The Harley was actually Puck's idea.
"Can't be a badass without a bike, Q."
He even went with her to check out a few sketchy Craigslist ads until they finally found the Sportster and Quinn immediately fell in love with it. It was over a decade old, but the previous owner had only taken it out about once a month and had spent more time keeping it shiny than actually riding it. The night Quinn handed over her cashier's check, she spent three hours just riding around the outskirts of Lima.
She almost didn't want to ride it to school, that first day of senior year, but she needed to get there somehow and it was now the only transportation she had. The looks she got from everyone that first day she rolled onto the McKinley campus were almost enough on their own to make it worth the stress of worrying about someone knocking it over while she was in class. Almost.
The one that really counted though, was the wide-eyed expression on Rachel Berry's face as she gawked at Quinn Fabray, former prom queen contender, swinging her leg off a Harley Davidson and shaking her pink and blonde hair out from under the pearl white helmet.
Finn was there, too, with his mouth hanging open, but neither of the girls really seemed to notice. Quinn was too busy smirking and Rachel was too occupied with Quinn's swagger as she pushed past everyone else and disappeared down the hallway.
Quinn wonders if that was when the power couple started having trouble, because a week later, they were broken up.
Two weeks into their final year of high school, Rachel was constantly popping up, asking Quinn why she wouldn't come back to the New Directions. She didn't seem to believe that Quinn no longer had any interest in show choir.
Even now, with mid-terms right around the corner, Rachel seems less interested in making index cards and more focused on what has Quinn ditching fourth period to hang out under the bleachers. Today she even showed up with snacks, which Mack promptly devoured and Quinn couldn't help but laugh at the way Rachel squealed, "Those were Quinn's 'Come Back to Glee Club' cookies!" before storming off in a huff.
It's later in the afternoon and the campus is practically a ghost town, the way it usually is on Fridays, at least the ones where there aren't any home games. Everyone else makes an effort to clear out as soon as possible, which makes it an ideal place to chill out and smoke without any hassle.
Quinn's surprised to see anyone, let alone Rachel, leaning against the large concrete planter by the front doors to the school.
"Waiting for someone?"
"I've called a cab, thank you."
"A cab? This is Lima, not New York."
"Yes, Quinn. I'm aware."
It seems Rachel's still irritated about the cookies, even if Quinn wasn't the one who shoved them all in her mouth, one after the other. Still, Quinn feels bad about what happened and maybe this is a chance to make it up. She and Rachel aren't close, but Quinn knows what it's like to be alone and waiting.
"I can give you a ride."
"That's not necessary."
"I know it isn't. It's a gesture. You should take it."
Rachel looks like she's about to protest, but then her shoulders sag and she shrugs. "All right. But you're a licensed operator of that vehicle, right?"
Quinn looks at the motorcycle, then back at Rachel. "Just get on." She offers the helmet as Rachel steps closer. "Here."
"What about you?"
"I've lived longer."
"That's not at all funny, Quinn."
"Just take the damn helmet, okay? I'll be careful."
Rachel's eyes linger on Quinn's until they finally shift down to the helmet and she takes it in both hands. "Thank you," she says, quietly.
"Do you want to cancel the cab?"
"Oh. I suppose I should."
While Rachel dials the number for the cab company, Quinn straddles the seat of the bike and kicks the starter. It's loud enough that Rachel has to plug one ear with her finger and shout the remainder of her phone call. The glare she gets just makes Quinn smirk as she adjusts her sunglasses. When Rachel pulls the helmet on over her head, it draws a laugh out of Quinn, because it's entirely in contrast with the cardigan and knee-length skirt Rachel's wearing.
It feels like it takes forever for Rachel to get situated on the back of the Harley, but she finally seems to settle, which is when Quinn reaches back to grab Rachel's arms and pulls them up around her own waist.
"You have to hold on, okay?" Quinn shouts over the engine.
There's a squeeze that suggests Rachel understands and Quinn steers through the parking lot. The second they begin moving faster than a five miles per hour, Rachel's embrace tightens, which is fine, except that it doesn't stop. After about three blocks, Quinn has to pull over into the alley next to the donut shop.
"Rachel, you can't..." Quinn tugs at Rachel's arms. "You have to at least let me breathe." Rachel's response is muffled through the helmet. Quinn kicks down the stand and kills the engine. "What?"
The helmet slides off. "I said, I don't want to fall off."
"You're not-" Quinn's laughing. "You're not going to fall off unless you suffocate me while I'm trying to drive."
"Don't make fun of me! I've never ridden one of these before and I'm trying to be a good sport."
"You're unreal." Quinn sighs and shakes her head. "Okay. You know what?" She sits up and shifts her weight until she's stepping off the motorcycle.
"You're abandoning me?" Rachel asks.
"What? No. Oh my god. Calm down. And move up." Quinn waves Rachel forward.
"I... you can't possibly expect me to drive this thing."
"No. I can't. And I'm not asking you to. I'm just going to show you how it all works so you'll feel better about it." Again, she urges Rachel to move, this time with success, then slips onto the seat behind her. Quinn's sure it's her imagination, but Rachel seems to lean back. "So, this," she says, sliding her right arm along Rachel's, until she's guiding the other girl's hand up to the handle, "goes here." Her fingers wrap around Rachel's, so they're gripping the throttle together. "This is the accelerator." She hooks her index finger under Rachel's so she can guide it upward, to point out the lever in front of the handle. "And that's the front brake. Just like on a bicycle. The rear brake is down here," She nudges her right leg against the one in front of her, then taps against Rachel's foot with her own. "And over here," now her left arm is mirroring her right, guiding and placing Rachel's, just like before, "is the clutch." Because of where her arms are placed, Quinn's talking right into Rachel's left ear and it seems that every time she says anything, even if it's just instructional, Rachel seems to shudder, just a little. "Everything okay?"
Rachel nods. "This is helping."
"Good." Quinn can smell Rachel's shampoo, being this close to her. "Where was I?"
"You were... um... clutch."
"Right. This is the clutch and then you shift with the left foot."
"That's a lot to remember."
"That's why they make you practice. Makes perfect, right?"
"So, now we're moving on to proper passenger etiquette," Quinn says, as she pulls her hands away from the handlebars. Rachel begins to let go, but Quinn stops her. "No, you're playing driver, right now."
"So, proper passenger etiquette is to hold on, like this." Quinn's arms securely slip around Rachel's waist. "But not so tightly as to cause internal bleeding."
Rachel turns, likely to glare at Quinn for the jab, but Quinn's so close that as she turns, their lips brush together and instead of pulling back, Quinn finds herself pursuing more contact. It's an awkward angle and the kiss only lasts a couple of seconds, but then Rachel's turning even more of her body around, twisting until she can slip a hand behind Quinn's head and lead her back in for another.
As surprised as she is, Quinn can't help but mutter, "This is completely unsafe in an actual driving situation."
"Then I guess I'm going to need another lesson tomorrow."
When they finally make the drive to the Berry house, Rachel's arms around Quinn's waist still leave her breathless, but for an entirely different reason than before.