A/N: Thanks for all the reviews! They've been great.
Disclaimer: All rights belong to Glee & its crew as well as the lovely people who wrote, directed, and produced The Proposal.
I smile. "Yes, Rachel?"
"Would you please, with cherries on top, marry me?"
I pretend to mull it over. "Okay. I don't appreciate the sarcasm, but I'll do it. See you at the airport tomorrow."
"Good," she says, and reaches out for a hand, which I don't offer this time. As I walk away, I look behind me, catching sight of her struggling to get up in a tight skirt and three inch stilettos. I shake my head and chuckle. That is my fiancée, of all people. At least she's pretty. Even if you hated her guts, you had to admit, she was gorgeous.
Have you ever flown on a twenty hour flight with your boss? Hold on, let me rephrase that. Have you ever been forced into flying with your new fiancée (who you would much rather push off the plane than sit next to) back home to surprise your family and potentially give your 90-year-old Gammy a heart attack with news of an engagement to a dragon lady?
Yeah, it's a new experience for me, too.
We're an hour into the flight before she snaps at me for shifting in my seat so much. I shrug and decide maybe it'd be better to try and get some sleep with one of those cheap pillows they give you. I am thankful for being pushed up to first class, though, because it makes reclining that much easier. Honestly, they gotta give a person more leg room on a plane. I prefer not having strangers in my lap, but that could just be me.
Getting some shut-eye works for maybe five minutes before she's hitting the call button multiple times. I can hear it ping-ing above my head and groan. Finally someone comes over and asks her what the problem is, and it turns out, she's just hungry. So while they go to get her vegan meal, I order cup after cup of wine, thinking maybe I can drink myself into sleep, or at least relax a bit.
When we hit the five hour mark, she has pulled out some manuscripts and is in her own world. I snap my fingers a few times to test it, and she doesn't even spare me a glance. I slouch down in the seat, trying to get comfortable. When Rachel gets into those mindsets, nothing can pull her out of it, which means this is my sleeping window—and I'm taking it.
As I finally settle into the least uncomfortable position, I let my eyes sag. The last thing I see is the brunette, slightly hunched over sheets of paper with a red pen in hand. Red, because black is indistinguishable from the font and blue is for people who don't take editing seriously—the bunch of wannabes. She's worrying her lip as she rotates the pen in her hand, and I find myself wetting my own, before everything fades out.
When I wake up, the window has been shut and a blanket placed over me. I snuggle further into it, before realizing that my head is no longer on the pillow, which is clutched against my chest. I lift my head slowly, and my eyes widen when I look up to see I have squirmed my way against Rachel in my sleep. She's going to kill me for falling asleep on her. I'm actually going to die. Glancing down at my watch, I see that I've slept away most of the flight, and that there's about two hours left. I've been asleep on her shoulder for possibly the past ten hours if not more—I'm dead for sure.
I look out of the corner of my eye in Rachel's direction, and there's a spot of drool on her shirt. I instinctively wipe the corner of my mouth, cringing. I'm sure I look horrified, like that chick's face when she finally realizes her roommate is a psychotic, murderous killer in The Roommate. Yeah, I don't even care how repetitive that is. That's how mortified I am.
I sit up ramrod straight and glance over at Rachel only to find she's already staring at me, for god knows how long now. Clearing my throat, I manage to croak out an apology.
"Sorry for, uhm, y'know…"
"It's fine. You look exhausted."
"I didn't get much sleep last night."
She nods once and looks out the window.
I wait for a punch in the arm or at least a reprimanded ramble of words, but nothing happens.
She just keeps on looking out the window with the same ole disinterest. No anger.
I shrug. Maybe the married life is turning her into a big softy.
Chuckling quietly to myself, I change the subject to something I meant to bring up hours ago, before I took possibly the longest, most glorious nap I'd ever had.
"So, these are the questions that INS is gonna ask us," I say, pulling out a big binder that I'd put together the previous night. I better get overtime for this work. Seriously, though, I'd spent most of the night packing and preparing a faux interrogation, which is why I got no sleep. "Now, the good news is I know everything about you."
She narrows her eyes at me and snorts, like she doesn't believe I could possibly know that much about her. I roll my eyes and continue.
"But the bad news is that you have four days to learn all this about me. So, you should, y'know, probably get studying."
I pass her the binder and she begins to leaf through it, groaning at the length. "You know all the answers to these questions about me?"
"Scary, isn't it?"
"A little bit."
She squints at the page, and makes a little aha noise, looking up to challenge me. "What am I allergic to?"
"Pine nuts." I pause and glance at her. "And the full spectrum of human emotion."
Rachel blinks and turns to me, insulted, before she notices my small smile. Something in her features softens, but she remains sarcastic. "Oh, that's... that was funny."
She goes back to the binder and I shrug, leaning back against the seat and closing my eyes. A minute later she speaks up again. "Here's a good one. Do I have any scars?"
I shake my head. "I'm pretty sure that you have a tattoo."
"Oh, you're pretty sure?" There's amusement in her voice, and for a minute I wonder if she's flirting with me. No, it must be the cheap airport wine going to my head.
I open my eyes anyway, deciding she's not going to stop talking until I've convinced her that I know her better than she knows herself. Leaning on our shared armrest, I smirk before explaining. "I'm pretty sure. Two years ago, your dermatologist called and asked about a Q-switched laser. I googled a Q-switched laser and found that they, in fact, do remove tattoos."
There's a faint blush creeping up her neck from the collar of her blouse, and I can't tell if it's embarrassment from the amount of detail I've used or our close proximity.
I tilt my head to the side and raise an eyebrow when she doesn't say anything. "But you cancelled your appointment. So what is it? Tribal ink?"
"Japanese calligraphy? Barbed wire?"
Rachel huffs and resettles into her seat. "You know, it's exciting for me to experience you like this."
"Thank you." I grin, not letting up. I've stumbled upon something. "You're gonna have to tell me where it is."
"They're gonna ask."
"We're done with that question, okay?" She hands me back the binder with a glare. "We're done."
I tap my finger against the binder, wondering what just happened. I mean, I know the boss is a private person, but come on. You've gotta give your fake fiancée something to run with. "On to another question. Let me see, let me see."
I come across one of the simple questions. "Oh, here's one. Whose place do we stay at, yours or mine?"
"That's easy. Mine." She doesn't even think about it.
My brow furrows. "And why wouldn't we stay at mine?"
"Because I live at Central Park West. And you probably live at some squalid little studio apartment with stacks of yellowed Penguin Classics."
Well. Tell me how you really feel.
Before I can say some clever retort, like point out they're not Penguin Classics but a collection of creepy dolls or something equally disturbing, the 'fasten seatbelt' light flickers on, with that annoyingly calm be-boop, and the pilot's voice comes over the air.
"Ladies and gentlemen, please fasten your seat belts. We are beginning our descent into Juneau."
Rachel nudges me. "Juneau? I thought we were going to Sitka."
I hum in confirmation. "We are."
"Well, how are we getting to Sitka?"
"We're going to die," Rachel says, squished between me and some guy who keeps snoring. "We are going to die."
I snort. "We're not going to die." She looks unconvinced, and it hits me. "Oh my god. You're afraid of flying."
"What? No. That's ridiculous, Quinn."
She glares at me. "Iam not afraid of flying. No." She waves her hands around her. "But this is not flying. There's a huge hen behind us, the plane is constantly shaking and hitting bumps, it is far too crowded, and," she lowers her voice, "I saw a goat getting on."
"Yeah, actually, I hate to make this worse for you, but there are two goats. And that's a rooster behind us, not a hen. Hence the size."
She glares at me and I throw my hands up in apology. "How was I supposed to know you've never flown anything other than first-class?"
"We're going to die," she repeats.
I sigh. "Relax. We land in an hour."
"I think the chicken just got sick."
"All right. Here we go," I mutter to myself for mental encouragement as I step off the tiny plane. Thank god all that is over. I almost thought I was going to have to get some tranquilizers—for the boss, not the goats.
Once I'm stepping off the ladder, I catch sight of my mother and Gammy, who are pointing and scoping out every passenger. Mom looks thinner and a bit older, while Gammy still looks seventy—short, plump, and sparkling with the energy of a five year old.
"Where? Oh, there she is!"
I grin and rush forward to hug them. "Hi!"
"It's so good to see you!" Gammy says, trapping me in a surprisingly strong embrace. Man, I really need to visit home more often.
"You're suffocating her, Annie," Mum complains, and waves me in for a hug after I'm released. "Come here."
"Hey, Gammy. How are you doing?" She's too excited and happy to answer, so I turn to my mother. "Where's Dad?"
She hesitates. "Oh, you know your father. He's always working. Never mind about him."
Gammy scans the crowd. "Where's your girl?"
I turn, finding Rachel struggling with her bags and sigh. "She's... right there. There she is."
"I guess the word 'girl' is inappropriate," Gammy says. I stifle a laugh.
"Annie!" Mum protests, just as the boss makes it over to us. "Hi!"
"Hello," Rachel responds, slightly taken back by my mother's enthusiasm and warmth.
I smile softly. "Rachel, this is my mum."
"Hello," she extends a hand to shake just as Mum goes in for a hug, and there's an awkward dance thing.
"This is my gammy, Annie."
"Pleasure," Rachel says, holding out her hand again. Man, I should have told her my family is big on hugs.
"Well, hello there," Gammy says. "Now, do you prefer being called Rachel or Satan's Mistress? We've heard it both ways. Actually we've heard it lots of ways."
She starts laughing and I feel my face heat up. Gammy's humor is definitely…unique, and it takes a while to get used to. Rachel's at a loss for words. "She's kidding," I say.
"Okay," the boss replies, forcing a smile. "Thank you so much for... allowing me to be a part of this weekend."
"Oh, you're welcome. We're thrilled to have you," Mum says, flashing a brilliant smile. "Let's get you two back to the fort."
"Okay," we both respond.
"It's so good to see you," Gammy says again when I wrap an arm around her shoulders. I nod and smile. It's been much, much too long.
We head over to the parking lot and I throw the boss's bags into the back of the truck (at this point, I'm sort of convinced her bags contain several corpses, because they're so incredibly heavy). I slip into the back seat beside Rachel, and we take the scenic route through town. Looks like Mum wants to hit all the stops.
As we roll through the old main street, I hear my name being whispered. I ignore it, not wanting to deal with her right now. It's the part of town that has my last name plastered on practically every shop, courtesy of my father and his business.
"Quinn!" She reaches over and not-so-subtly smacks me in the arm.
I narrow my eyes at her. "Please, don't do that."
"You didn't tell me about all the family businesses, honey," the boss whispers. There's some malice in her voice, but I can't tell if it's jealousy or sarcasm.
"She was probably just being modest, dear," Mum says. Rachel blushes, not expecting to be heard. Yup, childhood was a bitch. Ears like a bat that woman has.
We pull into the harbor parking lot and head over to the docks.
"What are we doing? Shouldn't we check into our hotel right now?" Rachel asks.
"Oh, we cancelled your reservation," Mum says, and Rachel's eyes widen. "Family doesn't stay at a hotel. You're gonna stay in our home." She claps her hands and smiles.
"Oh, great! Great." She says awkwardly turns to me and nearly growls. "What?"
I shrug and follow them to the ladder. As I look back, I see the boss struggling to maneuver her luggage across the pebbled road.
"You're gonna wanna use your legs to lift that one," I call out.
"Quinn! Help her with those," Mum scolds me.
"I'd love to," I drawl, "but she won't let me do anything. She insists on doing it all herself. She's one of those... she's a feminist." I pause and add, "Come on, sweetie."
"You see the shoes that broad was wearing?" Gammy asks my mother as they get on the boat.
I snort before taking the boss's purse and throwing it down to Mum. "This is the last of 'em."
It hits the deck and with an unfortunate bounce, lands in the water with a splash. Rachel gasps and I cringe as my mother fishes it out.
Gammy laughs and calls out, "Five second rule!"
"Got it! Got it." She places it on a seat in the sun. "That will dry right off."
The boss isn't convinced, and I climb down the ladder to join them on the boat. When I turn around, Rachel is still at the top, swaying in place.
"I'm not getting on that boat."
Wait, so she's afraid of planes and boats? No wonder she lives in New York City. You can get anywhere walking. Although, with her choice in footwear, she probably doesn't even to that.
I smirk. "You don't have to. See you in a few days."
"You know I can't swim."
Oh right, I'd forgotten about that. I gestured to the motorboat. "Hence, the boat. Come on."
She glares at me but starts backing down the ladder.
Inch by inch.
That sick rooster could move faster than her at this point.
"Come on. Here we go." I drawl out. "Looking good, boss. Take your time, though."
"She comes with a lot of baggage," Gammy notes. I chuckle. She has no idea.
The boss is just a few feet from the dock, so I reach out to help her. She is now in reach, so I can let her know I've got her and there's no way she's going to fall. "Just gonna give you a little hand here."
She freezes. "Hand off ass! Off ass!"
I back away, hands in the air. "There you go. You're there."
Her foot is swinging around, tapping the edge of the deck.
When she faces me, I smirk. "Congratulations. I'm a hundred years old now."
She huffs and pushes past me to the boat, strapping on a ridiculous orange life jacket. I see Gammy roll her eyes when Rachel sits down next to her at the back of the boat, and start up the boat to head onto the island.
"Here we are. We're home," I say, cutting the engine.
"That is your home?" Rachel gapes. She lowers her voice a bit. "Who are you people?"
Gammy looks at me for an explanation and I shrug. Like I know why she does weird shit.
"Why did you tell me you were poor?" Rachel asks, suddenly at my side.
I look her over. "I never said I was poor."
"But you never told me you were rich," she argues.
"I'm not rich. My parents are rich."
She sighs. "Okay, you know what? That's something only rich people say."
Before I can respond, an old neighbor shouts out, "Hey, Quinn! Welcome home!"
"Hi!" Looking up at the lawn, I see there are tons of people roaming the place. "Mum, what is this?"
She looks sheepish. "Nothing. It's just a little welcoming party. Is that a crime?"
"Just 50 of our closest friends and neighbors. And all excited to meet you," Gammy adds.
"Oh, good. Good," I say. Great, more people to put on a charade in front of. Maybe they won't even notice Rachel.
"Come on. Come on!" Mum says, rushing off the dock.
"A party?" Rachel asks incredulously.
"Yeah, I guess so." I sigh. "Come on. Let's go. My grandma's moving faster than you."
She throws me a dirty look.
"Put your back into it."
"So nice to meet you, Rachel. Welcome to Sitka."
"Jill?" Rachel asks, trying to keep track of all the names. "Hi. Nice to meet you."
"Our pleasure," I say, and my twice-removed cousin scurries back into the crowd.
Rachel pulls me down an empty hallway and into the bathroom. She locks the door and looks me over, narrowing her eyes. "Why didn't you tell me you were some kind of Alaskan Kennedy?"
I snort. "How could I? We were in the middle of talking about you for the last three years."
The boss runs a hand through her hair, clearly not amused with my humor right now. I can tell by the way she's pacing (even though this is a tiny bathroom, she still finds room to pace) that she's frustrated and about to plunge into a rant. "Okay, know what? Timeout, okay? This bickering Bickerson thing has to stop. People need to think we're in love. So let's—"
"That's no problem. I can do that," I interrupt. I can pretend to be the doting fiancée. That's easy. But for you, it's gonna require that you stop snacking on children while they dream."
She glares at me. "Very funny. When are you going to tell them we're engaged?"
"I'll pick the right moment." I say, and open the door to step out. The enclosed space was making me clausterphobic, and I really don't need the boss rushing me on unveiling the "big" news. In fact, it's her fault we're in this situation.
"Hey, Quinn. Hi!"
I look up to find our family friend waving at me like a crazy lady and smile. "Mrs. McKittrick. How are you?"
"Nice to see you."
"Nice to see you, Mr. McKittrick," I glance behind me and see the boss hovering at my side. "This is Rachel."
"Hi. Pleasure." And we're hand shaking again. Man, I really have to find time to tell her we Alaskans are huggers.
"So I always wanted to know, what does a book editor do?" Mrs. McKittrick asks.
And just like a creepy thriller movie, a tall lanky figure with a balding head steps out of a dark corner to add into the conversation. "That's a great question, Louise. I'm curious to know the answer myself."
"Hello, Dad." I raise an eyebrow, not happy about his timing.
"Quinn." He takes in the boss. "This must be Rachie."
"Rachel," she corrects.
"Joe. Pleasure to meet you." He holds out his hand. Y'know, those two could actually get along.
She smiles. "Pleasure's mine."
"So why don't you tell us exactly what a book editor does," Dad prods. "Besides taking writers out to lunch and getting bombed."
Mrs. McKittrick laughs. "Now that sounds like fun. No wonder you like being an editor."
"No, Louise. Quinn's not an editor, she's an editor's assistant. Rachie here is the editor."
"Rachel," she corrects again.
"So you're actually..." Mr. McKittrick trails off.
"Quinn's boss. Yeah."
"Well. How about that." The McKittricks exchange a glance.
And cue awkward moment. I glare at my father, fuming.
"I think I'll get a refill," Rachel says, sensing the tension in the air. The McKittricks are quick to follow.
"That's a hell of a first impression, Dad," I spit out.
"What the hell, Quinn?" Of course he's going to turn it on me. Why do I expect any different? "You show up after all this time with this woman you hated, now she's your girlfriend?"
"We just got here. Can we wait two seconds before we throw the kitchen sink at each other?"
He shrugs. "Just never figured you for a girl who slept her way to the middle."
I note that he says middle and not top. It figures. He has never taken my career seriously. I puff out my chest a little, trying to stand taller. "I'll have you know that that woman in there is one of the most respected editors."
"She's your meal ticket, and you brought her to meet your mother."
Are you fucking kidding me? "No, no, no, no, no. She's not my meal ticket, Dad. She's my fiancée."
I don't mean to say it, or break the news this way, but I can't take it back now nor do I want to. The look on his face is priceless. It wiped the smugness right off.
"What'd you say?"
I step towards him. "You heard me. I'm getting married."