PART 3

Rachel, ever the eager one, texted Quinn early the next day asking: Hi! What are you up to this weekend? She tried to sound nonchalant, just like normal friends do, asking the other friend what they were up to. There was nothing to it. Not like she just saw a painting of her just the day before, painted more than a decade ago by her sworn enemy at that time. She was sure that was pretty normal, lots of enemies do that. And she was pretty sure that if she repeated that many times, she would believe it. Oh well. She didn't want to think too much on the implication of it all. She didn't want to freak Quinn out even more by asking too many questions; she saw just how bothered Quinn was yesterday. But as the hours passed by, she got more and more agitated because Quinn still hadn't replied. She busied herself with other things that she had been putting on hold, like reading and replying her fanmails. She might not be movie star famous, but she surely had some dedicated fans. She was pretty engrossed with some of the letters that she almost jumped when her phone beeped. Quinn finally replied, and only then that she realized that it was almost midnight! Quinn said that she didn't check her phone the whole day because she was busy painting. Rachel chose to believe her. Although she was kind of broken hearted that Quinn didn't ask her what her plan was that weekend. In fact, Quinn didn't even answer her question. She did say she was busy painting. So she decided to give Quinn some space before she texted her again.

Quinn wasn't entirely lying; she was very busy with her work. There were still a few more paintings that she needed to complete before the art show. It was not like she could just paint one after the other, she needed inspiration and concentration, and this whole Rachel thing made it very hard to concentrate. On top of that, she also had that mural for the café to design. But it did keep her busy enough not to dwell too much on the recent events. It got a bit harder when her mind wandered to the past though, the past that she had spent too many years trying to forget, or at least not to put too much thought on. She only replied Rachel's text later that night because she couldn't sleep, all the guilt gnawed her mind, and she felt as if her brain was going to explode. Right after she replied the text, she fell into an almost peaceful sleep.

Rachel was busy in the next few days with writing and recording her songs. On top of that, she also had a lot of meetings with Broadway producers and directors. She wanted to do more Broadway but she really needed to focus on her album at the moment. There were also meetings with her album producer and the record label. It looked like they suddenly wanted her to go in a different direction than what was initially planned. They wanted her to be more 'Katy Perry' when she wanted to be more 'Adele/Kelly Clarkson'. She was tired of arguing with them, so she really needed to write more songs to prove that she could make good music that didn't require her to sell out.

She texted Quinn again on Thursday, she was a bit anxious by then. She wanted to text Quinn earlier, but she didn't want to smother her. She had been thinking of things that required Quinn to reply and she thought of a painting that really caught her eyes, apart from 'that painting', obviously. It was an abstract painting of blue and red color that sort of fighting for dominance in the middle. Somehow that painting felt like it meant something more to her, but she couldn't really point out what it was. She texted Quinn saying that she would like to purchase it, but Quinn only replied a few hours later saying that she could buy it if she was sure of it, because that painting was supposed to go to a gallery next week to be sold off. Rachel replied saying that she was sure that she wanted to buy it and asked for the price. When Quinn replied that it was going to cost her $10,000, she almost choked on her salad, but she couldn't back down now. She hoped her accountant would like her new hobby, collecting art. She asked Quinn if she could come see the painting again, to make the proper arrangement for the money transfer and everything else, and that maybe if she could come by on Saturday. But Quinn said that she would be out of town this weekend and would only be back next week, so Rachel could only come by the Saturday after. It was going to be a long wait; Rachel had no choice but to agree.

It was a long arduous wait, Rachel felt like she was losing her mind. She didn't text Quinn the whole time, and Quinn was quiet too. She finally texted Quinn on Friday afternoon, the day before the planned meet, so that they could agree on time. They planned to meet at 2pm. But when she woke up on Saturday afternoon, she had to text Quinn again wondering if they could postpone it to 4pm. Luckily Quinn said okay.

Rachel arrived at Quinn's apartment a bit after 4pm. She hoped she looked presentable. She had to wear those big sunglasses because her eyes were pretty sensitive to light at the moment. Quinn let her into the apartment block after she buzzed, so now she was knocking slowly on Quinn's door. It was like she didn't have the energy to do anything. When Quinn opened the door, Rachel walked straight in, as if this was a norm for them. Quinn was shocked and a bit miffed by Rachel's attitude; her hand was still on the doorknob, still holding the door open. Rachel plopped on the couch looking like a spoiled celebrity.

"Can I get you something to drink?" Quinn was very annoyed and hoping that Rachel noticed, but instead Rachel smiled and said,

"Do you have coffee?"

Quinn closed the door and walked closer. "Would you like latte, mocha, cappuccino, espresso?" still with the annoyed tone.

"Ooh, espresso please," Rachel was either completely oblivious or chose to ignore it. Quinn gave a small huff, rolled her eyes and went to the kitchen to make some coffee. A few minutes later she gave Rachel a cup of coffee. Rachel took a sip and instantly perked up, "Oh My God! This is so good. Where did you get this coffee Quinn?"

"It's from a café in Soho, it's Cuban roasted."

"This is so good Quinn. I think I shall be drinking lots of coffee over here," she hinted.

"Or I can show you where you can buy it."

"But I can never make coffee as good as you." That pout again, Quinn just rolled her eyes.

"So what happened to you?"

"I'll tell you later. Oh, by the way, I brought over a sample of my song. Would you like to listen to it?"

"Sure."

Rachel passed the cd and Quinn was about to put the cd on when Rachel noticed Quinn's sound system. "You sure have expensive taste," then she added playfully, "well, with the amount you're charging your painting, surely then."

"That's already with 'friend's' discount," Quinn played along, "but Rachel," she added with a serious tone, "you don't have to buy it, or I can offer other painting. It's just that that one won some awards."

"Oh, are you sure you want to sell it then?"

"Yes, it's always my intention."

"Okay. Besides I'm going to hang it in my apartment. So you can always look at it when you come over." There she goes again, already making plan for the future, Quinn thought. She wouldn't catch this bait. Quinn played the cd so that they could change the subject. Rachel noticed Quinn's behavior and decided to change the subject too, "This is called 'Losing My Heart'," she said while taking off her sunglasses and making herself more comfortable on the couch.

"What is it about?"

"Erm … I think the title says it all," Rachel said sarcastically.

Quinn gave a small laugh, "Who's it about then?"

Rachel seemed taken aback by the question, "It's … erm … about some people, no one in particular. Well, I guess it doesn't matter, let's just listen, will you?"

"So you've lost your heart to that many people?" Quinn said jokingly.

Rachel just tightened her lips and tried not to smile. The song started and Quinn sat on the couch furthest from Rachel, trying to listen to the lyrics and not looking at her. It had always been a problem for her to keep her emotion in check every time she heard Rachel sings. It was a beautiful slow song with an up tempo beat that didn't make it sound whiny and draggy. After the song ended, the room was quiet. Rachel was waiting for Quinn to say something.

"It's beautiful Rachel. I love it," Quinn said softly.

Rachel was beaming, "Thank you. Well, that's the only song completed so far. It's a very slow process. It's so frustrating."

"Are you going back to Broadway after this?"

"Yes, I would love to. But right now, this is my dream. What about you? What's your dream?"

Quinn stumbled to answer that. "Erm … I think I've gotten all that I dream of."

"Well, you didn't sound so sure."

"It's just that it's not every day for someone to ask you about your dream. Honestly, I didn't think much of it."

"But don't you want to make sure that you have your dreams in check?"

"What's the point if it's going to disappoint you in the end?"

"You sure are an optimist, aren't you?" Rachel said sarcastically.

Quinn laughed at that. Suddenly Rachel thinking out loud said, "Hey, it's Saturday night! I'm sorry; I don't want to keep you. You might have plans or something."

"Oh no, I'm not going out tonight. Don't you have plans?"

"Not tonight. I'm still beat from last night?"

"What were you up to last night?" Quinn's curious piqued, remembering Rachel's state when she walked in.

"It was insane! The three of us were out for drinks, kind of bar hopping, and somehow we ended up at this S&M club at some point, I can't even remember how I got there, or how I even managed to get home. I was just glad I woke up in my bed," then added, "alone," while looking at Quinn.

"Oh." Quinn gulped.

Rachel laughed at Quinn's reaction, "What kind of girl do you think I am, Quinn?" Quinn looked confused. "Well, I'm not that kind of girl," she iterated. "We were just having a farewell sort of thing for one of my friends who are going to start touring Asia Pacific soon. She's going to play Christine in Phantom. We did go out last night and had some drinks and did end up at an S&M club and I did have a major hangover this morning. Thank God for Kurt's remedies, works like a charm."

Quinn was relieved to hear this but she didn't want Rachel to notice it, so she quickly asked, "So how's Kurt?"

"He's great. He lives just a few blocks away from me and he's working for Vogue now."

"So he's not doing Broadway?"

"No, he falls in love with fashion instead."

"Is he still with Blaine?"

"God No! Quinn, you really have not been keeping in touch. They broke up again some time in my third year. Blaine cheated on him, again. What is wrong with that boy?" Quinn wondered the same thing too.

"What about other people? Who do you keep in touch with?"

"Hmm, come to think of it, I don't really keep in touch with all of them, just simple messages in Facebook. Are you not in Facebook at all?" Rachel looked at Quinn questioningly, but Quinn just shook her head. "Oh, Mercedes will visit us whenever she's in town."

"I know. I'd meet up with her too."

"You what?! All this time when Mercedes was visiting us, she's visiting you too?!" Rachel putting things together, "Oh, so you're the other friend that she has in New York."

"Yeah, believe me, she's not happy having to lie to both of you."

"Why were you so determined about not wanting us to know that you're in New York?"

"I … I just … I don't know," Quinn sounded tired, so Rachel didn't push further. One day she would find out, one way or another. "What about Finn?" Quinn asked suddenly.

"Hmm, what about Finn?"

"Do you guys still keep in touch?"

"We exchanged emails once in a while. Oh, did you know, he just got a baby girl a few months back."

"Oh, wow! Erm … Sorry about that," Quinn was worried that Rachel might be sad about it.

"Why? It's ancient history. I've had so many other boyfriends after him."

"Oh."

"Haha, not really," Rachel found Quinn's confused look amusing, "just two. You've met one of them."

"Yeah, I like him."

"What?!" Rachel looked at Quinn incredulously, "You hated him! You only met him once and all you did is arguing with him."

"I was … annoyed that night, and he's just … so charming. What's his name again?"

"Derrick."

"Yeah, I think he's good for you, not an idiot like Finn and not cocky like Brody. So what happened to him?"

"Oh, you're going to make me regret for letting him go, aren't you?"

"No! I'm just saying."

"He's around, I think. We're not in touch. I'm still friends with his brother, so once in a while I'll get news from him." Rachel was quiet for a bit, and then continued, "He proposed you know?"

"Oh."

"Yeah, right after graduation dinner. We're all walking in Central Park; luckily my dads were way in front. He pulled me aside and proposed right in front of the fountain," Rachel had a somber look, but she continued, "It was really sweet, a perfect proposal, but I told him I couldn't give the answer then. He waited patiently for my answer, he never pressured me. I felt really guilty for making him wait. I told him that I can't. I felt like my life, life after college, was just about to start, that I have all these dreams to chase, and I couldn't or I wasn't ready to be someone's wife. He's actually fine with that, he said he could wait. So we're still dating after that, even living together, but I knew I was just stringing him along. He didn't deserve that and I … ended it," Rachel's eyes were brimming with tears at that point.

Quinn moved to Rachel's side and hugged her, "I'm sorry Rachel."

Rachel hugged back but she broke the hug to look at Quinn and said, "Don't be. I'm not. It's the right thing to do, for both of us."

The air between them felt thick all of a sudden, maybe because of Quinn's sudden closeness to Rachel, so Rachel continued her story.

"Then there was Jacob. Nothing serious, that only lasted a few months."

"So where's the current one?"

"There's no current one. I broke up with Jacob more than a year ago."

"Rachel Berry without a man for more than a year! That's shocking!" Quinn said playfully.

"Haha. I don't need a man to define me, thank you very much, unlike some people," Rachel retorted.

"What? Are you talking about me?" Quinn said mockingly, and they both laughed.

A few minutes passed, and then Rachel asked, "Well, what about you?"

"I have no time for romance," Quinn said matter-of-factly.

"Oh yeah, you're an artist, married to your art," Rachel said jokingly.

Quinn laughed but said, "No, I'm serious. Relationship is too much for me to handle right now. Or maybe it's just not the right time … or the right people."

"Yeah, maybe," they both got pretty quiet. Rachel broke the sudden tension again, "So what do you want to do tonight then?"

"Dinner and a movie?"

"Ooh, it's a date!" Rachel answered too excitedly, "I mean … okay."

Quinn didn't say anything but just gave her a funny look.