Quinn thought that the two dates she had with Rachel had gone very well. She was horrified when Rachel's dads had put her to that test, and even more when she found out that it was a fake test. Maybe she wasn't as sharp as she was because previously she could detect something phony from a mile away, or maybe when it comes to Rachel, just like Rachel said, she can't think straight. She didn't know how she could do any better than the last date. She already went out of her comfort zone by having picnic in public. To casual observers, it must have looked like two friends having a picnic. She thought about the time when their faces were just inches apart and how she had panicked. She was a bit uptight after that, and when she dropped Rachel off, she saw the same look from the first date, that told her Rachel was expecting her to do something more. But she wasn't sure what Rachel had wanted. Even if she had an idea of what it was, she didn't think it was something that she could do, or something that she was prepared to do yet. She had thought of kissing Rachel, but every time she came up with a serious case of over-thinking, like what should I do, am I suppose to make the move first, what if I do it wrong, what does it mean if I like it, what does it mean if I don't like it? So she took the safest approach, don't do anything. At the moment she enjoyed Rachel's company and this new friendship. She had never had this with anyone else. All the boys that she dated had always been just that, they never had the kind of friendship where they can be comfortable enough talk about anything. Her friendship with Mercedes, even though it was great, their conversation can be limited at times. She didn't feel like sharing everything with Mercedes, not because she didn't think Mercedes wouldn't like it or couldn't handle it, but there was just something in her that stop her from opening herself fully to other people. But with Rachel, she felt sort of liberated, like she can finally just be herself without having to put any mask on. Could it be that all I want is a best friend? Quinn fell asleep with that last thought in her head.
Rachel went to the girls' bathroom at the end of the school day on Monday. Mostly because she knew that if she wanted to talk to Quinn at school, that's the only place and time that they could. Quinn walked in later and instantly smiled at her.
"Hi, how's your day?" Quinn asked.
"It was good, but Mr Henry gave too much homework," Rachel was being a bit whiny.
Quinn, as usual, would just lean on the bathroom door while looking at Rachel.
"What did you do on Sunday?"
"Just hanging out with my dads, helping out with gardening. How about you?"
"Helped my mom clean the house. That place is too big for us, we should get a helper."
They were done with small talks, and on to the important subject.
"Are you excited for the Prom this Friday?" Rachel asked.
"How's the campaign going?"
Quinn grunted, "It's a pain to campaign with Finn, but I think we have a pretty good shot. Santana has been a bitch; she's been defacing our posters. And I was also annoyed with Puck for still for wanting to run with Lauren. I swear all of them just want to see Finn and I toppled from the top."
Rachel didn't say anything, she let Quinn let out her frustration.
"So who are you going to the prom with?" Quinn was curious.
"I don't know. No one has asked me yet. And at this stage, I don't think anyone would."
"I would love to ask you to the prom," Quinn said softly and Rachel smiled, "but I can't." Rachel nodded her understanding. "Why don't you go to the prom with Mercedes? She's not going with anyone either. Hey, in fact, why don't you guys go with Sam too?" Quinn looked excited with her idea.
"I don't know."
"Come on, think about it. You'll be quite safe with Mercedes and Sam."
"You want to keep me safe?"
"I want to keep you away from other people."
Rachel laughed at Quinn's protectiveness, which was quite funny given their current situation.
"Hey, I have to – "
"No! Let me go first." Rachel cut Quinn off.
Quinn was confused but she relented anyway, "Okay."
She moved away from the door and Rachel walked passed to exit the bathroom. She was so entranced with Rachel and can't keep her eyes away from her.
The next day, Rachel was at her locker when Finn approached her.
"Hi Finn, how are you?"
"I'm fine, I think. Well, I'm still alive … I think." He leaned on the lockers.
Rachel looked worriedly at him, "What's wrong?"
"Quinn had been coming down hard on me. I'm regretting that I ever proposed for us to run the campaign together. But hey, it's too late now." He looked at Rachel, "I wish I can ask you to go to the prom with me, because you're the one that I actually want to go with."
Rachel was speechless. After a few minutes, she said, "Hey, you'll have a great time with Quinn."
Finn snorted, "Yeah, right. Oh God, suddenly I remember that I'm supposed to get a corsage. I know I'm going to pick the wrong one and Quinn will be all pissed off -"
"Hey, just get her something simple. Girls like Quinn you don't want to do anything that's going to distract them from their face. So ask for gardenia, with a light green ribbon wrapped around it to match her eyes." Rachel suddenly felt sad that Finn was going to be the one that would be giving it to Quinn.
Finn smiled, "Thanks Rachel, I know I can count on you. Hey, maybe we can at least have one dance at the prom."
Rachel thought that she must have been living in the Twilight Zone. Both Quinn and Finn were vying for her affection, and to think that more than a year ago, she was busy plotting of ways to steal Finn from Quinn. In one hand, there was Finn, the All-American boy who was cute and tall and athletic, pretty much the dream boyfriend for most teenage girls. On the other hand, there was Quinn, the beautiful dangerous Quinn, the kind of girl that all boys want to have and the kind that parents told them to stay away from. On the surface, she's the cliché of a mean girl, but once you scratch the surface (if she allowed you to), she was so much more than that, and Rachel loved that she was allowed to see it.
Should she take the simple safer road that will cause her less heartache, or should she take the winding complicated path. Suddenly it reminded her of a Robert Frost's poem, "The Road Not Taken". She searched for her collective poem book; she knew it was somewhere in her book shelf. She found it at last and read the poem again and again. The last few sentences made her think:
'Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.'
She wasn't sure if she could properly apply the poem to her situation, but all the same, it made her wondered, how many people have been patient enough to take that road off the beaten path.
In the end Rachel did go to the prom with Mercedes and Sam, but they decided to have snacks at Breadstix beforehand. Quinn and Finn had also stopped by and went to their table to say hi. Rachel and Quinn exchanged a quick glance, both eyeing the other's dresses but it was too quick that nobody else noticed.
The prom went quite smoothly. Principal Figgins made Glee Club performed at the Prom, so they took turn singing. Quinn was dancing with Finn but she was looking around for Rachel. Finn was actually doing the same thing. Occasionally they would look at each other and pretended to be having fun.
Quinn finally saw Rachel and she was already on the stage ready to sing. Rachel performed "Jar of Hearts" and Quinn wondered why she picked such a sad song to sing at a prom. She continued dancing with Finn while Rachel was singing. A few times she felt Finn turning her around so that he was facing the stage. She didn't mind it because she couldn't look at Rachel at the moment, the song lyrics were making her sad. But as the song was about to end, she turned them around so that she was the one facing the stage. Rachel was looking at her and she looked like someone had broken her heart.
A few more songs later and it was time for Principal Figgins to announce the Junior Prom King and Queen. Quinn and Finn made their way on stage, along with the other candidates. He announced the Junior Prom King first and it went to Karofsky. Quinn gave Finn a sorry look, but he didn't look too bummed out about it. Then it was the time for the Junior Prom Queen. Quinn held her breath. She might not show just how much she wanted this because too many things happened in the past few weeks, but deep down inside, especially standing on stage at the moment waiting to hear her name being called out, it really blew her when Principal Figgins said Kurt's name instead. Kurt? She was angry and humiliated. How was it possible for people to vote for Kurt when he wasn't even a nominee or even a girl? She looked at Rachel angrily who was looking at her with concern. She couldn't stand there anymore, so she ran to the nearest bathroom. Rachel followed her into the bathroom.
"Quinn, you need to calm down."
"This is your fault." Quinn was accusing Rachel and it made her angry. She chased after Quinn because she was concerned, but instead she got this accusation. "Nobody ever would have voted for me because they know he would rather be with you."
Rachel couldn't believe what she was hearing. It was like everything that they had been through didn't matter just because of a tiara, a fake one at that.
"You're blaming me for your lost? Quinn, they're not voting against you, they voted to humiliate Kurt." Quinn was quiet, but Rachel could see tears running down her cheeks. "For what it's worth, I voted for you."
Quinn smiled but she was still not looking at Rachel.
"Rachel, I feel terrified all the time."
Rachel took some paper towels and wet them in the sink.
"What are you so scared of?"
Then she passed it to Quinn who took it to dab her eyes.
"The future … all this is gone," Quinn pointed to her face.
"Look, you have nothing to be scared of. I've said this before, but let me say it again. You're a very pretty girl Quinn, the prettiest girl I've ever met, but you're a lot more than that."
Rachel's words touched her but also made her felt even worse because just a few minutes ago, she had gone back to her old ways and accused Rachel of something that she had no part of.
"Here," Rachel took the paper towel from Quinn, "May I?" Quinn nodded her head.
Rachel softly patted under Quinn's eyes to get rid of the running mascara. She came closer and closer to Quinn. The action was quite intimate that Quinn suddenly stepped back. Rachel sighed and threw away the paper towel.
"Come on, let's go back in there and dance the night away."
Quinn laughed softly and followed her back to the gym. They found Mercedes and Sam dancing together and joined them.
"Hey," Finn came over, "are …" he was looking back and forth between Rachel and Quinn, "you … okay?" He was confused when he saw Rachel followed Quinn when she stormed off, and then they had come back to the gym together, all smiling.
"Yeah, let's dance," Quinn said.
Disclaimer: Some of the words in the bathroom scene and the corsage scene aren't mind, they're RIB's properties. If you've seen enough of these scenes, you know which lines :-) They're just too good not to be used.