A/N: For those of you reading this for the first time the jump from the last chapter to this one will probably be a little jarring. The cliffnote's version is after that last chapter I had over a year's worth of writer's block and this is the only way I could finish it. On the plus side, there will hopefully be some one-shots in this verse soon that will help to bridge the gap between the last chapter and this one. Also, when I first started writing this story there were quite a few people who wanted to know more about Rachel's side of the story. So, to that end, I made a soundtrack to kind of help describe Rachel's POV for every chapter which can be found at my LJ tru-faith13(.)livejournal(.)com
"That is disgusting and wildly inappropriate."
Matt's voice snaps Quinn out of the script she's been buried in for hours. She hadn't made it official yet but she knew by the end of the first act that she needed to make this movie and had spent the whole afternoon storyboarding the bigger scenes for backer proposals later on. She glances up at Matt's expectant face poking through the open doorway of her office and follows his line of sight to her left hand. At some point while she had been staring at the script and watching the scenes play out in her head she had produced a quarter from somewhere and had started walking it over the top of her knuckles. She looks back up at him, her mouth just barely hung open and her eyebrows furrowed together. He just smirks back at her and says nothing.
"No," she whispers suspiciously and squints her eyes.
"Mm-hmm. Yeah, I know what it means. And you should be ashamed." Quinn sighs and hangs her head as he continues his teasing. "This is a well respected place of business. You should be setting a professional and dignified example."
"I'm gonna kill her," she mutters as she shakes her head.
"I mean, for God's sake Quinn, there are children working here."
"He is nineteen," she responds dryly, knowing that Matt is talking about one of Steve's new interns, "and that kid says some of the filthiest shit I have ever heard. During business meetings."
"Yeah, I've been meaning to talk to him about that."
"Somebody should. So why exactly are you in my office?"
"Just letting you know I'm heading out, which means you probably should be too."
"What? What time is it?" she looks around for her cell phone as he glances down at his watch.
"Shit." Quinn slams the script and her sketchpad closed as she stands up and gathers her things. "God, she's gonna kill me." Matt laughs at her frantic movements and slightly panicked voice.
"Dude, you are so whipped."
"Fuck off," she fires back as she grabs her keys and meets him in the doorway. "Besides," she continues as they make their way down the hall, "you are twice as whipped as I am."
"Uh, no. I do what I want thank you very much." Quinn raises a doubtful eyebrow at him as she pushes open the glass door and steps out into the parking lot. "As long as I clear it with Sarah first and get home at a decent time," he finishes quietly behind her.
"Hey, I could do whatever I wanted," he defends as they veer apart to their cars, "I'm just a caring, cooperative, awesome guy who prefers to think of himself and his woman as a team, taking on the world together." Quinn laughs and gives him a pointed look across the hood of her black SUV before slipping her sunglasses on.
"Yeah, that's what we all say in the beginning. Just wait. Soon you will accept the fact that you are an idiot and it's best to defer to her for most all the important decisions because you will just fuck them up." He looks at her for a moment as he considers this.
"No. I think that's probably just you. You know, because your wife actually is smarter than you."
"Dick." She tosses the quarter still in her hand at his chest and he laughs as he catches it.
"Oh, gross!" he yells as he realizes what he's holding. He sticks his tongue out and grimaces as he flings the quarter away from him and Quinn just stares at him curiously.
"What exactly is it you think I do with that quarter?"
"Shhhhh . . . ," he holds up a finger in her direction, "just shush." He closes his eyes for a second and shudders. Matt is her best guy friend by far but they've never been the type to "swap war stories" per se. Unless they're drunk, which apparently sometimes leads to things like Quinn giving Matt highly detailed pointers that resulted in Sarah getting him a thirty thousand dollar truck for his last birthday?
"And just because that's what the quarter thing started out as like twenty years ago doesn't mean that's still why I do it. It's just an old habit."
"Mmm-hmm, I bet it is." Matt cocks an eyebrow and Quinn rolls her eyes and laughs.
"Whatever. Goodbye, Matty," she yells as she opens her car door.
"See you Monday, funny girl."
She starts the car and hits a few buttons on her phone, dropping it into the cup holder and listening to the ringing crackle through her car speakers as she pulls out of the parking lot.
"Make it quick, I'm in a crisis here," Santana's voice practically barks through her radio.
"I went to the bathroom for like two seconds and Ana got into mine and Brit's makeup even though she knows she's not supposed to," Santana yells the last part away from the phone and Quinn snorts out a quiet laugh. "And she somehow managed to paint a damn mural across the entire bedroom."
"Ah," Quinn says knowingly with a sympathetic nod. She and Rachel's ten year old had painted her share of murals back in her day.
"Honestly, if the majority of it hadn't happened across my very expensive suits, I would mostly just be in awe of her speed and skill," Santana confesses in a half dazed voice and Quinn laughs again. "Anyway, what did you need?"
"Nothing really. Got a new script, probably gonna need some contracts in the next few weeks so I figured I'd go ahead and give you a head's up."
"More touchy, feel good crap or actually something decent this time?" Two years ago she and Rachel had produced one animated movie and Santana has yet to let either of them forget it.
"No, Jackass. It's very dark and gritty and nearly everyone dies. It's right up your alley."
"And…?" she asks after a moment and Quinn sighs.
"And there may possibly be a very low-key car chase which might include a small explosion."
"Now you're talking. And "wanky" to that "up my alley" comment, by the way." Quinn rolls her eyes. "I'm booked most of next week but I can probably fit you in sometime over the weekend or early the week after."
"That's fine. It's still in the very early stages so I probably won't need them for a few weeks at least."
"Dios Mio," Santana whispers after a few seconds and Quinn hears the distinct sounds of her cell phone being dropped.
"Santana?" She cocks an eyebrow at the dashboard and waits. A few more seconds pass in silence before she finally hears rustling and Santana's quiet voice comes over the line.
"She got the Dolce, Quinn. The Dolce. Is nothing sacred?" Quinn stifles a laugh behind her hand.
"Not to a four year old," she finally manages.
"I – I – I gotta go." The line clicks and Quinn laughs and shakes her head as music from the local radio station takes over her speakers.
As she pulls into the driveway she takes a moment to admire the quaint brick house. Two stories tall, but no more than 2,000 square feet; landscaped well enough, but not a twenty thousand dollar jungle; no flag on the porch or decorations on the lawn, but a small pink bike laying on its side by the garage and the faint sounds of some motorized toy being driven around the back yard. As she puts her SUV in park just in front of the garage and kills the engine she takes just a second to let the feeling of home wash over her. She had expected it to fade over time, to become too jaded to really feel it eventually, but ten years later the sight of this house causes that warm feeling to settle in her bones and a smile to slowly stretch across her face just as much as it ever did. She still has moments every now and then when she can't quite believe this is her life, that all the brutal, painful shit in her childhood somehow led up to all of this.
As she finally steps out of the car and hears that tiny motor coming closer her smile grows. She waits eagerly for the little black plastic four-wheeler to appear around the side of the house, the two-foot tall driver grinning wildly under a mop of messy blonde hair. His face somehow gets even brighter when he spots her, laughing and waving as he zooms past to the end of the yard. She laughs with him as she hears him coming back up the driveway and turns to greet him. He pulls the four-wheeler to a quick stop a few feet away and nearly trips off of it with his need to get to her immediately. She tucks her keys into her back pocket and slides her sunglasses up onto her head with a smile as she leans down; arms out and ready to turn his running hug into a playful toss in the air like always. He giggles as she catches him and hugs him close.
He's not quite five years old yet and has always been a little small for his age, but as she wraps her arms around him and sways him from side to side she realizes that one day soon she won't be able to toss him around so easily. One day she won't be able to pick him up and carry him inside when he falls. One day he won't want her to anyways. One day he'll roll his eyes at the sound of her coming through the front door instead of running to her with a smile like he's been waiting for her all day. One day he'll have his own home and his own kids to toss into the air as they come running to greet him with smiles and laughter. She takes a deep breath and tightens her grip on him for just a second, planting a kiss somewhere in his mess of hair. As his arms loosen around her neck she shifts him around to settle on her hip instead of setting him back on the ground, not quite wanting to let him go just yet.
"Hi, Mommy!" He darts in to give her a peck on the cheek and pulls back with such a satisfied smile that she can't help but laugh lightly as she kisses his forehead.
"Hey, buddy. Did you have a good day today?" He suddenly gets a very purposefully sad look on his face and slumps his shoulders as he sighs.
"No." He drops his head and she tries to match his solemn tone and hid her own grin.
"No." He shakes his head at the ground and she barely manages to stop her giggle from escaping.
"So you didn't have a good day?"
"Nope. I had an awesome day!" He throws his head up as he yells it and bounces from side to side and she laughs as she tries to keep a steady hold on him. "I got to have two cookies today after lunch, and Lexie showed me how to make an airplane out of paper, and I hit a bump in the back yard and went so high all four wheels went off the ground!" Quinn experiences half a second of sheer panic before she remembers that his little four-wheeler tops out at about fifteen miles per hour and is so damn heavy she can barely even move the thing and then just smiles at his overactive imagination.
"Well I believe you're right, Jack, that does sound like an awesome day." He nods enthusiastically and grins up at her. "So where are the girls?"
"Inside; Lexie's doing homework and Mama's making some weird new stuff for dinner." Quinn smiles to herself knowing that Rachel's probably been in the kitchen for an hour mumbling to herself and trying to have a genuine conversation with some cookbook about why it's lying to her.
"Weird new stuff? Oh no." Quinn's expression turns serious and Jack's follows suit. "You know what I bet it is?" she asks with a smirk and his little eyes twinkle with anticipation. She leans back and looks around as if to make sure no one's listening before leaning back in close to her son's face.
"Tofurkey!" they both yell and make over exaggerated noises of complete disgust. Rachel has never actually made Tofurkey, or even suggested they eat it a day in her life, but it was a word that Jack had found highly entertaining when he was younger and it has since become one of their many silly routines.
"What do you say tomorrow we go out to lunch, just you and me, and we get some meaty, super delicious ribs?"
"Awesome!" he yells and flails again. Quinn laughs and kisses him on the cheek before finally setting him back on the ground.
"Five more minutes, buddy," Quinn yells after him, "and then come inside okay."
"Kay," he yells over his shoulder as he runs to climb on the four-wheeler and start it up again. She shakes her head as she turns to make her way toward the house. She picks up Lexie's bike and rolls it into the garage standing it up by the stairs before she heads inside.
She lays her keys and sunglasses on the table by the door and makes her way down the hall past the bonus room and toward the living room. Lexie is lying across the couch on her stomach with a textbook and a spiral notebook open in front of her, propped up on her elbows with her legs lazily swinging back and forth in the air behind her. As Quinn leans against the doorway and takes a few seconds to just watch her daughter she's hit with that nostalgic, left-behind feeling again. Lexie's long brown hair is pulled back in a loose ponytail away from her face and her black square rimmed glasses have slid halfway down her nose. She's got on a t-shirt and a pair of old yoga pants that barely cover the knees of legs that are sure to be as long as her mother's in a year or two.
Rachel had spent months searching for a sperm donor that not only met her many requirements in health, talent, intellect, and character, but that was a little taller with somewhat prominent cheekbones and had blond hair and dark green eyes. "If I can't actually have your baby, Quinn then I'll be damned if we settle for anything less than your long lost twin brother," she had said. "Rachel Berry never gives anything less than one hundred percent. And she always does it better than everyone else," she had added with a smirk, causing Quinn to laugh and kiss her until they both forgot about donors and doctors and the futile longing that they could just have a baby simply out of their fierce love for each other like so many other people.
Unfortunately, despite Rachel's best efforts, Alexandria has looked exactly like Rachel since the day she was born. Her soft, wavy brown hair is just a little lighter, and her big soulful amber eyes have just a hint of green in them, but physically she's nearly a carbon copy of her mother. Quinn would never have it any other way. Lexie only just turned ten three months ago, but as she pushes her glasses up closer to her eyes and then settles them back into place with a scrunch of her nose, chewing on her bottom lip as she copies something into her notebook, she looks so much like Rachel that Quinn's heart squeezes in her chest.
For just a second the room shifts around her and she's back in their cheap, drafty, wonderful apartment during their freshman year of college. She's sitting in their worn out, over-sized armchair with her laptop cursing her Personal Finance professor and his insanely long-winded word problems under her breath, while Rachel lays on her stomach on the couch across the room with a book of poetry and a spiral notebook. Her legs are hovering in the air behind her, feet crossed at the ankles and perpetually swaying or bouncing, the only reminder of the constant energy buzzing through the smaller girl, always ready to be harnessed and unleashed at a moment's notice. She squints at the poem from behind her glasses, genuinely trying to decipher the deep and powerful meaning behind the words, as her teeth alternate between chewing on her bottom lip and the end of her pen. Quinn ignores her tedious class work for a few seconds in favor of watching the girl in front of her. Rachel raises an eyebrow at the book and gives a small helpless shrug. She lets out a long, quiet sigh as she pushes her glasses up her nose and then scrunches them back into place as she starts writing and Quinn falls in love with her for the tenth time that day.
She remembers it like it was yesterday, can still summon that giddy feeling she'd gotten every morning for weeks at waking up to find Rachel beside her. But at the same time it somehow feels like a lifetime ago, like a completely different story than the one she's living now. Quinn shakes herself out of the memory as she pushes off the doorway and crosses the room toward a daughter that's growing up a lot faster than she'd like.
"Hey, Mom," Lexie says casually as she glances up at her.
"Hello, baby girl," Quinn responds as she leans over to kiss the top of her head. "I heard you taught your brother how to make a paper airplane today."
"Yeah, some of the boys were making them in class today and I thought he might like it so…" she trails off as she scribbles down more notes. Quinn finds herself thanking whoever's in charge for what must be the thousandth time for every sweet and decent part of Rachel that made its way into Lexie. She knows that Jack can be more than a little loud and rambunctious at times but Lexie has never been anything but loving and patient with him. Quinn thinks back to herself at Lexie's age; yelling at Rachel and making fun of her, pushing her to the ground at recess under Daddy's orders, and she makes a mental note to do something extravagant and insanely romantic for the woman that's somehow managed to put up with her for all these years before she completely buries herself in the new project.
"So," she starts as she crouches down beside her daughter.
"Hold on, give me one minute," she mutters as her pen quickly fills the rest of the page in front of her, her eyes glued to her textbook, barely even glancing down at her notes as she writes them. Quinn knows that technically it's not a talent that Lexie got from her, but it's one they share nonetheless, and the corner of her mouth lifts into a grin at the sight.
"Quinn, is that you?" Rachel's voice filters out from the kitchen, "How delightful that you've finally decided to join us." Lexie snickers under her breath and Quinn shoots her a glare as she stands and slowly starts moving toward the kitchen.
"Alright, saved by the crazier of your two mothers –"
"I heard that!"
"Love you!" Quinn yells in the general direction of the kitchen before turning her attention back to her daughter, "– but I've got a question for you later." Quinn smiles at the girl who rolls her eyes even as she grins back.
"Yeah, yeah, I know."
"Hello, gorgeous," Quinn says loudly as she enters the kitchen. "The boy tells me you've been in here yelling angrily at the food for the last half hour."
"I have done nothing of the sort, thank you," Rachel throws over her shoulder from where she stands in front of the stove on the other side of the kitchen.
"More like forty-five minutes," Quinn hears from the living room and smiles in victory as Rachel gasps.
"Traitor!" she hisses at the wall separating her from her betrayer.
Quinn laughs and takes a moment to just stop and let her life sink in. She's had more than her fair share of bad shit over the last thirty-four years. And her life is still far from perfect. Her daughter huffs and shuts down because her mothers "just don't understand her", her son throws tantrums that can last for hours, and she and Rachel both let their stress or exhaustion control their mouths more than they should. But more often than not her house is filled with laughter and happiness instead of silence and expectation. It's more than she had ever even let herself hope for back in Ohio.
"Anyway, it's almost ready." Rachel voice snaps her back to reality. She watches her as she moves a pot off of the stove and peeks into the oven. She's wearing a white tank top and her favorite pair of Quinn's old Cheerios sweats and her hair is clipped on top of her head with just a few strands falling loose to frame her face. When she spins around and smiles at her Quinn's heart stops for just a second. Rachel tilts her head and stares at her curiously as she starts toward her. Quinn feels a faint echo of that nervous excitement that always coursed through her body as a teenager at the mere sight of the other girl. She shakes her head with a smile as Rachel finally reaches her. Rachel doesn't say anything, just squints her eyes as she tries to decipher the expression on her wife's face.
"Hello gorgeous," Quinn whispers sincerely as she brushes a strand of hair behind her ear. Rachel smiles and her eyes dart back and forth between Quinn's looking for something. When she finally finds it her smiles grows to something dazzling.
"There's my Quinn," she whispers back and leans forward to bring their lips together. It doesn't feel just as magical as their first kiss or better than all the rest or even more meaningful than usual. But the sight and sound and feel of Rachel still brings her that feeling of peace and contentment like nothing else can and Quinn thinks as long as this beautiful girl in her arms will keep letting her kiss her for the rest of their lives then she couldn't really ask for much more. Rachel sighs happily as she pulls away and smiles up at Quinn before going back to the stove.
"So," Quinn starts as she moves to the counter beside Rachel, leaning back against it and watching her work, "did you get a chance to read any of that script I sent you this morning?"
"I only got through about half of it while Jack was taking his nap, but I love it so far. If the rest of it's even half as decent then I'm in. And I was thinking that Lisa would be perfect for the lead."
"No," Quinn breathes out with a shake of her head. Rachel raises an eyebrow at her.
"Why not? You saw Land of Ashes; you know she's got the chops to pull it off. Plus, I happen to know she's looking for something to establish her as a more dramatic actress so she can get offered something besides another rom com every now and then."
"Yeah, but I don't know if – wait, how far did you read?"
"Um, Rennie just agreed to meet them so they're on their way to the warehouse."
"Ah. Well a few scenes after that some . . . rough shit is gonna go down. The kind of stuff people are not gonna want to see happen to perky, adorable Lisa Adams. Hell, I don't even know that her agent would let her read for it if she wanted to."
"What? What the hell happens?"
"You'll have to read it and find out," Quinn singsongs with a smirk and Rachel rolls her eyes and sighs.
"God, you're worse than a writer." Quinn gasps and brings a hand up to her chest.
"Anyways," Quinn says pointedly as she crosses to the refrigerator for a bottle of water, "you know who I was thinking of for the cracked out, misguided mother?"
"Exactly." Quinn flips the back porch light off and on a few times as she passes it signaling to Jack that it's time to come in.
"I e-mailed her earlier. I said I had a role I knew she'd love and for her to check her schedule and get back to me."
"That's why I keep you around." Quinn kisses the top of Rachel's head on her way to the bowl of pasta sitting on the counter beside her. "And for the food," she adds as she picks out a diced tomato and tosses it in her mouth.
"Well that makes two points for me, meanwhile the only reason I keep you around is for sex. And, not to brag, but I'm getting to be not too shabby at taking care of that myself." Rachel turns off the stovetop and smirks at her as she carries the last pot to the counter. Quinn grins and snorts out a laugh.
"Is that a fact?"
"I'm very talented," she says with a shrug as she reaches up to grab four plates from the cabinet.
"Don't I know it," Quinn mutters and Rachel grins slyly as she opens a drawer and picks through the utensils. "You know," Quinn slides up behind her and lightly grabs her hips, "I was thinking about you at work today."
"Uh-huh." She presses in closer to her wife placing a soft kiss behind her ear. "As a matter of fact," she whispers, "I got caught thinking about you because somebody told Matt about the quarter thing."
"That blabbermouth," Rachel sighs. "I swear he's worse than a female sometimes."
"He was relentless about it. And I have no doubt that this is going to cause me many embarrassing problems in the future."
"And why is that?" Rachel smirks as she turns around in Quinn's arms.
"Because I fiddle with a damn quarter while I'm sitting behind the camera on sets all the time." Rachel grins and raises an eyebrow. "Because it's become an old habit," Quinn says pointedly. "Pervert."
"My point is I see an abundant amount of poorly disguised pointing and giggling in my future. And that's just the best case scenario in which Matt keeps it to himself." Rachel chuckles quietly with a smile as Quinn leans closer to whisper in her ear. "And to that end, I propose that some strenuous and enthusiastic recompense and remuneration is in order." Quinn glances at her wife's face out of the corner of her eye and smirks as Rachel takes a deep breath and carefully gnaws her bottom lip.
Both women spin around at the sound of their daughter's voice from the kitchen doorway and quickly step away from each other, looking the very picture of two kids caught trying to sneak in desert before dinner. They sigh as their heartbeats begin to slowly level back out. Quinn grimaces and shoots a halfhearted glare at the younger girl as she covertly raises her right hand to her wife's ass in defiance. Rachel snorts out a laugh and swats her arm away, effectively ruining Quinn's plot for rebellion.
"I am standing here beside myself," Jack says from his position at his sister's left in the doorway. Quinn throws back her head and laughs as the other two roll their eyes.
"Nice one son!" she finally manages once she gets her laughter under control. "Air five." She and Jackson both raise their right hands and wave them in the air mimicking a high-five motion. Lexie and Rachel exchange a look and a shake of their heads at the blondes' antics.
"You know he has absolutely no idea why that's funny so he's just going to keep saying it over and over for the next month," Rachel says quietly as she grabs the plates and utensils from the counter and hands them to Quinn.
"Yes. And it will be hilarious every time. Oh, and I'm totally adding that solo talent of yours to my fight list." Quinn shifts the dinnerware around in her arms until she's holding all of it in her left hand, slaps Rachel on the ass with a smirk and a wink, and heads toward the table. Rachel just smiles and shakes her head at the fifteen year old she's married to as she grabs the food from the counter and joins her family.
Quinn raises her arms and stretches as the credits roll across the screen. It had been Jack's turn to choose what to watch after dinner so of course they had all silently suffered through yet another episode of Archie in the Attic.
"Well that was thrilling as always," Rachel says from her right with a smile and Lexie groans from her spot stretched out across her mothers. Rachel glares down at her daughter's head in her lap and the girl just raises an eyebrow.
"That show is ridiculous."
"Be nice," Quinn scolds lightly and swats at the ankles draped over her thighs. Rachel looks down at Jack, snuggled into her right side grinning at the screen completely oblivious to the conversation around him.
"Come on," Rachel says through a laugh as she ruffles his hair, "time for bed son."
"Can I tell you guys something first?" he asks excitedly as he grins up at his mother.
"Well, it's for Lexie actually." The boy leans down to bring his face closer to hers and just stares at her for a few seconds. "It's happening." He suddenly grabs the pillow beside him and swings it completely around his body to hit his sister square in the face. A few months back Jack had tried to start a friendly pillow fight with Lexie, who had not been in the mood for it at all, and it had resulted in a long night for all parties involved. Quinn and Rachel had then sat him down and explained that he couldn't just start a pillow fight with someone without telling them it's happening first, and even then if they say no then he has to stop. Since then the phrase "it's happening" coming out of their son's mouth had been as good as the bang of a starting gun.
Lexie barely even takes a second to respond before she grabs the pillow lying behind her and swings it around to smack her brother in the chest.
"The game's afoot!" Quinn yells. She picks up Lexie's feet and tosses them behind her as she stands and dives for the loveseat three feet to her left. She grabs both pillows there and stands to face her family, slowly spinning a pillow in each hand like she's duel-wielding katanas in a Tarantino film. Lexie is standing on top of the coffee table holding a pillow defensively and trying to keep an eye on all three of her opponents at once. Jackson is ducked completely behind the recliner, one eye peeking around the side of it. And Rachel is standing in front of the couch weaponless and glancing around frantically.
"Not fair!" Rachel yells pointing at Quinn. "Give me one!"
"There's no share-sies in war, Rachel!" Quinn darts past the coffee table nailing Lexie in the head and hip on the way before taking cover around the corner.
"Well in that case I'm pretty sure we're even for the whole quarter thi –" Rachel is cut off by one of Quinn's pillows being quickly but gently thrown at her.
"Thank you, honey," Rachel says sweetly.
"Dictator," Quinn mumbles around the corner.
"Tyrant," Rachel fires back.
"President!" Jack yells as he darts forward and lands a hit square in his sister's gut. She spins and grazes the back of his head before tackling him into the loveseat.
"How did he even know that word went with our words?" Rachel throws over her shoulder as she slowly advances on the tangled mess of her children.
"Because he's brilliant. You're welcome," Quinn emphasizes the last word with a mid-air smack to the back of Rachel's head as she uses the coffee table as a springboard to launch herself past Rachel and toward the kids. "Boom, boom!" she quickly nails them both before circling around behind the couch, holding her pillow up in victory. "Owned!" Her entire family stops to glare at her and she smirks.
"Diversionary tactics!" Lexie yells.
"Jack, left flank," Rachel instructs as she quickly taps the boy's arm. Jackson has no idea what half of the words being yelled mean but he knows the tone in his mother and sister's voice means something awesome is about to happen so he hurries to follow after Rachel.
Quinn watches as Rachel and Jack circle around the couch on her right side.
"Wait a minute now," Quinn pleads with her hands in front of her defensively. She just barely has enough time to register Lexie moving out of the corner of her eye and turns her head just in time to receive a pillow to the face as the girl leaps off the back of the couch. She's still slightly frozen from the shock, head tilted toward the ceiling, when the assault on her right side starts. At some point she's tackled to the ground and her pillow is wrenched from her hand.
"Traitors! My own children!" she yells between blows.
"Alright guys, I think she's had enough," Rachel finally says and the kids get in a few halfhearted parting shots before crawling off of their mother. "Jack, say goodnight to Mommy."
"Night Mommy." He leans over to kiss her on the cheek and she reciprocates.
"Night buddy." The kids head upstairs to get ready for bed and Rachel extends a hand to Quinn to help her up. "They turned on me," she whispers with shock and Rachel giggles, "at such a younger age than I thought they would."
"Drama queen," Rachel says with an eye roll. Quinn grabs a pillow and lightly smacks at her wife.
"Your mom is offensive."
"Your face is offensive." Rachel gasps playfully and Quinn grins. "Well that worked out nicely."
"Come on, dork." Rachel grabs her hand and pulls her up off the ground. By the time they get the living room straightened up Lexie is coming back down the stairs. "I'm gonna go put him to bed and leave you ladies to it," Rachel says with a smile and kisses Quinn on the cheek.
Quinn smiles at her daughter as they both head to the couch. Lexie sits in the middle, tucking her legs underneath her and giving Quinn her full attention. Quinn takes her seat next to her, crossing her left leg over her right and resting her right arm across the back of the couch as she turns toward her. She takes a deep breath and tucks a wayward curl back behind the girl's ear. She bites back the small wave of sadness when she realizes this new script is going to keep her away from her family a lot more than she'd like for the next few months.
"So," she starts with a grin, "how was your day, Lexie Rae?" Lexie rolls her eyes at the old rhyme she's heard nearly every night of her life, but she follows it up with a genuine smile and Quinn breathes out a quiet laugh as she smiles back.
"It was okay. Mrs. Brownfield told a really funny math joke this morning and I meant to write it down so I could tell you guys but I forgot. Mr. Murphy just let us talk and hang out most of the class since its Friday. And Becky got a haircut. I told her it was cute but it really makes her look like a boy. Like even up close she really looks like a boy."
"Oh, it can't be that bad."
"No, it is." Quinn laughs and shakes her head. "How was work?"
"It was good actually. I found a new movie today I think."
"Is it good?" Lexie asks with genuine interest.
"Yeah, it's really good. If we can do it right I think a lot of people are really going to like it."
"Can I see it?"
"Not even a little bit, no." Lexie sighs and frowns. Quinn laughs and pulls her arm around her daughter's shoulder pulling her into her side and kissing the top of her head. "Sorry, baby girl."
They sit for a few seconds in silence, Lexie leaning into her mother with her head resting against her chest, before the younger girl finally speaks.
"Is it gonna be a long movie?" Quinn knows this is Lexie's way of asking "how long are you going to be gone?" and she tightens her arm around her.
"A few months probably. But by the time we actually start filming you guys will probably be out of school for the summer so maybe you can come with me for a bit."
"That would be cool," Lexie says quietly. She wraps her arms around her mother and fully settles against her and Quinn wraps her other arm around the small girl. Quinn sighs, slowly dragging her hand up and down her daughter's back and she kisses her forehead.
"I love you, Lexie Rae," she whispers into the girl's hair.
"I know Mom, I love you too." They stay like that for a minute, enjoying the closeness that hasn't always come easy to the two of them, until Rachel comes back downstairs.
"There's my girls," she says quietly with a smile as she walks toward them.
Two hours later the kids are asleep and the house is quiet as Quinn and Rachel finally get themselves ready for bed.
"So have you officially decided you're gonna do it? The movie?" Rachel asks from in front of her dresser across the room.
"I think so," Quinn answers. "I mean I haven't actually made anything official but I want to." She stops taking off her makeup for a second to glance at her wife's reflection in the vanity mirror in front of her. "Why? You think I shouldn't?" Rachel turns around and meets Quinn's eyes in the mirror as she walks toward her rubbing lotion onto her hands and up her arms.
"No, I was just asking. I like it. I think it'll be really good." She brings her hands up to rest on Quinn's shoulders and smiles at her. "And I know that no one else could do it half as well as you." She leans down and kisses Quinn's temple before turning and heading for the bed. Quinn smiles as she watches her reflection go and then goes back to removing her eye shadow.
"I really love the story," Quinn says a few minutes later as she stands and walks to the bed. "I've already storyboarded like five or six scenes."
"What?" Rachel glances up from her Kindle to look at Quinn as she climbs into bed. "Why are you storyboarding so early?"
"Well I figured I'd get Sean to set me up a meeting with Ethan next week," Quinn says as she grabs her own Kindle from the bedside table and checks her email, "and you know him, he's so much easier to convince with a pretty picture than with a well worded speech." Rachel laughs quietly and goes back to her reading.
Quinn types out a few quick email responses and checks her schedule for next week. She turns the tablet off and sets it back on the table and then turns her attention to Rachel. She slowly leans toward her, trying to read the screen in her hands.
"Stop it," Rachel instructs without looking up. Quinn's eyes dart back and forth between the screen and Rachel's face a few times before she speaks.
"I can't. What part are you at? Isn't it awesome? Did the thing with the bitches and the you know what happen yet?" Rachel sighs and shakes her head. She puts her tablet away and lays her glasses down on top of it.
"You're like a five year old," she says as she turns back to her wife. Quinn just shrugs and smiles. Rachel rolls her eyes and laughs. She leans over to give Quinn a quick kiss before settling down to go to sleep.
Quinn reaches over to turn off the lamp on her side of the bed but stops as one of the pictures on her bedside table catches her attention. It's an old picture of her and Rachel, hidden back behind a handful of other pictures of her friends and family. She grabs the picture instead, leaving the light on for now, and brings it with her as she settles in beside Rachel who immediately curls into her side.
"I love that picture," Rachel hums out quietly as she brings an arm across Quinn's waist. Quinn wraps her right arm behind Rachel and pulls her a little closer.
"Me too," she whispers and presses her lips against Rachel's hair.
It's one of Quinn's favorite pictures of the two of them, and for years it had been her only picture of them. They'd taken it a few weeks after they started dating. They were in their old clearing and it had taken Quinn forever to prop her camera up on a low standing branch and then angle it properly. She had rushed back to Rachel, standing behind her and throwing her arms around her waist as they both posed. After a few seconds of awkward silence from the device Quinn had turned her head and whispered something in Rachel's ear and Rachel had laughed and Quinn had smiled and the flash finally went off. They had both forgotten long ago what it was that Quinn had said or anything else that happened that day, but they can still remember the feeling. Being fifteen and so in love and fighting like hell to keep it.
During high school Quinn had kept the picture hidden in a frame behind a picture of the Glee Club with their first trophy, knowing that the last thing her parents would investigate in her room would be anything about "that ridiculous club". And whenever things started to seem bleak and pointless, she would look at that picture and try to feel the happiness that they felt then. It was her constant reminder of why they were doing things the way they were and it almost always helped her sleep a little easier. Now it serves as a reminder of the crazy story that is 'her and Rachel' and how far they'd had to come to get where they are now.
Quinn puts the picture back in its spot and finally clicks off the lamp. She settles back in the bed and just lies there for a while, holding Rachel and letting old memories flip through her mind.
Years ago, after their first movie had gotten so much more attention than any of them could've imagined and important people had started learning their names, a magazine had done a piece on the two of them. "So what's the real story behind Rachel Berry and Quinn Fabray?" the interviewer had asked them. "How did you meet? Who asked who out? We want all the juicy details." Rachel and Quinn had just looked at each other and laughed nervously.
"Well," Rachel started, "we met when we were ten and we knew straight away that we kind of liked each other."
"But then my parents forbid me to have anything to do with her," Quinn filled in, "so for a long time after that we were kind of enemies."
"Then during our freshman year of high school we started hanging out again and eventually dating."
"Which was still completely forbidden so we had to do it in secret."
"While still putting on this show of being at war for everyone else. Then our junior year Quinn had a wreck and got amnesia."
"Yeah, that was not very fun. But Rachel reminded me who I was." They smiled at each other and Quinn reached over to lace their fingers together.
"Then everyone found out and Quinn got sent to a boarding school across the country."
"Then I moved back on my eighteenth birthday and my father kicked me out and disowned me so I moved in with Rach and her dads."
"And a week later we went on our first actual date."
The interviewer had just stared at them with her mouth hung slightly open for a few seconds before she finally started laughing and said, "Well I guess that's what I get for asking an actress and a director to tell me a story."
Needless to say, ever since then when people ask them how they met they usually just answer with an "Oh, we were high school sweethearts." Their life together is so different now that Quinn rarely even thinks about how it used to be all those years ago.
"Do you ever think about what could've happened, if things had gone another way?" Quinn asks quietly. "If I hadn't remembered. Or if I'd let you walk out the door that day in our apartment freshman year." Rachel hums quietly and takes a deep breath.
"Sometimes." The hand draped across Quinn's hip starts fidgeting with the hem of her shirt and Quinn tightens her grip around Rachel. "But as we get older a part of me knows that even if you'd never remembered or any one of a thousand other things had happened, we'd still be here." Quinn smiles as her left hand slowly traces up and down Rachel's arm. "It might've taken us a little longer, things might be completely different, but we'd still be here in the end.
"You think so?"
"Mm-hmm. It's like there's this core, fundamental part of me that needs you just to function. Like when I get a little stressed with the kids or overwhelmed at work, it just takes one look from you, or one touch, one phone call, and I remember who I am. I can stop and breathe and be me again. For as long as I can remember you've been nearly as big a part of me as I am. I wouldn't have been able to stay away from that for very long." Quinn takes a deep breath and presses a kiss to Rachel's forehead. "Plus, we both know you couldn't last a week without me." They both laugh at that.
"Whatever, I could totally last a week." Rachel lifts her head enough to look at Quinn and raise an eyebrow.
"You had me Fed-Ex your sunglasses to you in North Dakota last year." Quinn opens her mouth to speak but then closes it again when she comes up blank. "Mm-hmm," Rachel says with a smirk and lays her head back down.
"We were in the middle of nowhere and it was crazy bright," Quinn finally says and she feels Rachel breathe out a quiet laugh against her skin. "And I love those sunglasses, they are possibly the best item ever crafted by human hands. The visibility is fantastic and it's like the Baby Jesus himself is personally shielding you from the sun's blinding rays." Rachel laughs loudly and swats at Quinn's hip.
"Oh my god, you are such a dork." Quinn smiles and laughs along with her. A few minutes later once their giggles have died down and Rachel is almost asleep her words wash back over Quinn.
"I really couldn't, you know?" she whispers. "Last a week without you. Not even a day really. I never could, not since the first time I saw you." Rachel squeezes her a little tighter and presses a kiss to her chest.
"I know baby," she mumbles tiredly. "I know you better than you know yourself, remember?"
"Yeah." Quinn smiles up at the ceiling as she closes her eyes and finally starts to give in to her drowsiness. "I remember."