A/N: hey everyone! Sorry this took so freaking long, but after cranking out Forever and Roadside, I really needed a little break from this series. But I've not forgotten about it in any way, shape or form. Like always, please leave feedback, it's food for the muse. I'll try to have chapter two up by tomorrow night, but there's no guarantee on that.
Quinn Fabray sat back against the uncomfortable bus seat, and let out a small sigh of agitation. She was trying to read a very thick Russian novel, most of the characters had names that sounded the same, so concentration was needed to get through this depressing, emotional mess. Her teammates didn't seem to care about that, however, as they talked loudly with one another. Most were turned around in their seats to talk to people three or four rows back, while others spoke to the person sitting next to them but because they were in such a small, confined space it all sounded like loud noise pressing against Quinn's mind, giving her one of the worst headaches she's ever experienced.
She felt a little stupid, a little bit like a failure that she was feeling this way on a long bus ride. The Cheerios bus had been just as loud, if not louder because then she had been surrounded by a group of cheerleaders pumped full of "vitamin D" to give them extra stamina for the cheering at the game. But that had been different. She was a willing participant in the conversations taking place, mostly with Brittany and Santana. Those bus rides were spent reading between the lines while Brittany tried desperately to get Santana to simply hold her hand in public, while the other girl ran scared, but neither of them spoke of it outright.
How they managed to mend that relationship and turn it into this, I'll never understand, Quinn thought and glanced up over the edge of her book to peek at her friends. Santana had her head resting against Brittany's shoulder, and the blonde was casually - almost as if without thought - running her hand along the outside of Santana's thigh while playing on her phone with the other. It warmed her heart seeing her best friends so happy, so content to be with each other around everyone else.
However, it also made a small part of her feel bitter, and angry. That should be her right now. She should have her girlfriend curled up against her side, or talking to her nonstop about what it's going to be like in New York, what the hotel is going to look like, what the food is going to taste like, what their competition might perform, and how they were going to win no matter what because they had original music on their side. She wanted that so badly she could almost smell the other girl's perfume and unique mix of pheromones as if the girl were sitting right next to her.
But she wasn't, because they were broken up.
Quinn glanced up from her book again and looked towards the front of the bus. Her eyes narrowed into a glare as she saw Rachel sitting there talking animatedly with Finn Hudson. Finn Hudson. Quinn almost growled as she thought the words inside her head. The boy had been driving her completely insane for the last couple of weeks, and she wanted to bash his stupid face against the ground until it looked like hamburger. She wanted to super glue is lips together to stop the words from coming out, and she wanted to shave off that ugly hair cut that made him look even more like a toddler who has yet to figure out how to properly use a hair brush.
She shook her head, and returned her gaze to the printed words in front of her, though it was no use because she couldn't concentrate anyway. The boy hadn't been doing anything that warranted this kind of hate, and she knew that deep down. She knew that he and Rachel were only friends, and that nothing romantic was going on between them. She knew that because she and Rachel were starting to become friends, and the diva had told her those exact reassurances when she started going over to Finn and Kurt's house to help the boy with the dance routine for Nationals.
"Nationals is too important to let petty things like who used to date whom get in the way, Quinn, and while I understand why you may feel uncomfortable with me spending so much time with Finn because we used to be involved romantically, I promise that nothing of that nature is going on between us. I'm simply being a leader, and sacrificing time and energy for the better of the team, which is what a good leader does. I really hope this doesn't affect our budding friendship because I would really like to have you in my life," Rachel had said on the phone, not even giving Quinn the chance to breathe. It was all the blonde needed to be satisfied at the time.
But then Finn started giving Quinn that look.
It was a smug look. A look that said, "you freaking blew it, and I knew you would". Maybe it was just in Quinn's head, and Finn had been eating too much Mexican food at lunch and that's why he always had that slightly gassy but possibly smug look on his face in glee club. Quinn couldn't be sure, and she wasn't about to start paying attention to what Finn put in his mouth outside of class because she would have to follow him around all day, and she wasn't crazy or that desperate.
Just because Finn was giving her that look didn't mean anything, though. Just because he was right when he said that she and Rachel wouldn't last didn't mean he deserved Quinn's venom. Just because he had his arm around Rachel's shoulder while she snuggled up to him and closed to her eyes to get in a cat nap before they reached New York and she would be too wired to sleep didn't mean that he deserved to have a paperback copy of The White Guard thrown at the back of his head. He may not have deserved it, but he got it anyway.
Quinn stared out the window, and refused to make eye contact with anyone when the book made contact with Finn's head, and he let out a loud yelp of surprise and pain. Everyone was staring at her, some of them with looks of amusement, some of them with looks of sadness, and others wondering when Quinn was finally going to snap and kill them all. It was enough to drive anyone insane, and she was barely holding on as it was.
"Ok, you need to get off the crazy train because you're starting to drag everyone down with you," she heard someone say, and the empty space next to her was suddenly no longer empty. She didn't bother looking over at Santana as she rested her forehead against the cool glass and stared out at the tall buildings as they got closer and closer to their destination. "Blondie, I know you can hear me. You never listen to music on bus rides; you just pretend so people will leave you alone."
"And yet here you are, talking to me as if I want to talk to someone," she spat back, and physically cringed at the bitterness in her voice as she took the ear buds out and let them fall across her lap. She wouldn't be surprised if the glass cracked from all that brittle. She let out a little sigh and took a chance by peeking at Santana out of the corner of her eye. Her friend had a bored "are you done yet?" expression on her face, and Quinn just returned her gaze to the window.
"I get it, ok? You had a big love, and you went through a big loss. But throwing things at Free Willy like a four year old throwing a temper tantrum isn't going to make you feel better, even if you do have awesome aim. You know what, I take it back. That was really funny." Santana barely made it to the end of the sentence without laughing, and despite Quinn's efforts to remain in a bad mood, she smiled at the sound of her friend's joy.
"He did kind of sound like a cat getting its tail stepped on, didn't he?" she whispered, and Santana nodded her head while the two laughed together. Movement out of the corner of her eye caught her attention, and she glanced up before she could stop herself. Rachel was turned around in her seat, glaring at the two with a very unhappy expression on her face, and she simply shook her head at the blonde. Quinn held her eye contact for a few seconds before chickening out, and staring down at her lap. Maybe losing control wasn't such a good idea after all.
"Don't worry about the dwarf. She's just worried that the blow to his head knocked out all the dance lessons she's been giving him for the last month," the Cheerio said with a snicker. Quinn had to bite her lips to stop herself from laughing. She didn't want Rachel to look back and see her making fun of Finn. As pissed as she was that she was friends with that oaf, she didn't want to make things even worse between them when they were finally starting to put all of the bad behind them, and become friends.
"Santana, please don't call her that. You know it bugs me when you say things like that about her. Just because she's a little shorter than you, it doesn't mean she deserves to feel bad about it. It's not like height is something people can control," the blonde said, and rested her forehead against the cool glass of the window. She really didn't want to see the public display of...whatever was going on at the front of the bus. Even if Finn and Rachel were just friends, seeing them be physical like that was too much for her to handle.
"Well, I can't make fun of her for her clothes since she actually looks hot today," her friend said back, sounding way more chipper than she needed to. Quinn just rolled her eyes and let out a little sigh. "Besides, one of us has to remain sane when it comes to Berry. You're still all moon eyed even after what she did to you, and I have a reputation to uphold. Can't be seen being nice when it comes to her." Quinn just shook her head, and wished she had her book to pretend to read.
"Right, that would be a travesty," she said, and couldn't help but smile when Santana jabbed her elbow into her ribs.
"You freaking know it," she couldn't keep the smile off her face even though she tried to sound tough, and slightly mean. Quinn seemed to always have a way to break that wall down, and she wasn't a big fan of that quality. "So, what are we going to do about Count Eats-A-Lot? He seems to be getting a little too friendly with your girl these days."
"She's not my girl. And really, Count Eats-A-Lot?" she finally pulled her face away from the window to look at Santana with one eyebrow quirked, and a smirk tugging at her lips.
"What? They can't all be winners. And yes, Princess of Denial, you may have cut that little fairy free, but she is still your girl. I see the way she looks at you when she thinks no one is paying attention, and I see the way you stare at her ass when she passes you in the hall. You get all spaced out, and your pupils get really big, and drool pools at the corner of your mouth. If you could tell me what memories those short skirts bring up, it would be highly appreciated 'cause if I have to see you being disgustingly sappy, I should get to know why."
"Brittany still not putting out?" Quinn asked with a sneaky smile. She knew the answer was yes. She had snuck into the Cheerios locker room last week to ask Santana what her plans were that afternoon, and she overheard a conversation she really didn't need to hear. Even though she didn't need to hear it, it still gave her great satisfaction hearing Santana whine like a petulant child and practically beg Brittany to have shower sex, claiming it had been too long and Lil' Tana was starting to become physically ill from the lack of attention.
"She said she wants it to be special. What the hell doe she mean by that? It's just sex, and I needs to get my lady lovin on. I haven't gone this long without since I was fifteen, and my body and mind are starting to wither away. The other day in math class I zoned out and had a sick fantasy about Mrs. Parks."
"God, Santana, she's like sixty-five," the blonde said, sounding just as shocked and disgusted as she looked.
"I know! I said it was a sick fantasy."
"Could you two please keep your voices down? The rest of us really don't want to hear what goes on inside Santana's head. That is just wrong," Tina said from behind them. Quinn barked out a laugh, and covered her mouth to try and hold it in. Santana blushed so hard even the tips of her ears were turning bright red.
"Shut up, bitch," she spat, and jabbed her elbow in Quinn's ribs again.
"Ow! Stop, you're going to crack it or something and then I won't be able to perform," she said around her giggles.
"Santana, whatever it is you are doing, I'm asking you nicely to please refrain. We all need to be in our best shape if we have any hope of winning this competition. This is Nationals we're headed to, not a relaxing stroll through Central Park. After we get home you may do whatever you see fit in response to Quinn's immature response to your dire plight," Rachel said, giving both of them a little glare before turning back around in her seat, and returning her head to its spot on Finn's shoulder.
"I can't figure out if she was being genuine, and I shouldn't be mad at her, or if she was being sarcastic and I should put weird stuff in her food tonight," Santana said, her eyebrows furrowed as she stared at the girl who was trying to take a nap despite the noise level of the bus.
"It's really hard to tell sometimes, isn't it? Once we were on a date and I couldn't for the life of me figure out if she wanted to make out, or if she wanted to keep watching the movie. Sometimes she should really let her actions speak instead of her mouth," Quinn whispered right against Santana's ear to prevent anyone - especially Rachel - from overhearing her.
"So what did you do?" Santana whispered, her lips brushing against the shell of Quinn's ear. 'Oh my god, I'm going to have to talk to Brittany about maybe telling Santana what she means by 'special' because this is getting a little sad,' she thought. A shiver went down her spine at the feel of Santana's warm breath against her ear, and she thought for a moment that maybe the other girl was doing this on purpose, trying to rattle Quinn to get her back for laughing at her earlier.
"We ended up reaching second," she whispered back with a small smirk on her face. It was one of her favorite memories, and even though Rachel ended up smashing her heart into a million jagged pieces, she wouldn't trade that memory for the world. If she closed her eyes and concentrated hard enough she could still perfectly see the look on Rachel's face as nimble fingers worked their way under her bra, to toy with and tease the breast underneath.
"You're thinking about it, aren't you?" Santana asked, again with her lips lightly brushing her ear. Another shiver worked its way down her body, causing her skin to erupt in goose flesh, and her mind was hazy for a second. She simply nodded, and when she glanced over at her friend she wanted to punch her. Santana knew exactly what she was doing, the little smirk on her face told Quinn that much. Two can play at this game, she thought, and made sure to keep the smile off her face as she moved some of Santana's hair off her shoulder, and leaned in so this time her lips were lightly pressed against the shell of the other girl's ear.
"It was pretty hot, Santana," she said, her voice breathier than it needed to be, but it got the desired effect. Santana got goose bumps almost immediately, and Quinn had to bite back the evil cackle that wanted so badly to rumble in the back of her throat. "She was on her back, and her face and chest were flushed. She was too shy to take off her shirt, but she let me slide my hand inside. She bit her bottom lip to try and keep herself quiet, but she kept letting out these sexy little whiny noises, and she was grinding against my hip, and I could feel how wet she was through her underwear."
"Querido Dios, dame la fuerza para no matar a esa perra," Santana muttered under her breath, and shoved Quinn away from her. The blonde let out all of the laughter that had built up in her body as hit the side of the bus, hard. She didn't care about the pain in her shoulder however because when she looked at Santana's flushed skin, dilated eyes, and heavy breathing she knew she had won. "You're a freaking bitch, Quinn Fabray." She stood up, and practically stomped back to her seat, and sat down next to Brittany.
Quinn watched with amusement making her eyes sparkle as Brittany tried to wrap - what Quinn assumed was - a comforting arm around her girlfriend. Santana shrugged her off, whispering something in her ear that made the taller blonde blush, and she glanced back at Quinn with an impish smile on her face. The blondes shared a laugh while everyone else looked on, somewhat confused, but also glad that they didn't know what was going on. Because anything that put an evil smile on Quinn's face, and Santana in a pouty, bitchy mood could be nothing but awful and probably gross.
"Oh thank God, we're here," Artie said as the bus pulled up in front of the hotel. The energy among the group shifted almost instantly. Everyone was eager to get off the bus, to explore their surroundings, to finally see the city that some of them had been dreaming of visiting since they were little kids. It was electric, and palpable, and Quinn couldn't help the soft, dreamy smile that tugged at her lips when she saw Rachel practically bouncing in her seat like a little kid.
The smile didn't last very long. It vanished when she saw the brunette look up at Finn, all of that excitement, and enthusiasm directed at him, as she took his hand and stood up as soon as the doors were opened. She watched numbly as Mr. Schue laid out the ground rules. They weren't allowed to leave the hotel without an escort, they weren't allowed to leave their rooms without permission once they were settled, and if they wanted to order room service they had to ask first. This trip is going to suck, she thought, and stood up with the rest of the group and waited her turn to exit the bus that at that moment felt more like a coffin she desperately wanted to claw her way out of.