"I was beginning to think you would stay in the hallway all day," Quinn said.
"I nearly panicked and bolted," Rachel admitted. "How are you feeling?"
"Like I was hit with a truck." She patted a space on the bed. "So…you're the second to last person to visit me."
"I wouldn't count on Finn."
"I had a hunch something happened. Couldn't get anything out of Santana or Kurt though."
"I called off the wedding. Before we found out about you."
Quinn was quiet for a second. "Really?"
"I had this moment where I thought, 'What am I doing?' I figured if I couldn't get married without you there…then maybe there was something else going on. But Finn…he got it into his head that…. He thinks there's something between us."
"…so I can't give you rides to class on my lap in my cool new wheelchair?"
Rachel snorted, then sobered. "Wheelchair?"
"Temporarily. The doctor says if I work hard, I could be walking by Nationals. Definitely won't have to take it to college with me. And before you can be a silly diva, this is not your fault." She took the brunette's hand. "It's going to be fine."
Rachel and Quinn sat in the living room playing Connect Four. It was the seventh round, and Quinn was determined to beat Rachel at least once.
"Quinn? Can I ask you something?"
"Earlier today, at the pool party…you seemed a little put out. Was something wrong?"
Quinn sighed at the memory.
"Why are you crying, Lady Asian?" Santana asked.
"It's just…this is one of the last times we're going to see each other for an entire year. You all start leaving in a couple of weeks."
"It's okay, Tina," Sam said. "Everyone will be back for Christmas, and we're all going to keep in touch."
"Though some of us will see each other more…" Finn said, throwing a glance at Quinn.
"What does that mean?" Mercedes asked.
"Quinn bought Rachel a pass to New Haven."
"Where's my ticket?"
"Buy your own, trust fund baby," Quinn muttered. She glanced at Rachel, who smiled and shrugged.
"I just…I don't know. I was annoyed that it was big news," Quinn said.
"Was it supposed to be a secret?" Rachel whispered conspiratorially.
Quinn laughed. "No… I just didn't want it to be a big deal. I wanted it to be for us…something to make the transition easier. Not a one-up contest for who's staying in touch with whom."
"Totally get it. That's why I didn't tell Finn."
"How'd he know, then?" Quinn asked, completely caught off guard.
"He came over while I was packing and he saw it sticking out of my backpack. He was kind of upset."
"He thinks it's a set up. Can't believe we're really friends," Rachel said, giving Quinn a sad smile. "And he doesn't really trust me to make good decisions without him around."
"In honor of our newfound friendship, I'm going to keep the armada of sarcastic comments I just thought of to myself."
Rachel laughed. "Don't worry. We'll think of another way to bond while we're at school."
Two weeks later, as Quinn was packing her last suitcase into her mom's SUV, Rachel pulled up in front of their house. She hopped out, waved to Judy, and ran to hug Quinn.
"I'm going to miss you so much!"
"I know. But that's what your Pass is for. Wait a few weeks, and then if either of us is losing our heads, we'll plan a visit."
Rachel nodded and held out a small box. "For you. But you can't open it until you get to New Haven."
"Quinn, time to hit the road!" Judy called.
"Alright. What is it?" she asked Rachel, shaking the box a little.
"If I told you, it would take away all the suspense." Rachel hugged her one last time. "I'll miss you," she whispered.
It took Judy putting the present in a suitcase for Quinn to resist opening it. She made herself wait until she'd unpacked all of her things before she took the box out. Sitting on her bed, she unwrapped it quickly, and found herself staring down at a notebook. It was black and white, with a floral design on the cover. On the first page was a message from Rachel.
Here's something just for us. Once a week, we each write a letter in this notebook, and we send it to each other. I've looked up shipping—it won't cost that much. I think it'll keep us sane in between visits. I miss you already.