Title: Glue These Shattered Pieces Whole
Pairing: Quinn Fabray/Rachel Berry; mentions of Quinn Fabray/Santana Lopez
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters. Just having a little fun.
Summary: Guilt ridden after her one-night stand with Santana, Quinn dives back into her work at Yale and completely avoids Rachel as best as she can. Feeling detected and lonely, Rachel turns to the one person who would know what's wrong with Quinn: her sometimes best friend, Santana. With nothing to lose and completely annoyed with Rachel's persistence, Santana spills the beans, and leaves it to Quinn to figure out how to proceed.
A/N: I haven't watched a single episode of season 4, so any inaccuracies are due to that.
She was positive someone had screwed her scalp off and jammed cotton balls in her head. Everything felt fuzzy and unfocussed. Her warm palm cradled it gently like a long lost baby to dull the ache crackling through it like thunder. Eyes bleary, she opened them to be greeted with the room around her. Everything was as out-of-focus as she felt, off kilter. She straightened her neck in an attempt to give herself clarity and suddenly her stomach felt like it was climbing up her throat.
Quinn shot out of the bed, tossing covers back and scrambling for the bathroom.
Her bedmate grumbled at the chilled air nipping at her skin. "Gimme back the covers," she griped in a sleep soft voice while she clawed for the soft white comforter. "Bitch."
Quinn barely made it to the toilet in time. It felt like the last twelve hours were rushing up her throat and being regurgitated into the unforgiving porcelain bowl. Every thought, action, and ounce of alcohol came forward all at once, and Quinn slumped back against the bathtub once she was done.
One thought, action in particular suddenly became abundantly clear and Quinn dropped her face into her hands with a groan. Last night: the slow dancing, the not so innocent touches that led to—
"Fuck." Her voice was strained and uneven with anxiety, low and barely audible because maybe if she didn't speak last night into existence in this moment and ever again, it wouldn't be real. "Fuck." But her logic was already splintering as intimate details about Santana's body that she should not have ever known were creating an iron curtain around her brain.
Quinn drew her knees to her chest and wrapped her arm around her legs. "Fuck." It was nearly a whimper this time as her mind traveled beyond herself and Santana, and the sordid affair that was last night. She was now swamped with thoughts of another brunette, a more unattainable one who was currently in her own hotel room doing who knew what at this hour.
Dread shot down her spine. "What have I done?" Quinn whispered to herself.
She heard the door creak open, registered soft footfalls, but didn't look up from the tiled floors as Santana stood before her, naked as the day she was born.
Her skin was as smooth as silk, Quinn had learned last night. It wasn't at all as callous as Santana's personality could be. It was pliant, vulnerable; a representation of what Santana was deep down.
Quinn felt slim arms wrap around her and clammed up. She stopped breathing for seconds on end and stared directly in front of her.
Santana swore under her breath. She didn't want to be 'that lesbian', the one who had to comfort a girl with an ambiguous sexuality after sex. But Quinn wasn't just some girl. She was her occasional best friend, and as of late the best friend switch had been flicked to on. Tightening her arms, Santana tugged Quinn closer until she was lying against her chest. The cold tiled floors bit at her bare knees and shins, but Santana's only reaction was to draw Quinn closer for warmth.
Neither one of them spoke for minutes as they listened to Quinn's erratic breathing patterns. Santana tried her best to stay in the moment as her mind wandered toward the future and what last night would ultimately mean for her and Brittany. Despite the fact that they were over and Brittany had moved on, Santana knew this news would still affect them both.
When she felt a tear drop land on her breast she sighed. "This doesn't have to mean anything, Q. You know that, right?"
Quinn's shoulders eased. She sniffled but remained stone-faced, embarrassed to be crying over the fact that she had slept with another woman. She wasn't sixteen anymore. Eternal damnation didn't seem to loom over her head since being released from under her parents' thumb and coming to an understanding that she was only human. She wasn't the perfect goody two-shoes she had spent her life trying to be, and being away from her parents was finally giving her the option of trying new things.
The sex was mind-blowing. Penetration had always been a struggle for Quinn. It always hurt and never provided pleasure that could surpass the pain. But nothing about last night was painful. It was thus far the most pleasurable sexual experience of her life.
Her eyes welled and her gaze dropped to the floor. "Are you sure?" she whispered.
Santana shrugged a shoulder. "I mean, unless you want it to mean somethi—"
Quinn gave a curt shake of her head, and Santana smirked.
"What, am I not short enough for you?"
Heat flushed her cheeks. "Santana, don't."
Santana eased up on the teasing when she saw Quinn almost crack a smile. "All right, all right."
Quinn swiped her tongue across her upper lip to catch a teardrop. She replayed Santana's statement and gave a sardonic chuckle. "I messed up, didn't I?"
She didn't specify how, but somehow Santana just knew. "Not necessarily," Santana answered carefully.
Lifting her head, Quinn glanced over at Santana for the first time in minutes. "Yeah?"
Santana's lips tightened. She reached out to straighten unruly blonde hair and tried her best not to think about how Quinn's hair was so unkempt because of her own fingers. Suddenly she patted Quinn on the back and moved to stand up. "Come on." She shot Quinn a look. "Get dressed already. I'm sick of looking at those barely legal cups."
Quinn glanced down at her breasts then smiled wryly at Santana. "That wasn't what you were saying last night."
They both paused at the joke and Quinn nearly choked on her tongue at her own audacity to make such a statement.
Santana's only reaction was to suck her teeth with a quirked eyebrow as if she were impressed. "Touché, Fabray." She turned to walk out of the bathroom and Quinn scrambled to stand.
They dressed in silence on opposite sides of the bed. Quinn presented her back to Santana, unwilling to look at her naked body for another second. Santana stole quiet glances at the contours of Quinn's body as bits and pieces disappeared from her vision forever. She smiled in secret to herself. "Always knew I'd hit that."
Quinn threw a dirty look over her shoulder. "You say something?"
Santana straightened. "Breakfast?"
It was right then that their hungers became apparent, and Quinn turned to the door. "There's no room service here?"
"Not exactly the swankiest joint in town," Santana informed her. She slid into a pair of shoes and sauntered toward the door. "Come on. I wanna see if there's a buffet around this place."
Quinn slipped on a pair of wedged heels and followed Santana out the door.
"Hi, Quinn, it's Rachel. I'm terribly sorry that I didn't get to see you. You seemed to be otherwise preoccupied, and I can understand that. I hope I get to talk to you soon. And who knows, maybe we can use those metro passes again sometime soon? I really hope to talk to you soon. Bye, Quinn."
She had been on the first thing smoking back to Connecticut once they all checked out of the hotel. Avoiding Rachel had been hell, especially when she had been receiving long-winded text messages about how they should hang out just one on one before both returned to school. Quinn dodged all the messages with vague replies of 'that'd be great' and 'sorry I missed you. I was in the bathroom'. Rachel was probably worried that Quinn had some type of bladder infection by now.
New Haven had never felt like such a safe haven, not even when she first arrived and managed to escape from under her parents' thumb.
It was anyone's guess who knew and who didn't by this point. Quinn and Santana rarely talked about it, and Quinn had been avoiding Rachel's phone calls for the past two weeks. It was mean of her she knew, but she couldn't bring herself to face Rachel after what she had done.
And it wasn't like she owed Rachel an explanation or something, not really. It was just that, she and Rachel had come to an unspoken understanding, an understanding that there was something between them that neither one was willing to explore. Because Rachel had Finn…sometimes, and Quinn had Yale and academic commitments, and the inability to commit to something that she wanted wholeheartedly. Not to mention the strong unwillingness Quinn had to explore her sexuality in any way with any person, two drunken hookups with Santana excluded.
So they left each other alone, for the most part, other than occasional heated glances and Rachel's inability to not touch Quinn in some capacity when they were in immediacy of each other.
It was all around easier to avoid Rachel. Quinn didn't avoid conflict often unless that conflict would ultimately affect her over-all well-being. And as much as she hated to admit it, it would affect her if Rachel found out about her and Santana because Rachel would be furious.
Quinn wrestled her glasses from her face to pinch the bridge of her nose. She had spent so much time thinking about how Rachel would feel about all of this that she hadn't really taken the time to think about how she felt. She had spent the past couple of weeks repressing the memories that it was hard to conjure them up. She remembered that it felt great, amazing actually. Better than sex with a guy had ever felt. It was passionate and satisfying.
But Quinn couldn't help but wonder if it had the potential to be better…
Her phone buzzed beside her, jarring her out of her thoughts, and Quinn absentmindedly groped along her wooden desk to find it.
Quinn growled in frustration as her cheeks flushed. "Santana, I told you not to call me that!" she hissed through gritted teeth.
She heard Santana cackle on the other line and her shoulders eased despite the remark. It was oddly comforting to know that Santana didn't take their two-time one-night stand seriously. Quinn sighed. "What do you want, Santana?"
"I told Berry I'd call and bitch you out for ignoring her phone calls."
Quinn swore under her breath and gripped her phone tighter. "Believe me, the last thing I need right now is you breathing down my neck about my friendship with Rachel."
It was quiet for a long moment then Santana spoke. "I get that your tail is tucked between your legs because you stepped out on your woman to try this hot piece of ass. And really, Rachel can only blame you so much. I am hot. But maybe you should stop ignoring her calls because I think she's about to spontaneously combust."
"What's wrong with her?" Quinn asked in a weary yet worried voice.
"I don't know. She won't say. You know why? Because she's waiting on her supposed best friend to pick up the damn phone."
"I am her best friend," Quinn combated.
"Not with the way you're acting, you're not."
Quinn sank back into her seat. The creaky wood broke the silence with its uneasy cadence. When Quinn spoke, her voice was shaky with barely contained frustration. "You don't know a thing about my relationship with Rachel. So don't you dare butt in and try to tell me whether or not I'm her friend."
"You're not her friend," Santana countered easily enough. "If you were truly her friend then you wouldn't be feeling guilty about sleeping with me. If you were truly her friend then you wouldn't be avoiding her calls because you can't bear to face her like you're some cheating girlfriend." When Quinn didn't respond Santana sighed. "Face it, Q, you're not her friend. You're her potential girlfriend if either one of you would balls up enough to take that leap, and that's why you feel so guilty and ashamed right now. That's why you're avoiding her."
Quinn rubbed at her eyebrows in irritation. It felt like she was being put on trial. "What do you want, Santana?"
"I told her I'd visit next weekend. And I told her I'd bring you. That seemed to cheer her up a little."
Quinn cleared her throat. Her gaze dropped to her desk and the mound of papers strewn about it. "I have a lot of homewor—"
"Bull shit," Santana growled. "If you don't wanna see her that's one thing. But don't you dare lie to me, Fabray."
Quinn shot up from her seat, seething with anger. "You know what, Santana? I have a lot of homework to do right now, so I'll talk to you later." Without even waiting for a response, she disconnected the call.
"Hey, Quinn, it's Rachel. Well…I don't really know what's going on, but…you're ignoring me, Quinn. And I'm terribly sorry if I've done anything to offend you. But please quit shutting me out. Okay? I'm sorry. I'm so sorry for whatever I've done. But I need you. I need my best friend. So please call me back, Quinn. O-or text me even. Just—anything. Please."
It was eight o'clock at night when rapid knocking disturbed Rachel's reading. She peered across the room and eagerly sat her book down before skipping to the door. Rising onto her tip toes, Rachel peered into the peephole to find Santana on the other side. She squealed a little and opened the door to find Santana…and just Santana.
Unconsciously her shoulders slumped. "Oh. Hi, Santana."
Half offended, half pitying, Santana cut Rachel a look before shouldering past her. "Yeah, nice to see you, too."
Rachel peered outside just in case, then closed the door behind her with a dejected pout. "She isn't here, is she?"
Santana surveyed the boring Friday night in that was occurring around her before rolling her eyes and plopping down on the couch. "Afraid not."
Rachel carefully sat down beside her on the couch as if any sudden movement was going to shatter her completely. She felt at her wits' end, frayed at the edges because it was obvious that Quinn was upset with her and for the life of her, Rachel couldn't figure out why.
But she was finding that she couldn't handle Quinn being upset with her, at least without knowing why. And knowing that Quinn was far enough away that Rachel couldn't reach her, couldn't make a five minute trip to see her made her mad enough to pull her hair out. And with how busy she was she couldn't even use one of her tickets and drop in on Quinn and make her talk.
She just had to constantly ring her phone and send her messages, hoping Quinn would respond to at least half of them. Which she did, with vague answers that never alluded to just what was wrong.
Rachel felt incomplete without Quinn, without her best friend. She felt she was missing an integral part of her life, someone so essential that she was finding it hard to go on without Quinn. Her heart ached with each passing day that she didn't get to hear her voice, her life experiences for the day, the gentle rhythm of her breathing—all of it. Rachel needed all of it, and felt herself going crazy and sullen without it.
Santana allowed Rachel to drift in her own thoughts for a moment before she cut in. "Are you really going to subject me to staying in on a Friday night? I'd get more action in Louisville on a Friday night than I would in this dump, gloom and doom apartment."
"Santana, can I ask you a question?" Rachel's timid voice spoke up, completely ignoring the verbal jab.
Resignation immediately set into Santana's posture. "Sure, Berry."
Rachel met her eyes with open curiosity and pain. "Do you have any idea why Quinn is avoiding me?"
The question wasn't surprising and thus, Santana sank back into her seat, preparing to give Rachel the whole story. Because unlike Quinn, Santana wasn't afraid of the ramifications of her actions, at least not where Rachel was concerned. "Yeah, I think I may."
Dark eyes shined in hope as Rachel silently motioned for Santana to continue.
Santana squared her shoulders back and folded her arms across her chest. "Look, Berry, I'm not gonna sugar-coat this for you." She exhaled a harsh breath. "A few weeks ago during Schuester and Emma's would-be wedding, Q and I got it on in a hotel room. Twice."
Rachel blinked. Twice. "I'm sorry. What?"
"I heard what you said."
Her voice was clipped and abrupt, nothing like Santana had ever heard, and her eyes widened as she stared at Rachel head on. Clamping down on her bottom lip, Santana refrained from ripping Rachel a new one, and allowed her to cope with what had to be troubling information.
It felt like her thoughts had been sped up and turned on a rinse cycle. The same thoughts kept turning around in her head: Santana and Quinn had slept together. They had had sex. Quinn had had sex with a girl. Santana had seen Quinn naked, fully, had touched her intimately and knew what it sounded like to hear her pleasure.
Quinn had had sex.
With a girl.
Rachel took a deep breath, and another, and another quickly after that. She soon discovered that it felt like she couldn't breathe, like a force had arrested her thoughts, constricted her heart, and restricted her airway—Quinn.
She was hyperventilating, this was what this was.
She tried. A gasp of breath was inhaled, but it didn't seem to work.
"It's not that big of a deal."
Rachel sucked in a breath and held it, then shot Santana a look. How dare she?
Santana almost laughed at how quickly Rachel's dramatic episode ended. "Calm down. I'll have you know that this—" she glanced down at her body, "—looks great without clothes on." Santana went on to stingily admit, "And Quinn looks okay, too, I guess."
Rachel squeaked in horror that Santana even knew that, and covered her mouth.
Santana tilted her head in confusion. "What?"
There was a pregnant pause for drawn out seconds until Santana saw big, fat tears welling in Rachel's eyes.
Her own widened. "Shit."
"How could you!" Rachel shouted for the tenth time in two hours. It wasn't even a question anymore, more of a statement of outrage and betrayal considering Santana had already explained.
Her blood boiled with seething jealousy that rivaled anything she had ever felt before. Never in her life had Rachel wanted so badly to end Santana Lopez, not even when she went after Finn and took his virginity. The virginity Santana had stolen this time was much more precious to Rachel, something she had both knowingly and unknowingly coveted for nearly three years. It was something she thought would forever be under lock and key, unavailable not just to her, but to every girl.
And to know that the person standing before her now got her hands on what Rachel thought no one ever would made her stomach curl with rage.
Santana sighed for the hundredth time in two hours and plopped down on Rachel's couch. This wasn't anything new. She was kind of used to people confronting her about sleeping with others they were interested in. High school was a bit of a whirlwind. Still, her shoulders slumped when she looked to find renewed tears welling in Rachel's eyes. "It was…" Her tongue faltered, because it wasn't an accident, not really. She and Quinn knew what they were doing, especially when Quinn stayed for a second round. "It didn't mean anything," she tried, because that was closer to the truth than it being an accident.
She wasn't stupid. Playing reluctant sidekick to Head Cheerio Quinn for half her high school career had given her views into Quinn's world when Santana chose to take them. And she knew a hardcore lesbian when she saw one. The chemistry she had felt and seen between Tubbers and Man-Hands had been gross to witness, but very present, an almost ethereal force that tethered them together if Santana chose to dwell on the thought long enough, which she didn't at all. "Look, I'm sorry," she sighed.
Rachel froze. Her glistening eyes widened to saucers as she not so casually tugged at the collar of her blouse. "Why are you apologizing to me?" She licked her lips. "What you and-and Quinn do is your own business and certainly has no bearing on how I function as an individual."
Santana leveled her eyes on Rachel. "Then why have you been crying for the past two hours?"
Rachel wrapped her arms around herself. She drew her legs onto the couch with a heavy sigh. "Why has she been avoiding me?" she asked in a nasally voice, completely ignoring the question.
"For the same reason why you've been crying," Santana answered readily.
She nodded once then dropped her gaze. A myriad of emotions grappled for Rachel's attention: hurt, anger, betrayal. Yet another one, stronger than them all was the one that kept the tears falling down her face.
"I messed up, didn't I?" she asked out of nowhere.
Santana's lips quirked at the question. "Not necessarily."
Rachel nodded once more then stood from the couch. "I'm going to bed." Her voice held finality to it. This was all she could bear for one night. "You know where everything is to make yourself a nice pallet." Just as she began walking away, she turned around. "I don't mean to seem rude, but—"
Santana waved her off. "Go to bed already. I'll make myself a bed." She shrugged. "Who knows, maybe I'll even go out since I'm the only person in this apartment with a life."
Rachel almost smiled, but couldn't find the will to do so. "Goodnight, Santana."
Santana drew a sip of her fresh mug of coffee. "I don't mean to sound rude, but a bitch like me hates secrets." Her back straightened and for a split second she was reminiscent of the high school cheerleader she used to be. "Why'd you call me here, Berry?"
The question made Rachel pause as she washed the dishes. It was noon the next day, and Santana had just awoken from the night of partying she threatened to have the night before. She had stumbled into the living room and ordered Rachel to make her a pot of coffee. After Rachel did nothing but stare at her in concentrated silence for a long moment, Santana shrugged, swore under her breath, and went into the kitchen to make it herself.
And now she was attempting to get down to the heart of the matter: why she was there in the first place. However, in light of learning about Quinn and Santana's one-night stand, Rachel had forgotten about her own troubles. Though their one-night stand was rapidly becoming Rachel's issue as well. She placed her hummus-stained plate in the sink and grabbed a nearby dish towel. "Finn and I, when all of us slept at the hotel, we-we had sex."
Santana placed her mug down with an audible clank. "The plot thickens," she whistled with a grin.
Rachel cut her a dirty look. "This isn't some cheesy, poorly scripted and badly acted soap opera, Santana. This is real life. My life. I was already feeling confused and regretful about Finn and what it would mean for the two of us as well as me and Brody, and now I have to cope with the fact that you've slept with Quinn as well."
Santana leaned forward in her seat as if she was about to be privy to this week's gossip. "And why is me boning Quinn something you have to 'cope with', Berry?"
Rachel turned away from her, unwilling to venture down that road with Santana of all people.
The silence stretched between them and Santana sighed. "Look, being someone's first isn't that big a deal."
"Coming from someone who blatantly steals people's first times, I can hardly trust you, now can I?" Rachel spat.
Santana bared her teeth. "Watch your big mouth, Berry."
Rachel folded her arms across her chest with a huff of irritation, though she remained quiet.
"What I'm trying to say," Santana continued with a rough growl to her voice, "is that first times aren't all that special in the grand scheme of things. Take me for instance." She sighed and crossed her legs under the table. "I wasn't Brittany's first anything hardly. I wasn't her first kiss, her first time, not even her first girl." Her nose scrunched in past irritation as her eyes grew distant. "But I loved her as if I was. I kissed her as if I was her first. I…I fucked her to the point where she thought of no one else before me, and wanted no one after me." The vulgarity of her statement did nothing to surpass how tender her expression grew.
Rachel cleared her throat quietly as she regarded Santana in a new light, one of admiration and sympathy.
"But…she did seek out others, didn't she?" Santana asked with a twisted smirk that lacked humor. "And so did I. So maybe none of it even mattered."
Rachel took swift strides to stand beside Santana. There was nothing worse than an aching heart in her eyes. She placed a tentative hand on Santana's shoulder. "Despite whatever dalliances that took place on the side, it was clear to anyone with eyes that the two of you only had eyes for each other."
Santana turned away with a grim expression then muttered, "Yeah, had."
It was obvious that her words did more harm than good, so Rachel stepped back to give Santana space. She tucked a lock of hair behind her ear and returned to her original spot. "Kurt doesn't know about Finn and I, and I don't want to tell him," she continued in an attempt to steer the conversation. "Finn and I have been going back and forth a lot recently, and I don't want to keep troubling Kurt and making him feel like he has to choose between his best friend and his step-brother." Her eyebrows drew inward. "I don't know how to tell Brody. I don't even know where he and I are going at the moment, and it's all so confusing."
Santana casted a glance in Rachel's direction. "Let me stop you right there, Berry. Who do you want?"
Rachel's lips firmed. It was a question she had been asked and wrestled with for so long now that she was capable of offering up an answer without sugar-coating anything. "Brody is more likely to be successful. But Finn is more familiar and in a time in my life when I'm still adjusting to college and meeting new people, the familiar is comforting, and—"
"That's great. But you left a dark horse out of the running," Santana told her. "Again."
Rachel turned to meet Santana's eyes. "Santana, don't."
"The two of you even talk the same. What do they say about couples who spend a lot of time together? They eventually turn into the same person."
Tentatively, Rachel reached out to grab the chair across from Santana. She sat down with ginger movements as if she was two seconds away from shattering. Rachel stared down at the kitchen table as she smoothed her hands over it. "How could she?" she asked softly. "I-I mean, the only reason I didn't even try with her and make my feelings explicitly clear was because I thought she was unwilling to explore her sexuality. A-and now this happened." The brown in her eyes looked dull with resignation as she met Santana's eyes. "Does she not feel the sam—"
"She does," Santana assured in a softer voice. "She's just…an idiot. Nothing new there."
"She's not an idiot. She's wonderful," Rachel reflexively replied. Her cheeks suddenly felt warm and she demurely lowered her head. "She feels the same way?" Granted there was a part of her that knew that Quinn felt the same way. But an abstract thought of Quinn being in love with her was completely different from having it verbally confirmed.
Santana frowned. "When did I end up in some sappy Gone with the Wind rom-com, minus the racism?" Her frowned deepened. "And plus the comedy, I guess."
She had picked up jogging after physical therapy as a means to further strengthen her legs and lose the invisible ten pounds she felt she had gained while wheeling around. Now, months later, Quinn found jogging to be therapeutic. It took her mind off of things, and made her too tired at night to allow her mind to wander.
Plus, Yale's campus was beautiful. And on days when she didn't really feel like looking at the campus, there was a park a few blocks away.
The children playing reminded Quinn of Beth, and she smiled to herself, promising to call her later tonight.
The song Move Bitch suddenly blared in her ear and Quinn rolled her eyes. She groped along the cord of her ear buds to the answer call button just about her collarbone and tapped it. "What, Santana?"
"The hell are you breathing so hard for? You fucking?"
Quinn nearly tripped over her own feet. She stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and swore under her breath. "No, I'm not doing that," she emphasized in exasperation. "I'm jogging. Some of us do that from time to time to stay healthy, you know."
"Yada, yada. I spend my days doing cheering routines that would make you cry harder than Coach Sylvester ever did. Plus, scissoring has always been a great quad worker, so—"
Santana paused. "You weren't saying that the night of."
"Oh, don't even. We didn't scissor." The sound of someone clearing their throat made Quinn turn around. Just a little ways behind her was a now irate looking couple teaching their child how to ride a bike. Her face inflamed as she turned back around and jogged around the fountain in the middle of the park to the bench on the other side.
Quinn collapsed against it with a sigh. "What do you want, Santana?"
"I ran into Berry the other day."
"You didn't run into her. You went to visit her."
"Same diff." Santana cleared her throat. "Q, the girl's a wreck without you. And…she's even more of a wreck now that she knows we've slept together."
Quinn shot out of her seat. Her jaw tightened as she stared unseeingly ahead. "Excuse me?"
"One of us had to tell her, Quinn!" Santana defended. "She wanted to know why you were acting so weird, so I told her!"
"That wasn't her business to know!" Quinn hissed into the phone as she picked up a light jog to head back to her dorm.
Quinn's nostrils flared in response to the challenge in Santana's voice. She contemplated hanging up, but decided ignoring Santana all together would be an even greater punishment.
A form of self-satisfaction settled inside of her when she heard Santana sigh. "Look, I know the only way you know how to deal with issues is to sweep them under the rug and pretend they don't exist like the poorly functioning human being you are. But do you really think you can spend the rest of your life ignoring Berry?"
"You don't know shit about my relationship with her!" Quinn roared into the phone. "I'm doing what I think is best for—"
"I don't wanna hear your shit, Quinn. The fact of the matter is you fucked me and you fucked up. Fix it, before your friendship with Berry deteriorates beyond repair. Look, Q, I—" Santana released a shuddery breath. "The way Berry talks about you is the way that I hope, I pray, Brittany still talks about me. Okay? Do you get it now?"
Quinn sighed. "Santana—"
"But Brittany is off fucking Beiber reject, and I have to be okay with that. But you have a choice, Quinn. You can either step up to the plate and be with Rachel, or let her keep going through the revolving door that is Finn and Brody until she ends up pregnant."
Quinn stopped dead in her tracks. The word pregnant had always been able to get a reaction out of her. "She's doing what?"
"She's stuck between a chiseled rock and a dumb place," Santana stated matter-of-factly. "Waiting for something better to come along."
Quinn glanced up at the bright afternoon sky as if a sign was supposed to fall down on her. "Santana, I—I don't know," she sighed.
"She's waiting for you, Quinn. Has been since the moment she laid eyes on you."
She kick started herself into motion again, as if running from the feelings that had been percolating between her and Rachel for so long. "I have to go, Santana."
Her voice held a pleading note to it that Santana picked up on immediately. Without another word, she disconnected the call.
There wasn't much soul-searching involved, surprisingly. Quinn didn't spend the next two weeks dwelling on whether or not she should make her move. She didn't go back and forth on the subject.
No, instead all it took was one text message from Rachel, strategically placed on a Thursday evening that simply said, Come see me. Followed by another text message that Quinn read over and over and over again until she could feel her insides burn: Please, Quinn.
The following Friday evening after classes and homework, Quinn was on a train to New York. Her hands fidgeted in her lap as she gazed out the window into the darkening sky. She suddenly became very aware of how little she had actually used the tickets she had presented to Rachel as an almost gift that day just before graduation. If she could, Quinn would visit far more often. If she allowed herself to just feel the things she kept hidden, she would spend every weekend by Rachel's side. But her reticent nature often forced her to admire things from afar until they slipped from her grasp completely. It now felt this would be the case with Rachel yet again if Quinn didn't visit. And how many more offers to make it right was Rachel really going to extend? Quinn scoffed under her breath with a roll of her eyes. Okay, so maybe Rachel would offer an infinite amount of chances to fix this because she was Rachel and this was Quinn, and whether or not Quinn deserved it, she would always be forgiven in Rachel's eyes and always deserving of chance after chance.
It was one of the things Quinn admired about her, how forgiving she was.
Still, the fact that Rachel knew what had transpired between her and Santana and was still willing to meet Quinn halfway (figuratively, because Quinn was the one taking this train trip to New York) meant a lot.
It meant that she still cared, something Quinn had always been worried would run out. But three years had passed since Rachel and Quinn's paths had officially crossed in the form of sharing boys, and Rachel still cared.
Quinn could take a guess as to why.
But she didn't want to allow herself to hope.
She settled back into her thoughts with the semi-comforting notion that Rachel felt the same way, and felt herself drift off to sleep.
Guilt dropped on her like a ton of lead as she stood before Rachel's apartment building. A sinking feeling settled in the pit of her stomach. Quinn inhaled a deep breath. There was no logical reason as to why she should be feeling guilty at the moment. She wasn't tied to Rachel in any way other than a budding friendship. She didn't owe Rachel anything other than friendship.
If that were truly the case then why did she feel so guilty?
Why did she feel the sudden urge to flee and hide the day after her one-night stand with Santana?
The answer was becoming more and more obvious with each step Quinn took up to Rachel's apartment. The hallway was quiet and her steps echoed, ominous in sound.
Quinn cleared her throat as she stood in front of Rachel's door. She felt completely stripped of confidence, laid bare before she could even get into the apartment. Her knock on the door was especially forceful to give the illusion of self-assurance.
The audible clank of the door being unlocked was heard before it was swung open to reveal Rachel on the other side. She was dressed in a pair of turquoise shorts that barely reached the tops of her thighs and a black tank top. Her feet were bare, toes digging into the wooden floor in nervous energy that ran the length of her body.
But her eyes glowed the second they set their sights on Quinn where they remained fixed, relearning her proud forehead, the arch in her eyebrows, the intensity that exuded from her eyes, the soft radiance of her face, the pigment of her lips, and the serious set of her jaw.
It was Quinn.
Her Quinn…that had slept with another woman.
Rachel cleared her throat and took a step back. It was troubling how Quinn could tell the exact moment her eyes, expression, and posture grew guarded. It was comforting to still see the light in her eyes, however.
"I was wondering when you would arrive," Rachel spoke into the silence. Her voice sounded strained, as if she hadn't used it in days. Which Quinn knew was a virtual impossibility. Rachel gestured in her direction with a sweep of her hand and a tender smile that was almost painful to form. "You-you look good, Quinn."
Quinn swallowed. It felt like her insides had been flipped upside down. She cursed Rachel for always being able to do this to her. "Thanks. You, too."
Rachel waved away the compliment. "Surely not. I must look awfully tired."
"You look great, Rachel."
Her voice carried finality to it, and Rachel demurely dropped her gaze, feeling her face warm. "Thank you." She cleared her throat and jerkily gestured to the inside of her apartment. "Umm, come in, come in. Have a seat."
Quinn gripped her overnight bag tighter and walked into the apartment. Her eyes glanced over the living room just to give herself something to do. She wasn't paying attention to the apartment; it all looked the same, but her discomfort was reaching new heights.
She settled onto the couch with rigid posture, and tried not to flinch when Rachel sat beside her. She tried to remember that no matter how hard this was for her, it had to be just as hard for Rachel, but it was easier to be selfish and flee or avoid the topic all together.
Rachel stole quiet glances at Quinn like a school girl with a crush as the silence stretched between them. It felt like she hadn't seen Quinn in so long—though she had recently, since college, gone for longer periods without seeing Quinn. But this was by far the longest they had ever gone without speaking to each other. She had conflicting feelings of anger, jealousy, and relief, all bubbling just under the surface, made apparent only by her fidgeting fingers. "How are you?"
"Fine," Quinn answered airily with a nod. "I'm fine. How are you?" She looked up at Rachel for the first time in minutes.
The intensity of her gaze took Rachel's breath away, always had. She felt her body react beyond her conscious control. Her shoulders eased as she turned ever so slightly in Quinn's direction to meet her eyes dead on. She felt her breath hiccup and knew she was in trouble.
"Rachel?" Quinn's voice was barely a breath as she watched the minute twitch in Rachel's lower lip. "Rachel?"
Her lips turned downward into a pout. She could feel tears forming and did nothing to keep them away. This was Quinn. Quinn had seen her cry, made her cry more times than Rachel could count. She felt no need to hide her vulnerability from her.
Quinn exhaled a harsh breath.
"How could you?"
Her voice sounded broken, cracked as if this was the final note of the song and she had screwed it up royally. Though Rachel didn't shy away from how raw her voice sounded and only continued to speak. "How could you, Quinn?"
Quinn stood from the couch, fidgety and uncomfortable. Yet the words so easily escaped her. "It was an acci—"
"Don't you dare, Quinn Fabray." Rachel's jaw dropped at Quinn's audacity to lie to her face. She shot up from her seat with balled fists at her side and tight shoulders. "Don't you stand there and lie to my face by telling me it was an accident. How do your fingers accidentally slip inside of someone?"
Quinn inhaled a deep, scandalized breath and looked away. Her teeth gritted in irritation. "I don't have to explain myself to you."
"Don't you?" Rachel challenged back. Though nervous, Rachel's bold statement did exactly what she hoped it would: render Quinn speechless. Encouraged, Rachel stepped forward. "I mean, really, Quinn? A one-night stand? You're Quinn Fabray. You don't do one-night stands, especially not with another woman."
"Then maybe you don't know me," Quinn hissed scathingly. She felt trapped in a corner and was willing to draw her claws out if it meant getting Rachel off her back. She watched Rachel wipe at her eyes that blazed anew in reaction to her statement.
"I don't know you?" Rachel cried with incredulity. "Surely you're joking." Her arms folded across her chest. "I would argue that I know you better than anyone, Quinn Fabray."
Quinn's knuckles popped as she flexed her fingers then balled them into a fist. Rachel had her beat there, and they both knew it. No one knew Quinn like she did. No one had ever taken the time to.
Rachel watched silent resignation ease Quinn's posture. Even in the face defeat, which Rachel didn't see often, Quinn looked beautiful. Her throat constricted with emotion at the sight of the woman in front of her and all the emotions Quinn could evoke from her. "How dare you make love to her—"
Quinn's eyes flashed. "We didn't make love—"
"—when it should have been me."
She stopped cold. Her jaw tensed then relaxed until her mouth was wide open in shock. "W-what?"
She rarely faltered in speech and a part of Rachel felt pride even as her lower lip trembled in anxiety. "You heard me, Quinn."
Without her own consent, Quinn became assaulted with images of Rachel, nude and spread out below her on a bed. Her cheeks inflamed at the very thought, and her nose crinkled as she scowled deeply. "You're just as much at fault here as I am."
"Excuse me?" Rachel shrieked. "I wasn't the one who got drunk and slept with Santana until the sun came up."
"I'm sorry, were you in the hotel room with us?" Quinn shot back. "Because unless you were, I don't think you can accurately account for how long Santana and I slept together."
"Well, according to Santana's account, it happened twice, which is also why you can't stand here and lie to my face by telling me it was a mistake."
Quinn shook her head with a snide smile. "You always act so holier than thou." She looked down her nose at Rachel. "As if you haven't been having sex lately."
Rachel gasped, her gaze dropping almost immediately. She picked at the tiny slit on the side of her shorts as her eyes grew impossibly wide. "It-it was—"
"An accident?" Quinn ventured with sarcasm dripping from her voice. "You are just as much at fault here as I am. You knew you loved me since your engagement at least, and you chose not to act on it."
It seemed that the roles had reversed. Now Quinn was the one making bold statements while Rachel stumbled over her own surprise to offer up a rebuttal.
"Because I didn't know if you'd feel the same way!" she eventually cried.
"Of course I feel the same way!" Quinn shot back. "Do you honestly think I would have spent half the amount of time on you that I did if I didn't feel the same way?" Her expression turned somber. "But you knew that."
"And you knew how I felt about you," Rachel felt the need to point out.
"And yet neither of us did anything."
"Because I didn't think you'd want to try with another woman, Quinn," Rachel sighed. "Had I have known, if you would have shown any sort of inkling that you wanted to give this a shot, I would have spent every day wooing you with flowers and love letters because I wanted you so very much, Quinn."
Quinn's lower lip quivered. "Wanted?"
A ghost of a smile finally touched Rachel's mouth. "Want," she reassured. She stepped closer. "I want you, Quinn." Her gaze grew fevered as her eyes roamed Quinn's face fondly. "I've always wanted you. In whatever capacity I could have you at any given moment, but please allow me to take this moment to be forthright and say that I would love more than anything to have the opportunity to be with you, Quinn." She stepped closer until she could fully grasp Quinn's hand. It felt warm and real against her own, and for the first time in years Rachel felt they were on the precipice of what they had both been wanting for a very long time.
Quinn watched Rachel with critical eyes as she stepped closer and closer into her personal space, something they had never ventured into…sober.
"I don't care what you do, Quinn Fabray. I don't care if you feel you've done the most despicable thing known to man. Don't you ever, ever go this long without speaking to me again. Do you understand me, Quinn?" Rachel pleaded. "That hurts me, Quinn. More than anything you could ever do, ignoring me hurts the most."
Her hand rose to grip Rachel's shoulder in uncertainty. As if Rachel could read the indecision in her posture, she smiled up at Quinn. "It's okay, Quinn." Her eyes shined with hope. "I feel the same way."
"Are you sure?" Quinn murmured. Her grip on Rachel's bare shoulder tightened. "Rachel, don't toy with me. There's a difference between being jealous that Santana's in a since gotten a part of me that you haven't, and actually wanting me."
"I want you," Rachel interjected fervently. "Quinn Fabray, it has taken me years to be able to admit this to you, to myself. Do not belittle my feelings into some trivial high school bout of jealousy."
Quinn huffed out a quiet laugh as she gazed at Rachel in wonderment. Never in her life had she actually thought this day would come. She occasionally entertained the thought, at night when the lights were off and she couldn't think of anything else. But to have it actually come to fruition, to have Rachel stand before her and declare the years long yearning that Quinn too felt was beyond her wildest dreams.
"Quinn?" Rachel urged. "Can you at least admit these feelings are reciprocated?"
Her voice besought Quinn and shook her out of her thoughts. She glanced down to find Rachel staring up at her with unabashed devotion, the kind of devotion that Quinn was only allowed to catch glimpses of over the years.
Loosening her grip around Rachel's shoulder, Quinn slid her hand along her neck. She felt Rachel swallow, watched her lick her lips as gentle fingers caressed her for the first time. She cupped the side of Rachel's face and the feel of her satiny skin under her palm made her breath stutter. "It's reciprocated," Quinn whispered. It felt like years of repression had finally been lifted from her shoulders. Her other hand rose to cup Rachel's cheek, completely encasing it in her ginger grasp. "I—" Her voice felt foreign to her own ears, overly emotional. "I feel the same way."
"Kiss me, Quinn," Rachel pleaded, and before she could even blink warm lips were straining against hers. She had never felt lips this soft. She hadn't known anything was capable of feeling this delicate. Sure, the very word was one she had used over the years to describe Quinn, especially when she wore her pale yellow dresses with her ballooning belly when she was seven months pregnant—delicate. Graceful, elegant—everything this kiss was.
She felt herself gasp raggedly into the kiss, giving herself away. How much she had wanted this over the years, longed to know what a simple kiss from Quinn Fabray felt like. Without thought, Rachel gripped the sides of Quinn's dress and held on for dear life, a raft in the raging sea that made her stomach feel topsy-turvy. It was all she could do to keep her head above water. And really, a part of her simply wanted to drown in the murky depth that was Quinn.
An agile tongue swiped over her lip and Rachel whimpered, rising on her toes to wholeheartedly accept this part of Quinn into her.
The eagerness that greeted made Quinn's toes curl. How often had she sinfully coveted the very thing she was immersed in at this moment?
It was like walking a tight-rope, her sexuality. Trying to balance with her desire on one shoulder and her religion on the other was proving to not be as difficult as a feat as she first thought once she was able to move away from her parents ideologies. Plus, Jesus never mentioned homosexuality, so she reasoned that had to count for something.
It couldn't have been that bad if it felt this right. If cupping Rachel's cheeks and laying her lips upon hers made her feel this whole then it couldn't have been bad. If feeling Rachel's hands anchoring her in place made her feel more at peace than in pieces then it couldn't be wrong.
Quinn winded her hands through the wisps of hair at the nape of Rachel's neck and tugged her closer to probe deeper inside her mouth. She had never been this curious to discover the taste of another individual, not even Santana. Despite how eye-opening their one-night stand was for Quinn, it wasn't nearly as fulfilling as standing in Rachel's living room and finally having the opportunity to kiss her after repressing the desire for so long. A chill ran deep down her spine at the thought of what other parts of Rachel would taste like, and she pulled back.
Brazenly, Rachel caught Quinn's lower lip and gave a swift tug before releasing her.
They stared openly at each other for the first time, neither bothering to hide the affection in their eyes as Quinn's thumb rubbed along the length of Rachel's neck.
"That was…" Rachel trailed off, at a loss for words. She swiped her tongue over her lower lip and was greeted with the taste of Quinn's lip gloss. "Wow," she finally whispered, Santana the furthest thing from her mind because perhaps she had been right all along. First times were only so important. And under the weight of how Rachel and Quinn felt for each other, Quinn's first time with Santana couldn't and wouldn't stand a chance.
Quinn nodded with a quiet, almost shy smile as if she was answering Rachel's unspoken thoughts. "That was—I've never felt anything quite like that before," she admitted.
"In a good way?" Rachel hedged with a hint of skepticism in her voice.
Quinn's smile grew. "In a good way."
Rachel's thumbs rubbed circles into Quinn's sides. The words left her mouth before she could even bite them back. "Better than Santana?" She very nearly face palmed.
Quinn's lips slipped into a smirk at the hint of jealously lacing Rachel's voice. "Mhm," she hummed. "But just to be sure I'll need another kiss."
Rachel giggled, eyes shining as she leaned in closer. Just as their lips were about to touch, she reared back with a stern expression. "Before we continue, this goes without saying I would assume, but please refrain from engaging in sexual intercourse with Santana in the conceivable future and beyond."
Quinn's jaw dropped at Rachel's audacity to even assume—
Then again, she didn't have the best track record. But things could change.
Rolling her eyes, Quinn tugged her closer and growled, "Shut up and kiss me, Berry," before doing just that before Rachel had the chance to protest.