Title: America, She's Beautiful

Pairing: Quinn Fabray/Rachel Berry

Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: I do not own these characters. Just having a little fun.

Summary: AU. She walked in with long curly blonde hair, hands clasped behind her back, and a red smile, and all Rachel wanted to know was why large, burly men were following her everywhere. | She walked in to find an ordinary brunette to strike up an argument with, and all Quinn cared about was that Rachel hadn't the slightest clue who she was.

A/N: I'm considering writing an epilogue. But in case I decide against it, thank you, thank you, thank you to all those who have read and reviewed. :)

"I don't want to feel ashamed about how I feel, or feel like I have to constantly prove myself, or feel like the love I feel is inferior because I feel it for another woman," Quinn rambled in a hushed, self-conscious voice, unveiling life's secrets underneath the comfort that Rachel's bed sheet provided. They were cocooned in New York heat, sweat just beginning to bead their skin. And though Quinn didn't believe in breaking a sweat unless she found herself as a flyer during the basket toss, she didn't seem to mind how slick her skin was quickly becoming, especially because she got to witness Rachel's skin do the same. Her olive toned skin shimmered from the sun barely penetrating the sheet to illuminate them to each other's eyes.

Quinn had become a bit of a lesbian philosopher over the past couple of days, and Rachel was all too eager to soak up every nuance, every fear that Quinn laid bare as an offering. Her eyes were balls of glitter that shined in adoration at Quinn as Rachel, too, absorbed the sharpness of Quinn's facial features that contrasted beautifully with the soft curves of her body. Her gaze fell to Quinn's right arm that strategically covered her breasts as her hand came to rest under the pillow. Rachel enclosed the slender arm in her grasp and gradually peeled it away to reveal small, pale breasts. Her breath quickened at the sight of them, and she could practically feel Quinn's nipples harden under her stare. "I've learned," Rachel murmured as she dragged her thumb across a rosy nipple, causing Quinn to flush, "that no one has greater control over your thoughts or feelings than you, Quinn." She cupped Quinn's breast in her hand, feeling the weight of it. "When something unfortunate befalls you, you can choose whether or not you will be angry, or whether or not you can brush it off."

Quinn gave a sharp shake of her head. "Rachel—"

"I spent the first year of my high school career sobbing my eyes out in the bathroom stall every day because of all the insults hurled at me," Rachel explained carefully. She watched for any signs of judgment or disgust on Quinn's face. When she saw none, she continued. "The second year, I had managed to wait until I got home to cry. By the third year with my popular boyfriend, the insults about my appearance didn't bother me as much. It was the insults about my dads that got to me. My senior year, I thought I was the cock of the walk because, well, I was a senior," she stressed with an obnoxious laugh that pulled a smile from Quinn's lips, but not her concerned, furrowed brow. "I just knew I was gonna come to NYADA and be somebody, so no one could touch me then, not even the insults about my fathers got to me."

Quinn's voice was strained with barely contained rage at the history of bullying Rachel was informing her of. "I don't get what you're saying."

"What I'm saying is that by senior year I chose not to let the haters get to me," Rachel explained simply. She tweaked Quinn's nipple and bit her lip as hazel eyes drifted closed. "And I was a much better, happier person for it."

Quinn stifled a moan. "So what does this have to do with me?"

Her refusal to vocalize her pleasure excited Rachel's competitive nature. "It means—" she began while cocking her head to the side, and twisting a nipple. Quinn's breath hitched, and Rachel felt her stomach knot at the sound. "It means that you, too, have the ability to one day wake up and decide for yourself that you're going to start living your life for you, and doing what makes you happy. And, when that day comes, the shame and guilt and the resentment toward yourself you feel will eventually slide right off."

The speech Rachel was delivering to Quinn resembled Frannie's own words when she told her that more than anything, Quinn needed to live for herself.

Rachel's hand lifted to cup the side of Quinn's face when she noticed her eyes grow unfocused. "Hey."

Quinn directed her attention to Rachel then shuffled closer. The rigidity in her posture lessened as the first wave of Rachel's body heat licked against her skin. Molding into her side, Quinn dipped her head to mouth a trail along Rachel's neck.

Her initiative never failed to surprise Rachel who had assumed Quinn to always be somewhat timid due to this being her first experience with a girl. But Rachel should have known that someone as bold as Quinn Fabray would eventually catch on and make her own moves.

"I also think that—" Her sentence died in a strangled moan as Quinn fell between her thighs in all the right places.

"I'm done talking," Quinn murmured with a sultry grin. She grabbed Rachel's wrists and placed them above her head.

Rachel gulped as her eyes widened. She nodded her head. "Me too."

Quinn's laugh, cocky and self-satisfied, settled between the thighs wrapped around her waist. "I thought you might be."

Quinn was on cloud nine, Frannie could tell. Her sister hadn't dished much more than saying she and Rachel had successfully made up, and that was enough for Frannie. Just seeing her sister genuinely happy for the first time since they were children was enough.

But she knew it would all soon come to a screeching halt due to their father's campaign. Lightly, Frannie strummed her fingers against the mahogany dinner table that had been the place for family meals for the past month and a half. The only indication of uneasiness on her otherwise impassive face was the way her hazel eyes batted from one end of the room to the other. Her eyes rolled to the den downstairs where she heard her father stir from his reclining chair. His footsteps were heavy, and Frannie sighed as she waited for him to reach the top of the stairs. Their eyes met. Russell flashed a brief smile. "Hello, Frannie."

Frannie gave a polite smile with undertones of affection. "Hi, daddy."

He lumbered over to the head of the table and pulled out his chair, gazing at the top of the stairs to find Judy waltzing down. They exchanged pleasantries, and Frannie sidled up beside her mother. "Hi, mommy."

Judy ran her fingers through Frannie's hair with a small smile.

Quinn was the last at the table, and she slid in opposite Frannie. They exchanged a brief glance before Quinn sighed with a rise of her eyebrows. "Hello, everyone." She looked up to find all eyes on her and her own narrowed in suspicion. "What's this meeting about?"

Russell cleared his throat. He steepled his fingers together and placed his hands on the table. "As of an hour ago, we're scheduled to ship out to London tomorrow at noon."

No one looked surprised, though Judy gave a start when Quinn jerked her head so fast to glare at her father Judy was sure her neck was going to snap. "Excuse me?"

"You were informed of our departure several days ago, Quinn, when I also advised you all to pack," Russell informed her, not the least bit affected by her outburst. "If you didn't heed that warning, that is your issue and yours alone."

Frannie smoothly reclined in her seat as she was no part of this argument.

Quinn narrowed her eyes into vicious slits at her father as her jaw clenched. "Why the he—" A quick breath, and Quinn continued. "Why are we leaving so hastily?"

"Because we—I have business to conduct. Like it or not, Quinn, your little excursion is over."

Quinn scowled at her father as she leaned back in her seat. Her tongue clucked against the roof of her mouth in annoyance. She turned to her mother. "Are you okay with this?" Quinn practically shrieked. "You don't have to relinquish your power. You have a say."

"That's enough, Quinn," Russell barked.

"Honestly you two," Judy chastised in a hushed, controlled voice. Her eyes belied the neutrality of her voice in their intensity. "You've been at each other's throats since…"

Quinn shot her mother a dry look. "Since what, mom?"

"I refuse to have this conversation," Russell cut in.

Frannie leaned forward in her seat then, ready to tap in as peacemaker and Quinn-saver as she always did. She tossed her hair over her shoulder with an air of nonchalance. "Actually, daddy, I was planning on staying behind for a bit with Ashon. Quinn is welcome if she wants."

A blonde eyebrow quirked along Quinn's forehead in confusion as Russell grimaced at his eldest daughter. "Frannie…"

Unaffected, Frannie replied, "It'll only be a few days at the most, father. Then we'll fly out to assist with your campaign image." There was only a hint of an undercutting tone in her voice, undetectable.

"I want to stay with Frannie," Quinn declared in resolution.

Russell cut his eyes to from Frannie to Quinn, then Judy who sat between the pair at the other end of the table. She seemed to have no qualms, which only irritated Russell more. "Really, what would a few days hurt?"

"My campaign," he gritted between his teeth.

"Oh, honey, you've got this in the bag," Judy assured with a smile that Quinn couldn't decipher. "You and Victor have become a bit of a dream team."

Though entirely put out by everyone, an air of smugness came over Russell. He grunted his approval of her statement with a twist of his lips.

Feeling triumphant, Quinn eased back into her seat with a smug look on her face.

Rachel was folding her laundry into a neat pile when Kurt waltzed into the room with a rolled up newspaper in his hand. Millicent lowered the Dance Quarterly magazine by an inch to notice his presence before she went back to reading it.

The air was ripe with floral fabric softener and Rachel's humming. It was the first serene day the room had seen since Rachel had come storming through the room a few days ago with tears in her eyes.

Kurt made a beeline for the chair near Rachel's bed. "I guess it's a good thing you cut your losses with Blonde Barbie while you had the chance."

Rachel winced. She had forgotten to call Kurt and inform him that she and Quinn had actually made up. However, his statement had piqued her interest. She placed an unfolded blouse on her neatly made bed and turned to face Kurt. Smoothing her palms on her shorts, she cleared her throat. "What do you mean by that?"

"Apparently she's due to fly halfway around the world tomorrow," Kurt informed in a blasé voice. He crossed one leg over the other and folded his arms across his chest. "I knew that girl was nothing but a user."

Rachel's jaw dropped, and even Millicent slowly lowered her magazine to show more interest in the conversation. "She-she what?" She searched her mind for a suitable response. "But I—we—" but found none.

Kurt shot her an odd look, but handed her the newspaper. He ran a hand artfully through his hair then crossed his arms again.

Her eyes were bright in alarm and newly forming fury as they scanned over the paper. It was front page news to no surprise. And the headline simply read: Our Nation's President Takes Flight with First Family. Rachel saw red. The paper smacked the floor as Rachel stormed over to the other side of the room for some air and a chance to think.

She and Quinn had made up. Quinn had apologized, they had professed their love for one another, then she and Quinn had made love all night long—Quinn had apologized, something Rachel knew enough about Quinn to know it was a rarity. Yet Quinn apologized to her, and seemed to have meant it. They had fully made up, and now Rachel had just received information that Quinn was flying to Europe tomorrow without even informing her.

Rachel paced the floor, bottom lip between her teeth as she attempted to come up with a reason as to why Quinn wouldn't inform her of something that would affect their relationship. Had it slipped her mind? Did Quinn just not think it that important to inform her? Or…did Quinn not think Rachel was that important to inform?

Kurt watched worry lace every inch of Rachel's frame. He turned to Millicent to find her eying Rachel in concern. Glancing between the two of them, his lips grew firm in annoyance at being left out. "What am I missing?" he asked with suspicion lacing his voice. He stood up and took a step toward Rachel's pacing frame. "You and Quinn are over, right?"

Rachel shot him a look of strong conviction before she crumbled. "We made up yesterday," she hastily replied. "But—"

"Seriously?" Kurt replied with an incredulous tilt of his head. "She made a fool of you in front of her whole family. That's unforgivable."

And Rachel was fully prepared to rebuff his statement with how Quinn had apologized, and they had made up, and not every mistake is unforgivable. But in light of the recent information that Quinn had neglected to inform her of, she didn't really have the words or the energy to fight for her.

When Rachel offered no reply, Kurt swiveled around to face Millicent. "And you're okay with this?"

Millicent lowered her magazine once more. Irritation showed clearly in the set of her dark eyebrows. She spoke slowly. "Not only was I okay with it, I endorsed it."

Kurt threw his hands up in exasperation. "Endorsed Rachel going back to that spoiled, entitled brat?" Rachel's jaw tightened. "Why on earth would you do that?"

"Because first and foremost, Rachel is a grown woman who can do whatever and whomever she wants." Millicent tossed a saucy wink at Rachel that made her blush. "And secondly…I hadn't seen Rachel as happy as she was with Quinn in all the time that I've known her," she confessed. "It was a mistake. A big mistake, yes, but a mistake nonetheless. And Rachel's happiness shouldn't have been sacrificed because you deemed Quinn's actions as unforgiveable."

"And look where that's gotten us," Kurt pointed out, making a show of glancing around the room. "Rachel is once again hurt because Quinn is going on a world tour to meet all kinds of exotic women because guess what? She got what she wanted. She needed an aid in the form of a woman to come out to her parents, and she did just that. Now she can quietly slip out of New York without Rachel knowing and go sleeping with women around the world."

"This isn't about you!" Rachel finally snapped with a loud shriek of her voice. The room grew silent as Millicent trained her eyes on Rachel and even Kurt turned around to face her. "This is not about you, Kurt Hummel, and I would appreciate if you would cease this drivel about how Quinn is going to travel around the world and-and screw—" Millicent bit back a giggle "—international women! This is not your business. It's mine. And though I've always loved and cherished your friendship and advice, right now what I need more than anything is for you to can it and allow me to think."

The shock was evident in Kurt's face. Properly chastened, he walked toward the chair and had a seat once more while Rachel began to pace once again.

She loved her best friend. She really did. But all of his naysaying was preventing her from having a single clear thought.

Though she couldn't help the nagging part of her brain that suggested Kurt could have been right this whole time. No one ever really liked Rachel for her. They liked her for the opportunity she afforded them. She thought Quinn had been different, yet this is twice in only a few days when Quinn proved to be just like everyone else: a user. It was absolutely possible that Quinn had picked Rachel up a coffee shop, romanced her with her insufferable personality in order to talk Rachel into coming to dinner so Quinn could come out to her parents. And by not informing Rachel of her departure tomorrow, Quinn really did seem to be attempting to sneak out of the back door, never to be heard from again.

Kurt watched despair slowly elongate Rachel's expression. "You know I'm right."

Millicent's shoulders slumped in sympathy. "Rachel…"

Her eyes welled. She could not take their pity right now. Rachel walked over to her desk and grabbed her keys. She stormed toward the door, and turned back around to face the blurry people in her room. "I-I'll see you all later." And without another word, she was gone.

Quinn threw the newspaper across the room and yelled in frustration. With her luck, Rachel had already seen this. She sat up on her bed and swung her legs off the side and onto the floor. Digging her claws into the mattress, Quinn stood up from the bed and began to pace.

A knock promptly sounded against her door, and she swiveled around with rage in her eyes. "Who is it?" she snarled.


She sighed, shoulders drooping. "Come in, Greg."

The door busted open and Greg and his muscles bounded through the doorway. He surveyed the room with sharp eyes before landing on Quinn. He too sighed once he realized she was unharmed and this was likely nothing more than a tantrum. His muscles loosened in his too tight t-shirt as he walked over to Quinn. "What happened?"

Quinn glanced over at the newspaper, now a disorganized heap on her bedroom floor. "My father made front page because he's traveling to Europe."

Greg's features pinched in confusion. "O…kay?"

Quinn shot him a dirty look. "So Rachel may have read this by now, okay?" At his continued befuddlement, Quinn felt her blood boil.


"So I haven't had the chance to tell her about the trip!" Quinn roared.

Greg winced then frowned down at her. "You don't have to shout."

"You don't have to be such an idiot, Greg!" She recoiled at her own statement when she saw the wounded look on his face. Her expression turned apologetic. "Okay, look, I'm sorry, Greg." She ran long fingers through her hair in frustration. "I just—" Quinn hesitated then brightened. "Actually, can you take me to NYADA?"

The sun was just beginning to set when Quinn sauntered quickly through the campus of NYADA. It was mostly empty save for a couple of students who either hadn't left yet or were planning on staying for summer school. Greg and Peter were no more than two steps behind her on either side, remaining vigilant as they scanned their surroundings.

Wind whipped her hair to one side and Quinn squinted in the distance to see a familiar svelte figure jogging toward her. She felt Peter tense from her left followed by Greg, and she waved a hand to calm them. "If I'm not mistaken that's Rachel's roommate."

"And if you are mistaken then that's possibly some woman trying to attack you for who knows what," Peter replied as he sidestepped Quinn's outstretched hand to walk by her side. Greg stepped ahead as well and positioned himself a step in front of Quinn, matching her stride.

"Really, guys, I don't think this is anything threatening."

"And if something were to happen to you, your father would have our asses," Peter replied.

The jogger's features became more visible the closer she came and Quinn confirmed it was Rachel's roommate. Millicent came to a stop in front of the three of them, jogging in place to keep momentum.

Quinn eyed her cautiously. "Hi. Where's Rachel?"

Millicent groped for the pause button on her earbuds and ceased her music. "What does it matter to you?" she panted. "You're leaving tomorrow anyway. So you never have to worry about her again." Quinn scoffed and Millicent looked her up and down, sizing her up. "Looks like Kurt was right after all."

"What are you even talking about?" Quinn barked. Her hip cocked outward in a defensive posture as she folded her arms across the chest.

"You're nothing but a user and Rachel deserves better," Millicent chided. She slicked back her ponytailed hair and started to take off when Quinn grabbed her arm.

"Wait," Quinn demanded.

Millicent wrested out of Quinn's grasp. "I went to bat for you and you completely ruined it, you know," she divulged with annoyance clearly written across her face.

Quinn took a half step backward. "What do you mean?"

"I mean I told Rachel to give you another chance because you fucked up, but so does everyone. And you—you made her happy," Millicent stressed. "You have been the only person in all the time that I've known Rachel and been her roommate to make her light up like a Christmas tree."

Millicent's words were sobering, and Quinn found it nearly impossible to swallow the lump in her throat. Why did all of this sound so final? "She's not answering her phone."

"That's because she left her phone when she stormed out of the room when she received news that you are going backpacking across Europe with your family," Millicent accused with a finger pointed in Quinn's direction. Quinn watched the finger with flared nostrils, daring it to touch her. "It would have been nice if you would have told her you'd be leaving in, I don't know, a day."

"I'm not going!" Quinn snarled. "At least not now."

Millicent glared at Quinn in suspicion. "What do you mean?"

"I'm not leaving tomorrow," she explained. "I'm staying with my sister for a few days so I can spend more time with Rachel."

"Why didn't you just tell her all of this?" was the logical question Millicent vocally pondered.

Quinn huffed. "Not that it's any of your business, but I was planning to. As you already know the past few days have been rocky for us. I didn't want to add the stress that I was leaving as well." She ran her cool fingers across her hot neck in an attempt to ground herself in the face of all the anxiety that was strumming through her veins. "My father purposefully blindsided me by buying an early flight and telling us all we were leaving tomorrow. Thanks to my sister, I get to stay behind a few extra days. But this wasn't planned…at least not by me." Her posture preserved her pride, but hazel eyes grew pleading as she searched Millicent's face for understanding. "I'm not using Rachel," Quinn elaborated. "I—look, I love her, okay? And I get that I screwed up, but that doesn't mean I don't care about her."

Millicent studied the sincerity in Quinn's eyes for a long moment. She hesitated then sighed. "And you love her, right?"

"Yes," Quinn rushed out in a quick breath. "I do. Will you tell me where she is?"

Quinn stood outside of the little hole in the wall café where it all started with a fond quirk of her lips. It was hard to imagine that this was the place where she met someone who had come to mean so much to her in such a short amount of time. Someone who had her running around New York like a chicken with its head cut off just to see.

She peered inside to see the place mostly empty save for a couple at one end of the restaurant, and a man with his laptop just a few feet from Quinn's right. Rachel was straight ahead at the counter, wiping it clean. Her hair tumbled down both shoulders, bangs obscuring her eyes from Quinn's view. As if compelled by some unknown force, Quinn found herself pushing the door open and stepping inside.

The bell over the door to the coffee shop rang, alerting Rachel to the fact that she had a new customer. Her shoulders drooped and she buried her head deeper into her work, the current stain on the countertop.

She was tired; her feet were beyond sore; her feelings were very much hurt because of the fact that her romantic fling with Quinn had been, well, just a romantic fling. And more than anything all she wanted to do was close out and go home to rant to her roommate about her broken heart before Millie had the chance to dive into conversation about whatever latest amazing date she had been on.

"Excuse me?"

Her shoulders pulled taut in barely contained frustration, but Rachel was nothing if not professional. Besides, it was probably just nurse Monica as usual.

Rachel rolled her shoulders back in preparation for conversation, and took a second or two to contort her face into a wide smile before she spun around and cheerfully uttered, "Good evening, Monica!"

Only, the woman in front of her wasn't Monica.

It was Quinn.

Rachel felt her heart pound harshly against her chest as nostalgia tickled the back of her mind and pulled at her heartstrings. It was Quinn—sweet, beautiful Quinn. The annoying woman she had met weeks ago who went by the alias, Lucy. The president's daughter. The girl with the pompous attitude and complicated coffee order. The girl who hadn't taken no for an answer. The girl who had foisted herself into Rachel's life. The girl who had somehow managed to romance Rachel. The girl who had emotionally and physically given herself to Rachel. The girl who Rachel had wholeheartedly handed over her heart to.

The girl who had used her. The girl who had broken her heart.

Rachel fretted with her hair self-consciously, smoothing down her bangs and tucking lock after lock behind her ear. "Is there something I can do for you?"

Quinn scowled at Rachel's frank tone of voice and rude avoidance of eye contact. "You can start by looking at me."

Rachel glanced around at the three customers in the café. Noticing they were paying her no mind, she leaned over the counter to whisper to Quinn. "You do not get to make demands here, Quinn Fabray. You are the trouble-making heart breaker in this situation. You will not come into my workplace and harass me. Don't you think you've done enough already?"

Quinn's facial expression never faltered. "You read the newspaper."

Rachel huffed and continued cleaning the countertop with more force than necessary.

Lips twisting in irritation, Quinn pondered. This wasn't exactly the meeting she had been expecting. Then again she should have known better than to attempt to predict Rachel Berry. She turned to find her bodyguards directly behind her. "Can you guys go grab a seat or something?" she whispered, slightly embarrassed.

Put out, they both skulked toward a booth near the entrance and took a seat.

Quinn turned back around to face Rachel. She opened her mouth to speak when someone interrupted.

"Uh, miss?"

Quinn spun around to find the guy with the laptop with his hand up like he was teacher's pet or something. "I believe I'm ready to order."

Out of the corner of her eye she saw Rachel grabbing her pen and pad and beginning to walk over to him. Quinn turned to face the counter. "I want coffee," she announced.

Rachel stopped in her tracks, shoulders pulled taut with annoyance. She turned and stalked back to Quinn. "Are you trying to get me fired?" she whisper-yelled.

Quinn slid into a stool at the countertop. She folded her arms under her breasts and leaned against the countertop to be closer to Rachel. "Just give me the time of day," she countered.

"What more do you want, Quinn?" Rachel nearly whined. "You got what you wanted, okay? You got to come out to your parents, and you very nearly got to escape New York without having to confront me one last time. Why are you here, to crush my bruised and battered heart even further?"

Quinn ignored her dramatics to quickly say what she needed to in order to get Rachel to give her a chance. "I'm not leaving," Quinn told her. "At least not tomorrow."

Rachel's grip around the notepad in her hand tightened. "So you are leaving me?"

The question struck Quinn dumb. "Not…necessarily," she hedged. "I'm going out of the country for a few months, but…I'll be back."

The way Quinn tiptoed around the idea of them continuing their relationship endeared her to Rachel just as much as it frustrated her.

"Excuse me, miss?"

Quinn gritted her teeth at the interruption, and Rachel sprang into action. "I'll be right back, okay?" She walked away from the counter to serve the man with the laptop. "How may I help you this evening, sir?"

He flashed her a friendly smile and ordered his coffee then gestured to Quinn at the counter. "You and that woman don't seem to be getting along at the moment. I thought I'd save you."

Rachel glanced over her shoulder to find Quinn not so subtly glancing over her own shoulder to watch Rachel. "My girlfriend," Rachel sighed out. She gave a start at the words that had come out of her mouth and turned back around to face the man with blushing cheeks, unable to face Quinn.

The man recoiled. "Oh, okay. Forgive me for intruding, I had no idea it was a lover's spat."

When it was put that way, it all sounded kind of…cute. But the idea of Quinn leaving her was far from cute, and Rachel walked back to the counter to prep the coffee maker without a word to Quinn.

Silently observing Rachel prepare coffee made Quinn realize she really did want her own cup, especially if Rachel was making it. "Can I have an—"

"—extra-large hot coffee—half coffee, half hot chocolate, with a shot of espresso, three pumps of mocha, three pumps of caramel swirl, six creams and four liquid sugar," Rachel interjected. She looked up to find Quinn staring at her and the barest hint of a coy smile tugged at her lips.

"You remembered," Quinn mumbled.

"You're just that predictable, Quinn," Rachel chided in a playful tone. The smile on her face evaporated. "Though I suppose not that predictable, hmm?" Before Quinn could offer a reply, Rachel had already gone to serve her customer.

Quinn settled back in her seat with a heavy exhale. Rachel was annoying her more than usual. And sure, she could have informed Rachel of her departure, but that would have only put more strain on their relationship at a delicate time. It seemed Quinn was doing all the wrong things as of late, and she was running out of solutions. No one had ever told her this love thing would be this hard.

Rachel observed Quinn brood in her own thoughts out of the corner of her eye as she prepared her order. Suddenly she lit up. "This moment, you being here at the place where-where we started," she began with a blush, "it reminds me The Scientist by Coldplay."

Quinn blinked. She repositioned herself on the stool. "Did you just compare this moment to a song?"

Rachel released an embarrassed chuckle. "Theater geek here," she said.

Hearing Rachel laugh had become a rarity over the past few days and Quinn basked in the sound of it. "That's actually…my favorite Coldplay song."

"It suits you," Rachel murmured thoughtfully. "Reminiscent, broody, delicate."

"Rachel…" Quinn felt as if her limbs were on fire, discontent with how things were between them.

Quinn wasn't going to say much more, Rachel knew. Sometimes one had to read between the lines with Quinn. The pleading tone of her voice was enough. She bit her bottom lip in curiosity and hesitation before approaching the counter with her order. She slid it across the countertop to Quinn. "Where do you see us, Quinn? What do you want out of this?" she finally asked questions they probably should have addressed a while ago.

The doorbell sounded, and Quinn turned around to find the man with the laptop holding the door for the older couple to walk out. He then walked out behind them before going his own way.

Rachel's hand slipped into Quinn's, calling her attention back and Quinn turned to glance down at their joined hands. The tip of Rachel's finger traced along her index and Quinn shivered in remembrance of the first time Rachel played with her fingers. It had felt like she had stuck her finger in an electrical socket, the jolt that had traveled down her body and between her legs. Never in her life had she experienced such a thrill from someone's touch. And it proved to be producing the same feelings of longing and excitement now, coupled with the knowledge of just where that particular finger had been in the past couple of weeks.

"Quinn." Rachel's voice was soft, coaxing. "What do you want?"

Her gaze traveled up the expanse of Rachel's arm to her shoulders and collarbones before landing on her lips then up to meet her eyes. Quinn swallowed. "What do you want?" she parroted.

Rachel pondered the question for a moment before replying. "Why don't we start with this: why are you leaving?"

Quinn nodded at the question. This she could do. "My father's campaign manager, Victor, thought it would be wise to launch a worldwide presidential campaign. So as a family we're all going to visit a bunch of countries around the world to improve diplomacy which Victor hopes in turn would translate to more votes come November."

"Why do all of you have to go?" Rachel asked with a pouted lower lip.

Charmed, Quinn bit the corner of her lip. "Because being seen as a wholesome family man is the cornerstone to any presidential campaign," she said with a roll of her eyes. "Basically anywhere my dad goes, mom, Frannie and I have to go. He has to be seen as the perfect husband and father."

"And why didn't you tell me any of this? Why did I have to find out from the front page of a newspaper?" Rachel's brow furrowed. "I honestly don't think I can spend our relationship as the last informed of important details such as your months-long departure campaigning on your father's behalf."

"I know, I know," Quinn sighed. "I just didn't want to tell you I was leaving because we were already going through a lot and I felt this would just add onto the pile." She met Rachel's eyes. "I—I'll tell you next time."

Next time.

The words filled Rachel with childlike optimism she hadn't felt in a while, and the feeling emboldened her. "Quinn, I'm going to be perfectly honest," she prefaced with a deep breath. She squeezed Quinn's fingers and nervously licked her lower lip. "I want you, Quinn. And by that I mean I want to be with you. I never enter a relationship or any form of engagement or commitment without planning to remain devoted for the long haul. And I just—I love you, Quinn. So if you want this, and please want this, then let's just be. Isn't that what you want?"

Quinn nodded hurriedly as if this was her only opportunity at happiness. She squeezed Rachel's hand for dear life and leaned over the counter. "This is what I want. You're what I want," she added.

Rachel stole her hand back to quickly walk around the counter. When she was presented with Quinn with no barrier in sight, she grew bashful. Her hands clasped tightly behind her back as she stepped forward, bouncing from foot to foot in excitement. "Hi."

Quinn slipped off her stool to come face to face with Rachel. Her hand rose to cup a rosy cheek and direct Rachel's eyes to meet her own. The light in them that shined brightly in adoration at her would put the shiniest star to shame.

A grin split her face as her thumb brushed across Rachel's cheek and endless possibilities that this new endeavor known as a 'relationship,' 'engagement,' and 'commitment' would afford them rushed through her mind. "Hi."