Come a Little Bit Closer
Author's Note: These are the logs from the tumblr RP between racheloffbroadway (written by vondrunkaton) and quinnsomniac. To get the full experience, it's recommended that you follow them both, but most of their core interaction will be centered here.
Quinn hasn't taken the trip to New York City from New Haven since February, but the train ride seems to pass by with ease, maybe because she spends most of it focused on her sketchbook, drafting out ideas for fantasy projects. It's something she used to do regularly and hasn't done all that often, but she's been a little more inspired the last few days.
Maybe the fact that she wants to have something to show Rachel, something that isn't the property of Mrs. Dashwood, has a little to do with it.
When the train pulls into Grand Central Station, she tucks her book and pencils into her messenger bag and weaves her way through the main terminal, toward the exit. It's after nine, so it's not as packed as it would be during the peak hours, but there are still plenty of people around. She remembers how many times she made this same trip during her freshman year of college, back when she and Rachel were dead set on maxing out their MetroNorth passes, and is compelled to hang a right at the end of the corridor, which puts her right in front of the small coffee shop she stopped at on several of her trips, years before.
It's September, which means they're serving apple cider and will be through the winter months. She orders one to go, then resumes her original path until she's outside. It's only six or so blocks to the theater, so she decides to walk and take in the city around her. By the time she reaches the performance space, the cider has cooled considerably and the door to the lobby is locked.
Rachel doesn't normally bring her phone with her into rehearsal, but she's been looking forward to meeting Quinn all week (anticipating is really a better word), so she wedges it in her pocket just in case something comes up. She doesn't know why, but she feels like their plans might fall through, and she wants to be available in case Quinn changes them. She does her best to concentrate on her blocking and inflection instead of wondering when she'll feel it buzz against her hip. She's in the middle of yelling "don't decorate your sister's car with condoms!" when it finally happens, and she's professional enough to finish the scene before she fishes it out.
Quinn is downstairs, locked out. She's not cancelling. She's here.
It's been a while, and Rachel feels the same kind of exhilaration she experiences just before she's about to go on stage. They'd managed to cultivate a fairly solid friendship - once upon a time - but now things might be different. She's just not sure what to expect from Quinn, given how their online interactions have gone the past week. She's kind of been all over the place. They both have.
It's maybe a minute before Quinn receives a response that says, "Be there in a minute," only to have the lobby door swing open only moments later. It all happens so quickly, she literally looks from reading the message up to Rachel's waiting form in the lobby doorway.
"Hey," she says. "I... stopped to get you this," Quinn steps through the threshold into the building. "It's from that little place in Grand Central. But it... I think it's cold from the walk over." She glances down at the paper cup in her hand. Showing up with an offering of lukewarm cider seems like a crappy way to kick off a reunion like this. "Sorry."
Rachel isn't sure whether to focus on the cup in Quinn's hand or on Quinn's face. This is the Quinn Rachel knew in college. Well, mostly. She's definitely older, more - Rachel searches for a word and settles mentally on seasoned. It's a good look for Quinn, she decides, and she smiles as if she can warm up the cider just by being happy that Quinn brought it for her.
"Thank you," she says, taking the cup. She leans against the door so that Quinn has enough room to come through. "I'm glad you decided to come."
"I had to show up, eventually, if you're going to have a set to work with," Quinn replies. "Not that you couldn't pull off Steel Magnolias in a Vacuum if you had to." There's an awkward moment of silence after she speaks and then it's like she waits too long to say something else and now she's just staring at the other woman before she forces her eyes to look at the surrounding lobby so she doesn't feel like a complete creep.
Rachel sips her cider. "Did you know that Brittany asked me once if space sounds like a giant vacuum cleaner all of the time? Thankfully Artie overheard her and went into this scientific explanation about black holes. I have no idea if what he told her was true, but it sounded very official." Her cider is nearly cold, but the fact that Quinn even thought to bring it for her more than makes up for it. It dawns on her that she's drinking alone, as she leads Quinn through the hallway backstage. "Didn't you get anything for yourself?"
"How do you even remember anything from that far back?" Quinn laughs and shakes her head. "All I ever did was try to forget stupid high school." She trails behind Rachel, surveying the space around them, particularly when they approach the black box. To Rachel's question, she just shakes her head. "Didn't want anything."
The theater is small and simple, but so is Quinn's initial design layout. She can already see where certain changes can be made and she's quick to dig her sketchbook out of her bag so she can work out the ideas that are coming to her.
The way Quinn draws and makes notes is quick and purposeful, yet somehow extremely calculated, and Rachel lets herself get caught up in watching. Kelsey, the director and a friend of Quinn's, meets them and starts talking with Quinn about the size of the stage door and where the loading dock is located. Rachel can tell that Quinn is listening as she examines the space. It's good to see her so focused. It's one of the things Rachel misses about her.
While the cast works on blocking and line readings, Quinn sits three rows back and continues to draw and redraw her design concepts, merging her previous ideas with the ones she's been inspired with tonight. During Rachel's moments, though, she finds herself watching what's happening on stage, even when it's just the same five lines of a scene happening over and over as the actors learn their way around the space. Even in these overtly technical moments, Rachel Berry is captivating, as ever.
There's a moment when Rachel looks over at her and Quinn can't help the stupid smile that spreads across her face, but then she forces herself to look back down at her sketchpad and traces her pencil over lines that already exist on the page.
Rachel has always been able to lose herself in a role and playing M'Lynn is no different, but when she happens to lose focus for the briefest of moments and glaces at Quinn, it only takes one smile from Quinn Fabray to make her stumble over her lines. It's not a big deal to anyone else, but it makes Rachel set her jaw with determination, even if she can't wait to talk to Quinn again afterwards. It doesn't happen again; choking on the lines, at least. She can't stop herself from stealing quite a few more glances into the risers before it's over.
While Kelsey delivers her final notes of the evening to the cast, Quinn heads backstage into the small green room area so she can call Feldman, the kid who lives across the street from her, just to make sure he was able to walk and feed Merman on time. Feldman reminds her a lot of Puck, which is probably why she was motivated to hire him in the first place. He hit on her the first couple of times they talked, but she finally shut him down when she revealed she has a daughter older that his youngest sister. She knows he's all talk (just like Puck) and she also he's genuinely willing to help (also just like Puck).
By the time she's finished her phone call, cast members are milling through the green room, collecting their bags and jackets.
Rachel finds Quinn in the green room. Suddenly, she's worried that maybe Quinn doesn't want to go out after all. She fidgets in her bag and then slings it over her shoulder while Quinn pockets her phone.
"Are you... Did you still want to go out? You know, to catch up?"
"I was just checking on my dog," Quinn explains. "And I definitely still want to catch up. I kind of hate that it's been this long, really. I should have..." She doesn't really know what she could have done differently, because they've just fallen into the rhythm of their own lives. "You said something about a coffee place?"
Rachel beams. "It's my favorite place in New York, but that's probably just because I go there so frequently." There's a silence as they walk, and Rachel can't quite tell if it's a comfortable one. "It kind of surprises me that you have a dog."
Quinn opens the door to the street and holds it for Rachel as she passes through. "Why?" she laughs. "Do I not seem like a dog person?"
"Please don't punch me for saying this, but you really don't seem like much of an animal person all at. Or, at least, you didn't." Rachel glances at her. "I know it's been a while, and we've both had things going on, but you're still Quinn. And I really did miss you."
"I don't know that I've ever punched anyone in my life," Quinn says, adjusting her bag on her shoulder as they move down the sidewalk together. "And maybe I'm not a superstar vegan like you, but I like animals just fine." She catches Rachel's eye line and adds, "I missed you, too."
"I feel like Santana Lopez might have something different to say about the punching," Rachel says, but it's mostly just to cover the warmth she feels in her cheeks, even though it's a chilly night. "And I only meant that I never really pictured you cuddling up with anything at night." It dawns on Rachel too late what she's implied, and she adds, "With a pet. You know what I mean. The coffee place isn't too much farther."
Quinn rolls her eyes. "I never punched Santana. Pulled her hair, sure. Slapped her, yeah." She sighs. "And you that time, too." It's still a memory that makes her cringe, slapping Rachel across the face in the bathroom, so she takes the opportunity for the subject change. "I don't cuddle up to him. He sleeps in a dog bed. But he's good company."
Rachel chews her lip. "Well, that makes more sense," she says and, really, it applies to either situation.
"Do you have any? Pets?" Quinn asks. It's simple small talk, but she also kind of really wants to know.
"God, I'm gone so much that it would be totally irresponsible of me to have something at home depending on me to take care of it. I love animals, and I think that we have an obligation to treat them fairly, but pets aren't really for me right now. Maybe someday." It sounds terribly selfish, now that she's said it out loud, but it's the truth. Thankfully, they're in front of the coffee shop and Rachel can stop talking about what a horrible pet owner she makes. "Here we are," she tells Quinn and pulls the door open, waiting for Quinn to go through first.
As Quinn enters the place, she smiles to herself. She was expecting some kind of trendy coffee bar, something hip to commemorate Rachel's "unique New York"-ness. Instead, she's standing in a small diner, one that looks like it's been around for at least fifty years, even if it's changed ownership at least once a decade. There's not really a theme, just a lot of brown vinyl and beige formica surrounded by wood paneled walls. The design is actually kind of terrible, but there's a comfort to the place.
She likes it.
Rachel shrugs out of her jacket and drapes it over one arm. "Is this okay? I thought you might be hungry. Or if you aren't, they have good coffee. I read here sometimes when I need a break from work."
It's one of those seat-yourself places, especially this time of night when there aren't many customers, and Rachel's booth is open. She leads Quinn to it and slides in.
Quinn isn't particularly hungry, but the waitress passes by with an order of french toast for the lone patron at the table across from them and suddenly Quinn can't remember the last time she even had french toast and then smell of it is incredibly tempting.
"When did you discover this?" she asks, settling into the seat across from Rachel. "You didn't come here when I used to visit." It's not even a question. She still remembers Rachel's regular haunts from freshman year of college and the list was primarily vegan eateries and all of Broadway.
"It's been a while." Rachel tries to think of exactly how long it's been. "I think I started coming here around the time I did the NYADA alumni workshops. I was dating a guy I met doing community theatre just after I graduated, and we came here a lot. It didn't work out with him, but I like it here, so I just..." She smiles a little shyly at Quinn, who is looking at Rachel intently. "I like it here."
"And it all comes back to one of your many boyfriends," Quinn teases. During Rachel's first year at NYADA, she seemed to have a new male lead almost every week and it wasn't uncommon for her to take Quinn to whatever hot spots she'd been introduced to during her newfound popularity.
This time, Rachel knows she's blushing, and she's sure Quinn can tell. "I'll have you know that, as a freshman, I was very dedicated to my studies." It's thin, at best, and she adds, "I can't help it that I love New York."
"No one's doubting that." Quinn picks up one of the menus that's leaning against the wall. It's kind of sticky, but then that's all part of the charm of the place. "Dating anyone now?" she asks casually, as she pries the pages apart to study the selection of breakfast foods.
The question surprises her, but if they're going to catch up, romantic involvement is part of that. "I'm taking a break from all of that right now and trying to really focus on getting my career where it needs to be." And then, because it needs to be asked, "Are you?"
"I haven't really been..." Quinn shakes her head. "It's been a while, actually." She's trying to read Rachel's reaction, because she knows it probably sounds pathetic. In college, she had a handful of girlfriends, two that were serious, one that was her former professor. "Since graduation I just..." She shrugs and flips the menu pages. "Merman's a good companion and he's a cheap date, so I'm sticking with him, for now."
"There's nothing wrong with taking some time off from dating, Quinn," Rachel says. "It's not imperative that we're always with someone all of the time. There are other important things in life. Merman seems like a wonderful dog."
"He's kind of a pain in the ass," Quinn says, snapping the menu shut. "But he's loyal. Does anyone actually work here or-" She looks up to see the waitress standing at the edge of the table. "Oh. I'll have the french toast? And, uh... coffee?"
Rachel smiles at the waitress and says, "I would like green tea with lemon and do you have the vegetable soup or tomato today?" When the waitress tells her it's the tomato, her smile widens. "Tomato, please," she says and then turns to Quinn as the waitress goes to put in their order. "Wait. Have you really not dated anyone since college?"
Quinn opens her mouth to shoot back some kind of witty response, but she doesn't have one. She really hasn't dated anyone since then and it's not something she's proud of. "I... No. But I dated a professor while I was in college. Points for style?"
"Quinn, I seriously doubt anyone but you actually keeps track of how in style it is to push social conformity issues. Besides, you know very well that things like age or gender or race don't matter when it comes to love. It's just... a little surprising that it's been that long. I would imagine that it gets old saying no after a while if you've decided that you're not interested in dating." Rachel tucks her hair behind her ear. "I'm not trying to... well, I hope it's not invasive."
"It's not that I'm not interested in dating... it's just been complicated..." Quinn's enthusiasm over french toast has since dissipated and she stirs the glass of water in front of her with a straw. "You're a little invasive, but... that's just how you are. And it's kind of nice to have someone actually ask."
This is one of those rare moments when Rachel doesn't actually know what to say. This is Quinn Fabray. If she hasn't dated in years, it's because she hasn't wanted to, not because nobody ever asked. "Complicated?" Rachel echoes, trying to figure out how to tell Quinn what she's thinking without sounding even more invasive.
"It's all personal crap," Quinn offers. "I'm... not the easiest person to date. And I don't really get out much, not with other people, anyway. I'll probably end up like Coach Sylvester, except instead of living alone in a house of trophies, I'll be buried under terrible country crafts and dog toys."
"I think you're selling yourself short, Quinn," Rachel tells her as the waitress sets out french toast for Quinn and soup for Rachel. "I mean, aside from your tendency to stencil every single flat surface you come in contact with and the fact that you spend seemingly every waking hour on Facebook, what could possibly be so difficult about dating you? I would be willing to bet that with the right person, it might actually even be nice."
"I don't sleep, I run a business making and selling things I loathe, I still have stretchmarks, and I spend more time with my dog than with other people." Quinn pokes at her french toast with her fork. "I'm a trainwreck and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Oh, and I mix metaphors."
Rachel rolls her eyes. "Stop trying to come up with reasons you're undateable. You don't have to be that person, Quinn. Not anymore. Anyone would be lucky to have you, and when you're ready to put yourself out there again, it won't be as hard as you're making it out to be."
"Making out. Also something I haven't done since college." Quinn quickly takes a bite of french toast and doesn't look up from her plate.
"It's been a while for me too, you know," Rachel says softly, sliding her foot forward slightly until it rests against Quinn's. She means it supportively. She's always been a tactile person, and talking about serious things has never seemed right to her without some type of physical contact as reinforcement.
Quinn's eyes shut, if only for a moment, when Rachel's foot touches hers. It's just a nudge and it's not like there's any direct contact, but it still ripples through her. "Yeah, but you... it's easy for you if you want someone... you're voluntarily taking time out to focus on your career. Anyway, isn't the stage your mistress? Or... master? Or boyfriend or whatever?"
Rachel laughs. "You make it sound like I could wink at the next random stranger we see and I'd be going home with someone tonight. It's just not true. Of the two of us, you'd fit that description more than I would." Rachel can't be sure but she thought Quinn might have flinched when their feet touched under the table, and she doesn't want to make Quinn uncomfortable, so she slides hers away. It drags gently against Quinn's for a moment and then she's safely out of Quinn's space again.
"I don't go home with strangers!" Quinn protests. She's aware that Rachel's moved away, but she's quick to shift her leg to regain the closeness. It's silly, really, but it's been so long since she's been around anyone she knows as well as she knows Rachel and she's desperate for the connection.
Rachel has officially lost interest in her tomato soup, and she barely even ate any. The moment she feels Quinn follow her movement, she's completely tuned in to what's happening right now, between them. She knows she didn't imagine Quinn's flinch now, and she takes the opportunity to really look at the girl sitting across from her. She feels an old feeling stir somewhere deep within her, and she grins. "Well, at least not since college, anyway."
"I knew every single girl I went home with, thank you." Quinn tries to keep her attention on her food, but it's useless. All she can think about is what's happening under the table. "And even then there were only three." She doesn't even know if Rachel's aware that Quinn's fully embraced her five point two Kinsey rating, but given what seems to be going on, maybe it's obvious.
"I'm not trying to imply anything negative, Quinn," Rachel says sliding her foot again, just slightly. It doesn't seem like it's unwanted, and there doesn't seem to be any harm in it. Then again, she does tend to overthink and analyze things sometimes, even now, but at the same time, she's enjoying the contact.
"So, what are you trying to imply?" Quinn asks, her voice light as she nudges back against Rachel. There's no more ignoring what's happening and directly addressing a situation is one of Quinn's stronger suits. "Because it seems like you brought me to your favorite night spot just to flirt with me."
Rachel sips her tea. "I had no pretenses at all by asking you to catch up tonight, and I would also like to remind you that it takes two people to flirt."
"You think I'm flirting with you?" Quinn pushes one eyebrow up as she watches Rachel. "What good would that do me? You're apparently married to your career."
"And you're married to your dog, so I guess it's completely harmless, since we're both in committed relationships," Rachel counters.
"We're not married, just living together," Quinn shoots back. "You wouldn't want to date me, anyway."
It's Rachel's turn to lift an eyebrow, which is s look she learned from Quinn. "Is that an offer?"
It's one thing to flirt, it's another to contemplate an actual dating scenario, especially given that this is the first time they've seen each other in years. "It's..." Quinn has no idea if Rachel is serious. So, she deflects. "It doesn't matter. You're not dating, right now." Her leg, however, continues to brush against Rachel's.
Because it isn't that she's opposed to the idea. There's an attraction between them and it almost feels like it's always been there, but the time was never right. Even now, sitting across the table from a woman she hasn't even spoken to since college, Quinn feels the magnetic pull of two people who both want the same thing.
It just isn't the best idea. Not the way her life is, right now.
That doesn't keep her eyes from being drawn to the way Rachel's sweater stretches across her chest.
Rachel isn't one hundred percent sure what it is exactly that's happening right now, but she knows that she likes the way Quinn is looking at her right now. It's almost dangerous, in a way. She also knows that she likes the way it feels to have Quinn Fabray touching her, even if it is just some light contact under the table. Imagine that, after all this time.
"I didn't say that I wouldn't date," Rachel says, and then adds in a low voice, "not if it was the right person."
"You think I'm the right person?" Quinn asks. "We barely know each other."
"You're putting words in my mouth." But still, the idea is kind of an intriguing one. An idea that Rachel hasn't really entertained before. Well, not with Quinn. At least not in in specific detail. And now Rachel can't seem to stop staring at Quinn'smouth for some reason.
"I'm not putting anything in your mouth," is Quinn's casual reply, but there's a smirk creeping at the corner of her lips. She picks up her cup of coffee and takes a sip. It's getting cold and she really has no interest in drinking it. but it's the best way for her to appear collected in the moment. Otherwise, she feels like she might be compelled to just leap across the table and push Rachel back against the vinyl booth and-
Now that's all she can think about.
So much for being collected.
If Quinn wants to play a game of sexual chicken, Rachel can't really think of a reason why she should be the one to back down. Instead of responding to Quinn verbally, she moves her foot up, brushing Quinn's ankle and rubbing back and forth a little. It's enough to be more than just casual contact, and she really wants to see where this unexpected little exchange is going. As an afterthought, she adds, "I know you well enough."
Normally, Quinn would snap back that no one really knows her, but if anyone ever actually did, it was Rachel. Even if that was a decade ago.
Her coffee cup clinks against the saucer.
"I'm..." She adjusts her footing as to encourage Rachel to continue with the movement below. "Trying to figure out if you're actually looking for a date or something a little more..." One night stand isn't right, because it feels like more than that. "In the moment."
Rachel thinks about this, really thinks, because as much fun as she's having, this is still Quinn, and Quinn still deserves someone who will be honest and sincere with her. "I'm not sure that I'm actually looking for anything, Quinn. I just know that this is- while it's not something that I ever expected- it's actually a little... I'm not exactly dying to run out the door right now."
"Yeah," Quinn nods. "I see that." She contemplates what's in front of her: Almost a full plate of french toast, a barely eaten bowl of soup, and Rachel Berry telling her that she's enjoying this... whatever it is. The meal is irrelevant. It's not why they came there. Rachel wanted to share something with her, something personal. They're supposed to be catching up. And now there's this idea being tossed around, along with a game of footsie under the table.
Quinn still has no idea if this is serious or not, so she relies on strategy, something still ingrained in her from her time on the Cheerios. She straightens up in her seat, pulling her feet back to her side, but before Rachel can react to the removal of contact, Quinn's standing up and scooting into the opposite side of the booth so she's next to Rachel, instead of across from her. She props an elbow up on the table and rests the side of her head against her hand as she asks, "So what are you dying to do?"
Rachel's eyes are a little wider than normal because this situation is one that she never in a million years ever thought she'd be facing, but now that it's here, it's all she can do to just take it in. Quinn is sitting very close to her, incredibly still, and extremely intense. She has no real idea how to answer Quinn's question. She's not even sure if she wants this, but here Quinn is, apparently offering it to her. And Rachel is still wondering if this is even really happening.
"What do you want me to say?" Rachel's voice is barely there, which almost never happens.
It's been ages since Quinn's put a move on anyone, but she certainly still remembers how. Her hand, the one not holding up her head, drops under the formica tabletop and rests on Rachel's leg. "I want you," her fingers lightly stroke the fabric of Rachel's pants, "to answer my question."
If there were any doubt in Rachel's mind what it is that she wants, the way her breath is coming faster in response to Quinn's proximity is giving her a clue. "Quinn," she says quietly, but she doesn't really have anything to add.
She shifts slightly so that Quinn's hand is resting more solidly against her thigh, and she hopes that the look she's giving is sending the right signal. She likes this. She really likes it.
"I'm still listening." Quinn's amused by Rachel's reaction and she's intent on keeping this up as long as she can. "Or maybe you want to get back to catching up? You can tell me what you've been doing for the last few years." Her fingertips catch on the inside seam of Rachel's pant leg, about midway up her thigh.
It's Rachel's turn to smirk. "You know, whatever it is you're doing isn't going to detract from the fact that you've been staring blatantly at my chest for the past ten minutes, at least."
"It's a good looking sweater," Quinn replies, letting her gaze drift to the area in question.
Rachel feigns innocence as she brings her fingers up to delicately trace over her own chest. "Oh, is it? I know you've always had a thing for my sweaters," she says, letting her fingers graze her chest and watching as Quinn's eyes follow.
"The argyle's always been better than the embroidered animals." Quinn's grip on Rachel's leg tightens before her hand inches higher. She forces her eyes back up to Rachel's face and leans closer. "But I guess you caught me checking you out. Though, to be totally honest, it's not the first time."
"You say that like you think I never noticed you watching me walk down the hallway at school or dance in glee club." She's sure to match Quinn's tone, even though the hand on her leg is making it more difficult to concentrate. She's also absolutely bluffing.
"You should have said something. We could have..." Could have what? There was no way anything would have happened back then. Quinn's hand is almost at the point where Rachel's leg intersects with her hip. If she were to shift more toward her inner thigh, things would be... interesting. "I guess what matters is what you're saying now. Did you want me to notice you?"
Rachel tries to get her breathing under control. There are a lot of things she wants right now. She wants to feel what Quinn's hair feels like in her fingers, what her mouth tastes like. She wants to feel Quinn's hand squeeze against her again. This is all happening so fast, and Quinn is so comfortable being in control, and Rachel just... for the first time in a long time, she wants someone.
"I want you," Rachel wets a dry lip, "to notice me now."
"You're kind of hard to miss." Quinn's fingers grip Rachel's leg. "I think we're done here. Your soup's cold and I'm about two seconds away from doing this." Her hand dips between Rachel's legs under the table. At the same time, she casually turns to smile at the waitress, who's standing back by the order counter, and signals for the check.
Rachel's eyes flutter for just a second and then she's gripping Quinn's wrist. The desire- the drive to feel what Quinn is doing- is unbelieveable, but they're in a public place, after all, and she's after that if she doesn't establish some parameters, she'll end up responding to Quinn in a way that might embarrass them both.
"Please just..." She doesn't even know what she wants to say, but she keeps her grip on Quinn's wrist.
The waitress barely looks at them when she sets the guest check on the table and mutters, "Thank you, come again."
Quinn slaps one hand over the ticket and works her hand out from Rachel's grasp, then extends it to help her out of the booth. "Just what?" she asks as she stands, still waiting for Rachel to take the offered assistance.
"Just, at least wait until we're out of the middle of a diner," Rachel says, letting Quinn pull her up. And just like that, they're holding hands.
The bill is paid and the tip Quinn leaves is at least half the price of the meal, but she can't be bothered to wait for change. She gets Rachel outside, but then only make it as far as the small alleyway between the diner and the building next to it, before she's pressing Rachel up against the brick wall. It's dark and probably dirty, but she hasn't felt this driven, this turned on, in a very long time.
"We're not in the middle of a diner, anymore." Quinn's still holding Rachel's hand and her other hand is gripping Rachel's hip.
Quinn's body feels amazing against hers, and all Rachel wants right now is to know what it feels like to kiss Quinn Fabray. She slides a trembling hand up and around to the back of Quinn's neck, pulling her closer. It's a chilly night, and Quinn's skin is cool beneath Rachel's fingers.
She's pressing against Rachel in all the right ways, and when she shifts, Rachel tries to stay grounded.
"I meant what I said about it being a while for me." Rachel's voice is nearly a whisper.
"Me too, I-" There's a sound from deeper in the alley and Quinn's quick to assess what it is, drawing her arm up, protectively, in front of Rachel. She can see a cat, but then it scurries past them and there's still something shuffling around back there. "Come on," she says, pulling Rachel off the wall. She shifts the weight of the bag on her shoulder and moves back toward the street.
"My apartment isn't far, but I have roommates," Rachel says, and then it dawns on her that she and Quinn Fabray are looking for a place to- well. It's actually an incredibly big turn on for her, if she's honest.
They're already a block up when Quinn says, "Shit, wait..." as she checks her back pocket, then rummages in her bag for a moment. "I think I dropped my MetroCard when I paid. Just... wait here." She squeezes Rachel's hand before dashing back in the direction of the diner.
She leans against the wall and does as Quinn says. She knows better than to pull her phone out of her pocket, so she just does her best to be patient.
It takes a couple minutes, but Quinn returns to Rachel as quickly as she can, crunching on a peppermint from the bowl next to the cash register. "Got it," she says, stepping up to Rachel and resuming their previous position, even though they're facing the street instead of ducked into an alley.
"Are you ready to admit that you wanted me in high school?" Rachel asks once Quinn is back in her space.
"You want to talk about high school or do you want to talk about right now?" Quinn's leg settles between Rachel's.
There's pressure in all the right places, and it's all Rachel can do to keep from moving her hips. "Do you even want to talk at all?" she manages. She's gripping Quinn's arms, doing her best to hold on. God, it's been so long, and she feels overwhelmed by everything that's happening.
"Not really." Quinn shakes her head and leans in closer, her lips lightly brushing Rachel's. "I've been able to smell how turned on you are since we were back at the diner."
"How could you possibly-" Rachel starts, but Quinn shifts again and Rachel's breath catches. Those lips she's been stealing glances at for the past half hour are so close. She can't help but move a little against Quinn's leg. "God."
"Are you saying you aren't? Because it sure seems like you are." Quinn brushes her lips against Rachel's again, then presses them together, kissing her with a hunger that's been building since she showed up at the theater. Or even before then.
Rachel grips more tightly as she kisses Quinn back. It seems like a dream - with Quinn solid and strong against her, pinning her to the wall, kissing her with an intensity that steals her breath. She is turned on, and the fact that Quinn can smell it is insane, and she likes it.
It's a little fast- they're supposed to be catching up, but after a certain point of Quinn Fabray's tongue licking at her lips, she gives in and opens her mouth. It isn't long after that that her hand finds it's way up Quinn's chest.
This certainly isn't how Quinn pictured her reunion with Rachel, though it's a welcome surprise. The way Rachel moves against her... it's incredible. She rocks forward, putting more pressure between Rachel's legs, and savors the taste of Rachel's mouth.
The extra pressure makes Rachel move more. There's hardly any space between them at all, and she slides her hands down and around, gripping Quinn's ass and encouraging her to rock harder against her.
Quinn's hands splay out and brace themselves on the wall, positioned on either side of Rachel's body. The grip on her ass encourages a groan that disappears into the kiss, then she shifts again, trying to get more movement out of Rachel.
"Quinn, this is... hardly the place." She wants Quinn right now, so much, and she needs privacy. A feeling of safety, somewhere more private than... on the street in front of an all-night laundry. She doesn't want Quinn to get the wrong idea, so she shifts once more and tightens her grip before whispering, "But I do want you," against Quinn's ear.
Quinn has to slow herself down and it takes effort because it's been so long and this is Rachel, but she manages to still her body as she buries her face in Rachel's neck.
Except then she's met with the overpowering scent of Rachel's hair, the feeling of Rachel's chest heaving against her own, and the taste of Rachel's skin under her tongue.
She wants this. Now. And it's dangerous and careless and she has to shove herself off the wall, away from Rachel, to regain any control of herself.
"This is... I shouldn't have..." she mumbles, arms crossed over herself as she faces the street.
Rachel is confused at Quinn's abrupt manner, at first, and she tries to get some grip on reality as she leans against cold brick, buzzing with want all over. But of course any encounter with Quinn ends with Quinn shutting down for some reason or another, and Rachel is left with a hollow feeling that's probably something a lot like guilt.
Except that was years ago. She's lived on her own since she knew Quinn last and she's taken care of herself. At any rate, she's far too old to be swept into a bunch of mind games or struggles for power.
She pushes herself off the wall. "Look, if you don't want this, that's fine. We can just be done. We'll go home, and maybe I'll see you at the theatre. It's fine."
She's disappointed, but she knows Quinn well enough by now to know how this goes.
Quinn stares out at the passing yellow cabs, then looks down the street where she can see the Empire State Building. She should come out here more often. The city's so alive at night. It's one of the reasons why Rachel's always loved it, she knows that.
"Can we just... walk around for a while?" she asks, quietly. Her hands find their way into her pockets while she waits for a response
Rachel softens immediately. "Oh," she says simply, and then she's standing next to Quinn so that their arms are touching. She just wants Quinn to know that she's not alone in this world without pushing Quinn's already stretched boundaries. She hadn't thought that Quinn might actually want some companionship instead of just one night if meaningless sex. "Actually, I'd like that, Quinn."
Quinn sets a slow pace and moves along the sidewalk. She has to ignore what just happened moments before, or else she's going to end up obsessing over it.
"... The play seems like it's coming together well," she offers, as a distraction to both of them.
Rachel puts her hands in her coat pockets because she doesn't know what else to do with them. "Let's talk about something besides the play." She wants to know if the way she's feeling now is because of her loneliness or because there may actually be something between them. "Tell me about..." Rachel tries her best to find something that will let her know Quinn without prying and making her shut down even more. "How did you get your dog?"
Merman's actually a nice, safe topic and Quinn's thankful for the chance to talk about him. It'll keep her from thinking too much about Rachel's body pressed against her own.
"He's kind of a rescue, I guess." That's probably the best way to word it. "He... came with my house."
Rachel can feel her eyes widening. "He came with your house? Quinn, that's not... something that usually happens."
"The previous owner left him behind," Quinn explains. "At first, I planned to find him a home, but he was already about a year old and most people want puppies. Also, he chews on everything. Or did. He's grown out of it. A little. Anyway, I'd never lived alone in a whole house to myself before and it felt better having him there. So... I let him stay."
"That's... really sweet," Rachel says, and stuffs her hands deeper in her pockets. They're walking now, that slow pace that means there isn't really a destination, though Rachel knows in the back of her mind that she's leading them towards her apartment. "Sometimes I wish I could live in my own apartment, but in New York, it's not really practical."
"You could live outside the city." It's a bullshit suggestion and Quinn knows it. Rachel was born for this town. She looks down at her feet, stepping over a discarded playbill with Justin Beiber's face on it as she wonders how long it will be before people are doing the same with Rachel's face under the yellow and black header.
Rachel laughs, even though she knows Quinn is probably serious. "I didn't fight the way I did to get here so I could live in New Jersey."
They get another half a block before Quinn quietly says, "It'll happen. It has to." She hopes Rachel knows she isn't talking about apartments.
"It's not that I don't like teaching. I do. I just... I'm supposed to be on the stage."
Quinn tries to picture Rachel with one of her voice students, but all she can imagine is Rachel singing to provide "an example" and taking up the entire lesson time. "Do any of your students make you feel, like, sympathetic toward Mr. Schue?"
"My students live in New York City and take their careers very seriously. They're all amateur level, of course, but that doesn't mean they're not completely serious about being performers. I haven't ever had to teach a Noah Puckerman." Rachel steers them along, and when they get to the crosswalk, she pulls her hand out of her pockets and takes Quinn's hand to lead her without even thinking.
The moment Rachel takes her hand, Quinn's mind immediately returns to the scene from earlier: Touching under the table, leaving the diner in a rush, kissing, groping, and grinding against the face of the building. If she turns her head, just enough, she can still smell Rachel's shampoo against the night air.
"Rachel..." Her hand's still wrapped up in Rachel's and she can't really bring herself to pull it away. "I'm not..." A lot's happened since they were college freshman. "I'm not who I was... before."
"I'm not asking you to be anything, Quinn. A lot has happened since college. I'm not the person I was either. I don't have any expectations at all." She smiles hesitantly, just to show Quinn that there isn't anything to worry about. It's not like she'll be asking Quinn to marry her tomorrow or anything.
It's almost like Rachel's reading her mind, in a way. Still, Quinn knows the best thing would be to drop Rachel's hand, to excuse herself for the evening and get on the next train back to New Haven. So why is she still walking and talking and letting her fingers lace with Rachel's?
Because she's never been able to stay away. "I... saw you... at the senior center. Last year."
Rachel comes to a full stop on the sidewalk, and since Quinn doesn't, their hands pull apart. She lets her drop to her side and just stares at Quinn. "You were... I don't... Why didn't you talk to me?"
Quinn shrugs. "I never thought you'd have anything to say to me." She sighs before she admits, "I also saw you at the NYADA alumni cabaret. And... a few other things."
This time, Rachel's mouth drops open, and she doesn't even care if she's being dramatic. "I don't understand. You've been coming to my shows?"
"Not... all of them. And when I could make it, it was sometimes only after intermission. But..." Quinn tucks her hand back into her pockets. "You've been working so hard and I've never really been that far away, I just thought... you deserve to have someone you know see what you've been working on."
Rachel tries as hard as she can to imagine Quinn standing in the back of the theatre in the dark, watching her perform. On one hand, it's incredibly sweet and heartwarming. On the other... "How could you be there for so many and never once talk to me?"
"I didn't think you'd want to see me."
Rachel rolls her eyes and starts walking again, catching by the arm this time and looping hers through it. "You always seemed so smart when we were in school."
"You think it's dumb that I came to see you so many times?" Quinn asks, but she knows better.
"I think it's dumb that you never said anything when you were there."
"Honestly," Quinn brushes her hair away from her face with her free hand. "I thought about it the first couple of times, but I didn't think you wanted to... because we hadn't talked in so long. And then after the next few times, I was worried you'd think I was a creeper for showing up."
"Well, you couldn't have been too worried or you wouldn't have said anything about it now." Rachel thinks about what she's just said. "Why are you bringing it up now?"
"Because I can't stop thinking about kissing you," Quinn mumbles, her eyes on the brightly lit signs of the theater district. "But it's not because it's the first time I've seen you in years. Because I've seen you. You just... haven't seen me."
"Well, no one said you had to stop," Rachel says quietly. "If you're still thinking about it, then why aren't you doing it?"
Quinn looks upward, taking in the sky and noting the lack of visible stars. "Because I don't want to hurt you."
"Quinn, I've already told you that I don't have any expectations on you. You're not going to hurt me."
"It's the unexpected that I'm worried about." Quinn draws her gaze down from above and finally settles on Rachel's face. "And we just started talking, again. I don't know what got into me, back there."
Rachel doesn't try to hide the fact that it's disappointing. "Well, we can keep talking. If you want." She doesn't add that she can't remember the last time someone walked her home from a rehearsal.
Quinn watches Rachel's face fall and it makes her heart sink, a little. "I didn't mean I don't want..." Why is it so hard to say what she's thinking? It's never a problem, any other time. "Things have changed and I just feel like maybe we should get to know each other before we... um, before I make another move like that."
It's different, this dynamic. Maybe things really have changed, though Quinn still seems very much like Quinn. "You want to get to know me before making another move?" She does her best to sound flirty, but she's sure it sounds more like something from a bad television show.
"I miss you," Quinn replies.
Well, now she's just trying to make Rachel's heart melt. "If you really don't want us kissing right now, you should probably not say things like that."
Quinn notices that they've stopped walking and that they're standing in front of an older apartment building. A quick assessment of the brickwork and design suggests it was built mid-century. "Is this where you live?" she asks, glancing from Rachel to the building next to them. She really wants to know if the interior has been completely renovated or not, but she's not about to ask if she can come up. Given the evening's events, that seems... dangerous.
Rachel watches Quinn's eyes shift and then says, "I know how interested you are in architecture. Did you want to come inside and see it? The apartments aren't anything spectacular, but the lobby is nice."
"Just the lobby," Quinn's telling herself just as much as she's saying it to Rachel. "It's getting late and I still have a long train ride back home," she explains.
Maybe someday Rachel will offer to let Quinn stay with her instead of riding the train all the way back to New Haven, but Rachel understands that today is not the day to ask. She nods and leads Quinn to the door. "Just the lobby," she agrees. If she's lucky, she may be able to get another kiss before Quinn vanishes into the night.
The lobby is standard for these types of building, but that also means it still retains it's original design and Quinn can't help but smile to herself as she looks around. It isn't the vast, marbled art deco expanse of the Empire State Building's entryway. Instead, it's home to several pieces of what look like local artwork and is furnished with some well worn, but cared for pieces of furniture. It looks like a place where artists live, real ones, ones who don't stencil and paint bonnets on geese for a living.
"This is really cool," Quinn says, letting her arm slip from Rachel's until their hands catch together.
"Quinn, your hands are freezing." Rachel doesn't mean to ruin such a nice moment, but she can't help it. It's chilly outside, but the icyness in Quinn's touch is surprising, now that they're inside. "It's been a long day. You're not feeling sick, are you? I have tea upstairs."
"What? Oh," Quinn pulls her hand from Rachel's and rubs her palms together. "Yeah, it got cooler than I thought it would. Sorry." Again, her hands end up in the pockets of her pants and she shrugs. "Thanks for showing me your lobby and... as great as tea sounds, I really should get back. Merman tends to worry. And by worry, I mean, chew."
"Okay, well..." Rachel isn't as clingy as she used to be. She's fine with letting Quinn fade away once again, even if there's no guarantee that they'll even really speak again. She can cope with it if she has to, but she still wants her goodnight kiss. They're standing toe to toe, and Rachel looks up into Quinn's eyes. She could just... pop up on her toes and it would be a done deal, but the way that Quinn's been acting the last several minutes has her thinking that it might not end well if she takes things into her own hands. So, all she can do is stand and breathe and wait. "Goodnight, Quinn."
Rachel wants a kiss, Quinn can tell. And, frankly, Quinn wants one, too. She just doesn't know where it will lead. Then again, she was once the queen of control, so maybe it's ridiculous to think she can't just do this and maintain a balance.
She dips her head down and meets Rachel's lips, but it's brief. If she stays there any longer, Quinn honestly doesn't know where they'll end up. "Goodnight, Rachel."