, without a care in the world. They tilted their heads side to side, kissing each other; contentment in their very pulse. It was a day that burnt brighter than usual.
She reached out to trace her finger along the wedding band and Rachel glanced at her. "You're wearing the ring."
"Oh, um, yeah," she unconsciously played with the ring, twisting it on her finger. "It—it feels right."
Rachel blushed and this time, for some reason, the sight of her pink cheeks hit a sharp inner pain. Quinn thought of all those times during their separation how she tried to block out memories of Rachel—laughing, yelling at her, loving her. Without her, it felt like somebody had hacked a gaping, black hole in her life. Whenever she turned around, she kept expecting to see Rachel.
Quinn leaned across to brush Rachel's hair away from her eyes and kissed her softly on the forehead. "We could get married again, you know. I mean, we will get married again."
"Will you propose to me this time?"
Quinn froze. If there was a memory she'd never want Rachel to remember again, it would be this. Slowly, hardly daring to believe her ears wasn't playing a trick on her, she mumbled, "You—"
"I remembered," Rachel smiled. Quinn could sense the certainty vibrating from her. She held Quinn's gaze. "It wasn't really what I had expected. But it was very you."
Amusement touched Quinn's eyes. "It's a good thing we get to do everything all over again."
"A second chance."
"Uh huh." Quinn agreed, while continuing to go through Rachel's belongings. She gave a groan of amused shame when she found the CD she had first made for Rachel. She even labeled it, This is too cheesy even for me.
Snatching it out of her hand, Rachel read the note and placed the CD in the player, skipping straight to Snow Patrol—Run. Quinn had no idea why she did it, although she sensed it might have been because when Rachel had packed for NYADA, Run was the last song played when Quinn called her.
"What's your favorite memory?" Rachel asked once she set herself beside Quinn again.
Quinn was flicking through the photos Rachel had taken on the mountainous hill when they drove half way to meet each other between Lima and Columbus. The first few were landscape shots, and towards the end it was of them. Quinn had even taken a photo of Rachel sleeping, her hair splayed across the grass and her mouth was slightly open. Out of the pile was a photo of them at a park on their eighth month anniversary. They sat under a tree, watching passer-bys, the greenness of the day and fed ducks. They kissed in the photo; a soft peck, both with content smiles as their lips touched.
Rachel leaned over to peer at it. "Isn't that in the photo album I have back in my room at Lima? I remember seeing it when I first came out from the hospital. You wrote something cheesy at the bottom, like, I love you but I don't just love you, I'm in—"
"Yeah, you always made extra copies." She interrupted feeling a little blush.
Thankfully, Rachel hadn't noticed. "Sounds very like me. Anyway, Quinn, you didn't answer my question."
"Oh yeah," Quinn kept flicking through the photos until she found the one she was looking for. They were sitting together on the mountainous hill, watching the sunrise, broad smiles on their faces. "This one. We drove half way to meet each other. It was a great day."
"Boredom, I guess." She laughed.
Rachel pushed her to the side but didn't ask any questions. "Is that it?"
Quinn scanned her eyes around the many sealed boxes and clutter of the living room. She had packed all the utensils, carefully wrapped all the plates and glasses in newspaper, sorted through all of Rachel's clothing and boxed all the DVDs and CDs and books. The hard part was now carrying the boxes to the car, unpacking them, finding space for her clothes in the new closet.
Quinn lay beside Rachel on the now uncluttered floor. In truth, she preferred the atmosphere of this apartment, a pleasant view of the city, it's neat and retains the atmosphere of their college years: the game consoles, the immense television, the ostentatious bed. But it also retained memories of the accident and the divorce, what Quinn deems the worst year of my life. Moving would symbolize a fresh start, a new chapter in their lives.
Rachel turned to wrap her arm around Quinn's waist, legs tangled at the ankle. Looking at Rachel, Quinn grinned into her half-lidded, sexy gaze and ignored the faint flush of embarrassment. "What do you want to do now?"
"Well, I've been thinking," Rachel's fingers stroked her stomach. "Remember in the hospital when you said you used to tie—"
"You want to do that?" Quinn couldn't help smiling back, or going warm as she remembered the first time they had incorporated toys into their sex life. It went down the same way as the first time they had sex: horrible, clumsy and awkward. It took Rachel a PowerPoint presentation and Quinn two weeks of recovery from embarrassment to finally try it again. Successfully.
Rachel shifted, rolling on top of her, mouth beside her ear. "I really want you to tie me up, Quinn. Besides," she leaned back to gaze at Quinn. "Isn't it customary to have sex one last time in this apartment before we leave for good?"
"That's your reason for wanting to have sex?"
Rachel kissed her ear, and it made her shiver with a delicious anticipation. "I kind of want to tie you up, too."
She tightened her arms around Rachel as she lowered her head, her love for this woman sweeping through her, powerful and strong. Smiling, she whispered, "Let's start with you first."
"Yeah," Rachel grinned. "Be gentle with me."
Quinn was still laughing when she pulled Rachel into the bedroom.
May 24th, 2012
"Quinn, it's me. Again. Why are you not answering my calls? Call me back!" Rachel huffed and hung up the phone.
"You know, Rachel," Leroy said from the doorway. "Some might call that stalking."
"It's not stalking if she's my girlfriend, daddy."
"Okay," he smiled a cheeky smile. "It's close to obsession."
It has been exactly one day and two hours since she has been in contact with Quinn. After six months and twenty-seven days of courtship, they have never been apart for this long. Shortly after graduation, Quinn left to visit her grandmother in Columbus and she tried not to be too dramatic about the situation. However, it failed immensely for the very next day she called everybody, like everybody, including second cousins, to ask why bad things always happen to good people—Quinn and I are destined to be together, so why must she be taken away from me? Although in retrospect, it seems inevitable that we would be torn apart, with college and our careers, however, I didn't expect it to happen during this time of crisis.
What's your crisis? One cousin had asked. The only person to have stayed on the phone long enough to have a conversation with her.
I have to organize my belongings for NYADA.
Click. She hung up.
Rude. Rachel thought. Why must everyone be so rude?
"I miss her," Rachel said, setting herself in front of an empty box ready to start packing her belongings. "Also, she was supposed to help me pack. I'm starting to think she left in order to avoid helping me pack." She turned around when there was no reply only to find the doorway empty and she had been speaking to herself. No one cares about me. They'll be crying when I leave. I know it!
With nowhere to go and no one to go with, her mind kept slipping back to her conversation with Quinn regarding certain resolutions about their future, and central to the scheme was that they would not live together: separate lives, separate cities, separate apartments, separate friends. They would endeavour to be together, and faithful of course, but not in any conventional ways—no Valentine's Day flowers, none of the paraphernalia of coupledom or domesticity—until after they both graduate college. It seemed appropriate.
She had imagined this arrangement to be sophisticated, modern, a new design for living showcasing their maturity. But so much effort was required to pretend that she doesn't want to share her entire life with Quinn—clothes, apartment, food, toothbrushes (actually, no, not toothbrushes)—that it's recently seemed inevitable that she will crack. She had tried to discreetly bring up the subject numerous times, in a roundabout facetious way, and Quinn has made noises such as maybe, yeah, we'll see in the future when we're a little more settled. A little more settled would mean four years from now.
After a distracted morning of time-wasting and constantly checking her phone, she decided to finally divide her life into 'bring to NYADA' piles, 'throw away' piles, and 'keep here' piles. She decided to bring most of the collection of books Quinn had bought for her to read. Quinn always claimed Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verse was the greatest poetry ever written. Who was she to argue? It's a profoundly beautiful book. Quinn had found it at the markets, a turn-of-the-century copy for a dollar. To Rachel—in the garden, the thicket, the jungle—whatever! Enjoy the book. Love, Quinn. Rachel never understood that. Quinn's sense of humor slash sarcasm is something she has come to accept that she is to appreciate it, but never understand it.
Energized now after dividing her clothes into certain piles, she crouched in front of the shelve and quarried through the alphabetical order of DVDs and CDs that represent the last seventeen years of her life, picking out the occasional choices and stacking them in a pile on the floor. Looking through old belongings should be a pleasure, but she was surprised to find that even the sight of the covers made her feel anxious and jittery, tied up as it is with memories of making Myspace videos, loneliness, paranoid nights with no friends, idiotic conversations with herself. This must be it then, she thought, this is what growing up feels like.
Then she saw the spine of a CD; Quinn's handwriting. It's a compilation CD Quinn made with her new flashy MacBook. The compilation is called, This is too cheesy even for me, and inside is a photograph from a month ago. In the photo, Rachel is sitting with her knees brought up to her chest on Santana's couch, her chin to her knees, she's smiling one-sidedly with her mouth closed. Quinn is leaning against her, dangling a spoon in her mouth. The photo is gawky and awkward and they look like they haven't slept in days. Technically, they hadn't slept. They had a sleepover at Santana's house—more like an endless two day party. Rachel peered at Quinn's half surprised, half annoyed expression and laughed. Santana had taken the photo when neither of them were ready. Tucked inside the case is a letter from Quinn.
Here is it, a homemade present. Keep telling yourself—it's the thought that counts it's the thought that counts, and you will no doubt find me quite the romantic. This is a loving CD with none of the Broadway rubbish that you like; proper songs! Hope you enjoy this. I love you. Quinn xx
She smiled, and put the disc in the player. It started off with Angus & Julia Stone—Big Jet Plane. She began to rummage through her belongings, her diaries, letters from Quinn, their scraps of youth, the process is carried out entirely dry-eyed, only the occasional light-headedness and sentimentality. She turned up the volume to Coldplay—Til Kingdom Come, flipping through the thick biography of the German playwright Bertolt Brecht, reading Quinn's little note at the end: I don't understand this, but hopefully once you read it you can summarize it for me. And I mean summarize, Rachel. The very first letter Quinn had ever written to her fell out from one of the pages, and it was so startling and affecting she almost dropped it to the floor.
Rachel, I don't really know what to write. I've never written a letter before. I do have this poem I want to say to you but it's kind of embarrassing so I thought I'd write it. It is so easy for me to love you that it frightens me. I've never been good at anything. But I've never wanted anything so much as I want to hold you every waking minute. And every night while I sleep. The question has ceased to be, "How do I love you?" and has become, "How would I ever stop?" I've asked myself the former question many times since that day at the riverbank. I want to love you in the best possible way, and even now I'm not sure how to do that. Then recently I've found myself asking the latter. I can't stop. It's impossible to stop loving you. And because I can't stop, I will love you the best way I can for the rest of my life. I know I will love you for the rest of my life.
And if that's not sentimental enough, Parachute—She Is Love (their song) blared through the speakers at exactly the right moment. She put the letter away and continued to rummage, bobbing around, head down as though she's drunk at a disco party. She began singing quite loudly, dancing around while placing an item—here and an item—there and stopping every few times to read a letter or note or examine a photograph. She suddenly had an intent feeling of contentment. More than contentment—elation. She spun around and then stepped on a book, and stumbled like a street drunk, steadying herself with one hand against the bed.
And now it's Edward Sharpe—Home. A song Quinn had sung to her many times and she left notes lying around in Quinn's bedroom with the quote, Home is wherever I'm with you. She remembered Quinn dancing to it in the living room, Quinn singing in the shower, Quinn sang it to her in bed and on the phone, sometimes she'd hum it while in the car. Through the middle of exhaustion and memories she had a sudden desire to talk to Quinn, to tell her what she's been doing and what she's listening to, and as if on cue her phone rang just as Snow Patrol—Run was beginning to start. She foraged among the discarded books and photographs and jumped so high in the air at seeing Quinn's name on the display. Stay calm stay calm stay calm, she told herself. She sat on the bed.
The music was so loud she could hardly hear a word Quinn was saying and suddenly scrambled to jab at the stop button on the player.
"What are you doing with that music?"
"Listening to the CD you made me," she said, a little embarrassed. "How are you? Having fun?"
"Hardly." Quinn sighed. Rachel didn't know what it was, but she shivered. "What have you been doing?"
"I've laid out all my belongings and packed them in their appropriate boxes. My room is quite messy at the moment—" She glanced around and corrected herself, "—actually, very messy. I've danced around mumbling to myself and I fell over like a drunk on a street. A very productive afternoon if I'm being honest."
Quinn's laughter rang through the phone and for a moment, Rachel felt lonely without her. "I miss you, Quinn."
Quinn seemed to take this in because there was a short silence before she said, "Me too, baby."
For the past twenty-four hours she has done somewhat of a good job at not remembering the fact that the woman she loves is about one-hundred miles away from her. Still though, it was there, the hard fact that they were separated and will continue to be at some point in their futures.
Rachel shook the thought out of her head. "How's your grandmother? Did you say hi to her for me?"
"Yeah, I did," Quinn's voice wasn't very enthusiastic. "She said, Why would she say hi to me if she's never met me. And I just said, She's weird like that, grandma. And we laughed."
Rachel didn't laugh. "That's not a laughing matter."
"It was quite funny."
"You never pass up the opportunity to make fun of me."
"It's not too late to back out now, you know."
"Don't tempt me, Quinn." Rachel smiled, staring at a photograph of them on Quinn's bed, lips together. It was a rough and difficult kiss because Rachel couldn't stop laughing and Quinn meshed their lips together and quickly snapped the photo.
Quinn's end was very quiet and she heard Quinn click her tongue. "You love me too much."
"Unfortunately, I can't deny that."
She could picture the satisfied smile on Quinn's lips. "I got you something today."
"What is it?" She asked, noncommittally.
"I was hoping for a better reaction than that." She whispered, awed.
"What is it?!" Rachel said with a little chirp to her tone. "Happy?"
"No." Quinn grunted.
"Just tell me, Quinn."
"It's a—um, gold star pendent—"
"Why would I be lying?"
"What's the occasion?" Rachel stopped flipping through her diary and waited for Quinn's answer. Something crackled on Quinn's end of the phone, like breaking ice. The crackling came closer as though it were traveling upstairs. "Quinn?"
"I'm kind of offended that there has to be an occasion for me to buy you something. I got you all those books, didn't I?" The door closed with a screech and a click.
"What was that noise?"
"Oh, I went upstairs. The stairs crack like that."
"I never thought I would ever use the word sentimental in the same sentence as your name." She joked.
"I have my moments," Quinn said with a slight giggle. "I think this is reason for you to stick around for the rest of your life."
"The rest of my life with you?" Rachel pretended to ponder. She lay on the floor, staring out the window. Dusk was one of her favorite times of the day; it felt as much like a beginning as sunrise, and Quinn's statement felt as much like a beginning of a promising future.
"Are you up for it, Berry?"
"I never back down from a challenge."
"Being with me is not a challenge."
"Taming you would be. You know, the wild side that's hidden in you."
She was prepared for Quinn to laugh at her, to throw a sarcastic joke in there somewhere. She thought she was prepared for whatever Quinn's response would be. But not this. "I want to try phone sex."
Rachel's eyes went wide, and her breath was coming fast. Had she somehow fallen asleep and started dreaming? She sat up, her back against the bed. "Now?"
"Oh, okay. Never mind."
Rachel wasn't quite sure what to make of this. This was so unlike Quinn, well, maybe if she hadn't gotten to know Quinn and found out how wild she is in bed she would've thought this was unlike Quinn. Now—she can't say she's surprised. "Let me lock the door."
She stumbled towards the door, stepping on a plastic object, sharp as flint, which embedded itself painfully into her heels and she swore to herself. Quinn chuckled on the other end but instantly stopped when she realized it had escaped her lips. Then she lay under the covers on her bed. She felt a pleasant pulse beating through her and an instant ache between her legs. God, just thinking about doing this was enough to get her wet.
"What are you doing?" Quinn's words were smothering, and the fact that she had breathed it into the phone was enough to make Rachel whimper.
"Oh God." She said, softly.
"Do you have to talk like that?"
"Baby," she whispered in the same tone—no, it was worse—it sizzled through the line. "What are you doing?"
"I'm under the covers." Rachel kept her free arm under her head, not wanting to touch herself because she'd most likely come instantly. "You?"
"Same." Then, "What are you wearing?"
"Shorts, and your Spongebob shirt."
"Do you want to know what I'm thinking about, Rachel?"
Quinn's voice made everything course like a flowing river accumulating down south between Rachel's legs. Rachel had to close her eyes and bite on her bottom lip. "What?" It was a struggle to get one word out.
"I'm thinking about your mouth, my hands on you. Inside of you." Quinn's voice was neutral, but Rachel could sense the little hitched breaths and her eagerness to touch herself.
And the thought of Quinn touching herself was enough for her to slip her hand inside the waist band of her shorts. "I want you inside me, Quinn. It's been too long."
Quinn moaned softly, full of exoticness. "Touch yourself."
She shimmed out of her shorts. Rachel pictured the way Quinn smelled, the way she looked naked, the heat that would leak from her lips and tongue. "How wet are you for me?" She asked.
"Very," Quinn answered, extremely quiet. "I miss the way you taste."
"When you come back we really need a Plan B."
"Uh huh," her response was short, as though it was the last thing on her mind. She swallowed audibly and there was a tiny whimper. "Two fingers, Rachel, go slow. The way you like me to do it."
"You know how much I enjoy it when you go fast, Quinn."
Rachel heard the clenching of Quinn's teeth. "You've always liked it hard and fast."
"Oh God." Her fingers began to pick up pace, and she shifted her hips and dug her heels into the bed. "Baby, tell me what you're doing."
Quinn let out a soft whimper and Rachel felt it tingling down her spine like a tickle sensation. "I'm—using two fingers—thinking about you biting down on my neck, how wet you are, the way you move on top—of me."
All Rachel can think of is Quinn's tongue where her fingers should be, the way Quinn looked at her with such burning desire when she's between her legs, and Rachel can just stare at those eyes, never wanting to break contact. Rachel spread her legs imperceptibly wider, stroking her inner thighs and then resuming her pace.
Quinn's breath began to hitch again, and her gasps turned to whimpers turning into moans and there's movement on Quinn's end signalling her shakiness. "Rachel, I'm close—"
Rachel continued her strokes, moving to the sound of Quinn's rapid breaths. She could feel Quinn starting to come; all the sounds Quinn makes that are so uniquely her own and she heard the cry that escaped from deep within her throat and the way she let out Rachel before everything was uncoordinated and she sighed in contentment. With Quinn's heavy breaths beside her ear, it only took a few more strokes, and Quinn's, Come for me, Rachel, before she was brought over the edge and her body burst in the nicest expulsion she's experienced in a long time.
The absence of sound was made more evident by Quinn's breathing and the thudding of her own heart.
She woke with a start and looked at the time. 8:34 p.m. She had slept for three hours, clearly impossible, but when she opened the curtains the stars were distant and the bright moon was cloudless in the sky. She could feel her thigh muscles contracting and it was sort of painful to walk, she was parched and hungrier than she had ever been before. The glass of water, when she reached for it was warm. She drank half of it, then recoiled—a wingless fly had found its way into the glass and buzzed against her lips. She dropped the glass, spilling it on her shirt and onto the bed, and then she noticed her phone, remembering she hadn't hung up on Quinn.
"Hey, you're awake." She said casually, munching on something that sounded like an apple.
Rachel couldn't keep the surprise from her voice as she said, "How long have you been awake?"
"Awhile." Quinn swallowed. "Your dads knocked on the door an hour ago. I can't believe you slept through it. Must have been some orgasm you had there." Quinn said it like she was teasing, but Rachel could hear the real message: What were you thinking about that made you come so hard?
She cleared her throat as a response and Quinn laughed. Downstairs she could hear pots and pans, the babbled noise of the television, family sounds. She went to splash water on her face and fixed her hair, it was mussed in every which way. Quinn wasn't here to have caused it, but somehow Quinn was still able to cause it without touching her.
She headed downstairs, counting on the momentum to hold her together, but her dads were in the lounge room watching the television, or pretending to. It's as if they have been waiting for her, a sentry on duty, the arresting officers.
"I fell asleep," she said. "Say hi to Quinn." She held the phone in the air.
"Hi, Quinn." They said simultaneously with a bored wave.
"Not very enthusiastic," Rachel mumbled. The documentary they're watching was about a trout. "Quinn said she isn't going to respond until you're both a little more enthusiastic."
"Hey, I did not say that!" Quinn yelled.
"Hi, Quinn!" It was louder but still lacked the enthusiasm.
Rachel rolled her eyes, and said in a high-pitched, "I thought parents were supposed to be interested in their child's life?"
She hadn't meant to say it to Quinn, but she replied anyway, "I think they're supressing their excitement that you're finally leaving."
"Tell me why I'm dating you again?" The large kitchen was so clean that when she turned on the lights she had to adjust her eyes to the brightness. She crossed to the fridge and was shocked to see it was almost empty.
Quinn was silent for a moment, grabbed something and bit into it. It sounded like another apple. "Because you love me." As though that was the most obvious reason to be with someone.
In the fridge, the wilted celery heart, a chicken carcass, opened cans and economy ham all indicate that her dad Hiram, had taken over the domestic duties for the week. "Hold on, baby." Rachel said and then she yelled out, "There's nothing to eat!"
"We ate it all!" Leroy said.
"What am I supposed to eat?"
"We tried to wake you up!"
Rachel stomped into the lounge room, one hand on her hip, the other dangling on the side holding the phone. "This is uncalled for, fathers. I am going through adolescent and need proper nutrients, which as parents, is your duty to provide. Until I live on my own, of course."
"Which cannot be soon enough." Hiram said and laughed at the frown on Rachel's face. "I'm only joking." He added, "There's fruit and crackers."
Rachel went back into the kitchen, frustrated. She got a bowl and had cereal for dinner, sitting at the table and munching loudly with Quinn in her ear. Quinn told her about her day, something they had skipped earlier, choosing to explore the next step in their relationship instead. And now with the possibility of that not happening again tonight, Quinn talked and she listened. Rachel had to admit that sometimes she didn't listen to Quinn very often. It was wrong on her part, of course, but Quinn did the same thing so why couldn't she? Right now, she thought about what it would be like to be famous. She didn't want to be famous; successful is a better word, and then she thought, what was the point in being successful in private? People should know. Fame would be an extension of being popular in high school. Not that she knew what being popular in high school meant, it would be an experience and one she could write as part of her biography.
Rachel made sounds of acknowledgement while Quinn continued to talk. She said something about having went to the beach and saw jellyfish and something something. She washed her bowl, grabbed a bottle of water, said good night to her dads and went to her room. Turning on her computer, she browsed through her dashboard on tumblr, occasionally answering questions. Being tumblr famous is the closest experience she has to being famous. It was thrilling, having followers, it was like having friends from around the world, they don't judge you for whatever you post and sometimes even liked some things.
Santana was online; she posted a photo of Lord Tubbington, something she often did for Brittany because Brittany had a difficult time understanding tumblr. Puck was too, he made a text post saying: man that was a good fuck. Santana commented saying: she probably only slept with you cause she felt sorry for you. She went into Quinn's blog and the last thing Quinn had posted was two months ago. It was an image of Lea Michele, and Rachel was reminded once again of their first conversations together, how easy it was talking to Quinn, to joke with her and be herself. They fell into each other's lives without any other preliminaries.
"Quinn," Rachel said quietly, plugging the charger into her phone. "Do you ever think about what it would've been like if you never replied to my message on tumblr?"
"This first ever one?"
"Sometimes," she answered in a relaxed tone. "Sometimes I think about it and don't even know how it was so easy to talk to you."
"I think it's the power that you don't know who you're talking to, and they don't know you, so they're unable to judge."
Quinn said a soft, "Probably," and added, "What do you think would've happened if we never talked?"
"I don't know," she said honestly, her mouse scrolling through Quinn's blog. "I'm sure we would've come together another way. Maybe not so soon. Could be in college."
"Everything happened the way it was supposed to."
"Yeah." Rachel went into her messages, laughing whilst reading their conversation. "I can't believe how ridiculous we were. Kidnapping Lea and Dianna."
"It was your idea!" Quinn scooted out a chair and sat down. "I can't believe you lied to me about who you were."
"Oh, Quinn, don't pout." She smiled.
"Why didn't you leave when you found out it was me?"
"It was a side to you I had never witnessed before." She said. "I was intrigued. A part of me didn't want to believe it was you."
"When did you realize you liked me?"
"Like you, like you?"
Rachel heard the typing of a keyboard from Quinn's end of the line, and she said, "Uh huh. Romantic feelings."
Rachel burst out laughing for about ten seconds, caught her breath and said, "You made this funny text post saying, Please be gay."
"That was the moment?" Quinn asked, skeptically. "Out of every one you could—"
"That's it, Quinn," Rachel insisted. "That's the moment."
"Did you know it was me?"
"Nope. We were talking for a week."
"Oh, well, I was referring to you."
"Gross, Puck's on tumblr. You'd think that seeing naked women in real life would be enough, he has to post naked women."
"What about you?"
Quinn sighed, taking in a deep breath. She almost sung out the words, "Your 'about me' said, I'm very dramatic and I do not apologize for it. It's a talented skill and only about one in a million individuals possess it. Therefore, I am one of the one millionth special people on this planet."
Rachel wanted to cry in delight, her heart ached in the best possible way. "Honestly, Quinn, I cannot fathom how you didn't know it was me."
"I ask myself the same question."
They spent the next hour reminiscing about the past six months and how much it's changed. It was delightful and joy filled her senses, her feelings were spiraling up, carrying her higher and higher. Yet, she felt incredibly exposed. Talking about all these emotions allowed Quinn to have a glimpse into everything she was feeling. She thought that if we only lived once, then she had loved, loved deeply and have been overcome by love. All thanks to Quinn Fabray. She couldn't believe it was only six months.
The night drifted on and the summer breeze was cool on her skin. They watched the ten o'clock news together and Quinn always had something to say. I could never work at a gas station, too many robberies. How is a story about a man suing the clothing store known as 'news'? I sometimes think society is running out of stories. How come we never hear anything about Canada? Is it the forgotten country? Or is it because it's overshadowed by America and no one seems to care for its existence? Why does Justin Beiber where his pants like that? I don't see the appeal. Then afterward, they did the crossword together and Quinn occasionally read her clues. They gave up after five minutes because they couldn't stop arguing.
At eleven, Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds came on. Rachel thought the cars were cool and it was kind of creepy. Quinn didn't like dealing with ad breaks, so whenever there was an advertisement she'd say something like, Rachel, you should take your clothes off for me to pass the time. Rachel, I really, really want to see you naked, and so on. Basically comments about Rachel being naked, and as soon as the movie resumed she'd act as though nothing happened.
When the movie finished, Quinn read Rachel a book called The Unbearable Lightness of Being. She was really sleepy by now and was drifting into restless five-minute fragments of sleep. They both wanted to continue this trend, and Quinn suggested coffee. Rachel had never drunk black coffee before. It seemed to work. It bought her to a bearable state of consciousness at one in the morning.
They were drunk but it was not so much the surplus of alcohol as the absence of one another that was beginning to invade their minds. They were drunk on loneliness.
"Did you enjoy it?" Quinn asked.
"Oh. Of course. It was—liberating."
"Liberating?" Quinn dropped the phone and it thudded loudly on the wooden floor. "That's not the word I would've used."
"It was a freeing sensation."
"You're so weird."
At one point, they were both completely silent for an hour with nothing to talk about. This worked as a sign for her: a potent of love not because of silence itself but because that silence went through her heart before it registered anywhere else. Hearing Quinn's breaths was soothing, and it was enough to know Quinn loved her without having to say anything else.
By three a.m., they were really bored. The coffee had made them jittery and neither had anything left to say to each other except the occasional, Are you still awake. Yeah. Do you want to sleep. No. Okay then. There was nothing on television, except infomercials (which Quinn despised) and soft rock music videos (which Rachel despised), and they weren't able to watch DVDs as they didn't have the same collection. Rachel had suggested Quinn listen to her watch a movie through the phone, which proved a bad idea and led to another argument, and they settled on the tennis live from somewhere around the world. There was something comforting about its hypnotic blandness. It seemed to pass the time, though it wasn't something she would watch under any other circumstance.
When four a.m. struck, Quinn said, "I can't remember the last time we were on the phone for this long."
"Me either," Rachel yawned and stretched in the process. "I think I'm going to change my bed sheets."
"Why? What'd you do?"
"To stay awake."
"You're full of great ideas at four in the morning."
"Do you have any ideas, Quinn?" Rachel crossed over to her closet and pulled out some new sheets.
"We could—you know..."
She halted her movements. It would be a good idea and she really wanted to hear Quinn moan like that again. Except—"If we do I'll most likely fall asleep right away."
"Yeah, me too," Quinn's voice was mumbled. "You're really changing your bed sheets?"
"I don't have anything else to do."
"Come and see me," she blurted and quickly said, "Oh my God, Rachel, why didn't I think of this sooner."
"Quinn, I can't—"
"We'll meet half way," Quinn interrupted, excitement in her tone. Rachel could hear her getting dressed. "I'm serious, baby. It'll only be about half an hour. And we'll come back before anyone finds out."
In the face of loneliness, it was extremely easy to be excited. She felt a rush of blood to the head.
After the first rush of exhilaration passed, she asked herself, how am I going to get to Quinn? She sat on the bed staring at the wall. She had to be stealthy, the stealthiest she's ever been, like a cat burglar. Should she wear black to camouflage herself in the dark? Next, the car. She had to roll the car into the street before starting it. What she hates about this time of the night is that you can hear everything. Even a pin drop.
Now that they decided to meet, all the despair disappeared and the night took on an edge of frantic desperation, even enthusiasm. She jumped out of bed and got dressed, and ran her fingers through her hair to make it neat. On the other end, Quinn was scrambling around, the bedroom door screeched opened, footsteps descending downstairs, keys dangling and the click of the front door.
"Okay, Rach, I'm out." Quinn had it easy. She had a hearing impaired grandmother.
Rachel grabbed her make-up, deciding to put it on in the car. She sneaked downstairs ever so quietly, she didn't even dare to breathe. She grabbed the keys by the front door, and once she was out she breathed a sigh of relief. Putting the key in the ignition, she turned it once, then slowly rolled the car onto the street two houses down before getting in.
"I'm ready." She said. "You're a bad influence."
Quinn only chuckled and started the car.
Rachel was mainly distracted while driving, but it was a thrilling distraction, a promise. They drove in silence as their cars plunged into darkness with Quinn giving her the occasional directions. Rachel took this moment to think about her time with Quinn. Those first days with her, their compulsion and wild tenderness, her worries about fate and whether this relationship would last. Everything tumbled over her with the force of revelation: she would stand somewhere and look back one day and realize that she had lived a life—not just existed, but lived. Until this moment she had never truly believed it.
"Rachel, are you turning off the highway?"
"Yeah." She yawned again. "I'm sleepy."
"I hope we don't crash into one another's cars."
"At least we'll die together."
"Very climatic." Rachel said, looking out at the mountainous land.
She followed the wisp road onto another smaller road. It was so dark, the sky was so clear. In the heavy darkness she wove the car among tawny, feline hills. Olive trees ornamented the land, flashing silver. The world's resilience impressed her, its ability to proceed unhindered, despite her own lapse in attention. What was it that made the world continue? Her head was still whirling from excitement and the rush of blood.
"I think I see your car." Quinn said.
Rachel's mind felt ready to burst from the small container of her head. She squinted and in the distance, Quinn flicked her headlights: off, on; bright, off, bright. Rachel maneuvered the car to the side, mimicking Quinn's movements. They were atop a mountain, heavy with the scent of eucalyptus. She could hear the ocean muttering and making a distant train sound a long way off.
When she got out of the car, Rachel said, "I guess we should hang up now."
Quinn was smiling broadly, mirthfully, and Rachel too, felt a plume of laughter rising in her chest, and then she ran straight to Quinn, basically in a tackle hug, leaping up so that Quinn could catch her.
"Whoa!" Quinn's arms circled her back so tightly that her feet dangled above the floor. Rachel held her neck and grinned. "I missed you."
She turned her head and kissed Quinn lightly. Then when Quinn settled her down, Rachel took her face in her hands and kissed her again, deeper this time. She kept kissing Quinn harder and faster, until her own breath started to catch in her throat and they stumbled backward until Quinn's back hit the car. That warm tide of feeling inside her started to flow again.
When they pulled apart, Quinn reached for her hand and they walked through the trees, the sound of crunchy leaves beneath their feet, coming to a stop on the edge of the mountain. Scattered across the landscape were native flowers in bloom, bizarre and enormous like giant, bright-pink cauliflowers. At exactly the moment Rachel registered the ocean in the distance, the first splats of rain began to hit her arm.
"Pretty cool, huh?"
"I've never seen anything like it." Rachel said with complete honesty, although the woman she was staring at was far more beautiful.
Quinn smiled at her, shooting sparkles into her heart. "So this was spontaneous."
"Do you think we could be known as the 'spontaneous' couple?"
"Probably. But I'll get all the credit."
Rachel held back her surprise at Quinn's unexpected confidence. There were so many shades to Quinn, and the thought of spending the rest of her life discovering each one left her completely satisfied.
They spent the early morning on the edge of the mountain talking and laughing, offering up information which have already been offered. It was a repeat of the last few hours. In no particular order the topics included, phone sex, friends, tumblr, the last six months of their romance, their activities in the past twenty-four hours. And Rachel took photos of the landscape, before handing Quinn the camera so they could take photos together. Quinn had longer arms, it made more sense. Somewhere in the middle, they both fell asleep, lying chastely in parallel until Quinn woke with a start at six. The moon was gone and the sun grew smaller as it climbed and the morning began to take on color.
As they stumbled to their feet, Rachel began to feel regret creeping up on her, and realized there was one topic they had yet to discuss upon. "Quinn, about college—"
"Rach, dance with me." Quinn said. Rachel didn't look away from her, the pupils in her hazel eyes were wide and dark—sharply observant.
Quinn drew her close and Rachel laid one hand her shoulder, Quinn took her right hand with her left, Quinn's other hand slid around her waist. Rachel's fingers itched to peel off Quinn's clothing, one slow inch at a time, freeing the spicy scent of her. She shifted uncomfortably in Quinn's arms, trying to control her animal instinct.
"We don't have any music." She said, a wistful note in her voice.
"Who needs it?" Quinn leaned forward slightly, and as Rachel instinctively took a step back, Quinn murmured, "Boom-tick-tick... boom-tick-tick-and-lean."
Rachel laughed, moving gracefully with Quinn through the basic box step, following the subtle, guiding pressure of Quinn's fingers against her back. "Boom-tick-tick?"
"It's easy to remember."
She joined her voice with Quinn's in a singsong boom-tick-tick rhythm that carried them around the edge, until she could no longer resist temptation and tightened her fingers around Quinn's arms. At once, Quinn's muscles tensed, and her smooth steps faltered. Their eyes met a split second before Quinn smoothly spun her around. Quinn tipped her back in a 'dip' motion, her arm supporting Rachel, and bending so close that the fractions of their mouths were an inch away from each other's.
"Quinn," she said softly.
Quinn stopped, but didn't release her. "The future's scary, yes, but we're going to get through whatever trials come our way."
"How can you be so sure?" Rachel asked, her voice low, a shade cautious.
Quinn opened her mouth, to ask whatever question she wanted, but a sudden smoothness closed over her face and she said, "I'm going to marry you, Rachel. Even if it doesn't happen in a year, or five years, it's going to happen. So no matter what, we'll find our way back to each other. And that thought is what's keeping me sane through all this."
Silence blanketed around them, except for the sound of birds and the flow of the ocean. Quinn's eyes have moved into a greenness beyond desire. There was only the two of the on the mountain flying in the euphoric air, suspended above ordinary affairs and distant from the crawling lights of vehicles on the plain below. Physicists talk about the space-time foam, in which time does not move forward as elsewhere in the universe. This was the moment for her—infinitely compressed, infinitely brief, infinitely extended, infinite. And in such a state of abstraction she felt connected for an instant to the world. She felt they'd begun a new chapter in their lives.
They walked back hand in hand to the car and Rachel kicked the gravel footpath and scratched her head before saying, "Um, okay, I'll see you soon?"
Quinn laughed, her whole body shook. "You're acting like I'm never going to see you again."
"It feels like it."
"Rach, I'm coming back tonight." Quinn kissed her, not once, but half a dozen times, each kiss frantic and tasting like longing and loneliness and love. Rachel kissed her back, gulping in breaths every time their lips parted.
"Let's promise each other, right now," Rachel began. "No matter what happens, we'll always find our way back."
Quinn smiled and ran a thumb across her cheek. "I promise. No matter what happens."
"Even if I get into a car accident and lose my memories."
Quinn rolled her eyes at the scenario. "That's—"
"It's not ridiculous. It could happen."
"And what does that have to do with me?" Quinn held out her hand, palm upwards, and Rachel took it.
"Well, Quinn, you're a bit crazy. You might get frustrated and leave me." Rachel started rubbing the knuckle of Quinn's forefinger with her thumb.
At those words, Quinn's smile faded and Rachel studied her pretty face. There wasn't a lot of emotion in it. Quinn raised her brow and squeezed her hand sympathetically. "I'll find my way back to you. But if you're the one who's lost the memories, wouldn't you leave me?"
A little unnerving, a faint smile tipped Rachel's mouth. "I'll find my way back to you."
"Wouldn't you lose this memory? How would you remember you made this promise to me?"
Rachel gave her a dark look, and with a long sigh, said, "Have some faith, Quinn."
"Alright," Quinn said, biting her bottom lip. "You have to promise to remember us, and come back to me."
Rachel smiled a half-smile, acting like a bedazzled little girl. She threw her arms around Quinn's neck and kissed her. It was a long, passionate kiss. Quinn's embrace on her tightened and Rachel felt the tingling sensation and pressed their bodies closer. She stopped the kiss a moment later, not stepping away from Quinn and said, "I promise. Even if I don't remember everything about us, I'll fall in love with you all over again."
"Good," Quinn kissed her cheek, then leaned down to bite her ear. "If you don't I'll kidnap you."
"That's very mature of you."
They stood blissfully in each other's arms and only pulled away when a car horn beeped at them as it drove by. Rachel whispered, "Tell me you love me."
"I love you a lot." Her lips were an inch away from Rachel's.
"I really love you."
"They mean the same thing, Rach."
"Okay then. I really, really love you."
This is where it all begins. Everything starts here, today.
These are the promises they'll never forget.
I'm going to leave this as complete because I'm still kind of on the fence about the epilogue. Yes or no?
Anyway, thank you so much for reading this story and for sticking around even when I had that moment of writer's block. This has been heaps of fun to write despite all the angst!