Before you ask, yes, I'm still writing I'll Be. Hard at work. Just needed a break. This story is-well-just go with it. If you're confused, just go with it and hopefully you'll figure it out. If not, I apologize! It's been so freaking long since I've posted something and I'm nervous as hell about this. It's so different than anything I've done.
Big, huge shout out to Theresa for helping me with this story and correcting my many mistakes. Those that are still in here are my own red bull-induced fault. Theresa, by the way, got married on Sunday secretly in NY to her beautiful woman. Send your congrats, but keep it under your hat until they tell people!
I hope you enjoy and aren't too confused. Again, I'll Be is...um...on it's way? Thanks for reading!
You're sitting on the highest tier in the choir room hunched over your book not paying attention; as usual. Everyone is used to it now, so whatever. In reality, how many times do you need to see a Finchel duet? Once is way too many as is. So you're reading. Nothing special. You saw it on the coffee table at home, pages worn and doggie-eared, so you nabbed it and brought it with you to school.
You read throughout lunch, most of your classes, and of course in glee club. Because it's the end of the year and you've already been wait-listed to Yale but accepted to Princeton. Besides, it's expected of you at this point.
You went from an outcast to socialite to pregnant teen to socialite to badass to crazy lady to loner all in five years. That has to be a record or something. But you don't mind your newest label—for a change—because you've matured enough to know that you can no longer be fake. You're pretty and thin enough not to be exiled. But you know yourself well enough to realize that you're happiest when you doing just what you're doing now: reading; in your own little fantasy-filled world.
Once upon a time in a faraway place, you used to read about dragons and princesses and handsome brave princes. Then you upgraded (downgraded?) to angsty novels with beautifully written words and darkly crafted sentences. And when the world became real, you finally found your love of the true classics.
Currently you're reading a trashy romance novel that belongs to your mother. When the first sex scene hits you quickly regret your decision to read it, but its swift and only marginally disgusting if not a tad too overwritten with fluffy words and horrible euphemisms. So it stands to reason that you say: "Pass," when you hear your name being called by Mister Schuster.
You're not entirely sure why he's calling your name, but you don't want to participate in this week's glee assignment: Anger-Management. You feel the eyes of everyone in the room on you, but you don't look up from your book. You're sure that it's unanimous that everyone feels this particular assignment would be good for you personally, but you can't really be bothered. It isn't because you're not angry. That emotion has followed you around since you hit your teens. More so because…what's the point?
Singing about how you feel won't change anything. It won't right your wrongs or fix any voids you still feel. It will just make your emotions (read: weaknesses) obvious and perfect fodder for people like Santana or—God help you—Rachel. Santana, of course, will tease you, and Rachel will want to "talk about it." Rachel always wants to "talk about it." And that's all fine and good if you're Brittany or a particular diva who likes to use the sentiment to belt out Broadway ballads, but you do not do that…unless you're pregnant or alone; which is redundant in your mind.
Without lifting your head, your gaze flicks up from underneath your eyelashes to watch Tina take her place in the front of the room as the beginning cords of Back to Black start, and out the corner of your eye you see Rachel is still staring at you with a concerned, anxious expression. You shake your head in bewilderment that she cares as much as she does and drop your gaze back down to Florence the Florist and Stanley the Stable Boy and their illicit, slightly nauseating tryst.
It's ten-of-nine at night when you are finally through with Florence and Stanley. You would have finished earlier if it wasn't for that fact that your mother wanted a word. It didn't happen often in your eighteen years, but it's always exhausting and you usually end up on the bad end of the discussion. This time was no different.
Judy explained to you that, although she isn't making any hasty decisions, she would be going out to dinner later in the evening with your father to talk. You felt the rage boiling just under the surface, but you nodded once and held your tongue as your lips went white from keeping your jaw lodged shut.
You fling Florence and Stanley clear across the room once they get their happy ending and watch as the pages ruffle in the air before softly landing on your cream-colored carpet. If you could, you'd pack for New Jersey right now and wait outside the dorms until the end of August for freshman orientation.
You'll never get your happy ending, you think. It's a miracle you even got into Princeton. If it wasn't for the fact that your mother's sorority sister is married to the admissions councilor there, you're almost certain you would have wound up staying in Lima forever. You had the grades, you even had the extracurricular activities and high test scores, but it turns out those schools like Yale prefer it when you don't just make a last minute decisions to attend.
Princeton isn't Yale School of Drama, but at least there you can build your resume with things other than "fourth Jets girl" in West Side Story and "Magenta number two" in a musical that wasn't even shown to an audience.
On some level, you know that your ending (happy or otherwise) is far-off in the distance. When you visited Princeton over winter break you were told by the student tour guide that collegeis the best years of your life, not high school. You felt great relief from that comment; because if high school isthe best years of your life…well, that doesn't really bode well for the future, does it?
So maybe there is still time for a happy ending. Maybe you'll go to college and make great friends and fall in love and play bit parts in plays and musicals—because you don't think you ever want to be a leading lady, but you truly love the idea of acting out those angsty, beautiful scenes you once read in your earlier years—and find that when you look back one day, high school will just be a bittersweet memory of how it all started; where your lifestarted.
But you're not hanging your hat on any bullshit, idealistic thinking like that because that's just not you.
You're bored now. Not surprising. Homework is complete. No real friends to call and gossip with. You're single. You didn'tkeep your baby. And the only person you have to nag is out on a "non-date" with your bastard of a father.
So you decide to take a long hot bath. Your shoulder has a knot, and you think a soak will get rid of the tension. You bring Milton in the tub with you and peel back the title page as you sink a little further into the warm water. You wish you had thought to light candles, but you don't want to get out now that you're submerged up to your neck.
After rereading the first paragraph a few times, however, it finally occurs to you that your brain is otherwise occupied. It's not your fault, it's…everything. You're simultaneously relieved and miserable that you have no one. Self-preservation has always ranked high with you so it's no wonder that you kept everyone at a distance. It just suddenly became apparent, after your trip to New Jersey over your winter break, that there is nothing and no one keeping you here. There won't be any tearful goodbyes or emphatic promises not to lose touch. You mayget a few people to sign your yearbook and Facebook messages that start to trail-off once freshman year settles down, but for all intents and purposes, your life in Lima is about as meaningful as an Owen Wilson movie. Not exactly a topical reference, but Sam kept impersonating him for a laughing Mercedes while you tried to read during lunch.
You wish you had it in you to open yourself up. Like when you were young. Like when you were Lucy; before things got really bad. But you're Quinn now. And Quinn doesn't feel anything anymore. Or so you've been told.
You blow out a breath and realize that a bath—warm, long, or otherwise—isn't going to relax you. Milton lay soggy and abandoned on the bathroom tiles as you wrap a towel around you and scrub off the mirror over the sink. You stare at yourself until your short hair starts to dry at the tips and wonder why you can't recognize your reflection. You've been through so many changes in the last decade that you're exhausted from your many metamorphoses. Maybe in college you'll find out, finally, who you reallyare.
Maybe you'll—is that your cell ringing?
You're so excited by the prospect of someone calling you that you don't look where you are going and place a wet, pruney foot on the soggy, slippery cover of your book. Your feet lose their tread and you're up in the air, coming down hard, on white porcelain tiles.
When you come to, you can't help but find it fitting that the first thing you see are the words: Paradise Lost. You're beyond disoriented. You don't note that your towel is underneath you instead of around you. You don't realize that a cell phone is still chiming somewhere in the bedroom. And you have noidea how or why you're on the floor of a bathroom you don't recognize.
"Goodness," you mumble as you shake your head, pushing Milton's Paradise Lost away. Your head feels ten sizes too big all of a sudden, and your voice seems somewhat deeper than normal. You blink harshly against the lights and place your hands down to hoist yourself up. You're somewhat surprised that it's easier than it usually is and blindly reach out your hands to guide yourself over to the sink. You try and remember what you were just doing or where you suddenly are—but nothing comes. You vaguely recall sneaking upstairs to avoid your mother as she bustled around the house, but after that there's nothing.
"Ugh," you groan, placing a wrinkled hand to the back of your head where you're sure a bump is forming. Your face scrunches up into confusion when your hair feels lighter than before…and maybe a little different texture-wise. You pass it off as your disorientation and hunch over the sink to splash your face.
As water drips off your chin you decide to start taking stock of yourself. You glance up into the mirror and back down at your shaking hands gripping the sink before yanking your head back up to your reflection in a wide-eyed double take. "HOLY MOLY!" Your scream echoes loudly around the bathroom, and you whip your head over your shoulder before spinning back. No one is there. But who was…? You shake your head violently and dive for the damp towel still lying on the floor and quickly wrap it around yourself, sure you're seeing things and that you are probably really concussed or something. It's in that moment that you realize that the tiny, terrycloth towel is actually fitting around your body.
You don't register your racing heart or shallow breath as you drop the towel again. You look down at yourself in astonishment and acknowledge that you are, perhaps, half your usual size. "Holy moly, holy moly," you mumble out in a shaky voice you don't recognize. Your hands start racing over your flat stomach, slightly smaller breasts, and taunt, muscular thighs. You whimper uncertainly until your hands find your butt and allow a small victory that at least thatstill feels the same.
But where is the rest of you?
As you spin back towards the mirror you almost slip and fall again. But you brace yourself on the counter and try and calm your breathing before looking up once more. In your mind's eye, you quickly recall the girl in the mirror that was there before. Blonde. Thin. Beautiful. And terrified.
"It's fine. I'm fine," you try and tell yourself, "when I look in the mirror I'll be there and, and…everything is fine." You momentarily ignore the fact that you just woke up naked on the floor of a bathroom you've never seen before, and that you're pretty sure that you're in someone else's body. You ignore that you sound different. That your hair is a lot shorter and even feelsunlike your own. And of course, you're ignoring the fact that there was someone in the mirror before that was notyou.
You summon up your courage and slowly slide your eyes up to the mirror. You blink, perhaps a hundred times, until you're surethat what you're seeing is actually there. "Holy fuck!" Your mouth drops open, and not because you are, in fact, staring in a mirror that does not contain your reflection, but because you most certainly did notjust say those words. The girl in the mirror did.
She too is naked. She too is staring back at you in disbelief. But her movements are not mimicking your own. You spin around and swivel your head left and right until you are positive that you are in the bathroom alone—and that it's a verydifferent bathroom than the one that is in the mirror—before looking back to where your reflection should be.
You stare at one another for an insurmountable amount of time as you study each other. She has your eyes and lips. But that's about it. Your heart is pounding fiercely against a chest bone that isn't yours. You watch as the girl in the mirror's gaze drops down to her own body in horror and amazement before looking back at you. It's like looking into a window, not a mirror, except for the fact that you have no idea why, when you look down at yourself, you cannot distinguish whose body you are suddenly wearing.
"What the heck is happening?" you mumble in panic. The girl in the mirror gasps and recoils slightly. Her eyes are racing over you and the bathroom behind her before looking at you through the mirror again.
"Lucy?" she whispers, terrified. You give a jolt of acknowledgment and nod frantically.
"Yes! That's me! What's going on, what's happening?" You watch as the girl in the mirror suddenly goes very pale. And then she faints dead away.
The girl in the mirror starts to come to. In the long stretch of time you watched her lay unconscious on the floor, you realized several things. One: the girl in the mirror is in yourbathroom; the one that you share with Frannie, your sister. Two: she has the same scar on her that you do and a few of her freckles match yours. Three: she is the most beautiful girl you've ever seen, including your sister. And four: she has a tattoo just above her rear end of Ryan Seacrest! It takes a few dog-trying-to-catch-its-tail spins, but you conclude you have the same tattoo above your rear end as well now.
A few times, as you watched her sleep, you contemplated journeying outside the bathroom; maybe, to call for help or something. But you're scared to leave. You have no idea where you are and the girl in the mirror knows your name. Whatever is happening you're sure she can help.
You hear her groan as she stirs on the tiles of your bathroom. She rolls over your worn copy of Dr. Jekyll Mr. Hyde you were reading while you bathed and gives a mirthless chuckle as she inspects it before tossing it aside. You watch her struggle to get to her feet, unsure why her lithe body can't immediately jump to attention. In the mirror, your eyes find hers and she gives a sob before covering her face. "This can't be happening," she whispers brokenly.
"Are you okay?" you ask, because you know how painful it is to pass out on hard tiles and how scary it is to wake up confused.
You watch as she chuckles without humor, tears in her eyes, before making her way over to the sink. "No, Lucy, I am notokay," she hisses out. You blanch slightly as though you've been slapped. Her tone is somehow familiar. You immediately think of your father or sister when they are angry. It is almost comforting in its familiarity, if not odd
"What is happening?" you ask again. "Who areyou? And what are you doing in my house? Where am I? W-why am I…" you trail off, not sure how to ask why you're suddenly not in your own body. Why you aren't many sizes too big and your hair is blonde, for crying out loud, and so short.
The girl in the mirror looks at you with disgust (?) and shakes her head, almost as though she is unwilling to accept what she's seeing. "I slipped and fell," she mumbles softly, "I hit my head and I'm imagining this whole thing. When I wake up, I'll be home, not in this body, and I'll answer my phone and make plans to go out with whoever was on the other end of the call. The end."
You're not sure what she's talking about, but you seize onto the one thing that makes your heart lift. "You're not in your own body either?"
"Oh my, God," she whimpers as she covers her eyes with her trembling hand. She sobers suddenly and looks at you with burning eyes. "Tell me what you see in the mirror."
You look at her, puzzled. "I see-you?" you say, very confused. "Blonde, thin…beautiful," you mumble. "You are in my bathroom at my house. And," you glance down at your naked body and swallow with difficulty. "and I'm…smaller," you whisper, embarrassed.
"Oh this is just perfect," she steams. She whips her body around as her fists clench at her sides before she is spinning back around and glaring at you. "You know what I see when I look in the mirror, Lucy? Hmmm? I see a scared little girl with mousy brown hair and about fifty pounds too many to compliment that oversized nose!"
You feel your lips tremble and a stinging behind your eyes. You pick up your towel and quickly wrap it around your body, discreetly wiping away the tears that have fallen, and move to open the door. You're not sure what's out there, but you'll take your chances.
"Lucy," she sighs, the fight in her voice suddenly gone, "wait."
You shake your head, not daring to look back at her, and reach for the door knob. "Lucy Quinn Fabray, stop what you're doing this secondor I'll burn your copy of The Secret Garden!" You freeze. Your eyes widen in fear. Not the Secret Garden!You think, panicked.
Your hand drops from the doorknob, and you slowly turn back to the mirror. "Who are you?" you ask desperately. The girl in the mirror apparently knows you verywell, and you need answers.
You watch her as she shifts uncomfortably, bringing a very large towel tighter around her body as she shakes her head in disbelief. "I'm you," she bites out, looking on the verge of hitting something, but still controlled. Again, you're reminded of daddy and Frannie.
It takes a moment, but you finally register what she said. "I'm-uh-sorry?"
She chuckles ruefully and sucks on her teeth before dropping her palms to the sink. "I'm you, Lucy, in about, oh, six years, I'm guessing."
Your eyebrows furrow as you shake your head to clear it. "You're-huh?"
"You're Lucy Quinn Fabray, daughter of Russell and Judy Fabray. You're birthday is September fifth. You love to read, you don't have any friends, and your biggest desire is to be pretty…like Frannie."
You're in front of the mirror without having recalled taking the steps. You gaze at the pretty girl in front of you in wonder as you take in the familiar eyes and lips. The onlythings about yourself you like. It hits you that you can see perfectly, and your hands are at your face in no time.
"You're wearing contacts. I don't wear glasses anymore," she scoffs, finding your own thick glasses by the sink where you left them and places them on before whipping them off quickly. You gather she'd rather be blind than wear them; you have to somewhat agree with her response.
"Contacts?" you mumble in confusion, as though the words have no meaning. You're in denial and shaking your head with such force is makes your head hurt. "I don't feel so good," you say, feeling lightheaded and nauseated.
"Take a seat on the tub," she sighs, clearly annoyed with your behavior, but at least she seems somewhat concerned.
You do as she suggested, wrapping your towel closer to your shivering body and glance up at her. "Why is this happening?" You don't really expect a response, but she blows out a long breath that ruffles her bangs and answers:
"We fell and we hit our head. This is just a dream." You drop your gaze to your now toned legs and wonder who she's fooling. This is unlike any dream you've ever had. It's clear she's in denial. Realdenial. Not just the extreme confusion you're feeling.
"Lucy," you begin, unsure of what else to call her.
"Quinn," she interrupts, looking a little annoyed. You frown at her and she rolls her eyes spectacularly back at you. "I go by Quinn now."
"What-why?" you ask, voice trembling.
She looks thoroughly put out; huffing and shaking her head at you like you're some kind of idiot. "And whywouldn't I?" she all but demands. It occurs to you that you've spent nearly every night fantasying about a world where you're thin and beautiful. Where you would no longer be Lucy Caboosey. Where you'd dye your hair and wear pretty clothes. Get contacts and win prom queen.
You nod your head in defeated understanding as Quinn eyes you. "What are we going to do about this?" Your shoulders lift and fall, not sure what you should do and suddenly exhausted. You're frightened and your older self is staring at you with such disdain you feel like a failure in life all over again.
"When I look in the mirror," she begins, seeming to actually want to be proactive, "I see Lucy; you. When I look at my body, I see Lucy. I'm in the bathroom at my old house. When youlook in the mirror you see Quinn. You're at my house in Lima, Ohio, and apparently are in Quinn'sbody; my body," she shrugs like she's unconcerned. "I suggest we just simultaneously ram our heads into a wall and see what happens."
You glance up at her in complete bemusement, sureshe's just kidding, but her face is set and she looks every part of someone whose mind is made up. "What?" you cry out. The idea is ludicrous. But she merely shrugs again.
"I hit my head and now I see you. If I do it again, maybe you'll be gone."
You're shaking your head harder now, making your short blonde hair whip you in the face. "I'm notdoing that, future me known as Quinn!"
She blows out a breath, clearly annoyed, and rakes a hand through her hair. "We don't have a lot of options here, Lucy. What are we going to do; live each other's lives? That's absolutely absurd. I'm notbeing Lucy again, I'm not! I'm actually shockedI lived through it the first time!"
You tilt your head as the question weighs heavy on you. "How-how did you get like…this," you whisper, gesturing to your body and the body in the mirror.
"With a lotof work," Quinn tells you firmly. You feel your lips tremble again, realizing how much Quinn can't stand you. You don't know why you're suddenly so emotional; you're used to this from your family, classmates—why notyour future self?
"Lucy," Quinn sighs, taking a seat on the lip of the tub as she finally looks at you with some sympathy.
"It's okay; I'm use-"
"I know, I remember," Quinn breathes out, shaking her head before mustering up a kind smile. "I don't mean to be a-"
"B-I-T-C-H?" you spell with a frown. A smile twists momentarily before she mock glares at you.
"Watch it, kid," she points without any real threat. You giggle a little through your tears and it only makes her smile further. Her smile fades slowly until she's just looking at you. "I'm sorry; I'm just reallyfreaked out right now. I'm talking to my past self in a mirror, and I'm inmy past self's body at my old house. Not exactly a normal Tuesday night, ya know?"
You nod a little and hoist yourself up on the bathroom sink to get closer to her. You're freaked out, too. But what's the harm in just going with it? If you hit your head and are out cold imagining this, why can't you just play along? "So, what's it like? Being so pretty?"
Her lips twist as her eyebrows arch, her gaze dropping down to the bathroom tiles. "Um," She doesn't look like she's excitedly about to tell you her incredible life regarding winning prom queen or her handsome brave prince. She looks like she's trying to find the right way to tell you it's not all it's cracked-up to be.
"Oh," you say as your chin drops down to your chest.
"Hey," Quinn consoles, moving closer to the mirror as well, "it's okay, it's not so bad. We're popular."
"Yeah," she smiles, "and we've had a few boyfriends, we were captain of the Cheerios-"
"The Cheerios?" you ask, your eyes widening in shock and excitement; you've heard allabout them.
She laughs and smiles back. "Yep,"
"Holy moly," you mumble, glancing away unseeing.
She's laughing again. "I forgot we used to say that."
"What else?" you ask, leaning forward, almost hoping to topple through the mirror. You push the pad of your palm up to your nose, expecting to meet the bridge of your glasses, but there's nothing there. That's something you'll have to get used to.
"Well," Quinn says, trying to think, "we got into Princeton University."
"You're kidding?" you ask, excitedly bouncing.
"Nope," she smiles. It's such a pretty smile you're suddenly extremely eager for the future.
"Are we going to study literature and learn to become a writer?" You're still bouncing.
She chuckles again and shakes her head. "Actually," she smiles mysteriously, "we're going to study acting."
Your mouth drops open in shock. "Acting!" you screech, half flabbergasted half appalled, "Great googily moogily, we've lostit!"
Her beautiful head is thrown back in laughter until she's just smiling at you. "Basically, we've just gotten very used to being in the spotlight."
"How?" you deadpan, extremely skeptical.
"Well," she chuckles to herself for a moment, apparently lost in thought, "it started with losing the weight and…making some changes," she answers delicately with some pause, "and then we joined the Cheerios…and then…glee club."
"Glee club?" you smile, mouth tumbling open. "We get to sing in front of people?"
"Yeah," she smiles. Of course she knowsyou love to sing. Even though you never thought you'd actual have the guts to do it for an audience.
"What else?" She throws her head back and laughs again at your eagerness. It's a magical sound. You wonder if you always sound like that when you laugh, you just never had many opportunities to do so.
"How about we put some clothes on because I'm getting kind of cold, and I'll tell you whatever else you want to know."
"Really?" you ask enthusiastically.
Quinn shrugs. "If I'm unconscious and this is all just a dream, what's the harm?" she concludes.
You're nodding and bounding off the counter quickly before glancing over your shoulder when you're at the doorknob. "Is it okay to go out there?" you whisper, fearful.
She's barely containing a smile as she nods. "No one is home. Go to the drawer on the far left for some sweats."
"Okay," you nod. "You need to go into the closet-"
"I remember, Lucy," she states back, grinning feebly, for your benefit you presume; wanting to keep up the appearance of friendliness.
"Oh, yeah," you hit yourself in the head lightly, getting her to laugh musically again. You forgot that she used to be you; of course she knows her way around her old bedroom. "Do you think if we leave we'll be able to come back to the mirror and still talk?"
That gives Quinn pause. "I don't know, I guess we're about to find out."
It turns out that it's notjust the bathroom mirror where you can see each other. It's everyreflecting surface. You both gave out simultaneous squawks of surprise when you saw each other in your television screens. But it's weird! Suddenly you're in the future! Your future self is in the past! You are communicating with your reflections!
You both quickly dress and sit on your respective beds as you look at each other in your full-length mirrors inside your respective closets. You keep yours there so you don't have to look at yourself if you don't want to; you're not sure of her excuse.
It's early in the morning when you feel you've exhausted all of your questions. She told you where she keeps her yearbooks, and you flipped through them asking her all sorts of things. Who are her friends? Which boys like her? What teachers are the worst? What class is the best? Who's this person's signature? And why the heck do we have a tattoo?
For the most part Quinn is forthcoming. Or so you think. You can't help but feel she's holding back in some instances. When you pointed out a picture of a boy with a Mohawk, Quinn got decidedly antsy. You're satisfied with her reasoning for opting out of Cheerios in Junior year, but she also clams up when you mention glee club.
She gives everyone a name, but not a lot of details. Except for one person in particular.
"But he's handsome," you say with a shrug, mildly grimacing, however, at the prospect of dating him; you're not exactly sure why, though.
Quinn rolls her eyes and huffs dramatically. "Lucy, he's a moron!"
"I just don't understand why you won't elaborate."
She huffs again getting you to squeeze the stuffed lamb you've had since you were six—you're pleased your future self still has him. The yearbook is opened to sophomore year in your lap. "Finn Hudson is a child. We only dated him because he was the quarterback. I assure you," Quinn states very slowly, "you wouldn't like him."
"I wasn't kidding, Lucy. He's an idiot."
"Well if he's not very smart, why'd we date him to begin with…twice, no less?"
Quinn is back to rolling her eyes and shaking her head. "Because we thought it was the thing to do."
You actually accept that answer. It's another fantasy of yours: being the head cheerleader, dating the quarterback. But in your head, the quarterback is always really smart and sensitive; accepting you instantly despite how you look and is always there for you. You have to concede that this Finn Hudson looks neither smart nor sensitive.
You shrug and collapse down onto Quinn's bed, hugging your lamb closer to your chest and looking over at the yearbook from junior year that lay open. "And we're friends with these two Cheerios? The ones that are always touching?"
Quinn laughs and lies down on the bed sleepily as well. "Yeah," she grins, "they're actually dating now."
You mouth drops open and you glance around the empty bedroom before whispering, "Does daddy know?"
Quinn groans softly as she rolls onto her back before looking at you with a smile. "Oh, Lucy, we have a lot to talk about."
Your eyes flutter open as the sound of birds chirping enters your consciousness. The sun is streaming through the open window, and you hold up your hand to protect your eyes. You see the time on the clock beside you and your body suddenly jolts forward.
"Holy moly, I'm going to be late!" you exclaim. You quickly are out of bed and tripping outstandingly over the ottoman you don't remember owning. It doesn't register right away that you're not in your house, but somehow it seems completely natural to go through the closet and start pulling clothes out as you glance into the mirror at your future self. "Quinn! Quinn, get up! We're going to be late!"
You see in your peripheral Quinn's form starting to stir. You yank out a yellow dress and hold it up in front of you. "Crapes!" you exclaim, eyes wide, "I totally forgot!" You hit yourself in the head and take a hold of the full-length mirror. "Quinn, school's going to start in forty-five minutes and we're still on the wrong sides of the mirror!" You're suddenly aware that you're eyes are burning and your vision is blurry. "And I think I'm going blind!"
Quinn gives out a moan and flops over on her bed. "Oh, shit," she curses softly when she catches sight of you and groans into her pillow. "It's your contact lenses," she mumbles, still face-down, "you forgot to take them out last night," she groans miserably.
"What do I do? What do we do?" you ask in alarm. From against her pillow, Quinn starts giving you orders about eye solution and other lenses. That is your first priority. But after several failed attempts of applying the new contact lenses you give up and blindly start putting on the sundress you've chosen. You're shocked that it fits, not used to fitting into size…anythingout of the high double digits, and toss your short hair back and forth like Quinn suggests to get it the way she usually wears it.
Quinn is still in bed, citing: "I already did sixth grade, and I'm notdoing it again," but you're ecstatic to see what's out there in the future. You're almost ready, however, when Quinn suddenly seems to wake up. "What are you doing?" she demands, swinging her legs off the bed and hurrying closer to the mirror—it's funny, she's still in the bedroom but you're in the bathroom; you can still see each other in your mirrors. "You can't go out there! You can't go to school as me!"
"Why not?" you ask, taking your time to apply mascara. You've practiced before with Frannie and mommy's makeup, but you can barely see what you are doing; when you look in the mirror, all you see is Quinn…not the reflection of you looking like Quinn, and without your glasses or contact lenses the real Quinn is blurry. "I can't wait to go to the library," you mumble, flicking the mascara brush. "I get to fudgin' read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows a whole yearbefore anyone else!"
"Lucy! How will you even getto school; you can'tdrive—you're twelve for crying out loud!"
You shrug as you wisp your blush brush back and forth along your cheekbones, trying to use Quinn's appearance on the other side of the mirror as a guide. "I'll take the bus."
Quinn makes an odd, panicked sound. "Quinn Fabraydoes not take the bus! And stopwhat you are doing; you'll make us look like we're on our way to clown school!"
You frown as you start blotting off the blush and move onto the eyeliner. Thiswill be a challenge, but you're practically shaking with excitement to attend school as a popular, pretty senior. "Quinn," you state calmly, the eyeliner hovering, "we mustgo to school. You get a pass today only because we have a spelling bee, and I'm sure it would be cheating if you competed," you say thoughtfully. "But as long as we are in each other's sides of the mirror, we have to live out our lives."
"No!" Quinn hisses, stomping her foot and crossing her arms vehemently as she glares. You poke yourself with the eyeliner and wince. "See! You can't even put eyeliner on properly! I can put liquid eyeliner on in a moving car…while driving! This is notgoing to work!"
Quinn suddenly puffs up. "Because I said so!" she hisses.
"Fine, Frannie, just stop shouting, gosh!" Defeated, you toss the eyeliner and slump down on the toilet seat. You're so bummed; all you wanted to do is go to a school for a day where people actually like you. Where you have friends. Where boys think you're pretty. It's so quiet that you peek up at the mirror to find a wide-eyed, pale Quinn gaping back at you. "Quinn? Quinn, what's wrong?"
Her mouth opens and closes a few times, still apparently shocked. "You called me…"
You scrunch up your brow in confusion, unsure of what she's getting at. "What did I call you?" She doesn't answer, still staring off with that horrified expression. "Quinn? What did I say?" You rack brain and come up empty.
"Oh my, God," Quinn mumbles, covering her mouth as she stares unseeing, "I've been so concerned with not becoming Judy or Russell I completely forgot about Frannie!"
You're still nonplussed, but you sense her weakening. "So…does this mean I can go?" you ask hopefully, using the pad of your hand to push up your nonexistent glasses; you really need to find out where Quinn keeps hers—you're notputting contact lenses in; they freak you out. Quinn makes an unintelligible sound and bobs her head, still distressed. "Yes!" you shout, jumping to your feet and thrusting you fist in the air. You're back to trying to put on makeup, but give up after a few more pokes to the eye. "This stuff is dangerous," you grumble, tossing it aside once more. "How do I look?" you ask her. She still hasn't completely recovered, but shakes her head and suddenly looks at you in confusion.
"How would I know; all I see is Lucy when I look in the mirror. You look just like you did when I first saw you last night."
"Oh boy," you mumble, face screwing up anxiously; you're fairly certain that you've done a horrible job with your makeup and were banking on Quinn to correct you. It's so odd that she can't see the changes you made to your face. But you shrug it off, no one will care. Right? You'll bring your makeup just in case.
You're whistling Hi-Ho excitedly as you pack your bag and move about Quinn's bedroom. She's very quiet and looks almost nervous. "You know what we should do?" you suddenly say, hands trembling in excitement. She doesn't answer so you plow right along. "I should wear a watch to school today so I can look down at it and see you, so you can give me directions when needed!"
"Uh, yeah; sure," she says, still looking antsy.
You wrap the white watch you found in Quinn's jewelry cabinet around your wrist and grin down at her fretful reflection. "This will be just like Power Rangers!" you cheer at the top of your voice.
Quinn groans and covers her face. "Please don't say that to anyone. Ever," she groans, seemingly in pain. Oh, you just stumbled upon Quinn's glasses too! You're not sure why they're in the back of her jewelry cabinet, but you shrug and slip them on. They're square black rimmed and you nod approvingly; they're chic!
You feel very prepared. You listened hard last night when Quinn gave you the run-down of everyone important in her life. You've even designed mnemonic devices to remember everyone: Santana = Sassy, Brittany = Bubbly, and so on and so forth. You've packed your class schedule, you'll grab an apple on the way—maybe there issomething to eating healthy if this is where it gets you—and you'll ask gay Kid, Kurt—not your best mnemonic device—to help you with your appearance.
Now all you need is—"And how are you going to get to school, Lucy?"
Your face drops in realization as Quinn glares at you through the glass front doors. Great, a setback. Slowly, your shoulders slump and you fall back against the door. You have never been to Lima, Ohio; so you can't walk to school. You don't know the bus schedule here, either. There's no way you can pull off driving. You're licked!
Quinn is huffing loudly, looking out at you with narrowed eyes as she shakes her head. "Use my phone to call Puck." You stare back at her in confusion. Surely she isn't helpingyou…is she?
"Really?" you ask, not sure if you want to get your hopes up.
"Oneday, Lucy, just one day at school. And you have to swearyou won't talk to anyone, or do anything-or-just-you can't do anything! Understand?"
"Yes! I swear!"
"Just sit in class and read, that's it! If someone talks to you, just glare at them. That's including teachers."
"Glare?" you ask, suddenly confused.
She rolls her eyes at you. "Yes, Lucy, glare."
You take out Quinn's phone and find Puck's number. Noah Puckerman. We dated him sophomore year. Mohawk. Bad attitude. Dumped him when he failed to show a sense of drive. "But won't our friends mind that we glare at them?" you ask her as you wait for Puck to answer his phone.
Again, Quinn rolls her eyes. "Just do as I ask, okay?" she tells you, looking aggrieved. You shrug, already disregarding what she asks of you. It's not that you're ungrateful that she's letting you live her life, you just don't want everyone to think you're mean or, on your period or something. You'll just be very careful to avoid reflecting surfaces when your friends are around so Quinn can't see you notglare at them. You'll lie and say you did, though.
"Go for Puckerman," you hear in your ear.
You jerk away from the glass so Quinn can't see the smile swallowing your face: you called someone and they answered!
"Hiya, Puck!" there's a long pause on the other line as Quinn squawks behind you.
"Don't be nice!" she yells, "be mean and aloof, Lucy!" You narrow your eyes at her over your shoulder before turning back around.
"Puck?" you whisper, unsure if he hung up.
"Q?" you smile: you have a nickname!
"Hi, Puck!" Again, there is a long pause as Quinn continues to yell behind you.
"Um…is everything okay, Q?"
"Sure is, Puck!" You can't help saying his name; you have a friend, and you have a nickname for him!
"Lucy! Stop being so freaking nice! Just tell him to get his ass over here to pick you up and hang up the Goddamnphone!"
You gasp loudly over your shoulder at her, shocked she took the Lord's name in vain like that, before returning your attention to your call.
"What's up, Q?"
"Be mean!" Quinn hisses out.
You swallow heavily, unsure why you have to be mean and uncertain howyou're going to pull that off. "Yo, Puck," you say, using a slightly deeper voice. Quinn scoffs behind you. "Get your butt over here and pick me up pronto."
"Jesus, this is a disaster." Quinn whines. "Just hang up, Lucy! Hang up!"
"Um…I'm hanging up now." But you're not used to a phone that doesn't flip shut. You stare down at the rather obtuse phone and push the END button on the screen. Nothing appears to have changed. You purse your lips in consideration before holding it back up to your ear. "You still there?" you whisper.
You hear Puck clear his throat on the other end. "Um…yeah, Q."
"Crapes," you mumble in confusion.
Quinn is groaning behind you miserably. "Drag your finger across the screen!"
"Oh!" you exclaim, "the future is tricky," and successfully end the call.
"You're not going. That's final," Quinn says. You turn back around to face her incredulously and watch as she folds her arms across her chest, breathing heavily.
"Just because I couldn't end one flipping phone call?"
Quinn scoffs back at you. "Are you kidding? Lucy, you said 'hiya.' Who the hellsays 'hiya'? And 'pronto'! You couldn't even say ass! 'Get your butt over here and pick me up pronto'? Do you have anyidea how lameand unthreatening you just sounded?"
"Why would I need to be threatening while talking to my friend, Q?"
"Don't call me Q!" she says, holding up her finger and glaring at you warningly.
"But it's our nickname!"
"Lucy!"she whines, dragging out your name as she covers her eyes. "You can't just…be nice!"
You frown back at her as you hitch your backpack over your shoulders. "And why not?"
"Don't wear your schoolbag like that!"
You frown harder. "Like what?"
"Over bothshoulders, you're killingme, Lucy, absolutely. Killing. Me!Go back upstairs and get my purse!"
"But how will I get proper back support if I don't wear my backpack like this? And your purse won't hold everything I need; it's too small."
Quinn lets out a long, drawn-out whine as her head collapses down on her arms. "This isn't happening," she mumbles. You wait for her to recover, which she finally does after a long, deep breath. "Okay, I may have been a tad…" Quinn shuts her eyes again, "evasivewith you." Your eyebrows knit as you wait for her to continue. "I'm not—the…nicest…person."
You're silent as you let that sink in. "Wait. What?"
Quinn huffs as she rolls her shoulders. "Look, after everything we've been through I think it stands to reason that we were a little…tiny bit…bitchy when we became popular." Your mouth drops open as you gaze at her through narrowed eyes. "Don't give me that look, Lucy. High school is hard. We were pretty and thin and it's better to be feared than loved. Love fades!"
"You cannotbe serious!"
"Don't judge me, Lucy, you're twelve!"
"But-but everyone was always so mean to us. Why would you want to be mean to other people?"
"High school is a class system, kid; you have to rule with an iron fist or else you're bumped down the chain of command. I will notmake apologies for-"
"And your friends are okay with this?" you ask, feeling somewhat sick over the whole thing. When you greeted with nothing but silence, your stomach drops another foot. "We don't have friends," you state thickly, mouth hanging open, feeling even more nauseated.
Quinn's eyes soften as she looks at you. The weight seems to drop from her shoulders as she blows out a breath. "We've never been a really open person, Lucy," she begins softly, "It was hard getting close to people."
"I just don't understand!" you cry out in frustration; this was your dream! Suddenly it feels like a nightmare.
Quinn's eyes shut tightly before they flutter open. "After I lost the weight, I expected everything to be better; it only got worse." You blink hard against the tears as your eyes fall to the floor. "Daddy was making more money…we were suddenly the perfect daughter…expectations grew…" Quinn sighs loudly. "I knew that I had to be perfect like Frannie. I couldn't just walk into McKinley and be nice and expect to get everything that was anticipated of me. I had to make some…compromises."
You look back up at her and suddenly realize that it's not so difficult to glare. As she ducks her head embarrassed, you're sure that she's seeing the same expression you did when Quinn first saw you yesterday: disgust. "I can't believe this," you mumble. "Do we at least have onefriend?" Her shame only doubles and you wince. "Who areyou?" you breathe out, horrified.
"I'm sorry," she whispers. You hear the sincerity and tears in her voice and it's the only reason you stop glaring.
You let out a long breath and go to push up your glasses with the pad of your hand when it suddenly occurs to you. "Quinn!" you whisper, suddenly smiling. She doesn't answer, still too ashamed. "Quinn, that's it!" She looks up suddenly, and you watch a tear slip down her cheek. Quinn just looks at you blankly. "Thisis why I'm here! To make everything right!"
Quinn sniffles and wipes away the dampness on her cheeks. "I doubt it, Lucy; I'm not really a bitch anymore."
You pause at that. "So-you arenice?"
She blows out a breath and shakes her head. "Nice…no. I'm not a bitch like I was, but I'm not really friendly either. We've always been shy," she mumbles, ducking her head. It's the first time you see yourself in Quinn.
"But…" you're thinking hard, "I'mfriendly," you say, brows furrowed in confusion. You're shy but friendly. If someone starts a conversation with you, you can keenly join in. It's just the starting a conversation that trips you up.
Quinn clicks her tongue and her lips mash together. "If you're still friendly I guess you justturned twelve, then."
You're not sure what's to come in the next year, but that was an ominous statement if you ever heard one. "But, Quinn, that hasto be why I'm here," you insist, pushing up your glasses again. "I'm supposed to go to school and be friendly! Maybe you're supposed to go to school for me and glare at people!"
Quinn laughs pathetically and massages her forehead. "I think this is happening because I'm passed out on my bathroom floor, but whatever."
"So does that mean that I don't have to glare at people?"
Quinn laughs for real as she eyes you with actual fondness. "Trust me, Lucy; you'll just want to keep to yourself today. I doubt you'll be able to be as outgoing as you want; even at twelve we were still painfully introverted."
You hear the rumble of a truck approaching and Quinn confirms that it's Puck. You bounce excitedly with your hands wrapped around the straps of the backpack at your shoulders. "Lucy, I know you're excited, but high school is a really hard place. Just do what I say and you'll make it through. And when we get home we're ramming our head into something hard and forgetting this ever happened. Okay?"
"Yeah, sure, Quinn," you mumble distractedly, watching the red truck pull up in front of the house and idle. The loud music spills outside and it suddenly occurs to you that you're about to be alone in a car with a teenager!
"Stop running!" Quinn screeches as you go to take off for the truck. You hastily pull up short and hear Quinn huff as you begin to swagger over to Puck. "And stop walking like that!"
"You have a lot of rules, Q," you mumble into the watch around your wrist as you pretend to have an itch on your nose.
"What did I say about calling me that?" You ignore her as you catch your first glimpse of Noah Puckerman. He looks just like he did in his yearbook pictures, although he doesn't appear to be as smug at the moment. He's handsome, in that bad-boy-with-a-heart-of-gold sort of way, but you're still wondering why Quinn dated him; he doesn't appear to be prince-like or sensitive.
"Sup, Q," Puck greets with a stiff nod, music still blaring. He hasn't exactly looked at you so you just slip into the truck and sit quietly with your hands folded on your lap as you take in your messy surroundings. As the car begins to pull away, you remove your backpack from around your shoulders and hope that this will be a quiet ride; you hate that Quinn has been right about you being shy—you're suddenly promising yourself that you won't be. Here's your first test:
"Thank you for picking me up, Puck," you whisper, wishing your voice could have been stronger; baby steps, though—at least you spoke.
Puck nods as he rolls to a stop at a red light. Your body tenses up when he loops his arm around your seat. He's not touching you, but you freeze all the same. "Sure. It's not like you gave me much of a choice." You smirk down at your watch at Quinn, silently telling her that you werethreatening. She rolls her eyes back at you. "Rockin' the naughty librarian look today, huh?" he says with puckered lips and a small approving nod. You're guessing he means your glasses, so you quickly bob your head, unable to find your voice or even look at him.
He's…confident. You'd call him sexy if you actually thought he was. But it's easy to see why other girls would find him that way. Maybe it's a grownup thing. Something you won't understand until you're a teenager. When you arrive at another stop light, Puck lets out a grunt of surprise and you jerk your head over at him to find him looking slightly horrified. "Q-what the helldid you do to your face?"
"Juuuust great, Lucy," Quinn exhales, glancing up at her ceiling with a miserable expression. "I knewyou were putting too much makeup on!"
You're panicked now. "Is it bad, is it bad?" you ask, hyperventilating slightly. "I slept with my contact lenses in and I woke up blind and could barely see and I didn't know what to do and…"
Puck is chuckling deeply as he pulls into the parking lot at school. You're wondering if you sent him to go get gay Kid Kurt, he'd do it so you won't walk into school as your first day as a pretty, popular senior looking like Bozo. "Relax," he instructs you as he finds a parking spot. "Did you bring your makeup?"
You're nodding your head so hard that your glasses slip down, and you push them up with the heel of your palm. "Give me your makeup and I'll fix you right up." Your narrowed eyes find Quinn's down at your watch; you both look veryskeptical about this offer. "Come on, Q; I know women," he assures, turning toward you and reaching out his hand.
"Don't do it, Lucy, he'll make you look like a Jezebel!" Quinn hisses, sensing you weakening.
"Just don't make me look a Jezebel," you whimper, reaching for your makeup bag. Puck looks confused by the reference. "It's a biblical reference," you say with a pout, still unsure if this boy can really fix your makeup mistakes; maybe blue eye shadow was a bad idea after all.
"Baby, I'm a Jew; I don't go in for all that stuff."
Your face is screwed up into confusion, and you glance down at Quinn to see if he's joking. Her rolling eyes make you realize he's not, and again you wonder why Quinn dated this boy. "Jezebel was in the Old Testament," you scoff at him. "The Book of Kings?"
He shrugs, completely unconcerned with his lack of knowledge, digs through your makeup bag, and begins to pull out his supplies. "Remove those sexy glasses, babe, and close your eyes."
"I can't believe you're letting him touch you," Quinn hisses, arms folded. In all honesty, you can't believe it either. But school is going to start soon, and you're out of options. Gay Kid Kurt won't be able to get here in time.
Puck wipes away your errors and quickly starts reapplying. He's not heavy-handed and really does seem to know what he's doing. He explains to you the makeup he's using and why. Saying things like: "The brown eye shadow will bring out the green in your eyes," and, "I always thought clear lip gloss looked more natural on you."
With a flick of his wrist—and a bit of flourish—he pulls his hand back and studies your face. "There; Puckerman tested, and Puckerman approved—you're all done, Q," he says, putting away your makeup. "Go ahead; take a look," he nods toward the vanity mirror above you. You flip it down and stare at a glaring Quinn.
Neither one of you has any idea what you look like so you just smile. "Thanks, Puck; you're a life saver!"
He looks completely surprised by the way you gush, which of course leads to more hissing from Quinn. You silence her by slapping the vanity mirror back up, but that doesn't stop her shrieking from your wrist and her faint reflection off the glass windows around you.
Puck's silent for a moment, turning down the volume on the radio and glancing down at the floor of his car before his eyes find you. "Q, I'm glad we're cool. Like, talking again and stuff." You just nod slowly, unsure of what he's talking about and don't want to seem clueless.
"Lucy! Lucy, get out of the car!" Quinn demands, suddenly panicked. You narrow your eyes at her briefly before looking back at the contemplative boy beside you.
"It's just…I know things were fucked up for a while," he takes a long breath, "but I'm glad they're getting better again."
"Lucy! Leave the car right now!"
"And I think it's cool that you didn't say anything about Shelby and me…"
"Get. Out. Of. The. Car!"
"And hopefully we'll still get to see Beth and stuff…"
"I have your copy of The Secret Garden in my hands and I knowwhere daddy keeps his cigar lighter!"
That gets your attention. You gasp and quickly turn towards Puck and touch his arm briefly to get his attention. "Puck, I think it's really neat we're talking again too, but I need to get into school before I'm late." You eyes are wide with panic, and he observes you for a moment before nodding. "Maybe we can talk about this again, soon, or something?" He takes a moment to think about that before nodding again.
"Yeah, maybe this weekend?" That sounds awfully a lot like a date. You grin internally, because, duh, a boy asking youon a date is just…way remarkable! before you nod.
"Don't agree!" Quinn shouts out at you.
"We'll see, Puck," you answer carefully, not wanting to make promises you can't keep or make ones you don't want to keep. You think it's really cool of Puck to fix your makeup and give you a ride, but the boy's a bit of an idiot and not at all sensitive prince material.
"You need a ride home?"
"No! Ask Santana!" Quinn seethes.
"Um…I think I'm going to ask Santana," you say with an apologetic smile. "We have girl stuff we need to catch up on."
Puck's smirk is back. "Oh yeah?"
You frown at him, unsure of what he's getting at. "Um, yeah," you respond, still confused. You both slip out of the car—you make sure to drape your backpack over only oneshoulder, and notswagger—and head off towards school.
"I'll see you later, baby mama," he says beside you, already veering off to where a few boys in letterman jackets are standing.
You hear Quinn huff, but you ignore it as you stare at him with even more confusion. "Um, yeah, see you later…daddy-o?"
Puck is looking at you slightly bewildered and Quinn is hissing at you again, but you just turn with your head down and hurry for the front doors, completely confused as to why baby mama is your future term of endearment.
By the time you find your locker, Quinn is still grumbling about your behavior. You've managed to tune her out as you carefully put in your combination. You're veryconfused. Walking down the hallway was…interesting. People practically jumpedout of the way to avoid you. You let out a breath of relief when your lock clicks open and root through the books inside to find what you'll need for your first lesson, trying to ignore the way people are staring at you as they walk by, whispering as they go.
You're getting excited again by the prospect of attending high school classes. You can only imagine how wonderful it will be to sit amongst a classroom full of your peers and discuss classical works of literature and the complexities of advanced sciences.
While Quinn continues to bitch over your actions, your dreamy smile slides off your face when you notice a looming shadow at your side. You ignore it, nervous eyes flickering to Quinn in your locker mirror where she is still ranting, and appear as though you are too busy to direct your attention to whoever is on the other side of your locker door.
Quinn's eyes pop. "Who was that?" she asks, looking nervously at you. Your shoulders lift slightly, unsure, and too afraid to check it out for yourself.
"Quinn?" the looming figure says, sounding almost as scared as you are.
"Oh, perfect," Quinn bites out, rolling her eyes and huffing. You're momentarily distracted by her behavior—she rolls her eyes and huffs often—before you slowly close over your locker, no longer able to deny that someone is beside you and wishes to speak.
You feel as though you're watching the very first scene in Star Wars: A New Hope all over again. You remember staring at your TV with unblinking-eyes as the Imperial-Class Star Destroyer kept on coming; it was the biggest thing you had ever seen!
"Uh hey, Quinn," Finn mumbles awkwardly. But you're still climbing your eyes up his humongous body. By the time you get to his face, you're puzzled by the fact that pigeons aren't nesting on his head. You don't answer—you can't answer. Without worrying about manners, you rip open your locker and stare at Quinn, jaw resting down by your Mary Jane's in complete astonishment.
"Youdated him?" you whisper to her. Her answer is only a deep sigh. You swallow hard and close your locker again.
"Hi, Finn," you sort of wave, unsure of what to say. He looks awkward again. By the way Quinn described him, you're wondering if you should, perhaps, speak slower. But then he's talking.
"So, Rachel wanted me to talk to you about singing in glee," he fidgets apprehensively.
"Oh, Jesus," you hear Quinn breath out in exasperation. Your lips purse at her blasphemy, and you consider how to answer. You'd love to sing in glee, you're just not sure you're ready for that. Clearly Quinn hates the idea too.
"Um," you mumble, glancing down at his boat-like shoes to stall for time, imaging yourself in front of a room full of people booing at your singing.
"Look, Regionals is coming up and it would be really cool if everyone was, like, participating and stuff. It shows team unity, or something; I don't really remember what Rachel said because I wasn't listening, but I think you should."
Your puzzled expression is trained on Finn's face. You take in his dopey grin and bright eyes, making your head tilt. He looks anxious by your inspection.
"Or, like, you don't have to if you don't want to. I just thought that maybe it would be an awesome idea. Help with all your anger issues or something because it's anger-management week. Notto say you haveanger issues or whatever, but it would be really cool and it's fun to, like, express yourself. I know it was cool singing Give Me Something to Break and totally awesome jumping around and stuff. So maybe you should give it a try," Finn concludes, smiling broadly again, as though he's proud of himself.
You're still staring at him, trying to piece together his lack of vocabulary. You feel very bad for your future self, and also for this Rachel girl. Quinn didn't really say much about her, but you conclude that they're probably two peas in a pod and have many conversations with the words like, cool, and awesome in them.
"Just walk away, Lucy. You reallydon't need to answer him," Quinn instructs in a bored drawl. You feel particularly bad about being so rude, but you're not really sure where to begin with this boy. It doesn't hurt that Quinn informed you that he cheated on you with Rachel the first time you dated, and the second time you dated, dumped you after a flipping funeral. So with one last puzzled look, you slowly walk by him, head still tilted in confusion over your future self's life choices, and head to where you homeroom is.
You're still shaking off your Finteraction when you take your seat in homeroom. As other students start to trickle in you remove you day planner from you backpack and go through it to make sure you're prepared, removing a few of your homework assignments as well.
Your eyes stay on your work as a boy takes the seat beside you. You don't look up, though. The more students that start to surround you, the more anxious you become. You have to keep reminding yourself that you're a pretty, popular senior, but it doesn't quell your racing heart.
"Hey, Quinn. Did you do the math homework?" is whispered on your left. You're given a start by the casual way the boy asks this, like it's routine; that you talk all the time. You nervously lift your eyes up to the boy at your side as he waits for your answer and take in his sandy-blonde hair. Sandy blonde = Sam.
Your smile splits, and you sit up eagerly. Quinn likes Sam. He's also another one of your ex boyfriends. And although Quinn admitted he wasn't the brightest either, she assures you that he's one of the nicest guys you've ever met; if not a bit of an ass (her words, not yours, so you can't get in trouble for thinking the curse word) for telling you that you have "white girl problems." You have no idea what that means, but since it was his only offense, Quinn still appreciates his friendship.
"Hiya, Sam," you grin.
"Lucy, I really can't stress deeply enough how much I detest your greetings," Quinn mumbles tiredly in your wristwatch. "And also, you're from 2006; not exactly the era of poodle skirts and sock-hops."
But Sam smiles widely so you're pleased. "I did, in fact, do the homework," you explain as you push up your glasses with your palm, "and while I was checking my work just now, it occurred to me that math is really the most interesting of all the languages."
Sam chuckles and leans back in his seat as he inspects you. "You're really getting into this whole acting thing, aren't you?" he asks with a smile. It's the widest smile you've ever seen. You're getting fairly good at tuning out Quinn's mumbled hisses, too caught up in your own thoughts. You're not exactly sure why he misconstrued your passion for math as some sort of acting exercise, but you can only conclude that since Quinn isn't a really big talker—too busy rolling her eyes and making up stupid rules as she hisses like a cat—she doesn't share her love of learning with others.
So you just drop your gaze back down to your desk and wait, slightly self-conscious now. Sam pulls some things from his backpack, and you watch him from the corner of your eye. There isn't anyone else in your homeroom Quinn would speak to so there's little to distract you from what Sam's pulling out next.
"The Underground!" you exclaim with an awed gasp. Sam's head jerks to you with an amazed look while Quinn starts freaking out again.
"NO! Lucy! NOOOOOO! Don't say anything! Don't do it, Lucy!" But you're tuning her out again.
"You know the Underground?" Sam says, still looking shocked.
"Are you kidding?I lovethose comics!" You talk over Quinn's screams, too caught up in your favorite comic gushing about Meltdown being your favorite, and the complete insanity of Marvel for not continuing the series.
Sam gets over being staggered when you mention Soldier X, and before you know it, homeroom is over and you're both practically out of breath from talking over and around each other. You're still finishing each other's sentences and agreeing with each other by the time you're standing in the doorway of your first class, and you're severely furious with your future self for letting this perfect, perfect boy ever get away.
"We soneed to have a real discussion about this," Sam tells you, looking every bit as serious as you feel. "How come you never mentioned this before?" he practically cries out in desperation, hunching over a little as though the weight of your concealment actually pains him as he grips tightly onto his hair. You're just so happy that you have a friend to talk to about marvelous things like this. "Whatever, it doesn't matter. You. Me. After glee; we're getting our Underground on, Fabray!"
You beam back and bounce a little where you stand, completely forgetting that you shouldn't have your backpack draped over both your shoulders. You hastily push your glasses up and nod. "Totally!"
"Noo-oo!" Sam suddenly cries out, whacking himself in the head lightly. "I promised I'd hang out with Mercedes after glee!" he tells you, face scrunched up in agony.
"Bring her!" you say, because Mercedes = Messiah (she had been your savior, even though Quinn wouldn't explain why) and you're excited to spend time with someone who you could get close to.
But Sam's face contorts into one of complete disbelief. "Do you seriouslythink Mercedes would want to sit there while we talk comics? She'd kill us within a minute!"
You mouth drops open. "Why are you datingher? How does she not understand?"
Sam laughs loudly and shakes his head at you. "Actor Quinn is the freaking coolest," Sam says, still chuckling. "I'll catch you at lunch, Quinn; this discussion isn't over!" he points, already heading down the hallway. You're bummed you don't share your class with him, but there's always lunch to look forward to.
With that thought in mind, you happily turn into the classroom and skip to the open desk front and center. You catch the confused look the girl beside you is wearing and beam back at her; happy to be you for the first time in a long time.
Out of the corner of your eye you see that the girl is still peering at you in wonder, but your too busy smiling excitedly as you whip out your homework, bouncing slightly in your chair. There's just somuch to be excited about! Not only do you have lunch to look forward to, but you're about to start your first ever high school class! And it's English! You'll be handing in an essay on the Canterbury Tales—not your favorite, but it will lend itself to fascinating discussions, you surmise.
The teacher shuffles in just as a well-dressed boy drops down to the seat beside you, apparently out of breath, and seemingly in a bit of a tizzy. "Love the makeup. Don't change a thing," he rushes out, eyes racing over your face.
You gulp a little under his appraisal, but he looks so happy with your appearance that you give a hesitant smile back. "Thanks, Kurt," you wager. His smiles grows as he clasps his hands beside his face and gives a little squeal of delight before turning back to his notebook.
The girl beside you is still staring at you as though you're an alien. But Kurt just reminded you of something that meeting Finn and Sam drove out of your mind; Puck's makeup job. "I really look okay?" you ask as you move closer to him.
For once, Quinn seems to be quiet as well, really hoping, you suppose, that you do actually look presentable. "Quinn, darling," Kurt starts, looking very serious suddenly, "you look fabulous. Now we'll just have to do something about that predictable wardrobe," he smiles, not seeming to care that he just insulted you.
"Tell him Liberace wants his look back, Lucy," Quinn mumbles lazily. "That will shut him up." But of course you're notgoing to say that. Instead, you lean closer to him as your teacher scribbles something on the white board.
"What do you suggest?" you whisper self-consciously. If you really messed up your makeup it stands to reason you probably did a number on your clothes as well.
As soon as the words are out of your mouth, however, you regret them. And not just because Quinn is squawking again. Kurt's eyes double in size as they light up. He turns slowly towards you, and you're not entirely sure you're imagining his mouth actually frothing at the prospect.
Luckily, you're teacher begins to get into the lesson. You immediately direct your attention forward and tune out both Kurt and your future self. But it's nothinglike you thought it'd be. For one; your teacher appears bored and listless. Two; your peers are silent when questions are dispassionately asked—some may actuallybe sleeping!—and lastly; the lesson is about a dull as a conversation with Finn.
As your teacher collects your assignments and class time runs down, you can't help but thrust your arm in the air, making your glasses slid down the bridge of your nose. You push them up quickly with the heel of your palm as you wiggle your fingers to get your teacher's attention.
"Yes, Ms. Fabray?" you teacher asks with a sigh, eyes flickering towards the clock on the wall above the door.
"Lucy? Lucy, what are you doing?"
You feel your face heat up as you realize you now have the attention of the whole class; something you didn't consider. You despisethe spotlight on you. But your love of literature makes you brave. "Will we-" you clear your dry throat and push your glasses up again nervously. "Will we be discussing the social classes and Chaucer's bold descriptions in upcoming lessons?" you ask in a frail voice.
The essay Quinn had written merely outlined the major themes throughout the Canterbury Tales, hardlyrequiring any real depth to sink your teeth into. In your peripheral, you see Kurt and the girl beside you eyeing you strangely. You could hear a pin drop in the room. But the bell rings and suddenly the room fills with the sounds of everyone packing up their belongings, your teacher included. You question never gets answered, and you're repaid for your inquiry by strange looks from everyone and whining coming from Quinn.
It's enough to keep you quiet through you next class: history. No one appears to know you well in there, and you don't recognize anyone. So you keep your head down and take plentiful notes, outlining and highlighting as you go.
In Advanced Chemistry, however, you spot someone you do recognize. He takes the seat beside you in the back and gives you a smile, small, but genuine. You push your glasses up with a wide grin. He seems a little taken aback by you warm greeting, but doesn't say anything. He merely bustles about the lab table getting everything ready.
Once you teacher hands out instructions, Mike moves closer and whispers: "Cool glasses."
Mike = Mild and you don't expect him to say much more. You go about your work although it was a dance you both had down pat and grin shyly at one another from time to time because you work well together.
Quinn stays silent the whole time, and you realize it's because you're actually acting like Quinn would. You feel comfortable around him. You like him. And so you don't hesitate to compliment the patch on his backpack of intersecting triangles above an incomplete triangle.
"Here we go again," Quinn huffs angry before giving you a half-hearted, "Please don't, Lucy!"
Mike stares back at you, in completely incredulity, as you duck you head—eyes trained on your desk—and blush through your description of your love of Pokémon. Unlike Sam, Mike is only able to blink owlishly back as you continue your diatribe. When you finally shut your mouth, realizing you've monopolized the entire conversation through stutters and nervous jabber, Mike can only just stare.
The bell rings, and you smile sheepishly as you collect your things. Slowly, Mike follows suit until you're both just standing there awkwardly. "Um, Sam and I are meeting at lunch to talk about the Underground, " you pause to gauge his shocked reaction. "You could-you could join us, if…you wanted to?" you finish with a mumble. You swallow hard and push up your glasses before taking off out of the room in a panic. He's definitelymild, and you're not sure if that's a good thing or not; he was staring at you like you were a freak!
You have sixth period lunch so you have to stop at your locker, unable to hold everything you'll need for the next two periods in your backpack. You're quietly cursing at yourself for being such a babbling fool, ignoring Quinn's cries of protest as you switch your book.
Why did you have to open your big, fat mouth? There's a reason, you suppose, why Quinn wanted it kept shut in the first place. You vow that you'll start listening to her—even though you're currently drowning her out as she hisses at you in your locker mirror—and follow her advice to the tee.
You're still cursing yourself as Quinn chastises you when it happens. She gives a low whimper deep in her throat cutting off her tirade and seems to freeze. "Quinn?" you mumble, slightly worried with how panicked she suddenly looks, eyes staring just over your shoulder.
Her eyes flick to yours as she swallows hard. "Run, Lucy! Run now!" But your reaction time is poor, and you only spin around to navigate her sudden fear.
You're expecting a Slushie attack—Quinn told you about those—or Sue Sylvester. Perhaps a bully or that Jacob boy. What you are notexpecting is a 5'3 brunette coming your way in a determined march that has you flattening yourself up against your neighbor's locker.
You don't know why, but your heart is suddenly pounding out of your chest as everything slows down. The sun seems to shine brightly through every window of every classroom. The girl's march turns into a slow-motioned stride. She flips her hair, reflecting the sunbeams, blinding you, and some whimsical melody starts playing. Your head tilts back and forth as your gaze turns dreamy and your smile goes lopsided. You no longer hear Quinn's frantic pleas to run as your eyes take in the way her dress flutters in a breeze that doesn't seem to be affecting anything else around you. And then a needle scratches against a record and she's in front of you.
"Quinn, while I cannot say I'm surprised that you did not pick up my phone call last evening, I had hoped that you would have been a tad more susceptible to Finn's pleas if not my own. Whether you'd wish to think otherwise or not, the glee club needs the support of all its members and I for one would be very pleased if you would participate in this week's assignment, not only because your song choices and unique singing abilities round out the club in a lovely, delightful way, but because I know how much it means to you and how important it is to express yourself that doesn't involve Pink Pandemonium, piercings, cigarettes, and/or oddly chosen tattoos all while making harebrained schemes involving home wrecking. As usual, I'm offering my services to aid you in preparation and hope that you'll consider my offer." Her mouth clamps shut as she stares at you, waiting for your response.
You stand there, knees shaking, slightly breathless, as you try and absorb what was just quickly spit out at you. You can't make your mouth move or suck in oxygen. You can't even hear Quinn's pleas to say exactlywhat she tells you to say to the girl. You're just too overwhelmed.
Of course you know it's Rachel Berry. Not only because you studied each and every glee club members' pictures in Quinn's yearbook thoroughly, but because she said Finn's name and Rachel = Rambles. Boy…you had Rachel allwrong. You thought she was a ditzy bobble head like her boyfriend. A bitchy girl who was hell-bent on success. Or even some sort of bad influence and that's why Quinn said absolutely nothingabout her. You figured Quinn disliked this Rachel girl because she stole Quinn's boyfriend and that'swhy she kept mum. But now that you're staring at Rachel, face to face as her eyes slightly narrow, almost as though she's preparing herself for something awful, you can't help but feel that Quinn has the worstjudgment in the whole-wide world!
"Quinn?" she asks carefully, taking in your fearful expression.
"My heart is racing," you finally mumble over the pounding in your ears.
Rachel gasps lightly and takes a step closer. "Are you feeling ill, Quinn?"
You're body sways on the spot as Rachel reaches her hand out in slow motion to place the back of her hand on your slightly damp forehead. You can smell her and it makes you feel warm inside. The heat of her body is like a magnet, and without realizing it, you moving closer towards her.
"Quinn!" Rachel gasps again, "You're burning up!" You make an unintelligent noise as her hand clasps around your wrist and guides you to you don't know where. You follow willingly, mesmerized by her touch on your skin, and understand nothing of what she is saying. Her voice makes you break out in chills, though, and you nod along without knowing why, very aware that Quinn keeps popping in and out of your peripheral as you pass by glass trophy cases or closed doors. She appears to be yelling at you, but you can't understand her either.
You're in front of a large woman in white as Rachel babbles at your side. You catch parts of words and sentences as you stare at the girl still holding you wrist. Things like "sick," and "too accommodating," reach your ears, but you're too busy counting Rachel's freckles to really absorb any of it.
"Sick, huh?" the nurse asks while giving you a quick once-over. You are ushered to a bed by Rachel and your stomach flips without reason or logic. Her hands are cupping your face as she continues speaking to the nurse, and you gape up at the girl as she gives you fleeting glances of concern.
A thermometer is thrust in your mouth as Rachel takes the seat beside you, caressing your hand softly with her eyes on the nurse. You know she's still talking to the older woman because her mouth is moving, and for some unknown reason, you can't keep your eyes away from her plump lips. A beeping noise cuts off Rachel's tirade, and the nurse pulls the thermometer unceremoniously away from your mouth. You watch as Rachel's jumps from her chair and bounds to the nurse to study the readout on the thermometer over her shoulder, both of them frowning down at the results.
"She doesn't have a fever," the nurse sighs, eyeing you again. But your glassy eyes are trained on Rachel's pouting lips.
"Your hair is shiny," you mumble up to Rachel.
Both women's eyes bulge slightly before trading surprised glances. "Okay, she's clearly feeling ill; I'll keep her here for a little while and check to make sure she hasn't hit or head or anything," the nurse tells Rachel as she bustles around the room, closing off the space with a curtain before leaving the two of you in peace.
Your eyes track Rachel as she takes the seat beside you once again, looking worried as she stares down at your hand; the one she was holding earlier that is now limp on your knee. "How are you feeling, Quinn?" Rachel asks softly with a hint of hesitation.
Her eyebrows are screwed up delicately as she stares down at your tingling hand, and you want to ask her to take it back. But you don't, mostly because words are something you suddenly aren't sure how to produce. You feel yourself shrug, still staring at Rachel. "Perhaps it would be better if you lie down?"
Your head bobs but you don't move. It unseats your glasses, and you push them up quickly as you feel your face flame. You suddenly wish you did put in your contact lenses; you feel rather dorky pushing up your glasses in front of Rachel. Rachel smiles at you and gets to her feet, takes a hold of your shoulders, and gently guides you back down on the bed, arranging the pillow behind you. "Have you hit your head today, Quinn?" she whispers, hovering over you making you see stars.
You swallow thickly and nod. "Last night," you say around the dryness in your throat. That warrants you another look of concern.
"Have you felt nauseated? Ringing in your ears, double-vision…anythingout of the usual?" Your thoughts wander to Quinn, but you're shaking your head quickly to answer Rachel; you're not so sure you should share the fact that you're seeing your future self—they'd commit you. "You have Spanish now, correct?" Again you bob your head. "Well, I'll make sure to speak with Mr. Schuester about your absence."
She's quiet again and looks as though she's not sure what to do with herself. You wonder what class she's missing but still can't form words. You feel the butterflies flapping around in your belly and fidget; finally taking your eyes off of her. You want to ask her to stay. To take your hand again. But she's shouldering her bag and looking around awkwardly. "I suppose I should go," she mumbles, although you get a feeling she isn't talking to you. Her brow is wrinkling again; you have an overwhelming urge to drag your fingertips across her skin to relieve her worry.
But you say nothing. You just peer up at her, blinking against the harsh lighting, and steady your breathing. She's at the curtain, ready to pull it back. "Please do send for me if you'd like company or anything at all. And…" She hesitates again, looking around the room as though she's not sure what to say. She bites her lip and takes a deep breath, seemingly preparing herself, before her eyes find yours again. "Feel better, Quinn."
She slips through the curtains, making them sway, and you stare at them almost hypnotized waiting for what comes next. You don't know what came over you. Perhaps when you hit you head last evening you really didsuffer a concussion and the symptoms are finally catching up to you. You wish you had answers, someone to confide in. Someone to guide you through-
You jump with a start, startled out of your musings, and pull your eyes away from the still curtain to glance down at the watch on your wrist; the one Rachel was holding. "Quinn!" you mumble, only just remembering that she was rightthere with you.
You laugh at yourself, pleased and relieved that you are not alone, and push the white cardigan up your arm a little as you bring the watch to your face. "Quinn! I completely forgot!"
She's glaring at you, not much of a surprise, but someone she looks even angrier than before. "What. Happened?" she demands.
"Oh! Um…I wasn't feeling well and Rachel took me to the nurse," you sum up quickly, not exactly sure what to say. Everything happened so fast, you can't really remember. You are, however, aware that Rachel's name rolled off your tongue delicately, almost as though you wanted to take care of it.
Quinn is quiet for a long time, just staring at you suspiciously. "What did she say to you?"
You shrug, trying not to blush. "Not much; stuff about glee. But I started feeling sick soon after she arrived, and she brought me here." "She"is said in such a way that it almost sounds like a sigh.
Quinn breathes deeply, like she's reassured, and nods. "How are you feeling?"
You think of the answer for a long moment. How do you feel? Fine, you suppose. You don't seem to be concussed. Your heart isn't pounding any longer, that's good. So you just shrug with a casual, "Fine." Quinn nods again, still looking at you with some suspicion, however.
"Well, what happened? Why weren'tyou fine?"
"My heart started racing. And I felt…out of it?" Quinn gives you a long, searching look. The suspicion is back.
"Why, do you suppose, you felt that way?" she asks carefully. Again you only shrug. You have no idea. You tell her as much and she appears relieved. "Just stay here until lunch. If anything like that happens again come back to the nurse's office, okay?"
You push your glasses up when they slump down and wait quietly with Quinn until the nurse shows up. She deems you healthy, and you take off for the caf; sure that it's low blood sugar or the disorientation from hitting you head that brought on your earlier symptoms.
As you pick at the food on your tray, waiting for Sam to show up—class is only just letting out now—Quinn fills you in on telling your mother that she is sick and that is why she isn't attending school. Quinn doesn't elaborate on what your mother had said in reply, but you know that Quinn isn't straying far from your bedroom in hopes of avoiding Judy. You can't say you blame her.
It's not that you have a bad relationship with your mother; it's just that you don't havea relationship with her. She doesn't speak much to you and interacts even less. At least daddy is kind. You relate to him more. But, that is changing the older you get. It doesn't help that he works longer hours at the office. Frannie ignores you; too busy being a pretty, popular senior. Making plans for college and dating that boy who works at UPS she swears she's marrying. You're alone a lot. You don't really mind. You can tell Quinn is comfortable with the silence on her side of the mirror. She's reading on your bed as you stare down at the tray full of salad and fruit at Quinn's request.
You feel even morealone than usual, though. Even with Quinn right there. You consider that it has more to do with the fact that your future looks so bleak. You always just assumed that life would be better when you got to high school. That you'd meet people who like you for you and finally get to be yourself completely. But Quinn doesn't have friends. She doesn't open up about her love of reading and learning. That she adores comics and playing games. That her solitude is spent exploring other worlds she can fill with fictitious characters that are the friends she always hoped to have.
Instead, Quinn is just an actress. It doesn't seem so crazy all of a sudden that that is what she wants to study. After all, she hides every part of her that is actually genuine. You see so much of Frannie in that act. You remember only a year ago Frannie sitting on the floor of your bedroom with you, swapping trading cards and asking you why you take pleasure in collecting them so much. You watched her actually enjoy herself for a moment, let down her guard, until it was up in full-force at the sound of a car honking outside. She was hurrying out of your room, excited about her date, and stepped on your Palkia playing card in her haste to leave. The card is still bent because of it. And she hasn't been in your room since.
As you watch Quinn silently read Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on your bed, you again swear that you are going to be different, that you will put forth more of an effort. Quinn may have forgotten how to open up, but you still feel that urge inside of you to connect with someone. Puck wants to talk to you. Sam wants to discuss comics. Mike may enjoy some Pokémon gaming when and if he gets over his inability to talk to you. And Rachel… you're still unsure about her. But she seemed genuinely concerned for you. If you could force yourself to open up, maybe get close to some of these people, perhaps Quinn could see it's not all bad and would do the same. If you're able to be back on the right sides of the mirror, that is.
You hear the bell ring and sit up a little straighter, pushing your glasses in place and wiping off your sweaty hands on a napkin. Students start to filter into the caf, and you catch a head of sandy-blonde hair making a beeline towards you. And he's not alone!
Mike is looking at you with wide eyes and Mercedes appears confused. And then they all start talking at once as they drop down to their seats.
"Tell Mike what you told me about the Underground…!"
"Is it really true that you have every issue…?"
"What the hellare these boys going on about, Quinn, and how do I make them shut it…?"
They keep babbling away. Your eyes jump back and forth to each as you try to listen to all of them. You can't seem to find an opening to respond, however, and you feel slightly overwhelmed by their bombardment. Finally, they are all silent, inspecting you closely as you gulp. You push your glasses up and start with the questions you actually understood. "I-I love the Underground," you tell Mike, "and have every issue. I doknow Pokémon and love gaming," you mumble nervously and lick your dry lips. "I've always liked those things…just…" Out of the corner of your eye you see Mercedes starting at you like you're a freak—eyes wide and jaw dropped. You want to stop talking, but you promised yourself you'd share the real you. "Courage is fear that has said its prayers", you recall quickly. You heard it in church during a sermon. You can't worry about Quinn right now and push down the sleeve of your cardigan over your watch to shut her up. "It's not…cool to like those things," you breathe out, watching as you nudge your salad around on your plate, "so I don't really like to tell people."
Silence. The sound of Quinn's muffled voice joins the background of the noisy cafeteria as three sets of eyes blink back at you. This is what Quinn was afraid of. Girls aren't supposed to like these sorts of things. Especially teenage girls.
"This. Is. Awesome!" Your head jerks up to find Mike's beaming smile, almost as wide as Sam's. Mercedes is chuckling as she rolls her eyes.
"Nice job, Q; now they'll never shut up. I'm getting lunch, walk with me?" Mercedes asks Sam with a soft smile. Sam looks momentarily torn, almost as though he doesn't want to leave the table. Again, Mercedes rolls her eyes and gives him a fond huff. "Q, tell the boy you aren't going anywhere and we'll be right back."
She's smiling at you! She doesn't think you're a freak! "Um…I'm not going anywhere and you'll be right back?" you recite, looking confused.
Mercedes laughs and fists Sam's shirt. "See? Now come on Super Boy."
"Super Boy?" Sam groans as he rises, following after his girlfriend. When you turn back to Mike he's still beaming at you.
"You know what this means, right?" Your eyes dart left and right before looking back at him, shrugging. "We are so having a mini Comic Con at my place this weekend!" And then he's gone, hurrying after Sam and Mercedes. Your eyes train on the three of them and watch as Tina enters the caf and gets in line as well, the four of them ducking their heads together and excitedly talking.
You're tempted to push your cardigan sleeve up to speak to Quinn to see where you stand. To get instructions. But you don't feel like getting yelled at. Because, for the first time in your life, you have plans for the upcoming weekend! And it's only Wednesday! You feel like crying. You feel like jumping on top of the table and telling everyone that you have plans! With friends! You don't think Mercedes will be interested in attending your mini Comic Con, but at least she doesn't think you're a weirdo for liking that kind of stuff.
Soon they're back. Tina was obviously filled in on your love of comics and gaming, but still stares at you with disbelief as you confirm Sam and Mike's excited words. Both girls grow bored with your conversation with Sam and Mike so they talk together as they eat. But you and the two boys sitting very closely beside you hardly touch your food, too immersed in your discussion. They make fun of you, but…in a friendway when you tell them that the Spirit is your favorite Super Hero.
Sam claims that he's not a realSuperhero because he doesn't have any actually super powers. Mike laughs at your "old school" taste. But you justify your answer because the Spirit was a normal guy who just threw on a suit and a fedora and used wit and athleticism to save the day. You love the idea of transforming yourself into a Super hero. No, you could never be a Superhero like Superman—and you dolike Superman because of his moral compass…which you find extremely ironic now that you've seen your future self—but you're not equipped with super strength or the ability to fly. If you wanted to, however, you coulddress like a 1940s detective and save the damsel from the Octopus—the evil mastermind who never shows his real face. You'd work out crimes with your intellect. And you wouldn't have to wear a flashy suit or revealing clothing to do it.
Lunch is almost over and you've barely touched your salad. You're reminded when you dip your gesturing hand in Ranch dressing, but you refrain from wiping it off when, with wide eyes and a sliding smile, you see Rachel Berry coming your way. The boys look over their shoulders when you are unable to answer Mike's question and can't take your eyes off the girl heading over to your table.
"Quinn! Are you feeling any better?" As you try and come up with a response, you're aware that all eyes are back on you. Everyone at your table—Mercedes, Tina, Sam and Mike—are gaping at you as you stare up at Rachel. She shifts where she stands, nervous again, and it isn't until Finn that you can do anything but gaze at her.
"Are you going to eat that?" the boy asks, gesturing to your pudding—you made sure Quinn didn't see it. The sound of his voice breaks you out of your stupor, and you're glaring at him with fierce eyes until he takes the hint.
You remember Rachel again, and your glare is gone when your eyes find hers. "I—um I—yes, I'm better," you rush out quickly. Your stuttering makes you blush, but Rachel doesn't mind. She just smiles at you, looking relieved.
"I'm so glad. Did you give any more thought to participating in glee?" You feel the table-full of people swing their gaze back to you.
"Um…" you stutter, trying to calm your breathing. All the attention on you is making you sweat. Rachel'seyes on you are making you sweat. "I…um…"
"How about you stay late after glee and you and I can work on something together in the auditorium?" she asks you kindly, if not a tad hesitantly. She looks guarded. She's shifting her weight and making little eye contact. You find it adorable.
"Okay," you breathe out, forgetting that everyone is staring. You're quickly reminded that they are, however, when all heads whip in your direction looking shocked—Rachel's included. They all fade away when Rachel beams at you. It's a different kind of smile than before, though. This smile is so genuine and joyful that you can't help but mirror it.
"Wow…uh…great!" Rachel cheers, moving closer and getting animated. "I have a free later today and I'll look up different song choices I think you'll be interested in!" You nod dumbly back. "Okay…well…I'll see everyone later in glee!" Rachel quickly hurries off with Finn trailing her. You watch until they both leave the caf, and you sit there staring at the door as your mind whirls. You'll be alone with Rachel. You'll have to sing! You'll be alonewith Racheland you'll have to sing!
"Holy moly, what did I just do?" you mumble to yourself.
"Yeah, Q; I think that about sums up what we allwere thinking," Mercedes chuckles as she stands. You gulp and look at Sam and Mike. They both look baffled and mildly amused.
"Good luck, Quinn," Mike says, also getting to his feet.
"You'll need it," Sam tells you darkly. They all dump their trays as you sit there. Wondering what the heck you got yourself into. Alone now, you slowly pull your cardigan up past your watch. And there, looking as though she's going to jump through it to throttle you is Quinn.
"Lucy!"Quinn screams, actuallyfuming, "I'm going to KILL YOU!"
You're silent throughout the rest of your classes, but mostly because you feel so nervous about your meeting with Rachel. What did you get yourself into? How are you going to sing? Out loud!In front of actual people!Cabbage Patch Kids and Lamby Lambikins do notcount as a genuine audience. So you just keep your head down and take notes. No one bothers you and no teachers call on you. Almost like they're used to your silence. Which works well.
You take a deep breath and trudge towards the choir room. Quinn is periodically shouting out pointers and requests as she goes and you are thisclose to chucking the darn watch. This is not atall like Power Rangers, you think miserably.
Quinn tells you to go sit in the back and read. You take a seat and watch nervously as everyone does the same. Mike and Sam smile at you. Puck nods. Mercedes rolls her eyes as she smiles. Tina waves. It makes you feel braver. Until Rachel takes the seat in front of you. "I've chosen some really inspiring songs for us to go over, Quinn, and I feel as though you'll be quite pleased."
You can't even muster up a nod back, but Rachel just turns to face front as Finn shoots you a puzzled look. Or maybe that's just his normal expression…you can't be sure. "Does he always look like that?" you whisper into your watch.
"Yes," Quinn answers, her nose still in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
"I was talking about Finn," you feel the need to clarify. How would Quinn even know who you were talking about, after all?
"If you have to ask, it must be Finn," Quinn answers distractedly. You narrow your eyes and stare at the back of Finn's head. You're desperate to know why someone like Rachel is with such a moron. You're sure you'll never ask her, that would be impolite, but you're curious. She's just so…so…cute. You nod your head. She's cute. But pretty, as well.
Once everyone is seated and the conversations die off, Mr. Schuester starts talking about everyone's performances so far. You notice Anger-Management is on the white board behind him and straighten up in your chair as he speaks. Santana = Sassy gets to her feet and smirks as she stands in the middle of the room, ready to present her anger-management song. This is the first time you've seen her today. She's very attractive. And not at all what you thought in terms of a lesbian. You feel somewhat guilty that you already had a preconceived notion of her and Brittany, but all you know about lesbians comes from Ellen and that one time you accidentally watched the L Word. For three episodes.
She's a good singer too. You're momentarily scandalized that she's singing I'm a Bitch and are waiting for Mr. Schuester to cut her off, but he lets her finish before giving her a stern talking to. You watch the way she and Brittany cozy up to one another afterwards and feel somewhat nervous by the display. They're not kissing or overly affectionate, but knots are forming in your tummy.
Santana catches you staring and you quickly glance away, pushing your glasses up to appear as though the connection was unintentional. You catch her smirking in your peripheral and know you're busted. That makes the knots worse.
Mercedes goes next and sings a song you've never heard before. It sounds R&B-like and you smile throughout her performance. It's fun and everyone gets into it; dancing around and cheering. You're so caught up that you don't even notice that Santana is now sitting right next to you. You jerk in your seat and feel your body tense up. She's eyeing you with something stirring behind her eyes that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. Almost as though she can see through you.
Ignoring her, you sit stiffly throughout the rest of Mercedes' performance and can barely retain a word Mr. Schuester is spouting out after. Santana says nothing to you and only manages a pointed look when you're all dismissed. It's unsettling.
It's so unsettling that you've forgotten what you're now supposed to be doing. And it isn't until Rachel turns in her chair to smile at you that you remember. "Shall we go to the auditorium?" she asks, sounding truly eager. You swallow hard and slowly follow her out of the room, trying to convince yourself that the sardonic drumbeat playing is only in your head.
You fidget as she takes a seat at the piano and spreads out sheet music. "I suppose we should start with choosing a song? Then we can move on to warming up?" You bob your head a few times and glance down at the sheet music. You're heart is racing and you feel her eyes glued to you. You can't even read the names of the songs on top of the sheet music! They're all blurring together and making absolutely nosense.
"Any favorites?" Rachel asks carefully. You give a half shrug and command yourself to do the one thing you've perfected—reading—as sweat beads on your forehead. But you can't make sense of the words! The stage lights are scorching! Pretty, perfect Rachel Berry, probably one of the most popular girls in the school, is staring at you! What should you do? What should you say? "Take your time, Quinn; a song should speak to you," she says kindly, fluffing her skirt. "I'm actually quite surprised that you're allowing me to help at all. Stunned does not quite cover it," she mumbles, pushing a piece of hair back behind her ear as she speaks. She softly lays her fingers down on the pianos keys and taps different notes absentmindedly.
"Lucy, please just tell her you're not feeling well. You'll just walk home; I'll give you directions." You ignore Quinn and push down the sleeve of your cardigan to block her out. Your shaky hands leaf through the sheet music, still unable to read a darn thing, and hope that Rachel just tells you what to do.
"Quinn…you're shaking," Rachel says with concern. You ignore her too. "Are you still not feeling well?" It's an easy out and one Quinn wants you to take. You release a trembling breath as Rachel gets to her feet and lays her hand on your forearm. "Quinn?" You freeze. Her hand is on you. You're not use to being touched.
"I'm nervous," you whisper, withdrawing your hands from the sheet music and piano. Rachel releases your arm and ducks her head to try and catch your eyes.
"You're nervous? Why?" You give another half shrug as you push up your glasses. You still can't look her in the eye despite the warmth that is radiating off of her. She's being so careful with you. So unlike everyone else. You think of your Aunt Vanessa and the way she gets right up in your face to ask you why you don't talk. Or that boy Thomas that sits behind you in your class who flicks the back of your neck, laughing as he does so. Everyone else ignores you. So far, everyone in Quinn's world treats you like a snake ready to strike. But Rachel is careful. Like she can just tell.
"Well," Rachel begins, spinning back towards the piano as though you admission had never been uttered, "when I'm nervous I usually start off by singing something ridiculous. I feel like it's an excellent icebreaker. You don't have to sing if you do not want to, I'm merely just warming up as you decide which song you'd wish to start with." Her fingers are back on the piano keys as you stare at your shoes, squirming.
Rachel begins to play. It's familiar song, but you can't place it. You think it's kind of older but you're sure you've heard Frannie listen to it once upon a time. And then Rachel starts singing. Your head snaps up as you listen, her voice strong, clear, and melodic. She's smiling at you shyly as she sings the chorus, "If you steal my sunshine," and you're hypnotized by the teeth-y grin.
You can't take your eyes away from that smile, the one that lights up her eyes, and she doesn't look away from you. You can tell that her voice isn't at all challenged as she sings this particular song; that she's just playing it because it's silly and fun. She goofily dances on the bench as she fingers the keys on the piano, shrugging her shoulders along to the tune. You're smiling and can't help it.
You clap your hands enthusiastically when she finishes, and she bows, still seated, and giggles afterwards. "That was amazing!" you gush, completely forgetting your fear.
She blanches and her smile is wiped clean off her face as she stares at you, apparently surprised. "Thank you, Quinn," Rachel mumbles shyly, glancing down at her dormant hands. She pushes her hair behind her ear as you both grow quiet, until she clears her throat and looks up at you again, slightly flushed. "Did you pick a song?"
"Oh!" you jolt, forgetting why you're here with Rachel, and glance back down at the sheet music. You can read again, which is fantastic, but you're unfamiliar with most of the titles. While you love music, you're not exactly up-to-date on what's playing on the radio currently—never mindwhat's playing in the future. You prefer your mother's oldies. "I-I don't know these songs," you mumble self-consciously, still staring at the sheet music. You stare at one piece in particular and close your eyes as you image how it would sound played on the piano. You've already memorized the notes and can hear them played in your head. You like this song. You glance down at the words, however, and wrinkle your nose; it's a breakup song—not exactly relatable to you.
You imagine playing each song in your head, read the words, and move on to the next one. When you've gone through each, you look up to find Rachel staring at you intently. "Where did you just go?" she whispers, her eyes racing over your face, slightly breathless.
"I-I was playing the songs in my head," you mumble, glancing down at your shoes again. You hear Rachel slowly get to her feet until she's at your side.
"You can do that? Read the music and memorize it that quickly?" You nod and push up your glasses. "Wow," she breathes out. You're both silent as you stand there. Your head jerks up when Rachel quickly moves, hurrying over to her bag and pulling sheet music from within. As your eyes meet, she hesitates briefly before indicating the sheet music in her hands. "I-I brought more…I just…these are a little more…personal. I didn't want to…presume…but these may fit better?"
She pushes the old sheet music away and spreads out the new ones. You stare down at them and feel her eyes watching you as you repeat your process. She's so still and quiet as you work, commanding yourself to ignore her searching eyes and shallow breathing; as is, you can barely hear her breathing over your own.
One of the last ones makes you smile slightly, and you refrain from laughing ruefully. It's so fitting to how you see your family and everyone else in your life. You're familiar with it as well, funnily enough, because of your mother. It's another older song, but not the usual oldies that your mom cooks to.
"I like this one," you whisper as you point to Anything but Down by Sheryl Crow. But your eyes slide to the last piece and you pause. "And this one," you say with a little more confidence. Your breathing picks up as your eyes study the lyrics. Something deep inside you starts to take hold. Anger flairs within you as your mind drifts to Quinn. "I want to sing this one," you state.
Rachel licks her lips as she reaches across you to pick up My Happy Ending by Avril Lavigne. You can tell she hears the anger in your voice and backs up a little to give you more room. You think you scared her and feel badly about it, but you can't see past Quinn's glaring face in the piano to find the words to fix it. "This is a good choice, Quinn. May I ask why you've chosen this particular song?"
The softness and insecurity in her voice drains your sudden surge of anger, and you glance at Rachel from the corner of your eye to see her standing there, looking so small. You miss the way she smiled as she sang.
"I-" you clear your voice and fidget as you collect yourself. "I'm not sure," you settle on, because how can you explain that you're disappointed in your future self? How can you tell her that you are saddened by the way you've turned out? Friendless, lonely, and alone, unable to open up to anyone about anything. "I don't know," you whisper, glancing down.
Rachel sighs deeply beside you, glancing up as she appears to steel herself for what she's about to say. "Is this because of Finn?" she asks carefully.
You can't help it. You snort loudly. So loudly that you cover your mouth and nose as you blush at her, completely embarrassed yet, extremely amused. She's staring back at you with knitted eyebrows and a puzzled expression; almost as though she wants to laugh but unsure of your reaction. "It's not?"
You only manage to shake your head, palm still over your mouth, as you hold in your laughter. She's appraising you thoughtfully. "The song is notabout Finn?"
The idea seems so ludicrous to you that you'd sing a song about regret over that giant oaf that giggles bubble up inside of you until you're laughing against your hand. Rachel's face breaks slightly as you try and contain yourself, but the harder you begin to laugh, the more her expression turns into one of delight. "Why are you laughing?" she asks with a smile, clearly enjoying watching you.
"I'm sorry," you apologize, pushing up your glasses and shaking off the picture in your head of singing anythingto Finn Hudson that didn't include something you've seen on Sesame Street. Now you're laughing because you're picturing Finn clapping along to your rendition of the alphabet song; the oversized boy bobbing his head gleefully as he learns.
Soon, tears are streaming down both your faces. You're gripping the piano to stay standing, and Rachel is there right beside you clutching her waist. When you can finally breathe again, you remove your glasses to swipe at the tears in your eyes and smile at her. "No, Rachel, I was notthinking about Finn!" you assure her, still giggling every once and awhile at the thought.
"Noah, then?" she asks carefully. You roll your eyes as you shake your head.
"No…not that…" you pause and search for the best word. "I don't want to be rude…but Puck is…a bit of…an idiot," you say around a fresh wave of laughter.
Rachel's eyes widen at your admission. Well, technically, her eyes widened when you said you didn't want to be rude; they only got wider when you finished. "Oh thank, God, Quinn," Rachel breathes out, clutching her hand to her heart. "I was really hoping that you weren't interested in getting back with Noah after everything that happened with Shelby," she says, looking relieved. "That would have been…disturbing," she finishes, wrinkling her nose.
You can't ask who Shelby is, but you're interested. Puck brought her up earlier and now Rachel. You make a note of it to ask Quinn, but you're sure she won't tell you the truth. You're both quiet again. You're busy wondering what it would be like if Rachel called you Lucy instead of Quinn. It's not until you feel Rachel move closer towards you that you jolt out of your musings. "May-may I ask whyyou decided to go with this song?"
Your staring down at the piano, gaze glued there, very aware of Rachel's close proximity. You don't understand why your body is responding this way to her yet again. No, you don't appreciate when people are within your space, but you don't usually act thisway: racing heart, cold sweat, blood pounding in your ears. You take a moment to collect yourself as you think of an appropriate response. "It's to me," you whisper, glancing up from under your eyelashes to gauge her reaction.
She looks stunned by your admission. You wonder if it's because you opened up at all or because of your reasoning. You suddenly wantto open up to Rachel, though. She seems like someone that would make a great friend. She hasn't made you feel like a freak. She's been careful with you. She sang a silly song to make you relax. You like her. "I-I thought about Anything but Down by Sheryl Crow because…" you take a deep breath, "because of my family and…people," you whisper nervously. "And I…um…considered Kelly Clarkson's Behind These Hazel Eyes…because…well…I like Kelly Clarkson and I…uh…have hazel eyes," in your peripheral you see Rachel smile softly. "But…I just…wanna…sing this song to myself," you finish quietly.
Your heart only pounds harder when you feel Rachel place her hand on your arm. "Thank you for sharing that with me, Quinn," she whispers. You glance down at her hand on you, and you feel your pulse skip and then race faster.
"Sure," you mumble distractedly. If this is what sharing gets you, you're not sure how you feel. Your tummy is rolling uncomfortably, but it's not necessarily unpleasant.
"Would you like to sing now?" she asks quietly, also staring at the hand resting on your arm. You bob your head and she mirrors the action, both your eyes still trained on that tanned hand. You glance up at her as she gulps loudly. She watches as her hand slowly retracts from your arm. You both stand so still until she begins to blink harshly and turns around to head back to the piano bench. She fluffs her skirt, and you gasp when you catch a glimpse of her thigh, high up, close to…to…you shake your head as Rachel arranges the sheet music and lays her fingers on the keys.
"Um…" she swallows and shakes her head, her eyebrows furrowed. "Perhaps we should run scales before we jump into the song?" she asks, looking as though she's very confused suddenly. You swallow deeply as well. You're confused too. You're not sure what's happening. You feel lightheaded and your tummy is somersaulting marvelously.
"Can we sing the sunshine song again first," you mumble shakily as you push your glasses up with your palm. Rachel glances up at you sharply before letting out a dry sob that trembles.
"I think that's a very wisedecision," she answers thickly. She takes an impressively deep breath before she starts to play, like she's releasing whatever it is that's making her so nervous. You still don't know the words, but you manage to mumble "if you steal my sunshine" at the appropriate times along with Rachel. What you do is hardly singing, but Rachel is smiling again and doesn't ask you to participate further.
As soon as the song is over, Rachel gives you a beaming smile before quickly dancing her fingers up the keys as she sings, "Do-Re-Mi-Fa-Sol-La-Ti-Do," and down the scale again. You giggle at her antics, and she's laughing as well.
"Let's sing that one!" you exclaim suddenly, eyes wide in excitement.
Rachel blanches as she looks at you incredulously. "You want to sing Do-Re-Mi?" she nearly shrieks.
You bob your head elatedly. "It's one of my favoritemusicals."
Rachel's eyes threaten to bulge out of her head. "You like musicals!" she actuallyshrieks now. You nod, slower this time, because you know this is something that Quinn will certainly notbe happy you shared, and you avoid looking at the top of the piano in case you see Quinn's reflection. "If Sound of Music isn't your favorite, what is?" Rachel asks, still looking astonished.
You chew on your lip nervously, clutching your hands behind your back. "Um…I like Cats and-"
"I knewit!" Rachel cheers loudly as she jumps from the piano bench, pointing at you with a huge, colossal smile on her face. "I freaking knew it! There was no wayyou could know Cats ended so long ago without being a huge theatre fan!"
You have no idea what she's talking about. And you can't understand her animated babblings as she sits back on the piano bench. She's mumbling to herself, arms flailing, eyes looking up at the stage lights, going on about "Quinn Fabray," and "theatre enthusiast," completely ignoring you. But she seems so happy. "I can't believe you never toldme!" she cries out, but it doesn't appear as though she's actuallytalking to you. So you just giggling as you watch her freak out.
"This—we are notdone talking about this," she mutters and appears to have calmed down slightly. She places her hands back on the piano keys and shakes her head. She starts playing the beginning of Do-Re-Mi. "Quinn Fabray loves musicals…I…I'm at a loss, a completeloss," she says airily before shooting you a disbelieving smile. "What I wouldn't giveto be in your head," Rachel stresses. That comment makes your smile slide off your face and gulp. Rachel starts to sing. She looks pointedly at you when your turn to chime in hits. You quickly mumble "ABC," but your thoughts are with the dangerous way she said what she had said. Why you felt so funny when she mentioned wanting to know what you were thinking. Because, for some weird reason, you wanted to tell her. Everything. And you're sureQuinn wouldn't want that.
The song picks up, however, and you're torn between enjoying yourself and absolutely adoring Rachel's voice. Now that she has something to stretch her legs to, her voice sounds even better. Again you clap when the song is over. "Do Sixteen Going on Seventeen!" you beg, hands clasped pleadingly.
She is shaking her head and mumbling to herself as she starts to play the piece. "…no idea what is happening, but I'm so just going with it," Rachel mumbles before she jumps into the song. When it's all said and done, you've heard Rachel sing almost every song from the Sound of Music. You even contributed! You completely forgot all your fears and happily swayed and sang to Lonely Goatherd, aware that Rachel stared at you in bafflement, but smiled throughout each song all the same.
You didn't have time to go over My Happy Ending, however. Her father was there to pick her up, and you listened closely to her as you both made your way out to the parking lot, Rachel talking animatedly about different musicals. You bobbed your head when the time called for it, agreeing with everything she said. You were totally fine with just listening; her voice and the excitement in which she spoke made you smile.
When you're at her father's car, Rachel breaks off from her rant about Cats and gives you a beaming smile that makes you feel warm all over. "Where are you parked?" she asks, slightly breathless from all of her talking.
You push up your glasses as you glance down at your feet, grimacing as your stomach drops. "I…I didn't drive…" you mumble, completely forgetting that you were supposed to ask Santana for a ride home. You hear the sound of practicing going on not far off and wonder if it's the Cheerios. Even so, you do notwant to talk to Santana if you can help it. Her pointed looks and staring during glee made you uncomfortable. Santana = Sassy doesn't seem to really sum it up. Scaryis more like it.
"Well...I'd be…happyto give you a ride home," Rachel mumbles as she ducks her head. She pushes back her hair; something you notice she does when she's nervous. You push up your glasses.
"Um…that's okay, I-I can just-"
"Nonsense, Quinn, my father and I would be happy to give you a ride," she tells you with a shy smile.
You smile back, just as shyly, and nod. She beams again and spins to the car. "Daddy, we are giving Quinn a ride home," she proclaims before ripping the door open and throwing herself inside. You smile bashfully and turn to the backdoor, coming face to face with a glaring Quinn in the passenger window. You give her an excited smile and pile into the backseat.
Your conversation with Rachel is nonstop on the way to Quinn's house. Well…Rachel does all of the talking, so it's not reallya conversation. But you're bobbing your head throughout the whole thing as Rachel wraps her neck around the front seat to look at you. Her daddy is smiling in the driver's seat but doesn't say anything. All too soon you're pulling up to Quinn's house.
"We muststay late tomorrow as well so we can go over your song, Quinn. Daddy can drive you home again, isn't that right, daddy?" Rachel says, glancing at her father.
"That's just fine, Quinn," Rachel's daddy says, smiling at you through the review mirror. You smile back shyly and nod.
"Okay," you concede in barely a whisper.
"Excellent. I'm very excited to hear you tackle Avril. I'll see you tomorrow, Quinn," Rachel calls out through her window as you walk backwards to Quinn's house, waving at Rachel happily.
You're humming as you step through the front door, not really seeing Quinn, and twirl and dance your way up to her room. You make it up to her bedroom and toss your backpack down before throwing yourself back on her bed, giggling breathlessly. You just had the Best. Day. Ever! You squeal as you hug Lamby Lambiekins close to your chest and sigh as the magic of the day passes over you.
"Have fun?" you hear Quinn drawl out from the full-length mirror in your closet. You're aware of the subtle anger in her tone, but you can't find it in yourself to care. You flip over on your side and rest your elbow on the bed to prop yourself up so you can look at her. You can only nod ardently even though her face is red from anger.
You sit up and lean back on your hands behind you as you recall singing with Rachel. Watching Rachel sing. Laughing with Rachel. Listening to Rachel go on and on about things she's passionate about. In the mirror, Quinn looks moments away from bursting at the seams. But you just sigh deeply as you fall back onto the bed, the sheets rippling underneath you, and your arms spread out wide.
"Rachel Berry is just like…the coolest!" you breathe out dreamily.
"This is just perfect."
"The coolest," you shriek. "She's just…amazing!" you gush, squeezing the stuffing from Lamby.
"I heard you."
"She's just so…nice…and…cool…and her voice…" you sit up suddenly and stare at Quinn in the mirror. "How come you didn't tell me Rachel's voice is so extraordinary?" you ask, your voice rising sharply in pitch.
Quinn's jaw is clenching over and over again as she stares back at you, eyes hard. They're particularly green. Just like when you're about to cry or…
"Howcould you dothis to me, Lucy? How? One day, I gave you one day to be me and you destroyed everything!Sam, Mike, Mercedes, Tina…RACHEL BERRY! Do you not care? Do you even understand what you did? I have to go backto that life, Lucy, I have to go back to it and explain everything you messed up! How could you do that? I asked you to keep your big, fat mouth shutand you couldn't even do that right! What is wrongwith you?"
Your eyes are rimmed green as well now. But not from anger. You feel your lower lip tremble along with your chin as you stare at your future self.
"Thisis what I was trying to avoid! Thisis why Frannie taught me what she did! You keep your mouth shut and share nothing because it will alwayscome back to haunt you! And I sawthat look Santana gave you. I knowthat I'm going to have to deal with Puck again. I have so much damage control to do that I'm going to have to be a raggingbitchuntil it's all sorted out! Do you know how that makes me feel?"
"You don't haveto be that way," you mumble, thick tears rolling down your cheeks.
"Are you kidding?! Of courseI'm going to have to be like that, you idiot! Thisis why you don't have friends, Lucy, because you ruin EVERYTHING!"
You can't take it anymore. You out of the room and running down the stairs so quickly that you almost trip. You have no idea where to go; you just know it can't have any reflective surfaces. Your first instinct is your father's study, but you're not in your own home and daddy doesn't live at Quinn's. So you just collapse down on the bottom of the stairs as you sob.
You cry and cry, your body shaking with the pain of twelve years of failure and another six years that you never even lived. A muffled voice is coming from your wrist, and without thinking, you strip the watch off and fling it clear across the room. You don't watch as it slides across the kitchen floor and under the table. You just bury your face in your arms and cry through it all. You have no one. Quinn isn't close to any of her family. She has no friends. You have nowhere to go and no way of getting there even if there was some magical spot.
The house is almost completely dark when your tears finally abate; you've been crying for hours. You're hungry and cold and your mother isn't home yet. You sniffle as you drag your nose across the arm of your cardigan and lift your head weakly.
Slowly, you get to your feet. You need to eat something. You hardly ate your salad at lunch and only had an apple for breakfast. You're used to a lot more than that. Wearily, you drag yourself to the kitchen. You regret it immediately when you catch sight of Quinn in the microwave. "Lucy! I'm sorry!" she cries out. You place a dish towel over the front. "Please Lucy, let me explain!" she says from the oven. You place a chair in front of it.
The pantry consists of healthy choice foods and sugar-free snacks. The refrigerator is most empty besides some condiments, a bottle of wine, and a case of water. You slide down the counter and hug your knees close to your chest as your eyes well up again. "Lucy, please! I'm sorry!" Quinn pleads with you from the oven. Your eyes flick over her reflection where the chair doesn't quite cover and look away. "You have to understand, Lucy…You have to understand how I was raised and…and…everything!"
You feel so defeated. Twelve years is a long time to go without anyone. The idea that it only gets worse…that your older self hatesyou…that you hate your older self?
"Leave me alone, Quinn," you mumble as more tears fall.
You know she's crying too. You hear it in her voice and through her sniffles. She's crying even harder than you are. "Please, Lucy, just let me explain."
"What could you possibly say, Quinn?" you ask thickly. You remove your glasses and place them beside you as you wipe your eyes. "What could you possibly tell me that justifies…everything," you seethe, your voice getting raspier the angrier you get, shoving your glasses back on.
"Let me try?" Quinn asks. She hiccups softly around her tears and you sigh as you glance at her.
"Who's Shelby?" you ask suddenly. Your voice is commanding, though; you've never heard your voice like that before. Quinn gives a start, her tears stemming quickly as she just looks at you, mouth agape.
"What?" she mumbles hesitantly.
"Who's Shelby?" you ask again in irritation. "Both Puck and Rachel brought her up. So who is she?" Quinn flounders briefly.
"No-no one," she mumbles, her wide eyes giving her away, however.
"I don't have to take this," you grumble as you get to your feet, hell-bent on leaving the house just to get away from Quinn.
"Lucy, wait!" Quinn screams. You round on her, angrier than you've ever been in your life.
"You're a liarQuinn! You're a liar and a…and a…and a bitch!" Quinn gasps before her mouth clamps shut, looking properly admonished. It actually physically pains you not to cross yourself in that moment for your curse, but you won't back down now. "Everyone hatesyou, Quinn! They think you're mean! They avoid you in the halls and talk about you behind your back and are so surprised when you're actually nice! You don't open up to anyone. They know nothing about you! You have no friends. No boyfriend—even dumbboys don't like you! Who cares if you're a pretty, popular senior! You have nothing to show for it! No one to love you! NO ONE LOVES YOU, QUINN!"
You immediately know you've said the wrong thing. Not only because it's possibly the meanest thing you can say to a person, but it's also yourbiggest fear, and clearly it has grown over time. Because Quinn looks beyond astonished that you even said it. Her wide eyes look horrified. Before all that gives way and her face crumbles effortlessly into such sudden sadness that you can tell her worst fears have just been confirmed.
She doesn't sob loudly like you had earlier. But her body is shaking as quick tears roll down her red cheeks. The silence of her tears is hollow. She wraps her arms around her body as she sinks to the floor in your bedroom letting out—you just know—eighteen years of misery. She chokes around her sobs as her breathing rattles, her chest expanding to suck in the oxygen she needs to release her solitude.
You watch, never before feeling so utterly helpless. You can't wrap your arms around her, rocking, promising it can get better. Because you're just not sure if it can. It may be able to get better for you. You can start over. You can make changes. But Quinn's soul seems so lost that you're unsure if she can ever claw herself away from the darkness that she's surrounded herself with.
"Quinn," you whisper, getting on your hands and knees to approach her reflection in the oven, pushing away the chair. Her reflection so faint you wish you were in the bedroom so you could see her better. As is, the dark oven seems to reflect Quinn too well, only not visually. "Quinn," you try again, whispering her name as you stroke the reflection of her cheek. "Please don't cry, Quinn; I'm sorry. I'm so sorry I said those mean things about you. I was just angry.
"I'm angry that life is so hard for me; so hard for you. I'm angry because I know that you really tried and we never seem to be good enough," you choke out, your own tears starting again. "I knowyou tried, Quinn. I know that you thought listening to mommy, daddy, and Frannie was the right thing to do. I sometimes think they're right. We've always been the odd-man out in the family; you were just trying to fit in. I understand that now," you say, the pleading in your voice whispered but firm.
"I'm so sorry I failed you, Lucy," Quinn cries out, finally looking up at you, her tears spilling over rapidly. "I never wanted to be like this!"
"I know that you never wanted to be me, Quinn, I get that-"
"No," Quinn sobs, shaking her head frantically. "I never wanted to be Quinn!" The name is strangled and spit out. "Lucy, I love you! I love you!" she repeats, the fierceness in her voice making your tears halt. "You're good and sweet and pure! I should have neverchanged. I'm so sorryI failed you!"
You feel like you've been slapped you're so stunned. You swallow down your confusion as you blink up at her. "I-I don't understand," you breath. Quinn hastily wipes her tears away as she looks at you with conviction.
"I hateQuinn. She is a miserable little girl who has no idea how to open up. You were right; no one loves her. And I'm sickof being like this!"
"But…the way you look…?"
"Lucy, who careshow I look! If I don't love me why the hellwould anyone else?" Quinn shouts. You flinch, but it's more so because she's yelling at herself, not at you.
"Well..." you mumble, glancing around awkwardly trying to find the right thing to say, "what can we do about it?"
"I got a nose job."
You blanch and fall back on your butt, your hands no longer supporting your shock. "What?"
"You've musthave noticed, Lucy," she says, rolling her eyes at you, but not in the way she has all the other times. This is more about her own foolishness.
"You got a…"
"Nose job, yes," she says, nodding as she swallows down more tears. She suddenly looks stronger; resolved. Like she's about to truly and honestly give you all the answers you crave. You push your glasses up so they cover your wide eyes and scoot closer to the oven; ready and notready to deal with all of this. But it's now or never.
You squint to try and see through the dark reflection in the oven. "I-I just assumed my face grew the older I got and it…righted itself or something," you mumble lamely, suddenly wondering why you never noticed how differentit looks. So small and shapely. Nothing like your nose.
"Really, Lucy?" she asks you skeptically. You only shrug. Quinn sits up a little and tucks her legs underneath as she takes an almighty breath, eyes raised to the ceiling, until she's staring back at you. "Shelby is Rachel's mother; her biological mother."
You nod slowly, unsure why the big reveal is something as mundane as Rachel's mother. "Rachel's fathers—as in two, as in gay," she clarifies carefully so you'll understand. You nod…you guess you understand. "They used Shelby as a surrogate so they could have Rachel." Again you can only nod.
"I…I may have…been…Jesus I can't believe I have to do this," Quinn whispers. With another deep breath and a roll of her shoulders, Quinn's eyes are back on you, burning with intensity. "Puck…and I…had…" Quinn covers her face and exhales through her pursed lips. You scoot even closer to the oven, on the edge of your proverbial seat. "Puck and I…" she repeats, looking almost pained, "had…relations," she finishes, sucking on her teeth and only justmeeting your eyes.
Your eyebrows knit as you try and figure out what she means. "You had…"
"Relations, yes," Quinn mutters, eyes sliding closed.
"You have…relatives? You're related to Puck and YOU DATED HIM?" you scream, horrified beyond measure as you fall back on your hands.
"Ew, NO! Ew, Lucy, No! We're not related!"
"Well what the heck does 'relations' mean then?"
"We…had…intercourse," Quinn whispers frailly.
You mouth drops open as wide as possible as you stare at her, traumatized. "You WHAT?"
"Keep your voice down, Lucy!"
"I will not! You had intercourse with Noah Puckerman!" you admonish, completely scandalized. "That boywho has a Mohawk and drives a dirty truck and doesn't know the difference between Old Testament and Old School? Quinn how could you?" you reprimand, a hand to your heart as you gasp. "And how could you marryhim while in highschool? That is completely irresponsible and oh my, gosh you got a divorce! You got a divorce! You're not even twenty years old and you're already an old maid!" you shriek as you point at her accusingly.
Quinn is whimpering desperately up to the heavens, her palms covering her face as she shakes with aggravation. "Lucy-"
You stumble as you clamber to your feet. "This is appalling, Quinn, absolutely appalling! Divorced! We're divorced at eighteen!"
"LUCY!" Quinn screams over you, trying to be heard. "We're notdivorced because We. Never. Got. Married!"
You blink harshly down at Quinn's reflection as you stand stock-still, breathing heavily. "WHAT?"
Quinn scrubs at her face and sits up on her knees. "I had premarital sex, Lucy. As in, sex before marriage. I was sixteen years old. It was the biggest mistake of my life. I got pregnant. I was kicked off the Cheerios. Daddy kicked me out of the house. I moved in with my then boyfriend Finn. That's right; I was dating Finn while I had premarital sex, as in sex before marriage, with my then boyfriend's best friend, Noah Puckerman who got me pregnant. I lied and told Finn it was his even though I never had premarital sex—as in sex before marriage—with Finn. Finn found out, kicked me out of his house, and then I lived with Puck. Hated living at Puck's. Moved in with Mercedes and that's why she's my savior. I couldn't keep the baby so I gave it up for adoption to Shelby. Shelby who is Rachel's mother; biologically. Shelby moved away and then came back to Lima with Beth. Beth's the baby's name. Puck named her because he's a moron. I was so miserable from everything I had to put up with in my past, how I became—Quinn—and so alone from the fallout from everything I just told you that I went a little nuts. I dyed my hair pink, starting smoking cigarettes, drank, cut classes, got a ridiculous tattoo, and treated people like crap again. I changed my outward appearance into 'innocent Quinn' when Shelby came back because I wanted to see Beth. Things didn't work out so well. Puck started sleeping with Shelby because he wanted a family. I wanted that same family and didn't care who it was with. Went even nuttier. Long story short-"
"Too late," you tremble, frozen.
"I started just to fade into the background, hoping to get out of Lima and put everything horrible behind me in the hopes that one day, one day, I would finally be able to start with a clean slate and be the person that I've—we've—always wanted to be. I just keep my head down, buried in a book, and pray that nothing else happens to add on to all the fucked up shit I've already dealt with!"
Quinn is panting from exertion, winded from her long speech. You can't move a muscle, however, too shocked to form words or thoughts. You watch as Quinn collapses back down to the floor. She wipes her forehead with the back of her hand, breathing still labored. But suddenly, she's smiling. "Wow," she breathes out, her smile growing, "that felt reallygood to tell you."
Your mouth opens and closes as your legs tremble. You're surprised that you're unexpectedly face to face with her, unsure when your legs gave out. You stare at a softly smiling Quinn. It appears as though the weight of the world has been lifted from her shoulders. "Is that all?" you squeak out around your dry throat, aware of your shivering body.
Quinn's eyes snap to yours and her smile only gets wider. "Oh no, there's a lot of other horrible stuff I haven't even mentioned," she states, almost as though she's describing the weather. "I haven't even touched on Rachel Berry…or what I tried to do this year when I wanted to try and have a family of my very own."
You nod dumbly—not sure why—and your body caves in on itself yet again. "This is a lot to take in," you mumble, eyes staring unseeing.
"Hmmm, I suppose it would be," Quinn says as she nods calmly. "I feel greatthough," she confirms. "Getting all that stuff off my chest to you makes me feel lighter or something."
"Good for you," you mumble, your brain mush.
"I guess this is the definition of facing your demons, ya know? The ultimate cleanse: facing yourself and all of your trespasses."
"I don't even rememberthe last time I've smiled this much," she says with a chuckle. "Lucy? Lucy, are you going to be okay?" she asks sympathetically.
"Huh? Oh…um…yeah; just give me a minute here."
"Take your time."
It's so silent that you can hear the ticking of the grandfather clock in the living room as you try and wrap your head around everything. It really isa lot to take in.
"Should I tell you about Rachel Berry now, or do you need another minute?" Quinn whispers carefully, seemingly more than fine with continuing this cleanse.
"I'ma need a minute," you murmur, still staring off in the distance.
"That's fine," she shrugs, not a care in the world suddenly. "I'm actually looking forward to the mini Comic Con at Mike's this weekend," she says airily. "It's been foreversince I got to talk to anyone about this stuff; and even then it was just through internet chat sites." You bob your head and Quinn starts humming something that sounds a lot like My Favorite Things. "Rachel's voice really isextraordinary," Quinn breathes out. "You should hear her sing…well, anything, really, but Don't Rain on my Parade is spectacular. I teared up when she sang it at Sectionals sophomore year.
"And it's completely understandable that you like her so much. I should have told you, but I reacted the same exact way you did when I saw Rachel for the first time freshman year." Quinn's voice is so conversational it's unnerving. You're a mother! You had sexat sixteen. With Puck! You…you can't even…your head is a messright now!
"Is now a good time to mention that I'm gay and in love with Rachel Berry?"
"Quinnie! I'm hooome!"
"Shit, Judy; just act cool, Lucy."
"Oh; there you are, Quinn. What're doing on the floor?" your mother asks as she bustles into the kitchen carrying several different bags from the food store. "Quinn," Judy says, frowning down at you as she places the bags on the counter, "what's wrong? You've been crying."
You blink up at her helplessly, mind completely blown. "I-I-I…"
"Up you get, missy," Judy says as she drags you to your feet. "Quinn!" Judy shrieks, catching you before you fall. "What is the matter with you?" she mumbles and places you into the chair you had in front of the oven earlier. "Absolutely crazy these days, I'll tell you what…" Judy mumbles, sweeping off to put away her bags of food. You wish you were in Harry Potter's world and had a Pensieve; somewhere to place all your rapid thoughts.
You whimper and hear Quinn make a noise down next to you. "You just need to eat something, Lucy; you'll feel better." You bob your head and stare at the floor as Judy moves around you, putting food away and setting up for dinner. She babbles as she goes, turning on the radio that plays oldies, and fills you in on her day at work. Your mother apparently works in the future. Your crowded mind grasps onto that one piece of information—what you can actually make sense of—and wonder what she does. You reallycould use a Pensieve.
You hear Quinn sing along to the Four Tops as they play on the radio, like absolutely nothingis wrong. It's unnerving. "Shut UP!" you hear yourself scream, suddenly on your feet.
The Four Tops are just finishing up and disc jockey starts babbling away as your mother stares at you speechless and surprised. "Geez, Luce, calm down," Quinn scolds lightly from the oven and microwave.
"Quinnie! What's the matter?" Judy asks you, slightly scandalized.
"What's the matter?" you yell, hands clawing at your short blonde hair. "What's the matter? What's the matter is that you gave birth to a complete loon!" you scream at Judy, hands fisted at your sides.
Her manicured eyebrow shoots up as loaf of bread dangles from her hand. Next to her, reflected in the microwave, Quinn is giving the exact same expression. "What's Frannie done now?" Judy asks evenly as she turns away to place the bread down. She leans against the counter and folds her arms across her chest, giving you her complete attention.
"Frannie," you mumble in frustration, tugging at your hair. "I'm talking about Quinn," you huff out quietly.
"Lucy, just calm down and eat something. Have some bread; it might make you feel better," Quinn says sagely. You're one more sympathetic smile from Quinn away from snapping!
"Quinnie, I have a Valium upstairs if you think it would help," Judy says just as Aretha starts blasting from the radio. "Oh! I love this song!" Judy shrieks and turns up the volume.
"Oh, me too!" Quinn agrees with a smile.
"I'M A GAY!" You scream over Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing.
"LUCY!" That shut Quinn up. Annnnnd your mom.
"Gay! That's right; I'm a GAY! A big ol' lesbian!"
"Lucy! What the actual FUCK!" Quinn thunders, looking livid.
"Two can play at this game!" you hiss at Quinn.
"Lucy! Lucy, don't!" she mumbles, now petrified.
"You think you can just drop all that…stuff on me and be fine?!" you scoff at Quinn. "You have another thing coming, missy!"
"Quinn?" Judy whispers, sounding scared.
You round on Judy, shoulders back, chest out, justlike she always commanded of you, and give her a twisted smile. "I'm a gay, mother. And you're just going to have to accept that!" you nod.
"I canNOT believe you, Lucy!" Quinn roars. You stick your tongue out at her. "Well guess what I'm going to do!" You roll your eyes at her. "I'm going to go smoke a cigarette! HA!"
Your body jerks back at her. "You wouldn't!" you cry out horror-struck.
"Watch me, Lucy!"
You gape after her for a moment before you're smiling. "And where are you going to get cigarettes?" you ask, confident she won't have an answer. "You're only twelve; no one will sell them to you."
"Frannie smoked in high school, Luce. And she always kept the pack in her underwear drawer; I found them after she moved out," she gloats, sticking her tongue out at you this time. Quinn's backdrop keeps changing as she goes in and out of rooms until she's smirking back at you. Behind her, you can see she's in Frannie's room, and she rattles the pack of Camels at you before scratching a match against its book.
"Quinn!" you shriek, lunging forward towards the microwave as though you can prevent what comes next. But you can't.
"Ooohhhh God, that's good," Quinn moans as she inhales deeply on the cigarette. You can only watch, appalled, as Quinn smokes in your twelve-year-old body.
"Quinnie?" you hear whispered hesitantly. Without removing your eyes from Quinn, you slightly turn your head in your mother's direction to let her know you're listening. "Quinnie? Are you feeling okay?" your mother asks very carefully. Of course what she has just witnessed is sure to freak her out beyond belief; you were just screaming at the microwave…and speaking in the first person. You're sure you should make up some lie, comfort her somehow, but Quinn just lit another cigarette with the first; you're too astonished to comfort her now.
So, instead of assuring your mother you're not bat-crap crazy, you do the most logical thing. You turn to her and say: "And I'm in love with Rachel Berry!"
You watch as your mother's eyes expand so wide that you're sure she just undid everything her plastic surgeon worked so hard on; you just scared the Botox out of her. But no reaction is better than Quinn's. She had just taken a rather large puff on her second cigarette and promptly choked on the darn thing at your admission. She's coughing up her lung and you grin haughtily back at her. Her face morphs into one of complete fury before it flickers into a smirk. "Now where does mother keep the gin again? Oh…that'sright; next to her bed!"
"QUINN!" You watch as she floats in and out of rooms again as you squirm on the spot, biting your nails as you dance on the tip of your toes like you got ants in your pants. "Quinn, you can't do this, Quinn!" you cry out, watching as she raises the bottle to her lips, smirking mockingly at you in Judy's room. "You're going to destroy the space-time continuum by stunting our growth and ailing our lungs and liver!"
"You can take your space-time continuum, Lucy, and shove it up your ass!" she shrieks before gulping down the gin. Your back slams into the stove as you watch Quinn suck down the alcohol, hands covering your mouth in terror.
"I'LL TELL RACHEL!" you finally shout, having enough of watching Quinn destroy your body. Quinn yanks the bottle from her lips spraying the mirror in front of her as the gin spouts out in her shock.
"YOU CAN'T DO THAT!" Quinn snarls, her palms flat on the mirror like she's trying to fall through it.
"I can and I will!" you tell her with a threatening thrust of your finger. "I'm sorry I told mommy, but how did you expect me to behave? You said all that stuff and acted as though nothingwas wrong!"
Quinn's eyes pop. "Oh, God, Lucy! Mom! What is she doing? Is she passed out on the floor?"
You glance over to your mother and gulp before looking back at Quinn. "She's not looking so good," you whisper apprehensively. "Kinda green."
"Well stop talking to me!" Quinn admonishes, "It's only going to freak her out even more!"
You shrug, properly chastised. "Sorry, what am I supposed to do? You keep talking to me!"
"Just-just, takeher up to her room and put her to bed. When she wakes up tell her she dreamt the whole thing."
"Okay," you nod. You turn back to your mother and approach her carefully. "Mommy, how about a nap?" you ask carefully in a soothing voice.
Judy nods a little unsurely as you take her by the arm. "I think I should lie down now," she mumbles in a haze.
You guide your mother up the steps and to the first bedroom on the left. She slides into the bed as you turn out the lights. "You're-you're not myQuinn…are you?" she asks fearfully, like a little child. You shake your head at her as you push up your glasses. "Lucy?" she asks, cocking her head thoughtfully. You smile sadly at her as you tuck her in. "Oh," Judy mumbles, already curling up. "Perhaps I took the Vicodin instead of the Valium," she breathes out as her eyes slip shut.
"I'm sure that's it," you answer before moving towards the door.
"Either way," Judy mumbles thickly, "I missed you, Lucy." Your eyes catch Quinn's in the mirror over your mother's bureau. Quinn drops her gaze first, almost as though she's ashamed. You, on the other hand, can't help but let your eyes fill with tears.
"I missed you too, mommy," you whisper as your face crumbles. You're not entirely sure you ever really had a mother, but you know that you miss the way she used to make you feel.
After making a quick pasta dish for dinner, you tiredly sit on the floor in front of the full-length mirror in Quinn's closet as the two of you stare at one another quietly. You're not even sure what to say. Judy probably won't address the gay thing with you; she's incredible at repressing, and Quinn tells you as much after a prolonged silence. You just shrug back. "I'm sorry I told her anyway," you mumble to Quinn.
Quinn nods a little before she sighs, leaning back against the base of your bed. "It's my fault," she mumbles. "I shouldn't have said all that to you; it was a bit much for anyone to take—myself included," she says with a roll of her eyes.
"I wish I had a Pensieve," you whisper as your fingers fumble in your lap. You're both quiet again until you feel the need to talk, to make sense of it all. "So…we're gay?" you ask, titling your head.
Quinn blows out a breath and nods. "I think so, yeah," she tells you, running her fingers through her hair wearily.
Your back thumpsagainst Quinn's bed as you look around her bedroom. It has officially been the longest day of your life. "What's that like?" you ask, truly curious and with more than a little trepidation. You're not sure you want to hear the answer.
"Um…" Quinn ducks her head, and when she looks up, she doesn't meet your eye. "I don't really know how to answer that," she mumbles.
You nod your head. "Do you think…" You feel your eyes water again, and you take your glasses off to swipe furiously at the tears. "Do you think I could be…ungay?" you ask breathlessly.
Choked, painful laughter gets caught in her throat and she looks at you. "I don't…I don't think so, Lucy."
You nod again. "So no one knows? What am I saying; of course no one knows," you say to yourself. You take a deep breath and meet her gaze. "You weren't planning on telling anyone, ever, were you?" Quinn shakes her head as her lips purse. "So why did you tell me?" She gives a shrug. You lean back against her bed and stare at her. She's looking anywhere besides at you.
"Maybe in college I would have told someone. I'd probably get drunk every weekend throughout my whole first semester so I could blame the alcohol while I kissed girls. Soon I'd develop an alcohol dependency. Fail out. Become an alcoholic. You know…all that self-loathing stuff," she tells you with a shrug.
Your eyes are wide at her description. It's a tad too accurate for you to be anything else but scared; you could see Quinn living that life. "I'd probably still marry a man, though. Cheat on him," Quinn finishes with another shrug. She still has the gin from your Judy's room and takes a sip. Your brow furrows as you watch her, but you realize that you're not the only one dealing with all of this; Quinn's just as confused as you are.
"So…all those boys you dated…?" you ask, trailing off because you're unsure of exactly what you're asking.
"Just a cover," Quinn sighs. "I was expected to date a nice boy, so I did."
"But…you got pregnant," you breath out and promptly cover your face, still beyond flabbergasted that in four years time you'll be a mother.
Quinn takes another gulp of gin and caps the bottle, setting it aside. "Finn was my first boyfriend," she explains softly as she stares at her lap. "When I wasn't acting like all the other girls—wasn't boy crazy—I cheated on him with Puck. All the girls in school were hooking up with Puck, so..." She falls quiet and you give her the moment she needs. When she looks back up at you she has tears in her eyes again. "You have to understand that I was just so confused. I-I knew there was something off. I could tell that my reaction to women wasn't-wasn't normal. I just need to see if…"
You nod in understanding, again wishing that you could comfort her. "I know, Quinn. I-I," you sigh heavily, feeling older than you really are. "I feel the same way."
"I remember," Quinn says with a watery smile. "I remember watching the L Word and being way too intrigued for it to be just about a show." She heaves a great sigh and wipes her tears away. "And then there's Santana and Brittany."
"Santana is scary," you tell her, making her laugh.
"She is…and also…isn't. She gives us a hard time because…because I thinkshe can tell we're hiding something."
"We are. We hide everything," you tell her in exasperation.
"Yeah, but…you know that expression: birds of a feather-"
"Flock together. Yeah, what about it?" you ask, eyes narrowed.
"Well…out of the whole squad, Brittany, Santana, and I always gravitated towards one another. I think it's because of the…gaything," Quinn whispers. "We've never talked about it or anything, but I saw something in them, and they probably saw something in me…and," Quinn shrugs and picks the gin back up.
You're quiet as you mull Quinn's logic over in your head. You watch as she takes a nervous sip of the liquor. "You know," you say, meeting her eye, "you really couldwreck the space-time continuum by smoking and drinking in my body. It's just like in Back to the Future Two when old Biff stole the Sports Almanac and gave it to 1950's Biff," you say sagely.
Quinn chuckles as she caps the gin. "Fine," she sighs.
"And you probably shouldgo to school for me…you know…just in case; my GPA is perfect."
Quinn sucks on her teeth as she eyes you. "Fine," she says between her teeth.
"Lucy, don't push your luck!"
"Sorry, sorry!" you say, holding up your hands. "Great googily moogily you're in a bad mood a lot." She glances down at her lap but you can tell she's smiling. You want to continue making her smile, so you decide to change the subject for now. "So…are you really excited for this weekend's mini Comic Con?"
Quinn chuckles and looks up at you, eyebrow raised. "It could be fun."
You bob your head and push up your glasses. "And maybe…we could see if Tina and Mercedes would like to get together beforehand?"
Quinn nods slowly. "If you'd like."
"And…maybe…we could see if Rachel would like to do something Sunday?" you ask hopefully, biting your lip.
Quinn huffs. "Why not just ask her out on a date Friday, Lucy?" Quinn asks. Her voice is dripping with sarcasm, but you don't pick up on it. Instead, you shoot her a look of disbelief.
"Friday? Quinn, I'll be reading the final Harry Potter all Friday!" Quinn laughs as she shakes her head. "Oh my, goodness! All the movies are out in the future, aren't they? AYYYYYYYYY! WE'LL ASK RACHEL TO WATCH THEM WITH US!" you scream, hopping to your feet and running circles around Quinn's bedroom, jumping on and off the bed as your arms flail in the air.
When the alarm goes off bright and early in the morning, you're prepared. You laid out your clothes the night before, packed your backpack with your finished homework and a snack and lunch, and spit-shined your glasses; you're all set.
Once you are out of the shower you greet Quinn in the bathroom mirror; she doesn't appear as happy as you. "Look at it this way," you tell her around a mouth-full of toothpaste, "you already finished sixth grade; it won't be hard," you say before spitting in the sink.
"It's not the homework I'm worried about," Quinn grumbles as she leafs through your closet in your bedroom. "Your closet is, like, where Rachel Berry's clothes go to die!"
"Hey! Don't talk about Rachel that way!" you say as you flip your hair back and forth like Quinn instructed. "And I like her clothes," you say with a pout.
"Hmm," Quinn hums, "I'll bet."
"You like her too!"
Quinn huffs and pulls out dress you don't remember owning. "You really don't need to bring it up every five minutes, you know."
"Why? Cause you always blushwhen I say it?" you ask playfully, giving her a big smile. Last night the two of you stayed up late again talking. About everything really. By the end of the night, as both of your eyelids drooped, you felt almost at peace. You could tell Quinn felt the same. She explained everything she revealed earlier to you in greater detail. Her reasoning throughout it all made sense. Why she behaved the way she had in high school, so mean. You feel closer to her now. You feel protective of her.
Quinn rolls her eyes at you as she gets dressed. "It doesn't change the fact that there's a six-foot-three-inch obstacle in our way; Finn and Rachel aren't breaking up. There's no point, Lucy. The sooner you realize that the better."
"They could break up," you shrug.
At that, Quinn laughs loudly. "Lucy, they aren't breaking up."
"Well why not?" you ask indignantly.
Quinn huffs again. "Because love is blind."
"Love isn't blind," you mumble as you push up your glasses. "If it was, I'dhave a boy-er-girlfriend," you fix quickly.
Quinn gives you a look as she sits on your bed and slips into a pair of heels you only wear to weddings and funerals. "I said loveis blind; not lust. When you're in love you're completely incapable of finding flaws in your partner. You just overlook them; especially if you're Rachel Berry."
"But, if someone pointed out those flaws," you singsong.
Quinn's shaking her head again. "She won't listen, Lucy. When you're in love you believe that love can conquer all. She wants to go to New York, she wants to be with Finn, and she believes love with get them both there."
"Well that's just silly," you frown.
"That's love, Lucy."
You watch Quinn prepare a bag that belongs to Frannie, stuffing your sixth grade homework in the stylish purse. "Well…what are we going to do to win Rachel over?"
Quinn stops what she's doing and moves closer to your closet mirror. "Luce, I know you want to help me. And I know you like Rachel. But that doesn't mean that two things are related. Rachel wants Finn; not us. That's just something you're going to have to get over. Put it out of your mind."
You frown again. "I think I hear Puck's truck," you tell her disdainfully.
When you reach the front door, Quinn is smiling sympathetically at you in the glass. "We're going to be okay. We'll get out of here, go to Princeton, and get to start over. Okay?"
You only nod back, not sure what else to say. It seems Quinn has given up on Rachel…on everythinghere, really. But you haven't. Last night when you were lying in bed, you started to plot ways in which to win over Rachel Berry for Quinn. You asked your future self all about the girl in hopes of finding ways to, not only break her and Finn up, but worm your way into Rachel's heart. When Quinn gets back to the right side of the mirror, you want her to have something to come back to—you want love in your future.
"Hiya, Puck," you greet as you slide into his truck. He's eyeing you closely before pulling away from the curb.
"No makeup today?" he asks skeptically.
You take your makeup bag from your backpack and show it to him. "I thought you could do it again."
"Still blind from your contacts?" He sounds distrusting.
"Those things are dangerous," you tell him darkly. Quinn wasn't exactly pleased when you texted him the night before for a ride. But since you knoweverything now, you convinced her there was no harm. And plus, you really don't think you could do your makeup properly. Quinn was hopefully that when you'd both wake up, you'd be on the right sides of the mirror. You texted Puck just in case. Again, Quinn grumbled when she woke up and realized she was still in her past. Youwere just excited to give Quinn a present and yourself a future.
"See ya later, baby mama," Puck says as you part ways in the parking lot, your makeup again Puckerman testing and Puckerman approved.
"Later, daddy-o!" you shout back.
"You knowhe calls you that because he's Beth's father, right?" Quinn asks from your wristwatch as you skip up the school steps.
You halt before the double doors and consider that. "Oh! That makes somuch more sense now! Huh." You chuckle to yourself as you bob your head down the hallways despite the many looks you are getting. In the reflection of different surfaces, you can see Quinn is on the bus, on her way to sixth grade again; you find this funny as well.
Humming, you open your locker and replace your books. You have a good feeling about today. You'll chat with Sam in homeroom, have Kurt check your makeup in first period, discuss the weekend with Mike in Advanced Chemistry, hopefully meet Rachel at your locker, and get to those classes you missed yesterday on account of being love-struck.
"What's so funny?" Quinn asks irritably from your locker mirror.
"Did you really act the same way when you first saw Rachel?" Quinn sighs heavily as she stares at you in the glass on the yellow school bus, her head lolling off to the side on her seat.
"Yes," she mumbles quietly, seeming to look passed your own reflection in the bus' glass to stare out at the scenery.
You beam at her and shut your locker. "Dork," you whisper into your watch, on your way to homeroom.
"You behaved the same!" she defends in a growl.
"I'm twelve. Youwere fifteen!" Predictably, she rolls her eyes.
You take a seat in homeroom and wait for Sam to arrive. While you wait, you look over your assignments, pleased, and go over your plan to get Rachel Berry for Quinn. Cause you like Rachel. You think she'spretty and sweet. She's smart, too. And has a lovely voice. The thought of kissing her makes your heart race, though; you're not sure you're ready to kiss anyone. But Quinn would probably like to kiss her.
"I can't believe I'm about to do this," Quinn mumbles. You look down at your watch as she gets off the bus. "I apologize ahead of time if you come back to this side of the mirror expelled from school for talking back to teachers and starting fights."
Just as you're about to respond to that completely serious statement from your future self, Sam takes the seat beside yours, smiling broadly. You can only hope that Quinn contains herself better than you seem to have. You're not hopeful.
Your day is pleasant, though. No run-ins with Rachel, but you solidified plans with Mercedes and Tina over lunch for a "girl's day" Saturday, and the mini Comic Con later that night over Mike's. They brought Artie along to eat lunch and, while you think he's a nice boy, you did not at all feel comfortable with the way he kept giving you shy smiles. He too will be attending the mini Comic Con.
It's glee time now and you're so excited to finally see Rachel that you forget about the things you aren'texcited about. Like explaining to Mr. Schuester—who everyone calls Mr. Schue—that you will be performing tomorrow after you rehearse with Rachel following glee. And then there are more shy smiles from Artie. And Santana = Scary. Shedoesn't hesitate to take the seat next to yours, smirking mysteriously at you as she does so, Brittany at her side.
You take a deep breath and return the smile—yours is a little sweeter—and hope she isn't mean. Although, Quinn didsay she isn't that scary. She probably only wants you to be honest about yourself so you can grow deeper as friends. You'd ask Quinn her thoughts on telling Santana that you're gay, but she's busy with otherthings. What those things are, you have no idea, however, because she didn't wear a watch. The only watch you own is an exact replica of the one from Power Rangers, and she down-right refusedto be seen with it. You don't know why; you saved up two months worth of allowances for it.
Throughout the day you caught glimpses of her as she passed in front of reflective surfaces. You know that she wore a pair of Frannie's contacts, dressed nothing like you'd dress, and planned on taking "shit from nobody." You're kind of terrified to find out how her day went as a sixth grader again. Because, honestly, Quinn kind of scares you more than Santana.
"What'cha thinking about, Quinnie?"
You turn your head to your left to see Santana smirking at you and Brittany awaiting your answer. Well…that seemed nice. You hate the nickname, but she's interested in how you are. There's nothing wrong with that. "I'm nervous," you tell her honestly. You watch both their faces contort in confusion before Santana is smiling again.
She asked sweetly, smiling widely, so you want to repay her kind attitude. "I'm nervous about singing with Rachel later and singing in front of everyone tomorrow," you whisper, leaning over to get closer to them.
Again, Santana's face twists into surprise, but it's so fleeting that you almost missed it. "And whyare you singing with Berry?" Santana asks, this time with some annoyance.
Your eyebrows furrow. Santana has been in glee club for the past two years, she mustknow how amazing Rachel is. "Because she's an incredible singer and really nice," you respond, trying your best to not use your "are you slow?" voice.
"Yeah, but, we like, hate or something. I'm not really sure; it changes," Brittany supplies airily. "Like, sometimes Santana wants me to be mean, and other times I'm supposed to just ignore her, but mostly I just want to put her on my shelf with my other stuffed animals…even if she kind of creeps me out. She's like my ET doll; I just don't know how to feel about her."
You're not entirely sure how you're supposed to take what you just heard. Brittany = Bubbly…so…where's the bubble? You look to Santana to take your cue, but she's just smiling lovingly at her girlfriend. Maybe Brittany was being sarcastic? Or maybe it's supposed to be funny? This may require more research.
"I know what you mean about ET, Brittany. I spent most of the first half of that movie a little scared. But then, he was kind of cute. Like, when he was wearing the hat? And the ending made me cry. But still, he's not really aesthetically pleasing."
"Just like Rachel," Brittany nods sagely.
Again, your brows furrow. "I think Rachel is aesthetically pleasing," you defend.
Beside you, Santana's eyebrow shoots up, but Brittany looks confused. "Because of her legs?" she asks, eyes narrowed.
You cock your head, not sure if you remember Rachel's legs. "I'm not sure. I just meant that she has really pretty eyes and smile."
Brittany bobs her head in agreement, and in your peripheral, you see Kurt turn his head slowly to stare at you looking incredulous. You give him a smile and a wave before turning back to your Rachel discussion. "She was sosweet to me yesterday, and played any song I asked her to on the piano, singing along. Do you know that song: 'if you steal my sunshine'?" you sing quietly. Brittany beams while Santana just looks at you like you're crazy. "Well, she sang that for me because I was nervous. I thought it was a really sweet gesture."
"Okay, whatare you even talking about? You're making less sense than usual," Santana states, holding her hands up as she looks at you through wide eyes.
You're confused. "Do you not know the song?"
"She knows it," Brittany says, wrapping her arm around Santana. "She sings it to me sometimes." You awww at the admission while Santana blushes. Santana = Scary doesn't seem so scary anymore.
"That's so cute," you say to a nodding Brittany. Santana looks angry, however. You feel like you have to make her understand that there is nothingwrong with being gay and that you're –obviously—completely fine with it. "Seriously, Santana, if Ihad someone to sing that song to me, I'd so beswooning!"
"Okay, guys!" Mr. Schue calls out, getting everyone's attention. You look away from a confused Santana to face front. Kurt is stillstaring at you like you're insane. But you block it all out when Rachel strides in the room, Finn at her heels.
"Sorry I'm late, Mr. Schuester, but I was running copies," Rachel explains before taking a seat beside Finn in the front of the room. You're only extremelydisappointed she didn't sit near you again, but only just extremely.
"That's okay, Rachel. I think Sam is going to start us off today on our Anger-Management lesson." As Sam jumps to his feet, guitar in hand, you see Rachel twist in her chair. She smiles at you and waves the sheet music.
"For later!" she mouths, beaming. You smile back and nod, really, truly happy that she thought of you and acknowledged your presence even though she didn't sit next to you.
"Did you just smile at Rachel?" Santana asks in indignation. You stare for a moment longer at the back of Rachel's head before looking at Santana.
You're not entirely sure why Santana's face keeps scrunching up like that. It may be a facial tic…so you don't want to ask her about it; it may hurt her feelings.
Sam's song is another one that is unfamiliar to you. It sounds country. Everyone claps, sings, and dances along. You do your best to support your friend, and he smiles his thanks to you.
"Oookay, Smiley McSmiles, what's your deal today?" Everyone else is preoccupied with joining Sam, so you and Santana are alone to talk in the back.
"What do you mean?" you whisper unsurely.
"You're acting like a freaking pod-person. Stumble on Judy's happy pills, did we?"
You frown at her, actually upset and rather hurt by the dig. "Santana, my mother's alcohol and pill addiction isn't really something to make light of."
For the first time, Santana looks surprised and doesn't try to cover it up. "Shit, Q, I'm sorry. I-I was just-I didn't think-"
"It's okay," you tell her calmly, placing a hand on her arm. It's not her fault that she hit the nail on the head; Quinn doesn't tell her friends anything. "You didn't know. I'm not even sure what to do about it; she's been like that as long as I can remember."
Santana gulps heavily as Sam's song wraps up. You jump to your feet to clap, slightly guilty that you were preoccupied through most of his song. Once he's seated, Puck gets to his feet to take his turn. "Do you want to talk about it?" Santana asks quietly. Unfortunately, Puck's song isn't as fun as Sam's was. He plays Father of Mine on his guitar softly, and you're really unable to talk with Santana. So you just give her a sad smile and a shrug. She nods back, and you watch as Brittany places her head on Santana's shoulder, listening intently to Puck's singing.
"You guys really are cute together," you whisper to Santana. Her face is contorting again, but in mild amusement. You're fairly certain that she doesn't have a facial tic now; she's just a very emotional and animated person facially.
"Did you drive to school today? I didn't see your car?" she whispers. You shake your head sadly. "Need a ride?" You beam back and smile. "I'll meet you in the parking lot after I'm done Cheerios."
Santana isn'tscary, you think! She's actually reallysweet! Quinn was right; you just need to open up more with her! Now you're superexcited for your ride hooooooh no! Rachelwas going to give you a ride home! You already accepted the invitation and confirmed it with her father! It would be rude now not to. And plus…you'd really rather spend the extra time with Rachel.
"Actually, is there any way we could hang out later today?" you whisper. Her eyebrow quirks—so much like Quinn's it's endearing—and she tilts her head in question. "I already told Rachel I'd get a ride home from her. But we can hang out when I get home? You can come over!" Applause echoes around the room as Puck finishes his song. You clap politely as well as you watch Santana think about your offer.
"Yeah…okay. That's cool," she tells you carefully, almost as though she doesn't know how to react. "Can Britts come too?" You bob your head, getting even more excited. "All right, Fabray we'll come over after practice." Artie is wheeling himself to the front of the room for his turn and you face forward. Kurt is staring at you again, but you ignore him; if he's gay, he sure likes to look at you a lot.
You're not quiteas nervous to be with Rachel as you were the day before. Mostly because she immediately starts playing the sunshine song as you get on stage. It's almost like it's your thingnow. You and Rachel have a thing. What's that phrase friends use? An inside joke! This is one of those. You have one now…with a friend! But this can't just be about friendship, though. No. Not only do you get to spend time with Rachel, but this is also now about wooing her. About making her see Quinn as not only best friend material, but future girlfriend material.
"Are you ready to perform Happy Ending?" Rachel asks as the song ends. Oh boy, you aren't ready for that at all! What if when you open your mouth to sing squeaking comes out? Or you're pitchy? Or sharp? Or you can't read any longer and are unable to sing the words?
"Actually," you say, elongating the word as you shift where you stand, "I was wondering if you could…if you wanted to that is…maybe share your favorite song with me?" Rachel looks shocked at your question, like she can't believe you asked or cared.
You watch as her mouth opens and closes a few times, and her hands fall away from the piano keys. She looks away from you and quickly pushes her hair behind her ears. "I-I mean…you've heardme sing my favorite song…so…um…we don't really need to…Idon't really need to-"
"But you've never played it justfor me," you say, taking a step closer to her. She blinks up at you owlishly before dropping her gaze to her lap. Whew, you took a chance on that just for me line. It makes sense though: why would Rachel Berry everplay Quinn her favorite song—they were never friends.
"I-I could, I guess, although I'm unsure why you'd like me to."
"Because I like hearing you sing," you whisper. "And I especially like hearing you sing songs that you really love. There's a difference, you know, in how you perform them. You can tell that…you're more passionate," you finish quietly, wishing you could come off more confident. You've practically scripted—okay, you didn't practicallyscript what you were going to say, you did script the whole thing—each word out and wanted to be Quinn. Wanted to wink and smirk at Rachel. Flirt. You don't know the first thing about flirting, however.
Rachel slowly raises her head until she's staring at you from beneath her eyelashes. She looks shy and confused. "Why?" she whispers so quietly that all you hear is vulnerability.
You're unsure now. Your step falters and you push up your glasses nervously. You're not really sure what you're stepping into. Suddenly, everything seems so real. You're playing a grownups game and you're only twelve. Howare you supposed to convey to Rachel that you want her to sing her favorite song because she's so pretty to look at when she's singing what she loves? You can't be coy. You only justlearned the meaning of the word! No, seriously, you read it in a book you found lying in Quinn's room about a florist and stable boy and looked it up in the dictionary. You also promptly put the book down when Stanley pinched Florence's "pert, cherub-red nipple."
The plan was to flirt. To compliment Rachel until she was blushing and swooning. Then you were going to make her see the light of day that Finn is a gigantic idiot, and she deserves better. Naturally, she'd see that you—Quinn—is better. Bam! They're in love. You're not exactly sure how anyof this is going to pan out.
Maybe you can just tellher. Maybe you can just say, "Rachel, I've had—and by me, I mean my future self…well, and kind ofme, even though I've just met you—a huge crush on you for years. Love Quinn. Date Quinn. Marry Quinn! Make all our twelve-year-old fantasies come true! But you'll have to wait to kiss me because I'm far too young for that. And how can a nipple bepert and cherub-red?"
You can'tsay all that. And not just because the last part was inappropriate and all the other stuff would have Rachel checking to see if you really areconcussed. But because you just…can't! Quinn would kill you! And forming those words even in your own mind are making you break out into a sweat.
And then there's the part where Quinn was kind of mean to Rachel. Mean because she was terrified by her feelings for so long. Terrified by the implications. Youdon't understand the problem. But Quinn told you it's because you're young and naive still. You can't fully understand the pressures of society. That love isn't enough. It doesn'tconquer all. That there is bad in the world that can't be fixed by a book. That being homeless and unwanted by your parents is the most dissolute a person can feel because the reality that your parents aren't just programmed to love you unconditionally is heart wrenching.
You kind of understand, but you don't know. All you can do is give a twelve-year-old's response and hope that you can pick a book up later that can aid you in the ways of flirting. So you look up at Rachel and hold her gaze. Watch as she swallows heavily. And pray that this will work. "Because I want you to?" you ask with a shrug.
Rachel's brow wrinkles as she considers that, and you hold your breath. Quinn said that hearing Rachel sing Don't Rain on my Parade was amazing, and you want to be amazed further by Rachel. You want to learn her favorite color, book, season, holiday, food, animal…her everything! You want to soak in the knowledge of Rachel Berry until you really doneed a Pensieve. And then you want to go back and study her quirks and ways languidly until you have your doctorate in Rachel. Is that too much to ask for?
"Oh…kay," Rachel finally says, placing her fingers back on the keys. She looks conflicted but doesn't hesitate further to start playing. Soon your elbows are resting on top of the piano, cupping your cheeks with your hands, smiling so fully that your face actually starts to ache. But you can't stop smiling.
It's the wayshe sings it. Like she wrote it. Of course her voice is perfect. But it's the way she commands the words and her body. Like she knowsit. Unlike yesterday, you don't clap when she's finished. You can only smile at her, tears prickling in your eyes, and sigh soundly. She looks bashful again. Carefully staring down at her fingers on the keys, but you can tell she's examining you from her peripheral. "You're so cool," you say around another sigh.
Rachel's eyes widen as she looks up at you, studying your dreamy expression. "Um…what?" she bites out in her astonishment.
"Is that your favorite song or just your favorite song to sing?" you breathe, still transfixed.
"Uhhh…perform, I guess?"
"What's your favorite song, then? And why isn't it as fun to sing? Is that your favorite song from Funny Girl? I like My Man, but it's not my favorite because of the implication behind the song. I do like Secondhand Rose, even though it's not a featured performance. And Greatest Star. I surprisingly don't like People, though, even if it did get the most critical attention. Do you like all of Barbra's movies, cause I wasn't partial to Hello Dolly, and I'm not sure why. I think I'll try and re-watch it when I'm older. Maybe it's a grownup thing? Yentle was a little too heavy for me…and kind of weird. I love What's Up, Doc?, but more so because of Madeline Kahn; although Barbra looked the loveliest she's ever looked in that. That movie was a crack-up! I got a stomach from laughing so hard!" You giggle at the memory, lost in old films.
When the silence is prolonged, you look up to see Rachel, wide-eyes and opened mouth, staring at you. You shuffle a little and glance down at the piano in the hopes that Quinn's reflection will be there. It's not.
"Wow," Rachel breathes out through a chuckle. She glances down at her lap and her hair curtains most of her face, but you can tell she's smiling. Suddenly her gaze is on you. "I like you like this," she whispers. Your face explodes into a sea of blush as you feel a tummy ache coming on. Your lips purse as you look anywhere that isn't at Rachel.
"My stomach hurts," you state in a haze, staring hard at the curtain next to you.
"Oh, no; are you okay?" Rachel asks as she gets up from the bench. You still don't look at her, however, too uncomfortable to make eye contact. So you just bob your head and hope she doesn't come any closer. "Did you not want to practice?" You only shrug. "We don't need to practice; I'm sure Mr. Schue will understand."
You bob your head until it unseats your glasses and push them up quickly with your palm. "Will you be mad at me if I don't sing?" you ask in a whisper.
"Wh-no, Quinn. It's fine!"
"I'm just really nervous to sing," you gulp, almost memorizing the patterns on the stage curtain.
"You're still not feeling well from hitting your head. I urge you to call your doctor, however, and schedule an appointment to make surethat you're okay." You just bob your head again.
You feel Rachel approaching and flick your gaze down at your watch. No Quinn. But it is almost time for Rachel's father to pick you up. "We should probably wait outside for your dad," you rush out, skirting around her in your haste to leave the confined quarters, actually runningfrom the auditorium.
When Rachel finds you, you're sitting on the curb outside the school kicking rocks. She takes the seat beside you. "Soooo…" she starts off. You glance over at her briefly to see a completely confused and surprised expression on her pretty face. "You really hit your head hard, huh?"
You kick more rocks and try and come up with the best way to quell your tummy. "I'm going over Mike's house Saturday for a mini Comic Con."
Rachel's answer stops and stalls until she's just smacking her lips together. "That sounds…"
"I like comic books. Like Sam. And Mike likes Pokémon, and I do too. And Artie likes both. And so does Tina, sorta. Mercedes will be there because of Sam and Tina. And maybe me. I'm not sure. But you should come. I'm hanging with Mercedes and Tina alone first because we're doing 'girl stuff'. Later is the mini Comic Con. But I was also going to watch all the Harry Potter movies this weekend because I haven't seen the last few yet. I was going to ask you if you wanted to come over Sunday to watch all of them with me, but it turns out that it will literallytake all day—I checked out the run-times online. So if you wanted, you could come over Saturday and do the 'girl stuff' with us and then stick around for the mini Comic Con, and then sleepover my house and we can start watching the first couple and wake up early Sunday and finish the rest. The Comic Con might not be fun if you're not into that stuff, but Mercedes isn't either and Tina's not a huge fan, so you could hang with them and do other 'girl stuff' and then we can go to my house." Rachel is completely silent at your side, and you're too afraid to look at her to see whatever expression she may be wearing. So you just mumble, "You know…if you want," before kicking more rocks.
A gust of breath rushes passed Rachel's lips before she clears her throat. "Um…well…While that sounds…like…fun, I have prior obligations. Dance classes, vocal training…but…" Rachel sighs loudly again and you sneak a peek. She looks very confused. Like she's grappling with something.
"No…it's okay. Forget I said anything," you mumble quietly. "Stupid," you breathe out as you glance around the parking lot.
"Well, I was just going to say…my…my Saturday early evening is free…so…I could…I mean…" Out of the corner of your eye you see Rachel's eyebrows furrow deeper as she shakes her head. "I could probably meet you over at Michael's…then we could…I like Harry Potter…and…" She pushes her hair behind her ear and wraps her arms around her waist. "I could probably spend the night."
You perk up at this, allowing a tiny smile. "Are you sure, because we don't have to-"
"No," Rachel says quietly, staring down at her lap. Her cheeks blossom rosy-pink as she stares down at her fumbling fingers. "That sounds lovely."
"Okay, cool," you murmur, biting your lip to force yourself not to smile.
"Cool," she echoes, also biting her lip.
You're both silent after that. Not quiet; silent. You're holding your breath as you sit beside her, too afraid that your shallow breathing will be obnoxiously loud. She's not making a sound either. You stare up at the blue sky and try to think of something to say. Anything really. A fun fact. An interesting statistic. Something cool. A book you've read recently. A musical she may like to gush about. Just something so it's not so awkward! You literally have to control how you expel your breathes so they won't be too noisy. It's kind of making you lightheaded.
"So…you like comic books now?" Rachel ventures as casually as possible. You wet your lips and push up your glasses.
"I like comic books."
Rachel nods awkwardly. "I gathered. Going to the mini Comic Con and all."
You nod as well. "They're cool."
Rachel nods. "Cool."
"And…did you say something about Pokémon?" she ask, her voice going up in confusion.
"Pokémon is cool, too," you mumble shyly.
Rachel nods. "Cool."
"So…should I researchcomics and Pokémon in preparation or…?" Your face lights up as you swivel to look at her.
"Wow! Would you really?" Rachel blanches at your enthusiasm before smiling softly and shaking her head.
"If you're concussed, I'm actually all right with that; you're so…funny," Rachel says, laughing a little. Blush encompasses your face, and you look away shyly.
"I'm a nerd," you mumble.
You feel Rachel's hand drop to your arm and squeeze lightly before pulling away. "It's cute," she states easily, still chuckling. You can't remove your gaze from where Rachel's hand had been a moment before, however. "My dad's here," she says as she stands, dusting off her skirt.
You wobble to your feet and wave awkwardly at Mr. Berry, hoping that your face doesn't reveal to the man that you're crushing hard on his daughter. You spend another car ride listen to Rachel talk, this time about different comics she's familiar with, and mind not one bit when she gets her Superheroes mixed up.
Like yesterday, you walk backwards towards Quinn's house as you wave to Rachel and her father, beyond happy. That longing feeling you've had since you've met Rachel only seems to be growing stronger. And it isn't until Mr. Berry's car is out of sight do you enter the house.
You fix yourself a light snack as you wait for Santana and Brittany, unsure what it will be like interacting with them. But you know you want to share your feelings about Rachel with them. You don't actually think you'd be able to hide it; you're so darn smileyright now, you're positive your face will give you away first. You just know that Quinn has been friends with Brittany and Santana since freshman year and it's time for her to open up to them!
"Quinnie? A word?"
"Crapes," you sigh heavily as you peel yourself off the couch. It wasn't like you were watching TV, too busy picturing how magical Saturday will be. It's just that every time your mother wants "a word," it usually means bad things.
"Yes?" you ask politely, standing at the head of the dining room table where you mother sits. She's opening mail and not looking at you, so you huff and take a seat. You watch as Judy sets the mail aside and takes a deep breath before meeting your gaze.
"Is it because I met with your father the other evening? Are you acting out? Because I thought I made myself clear that we were only meeting to discuss finances." Your face screws up in confusion. You can only blink at her as she awaits your answer. "Yes," she sighs heavily, seeming to take your silence as a challenge. "I know that we didn't needto meet in person to talk about your college tuition. And I knowthat you don't approve. But I'm tryinghere, Quinn. I'm tryingto figure out my own life. So you don't need to talk to microwaves to punish me."
"Is that all?" you mumble, not in the mood to deal with this. You were ecstatic only moments ago, now you're wondering why Judy is meeting with Russell. What it could mean for Quinn…for you.
"No, Quinn, that's notall," Judy says with a hint of exasperation. You watch as she takes a deep breath, like she's gearing-up for something. Her eyes slide to yours as she stares at you. "Don't you think we should talk about what you told me last night?"
You want to smack yourself. You honestly thought Judy would ignore your little announcement. Quinn even thought she would. "No," you mumble, dropping your gaze to your lap.
You hear Judy get out of her chair and take the seat next to you. Softly, she picks your hand off your lap and takes it within her own. "Okay, we don't need to talk about it. I just thought…well…when you areready to talk about it…I'm…I'm here."
You look up at her through your eyelashes and feel the tears coming. "Really?"
Judy nods as she smiles caringly. "And for the record," she starts, a hint of a smile on her lips, "I think it's inappropriate to place an A before the word. It's just gay, Quinn. Not a gay."
A choked sob is released from your chest, and you're burrowing into your mother so fast you almost knock her off her seat. And she's holding you back! For the first time in memory, your mother is holding you. It only makes you cry harder. This feeling, this safe feeling you've never had before, surrounds you as you sob. She shushes you lightly as she rocks you in her arms, squeezing you closer as he rakes her fingers through your short hair.
"Okay…what did I miss?" you hear behind you. A quick glance over your shoulder reveals Quinn in the glass mirror of the cadenza, blackened eye and bloody fat lip. You gasp at the sight of her and pull away from you mother, brushing your tears away hastily.
"Mother, may I be excused?" you ask as casually as possible, not wanting to arouse her suspicions.
"Sure, dear," she smiles, brushing away the hair in your face.
You're halfway out of the room before you spin back. "And may I please have Brittany and Santana come over?" She nods with a smile. "Thank you!" you yell back, already sprinting up to Quinn's room.
You rip open Quinn's bedroom door and drop to your knees in front of her mirror. "What the heckhappened to you?" you yell in a whisper, completely shocked by the sight of her. You actually feel your face to make sure it's not bruised like Quinn's. She's just smiling back at you, her gaze racing over your features.
"Hey, I can see your makeup now. It's looks good," she nods approvingly. You shake off her odd behavior and move even closer to the mirror.
"Tell me what happened!" you demand. Quinn smiles again, giving you a light chuckle, and dives back onto your bed dreamily.
"Lucy, it was awesome!" she says, chuckling darkly. "I was so nervous about going to school today, thinking I'd revert back to Lucy; all weak and sniveling," she says before jerking up to look at you in the mirror. "No offense!"
"None taken," you say with a roll of your eyes. She gives you a sympathetic smile before falling back onto the bed.
"But it was sucha freaking great day! I took shit from no one! As soon as I saw Suzy Lambert, I knocked the books out of her hand and told her that she had kankles and would fail out of high school because of her drug problem! Ha! Take thatSuzy Lambert!" You can only gape. "And little Tommy Boles, I twisted his arm until he cried like a baby. Thatwill be the last time he flicks us during classes! What a little bitch!"
Your mouth tumbles open further. "I walked those halls like I ownedthe place. Sneering at anyone who dared to look at me. I kicked assin gym, dodge-balling the crap out of those pansies! They'll ruethe day they were ever mean to Lucy Quinn Fabray! Victory!" Quinn cheers loudly as she thrusts her hand up in the air.
"Quinnie, your friends are here!" Judy calls from the bottom of the stairs.
"Who's coming over?" Quinn asks, jerking her head to look at you.
"You are terrifying!" you answer back through a gasp.
Quinn only smirks. "We'reterrifying you mean. Who's here?"
"Santana and Brittany," you mumble. "What happened to your face?" you ask again, afraid to know the answer.
Quinn shrugs. "I got in a fight with Rebecca Gallagher. Bitch thought she was funny. Why are Santana and Brittany here?"
"Cause I want to get closer to them. What the heck did Rebecca say?"
"She called me Lucy Caboosey of course. Why the hell do you want to get closer to Santana and Brittany?"
"Because they're our friends! Quinn, Rebecca Gallagher is twice our size!"
"Yeah, and she fell like it, too," Quinn smirks again before she laughs. "Best day ever!" she states before thrusting her fist in the air again. The light knocking on the door snaps you out of it. "Oh…we have detention every day this week…sorry," Quinn says as you get to your feet, ready to open the door. You almost fall over, neverhaving a detention in your life! You turn back to gawk at her, but she just shrugs. "If it helps, it was a reallytherapeutic day."
You quickly recover and open the door. You're met with a smiling Santana and Brittany. "Q," Santana greets coolly before pushing passed you.
"Hey, Q," Brittany smiles before jumping onto your bed.
You're so angryat Quinn! Howcould she do this? How could she tarnish your perfect record? Start trouble at school? You knowthe second you're back on the right side of the mirror you're going to get your buttkicked! Suzy, Thomas, and Rebecca are going to be coming for you. Amongst others!
"Please tell me you're not going to tell Santana anything, Luce; she's just going to use the information against you like the manipulative bitch she is," Quinn says as she opens her bag to dump her homework out onto your bed. You glance over your shoulder to see Santana and Brittany cozying up on the bed, the book about Florence and Stanley open in Santana's hand, and look back at Quinn in challenge.
"Santana, you're not a manipulative bitch, are you?"
Without looking up from the book, Santana answers easily, "I so am," before turning the page. In the mirror, Quinn cocks her head in triumph.
"Well I don't think you are," you say, turning around to face Santana. "I think you're a very sweet girl and a great friend. For instance, if I told you that I sometimes worry about my mother and her many addictions, you would be supportive like you were this afternoon, right?"
Santana's eyebrow flies up and Brittany looks at her girlfriend in confusion. "Why does she sound so much like Rachel?" Both you and Santana ignore her as you stare at one another.
"Lucy, what are you doing?" Quinn asks calmly.
"I just want to know how much I can trust you, Santana," you say, wondering out loud while answering Quinn's question. "Because I want us to get closer. I don't want to leave for school and that be the end of our friendship. I want to still be able to talk to you. I want to make the last months of school the best they can be. Can I trust you?"
"And me too?" Brittany asks.
You smile at her and nod. "You too, Brittany."
She smiles and looks back down at the book. "This is hot," she mumbles and turns another page.
"What are you doing, Q?" Santana asks, looking suspicious.
You shrug and throw up your arms. "I just want friends! I want friends who are going to be mean and judge me. I want to have fun and have inside jokes, sleepovers and parties, do manicures while watching movies, stuffing our faces and all that fun stuff you see in the movies. So…can we be friends?"
Santana stares at you for another minute and finally just shrugs before looking back down at the book. Behind you, you hear Quinn huff. "That means yes in Santana, Lucy."
You turn slightly to look at your future self, and Quinn nods, confirming what she just said. "Oh. Good," you smile and get on the bed with your two new friends. "I stopped reading that book because it got kind of…racy."
"Really? That's why I'm still reading it," Brittany mumbles.
"You can borrow it if you'd like," you tell her, getting comfortable.
"Thanks!" Brittany smiles at you and turns another page. "We should read it together tonight, San," Brittany says lightly, getting Santana to smirk.
"Whatever you want, B."
As you watch the two of them stare lovingly at one another—Santana sweeping Brittany's hair off her face as Brittany smiles—you can't help wish that for yourself; for Quinn. Your heart beats pleasantly as you open your mouth. "I'm in love with Rachel Berry."
"LUCY!" You jump at Quinn's scream, instantly recognizing by Quinn's tone that you've stepped over a line. Your face crumbles and you feel near tears, without fully understanding why. Your body is paralyzed as you take in the shock on Santana's face and the confusion on Brittany's. Quinn is frantic, almost hyperventilating, as she demands you leave the room.
"I'm sorry," you whimper, not sure who you are apologizing to as you run from the room, not bothering with Quinn's in-suite bathroom, and don't stop running into you're slamming the door behind you in the guest room. You're crying so hard you can barely make out Quinn's reflection in the mirror over Frannie's old bureau, but you can tell that her eyes are hysterically wide and she's unable to breathe.
Both your chests are expanding rapidly, near hysterics. Quinn is holding herself up, clinging to the post of your canopy bed as she tries to suck in oxygen through her sobs. "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry!" you rush out, still not sure what you did wrong. Santana and Brittany like girls. They won't hate Quinn. Rachel makes you feel so happy, there can't be anything wrong with that. Even mommy didn't seem upset. Why is Quinn acting this way?
It takes nearly ten minutes for Quinn to finally calm down enough that you're no longer worried she'll have a full-fledged panic attack. But she's still crying silently. "Don't yell at me," you whimper, crying as well.
Wordlessly, Quinn shakes her head at you as her eyes close tightly. She looks as though she'll collapse in on herself. The arm not clinging to the bedpost is wrapped around her body. She's shaking. The pit in your stomach only grows as you watch her until she's sliding down to the floor, huddled, holding herself together, but just barely.
"What did I do wrong?" you ask through your trembling lips.
Quinn shakes her head again, eyes still closed. You've made her really sad. You're scared that she'll be so upset with you she won't talk to you anymore. Like Frannie.
Another few minutes go by until Quinn seems to recover enough to look up at you. "You can't just…Lucy, you can't do that!" she whimpers as tears fall. She looks so scared.
"I'm sorry! I'm so sorry! What did I do wrong?" you ask desperately. Quinn covers her face as her body trembles. You wonder if it's really cold in your room.
Quinn brushes her tears away and looks up at you miserably. "What you did was…you can't out people like that. I wasn't-I wasn't readyto tell people!" she whispers painfully.
"But what did I do wrong? Santana and Brittany are our friends! They said so! Theylike girls; they won't hate us will they?"
Quinn's eyes slip shut again as she shakes her head. "That doesn't-I wasn't ready for them to know! It was mydecision!"
"But I'm you too," you shudder out as you continue to cry.
"I know, I know," Quinn says, trying to keep her anger and fear at bay enough so she won't scare you. "But it's a grownup thing to do, to admit to being gay. And I wasn't ready for them to know."
"But they're our friends."
Quinn sighs and wipes away more tears. "Even so, Lucy, Santana…she can…youheard her. She ismanipulative, and she…" Quinn sighs heavier this time. "She's just not good at keeping secrets," Quinn whispers, looking away from you.
You've let her down. "I'm so sorry, Quinn!"
"I know you are, Lucy," she mumbles, still not meeting your eye. She sounds disappointed.
"Are you mad at me?"
You watch her swallow heavily before she shakes her head. "No," she breathes out softly.
"Why was it wrong?" You still don't understand.
Quinn grips your bedspread as she pulls herself to shaky feet. She tiredly sits on your bed and stares at the ground. "What if I told everyone in glee that you have a crush on Rachel…would you like that?" You're shaking your head frantically. "It was a secret I wasn't ready to share. Even if Santana and Brittany are okay with it, I wasn't readyfor them to know. Like the time Margie Nacios told everyone that you still sleep with Lamby…you love Lamby, you just didn't want anyone to know."
You get it now. And you start crying harder. "I'm sorry."
"I know, Luce," she breathes out, sounding exhausted.
"What should we do?"
Quinn leans back on her hands as she stares up at your canopy. "I guess you should go back in there. Although, I really just want you to stay in here until Santana and Brittany leave. But I think it's for the best if you actually go in there and talk things out. Knowing Santana, she won't rest until she has all the facts."
You're shaking. "I can't go back in there."
It seems as though it physically pains Quinn to do so, but she looks at you and gives a watery smile. "It will be okay."
"Are you sure?" you ask, teeth chattering.
She nods and gives a stronger smile. "It will be fine."
"What should I say?"
Quinn sucks on her teeth as she glances away from your reflection, quickly wiping away a tear. "Um…" she blows out a weighty breath, "just-just answer their questions," she tells you, the tears coming harder for her now.
"Will you help?" you mumble. It doesn't feel fair to ask for her help, but you need her with you. Wordlessly, she nods, even though she's really crying again. She won't meet your stare, so, with a heavy heart, you drag yourself off the floor and whimper as you make the short trek to Quinn's room.
Just outside the bedroom door, you glance down at your watch to see Quinn's body shaking as she cries into her palms. It makes you feel a million times worse, if that's at all possible. You don't know much about being gay. You know that Ellen is cool. You know that your mom's hairdresser is gay and really funny.
You know that the bible says stuff about being gay, but you also know that you ate a ham sandwich on a Friday during Lent and daddy said that it was fine, just not to do it again. You cried a lot, though, until he sat you down and explained that the bible isn't the law, so you won't go to hell, but Lent is about sacrifice, so you have to make sure not to do it again.
Frannie went on to explain that the bible is sometimes wrong. For instance, she wears a lot of fabric blends and the bible says that'swrong, but Frannie feels strongly about fashion and can't imagine a world where things like her cotton wool-knit sweater sends her to hell. The bible is more like a collection of stories and parables. So you never really took the bible so seriously after that. That's including the gay stuff. Because Ellen seems really nice. And so does mommy's hairdresser. You may have only justturned twelve, but you feel like you have a pretty good handle on what warrants life in hell. Being a good person and saying you're sorry when you make a mistake means heaven. Being mean and unsorry gets you hell.
And for all her faults, Quinn seems like a heaven kind of girl. Youare meant for heaven. Your future self can't possibly wind up in hell all because Rachel Berry is impossible not to love. You just want to hold her hand. And help her with her coat. And write awesome poems and make handmade cards to get her to smile. That's not hell-worthy! But maybe Quinn doesn't know this.
"We're going to be okay, Quinn," you whisper into your watch. "We're going to get to love Rachel Berry, and she's going to love us, and we are going to be justfine."
Quinn sob gets caught in her throat when she looks up at you. She's still crying, but she smiles; for real this time. "I know, Lucy." You give her a reassuring nod and brace yourself before opening up your bedroom door.
You don't need a mirror—one that you can actually see your reflection in—to tell you that your eyes are red and puffy. So you're waiting for Santana and Brittany to look up from Quinn's book and comment on it. But neither of them glances your way. You wait a moment by the door until it becomes apparent that they won'tlook at you. You already feel better, because they are ignoring your presence to make you comfortable.
"Where did you even getthis book, Q?" Santana asks before quickly turning the page to read the next one.
You peek over your shoulder at Quinn in the mirror and see her soft smile. "Mommy," she says to you as she rolls her eyes.
"My mom," you tell Santana and Brittany.
"Way to go, Judes," Santana mumbles, sounding impressed.
"I liked the part about riding bare-backed," Brittany supplies. You're distracted from your anxiety momentarily to wonder what Brittany is talking about; you didn't know the story was about horses.
Behind you, Quinn gives a weak chuckle. It's probably a grownup thing. You're back to fidgeting nervously. What do you say? Should you start the conversation? Should you wait for them? And if so…how long are you supposed to wait? It's a school night, after all.
"San, read slower," Brittany complains, leaning closer to Santana so she can catch up. "Woah," she exhales; you suppose she got to an interesting part. "San! Turn the page!" But instead of turning the page, Santana exhales loudly and tosses the book across the room. "San!"
"I'm sorry, but I can't just sit here and pretend that Quinn didn't just tell us she's in love with Rachel!"
"San!" Brittany warns through her tight jaw, this time with wide eyes.
"What? I can't help it! Purity Polly over there just said she's in lovewith Rachel freakin' Berry, Britts; I gotta know," Santana says with a shrug before quickly spinning around on the bed to face you.
You stare back at your firing squad without valor or resolve. You're an ostrich.
"Lucy, just-" Quinn sighs in the television screen just over Santana's shoulder. You look to her for guidance. "Just calm down, okay? Just breathe. That's it, breathe,"
"San, I think she's having another baby," Brittany says worriedly.
"Yeah, Fabray, quit the Lamaze and give us answers."
"Okay, Luce, breathe a little deeper now." You nod empathically and try to slow your breathing. "Now try and not make your eyes so wide, sweetie, that's it," Quinn soothes. You nod again as you blink furiously. "Good, you're doing fine. Now shut your mouth."
You snap your trap shut, still blinking, counting your shallow breaths. "Oh my, God!" Brittany gasps suddenly, jerking to grab her girlfriend's shoulder. "She's having that epidemic!"
"Epidemic?" Santana asks slowly, like she's in the middle of a rousing game of charades.
"That thing you got!"
"She means a gay panic," Quinn sighs as she covers her face with her hands.
"That thing I got?" Santana asks slowly before she smirks, apparently enlightened.
"I don't have gay panic!" you rush out quickly.
"Really, Q, cause it kinda seems like you do," Santana supplies with a smiling grimace. You're back to shaking your head frantically. You can't have gay panic. You just can't! Whatever the heck gay panic is, you don'thave it!
"Lucy, stop shaking your head. You're fine. They don't hate you and I'm not mad at you. I just want you to repeat everything I say, okay? Can you do that for me? Stop bobbing your head." You nod a final time to show your future self that you're listening. "Good. Say that you're gay."
Quinn huffs as you watch Brittany nod and Santana's eyebrows invert. "No, sweetie, use the first person."
"Oh," you breathe out. "I'mgay."
"Good, Luce, you're doing fine. Now tell them that you're not really ready to talk about it."
You repeat Quinn and watch both girls react. Santana purses her lips in annoyance as she crosses her arms and Brittany just snuggles closer to Santana, looking confused. "Yeah, I'm gonna need more than that," Santana tells you evenly.
"God I hate that bitch," Quinn sulks. "Don't repeat that!" Your mouth clamps shut. With a deep sigh Quinn says, "Ask her what she wants to know."
Santana smirks after you repeat Quinn. "How kind of you to be so accommodating, Q. You can start by mentioning exactly whenyou began to get a down-low tickle for all things girly and work your way up to wanting in Berry's granny-panties."
The way she's looking at you, so threatening. The things she's saying are really mean and make you feel uncomfortable. You can't help but let the tears come. "San!" Brittany scolds and she jumps off the bed and rushes over to you. She pulls you into a hug as you wrap your arms around yourself.
You hear Santana huff. "Q…sorry, or whatever," she mumbles as Brittany brings you over to the bed.
"What a bitch," Quinn seethes.
"I'm sorry," you say through your tears, allowing Brittany to hold you close. "I just don't like thosequestions," you sob.
"Lucy, it's okay; that's just how Santana talks," Quinn explains softly.
"Well I don't like it," you whimper. You glance up at Santana and she looks surprised. Softer.
"Q…hey, Q…I'm-I'm sorry, I just-"
"You don't have to be so crass!" Brittany holds you closer and shushes you softly as she rubs your back.
Santana's gaze flicks to Brittany and back to you before she shuffles on the bed, closer, and takes your hand. "Quinn-seriously…I'm…it's gonna be okay. You have me and Britts and…and if your moms even thinksof kicking you out or anything...just…you have us and…"
Over Santana's shoulder you can see Quinn softly crying with a small smile. It's all the confirmation you need.
"We arefriends!" you cheer as you dive into Santana's arms, sending her thumping back onto the bed. You squeeze her tightly as she pats you. "I knewI could tell you, Santana! I just knewit!"
"Yay!" Brittany cheers and you feel her hug your back, resting her head on your shoulder.
"Girls, do you need any-oh! Uh…I'll just come back later," Judy rushes out as she goes to close over the door.
"Mom!" you shout, getting her to stop. "I told them I'm gay! They're okay with it!"
"LUCY! Fucking mom knows!"
"That's lovely, dear!" she says warmly, but her eyes are on the carpet as she shuffles uncomfortably.
You look up at the mirror and wince at Quinn. "We talked…before," you try to explain to her. Quinn runs her hand through her hair before dropping her forehead down to her arms, groaning.
"I'll bring some milk and cookies up?"
"Yeah!" you and Brittany cheer at the same time. Judy smiles and leaves the room, still not making eye contact, and you squeeze Santana again excitedly.
"Not that this isn't exactly how a lot of my dreams started or whatever, but, like, could I get up now?" Santana pants. You and Brittany immediately sit back, but you're still grinning like mad.
"Lucy, the guestroom! NOW!" Quinn growls. You wince and bite your lip.
"I'll be right back, guys," you say miserably as you heave yourself off the bed. At the door, however, you turn back and dive into Santana and Brittany's arms before bounding out of the room.
In front of Frannie's old bureau, you stand waiting for your dressing down, hands behind your back, head bowed. Quinn is pacing in your bedroom, looking at a loss for words. She's sputtering a lot. "Do I need to have that outing conversation with you again?" she finally hisses.
You shake your head as you stare at her with big eyes. "No, Quinn; I understand now."
"Well, technically we had the outing conversation afterI talked to mommy."
"What the hell did you even talkabout, Lucy?"
"Well she didbring up last night, Quinn! What was I supposed to say? She was reallynice, though, and she held me, Quinn, she heldme! She told me that whenever I was ready to talk about it she's there for me, and for me and to not put an article in front of the word gay."
Your mouth is a thin line as you wait for Quinn to hand over your sentence. But she looks far from angry now. "She…wait," Quinn starts, shaking her head, "she heldyou?"
You bob your head. "Yep!"
"She…told you that she's okay with it? Me being gay?"
"Well, she was talking to me thinking I was you, but yeah, she's okay with us being gay!" You think over your conversation with Judy as your eyebrows furrow. "And she also thinks I was talking to the microwave to punish her for going out with daddy. Why did she go out with daddy, Quinn, I thought they got divorced?"
"What? Oh…" Quinn mumbles, shaking her head to clear it, obviously still distracted by her musings. "It was a money thing."
"You didn't tell me about it," you say casually as you push up your glasses.
"I've been a little busy the last few days, Luce, sorry."
You watch as she starts pacing again, palm to her forehead, deep in thought. "Are they going to try and get back together?"
"I don't know."
"Do you wantthem to get back together?"
"Does mommy know that?"
Quinn halts her pacing to look at you. "No," she whispers, and you nod.
"You should tell her that," you mumble quietly, not wanting to upset Quinn, but you want her to start opening up more. Perhaps if she had only talkedto Judy, most of Quinn's problems would already be solved; maybe you should take your own advice.
"It's not that simple."
"Well make itthat simple!"
A long breath is expelled between Quinn's pursed lips as she collapses down onto the bed. "I'll think about it. Just get back to Santana and Brittany."
This time, when you open the door, you're surprised to find Santana and Brittany making out on Quinn's bed. They don't seem aware of your presence and you can only stand there, mouth dropped, and stare at them in shocked fascinating.
"What's wrong?" Quinn asks from your watch—for some reason, it seems, Quinn isn't in the television or the mirror; you file that away. Instead of answering, however, you just tilt your wrist to show Quinn for herself. "Oh, Jesus! Cut it out!" Quinn shrieks to the kissing girls. You're actually about to mock her for even bothering to try and stop the kissing couple, but Santana and Brittany both jerk away from one another suddenly.
"Did you hear that?" Santana asks, ears perked, looking slightly uneasy.
"That wasn't your stomach?" Brittany asks. At the same time they both realize you're standing in the doorway. You can't even be bothered with wiping away your astonishment. You're certain that Santana is smirking because she caught you staring. But your shock now has to do with them hearing Quinn.
Your wide eyes find hers down at your wrist, and you're on the bed in no time. "Say something else!" you demand of Quinn who is suddenly back in the television and mirror.
"Santana? Brittany?" Neither girl reacts, however, to the sound of Quinn's voice.
"What did you want us to say?" Brittany asks curiously.
You just shake your head, disappointed that they couldn't hear your future self. "Never mind," you mumble.
Brittany shrugs and leans down to kiss Santana once again. As they begin making out, you look over at the television screen to show your disappointment to Quinn. "I'm sure they just heard something else," Quinn says consolingly.
"Here are the cook-oooh, I'm sorry," Judy mutters, looking flustered and awkward in the doorway once again, head bowed with a tray-full of cookies and milk.
"Great. Our mother thinks we're a voyeuristic freak who likes threesomes," Quinn groans.
"Cookies!" Brittany cheers as she jumps off of Santana and the bed, hurrying over to retrieve the tray from Judy.
"What's a voyeur? And a threesome?" you ask in confusion.
"Lucy!" Quinn whines miserably while Judy's face reddens as she flounders. Beside you, Santana is giving you a lecherous smirk.
"Thanks for the cookies, Judes," Santana smiles at her. "And close the door on your way out. Thanks," she says as her smile grows sweeter, even if it doesn't appear sweet at all.
Judy still looks at a loss for words. She hesitates briefly before closing the door behind her. "Lucy, please tell Santana to leave mommy alone."
You give Santana the instructions but she merely laughs. "Like you didn't just say what you said to wind up your mother. What's a voyeur and a threesome. Classic, Q. Like you don't know what a threesome is," Santana chuckles.
You go to give your future self a confused look, only to see her blushing headedly. She shakes off your unasked question as she holds up her hand. "I will tell you when you're much, much older." Whatever, you'll Google it later.
"I can't believe you told your mom, Q; that's really awesome," Brittany says, offering her chocolate-covered fingers to Santana before picking up another cookie.
You shrug with a small smile. "I'm really trying to open up these days," you tell them, getting Quinn to frown.
"But, like, it's super awesome that you told your mom; that makes it real. Right, San?" Brittany asks as she watches her girlfriend lick her fingers clean. You can't help but wince at the visual.
Santana nods around her moan, getting into the finger-cleaning. "So if you're all 'open', when ya telling Rachel?" Santana asks with a small smirk. You give her a long, searching look, not really appreciating how smug she seems, until she drops the smile and just looks at you like she honestly wants to know.
"I'm…I'm not telling Rachel," you say as you look to Quinn. She nods, pleased.
"What the hell not?"
"She's straight. Besides, she's with Finn and we're both going away to college in the fall; there's no point," Quinn says, which you repeat, and Santana only frowns further.
"Well that's a load of bullshit."
You want to agree with her, but Quinn is scowling at you. You only shrug back. You can't very well tell Santana and Brittany your super secret mission to break Rachel and Finn up all while making Rachel fall head over heels in love with Quinn. Not with Quinn rightthere! Instead, you're trying to think of a place where you cantell them. Perhaps the janitor's closet at school?
You're pretty sure they'll help you; that's what friends do after all. And you think that Mike, Sam, Mercedes, Tina, and Artie—if he stops giving you those smiles—will help as well. Maybe you can get Kurt, too. And mommy. Puck may not want to help if he has a crush on Quinn. But he's friends with Finn; he may know his weaknesses. A plan is forming. You'll ask Puck to hang out Sunday to discuss this. You'll need to find the evil Octopuses' weaknesses if you wish to bring him down so you can get Rachel!
You're bobbing your head along to the song spilling from Puck's radio speakers. You've never heard it before, but it's catchy. You somehow feel comfortable in his presence. Maybe it's because he picks you up and drives you to school no questions asked. Or maybe it's because he's so good with makeup. It's most definitely notbecause you have "relations" with him in your future; you really try hard not to think about that.
After he's done putting on your makeup and you both get out of his truck, he gives you a funny look as you slip the piece of paper into his hand. Your eyes tell him not to say anything, so he just nods. "Later, baby mama."
"Bye, daddy-o," you say back, conveying with your eyes that he did the right thing by ignoring your note, but managing to keep your voice neutral so Quinn will be clueless. You came to school extra early today so that you could head to the library before homeroom. As soon as you enter, you make a beeline towards the librarian, your backpack slapping against you as you nearly run. Quinn couldn't remember her name, so you just smile breathlessly at her, full of excitement, as you push up your glasses hurriedly.
"Good morning, ma'am, may I please check out Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows?" Once it's in your hands, you reverently hold it closely to your chest and rush to your locker to keep it safe. You couldn't bemore thrilled!
It's Friday morning, and you're about to have the best weekend of your life. It's jammed packedwith fun things to do! And that's the weekend, not just the school day! Sure, you're still excited to learn new things, but you're going to be spending your time with friends. Actual friends!
The day progresses like the other two. You learn fun things and participate in class for a change, chat with your friends about comics and the upcoming weekend, and when glee rolls around, you sit in the back next to Brittany and Santana. You've already mentioned to Mr. Schue that you won't be singing an anger-management song. He looked disappointed in you, and you felt really sad about it until Quinn promised that he's just an ass and to not worry.
And you really shouldn't. Because you're doing little things every day to improve yourself. You're already closer to your mom, have friends, eating better, and have a plan to get a real life girlfriend for your future self. If that doesn't say management, you don't know what will; surely not a song. Singing a song if front of a group of people, however, is a challenge you dowant to take on. It's the reason you got to glee early today.
"Rachel! Rachel, I saved you a seat back here with us!" you shout as soon as the girl marches in, waving your hand frantically despite Santana's laughter. She slows her stride, almost stumbling into the room when she hears you, and looks quizzically back at Finn. The boy shrugs back with a smile, and the two make their way towards the stands. "Aw, sorry, Finn," you say with a grimace, "but I only saved a seat for Rachel," you bite out with force, but that's because you had to jerk Puck back down into the chair next to the free one; you were quite sure he was ready to abandon it in favor of Finn. You will have none of that.
You hear Santana and Brittany giggle next to you as you give Finn a fake sympathetic smile. "You are getting muchbetter at your expressions, Luce," Quinn tells you evenly. Quinn's currently in front of the mirror in the bathroom at school, pretending to use it to put on makeup; you know she's really stalling before detention. She's about to say something else, but is cut-off when Finn shrugs and drops a kiss to Rachel's lips as she sits beside you. You also frown.
"Thanks, Quinn," Rachel mumbles as she drops her bag, watching her boyfriend amble to the chair in front of hers. He turns around, however, to still be a part of the conversation.
"We will be practicing today?" you ask nervously, dropping your voice in hopes that Finn won't hear. You didn't make plans with Rachel yesterday to rehearse after glee. In fact, you don't actually have anything to rehearse since you're not doing the anger-management assignment. You're just hoping for a reason to spend some time with Rachel before you go home and read. You'll see her tomorrow and she'll be sleeping over, but you want to spend time with her today as well. Maybe you'll even get the courage up to sing. You swore to yourself you'd perform in glee, at least once.
Rachel looks surprised by your question. She slowly straightens herself up in her chair before her wide eyes find yours. "I-I supposewe could…"
"I'd like that," you mumble, pushing up your glasses, very aware that Santana, Brittany, Puck, Finn, and Kurt are all staring at you. Kurt has only justjoined the conversation, taking the seat beside his step-brother. You onlylearned that he and Finn's parents married last year, when in homeroom Kurt mentioned running late because of Finn. You're wondering now, just as you did in homeroom, if Kurt would be helpful at all in your plan to break Finn and Rachel up. He's eyeing you questioningly right now, apparently suspicious of you. You can't worry about that now.
"Okay, well…after glee I'll runoff some sheet music and-"
"Or we can just sing," you whisper to your feet.
It seems very quiet in the room. Almost too quiet. When you glance up, Rachel is staring at you intently in an awed sort of way. "Okay," she breathes out.
Mr. Schue claps to get everyone's attention, and everyone turns forward except for you. You can't help but look down at Quinn's stunned face before looking next to you at Santana. She winks at you before facing forward.
Brittany, Mike, Kurt, and Blaine sing their anger-management songs while you try not to sweat. You're seated too closely to Rachel and your nerves are standing at attention. The only thing that gets you through it is staring at the opened backpack where Harry is waiting for you.
When glee is over, you quickly get to your feet, almost stumbling, and hurry down to the front of the room to wait while Rachel and Finn chat in the risers. You nervously hold the straps of your backpack as you watch the two of them. They appear to be bickering.
"We need to talk," Santana says, suddenly in front of you, blocking Rachel from your view. You frown.
"Can we meet up after school?" you ask distractedly. Santana turns to look over her shoulder to follow your gaze before smirking at you.
"Now would be preferable. Hey, Rachel?" Santana calls out, halting Rachel and Finn's discussion. "We're borrowing Q here for a second. We'll make sure to have her back before your date," she smiles sweetly before taking one of your arms, Brittany grabbing the other, and hauling you and your blushing face out of the choir room.
"Santana!" you whine, beyond embarrassed.
She rolls her eyes in dismissal before folding her arms across her chest. "Ooohhkay, Q, cut the crap; I know you're up to something." Both girls stand in front of you looking stern; it looks funny on Brittany. But now would be the perfect time to talk to them about your plan. You look left and right down the hallway before carefully slipping your watch off your wrist and sticking it into your school bag. You hear Quinn's muffled voice and quickly grab Santana and Brittany's arms to pull them into the closest janitor's closet.
"What the hell, Quinn?" Santana growls as you all stuff yourselves inside the small space. Brittany yanks on the string connected to the overhead light so you can see her placid expression and Santana's ire as she rubs at her wrist.
"Sorry, but I couldn't risk being overheard." You begin to tell them of your plan. The plan where you start making Finn Hudson look like an idiot so Rachel will break up with him while slowly getting her to fall for you. Brittany appears bored throughout your explanation, but Santana stays quiet as her narrowed eyes remained fixated on you.
You heave a big breath at the end and look at them expectantly. "Why the hell didn't you just tell us that last night?" Santana asks as though she knew you had a plan all along. You would love to tell them about Quinn, but you're pretty sure they'd never believe you. Brittany might, but you can't risk it.
You shrug. "I only just came up with it," you lie. "So…are you in?" you ask, biting your lip.
Santana gives you a long, searching look before shrugging. "Whatever, sounds like fun," before reaching for the doorknob. You stop her before she opens the door.
"Just…we can't talk about this…like…at all. Okay?" you ask, thinking about Quinn. "Unless I bring it up, we've never had this conversation."
"Paranoid much?" Santana asks.
You nod empathically. "I don't want to be outed," you tell her seriously. "Being outed is wrong. Only grownups can make the decision of when they are ready to be out."
Santana is looking at you strangely, but Brittany is nodding, looking quite serious herself. "And that's why I hate Finn and think Rachel should be with you instead," she answers offhandedly.
Santana's head snaps toward her girlfriend looking confused. "Wait…what? Since when do you hate anyone?"
Brittany looks completely at ease as she crosses her arms. "Since he outed you. I didn't say anything at the time because we weren't technically girlfriends, but I was reallymad at him. Lord Tumbington and I sat up all night talking about him and calling him really mean names." She shrugs again. "You were okay with it but that didn't mean I was."
"Finn Hudson outedyou?" you cry in disbelief. Santana turns your way, still looking affected by Brittany's words.
"Q…you knew that."
"But, I just…I didn't-but it's so wrong! You don't out people!" you shriek.
"Whatever, it wasn't a big deal-"
"But it isa big deal! I was told it was a very big deal!" you stress.
"And that's why I'm going to help you show Rachel that her boyfriend is really mean and doesn't deserve to phone home to her. Whatever, Q, I have your back," Brittany says.
You nod firmly at her as you hold out your hand. Brittany doesn't hesitate to put her palm on top of it. You both look to Santana as you wait. She gives a huff before placing her palm on top of Brittany's hand. "Whatever, let's just get this over with," Santana grumbles. Both you and Brittany grin before cheering, raising your hands up to the ceiling.
You pick up your backpack where you left it outside the janitor's closet and quickly slip your watch back on. "What the hell was that about, Lucy?" Quinn asks, slightly pissed. You mouth your apology as the three of you walk down the hallway towards the auditorium. When you peek inside, Finn's there on the stage with Rachel.
You huff. "Just great."
"We'll go in there too," Brittany assures, already pulling Santana along. You weren't expecting this. You wanted alone time with Rachel. As you make your way up to the stage she gives you an apologetic smile, flickering her gaze to her surly boyfriend, and back to you.
"I hope you don't mind if Finn stays? He's my ride home and we had plans this evening. It wouldn't be fair to ask him to wait elsewhere," Rachel says, still looking apologetic as she awaits your response on the piano bench.
You look over to where Finn is standing grumpily by the piano, to a frowning Brittany and annoyed Santana, before glancing down to Quinn. She looks irritated. Like reallyirritated. Not like Santana. You can tell your friend is just bored being here. But Quinn looks p-oed. Your initial reaction is too mumble that it's fine that he stays. Or maybe try and be B-I-T-C-H-Y and tell him to leave. But you don't think you can pull that off. Not when Rachel's the one asking. So you move closer to the piano until you can see Quinn's reflection. You try and convey with your eyes that you need her help.
"Say it's fine," she breathes out in resignation.
You go to repeat your future self, none too pleased that that's the response—isn't Quinn supposed to be mean?—but Brittany cuts you off. "We can take Rachel home."
Everyone turns to face your new friend who, to your surprise, is eyeing Finn contemptuously. Only Finn reacts to the piercing glare, jumping like he's startled, before everyone is looking back at you. "Yeah…we can get Rachel home."
Finn takes his time staring at you, like he's sizing you up. You try to ignore it. You also try and ignore how hard Rachel is staring at you. You can't help but gulp, however. He then looks over Brittany and Santana before clearing his voice. "No…no I'll stay," he states with a touch of confidence. He's tone makes Rachel blink a few times before finally looking away from you.
In that moment, everyone moves: Rachel swings around on the bench to retrieve her schoolbag and the sheet music within, Finn intercepts her and places a nauseating kiss on her lips, Santana drags a chair across the stage she got from the stage wings, you shift nervously and move closer towards the piano to see Quinn clearer, and Brittany moves swiftly across the stage to your side.
"The plan," she says simply, nodding in Rachel in Finn's direction. "Use this time to your advantage."
Your eyes find Quinn's and she's looking at you suspiciously. You clear your voice and nod. "You're absolutely right, Brittany, I will start slowly by singing in front of you guys. Because, you know, I have that plan where I will take baby steps until I'm fully prepared to sing in glee."
Brittany just looks confused. "No, I meant the plan where you make Finn look stupid. Duh," she says before crossing the stage to take a seat on Santana's lap. Quinn's narrowed eyes shrink to slits as she glares at you.
"Lucy whatis she talking about?" You shake her off as you wait for Rachel to take her seat back on the piano bench. "What plan to make Finn look stupid?" Again, you just shake Quinn off. "Oh my, God!" she hisses. "You're going to try and break them up, aren't you? You're trying to get me and Rachel together!"
"Don't you have detention?" you hiss back, wishing she'd leave her mirror so you can pull off your big plan.
"Lucy! Get your ass to somewhere we can talk!" You huff and roll your eyes.
"Excuse me," you mumble to everyone. Rachel and Finn are still talking, but Rachel looks your way in concern for a moment before turning back to Finn.
You head behind the stage and look down at your watch blankly waiting for whatever Quinn has to say. "Lucy, whatare you doing; we've been through this! There's no way-"
"No you listen Quinn," you whisper headily down at her, suddenly riled up. "I'm so sickof you treating me like I don't get a say in our future! You like Rachel! Ilike Rachel. She's really nice and smart and pretty and talented and I think that I should at least tryand see what happens! Even if she doesn't want to date us, she shouldn'tbe dating that doofus! You owe me this! After everything, after finding out that we're mean and glare and have 'relations' with Noah Puckerman and are a mom, and all the other crazy stuff, you owe me a chance! That's all I want; a chance! It hasn't even been a week and look at all the good I've done! We have friends and mommy held us and is okay with us being gay! I'm sorry that Frannie hasn't yet taken me aside and taught me how to me aloof and keep my emotions to myself, but I think that's a good thing! Why did you even listento Frannie; she's nuts!
"So I suggest that I try and see what happens with Rachel. For bothof us! Because I want someone to love me in the future, and I know you want someone to love you now. Rachel could be it! She could be the one. And if she isn't, at least we tried. We can go to Princeton and maybe meet someone else and become a big actor, but right now, Quinn, right now there is a girl that we like a whole heckof a lot who is really sweet to us. So I say we go for it! I say we show her that Finn Hudson is a jerk who doesn't deserve her time and pretty smiles. You should let me be me, be us, and try and make the most wondrous girl who ever lived fall in love with us so that we can finallybe happy. So what do you say? Are you with me, Quinn, or am I going to have to do this alone?"
You're breathing heavily as you wait for Quinn's answer. She looks mildly surprised by your outburst, but also a little impressed. She clears her throat, her face suddenly blank, before looking up at you with confidence. "I still don't like this," she tells you clearly, getting you to roll your eyes. "But if this is what you want, as my way of apologizing, I'll help you." You can't help but jump in the air and thrust your fist. "But, Lucy," she tells you firmly, "I don't want you to get your hopes up." Your face turns grave as you nod. "Okay…this is how we're going to play it…"
All eyes are on you when you finally make your way from behind the curtain. You give them all a huge smile to throw suspicion, but of course they all just look at you like you're nuts. Well, except for Rachel; she beams right back.
"Shall we begin?" she asks you softly. You nod back and wonder what's in store. You can't help but smile as she looks hesitantly up at Finn as she plays the first few notes of your sunshine song, but her hands drop abruptly until her brows are furrowed. "What should we play?"
You can tell by Brittany's enthusiasm that she wants the sunshine song as well. But you're not too keen on Finn there to bear witness to you and Rachel's thing. Luckily, Quinn chimes in with her suggestion. It takes everything inside of you not to smirk.
"Why don't we play a song from Finn's favorite Broadway musical," you suggest, repeating what Quinn just said. All eyes are on you again, but unlike before, it doesn't make you uncomfortable. In your peripheral you can see Santana and Brittany smirking as well; they already know what you're doing.
"Um…" Rachel mumbles, glancing down at her hands. Her hair curtains her face and you want to sweep it away. Finn shifts awkwardly as he looks confused.
"I don't like that stuff," he answers like a complete and utter moron.
You do your best to act surprised as you continue to repeat was Quinn is telling you to say. "Still? I thought for sure once you started dating Rachel seriously you'd develop an affinity for them." He is just staring blankly back. "Well I suppose it's no matter," you continue on, trying to remember everything Quinn is quickly saying to you; she seems to have no shortage of ideas on how to sabotage Rachel and Finn's relationship. "It's not as though Rachel expects you to go to any of her shows. Or even attend other Broadway shows with her."
The silence is actually starting to make even you feel uncomfortable. But Quinn is still talking. "I mean, if they're just going to bore you and you'll end up falling asleep on your girlfriend's performance, I guess it would be better if you just didn't attend at all; to avoid embarrassing her."
You can hear Santana and Brittany's muffled laughter as you take in Finn's unease. You are desperate to see how this is affecting Rachel, but Quinn made you swear you wouldn't look at her. Quinn informed you that it would upset her, and you can't see Rachel upset or you'll fold quickly.
"I like to watch Rachel perform," Finn answers defensively. At this, Quinn instructs you to perk up and you do so brilliantly.
"Oh? Well in that case, let's sing your favorite Rachel Broadway performance," you answer back enthusiastically. Finn looks nonplussed. At this, you can't help but sneak a quick peek at Rachel from the corner of your eye. She's looking up expectantly at him.
"I-uh-I liked…" But he can't come up with one song. Not one. The tension on the stage is growing rapidly and Quinn commands that you don't look Rachel's way again; you also know that she'll look crestfallen and it will make you back off.
Luckily, Santana jumps in. "I'm all for doing Defying Gravity."
"Me too," Brittany chimes in as her hand goes in the hair into a fist pump.
Quinn feeds you your line. "Yeah, you absolutely won that diva-off against Kurt," you repeat. Now you are told to actually make eye contact with Rachel. She still looks hurt, but pleased with your compliment.
She tucks a piece of hair behind her ear as she clears her hoarse voice. "Thank you, Quinn, but Kurt threw that competition by purposefully missing the last note."
You try and reenact Quinn's snort and look of disbelief as you reiterate what she just said. "Just the last note? It kind of sounded like he missed the whole song." You frown down at Quinn, a little peeved at her cruel comment.
"I'm just telling the truth, Lucy; and isn't that what you want me to do now?" You roll your eyes at her.
"Yeah, Rach, you were so much better," Brittany joins in.
"Hmmhmm, Rach; you nailed it," Santana says with a nod. You smile, pleased that your friends are helping out so much.
Now everyone looks over at Finn. He kind of jumps when he realizes everyone is staring his way. "What? Rachel you know I can't say anything; he's my brother." Rachel nods sadly as she looks back down at the piano keys. Quinn is speaking again.
"That doesn't mean you can't state the obvious, Finn. And he wasn't your brother during the competition; back then he was just the guy with…" you stumble over Quinn's word choice, staring at her in complete disbelief. She nods firmly to convince you to continue. "…faggy throw pillows…" you mumble lowly.
The result is instantaneous, however. Both Santana and Brittany are on their feet, shouting angrily as you stare down at Quinn, completely horrified. "What is she doing?" Quinn asks worriedly. Your eyes dart up to see Rachel staring wide-eyed up at Finn, her mouth dropped open. You use your watch to show Quinn Rachel's expression as Brittany and Santana continue to scream at Finn.
"I apologized for that!" Finn screams, tugging at his hair.
"Why the hell would you even be saying that shit?" Santana yells back, pointing her finger threateningly at him."
"That was, like, forever ago! We had just started living together and he was kind of freaking me out with how he was acting!"
"And that gives you the right to act like a bigos!" Brittany shouts.
"Bigot," Santana corrects.
"Yeah, bigot!" Brittany repeats. "Sorry, Bigos is a stew my nana makes."
"When exactly was this?"
Everyone stops what they are doing to stare at Rachel. Her voice is so calm yet cold that it stops you in your tracks. Even Quinn freezes.
Finn's eyes are searching, his face beat red. "Like…the end of sophomore year or something, I don't know," he dismisses, clearly agitated. Rachel nods firmly, her lips pursed, as she gets to her feet, apparently ready to leave. "Rach, wait," Finn says, reaching out to grab her wrist. She easily flings him off.
"Correct me if I'm wrong, Finn, but did we or did we not date earlier that year?"
"You know we did," Finn breathes out warily.
"It was brief but I'm fairly certain it happened. And did you or did you not tell me you loved me not long after?" She actually waits until he answers.
"Yes! But Rach-"
"And even though you fail to remember the easiest of things like Broadway songs I've performed, even though Santana of all peopledoes, I would hope at the time you were quite aware that I have two fathers."
"Rach, this is all out of content," Finn complains.
"Context," Brittany corrects, getting Santana to laugh openly. But you, Rachel, and Finn don't move.
"Unless you used the word asking someone for a cigarette, Finn, it shouldn't even be in your vocabulary. And that fact that you said it to Kurt-"
"I didn't call him faggy, I was talking about the crap he put in our bedroom!" Finn roars.
Rachel laughs mirthlessly and it gives you chills it sounds so evil. "Oh yeah, Finn, I can tell you're reallyapologetic; still using excuses." You're shockedthat it was Brittany who said that. Both Quinn and Santana look floored she was the one to point out the obvious.
"My girl has a point," Santana stresses.
"Shut up, Santana!" Finn yells. She's about to say something back, but Brittany steps in front of her.
"What are you going to do, Finn, out her again? Huh? Tell a hallway full of people that I'll never love her and that she shouldn't be such a coward? Oh wait, you already did that."
You quickly glance over at Rachel when you hear her gasp. Her hand is over her heart and she looks downright faint as she stares at Finn.
"Go to her, Lucy!" Quinn commands, and you're by Rachel's side in a flash, wrapping your arm around her and protecting her from Finn's eyes.
"I think you should go now," Santana mumbles. She appears to be visibly retraining Brittany. Finn takes in the seen and deflates.
"Just go," she mumbles back, staring at the floor. She doesn't move, however. Not even when Finn slams the auditorium door. You direct her over to the piano bench and wait for further instructions. None come, though. Everyone is silent. Even Quinn.
You glance at Rachel. She still looks pale. Santana is busy calming Brittany down. It's up to you. You lay your fingers on the keys and start playing the song that you play in your head all day.
Rachel laughs pathetically but you see a slight smile. It also does the trick with Brittany. Immediately she's asking Santana to sing to her. She does so, although grudgingly. It gets an actual real laugh from Rachel.
"Don't start, Berry," Santana complains before singing again.
Softly, you start singing the chorus to Rachel, nudging her shoulder with your own. She smiles at you with a roll of her eyes and joins in. You start playing a little louder, the four of you all singing now. When the song's over, you can't help but play the scales, just as Rachel did that first day. She laughs at you as she shakes her head.
"Yeah! Let's sing Do-Re-Mi!" Brittany cheers, jumping up and down as she claps. The mood has shifted completely again. There's no residual tension from what happened with Finn. After Do-Re-Mi, you get to hear Rachel sing Defining Gravity. That turns into a few other Broadway classics.
You're all laughing as you make your way out to Santana's car. You're glad that Rachel isn't mad at you for baiting Finn, but you want to apologize anyway. You get your chance when Santana and Brittany slide into the front seats.
Softly, you place your hand on her shoulder to prevent her from getting into the car. "I'm…I'm sorry about before," you tell her as sincerely as you can as you push up your glasses. You hold her tired gaze even though you want to look to Quinn in the windows of the car to ask for help.
"Yeah," Rachel mumbles, glancing down at her feet. Quinn starts talking.
"I didn't mean for all that to start, I just-I just…" But even Quinn is having trouble apologizing.
"See, Lucy, thisis why I never said anything," Quinn complains. "Now she's hurt."
You seize on that. "I didn't mean to hurt you. I never wanted you to get hurt. I just-"
"Wanted to throw Finn's flaws in our faces," Rachel completes softly, still not looking at you.
"Yes," you breathe out, even though Quinn told you to say no. Rachel looks up at you surprised. "Clearly you don't really know him."
"I can't believe we're doing this again," she whispers wearily to herself.
"Hey, no, it's not like that. I just want you to understand that he's not perfect. I want you to see that you can do better!"
"And if I don't think I can do better!" she shouts angrily. Her outburst gets you both to freeze. Rachel's hand goes to her opened mouth in slight horror as you stare at her in complete surprise.
Simultaneously, both you and Quinn are talking. "Rachel! You have to know that you deserve the best…"
"Tell her she is so much more talented than Finn…!"
"You such an amazing person and anyone would be lucky to have you…"
"She is going to do amazing things with her life and she has to know that…!"
"You're so nice and pretty and smart and talented…"
"She was always meant for more than this town can offer…!"
You are quick to reiterate everything Quinn had said as well. The result is a softly blushing Rachel who is now avoiding your gaze.
"Tell her…" Quinn swallows thickly as she seems to summon her courage. "Tell her that she's the best friend anyone could ask for." Although, it doesn't seem like it's what Quinn actually wanted to say, you proud of her.
Once the words leave your lips, Rachel glances up at you softly through her eyelashes. "Thank you, Quinn," she murmurs before her arms are around you. She's gone and in the car before you can even think of lifting your own arms, but you sigh quietly as you smile, never before feeling so toasty warm inside.
The ride to Rachel's is loud. Santana and Brittany are screeching along to the radio, more concerned with fun than pitch. You and Rachel are laughing at them with Rachel periodically joining in. You can only sit back and smile; for the first time in your life, feeling as though you belong.
You get another hug from Rachel in the car once Santana pulls up to the Berry residence, but you follow Quinn's orders and walk her up to the door to give her a proper goodbye. "So…um…I guess I'll see you tomorrow afternoon?" you ask quietly as you push up your glasses.
Rachel is just smiling back at you. "You've worn your glasses almost every day this week," she says as she eyes them. You nod your head, unsure of what to say. You still feel like apologizing for what happened in the auditorium. You honestly thought making Finn look bad would require subterfuge and multiple-choice testing. The idea that it could result in Rachel's tears never struck you. It's enough to make the game no longer fun. "Well, they look really nice on you," Rachel says with a shy smile as she softly squeezes your arm before going inside her house.
You stare at the front door for a long moment before Santana is honking her car horn. You give the door a whimsical sigh before skipping off and into the car.
The next morning your alarm goes off and you slap it silent as you lay exhausted in bed. The sounds of birds chirping make you frown, and it isn't until you feel the pain in your left side do you finally pry your eyes open. They are puffy, you can tell, and probably very red. You relax your arms and you feel Harry Potter slide down onto your bed. Yes, you slept with the book in your arms; what of it?
Just the sight of it makes you tear up. What are you going to do now that the story of your best friends is finally over?
"You still have the movies to watch," comes from your left, and you jump slightly, not expecting Quinn to be up. Naturally, the two of you spent the whole night discussing each and every word as you read out loud to her; since she's in the past and couldn't acquire her own copy, she demanded you read to her. You got an hour or two of actual sleep. Maybe. But it was so fudgin' worth it!
Judy needs to be at work in an hour, so you sit with her at the breakfast table and haphazardly fork eggs into your mouth as you tell her your favorite parts of the book. She nods along smiling, indulging you.
"Bacon?" she asks as you chug down some water, parched from all your talking. You shake your head and finish your sentence.
"And he just says, 'always'. Can you believe that? All that time!" you stress, throwing your hands up in the air. She laughs at you as you close over the book, suddenly worried you'll spill something on it.
"I've never seen you like this," she says fondly.
You stay quiet. You're always like this once you finish a book. Harry is a little different—a long journey that made you believe magic really does exist—but usually finishing a book leaves you breathless with excitement and full of sentimental melancholy. She wouldn't know that because she doesn't know you. She doesn't even really know Quinn.
Instead you just say, "How come you never seemed to like me?"
Judy gasps softly before collapsing down into her chair, and you regret mentioning anything because she only has an hour until she has work. You feel self-conscious suddenly. Very aware of the tangled mess on your head and your red-rimmed eyes from an afternoon and night of reading and crying.
"I-" she starts, searching the pristine table for clues. You're about to take everything back, but she really looks as though she's considering your question seriously. "I didn't think I would be a very good mother. Self-fulfilling prophecy, I suppose. But Russell wanted children and I did as well, despite my fears."
You nod down at the table.
"But mostly…I was just so unhappy with my life, I thought that if I was too close to you girls, it would make you both unhappy as well." She sighs deeply. "I'm trying to change now." She gets up and puts breakfast away and does the dishes. Down at your watch, Quinn looks as close to tears as you feel.
"You look like crap," Quinn mumbles, hastily whipping at her eyes.
"You too," you say under your breath so Judy can't hear. Up stairs in the bathroom mirror that becomes more apparent if Quinn's reflection is anything to go by. It's truly strange that you can now see her puffy-red eyes and the dark bags. You can see the shiner she received yesterday at school. And she can see those changes in your face as well. How come you couldn't see them before, like when you put makeup on that first morning? Why can you both see them now? What does that mean? And what does it mean, if anything, that Quinn's shout may have been heard by Brittany and Santana the previous day while they made out on Quinn's bed?
"What are your plans today?" you ask as you inspect Quinn's clothes in her closet and sing softly. You heard it on the radio in Puck's car. It's kind of a sad song. Something about it will rain if a girl goes away? By Bruno someone.
Quinn's sitting on your bed, searching your bookcase and shrugs. "Avoiding Judy, Russell, and Frannie; what else is new?" she tells you evenly. "And could you stop singing that song? It's stuck in my head now!"
You ignore her comment and frown at her day's plans. "Maybe it would be better if you-I don't know, talkedto them? Maybe—stuck up for us?" you ask softly, fiddling with your fingers and giving up your clothes search.
Today is your mini Comic Con at Mike's. Which means tonight is your sleepover with Rachel. Every time you think about it your stomach twists painfully. What will you talk about for all those hours with her? Can you get away with a silent movie marathon?
Quinn huffs quietly at your question, as though the very thought exhausts her, and shimmies back on your bed until she's flopping down onto the pillows.
"What's the point? If I am in the same room with Russell I'll get in a huge fight with him. I probably call mom a lush, and Frannie a big bitch. It would seem a tad out of character if Lucy was to do that," she supplies as she stares up at the ceiling.
You giggle softly, wishing yourJudy was more like Quinn's. "Well, I think speaking up would be a good idea. Maybe it would change some things here in your time."
Quinn rolls over and gives you a wry smile. "But wouldn't that mess with your precious space-time continuum?" she mocks lightly.
You roll your eyes back at her. "Quinn, it's not like I'm not going to change things when I get back to my time. I mean, I have all this knowledge…I'm going to put it to good use. For starters," you say as you watch Quinn slowly rise from her laying position, "on the first day of high school I'm going to march right up to Rachel Berry and tell her she's super cool and really pretty and that she should be my girlfriend forever and…"
"…ever and always and-"
"Lucy! You-Lucy you can't change anything," she tells you seriously, looking somewhat panicked. You frown back as your eyebrows scrunch.
"What?" you ask as you push up your glasses, shaking your head to make sure you're understanding her. "Why wouldn't I change things?"
Quinn scoffs and swings her legs off the bed to approach the mirror. "Lucy, what about Beth?"
Your face contorts into puzzlement. "What about her?"
"Lucy! She needs to be born! You can't change anything. You have to sleep with Puck sophomore year so you can get pregnant and-and-" Quinn swallows heavily as she stares down at the carpet, her eyes conveying that her thoughts are going a mile a minute. "You'll have to give her up again," she finishes anxiously. She runs her hand through her hair before finally looking up at you, eyes blazing. "Or you could keep her!"
Your eyes bulge. "Are you flippin' kidding me right now?"
"Lucy, this perfect. You can keep her this time!"
"You expect me to have 'relations' with Noah Puckerman and then be a teen mom? Quinn, I can't do that!" you whisper, actually frightened by the thought.
"Yes you can! I did it, you can too!"
"The 'relations' with Puck part is seriously testing my gage reflexes just thinking about it! On top of that, you want me to be a mom at sixteen? Quinn, what about Princeton? What about Rachel? What about all our dreams? I can't do that stuff if I have a baby! It will change everything!"
You watch as Quinn slumps back against your bedpost miserably. All at once it seems to hit Quinn that she really lost her daughter. "Lucy," she mumbles imploringly as she meets your eye in the mirror. "You have to have her. You can't just...not make someone exist!"
"Great googily moogily, Quinn! How the heck am I going to have 'relations' with Puck?"
"I don't know, Luce. Do what I did and get drunk off of wine coolers?"
"You were drunk?"
"Stop acting surprised that we're not a good person, Lucy, cause you sound awfully judgey!"
"Crapes, Quinn, I don't know if I can do that!"
"Well you have some time; you'll…warm up to the idea or something," she says as though she doesn't really believe her words. You both are quite as you consider all of this.
"This just got really complicated," you say after a long moment.
Quinn exhales loudly as she runs her fingers through her hair. "Holy moly, you're not kidding," Quinn mutters as she bites her lip and sinks to the floor. You slip down too, until you're sitting Indian style, and stare at her anxiously.
"Do I really have to do all the stuff you did?" you ask after a while, mentally going over everything Quinn has told you about her past, your future. How are you going to be mean to Rachel?
Quinn runs a hand over her forehead before rubbing hard at the space between her eyes. "Maybe…maybe you'll forget everything? Maybe when we switch back you won't remember being here and you'll just…become me naturally?"
"If we switch back," you mumble nervously. At that, Quinn's eyes widen significantly and she jumps to her feet.
"NO! No, I canNOT do this all again, Lucy! I can't! Getting picked on, losing the weight, being a bitch, getting pregnant, giving-giving Beth…I cannot do it all again!"
"Yet you expect me to!"
Quinn huffs loudly and turns away from you, running a shaky hand through her hair before holding tightly to your bedpost. "Okay," she breathes out, slowly turning back to you. "Okay, look, we don't know what's going on. Best cast scenario is that we're really passed-out cold on our respective bathroom floors and all this is a very elaborate, vivid dream of some sorts. Worst case…I have to live through all this again with complete knowledge that I've already done it before." Quinn takes a moment of blankly staring off into space before looking at you once. "This cannot be my worst case scenario, or else I'm likely to kill someone…possibly multiple people."
"Okay, so we're rooting for being knocked out!" you say quickly, hoping your future self isn't capable of mass homicide and suddenly wondering if she actually could be. You're surprised with how likely that scenario plays out in your head.
"Or crazy! I could settle for crazy and I'm really in mental institution receiving shock therapy as we speak."
"That's one of your best case scenarios?" you ask indignantly.
"Well it's better than having sex with Puck again!"
"Oh my, gosh! Shock therapy is better than having 'relations' with Puck?" Quinn considers that for a moment before she's nodding ardently. "Goodness, Quinn; now I'mhoping you are nuts just so I don't have to do it!"
"Or! Or!" she stresses as she holds up a finger, "we switch back and you could have absolutely no recollection of any of this. That way, everything happens for you like it did for me and everyone wins!"
Your shoulders drop as the wind gets taken from your sails. "But what if you don't remember, Quinn?" Quinn deflates slightly too as she looks up at you through her eyelashes. "What if you don't remember any of this and you go back to holding everything in like before I came?"
Quinn scrubs her face harshly before sighing. "So these are our choices? Seriously concussed, a wack-job, amnesia, being you again, or the hell of you having full-knowledge of everything and having to live out all my horrible transgressions?"
"Geez, Quinn…this is kind of bleak." You're both silent as you consider everything. It really does seem bleak. You can't forget this, you can't! Meeting Quinn was so valuable. You'd hate for it to be wasted by forgetting it all. But the idea of going back to your time saddled with the responsibilities of Quinn's past—like getting pregnant at sixteen—seems worse. Quinn being crazy isn't looking so bad. Or maybe you're the crazy one…which, isn't so great either.
The best you could hope for is that this is all a dream. That you're imagining everything in your head right now as you lie passed-out in your bathroom. The idea of coming too, realizing it was all a dream, almost sounds as bad as having to have "relations" with Puck. Because it will hurt. Knowing that you made it all up in your head. Rachel. Feeling as though you belong. Getting held by your mother…how are you going to get by every day knowing what you could have had? If Rachel is even real or just a figment of your imagination?
"Quinn…" you mumble, feeling thick tears forming.
"I know, Lucy, I know," Quinn says back, already reading your mind. Her gaze flicks to your clock radio and she sighs. "It's getting late. You have the Comic Con."
You don't even feel like going anymore. Your thoughts are so heavy.
"Lucy, listen to me, okay?" you nod as you tuck your chin to your chest. "We're going to figure this out and whatever happens will happen. I think-I think you were right. You're here for a reason. We can see each other for a reason. All this is happening for a reason. You're a good person, Lucy Quinn Fabray, and you deserve to be happy. So I don't think this is going to end badly."
"You promise?" you ask thickly, feeling your chin and bottom lip wobble.
"I promise," she answers firmly with a soft smile. "But until then, you have a Comic Con to prepare for. You get to spend the whole day talking about comic books and gaming, and then spending the whole night watching Harry Potter with Rachel. It's going to be the best day ever. And I want you to enjoy that, okay?"
"Okay," you whisper.
"Hey," Quinn scolds with another smile. "I promise I'll figure this out. I just want you to enjoy yourself today. Ooohhhkay?" she sing-songs with a beaming grin.
"Okay!" you nod happily, pushing up your glasses and bouncing a little.
"Now I want you to call Kurt up so he can fix your makeup because you look like you've been up all night crying, and ask him to help you pick out some clothes to wear. Doesn't that sound like fun?"
"Yeah!" you shout, thrusting your fist in the air. The idea of spending time with yet another potential friend thrills you.
"Okay, so you better go call him, Lucy Q."
"I will!" you say as you race to get your phone, not noticing that Quinn is biting her bottom lip in the mirror, looking as though she has the weight of the world on her shoulders yet again.
You were carefully instructed to say very little. Luckily, this doesn't seem to be a problem. Kurt really doesn't stop talking. And even if he were to suddenly want your opinion on the clothes you'd like to wear, he doesn't seem surprised that you have very little to say. You mostly just fit the expression on your face Quinn deems necessary for the situation: Kurt insults your clothes—glare; Kurt says something offensive about your old makeup habits—roll your eyes; Kurt babbles on about topics you could care less about—inspect your nails and act as bored as you really are. It was quite easy, actually.
So far, it appears as though you have the least in common with him out of everyone in New Directions. You like him all right; you just don't really have anything to talk about. You haven't really had one on one time with everyone yet—Blaine, Sugar, and Rory are complete mysteries to you—and you know you could do without Finn, but so far Kurt is the first person that you don't really seem like you'll click with. Quinn tells you that it's the same with her. You can't help but feel he just doesn't understand you. Doesn't understand, perhaps, the struggles you've faced.
"For some reason I just—I don't know, don't totally love him," Quinn says with a shrug as Kurt bustles around the bedroom gathering clothes for you. It didn't take much convincing to get him over. When you called him he answered slightly out of breath and very interested in your proposition of a makeover. He arrived not even ten minutes later.
"And we're dressing you for…?" he asked with a manicured eyebrow raised high up towards his hairline.
"A mini Comic Con," you say with a firm nod. He only blinks back blankly at you.
"I have no idea what that is."
Your mouth drops open as you stare at him in horror. "Lucy, don't bother," Quinn says from your bed. You're sitting on the toilet seat in the bathroom with miles and miles of makeup spread out on the counter. "He won't get it."
You shake your head sadly. "It's a thing at Mike's house."
"A thing?" he questions skeptically.
You shrug. "Yeah, a thing."
You hear the doorbell ring and scrunch up your face in confusion, wondering who that can be. "Blaine's here!" Kurt supplies happily before taking off to get the door.
You glance at Quinn in puzzlement as she flips the page of the book she's reading. "Just go with it," she tells you without concern, not even looking up at you. "It's a thing," she finishes with a roll of her eyes.
A thing translates into something you wouldn't understand, much like Kurt wouldn't understand your mini Comic Con. Luckily, however, Blaine gets your thing. He is absolutely thrilled at the idea of comic book discussions. Kurt frowns mutely as you and Blaine excitedly talk about it, and soon, you're inviting them both along.
It's great that Blaine is there to help you dress. Because Kurt was this close to putting you into some sequence pants or whatever. Blaine interceded suggesting something more comfortable. "But I can't wear anything I have," you say as you stand watching both boys shuffling through Quinn's closet. "I need something…special," you mumble, thinking about impressing Rachel.
Your makeup is finished. Kurt was adamant about putting in your contact lenses, but you opted out. And not just because they disturb you to no end, but because Rachel thinks you look good in your glasses. Now all you have to worry about is something you can wear to the Comic Con that will work for your sleepover as well before you need to change into your PJs. Holy moly, Rachel Berry is going to see you in your PJs!
He's not happy about it, but somehow Blaine convinces Kurt that Quinn's flowing white skirt paired with a soft green t-shirt and Quinn's ankle boots would be appropriate for the Comic Con. It's not exactly the "special" outfit you were going for, but you don't have a lot of time to prepare. Kurt, of course, accessorized with a stylish leather coat and a red beaded necklace, but overall both you and Quinn are happy with the end result. Well, that is, if you can't wear a head to toe Superhero costume, it will do.
Since both boys are now attending the Comic Con, Blaine drives over to Mike's house as he tries to convince Kurt it will be a fun event. He's currently going on about the homosexual undertones that appear in most comic books, and you listen hard as you flip through old copies of the Underground Quinn had stashed underneath her bed. You never really noticed, but Blaine is actually right. Now you're wondering if that's why you like them so much. You'll have to ask Quinn later.
"Do you think Rachel will like what I'm wearing?" you whisper down at your watch to Quinn as the boys continue to talk and sing in the front seats.
Quinn gives you a soft smile and nod. "I do, Lucy."
You blow out a breath of relief and sit up a little straighter.
You're surprised by just how big the little mini Comic Con turns out. You were originally expecting only Mike, Sam, Artie, Mercedes, and Tina. Of course you came with Kurt and Blaine, but you weren't expecting Rory and Sugar to get an invite. There is food and music, and as everyone mingles, you inspect the long dining room table that is packed with comic books. Blaine already raced home to get his own, so while you're waiting for the boys to eat, you, Tina, and Mercedes go off to a little corner to discuss "girl things" that has Kurt floating over to join in.
Your girl time because more like glee time once Sugar takes the seat beside you. And soon enough, you are all sitting around the living room talking about song choices and upcoming competitions. Blaine arrives and places his comic books with the others, and not long after, there is a knock on the door. You glance down at your watch, not to look at Quinn, but to notice that it is far too early for Rachel to arrive. Your stomach flips nervously anyway, and it isn't until Santana and Brittany saunter in that you finally breathe.
"What are you two doing here?" Mercedes asks suspiciously, but with a pleased smile on her face.
Santana shrugs as her eyes meet yours, smirking slightly. "We came to crash your nerd-fest."
"And also we like Catwoman," Brittany supplies before heading over to the dip that Matt's mother put out. You smile brightly at Santana, very certain that they're there for moral support. She rolls her eyes at you, trying and failing to hide her smile, before pushing Sugar out of the way so she can sit beside you.
But now that a Super Villain has been said, Sam eagerly pipes up about the lore of Catwoman and how it pertains to Batman. You almost get whiplash at how fast Blaine jumps in, criticizing the idea of Catwoman and the negative connotations the character places on women.
"But she's way hot," Brittany adds. And they're off. Even Mercedes and Tina are giving their opinions. Kurt disapproves of Catwoman's fashion choices; at least Wonder Woman accessorized. Mike jumps in with is thoughts on the Lasso of Truth. The conversations are quick and loud and everyone is the room is smiling and laughing; you and Quinn included.
"Luce?" Quinn says slowly. You hold the watch close to your ear so you can hear her over the rapid-fire debate over the X-Men. "Can you ask if Mike has always lived here?"
You frown at the weird inquiry, but get Mike's attention to ask. He, too looks puzzled, but assures you he always has. You glance down at Quinn to see her mind working, until she's jumping up out of your bed and walking in and out of the watch's face.
"Where are you going?" you ask her as quietly as possible. Sugar gives you a curious look, and you smile awkwardly as you blush, wondering what the girl thinks of the fact that you just spoke to your watch.
"I'm going to Mike's," Quinn tells you evenly. You gape down at her, aware that you can just make out that she's currently sitting in the driver's seat of Frannie's car. You quickly rush out of the room to head to the first floor bathroom, and lock the door behind you as you stare at Quinn's reflection.
"Quinn! You're twelve, you can't drive!"
"Of course I can drive," Quinn says with a shrug, clearly backing out of the driveway. "I'm not sitting alone in that house all day when I'd much rather be doing something fun like have my own mini Comic Con. I don't think Mike would mind if I showed up unannounced."
"Quinn! He doesn't even know you!"
Quinn gives another unconcerned shrug, eyes on the road before her. "He's not really the type to care. I'll knock on his door, ask him if he wants to talk comics and play Pokémon, and I'm sure it will be enough to persuade him."
You're kind of impressed with Quinn in that moment. Her fearlessness. You have to agree that Mike seems the mild, accepting type. It crosses your mind that her little visit to your future friend's house may mess with the space-time continuum. But then again, by the time you're suppose to meet Mike at McKinley, you look so different that he probably wouldn't be able to put two and two together. Never mind the fact that this whole thing just may be a series of events taking place in your head.
And also, you kind of just want Quinn to have a friend.
You tell her to be safe and have fun and head back into the living room where everyone is laughing. Apparently everyone is giving out X-Men roles to the group. You smile over the debate on who gets to be Wolverine and hope that one day Quinn can get to experience this light-hearted fun.
An hour later, you and the boys minus Kurt are sitting around the dining room table in deep comic book discussion while the girls plus Kurt chat in the living room. All of your heads are ducked over opened comic books as you debate villains and rank them. It's a serious conversation that is almost the complete opposite than the one that took place a room over. There is no laughing. No chitchat. No games. It's heated.
In your watch, you can clearly see the shaky image of a younger Mike as he plays some video game. It makes you smile. A smile that stays planted on your face until the doorbell sounds. It's four-fifteen, which means Rachel is at the door.
Mike is currently battling with Sam over the greatest villain title and looks practically mad at your other friend as he gets to his feet. You want to tell him you'll answer the door. Insist that he can continue the great debate as you greet Rachel. But you can't get up from your seat or open your mouth.
You feel an elbow nudge you and glance to your right to see Blaine frowning. "You okay?" he asks sincerely. You gulp loudly and feel the blood rush from your face, only managing a stiff nod that quickly turns into a frantic head shake. "Not feeling well?" he prods.
And then there she is. Looking beautiful and casual in a black unitard with bright pink shorts and a soft smile. She looks somewhat nervous as she stands in the archway to the dining room, but then her eyes find yours and her face lights up. You feel your face morph into a dreamy smile and stand on shaky legs to hug her. You don't even know if you're really hugging buddies with Rachel, but she gave you two (!) yesterday so you're going with it.
"Hi!" Rachel says in your ear as your heavy arms wrap around her.
"You came," is all you can say. She giggles as she pulls away and stares up at you with affection.
"I also brought a bag for tonight?" she asks nervously, gesturing to the bag you've just now notice in her hand.
You grin and nod your head, trying to ignore the burst of butterflies flapping pleasantly in your stomach.
"I should probably go change," she says as she glances around at the boys in the room, all still headedly arguing and gesticulating as they pour over comic books. "Wow, this is serious!" she says with wide eyes.
You give her a grave nod. It is serious business.
"This is horseshit!" Sam explodes suddenly, jumping to his feet and gripping the back of his chair as he bears down on Mike and Artie. "Green Goblin in your top ten? Lex Luthor over Magneto? I feel as though I don't even know you guys any more!" he says with some much disappointment you can't help but allow your eyebrow to shoot up. You watch, completely lost, as Sam hurriedly leaves the room.
"Sam!" Artie calls out. But a hand on his wrist stops Artie from following after him.
"Leave him," Mike says firmly. "He just…doesn't understand."
Luckily, however, Artie doesn't listen. "Really, Mike," Artie whispers as he pushes up his glasses, "Lex over Magneto? I just-I just can't abide," before he too leaves.
Rachel's wide eyes turn to you, and you can only shrug back. "It's like, if someone said that Les Miz the movie is better than the Broadway version," you explain to the floor as you push up your glasses.
You hear Rachel's gasp, and when you look up, she's nodding seriously as though she now understands. "I'm going to go change," she tells you, still eyeing Mike as though he personally put down Les Miz, before heading off towards the bathroom.
You shakily retake your seat, eyes where Rachel has just disappeared, and pay no attention to Sam coming back into the room with Artie at his side as they apologize to Mike. You get another nudge in your side and only cock your head to tell Blaine that you're listening. "So, you're feeling okay, then?"
Your eyes slide to his confused face and swallow hard. "I'm fine," you lie. You try and shake off your nervous energy and get back into the comic book discussion, but the table only has half your attention. Your eyes keep glancing over to Mike's bathroom door. You want to appear as though everything is fine, for Blaine's benefit, but Rachel is here. You'll be having a sleepover tonight. You're unsure of how to keep her entertained all evening while trying to keep from begging her to break up with Finn and dating your future self.
Your eyes jerk away from the opening bathroom door, and you practically throw yourself across the table to pick up an old comic to thrust it in Sam's face. "But the real question is, where does Kingpin stand on your list?" you ask him while trying not to blush. You fail. Of course.
But the boys immediately tackle your question. You feel Rachel take the seat to your left and bring her chair closer to you, but you can't look at her yet. She's sitting next to you. You must not, by the god Thor, act as though all you want in the world is to stand up and do a touchdown dance because she chose the seat beside you. So you force yourself to concentrate. Even when Rachel softly places her hand on your back so she can have a conversation with Blaine.
"How's it going?"
"Ohhh, not good."
"Does she look pretty?"
"She's wearing a Superman t-shirt."
"Okay…okay, well…breathe, annnnd, just…shit, a Superman t-shirt?"
"Quinn…I don't know if I can do this!"
"I don't blame you," she mumbles back, her eyes searching. She's at her old house now, already done with her videogame day with Mike. "Superman?"
"Quinn…what if…what if I do something stupid, like tell her you're in love with her?"
"What else is she wearing?" Quinn asks distractedly, as though she didn't hear your question.
"Quinn! I'm panicking! I feel like Harry when he had to ask Cho to the ball!"
"Sorry, yeah, okay," Quinn says as she shakes her head to clear it. "Just…well…you're going to be watching movies all night. So, just…don't talk. She won't be surprised when you're quiet; I'm quiet. And…Superman? Is it…is it tight? Like…fitted, or-"
"Quinn! We're leaving in a few moments and I don't know what to do! What if…what if she does like us?" Your voice drops. "What if she tries to kiss me?"
"Well she better not! You're twelve!"
"She doesn't know that!"
"Well you do, so keep your lips away from Rachel Berry, Lucy!"
"I don't want to kiss her! Well," you consider suddenly, head tilting as you imagine placing a soft kiss on Rachel's cheek.
"No! No 'wells'!" Quinn scolds as she points accusingly at you. "You're twelve and you're keeping this evening PG! I get to kiss Rachel!"
"Technically Finn gets to kiss Rachel," you shudder.
Quinn's face darkens and you quickly apologize. "Just get home, put on the first movie, and keep the conversation on Harry Potter. That's all you have to do."
"Harry Potter, got it!"
"If she tries to talk to you about grownup things, tell her that you're not in the mood to really talk; long day."
"Long day," you repeat frantically, trying to remember everything.
"And if…by some miracle Rachel Berry actually likes me and tries anything, just tell her you're not ready for that."
"And…what if…we, like, don't get back to the right side of the mirror? Do I get to kiss her then?"
Quinn glowers at you. "You can tell Rachel, in that case, that she'll have to wait at least three years. Four is much more sensible, however."
"Four years!" you stress as you push your nose against the mirror in Mike's bathroom. "I have to wait until I'm sixteen to kiss her!"
Quinn huffs. "Lucy, why must you insist on growing up too fast? Just be happy with the here and now. Go take your friend Rachel home to watch movies. And she'll be sleeping in your room while you take the guest bedroom."
"This is no fair!" you cry out in indignation.
"Well life's not fair, young lady. So go out there and get home safely before I change my mind about this little sleepover," Quinn tells you firmly, getting you to pout. "March!"
You grumble to yourself but follow orders, leaving the bathroom to go find Rachel. Most of everyone has already left, save Mike—of course—Artie, Sam, and Rachel. Before entering the bathroom to discuss strategy with Quinn, Santana and Brittany gave you matching smirks before wishing you good luck. You hugged everyone else good bye and ignored Rachel's questing gaze. Now it's time to face the music.
After quickly thanking Mike for the day and making plans to do it again soon, you hug the boys and turn towards the door where Rachel is waiting for you in her fitted red Superman shirt with a dark blue short skirt and yellow knee socks . You just want to ask her to marry you.
"Ready?" she asks with a shy smile. You gulp as you push up your glasses and nod.
The car ride is quiet. You're happy to listen to Rachel sing softly to the radio, singing songs you've never heard of, and watch the scenery slip by you as she drives back to Quinn's. Once you reach the dark, quiet house, you immediately instruct Rachel to get comfortable in the living room as you head off to the kitchen to get snacks. You insist it's a one person job. You just need a moment alone. Well, alone with Quinn.
"I can't believe she's wearing that," Quinn says with a far-off look in her eyes as you open the microwave to put in some popcorn.
"I know," you whisper. "She's the fudgin' coolest!"
It appears as though Quinn only just remembers that she's speaking to you, because she kind of jumps a little. "Yeahhhh," she mumbles, "I was thinking that…um…too."
Your eyebrows scrunch up, not too young that you can't tell she's lying. "What?" you ask suspiciously. Quinn only blows out a long breath and tells you you'll understand when you're older. You roll your eyes at the familiar statement and set the timer on the microwave, effectively making Quinn's reflection vanish.
Laden down with snacks, you head back into the living room, gnawing at you bottom lip, and watch Rachel examining the DVD's title screen for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. She smiles brightly at you as you sit beside her on the couch. "Sit farther away," Quinn grumbles from your watch.
Your eyes bulge a little, feeling as though your mother or God is watching or something, and place the snacks down in an effort to make you distancing yourself from Rachel less obvious. You push PLAY and shoot her a quick smile before settling back against the couch, stiff and nervous, completely aware that you're breathing like an asthmatic. Which…you are, so you're just breathing like yourself.
It isn't until Harry's first Quidditch match that either one of you says anything. "Are you upset with me?" Rachel softly says beside you. Your body freezes at the sound of her voice. You haven't even really been able to watch the movie, too caught up in everything Rachel.
You swallow hard and shake your head, eyes glued to the TV.
"Are you sure? Because you've been…distant," she breathes out, as though it took great courage to ask the question.
You place your wrist in your lap so that you can stare down at Quinn. You're surprised to see your future self's expression, however. She looks downright drugged. You furrow your eyebrows at her heaving chest and glazed-over appearance, and think better of asking her right now if she's okay. Instead, you pause the movie and place your arm back down on the couch where it was a moment ago; just beside Rachel's leg.
"Um…I'm fine," you answer her shakily, giving her a fleeting glance and smile. "I'm just…"
"Tired," Quinn completes for you in a very deep, gravely voice you barely recognize.
"Tired," you repeat Quinn. You give Rachel a soft smile. "Long day of debating comic books."
She laughs down at her lap before looking up at you from underneath her eyelashes. "We could always go to bed."
"Sweet Jesus," Quinn hisses from your lap. Your eyebrows scrunch again over her behavior, and you shake her reaction off before smiling at Rachel again.
"It's okay; we're only on the first movie! We have a lot of Harry Potter to watch first."
Rachel giggles a little and nods. "Okay! Back to the marathon!" she declares enthusiastically. You sigh wistfully over your future wife's awesomeness, and push PLAY.
It's around the time Harry first hears the monster lurking in the Chamber of Secrets that you feel it. The shifting of Rachel beside you before the soft touch of her arm against yours. Your panicked eyes glance down at Quinn, but she's not looking at you. She's staring at Rachel. And her expression is…well…she looks like you do when there's a huge ice cream sundae close by. Your narrow your eyes but look back at the television confused as to why Quinn's eyes were just a tad lower than Rachel's face.
Rachel shifts again.
"Are you okay?" you ask with concern. Maybe Rachel isn't comfortable.
"I'm fine," Rachel squeaks out. You nod and go back to the movie. The third time Rachel's arm brushes yours, you gulp. Because she doesn't move away.
Harry has just discovered that his godfather sold his parents out to Voldermort when Rachel pauses the movie. You glance at her expectantly. "Sorry," she apologizes nervously. "but do you mind if we get into our PJs now?"
You feel stupid for not suggesting it earlier. You're three movies into your marathon and Rachel has probably been uncomfortable this whole time! No wonder she's been shifting around so much. You smile brightly at her and quickly get off the couch, apologizing as you lead her up to Quinn's bedroom.
Once inside, Rachel seems to forget about changing, and instead, walks slowly around Quinn's room inspecting everything. Quinn's eyes follow her every movement, you notice. You're nervous about what she has to say and keep quiet as she looks.
After a long five minutes of quiet, Rachel turns to you and smiles. "I'm just going to…" she trails off, lifting her overnight bag to indicate she wants to change.
"Oh! Sorry," you smile and turn your back. You start humming the sunshine song as the rustling of clothes fills the air. You probably should change as well, but Rachel is already changing. So you'll just wait until she's finished to grab your things.
"Holy. Shit." Your eyes flick to the full-length mirror beside you, and your eyes bug out of your head when you realize that Quinn is very much staring at Rachel while she changes.
Your gaze flicks back to the inside of your closet, petrified that you'll catch a glimpse of naked Rachel or Rachel will think you're staring at her like your perverted future self is doing, and wish you could scold at Quinn right here and now for her behavior. You bring your watch up to your face in an effort to use your eyes to chastise Quinn, but her gaze is not on you at all.
"I'm done; you can turn around now," Rachel tells you airily, not a care in the world. Little does she know that your future self is a gigantic pervert!
But Rachel is wearing golden snitch PJs, so you sort of forget that Quinn is a jerk. Your eyes bulge at the sight of them, and you start excitedly telling her that you have Harry Potter PJs as well. Or…you did. Because Quinn got rid of them. To be fair, she probably doesn't fit into them anymore. You have to settle for a t-shirt and pajama bottoms, but don't hesitate to gush over Rachel's bedtime attire. She giggles over your enthusiasm all the way back down the stairs and into the living room, explaining that she purchased them specifically for your marathon.
You're getting sleepy. You're on the fourth movie and the second task in the Goblet of Fire when you feel Rachel's head softly land on your shoulder. Your whole body tenses up as you glance down at Quinn for instructions. But she's just staring at Rachel some more.
"Getting sleepy?" you whisper around the dryness in your throat.
Rachel sighs contentedly. "A little."
You nod, unsure of what to say to that. If she isn't tired, than why is her head on your shoulder? If she is tried, why wouldn't she just say she is?
"She's just…beautiful," Quinn breaths out from your watch. It's the first time it really hits you that Quinn's feelings for Rachel and yours are very different. While you think Rachel is the coolest, nicest person you've ever met, Quinn has this look in her eye that says it goes far beyond that. You're still very nervous being in Rachel's company, but Quinn seems to be acting even more peculiar. Her face has been flushed since the Sorcerer's Stone. She's been quiet. Mesmerized, even. You just kind of feel sweaty and fidgety.
By the time Harry exits the maze in Goblet of Fire, you can barely keep your eyes open but you are crying all the same. Yes, you've already seen Goblet and read the book, but it doesn't quell the tears. "Do you mind if we save the next four until tomorrow?" you ask as you quickly wipe away your tears, hoping she doesn't notice.
Rachel bites her body lip and slowly shakes her head, practically hiding a smile. "That's fine."
You nod and jump up. "You can stay in Q-my room," you quickly correct as you head up the stairs, "and I'll take the guest room," you explain.
"Quinn, that's not necessary," she says to the carpet just outside Quinn's bedroom.
"Holy shit!" Quinn breathes out in surprise. You don't exactly understand Quinn's outburst, but you shake off Rachel's statement.
"It's okay. The bed is really comfortable; you'll like it."
"Are you sure?" Rachel says as she glances up at you. Her cheeks are dusted pink, and Quinn swears again.
"I'm sure!" you tell her brightly.
"Okay, well," time slows down as Rachel gets up on her tippytoes as brushes your suddenly scorching hot cheek with her lips. "Night, Quinn," she whispers and smiles shyly before entering Quinn's room. You don't move an inch as you listen to the sound of the door clicking shut. And it isn't until Quinn curses again that you start making your way down to the guest room—Frannie's old room.
"Do you-do you even understand-I cannot believe…" Quinn keeps starting and stopping sentences as you clamber into bed. You stare up at the ceiling and see Quinn pacing back and forth from the mirror over Frannie's old dresser. "Holy shit, Lucy, I think Rachel Berry may like us!"
You sit up on your elbows to stare at her. The warmth on your cheek from where Rachel kissed you is finally forgotten. "Huh?" you ask, extremely confused.
Quinn is still pacing back and forth, obviously thinking hard. "Just…go to bed, okay? You're tired and…I need to think."
You want to comment that Quinn certainly has changed her tune where Rachel is concerned. Point out that nothing happened over the course of the evening that really stands out for you. But maybe Quinn knows more because she's a grownup. You shrug and get comfortable in bed, suddenly really sleepy. You haven't slept much over the course of the last five days. You'll leave the big thinking to Quinn; she's older and hopefully wiser.
You swear you're hopping out of bed before your eyes are even open, you're that excited. You're about to watch the last four never-been-seen-by-people-in-your-time Harry Potter movies! And with Rachel!
Quinn is still passed out in your bed, and you quickly jump in the shower and you do your hygiene as you loudly hum the Harry Potter theme.
You're surprised to find your mother in the kitchen making breakfast as you giddily march down the steps and around the kitchen as though you're riding a quick-moving horse and not just riding the high of your Harry Potter/Rachel day.
"You're in a good mood?" Judy says even though it ends up like a question. Her eyebrow is frozen at her hair line as she watches you gallop around the kitchen table before you stand before her.
"Uh huh," you nod brightly. "What's for breakfast?" you ask. "Because we can't have any animal byproducts!" you tell her sternly, your finger almost touching her nose.
She blinks down at your finger a dozen times before she lowers it for you. "And why is that?"
"Because of Rachel!" you shriek her name and beam, spinning once before your mother's hands clamp down on your shoulders.
"Rachel…the girl you like?" You nod enthusiastically and Judy's eyes narrow. "She's coming over for breakfast?"
"She's here now! We had a sleepover!" you cheer.
Judy's face does this weird thing where it collapses and neutralizes in a blink of an eye. "You had the girl you like sleep over last evening," she states evenly, folding her arms across her chest as she waits for your answer.
You nod. "But I slept in the guest room," you fill in quickly.
Judy sighs in relief and clutches at her chest. "Thank God; I'm not quite ready to know that…to know…just thank, God," she mumbles as she turns to the fridge.
"So what's for breakfast?" you ask again as you jump onto the counter and swing your legs. One glance to the microwave tells you Quinn is still passed out, face down, on your bed.
"How's fruit salad?" Judy asks. You deflate a little, but it will make Rachel happy.
"I'll go wake Rachel!"
You're happy that in the light of day things are less stressful. Judy is in and out of the room. Quinn is still fast asleep. And you're hooked on Harry. Rachel is sitting close again, but it makes you less nervous because you need her there. You're so fudgin' scared for Harry! You're gripping her arm and on the edge of your seat, not aware of much besides what's playing before you.
Rachel will randomly giggle and duck her head against your shoulder. You suppose she's laughing at how into this you are. She has the luck of already seeing all the movies already, so she's watching you more than the movie. You feel her eyes on you.
It's not until a bathroom break before the Half Blood Prince that you spot Quinn stirring. Her hair is a mess! And—it seems—longer?
"Quinn?" you say softly, not wanting to startle her. She groggily lifts herself up onto her hands as you inspect her. "Quinn, did you-did you put extensions in my hair last night, and…dye it darker?" you ask carefully.
She whips her hair out her face and looks over at you as her eyes widen. "Did you cut my hair and lighten it last night?" she asks breathlessly. Your face scrunches up in confusion. "Shit, Luce! Your-your hair!" Quinn vaults out of bed to move closer to the mirror as you stare shocked at one another. "Oh my, God!"
Without missing a beat, you quickly leave the bathroom and hurriedly find your mother in the kitchen. She's chopping up veggies and not looking at you.
"Mom, when you look at me—what do you see?" you ask, slightly panicked. Because if Quinn's hair magical changed over night, and so did yours…does that mean…are you changing back? Are you becoming you! But now! Not in your time?
Judy gives you an odd look and places her knife down. "What do you mean, dear? What's wrong?"
"My hair, its-not too long, is it?"
Judy cocks her head and touches the ends of your hair. "No, honey, still short."
Your head whips around to meet Quinn's confused face in the microwave. She shakes her head in wonder and shrugs in confusion.
"Okay, well I'm going to go back to Rachel now," you mumble, your thoughts heavy.
"I'll call you when lunch is ready, Quinnie," she tells you, already back to chopping mushrooms.
You're still confused as you make your way back to Rachel, ignoring Quinn's chatter. You catch sentences like "why didn't you wake me?" and "how's she been towards you this morning," as you take the seat by her side.
"Ready for the next one?" she beams, still snuggle up in Quinn's blanket. You muster up a smile, you really are excited, and the movie begins.
This time around, however, you're the one shifting nervously. "You okay?" she asks, pausing the movie not even half-way through.
"Fine," you lie. "I haven't really been sleeping well," you explain with a small smile. "And Friday night I slept with the Deathly Hallows in my arms and I'm all sore," you tell her.
She giggles at that and cups your shoulder with her hand. "That's adorable," she says before hitting PLAY. Well now you're beaming.
You're not really sure what's happening between you and Quinn. At first, she was Quinn in the mirror. Then, you could see her bruises from her school fight and she could see Puck's makeup handy work. Now, her hair is getting longer in the mirror and yours appears shorter to her? It's really strange. Sure, nothing as change outside of the mirrors, but it has to mean something, right? But for good or for bad?
You banish your thoughts and get back into the movie. The end has you crying yet again. Rachel sighs sadly and rests her head on your shoulder to comfort you.
"You should take her hand," Quinn says softly as you wipe away your tears. "After you put in the next movie, sit close and take her hand."
You're surprised by Quinn's sudden boldness, but do as she asks. As soon as you sit down, you move close to Rachel and take her hand in your own. She smiles up at you before putting her head back down on your shoulder. Now it's your turn to sigh.
By the end of the marathon, you seriously regret having Rachel here. Because you are sobbing! It's embarrassing and so uncool and completely out of your power. Luckily, she's crying right beside you.
You take half and hour to talk about the series. Gushing about the feelings and friendships and the books over the movies and in the end, you just can't help but cling to her hug at the front door, silently thanking her for being there right next to you experiencing the whole thing.
"Thank you for inviting me, Quinn," Rachel says as she stares down at her feet and pushes a piece of hair behind her ear. "I've truly had a lovely time with you."
"Thanks for coming," you mumble back, just as shyly.
"Maybe we could…" She suddenly looks up at you and stares for a moment. "Maybe we could do it again…soon?"
"Watch the whole series again?" you ask half excitedly half astonished. Eight movies all around two-two and a half hours apiece? What are you talking about? You could so do it again tomorrow.
Rachel only laughs softly, back to staring down at her shoes, before you feel the petal-soft touch of her fingers lacing through your own. "I meant hang out again…soon?"
You swallow with difficulty as she meets your eyes. "Lucy…tell her, tell her we can hang out any time she'd like," Quinn whispers, barely getting the words out.
You nod in reaction to Quinn. "I'd like that," you tell Rachel, unsure as to why this moment seems so serious. "Whenever you'd like."
Rachel nods, and you notice that she's blushing. Two rooms over you hear your mother moving around. It seems to snap you both out of your staring. "Well, I suppose I'll see you tomorrow."
"Tomorrow," you repeat as you feel Rachel's hands slide out from your own.
"Lucy, give her a kiss on her cheek," Quinn instructs quietly, almost in wonder.
The command makes your hands start to shake, but with a deep breath, you steel yourself and lean down to place a peck on her warm cheek.
"I'll see you tomorrow, Rachel."
"Tomorrow, Quinn," she whispers, blindly groping for the doorknob. You both laugh softly, and your hand swallows hers and you find the doorknob and twist it for her, successfully opening the door.
"Bye," she smiles.
"Bye," you mouth, watching her hurry to her car. She beeps the horn as she drives away, and you watch until her car is out of sight.
"Well," you hear from behind you. You slowly turn to look over your shoulder where Judy is standing, staring out into the street where Rachel's car just disappeared. "She seems to like you quite a bit."
"Great googily moogily," both you and Quinn whisper in awe.
There's a great deal Quinn wants to discuss with you. There's Rachel, of course, and how you'll both proceed. Then, of course, there's how your appearances are changing before your eyes. As soon as you raced up into the bedroom once Rachel was gone, the first thing you noticed in the mirror was that Quinn seemed to be gaining weight. And to Quinn, you appear to be losing it. When you look at Quinn's reflection, you're starting to see Lucy; you!
She's pacing and talking a mile a minute. But you can't worry about that right now. And the vibrating phone in your hand reminds you of that. Quinn is too distracted to notice you wiggle out of your watch and quietly place it and Quinn's phone down on the bed before slipping out of the room. Just like you predicted, when you reach the glass front doors, Quinn has yet to notice that you are no longer in her bedroom.
You sneak out the front doors and breathe a sigh of relief as you creep to the side of the house. There, just as knew you would, you find Puck.
"What's up, Q?" he asks suspiciously. On Friday after he drove you into school, you slipped a note into his hand requesting he meet you Sunday night, late, by the side of your house. You couldn't let Quinn know that you are recruiting her friends to help win Rachel Berry. Although Quinn seems hell-bent keeping all this a secret, you think it's best you start moving things along.
You aren't about to tell Noah Puckerman that you and your future self are madly in love with Rachel Berry, however. You're just going to get him to find ways of breaking Rachel and Finn up. It seems important now. Really important. Because Rachel might like you! And something is happening with you and Quinn.
What if, and you honestly don't know if you can handle it, but what if, here, in Quinn's present, you are turning into you. Not Quinn's pretty face and slim body. But your mousy hair and big nose and bigger frame. You can't turn back into you. You just can't. There's no way Rachel will like you if you look like Lucy!
"I need your help," you tell Puck. He's leaning up against the side of Quinn's house, one ankle crossed over the other, staring at you as though he can't believe his ears.
"And you had to pass me a topic secret note and meet you in the dead of night to talk about it?" he asks, lifting an eyebrow.
"Yes," you nod seriously.
Pucks arms drop from his chest as he appraises you. "You're not, like, in trouble with the cops or something, are you?"
You shake your head frantically. "I need your help," you pause, unsure how to word this. Well, no use beating around the bush. "I need your help breaking up Rachel and Finn."
He looks as though he was actually expecting this from you. He also looks unimpressed.
"If that's all, Q, I have shit to do at home," he says as he goes to move around you.
You place your hand on his wrist to stop him. "It's not how it sounds. I don't want her to get hurt," Slowly, he turns around to face you. "I just think-she can do so much better than him," you whisper, looking down at the grass.
That gets his attention. "This isn't just some stupid thing to get back with Hudson, is it?" he asks with a frown.
You shake your head. "No! I don't want to date Finn. I want Rachel to be with someone that deserves. She wants to go to New York next year; she should be able to go. Finn isn't-he just isn't good enough for her and you know it."
Puck shrugs. "He's my best friend."
"Do you honestly think he's good enough for her though? How he treats her? What he wants for their future?"
Puck considers this. "Dude told me he's thinking about marrying her, like, it would keep her here or something," he mumbles evasively, looking very uncomfortable.
"Marry her?" you shriek. "They're eighteen!"
Puck shrugs again. "I don't know. I wasn't really listening. He loves her; that's something," Puck states with a little more confidence this time.
"So, what? They get married and live here? Rachel never goes to New York?"
"Look, baby mama, he wants to make a life for himself. He just needs a little time to figure that out. If Rachel stays here and they get married, she can help him figure shit out."
Hearing the word married actually physically makes you hurt all over for Rachel. You feel flu-ish, suddenly, aches and pains and disorientation.
"No! No! That's unfair, Puck! That's unfair to Rachel! She's wanted Broadway since birth! And, what, Finn doesn't know what he wants so he's going to bring Rachel down trying to find it?"
Puck awkwardly raises his arm to scratch the back of his neck when you see it; his watch. You see Quinn staring at you, eyes narrowed, for a fleeting second before Puck lowers his arm. But it's too late; Quinn knows.
"Can I see your watch?" you ask miserably. Knowing that Quinn wants to yell at you, you'd rather hear it now than later. Puck looks confused by your question, but passes over his heavy silver watch.
You stare down at Quinn's reflection for a moment, waiting for her to scream. Instead you hear, "Ask him if I made the right choice. If we made the right choice giving up Beth," Quinn states quite confidently.
You blink questioningly down at her before meeting Puck's eye. "Did we make the right choice giving up Beth?" you whisper.
The question makes him blanch before he's staring down at his shuffling shoes. "Yes," he finally whispers.
"Tell him to say it louder," Quinn directs. You repeat her.
"Yes, okay!" he almost yells. "You were right! We were ready to be parents. Shelby is giving her a good life!"
"Would we be good parents now?" Quinn asks. You repeat her again and Puck looks away briefly before looking at you again.
"Why not?" Quinn demands. You match her tone.
"Because we're still too young."
"Now how the hell is Finn Hudson going to provide for Rachel Berry? Is she going to turn into a house wife while he goes and works at the garage? Are they going to work multiple jobs in New York trying to make ends meet while Rachel struggles with her career? Or option C; whatever brilliant plan Finn comes up with next that will ultimately crash and burn?" Quinn rushes out angrily. You're repeating her as quickly as possible. "I have this feeling in my gut. It's this sinking feeling that things are about to-to get bad or something," Quinn says, making you think of your changing reflections. "Now, are you going to help me, or are you going to stand by and watch your favorite Jew become a Lima Loser?"
Puck's head snaps up as his spine become ramrod straight. "Fuck no," he answers seriously. "Rachel is way better than this place!"
"Then let's get inside and strategize!" Quinn growls. You're fairly successful at imitating it, and soon, the three of you (well, you and Puck, Quinn in the mirror) are huddled in Quinn's bedroom listening to your future self's plan.
"I just don't know if this is going to work, Q," Puck says tightly. "Meanwhile, this plan kind of seems like it's gonna get me beat up."
"You could totally take Finn," you whisper, more concerned with what you are doing instead of what Puck's saying.
Puck snorts. "Of course I can take Hudson; that's not even a question for a badass like me. I just don't really feel like being that douchy guy again."
"Tell him he won't actually be hitting on Rachel, just getting inside Finn's head."
You repeat Quinn and add, "And stop moving; you're messing me up!"
"Sorry," Puck mumbles, keeping completely still as you slowly apply to eye shadow to his lids. For the last fifteen minutes, you've been practicing your makeup techniques on him. You've already done his eyeliner, lipliner and lipstick, and blush. You're almost finished with the eye shadow and will finish up with mascara.
"You work on making Finn insecure," you tell him as you inspect your work, "and I'll deal with Rach."
"Rach?" he scoffs, definitely picking up on the magical way you say her name.
"We're kind of friends, okay?" you shrug back as you blush.
Puck rolls his eyes. "Whatever. Just hurry up and finish already; I want to see how pretty I look." And he's completely serious.
Hours later, both you and Quinn were silent as you brushed your teeth before bed. You stared into the mirrors and silently noticed how much of yourself you were seeing. It's starting to actually seem as though you are looking into a mirror.
Now, as you lay in bed, you don't dare voice your fears to Quinn. Judy doesn't seem to notice the changes, and Puck never said anything, but you can't help but feel as though you're running out of time. Something is happening.
You're almost afraid to go to sleep. What if you wake up and look in the mirror and Quinn's completely gone? You stand in front of the full-length mirror and it will only be you; Lucy. What if you're stuck in the future, without Quinn? And worst of all, what if you become you physically?
It takes forever to drift to sleep, and when the alarm blares to life beside you, it feels like you never closed your eyes at all.
You and Quinn both quietly get out of bed and don't comment on the fact that more changes happened over night. Your nose is almost completely yours when you look in the mirror. Judy doesn't say anything when you meet her in the kitchen, so your outside-the-mirror appearance hasn't changed yet. But is it only a matter of time before it does?
On the way to school, Puck tells you the ideas he's come up with to try and freak Finn out. You listen and nod, but don't contribute. Quinn stays equally as quiet on her bus ride to school. You just smile at Sam in home room, and, at lunch while the table around you gushes about the mini Comic Con and glee club topics, you remain stoic; wanting to ask where Rachel and Finn are currently, but unable to find words.
When Rachel smiles and waves brightly at you as she walks into the choir room at the end of the day, you wave back but can't muster up a smile. As the day went on, every time you caught a reflecting surface, you were more and more horrified with the person staring back at you. Quinn is almost gone. Or you should say, physically Quinn is almost gone. When your future self talks, the voice is still Quinn, and the personality is still Quinn, but the reflection is Lucy.
"Hi, Quinn!" Rachel smiles at you as you trudge down the steps towards the choir room's exit. You smile bravely at her as your eyes cut to a pissed-off Finn. He sat beside her in glee. They didn't talk throughout Mr. Schue's lesson, and he doesn't look happy now, but he's still standing there.
"Hey, Rach," you smile tiredly back.
"Are we going to practice in the auditorium today?" she asks, sounding nervous. Your heart drops, because you really want to. Because you kind of need to. You were supposed to go straight home to talk things over with Quinn. To stare in the mirror until the moment your reflection becomes completely your own, completely Lucy. But, if you only have a little time left with Rachel—whether it's because you become Lucy outwardly to everyone else and they want nothing to do with you, or you're sent back to your time—you want to make the best of it.
"Sure, Rachel; I'd love to."
And you would. But there's this other part of you. This really big part of you that's terrified. What if-what if the next time you look in the mirror, or down at your watch, or in the reflection of the piano, Quinn's gone? She's not there to talk to you anymore. What if that happens the moment you become completely you? You look like Lucy in every way and it means there's no more Quinn in the mirror?
Scared, and already starting to miss her, you quickly apologize and tell Rachel you'll meet her in the auditorium as you take off for the nearest bathroom.
You launch yourself towards the mirror, where your reflection greats you. "Quinn?" you ask frantically, fearing the worse.
"I'm here, Luce," she says back, although it sounds more and more like your voice.
"Quinn, I'm scared!"
You watch as the eyes in the mirror glance down before looking back up at you. "Me too."
"Do you think that-do you think the reason this is happening is because of all the changes? How you told me to be with Rachel? How you told me what to say to Santana and Brittany and Puck?"
You watch as your reflection exhales loudly and slowly nods. "Crossed my mind."
You slap your forehead. "Crapes, so this is my fault! I pushed you and now you're fading?"
Your reflection shrugs. "I don't know."
"You're scared you're going to end up stuck in your past, aren't you?" you ask on the verge of tears. It's Quinn's greatest fear. Your reflection can only shrug back.
"I'm going to take a nap," your reflection tells you, crawling up into your old bed and turning her back to you.
It's clear that Quinn is terrified. It feels as though the door between your two worlds is slowly shutting and you are only getting a brief glimpse of your future self. On the other side of the door is your past. And it's closing. Leaving you here in a future you don't understand. Leaving Quinn in a miserable past she doesn't belong.
As you sadly walk down to the auditorium, it feels as though your body is heavy and weighed down by your guilt.
It only gets worse while you're sitting next to a smiling Rachel on the piano bench, singing your song together. Because for the first time ever, you're truly happy. The last six days have been the best six days of your life. But it's not your life you're living. It's Quinn's. And she's fading away. Your best friend is fading away…
You stare in the mirror in the school's bathroom just looking at yourself. Glee is going to start soon. It's Tuesday. It's been exactly a week in Quinn's life.
You bury your face in your knees as tears river down your cheeks; you're a heap on the dirty floor of the bathroom but without the strength to get up. They feel like your own cheeks—puffy and freckled. Your green eyes are fixed on the full-length mirror before you—the only bathroom in the school with a full-length mirror—where your reflection mirrors your motions perfectly.
"I can't lose you, Quinn," you mumble painfully.
There's no reply.
"Quinn?" you ask panicked, head jerking up, afraid she's already gone.
"I'm here, Lucy," she whispers brokenly. Your body collapses in on itself in relief.
"What are you doing right now? Are you moving at all?"
You hear a sniffle. "Wiping away my tears," she whispers with a pathetic laugh.
But the mirror shows no signs of life besides your falling tears and blinking eyes. "I'm not," you tell her.
You hear a heavy sigh. "It's been a week," you hear her say, although your lips aren't moving in the mirror. "Exactly a week."
Your tears are coming harder now. "It's been the best week of my life," you tell her as your body starts to heave with sobs.
"Me too, Lucy," she says in a strangled cry. There's no point really, but you don't hesitate to crawl closer to the mirror and rest your forehead against it, hoping to be closer to her.
"What are you doing right now?" you breathe out, lifting your hand against the cool glass.
You can just make out the sound of Quinn's muffled sobs. "I'm holding you, Lucy," she whimpers.
"You're my best friend, Quinn!" you manage to get out through your tears. "What am I going to do without you?"
"You're going to be amazing, Lucy!" she tells you with strength you've never heard come from your own voice before. "You have a mother who loves you, and friends who are there for you, and a girl that just might like you back. You're smart and beautiful!" you sob harder. "So, so beautiful, Lucy. You have so much to offer," she cries. "Your heart is so big and I want you to share it. Do you understand me, Lucy?" she says fiercely. "I want you to share who you are. Please don't change. If you wake up tomorrow and you're you, just be happy; because you are an extraordinary girl who is going to take Yale by storm!"
Yale? But you're going to Princeton?
"You're stronger than you know. And you can get through this! You can do anything! You are so much better than you know! You are destined for greatness! Promise me, Lucy. Promise me that you won't be afraid to be who you are. That you'll share the amazing person you are. That you'll find your strength. Promise me!"
"I promise," you whimper back, pressing your hand to the mirror as you watch your tears race down your face in your blurry reflection. "I feel weird, Quinn."
"Everything is fine, Lucy," she tells you softly, but you still hear her tears.
"I'm so sorry you're stuck there. That you have to go through it all again."
"Don't be sorry," Quinn says, and you can actually hear a smile in her voice. "School actually wasn't so bad today." The tears are more pronounced in her voice. "And when I get to high school," she chokes out, "I'm going to walk straight up to Rachel Berry and tell her that I'm going to love her forever, and ever, and ever!"
You're laughing miserably, right alongside Quinn.
"And I'm going to love you forever, Lucy Quinn Fabray, because your strength and your heart made me a better person."
"I love you so much, Quinn."
"I love you too, Lucy. And I'll be so fudgin' pissed off at you if you don't make the best out of this!" she laughs, making the smallest smile appear on your lips.
"I will," you promise. You want to ask her what she's going to do about daddy and mommy and Frannie. If she's going to stand up to them like she did the kids at your school. If she's actually going to tell Rachel Berry she loves her on the first day of school. Will she have "relations" with Noah Puckerman. And if she does, will she keep Beth this time around? You want to ask her about your advance chem. homework because there were a few questions you were unsure about. And which is the gas and which is the break in a car you're expected to one day soon drive. If you really have to wait four years to kiss Rachel Berry, and if not, how the heck do you kiss someone? You never did get around to Googling threesome and voyeur; what do they mean? How do you be an eighteen year old girl? Is everything always so scary?
But you can't ask her all that stuff. Because there's not enough time. And because you can't be that selfish right now. You have so much going for you. But Quinn—you cry harder with the knowledge of the war she now has to wage just to survive the next day, never mind the next six years of her life, all over again. And she probably won't change a thing. She'll probably force herself, hating every moment of it, to make sure that her path leads her right up to the moment where she slipped and fell on Paradise Lost. Not because she's not strong enough to make the changes. But because she really is so strong, she knows that she must have Beth again. And give her up again.
"You should get going; glee's about to start."
"I know," you whisper.
"And you promised me you do this. Before…I-I just want to see her reaction. See her one last time."
You nod even though Quinn can't see it. You're not scared. If this is Quinn's last request, it's an easy one. Beyond easy. You wish you could do more for your future self—your best friend. But this is all she wanted.
So you drag your exhausted body off the bathroom floor and look at your reflection. Your eyes are puffy and red, but you've stopped crying. You kind of feel all cried out. Or more numb than anything.
Everything hurts. Every step you take towards the choir room pains you. You watch your reflection as you pass by windows and trophy cases and feel your loss. Until you're standing in front of the glee club, Mr. Schue getting out of your way to give you the spotlight.
Everyone looks somewhat puzzled by your saddened appearance, but no one speaks. You wanted to sing in front of the club; be brave and open up. Quinn chose the song. There were many she wanted to do. She wanted to sing a song for everyone; expressing to each what they meant to her. She was very sentimental about the whole thing. Even picked a song for Finn. But in the end, her only request, was that you sing to Rachel. She wanted to be brave and open up. You couldn't see her, but you knew she was crying because she wouldn't be the one doing it. Wouldn't be the one standing in front of the glee club and pouring her heart out. So she asked for you to do it for her.
It was an easy request to grant.
With one last look across the room where Quinn's reflection used to be and a deep breath, you nod to the band and they start to play. Your eyes find Rachel's and try to smile, but your stomach is knotted and your body aches with tension and nerves.
"'You are my sunshine, my only sunshine'," you sing softly, barely looking up from the floor and over your glasses at Rachel. "'You make me happy, when skies are gray. You'll never know dear, how much I love you"," you whisper, meeting Rachel's surprised gaze. "'So please don't take my sunshine away'."
You gulp at how quiet everything seems. No one is moving but the band. You feel everyone's eyes but don't dare to look. Only at Rachel. Just like Quinn requested.
And now you have strength.
"'The other night dear, as I lay sleeping, I dreamed I held you in my arms'," you sing, your voice getting stronger as you watch Rachel's face collapse under the weight of your emotions. "'When I awoke, dear, I was mistaken; and I held my head and cried',"
Santana stands first, taking Brittany's hand to guide her down the choir steps to stand on either side of you. They hold hands behind your back as they start singing along, harmonizing with you on the chorus as though you all practiced. Puck stands up next, grabbing his guitar as he goes to stand beside you and start playing. Mike is next. Followed quickly by Blaine and Kurt and Artie and Sam and Mercedes and Tina and Sugar and Rory. They all get up and stand by your side as you sing to Rachel. A softly crying and gasping Rachel who is sobbing through joy as her hands cover her mouth in awe.
No one pays attention when Finn leaves the room. No one even seems to notice.
You repeat the chorus for the last time, very aware that you're crying. For you, for your fear, but mostly for Quinn. Because she can't see the look on Rachel's face; not really. If Quinn is even there at all, she can't fully appreciate the beauty you're looking at right now. Can't see how the tears are clinging to Rachel's lashes as the wonder swirls in the dark depths of her eyes. She can't truly hear the voices of her friends standing beside her, joining their voices with yours, as you stare at the girl Quinn loves and sing to her. She can't feel the love and support in the room. Can't feel the strength flowing inside you as you declare Quinn's love for Rachel. She can't see the love reflecting back at you from her. Can't hear her soft watery giggle as you smile through the lyrics and she smiles right back.
Puck strums the final chord and everyone is smiling at you and Rachel as you smile at one another. You push up your glasses and glance down at your watch, only to see you. You don't know what you were expecting, but you were hoping—praying with everything inside of you—that Quinn would be smiling brilliantly back at you. Perhaps with tears in her eyes. You'd even settle for her rolling eyes and huffing, before she hissed at you at how cheesy it all was. But she's not there.
So you look back up at Rachel. She's slowly getting to her feet towards you; stunned, amazed, and crying so softly and so beautifully that you feel your heart constrict. "Quinn…" Rachel breathes out. She's right in front of you now. Breathing just as hard as you are. "Quinn!" she repeats again, smiling so brightly that you have to duck your head briefly.
"That was…just…beautiful," she whispers, taking your hands in her own.
"That's my baby mama!" Puck declares proudly, getting both you and Rachel to giggle.
"Shut up about the baby mama crap, Puck; it's so old," Santana says as she rolls her eyes.
"No one asked you, Lopez!" Puck retorts. A mini argument breaks out behind you, but you only have eyes for Rachel.
There is pushing and shoving. Insults and complaints. But you just continue to stare at Rachel. Until someone knocks into your shoulder. You stubble a little, but Rachel catches you with a giggle. You smile shyly at her again and push up your glasses. "I got you," she whispers.
You smile again. But your shoved harder the second time. You look over your shoulder at the shoving match only to feel your eyes widen as Puck's guitar seems to be coming straight for you.
I got you is whispered…
You sit up with a jerk as you gasp so loudly that you feel as though all the air is, at once, being sucked back in your lungs.
Your eyes snap open as a loud buzzing radiates all around you. Your vision is blurry and it feels as though you're sore all over.
"Holy moly," you mutter quietly. The loud buzzing persists and it takes you a moment to feel the cold tiles under your hands. To feel your body shivering trying to keep in warmth. As you blink rapidly, your hand goes to the back of your head where you feel a small lump.
"Holy shit!" you shriek loudly, the bathroom starting to swim into focus. The buzzing sound becomes more distinct.
"The bathroom!" you cry out. "I'm in my bathroom!" you beam. Without worry about the dizziness or the pain you feel everywhere, you hop to your feet, knowing, without a doubt, that the buzzing is your phone.
Your pruney feet step on the cover of Paradise Lost and you laugh manically as you race out of your Lima bathroom and into your Lima bedroom.
"I'm coming, Rachel!" you cheer as you sprint passed your full-length mirror. You swing around and do a double take, elatedly jumping up and down as you catch your naked reflection: all short blonde hair and six-packed abs.
You're smiling and crying and cradling your phone as though it's the most precious thing in the world and release beyond normal sobs at the sight of Rachel's name declaring she's waiting for you to pick up her call.
"Hello!" you shout into the mouthpiece, tears streaming down your face; you're you again—right where you belong!
"Quinn?" you hear her say, somewhat puzzled and surprised.
"Rachel! Hi! Oh my, God you have no idea how great it is to hear your voice!"
There is a long pause on the other end, and you wait to hear what she has to say as you stare at yourself in the mirror. Stare at you in the mirror. In your Lima bedroom!
"Quinn-uh—I didn't expect you to answer," she says in a rush. You beam at her adorableness. You cry in relief. You have no idea what's going on, but Rachel is on the other end of the phone and you're Quinn! You're you! It was all a dream! You really were just passed out on your bathroom floor.
You laugh bubbly. "Hiya, Rach," you whisper, covering your face with your shaky hand as your dream washes over you. Your dream of Lucy. Of what you learned. It all washes over you as you collapse onto your bed, a bed you've missed without even really having a reason to.
"Hiya, Quinn?" Rachel replies uncertainly. "Is-is everything okay?" she asks with confusion in her voice.
You glance over at your reflection. You're you. Rachel is on the phone. Everything is perfect. Until a pang hits you and for a moment you wish Lucy's smiling face was staring back.
"I'm here, Rach," you mumble. It was all a dream.
You hear her clear her throat. "Well, since you answered, which I'm still shocked you did," she says under her breath, "Why I have you on the phone, I just wanted to appeal that you participate in glee club's anger-management assignment. Whether you'd wish to think otherwise or not, the glee club needs the support of all its members, and I for one would be very pleased if you would participate in this week's assignment, not only because your song choices and unique singing abilities round out the club in a lovely, delightful way, but because I know how much it means to you and how important it is to express yourself that doesn't involve Pink Pandemonium, piercings, cigarettes, and/or oddly chosen tattoos all while making harebrained schemes involving home wrecking. As usual, I'm offering my services to aid you in preparation and hope that you'll consider my offer."
You slowly rise to your feet, confused and more disoriented now than ever; Rachel just gave you the exact speech she had in your dream.
"Quinn? Did you hang up?"
"What? No, Rach; I'm still here," you mumble as your eyes flick back over to your mirror. You're still you in there, so what's going on? You roll your aching shoulders as you mind whirls.
"So…did you want to participate in glee? The anger-management assignment is proving to be very therapeutic."
You run a hand through your short blonde hair and watch as your reflection mirrors the action. Is this your second chance? Is this your chance to do it all over again, but as yourself, not through the eyes of Lucy?
You smile at the thought of her. Sweet Lucy.
"Yeah, Rach," you whisper as your smile grows. "I'd love to."
"Really?" Rachel squeaks on the other end of the line. You giggle at her surprise.
"Yeah. But I have a condition," you grin.
"Um, yes-of course. What may that be?" she asks guardedly, as though you're springing a trap for her.
It only makes your smile wider. "That you come over here and help me practice," you smirk.
There's another long pause on Rachel's end. "Really?" she breathes out.
"Yeah, Rach. That sounds like…a lot of fun," you tell her as you sink back down on your bed. You have no idea what's going on. But if it gives you a second chance, a chance to show Rachel the Lucy inside of you—you're fucking going for it!
"Oh-kay," she answers slowly. "And it would be best if I came to you?"
"If you'd like," you say as you fall back on your bed, making a sheet angel as you move your arms and legs, your heart practically exploding at the thought of seeing Rachel. Maybe you'll wear your glasses. "My mom is out with my dad tonight so we won't be bothered."
Another long pause. "Quinn!" Rachel gasps, making you sit up; is Rachel okay? "Your mother is out with your father? Are you okay with that? How are you handling it? Is this a new thing?"
You smile wide at her concern. Your about to tell her it's fine. That it's whatever. But you catch sight of your reflection out of the corner of your eye and pause. "No," you exhale. "I'm actually not all right with it at all."
"Well say no more!" Rachel declares loudly. "I will be right over with ice cream and a movie and we'll just—we'll just talk through this!" she tells you as you hear movement coming from her end of the line.
You giggle at her adorableness once again. "Thanks, Rach; I really kind of need to talk about it. Maybe we can watch…oh, I don't know, Harry Potter?" you say with a smile as you bite your lip to retrain from shrieking excitedly.
"Harry Potter, coming right up! I'll be there in five minutes!" she tells you.
"Okay. And Rach?" you whisper.
"Thanks for calling me," you tell her sincerely. What her phone call gave you—a possible concussion, clarity, a second chance, Lucy—you'll never fully be able to express.
"Well…thanks for picking up," she whispers back. "I'll see you soon, Quinn."
"I can't wait, Rach."
You end the call and stare in the mirror at your grinning reflection. You have no idea if you just know Rachel Berry so well and that's why you knew unconsciously (subconsciously?) that she was the one calling you. That you knew word for word what she was going to say. But frankly, you don't care. Because you have your second chance. And you're taking it!
Your ears perk as your heart starts pounding. Lucy?
"Lucy?" you whisper as you twist to meet your reflection. But she's not there.
"Mom?" you mumble as you slide off your bed. You stumble and grab the back of your head and it feels as though your legs are about to give out on you at any moment.
"Quinn, honey; can you hear me?"
"I'm upstairs, mom," you call out loudly, but it sounds like a whisper.
"Please, Quinnie; just open your eyes!"
You watch as your reflection blurs in the mirror. Watch as it swims in and out of focus. You blink and you're staring at your mother. You blink again and you're in your room. Your mom. Your room.
Your eyelashes flutter and you shake your head softly only to be staring up at an unknown ceiling. Your eyes roll in the back of your head. You try and focus.
"Mom?" you whisper with effort. Your throat feels raw and as if it's made of sandpaper. Your eyelashes flutter and your mom's face whirls in front of you.
"That's it, Lucy," you're mom whispers softly, tears sliding down her cheeks. "Open your eyes for me, honey."
The sound of beeps and quiet talking meet your ears. You're aware suddenly that everything hurts. Everywhere.
"Mom," you struggle to say. You can't move. Panic invades you.
"Shhh, sweetie, I'm here, Lucy. I'm here. You were in a car accident," she tells you, her tears falling harder.
You shake your muddled head and wince at the pain it causes. "No…" you say even though it hurts to talk. "I-I slipped and fell," you correct her. You slipped and fell in the bathroom.
"No, sweetie," she says sadly, brushing away her tears quickly before cupping your cheek. You wince at that as well. "You were in a car accident. A tr-a truck hit you," she gulps heavily, more tears spilling. "You've been—oh, God, Lucy, I was so scared," you mother chokes out.
"Ms.? We need to check her," someone says to your left. You try to look over at them but it hurts to move too much.
Your mother places both hands softly on your face as she stares down at you. "Don't try and move, sweetie, okay? The doctors want to check on you to make sure you're going to be fine. So can you be strong for me? Just a little longer?"
You nod. Not understanding what's happening.
A car accident? You were-you were in a car accident? That's not right. No, no you tripped and fell in the bathroom. Rachel was calling. You were-you were Lucy and Lucy was you and-and Rachel was calling.
No. That's not right.
You were texting Rachel. That's right. You were texting Rachel and you fell?
You were texting Rachel…and…you got hit by a car.
You mother is placing the softest of kisses on your forehead as the scene plays out so fast in your mind it makes you dizzy. Running home to get your dress. Rushing to get to the wedding. You were going to be strong and stand there for Rachel. Watch her marry him. For Rachel. You were going to do that.
The tears are spilling from your eyes. The pain you feel is now internal. "Did they-did they get married?" you ask so quietly you're not sure your mother heard you or not.
Your mother straightens up as her lips clamp down around the barest hint of a smile. Her eyes are bright again, but not from tears. "No, Lucy," she says as she runs her hand down your bruised cheek. "And she's barely left your side."
A team of doctors enter your vision as you watch your mother slowly fade into the background, still smiling at you.
"She sure likes to sing a lot to you," one doctor says with a smile. The other doctors chuckle and nod as a light flashes in your eyes and pressure in placed on random body parts.
It's fuzzy, but you do remember singing. You remember your friends visiting. Talking to you. Rachel holding your hand as she sang—as she sang the songs Rachel sang to Lucy in your dream within a dream. You have a blurry recollection of hearing all the voices of your fellow glee club fill the room around you. Singing…Bruno Mars?
The doctor stops shining the penlight in your eyes and you look over at your smiling mother who's still in tears. Just over her shoulder, through the window, you see Rachel crying and staring back at you; her smile so wide despite her own crying. You blink rapidly to make sure she's really there. And in the reflection of the window, you can see that you're there, too. Maybe a little bruised and broken. But behind that reflection stands a girl; stands Rachel. And you just may have a second chance with her. You just may have multiple second chances.
Getting close again to Santana and Brittany. Talking to Puck. Showing your inner dork off. Yale—not Princeton, like it was in your dream. Beth. Your mother. And even you. Being true to Lucy.
Behind the window, you see your friends stand with Rachel. They're waving and smiling, and yes, most are crying. Things aren't perfect now. You're sure your recovery will be a long battle. But you can't help but think that it will be worth it. You're strong and brave. You're Lucy Quinn Fabray. And you will live happily ever after.