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The Running Back

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"Oh, that feels good," Rachel whimpered.

Quinn chuckled above her. "I would hope so," she all but husked into her ear.

Now before you get any bright ideas it should be noted that Rachel was simply getting a massage, and to be completely honest Rachel might have imagined the seductive tone of Quinn's voice.

Anyway as the fact was, despite never seeing Rachel's bruises, Quinn could guess that Rachel could use some relaxing. Rachel was still fully clothed but she didn't mind that at all. Skin on skin contact would probably be more effective but she wasn't confident enough to take her top off in front of Quinn. And of course she also didn't want Quinn to see her bruises.

Either way, Quinn's hands were magical. Even through a few layers of clothing, her touch eased all the pain away. Rachel could only imagine how much better it could be. Undoubtedly, it could be much better but Rachel was content with things as they were. She elicited happy sounds as Quinn continued to work on her back. "Oh, so good. I needed this Quinn. Thanks a lot."

"No problem. Maybe you can make it up to me later," Quinn proposed.

Rachel was more than up to that. "Anything in particular you have in mind?"

"I'll let you know," Quinn said before kissing the back of her head. "For now, just relax."

Rachel had no complaints. She really needed her rest. Her life had been busy enough prior to joining the football team, but since she had it was almost as though she didn't even have a moment to breathe. Rachel had something to do every second of every minute of every day. And the small amount of free time that she'd manage to find, Rachel typically tried to spend with Quinn.

It was imperative that they get together in the shortest time possible. As the fact was there was less than a year left before they'd be off to college. They had yet to talk anything about the future, or about where Quinn was applying to. Rachel's heart was already set on New York and NYADA. She could only hope that Quinn would be somewhere close by, like NYU. Either way, they would have to get prepared if their relationship were to last.

And while they stilled had the rest of the year to do so Rachel knew that all that time could pass by in an instant. Now that Rachel finally had Quinn, albeit not officially, she wasn't going to lose her. She would just have to find the right pace to solidify her place in Quinn's heart. Thus far Rachel felt like she had been doing an adequate job at doing just that, and so she decided not to change her routine.

The following day at school went quite well. The two of them walked each other to class, and as always at lunch they sat together. A couple of times they would eat in private but mostly they'd sit at the popular table but this time they went for the popular table. As they closed in everyone started waving and saying hi, except for that one brunette Cheerio who would always get really quiet whenever Rachel got near.

Rachel could guess the reason why, even if she didn't really believe it. But the fact that Quinn would always make sure to sit in between the two of them could only reinforce Rachel's assumption. Regardless, Rachel didn't have the time to really read into things. She already had a lot on her plate and she still needed to plan out her next date with Quinn. She was snapped out of her thoughts though when a number of her teammates decided to sit down.

They all greeted her and then started talking sports, a topic which Rachel knew very little about. Luckily, her participation in the conversation wasn't necessary. They excitedly discussed these great plays that they had seen college and pro teams perform. Apparently, one reminded Mike of a move Rachel had done the day before during practice. From there everyone started giving her praise for slipping through four defenders before leaping over a fifth as he tried to take her to the ground.

Rachel blushed. Her body had practically been moving on auto-pilot at the time. She was tired and the only thought on her mind was not to get hit. She modestly turned away and shrank a little in her seat. As she did so, Rachel couldn't help but notice that Quinn didn't look too happy. She quickly put on a smile though and before Rachel could ask if something was wrong she was given a big pat on the back by Finn which nearly sent flying face first into her food. "Still can't believe how stupid you made Dave look," he exclaimed.

Understandably, Dave looked offended. Beside him Mike laughed. "I can." He wrapped an arm around Dave's shoulders. "This big lug looks dumb enough to begin with." With that comment all the guys and a couple of the Cheerios started to laugh, and after a moment or two Dave did as well. It was all good natured humor after all. Rachel let out a laugh as well as she rubbed her back. Thankfully she didn't have any bruises there or else that seemingly lit pat would have really hurt, and later on Rachel would have to have a really angry conversation with Finn.

"Hey, be more careful," Quinn told Finn, taking hold of Rachel's hand and replacing it with her own. She rubbed the spot gently as she glared at the quarterback. He back away slightly. Quinn then brought her attention back to Rachel. "Did that hurt?" she asked sweetly.

"No," Rachel shook her head, answering honestly. "I just didn't expect it is all. I'm fine."

Quinn left the topic at that but she glared at Finn once more before she resumed eating. The guys were laughing again, this time at Finn. It was embarrassing for him to get intimidated by Quinn but the fact was that any guy at the table would have been intimidated too. Finn seemed to know that because after initially getting all mad he shrugged off everyone's laughter.

Rachel scooted closer to Quinn in an attempt to avoid any further issues with the boys. Before long they continued on with their previous conversation. Rachel could only hope that she wouldn't be brought into it once more. But much to Rachel's disappointment, the Cheerios soon got into a discussion that revolved around her too. "You two are really cute together, you know that?" a brunette Cheerio said.

"Totally," Brittany chirped in. "Right, San?"

"Yeah, sure Britt," Santana begrudgingly agreed. Several others chimed in as well.

"I wish I was as lucky as you two." The brunette looked past Quinn directly at Rachel. She then nervously cleared her throat and turned away. "So um… I guess you'll be going to homecoming together?" she asked, not looking either one of them in the eye as she picked at her clothes. "It'd be really cool if we could have two Homecoming Queens instead of a King and Queen."

"Well uh…" Rachel was stumped. She had almost forgotten about Homecoming all together. Rachel had never gone before; she never had a reason to. But now that she was reminded, Rachel realized that it was excuse (not that Rachel needed one) to ask Quinn out again. Despite that, she wasn't sure how to answer. She was at a loss for words. Quinn wasn't though.

"Rachel actually hasn't asked me yet." Immediately Quinn turned her attention to Rachel, as did everyone else at the table. Not since the football game had Rachel felt so many eyes on her. But unlike the game there was no need to feel nervous because all she had to do was ask one simple question. And Rachel already knew what the answer was going to be.

Somehow though, the words were still hard for her to get out. "Um…" she cleared her throat. "Quinn, would you like to go to Homecoming? With me I mean?" Rachel heard a few giggles. She couldn't believe that she had actually messed that up. Quinn laughed as well. She didn't answer immediately, making it seem like she was actually thinking it over.

For a moment Rachel actually wondered if Quinn was actually going to say no. But she didn't. "Okay," she answered, cupping Rachel's cheek as she planted a kiss on the other one. "But only because you're cute." Her cheeks reddened so she tried her best to cover up her face. "Still getting all shy on me, huh?" She drew circles on Rachel's cheek with her thumb and then got up from her seat. "I'll be right back," she said. "Just have to freshen up a bit."

She left without another word. Rachel brought her attention to her food which she had barely touched. She was taking a bite of her salad when the girl beside her spoke. Rachel couldn't quite hear what she had said so she tried to ask her to repeat her words, but since her mouth was full it all came out garbled. The brunette, Gabrielle, laughed. Rachel would have too, but her mouth was still full of salad. Rachel chewed it up and swallowed it down.

"What was that?" she asked.

"Nothing," Gabrielle shook her head. "It was a stupid question," she explain, her voice steadily dropping in volume so it became harder and harder to hear her. "It's actually better that you didn't hear it." Rachel couldn't help but notice that the girl was fidgeting and picking at her Cheerios uniform. "Just forget about it, okay?"

"No, it's okay," Rachel insisted, for reasons that she didn't quite know. "You can ask."

"Um… all right." She still seemed reluctant. "I was just curious about something, and uh…" She paused and started surveying the area. She looking to be checking if anyone was eavesdropping, which no one seemed to be but they were all still within earshot. And apparently because of that she decided not to speak any further. "You know what, never mind."

"We can talk some other time if you want," Rachel offered, with a shrug of her shoulders. For a moment Gabrielle seemed to be pondering her options, weighing the pros and cons in her head. After a while she nodded her head in agreement before turning back to her food. Rachel made a mental note to seek her out later in the day after practice ended. Quinn returned sometime after and escorted Rachel to her next class once lunch was over.

Football practice later that afternoon went by as well as Rachel could have hoped. She didn't take too many big hits and for the most part was able to gain good yardage on her runs. Coach Beiste still pushed them to do better though, and the reason for why was clear. With Homecoming just around the corner Rachel realized that the Homecoming Game was closing in on them too. Since Rachel was actually attending Homecoming this year she had to assure that they won that game.

Nothing could take the fun out of Homecoming more than losing the Homecoming Game. And thinking of such made Rachel realize something else too; she needed a dress, something special. She also had to wonder what Quinn would wear. Most of the time Rachel only saw Quinn in her Cheerios uniform or, if they were outside of school, she'd wear a simple top and some jeans or maybe a babydoll dress. There was no doubt that she'd look beautiful though. Rachel felt so lucky.

Once practice was over she went over to the sidelines where Cheerios were just about ready to finish up as well. Rachel took off her helmet as she watched Quinn tell her squad head into the locker room. They looked exhausted but none of them dared complain. Rachel walked up behind her. "Hey."

Quinn turned to her and smiled. "Hey yourself. You looked good out there."

"Thanks, just trying my best."

"You sure can sure show these boys how to play this game, huh?" Rachel had to laugh, especially considering the fact that up until a few weeks ago she didn't know how to play the game herself. Quinn wrapped an arm around her shoulders and started leading her to the locker room. "Why don't we get changed and cleaned up so I can take you home?"

As they walked inside Rachel catch a glimpse of Gabrielle. Since Quinn was bound to take a shower, Rachel decided to change quickly so that she have that talk with the shorter brunette before getting a ride home. After getting back into her normal and comfortable clothes Rachel waited outside the locker room for a few minutes until Gabrielle popped her head out. Rachel smiled at her and waved.

Gabrielle smiled back and tentative walked towards her. "Hey," she greeted, nervously rubbing the back of her neck.

"So what did you want to ask?"

"Oh… well uh… what I wanted to ask you about was… well, how do you know… I mean, how can you tell if, you know… if you're gay?" Suddenly her eyes fell to the floor. She peeked up at Rachel for a second before letting her eyes fall back down to her sneakers. "I don't mean to bother you with this, but you're the only one that I'm comfortable talking to about it. Santana scares me and I don't think that Brittany would be able to give me the best answer, and if I were to talk to her at all I'd be afraid of what Santana would do to me. I guess I could ask Quinn, but that would be kind of awkward and…" she was rambling, making wild gestures with her hands as she did so.

She looked ready to hyperventilate so Rachel took a hold of her wrists to halt her movements. "Calm down," she told her. "Calm down. It's okay." Gabrielle nodded and after a few deep breaths she did as she had been instructed. "Better?"

"Much."

"So you think you're gay?"

"Yeah… oh, it feels so good to say that aloud."

"But you're not sure?"

"No, I mean I guess not. How do you know?"

"That's not really an easy question to answer," Rachel told her honestly. "For me I suppose it's because I've never found myself attracted to boys. If I'm being honest I guess I could even go as far as saying that I've only ever really been attracted to Quinn." Gabrielle let out a gasp of disbelief.

"Really?"

Rachel shrugged. "Kind of. I've found other girls to be cute or maybe even hot but with Quinn it's different. It's hard to explain."

"No need. I think I get it."

"Sorry I can't be of more help," Rachel apologized weakly. She felt pretty bad.

"Don't worry, you helped a lot."

"Hey, what are you two talking about?" Quinn asked as she snuck up behind Rachel and wrapped the tiny girl in her arms. She kissed Rachel on the cheek and then stared directly and Gabrielle.

"Nothing. Um, I should go. See you later." And with that she was off.

Quinn let out a sound of content and began escorting Rachel to the parking lot. Perhaps it was her ego talking but there was something that Rachel just had to know. She didn't really want to ask it and risk sounding silly, but neither did she want to risk Quinn getting the wrong idea. Before they reached Quinn's car Rachel spoke up. "You weren't jealous back there, were you?"

"Jealous? About what?" Quinn feigned ignorance.

"About Gabrielle?"

"No… Maybe… Kind of… I guess," she pouted. "I know I don't have the right to since we're not going steady yet but I kind of like the idea of having you all to myself."

"Well, maybe we should just agree to go steady then?" Rachel proposed with a laugh.

"Maybe after Homecoming. Sorry, if I'm a little old fashioned, but I don't like the idea of going steady after only one date," she explained, giving Rachel an apologetic smile.

"Well, if you want you can apologize with a kiss." Rachel put on a cute face and Quinn giggled. She couldn't resist and kissed Rachel on the lips. She pulled back and cupped her face for a moment. For a while Quinn just stared at her, shaking her head in disbelief.

"Let's get you home, okay?"