Around nine, Rachel's cell phone rings. She's been home from her date with Quinn for about an hour and part of that time was spent filling her fathers in on the family friendly portions of her evening out. She knows their curiosity stems from the fact that really like Quinn and she's grateful to have supportive parents like them. Still, they can be a tad bit exhausting, especially when they're both excited.
The ringtone is the same one she's had set for Quinn ever since they sang their duet together in glee club, but she's been considering changing it. She just hasn't settled on the perfect song, yet.
Anyway, she's brushing her teeth when she hears the call, so she picks up the phone and manages, "Hi," around her toothbrush. "Jus' a minute." She rinses out her mouth and dries her face off on the hand towel by the sink, then picks the phone back up. "Sorry. I was brushing my teeth."
"Why'd you answer, then?"
"Because it was you."
"You're so weird."
"You're the one calling me an hour after our date." Rachel shuffles across her bedroom carpet and drops onto her bed.
"I kind of have something important to tell you."
"Oh?" Rachel rolls on her side and holds the phone even more tightly to her ear.
"It's good, don't worry. Well, okay, there's a downside. But it's mostly really, really good."
"Quinn, you have me in suspense, over here."
"I talked to my mom about us."
Rachel's immediate concern is for Quinn's well being. Even though Quinn has told her that her relationship with her mother is actually in a very good place, she knows that these kinds of things can bring about unexpected change. "And?"
"She... wasn't at all surprised," Quinn's voice lilts with amusement. "She remembers you as 'that cute, bubbly girl with the powerful voice' from when she came to see us at Sectionals. I mean, I've talked about you, since then. She just... that's... anyway, we talked a little bit about how I'm... gay or whatever. She's really okay with it. I don't know what my dad would say if he ever found out, but I don't think I care."
"Quinn, you took a huge step tonight. I know you were fairly confident in your mother's opinion of all of this, but it still takes an enormous amount of courage. I'm proud of you." Rachel pauses, recalling what Quinn said before. "But, what's the downside you mentioned?"
"She wants you to come over for dinner. Saturday night."
"That's... not a bad thing. Is it?"
"No, it's just... you know, it's our one week anniversary. I didn't know if you were already planning something or... maybe that was stupid of me to assume."
"No, definitely not stupid. I actually did have an idea or two. But I can be flexible for something as important as dinner with your mother."
"I was very adamant about reminding her that you're a vegan, by the way. She insisted she could prepare a meal that you'd find more than suitable."
"Should I bring something? It's always polite to bring your hostess a gift."
"I don't think you need to. Though... okay, yeah, she'd love that. You'd score major points."
"I do think it's in my best interest to maintain a high tally of such points with my girlfriend's mother." She can hear Quinn yawning on the other end of the line. "You've had a long day and I know you didn't sleep much last night."
"I had a really great day, though. Especially tonight."
"Yeah, so did I."
"I'll see you in the morning?"
"Okay. Goodnight, Rach."
Friday is coffee and lunch together, as usual, but Quinn's eager to put more time into the Mustang after hours, which might normally make Rachel a little jealous, but Kurt's been dying to heckle the Lima Senior Community Players Consortium production of 100 Years of Broadway and this is their final weekend. So, he's happy to let her girlfriend spend some quality time with her new project while she and Kurt sit in the back row at the community center and sing all the lyrics to every song under their breath.
But, by Saturday afternoon, she's itching to see Quinn, which is why she shows up and hour early for dinner.
Quinn isn't at all surprised to see her, because they've been texting all day. Judy (Quinn has already warned her that her mother will insist on being called Judy and not Mrs. Fabray, which is apparently some step in reclaiming her post-divorce life) seems to also have been tipped off about Rachel's early arrival, because when she answers the door, she doesn't appear at all surprised as she greets Rachel with a smile and says, "Hello, Rachel. Please, come in. I know we haven't formally been introduced, but I'm sure you know that I'm Judy, Quinn's mother."
"Mom, I said I'd get it if-" Quinn's on the stairs, her hair tucked back into a thin red headband that coordinates with the polka dot dress she's wearing. "Hi, Rach."
Rachel smiles at Quinn, but then focuses on Judy. "Yes, Mrs- Judy. Thank you so much for having me over. I took the liberty of baking these Thank You cookies to express my gratitude."
Judy accepts the plate of cookies. "Those look absolutely lovely, dear."
"I know I'm early but I didn't know if you'd like any assistance with dinner. My culinary skills are best left to baking, but my dad says I'm excellent with slicing and dicing." Rachel ignores the amused look that Quinn's giving her from behind her mother's back.
"That's very sweet, but that won't be necessary."
"I can take those, Mom." Quinn says, reaching for the plate.
"Nonsense," Judy maneuvers the plate out of Quinn's reach. "I'm sure you'd like to show Rachel the house. And perhaps offer her something to drink." She nods to Rachel. "If you'll excuse me, I need to check on my sauce."
"Of course," Rachel replies.
Once Judy's in the kitchen, Quinn says, "Thank You cookies? Really?"
"Would you rather they be I'm Making Out With Your Daughter, So Please Don't Hate Me cookies?"
"Isn't that what they really are, anyway?"
"Possibly." Rachel reaches for Quinn's hand, though she's unsure of how Quinn's going to be about PDA in the presence of her mother.
For now, though, Quinn locks their fingers together, then tugs Rachel closer, taking one look back toward the kitchen to make sure Judy is definitely out of range before she presses a quick kiss to Rachel's lips. "Hi."
"Hi," Rachel replies.
Quinn stares down at her for several seconds before she snaps into action. "Come on, I'm supposed to show you the house."
Apparently, that translates to making a beeline for Quinn's bedroom where Quinn can shut the door and push out a sigh of relief.
"Is everything okay?" Rachel asks. "You said your mother was absolutely fine with us, right?"
"Yeah, she is. It's just..." Quinn, again, pulls Rachel to her, but this time, it's a lingering kiss where Quinn's hands settle on Rachel's hips and Rachel clings to Quinn's shoulders.
"I see," is the breathless response Rachel finally offers when they break apart.
"So, this is my room," Quinn says, ever so nonchalant, nuzzling her nose just below Rachel's ear.
"It's... nice." Rachel hasn't seen more than the back of the door, really, but she's certain it's absolutely suitable.
Quinn's grip on Rachel's hips is urging her to twist, so Rachel turns, leaning back against Quinn. "All the amenities. Four walls. Desk, chair, bed."
For a long time, Rachel imagined that Quinn's bedroom was somewhat stark, practically Spartan. But as she's gotten to know Quinn, this room feels more like what she's more recently conjured up in her mind (not that she's been thinking about Quinn's bedroom all that much, but maybe a little).
It certainly isn't a standard seventeen year old girl's room the way Hollywood might present it. There are no posters of boybands or teen heartthrobs. There are, however, framed images on the walls: What looks like a vintage lobby card for the movie Roman Holiday, a poster of the New York skyline that Rachel actually recalls Quinn purchasing in shop in Times Square, and several photos of both the Cheerios and the New Directions.
"I like it."
Rachel notices a photo tucked into the edge of the bulletin board on the wall above Quinn's desk. As first, she assumes it's a picture as a baby, but then she remembers that Quinn wasn't born blonde and then it hits her.
"Is that..." She's already leaning forward to get a better look.
"Yeah. Shelby sent that after her first birthday."
Rachel takes the few steps she needs to get closer to the board, never letting go of Quinn's hand. "She's beautiful. She looks just like you. And him, which is weird." Quinn's quiet and when Rachel turns back to look at her, she's met with a sad smile. "I didn't mean to... I didn't even ask if you were okay to talk about her."
"No. It's okay." There's a reaffirming squeeze of her hand. "I just wonder, sometimes, you know?"
"Yeah." Rachel knows. She knows it all too well.
There's another beat of silence, then Quinn says, "You don't ever have to ask to talk about her. She's important to me and you wanting to know about her... it means a lot."
Rachel pivots all the way around so that they're face-to-face, again. She wants to say something, something that's just right, something like, 'you mean a lot to me' or a comment on how amazing it is that Quinn not only handled a teen pregnancy but did the best thing for her child and still, now, wants to keep up with her life. But, for some reason, nothing she can think of sounds right.
Instead, she loops her arms around Quinn's waist and pulls them together, holding Quinn snugly against her, head resting on Quinn's shoulder. They stay that way for a while, wrapped in each other's embrace, leaving Rachel feeling warm and secure, something she hopes Quinn is also gaining out of this. Her head tips upward and she kisses Quinn's neck, just below the jawline. Quinn inhales, sharply, one hand sliding up Rachel's back, the other on her hip. Rachel continues to move her mouth against soft skin, listening to the sound of Quinn's breathing and how it hitches with almost every individual kiss.
"We still... have to spend dinner with my mother," Quinn finally says. "So, don't," there's a slight whimper, "leave any marks... please."
Rachel smiles and leaves one final, lingering kiss before letting her head settle back on Quinn's shoulder. "I would never be so inconsiderate as to leave hickies all over my girlfriend before such an event."
There's a chuckle from Quinn. "Good to know. Though, I don't think I'd mind, in theory. Just... I wouldn't want them to be where anyone could see them."
"But then they'd be-" Rachel stops as she considers that Quinn is quite possible well aware of just what kind of hickey placement would be out of the general sight.
"I didn't mean right now," Quinn says, in response to Rachel's sudden speechlessness.
"But," Rachel clears her throat and finds her voice. "You... might... later?"
Quinn's arms tighten around her in a bear hug. "We should go set the table. Mom does this thing where she says she doesn't want help, but she really does."
"Don't think I'm forgetting about this conversation, Quinn Fabray."
"I wouldn't dream of it."
There's another round of kissing and then Rachel lets her girlfriend lead her back downstairs, their conversation about mouths in places, currently on hold. She hopes Quinn has some stellar dinner conversation prepared, because she's going to need some assistance keeping her mind on appropriate topics.
At dinner, Rachel's given the seat at the head of the table, as she's the guest. It's better this way, anyway, because if she'd been seated next to Quinn, she can't guarantee that she'd be able to resist resting her hand on Quinn's knee and even though Judy is on-board with their budding romance, Rachel's fairly certain that isn't appropriate behavior.
Judy's prepared vegetable stir-fry and tofu satay with peanut sauce and Rachel's genuinely moved that Quinn's mother has gone to such lengths to prepare a meal that would suit her veganism.
"I have to admit Mrs- Judy," It's going to take a little longer for Rachel to train herself to use the woman's first name, but she feels like she's getting the hang of it. "When Quinn said you were planning a meal that I'd find suitable, I was... not expecting this. Most people generally just offer me salad."
"Nonsense. I'm always looking to expand my culinary horizons and when Quinn mentioned you were vegetarian-"
Judy just purses her lips at her daughter and continues "- I thought it would be a chance to explore something outside of my general comfort zone."
Rachel smiles at her. "Well, this is some of the best satay I've ever had, honestly."
"Quinn, I like her," Judy says, glancing at her daughter as she gestures with her glass.
"Mom." Quinn bites her lip and actually blushes. This isn't something Rachel sees, a lot. Quinn Fabray is someone who has her, for lack of a better term, shit together, even when she's struggling.
Judy seems to be willing to give Quinn a reprise, because she turns back to Rachel, "Quinn says you're considering college in New York."
"I am. Both the Steinhardt and Tisch Schools at NYU, AMDA, and for a long time I had my sights set on Juilliard, but then I learned they don't even have a musical theater focus, so that certainly wouldn't make any sense for someone like me."
She feels Quinn's foot brush her calf under the table. "I think the second any of those schools see someone like you, they're going to want you," Quinn says.
Despite the fact that Rachel is well aware of her talent and constantly broadcasting just how incredible she is at the art of song, Quinn's comment makes her chew on her lip as she bites back a shy smile. "You think so?"
"They'd be idiots not to," is Quinn's confirmation.
"You seem to have had some influence on my daughter, here," says Judy. "She's been leaving some of her own NYU course catalogs around the house."
"I was thinking about it before, too," Quinn defends.
"I also just saw two more come in the mail this week, Columbia and Barnard."
"I just wanted to look. I don't know if I'm... cut out for Ivy League."
"That's ridiculous," as Rachel says it, she realizes Judy's said the exact same thing. They exchange a glance, then look back to Quinn. "You managed to stay on Honor Roll through the-" She isn't sure that bringing up Quinn's out of wedlock pregnancy is acceptable. "- everything you've gone through. Your cheerleading accomplishments alongside what I'm certain will be a National win for the New Directions, this year, is certainly going to bolster your application."
"Yeah, but I'll have to apply before we even go to Regionals."
"I'll help you. We can work on our applications together."
"I'm considering places out of New York City, too. Are you still okay helping me with those?" Quinn asks, leaning her chin on her hand.
Rachel sighs. "I suppose."
The rest of the meal is more of the same, easy conversation. When it's over, Rachel helps Quinn clear the dishes while Judy relaxes with a glass of chardonnay and an episode of Real Housewives.
"I just have to cover all my bases," Quinn says, running the plates under the tap before placing them in the dishwasher.
It takes Rachel a moment to realize Quinn's referring to college. "Quinn, whichever school you choose, your future is going to be incredible."
"I... I know. I just... I want it to be incredible... and close to you."
One week. That's the length of their dating relationship. Rachel knows she shouldn't read too much into this or expect anything long term, just yet. "We still have senior year before any of that. And this summer."
Quinn nods as she shuts the dishwasher door and wipes her hands off on a nearby dishtowel. She leans forward, resting her forehead against Rachel's. "Want to go up to my room?"
Rachel nods. "Why do I get a feeling you're thinking of places to hide hickies?"
"Shh," Quinn presses her finger over Rachel's lips. "My mom likes you but she doesn't need to know we're... you know..."
Not that they're doing anything... you know.
On Wednesday, Rachel still, has two small, purplish marks just above the bra-line of her right breast. That's about three inches lower than the neckline of the summer dress she wore to dinner at the Fabray house and the exact spot Quinn fixated on during their make-out session. Quinn earned a couple of her own hickies, one of which was a little too close to the collar and she gave Rachel grief over it for about thirty seconds before pinning her down and kissing her so soundly, Rachel thought she might black out.
They still haven't done anything under the clothes and even over them, it's all above the belt. But there are moments, like that night, when Rachel knows they're both so close to just giving in. Maybe she'll talk to Quinn about it at lunch, today.
This morning, when she took Quinn her coffee, her girlfriend was already buzzing with the excited news that Burt would be helping her install the engine block into the Mustang. Rachel isn't entirely sure what that means, other than it sounds big and important and is probably crucial in getting the car to run.
She's at Between the Sheets, browsing around in an effort to find some inspiration for new songs, both to contribute to the New Directions, but also to bulk up her musical portfolio, when her phone vibrates in her purse. When she checks it and she sees Finn's name and Facebook picture on the screen, she presses ignore and continues scanning the titles in the Female Vocalist section. The phone begins to buzz a second time and she cannot fathom a reason why Finn would be calling her. They've barely spoken, at all, since school let out and he hasn't done more than like a couple of her posts (both New Directions related) on Facebook ever since that morning when Quinn kissed her the first time in front of the garage. She considers answering it, but then it's already going to voicemail.
And then it buzzes, again. Only it isn't a call. It's a text.
cn u call bk plz?
Now her curiosity's gotten the best of her, so she pulls up the missed call list and taps Finn's number on the screen.
He picks up on the first ring. "Rachel?"
"Finn. May I ask what was of such importance?"
"Yeah. Um... Burt asked me to call you, because he can't use his phone inside the emergency room, plus he has to handle the insurance forms, I guess..."
She suddenly regrets dismissing his calls so easily. This sounds serious. "Oh, Finn. I'm so sorry. Is it your mother? Or Kurt?"
"No, uh... it's Quinn."
"Quinn," Rachel hears herself saying. A handful of Linda Ronstadt flutters to the floor of the shop.
"Something happened at the shop, I don't know what. I just got here. Are you okay to drive?"
Rachel nods and it's not until she hears her name, again, through the phone that she speaks. "Yes, I'll..." Is she okay to drive? She can do this, she just has to take on the role of someone who has it together. "I'll be right there. Lima General, correct?"
"Yeah. See you soon, Rach."
She has no idea what to expect and she doesn't let herself think about it during the entire thirteen minute drive to the hospital. She manages to park, lock the car, and walk toward the emergency room entrance all on auto pilot, but the second she sees Finn waiting for her in the lobby, she begins to sag. He's there to catch her and he pulls her into a hug that's so big, she's lost in it.
"Are engine blocks heavy?" is the first thing she asks.
"Uh, yeah." He's confused about the question, but he answers the way he does when he actually knows something. "Like, a couple hundred pounds or something."
There's a sob that escapes her and he's back to just holding her, not letting her go. This part, she misses. There was a point where they were friends and she wants that part back. But right now, she just wants Quinn to be okay. She pulls out of his embrace and wipes at her eyes.
"They didn't say what happened?"
"No," he shakes his head. "Burt just told me to call you. Mrs. Fabray's already in there, too."
"Judy," Rachel automatically corrects. "She doesn't like to be reminded..."
His hands find his pockets as he looks at the floor. "You and Quinn have been... spending a lot of time together, huh?"
Rachel nods. "We're..."
"I just want her to be okay."
The doors to the patient area swing open and Burt steps through them, followed by Judy pushing Quinn in a wheelchair. Both adults look a little exhausted, but no one seems to have been given tragic news. Quinn, on the other hand, looks like the internet famous Grumpy Cat. She does manage to perk up, although barely, when she sees Rachel.
"Quinn, oh my god. You're okay."
"Doc said she'll be fine," Burt explains. "But she's going to need to take care of herself."
Quinn rolls her eyes. "It's a sprained ankle. I've finished cheerleading tournaments on worse."
"Lucy Quinn," Judy's quick to reprimand and it's odd to hear Quinn's given name being used like this. "You are going to do as the doctor said and take it easy. You're too young to develop problems because you're too stubborn to take some time off."
"A sprain?" Rachel asks. If that's the worst of it, she's likely to pass out from relief.
"Some idiot tipped over an oil pan and I slipped. It's so stupid."
On instinct, Finn glances at Rachel. "Not me."
"I think it's a sign that you need to relax and enjoy your summer." Judy gently squeezes Quinn's shoulder.
"Yeah, in an ankle brace and excruciating pain. Fun."
"If the pain's that bad, we should get that prescription filled, honey." Judy digs through her purse and produces a piece of paper. "Finn, would you run this to the pharmacy?"
"Mom, I don't need it. I'll just take some Aleve or something at home."
"That reminds me, I need to cancel the showing for this afternoon."
"No. Mom. Don't cancel anything because of this."
Rachel watches Judy square off with her daughter in a way that uncannily resembles Quinn. "And just how do you expect to get home and settled in this condition?"
"I can take her," Rachel offers.
"Are you sure you can handle her?" Finn asks. "She's mean when she's in pain."
"Shut up, Finn."
"I think I can manage. If... that's okay with you, Quinn?"
Quinn nods, defeated. "Please."
Judy concedes and turns to Rachel. "If she complains about pain, at all, there is Vicodin in the medicine cabinet of the master bathroom."