Part IV: Hesitate and Wake

Quinn feels likes she's been on a roller coaster over the last few days (and the last few months and the last few years). A lot of the ups can be contributed to Rachel Berry, either directly or indirectly, as can a heaping handful of the downs, but Quinn can never claim that it hasn't been exciting in its own nerve-racking, nauseating way. Lately, those ups and downs have been smaller—more like the bunny hops at the end of the coaster that don't really seem like much to look at—but they certainly send you flying around in your seat. And even though you may feel a little rattled by the time the train coasts into the station, the feeling of flying (or defying gravity, as Rachel would say) that you experience for just a few precious seconds makes everything worth the ride.

That's the way Quinn feels right now.

She can't deny that her stomach is dipping and twirling as she walks down the stairs with Rachel's hand tucked firmly around hers. She knows it's a little silly to be feeling nervous when Rachel is finally giving her exactly what she's been asking for since they first discussed coming back to Lima, but she's realizing that this—being out and open in front of all their friends and acquaintances—makes everything feel like a true beginning instead of just marking time.

They aren't actually coming out with any grand announcements. They're really only holding hands, and they've done this in the past on the rare occasion in glee club when they were lost in a song or actually attempting to be better friends and support one another. Rachel is generally very tactile with all of her friends, so this isn't exactly a giant neon sign that they're together and planning to rent a room to spend the night having sex—Quinn really wants there to be sex tonight.

Mostly, she just wants to relax and be with Rachel and not have to censor her every word and action or refrain from sharing the easy, intimate touches that are quickly becoming an addiction to her. They don't need to stop and tell all of their friends every detail of their romance tonight—it's enough for now that Rachel has made it clear that she's really and truly done with Finn Hudson.

Luckily, Finn isn't anywhere to be seen right now. Telling him had been cathartic but stressful nonetheless—mostly because the moment his hand had slammed down on that railing, Quinn had experienced an unfortunate flashback to last year's prom episode. That had been the first time in her life that she'd been a little afraid of Finn, and while she'd convinced herself after the fact that he wouldn't have physically dragged her out of her wheelchair, after seeing and hearing him tonight, she's not quite as certain that he isn't capable of losing his temper enough to do something stupid someday. And that makes her worry about Rachel, especially when Finn isn't ready to let go of her.

Quinn had spent the entire afternoon sulking thanks to Finn's immediate appearance the moment that Rachel was in his vicinity—like a freaking magnet to metal—and Rachel had done nothing to discourage him at the time. She knows that she's been more than a little insecure over the last few days, and being insecure makes her more than a little bitchy, but all things considered, she thinks that she's been handling all of this pretty well. And, all things considered, Rachel has tried to make certain that Quinn feels loved and wanted. She'd certainly felt both of those things after her encounter with Rachel in the bathroom—that is, until she'd opened the door to see Finn's massive form towering over her girlfriend.

Quinn had been frozen for a few moments as she'd listened to Finn ask Rachel to have faith in them and their future, and she'd watched him touch her with so much familiarity—like he still had the right. Quinn had been torn between running back into the bathroom to be sick and rushing forward to physically drag him away from Rachel. Instead, she'd stood there, fighting back tears because she was always, always on the losing side of that triangle. For three years, she'd had to watch Rachel and Finn keep choosing each over and over again. Quinn had nearly died on the way to a rushed, high school wedding because Rachel had been determined to forever bind herself to Finn.

She'd been trying to push away her doubts and have faith that she'd beaten the odds and won Rachel's heart forever, but some part of her had been half-expecting the stars to reappear in Rachel's eyes when she'd looked at Finn the way they always had in the past. So Quinn had braced herself for the worst—losing Rachel before she'd even had the chance to really have her—but, to her relief, she didn't see a single starry eye or lovesick expression until Rachel had looked at her.

Quinn tightens her hold on Rachel's hand at the bottom of the stairs and gently stops her before they reenter the reception. Rachel looks at her in confusion, and she takes a breath and smiles tremulously. "As much as I want to walk in there with you right now, I need to make sure that you're really ready for this and that you aren't just doing it because I've been kind of a bitch today," she admits guiltily. She really doesn't want to keep pushing Rachel too far and too quickly out of her comfort zone.

The corner of Rachel's mouth quirks up. "If I let that influence me, my entire high school existence would have been vastly different."

Quinn flinches at the reminder, but the faint smile on Rachel's lips helps to ease the sting. "I'm so sorry for all of that," she says, not for the first time. "And for making today harder than it needed to be."

Rachel sighs. "Look, we've both made some mistakes in how we've been handling this situation, and we're probably going to keep making mistakes for the next fifty or sixty years." Quinn smiles at the promise of a lifetime with Rachel. "But what really matters is that we're working through our rough patches together," she gives Quinn's hand a reaffirming squeeze, "and making compromises. But this," she lifts their joined hands in emphasis, "isn't one of them."

Relief overcomes her, and she feels an invisible weight lift from her shoulders. "I love you," she murmurs.

"I love you, too," Rachel echoes with a soft smile. "Now let's go in there, because the sooner we do that, the sooner we can say our goodbyes and finally be alone together."

Quinn is completely on board with that plan. She feels warm all over, and it has nothing to do with the two glasses of wine that she'd had earlier and everything to do with Rachel.

A few people pause to look at them as they walk through the room, but most don't give them a second glance—too involved in their own enjoyment of the party. One or two eyebrows lift in surprised curiosity—Mercedes and Tina most notably—but Quinn only smiles and keeps walking. Kurt does a double take, immediately noticing their linked hands and content expressions, and he grins widely and offers them a thumbs up before he turns back to Blaine.

They find Santana at the bar where they'd left her, only she's leaning halfway over it and all but flashing her boobs to the bartender—who actually seems to be enjoying the view if her flirty smile and laughter are anything to go by. "You should totally come to New York," Santana tells the woman with a seductive smile. "I'll give you a personal tour of my awesome loft."

"Your loft?" Rachel challenges, coming to a stop beside Santana with her hand still connected to Quinn's. "Need I remind you that you moved into our loft less than a week ago." Santana scowls in irritation while Rachel continues to scold her in front of the woman she's been trying to pick up. "You simply can't invite whomever you happen to meet without discussing it with Kurt and me beforehand."

Rachel flashes an apologetic smile at the bartender. "No offense. I'm sure you're a very lovely woman."

"No worries, hon," she answers with amusement in her blue eyes before winking at Santana and turning around to attend to her work behind the bar.

Santana whimpers in disappointment before glaring at Rachel. "I don't seem to remember you discussing Quinn's visit with anyone. You just announced that she was coming to New York."

Rachel huffs. "That's completely different. Quinn is my girlfriend. She has an open invitation to stay with us whenever she chooses, unlike certain other people who show up unannounced and have yet to contribute to the rent."

Quinn smiles and leans into Rachel's side, loving the sound of my girlfriend on her lips. She's more amused than she probably should be by Rachel and Santana's banter, but mostly, she's just happy that she and Rachel seem to be over the Lima-sized speed bump in their relationship.

"You'll get your rent when I get an actual bed to sleep on," Santana argues. "In the meantime, you and Lady Hummel should be grateful that I'm contributing my natural charm to your previously dull existence and generally improving the property value with my flawlessness."

"Maybe you should charge her ego its own rent," Quinn quips.

Rachel chuckles, and Santana narrows her eyes at Quinn. "I'm impressed that you can say that with a straight face when you're in lesbians with the girl whose ego has its own zip code."

"Hey," Rachel protests. "I'm standing right here!"

Santana tilts her head and looks her over. "Yeah, looking like you're ready to be the bride in Barbie's lesbian wedding, which makes you Midge, appropriately enough," she says with a smirk, "to Yale Barbie over here." She waves her hand down over Quinn's body, and Quinn rolls her eyes at the comparison.

"And you're wearing Quinn's lipstick again," Santana points out to Rachel with a grin that Quinn might even be tempted to call relieved. "So much for keeping it on the down low. Who suddenly flipped your switch to out and proud?"

Rachel fidgets guiltily and drops her gaze to the floor. "I realized that perhaps I was being a bit too circumspect in regards to my relationship with Quinn."

"You were being an idiot," Santana corrects, cutting a look to Quinn that silently asks if everything is really okay now.

Santana has been surprisingly supportive over the last two days, but it didn't stop her from colorfully voicing her concerns that maybe Rachel isn't as serious about this relationship as Quinn is. She'd had the same worry that Quinn had been trying desperately to shake, and his name was Finn Hudson.

"Yes, well, that's over now," Rachel swears.

Quinn smiles softly at her girlfriend before offering Santana a nod of confirmation. "We ran into Finn upstairs, so the secret is pretty much out, or will be soon enough, since he doesn't seem to be able to keep one to save his life."

"Hijo de puta," Santana curses, standing up straighter. "I knew I felt the floors shake from the Jolly Teen Giant getting cut down at the knees. Boo on you for letting me miss out on the fun."

"Really, Santana! Our confrontation was not something to be used for your entertainment," Rachel chastises.

Santana's eyes snap with dark fury at Rachel's word choice. "I swear to God, if he tried to start shit with either one of you, I'll do much worse than slap him this time."

Rachel presses her lips together, and Quinn honestly doesn't know whether she's trying to stifle a frown or a smile. "While I appreciate the sentiment, that won't be necessary. He took the news as well as can be expected."

Santana raises a brow and looks to Quinn for verification. She doesn't exactly agree with Rachel's interpretation, so she shrugs and says, "He hasn't given up on Rachel and thinks that he'll get her back when I inevitably screw things up." Rachel squeezes her hand in reassurance, and it's enough to keep Quinn's lingering worries at bay for the moment—she can't allow herself to screw up this relationship like she has all the others.

"Oh, hell no. There will be no more Fincheling," Santana insists, wagging her finger under Rachel's nose. "Quinn or no Quinn."

"Definitely Quinn," Rachel vows with confidence, gazing at Quinn with an adoring smile.

Quinn grins back and instinctively leans in to peck Rachel's lips without even thinking about the implications of the public display. The quiet hitch of breath against her mouth makes her pull back just as quickly with worried eyes. She holds her own breath, silently cursing herself for unintentionally pushing and hoping that Rachel doesn't panic. There's a moment of nervous hesitation, but then she shakes herself out of it, and surprises Quinn by pulling her closer and returning the kiss—although it's unarguably chaste in comparison to the other kisses that they've shared.

"Oh, ick. Get a freaking room," Santana grumbles, interrupting their moment.

Quinn smiles against Rachel's lips before she reluctantly pulls away. "We intend to," she informs Santana matter-of-factually. "So don't come looking for us."

Santana looks mildly impressed, and then she flashes a lascivious grin at them both. "I don't know, Q. Auntie Snix does appreciate a little voyeurism from time to time, and your girlfriend just twat-swatted me with..." she trails off, cutting a disgruntled look at the bartender who's currently mixing a drink for one of the other guests. "Damn, she never did tell me her name."

"We'll just leave you to work that out, then," Quinn tells her, tugging Rachel's hand to make their escape. She really doesn't want Santana doing or saying anything else to ruin the mood. She just wants to get Rachel alone—finally.

"Well, aren't you the eager beavers," Santana says wickedly.

Quinn feels the tips of her ears heat, and she glances at Rachel to see that she's blushing too. "Goodnight, Santana," she growls over her shoulder as she guides Rachel away.

She hears Santana call out, "Don't forget to use protection," and Quinn cringes, casting an apologetic look at Rachel.

"I'm sorry about that," she says.

Rachel chuckles a little, shrugging. "It's Santana." She stops Quinn before they reach the door, biting into her lip and looking suddenly uncertain.

"What's wrong?" Quinn asks softly. "Do you not want to anymore?" She really hopes that she manages to keep the disappointment out of her voice.

Rachel releases a laughing breath. "No, I definitely want to," she insists, then licks her lips and glances nervously around the room. "Would you," she inhales deeply, and that familiar look of determination comes over her face, "dance with me, Quinn?"

Quinn inhales sharply, and she swears that her heart might actually flutter with excitement. "Are you sure?" she asks hopefully. She's more than willing to delay being alone with Rachel for a little while longer if it means sharing a dance in public, but, "We don't have to if you're not comfortable with it yet."

"We've got the ballroom and the live band," Rachel points out with a tremulous smile, pulling Quinn back to the dance floor. "And a romantic ballad," she tips her head in the direction of the stage where that Marley girl is putting her own spin on "When You Say Nothing At All." "What could be more perfect?" Rachel asks, and Quinn swallows thickly, nodding her agreement.

She steps into Rachel's arms without hesitation, careful to keep her hands in respectable places. She wants them to be open with their relationship, but she doesn't feel the need to give everyone a show. Some things are meant to be kept private. Rachel loops her arms around Quinn's shoulders—bouquet still clutched in one hand—as they glide into a slow dance. Quinn can feel more than one curious gaze on them, but she focuses her attention on Rachel, looking into the only eyes that really matter. There are still traces of trepidation sparkling in their depths, and it's enough to keep Quinn from pulling Rachel closer and pressing their cheeks together.

"Are we really doing this?" she wonders out loud.

Rachel draws a breath and nods. "I love you, Quinn. I won't deny that I still feel a little...unsettled, I suppose," she reluctantly admits. "But not about us. Never about us," she stresses, moving a hand to soothingly stroke her fingers over the nape of Quinn's neck. "I want to be with you, and maybe I'm not quite ready to shout our love from the mountaintops, but," she pauses to lick her lips, "I can do this. I can dance with my beautiful girlfriend who I'm so proud to be with."

The words wrap themselves around Quinn's heart and filter through her blood, making her entire being sing with happiness. "I've wanted this for so long," she murmurs.

Rachel's lips curve into a gentle smile, and she begins to softly hum along with the music until she's quietly singing the lyrics along with Marley. Quinn can only hear Rachel.

"All day long I can hear people talking out loud,
But when you hold me near, you drown out the crowd.

Rachel tightens her hold on Quinn, doing exactly what she'd wanted by pressing their cheeks together and singing softly into her ear.

"Old Mr. Webster could never define
What's being said between your heart and mine.

Quinn's eyes fall closed in contentment as she breathes in the familiar scent of honeysuckle. There were so many times that she'd imagined what this would be like—to have Rachel in her arms, singing just for her and knowing that the words actually mean something. The reality is so much better than any of her dreams.

"The smile on your face lets me know that you need me.
There's a truth in your eyes sayin' you'll never leave me.
The touch of your hand says you'll catch me if ever I fall.
You say it best when you say nothing at all.

Quinn guides them in a slow circle in front of the stage. In her peripheral vision, she can see Kurt and Blaine sharing their own dance (and if she wasn't completely caught up in Rachel, she'd probably question what he's doing when he's sort of dating someone else), and Brittany dancing in Sam's arms (and she does feel a pang of empathy for Santana, even if her friend is attempting to drown her misery in alcohol and the hot brunette serving it), and Mercedes and Tina gesturing furiously at them (and she really doesn't give a damn about that). She's too happy just to be here in this moment with Rachel invading all of her senses at once. Well, almost all of them.

Before the final chorus ends, Quinn presses closer and urges, "Let's get out of here."

Rachel stops singing and pulls back to look at Quinn with an amused smile. "Do you think we can get away without being stopped to answer a dozen questions?" she asks, eyeing Mercedes and Tina warily.

"There's a pretty clear path to door if we make a break for it right now," Quinn says, jerking her head in that direction. "We only have to get past Joe."

Rachel turns to study their escape route with a critical eye, and then checks the other direction to see Mercedes and Tina inching onto the dance floor. "We'll have to be quick," she warns.

"Quick now and slow later," Quinn says with a seductive smile. "I'm not in the mood to share you with anyone else tonight."

Rachel's tongue peaks out to moisten her lips, and Quinn stifles an appreciate moan. She really loves Rachel's mouth, and she's really going to love that mouth on every part of her body.

"Then let's go," Rachel urges, dropping her arms from Quinn's shoulders and grabbing her hand. She spins on her heel in a move that Quinn knows she's been practicing since she was four—perfectly executed just as it has been on every Diva storm out that Rachel has ever performed—and those amazing legs of hers take off in a power walk that Quinn has to skip to keep up with.

Joe grins and raises his hand in a half-wave. "Hey, Quinn," he starts to say.

"Out of our way, Rastaman," Rachel growls, powering past him.

Quinn shoots him an apologetic smile, laughing in delight as they race out of the room. "I think living with Santana might be having a negative effect on you."

"I don't know," she reflects. "There might be some merit to adopting her abrasive personality in select situations."

Rachel leads Quinn unerringly through the lobby and to the front desk, and Quinn glances back over her shoulder, sighing in relief when she sees that no one is following them. Excitement bubbles inside of her, and she can't wait to finally get Rachel alone and naked underneath her. Or on top of her—she really doesn't care as long their bodies are pressed together in all the right places.

Quinn's memory of their first time together is clouded with alcohol and regret. She'd wanted Rachel too much to stop herself from taking the little bit that she'd been offered that night, and she'd suffered all the more for it in the morning. Tonight is going to be so different. She's going to take her time and explore every inch of Rachel Berry until she discovers what makes her sing, and in the morning, she's going to wake up tangled in Rachel's arms, knowing that there's nowhere else that either one of them would rather be.

"Um, Quinn?" Rachel interrupts her blissful musings with a meek voice, and Quinn blinks, frowning when she notices Rachel's sheepish expression. "You wouldn't happen to have a credit card, would you? I kind of left my purse in the car."

Quinn chuckles, reaching into her handbag and snagging the little wallet that contains exactly thirty dollars, her real driver's license, her fake ID, and an emergency credit card. "Some date you are," she jokes as she slides the credit card across the desk toward the clerk.

Rachel hooks her fingers into the inside of Quinn's jacket and leans in, whispering, "I promise to pay you back." She runs her tongue across her upper lip, and Quinn is pretty certain that she does things like that on purpose. "With interest."

Quinn leans in, lips hovering over Rachel's, but the clerk interrupts them before she can make contact by asking Quinn to sign the receipt. She groans and grabs the pen with gusto, scribbling her name as quickly as possible. The clerk gives her back her credit card and (thank God!) a key-card. Quinn stands still just long enough to catch the room number and the floor before she's pulling Rachel toward the elevator.

She only waits until the doors begin to slide closed before she turns, slips her arms around Rachel's waist, and kisses her like she's wanted to since they left that bathroom and Finn Hudson behind. Rachel's free hand instantly lifts to cup Quinn's nape, and she opens her mouth to meet her tongue in a slow, sensual dance. Her body has been buzzing with arousal ever since their earlier encounter, and while there's certainly a degree of urgency pulsing beneath the surface, Quinn is finding the slow burn to be incredibly appealing.

She rubs her hands in tiny circles against the lace of Rachel's dress—over her back and dipping every so often to the upper curve of Rachel's ass (and Quinn realizes that she may have a mild, heretofore unknown, obsession with that part of her body). Rachel arches against her, moaning low in her throat and pressing her hips closer with a shallow thrust. Quinn smiles and catches Rachel's lower lip with her teeth, giving it a playful tug before releasing it.

"I don't think I told you how much I love this dress on you," Quinn comments, still playing with the material and, by default, the parts of Rachel that are hidden underneath.

"If you tell me that you'll love it better on the floor, I may have to reevaluate tonight's activities," Rachel quips breathlessly, still moving restlessly against her.

"As if you could at this point," Quinn reasons, rolling her own hips forward and causing them both to gasp in pleasure, although Quinn manages to stifle hers to some degree. She dips her head for another taste of Rachel's mouth—just a quick sip that leaves them both unsatisfied—before she pulls back. "While I can't deny that I will certainly love seeing this dress on the floor, I genuinely think that you look absolutely gorgeous right now."

Rachel's lips curve into an almost shy smile, and she gazes at Quinn through her lashes. "You are so getting lucky tonight, Fabray."

"I already am," Quinn murmurs honestly.

"It's not luck," Rachel argues softly. "It's you, and I'm so happy that you're mine."

"I'm so yours," Quinn agrees, kissing her again. Her heart has belonged to Rachel for a very long time now—she's just been waiting for her to pick it up off the floor, dust it off, and care for it the way that Quinn has been dreaming of caring for hers.

The elevator rattles to a stop, breaking them apart as the doors slide open. Rachel's smile widens, and she giggles happily, connecting their hands again as she tugs Quinn out into the hallway. Her stomach flutters in anticipation as they find their room, and she reluctantly lets go of Rachel only to slide the key-card into the door with a trembling hand until the green light flashes and the lock clicks open.

Under any other circumstance, Quinn would undoubtedly engage in a brief but thorough inspection of the room, silently judging whether or not it was up to par. She has the inescapable certainty that Rachel would do the same, but tonight, neither of them even gives their surroundings a second look past verifying that, yes, there is a bed.

Rachel sets the bouquet on the dresser, and Quinn does the same with her purse. There's a weird moment of awkward silence where they just sort of stare at one another, and Quinn starts to worry that Rachel is changing her mind—that she really doesn't want this after all—until Rachel huffs out an amused breath, rolls her eyes slightly, and reaches for Quinn. She slips her hands beneath the edges of Quinn's jacket and pushes it back off her shoulders. "It's time for this to go."

Quinn lets Rachel strip the jacket away with an amused smirk. "Why do I feel like you've wanted to get me out of that all evening?"

"Maybe because I have," Rachel answers without hesitation, tossing the jacket onto the nearby chair. She runs her hands along Quinn's bare arms up to her shoulders, tracing her fingers along the straps of her dress before she dips her head to press a kiss to one exposed clavicle. "It was in my way," she murmurs against Quinn's skin as she reaches around to tug at her zipper.

Quinn hisses out a breath and tangles her fingers into Rachel's hair, urging her up so that she can kiss her again. She teases at Rachel's lips, running her tongue over the fullness, before she slips inside. Rachel responds immediately, meeting her thrust for thrust as she temporarily abandons the half-undone zipper to press her open palm against the uncovered skin of Quinn's back. Rachel's other hand finds Quinn's breast through the fabric of her dress and teases the nipple into an aching peak. Right now, Quinn is seriously resenting the existence of excess material between her skin and Rachel, so she decides to rectify that, and she drags her mouth away with a series of teasing nips and licks.

She carefully untangles her hands from Rachel's hair, trying to catch her breath as she cups the hand that's still playing at her breast and presses it more urgently against her. "I think my dress in your way now. Why don't you do something about that?"

Rachel exhales shakily—her eyes impossibly dark. "I will if you stop distracting me."

Quinn's lips curl into a seductive smile. "But I don't plan to ever stop doing that," she teases before nipping lightly at Rachel's lower lip. She hears an adorable little growl rumble from her girlfriend, and then she feels her zipper give way as Rachel eases it down. Quinn smiles into the kiss and pulls away from Rachel just far enough to allow the loosened dress to slip down past her shoulders. Rachel curls her fingers beneath the edges of the material and helps it on its way to a careless puddle on the floor, leaving Quinn naked before her except for a pair of lacy, red panties and her black heels.

Rachel bites into her lip and lets her eyes travel a slow path down, and Quinn flushes with pleasure at the odd mix of hunger and reverence at war in her expression. The reverence has been there on and off for years, but the hunger is something new, and it makes all the difference. "So beautiful," Rachel whispers huskily.

She's always had a way of saying that to make Quinn believe that she truly is beautiful. It's not just an empty word or a thoughtless compliment like it has been with so many others. With Rachel, it's merely an acknowledgment of Quinn's external appearance that's meant to pale in comparison to the value of Quinn's soul—the value that Rachel has always seemed to see despite all of the ugliness that Quinn buried herself beneath.

Quinn shifts restlessly under Rachel's dark gaze, resisting the urge to cross her arms over the parts of her that are so exposed. She's mostly come to terms with her body—the faint stretchmarks are meaningless next to the fading scars that mar her skin as a reminder of the accident that left her body broken and the painful months of recovery that followed. Coming out of that alive had changed her perspective on a lot of things, and her physical appearance is the least of them. These days, she tends to think of all her imperfections as proof that she's still alive, but there's still a tiny part of her that wishes she could be flawless for Rachel—whole and untouched by the mistakes of her past. Yet Quinn knows that those mistakes are what make them who they are, and without them, they wouldn't be here now.

Every lingering worry disappears the moment that Rachel's hands settle on her body—one on her hip and the other trailing a sensual path up over her belly and ribs. "I want you to know," she murmurs gravely, "that I haven't had a single drink tonight," and Quinn can't help grinning as she bites back a quiet laugh. Rachel shakes her head in mild warning. "I'm going to remember everything," she promises—her lips curving wickedly around the words before they unerringly find Quinn's mouth. The hand on her hip slides around to cup her ass, and those fingers at her ribs curl to match the contour of her breast.

Quinn hums in pleasure, kissing her back with vigor and slipping her arms around Rachel's body to find the zipper of her dress—this situation does call for a little reciprocity after all—and it opens easily. Their lips never stray far apart for very long while Quinn works Rachel's (stubborn, tight) dress down over her arms. Rachel whimpers in frustration at being forced to let go of Quinn for any reason, but soon enough, her dress is gone, except for...

"You're wearing entirely too many layers," Quinn complains breathlessly, tugging at the nude slip that's still hiding Rachel's body from her.

Rachel giggles. "Says the woman who constantly covers her gorgeous body with jackets and sweaters in every style, length, and color." She smiles indulgently and takes a step back, crossing her arms to grip the loose fabric that skirts around her thighs, and effortlessly pulls the slip up over her body before tossing it away.

Rachel is gorgeous—all tan skin and muscled legs and perfect breasts—and Quinn has the odd thought that those bathroom drawings that she used to do were so incredibly wrong. "And you were keeping that covered with argyle and animal sweaters," she laments, unabashedly raking her eyes over Rachel's body in appreciation.

Rachel grins under her intense gaze, kicking away her heels so that she's standing in nothing but her black, bikini briefs. She lifts a hand and curls her finger. "Get over here," she beckons.

Quinn kicks off her own shoes with an eager smile before she's back in Rachel's arms and they're stumbling onto the bed amidst sultry kisses and delighted laughter. She never knew intimacy could be like this—to somehow move so effortlessly between desperate passion and lighthearted teasing—but she loves everything about it.

She especially loves it when Rachel shifts over her, sliding a thigh between her legs as she straddles her, and aligns their bodies in a way that has her hardened nipples rubbing enticingly against Quinn's breasts. She can feel the damp heat against her thigh, and she knows that Rachel is feeling the same thing because she's so incredibly aroused. Part of her wants to just rip Rachel's panties off and take her fast and hard to assuage the ache that's been building for so long, but another part of her wants to go slow—to take her time and draw out the experience until she's learned every inch of her body by touch, and Rachel is begging her for release.

Rachel finds the spot on Quinn's throat that she'd already marked and licks at the skin before drawing in into her mouth. Quinn moans and grinds her hips up into Rachel's thigh, filling her hands with that delectable ass for leverage and abandoning the option for slow because she honestly doesn't think that she can wait. Her fingers slip under the material, and she considers whether or not she can successfully rip them off and whether Rachel will get upset with her if she does. "I want these off," she demands. "I want you completely naked."

Rachel's teeth scrape along her skin, and Quinn hisses in pleasure. When she lifts her head, her brown eyes are nearly black, and her hair falls in a wild curtain around their faces. "So take them off," she challenges with a sexy grin.

Quinn barely resists the urge to rip them—or attempt to, at any rate—and instead firmly plants a foot against the mattress and deftly flips them over, pinning a giggling Rachel beneath her on the bed. She smirks down at her girlfriend, thoroughly enjoying the change in position that leaves Rachel spread out beneath her with her hair fanned out across the sheets. Quinn brushes back a few errant strands that have fallen across her eyes, following the silken locks down to their tips before ghosting her fingers over Rachel's shoulders. She begins a slow, meandering path across her chest and over the curve of her left breast where she idly circles the nipple and listens to Rachel's breath hitch. She's momentarily distracted from her quest to remove Rachel's panties by both the visible responses to her touch and the restless rocking of Rachel's hips beneath her.

Quinn lowers her head and drags her tongue over the pulse point at Rachel's throat and is rewarded with a low moan that vibrates against her lips. She sinks lower on the mattress and trails her mouth down along a route parallel to the one her hand had taken until she encounters the rigid nipple of Rachel's right breast and traces her tongue around it.

"Oh, fff-fuck," Rachel grunts, jerking her hips up sharply. Rachel Berry swearing is the sexiest thing that Quinn has ever heard, and her body responds accordingly, flushing with heat and throbbing in time with her heart. Fingers tangle into Quinn's hair at the same moment that she lifts her head to glance at Rachel's face with an arched eyebrow. Rachel is panting harshly, her eyes are wide and glassy, and she looks a little surprised by her own reaction.

"Oh, we will," Quinn promises with a wicked grin, dipping her head back down to capture her nipple again.

The fingers in her hair tighten as Rachel gasps and bites back another curse. Her free hand manages to find Quinn's right breast between their bodies and pinch at her nipple in a matching rhythm to Quinn's mouth, and Quinn is suddenly the one shifting restlessly to find just the right position to satisfy the ache between her legs.

Rachel whimpers, abandoning Quinn's breast to reach down and attempt to work her own panties over her hips. "You…you need to get these off me," she begs, reminding Quinn of her original intent before she was so pleasantly distracted. She smiles against Rachel's breast and gives her nipple one last playful tug with her teeth. Rachel's back arches, and she growls, tugging at Quinn's hair.

Quinn chuckles and pulls back, gliding her hand down over Rachel's smooth belly. She doesn't exactly have perfect abs, but Quinn finds her curves incredibly alluring. Their fingers brush together for a moment when she finally dips under the waistband of Rachel's panties and drags the material down over those amazing legs. She can actually smell her arousal, and it turns Quinn on even more to know that it's all because of her. Rachel may not be gay, but she's damn sure Quinn-sexual, and that's more than enough for her.

She tosses Rachel's panties over her shoulder and contemplates what she wants to do next—crawl up her body and continue to tease her or dive right in and finally get a taste of Rachel Berry. She licks her lips and grins, curling an arm under Rachel's leg and lifting it high enough for her to press an open-mouthed kiss to her calf. The position affords her a very nice view of Rachel's glistening folds, and she has every intention of kissing a slow trail up to that delectable destination.

Rachel's eyelids flutter, and she presses a hand between her legs, blocking Quinn's view as she dips her fingers inside of herself. Quinn moans at the sight. "That's not fair," she whines. "I want to do that."

Rachel chuckles breathlessly. "So stop teasing me and do it."

"Such a bossy little thing," Quinn comments, letting go of her leg and pausing to shimmy out of her own panties under Rachel's heated gaze.

She watches Rachel bite into her lip and press her fingers down to circle her clit. Quinn whimpers at the sight, quickly scampering up the mattress and kissing Rachel deeply while she curves her own hand over Rachel's and presses down. Rachel gasps against her lips, and Quinn takes advantage of her momentary surprise to gently pull Rachel's hand away until her own can replace it—fingers curling into hot, slippery folds. Rachel moans, angling her hips and spreading her legs wider to accommodate Quinn's exploration.

She's touched herself before—more often than a good, Christian girl should—and she's touched Rachel through the barrier of her panties during the few, brief encounters that they've had until now, but this is an entirely different experience. She wants to take her time to discover all of those places that make Rachel hiss with pleasure.

Like that one, she thinks triumphantly when Rachel cries out and digs her blunt fingernails into Quinn's ass. She focuses her attention over that same spot, pushing Rachel higher as she kisses her way down her jaw, determined to head south until Rachel works her own hand between their bodies and presses two fingers against Quinn's clit.

Quinn shudders to a momentary stop. "Oh, my God," she rushes out, rolling her hips forward and dropping her forehead to Rachel's shoulder. She didn't realize how close she is to her own climax until this moment, but now all she wants is keep riding Rachel's fingers until she comes.

"M-maybe we…we need to be…quick now and…s- slow later," Rachel pants out, rubbing her fingers in tiny circles against her clit as she jerks her own hips up to meet Quinn's now lax hand.

Quinn puffs out a harsh breath against Rachel's chest and shifts her own hips, humming her agreement as she settles her body more fully over Rachel's hand and continues to roll her hips forward. She has enough presence of mind to sink her fingers deeper into Rachel and press her thumb against her clit. Rachel's body draws her in, tightening around her fingers, and she can only hope that Rachel is close to her own orgasm because Quinn doesn't think she can hold hers off for very long.

She hazily recalls being in this position before during that first drunken night together, only they were wearing more clothes at the time and Rachel was on top of her, grinding against her thigh with her hand beneath Quinn's panties and her fingers buried deep inside of Quinn. They'd been a little more inelegant thanks to the alcohol, especially Rachel, but the result had been the same—moans and curses and trembling limbs that lead to colorful explosions behind her eyelids as her body finally reaches its peak and falls over the edge.

Rachel arches beneath her, pressing her fingers more firmly against Quinn to help her ride out her orgasm as she frantically tries to follow. Quinn gasps for breath, feeling the waves of pleasure crash through her before she collapses against Rachel with her heart pounding in her ears and her body throbbing with rhythmic aftershocks. Rachel is still moving against her, and Quinn musters up the strength to keep her hand in (sloppy) motion and curl her fingers in search of that spot again. She manages to slide her body down to provide a little extra weight behind her movements, putting her mouth conveniently closer to Rachel's breast, so she turns her head and closes her teeth over the tempting bud, brushing her tongue across the peak. The extra stimulation is enough to send Rachel flying, and her back bows as she cries out Quinn's name with her body shuddering and fluttering around her fingers.

Quinn gives a last gentle lick to Rachel's nipple before letting it go. She tips her head up, resting her cheek against Rachel's shoulder as she gazes at her face. Her eyes are closed, and her cheeks are flushed, and she's never looked more beautiful to Quinn—and Quinn has never felt so content and in love. She gently pulls her fingers free, grinning when Rachel whimpers at the loss. She considers wiping them on the sheet or across her own thigh, but then she remembers that Rachel had managed to derail her from her original destination, and she brings them to her mouth instead, tasting Rachel for the first time. The flavor settles on her tongue, and she wouldn't even be exaggerating to say that it's the best thing she's ever tasted. It makes her want more.

Rachel hisses out a breath, and Quinn glances up to see those brown eyes open and watching her with muted desire. Quinn slips her fingers out of her mouth and grins at Rachel. "I think Berry is my new favorite flavor," she teases, stroking those same fingers in teasing, abstract figures on the soft skin of Rachel's stomach. "But I'll need another taste to be sure."

Rachel moans, weakly wrapping an arm around Quinn in a loose embrace. "Just give me a minute to catch my breath," she says, "and then we're definitely trying this slower."

Quinn giggles, snuggling into Rachel and just watching her breathe for a few peaceful moments. "I love you," she whispers happily.

" you, too," Rachel murmurs, mindlessly tracing her hands over Quinn's back and buttocks. "You know, I've never done this with the lights on before," she muses, tenderly gazing down at Quinn.

Quinn wishes that she could say the same, but unfortunately Puck hadn't bothered to turn the light off anymore than he'd bothered to wear a condom. Then again, neither one of them had gotten completely naked, and she'd been drunk anyway, so in a way, "I really haven't either."

Rachel smiles down at her, lifting her hand to brush back Quinn's hair. "It feels kind of symbolic."

"It does," Quinn agrees. They always have had a way of seeing through one another, so it's only fitting that they're comfortable enough together to let each other see everything now—beauty and flaws alike.

"It also means that I get to watch you come," Rachel points out mildly, "and that's something I'll want to see again and again."

Quinn knows that she's probably blushing by the way her cheeks heat, but there are other parts of her heating as well, and she intends to do something about it. "Funny that," she counters, "because I was just thinking that listening to you scream my name as you come is something that I'll want to hear again and again."

"How convenient," Rachel observes. "Perhaps we should explore this new thing we seem to have in common," she suggests, licking her lips.

Quinn grins wickedly, slipping down Rachel's body and settling between her legs. "Oh, I plan to explore everything," she purrs against Rachel's sensitive flesh.

And she does—well into the early hours of the morning.

The lights stay on until they finally collapse—sated and exhausted—tangled together in body and soul. Quinn pulls Rachel close, feeling their hearts beat in unison as they drift into dreams of forever, caught in the pull of each other's gravity.

²"When You Say Nothing At All" by Alison Krauss (1995)