Ain't That a Kick in the Head
Everything about the place was hot. Sand, water, air. The little metal buckle on Rachel's beach bag had turned into a branding iron and the bottoms of her feet were being scorched through her flip-flops. Sand sprayed up the backs of her legs as she hurried stiltedly along the beach, head tucked low, phone pressed to her ear and gradually heating like an iron in the fire.
"Just come back, Rachel." Tina implored. Again, for maybe the twelfth time. She sounded absolutely exhausted.
Rachel plowed right through the sand.
"I'm done with it, Tina. With LA and New York, at least for a couple months. I want-"
"That's fine!" Tina's voice grew in pitch. She laughed a bit helplessly. "You can have a break, Rachel, that's great! But you can't just drop off the map without letting anybody know!"
Rachel huffed and squinted through her sunglasses, looking for somewhere to drop all of her stuff. She might need to take a detour to the water before her feet burned off.
"You didn't even tell your manager. Or your friends, Rachel. You didn't tell us."
"I'm telling you now, right?" Rachel reasoned, annoyed. She trudged through the sand and noted that the beach was less populated the further she went. "I need a break, Tina, so I'm taking a break. Right now."
Right now actually meant in the middle of the night last week, when Rachel had woken up on the floor next to her bed at three a.m. after making probably the worst mistake of her life, hit with the epiphany that she needed to get out of the city.
Maybe if she extracted herself from the situation, it would disappear nicely.
So she booked a flight. For somewhere with no traffic or gray skies, no alarms or call times, no magazines, interviews, exes, co-stars, prying, jaded eyes.
Tina sighed. She was quiet for a moment. "Where exactly did you say you are?"
"Jupiter." Rachel replied evenly.
Another planet. Where the sand scorched her feet, the sun was blinding, and the humidity curled her hair.
"Jupiter." Tina sounded unamused. "You've been in Florida for three days?"
"I didn't particularly want to leave the country." Rachel reasoned. "I needed out of California and New York, and I wasn't going home, so…I thought I would appreciate the beaches."
Rachel shrugged her bag higher on her shoulder and breathed heavily. "Are you just going to repeat everything I say?"
"Rachel Berry…" Tina laughed, resigned. "I love you. I don't understand why you're doing this, why you're in Florida, but-"
"Why do you keep accenting Florida like that?" Rachel broke in, mildly offended on the state's behalf.
"But, I'm here if you want to talk, okay?" Tina assured, ignoring her interruption. "I'll-maybe I can fend off your manager, but not for long. I just-I'm worried you're throwing something away. You didn't tell anybody, Rachel."
"It was spontaneous." Rachel said quietly.
Tina hummed. Rachel was not known for being impulsive.
"I'm alright. I love you too." Rachel assured.
"Be careful. Keep me updated. Take pictures and have some…oranges or something."
Rachel chuckled. Her phone was a searing block of metal by the time she dropped it back into her bag. She glanced around at her surroundings-water to her right, small sand dunes and condos to her left-satisfied with the lesser number of people.
There were families, surfers, couples- but not unruly, heedless crowds jockeying for position.
Rachel nodded to herself, turned to walk closer to the water, and promptly tripped over something hard and dropped all of her belongings. She landed ungracefully on her knees in the sand and her sunglasses slipped forward off her nose.
It was fiberglass, a surfboard. The tail of a shortboard, actually, and Rachel immediately clambered to her feet, huffing and puffing and brushing the sand from her knees. She scooped up her bag and caught the owner of the board out of the corner of her eye.
"You know, you should move your surfboard." Rachel suggested shortly, annoyed, mostly because she was now delayed and her feet were burning in the sand. And nobody was leaping up to help her.
The owner of the board sat next to it, wearing faded red lifeguard shorts and a white t-shirt. Aviators hid her eyes. When Rachel finally focused on her, she noticed sunny blonde hair and a slightly amused smile.
"It's clear that people are walking here." Rachel blustered, not having anticipated such a face. "You should move it out of traffic."
The woman's smile never faltered. "There's a whole beach they can use."
Her voice was low and clear and light, and Rachel was surprised again.
"Well…yes, but…" Rachel rubbed her foot where she'd caught the surfboard and pouted a little bit.
"I think you're alright." The woman mused.
Rachel narrowed her eyes. She wished she could see behind those sunglasses, see whose eyes owned that smile. She huffed and shook her head and stalked away muttering "inconsiderate bitch" because she hadn't come to Florida to argue with beautiful, belligerent surfers.
Quinn chuckled at the name.
Quinn had seen her coming from a hundred yards away. Shuffling quickly and clumsily through the sand in her pretty little sundress and pink flip-flops and oversized sunglasses. Dark hair, bronze legs, lithe body.
Quinn leaned back with her palms in the sand and watched the woman dump all her stuff near the water. She bit her cheek when the small woman kicked off her flip-flops, fidgeted in place for a second, and then bounced quickly over to the wet, cool sand.
But then she pulled the white sundress over her head, revealing a dark blue bikini, and the air seemed to stick in Quinn's throat. She coughed discreetly and watched with interest, amused smile still playing on her lips.
The waves were flat today, which is why Quinn was lounging in the sand instead of paddling out. The dark-haired woman with beautiful legs still seemed wary of the choppy whitewater rolling up the shore. She carefully moved out into the water, picking her feet up high with every step and jumping back when she was splashed.
Quinn bit her lip and tilted her head.
Rachel enjoyed the cool water. She walked out until it was waist high, and then quickly ducked her head under the surface. She emerged and slicked back her hair and coughed a little bit, and she scanned the area for predators-big dorsal fins mostly-before relaxing and floating in the water.
The only thing she noticed was the blonde with the surfboard, who looked like she hadn't moved an inch.
She was probably high or something. That's what surfers did, right? Rachel let herself float around for ten minutes, doggy-paddling absently when she felt herself drift too far.
She was standing up and observing other people in the water when she was hit with an intense, sharp, stinging pain along her right leg. She gasped and jumped in shock, moving instinctively backwards, but the burning only moved to the back of her leg.
Rachel's heart hammered wildly. It was like her limb had caught fire. Some kind of exotic shark?
She stood absolutely still, trying not to panic and pressing her nails into her palm because it hurt, and she finally spotted the small blue-tinged, air-filled sac floating behind her.
Rachel assumed it was a jellyfish. She surged forward, a little light-headed now, and when she left the water she surged straight up the sand to the blonde with the faded lifeguard shorts.
They seemed authentic enough.
"Hi, Miss? I think I'm-I need help, or-or direction, please." Rachel babbled breathlessly, looming and dripping over the blonde woman. She dug her fingers into her thigh.
Quinn surveyed her calmly, still leaning back in the sand. She plucked off her sunglasses and set them on her board. Rachel was struck by sparkling, knowing hazel eyes.
"What makes you think I can help?" Quinn raised an eyebrow.
Rachel pointed desperately at her shorts. "You're-you're a lifeguard, right?"
"Look, I'm sorry I called you an inconsiderate bitch, but there's no need to lie. I need-"
"I'm not a lifeguard." Quinn said slowly, emphatically. She looked up into pained brown eyes. "These aren't mine."
Rachel was confused and not in the mood for this. She felt ready to tip over. "You're wearing somebody else's shorts?"
The blonde woman hummed.
Rachel stared for a second, unsure of what to do, but her eyes were watering from the pain now and her head was getting dizzier, so she spun unsteadily to find somebody who could actually help her. She was a few feet away when she felt a hand on her arm.
"What's your name?" Quinn wondered, not unkindly, guiding her back towards the water.
"What are you-Rachel. I'm Rachel."
Quinn smiled slightly. "Well, Rachel, you've been stung by a man 'o war. It's like a jellyfish."
And it had left angry, red welts in long lines, wrapping around her leg from mid-thigh to her knee. They burned and stung and shot pain up to her head.
"I…have?" Rachel frowned and let this woman lead her to wherever she needed to be. Her cool hands felt nice on Rachel's hot skin. "So, do we need to-to urinate on it?"
Rachel loudly whispered the word and Quinn's lips quirked in amusement.
"Or find some vinegar? Where are you taking me and how do you know what to do if you're not a lifeguard?"
Quinn shook her head and stopped Rachel when they were calf-deep in the water. "Salt water and then hot water. Vinegar makes everything worse with man 'o war stings."
It could also provoke hemorrhaging, but Rachel seemed like the type to panic if she was provided with that kind of information. Quinn would see what was happening and then decide if Rachel needed emergency assistance.
"What's your name?" Rachel asked, noticing that her own voice had grown in pitch as the pain increased. She fidgeted and watched this blonde stranger douse her leg with salt water.
"Just hold still, Rachel."
Rachel dug her toes into the sand. "What's your name?"
Quinn sighed. She was a persistent little thing. "Call me Quinn."
"But is that your name?"
Rachel narrowed her eyes.
Quinn straightened up and rested a hand on Rachel's forearm and watched her seriously. "Do you have any allergies, Rachel? Any trouble breathing? Feel like you might faint?"
Droplets rolled down from Rachel's hairline as she shook her head slowly.
Quinn lifted an eyebrow. "Are you sure?"
"Positive." Rachel clipped.
Quinn noticed she was shaking slightly, and decided that they needed hot water sooner rather than later. It would denature the toxins and take away some of Rachel's pain.
"Can you walk?" she asked, voice gentler now. "Just…less than a mile?"
Rachel hummed vaguely. She didn't really know. All she could focus on was the burning in her leg.
"Yes or no, Rachel."
She shifted her gaze to concerned hazel eyes. "I-yes. I can walk. Quinn."
Quinn searched her face for a moment. She nodded and wrapped a strong arm around Rachel's shoulders, and then led her quickly back up the beach. She tucked her shortboard under her arm and guided Rachel towards the beach access path.
"What-what about my stuff?" Rachel questioned, twisting to see where she'd dropped her bag.
"Did you bring anything valuable?"
Quinn knew the answer already. Of course that overstuffed bag would be filled with valuable goodies-phone, iPod, Kindle. Rachel seemed like the type.
"Well, yeah." Rachel answered.
Quinn sighed and stopped walking. "Okay, stay here."
Rachel watched her jog back to where she'd left her belongings. Quinn moved lightly over the sand, hair shining, board tucked easily under her arm. She stuffed Rachel's towel and flip flops haphazardly into the bag, slung it over her shoulder, and then jogged back to where she'd left Rachel.
Rachel realized that Quinn didn't have any shoes. Not even a towel. All she'd had was her surfboard.
"You probably got sand over everything." Rachel complained-brow furrowed-when Quinn returned.
Quinn scoffed. "Inconsiderate bitch, right?" she muttered and seized Rachel's forearm to guide her up the beach access path.
Rachel winced. "No, that's-sorry. I'm sorry."
Quinn shrugged easily.
"Where are you taking me?" Rachel wondered, now wary that maybe she shouldn't be following a complete stranger around. Quinn was calm and confident, and it was comforting, but she could also be psychotic.
Rachel side-eyed her as they walked down the path between a condo complex and a parking lot. "Where's the hot water?"
"This way." Quinn bit her cheek. She'd just met Rachel and she already enjoyed riling her up.
Rachel balked as they hit the road that ran parallel to the beach. "Look, I'm sure you just want to help, but I'm not getting into a car with you."
Quinn rolled her eyes and turned them down the sidewalk. She noticed Rachel's face was growing redder and her walk slower. She put an arm around the smaller woman's shoulders. "I'm not putting you in a car."
"Then where are we-"
"Right here." Quinn interrupted, striding purposefully into a gravel parking lot.
Rachel looked around. There was a restaurant in front of her. Bright blue wooden slats with white borders, some kind of beach café. Connected to that was a slightly taller, dark wooden-slatted building with a bright yellow face and trim. There was a small sign that read Jupiter Surf, a bench out front, several surfboards leaning against the wall, and a rack of drying wetsuits.
Quinn led them around the side of the building and through a squeaky yellow door into the back of the surf shop. She propped her board up next to a faded green couch and watched Rachel take in her surroundings.
It smelled like salt, seawater. Maybe rubber from wetsuits. The walls were green and fading fast and the room was small and airy. There were a couple comfortable chairs around the couch, board wax and playing cards on the coffee table, fridge and microwave in the corner.
There was sand in every crevice.
"Do you-are we allowed to be in here?" Rachel whispered.
Quinn chuckled. "I'm pretty sure, yeah."
Rachel limped a bit further into the room, and Quinn took her hand and pulled her through another doorway. They walked down a short hallway, through a bathroom, and ended at an outdoor shower.
Quinn fiddled with the water temperature while Rachel put her hands on her knees and breathed deeply.
"That's…useful, I guess. Having a shower here." Rachel mused, watching the water run down the drain.
Quinn directed the stream away from Rachel while it heated. "We're a surf shop. Of course we have a shower."
"We? So this-this is yours? You own this place?"
How had Quinn known that Rachel would latch onto that? She smiled and shrugged. "Little bit."
Rachel scoffed. "Little bit. What does that even mean?"
"It means get over here and stand under the hot water before I send you back to the beach."
Rachel opened her mouth to argue, but the pain was reaching critical levels and she thought she might actually be sick, so she shuffled over obediently. Quinn took her shoulders and turned her gently until the hot water sprayed directly onto the affected area. She ran her fingers lightly down Rachel's thigh, feeling for welts, and Rachel shivered at the cool touch.
Quinn straightened up and met Rachel's gaze.
"Now just stand here for twenty minutes, okay? The pain should start to subside." Quinn turned to walk away, biting her tongue when Rachel sputtered behind her.
"What-how-where are you going? Are you leaving me here? By myself?"
"Yes?" Quinn raised an eyebrow.
Rachel pouted. "Well, when-how will I know when it's been twenty minutes? I don't have a watch."
"Use the sun." Quinn suggested sagely.
Rachel stared, trying to figure out if she was joking.
Quinn finally smirked. "I'm just going to get you something to wear. Simmer down, Rachel Berry."
Rachel watched Quinn walk away, mouth hanging open. "I never told you my last name!" she called, but Quinn was already through the door.
Maybe she'd finally recognized Rachel. Maybe she'd known her all along. A-list superstar, Broadway diva, Rachel Barbra Berry. At least it didn't seem to impact Quinn's treatment of her. She was probably sarcastic and frustratingly vague with everybody.
Rachel stood under the hot water and sighed repeatedly, glad that the pain seemed to be fading. The sting marks became more distinct, until they looked like a violent red web. Like a net that Rachel had wrapped from her thigh to her calf.
She breathed deeply and pressed her palms into her eyes. She could feel a headache coming. She stood by herself under the hot spray for at least ten minutes.
"Are you alright?" Quinn asked, concerned. She leaned against the doorway and studied Rachel carefully.
Rachel smiled wryly. "That took longer than you said."
"I called the lifeguard tower. They're red-flagging the beach for man 'o war."
"I don't know what that means."
Quinn stepped forward and switched off the water. She held clothes in one hand and examined Rachel's welts with the other.
"It means no swimming, Miss Berry. Dangerous waters."
"Oh." Rachel's voice was small.
"Do you feel alright?" Quinn queried, tracing her eyes over Rachel's thigh. Very thoroughly. She tried to ignore the soaked, navy blue bikini bottoms. "Do you need a hospital? Or will you be okay if you just lie down? I have cream to put on it, and Benadryl."
Rachel smiled at the flush on Quinn's cheeks. "I asked you before, how do you know all this if you're not a lifeguard?"
"Who says I'm not a lifeguard?"
Rachel frowned. "You did?"
"Did I?" Quinn feigned confusion, thoroughly amused with this new person. "Rachel, tell me, do you need a hospital or not?"
"Hey, Q." A blonde head poked around the doorway, easy grin directed at Quinn's back. "How's the waves?"
"Flat and crap." Quinn answered without turning around. She handed Rachel a towel and some clothes.
The guy caught sight of Rachel and his eyes brightened. He stepped fully around the doorway and waved hello. "Have you kidnapped another one?" He directed at the back of Quinn's head. "Q, you gotta stop dragging pretty girls home."
"Shut it, Sham."
Rachel fidgeted, uncomfortable in her bikini now. Quinn noticed and stepped in front of her, and then turned around.
"Sam, get lost." She flicked water at him and he opened his mouth as if to catch it.
"Wait, you have to introduce me." He implored.
Quinn heaved an annoyed sigh. She advanced on Sam until she could fist the front of his t-shirt. "Rachel, Samson. Samson, Rachel." She bit out, pushing Sam back through the doorway.
Sam grinned and laughed and pried her fingers off his shirt. "Just Sam, Rachel! It's nice to meet you!" he shouted. He walked backwards down the hall and pointed at Quinn.
"Quinn, I got two sixes done this morning." He informed, slightly more seriously. "I just need to seal 'em and find some fins."
"Do what you have to do. Twin-fins." Quinn instructed shortly. "Look in the box under the register."
Sam reached the end of the hall and smirked. "She's pretty, Q." he drawled, and then stepped up through the door before she could jump him.
Quinn ground her teeth and back-tracked to the shower.
Rachel was still standing uncertainly in a little puddle of water, clothes clutched in one hand.
"Sorry." Quinn muttered, tapping her thighs. "He's actually harmless."
Rachel raised her eyebrows. "Well. At least I know your name is actually Quinn."
Quinn cut her eyes to Rachel's. "Are you going to change anytime soon? Or do you wanna stand outside half-naked for the rest of the day?"
"No need to be rude, Q." Rachel's eyes sparkled.
Quinn rolled her eyes and spun on her heel. "Holler if you pass out, Rachel Berry!" she called over her shoulder. She walked back to the lounge and cleared a tangle of surfboard leashes off the green couch. Then she located some hydrocortisone cream and Benadryl, and set them on the coffee table next to a glass of water.
She finally grabbed her board and the wax off the coffee table and settled into the worn leather chair next to the couch. She set to work, humming while waxing the deck.
"I bet they're his shorts, right?"
Rachel's voice broke into her thoughts, and Quinn twisted around to see her stepping into the lounge. She was in faded swim shorts and Jupiter Surf t-shirt.
"Excuse me?" Quinn quirked an eyebrow.
"The lifeguard shorts. Are they Sam's?"
Quinn hummed. Tiny little circles, she told herself. Focus on the tail, where her left foot had been slipping recently.
Rachel moved to sit on the couch. "Can I have a straight answer, please?" she asked sardonically. "Just one."
Quinn propped her bare feet on the coffee table. "What's the question?"
Rachel grinned. "Are you a lifeguard or not?"
Quinn tipped her head back and forth, weighing her options and observing Rachel's reaction. As expected, brown eyes rolled and sparkled with quiet laughter. Quinn bit her cheek.
"It's not a hard question." Rachel pressed.
"I am not currently a lifeguard, no." Quinn informed, back to her waxing.
Rachel opened the tube of cream and started carefully applying it to the stings. She winced every time her finger made contact. "Are you from here?" she wondered absently.
Quinn's eyes flickered over. "I don't think either of us is from here."
"Where are you from?" Rachel questioned.
"What are you doing here?" Quinn deflected. She rubbed her wax over the rails. Tiny little circles.
"I'm…taking a break." Rachel answered carefully.
Quinn nodded but didn't respond.
"And…since you know who I am, I'd appreciate if you didn't tell anybody."
Quinn shrugged. "I don't know who you are."
Rachel frowned. "But you knew my last name."
"You told me."
"No, I didn't!"
Quinn ran her tongue over her teeth and focused on not laughing. She looked up and met Rachel's eyes, serious expression fixed on her face. "Simmer down, Rachel Berry. I won't tell anybody."
Rachel's mouth opened and closed. She put the cream back on the table, opened the Benadryl, and settled back into the couch, scowling.
"Take a nap, Rachel." Quinn glanced up from her board. "Get your head on straight. The headache and dizziness will go away soon."
Rachel stared hard at her.
"I won't leave you alone." Quinn added, in a softer tone because she could see the angry red lines on Rachel's thigh and knew how painful they were.
The corners of Rachel's lips pulled up slightly. "I don't know if I believe you."
Quinn ignored her and resumed humming. It was like a dog and a whistle. Rachel sat forward, eyes bright and alert, and Quinn observed this new behavior curiously.
"Dean Martin." Rachel declared, almost surprised. She watched Quinn's toes tap the coffee table and traced her eyes up well-muscled thighs past red shorts to Quinn's face.
Quinn smiled slightly.
"You're-that's a classic. You have good taste. Musical taste, at least."
"Take a nap, Rachel Berry." Quinn rolled her eyes.
Rachel seemed more willing to comply now that she'd decided Quinn wasn't some kind of uncultured, pothead surfer. She huffed quietly and lay down with her head on the arm, mussing up her curly wet hair.
Quinn watched out of the corner of her eye. Tiny, tiny circles, focus on the tail, no more slipping.
Rachel woke up and rolled over and whined at the immediate throbbing pain in her thigh. She pressed her face against the back of the couch and waited for the nausea to pass. There was a light blanket draped over her, which definitely hadn't been there when she'd fallen asleep.
"There's a bucket on the floor." Quinn said lowly, across the room.
Rachel turned over as slowly as possible and blinked her eyes open.
Quinn winced sympathetically. She was sitting on the floor, wearing glasses and nursing a beer and dealing with an abundance of spreadsheets. "And there's Aspirin and water." She added. "Don't hurl on my couch."
"It didn't hurt this much before." Rachel whined.
Quinn stood up and nodded. "The shock's worn off. Man 'o wars are bad, Rachel. You're lucky you didn't need a hospital."
Quinn was still keeping an eye on Rachel's neck, making sure nothing was swelling up, no full-body rash forming. She hadn't totally ruled out taking Rachel to the hospital, but there was no need to worry her. She crossed the room and pulled the blanket away from Rachel, and then sat on the couch by Rachel's knees.
"It's not…too swollen." She observed quietly, brushing her fingers over the long, winding welts.
Rachel shivered and tensed at the touch, and Quinn moved her hand away.
"And it's not-you know-violently red." Quinn caught Rachel's gaze. "You'll probably have a rash for a week, and then-I mean-hopefully the stings won't leave scars."
Quinn stared at her for another second, and Rachel moved her hand self-consciously up to her humidity and salt-water-curled hair. Quinn smiled slightly and stood up again.
Rachel sat up and eyed the red web on her thigh. "What time is it?"
"Five. You talked a little in your sleep." And if Quinn was being honest, it was charming.
"Somniloquy." Rachel smiled. "I'm a very verbal person."
"Yeah. Noticed that."
Rachel exhaled sharply and looked around the room for her stuff.
"Under the coffee table." Quinn supplied, foraging through the fridge for something to eat. Her employees were wolves who cleaned her out when she stocked up on any kind of food with the slightest appeal. She emerged with a cheese stick and held it up for Rachel, unsurprised when Rachel shook her head.
Rachel cleared her throat and ran a hand through her wildly curled hair. "I guess I'll…How far did we walk? Can I walk back to my hotel from here?"
"I're wog you 'ome." Quinn said around a mouthful of cheese.
Rachel stared at her.
"S'not far." Quinn added.
"You don't have to do that, really." Rachel assured. She stood up and waited for the room to stop spinning before gathering up her things. "Thank you for everything."
Quinn rolled her eyes and shoved the rest of the cheese stick into her mouth. She crossed the room and took the bag off Rachel's shoulder, and then gestured for Rachel to follow her. They went out the side door, right into the warm, thick air of early evening, and Quinn strode purposefully across the gravel parking lot to the sidewalk.
Rachel hurried to keep up. "Really, Quinn, you don't have to do this."
"Rachel, if you go alone and get yourself kidnapped between here and your hotel, I'm the last one who saw you alive. I can't have that on my conscience."
Rachel nearly walked into a light pole.
"Head on straight, Rachel Berry?"
Quinn smiled to herself and slowed down to Rachel's pace.
"How long have you lived here?" Rachel wondered, eyeing Quinn's bare feet. Quinn seemed like an easy presence-a toes in the sand, surfing on a hot night kind of girl. Wise, constantly amused hazel eyes tinged with sadness. But she was so evasive about everything that Rachel would never know.
Quinn shrugged. "Years."
Rachel rolled her eyes. "Well…I like your shop. It's charming."
Quinn narrowed her eyes suspiciously. Flattery would get Rachel nowhere. She'd built a wall against it many years ago, and accepted nothing from anybody on the other side.
"It is what it is."
"Your non-answers are annoying." Rachel stated bluntly.
Quinn ignored her.
"Are you-I don't think you're married, unless you're the new age type who doesn't wear a ring? Do you have a boyfriend? A partner?"
"Do you?" Quinn shot back.
Rachel sputtered, not really expecting that and having no idea how to answer it. She skipped to the next question. "Where are you from originally?"
"Candyland." Quinn drawled.
Rachel assumed that wasn't a valid answer. "Do you like Jupiter?"
"Nothing beats Candyland, Rachel."
"How long have you been surfing?"
Quinn turned them up the drive to Rachel's hotel and glanced down at Rachel's thigh, making sure it wasn't flaming up from the walk.
"How long have you been acting?" she countered, and then cursed herself internally. Stupid, stupid. Keep to tiny little circles.
Rachel gasped with success. "See! I knew you knew who I was! I knew I never told you my last name!"
Quinn moved through the automatic doors into the hotel lobby. It was large and vaulted and airy, and she glanced around at the well-dressed staff and marble fixtures.
"Fancy." She mouthed, uncomfortable in her bare feet.
Rachel glanced at her toes and smiled up at her.
"So…get some ice." Quinn instructed. "I'm sure one of these…dapper young folk can help you with that. Ice your leg for the pain, then do Aspirin if ice isn't enough. If some kind of horrible rash forms, or your leg falls off or something, go to the hospital. Red flags should be gone by tomorrow if you want to swim; they never stay up long."
Rachel nodded along. "Thank you, Quinn. I don't know anybody here, so just-thank you for everything."
Quinn nodded uncomfortably. She ran a hand through her hair and rocked back on her heels, already shuffling slowly towards the doors.
"Keep your head on straight, Rachel Berry. Enjoy your stay."
Quinn left with a smile and a wave, and breathed a sigh of relief when her feet hit the warm pavement outside.