It was a bright sunny day as Rachel made her way across the quad during her lunch period. Spring had arrived in Dayton; the trees were blooming, the grass was green again, and the quad was filled with beautiful flowers. For this reason, Rachel had decided to eat quietly on her own and bask in the rays of sun she had missed so much.
She arrived at a small picnic table off on its own and meticulously set out her lunch. Rachel liked to have things very organized, so each container had its own place whilst she was eating. After she popped off the lids and began eating, her mind began to wander.
The past two weeks had been a combination of marvelous and exhausting. Shelby had been running them ragged to make up for the practice time missed over Spring Break. The competition was in about a month and Shelby didn't believe there was such as thing as being overly prepared. Rachel was inclined to agree. The rest of Vocal Adrenaline, however, were a different story. Rachel heard grumblings of several team members complaining of overwork when the competition was still so far away. She, of course, thought this was absurd. Shelby obviously knew what she was doing, as she had won Nationals two consecutive years.
When Rachel wasn't busy with Vocal Adrenaline business, she was frequently seen attached to her phone. In fact, her fathers had begun making jokes that she would need to go to a surgeon and have it removed. Rachel paid them no mind though, because this was her link to Quinn.
Their relationship had definitely changed since her weekend trip to Lima, though Rachel couldn't pinpoint exactly how or why. They definitely talked a lot more, whether through text or even phone calls. They constantly texted each other throughout the day and always made it a point to make a phone call right as they were going to bed for a small chat and to say their goodnights.
If Rachel was completely honest with herself, these nightly phone calls were quickly becoming the favorite part of her day. She eagerly awaited seeing Quinn's name flash on her caller ID. It seemed as though she could never get enough of the statuesque blonde with whom she had begun an unlikely friendship. She craved attention from this girl who so many considered unreachable, but who, for some strange reason, trusted Rachel almost implicitly.
As she began to eat the strawberries she had packed for her dessert, she thought back to that final night at Quinn's house. It had been such an awful day, full of doubt and self loathing for allowing herself to reach a point where Jesse felt he could make such a ludicrous request. As they lay in Quinn's bed watching TV, she had closed her eyes in an attempt to slip into sleep and escape from the horrible thoughts that had been plaguing her all day. As she lay there, unsuccessful, she heard Quinn shut off the TV and settle in for the night. After a few minutes, she had moved over towards Quinn and reached out to the girl. She couldn't explain why, but for some reason she just needed to touch the other girl, to know that she was there. As she had been lost in her thoughts, she didn't notice that her hands were moving of their own volition, gaining comfort from the feel of Quinn's soft skin. When she noticed that Quinn wasn't really reacting and most likely asleep, she had allowed herself to indulge a little more in this comfort. As her hand had made its way down the sensitive skin on top of Quinn's bicep, she heard the girl sigh in content. The next thing she knew, there was an explosion of heat and tingling originating from her hip as Quinn had begun softly caressing the area. She was pretty sure she had let out a gasp at the incredible sensation that quickly took over her body. Not long after, she had fallen into one of the most peaceful sleeps she had experienced in a long time.
Rachel blushed as she remembered her actions and feelings from that night. She couldn't explain why she was always touching Quinn. Most of the time she didn't even realize she was doing it, it was just natural. One thing was for sure though, she recognized the sensations Quinn's touch had caused. It was the same feeling she had when Jesse had started dating her. It was that rush one got when the object of their affection granted extra attention in some way.
This had completely baffled Rachel though. It's not that she was against homosexuality, obviously, or that she identified herself as completely straight, because if anything she saw sexuality as fluid. It was that Quinn was her friend. Her best friend at that. Really the first friend she had deemed important enough to have that title bestowed upon them, and she didn't know how people normally felt about their friends. Maybe it was just excitement about having a new friend and feeling so free around them. Maybe this was completely normal and she was overanalyzing everything.
Rachel packed her stuff up and checked her phone, hoping for a text from the blonde. Her face scrunched up in disappointment as she saw that Jesse had texted her and not Quinn. She had borrowed a piece of sheet music from him that morning and he needed it back before his free period, which, he had conveniently placed at the end of the day.
She stood up and briskly walked back inside the building toward her locker to retrieve the music. She had twenty minutes left of her lunch period and she was considering using it to go to the library, or perhaps practice in the auditorium for a little while.
She grabbed the music from her locker and put her lunchbox away, internally debating whether she should call Jesse or just drop it off in his locker and send him a text.
She decided on that latter as she didn't really want to see her boyfriend right now and started down the hall towards the Senior lockers. Things between them had been strained since what she had dubbed the 'Spring Break Incident.' It was eye opening for her and since that point she had realized how the majority of their relationship consisted of Jesse making demands of Rachel and her simply complying to make him happy. He never called her anymore, and he only texted or hung out with her when he wanted something or thought it would be beneficial for him. Being around him had come to feel like a chore for Rachel.
Quinn never acts this way towards me. She is kind and loving and calls me just to say hello. She wants to know what I'm thinking and how my day has gone. She needs me to help her overcome stress and loves to hear me ramble on about practice or my fathers. She never makes me feel like being around me is an unsavory task completed only for the rewards afterward.
Rachel shook her head abruptly and a rosy blush overtook her cheeks as she realized she had just been comparing her boyfriend to her best friend. Okay, so maybe she had a teensy, little bitty, minuscule crush on Quinn Fabray. But, really, could you blame her? The girl looked like a goddess, with that beautiful blonde hair, her perfect nose, high cheekbones and sharp jaw. Those mesmerizing hazel eyes swirled with green. Oh God, those eyes. Not to mention her body. The girl had practically stripped right in front of her and Rachel had feared that her brain would shut down from overload. She is pretty sure she even drooled a little bit when she caught sight of Quinn's perfect abs and toned, round ass.
So yeah, she definitely had a tiny, small, insignificant crush on Quinn Fabray, but she could handle it. It wouldn't change anything.
Rachel's eyes narrowed as she approached Jesse's locker. Standing in front of it were Harmony and two of her new supporters from Vocal Adrenaline. Lately, Harmony had been less antagonistic towards her, and while that should have made her jump with glee, it only heightened her senses. Harmony had taken on a very condescending tone when addressing her and always had a smirk plastered on her face as if she knew something Rachel didn't. It set her on edge, and Rachel just knew the girl was planning something, or it was already in the works.
"Excuse me, I need to get in Jesse's locker," she informed them.
"Of course you do, Rachel," Harmony responded saccharinely. She waved her friends over. "Watch out, the Queen needs in her adoring King's locker."
There was that damn smirk again. Rachel wished she knew what it meant. She quickly opened the locker and deposited the music as she questioned them. "What are you doing in front of Jesse's locker anyway, Harmony? I'm positive your locker is nowhere near here."
"Oh, don't you know? Hillary, has the locker right next to Jesse. We were merely conversing about Vocal Adrenaline rehearsals and the upcoming competition." Her smirk grew even more roguish as she continued. "We just want to ensure that we do everything possible to make this the most memorable competition yet."
Rachel glared at her as her skin prickled. Something was going on, and she needed to figure out what it was. "I'm glad to see you are finally on board with the team, Harmony." She glanced at the other two girls briefly before she added "See you girls at practice this afternoon."
Rachel moved passed them and quickly made her way to Shelby's office. Harmony was plotting something. She just knew it, and she needed Shelby to give her some advice.
She stormed into Shelby's office and slammed the door in her wake. Shelby startled from paperwork she was filling out and gave Rachel a reproachful look.
With a huff, Rachel sat down across from her mother and shrugged. "I'm a diva and we both know it. You should be used to it by now." She said unapologetically.
"Always good to see you, too, Rachel" Shelby said as she rolled her eyes. "What can I do for you?"
Rachel's eyes were wild as she responded. "It's Harmony. She is plotting something to destroy me, I just know it. She is all smirky every time I see her and she has this evil glint in her eyes. And she's talking about how she is going to make this the most memorable competition yet!" She ranted as she tried to imitate Harmony's voice. "You have to do something about it. She is trying to steal my solo!" She yelled with a flourish of her hands.
Shelby reached across her desk and grabbed Rachel's hand. "Sweetheart, you have got to calm down. Nothing Harmony says or does will make you lose your solo, okay? Not as long I say have anything to say about it. You have worked hard your entire life and you have earned that spot. You are the better singer and nothing she plans will change that fact," she told her earnestly. "Let her run herself in circles trying to take your spot. It's not going to happen. She isn't good enough, so don't let her get under your skin."
Rachel took a deep breath right as the bell signaling the end of lunch rang. "You're right. I'm getting all worked up for nothing. She can't touch me." She stood up and made her way to the door. "Thank you. I'll see you this afternoon."
Although she was feeling better about her situation, she was still slightly anxious about what Harmony might be up to. Her last period of the day was filled with busy work, and her anxiousness caused her to fly through the assignment and finish with fifteen minutes to spare. She politely asked if she could head to the auditorium to begin her warmups for rehearsal (and really, who in their right mind would deny the star of Vocal Adrenaline time to hone her skills even more?).
She walked into the main entrance of the auditorium and approached the stage, hearing a strange sound echo around the room. As she got closer, she realized that she was hearing little moans and grunts of pleasure coming from somewhere along the back wall. She quickly ran up the steps to the stage, intent on berating these hormonal teenagers for participating in such activities on her stage, but as she reached her destination, her mouth dropped open in shock.
There, supported by the wall, were Jesse and Harmony engaging in a very heated make-out session. One that had apparently been going on for a while if the urgency they shared was any indication. She watched as Jesse moved his mouth to Harmony's neck and moved his hips into hers simultaneously. She let out a loud moan and let her head fall back into the wall.
Rachel's hands went slack and all of the books she had been holding dropped with a loud thud onto center stage. The two immediately sprung apart and Jesse turned frantically to see who the intruder might be. When Harmony spotted her, a satisfied smile crawled across her face.
Jesse started and quickly made his way over to Rachel. "Rach? What are you doing here so early?"
Rachel squeaked in disbelief and took two steps forward to slap him across the face with all of the strength she could muster. He immediately covered the offended cheek with his hand and slowly turned back to look at her with his eyes narrowed.
"Are you kidding me? You have to audacity to ask me that question when I have just caught you cheating on me?" She yelled at him.
Harmony had finally finished straightening herself out from her tryst and stalked slowly up to the arguing couple for a better view.
"Oh please, Rachel" Jesse scoffed. "You act as though we had the perfect loving relationship. I must admit we were good while we lasted, but we were never long-term. I'm moving to California in a few months time, so a break up was inevitable. You had to know this was going nowhere. I mean face it, our relationship is based mostly on status. You were the up and coming star when we first met. Of course I wanted to date you."
Anger was flowing like fire through Rachel's veins as she listened to him speak. Was he really suggesting that she meant nothing to him and that cheating was no big deal? "You asshole!" She screamed. "You told me you were going to New York. You told me you would wait for me, that we were going to take Broadway by storm together. Did you just make all of that up so I would fall in love with you?"
At this point Harmony decided to put her two cents in. "Well, maybe if you could have kept your man satisfied he wouldn't have come running to me to fulfill his needs. Luckily, I am more than enough for him."
Rachel sent Harmony a scathing glare, but quickly shifted her focus back to Jesse, ignoring her taunt. "I can't believe I ever trusted you. I was in love with you. I loved you so much that I let you take my virginity even though I wasn't ready. I just wanted to please you so badly." Rachel was rambling, hardly aware of what was coming out of her mouth as agony and desolation overtook her heart and mind. "You told me you would always be there for me, but you didn't even love me." Tears started cascading down her face as she continued. "You just used me for popularity and sex, you- you- you bastard!"
Jesse just looked at her totally unaffected and shrugged. "What do you expect Rachel? I have needs and we just made sense at the time. Now we don't."
"Don't worry, Rachel, I'm sure I can keep Jesse very happy after your break up. And I'm sure our fellow teammates will support me when I need to pick up the slack you leave behind as you deal with this devastating loss. " Harmony added as she looked over Rachel's shoulder, her eyes alight with triumph. "Isn't that right, everyone?"
Rachel's eyes immediately widened and she quickly turned to see all of Vocal Adrenaline watching with rapt attention as the scene on stage unfolded.
Humiliated, Rachel choked out a sob and covered her face as she realized that at least twenty people had just witnessed the worst moment of her life. She took off in a run, needing to get away from these people and their pitying looks or satisfied smiles as the darling of Vocal Adrenaline finally fell to her knees.
She could hardly make out where she was going as tears blurred her vision. She quickly grabbed her stuff and raced out to her car to fall apart in peace.
When she made it there, she pulled out her phone, knowing that the only thing that could make this better right now was Quinn. However, when she looked at the time, she realized that Quinn would still be busy with Cheerio tryouts. She texted her anyway in hopes that maybe Quinn would have her phone on her.
Are you done with tryouts yet? -Rachel
Rachel knew that she couldn't drive in this state, so she waited in her car, hoping she would calm down soon. However, the silence on the inside of her car slowly closed in on her as she got lost in her thoughts and the reality of the situation finally dawned on her. Her first love cheated on her, with her enemy, no less, and everyone in Vocal Adrenaline knew it. Everyone knew that she had given such an important piece of herself to a douchebag who didn't even love her.
Whatever grasp on relief she had claimed since being in her car was lost immediately as she thought about what her teammates were probably saying right now. Tears rolled down her face as she allowed negative thoughts to run rampant in her mind. She texted Quinn again; she really needed to hear the blonde's comforting voice.
Best Friend? Can you please call me? It's important. -Rachel
She received no answer, but after several minutes of despair, she slowly pulled herself together just enough to drive home. She sent a quick thank you to the heavens that her father, Hiram, worked as an editor from home and she would be able to run straight into his arms when she arrived at home.
Rachel turned sharply into her driveway and practically sprinted into her house, seeking out a hug from her father. She ran down the hallway and burst into her father's study without knocking only to find it empty. She desperately searched the house for him, only to remember that her fathers were going to be gone for the rest of this week and all of next. They had decided to go on a cruise to the Bahamas and Shelby was supposed to be looking after her while they were gone. In fact, she was supposed to be heading over to stay at Shelby's house starting tonight.
Tears started to well up again as she realized that she was alone. Shelby wouldn't be free for another two hours when Vocal Adrenaline's practice ended. In desperation, she called Quinn, hoping the girl would pick up and make her heart feel at ease, if only for a little while.
When the call went to voicemail, Rachel stomped up the stairs, entered her room, and flung herself onto her bed in frustration, trying desperately to get her mind to be still so she could sleep off all of this emotion.
She pulled the folded quilt that lay at the foot of her bed over her body and covered her head, attempting to block out the world. But, after ten minutes of laying there with her mind in overdrive she finally gave up. She glanced briefly at the clock and realized that Quinn had thought she might be done with tryouts by now. Maybe she is just talking to Santana and Brittany and will be able to answer when I call this time.
Rachel picked up her phone and dialed Quinn's number, once again, it went to voicemail after a few seconds. At this point, Rachel was longing to hear her blonde's voice. Anything to make her feel just a little bit better. She quickly fired off a final text, knowing that when Quinn checked her phone and saw how distressed she was the girl would call her immediately.
Please Quinn. I need to talk to you. -Rachel
Rachel looked back at the clock so she could calculate how long she had to wait before Shelby would get home, but instead, her gaze landed on a picture of herself and Jesse from their one year anniversary dinner. He had taken her to a very reputable Italian restaurant in Columbus and afterwards they had gone for a walk in a beautiful park. Jesse had taken her off to the side and they had slow danced beneath the stars as he serenaded her. Later that night, after much coaxing and reassurances of love from Jesse, she had given her virginity to him. It had always been one of her most precious memories. A romantic night with the boy she was so desperately in love with and would do anything to please.
And now it was tainted. Now all she could think about when she looked at that picture was how she had been a prize to him. A status symbol. How she didn't know if he ever really loved her.
Rage engulfed her as she grabbed the picture frame and threw it at her door. The glass shattered as it made contact, and Rachel felt immense relief at the sound. Unexpectedly, she had found a new way to cope.
She swiftly got out of bed and made her way to ensuite bathroom to grab her trashcan. When she returned to her room, she picked up the broken picture frame and discarded it into the can. She quickly began to make her way around her room, grabbing any photos of Jesse and throwing them away, trying to purge her room of all things that would remind her of his betrayal.
As she finished, she felt wetness on her cheeks, as a few more tears had leaked out from her anger. As good as it felt to rid her room of his presence, he was still on her mind and she was seemingly trapped inside it for as long as she was alone.
How many times has he cheated on me? How many different girls? Did he ever really care about me? Was I ever more than just a conquest or status symbol to him? Surely he would have treated someone he really cared about much better than he has been treating me. I just a means of popularity. A way to become the power couple of Carmel High and royalty in the show choir circuit. Were these really the only reasons he wanted to be with me?
She was drawn out of her trance by her phone ringing on her bed. She flew across the room and answered immediately as she saw that it was Quinn finally calling her back. In her haste, she hadn't noticed that her tears of anger and frustration had melted away into sadness, and sobs once again wracked her body in an odd combination of relief and despair.
"Qui-inn," she shuddered out through her tears. "I-I-I need you..."
"Oh my God, Rachel? Honey, please calm down. What's going on?" Quinn asked frantically through the phone.
"I-It's Jesse... God, Qu-Quinn. H-He's a c-cheating bastard!" Rachel yelled out in frustration. It was all she could get out at the moment.
She heard Quinn growl in anger before the girl responded. "Okay, sweetheart, I will be there as soon as I can. I'm going home to talk to my mom and then I will come straight to Dayton. Just send me your address."
"Okay..." Rachel responded meekly.
"Rachel, honey, listen to me. It's going to be okay. I'll be there soon. I promise." Quinn told her gently.
"Okay, see you soon, Quinn."
Rachel hung up the phone right as Shelby burst through her bedroom door. Upon seeing the tears and despair on her daughter's face she pulled Rachel into a bone crushing hug and began to whisper soft comforting words in her ear.
Rachel finally felt safe; relief and warmth washed over her. After a few minutes, she pulled back to look at Shelby as the woman started talking.
"Oh sweetie, I am so sorry. I came as soon as I could. I cut the practice short when I heard the kids talking about what happened. It took everything in me to not slap the arrogance out of Jesse as soon as I heard that he was cheating on you." Shelby admitted with a hard edge to her voice.
This drew a smile and soft laughter out of Rachel. "Believe me, I slapped him hard enough for the both of us." She assured the older woman.
"Hmm, well I'm not sure about that, but I guess it will have to do, seeing as I would experience some very severe backlash if I physically assaulted a student." Shelby mused with a smirk on her face.
After she finished what was surely a very fulfilling fantasy of slapping Jesse over and over, Shelby stood up and held her hand out to Rachel. "Let's get you packed and head over to my house, okay?"
Rachel nodded and began picking out clothes for the coming week. "Oh, by the way, I called Quinn and she said she is on her way here. I'm sorry.. I didn't even consider that I would be at your house.." Rachel trailed off sheepishly.
"Don't worry about that Rachel. Of course it is fine for Quinn to come over. You need your friends at times like these," she assured. "Why don't you finish packing your stuff and I'll send Quinn a quick text with my information so she can call me when she gets close. I can give her directions once she gets into town, okay?"
Rachel nodded her approval and handed Shelby her phone. A few minutes later, they locked up the Berry household and made their way to Shelby's.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed the look into Rachel's mind. Only a couple of you guessed correctly, but I must say, some of you are kind of harsh, lol. Next chapter we will back to Quinn's POV. Let me know what you think :)