A/N: So I was listening to this song this morning when it came on the radio while I was at work. And I don't know about you guys, but I've always loved it...and Bonnie Raitt. And I got it stuck in my head to write something, this is far from perfect, and there are a ton of mistakes...but if you can get through that, I hope you enjoy :)
Your Aunt Catherine was the one to get you these tickets as a belated graduation present of sorts. And had it not been for the Stub-Hub non-refundable policy, you probably wouldn't be here it all – sitting in front row seats at the Beacon Theatre, right at the corner of Broadway and 72nd. Your Aunt Catherine has always been somewhat of a country hick anyway. She lives in Austin with her husband Roland, a firefighter, and their dog Luke. She's mostly a family outcast, and she's most definitely not a Fabray.
"You Fairchild's are quite the…odd bunch. Good thing I picked the prize-pig." Russell would always say at extended family reunions. It always made you blush in embarrassment, both for your father and for your mother. And ever since your Aunt Catherine came storming up the walkway in the dead of winter in December of 2001 claiming to take Judy away from "that madman," she was gone…like smoke on the wind, never spoken of, and most definitely never visited during holiday. It probably goes without saying…that Judy never left. And so Catherine stayed in Austin, and you receive a birthday card from her every year, and one for Frannie too – your older sister never having forwarded her new address.
You can't say that you weren't surprised to see the tickets in the small envelope, because you were – for a plethora of reasons. You haven't physically talked to your Aunt Catherine in almost four years, secondly…you don't live in New York – but it looks like you'll be making the trip from Connecticut anyway. And thirdly…Bonnie Raitt? Really, Aunt Catherine…really?"
The note was short and sweet – and you remind yourself to give her a call, thanking her for her kindness despite the fact that kids nowadays are more receptive to Lupe Fiasco or Skrillex tickets…but it's the gesture that counts – so you take it all in stride, and you make your way through the Metro station and out onto the busy early evening streets of Time Square – straight off of a Midterm that literally ate you alive, and you smile at the bright lights. Because maybe…this could be fun, right?
It's not fun.
You wish you could appreciate the musical genius that is Bonnie Raitt and her acoustic guitar, but you can't. You hate country music, and you're probably the youngest person here…save for the few children that were dragged along with their parents. There's beer and liquor of course… and you thank the heavens that you were smart enough to bring along your fake I.D. – of which you paid top dollar for – and now that you're on your third cup of Bud Light or whatever it is that they have on tap…you're beginning to sort of…enjoy yourself.
More often than not you find yourself tapping your feet to the rhythm of the music…and damn it…Bonnie Raitt is good. It also helps that now that she's done with the new material, she's digging deep into the archives of Bonnie Raitt classics, and you actually know some of these songs. There comes a point where the music dies down, and all you hear is the swaying of bodies entranced by this woman and her small band. She speaks huskily into the microphone, strumming lightly at that old guitar…. you smile.
"I think I'll need some help up here with this next song, if anyone's up to it?" There's a flurry of cheers and claps, and that husky voice laughs from onstage.
"That's quite a lot of volunteers now, isn't it?""
You watch her auburn hair turn, those old eyes squinting through the darkness of the crowd, looking for a willing face. Apparently she finds it, and you watch her point to somewhere farther back and off to one of the sides, a wide smile on her face as she flicks her wrist beckoning this brave soul forward.
"Looks like we've got ourselves a volunteer, come on up, Darlin'."
It takes a few moments for whoever's been chosen to make it onto the mediocre stage, and when they do – you drop your beer, all over your blue flats. It sloshes across your ankles, sticking to you skin, and you're sure the man next to you is cursing you quite loudly – but you just couldn't care – because onstage…right next to Bonnie Raitt…is Rachel goddamn Berry. "Hey, sweetheart – you look no older than my grandkids, tell everybody your name." This gets a few laughs as Rachel beams from onstage, she has a faint blush to her cheeks – and you notice that she's moved on and up from the animal sweaters and knee socks of old, opting instead for tight body hugging dark jeans, and a white V-neck t-shirt. She has a leather jacket on too – and it's probably the beer talking – but she looks good. She looks really good.
"Rachel Barbra Berry, Ms. Raitt…it's a pleasure." The crowd guffaws at the sweet girl onstage, absolutely charmed by her pleasantries…you can't help it if you are too. Bonnie smiles brightly and strums a few more chords as the band prepares behind her.
"Do you know, Angel From Montgomery, Rachel Berry?" Rachel nods eagerly, bringing the microphone to her lips, "Of course! It's simply a classic, of course it was written by John Prine, but no one can contest that your vocal prowess simply helms the emotion behind that particular song." Again, the crowd laughs – not mockingly, no – they laugh because they've been completely won over by the small young woman on stage who goes by the name of Rachel Berry. You have the sudden urge to whistle, and you do – all fingers and thumbs – and it's loud in the dying laughter of the theatre. The sound makes Rachel jump in surprise, and it makes Bonnie laugh as the opening chords to the song begin to waft softly throughout the theatre.
"It looks like you've already got a fan."
"Are you ready?"
Rachel beams brightly, nodding her head shyly. She doesn't say anything – but her eyes – deep and profound – say everything as their entrance arrives. There is applause as the song begins, everyone anticipating the voice on this girl – everyone wondering – how will she mark up? She'll blow them all out of the water…and you knew this would happen the moment the small girl walked up on that stage…it would be hers. You listen, eyes closed as Bonnie starts off with the opening verse, smooth like honey and deeply soulful, poignant in that rich husk. She nods, a shake of that auburn hair toward Rachel, handing over the chorus in complete trust. Your eyes snap open and you wait for those lips to part, and for that voice to pour out.
Make me an angel that flies from Montgomery.
Make me a postcard of an old Rodeo.
Just give me one thing that I can hold on to.
To believe in this livin,'
Is just a hard way to go.
It's like that ridiculous moment when the world stops turning, and when silence befalls everything, cancelling out the noises that no longer matter. That's how it feels in this theatre when Rachel sings. And you know it, as you look to that man who was just cursing you out moments before, stop in awe to turn his head slowly to the stage, his eyebrows having risen to his hairline. You see it in Bonnie's face, in the way that the woman almost misses her chords on the guitar – but she's a professional – so she just smiles widely, appreciating the sound. You feel it all the way in your chest, and you didn't think that you'd be hearing that voice quite so soon after having left it behind in Lima. And you wonder how you ever managed to live without it…because; Rachel Berry is astounding you all. The silence breaks when the first chorus finishes and the room is catapulted into cheers of delight and claps of applause, wolf whistles and shiny eyes. Rachel has the gall to blush…to blush, and you can't believe how easily she's swept you off of your feet just now…and she doesn't even know that she's done it. You listen to Bonnie as she takes the next verse, motioning for Rachel to join in with her, the two of them harmonizing on the slow rhythm. And when they get to the final chorus and the ad-libs – they're voices trail like peaches in summertime, like ice on winter lakes…like home. And you have tears in your eyes but you have no idea how they got there.
"Can we get a supreme round of applause for Ms. Rachel Berry, I have a feeling that we'll be hearing that name sometime in the near future, ain't that right ya'll?"
The crowd cheers and yells, and you see Rachel shyly tuck a strand of hair behind her ear.
"Where you from, Darlin'?" Rachel smiles, bringing the microphone back up to her lips. "Lima, Ohio." You hear the crowd around you gasp and laugh, small town beginnings you suppose. "And what's a girl like you doing out here in New York City at this small get together?" The tone is sweet and husky, Bonnie, just like the rest of you – completely smitten with this girl onstage. "I go to school here. New York Academy of Dramatic Arts, I'm a freshman." Bonnie smiles and winks, lifting her chin with the raise of an eyebrow, "Musical Theater major, I'm guessing?" And Rachel laughs nodding her head. You watch her as she brings a hand to her chest with a fake gasp, "how did you know?" and just like that she has the crowd wrapped up around her little finger, all of them laughing at this enthralling young woman on stage.
"Lucky guess…now, Ms. Musical Theater major, how would you feel about helping me out with another song?" Rachel blushes again, "If the audience doesn't mind, than I'd be honored, Ms. Raitt." Bonnie points her microphone out across the crowd and is met with cheers and applause as her answer. She smiles nodding to Rachel, and then to her band – and in an instant the chords to a familiar tune begin to play in the background, and the crowd recognizes it…instantly going wild."Start us off now would ya'?" And Rachel nods, the music increasing as her entrance begins.
People are talkin,' talkin' 'bout people,
I hear them whisper, you won't believe it.
They think we're lovers kept under cover,
I just ignore it, but they keep saying…
You hear Bonnie come in to the bridge, and you smile wide at the two of them onstage – it looks like they were always meant to do this together.
"We laugh just a little too loud.
We stand just a little too close.
We stare just a little too long.
Maybe they're seeing something we don't Darlin.'
Let's give them something to talk about.
Let's give them something to talk about.
Let's give them something to talk about.
How about love?"
You find yourself absolutely beaming, along with the rest of the audience – and you can't stop yourself from yelling almost louder than anyone else in the room. Because that's Rachel Berry…and she's a goddamn star. You bring your fingers to your lips again and whistle – and you realize just how close you are to the stage when she hears you during the song, she turns her head looking for the sound – and like lightning those deep brown eyes find you in the audience, and you see them falter for just a second growing wide. She sings through it, but once she spots you- those familiar eyes never leave, her smile just growing wider with the crescendo.
"Thinking 'bout you every day,
Dreaming 'bout you every night,
I'm hoping that you feel the same way.
Now that we know it, let's really show it, Darlin.'"
It feels like heaven with her eyes on you – it's like she's singing only for you in this grand room. And that's absurd really; the two of you haven't done so much as spoken since graduation – neither one of you having made the move to actually utilize those Metro passes you bought. It's a shame really that your first year of college is almost over, and this is really your first trip into the city. It's ridiculous – and you can tell by the smile in those eyes that Rachel Berry must feel the same. When the song finishes, you clap louder than anyone else – and you smile for her when Bonnie Raitt raises up to hug her – deep and lasting – and you know, that for Rachel Berry…this is only the beginning.
Your eyes follow her as she makes her way through throngs of people, all of them smiling at her, touching her arms, her skin, her jacket. They want a piece of her to hold on to – either that, or they simply see her as a vessel for all things Bonnie. Nonetheless, she's practically worshipped as she zig zags through the aisles trying to find you. When she does, she doesn't hesitate before wrapping her small arms around your neck and hugging you close. Buried into the fabric of your light jacket. When she pulls back, her eyes are much too shiny for it to simply be a reflection and you poke her in the side softly, a small laugh erupting from somewhere deep in your chest.
"Hi Berry." You nearly whisper it, she wouldn't be able to hear you anyway with the high decibel content of a concert like this, but you see her blush anyway, sighing on a smile as she stares at you.
"You haven't changed one bit, Quinn Fabray."
"Ah… I'd have to disagree, I think I like a little change every now and then." You smile down at her, squeezing her lightly beneath the palms of your hands, and you realize suddenly, that the two of you have been hugging like this far past the normal length of time for platonic acquaintance. But maybe that's the point; maybe you've always been so much more than that. You catch her sniffing you, and you'd find it weird except she looks ridiculously cute as she does it, so you let her. "Have you been drinking, Quinn?" Your smile falls into a shrug, while her lips curl up into a slow smirk. "I may have had a cup or two, what's it to you?" You smile down at her, and you should be shocked at how easy this is after everything you've been through – shouldn't it be harder?
"Absolutely deplorable." She says, before reaching behind you and grabbing your half empty cup from earlier, taking a deep swig.
"I'm just surrounded by bad influences up in New Haven I suppose." You quip, watching her lips mold over the lip of the plastic cup. She brings it down, and smiles at you widely, shrugging her shoulders much like you had earlier.
"I guess that means that you'll have to start surrounding yourself with good ones…I seem to know of a few right here in this very city." You laugh, taking the cup from her and finishing it off, just as Bonnie begins the chords to a new song.
"Oh really, I'd love for you to introduce us."
And as you both laugh together in the dim, dark, crowded lighting of the Beacon Theatre, listening to the legend that is Bonnie Raitt…you remind yourself that now…you really have to thank you're Aunt Catherine…because who knew that Bonnie Raitt could be so badass...apparently not you.