2014: Ferrisburgh, VT

A Photographic Memory

The car journey had been long and Rachel, with her never-depleting energy, was getting a little jumpy in the car from her lack of movement. So much so that when they stopped for gas, the little diva was out of the car before Quinn had even popped the cap for gas. Inside the gas station with its small selection of goods, Rachel was circling endlessly for something to entertain her for the remaining journey of which Quinn wouldn't tell her the destination or how long it would take to get there. When Quinn had paid for fuelling her car, Rachel returned with a big smile and an even bigger stack of magazines.

"Got enough there, Rach?" Quinn said with a smirk, starting up the car as Rachel pulled on her seatbelt and opened the first of the magazines. The brunette merely fluttered her eyelashes at Quinn, who smirked at the cute action. For the next half an hour or so, the brunette was absorbed in what she was reading, occasionally reading various articles out loud that she thought Quinn would be interested in.

Rachel didn't even notice when Quinn turned off of the highway and rolled onto a narrow two lane road. The countryside completely surrounded them but only Quinn was paying it any attention. Everywhere she looked there was different shade of green; the dark pine trees, the lush long grass surrounding the trunks of the trees, the fields with vast crops as far as the eye could see. A few twists and bends later, the fields were long gone and were replaced with the thick forest lining both sides of the practically empty road. Quinn's peripheral vision was occupied with the blurring green of the trees while above, tinted from her dark shades, the bright blue sky was flawless and freeing, unmarred by any clouds. Rolling down her window for a little fresh air, the sound of birds happily chirping in the trees flowed into the vehicle, the warm breeze swirling in the girls' hair.

The new noise and the breeze pulled Rachel's eyes from the Broadway article she was currently absorbed in to look out of the window. Quinn smiled when she saw the diva's jaw slacken slightly as took in the view. "It's beautiful," she whispered unnecessarily. Rachel had always been a city girl at heart, New York practically beat in her chest but she was in awe of her surroundings right now. She could easily see the appeal of living in such a place for one's whole life. She sighed wistfully as Quinn continued to drive down the road, the occasional patch of water springing up in the larger breaks between the trees. As beautiful as this was, she knew New York would always be home; here, places like this, this was where she would want to come to relax.

"Okay, close your eyes," came Quinn's voice after driving down the road for a good ten minutes. "We're nearly there."

"Close my eyes?" questioned Rachel, her gaze settling upon her girlfriend of two years. It was no longer strange to call Quinn Fabray 'her girlfriend', not even in her own mind; it was just so perfectly natural. And when the said girlfriend was as beautiful and charming as Quinn; it was a term that was used frequently with a great sense of pride. "You're not recreating a scene from one of those awful horror films you watch, are you? Where I'm abandoned in a wood and chased by some cannibals or something?"

"You're such a drama queen," Quinn laughed, one hand on the steering wheel and the other readjusting the dark frames on her nose. She took her eyes off of the road a moment to lock eyes with Rachel. "Just close your eyes for me, just for a little while. Please?"

The brunette seemed to contemplate it for a few moments, her lip attractively worried between her teeth. "Okay," she said with a wide grin and clasped her hands over her eyes so she wouldn't be tempted to peek. "But just to make sure you're aware, I'm only doing this because you said please."

Quinn chuckled softly, shaking her head a little. A little further down the road, she waved her right hand in front of Rachel's face, checking that she couldn't see. Satisfied, Quinn slowed the car and took one of the turn-offs into the forest. Her little Beetle wasn't exactly accustomed to driving on uneven dirt tracks like this and so the pair was jolted to and fro over every single bump.

"You're not going to drive over a cliff, are you?" asked a slightly concerned Rachel as she grasped her seatbelt tightly to steady herself. She kept her eyes covered but she no longer knew whether it was because she had been asked or because she didn't want to see that they were indeed hurtling toward a cliff.

"Of course not," Quinn told her, her heart beginning to race with excitement. Almost every summer through her school years had been spent in this very place. It was full of fond memories; happier times with her parents. After the divorce, her mom swore never to return and handed Quinn the key. That same key resided in Quinn's pocket, the single wooden key-ring pressing into the flesh of Quinn's thigh. When the summer had finally rolled around, Rachel had mentioned wanting to go on a vacation that would be just the two of them, as a couple; no parents and their 'nightly checks', no Santana or Puck who dragged them out to 'enjoy' the nightlife. Naturally, Quinn's mind went to the single key on the wooden key-ring and she instantly knew where she could take Rachel; she never mentioned this place to her, she kept it all very secret in hopes of being romantic.

The car finally rolled onto smoother earth, the vehicle much steadier as the magnificent view presented itself as the trees parted before them. No matter how familiar it was to the blonde, no matter how many summers she woke up to this view, it never ceased to take her breath away. The mountains, the trees, the lake, the wooden cabin with the long jetty out into the water; it was all so beautiful.

"Keep your eyes closed," Quinn told her as she parked the car near the cabin and climbed out of the car. She stretched her back a little to ease the stiffness from the long drive before hurrying to Rachel's door. Taking the brunette's arm, Quinn guided Rachel out of her seat and toward the lake to give her the best view when she finally opened her eyes. Her hands dropped to the brunette's small hips, holding her close.

The brunette continued to force herself not to peek as she wondered where on earth Quinn had brought her. She could hear the soft buzz of a few bees, the rustling of leaves from the soft warm breeze and the gentle slapping of water against a shore. The sun was warm on her bare arms and she felt Quinn's cooler hands draw slowly and purposely up the length of Rachel's body, across her shoulders. Fingers skimmed her collar bone and then traced along her neck and over her jaw, causing gooseflesh to break out over the tingling skin. Quinn's hands then took Rachel's, pulling them away from her closed eyes and a soft whisper sounded in her ear. "Open your eyes."

Rachel, quivering with anticipation, had no way to prepare herself for what she saw when she opened her eyes. It was breathtaking. The young singer felt moved by the lake, the trees, the mountains, by every little detail. It felt almost magical. She spotted the large rustic looking cabin which had large glass windows so that not one part of the view would be lost inside.

"Who owns this place?" was all she managed to say as her eyes roamed the shoreline and spotted the little green wooden boat by the jetty.

"I do," Quinn said proudly from behind the brunette. Tearing her eyes from the view, Rachel turned to face her taller girlfriend. "My mother gave it to me after the divorce; this whole area is mine. It's another three miles to the next house."

"This is amazing," Rachel said softly and stood upon her tiptoes to place a kiss on the blonde's lips. "Thank you for bringing me here."

The two stood on the daisy littered grass for several moments, simply taking in the view and breathing in the fresh air. In the warmth, Rachel suggested that the two change into their swimwear and so they collected their things from the car and headed toward the cabin. A short wooden walkway led them to the front door. Quinn took out her key and unlocked the heavy door, the thick wood swinging open.

"Oh my god," Rachel breathed as she took in the decor. It was clear that no expense was spared when the place was decorated with its stone walls and thick timber. Just inside the door was a small hallway which ran the length of the building, the floor sporting a glass design through which the lake below could be seen. It was unbelievable and Rachel's jaw remained slack as she gingerly walked on the glass peering in the rooms that all lead off of this one hallway. There was a fully functioning kitchen in dark wood with its own water feature on one wall which drew water right from the lake; a small study with uninterrupted views out onto the water; a large bathroom with double shower and dark slate tiles; a comfortable living area with a fireplace which took up an entire wall and three bedrooms toward the back. Quinn led Rachel to the largest of the three, pulling her away from the high ceilinged living room before the girl could start testing the acoustics.

In the bedroom, Rachel found more white furniture like in the living area. Here, only one wall had the floor-to-ceiling windows which had thin voile curtains either side. A regal looking four-poster bed took centre stage, draped in white linen.

"And this is all yours?" Rachel asked, dropping onto the bed and bouncing a little with the momentum.

Quinn nodded with a smile, watching the brunette looking over everything with a childlike delight. Everything in this place was hers now; including Rachel. Rachel was hers and hers alone and just thinking that gave her butterflies. Rachel Berry, the only girl she had ever truly loved, the girl she had bullied relentlessly in her desire to deny herself and her feelings, the girl who had kissed her on the roof.

Quinn was still smiling when Rachel dove into her suitcase, rummaging until she found her swimwear and dashed into the en-suite to change. The blonde chuckled, calling out that she needn't hide while changing. She could practically see Rachel's blush through the closed door. The blonde moved to collect her own swim things and quickly pulled them on. "I'll meet you outside," Quinn said through the bathroom door.

Leaving the cabin, which was much larger than the word cabin could ever suggest, Quinn relished the feeling of the warm sun on her skin. It was so nice to feel the breeze circling around her after spending so long in the car. Her eyes followed the shore all around the lake, taking in every detail of this magnificent place.

When Rachel finally joined her, they ended up chasing each other around on the grass playfully. Their laughter was infectious and filled the air. They felt completely carefree as they dodged one another by using the picnic table. Eventually, Rachel somehow managed to catch Quinn off her guard and directed her onto the jetty with no place to go but the water. A devilish smile played across Rachel's lips as she edged forward, forcing Quinn to take a step back. Both were breathing heavily, wide smiles on their faces, their cheeks aching from previous laughter. But now, Quinn was cornered and her competitive nature was in a showdown with Rachel's. The blonde didn't know how she'd managed to get herself in this situation; she never expected Rachel to be able to win like this. Though Quinn didn't mind losing to Rachel if the situation called for it, she didn't like that cocky glint in the brunette's eyes. Quinn smirked back at the singer, tempting her to try and catch her. If she couldn't win outright, she would at least win by default.

Then Rachel ran toward Quinn with her arms outstretched, fully believing she was about to capture the blonde. The blonde was confident she wouldn't be caught and jogged the short distance to the end of the jetty and without hesitation, launched herself into an elegant dive, piercing the water like a knife.

A few moments later and Quinn emerged from the water, shaking her head in a quick motion to remove the wet hair from her face. She grinned up at Rachel as she treaded water. She was laughing as the blonde let out a small shiver.

"Proud of yourself?" Quinn called, quickly getting used to the chilly water. After spending so much time in the lake as a child, she was bound to have built up some form of tolerance for the cold.

"Actually," Rachel said with a smirk, arms crossed as she rested her weight on her left leg. "I am rather." Quinn smiled, her eyes roaming over the perfect figure of Rachel Berry in that red, white and blue ensemble from Mr Schue's proposal number. It accentuated every perfect aspect of the brunette. Rachel's cheeks blushed as she saw Quinn openly admiring her; she didn't think she would ever get used to the blonde looking at her like she was the most beautiful thing she'd ever seen. It made her feel special and wanted and so unbelievably loved. It made her stomach tingle with butterflies and her cheeks grow warm.

"Get in here," Quinn suddenly announced, splashing Rachel. The brunette shrieked at the surprise of the chilly water but her shriek quickly turned into laughter. Quinn continued to splash her claiming she "might as well get in, you're already wet". Laughing, Rachel sat on the edge of the jetty and slowly lowered herself into the water. She gasped as the cool water enveloped her, shivering slightly as she swam the short distance to where Quinn looked on.

Not another word was spoken as Quinn's hands took a hold of Rachel's waist, drawing her in and kissing her deeply. It was awkward and their legs kept tangling as they tried to stay afloat, but they didn't care; they just smiled in their kisses when one accidently kicked the other. Rachel wrapped her arms around Quinn's neck and moved their lips together as they so often did; a soft kiss that was full of passion and love for the other.

-X-

Later on that first day at the cabin, Quinn carried two mugs of hot chocolate over to where Rachel was sitting. Sitting beside her, the blonde wrapped a blanket around them both that she'd taken from one of the cupboards. Rachel smiled at her, huddling closer and cradling the steaming mug. Their hair was still damp from their earlier activities and a small shiver shook Rachel's body as she sat in her pyjamas. The blonde moved closer, trying to share as much body heat as she could without spilling her drink.

They sat in the cool evening air, watching the sun set behind the mountains. It cast beautiful rays of reds and oranges, pinks and yellows across the surface of the lake, an orange glow dancing among the trees where the sun's rays still desperately clung.

"Quinn!" Rachel suddenly exclaimed in a hushed shout, her finger pointing to the shoreline opposite them. "Look, is that a deer?"

Quinn followed Rachel's outstretched finger and located the small doe which came slowly out of the trees and cautiously made its way to the water. She recognised it as a white tail deer; she'd seen many of them on her visits here. They were very cautious creatures and extremely timid. The blonde wished she had her camera as the pair watched the young doe drink from the lake.

"It's so beautiful," Rachel said softly as the sky slowly darkened and the orange blaze finally dipped behind the mountains. "Thank you for bringing me here."

-X-

On the third day, Quinn awoke before Rachel. Looking over at the handcrafted clock on the bedside table, she saw it was still early morning. A bluish hue of the early dawn light streamed into the room through the large windows. The thin voile curtains did nothing to stop the light and only served to supply an element of privacy. The blonde stretched and ran a hand through her hair. Turning, she saw that Rachel was still fast asleep. Quinn, on mornings like this, still couldn't believe that Rachel was hers, that she could wake up and see that beautiful face. Sometimes she honestly couldn't believe her luck. Smiling, the Yale undergraduate gently left the bed and went in her bag for her camera. She snapped a few pictures of the angel sleeping in the bed; long dark hair draped over the white pillows, her half-covered body creating a beautiful contrast to the white of the bed linen.

Leaving the brunette to sleep a little while longer, Quinn ran a brush through her hair, pulled on some clothes and headed out into the dawn with her camera in hand. She captured many images of the scenery and some rather poetic shots of the little boat tied to the jetty like a dog on a leash and the willow tree just down the shore, its long hanging tresses billowing in the breeze. Soon she found herself on her stomach in the grass, trying desperately to get the perfect shot of the dragonflies that made their home in the reeds. One of the dragonflies neared her as it circled, drifting through the air effortlessly and eventually landed just in the right spot. Quinn collected her shot, securing an image of the electric blue insect in perfect detail. Then it was gone, heading out toward the lake until it disappeared from view.

She soon lost track of time and as she lay on her back, watching a kestrel circling overhead, blind to everything else until she heard the soft tread of Rachel's feet approaching.

"Were you going to leave me in bed all day?" she asked as she neared, a chuckle in her voice at finding her girlfriend laid upon her back in the long grass, her hair golden in the sun.

Quinn smiled up at the sky. "You looked too beautiful to disturb."

Rachel blushed a little and walked the short distance to enter Quinn's vision as she continued to watch the bird overhead. Rachel poked her foot into Quinn's side. "That's not the point; I don't want to miss this time with you."

"All you missed was me filling up my memory card," she told the brunette who was leaning over her, blocking out the bird. She picked up her camera and quickly took a shot of Rachel and thus received another foot in her side.

"Hey, I wasn't ready for that,"

"That's when you get the best photographs," Quinn said with a smile, pressing the play button and looking at the gorgeous image of her girlfriend on the little screen. The angle gave a wondrous view of Rachel's chest causing a smirk from the blonde. From the small image, she finally noticed that Rachel was wearing her swimsuit again. "Planning a swim?"

"I was thinking about it," Rachel responded and helped Quinn to her feet. "Will you join me if I do?" Quinn tapped her camera, indicating she'd rather take photos. Rachel sighed dramatically as Quinn focused the camera on the brunette. "Surely you have enough photos of me by now, Quinn."

"Never," the taller of the pair told her honestly and snapped away. Her persistence eventually had Rachel running away, laughing as Quinn chased her. "Don't pretend you don't like the attention," she grinned. At this, Rachel decided to throw some poses in Quinn's direction who happily clicked away. The brunette posed in front of the lake, amongst the daisies and even sat in the little wooden boat but Quinn's favourite picture of the day by far was the one with Rachel laughing lightly, the breeze toying with her hair as she sat on the picnic table, one arm held her weight while the other reached up to capture the fugitive lock of hair. The background, however stunning in itself, was blurred as the focus of the image fell on the brunette, making Rachel look all the more breathtaking.

A small bird was disturbed out of the rushes by the shore, breaking Quinn's somewhat trance as she looked through the beautiful photos. She smiled up at Rachel who had been watching her closely. "Now, how about that swim?"

-x-

The sky was a canvas of swirling pinks, blazing oranges and fading blues. The vast expanse of water was calm and serene, the slight breeze causing the occasional ripple which glimmered under the rays of the setting sun. The trees with the sunset behind them cast long dark shadows across the water, stretching like fingers grasping for the shore. The small green rowing boat gently tugged at the rope which tied it down, the bow rhythmically tapping against the wooden post. A blue jay hopped from reed to reed in search of a meal, dragonflies hovered and soared while small gnats began to make themselves known.

It was the second sunset the two had watched together sitting on the jetty with their legs hanging over the edge; the scent of the forest surrounding them. Quinn's feet made small circles in the cool water while Rachel's happily hung several inches above the water's surface. Rachel's head rested on Quinn's shoulder, resting in the safe embrace as she watched the changing colours in the sky.

"Quinn?" came Rachel's soft voice, her eyes still looking out across the lake.

"Yeah, Rach?"

She smiled at the nickname and pulled away from Quinn a little, her eyes watching the blonde closely. She had memorised every part of the blonde's features from that perfect jaw-line to those sculpted lips to the eyebrow which sat slightly above the other. Everything about the slightly older girl beside her seemed to be sculpted by a higher power; Rachel simply couldn't understand how such beauty could be created by mere accident.

She didn't respond verbally, not just yet anyway. Instead she gently drew Quinn to her, kissing her softly. The blonde made a small sound of approval, kissing the brunette back with more passion, pulling her closer. They could never get close enough when they kissed like this; they could have every inch of their flesh pressing together and still not be close enough. It was infuriating, but with Rachel's soft lips, Quinn was more than grateful for everything she got.

"Quinn," came Rachel's voice in between kisses and stolen breaths. "I'm ready."

Quinn was slightly taken aback, the words taking time to process in her hazy post-kissing mind. Hazel eyes curiously watched brown as she stuttered an "A-are you sure?"

Rachel had never been more sure of anything in her life. Both the two girls had experienced sexual relations outside of their current relationship, experiences that weren't particularly special or well-thought out in either case. Together, they decided to wait; to wait for that special momentous occasion to happen spontaneously; no pressure, no pushing, just a mutual love and understanding. And now the moment was upon them and neither of the girls could think of anything more perfect for their first time with one another. Rachel nodded and was greeted with another kiss, more passionate and with deeper feeling than the last, the taste of a smile gracing her lips.

Rachel wrapped her arms around the blonde's neck, locking the taller girl to her in a loving embrace laced with lust and desire. Quinn didn't stop kissing the girl she loved as she enveloped her own strong arms around Rachel's waist, lifting her easily. The brunette's legs moved to encircle her girlfriend's hips, feeling completely safe with Quinn holding her above the ground. The Yale undergraduate carried the young star all the way to the bedroom, their mouths barely parting in the process.

They undressed one another slowly, taking in every inch of exposed skin with dark, adoring eyes until all that separated them was their shallow breathing, hot and heavy against the other's bare torso.

The two moved onto the bed, eyes still roaming the other's body, unashamed of their nakedness. An expression passed over Rachel's face akin to that post-first-kiss look; her soul bare and shimmering in the golden flecks of her brown eyes. Gazing into those soulful eyes, witnessing the desire in them, something inside Quinn snapped and she crashed their lips together once again. They kissed feverishly, hands clawing at each other's skin, fisting in their hair. Soon, the kisses slowed as their anticipation became almost too much to bear. Then Quinn was kissing along Rachel's jaw, moving teasingly slowly toward her neck where she placed lingering kisses down to her collar bone, exploring the flesh with her kisses. She didn't want to miss a single part of Rachel's body; she wanted to memorise each part with her mouth, with her hands. She wanted to love her, completely and utterly.

"You sure?" Quinn asked softly, desire obvious in her voice. Her heated kisses had led her down between Rachel's thighs, her hands gripping at toned, tan flesh with her breath hot against Rachel's burning flesh. While she wanted this more than she could ever have imagined, Quinn had to make sure, she didn't know what she would do if Rachel ever regretted this experience.

Rachel propped herself up slightly, bangs stuck to her face with perspiration, glaring with eyes black as night at the blonde. "Quinn Fabray, if you don't make love to me right now, I'll..." the rest of the sentence was lost, cut short by a sharp intake of breath as Quinn's tongue caused the singer to fist her hands in the sheets. It was an indescribable sensation to the diva; words were lost to her as Quinn continued her ministrations. Rachel's stomach tensed, her hips jolted and small moans escaped her lips. The blonde continued as if she knew what she was doing and it certainly seemed to be working because Rachel was soon panting and coming apart around her.

As Quinn crawled back up the bed to hold a still shivering Rachel, she felt as if she were floating. It was the single most amazing experience she had ever had, seeing Rachel like that, hearing her moans and her name coming breathily out from those swollen lips. The brunette eagerly accepted the blonde's arms, wrapping herself in the warm embrace. Her eyes were still closed, her brow slightly wrinkled in thought as she tried to regulate her breathing. Quinn smiled in the crook of Rachel's neck, a movement not unnoticed by the brunette.

"Proud of yourself, huh?" Rachel chuckled lightly, her hand gently running through Quinn's hair.

"A little," Quinn admitted, pulling back to look into those chocolate orbs once again. She smiled softly, her heart warming at what she saw there. A blind man would have seen the love and adoration painted for all to see on Rachel's beautiful face. The blonde closed the distance between them again, her palm softly holding Rachel's cheek as they exchanged small, sweet kisses. As she pulled back, Quinn blinked back the tears she could feel forming. The sheer magnitude of emotion was almost drowning her; she was so happy and felt so unbelievably lucky. "I love you, Rachel Berry," she breathed, her hazel eyes glistening.

"I love you too," Rachel smiled, reaching up to press another kiss to the blonde's lips. Things progressed slowly as they began kissing once again, eventually leading to more desperate and lustful kisses as Quinn was suddenly beneath the brunette on the bed. Sweat beaded over their skin as Rachel quickly drove the blonde over the edge.

AN: Review, please?

Sorry for the delay and I hope to update soon, no promises as the new semester is just around the corner. Stay tuned for the present day chapter Missing.