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could you pass in love?

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could you pass in love?

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"Well, I always know when I'm in love--I feel terrible."

.

 

“Quinn Fabray, I will divorce you, don’t think I won’t!” Rachel shouts, one finger pointed towards Quinn, who is standing by the desk, huffing angrily.

“Well, maybe I’ll divorce you!”

Rachel narrows her eyes and says, “Not if I divorce you first!” and turns on her heels.

When she leaves, the door slams shut behind her and Quinn, presses her face down into her hands and lets out an unstable, shaky breath that lingers in the air for a long time.

“Um…” Finn says from his desk, looking around the room at their peers in search of an explanation. “What just happened?”

..

One Week Earlier

.

Eight days before Regionals, Quinn and Rachel’s names get pulled out of a Ziploc bag and Mrs. Chandler, their Family Dynamics teacher, announces with a big, old smile that they’re now, “Happily married! Mazel Tov, Rachel, and a very Christian congrats to Quinn!”

She pauses and frowns, looking down at her desk with the slips of paper bearing their names still in her hand. “Well, maybe not that Christian. I mean, you did marry a Jewish girl.” She holds her free hand up to show she was kidding. “But I don’t judge.”

From his seat towards the back Finn can be heard saying, “Goddammit,” and Quinn is the very definition of a deer in the headlights when Rachel twists her head back and grins at her.

She looks like she wants to say something, but Mrs. Chandler is pulling out the next set of pairs already, so she turns back around in her seat with a little pout.

“Mr. Finn Hudson, you are now fully ensconced in marital bliss with Ms. Brittany Pierce. Happy whatever God you believe in,” she says, nodding at them manically. “Santa?” she asks, looking at some of her other students for validation. “Maybe Santa?”

Brittany nods seriously and says, “Thank you so much!” then turns in her seat, looks at Finn and pumps one fist in the air. She points from herself to him and mouths, “You and me,” which makes Santana, who’s sitting beside her, scoff and grumble under her breath.

Turning back in her seat, Brittany says, “What does ‘egg-sconce’ mean? Sounds a little iffy. Like an egg scone?”

Santana doesn’t answer her, just crosses her arms and sits back in her seat.

“Okay, so about half the class has been partnered up now. Everyone who didn’t get called, you’ll be added in sometime next week after the first few rounds. Okay?”

There’s an overall grumble-y response from her students.

“So, married folks, if you’ll just pass up your papers with your example scenarios written out, that would be great.”

They do as she’s asked and Rachel’s grin is firmly set back on her face when she turns around to grab Quinn’s paper from her.

“You’ll see what those are for later.” Mrs. Chandler takes the papers once they’re passed forward and sets them on her desk. “Now, next week, you ‘just-hitched’ guys are gonna be faced with some trouble in paradise. We’ll see how you handle it by using the cornerstones of any good relationship. What are they, class?”

Despite having asked them to do it, she says it for them, “Trust, communication, empathy, and respect,” with the rest of them lagging behind her by a few seconds in their own answers.

Santana mumbles, “Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, and bullshit,” instead of the correct answers.

The bell rings and Mrs. Chandler allows them to leave, saying, “Have a nice weekend, lovebirds. Use a condom on your honeymoons,” as they file out.

She winks at Quinn when the girl passes her. “Except you. Wildly unnecessary.”

Quinn, flustered, speeds up a little just so she can get out  of the room more quickly.

Outside at Rachel’s locker, Finn is staring at his fiancee and saying, “Why couldn’t she have just put us together? I mean, we’re actually getting married.”

“I hardly thinks that matters to her, Finn, even if she does know of our…engagement.” She sounds like she struggles on the last word. “This is just an exercise to apply what we’ve learned to a real-life situation.”

Finn goes to argue, but Rachel sees Quinn sticking her books in a locker that’s a few down from hers and happily chirps, “Hello there, fake-wife! Ready for the honeymoon?”

In an impulsive moment, she winks after the question.

Both Finn and Quinn’s faces turn bright red—Finn’s from anger, Quinn’s from embarrassment.

“U-uh,” Quinn stammers. “Yeah, uh…sure…” She closes her locker. “I’ll just see you Monday.”

She starts to leave and Rachel closes her own locker, looking at Finn.

“Now, Finn, as much as I enjoy this conversation, I think it would be imperative for me to go after my wife and discuss our upcoming trials and tribulations as newlyweds, don’t you think?”

Finn, confused at the big words and general phrasing of the question, simply nods with his eyebrows pressed down onto his eyes.

“Thank you!” She steps on her tiptoes, presses a kiss to his cheek, and then she’s gone, rushing down the hall after Quinn.

She leaves Finn standing there.

“Wassup, peachy-pie?” Brittany, who is passing by with Santana, says to him. “We’re gonna crush this marriage thing.” She mimes crushing something in her hand and tossing it away before Santana rolls her eyes and tugs her down the hall and out of the school.

Finn frowns as they leave in the same direction Rachel had run off to.

“What is going on?”

.

“Quinn!” Rachel says, at a full-on sprint, rushing towards her prey. “You walk really fast, did you know th—“

At that exact moment, the heel of her right foot hits a particularly deceptive patch of ice and she’s sent sliding a few feet before falling to her butt on the cold pavement.

Up ahead, Quinn stops walking and turns, the frustrated look in her eye replaced with concern as she hurries over to the other girl.

“Wow, are you okay?” she asks, kneeling down in front of Rachel and inspecting her as well as she can for injuries.

Rachel groans and then pouts. “Lucky for me, nothing is bruised but my pride.”

Quinn gives her a lopsided grin and gets to her feet, offering her hands for Rachel to take.

Pulling her up, she says, “And that is why you never run on pavement in the winter.”

Rachel rubs her backside, still pouting. “You know, that warning might have been more useful had it come five minutes ago.”

Quinn shrugs.

“Listen, I was chasing after you to tell you that I think we should meet up this weekend. Talk strategy?”

Quinn frowns. “You make it sound like we’re going to rob a bank, Berry,” she says. “Plus, you realize we can’t prepare for whatever scenario she gives us, right? It’s random.”

“True, but I do know what I wrote on my list of things that bother me. I could always tell you them and we could discuss the right way to address that issue.”

“And that would be cheating, wouldn’t it?”

It’s Rachel’s turn to frown. “Well, when you say it like that.”

“Goodbye, Rachel,” Quinn says, turning and heading towards her car.

“Quinn, wait!”

Quinn doesn’t wait, but she does hold up her hand and wave without turning around.

“I need to get in character!”

But Quinn is already in her car and driving away.

.

Around six that night, Judy calls up the stairs for her daughter that one of her, “little friends is here!”

Quinn, who is in her bedroom and not expecting anyone, frowns, staring down at her trigonometry homework.

Downstairs, Rachel is waiting with a large cake in her hands, bouncing on her heels and smiling as Quinn descends the stairs.

“What are you doing here?” Quinn asks.

Judy looks between the two of them, frowns, and excuses herself back to the living room to watch her “stories”.

“I came to strategize like I said!” Rachel says, holding the cake out to Quinn. “My dads made this for you.”

Welcome to the Family! is written on the cake in big, pink frosted letters.

Quinn swallows and takes the cake from her. “Um, thanks.”

She sets it on the table by the door.

“I thought we decided strategizing was a lot like cheating.” As she says it, her eyes dart towards the living room, where her mother is calmly watching Divorce Court.

“Well, you were the only one who agreed on that, if I’ll recall. Besides, I don’t want to cheat, I simply want to get in character. If I’m supposed to play you’re dutiful, commited wif—“

Quinn stops her with a firm, warm palm pressed over Rachel’s mouth, eyes still in the living room, where Judy’s head is turned back a little, like she’s listening.

“We’re not doing this here, Berry,” she whispers harshly and drags the other girl up the stairs to her bedroom.

“Not that I mind this forceful side of you—I imagine your character being rather commanding in the bedroom, obviously—but what was that about?” Rachel asks as Quinn shuts her bedroom door behind them. “Did I say something wrong?”

“Yes!” Quinn says, turning to her and looking flustered. “Look, Rachel, you’ve got to stop saying stuff like that, okay? It’s just a school project. It’s not like we’re actually married.”

Rachel huffs and moves over to Quinn’s bed. “Do you mind if I sit?” she asks pointedly.

Quinn shakes her head and rolls her eyes. Rachel sits.

“I am simply trying to get into the headspace of my character, Quinn. I hardly think there’s anything wrong with that,” Rachel tells her. “How else do you expect my performance to be convincing?”

“It’s not a performance, Rachel!” Quinn says, exasperated. “It’s just a stupid project. Literally all we have to do is get up there and not be jerks to one another. That’s it. It’s a pass or fail class.”

“One that you clearly don’t mind failing.”

Quinn’s sigh leads them into a chilly silence that is eventually broken when she says, “Wait. What do you mean you imagine my character being commanding in the bedroom?”

“Took you long enough,” Rachel grumbles.

“Why do you think I’d be commanding?” Quinn asks. “And, ‘character’? Really?”

“All I’m saying is that you have a tendency to be a little…dominant. It’s only natural that such a trait would transfer into your intimate and sexual encounters.”

“Okay, that’s the end of that, then.” Quinn’s face is red and she sits down at her desk, swiveling the chair so that she’s facing Rachel.

Another silence.

“I suppose I’ll help you…prepare for the project, okay? But that’s it. None of this character stuff.”

Rachel grins, looking intensely pleased with herself. “Perfect! Okay, so…” She pauses to dig a small notebook out of her purse, flipping it open and scanning the page before saying, “Where did we meet?”

Quinn frowns. “What?”

“Where did we meet, Quinn?”

“Um…” Quinn pauses to think. “Freshman year, World History. You were sitting in my assigned seat because you wanted to sit right in front of the whiteboard and I had to tell you to take a hike.”

Rachel seems surprised that Quinn remembers that, but shakes her head after just a moment. “No, I mean, not us us. Married us. For class?”

Quinn makes a face, clearly not getting it.

“Oh, for goodness sake, Quinn. Our ‘characters’. Where did they meet?”

Something about her new expression makes Rachel think Quinn has finally gotten what she was saying.

“Why do we have to be characters? Why can’t we just be us?”

She sounds a little wistful.

“Because, in case you haven’t noticed, Quinn, we’re not married.” Quinn has her arms and legs crossed now, slumping a little in her seat. “And I’m engaged to Finn.”

“I remember,” Quinn grouses, not making eye contact.

“So, as I was saying, where did we meet? I’m trying to figure out why I should fight for our love, here.”

“Can we please just be us? I don’t wanna play a character for this. The project is already dumb enough as it is.”

Rachel lets out a long and loud breath and then says, “Fine, Quinn. If that’s what it will take, let’s just be us, okay? I’ll be Rachel and you’ll be Quinn. Just as we are. Happy?”

Quinn most certainly does not look happy, but Rachel presses on.

“So, why did we get married?”

“Why does anyone get married?” Quinn fires back and Rachel scoots back a bit on the bed at the venemous tone her voice takes.

“Well,” she starts, still slightly out of sorts. “For stability, security…So that you’re never alone.”

Quinn shakes her head and looks away.

“What?” Rachel asks. “There’s nothing wrong with wanting a marriage based on support. It’s practically one of the cornerstones!”

“Of a good relationship, yes,” Quinn cuts in. “Any relationship, sure, but a marriage should be more than just that. Hence why this project is such a waste of time.”

“I suppose you have a different answer, then.”

Quinn makes a face.

“What is it then, Quinn? Why did we get married?”

It’s really quiet for a second, just the two of them breathing and waiting for the words to come.

Quinn says, “Because we’re in love.”

Rachel opens her mouth to speak, but Quinn cuts her off.

“Because we don’t want to spend another second in this life, or any other, without being together. Yeah, it’s support and stability and all four cornerstones, but those are just the background reasons of why we continue to be married. The main reason is love.”

It’s almost like they’re talking about two different things.

Still, Rachel pulls out a golf pencil and writes that down in her notebook, sounding it out as she writes, “We’re…in…love…”

Satisfied, she looks back up at Quinn. “And when did we get together?”

Quinn shrugs and looks away.

“It would be a lot easier if you would help me.”

Looking back up at her, Quinn exhales.

“Maybe we’ve always been in love.”

A brief lull follows this; careful eye contact, Rachel’s blank expression, Quinn’s nervous gaze.

“Oh, that’s marvelous!” She writes it down in her notebook. “A love story for the ages.”

Quinn isn’t looking at her again.

“Okay, so we’re in love—” She grins over at Quinn. “—madly,” she throws in dramatically. “And we decided to get married out of high school.” She pauses. “Wait, you don’t believe in getting married this young.”

In her chair, Quinn tightens her arms a bit around her chest.

“We’ll just overlook that for now,” Rachel offers. “A little fib never hurt anyone. Maybe I’m the exception to your rule.”

She writes something else down and Quinn, suspiciously, looks like she may start crying.

“That works. This has been very helpful and I feel more prepared for Monday now.”

Quinn, regaining her composure, follows Rachel’s lead and gets to her feet.

“Sorry for barging in like this,” she says when they’re at the door.

Quinn glances into the living room again.

Judy is gone, as is the cake she’d set down earlier, and the TV is off.

“It’s okay,” Quinn says quietly.

“Thanks for your help.” Rachel’s fingers brush Quinn’s arm and Quinn barely makes eye contact.

She gets a nod in response and then ducks out the door.

Quinn stands there, staring at the door for a minute before going in search of her mother.

“Is there a pending adoption I should know about, Quinnie?” Judy asks when Quinn enters the kitchen.

She gestures at a piece of the cake she’s eating, which is sitting on the island in the center of the room.

Quinn sighs and leans her elbows on the counter. “No. It’s from Rachel,” she explains. “I guess her dads made it or something.”

Judy frowns. “Anything you want to tell me?” she asks, quirking an eyebrow.

“No! It’s…It’s nothing like that.” She shakes her head. “It’s for a project. We’re…the teacher...we have to pretend to be married. It’s dumb. I think her dads were trying to be funny.”

Judy laughs. “Well, at least you’re not actually getting married. I love you, darling, but you’re a little young.”

“Tell that to Rachel.”

Having already known about the engagement, Judy gives her daughter a sympathetic and knowing look. “Why the long face?” she asks, trying to break the tension. “People pay hundreds of dollars for gay men to bake them cakes and you just got one for free.”

Quinn gives her mother a troubled look. “Mom, that’s kind of offensive.”

Judy waves her off. “Tomato, to-mah-to.” She reaches into a cabinet nearby and pulls out a wine glass. “If you’re not going to enjoy it, I certainly will.” She grabs a bottle of wine from the counter and starts pouring. “Maybe for breakast tomorrow, too.”

Quinn just runs her hands through her hair and smiles stiffly at her mother.

.

“Alright, Brittany and Finn, the scenario is that Finn doesn’t...Hang on.” Mrs. Chandler looks down at the sheet of paper on her lap. “Finn doesn’t think that you’re…couple nickname should be ‘Fittany’ and likes…‘Pudson’ better.” She shakes her head, looking confused. “Go!”

Brittany, who is standing at the front of the class with Finn, turns to him angrily. “Really, Finn? ‘Pudson’?”

Finn just looks confused. “What?”

“It sounds like what you would call a sad potato that just got kicked across a muddy field. I don’t accept it.”

Mrs. Chandler gestures at Finn with her eyebrows raised, mouthing the word, ‘Communication’ to him.

“Communism?” he whispers, eyes wild, and she sighs, closing her eyes. “Right! Communication.” He turns to Brittany. “Listen, Brittany—“ His shoulders are cocked back and his voice takes a deeper, more dramatically fake tone. “I don’t like ‘Fittany’ anymore than you like ‘Pudson’.”

Brittany throws up her hands in frustration. “Well, ‘Fittany’ sounds like we work out together. Like ‘fit Brittany.’ It gives me nice images of us doing squats or tandem biking. Which, obviously, is way better than a sad, muddy potato.”

Finn looks at Rachel, who is sitting stiffly in her chair and smiling at him encouraginly. She flashes him a thumbs-up.

“Okay, well, whatever you want, Brittany,” he says. “I want you to…” He glances back at Rachel, then again at Brittany. “…be happy.”

Quinn and Santana share an annoyed glance.

But Brittany, Rachel, and Mrs. Chandler all seem pleased.

“Great communicating, guys,” Mrs. Chandler says, getting to her feet. “And empathy!”

Brittany and Finn go back to their seats.

As she passes by Quinn, Brittany raises her hand for a high-five that Quinn distractedly returns.

“Okay, Noah and Ben, you’re up!”

Puck and the boy beside him get up and move to the front of the class.

As they’re doing their scenario, Rachel leans back in her chair and says, “We’re going to do great,” to Quinn in a low whisper.

Quinn nods, mostly so Rachel will turn back around, but Sananta is staring at her, looking amused.

“And that, class, is a prime example of why respect is so important in a healthy relationship.”

Puck and Ben sit down—both of them looking particularly annoyed.

Mrs. Chandler looks down at her list, and then looks back up at Quinn and Rachel, smiling. “And now our interfaith couple, Mrs. and Mrs. Berry-Fabray.”

“Actually, Mrs. Chandler,” Rachel says as she gets to her feet and smooths out her skirt. “I’ve decided to take Quinn’s last name.”

She gives the girl in question a bright smile and Quinn grimaces as they walk to the front of the room.

“Alright, so, Rachel, you are upset because Quinn has very recently begun chewing with her mouth open. Discuss!”

Rachel immediately snaps into character. “Quinn, I would appreciate it if you would stop that disgusting habit at once. How can I be expected to eat with you in public if you insist on chewing in that manner?”

Quinn stares at her blankly, thinking that it must have been a rhetorical question.

“Well? Are you going to answer me?”

After glancing at an engrossed Mrs. Chandler, an agitated Finn, and Santana, who just looks pleased with herself, Quinn looks down at her shoes.

“Yeah, Rachel. I’m sorry.”

“No, Quinn, hear me ou—“ Rachel stops speaking her anticipated and planned response and looks over at her companion. “What?” Clearly Quinn’s apology has thrown her through a loop.

Quinn finally looks up at her. “Sorry, Rachel,” she repeats, smiling dolefully. “I didn’t know that it bothered you. Won’t happen again.”

Her and Rachel just stare at each other.

Rachel must have expected there to be a bit of a fight and now she just looks baffled.

They finally look away when Mrs. Chandler starts clapping. “What trust, you guys. Well done!”

Finn is mumbling something from the back of the room as they go back to their seats.

.

“So that was super weird today,” Santana comments between numbers during rehearsal after school.

At the front of the room, Mr. Schuster is going over some choreography for Regionals with Brittany and Mike.

Quinn looks away from Finn and Rachel, who are talking quietly to one another, and frowns at her friend. “What was super weird?”

“You and Berry.”

“I don’t know what you mean.”

Santana laughs. “Sure you don’t.”

“I don’t.”

“Mhm.”

“Look, Santana,” Quinn says, noticeably irked. “If there’s something you want to say, go ahead and say it. I’m not gonna stop you.”

“Well, her taking your name for one. And how submissive you were with her. I thought for sure you’d stand your ground, as dumb as that scenario was. I know I’d never let that homunculous win.”

Quinn quirks an eyebrow at her vocabulary.

“It means ‘small person’, nerd.”

“Right.” Quinn sighs. “Well, like you said, those scenarios are dumb. Not like it really matters.”

Her eyes drift back to Rachel and Finn.

“Yeah, I’d agree with you,” Santana starts. “If only you’d stop staring at Berry like that.”

Quinn looks back at Santana, who just shrugs as Mr. Schuster calls them all to attention.

.

“How was class, honey?” Judy asks at dinner that night.

Quinn frowns and answers, “Weird,” as she eats a bite of her lasagna.

.

The next day is pretty much the same because Rachel reacts to, “Quinn got into a car crash today and totaled your car,” with concern rather than animosity.

“Oh my god, are you okay?” she asks, stepping closer and grabbing Quinn’s arm as if this has really just happened.

Santana raises her eyebrows at Quinn, but Quinn ignores her.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” Quinn answers, playing along. “But your car, Rachel—“

Rachel shakes her head. “As long as you’re okay, Quinn, that’s what matters.”

It nearly moves Mrs. Chandler to tears.

“If only Jack had responded that way,” she says dismally as the girls make their way to sit down. “Brava. A relationship built on affection and love.”

Santana snorts at this, covering her mouth with her hand as she laughs. Brittany worriedly slaps her on the back a few times as if she’s choking.

In the back of the room, Finn looks kind of sick and, once the bell rings, he drags Rachel out of the room.

.

“Sorry about today,” Rachel says to Quinn at lunch while Finn is occupied by his conversation with Puck.

Quinn starts to answer with her mouth full of tater tots, but, remembering Rachel’s problem with that, finishes before she asks, “What do you mean?”

“I overreacted to the scenario we had,” she explains, picking at her salad.

On the other side of the table, Santana is smirking at them and saying something to Brittany out of the corner of her mouth.

Quinn gives her a brief glare before turning back to Rachel.

“It’s fine,” she responds.

“It’s just…” Rachel shakes her head.

“No, what?” Quinn presses.

“I don’t like the thought of you getting hurt.” She shakes her head again. “It’s stupid.”

Quinn frowns, first at Santana—who she also discreetly flips off—and then at Rachel.

“That’s not stupid,” she says.

Unfortunately, Rachel doesn’t get a chance to answer because Finn is suddenly talking to her about wedding plans.

.

“Okay, so, we have a little mix-up for today,” Mrs. Chandler says the next day, looking far too excited about whatever she has planned. “Those of you who are spouse-less are going to be joining your married peers as—drumroll please.”

There’s an awkward pause until they realize that she actually wants a drumroll, and then someone in the front of the class starts tapping their fingers back and forth on the table top.

Obviously pleased, Mrs. Chandler calls out, “—their children!” and the drumroll dies a swift death.

“Wait, what?” Santana asks, making a face.

“You heard me, Santana—their children. Women of the marriage and Puck and Ben’s surrogate—” She throws a smile their way. “—you are with child. Or, you were. About seventeen, eighteen years ago because your children are now teenagers. But, yay, you!”

She claps a couple of times and then pulls out a list. “Now, I’ve already taken the liberty of sorting you out because I was afraid there might be some risk of awkwardness if I put certain people with certain pairs.” She pauses to think this over and then says, “Yeah. Okay, so, Santana, you are with…” She glances down at her notes. “Rachel and Quinn! What a team.”

Rachel huffs at this news just as Quinn says, “Oh, come on.”

Santana glares at them. “Like I wanna be stuck with you two losers, anyway.”

Mrs. Chandler rattles off the rest of the groups and then they run through a few scenarios before class lets out.

As it turns out, these new ones are even worse than the other ones.

For instance, in Quinn and Rachel’s, Santana has wracked up a massive phone bill and it’s their job to talk to her calmly.

They end up grounding her when she becomes verbally abusive and are chastised by Mrs. Chandler for not being “open enough.”

.

Rachel comes over that night with a plate of cookies.

“Did your dads bake these, too?” Quinn asks.

Rachel shakes her head, but smiles.

“I figured we could throw a pity party,” she explains when they’re sitting at the island in the kitchen with the plate of cookies between them.

“For what?”

“Now that Santana is our kid, I don’t see us passing this project,” Rachel says. “I mean, the next scene we do will probably end with either her or us getting strangled.”

Quinn laughs, but there’s a hint of bitterness to it. “You’re not wrong.”

“I know.”

“We were doing well, too.”

“Very well,” Rachel agrees. “We were communicating and being empathetic, trusting, respectful. We had it in the bag.”

“Yeah.”

“There goes that.”

They’re quiet for a moment, but then Quinn tries a cookie and moans gratefully at the taste.

Rachel’s face is a little flushed at the sound, but, if Quinn notices, she doesn’t say anything about it. “Do you like them?” she asks.

Quinn nods emphatically.

“I’m glad.”

Another pause for silence. They stare at one another, Quinn still chewing and Rachel just watching her with slightly hooded eyes.

“How’s, um…How’s the wedding planning going?” Quinn asks after she’s swallowed, though she doesn’t look like she’s too invested in hearing a response.

Rachel shrugs. “I’ve, um, kinda been thinking about bumping up the date,” she admits.

Quinn chews on her bottom lip. “To when?”

“Um, Saturday,” Rachel says. “After the competition?”

“Oh.”

“Yeah. It’s just everything with Karosky, I…” She trails off.

But Quinn nods. “No, yeah. I understand.”

“Okay.”

“These cookies are really good,” Quinn says after another moment of silence, looking to change the subject.

“Thank you.” Rachel smiles briefly, but then, “We, um, the rest of the girls were going to come to get their dresses fitted with me tommorow and I…I would love for you to come too.”

Quinn goes back to her lip gnawing, bouncing the cookie a little in her hand.

“I know that…I know that you oppose it, but I don’t want to get married without you there.” She smiles sadly. “I mean, what would my wedding be like without my pretend wife.”

“Yeah, uh…” Quinn huffs without meaning to. “I can, maybe…Maybe I can be there.”

Rachel’s smile is blinding. “Great.”

When Rachel leaves a few minutes later, she hugs Quinn with unsure arms around the taller girl’s neck.

Quinn returns it and watches her drive away this time.

When she gets back into the kitchen, Judy is there, flipping through a magazine and chewing on one of the cookies.

“Mom, stop eating my food,” Quinn says, snatching the plate away from her mother. “Rachel made these for me.”

“And they’re delicious,” Judy says. “You can hardly blame me.”

She leans forward to reach around Quinn and take another cookie.

Quinn lets her, but only because she doesn’t feel like fighting.

.

“Hudson family,” Mrs. Chandler says at the beginning of the next class, but Finn pipes in before she can finish.

“Actually, I took Brittany’s last name,” he says.

Brittany nods. “I made him. I wanted him to understand what it’s like to be me.” She leans towards Finn and loudly whispers, “Share the wealth.”

“Okay…” Mrs. Chanlder squints, but continues. “Pierce family. Brittany has decided that she wants to go back to school and get a different degree. But, the school she wants to attend is more than a days drive away and, in doing so, Finn, you’ll have to take over covering the family expenses as well as taking care of your son.”

She nods to Mike who looks perturbed.

“And, action!”

“Brittany, I don’t want you to go,” Finn says immediately.

“What? Why?” she asks.

“Because it’s not fair to me. Or Mike,” he adds in, like Mike is an afterthought.

Brittany takes a step towards Mike, who is leaned against Mrs. Chandler’s desk, and runs both of her hands through his hair. “It’s not like I can’t love you and Mikey from school,” she tells him.

Finn is frowning, though. “Yeah, it is,” he says. “It means you’re choosing that over me, over him. Which you wouldn’t do if you cared about us.”

Brittany looks taken aback by how personal this is getting and Quinn throws an anxious look at Rachel who’s posture has stiffened.

“I wouldn’t be choosing anything over you?” Brittany tries, looking at Mrs. Chandler for help and receiving none.

“Yes, you would! It’s like you don’t even care that we’re married, Brittany, that this is the kind of thing we should decide together. Why should I put my life on hold so you can chase your dreams?”

There’s a stunned silence that falls over the class after this and Mrs. Chandler hops to her feet.

Brittany stares at Finn, startled, while Mike bears a similar expression.

Even Santana looks wary, and a bit like she’s ready to hop out of her chair at any second if he should get closer to Brittany.

 

“Okay.” Mrs. Chandler draws the word out. “You guys can sit down.”

They do as such, Mike and Brittany cautiously edging around Finn in order to get to their desks.

“That was a great example of how respect and empathy can go a long way towards communicating in a healthy and productive manner.” She pauses awkwardly. “Fabrays. You’re up.”

On her way to the front of the room, Quinn keeps an eye on Rachel, who has her arms crossed low over her stomach and looks strikingly subdued.

“Alright, so you guys have a…less explosive one—” She looks back at Finn cautiously before continuing. “Santana, you’ve been acting out in school and recently got sent to the principal’s office. Quinn, you were called and now you two have to tell Rachel. Start whenever you’re ready.”

Quinn and Santana exchange a brief glance before looking at Rachel, who isn’t making eye contact with either of them.

“Um, Rachel?” Quinn starts. Still, Rachel keeps her eyes down. “Santana has something she wants to tell you about school today.”

Santana grits her teeth at Quinn as if she’s being thrown under the bus. “Yeah, um…Mom,” she tries, faking a gag at the word. “I, um…I punched this guy in the face for being a jerk.”

Rachel just nods absently.

“Don’t you want to know why?”

No answer.

“He was basically just being a big moron, but no one else wanted to call him out on it, so I decided to teach him a lesson.”

Quinn shoots her a warning look.

“That’s great,” Rachel responds quietly.

Santana frowns. “What?”

“Whatever you want, Santana.”

The silence that follows goes on for about thirty seconds before Mrs. Chandler clears her throat to cut them off.

At least she has the right mind not to comment on it.

Instead she just says, “Good job, girls,” and sends them back to their seats.

When the bell rings, Quinn goes to say something to Rachel, but doesn’t manage it because the other girl is out of the room like her dress is on fire.

Santana and Brittany walk out of school with Quinn a little later.

“That was pleasant,” Santana comments dryly. “Today should be fun.”

And that’s when Quinn remembers about her promise to go to the dress fitting and the bumped-up wedding date.

.

Rachel is just as distracted as she was earlier when she’s trying on wedding dresses two hours later.

She stands in front of the mirror in the third one she’s tried, but doesn’t even look at herself—just stands there.

“Seriously, what the hell is happening?” Santana mumbles to Quinn from where she’s standing behind the other girl’s seat.

Quinn shakes her head as Brittany makes a comment about wearing the same color on the outside as the inside from across the room. “I think she’s actually starting to think about what she’s getting herself into.”

“Good,” Santana says. “Better that she figures out what a massacre this marriage would be before it gets to the point where lawyers have to be involved.”

“Rachel!” Mercedes says just then. “That one looks good, girl.”

Rachel jumps and turns around to face her friends. “Really?” she asks.

Tina nods. “It does. You look great.”

“Someone has to say something,” Quinn whispers to Santana, but Santana is quick to shut that down.

“I’m not gonna get caught in the cross-fire here, Q. This is your deal.”

“What is that supposed to mean?” Quinn asks uncertainly.

“You know what it means.”

Quinn takes a deep breath and then gets to her feet. “Rachel, I hate to be the buzzkill, but are you sure you’re really ready for this?”

Rachel looks up with wide eyes, surprised that Quinn is not only speaking, but also standing. “Yeah,” she answers, working to get the word out.

“Right, mhm.” Quinn laughs cruelly. “That explains your reaction to him today. Hell, it explains his reaction to Brittany. You’re both so ready that you’re taking out your insecurities and anger on other people.”

Those who aren’t in their Family Dynamics class look puzzled.

“That has…That has nothing to do with this, Quinn. And I would appreciate it if you would keep your opinions to yourself from here on out.” Rachel is twisting her hands together. “This wedding, whether you like it or not, is happening. Despite what you think, Quinn, Finn and I are ready for this.”

Quinn scoffs and nods sarcastically. “Of course you are.”

“We are, Quinn! Don’t presume to know anything about our relationship! I’m marrying Finn, and that’s final.”

“I’m sorry, you must have meant, ‘ruining your life’. I think I heard you wrong.”

Rachel huffs.

“Look, Rachel, it’s a hard pill to swallow—especially for someone who hates to be wrong. But you’re making a mistake here. A big one. One that will affect you and the people who love you for the rest of your life.”

It’s Rachel’s turn to laugh now, but the sound of it makes everyone else jump and look panicked.

“People like who, Quinn?” Rachel asks. “Because the last time I checked, that list was pretty short.”

Quinn takes a breath. “People like me, Rachel.”

Behind her, Mercedes looks at Tina with wide eyes mouthing, “Oh my god!”

Brittany moves to stand by Santana and grabs her hand as they wait for Rachel to answer.

But she doesn’t, because Quinn takes a step forward and whispers, “Please don’t marry him, Rachel,” before she can.

Rachel looks like she may cry, but she somehow manages to choke out the word, “Well,” and then, “If it’s going to be that difficult for you, it might be better if you didn’t come to the wedding at all.”

Quinn’s jaw tightens and she nods again. “No problem,” she says, and with that, leaves.

.

Finn and Rachel are having a muted fight at their lockers before first period the next morning.

Santana makes a comment about it when they pass by.

“What’s wrong with you?” Santana asks when she doesn’t get a response.

“Nothing,” is Quinn’s answer.

.

“Last day, guys! After this, you’ll be able to return to your drama-free lives as single teenagers.”

The class mumbles some barely emphatic interjections in response.

“Okay, how about our favorite family, the Fabrays, start us out?”

It’s clear from the fact that she’s the only one looking excited, that no one else would label them as a “favorite.”

Rachel, who has refused to acknowledge Quinn all day, stands with her hands clasped behind her back and her eyes planted firmly at the back wall.

“Your scenario is—”

“—that Quinn is being selfish and arrogant?” Rachel asks without looking at anyone.

Mrs. Chandler is shocked and it takes her a while to speak. “No, it’s—“

This time, Quinn cuts in, “—that Rachel is unbelievably obstinate to the point of not even considering what other people say or feel?”

Rachel finally looks up at her. “Well, maybe Quinn is just putting herself first and not considering that Rachel has feelings too.”

Santana raises her eyebrows and steps away from them, closer to their teacher. “Oh, boy,” she whispers.

“That’s only because Rachel has been blatantly ignoring Quinn’s feelings for an insane amount of time because it doesn’t fit into her picture perfect happy ending!”

Quinn’s fists are balled up by her waist and she has one foot stepped forward.

Rachel looks rightly afraid for a moment, but then stands up straighter and says, “Maybe Rachel would be able to accept Quinn’s feelings and possibly even feel the same way if Quinn hadn’t been such a cruel bitch to Rachel for a similar amount of time.”

“Rachel could?” Quinn’s voice drops in volume and Rachel blinks and then nods. Quinn’s eyes look a little shiny, but then she just looks angry again. “Another example of Rachel avoiding Quinn’s feelings for her own benefit!”

A beat and then, “Quinn Fabray, I will divorce you! Don’t think I won’t!”

“Well, maybe I’ll divorce you!” Quinn counters.

“Not if I divorce you first!”

And, with that, Rachel turns and storms out of the classroom, leaving Quinn to droop back against the desk.

“Um, what just happened?”

Quinn looks up at Finn and glares for all of about fifteen seconds before she, too, leaves the room.

“Well,” Mrs. Chandler says, once they’ve gone. “That was a first for this particular project.”

.

“What the hell was that?” Santana asks just a short while later when she finds Quinn sitting on against the wall in the bathroom with her knees drawn up towards her chest.

Instead of answering, Quinn just starts crying.

“Oh, crap,” Santana says, sitting down beside her friend. “Feelings.”

Brittany locks the door and then settles down on Quinn’s other side, pulling Quinn over so that she’s leaning on her shoulder.

“It’s okay, Quinn,” she whispers.

Quinn doesn’t look convinced and just keeps crying, so Santana pats her, unsurely, on the knee.

“There, there.” Brittany gives her an admonishing glare. “What?”

.

Regionals the next day is a disaster.

With about four of the members of New Directions not talking to one another and the rest of them being thoroughly confused by this, they make more than a few mistakes during their performance.

Somehow, they still win.

Santana and Brittany keep a close eye on Quinn, who is solemn the entire time, and follow her out when she leaves afterward.

Rachel, who has been trying to send Quinn meaningful apologetic looks for the past few hours attempts to come too, but Santana stops her.

“Uh-uh,” she says, stepping in front of Rachel so that she can’t get around her. “No way.”

“Santana, I just want to talk to her.”

“I think you did enough of that yesterday.” She lets that sink in. “Listen, Britt and I won’t be at the wedding today, either.”

“There isn’t going to be one,” Rachel tells her and Santana freezes.

“What?”

“We’re not getting married. I called it off.”

Santana glances down at Rachel’s ring finger to see that her engagement ring is gone.

“Why?” she asks.

Rachel shrugs sadly. “Quinn was right. We weren’t ready for it.”

Santana does not look impressed. “Anything else?” she prods.

“If there is, it’s none of your business,” Rachel says, but Santana smirks when she noitces the faint blush on her cheeks.

“You’re such an idiot,” she says and Rachel starts to protest before she realizes that it doesn’t sound indignant.

Santana steps out of the way so that Rachel could walk around her if she wanted to.

“Good luck,” she says, but before Rachel can go completely, she grips her shoulder firmly. “Don’t be a dick,” she warns.

Rachel just nods.

.

This time, she brings cupcakes.

That, unfortunately, doesn’t stop Quinn from almost slamming the door in her face.

“Wait, please!” Rachel says, shoving her foot in front of the door.

“What do you want?” Quinn demands.

“I want to talk to you.” She offers her the plate. “I brought these.”

“Great,” Quinn sneers. “That fixes everything. Thanks so much.”

She goes to close the door again.

“Quinn, seriously, I need to talk to you.”

“Have you considered that I don’t care?”

Rachel doesn’t budge, nor does she argue this. She just stands there until, finally, Quinn lets her come in.

“What do you want?” Quinn asks, hands on her hips. “Make it quick.”

Rachel sighs. “I just…the…I called off the wedding,” she says finally, setting the cupcakes down.

Based on Quinn’s expression, she must not have been expecting that.

“And, while it wasn’t completely because of you, I would be lying if I said that you didn’t play a part in my decision to do so.”

Quinn shakes her head and closes her eyes. “Rachel, please don’t just say things like that.”

“I-I’m not, Quinn, really. I…I’m not sure, what this—” She gestures between them. “—is exactly, but…it would have been wrong for me to string Finn along while I tried to figure it out. And…And I want to figure it out.”

Quinn stares at her like she has three heads.

“Do you…Do you also want to…want to figure it out?”

She doesn’t get an answer.

“I’m not…I can’t promise anything, but…I’m interested in seeing this play out,” Rachel finishes.

Quinn sighs and stares at her feet for a few moments.

Eventually, she looks up, lips twisted a little. “I, uh…I wouldn’t necessarily be against that, but…”

Rachel, who started to look hopeful at the start of that sentence, deflates a bit. “But what?”

“You just broke things off with Finn.”

Rachel nods. “Fair enough.”

“And I want you to be sure.”

“Also fair.”

Quinn lets that settle. “I’m not saying ‘no.’”

Rachel’s trusting, optimistic look returns and she steps closer to Quinn. “Would you…say ‘no’ to…” She glances down at Quinn’s lips instead of finishing.

Quinn shakes her head. “I would say ‘yes’, I think.”

“Interesting, Mrs. Fabray,” Rachel says, moving closer, and Quinn laughs in anticipation of the space invasion.

Just millimeters away from finally—finally—meeting each other, though, they’re stopped by the sound of porcelain against wood.

When they jump apart, they’re met with the sight of Judy, happily digging into one of the cupcakes Rachel brought.

“Oh, um…” Rachel’s face is bright red. “Actual Mrs. Fabray.”

Quinn looks just as, if not more, nervous and she goes to stammer out an explanation for why it had looked like her and Rachel were about to kiss, but she never gets around to it.

“Please,” Judy says, still chewing. “You keep bringing these things over and I won’t even establish an ‘open door’ policy.”

Now Quinn is bright red too. “Mom!” she says.

Judy just shrugs. “Seriously, Quinnie. Between the cake, the cookies, and this? You could actually marry her and I wouldn’t complain.”

Rachel looks between Quinn and her mother with wide eyes.

“Oh my god,” Quinn puffs, and then she grabs Rachel’s hand and drags her out of the room to pick up where they left off.

.

On Monday, Mrs. Chandler wraps up the project by calling it, “an interesting display of the turmoil that can take place behind closed doors.”

Finn is slouched in his seat.

Santana looks relieved that it’s over.

Brittany is bouncing up and down as she draws something in her notebook.

Rachel glances back at Quinn at their teacher’s words and they share a knowing smile that no one else catches.

Interesting indeed.