The loft seems to be a little drafty, but the space heater Kurt set up for her before he headed out to some gay cabaret show is doing a decent job of keeping her warm, as is the Les Mis throw she has draped over her. She wanted to come earlier in the week, but it's still early in the semester and ditching out on her classes when she's paying sixty grand a semester for an ivy league education is probably not the best idea.
Rachel's at a dance rehearsal and she doesn't even know Quinn's waiting for her.
It's been a week since the news spread. The news being the dramatic shift in the Facebook relationship statuses of half a dozen of the people on Quinn's newsfeed.
Brittany and Santana were a bit of a shock, because it feels like they've always been together, even when they weren't. But Quinn thinks maybe it's a good chance for Santana to get out and be an actual college lesbian and listen to bad folk rock and wear flannel and maybe get into a bar fight or two. Yeah, Quinn misses her. Maybe she should head down to U of L to hang out sometime, soon.
Kurt and Blaine... not as big of a shock, but still heartbreaking. Quinn always felt like they were one of the sweetest couples she's known. Rumor has it that Blaine cheated, but it's not like she can judge.
Finn and Rachel. Finally. And she feels terrible for thinking that way, she really does, because these are her friends. Well, Finn's someone she's known for a long time, who's sometimes been there for her but also been kind of a serious dick, not just to her, but to her friends. He's kind of a big baby about a lot of things, but he also has a big heart, even if he's immature. Rachel, though. Rachel's someone she considers an actual friend. Like Santana. But different.
She's about to flip through Kurt's copy of US Weekly for the third time when she hears the key in the door and it slides open, the huge space of the doorway practically looming over Rachel's small frame.
Rachel looks incredible, like someone out of a magazine, and not just the crappy tabloid Quinn's holding in her hands.
The rolling door is left open as Rachel bounds across the room in her tights and off the shoulder sweatshirt, the kind with cut off sleeves, probably because Rachel was rehearsing some kind of eighties number, or maybe she's just embracing her "I live in a loft in New York and I'm a triple threat" lifestyle. Whatever the case, Quinn's barely able to stand before Rachel's wrapped around her in a hug.
It's like a whirlwind, the way Rachel moves around her, pulling off her shoes and digging through take out menus as she asks if Quinn prefers thai or pizza, and then she's off to the shower, leaving Quinn with explicit instructions to be ready to tell her all about Yale the second she's finished cleaning up.
The thai food arrives in the middle of Quinn's story about a literature themed party that happened her first week on campus and she can't help but think that Rachel must be freezing in pajama shorts that, well, short. But maybe the bunny slippers are balancing that out. And really, who the hell is Rachel Berry that she can pull of this casual but sexy shorts and thermal combo while managing to make animal slippers work, too?
Even though Quinn's arrival is a complete surprise, Rachel's an enthusiastic hostess, insisting Quinn sleep in her bed with her and not on the lumpy couch. "It can't be good for your back," is the argument that leads Quinn to lying on her side, chatting with Rachel, under the covers.
This whole time, Rachel hasn't mentioned Finn. Not once.
It's fine, this way, but Quinn is here for support and she doesn't want Rachel to think she doesn't care.
"Did you want to talk about..."
Rachel jumps on it, like she knows it's been bound to come out of Quinn's mouth the entire time she's been there. "Last week? Not really. It... was a long time coming and I just didn't see it until I saw it. And then it was all I could see."
"But you're okay?"
"I'm okay. Like I said, it was a long time coming. And I understand everything you were saying that day in the bridal shop. I just didn't want to hear-" Rachel cuts herself off as her own hand flies to cover her mouth.
It's enough to make Quinn prop up to get a better look at her. "What?"
"If I'd have just listened... I mean, you were right this whole time, and if I'd have just been willing to listen..."
The lights are off, but there's enough glow from the Brooklyn streetlights to illuminate the fact that Rachel's crying. "Rachel, hey... it's okay." Quinn smooths a hand over Rachel's shoulder, trying to console her.
"If I would have listened to you, then we wouldn't have been at the courthouse and you-"
"Oh, Rachel. No, it's not your fault." The hand on Rachel's arm slips around to her back as Quinn pulls Rachel against her. "I'm fine. I'm okay."
Rachel's words are muffled against Quinn's sweatshirt. "B-but you... I did that to you."
"No, a truck did that to me and I should have been watching the road." Her fingers stroke Rachel's hair and when the sniffling sounds like it's slowed, Quinn adds, "I wanted to be there to support you, because you deserve whatever you want out of life."
This past summer, Quinn has plenty of time to reflect on her high school years, to think about why she acted the way she did, why certain things were so important to her, why she obsessed over titles and stature, when, by then end of all of it, none of those things meant anything to her. She also had time to consider the moments she remembered most fondly, like Beth's birth, the Glee club victories, the friends she made, and the chances she had to make a difference. There are plenty of memories of Rachel, sometimes being annoying, sometimes being an incredible performer, other times offering an apology or unwanted advice.
It's only October, but she's been missing Rachel Berry more than she misses anyone else.
It's why she's here, in Brooklyn, holding Rachel against her chest.
"And I wanted to be here, to support you. Because you are right where you're supposed to be, doing the thing you're meant to do."
Rachel nods, her head rubbing against the bottom of Quinn's chin. "I've missed you," she says and it almost comes out as a laugh and she raises up, away from Quinn so she can look at her in the dim light of the room. "It's not funny, I'm just happy you're here."
"Me, too. I needed to see you at the beginning of all this. So later, when you write your autobiography, I'll know what you're making up to make things sound more tragic."
"I'd never do that!" But after the denial, Rachel reconsiders. "That's a really good idea, actually."
"You'd lie in your own memoir?"
"Just enough to make my triumphant rise to success seem all the more... triumphant."
"Maybe you should look into a thesaurus." Even as she's dishing the jab, Quinn's taking in the sight of Rachel in front of her, hair hanging down with the ends splaying across the pillow below. She's laughing and she's beautiful and if Yale has taught Quinn anything, it's that college is expensive and that's why everyone goes absolutely crazy doing things they'd never do back home.
Rachel's lips are warm and soft against her own, but the hand on her shoulder is firm and the voice that begins to speak when Rachel pulls back is quiet. "Quinn..."
"I didn't mean to-" But she's silenced by more soft and warm pressure, because Rachel's kissing her.
"Didn't mean to what?" is the reply against her lips.
Quinn has no idea, but she also doesn't want this to be something it isn't. She allows herself two, okay seven, seconds before gently resting her hand against Rachel's cheek and reluctantly drawing their mouths apart. "I don't want you to think I just came here to..." Words, right now words are a little challenging. "That was unplanned."
"Do you want to stop?" Rachel's so patient, in this moment, especially for someone who was just blindsided with a kiss from someone who's allegedly been straight up until, well, right this moment.
"I don't think so." Quinn's lips brush against Rachel's again. "But you just broke up-"
"We're just kissing, Quinn."
Quinn nods. "Right."
She falls asleep with Rachel tucked into her side and tomorrow, maybe they'll talk about this. Or maybe they won't.
But she hopes they do. Because, while this was entirely unplanned, it's been a long time coming.