The agreement is that Rachel's able to drive Hiram's old car whenever she wants, as long as she pays for gas and general maintenance. She's never gone by herself to get an oil change, before. The last time she was here, she was with Finn and he just walked right in and talked to a guy named Frank and they were in and out in less than twenty minutes.
But today she's by herself and she's been standing in the wide entrance to the garage for several minutes, waiting for someone to assist her.
"Hello?" she calls into the space of the tire shop, but all she hears in response is the local Lima Top 40 station talking about summer hits that never stop. Someone has to be on duty, because the place is open, so she takes a few cautious steps onto the garage floor, aware of what's around her, because she doesn't care to get any kind of grease on her new summer dress.
After a brief survey of the space, she still doesn't see anyone and she supposes they could be on lunch. Maybe she should come back tomorrow.
Then she sees the legs, two of them, clad in dark blue with black work boots tied to the feet. They're too small to be Burt's and she knows he doesn't put in as much time in the garage as he used to since the heart attack, so she bends down, trying to see if she can identify the rest of whoever is attached to the legs, but they're tucked underneath a sedan and she certainly isn't going to kneel on the floor to get a better view.
"Excuse me!" she calls out, knowing she carries enough projection to be heard, even over the radio. For emphasis, she nudges the foot with her own sandal.
There's a clatter and then the sound of the creeper (she know's that's what it's called because Finn always thought it was funny) rolling out from under the car. The legs are now also a torso with arms and finally a head appears and there's a face glaring up at her.
"You shouldn't touch people when they're under a car. It's dangerous."
Rachel stares down, arms crossed. "Perhaps you should me more diligent about addressing potential customers." Her posture loosens as she realizes who she's looking at. "I wasn't aware you worked here, Quinn."
"Well, why would you be?" Quinn sits up and wipes her hands on a rag that she pulls out of her pocket.
Rachel supposes that's a good point and she realizes she may have interrupted a major procedure. "I didn't mean to interrupt, but there's no one else around."
"Yes, you did. But it's not a big deal. I'm just studying."
Quinn rises to her feet and Rachel's able to take in the sight of her in the navy coveralls, sleeves rolled up to her elbows, still rubbing the grease off her hands. Her hair is held out of her face with a few bobby pins, but it's otherwise askew, though it works well with the shorter cut she's had ever since New York. Rachel notices the red and white patch that says "Quinn" in cursive letters and wonders just how long Quinn has been employed at Hummel Tires & Lube.
"How else am I supposed to know how everything works around here?"
"I wasn't aware you had an interest in the automotive arts."
Quinn leans back against the hood of the sedan. "It's a small town and I need a summer job if I want to be able to afford any kind of ticket out of here after graduation. This seemed more lucrative than working at the Lima Bean, making minimum wage. And stop looking so damn surprised. Coach used to make us do maintenance on her Le Car, all the time." She stuffs the rag in her back pocket. "You are aware that women have the right to vote now, too, don't you?"
While she admits she was certainly caught off guard by Quinn's presence, Rachel doesn't care to address the sarcasm. "I'm here for an oil change."
There's a smirk as Quinn reaches for the clipboard that rests on top of a tall rolling tool chest. "What's the matter, you can't get your boyfriend to help you out with a lube job?"
"I don't have a boyfriend. Everyone thinks Finn and I reunited after that stunt at Nationals, but we didn't. He cost us everything and..." Even a month later, Rachel's still furious just thinking about it.
"He probably thought it was romantic and that you'd forget about everything else," Quinn mutters. She writes something down, then looks past Rachel, out the open garage door. "Is that your car?"
Rachel looks behind her and nods, but she's still caught up in not wanting Quinn think she's so easily swayed by grand gestures. "It was romantic, but it was also highly inappropriate."
"What, inappropriate like breaking up with someone at a funeral? Finn would never do anything like that." Quinn's back to writing and not looking at Rachel.
"I really am sorry for the way he treated you, Quinn. Had I know he was having second thoughts about me, I would have-"
"Doesn't matter. It's over. So..." Quinn shrugs and flips the clipboard around so Rachel can see it. "It'll be twenty-one ninety-five. Give me about twenty minutes. Just initial right there," she taps the pen against the page, "for the estimate."
The shift is sudden, but she supposes Quinn has a point about not dwelling on the past. She takes the pen, delicately at first, making sure there isn't any kind of engine grease on it, then writes out an RBB with a star after it. "Last time I was here with Finn, it was thirty."
"He must have calculated the discount wrong. You can sit in the waiting room or if you want to go somewhere else, I'll just text you when it's done."
"I was planning to pick up lunch around the corner." Rachel takes another look around the garage. If Quinn's the only one on duty, she's probably been working all morning. "Would you like me to bring you something?"
"You don't have to do that. Frank will be back in a half an hour and then I'll have my break."
"So, it will be almost perfect timing. I'm bringing you a sandwich."
"I didn't even say I wanted a sandwich."
"Then maybe Frank will eat it."
Quinn just shakes her head and holds out her hand. "Keys?" Rachel hands them over and adjusts her purse on her shoulder. She's three steps outside of the garage when she hears, "Turkey club on wheat. If you're really serious."
Rachel smiles to herself and glances over her shoulder. "When am I ever not?"
She's absolutely serious the next morning, too, when she shows up at the garage, fifteen minutes before opening.
Quinn sits on a plastic crate outside the locked building. She has the top half of her coveralls tied around her waist so Rachel is able to read that her light yellow t-shirt says "Christ Crusaders Charity 5k Run" on it. Quinn has a book open in her lap and it's only until Rachel is three feet from her that she looks up and cocks her head. "Unless you just drove to California and back, you can't possibly be need another oil change."
Rachel has two coffee cups in her hands and she holds one out to Quinn. "Daddy says he's never paid any less than thirty-five dollars, even with a coupon, since 2003. So, you either undercharged me by accident or you gave me a bigger discount on purpose."
Quinn eyes to cup being offered to her and finally accepts it, asking, "What is this?"
"Vanilla caramel soy half-caf. It's what I always get. I didn't know your drink of choice."
"So, what, you're evening out the balance by bringing me coffee?"
"You did that yesterday."
"But you have to eat again today."
Quinn shakes her head and sips the coffee. There's a reluctant smile as she says, "This is actually pretty good."
There's a second crate a few feet away, so Rachel picks it up and moves it closer so she can sit next to Quinn. Today she's wearing an older skirt and isn't too worried about getting it dirty, though she still briefly inspects the seat for anything that might stain before she sits. Quinn just watches her from over the top of the cup.
"Are you always early?" Rachel asks.
"When Burt's here, he opens everything up at eight-thirty, which he was supposed to be today, but I guess he's running late."
"Do you like working here?"
"It's better than sitting around at home, being bored."
"But it's our last summer as high school students. Isn't there something else you'd rather be doing before your senior year?"
"I told you yesterday, I have to save up if I want to get out of here."
"I was under the impression that your family-"
"You don't know anything about my family." Quinn seems like she wants to shut it down, right there, but Rachel isn't about to let that happen.
"You can talk to me, you know. We were actually working on being friends, weren't we?"
Quinn practically drains her coffee cup before she says, "My sister married a UPS guy just to get the hell out of this town. And she only made it to Columbus."
"Does he drive one of those trucks?"
"No, he... he owns a bunch of stores."
"Oh, that actually sounds like he's quite the entrepr-"
"It doesn't matter what he does, Rachel. It's that Frannie was so desperate to get out she just... I don't know, I guess she loves him. He's just way older than she is."
"And that's not how you want to make it out of here," Rachel says. She remembers that night at the prom, the sting still in her cheek as Quinn revealed just how scared she is about the future.
Quinn shakes her head. "I'm applying to every college I can. I don't care where it is, but I want to do it on my terns and I need to have the finances to back it up. When my dad left, he took half of everything and Mom's had to go back to work. We're not poor or anything, but college isn't cheap and I'm already going to have to take out student loans."
Rachel stares down at her cup. She knows she's always been lucky with the emotional support her fathers have always given her and the way they've allowed her to do anything she's ever wanted. She knows that when she goes to New York, no matter which school she attends, that they'll take care of it. She has every kind of security she could ever imagine and it's because her parents believe in her and her dream.
"Maybe if you get into a school in New York, we could rent an apartment together."
Quinn's quick to snap back, "Except just about every college in existence makes their freshman live on campus." She sighs. "It's a nice thought, though."
"What do you want to study?" Rachel realizes that maybe these questions are pushing it, because Quinn isn't really the champion of opening up.
"English, maybe. Or art history. I guess I could study business or something." She looks over at Rachel. "Look, not everyone was born with a roadmap to lifelong success in their hands. All I've ever known is that I want to be prom queen and live outside of this awful town. Everything else is... flexible."
A truck pulls up in front of the shop and Rachel's quick to realize that it's Finn's.
"Oh god, why," Quinn mutters under her breath.
"Hey," he says, glancing back and forth between Quinn and Rachel. "What's up, Rachel? Is something wrong with your car? I can look at it for you, if you want."
Rachel offers him a show smile. "Quinn took care of it, yesterday, thank you."
"Oh. Okay." His brow furrows. "So then why are-"
Quinn stands up and shoves the crate back against the wall. "I assume you're here with the keys."
"Yeah, Burt took my mom out to a breakfast or something and he's running late. So,"
Finn holds out a ring of keys, which Quinn swipes out of his hand. "Thanks."
"You need help opening up? I think I remember how."
"I can handle it."
"Okay. Frank sh-"
"-should be here in about five minutes. I know, Finn. I'm the one who works here." Quinn offers a pleasant smile to Rachel. "Thanks for the coffee."
Rachel smiles back. "I'll see you at lunch. There's no getting out of it."
Quinn just shakes her head and lets herself into the office.
Finn peers down at Rachel. "I didn't know you two were friends."
"Is it that difficult to imagine?"
"You're just so different, I guess."
"I suppose we are." There's an awkward silence and Rachel really doesn't care to let it carry on, so she excuses herself with, "I'm meeting my dads for brunch, so I should go. Lovely to see you, Finn."
She leaves him standing next to his truck and as soon as she's in her car, she can't resist texting Quinn.
He doesn't seem to think that you and I would make good friends.
She isn't sure if she'll even get a response, but she receives one almost immediately.
Maybe we can discuss this over lunch.
Is he still out there?
Rachel glances over to where Finn's truck is parked and catches him looking away right as he realizes she's facing his direction. Yes, actually. I think maybe he's watching me.
Creepy. Hey, if I do something, will you just go with it?
I'm always committed to a role.
This time, there isn't a reply, but the garage door rolls up and Quinn steps out of the shop. Her coveralls are now pulled up and zipped and she has her hands in her pockets as she strolls over to Rachel's car. Finn looks startled, as if he's been caught doing something and he opens his truck door to get back inside.
Rachel rolls down her window and leans out of it. "Forget something?"
"Yeah, I did." In a lower voice, Quinn asks, "Is he watching us?"
Rachel shifts her eyes and nods. Quinn bends down and presses her lips to Rachel's. This is not at all anything Rachel was expecting, but she did promise to go along with whatever Quinn presented and if that's an impromptu kiss, then she's going to follow through with it. Her hand slips behind Quinn's neck and her fingers weave through the short tresses of blonde hair.
It's not until there's the sound of Finn's truck stalling out that they pull apart and glance over at the sound. He restarts the engine and within moments, he's down the street.
"That was a bold choice," Rachel says, allowing her hand to pull away from Quinn's neck.
"It was worth it. See you at lunch, Rachel."
As Rachel watches Quinn saunter back into the garage, she has no idea is Quinn meant it was worth the reaction from Finn or the actual act of kissing itself. She supposes the only way to find out is to find a way to make it happen, again.