Chapter 1: Chapter 1
The black Ducati Monster slowed down as the rider released her grip on the accelerator in front of the mansion. Her destination, her new…house. She took off her helmet and gave her hair a wave to let it fall into waves of luscious brown locks past her shoulders. She carried small smile as she stared at the mansion sitting majestically in front of her. Puck did a great job finding a comfortable place for her to live. And as she took in the house, she thought, Maybe too comfortable. She took out the remote from her jeans pocket and pressed the button to open the garage door.
She whistled when the entry had revealed two Z4s inside. One silver, one dark blue. What a good way to start off her plan as an entrepreneur and a woman who had plans on a certain corporation in the city. She parked her bike next to the silver Z4 and dismounted it. She hung the helmet on the handle and pulled off her gloves, storing them in the gloves in the gloves compartment of the garage. She combed her fingers through her hair as she checked out the rides Puck prepared for them. Nice, she thought. While she was admiring the cars, her phone rang, disrupting her from her thoughts.
"Rachel Berry," she said curtly, stroking the front of the car.
"Yo, Berry!" Puck's voice rang through the earpiece with a chuckle. "How's the mansion?"
Rachel Berry grinned and looked around. "How in the living hell did you manage to snag one mansion this big and two high maintenance Z4s without using more than what I gave you?" she said in awe.
"Hey, I learned a lot of things from you. Including the ways to twist a negotiation into something totally unreasonable. It's New York, bro. Anything is possible. So ya like it?" Puck asked.
"You're gonna need to move down here too because living in such a huge place by myself is too lonely," Rachel joked.
Puck scoffed from the other end. "That's a total bull," he stated. "Rachel Berry has been going solo for as long as I remember until she rescued me from those bullies six years ago. And from then on, she has a useful right hand man following her around and helping her do all those ridiculous things that I can't even believe I agreed to do."
Rachel laughed and sobered. "Yeah, and that's why right now she's not used to being alone anymore."
"Sure you are," Puck snapped. "But I'll get there when I'm done with the stuff here. I still have to do the digging on the Hudsons. What the fuck is wrong with you anyway?"
"Thanks for doing it. The information I have at hand right now is really more than enough – for now. But I gotta grab any sort of thread or lead to complete this mission. I'm not going down until I have them under my feet," Rachel said coolly, her smile was no longer on her face, replaced by a look of utter distaste.
"I get it. I'll get back to you when I'm done. You take care of yourself, alright?"
"When had I never?"
Quinn sat down at a table in the restaurant. "Good morning, Mrs. Motta!" she greeted loudly and the woman behind the counter grinned at her.
"Morning, Quinnie! You seem awfully bright today," the woman said.
"Santana's out of my hair for once, so I guess, yeah, I should celebrate," Quinn joked. Mrs. Motta laughed. "I want the usual, please."
"Be up in awhile. Sugar's gonna be here soon. You two should chat up while I'm in the kitchen."
"Sure will!" Quinn replied and waited. She looked around to see a couple of customers eating. There won't be a lot of customers at this time of the day. But when it came down to lunchtime, this restaurant was packed. She cleared her throat and took her phone out from her pocket when it vibrated in her pocket.
You still owe me a box of cookies – S. Quinn rolled her eyes and texted a reassurance back to Santana to tell her she'll bake the batch in the evening. And then somebody leaped onto her back, causing her to yelp and slide off her chair, landing on her butt. She grunted in pain and heard someone making the similar noise. She opened her eyes and saw Sugar Motta standing up on feet, also rubbing her back.
"What the hell are you doing?" Quinn exclaimed, ignoring the looks the customers were giving them. She pulled herself back to her feet and sat back on the chair. "You nearly killed me right there!"
Sugar grimaced at her and sat down on the chair next to Quinn. "I was just trying to surprise you and I got myself a bruise on my ass now!"
"You're welcome," Quinn deadpanned.
Sugar gaped at her friend but all Quinn did was smile at her. "You are a terrible friend."
The blonde shrugged indifferently. "And yet you're still sitting here with me."
By that time, Mrs. Motta had already come out with a tray of porridge with lemon juice from the kitchen. She laid them out on the table in front of Quinn and Quinn clapped in delight. "Enjoy your breakfast, Quinn. I am sure there's gonna be a lot of work today at the shop."
"Yes, there sure is, Mrs. Motta. Santana's working on the flour now," Quinn replied as she fed herself a spoonful of delicious porridge.
"Make sure to reserve some for me!"
"When have I never?" Quinn answered with a laugh and Mrs. Motta walked back to the counter to continue what she was doing just now. Quinn ate the porridge like a hungry wolf and Sugar just watched her with a disgusted look on her face. "What?"
"You eat like an ape."
"That doesn't even make sense," Quinn curtly replied and drank her lemon juice. "By the way, this is really good."
"It's made by my mother. Of course it's good."
Quinn rolled her eyes and fed herself more of that porridge. "So you dating anyone now?"
"Yeah," Sugar said, nodding with a grin. "Actually, he's coming here to bring me to work right now. So I can only spare a few minutes to talk to you. You should feel honored."
"Don't flatter yourself. So tell me about this guy."
Sugar perched her chin atop her hands on the table and stared into the air dreamily. "He's very cute. And he's handsome. He's gorgeous. He's good looking."
"I think all those only mean the same thing. I don't want looks. I want details."
Sugar swatted Quinn on the arm and the dreamy look drifted back into her eyes. "He is a nice man. He's kind. He brings me to dates. He gives me flowers. And he is really good in bed, although he's freakishly tall for a guy. I wonder if he plays basketball in high school."
"He's your boyfriend and you don't know about his high school life?"
"We've only been dating for a month! We're still on the edge! But in progress, that we are." Sugar grinned when she saw a Lamborghini pulling up outside the restaurant. She stood up and quickly kissed Quinn on the cheek. "That's him! I'll see you when we have the chance!"
"Wow, your boyfriend's awfully pricey." And Quinn earned another hit on the arm before Sugar pranced – yes, pranced – out the door to the car. Quinn tried to get a glimpse of the man inside but the darkened windows denied her that satisfaction. She just hoped that lad's worthy of Sugar's love.
Quinn stepped down from the bus and lifted her head to see her family's five-year long bakery standing in front of her. Her lips stretched into a grin without restrain. This bakery was her life, her childhood. It was where she had spent her time in every day after school. It was where she learned to bake. It was where she had learned her independence. This place was where she's supposed to be. And she swore on her own life that she would never change it.
It wasn't exactly her ancestors. It's Santana's, to be exact. Quinn Fabray was just an adopted daughter into the Lopez family. It's just that Quinn had decided to not change her last name. And the Lopez clan had agreed to let her use her last name. Quinn was actually very grateful for them to be willing to adopt her as a daughter when she was just a closed-up rude kid when she's in her young age. She knew there's no way in hell she could repay them fully no matter how she worked hard for them. So she decided to do the best that she could.
She limped into the bakery. Yep, she limped. She had a pair of long-short legs since she was born and people had always make fun of her at the orphan. The doctor had said it was incurable and she had lived with it since child. There's always this girl who defended her at the orphanage every time the kids made fun of her, but Quinn had forgotten what her name was. However, even if she died, Quinn would not forget this girl's existence. If it's not for her, Quinn might not get out of that orphanage.
That girl had abandoned that one chance to get out of the orphanage and gave Quinn the chance to be adopted by the Lopez family. And till now, Quinn had no idea if that girl ever managed to get out at all.
"Okay, seriously, get out of that daydream you're having and help me with that freakin' batch of cookies!" Santana's words snapped her out of her thoughts and Quinn rolled her eyes. This girl here, might be mean on the outside. But Quinn knew they loved each other like they're really sisters. They've got each other's back every time. It's proven in the scar Quinn had on her thigh now. It's been there for so many years.
"I need to check on the stock," Quinn stated.
"What you need to do right now is getting your creeper ass inside the kitchen and get your hands working on the flour to make the damn cookies that only you and dad can make. I don't even know how you make the cookies. It's like you're blessed with magic," Santana whinnied and Quinn laughed.
"We are magical," Quinn joked. "And if I have to make that limited special cookies, I also have to check the quality of the stock, don't I? That's why you're gonna step out of my way now so we can get things rolling." Santana stepped aside but she didn't stop bothering Quinn. "Seriously, Santana, when you weren't talking this morning I thought you're finally getting out of my hair. But apparently, you're back to your old self."
The Latina glared at her but went back to the station. "You best be here in ten, Q. Or I'll cut you."
"I have nothing for you to cut."
Santana burst out laughing at that comment. Quinn smirked and went to the back where they kept the stock. The workers weren't here yet to work things out and give them a helping hand. But Quinn had a pair of sharp eyes, she could easily analyze things without trouble. She leaned down on the pile of flour and pinched a little bit of it in her fingers, testing the texture. Her brows went down the minute the flour drifted back into the huge bag. She pinched another small amount of it and her frown grew deeper when she felt the strangeness of the texture – again.
She cleared her throat and checked the other bags as well. Same. "Santana!" she yelled for her half-sister's name.
"Are you using the flour that just came in or the old one?"
"The previous stock isn't finished yet. So I'm using that!" Santana's voice drifted closer and stood behind Quinn. "What's going on?"
To reassure herself one more time, Quinn tested the flour again. "Did you know who ticked off the stock when these came in?"
"Shit," Quinn whispered and rubbed her temple. This was not happening. "We can't use this," she stated in finality. "And also, we're closing down today."
"Quinn, what is going on?" Santana demanded from Quinn. "Damn it. Don't keep everything bottled up!"
The blonde groaned and knelt down. She's getting tired standing on her feet for too long. She couldn't hold it. "Test the flour," she said. Santana did and the stillness in the Latina's body was enough to tell Quinn that she knew what's going on already. "We can't use this. And God knows if the other stocks are having problems as well. We have to check them out."
"But I already put those batches in the oven. They're gonna come out in no time. We can't waste it," Santana said, looking at Quinn helplessly. She knew she was the 'blood' member of the Lopez family. But when it came to making decisions, everyone was always looking for Quinn. Every single time. Because Quinn always had the best decision at hand, be it beneficial or disadvantageous. Quinn always had the best of the bakery in mind. And now, Santana knew Quinn was devising a plan.
Quinn tapped her chin with her finger and her lids were shut closed as she attempted to create a perfect plan for them. This was such a disaster. She heaved a sigh. "Those cookies will be the only cookies we're selling today. We are not using anymore of the flour we have now – the undamaged ones. Put Tina at the counter. Apologize to the customers and tell them we are having problems – no specifics – and will redeem as soon as we can. We'll close at one in evening and then for the whole day tomorrow. Then we're gonna check out these bastards and try to salvage this bakery. I'm going to wait for Mercedes." With that, Quinn stood up on her tired her legs and limped back to the baking station – now with more limp than ever.
"Q, sit down," Santana said, pulling a chair for her to sit. "I'm gonna deal with the batches. You…you just stay here and try to do your best in helping this bakery one way or another. We're depending on you."
Quinn only nodded and cursed Mercedes Jones quietly in her mind.
Rachel came in to an awfully quiet and barren bakery. She raised her brows and lifted her hand to see if she came to the right place. Yep, that's right. But…why is there nothing in here?
"Sorry, we're closed." She turned to an Asian girl with golden highlights in her hair. Rachel's brows nearly reached her hairline at the statement. "We uh…we're encountering some problems today so we'll be closed for the rest of the day and also tomorrow. The bakery will be open the day after tomorrow."
The brunette smiled a little at the explanation. Perfect. "Is there a Quinn Fabray here?" she asked, ignoring the fact that the bakery was closed. The Asian nodded. "Can you please be a sweetie and tell her that I'd like to have a word with her?"
"She's kinda busy right now," the girl said reluctantly.
Rachel smiled and nodded. "This will only take a short moment. And I think this talk might benefit in your…problems right now."
Tina narrowed her eyes at Rachel suspiciously. But she nodded anyway and went to the back of the bakery where everybody was busy checking on the stock. "Uh…Quinn?" she called hesitantly and the blonde turned around. "There's somebody out there asking for you." Quinn raised her brow. "She said she wanted to talk to you and it might help us with our problems. I don't know if she knows what kind of problems we're facing now. She claimed herself to be Rachel Berry."
Quinn's eyes narrowed into slits and she cleared her throat. "You guys keep on checking. I'll see what this woman wants." She strode to the front area and saw a woman standing in front of the counter, clearly waiting for her and Quinn stopped in her steps. Her lips parted and she took in the sight of this woman. And all she could think of was Wow. Leather jacket, tight-fitted jeans accompanied by a to-die-for figure and a face that everybody could ask for, Quinn couldn't stop herself from thinking that this woman was really hot.
Rachel was nonetheless rendered speechless as well. Her fingers stopped tapping on the countertop and it's like the air stopped moving around them when the blonde came out. Her hair was pulled back into a neat ponytail, only the bangs were covering part of her forehead. Rachel couldn't help but notice the unusual form of her legs as her eyes appreciatively roved over the blonde's body. Their eyes clashed with each other and Rachel found herself almost drowning in the pair of hazel nothingness.
"Who are you?" Santana's voice snapped both the brunette and blonde out of their trance and Quinn cleared her throat loudly, combing her bangs to one side and smiled politely at Rachel.
Rachel's brow cocked and she smiled at Santana. "Rachel Berry. I'm looking for Quinn Fabray."
Said woman stepped forward and offered her hand. "I am Quinn Fabray. What can I help you with?"
The shorter woman looked around and back at the beautiful blonde. "I was told that you are encountering some problems?" Quinn nodded. "Through my experience of investing in a variety of businesses – including bakeries – I'll guess that your problem is with the stock. Say, the texture, perhaps?"
Hearing those words, Santana's brows lowered into a frown. What the hell? And Quinn was impressed. But smart as she always was, she chose deflection. "Miss Berry, we are currently very busy right now. Can you tell us what we can do for you so we can do it as quickly as we can?"
"I came here initially to strike a business deal with you. I wanted to buy this bakery from you," Rachel began.
"We're not selling the bakery to anyone," Santana stated firmly, cutting Rachel off.
"Hear me out," Rachel told them, smiling politely even though the glint in her eyes was not to be missed. Quinn got the vibes that this woman was not easy to predict or see through. "I figured you wouldn't be willing to sell it since you won't even sell it to the Hudson Organization for a magnificent amount of money. I understand that you are having problems so I'd like to do a…an investment in this five-year long bakery. In exchange of that, I was fifty percent share of the bakery."
This time, it was Quinn's turn to raise a skeptical brow at Rachel. In spite of her beauty, she knew Rachel was dangerous. Her instincts were often correct. "Tell me why I would want to let you do that."
"When you are having material problems with the flour or eggs or other ingredients, that means you are a bag of dead meat. I will be frank. I have ulterior motives in doing this investment. I want to bring profits into my corporations and I know your bakery will help me with that." Rachel sensed hesitation from Quinn and also a slight wrath from Santana standing behind Quinn. She smiled wider. "Let's say we do it like this. I invest in your bakery and also gain fifty percent share of it, you will get free and high quality ingredients every month. Flour, eggs, sugar, you name it."
"What if we say we need them tomorrow?" Quinn said and Santana closed her mouth with a smirk. That's what she was gonna ask and thanks to Quinn, she's saving her saliva.
"Not a problem."
And this just piqued Quinn's interest.
Rachel knew it. Her smile never left her face as she drew her card from her jacket pocket and handed it to Quinn. "I'll leave you to discussion. Call me or visit me at my office if you have reached a conclusion. I hope to expect good news from you." She turned around and walked to the door confidently but before she left, she swung back around. "It's nice meeting you, Quinn." She winked and left.
Quinn blinked and her eyes slowly went back to their normal size. She looked at the card laid on the countertop and brushed at her bangs. "We need the funds," she said.
"No friggin' way."
"The ingredients are all wrong, Santana! Mercedes didn't check them properly that day because she was drunk off her ass and now we're having stock problems! And we can't afford to buy another load of them until the end of the month! We'll negotiate with Miss Berry."
"No!" Santana exclaimed. "Look, we still have the ones left from last month. We can use those!"
"They can't last a whole month," Quinn said tiredly. "This isn't just about you. This is about the bakery, about the staff, about all of us! We're running out of luck. Once we don't make deliveries by the end of this week to the people, they will start hogging our asses asking for their money back. And you know what? We don't have the money. And if we still want to sell our goods in the store, we won't have enough ingredients for them. Look, the point is, we don't have the money."
"And you think this Rachel Berry chick has it?"
"She clearly has the hots. You can see it just by looking at her."
"I'm not sure if you're seeing her or just seeing her looks," Santana said grimly.
"I'm not interested in her!"
"Can't be too sure about that."
"You know what? This is not the time to talk about this. We're at a crisis now. If we don't get rid of this problem as quick as possible, you're gonna have to get ready to say goodbye to your ancestors' heritage," Quinn snapped and stalked inside.
She rode her bike to Central Park and got down and took down her helmet. She was going to do some stalking of her own while Puck investigated. Rachel slipped on her sunglasses and pulled her hair back into a ponytail to ward off the heat. She slipped out of her jacket and stashed it under the compartment of the seat. Then she made her way to the pond. She pretended to enjoy the view but what she was really doing was listening to the conversation the man standing a few feet next to her was having with his wife.
"I am not cheating on you, Harmony!" Finn Hudson yelled.
"Well then, who's that woman I saw coming out of your car just now?" his wife yelled back at her.
"God, why do you have to be so freaking insane?" Hudson yelled back in frustration. "I brought you here thinking we can have some quiet time together as husband and wife and you decided to accuse me of cheating on you and make a spectacle of ourselves in public!"
"You know what? I'm leaving! You clearly don't have the balls to admit that you're cheating on me! I don't even know why I married you in the first place!" With that, Hudson's wife stalked away in a fit of anger.
The man groaned and kicked at the ground in frustration. He ran his hand through his hair and looked back at the pond, hands on his hips as he tried not to take his anger out on anybody. "Wow, your wife's kind of a bitch." He turned to the voice and saw Rachel standing next to him, smiling to no one.
"Who are you?" he asked, not hiding his appreciation of her beauty. Her lips curled into a fake smile when inside she was scolding a bunch of profanities at him. She felt his eyes traveling down her body and knew she accomplished her mission.
"I overheard your conversation just now. Or argument. And she seems a little too uptight." She looked up. For a man she was going to seduce in the future, she thanked God he was at least good looking. "But are you really cheating on her?"
Hudson laughed and shook his head. "Guess all you want but I'm not telling a stranger about my personal life."
She took off her glasses and faced him fully. Her smile turned into a seductive one and knew she got him on the hook when she noticed his jaw clenching. She ran her fingers down his arm and winked. "Maybe we'll meet someday and you would have divorce her already." She walked away, leaving him alone and she laughed to herself. That was pretty easy. And then her phone rang. She answered it.
"I want to make a negotiation."
Chapter 2: Chapter 2
So what do you think? Does it spark your interest?
She plopped down on the overly soft sofa in the huge living room with a can of beer in hand and also a folder under her armpit. Rachel settled into the most comfortable position possible on sofa and took a sip of the beer. She was determined on plotting everything in every situation possible by the end of the day so there wouldn't be complications when she began to work on those plans. Her goal? Destroy the Hudsons. Even thinking about their name disgusted her.
They were what made her who she was today. She turned to the first page in the folder, consisting details of the Hudson Organization. The edge of her lips turned up into a smile when she read about the Hudson Organization in the most detailed format possible. Puck did a good job on this. Halfway through the documents, she paused and wondered how Puck could manage to dig out so many without killing someone or threatening somebody within the entire structure of the organization.
Just by reading and understanding what Puck had readied for her, she knew how the organization operated on the inside. She knew the outline of the staff's entirety. She understood their way of organizing different business associates into different branches. She knew almost everything. At the end of the document, Rachel Berry was almost like a member of Hudson Organization herself. But regretfully, she still lacked the personal info of each member of the Hudson family.
Puck was working on it.
She removed the folder from her lap and downed the whole can of beer. The burning sensation was something she needed. It reminded her of how they had treated her when they adopted her as a fake child. Her brain practically simmered at the thought of Burt and Carole Hudson. And also their two children Finn Hudson and that filthy bastard of Burt Hudson, Sam Evans.
Being thrown out was the worst feeling she had ever felt inside and she never felt worse ever since. Carole Hudson had adopted her as a pawn. She wanted to use Rachel Berry as bait to gain her husband's trust. She wanted to use Rachel Berry as a temporary replacement of the real daughter Burt Hudson had lost, lure him into thinking that the daughter he had with another woman outside was still alive. And then she had showed Rachel the photo of the woman Burt had an affair with, which Rachel hadn't recognize and as truthful as a child could be, Rachel had revealed she never knew who the woman in the picture was.
She remembered the details of Burt Hudson's wrath after her confession. She remembered the way Carole Hudson had pretended to stop him from hitting her with a three-inch thick cane but snickered secretly. She remembered the two naïve children of theirs laughing at her and encouraging their father to keep on adding more scars onto her body. She remembered how Burt Hudson had dragged her out of the house area by pulling at her hair without mercy and gave her one final slap before he went back inside. And finally, she remembered the smirk his wife had rewarded her behind her husband's back.
Rachel was in a state of utter confusion as she sat outside the Hudson mansion that night. Until later that night when she was hiding behind the bushes on the other side of white picket fence of the mansion, she heard the quiet exchange between that woman and her personal servant, Erika. And Rachel finally understood what actually happened to her.
All this time, Carole had been using her as a tool to convince her husband at the final moment that the child was dead. And of all the ways existed in the world, the bitch had to use the most painful method ever to convince her husband about that fact. In addition, she had shown no mercy to an innocent child who had no knowledge of her plots and who finally became the most painful subject in this whole plot. That night, Rachel had sworn on her very life that she would not leave this world until she destroyed the family that had ruined her life.
From then on, she had set her goals in motions. She became a conwoman. A very skillful one indeed. She learned a lot of useful tricks as she lived on her own willpower. She tricked people into giving her money. She had people fooled multiple times as she attempted to cheat money from them. It was until she met a man named Schuester during her teenage years that she learned to soften her edge and started helping people as she tricked people as well. She might call herself Robin Hood if it's not for the dark spot in her heart, reserved for the people who ruined her.
All those nights as she lived her life of tricking and helping, she only used one thing – or human – as consolation. That blonde girl in the orphanage. Rachel had forgotten her name but she remembered the childish antics of the kid during her stay in the orphanage. And she was really cute. But what's lacking was that darn small portion of her leg that had caused her to limp her way into her life. Kids in the orphanage often made fun of the blonde's uncommon feature until Rachel finally stood up for her that one day. And when there's a kind Latin family who had wanted to adopt Rachel, she gave the chance to the blonde girl, telling them that she's better than Rachel.
And because of that action, Rachel had put herself into a life of misery. But she never regretted it. She knew if the blonde girl was in her place, she'd never live. She was fragile, vulnerable. Rachel knew from the bottom of her heart and instincts that the girl would never make it out strong. And Rachel would rather herself be the object of their torment. Every now and then, she had tried to recall the name of the girl, but she never could. She knew it was buried deep in the depths of her mind. And yet, it was nowhere to be found.
Rachel stood up from the sofa and walked out to the threshold, taking in the utter elegance of New York City before her. It was beneath her feet, as if the entire city was hers. And she took that thought into temporary consolation before reality stepped in and took over.
It was never hers. Just like her innocence since it was robbed away that fateful night.
Quinn sat at the counter, attacked by a bout of complete migraine. She didn't know what more she could do except asking for Rachel Berry's offered assistance. And she had to let down her pride to do that. Their priority was the bakery's continuation. And without the funds she knew Rachel Berry could provide for them, this heritage was going to wilt away and die. She couldn't afford that. All of them couldn't afford that.
They needed the funds.
As much as her mother, Santana and her brother, Blaine were reluctant to do so, they knew they had no choice but nod their heads in acquiesce. So now, after checking the stocks and getting rid of the damaged ones, leaving just barely any left for the week behind, she's waiting in the bakery at night, awaiting Rachel Berry's arrival.
Forget about her beauty. To reach beneficial negotiation with that woman, she had to forget about Rachel Berry's beauty. She had to. She closed her eyes and clasped her hands together, positioning at her nose and frowned, praying to whoever it was up there to give her the freakin' strength to forget about the beauty.
"Well, I never thought signing a contract with me will make you want to pray." Quinn opened her eyes and saw the object of her prayer standing in front of her over the counter.
And that view was breathtaking. The brunette had her hair pulled back into a neat ponytail but the bangs were left hanging to the side of her forehead, and she had changed her outfit from this afternoon too. And Quinn couldn't help to sneak one glance at the ample cleavage revealed under the loose V-neck top with a small jacket covering her arms. Quinn gulped and managed a hostile glance at Rachel Berry. She cleared her throat and slid out of her chair.
"Before I sign this contract," she said, eying the yellow envelope in Rachel's hand. "I want to reach an agreement with you."
"I'll see what I can do." No promises and Quinn couldn't help but be impressed with this woman. She knew what she was doing.
"You get fifty percent share of this place. That means we are both equal owners."
"Also, any suggestions you make have to go through me. And then I'll take it into consideration considering we're both equal owners," Quinn emphasized.
Rachel smiled wider. "No problem."
A smile ghosted across Quinn's lips before she pursed them again. "You are not allowed to make any sort of dismissal on the staff unless I agree with it – which might be impossible."
At this, Rachel seemed to have doubts. But moments after, she finally looked back at Quinn. "I can deal with that. But in exchange, you have to be reasonable and hear me out when I suggest a dismissal," Rachel stated logically. "It's very unlikely I will ever give out any unreasonable explanation. Do you have any more requests?"
"You cannot by any chance usurp my ownership over the bakery."
Rachel's lips parted and a bark of laughter escaped, followed by a string of hearty ringing laughs. Quinn watched in dismay and scowled at Rachel, in spite of the melodic ring of her laughter. She waited for a few seconds before Rachel finally sobered and wiped tears from her eyes. She stared at Quinn for a moment and scoffed, shaking her head, pulling out the draft contract from the envelope. "That is never going to happen," she promised and laid out the draft before Quinn. "This is the draft. Tweak anything you want and I'll set up an official contract by tomorrow evening."
Quinn watched the brunette warily but all she saw was genuine amusement twinkling in the pair of enticing brown orbs. She cleared her throat – again – and picked up the draft, running her eyes over it and saw no faults in it. "I need ingredients tomorrow. Perfect ingredients from the suppliers listed here." She pulled out a folded piece of lined paper from her back pocket and showed it to Rachel. "If you can manage to send them by the amount I want them before 3 pm tomorrow, you have yourself a deal, Miss Berry."
Rachel always loved challenges. Even from beautiful blondes like Quinn. She pocketed the folded paper. "It's Rachel," she said casually, taking the drafted contract and sliding it back into the envelope.
"Next time, call me Rachel, Quinn," Rachel replied. "I find it really unnerving when every one of my business partners calls me by my last name."
Quinn pasted on a fake smile and leaned over the counter. "And I find it unnerving when strangers call my first name when it's only the second time we have met."
Rachel chuckled. "Let's go and have a drink, shall we?" Quinn's brows rose at the invitation. "I don't bite. Maybe we can get to know each other more and it'll be easier when we need to talk." Rachel shrugged and jerked her head at the door, silently extending her invitation again. The blonde was hesitant but she picked up her jacket from the chairback anyway and slid it on. She gawked when she saw the car Rachel parked outside the bakery. "It's just a car," Rachel mused with a laugh, getting in the driver's seat.
"An expensive car," Quinn commented, sitting beside Rachel and be careful to not touch anything and risk having to pay for any damage. "A really expensive one."
Rachel's face broke into a grin as she rounded a corner. "It's nothing valuable compared to what I would rather have." Her voice drifted off as her mind was unwillingly being haunted by the image of the blonde girl from the orphanage again. She shook her head as if she could shake the thoughts away. Of course, it was of no satisfying result.
Quinn stared at her with incredulity. "Look, Miss Berry, you are apparently a successful entrepreneur. Applause for you," she mocked. "But to us, a car like this carries as much worth as our own house. And we are now in crisis. So I'd rather you not stretch out that this is a normal car for you and when I accidentally scratch it, you'll turn on me and ask me to pay for the loss and keep telling me how expensive it is."
The brunette looked at her once and pulled by the curb, shifting the gear into parking mode. Despite the fact that it's illegal to stop her car by the roadside like this, Rachel didn't seem to give a care as she shifted to face Quinn fully. "Once again, it's Rachel," she stressed, holding out her finger to make her point. Quinn rolled her eyes in annoyance. "And I can't seem to understand if your hostility is because you despise me for practically forcing you into giving me half the ownership of the bakery or it's because you don't do really well with strangers. Would you mind clarifying it for me?"
"Cease the dictionary attack, please," Quinn interrupted. Rachel shrugged and nodded, but kept her searching gaze on Quinn. The blonde gulped uncomfortably and moved in her seat. She thought she felt an itch on her back but it's not there now. "It's both," she finally answered. Rachel raised her brow and she gestured for the blonde to continue. "You barged in here without notice and asked me to sell part of the bakery to you and then claiming that you know how to help with my problems. And that made me think that you are sort of a bitch."
Rachel sniggered from her seat and nodded in understanding. "Go on, though I might make a point that when I prove my ability tomorrow, you will be thanking me because I really can pull you out of your crisis."
The blonde looked at her boringly and sighed. "Second of all, who in the world doesn't feel weird while they're around a stranger? Nobody! So I think it's reasonable for me to be hostile to you. And I will keep on being hostile to you until you prove yourself to me that you are indeed a trustworthy person. I can't give a part of my bakery to someone who's all talk and no action."
"But you have to promise that you are going to sign that contract if I manage to send the stocks to you by tomorrow."
"Three in the evening."
"And you really gotta start calling me Rachel!" Quinn snorted and covered her mouth quickly although Rachel could see she was shaking with mirth. "There you go! Finally you are smiling at me!" Quinn talked behind her palm, her words muffled and Rachel strained to hear her but couldn't. "Pardon?"
Quinn heaved a sigh and removed her hand, revealing the most breathtaking grin Rachel had ever seen and for one minutes there, Rachel's heart stopped beating. "I said I wasn't smiling."
"You are," Rachel returned.
"I am grinning," Quinn emphasized.
Rachel rolled her eyes and pulled her car back into driving mode and pulled out of the curb. "And to think that I am the verbose one, you clearly have to reconsider that statement."
"This doesn't make us friends," Quinn said suddenly, her voice sobered.
"Never said we were." The entrepreneur leaned back in her chair and exhaled deeply. "We are acquaintances."
Quinn nodded in agreement and looked out the window. She relished in the joy of getting to see the city. And she wondered how long has it been since she ever took time to actually enjoy it. This was a really rare opportunity. "I can't remember the last time I came here and actually take the time to look at the city," she whispered to herself, gaping in awe at the billboards and huge advertisements boards hanging off buildings. "It's spectacular."
"It's actually a better view from my place," Rachel commented.
Quinn turned away from the window and stared at Rachel for a moment. "Do you mind me asking as question?"
Rachel shrugged. "Depends."
"Are you gay?"
The brunette laughed softly and kept on driving. "You should know since I've been trying to seduce you for the past few hours since this afternoon," Rachel said and saw the horrified look on Quinn. She couldn't really make out if it's real or pretended because she needed to concentrate on driving. "Just kidding," she added. "But to be specific, I am a bisexual." Quinn nodded. "That's a pretty sensitive question if you're asking a person who's aware of the social status."
"It's not high school. I don't think sexuality actually defines who you are. There are still other…features to a person," Quinn spoke. "But if you feel offended, then I am sorry." Rachel waved her hand as if to tell Quinn it didn't matter. When Rachel drove the car into an empty alley which was pretty creepy, Quinn became cautious. "Okay, where are you taking me?"
"To a drink."
"In the alley?"
Rachel scoffed and unbuckled her seatbelt. She came out and rounded the car to open the door for Quinn. The blonde was frozen inside as she looked around her. "I promise you, this is not gonna harm you. Come on! Humor me."
"You're a stranger."
Once again, the brunette let out a scoff and she reached in to take Quinn's hand, dragging her out of the car despite Quinn's unwillingness. "You know what? Man up. If you are cautious all the time and don't even know how to chill once in awhile, you really have no life," Rachel grumbled as they walked to a rusty door at the back of a building. Yeah, you're the one to talk, she told herself grumpily and shook the thought away. "Welcome to the forbidden heaven that I love," she said with a grin and pushed open the door forcefully. The door made loud creaky noises as it opened and Quinn gasped at what she saw inside.
In spite of the worn down state on the exterior of the building, the interior of it was elegant and completely magical. It was club, no doubt. But the decorations were out of the world. It was like she just stepped into Wonderland. A tiny Wonderland. Rachel tugged her into the club and closed the door behind her. There was a swarm of people inside. Some were drinking and laughing at the bar, some were dancing their heart out on the dance floor, and some were just enjoying the feel inside the place.
They sat on a couple of stools by the bar and Rachel grinned at an Asian man who had a tattoo on his forearm behind the bar. "Good night, Mike?" she asked.
"Pretty much," Mike said, grinning back at her. He stole a glance at Quinn and nodded with a polite smile, which Quinn returned. "I see you brought a friend tonight. I have never seen you bringing anybody here before except for Puckerman."
"Mike, Quinn Fabray. Quinn, Mike Chang," Rachel introduced them. "She is my business associate."
"Don't be too sure about that," Quinn interjected with a smirk.
Rachel laughed and waggled her brows at the blonde. "I am sure," she said confidently.
Mike shook his head and offered his hand at Quinn. "Nice to meet you, Quinn," he greeted with a wink and Quinn shook it. "Got a boyfriend?"
Quinn chortled and shook her head. "No. Not for the moment."
"No?" he repeated and looked at Rachel. "Looks like I have a shot."
"Mike!" she scolded and Mike laughed. "Forgive him. A shrink once said he compensates with humor. Too much humor," she directed at him with narrow eyes. He laughed again and nodded at Quinn reassuringly. "As a decent owner of a bar and also the bartender, I think it's time for you to take your patrons' orders."
"The usual?" Rachel nodded and he turned to Quinn. "What about you?"
The blonde cleared her throat – she seemed to be doing a lot of that recently. "Do you have diet coke?" she asked, feeling foolish and shrunk back into her seat when she saw the weird looks Mike and Rachel were giving her. "I'm just acting as her company since she practically brought me here by brute force."
"I never knew you were a liar," Rachel intruded her speech and Quinn let out a snort of laughter.
"Whatever. But I'm not drinking tonight."
Mike shook his head. "I don't have diet coke here, Quinn. It's a club if I must remind you. And this is a club where all the drinks consist of alcoholic substance. Is she always this uptight?" he directed the question to Rachel and the brunette grinned, winking at Quinn in the process.
"From what I gather so far, yes she is."
"Hello!" Quinn exclaimed. "I'm still here!" she said in annoyance.
"Look, Quinn, just one shot of vodka or whiskey, that'll be enough for me. I asked you out here for a drink, not to accompany me while I have a drink!" Rachel exclaimed. Quinn rolled her eyes and sighed in surrender. Rachel grinned in triumph and crooked her finger at Mike. He neared her and she whispered, "Bring her vodka. I want it strong."
He frowned at her. "Are you trying to rape her, dude?"
She glared at him. "I am trying to get her to be ridiculous and let her live her life for once."
"How do you know she hasn't lived her life?" he whispered back.
She looked at with her jaw wide open. "Dude, she asked for a diet coke! I think that says enough!" she whispered fiercely.
"Do I want to know what you guys are talking about?" Quinn asked from next to the brunette.
"No," Rachel said truthfully and glared at Mike enough to get him scurrying to make the drinks.
"What did you do to her?" Santana questioned the minute she saw Quinn and Rachel at her front door. And Quinn appeared to be…drunk?
"She's drunk. Are you blind?" Rachel squeaked at the heaviness of drunken Quinn. "We'll talk after I get her off me. So will you please be kind and help me with her?" Santana's frown never left her face but she stepped aside to let Rachel in.
"Her bedroom's the one with the blue door."
Rachel nodded with a grunt and helped Quinn to her bedroom. She deposited the blonde onto the bed and huffed in relief, pulling the blanket up to cover Quinn. She looked around and saw a wardrobe, an old chest and a desk where there were laptop and other stationeries on it. There was also a door that Rachel believed leads to the bathroom. She took a long look at Quinn and realized she had never seen Quinn so peaceful for the whole day until now. She couldn't help but smile at the sight.
"I really don't appreciate you staring at my sister like a perv," Santana drawled from the doorway and raised her brows at Rachel. "And before I punch you, you should get out of here."
The shorter brunette got out of the room and was starting to walk out before Santana stopped her. She whirled back around and stared at Santana. "Can I help you?"
Santana awarded her with a mocking grin and crossed her arms over her chest. "Oh you've helped me enough by trying to buy our bakery from us. We only gave part of it to you because we are in need of the funds," she said, sweetness was laced in her tone but Rachel knew that was faked either. "So tell me, what have you done to my sister?"
"Adopted sister, you mean," Rachel pointed out with a skeptical brow raised.
Santana dropped her act and her 'happy' expression was replaced with one that could scare anyone away. But not Rachel. Rachel was not easily scared at this time of her life. She's seen enough to be scared by these mere threats. "Listen up, hobbit," Santana snapped and with two strides, they were inches apart. "I know people like you. You worship money. And from what I've observed from other scum like you, you will do anything for complete power. Newsflash, midget, that bakery is not for sale." Santana's tongue curled in anger and she grew angrier when the challenging glint in Rachel's eyes met hers. "And my sister will never be with you, no matter how interested you are in her."
At that, Rachel jeered and shook her head at the incredulity of Santana's words. "Okay, first of all," she began, crossing her arms just like Santana, "I offered to buy half the share from Quinn. I didn't force you to. And from the states of your bakery, I think I gave you all a salvation. Secondly, you don't know a thing about me," she sneered. "Don't try to make assumptions because I certainly am not a woman you want to guess her past or even mess with. You get me? And lastly, you're not the boss of Quinn. You can't control who she's involved with."
"So you admit it," Santana voiced, ignoring the rest of Rachel's speech.
"I have nothing to hide. But just so we're clear, I didn't make a move and had never intended to. I just brought her out for a drink because she seems a little too uptight for a person I want to work with." Rachel smiled smugly at Santana's dumbstruck expression. "Now please excuse me, it's late and I need to go back home. Good night and see you tomorrow, Miss Lopez."
Rachel stalked out of the front door and made her way to the parking lot in fifteen minutes. She opened the door and slammed it close; breathing harshly as she gripped the steering wheel so tight she was surprised that it didn't break. How dare that woman guess her intentions like she's a psychic? And what's worst was that she was wrong in every single guess! She hated people who make judgments just by looking at the surface and never try to see what that person was like inside. People just like them.
She angrily revved up the engine of her car and pulled out of the parking lot. She had a lot to do tomorrow.
Sam Evans called this morning.
Rachel threw what occurred last night with that Lopez girl to the back of her mind and smiled in triumph at what she had achieved. Jackpot. Her secretary gave her a slip of paper with the man's number written on it. She took it and studied for a long time. This was just what she had expected. Those people were just so easy to predict. And she predicted in just ten seconds her phone will ring again. The caller would be Sam Evans again. She waited. Ten seconds.
She couldn't help but let out a laugh of achievement. She picked it up and gestured for her secretary to cut the connection between their lines. Brittany nodded and walked out of her office. "Rachel Berry," she greeted brightly. Her face was back to being expressionless.
"Miss Berry, good morning. This is Sam Evans from the Hudson Organization," a rough male voice sent its way into her ears.
"Yes, Mr Evans, may I help you?"
"News has it that you are now sharing half the share of the Lopez Delight," Evans answered. "I am curious if you'd be willing to sell the share to us. We are very interested."
Her fingers tapped rhythmically on her desktop. This was all she had anticipated and she's glad she grabbed their attention at first place. "Whether or not I'll be a part-owner of Lopez Delight is undetermined, Mr Evans, and even if I am, why would I want to sell it to you? I bought it for my corporation's income, obviously. Selling it to you will be a waste, don't you think?"
She heard him cleared his throat from the other line. "Well, we have been interested on the shop lot for quite some time and had extended many offers to buy it from Quinn Fabray and Santana Lopez, but they never yielded. What is the method you used to convince them to give you fifty percent share?" he asked curiously and she chuckled quietly.
Apparently, the kid's new to the cruel world of doing successful business. "Mr Evans, I hope you wouldn't mind me saying this to you but it's the truth. Next time, if you are still not ready, ask one who's used to interacting with the opponent in the commerce circle to talk to me. Goodbye for now, Mr Evans." And she hung up.
That particular call just signed the beginning of her plot.
Chapter 3: Chapter 3
Quinn didn't know what she was doing. Well, she knew. She was sitting in the front room of the shop lot. But she didn't know why. An act like this meant that she trusted Rachel. She didn't want to trust Rachel. Not yet. But something about that woman – though mysterious and secretive – made Quinn want to trust her. She felt a sense of familiarity with Rachel but couldn't figure out why. It was all so confusing for her.
Moreover, this morning she got pounced on by Santana – literally – and was demanded to reveal everything she did last night. With all honesty, she told her foster sister about that fact that she only went out for a drink with Rachel. But she had no idea how much she consumed. However, based on the terrible hangover she received, she supposed she'd drunk quite a lot. But a couple of Tylenol helped her with it. She went to the shop, not knowing what she's doing and found herself sitting here waiting like a fool when she's out of her stupid daydream.
She looked up at the clock hung above a shelf and saw that it was five minutes before three. Five minutes more. If Rachel didn't come in five minutes, she supposed she's going to announce bankruptcy for this bakery. And Goddamn it, she didn't want to do that! Slapping her palm on the countertop, she slid off the chair and opened the door leading to the working space where the baking stations, ovens and stuff like that were situated. Her hand rested atop the metal surface of one of the stations and looked around.
No, she really didn't want to say goodbye to this place.
"Quinn?" Her head snapped to the door. Was that Rachel? "Quinn?" Her eyes widened and she slowly took steps out to the front room, where Rachel was standing at the counter. Rachel smirked at her expression and shrugged. "Told you I can do it. They're all outside. You want to bring 'em in?"
"Uh…yeah, yeah," Quinn stuttered. "Bring them in." She watched Rachel sauntered outside and conversed with a man and the door opened. A bunch of rough-looking men came in carrying bags and bags and bags of ingredients in. She numbly pointed to the back and they followed her order, dumping all those bags on the ground in the storage. They walked back out and came back after a couple of minutes with more bags. "Oh Lord," she murmured under her breath, brushing her hair.
It took them fifteen minutes to be done depositing the supplies and she watched Rachel paying them before they drove away. The short brunette came in with her hands tucked in her back pockets and stared at Quinn. "So, is that enough?"
"I don't remember asking for that many," Quinn said, narrowing her eyes at Rachel.
"And I don't remember mentioning to you that I don't normally respect people's opinions," Rachel replied curtly. She pulled out a folder – where the hell did she get that from? – and walked over to Quinn, putting on the countertop. "I think it's time for you to honor your promise when I've fulfilled mine."
Quinn took a step towards Rachel, ignoring the contract. The official contract. They were so close she could practically feel the radiating heat from the other woman's body and their hearts were thumping wildly in their chests. But Quinn took the action of ignoring the anxiety she's feeling in the pit of her stomach.
"If I find you trying to take away Lopez Delight from us," she whispered and smirked, "I can't guarantee if Santana will let you go home with a bruise somewhere on your body, do you understand me?"
Rachel was paralyzed for a moment before she nodded stiffly. Quinn stepped away and took the contract, signing it. As Rachel watched Quinn moving the tip of the pen across the paper, she silently apologized for not going to keep her promise in the future.
"What?" Quinn said.
"You are not going to dinner with Rachel Berry," Santana said in an absolute tone.
"And who are you to tell me no?" Quinn retorted, mixing the batter in the metal bowl.
"Your sister?" Santana said incredulously.
"Like that's gonna change the fact that I'm an adult and I'm allowed to do whatever I want." The blonde put down the bowl and cracked an egg, spilling the content into the batter and continued mixing.
Santana took out a tray of newly baked cookies from the oven and put it on the station to start decorating. "Why are you going to dinner with her anyway?"
Quinn sighed and ladled out the batter, pouring it into a tray with dented shapes to shape the mixture. "I just want to thank her for helping us out with the supplies and ingredients."
"Why are you thanking her?" Santana spoke, outraged at the idea of needing to thank the person who had attempted to snatch away the bakery.
"Regardless of your hatred for her or that she owned part of our shop, she helped save this place. If it's not for her sending these in," she pointed at the pile of ingredients on the floor in the storage, "and not for her funding in her money, we'd be dead by now."
The Latina was shooting glares at Quinn and was not discreet about it at all. "She's taking advantage of you."
"You can't be too sure about that."
"Why are you so protective of her?"
"Why are you being such a heckler?" Quinn snapped, meeting Santana's eyes finally. Her hands stopped kneading the dough and put them on the station, gripping the edge of it.
"I'm just trying to talk some sense into you!"
Quinn scoffed and pointed at her own chest. "Oh so now you're saying I don't have any sense?
"I believe I didn't stutter," Santana said between gritted teeth.
"No, you didn't." The blonde shook her head with a demeaning smile. She wiped her hands on her apron and crossed her arms. She lifted her chin in act of stubbornness. "I just can't believe you actually don't know about the level of absurdity of the things you just said. If I am a person with no sense or even intuition, I wouldn't think of all those things to try and save this bakery. You're the one who doesn't have any sense because instead of using your time to rush the stocks and make delivery, you decided to argue about something like me going out to dinner with Rachel."
"Rachel?" Santana repeated, one of her brows rose in a mocking way. "Since when are you so friendly?"
"Since she actually tried to befriend and relieve me of any distrust towards her," Quinn snapped. She uncrossed her arms and went back to kneading the dough. "We're wasting time. And we don't have a lot of time left."
Santana looked at her for a moment before huffing in distress and went back to the task of decorating the cookies.
Their conversation was overheard by an expert eavesdropper and also a skilful private investigator, Kurt Hummel. He perched himself for more at the counter but only silence followed after Quinn Fabray abruptly ended the conversation. Believing that he had no more tasks here, he made his way outside only to be stopped by a man shorter than him – and so cute.
"Come back tomorrow! We will have goods prepared to be sold!" Blaine Anderson, Kurt believed. He had no idea why this kid decided to use his mother's last name instead of his father's. And darn, the guy was just as cute as he appeared in the headshot Kurt owned. No, he's cuter and handsomer.
The investigator smiled and nodded politely, walking away quickly before he got too entranced. He rounded the corner to the location his car was parked at and slipped into the driver's seat, driving away from the curb to meet with the person who had hired him. Not long after, he's sitting in a dingy diner opposite of Noah Puckerman, relaying all the things he heard in the bakery – omitting the incident of running into Blaine Anderson while fleeing. Silence followed after his explanation and they quietly ate their foods. And when Puck paid the bill, he slipped an envelope of money to him.
"I need you to follow Santana Lopez tomorrow," Puck told Kurt. "Payment will be made if you give me useful details."
Kurt smirked and took the envelope, checking the money inside and nodded at his current employer. "No problem. Where shall we meet?"
Puck told him the meeting location tomorrow and he left. The mohawked man stood up, bidding a goodbye to the owner of the diner who was his old friend and walked out, taking his phone from his pocket and listed all the things Kurt had said as a note in his phone. When he's done, he pocketed it and retrieved a box of cigarettes from his back pocket and lit one of them.
His mind was gearing on the details Kurt had just provided him and he smirked, laughing a little as he made his way towards his car. Rachel sure had a lot cut out for her. But she could handle it. He knew she could.
After much struggling, she settled on wearing a strapless pink top and a maroon cardigan as cover, with a pair of jeans that clad her curves nicely. Maybe a little too nice. Quinn looked at herself in the mirror, adjusting her top and jeans before she's satisfied with herself. She came out of her bedroom with a nude clutch and sat down on the couch, waiting for Rachel to pick her up for their dinner. Blaine only looked at her once and shaking his head in distaste before slamming his bedroom door to tell her that he shared the same thought with his older sister.
She rolled her eyes at his childish antics and tapped her fingers on her thigh rhythmically. Santana only minded her own business and kept on watching the reruns of Pretty Little Liars on television. Quinn felt the silence too stifling and willed Rachel to come faster so she could get out of this misery. And as if God could hear her, the doorbell rang. She stood up before her sister could and opened the door. True enough, Rachel was standing on the other side.
A grin spread out on her face without her knowing and Rachel grinned back at her. "You're one minute late," Quinn said superiorly. Rachel looked at her, numbed at that statement and the look on her face was ridiculous. Quinn let a laugh escaped before she closed the door behind her, walking to the elevator with Rachel. "But I forgive you because you just saved me from the hateful silent treatment Santana is giving me. She's bent on hating you even though I told her you're the one who actually saved us from announcing bankruptcy."
"Can't really blame her," Rachel said with a shrug. "I kind of…had an argument with her last night when I sent you home. Well, not like it's an argument since the conversation only lasted a few minutes before I walked out on her," she muttered but Quinn caught it with her sharp ears.
"Wait, you walked out on her?" Quinn exclaimed. Rachel nodded. Quinn whistled and walked out of the elevator when they reached the ground floor. "That's…That usually takes a lot of courage."
"Quinn, I've walked out on a lot of people before. I don't think it's any problem at all," Rachel declared with a scoff.
The blonde smirked and shook her head. "Maybe it's easy for you with other people. But Santana ain't anything easy. She's a lot to handle." They went outside and she surveyed the cars parked at the curb and frowned. "Where's your car?"
The brunette laughed and walked down the steps to the sidewalk, pointing at the end of the line of cars parked where the motorcycles were parked at. "I decided to become your personal stress reliever – regardless if you want me or not. I bet you never rode a bike before."
Quinn gaped at her but swallowed. "No."
"So this will be your first time riding one." Rachel handed her a helmet from beneath the seat and then put on her own on top of her head. Quinn was rolling the round-shaped object in her hands, hesitating on whether or not to listen to Rachel. "Quinn, with me driving, you're safe. I promise."
"You seem awfully modest," Quinn derided but put it on anyway. "So is that why you're wearing your clothes like some superwoman or something?"
Rachel looked down at herself. Leather jacket, black button up blouse and a pair of jeans. She looked back up. "Are you sure your eyes are having no problem at all?" Quinn glowered at her. "This is far from a superwoman suit, okay? I don't wear unitards."
"Like you said there's always a first time for everything," Quinn repeated Rachel's words.
"I'm pretty sure those aren't the exact words."
Quinn glanced at her like she's crazy. "Are you seriously going to do this right now?"
"Like you mentioned I'm one minute late?" Rachel hold up her forefinger as a mocking point.
"Fine, I get it," Quinn said. Rachel simpered at the blonde in satisfaction and nodded, straddling the bike and revving it to life. Quinn narrowed her eyes. "Are you sure this is safe?"
Rachel turned around to face her, looking at Quinn in the eye. "Trust me on this, Quinn." The blonde swallowed, suddenly feeling uncomfortable under the soulful stare Rachel was giving her. She cleared her throat and nodded weakly before she sat behind the brunette, settling her feet firmly on the pedals. "You're gonna fall if you don't hold me." The brunette sensed hesitation and turned to face Quinn. "Like I said, I don't bite."
Quinn rolled her eyes and apprehensively put her hands on Rachel's hips. She yelped in surprise when she felt the other woman pulling her arms around her own waist until they're pressed together. Rachel chuckled with a shake of her head and twisted the accelerator, shooting off without warning and Quinn nearly leaped out of the bike. Quinn was sure she was gonna die as she hold on to Rachel as tightly as she could to avoid from falling down. But minutes after she finally got herself settled and her heart slowed down, she timidly opened one of her eyes and saw herself looking at passing sidewalks and buildings.
It was…glowing around her when there were lights and movements everywhere. Cars swooped past them and Quinn was really scared of one of them knocking into the bike, but Rachel was calm all the way. And Quinn found herself beginning to trust Rachel. She loosened her hold on Rachel and looked around her. She began to wonder. Is this New York City? As a matter of fact, she had never seen New York quite like this. Probably because she never really paid attention to what's around her before every time she walked back home. But this was astonishing.
"Wow," she whispered, seeing a really big billboard of Daniel Radcliffe's Broadway show.
Rachel slowed the bike slightly and allowed Quinn to take her time watching the life of New York City. She recognized a person who's entranced with something. Their posture would be different and the energy they gave out was pretty addicting. But Rachel was unmoved as she had seen the place more than she wanted to. However, she found Quinn's reaction quite adorable. That's why she slowed down. If it's not for Quinn, she'd be at her destination in no time.
They reached her mansion and Rachel rode the bike into the garage. They dismounted it and Quinn took off her helmet in a frown. "Where are we?"
The brunette feigned indifference as she took the helmet from Quinn's grip and put both of them into a cabinet. "My house," she said with a shrug and led Quinn to a door leading to the kitchen. It was huge and equipped with well-maintained items needed in a kitchen. The faint hum the fridge was releasing gave her a sense of comfort.
"And why am I at your house?" Quinn asked cautiously.
Her defensive nature started to kick in while Rachel only tittered to herself and crooked her finger at Quinn, urging her to follow. They came out of the kitchen into a dining room. But instead of the long dining table Rachel had in the house, a small square table was in place, with two chairs on opposite sides and also a candle lit in the middle. The light was dimmed to a comfortable rate and the room was fragranced. Quinn gasped at the sight before her and she looked at Rachel in disbelief.
"You do know this is not a date, right?" Her first words and Rachel laughed.
"Yes, it's merely dinner. I just want to enjoy a comfortable dinner at my home with a friend, is that so wrong?" Rachel stated and started tying an apron to her body.
Quinn stifled a scoff and gestured at Rachel. "You're cooking?"
"In other words, I've prepared ingredients. So why don't you sit down and wait? It's not gonna be for long," the brunette replied, pushing Quinn onto a chair. "Kitchen is restricted!"
Quinn watched the woman sauntered into the kitchen and started hearing pots and pans clanking inside. Not long after, she heard something sizzling inside. She did her best to stop herself from standing up and heading to the kitchen to take a look. But failed. She ended up peeping at Rachel moving around gracefully in the kitchen. She threw spices in the pans like an expert and she moved in the kitchen like she's made for it. Quinn felt a hint of jealousy arising in her stomach because she was never a woman for the kitchen in spite of her skills in baking. She really wished she could cook.
Once she tried, and ended up nearly setting the apartment on fire. And from then on, Santana had restricted her from touching the stove. Forever.
"You really should listen to people sometimes." Rachel's voice startled her and she jumped.
She gulped and took a step into the kitchen, inhaling the scent of spices mingling in the air and enjoying the view of Rachel cutting some vegetable into minces. God, she didn't even know what that vegetable was! Her eyes drifted to upwards to meet with a pair of brown ones which had been watching her since she stepped in. "Sorry," she murmured ineffectively and Rachel smirked.
"Wanna help?" Rachel asked casually.
Quinn laughed nervously and shook her head. "No."
Rachel was taken aback. She had never seen someone rejecting giving a helping hand before. "Well, aren't you lazy?"
"No!" Quinn exclaimed and cleared her throat. "It's not that I'm lazy. I'd love to help. But I don't want to destroy your kitchen," she muttered under her breath.
The brunette frowned and looked up at her. Her hands were cutting another vegetable. "Destroy my kitchen?"
Quinn nodded, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. "Yeah, I nearly burned the house down the last time I tried to touch a stove. Proves that I'm not really that good with cooking or cutting or anything in the kitchen," she said.
"You're kidding, right?"
"Why would I kid about burning my house down?" Quinn retorted. "I'm serious. Santana even restricted the stove from me. My brother and mom won't stop teasing me about my expertise in the kitchen, which amounts to none at all. So yeah, I'd rather watch you do the cooking."
Rachel stopped her hands for awhile and they stared at each other for a moment before Rachel nodded at the pile of carrots on the island. "Can you at least help me rinse the carrots and cut off the heads?"
Quinn reached out for the carrots and made her way to the sink, turning the faucet on. "Don't lodge a report to the cops once I actually burn down your kitchen or make you go to the hospital for some unknown injury I might cause," she emphasized. But Rachel noticed the joking edge in her tone and only laughed a little, sweeping the remains of the cut up lettuce into a tiny bowl.
She poured the contents into the broth she's making and stirred it with a spatula before going back to the island, pulling the chicken on a tray in front of her and took a particularly large knife, wielding it around like nothing and chopped at the legs. Quinn winced, taking another knife from the holder and began cutting the carrot. Her eyes traveled to Rachel once in awhile to see her cutting the chicken with that knife like it's not gonna kill her if she accidentally shove it into her hand.
"Be more careful with that, will you?" Quinn finally spoke her fear, glaring at the knife as if it's alive.
Rachel cackled and looked at the knife in her hand. "Are you seriously afraid of a knife?" she asked incredulously.
"Like I said, I'm restricted from cooking, literally," Quinn said, shrugging and cut the carrot carefully.
Rachel watched and cleared her throat. "Keep cutting at this rate we won't have dinner until midnight."
"Are you seriously going to make fun of me right now?"
"No, no," Rachel hold her hands up, palms to Quinn. "Keep on cutting. I'll just…do the chicken and the broth."
Peaceful silence surrounded them after. Only the humming of the fridge and broth boiling on the stove interrupting the silence. Until Quinn yelped in pain. Rachel looked up to see Quinn sucking at her bloody finger. As sexy as that looked, all Rachel saw was…blood. She hurried to Quinn's side, abandoning the chicken and knife.
"Oh my, you really suck in kitchen," she muttered, rushing to a cabinet to retrieve a first aid kit. "Sit," she instructed Quinn and pointing at a stool by the island.
"Darn, why didn't you tell me there's a stool?" Quinn whined, sitting down at Rachel instructed. She watched Rachel carrying the kit to her and stupidly asked, "What are you doing?"
"What do you think?" Rachel deadpanned, taking out the disinfectant, tweezers, cotton and bandage. "Be quiet," she ordered before Quinn could talk and rinsed a ball of cotton with water. She took hold of Quinn's finger and started wiping away the blood until there's no more blood on the skin. She uncapped the disinfectant and poured a little of the liquid into a new ball of cotton. She dabbed at the wound till she's sure it's disinfected and then she bandaged Quinn's finger with a 'Mickey Mouse' bandage.
"Mickey Mouse?" Quinn mentioned as Rachel tucked away the kit.
Rachel pursed her lips and went to turn off the stove when she's sure the broth's done. "You'll stay there and not touch anything again. Dinner will be ready in a few." She swung around to meet Quinn's eyes.
"Why are you so upset?"
Rachel paused and she leaned against the edge of the sink. Honestly, she didn't even know why she's so upset. Maybe because she felt bad for forcing Quinn to cut the carrots and ended up getting her injured. Yes, yes, that must be it. She nodded to herself and sighed, pouring the broth into a big bowl. "I just don't feel right about getting you injured when we're supposed to have a pleasant dinner and this is my house, after all."
Quinn felt that wasn't it, but let it go anyway. "Okay. I see I have no more use here, so I'll just wait for you outside."
Rachel nodded and forced a smile at the beautiful blonde. "Yeah, yeah, you do that." She wiped the countertop with a towel of any broth that leaked when she was pouring it into the bowl. When Quinn was finally out of the kitchen, her breathing went back to normal and she wiped her forehead to get rid of the beads of sweat gathering.
The blonde sat down on the chair she occupied just now and massaged her aching finger. It wasn't that painful after Rachel had tended to it. She lifted her finger and stared at the Mickeys on the bandage for a long time. She could still feel Rachel's fingers on hers, softly applying the disinfectant and everything. She was thankful. She was also frightened. She didn't know what it was fluttering around in her stomach just now when they were both in close proximity to each other. She'd never felt this way before. It was unnerving yet pleasuring. She released a shuddering breath and took a sip of the wine on the table before her.
The candle had burned until it's half of its original size. She intently looked at the fire flickering on top, wavering around as if it's dancing. And frankly, she was absorbed with the fire she didn't hear Rachel coming in with the food half an hour later. She started at Rachel's voice and looked up at her.
"Is your finger doing okay?" Rachel repeated her question, frowning at Quinn.
Quinn looked down at her finger and stared at it for a moment before nodding. "Yeah, it's not that painful anymore. Thanks anyway."
Rachel shook her head and sat down opposite Quinn. "Dinner's ready. Let's eat," she said with a smile.
Quinn nodded in agreement and began to eat the chicken, occasionally drinking spoonfuls of the broth and eating some of the mashed potato Rachel made. And God, they tasted heaven-like. She thought she's eating her father's cooking until she saw Rachel in front of her, remembering it's not her father cooking. Her heart soured a little when she thought about her father.
"What's wrong?" Rachel asked.
Quinn looked up and shook her head. "Nothing."
Rachel narrowed her eyes but nodded. "Alright. You enjoying?"
"Yes, they're delicious," she praised, cutting another piece of the chicken and put it into her mouth.
Rachel winked. "Told you not to doubt me."
"I never did," Quinn replied and didn't realize the depth of her words until later. Her back tensed and she ignored it, continued to eat the food Rachel prepared.
When they were done, they sat quietly on each side, drinking their wine. "Why does your sister hate me so much?" Rachel suddenly asked.
Quinn put down her stemmed glass and cleared her throat, playing with her napkin. "Um…she uh…she thinks you're evil." Rachel raised her brows and grinned. "Yes, she really doesn't like people always asking to buy the bakery because it's a heritage in our family – her family, hypothetically. As you know, the Hudson Organization has been offering tons of money a lot of times to take over the shop and we declined every single time. Santana grew annoyed."
"And yet you accepted my offer."
The blonde touched the stem of her glass and smiled. "Honestly, if it's not for the financial crisis we were facing, we'd reject you on the spot and never even let you have the chance to hand over that drafted contract. But in reality, we did have a financial crisis and we needed the supplies and money. You have those," Quinn drifted off.
"I feel like there's something else you're not telling me," Rachel mentioned, her grin never did cease ever since it started to spread out on her face.
Quinn scoffed and shook her head, looking at Rachel weirdly. "Woman, are you psychic?" she asked and earned a laugh from Rachel. "And I have a feeling…like you can be trusted. You were sincere in offering a part-ownership and I felt like I could trust you – despite how Santana and my brother distrust you so much."
Rachel's eyes glazed over into a daze as she looked through Quinn, her thoughts no longer on the blonde before her. She couldn't help but feel like wanting to applause Santana for being so fuckin' intuitive and right. When she focused back on Quinn, she concluded that Quinn was too easy to fall prey into people's tricks. She trusted people too easily and Rachel didn't know if she should be glad or worried. She's smart in doing business, Rachel could give her that. But Quinn really needed to stop trusting people so easily.
"Rachel?" Quinn's voice snapped her out of her deep thoughts and she focused on Quinn.
"Are you okay? You seemed like…you lost focus back there," Quinn questioned, concern written all over her face.
The brunette chuckled and shook her head. "No, I'm okay. Hey, you wanna pop in a movie or something?"
Quinn smiled and leaned back in her chair. "I'd like to take a stroll in your yard if I can," she said, looking for permission.
Rachel stood up, throwing the napkin on the table and rounded the table, offering her hand. "Come on, then!"
Quinn glanced at the proffered hand and back up at Rachel. Rachel looked at her with an eyebrow raised and wiggled her fingers to ask Quinn to take it. With a shake of her head, Quinn threw the napkin on the table as well and took Rachel's hand. She was led to a door and when Rachel opened it, she gasped. Ahead of her was something like a bridge, linking the threshold to a pavilion in the middle of the green yard. The scene was beautiful in the full-moon night. Moonlight shone down on the soft grass, casting a mysterious shadow of the pavilion on the green patch. It was beautiful and Quinn would paint it if she could.
She sucked at painting.
"Enjoying the view?" She nodded. "You'll enjoy it more when you're standing right there." Rachel stretched out her arm and pointed at the pavilion miles ahead of them. Without hesitation, Rachel pulled Quinn to a run as they sprinted towards the tiny structure.
They stopped the entrance and Rachel let go of Quinn's hand, signaled for her to go first. Quinn took a step inside and looked around her in awe. The pillars supporting the entire structure were made of valuable marble and there was a small slab of stone covered with cloth built against one of the ledges. There were pillows on top. She sat down carefully and watched the night life of New York City from the pavilion.
"Look up," Rachel instructed.
Quinn lifted her head to see a beautiful mural painted on the ceiling. There were unicorns carrying cute baby angels with halos on top of their heads and white wings on their backs. In the middle of the circle of adorable angels, there was a cloud with a masculine figure sitting atop a white majestic unicorn. Her jaw dropped. Heaven. This was…heaven.
"I'm Jewish, actually," Rachel announced, looking at Quinn with sheepish smirk. "But I couldn't bring myself to destroy this wonderful piece of art. So I let it stay there. I think it's beautiful."
"It's breathtaking," Quinn whispered as she imagined the picture coming alive.
Rachel watched Quinn for a moment before she blurted, "Not as breathtaking as you."
Chapter 4: Chapter 4
May have some offensive things said at the end of the chapter. Forgive me...
Rachel's words lingered in the air and Quinn only looked at her, shocked at her revelation. She opened and closed her mouth, but nothing came out. Rachel frowned and mentally slapped herself for letting it slip. She shifted her weight to another leg and cleared her throat.
"Sorry, I shouldn't have said that," she apologized and cleared her throat again. "But it's true. I really think you are beautiful." She was thinking why not? She said it anyway.
Quinn smiled and nodded. "Thank you," she replied and looked up again. "You have a really nice place," she commented lamely, her mind wandering over what Rachel told her. She said she was beautiful. Wow. Quinn gulped and kept her gaze focused on the mural.
"Thanks." The brunette looked down at her feet. "You know, when the clock chimes ten, you'll see something very special, if you're up to it." Quinn raised her brows. "You won't regret it," Rachel added with a grin.
Quinn laughed and nodded, standing up on her feet. "Okay. It's nine fifty. Ten minutes more. I hope you aren't lying."
Rachel returned the laugh and shook her head. "It's not here. Come on! We don't have time to waste." Without reluctance, she reached out for Quinn's hand again and pulled her out of the pavilion. She led her to the middle of the concrete bridge where there's a part of the ledge missing, replaced by a flight of stairs to the ground. And two minutes before ten, they reached a fountain Quinn didn't notice before.
A hole in the ground had allowed water to flush out in the shape of a tall pillar and Quinn noticed there were surrounding circles around the hole, with spaces enough to fit four people. Quinn frowned and squinted at the hollowed lines. What in the living – she shrieked without finishing her thoughts when suddenly transparent walls of water spurted out from those lines, creating a wet wall around them. She looked around her and saw the other side of the water wall clearly.
"Oh my God," she whispered in awe at the awesomeness of this scenery.
Rachel was chuckling silently as she watched Quinn taking in the sight. She remembered her reaction that night when she stood on those hollowed lines and ended soaking wet herself when the clock chimed ten. And she's been on time to watch this ever since. It was indeed beautiful. And once again, she mentally praised Puck for choosing such a magnificent mansion for her. She raised her hand and read her watch. Two more minutes. Two more minutes to show Quinn this amazing paradise of hers. And she willed the clock to stop.
The transparent wall of water ceased and only the hole of water was functioning. Rachel stared down at the water coming out of the hole. She finally looked up at Quinn who still had an awestruck expression on her face. She smiled and shrugged.
"You like it?" she asked the blonde.
"I love it," Quinn responded, kneeling down and tracing the hollowed lines where the water just came out. "I have never seen anything as wonderful as that."
Rachel couldn't keep the smile off her face as they slowly walked together, circling the perimeter of the huge yard. "I told you I'm gonna be your stress reliever," Rachel said. "There're a lot of first times waiting for you out there."
Quinn laughed. "I just knew you yesterday!"
"I normally don't make friends with people I knew for only one day," Quinn revealed shyly, tucking a strand of stray hair behind her ear.
"Oh, so we're friends now?" Rachel remarked with a chuckle. "I thought we're just acquaintances." Quinn gave her playful punch on the arm. "Ouch!" Rachel faked. Quinn laughed and shoved her hands into her pockets. "So you enjoying your night here?"
Quinn paused and looked at Rachel inquisitively for the next few seconds, sending the brunette spasms of discomfort and tingles. "Yeah, I quite enjoyed it here. But it's late. And I hate to go back before Santana or Blaine or my mom calls," she said regretfully. Just then, the blonde's phone rang in her back pocket. Quinn rolled her eyes and fished it out to answer it. "See? That's Santana. Excuse me a second." She pressed the green button and put the phone to her ear. "I'm going back now."
"You'd better be," Santana growled from the other end of the phone.
Another roll of her eyes before she hung up on the Latina and faced Rachel with a regretful smile. "I'm not sitting on that bike again."
"I thought you loved it!" Rachel exclaimed, walking back into the house.
"It still gave me a heart attack."
"You're not in the hospital now," Rachel deadpanned.
"Just drive me back home, Berry."
Blaine was sitting on the couch reading the newspaper when she woke up the next morning. She cleared her throat to indicate that she's awake and went into the kitchen to grab a glass of water. When she came out, she saw him sitting there looking at her intently. The newspaper was long forgotten. She stood at the doorway to the kitchen and arched her brow at him.
"Stop hanging out with her," he finally broke the glass of silence, shattering it into pieces with his slicing words.
Quinn arched both of her eyebrows and she stifled a scoff, shaking her head. "You need to remember. She's now part owner of the bakery. I can't not hang out with her. And she's a fun person to be with – despite you and Santana's dislike for her – so why wouldn't I hang out with her?"
Blaine rolled his eyes at her. "She's up to no good, Quinn!" he exclaimed.
"Did Santana put you up to this?" Quinn asked, narrowing her eyes at him.
"No!" He stood up on his feet and crossed his arms. "I want you to stop hanging out with her. Rachel Berry is not just some average businesswoman, she's more than that."
"Yeah, she's more than that. She seems to be a lot considerate than those douches from Hudson Organization, especially Finn Hudson. So yeah, she is more than an average businesswoman," Quinn retorted, walking away from the doorway to the armchair in the middle of the living room.
He grunted in frustration and harshly ran his hand over his hair. "If it isn't for Mercedes messing up with the stock, I wouldn't have agreed to this fucked up agreement with that woman! Santana and I both know that she has other plans in mind other than the ones she told you."
She huffed and stood up from the armchair, making her way to her bedroom. "Where's Mom?" she asked.
"Don't change the subject, Quinn."
"Where is Mom?" she emphasized the words, signaling the end of the conversation.
He heaved a sigh and flopped back down on the couch. "She went to the market."
She nodded and went into her bedroom. She took a morning bath in the bathroom and changed into clean clothes, pulling her hair into a ponytail and got ready to go. When she was ready to get out of the apartment, Blaine came out from his bedroom suited up for work. She paused and took a long look at him before shaking her head and walked out the door.
As usual, she stopped by Sugar's mother's restaurant to grab breakfast. Sugar was out on a date with her boyfriend. And Quinn – as a considerate friend – worried about her. She never met the boyfriend and she didn't know if he's a nice guy. Sugar was kind of naïve so Quinn hoped the guy would treat her nice. She looked up from her porridge to see Mrs Motta sliding into the stool next to her.
"I'm worried for Sugar," Mrs Motta told her.
Quinn raised her brows, swallowing the warm porridge down her throat. "You haven't met him?"
The older lady shook her head and pouted in disappointment. "No, I haven't. She won't let me. She kept saying it's not going steady yet and asked me to be patient. It's been going on for a month, is that not steady enough?"
Quinn cleared her throat and stirred her porridge a little. "Maybe…maybe she just wants it to be rooted into the ground and there's won't be any possible breakup in near future," she commented. To be honest, she's not too sure herself.
"We meet again, Mr Hudson," Rachel greeted Finn Hudson who was sitting at a table in the restaurant. His smile was crooked and it was like…too crooked. But she managed to keep her grimace away. She shook his hand and sat down opposite him, ordering a cup of coffee from the waiter and faced Finn again. "To what do I owe the honor of being invited to lunch by you, Mr Hudson?"
The tall – awfully tall – man scrutinized her under his leery gaze and she was craving so hard to punch him in the freaking face for daring to check out other woman when he's married. But she kept herself under control and just smiled politely at him. He leaned forward and locked his eyes to hers. "How much?"
She raised her brows, unsure of what he's implying. That question could mean a lot, either in a dirty way or businesslike way. "Pardon?"
"How much?" he reiterated.
"What do you mean 'how much'?" she questioned.
He bared his teeth and flashed an annoying grin at her. She mentally rolled her eyes at him. "How much do you want for the share of stocks you own in Lopez Delight?"
She narrowed her eyes at him. "How about…none?"
His grin grew wider and he chortled a little before leaning back, tapping his fingers on the tabletop. "None? Never really thought you'd be so…kind," he commented.
She laughed and shook her head. The waiter came with her coffee and she thanked him for it, drinking from the edge of the cup. She grimaced. "Next time, when we meet, I really wish you'd pick a better place, Mr Hudson," she joked. The joke tore a laugh from him and she played along. "I am never kind, Mr Hudson. I just see what benefits me. And I don't see how selling you the stocks I have will give me any sort of benefit, to be extremely honest." She put down her cup and stared at him questioningly. "Why do you want the shop lot, anyway?"
"My father is attempting to renovate the lot into a small butler café. This kind of cafes is known to be quite famous in Japan and he wanted to try a hand in it. And Lopez Delight's lot is the perfect place for people of all age to visit. And that'll bring us more money, of course," he answered.
"A butler café?" Now, that she had no idea of. And she thought it was ridiculous. The trend in Japan will never make that much profit here in United States. "That seems like a good idea," she said, smiling tightly. "But have you done enough research into it?"
"I have people there doing it."
She nodded and appeared to be considering, when all she was doing in her mind was trying to solve the crossword puzzle she played this morning while thinking everything was going exactly well. Finally, she grinned and chuckled. "Let me promise you one thing," she began. He was tempted, she could see. "If I ever decide to sell the stocks and the Lopez people can't afford to buy it, I will sell it to you. And only to you. I will disregard the other offers I received from other competing companies and sell the stocks to you. How does that sound?"
"What if you never?" he croaked.
She leaned forward, bracing her forearms on the table and smiled seductively at him. "Maybe that's your bad luck. Like how you are now with your great wife." She watched his face contorted into a grimace at the mention of his wife. "Don't think I forgot about our…encounter at the park. Her name's Harmony, isn't it?" He nodded. "So…are you cheating on her?"
Finn scoffed. "Adultery is common for me," he said casually, smirking at her as if it's the proudest thing she had ever done.
She nodded with a smile. "I understand," she commented. "Why did you even marry her if you want to cheat on her anyway?"
"I want people to think I am a man who's ready to commit. And I am committed on that certificate and the vow I took at the chapel. Divorce is out of question," Finn said. "She's the best material out there for me to take as a wife. In fact, I have several mistresses as of right now."
"And you're proud of that?"
Finn laughed. "Oh yes I am. It's rare that a man can get more than one mistress at a time."
"Do you want a medal for that? Because I can give you one." She laughed at her own words, he laughed as well.
"You know, I can take in one more mistress," he said suggestively, staring at her with lust clouding his pupils again.
Rachel knew what he was indicating. She only giggled and laid her bill on the table, standing up. She approached him and knelt down until her lips were next to his ear. She ran her fingers down his arm gently as she whispered, "I'm not up to that offer yet. I'll see you when we next have the chance, Mr Hudson." She sucked her teeth and strode out of the restaurant, leaving him awestruck.
A mohawked man followed her out to the street and wordlessly slipped into the passenger seat of her car.
"Got anything new?" she asked, kicking the car to life and pulled away from the curb.
Puck took down his fake spectacles and took out his phone. "So far, Santana Lopez still hates you," he informed. "Private investigator overheard Fabray's conversation with her yesterday before your little dinner together. Santana was all kind of protest against the idea of Fabray going out to dinner with you. So you have a lot of work cut out for you to convince that chick to like and trust you."
"I don't intend to do anything of the sort," she announced.
"Quinn's trust in me is enough," Rachel replied, stopping at the red light. "I don't need her foster sister's or brother's."
"Yes, Quinn. Don't act so surprised. She's quite likable."
He scoffed and rolled his eyes, looking out the window. "I just hope you won't get carried away with her beauty and hotness. Though I admit she's pretty hot." She glared at him and he chuckled. "Oh…and Lopez is hanging out with your secretary."
"What?" she snapped.
"Hummel followed her this morning. She came out of the apartment building at eight in the morning and stopped by a diner to have breakfast with your secretary. From what he told me, they appeared to be pretty cozy. You better keep an eye on Brittany if you don't want things to get out of hand."
"I'll handle it," she said coldly. "Anything else?"
"Have you noticed the limp in Quinn's steps?" he asked, emphasizing the blonde's name.
She hesitated but nodded. "Yeah," she replied. He opened his mouth to say something but she stopped him. "There's no way she's the one from the orphanage."
"You don't know for sure. She's blonde, hazel green eyes…cute."
She turned to face him for a minute before shifting the gear to head back to her corporation. "Puck, I'm currently not searching for the kid from the orphanage, alright? All I want right now is to ruin the Hudsons and reward them with what they deserve. Stop planting ideas to distract me," she ordered.
"But what if she is?" he persisted.
Silence enwrapped its arms around them for the next twenty minutes until she parked her car in the designated spot in the parking lot. "I will handle it."
Puck climbed out and walked into the lobby of the building with Rachel. They were greeted by the security guards, the attendants at the counter and every staff that passed by and she responded each one with a nod and a smile. They stood in silence in the elevator as it lifted them to the top floor, where her office was located. Brittany greeted her with a warm smile and went back to her work. Rachel gave her a lingering glance before pushing open the door to her office.
He made his to the bar and took out a bottle of whisky from the liquor cabinet and two glasses from the drawers. She sighed and sat down at her desk, flipping through files neatly arranged on her desk by Brittany. Puck nursed himself with the whisky and put the other glass in front of her. She looked up at him in confusion.
He shrugged. "Thought you could use a little alcohol to loosen up," he suggested, sitting down on the chair in front of her.
"I don't drink while working, Puckerman," she said and went back to reading the documents.
"Why the hell do you have liquor in your office if you don't drink while working?" he demanded, frowning at her.
She smirked. "I drink when it's not office hours, which will be lunch break and after work," she answered.
He lifted his wrist to look at his watch and gestured at the glass. "There's still two minutes before lunch break is over. Drink."
"Are you trying to get me drunk?" she hissed but took the glass anyway.
"No," he denied. "I'm just trying to get you to relax." She swallowed the clear red liquid down her throat and put her file down, sipping more. "See? I can see your posture relaxing after the intake of alcohol. You don't have to drink much. But you have to drink at least a little to be at ease."
She raised her brows at him inquisitively. "I didn't know you became a therapist," she teased and he rolled his eyes. "And you should say what you told me to Quinn. Last time I brought her out for a drink at Mike's, she asked for a diet coke," she asked with a horrified expression on her face.
"Get out of here," he whispered.
"I'm serious. She asked for a diet coke. Mike told her there's only alcohol in his bar. So she drank some pretty strong vodka. And went home drunk as hell. I had to carry her home. Her evil sister and I had a confrontation before I left."
She nodded. "Yeah. She has some sense in her and she somehow knows I am…not a good asset to the bakery," she stammered and guilt clouded her mind. "Sometimes, I really wish Quinn Fabray can be a little cautious and not trust in people so easily. I feel so…"
"Guilty?" Puck offered somberly. "Despicable? Dreadful? Vile?" She glared at him and he shook his head without a smile or even a smirk. "You know, I didn't do all those digging and risking my life just so you can fall in love and ditch the fuckin' plan. I didn't nearly die because I got discovered eavesdropping into a conversation between Sam Evans and his motherfucking father just so you can go around feeling guilty because you're about to go on with your revenge."
"And in extension ruining a family's life," she snapped.
"You planned this, Rachel. Bit by bit, you planned it all by yourself. And now you're telling me you're feeling guilty because you're going to ruin Quinn's life? Why didn't you think of that in the first place?" Puck blurted angrily.
"Because I didn't know I'd feel so much for her!" She looked at him with a deflating gaze before sighing, closing her eyes and rubbing her forehead at the same time. "I didn't know I'll care about her so much. She…she's beautiful, she's sweet, she's funny. She's not the woman I thought I'll destroy. I thought she's going to be a woman who's so freakin' fake or just hateful or selfish. I even hope she is that kind of woman."
Puck stared at her for a moment and pursed his lips, sucking them and releasing them again, opening his lips. "Are you giving up on this, Rachel?" There was stillness in the air, kind of suffocating the man as he waited for an answer from her. And then he stood up and walked to the door. "I'm gonna go back and burn all the papers," he murmured.
"No," she said, stopping him from opening the door. She didn't dare meet his eyes so she looked at her clasped hands on the desk. "Continue the investigation. I want you to see who's the woman Finn Hudson's cheating with. I also want to know if Harmony Dale is cheating on Finn Hudson."
His gaze stayed on Rachel for a moment. He felt a little sympathetic for her to begin to have feelings for a person she's gonna destroy now instead of other times. A sigh escaped his lips and he gave a grunt of obedience before heading out.
She leaned her head against her fist and gave a shuddering breath. She gulped and willed the image of Quinn Fabray to leave her mind. But it didn't. Rachel's afraid it never will.
Quinn stood in front of her father's grave, setting down the bouquet of lilies she bought for him. She still remembered his favorite flower was lily. He said it was graceful and beautiful like an angel. Just like you are. His voice shrilled like a pleasant alarm in her mind. Alarming her of how he loved her and how he wanted her to never forget that she was perfect regardless of her useless pair of legs. She read his name engraved on the slab of stone, like it's a mantra. She gave an inward sigh and looked up when she heard footsteps approaching to see Rachel Berry walking towards her.
She frowned. The brunette stood next to her and shoved her hands inside her pockets. "Your bakery has some problems," she announced after a moment of silence.
Quinn looked back at the stone and sighed, copying Rachel's posture. "Can we not talk about the bakery when I'm trying to have a peace of mind here?" she begged in a whisper.
Rachel nodded and read the late man's name on the stone. Richard Lopez. He's a great man, Rachel heard. But mostly, he's an incredibly great man for willing to take a flawed girl into his family and treat her like his own birth daughter, raising her into this beacon of optimism and authenticity. Quinn was so focused on her father's tombstone that she didn't notice Rachel had been watching all the time, taking in her blonde tresses, delicate cheekbones, defined nose, smooth white cheeks supported by lean cheekbones, giving her face a structure of elegance. Rachel reveled in Quinn's slanted green eyes with flecks of jade green that could pierce into one's soul if she took the efforts. Her eyes wandered to Quinn's lips.
Oh how she wanted to lay her own lips upon Quinn's.
She blinked at her own dirty thoughts and gave herself a mental shake. She broke her gaze from Quinn and back at the tombstone.
"How'd you find me here?" Quinn asked.
Rachel smiled a little. "Santana told me."
Quinn laughed in amusement and raised a brow at her. "You can't expect me to believe that, do you, Miss Berry?" she mused.
Rachel laughed along as well and shook her head, looking down at her feet. "No, and will you please stop calling me Miss Berry? It sounds especially awful coming from you," Rachel said in frustration.
"Am I supposed to take that as a compliment?"
"Frankly, yes. Because normally people who call me Miss Berry are people who I think are unworthy of my respect or even acknowledgement," Rachel said truthfully. "And I respect you."
"Flattery won't get you anywhere, Rachel."
Rachel grinned and looked at Quinn. "See? Ain't that easy. Sound lots better. And to where will it get me, exactly?" she added in confusion.
"You're trying to get into my pants," Quinn said, her tone daring Rachel to deny it.
The brunette smirked. "I wouldn't dare admit to that with your father practically in front of us," she replied in a teasing tone and grinned wider when she heard Quinn laughed. And Quinn was wrong. Rachel didn't only want to get into the blonde's pants. She wanted to…love her. Rachel frowned at her choice of words. Love? Really? But Rachel knew she wanted to give a lot to Quinn. Anything she could afford and let Quinn be rid of this life of forever kneading dough and selling cakes at the shop.
"Let's get out of here. The graveyard's starting to get creepy," Quinn said abruptly and stepped back from the grave, heading towards the gate of the graveyard. Rachel caught up with her and walked alongside her. Her eyes traveled towards Quinn's slight limp and couldn't help but frown. Quinn noticed her staring. "My legs are flawed, Rachel. You don't have to see it."
"What happened?" Rachel asked, but she had a slim suspicion.
"God decided to make fun of me. He made my parents abandon me in an orphanage. He made me born with a pair of unbalanced legs. He made my childhood quite miserable with all the insults from the kids in the orphanage," Quinn said with a bitter smile. "It's my fate, I guess. After all, he's God."
"You seemed unhappy with Him," Rachel commented, looking at Quinn wryly.
"I hate God, I love Jesus," Quinn said. "You can hate me for my preference. But that's what I think."
Rachel laughed mockingly and shook her head. "I don't have the right to but I don't hate you. I agree with you, actually, even though I am a Jewish. God is kind of cruel, to say the least. He doesn't accept people he thinks are flawed or imperfect – yet he created us that way – while Jesus loves everybody."
"My thoughts, exactly," Quinn said. "You know, you still haven't told me how you know I'm here."
"Santana kind of told me. I was at your bakery with the initial intention of checking out on the staff. And I did until your sister came to the bakery and told me that you're not here. She told me 'Quinn's still not over my father's death so she's there crying on her knees.'" Rachel imitated. "Honestly, your sister has a…unique way with words."
"Yeah, she tends to insult people every chance she gets."
They laughed and Rachel said, "I can see."
Chapter 5: Chapter 5
They went back to bakery and Quinn stopped outside. She turned to face Rachel with pursed lips.
"Before we go inside, I'd like you to tell me what kind of 'staff problems' do I have?" she air quoted, narrowing her eyes at Rachel.
Rachel smiled and crossed her arms across her chest. "Mercedes Jones, drunkard. Tina Cohen-Chang, lazy. And all of them are on break almost like the whole day. They go in and out whenever they like. That kind of system is what mostly topples most companies."
"You're saying I have to install limitations?" Quinn questioned. Rachel nodded. Quinn huffed and ran her hand through her hair. "You tell them."
Rachel shrugged. "I don't mind. You wanna do it now?" she asked Quinn, shoving her hands into her pockets. Quinn nodded and they walked inside to see Tina meddling with laptop at the counter.
Quinn saw the brunette shook her head disapprovingly and rolled her eyes. "Hey, Tina. Can you ask the people inside to come out? Rachel has something to say," Quinn requested.
Tina looked at Rachel suspiciously before nodding and went to the back. Quinn sighed and stared the array of cakes, cookies or breads displayed and ready to be sold. Rachel watched her curiously and was intending to open her mouth to say something but the staff that filed out interrupted her. Santana looked at them boringly.
"Say whatever you have to say so we can get back to work," she snapped.
Rachel raised her brows and cleared her throat. "I'm instilling new rules," Rachel began. "I have the right to do so since I am part owner of the bakery. From now on, you are only on break from noon till two in the afternoon. If you are not in before and after that, I will give you a warning. You guys are not disciplined and you think you can come and go as you wish. Well, it's different with me." Mercedes hiccupped and grunted. "Mercedes, alcohols are no longer allowed in the bakery. If you want to get drunk, you should quit and go back home and get yourself intoxicated every single hour. I wouldn't really care." The black girl stared at her wide-eyed. Rachel ignored the stare and turned to Tina. "Computers are off limits unless it's break time. Phone calls are restricted. And no nodding off or escaping while at the counter. Do you understand me?"
"Hold on a second!" Santana burst. Rachel turned to her. Santana glared at her indignantly. "Did Quinn give approval?"
The shorter brunette looked at Quinn, just as every single pair of eyes was on her. Quinn sighed and cleared her throat. "I gave you too much freedom before and I realized if this keeps on, the bakery will fall no matter how much money Miss Berry invests in it. So, yes, I approve of all of those. You guys are to obey from now onwards."
"Quinn, this is outrageous!" Tina exclaimed.
"What's outrageous is that you are allowed this much freedom while at work," Rachel cut in, looking at them with steely gaze. "This is the first time I have seen so much inadequacies in a business. If you are not happy with my arrangement, you are welcome to leave. People can be replaced."
Tina faltered and Mercedes banged her head against the wall once. Santana glared at Quinn but the blonde said nothing. "Are you done, Rachel?" Quinn asked. Rachel nodded. "Okay, go back to work, guys. I'm heading out for a moment."
"I thought we are only allowed break time from noon till two in the afternoon," Santana quipped aloud. "It's three."
"Shareholders are allowed to come and go whenever they want," Rachel said for Quinn. "And for all I know – despite you being her sister – Quinn is the only other shareholder of this bakery I will acknowledge." The brunette stared them down even though she's much shorter than them. Quinn wanted to kill herself at the moment. "You're wasting time. Go back to work," she snapped and walked out, followed by Quinn.
"You're seriously letting this happen?" Mercedes voiced.
Santana swung around to look at her, her lips pursed into a thin line. "We won't have her here if you didn't mess up."
"You're not angry with me, are you?" Rachel asked as they walked on the sidewalk, passing by shops and walkers.
Quinn rubbed her hand up and down her arm and shook her head. "No, I'm not. I kind of want to thank you, I actually knew that they had disciplinary problems but I just don't know how to break the rules to them. I mean, they're my friends and they've helped out a lot when my dad died and left us the bakery with nothing other than a stupid cookbook filled with nothing but recipes that I and Santana already know."
"So you're pissed at him?"
The blonde halted in her steps and she exhaled harshly. "I am…angry at him." Rachel raised her brows. "I'm angry that he did not keep his promise and just left – not that I don't know it's not his choice – but still, he promised. Suddenly, he just came back and showed us the report he got from the doctor. The report that stated he only had two months time left. Liver cancer. And one and a half month later, he went into the hospital. Forty eight hours after, his heart monitor went dead." Quinn swallowed, letting a drop of tear rolled down her cheek.
"He was a good man, you know," Rachel voiced her opinion and resisted the urge to slap herself for saying that out loud.
"How do you know he's a good man?"
"He managed to raise an adopted daughter into a woman this beautiful and smart and kind who is now standing in front of me," Rachel explained without stopping and she literally felt like jumping down the roof of whichever building after. Quinn blushed and Rachel smiled. "You need to go back. They need you. I have to go back to my office to look after some things."
Quinn nodded and bade goodbye to the brunette before turning around to go back to her bakery. "Quinn!" She looked at Rachel. "He'll understand why you sold part of the bakery to me. I know he will."
The blonde and brunette just looked at each other for a couple more minutes. It's like the world around them had disappeared and all they could see was one another. Finally, a smile spread across Quinn's face and she nodded. "I hope so."
Sam rapped his knuckles on his brother's door and went in without waiting for a response. And he ended up being a witness of Finn with another woman in his and Harmony's bed. Sam rolled his eyes as he recognized the woman in the bed. Sugar Motta. He scowled.
"I'll give you fifteen minutes to get dressed. I need to talk to you, Finn. And for God's sake, of all people you wanna have an affair with, you decide to have it with a staff member?" he said exasperatedly and shut the door closed behind him. Thirteen minutes later, he saw Sugar Motta came out and walking away. He sighed and went inside to see his brother casually tying his robe together and looked at him with nothing but scowl. Sam scoffed. "Don't give that fucking look because I don't buy it."
"Respect my fucking space then," Finn retorted angrily. He sat down on the couch and poured himself a glass of Scotch. "What do you want?"
Sam shoved his hands into his jeans pocket. "Where's your wife?" he asked.
"Out wasting my money. Now tell me what the hell do you want? Get it over with and then get the hell out," Finn snapped, drinking the Scotch.
"Let me take over the Lopez Delight project," Sam declared.
Finn stifled a chuckle and stared at Sam as if he's gone out of his mind, which in Finn's thinking, he was. "You knocked your head or something? No fuckin' way."
"Look, I wanna get my pride back, man. She insulted me on the phone before. I wanna prove myself to her that I'm not just some beginner in this thing and can do something." The blonde man strode to stand in front of Finn, regardless of Finn's ignorance of his presence and continued nursing himself with his glass of Scotch. "Come on!"
The older man paused his movement of lifting the glass to his lips and looked at Quinn incredulously. "You are a beginner, Sam. You asked her how she got the shop lot, dumbass! Nobody does that! And Dad's still pissed at you for failing in getting even a little bit of information from Rachel Berry. So no way am I letting you take over this thing. Go mind your own business."
"Then let me prove myself to Dad! Give me the project!" Sam demanded.
"In you fucking dreams, Evans. Get the fuck out of here before I lose my temper." Finn glared at his foster brother.
Sam watched Finn with glaring eyes and clenched his jaw. "You know, you really shouldn't bring women into our house and then have sex with them you and your wife's bed. If Dad finds out, I bet that even Mom won't be able to protect your freakin' ass from being spanked by Dad," he snapped and stalked out, slamming the door closed behind him. Finn only smirked and kept drinking.
Quinn stayed behind when it's time to close the shop. She didn't know why but she felt something bad. It was two days since the new rules were instilled and she hadn't met Rachel since. She never intended to until she needed the brunette for something. And now, she really didn't. What she needed was for Sugar to make at least a second of appearance so Quinn could just stop worrying. But Sugar didn't. Even Mrs Motta had no idea where she was and they were worried sick.
She looked down at her phone one last time, hoping to see a call or a text or anything to tell her that Sugar was okay. But none. An empty screen with nothing but icons and big wallpaper. She sighed and pocketed the phone. She took the keys, switched the lights off and locked the door before heading to the bus stop. Her mind reeled about Sugar's whereabouts with stopping. Even in her dreams, she couldn't stop thinking about Sugar. Quinn just didn't have the strength to fathom what could have happen to the girl.
Until she went back home to see Mrs Motta sobbing on her couch, with her mother, sister and brother flanking her sides.
"What's going on?" Quinn questioned warily, hanging her keys on the hooks and joined the huddle. "Mrs. Motta, is everything okay?" Mrs Motta looked up at Quinn with red-rimmed eyes, apparently she had been crying a lot recently. Quinn's frown deepened and she had a feeling this had something to do with Sugar. "Mrs. Motta?"
Mrs. Motta hiccupped and wiped her eyes with the back of her hand. "Sugar…Sugar is dead," Mrs. Motta said brokenly and resumed crying.
Quinn sat there, frozen to the core as Mrs. Motta's voice and words rang in her head. Sugar is dead. She swallowed and her gaze shifted to her mother who had tears rimming her eyes. Mrs. Lopez was at a loss. So was everyone. The blonde swallowed again and let out a shivering breath before looking back at Mrs. Motta. "Are you…are you sure, Mrs. Motta?" she whispered, trying to keep her voice from wavering.
"Her body...her body is now…in the coffin. How can I not be sure?" Mrs. Motta claimed with anguish tracing her face. "I-I came home j-just n-now and saw a c-coffin in front of m-my house. And w-when I open the lid, Sugar w-was lying in there. Cold and…lifeless."
"Just the coffin? Nothing else?"
"There was an au-autopsy report on her b-body. She took f-f-forty sleeping p-pills. And…and she h-had a b-baby. It w-was dead before it even b-born!"
The blonde clenched her fists and she swallowed the lump growing in her throat and forced the tears threatening to fall. She couldn't cry now. No. "You mean she was pregnant?" Mrs. Motta nodded and cried harder this time. "Does her boyfriend know about this?"
"I don't even know who he is!" Mrs. Motta cried.
"Okay…okay," Quinn whispered and somewhere in the back of her mind, she had a faint idea it was her boyfriend who made her commit suicide – along with her baby. "Why don't you go home and take a rest, Mrs. Motta? I'll handle everything, okay?" Mrs. Motta nodded and stood up. "Blaine, can you bring Mrs. Motta home?"
The boy nodded with solemn expression and went out with the lady whose daughter had just died.
Quinn sat silently and leaned her head against the back of the couch, closing her eyes and began to let the tears fall, silently grieving for her best friend's death. What the hell happened? She remembered the last time they saw each other. They were laughing and joking. Then Sugar skipped out to her boyfriend's car. Her eyes snapped open when she remembered something Sugar said. I'm working at the Hudson Organization. Quinn sucked in a breath when she recalled Finn Hudson's car as he had made many visits to her. She stood up abruptly and stalked out of the house before Santana and her mother could put a word in.
Rachel stiffly folded the worn paper into a rectangle and stuffed it into an envelope, sealing it closed.
She picked up her pen and wrote the words across the surface of the envelope.
To My Close Family and Friends – Sugar Motta.
Then she put down the pen and put the letter into a drawer, locking it and stared at her clasped hands and swore that she'd avenge Sugar Motta soon.
She strode across the lawn of the Hudson estate and met an approaching maid who quietly brought her to the interior of the manor. The family was huddled in the living area, appearing stoic and elegant but Quinn knew the core of this family was all dirty and no longer pure. She narrowed her eyes at the tall man sitting in a sofa next to a blonde man. Finn Hudson.
"I want to speak to you alone," she seethed, directing her angry words at the man.
Finn Hudson raised her brows and the edge of his lips turned upwards. He nodded and stood up, buttoning his jacket and made a sweeping gesture to ask her to follow him. He brought her into the dining area and he crossed his arms across his chest, asking her silently what she wanted as he made no discretion of checking her out. She made no hesitation when she reached out and slapped him hard across the face. His head swung to the side to the impact of her hand.
She smirked when he looked back at her with a shocked expression on his face, his hand cupping his reddened cheek. "You deserved that slap. You deserve more than that," she hissed at him.
"What the fuck are you doing?" he roared at her.
She raised her brows and merely shrugged, crossing her arms. "You have no idea that Sugar Motta and I were friends, do you?" she questioned him coolly. His eyes widened and her smirked vanished, replaced by an expression that could only be described to be murderous. He swallowed. "She's dead."
There was moment of silence before he quickly picked up his composure and he only adjusted his jacket, staring at her with a blank expression. "I recognize that name as a staff of my organization. Nothing else. I express deep apology for her death and you are free to send me the date and place of her funeral so I can make an attendance as sign of respect," he said professionally, as if nothing happened.
Her eyes burned hatred into him with passion and he shifted insecurely under her glare. "Son of a bitch, you are married and you took her as mistress, isn't that right? And then you impregnated her. After she told you, you decided to take no responsibility in this whole matter and broke things off with her. She took in forty sleeping pills, you asshole. And she died, in extension, her baby also."
"How is that my fault? I don't know who she is and have no interest in who she is," Finn denied instantly.
She lifted her hand and poked his chest harshly with her middle finger as her nostrils flared with so much anger she was surprised no flames burst out of her ears. "Listen to me, Hudson. You can deny all you want but you will never get away with this. I will find proof that you are the one who put Sugar into this state and I will bring you down."
"And who will the public believe?" Finn whispered huskily, meeting her gaze and smirking at her. "The responsible older son of Burt Hudson or the little woman who sold half of her shop to another woman?" He pushed her against the wall and hold her hips with his strong hand so she couldn't move. "Has anyone told you that you are a really beautiful woman?" he said huskily while trailing his knuckles softly down her cheek, brushing her hair aside.
She trembled under his grip and knew deep inside she could never fight him if he ever intended to just rape her there. And she's a virgin.
"Get your dirty hands off me," she snarled at him.
He tweaked a brow and smirked at her, leaning his head forward until their lips were only inches apart. "And what are you going to do if I don't?"
Before she had the chance to say anything, Sam Evans interrupted them with his voice. "Is everything okay back here?" Finn quickly released her and she backed away from him immediately, retreating to the doorway. "Finn?" Sam appeared behind her.
Finn only smirked and she really wanted to slap it off his face. "Nothing's happening. Right, Miss Fabray?" he asked her innocently.
Quinn narrowed her eyes and only managed a strained smile on her face. "I hope you will come to her funeral, Mr Hudson," she hissed his name and walked away.
Sam looked back at his brother suspiciously but Finn only shrugged and followed Quinn's path.
"Quinn, is everything okay?" Rachel asked as soon as she got off the car at Quinn's apartment.
Quinn watched Rachel hurried towards her with a worried face and shook her head with all honesty. "I need you to come with me somewhere. I really can't do this alone," Quinn whispered, her voice cracked as she spoke the words. "Can you do that?"
Rachel gulped and nodded, gesturing at her car. "Sure, come on."
Quinn got into the passenger seat quietly and Rachel ignited the car and turned to Quinn. "Where to?" Quinn sniffled and told Rachel Sugar's address. Rachel nodded and drove off towards their destination at reasonable speed. She occasionally casted worried glances at the blonde. All the blonde did was staring ahead and doing nothing. "Are you okay, Quinn?" she asked cautiously.
The blonde took a deep breath and swallowed. "My best friend passed away this morning. I need to go to her house to pick up some clothes and personal items to put along with her during her funeral," Quinn said and went quiet again.
Rachel's eyes widened at the mention of Sugar being Quinn's best friend. She didn't know that. She also didn't know if she should consider this an opportunity or a disaster. Her mind wandered back to the letter which was now sitting in the glove box. She sighed and focused ahead. They reached Sugar's place in no time and Quinn got down, asking Rachel quietly to come along with her. The brunette obliged and stood behind Quinn as she knocked on the door. The door swung open to reveal Blaine's face. She nodded at him and he opened the door for them to go in. His eyes flashed when he saw Rachel and Quinn only shook her head at him, asking him to please not make a scene at this moment.
Quinn approached Mrs. Motta who was sitting on the couch looking down at her palms. "Mrs. Motta, can I pick up some of Sugar's clothes and personal belongings so we can…bury it along during the funeral?" Quinn stammered, trying so hard to not break down in front of the older lady. Mrs. Motta only nodded and murmured words of gratitude to Quinn before lurking back into her dark spot. The blonde squeezed her eyes shut to keep the tears away before motioning for Rachel to follow her into Sugar's room.
She took a bag out from Sugar's wardrobe and picked out her best friend's favorite clothes quietly, stashing them into the bag and also Sugar's favorite watch. Quinn finally sat down on the bed, holding Sugar's all-time favorite jacket. It was red color and leather-made.
"I gave this to her," Quinn whispered to Rachel who was only watching her moving about the whole time from the doorway. "It was her birthday and I knew she loved this jacket when she saw it at the shop that day. So I bought it for her. And she'd been wearing it every chance she got." A tear dripped onto the jacket, creating a stain on it. Rachel quickly pushed herself away from the doorjamb and stood next to Quinn, carefully putting her hand on Quinn's shoulder, squeezing it to comfort her. "I can't believe she's dead." And Quinn began to cry. Rachel hastily wrapped her arms around Quinn, taking her in and let Quinn create a patch of wet spot on her shoulder. But Rachel didn't care. As long as Quinn got her relief, she didn't really care.
Quinn hold on to her tightly, as if she's her anchor and without her, Quinn's going to drown. She cried into Rachel's shoulder, muffling her noise with the shirt Rachel's wearing. And Rachel only hold her, rocking her back and forth, trying so hard to get Quinn to stop crying. She whispered comforting words to the blonde and kissed her hair all the time, thinking it's gonna work. She really didn't know what's going to work. All she knew was that she's going to see Quinn cry again in the future – because of her. All she knew was that she never wanted to see Quinn cry again.
Blaine witnessed this at the entrance and he was beginning to doubt himself for suspecting Rachel. And he shouldn't.
After depositing the items at the morgue, Rachel drove her to the docks instead to her home. Quinn looked at Rachel curiously when she pulled the gear. Rachel smiled. "You need to relax after all those crying. I think the sea wind can do a little in loosening you up."
Quinn's gaze lingered on the brunette and she sighed, opening the door and stepping out. Rachel came out behind Quinn and sat down next to the blonde on one of the benches. Quinn looked out into the space. She watched the water rippled under the moonlight, beyond the railings. She watched the black pool rippled eerily, as if it could eat up anyone. And inside, she wanted it to eat up all the sorrow and fear she was feeling inside. She knew Sugar committed suicide because of Finn Hudson. And she'd seen how freakin' creepy that man could be.
"Are you okay, Quinn?" Rachel asked again.
Quinn kept her silence and looked down at her hands. "Finn Hudson was the reason she committed suicide," she finally said, her voice wavering. But at least, she's talking. Rachel was also glad that Quinn at least knew about that. But she's going to know more eventually once she read the letter Sugar had left that day. "I went to find him just now. He denied that he had any relationship with her and nearly raped me."
Rachel went to full alert and she frowned at Quinn. "What did you say?"
Quinn sighed and recounted the events to Rachel, leaving nothing behind. When she's done, Rachel was brainstorming for ways to kill Finn Hudson without getting caught. And her hands were clenched until her knuckles turned white at the strength. "Rachel?" The brunette was still drowning inside her bright red pool of anger and she didn't hear Quinn calling for her until she touched her arm. Rachel turned to look at Quinn and her anger subsided just a little bit when she saw the concern in the hazel eyes.
"What?" she said.
Quinn swallowed and cleared her throat. "You looked like…you're really angry just now."
Rachel took in a deep breath and forced a smile onto her face. "When's the funeral?" she asked, ignoring Quinn's statement.
The blonde looked away. "The day after tomorrow. Mrs. Motta asked for that day. Maybe she just…wants another day to properly say goodbye to Sugar." Rachel nodded. Quinn looked back at Rachel. "You know, it's only been a few days since I've known you and I feel like you're the closest friend I can ever get. Why is that?"
"You should ask yourself that question, don't you think?" Rachel quipped, smiling along with Quinn. "Things like this…it's not really in our control. You just…when you click with someone, you either become their best friend or lover. Or both." She sighed at her words, knowing part of it was intended for herself.
"Well, what are we?" Quinn suddenly asked, catching Rachel off guard. "Partners? Friends? Lovers?" she rapped off. "What are we?"
Rachel watched Quinn's face morphed into something indecipherable. She watched the conflicting emotions swim around Quinn's eyes. She watched Quinn struggling to keep her hold away from herself. Both of them felt the magnetic field between them, attracting them to each other. Their eyes locked and Rachel's breath shuddered as she exhaled. "We're friends, Quinn," she finally declared their relationship. "We're friends who understand each other even though we've only known each other for less than a week." She noticed the disappointment and the slouch in Quinn's posture. And Rachel wanted so badly to drive it away. But she couldn't. She couldn't let this go any further than what it already was.
There's a moment of silence between them. Only the sound of the waves in the ocean could be heard. Only the sound of the bustling wind could be heard. And Rachel realized they were in a proximity too close so she moved away as quickly as she can, cutting off the electrifying connection she had felt wavering between them and had been growing stronger until she shifted away. Quinn tucked her hair behind her ear and breathed out, looking out at the sea.
What was that? She thought to herself.
"You should bring me home. I feel much better now," Quinn whispered with a tight smile. She stood up, patted the back of her pants and walked back towards Rachel's car. Rachel followed.
The drive back to Quinn's apartment building was eerily quiet and they were both at a loss on what they should do. Until their arrival to Quinn's apartment.
Before Quinn climbed out of the car, Rachel touched her hand and ignored the sensation flowing in her veins as their skin came in contact. "Quinn, you should know that one day in the future, you're gonna hate me with a passion."
Quinn only looked at her for a moment, comprehending what Rachel had just told her and gulped. "I don't know what you're talking about, Rachel."
"I'm just telling you, Quinn. So you'll not be so…disappointed when you do start to hate me."
"Why would I?"
Rachel hesitated for a minute and moved her gaze away from Quinn to the steering wheel, retracting her hand from Quinn's and pulled the stick. "You just will."
Chapter 6: Chapter 6
Kurt ran into Blaine Anderson again while he was on his way back home. And – unfortunately or fortunately – the shorter man recognized him. Kurt silently praised him for having a really good memory and also cursed the Lord for letting them run into each other again. Blaine grinned at him. Kurt grinned back.
"You never actually came back to the bakery," Blaine said as they walked together down the street, with no destination in mind.
Kurt smiled. "I never actually had the time to," he lied and for some unknown reason, he felt guilty about it. And as an investigator, he shouldn't feel guilty for lying. "I'm actually kind of on a rush right now." He told himself to stop with the lies. "So I gotta run."
"Oh hey, wait!" Blaine called and handed Kurt a card. "This is the bakery's number. There are also my sisters' and my number listed beneath. You can call for deliveries, actually."
Kurt took it and stared at it for a moment before he smirked and flashed it at Blaine. "Deliveries?"
Blaine laughed and nodded. "Kind of a…special service," he said.
Kurt nodded and grinned, pocketing the card. "Very special, indeed." They stared at each other for a moment before Kurt finally broke the contact and looked away. "I gotta run, really. So…I'll see you…next time," he murmured and waved at Blaine before walking away, breathing harshly and took out his phone to call Puck.
They met at the diner again and Kurt handed Puck a yellow envelope. "These are the…documents regarding Quinn Fabray's childhood. Everything is inside. It took a few days to gather all the information and then arrange them in a timeline fashion. So…I'm asking for extra payment," Kurt said. "If you do not give me my extra payment, I will take this back until you give me my money." He snatched it from Puck again with a smirk and raised his eyebrow.
Puck stared at him for a moment with a little revulsion before taking out wallet and slapped the bill in front of Kurt Hummel. "Here it is. Now give me that envelope." Kurt took the money as he gave it back to Puck. The mohawked man frowned when he saw document of adoption from the orphanage. "St Thomas Orphanage," he murmured. Why did it sound so familiar? "St Thomas Orphanage," he repeated.
Puck looked up at the gay investigator and pursed his lips into a thin line. "It's none of your damn business," he snapped and put the pile of papers back into the envelope. He stood up and was ready to walk out before Kurt stopped him.
"I don't think I can do this anymore," Kurt suddenly said. Puck whirled back around and sat back down.
"What do you mean you don't think you can do this anymore?"
"I mean I can't do anymore investigation for you," Kurt explained. "I can't do this professionally when I am attracted to said person's brother." Kurt pointed at the envelope, indicating Quinn. "And I am an all-time professional investigator, though private."
Puck narrowed his eyes at Kurt. He inhaled deeply and pressed his palms together, pointing at Kurt and swallowed. "Look, I don't care if you're attracted to or in love with or lusting after Blaine Anderson," Puck began harshly and Kurt winced at his choice of words. "But this thing doesn't have anything to do with him. You can fuck him all you want and I won't even care. I just want you to run investigation on some people in the family, or the ones in relation to the bakery. And that Anderson kid rarely has anything to do with the bakery except for the fact he is the former owner's son. All I need you to do right now is if you, by any chance, are seeing him, do not ever tell him about our liaison. Do you understand me?"
Kurt looked at Puck while Puck looked back at him intently. "What is it with all this investigation anyway?" Kurt questioned. "Somehow, you have dragged two families into this thing and that ain't normal. One of them owns a freakin' tiny bakery; the other one owns an organization and is filthy rich. What is your business anyway?"
"I told you, it's none of your damn business," Puck snapped. "I'm just doing my job." Kurt's eyebrows rose and Puck rolled his eyes. "Here's another job that I'll guarantee you get more payment than what you get right now. Track Finn Hudson's wife, Harmony Dale for the next few days. I want you to tell me her daily activities and everything she did on each day. And if she is cheating on her husband. I'll meet you back here on Sunday. You have four days to do your job. I want something productive, Hummel." With that, he went out the door.
Kurt stared at the closing door and banged his head on the table. He didn't even know what he had gotten himself into.
Quinn stood next to the coffin while it was the day for final viewing. Sugar was dressed in her best look and Quinn had surrounded her body with peonies, which was Sugar's favorite flower. Quinn looked down at her best friend's body one last time before striding out to the living room to meet the guests. Mrs. Motta was not in her best state but she managed to be active and polite, receiving the guests' consolations with a word of gratitude. The blonde greeted some of them before heading to Sugar's room to stare more at the letter she found that day in the bag while she was unpacking.
The letter glared at her on the desk, daring her to open it once again and read the painful words for the last time. It was a letter Sugar had left for her – all of them – before she finally left the universe. Quinn lifted the letter to her eye level and opened the flap, pulling the worn paper out of the envelope and began to reread it. As she got to the middle of the many paragraphs, she was already dripping tears from her eyes.
Sugar's sorrow and agony and hatred were unbelievably palpable in the words Sugar had scrawled on the paper. She expressed sorrow for disappointing her family and friends. She expressed agony for not being able to say goodbye and for the fact that she had let herself be seduced by him and at last into the mess. And lastly, she agonized over the fact that she had to kill an innocent baby growing inside her womb, developing into a healthy child. But she couldn't live like this. She couldn't live like her relationship with Finn Hudson had never happened. This baby inside her was evidence enough that she was used and abandoned by that failure of a man.
Quinn reached the end of the letter and folded it, putting it back into the envelope and heard a group of footsteps entering the living room. She went out to see Finn Hudson, his wife, Sam Evans and also their parents standing in the living room, paying well-rehearsed consolations to Mrs. Motta. Of course, their presence had attracted quite a few paparazzi to the house. The blonde watched angrily as Finn Hudson attempted to take a step into the room where the coffin was put in.
Quinn stalked before him in five quick strides, blocking him from going into the room. "Don't you dare go in there," she hissed, baring her teeth at him.
He raised his brow. "I'm just trying to pay respect to my late employee," Finn quipped. "Now, will you excuse me?" He made his move again but Quinn braced her palm against his chest, rumpling his suit and she didn't even give a damn about it. He clinched his jaw and stared at her with revulsion in his eyes.
She met his eyes and her eyebrows rose. "Late employee?" she said with a scoff. She saw the transformation of anger into slight fear in his eyes and knew that the letter wasn't faked at all. "Just late employee?" He frowned. "I wonder what Sugar will say to that claim," she whispered, loud enough for everyone to hear. The room went quiet, everyone watching the two of them intently, anxious to see what's going to happen next. She distinctly caught the sound of cameras snapping and smirked despite of the utter clenching of her heart. Slowly, she lifted the letter clenched in her hand and flashed it to him. His eyes widened at the sight of the letter. She hummed boringly and took out the paper. "Last night, I went to your house and you denied that you had a…relationship with her." She looked behind him to see his wife glaring at his back and looked back at him. "Or should I say affair?"
"You have no proof," he seethed. "You have no proof whatsoever to accuse me of having an affair with Sugar Motta."
"Oh yeah? Do I not?" she said playfully. She stepped out of his way and faced the crowd. "This," she said, shaking the letter, "is a letter left by Sugar before she died." Mrs. Motta gasped from the couch, looking at her bewilderedly. "Here's what she wrote." And she started to read the first words to the last, reading the utter pain Sugar had suppressed until the last day of her life. The guests were put into complete shock of how much Sugar had been through and also how violently cruel Finn Hudson could be. She read the expressions on their faces. There were sympathy, hatred, disgust, remorse and shame. She turned back around to face Finn. He carried a look that could only be described as angry. Of course he'd be. She took a step to him and laid a forceful hand across his cheek without any hesitation, just as she did last night. "She was with child," her voice wavered. "Your child."
Tense silence enwrapped its fingers around them, constricting them into this bubble of complete remorse for each other until he broke it by shrugging and saying, "She wanted to do it."
Before she could even do or say anything, Blaine punched him in the face. Quinn looked at her brother in surprise and saw sheer fury rippling across his features. Finn touched his cheek where a bruise was already forming; his nose was dripping blood and his fist clenched, ready to return the blow before Blaine landed a second blow to his other cheek. This time, gasps rang across the room in shock. Quinn was startled at the violence her brother was emanating now.
"You seduced her!" he yelled. "She wouldn't be in there right now if it's not your persistence in trying to get her in bed with you!" Blaine harshly breathed in and out. "How could you do this to her?"
"She's stupid enough to believe in me," Finn said as if it's the most logical thing on Earth. "I would have given up but she gave in to me. So I thought, why not? It's just for fun."
"Fun for you!" Quinn said. "Not for her. She ended up pregnant with your child, asshole. And you're standing here telling us that it's not your fault?" She clenched her fists and inhaled deeply. Her eyes darted to a familiar petite form behind Santana and they widened when she saw Rachel standing there, looking at them with her arms crossed. Rachel nodded at her once and Quinn looked back at Finn, panicking a little at the Rachel's presence but suppressing it. "You need to leave."
Finn looked down at her. But despite the height difference, she knew she'd won this. Whatever this was. He finally nodded and stalked out the door. His family followed but Sam managed to throw an admiring smile at her before going away. Quinn sighed and saw the people still staring at her. She raised a challenging brow and they scurried way, back to their own business. She sat down next to Mrs. Motta and took the wrinkled hand in hers.
"Everything will be fine now, Mrs. Motta, okay?" she whispered.
Sugar's mother turned to look at her before nodding with a weak smile. "Thank you, Quinn. Can I…can I have the letter?" she asked. Quinn nodded and gave the letter to her.
She stood up, smoothed her skirt and excused herself to go out to the backyard for some much-needed air. She sat down on one of lounge chairs in the backyard and stared down at her hand. Not long after, a tear dripped on her hands. After that, she heaved with tears and buried her face in her hands, crying for god knows how long until she felt someone wrapped their arms around her. Without even attempting to identify who it was, she leaned into the hold and cried. That person didn't say a word but only ran their hands across her hair, soothing her.
Ten minutes of bawling later, she finally subsided into stifling hiccups and released herself from the embrace. She wiped her eyes with the back of her hands and lifted her head to see Rachel looking down at her with concern written across her face. Quinn's jaw dropped slightly and she couldn't seem to force the words out – not that she had anything to say. So she only nodded as a thank you.
"That was…something back there," Rachel complimented, sitting down next to her. "But…you don't seem relieved at all."
Quinn laughed bitterly and shook her head. "Not even a little bit," she croaked, her voice hoarse from all the crying. "Why are you here, Rachel?"
"I can't come here to pay a little respect?"
"You don't even know Sugar, Rachel."
They stared at each other for awhile, disregarding the electricity sizzling between them. Quinn finally looked away and shook her head again. "Fine," she said curtly. She stood up on her feet and made her way inside. "I'll see you."
"Wait!" She stopped but didn't turn to look at her. "Quinn, we can't do this."
"Do what?" Quinn replied angrily, turning back around to face Rachel. "Sorry, I didn't realize there's something we can or cannot do. I think you've said enough last night at the docks. So will you please excuse me and let me have a peace of mind before I go off like fucking bomb on you?"
"Goddamn it, Quinn!" Rachel growled and leaped onto her feet. She strode in front of Quinn and took her face and mashed her lips onto hers.
Quinn was too taken by surprise that she didn't know how to respond until she felt Rachel's tongue touched her lips. As if her body was on automatic mode, she closed her eyes and leaned in to kiss Rachel back, not caring that there were people inside and that people could see them. All she could feel and see now was Rachel kissing her. And she felt amazing. When she finally opened her lips to Rachel's probing tongue, the brunette took no time to wait and invaded the insides of her mouth immediately, tearing a moan from Quinn.
It was all it took to take every self control Rachel had to not ravish the blonde right there and then. She reluctantly pulled away and sighed. "I should go," she muttered and was getting ready to leave but Quinn grabbed her arm tightly, not giving her any chance to go. "Let me go, Quinn."
"You can't expect me to just let it go," Quinn snarled, pulling Rachel roughly until they were standing face to face. "You kissed me and you think you can just leave like that?"
"You made me, Quinn," Rachel said between gritted teeth. "If it's not for you trying to spite me when I'm trying to keep myself away from you, I wouldn't have kissed you. So now, let me the fuck go!" She gained her control of her arm back.
"Tell me you don't have any sort of feelings for me," Quinn said. Rachel halted in her steps. "Tell me, Rachel. Tell me you don't have any feelings for me. Feelings more than platonic." Quinn watched Rachel's shoulders slumped and managed a smirk on her face. "If you don't, you wouldn't have leap onto your feet and then practically snatched my face and kissed me no matter how much I taunted you. But you did."
Rachel crossed her arms and looked up at the sky. Finally, she just shook her head and said, "I can't do this." She left after that.
"I'm screwing this up."
"You kissed that chick, Rach!" Puck scolded. "I don't even know what you're thinking. I ran investigations solely for you and you ended up kissing the girl whose life you're gonna destroyed eventually."
Rachel groaned and threw her head back, regretting for even showing up at the viewing today. She shouldn't have kissed Quinn. She should have thought things through. She didn't even know how she had become so unorganized. Her priority was to take revenge on the Hudsons until Quinn Fabray came along and kind of took its place. She wanted Quinn, and yet she still wanted revenge.
"What orphanage did you came from, Rachel?" Puck asked suddenly and she frowned.
He shrugged. "Just curious, I guess."
"St Thomas Orphanage."
His stomach dropped and he inwardly grimaced. So that's it. He knew if he told her that Quinn Fabray was the girl Rachel had been looking for her whole life other than looking for revenge, Rachel would instantly drop the whole plan and go on with life with the blonde. He's torn between making Rachel happy by taking revenge and making her happy by living the rest of her life with Quinn.
And Puckerman had no idea that all his emotions were reflected in his expressions, letting Rachel witnessed all of them and she kind of got the idea of what he'd done.
"Please don't tell me you ran an investigation on her childhood," she said pleadingly and he looked up at her guiltily. This time, she didn't care if he was angry anymore because she was pissed herself. She glared at him and huffed. "Talk about being insensitive," she snapped and stood up, stalking over to the bar to get herself a drink. "You have no right to lecture me on kissing her when you did something like that without even asking for my approval!"
"Hey, I was just looking out for you!"
"How?" She gave him a look. "By probing into the life of someone I have feelings for? Someone that you thought could be the girl in my childhood? How is that helping me out?" She took out a bottle of strong scotch from a cabinet and uncorked it before pouring the contents into her glass.
"Don't get all up on me! Just because you kissed her and then took off doesn't make me your punching bag! I'm trying to help you. I want you to be happy! That's why I dug into her life! If it's not for you, I wouldn't give a fuck about her!" He watched her drank glass after glass of Scotch, without even stopping and quickly he took the bottle and the glass away from her. "You don't drink Scotch!"
"Oh yes I do."
"You can't drink during work," he reminded her pointedly.
She glared at him and threw her arms in the air. "Do I look like I care about work now?"
She clenched her jaw and in seconds, she was in front of him, jabbing a finger sharply into his chest. "You just told me you investigated Quinn's childhood without my call or permission. And you expect me to care about work after?" He had nothing to say to that and she nodded, snatching the Scotch and glass back. She slammed them down on the counter and swung back around to face him. "You have no idea how I've been trying to resist the temptation of taking her to bed and just…" she gestured wildly in the air, unable to find appropriate words to tell him that she wanted Quinn. "You have no idea how hard it has been for me to not just ask her out on a freaking date and just enjoy my life!" She sighed loudly and swallowed. "I want to topple Hudson Organization. I want to break apart the family. It has been my priority ever since they kicked me out until Quinn came along. Now I don't know who or what to choose anymore. But then you went and try to tempt me with her childhood – which means what fucking orphanage she came from!"
Puck watched her inhaled and exhaled harshly, trying to figure out what to do. But this Rachel in front of him was not the Rachel he was used to. She's different. "I'll just put the folder here," he finally said and put it on the desk. "You can choose to read it or ignore it. I don't mind. I just thought you ought to know before you make your next move."
She lied on the couch, nursing herself with glasses of Scotch and when it ran out, she replaced it with vodka. But she couldn't get herself drunk. For the first time in her life, she cursed her immunity towards alcoholic beverages. She wanted to get drunk and yet she couldn't. Finally, she put the glass and bottle on the table and walked towards her desk. She pushed aside the folder Puck had put on her desk and worked herself into workaholic mode. When she finally was done with the phone calls and meetings and reading through documents, it was eight in the evening. She was the only one in the office building now.
Rachel's eyes darted towards the yellow folder on the desk which was now clean of any scattered papers. Finally losing to temptation, she reached for the folder and opened the cover, reading everything. Her eyes widened when she saw the words written on the page. St Thomas Orphanage.
Harmony gingerly put the ice on his cheek to ease the pain. But the way she did it was annoying him. So he grunted and snatched it from her, standing up and nursed himself with the ice instead. He looked out the window of his bedroom at the huge green yard where there were gardeners tending to the flowers. But all he could see was red and also imagining throwing arrows to Quinn Fabray's face. His jaw hardened and he stomped out of his room, ignoring his wife and went straight into his father's office. He was sort of glad that his mother was also there.
"I want her to be dead," he gritted between his teeth. When he saw Burt put on a reluctant smile and his mother looking at him as if he's joking, he frowned. "I'm not joking. I want Quinn Fabray dead."
Burt scoffed and shook his head at his son's ridiculousness. "We're not going to kill her for you, Finn. I mean, I want her dead myself. But either you go and kill her yourself and end up in jail, or we just wait for Sam to get the shop lot from her, then her life's going to be ruined, along with Blaine Anderson's." Burt coughed into his handkerchief and cleared his throat. "You have a lot of guts to even take a step in here and demand she be killed when you're a killer yourself." Finn narrowed his eyes. "Your mother and I are very disappointed in you, Finn."
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"It means that your authority on the project of getting the bakery from the Lopezes and Quinn Fabray is now shirked and transported to Sam," her mother said to him. When Finn was ready to argue, she lifted her hand to stop him from saying anything. "Don't even try to defend yourself because we have seen and heard it clearly. You had an affair with an employee of our organization, impregnated her and then forced her into committing suicide. As cold-blooded as I may seem, I hate it when my son can do something as cruel such as this. And to a woman!"
"You even tarnished the family's name," Burt told Finn. "It is irrevocably reasonable for us to be furious at you and decide to…absorb your authority on this project as a punishment."
"You can't do this to me! I am smarter than Sam! That kid doesn't even have any idea on how to snag a business without being too obvious! Quinn Fabray is smart and you're letting someone as stupid as Sam to handle this? Are you out of your freakin' mind?"
"Hey!" Burt yelled, slamming his palm on the desk and standing on his feet immediately, a look of utter anger contorting his already-wrinkled features. "That's my son you're talking about!"
"A son you had with a woman who is not your wife!" Finn yelled back. "For so long, I have been so fucking patient with you and that kid while I see Mom suffering day by day trying to be loving to that blondie without wanting to strangle him because he is an illegitimate product! You – being as insensitive as you always are – never seemed to realize that and keep on going to women's houses behind Mom's back, thinking she doesn't know!"
Burt stared at him wide-eyed and then suddenly stomped his way to Finn and grabbed him by the collar angrily; disregarding the fact that he had a heart attack not too long ago and being so angry could just weaken him more. "Sam Evans is a human being, my son and not a product! Listen to me, young man, I am your father. Respect me and maybe I will loosen the punishment a little and let you be the advisor for Sam. If I hear one more word from you, that offer of consideration will be removed. Do you understand me?"
"Burt, come on. That's our son. Don't be so rough." Carole hurriedly pried Burt away from Finn and stood between them.
"Do you understand me?" Burt repeated firmly.
Finn threw a look at him, gave a curt nod and just stormed out back into his room. "That fucking son of a bitch," he muttered under his breath as he slammed his bedroom door closed and threw himself onto the bed.
"You're talking about yourself?" Harmony voiced from the vanity table.
"Shut the fuck up, woman."
Harmony looked back at him once before picking up her purse and walked to the door. "Divorce papers will be drawn tomorrow morning. Expect it," she snapped before going out. But she didn't even make it to the stairs when she felt Finn grabbed her arm and dragged her back into the bedroom. "The hell are you doing?" she shrieked and snatched her arm away.
"Divorce papers?" he questioned her, narrowing his eyes at her.
She nodded with a sardonic raise of her brow. "Yes, divorce papers. I am divorcing you."
He actually roared with rage and yanked her onto the bed, throwing aside the ice and pounced on top of her, straddling her and not letting her go. "You are not divorcing me and I am not divorcing you. We will remain husband and wife for as long as we live. If you do anything – I don't care if it's divorce or annulment or any sort of thing that put our marriage into doubt in public – I swear to the Heavenly Father that I will ruin you. Do you understand me?"
His tone was horrifying and it terrified her. She had never before seen him so angered before so she nodded timidly.
He nodded and smirked. "So as a wife, it's now time for you to satisfy your husband's needs."
Quinn excused herself as soon as the coffin was lowered and the dirt was piled on top, covering the hole. She told Santana that she needed some time alone to think things through and pleaded for her to not call or do anything to find her. She'd be fine. Santana seemed worried but she nodded anyway, knowing that Quinn wouldn't let this go so easily.
The blonde walked out of the cemetery gates and paused when she saw Rachel standing outside, leaning against her car with her arms crossed, as if waiting for someone. Quinn swallowed the sudden threat of tears and walked pass the brunette, completely ignoring her until Rachel grabbed her arm to stop her from walking any further. Quinn squeezed her eyes shut and tilted her head as she forced back the tears. Tears for Sugar or tears for Rachel, she didn't know. All she knew was that she really wanted to cry right now.
But after yesterday, she wasn't going to cry in front of Rachel. Never will she do that again.
She forcefully yanked her arm out of Rachel's grip and massaged the spot, as if the feelings of Rachel's delicate fingers wrapped around her elbow would fade just by doing so. Quinn took a deep breath and turned her head back to see Rachel practically begging her to turn around. She scoffed inwardly and just shook her head before walking away defiantly.
This time, Rachel Berry didn't follow.
And for the first time, Quinn Fabray was glad that she didn't.
Chapter 7: Chapter 7
Rachel went back home after the incident at the cemetery and went full-on auto mode as she took her bath, dressed herself and then made herself a sandwich in the kitchen. Her hands halted in mid-air when she saw the stool sitting in one end of the kitchen, abandoned since the day of Quinn's visit. Her mind reeled back to the night when Quinn injured her finger and she was so goddamned pissed at herself and worried about Quinn. Now, as she looked back at it, it was kind of minor compared to everything she's facing right now.
How can a mere woman like Quinn Fabray has the capabilities to completely disrupt her perfect plan of vengeance and yet Rachel could feel no remorse towards her? In fact, she was glad that Quinn had somehow made her way into her life. And despite all the trouble Quinn had caused, she had also somehow managed to lighten up her originally dark life.
Her mind had always been flooded with thoughts of vengeance and ways to topple Hudson Organization into nothing but piles of useless rubble. However, ever since she entered Lopez Delight and caught the first sight – or the first sight after many years – of Quinn Fabray, it was altered completely. Her mind no longer revolved solely around revenge and cynical thoughts. Joining was the inescapable thoughts of Quinn Fabray – either sexual or non – and no matter how hard Rachel had tried, the effort to get rid of those thoughts was of no avail.
She jumped when someone cleared his throat behind her. She whirled around to see the other one of her two accomplices standing at the doorway to the kitchen. "Penny for your thoughts?" he questioned with a smirk and a mischievous glint in his eyes. She smiled bitterly and looked down at her sandwich which she had only taken a bite of. A sigh escaped her lips before she could stop it. "That bad, huh?"
She looked back up and tried smiling wider, but all she could manage was just a twitch. "What are you doing here, Sebastian?"
He chuckled and approached her, snatching the sandwich from her and shoved the whole thing down his throat without permission – which was his style. "I've been cooped up in my apartment for a month trying to help you hack into the Hudson Organization's system and also every single account they have. I think it's time for me to take a break," Sebastian said. "By the way, your lock is too easy to pick on."
"I'll see how easy it is for you if it's not for me teaching you how to pick a lock, young man," she mused.
He laughed and swallowed the remnants of the sandwich before raising his brow at her. "Young man? I'm five months older than you, young lady."
"And yet you know nothing about picking locks or anything as minor as that before I wasted my time being your mentor, young Jedi. So you really should thank me," she retorted. She followed him with his eyes as he leaned his hips against the counter and crossed his arms. "You really should go back and do your job. I wouldn't like any time wasted on you coming here for mere chit chat."
"Go upstairs to your study and you'll see a red folder with everything I've managed to scour from their system on your desk. Including account passwords, really confidential deals and stuff like that," he said with a smirk. "I'm done with my job, Rach." She nodded and mirrored his posture, leaning her hips against the sink and crossed her arms. "So Puckerman called me last night and told me he screwed up pretty bad with you," he mentioned and she huffed. "He told me everything."
"Why am I not the least bit surprised that he'd whine to you?"
He shrugged and pursed his lips into a thin frown. "So you're giving up on the plan?" he asked.
She scoffed and rolled her eyes. "No, I am not ditching on the plan." She noticed the slight relief in his eyes but there was also doubt lingering in them. "But I am eliminating Quinn Fabray's involvement in it." His eyes widened. "You're asking how I'm going to proceed without involving her, aren't you?" she stated before he had the chance to utter one word. So he nodded. "I'll think of a plan B. Don't worry; I won't put you and Puckerman's efforts to waste."
"Good. I won't appreciate that if you did." Next, he waggled his brows at her with a seductive glint his eyes and a smirk that could only be described as totally mesmerizing to every other girl in the world but not to her. She's immune to him already.
"I'm not having sex with you, Sebastian."
Quinn wasn't surprised when Tina told her that Rachel was out there. The blonde's heart leaped against her will and she sighed, closing her eyes for a second before abandoning the dough and went out, ordering Tina to stay there. She saw Rachel looking into display cases where the breads and cookies and cakes were displayed. She crossed her arms defensively, her mind suddenly wandered to the day when they had kissed roughly outside Mrs Motta's house.
She cleared her throat, robbing Rachel's attention to her. "What are you doing here?"
Rachel opened her mouth and closed it again. She cleared her throat and swallowed. Quinn frowned. Was she nervous? "We need to talk," Rachel declared.
Quinn watched her suspiciously and saw only the poker face Rachel was carrying. She bit her lip, having no idea that the action just made Rachel wanted to tear off her clothes and ravish her. Finally, she nodded quietly and hold up a finger for her to wait. Then she went back inside to see Santana and Tina doing the dough like they're guilty of something. She rolled her eyes. "I really don't appreciate it when my staff and my sister are eavesdropping on me," she quipped and they lowered their heads further. She sighed. "I'm going out with Rachel for a moment. You guys take care of the shop before I get back."
"You sure about this?" Santana said before Quinn stepped out. "I mean from what I heard and saw just now, I don't think going out for a talk with her is that much of a good idea."
"I know how to handle this," Quinn said with a smile, knowing in her heart that Santana was just worried about her. "I'm not gonna get in close proximity with her. I don't think it's really that safe anymore," she trailed off, flashbacks of them kissing playing in her mind.
Santana stared at her a moment longer, her lips pursed into a thin frown and she sighed. "Just so you know, that day during Sugar's funeral, I totally saw both of you in the backyard." Quinn's eyes widened and she smirked. "You seemed pretty into it."
Quinn's jaw dropped and she found no words to return the favor. So she only smiled and walked out to see Rachel already standing at the door waiting for her. "We're walking to the café just a block away," she said quietly, passing by the shorter brunette and pushed open the door. The streets were crowded with people walking around and they found themselves separated occasionally, but still found their way back to each other.
"What do you want to talk about?" she asked as soon as they sat down with their drinks at a table. "I don't have much time."
"I am withdrawing from Lopez Delight's list of shareholders," Rachel announced, surprising Quinn nonetheless. "I realize your bakery isn't really that profitable after all," she lied.
Quinn stared at her for a moment. Finally, she found her words. "So you're saying that you don't wanna be part of the bakery anymore," Quinn elaborated, narrowing her eyes suspiciously at the brunette. She had no idea what was she up to at all. Rachel nodded. "After offering the ingredients and stocks which could worth over ten thousand dollars and investing a huge amount of money into our bakery, you decide you don't want to be a part of it anymore." Rachel nodded again. "I'm sorry but I still don't get the reason why."
"I told you it's because of a sudden realization that your bakery isn't really that profitable to my company," Rachel replied curtly. Inwardly, she was smiling at Quinn's cleverness.
"And what else?" Rachel raised her brow as she quietly questioned Quinn's statement. "Look, Miss Berry." – Rachel cringed at the use of her last name and Quinn saw it but she ignored it – "Nobody invests so much money into a bakery and then just decide to withdraw participation in it when they haven't even got a single cent from it. So what exactly is your reason?"
Rachel crossed her arms, feigning arrogance at Quinn when all she wanted to do was applaud Quinn for catching up so quickly. She smiled at Quinn. "I remember that time when you're still unwilling to let me be a part of the shop until you have some sort of crisis with your ingredients or stocks," Rachel reminded the blonde.
Quinn smirked and mirrored Rachel's posture, leaning back against her chair. "And I remember that time you're adamant in trying to buy the bakery until you're forced to be a part-owner. And you're still willing to do it."
The girl opposite her couldn't help but laughed at Quinn's remark and shook her head in amusement. "Now aren't you just smart?" Quinn shrugged, the edge of her lips twitching slightly. Rachel's smile suddenly went a little sorrowful and she sighed. "It got personal," Rachel finally said. Quinn raised her brows. "I never really thought that…I'd be very much attracted to you until the moment we went out to Mike's. I can't let something as personal as that ruin the future of my career."
Quinn nodded and her gaze darted towards the hot paper cup on the table, wafting espresso aroma that tickled both of their smelling senses. "Makes sense," she finally whispered. "What is with you anyway?"
Rachel lowered her eyebrows into a frown. "What do you mean?"
"Don't play dumb with me, Rachel," Quinn said, her voice cracked. The brunette narrowed her eyes, having no idea where this was going. "Attracted to me? Really? Just attracted to me?" Their eyes met and Quinn took in the mystery behind those dark orbs. "I was there at Mrs. Motta's house, remember? You kissed me. And from what I gather, you don't randomly kiss people until you are interested in them."
"I am interested in you." Rachel realized bluntness was the best tool here.
Quinn had the audacity to blush at Rachel's remark and laughed a little. "I mean like really interested," she said. "You aren't just attracted to me. You…like me, maybe more than you should."
"Where are we going with this conversation?" Rachel interrupted.
Quinn stopped tapping her fingers on the tabletop and leaned in, bracing her elbows on the table and scrutinized Rachel closely. "You like me, Rachel. You kissed me. And then you – for whatever reason it was – ran away after you kissed me. And now you're withdrawing partnership from the shop? What's next? Forever avoiding me?"
"I plan on that," Rachel admitted quietly – slightly shamefully.
Quinn scoffed and rubbed her face with her hand in frustration. "Are you going to just ignore this thing we have between us?" she demanded in desperation, throwing her hands up to show how desperate she was. "I'm not used to this! I have never really been in a relationship before. I've wanted to feel like this for a long time and then when I finally felt it with you, you decide to just bail! Are you playing some kind of joke with me?"
The brunette struggled between her conflicting emotions. She felt selfish for wanting to let Quinn know about her past, her childhood and their short time together in the orphanage. And yet she also felt sadness for being unable to reveal any of those details. Her wall nearly broke down when she saw a drop of tear slid down Quinn's cheek and she felt like a needle just punctured her heart. But she put on a strong face. "You can't bail from something you aren't even involved in," she said coldly.
Quinn stared at her, open-mouthed. She closed her eyes and reigned in the tears threatening to come out. "I actually thought you were a good person." Rachel cringed and she fidgeted with her fingers, forcing herself to not lose herself in public. "But I guess I was wrong." Quinn laughed, but it lacked of any humor. She was mocking herself. "You walked into my bakery, demanded to see me, practically forcing me to give you part of the bakery and suddenly now you want to give up. Not only that, in between the period of our business trade, you made me like you more and more and more and then you kissed me at a funeral. Suddenly, you're telling me you don't want to be a part of this." Quinn finally opened her eyes and what Rachel saw behind those closed lids was terrifying. Pure disgust and hatred. "How selfish is that?"
"You're not the only one suffering here," Rachel said shakily.
"Oh, so you're calling this suffering?" Quinn snapped, waving a finger between them. "This is not suffering. This is you hiding from me and not willing to face what's before us. And this is me giving up trying to catch you because you're such a freakin' ninja I don't even know if I can catch you."
"What do you want from me?" Rachel demanded, aggravation gripping her insides until she couldn't stand it anymore.
Quinn laughed humorlessly. "I don't want anything but for you to face it. I don't know what I'm feeling for you. I don't know if it's love or just mere crush. I don't know. But I do know I want to try a hand at this, if I ever had the chance. But I guess not since you wanna leave and just disappear into thin air." Quinn stood up and looked down at her. "You're not superwoman, Rachel. And I am not Sookie Stackhouse. I don't know what you're thinking. But you really need to start figuring it out," she whispered and left, abandoning her coffee on the table.
Rachel watched Quinn walked out and exhaled harshly. Her dam broke and water just flowed out from her eyes. She covered her face in her hands and whimpered weakly. When had she become so freakin' weak? She breathed evenly and removed her hands. She stood up and walked out; leaving her drink back in the café and chased after every whiff of blonde hair she could see. She finally caught on to Quinn and grabbed her elbow. She swung the blonde around and before Quinn could respond, she jumped in and covered Quinn's opened lips with hers, invading her space immediately. Quinn responded almost immediately to the touch and wrapped her arms around Rachel's neck, leaning into the brunette for more of this ecstasy she was creating inside her.
Their public display of affection received quite some spectators. But they didn't really care.
Tongues fought for dominance and they never ceased touching until they're desperate for oxygen. Rachel reluctantly released the blonde and leaned her forehead against Quinn, breathing harshly into Quinn's mouth. She gulped and shook her head.
"I can't seem to get enough of you," Rachel whispered desperately. "And I don't want to."
Quinn watched Rachel struggling with her emotions and closed her eyes. She opened them back to see Rachel watching her intently. "Why did you do that?"
Rachel laughed dryly at herself and shook her head. "I need you to know that I will be back. I will, I promise you. But I won't until I am done with my job here. I need you to know that and I need you to wait for me, can you do that?"
The blonde frowned and ran her hand over Rachel's hair, reveling in the softness of it. "What's going on?"
The brunette put on a smile to try to relieve Quinn's worry, which was of no use. She sifted her fingers through Quinn's hair and sighed. "You're so beautiful," she whispered. She felt a stab in her heart when she realized what she's going to do. She was going to abandon Quinn again. But this time, she knew she'll be back. "I…I have things going on before I even met you. I'll tell you everything when I settled them down. I just need you to promise me that you're going to be here when I'm back."
"You can't be serious," Quinn whispered back, starting to push away from Rachel but Rachel – known for her stealth – quickly hold her in place by placing her hands on the blonde's hips firmly. "Let go of me, Rachel."
"Hear me out," Rachel retorted. Quinn narrowed her eyes at the brunette before her. Suddenly, she no longer had any idea who this woman in her arms was. "I promise you, Quinn. I promise you I will be back. I need you to trust me."
"After all that you've done? I don't think so."
"Well then, think so," Rachel insisted. "Will you please keep that frown away? It messes your beautiful face up." Quinn frowned deeper, apparently showing defiance to Rachel's plea. The brunette rolled her eyes. "Look, just…believe in me. You know I always keep my promises. And I will keep on keeping my promises this time."
Quinn inhaled and exhaled through her mouth, breathing air to Rachel's lips and she didn't know how a simple action like that could affect Rachel so much. "What if it turns out to be nothing but a complete fraud? What if you turn out to be nothing but a complete fraud?"
Rachel shook her head adamantly and cupped Quinn's face in hers. "It won't happen. I am telling you, it won't happen. But if it does, I demand that you post this headline in the newspaper the next day. I demand that you do everything you can to destroy my reputation in New York City and the other cities I have business associations with." Rachel saw the tears pooling in the blonde's eyes again and quickly kissed it away. "But it won't happen," she whispered brokenly.
Quinn sniffled and stared at Rachel with a wretched expression. "Why are you doing this?"
The brunette smiled sadly, reluctantly letting Quinn go and taking a step back. "Sometimes, all you have left is uncontrollable hatred until you dissolve it. And I just have to do something to dissolve this. And only then, will I be able to come back to you without any sort of distraction." Quinn was confused but Rachel didn't give her a chance to process it. "I'll see you. I promise." And she left, leaving Quinn alone in the streets.
Santana headed towards Central Park where a certain someone was waiting for her. She grinned when she saw Brittany standing by the pond watching the ducks swim. She sneaked behind the taller blonde and wrapped her arms around her waist, surprising Brittany. Brittany squealed and looked behind to see who her attacker was. Her panicked look resolved into a beaming face when she saw her girlfriend. As if Santana's a very strong magnet, Brittany turned around quickly and grabbed the Latina's face to kiss her.
The Latina smirked and opened her lips to welcome Brittany's persistent tongue. A moan escaped her throat when Brittany wrapped her arms around Santana to pull themselves to each other. Their bodies fit so perfectly that sometimes Santana found it unbelievable. Maybe this was what they call Fate. Somebody behind them whistled and Brittany thought she heard a kid laughing and clapping her hands. She grinned against Santana's lips and gave her one last peck before pulling back. Santana was grinning back at her.
"Hey," Santana greeted huskily.
Brittany giggled and brushed Santana's hair. "Hey you." She leaned in to kiss Santana's nose. "You're late."
Santana laughed and shrugged. "I wouldn't be late if I wasn't going to bring you this." She took out a tiny purple stuffed duck from her pocket and showed it to Brittany. Brittany gasped and took it from Santana, admiring the stuffed duck. "I can never understand your obsession over ducks," Santana mused, watching happily as Brittany kept murmuring how cute the duck was.
"They're adorable," Brittany said with that cute voice of hers that always made Santana's heart melt. This time was no exception. "I'm hungry." Brittany looked at her girlfriend with those eyes again.
The Latina chuckled and jerked her head to the exit of the park, taking Brittany's hand. "Let's go."
"So I was classifying the documents my boss gave me," Brittany started, feeding herself with spaghetti.
Santana perked her brows. "You mean Berry." Brittany nodded. "Okay, go on."
"I saw a document saying that she's withdrawing dissolving partnership with your bakery, returning full right to you and your sister," Brittany said as if it's not that surprising.
Santana's eyes widened and she sat up straighter. "You mean she's giving back our share on the bakery?" Brittany nodded innocently. "Why would she do that?"
The blonde shrugged. "I don't know. I just thought you might want to know. I'm just her secretary. I don't ask her this kind of things."
"But wouldn't you be curious?"
Brittany nodded. "Yeah, I'm curious because she's been pretty stubborn on getting that bakery before and now suddenly she doesn't want a thing to do with it. And it has something to do with you." Santana smiled at that. "But still, like I said, she's my employer. I'm her employee. She gives me my paycheck every month on time. I don't question her decisions or whatever it is. I just do my job."
"Don't you interact with her at all?" Santana asked out of curiosity. "I mean, like as friends?"
Brittany shook her head. "No, not really. She's like very secretive. But sometimes, we do talk about things like the weather or something like that. She talks most to Puckerman."
Santana raised her brows. "Who's Puckerman?"
"Noah Puckerman. General Manager. Rachel's close friend. Like really close but I don't think it's anything sexual because she's kind of interested in Quinn, right?" Santana didn't even have a choice to nod or shake her head when Brittany kept talking. "One day, I heard them yelling inside her office. Something like not giving him permission and stuff like that. I can't really hear them. And I distinctly remember that your sister's name was mentioned."
Now, this just piqued Santana's interest to no end. "My sister? Quinn Fabray?" Brittany nodded in confirmation. "And you heard nothing else?" Brittany shook her head. Santana supported her chin with her palms and murmured, "Interesting."
Quinn unlocked the door to her apartment and went into her room immediately, ignoring Santana and Blaine's presences in the living room. She slammed the door closed and locked it behind her. Then she threw herself onto the bed. She thought about Rachel's words before her departure and couldn't help but feel confusion welling up on her. What did she mean? Hatred? For whom? Quinn rolled over with a grunt and stared at the ceiling, as if it could give her the answers she wanted.
Someone knocked on her door and she ignored it. The knocking persisted and she rolled her eyes in annoyance. "Go away!" she demanded loudly to whomever it was standing outside.
A chuckle sounded outside and more knocking came. "Open the freakin' door, Quinn," Santana said.
"Will you please stop disturbing me?" Quinn yelled. "I really do not need any of that right now!"
"If you expect me to just go away after you said that, keep dreaming 'cause that ain't happening. Either open the door or I'll knock it down if I have to," Santana responded.
The blonde rolled her eyes and flung her arm over her eyes, blocking the light. "Yeah, if you can do that, I will congratulate you before beating the hell out of you. Otherwise, you keep dreaming of me opening the door because I won't."
There was silence from the other end and Quinn thought Santana left until the Latina said, "I'm gonna hunt that bitch down for fucking hurting you." That just snapped something in Quinn and she quickly opened the door to see Santana already walking out of the house.
"You can't be serious," Quinn muttered and rushed out after Santana. She grabbed her stepsister's arm and whirled her around, pulling her back into the apartment and slammed the door closed. "Don't do anything stupid," she warned.
Santana crossed her arms and lifted her chin at Quinn. "If standing up for my sister is called stupid, I won't mind. Now, get out of my way before I lose it."
Quinn laughed dryly and pulled Santana into her room forcefully. "You losing it won't intimidate me, Santana. What do you want now?"
"What happened just now?" Santana asked straightforwardly. "After that 'talk," she air quoted, "you've not been focused on anything. You were like a robot and I had to repeat everything I said to you. That's not normal for you so tell me what the hell happened."
Santana raised her brow and smirked. "That is not nothing. Be honest with me, Q."
"Whatever happened just now is between Rachel and me, alright? Stay out of my business. I don't remember me being as nosy as you are right now. Ever. So why don't you return the favor and leave me alone?"
"Call me nosy, I don't care. I just care about my sister and I want you to be happy. I thank you for not sticking your ass into my problems – whatever they are – but I won't stand there doing nothing while you are obviously suffering from something. Something that involves Rachel Berry." Santana took a step towards the blonde. "Tell me everything, Quinn."
"If you don't, I swear to God I'll be hunting Rachel Berry down and then kill her myself."
"You won't kill her. You freak every time you see cops."
"Fine, I won't kill her. But I guarantee you I'll make her life a living hell for putting you in this situation. Don't doubt me, Fabray."
"Keep in mind I have been doubting you forever. This time is no difference. I won't tell you anything."
Santana narrowed her eyes. "Well, let me tell you something. My girlfriend, Brittany, works as a secretary for Rachel Berry." Quinn's eyes widened at the statement. "That's right, girl. And today, she told me she overheard your lover arguing with her general manager in her office a few days ago. And your name was mentioned." Quinn frowned and Santana smirked. "Before you do anything out of mere impulse, think this out. Why does her general manager know about you? Why are they arguing about you? Actually, come to think of it, there are a lot 'why's in question of Rachel Berry."
"Just because my name is mentioned doesn't mean it's about me," Quinn said firmly.
"Really?" Santana tilted her head to the side. "Is that really what you're thinking or do you just want to kick my ass out of your business?"
"I think you should leave and stop bothering me, Santana," Quinn stated strictly.
Santana chuckled under her breath and made her way to the door. "Just remember what I said and think clearly, Quinn. I really don't like seeing you hurt." With that, Santana left the room and Quinn watched the door latched close.
She sifted her hand through her hair and let out a breath she didn't know she was holding. She slumped on her bed and buried her face into her hands. "Who are you, Rachel Berry?" she whispered, wishing desperately that someone could give her a solid answer.
"So what's Plan B?" Puck asked from the couch, drinking his beer but Rachel ignored him. He rolled his eyes and turned to look at Sebastian who was smirking. "Help me out, dude."
Sebastian rolled his eyes and asked, "Rachel, what's Plan B?"
Rachel finally looked away from the television to her accomplice. "I haven't think about it yet. But it's currently in progress."
"Do you need us to do anything for you so you can proceed with Plan B? Because if you're eliminating Quinn Fabray from your plan of revenge, we're facing quite an amount of complications here," Sebastian asked seriously.
Rachel thought of her options and distinctly heard Quinn's voice in the back of her mind. She ignored it. "No, I think I can cope with the information I have at hand now. But I require daily updates on Hudson Organization's system. You need to do that for me."
"Will you please just stop ignoring me?" Puck demanded at last, losing his patience. Rachel darted her gaze towards the mohawked man. "Look, I'm sorry, okay? I didn't mean to…evoke such a huge reaction from you. I was just trying to help you. I mean, obviously, you're interested in her before I even had her checked out. So what's the freakin' difference now?"
"The freakin' difference is you got me distracted. And that's not okay. I don't even remember giving you the permission to have her childhood investigated," Rachel snapped angrily. "Forget it, I don't want to talk about her now. I asked you to see if Harmony Dale is having an affair with another man. What did you come up with?"
Puck stared at her for a moment, ready to retort but know it's of no use so he only sighed. "She's not having any affair with anybody. But she is a really big spender. That's it. So what do you want me to do now?"
Rachel nodded and ignored the glare Puck was giving her. "Keep an eye out for Quinn," Rachel stated his next mission.
"Keep an eye out on Quinn. Follow her, make sure she's safe every single hour. I don't care what you do but I want her safe. You don't know what Finn Hudson could do. His family want that shop lot and I believe they will do anything to get it. And despite the fact that the shop belongs to the Lopez clan, Quinn is the one in control. So I want you to protect her from any threat. Any threat at all," she emphasized, narrowing her eyes at Puck. "Do you understand me?"
Puck closed his eyes in exhaustion and laid his head against the couch. "I can't believe you're making me do this."
"You brought this on yourself," Sebastian said with a chuckle and got the finger from Puck. He only did more chuckling.
Chapter 8: Chapter 8
Rachel's intercom beeped while she was nursing herself with yet another glass of brandy. She wondered how many glasses of this she had drunk already. But her wonder was shortened when Brittany's voice crackled through the speaker, announcing Sam Evans's arrival. The brunette smiled to herself and put down her glass before asking Brittany to let him in. Not a minute later, the door opened as Brittany came in, followed by Sam Evans.
"Miss Berry, Mr Evans is here," Brittany said politely. Rachel nodded in acknowledgement and Brittany went out after that.
Sam stood at the door waiting for Rachel to say something. She smiled at him and nodded at the chairs in front of her. "Have a seat, Mr Evans," she chided. Sam inclined his head and sat down in one of the chairs, unbuttoning his jacket. "I believe you set up this appointment for a reason." He nodded and handed her a yellow envelope. She took it and looked at him curiously. "What is this?"
"It is an agreement for you to release the share you have in Lopez Delight and transfer them to us," Sam explained and she raised her brow. "You can browse the terms my father and I have settled upon and maybe we can negotiate on something if you find it unpleasing."
She looked at him for a minute before chuckling a little, handing it the envelope back to him without even taking a look at the agreement inside. He watched her curiously. "I'm sorry but it seems that you still don't know that I have already returned everything I have in Lopez Delight to the rightful owner, Quinn Fabray. So it is pretty useless for you to come here and try to reach an agreement with me when I have nothing of theirs in my hands." She shrugged. "You will have to face Quinn Fabray or Santana Lopez on your own or with your brother if you want to have the shop lot. I can't help you with anything."
He solemnly looked at her and clenched his jaw. "I remember you told my brother that you will sell the share to us if you decide that you do not need it once," he said curtly.
"I said I will sell the share to you if Quinn Fabray or Santana Lopez can't afford to buy them back. And they can – regardless of what price I have set for them," she added when she saw him ready to retort. "It doesn't matter how much you are offering me right now because I already have the agreement delivered to them right this second."
Sam took out his phone from his pocket as soon as he heard her and excused himself to make a call. Pretending to be the perfect hostess, she smiled and nodded. But the minute he was out the door, she picked up her own phone and said, "Did you hear everything?"
Noise filtered into her ears along with Puck's voice. "Quinn Fabray's in safe hands, Rachel. Don't worry. And yes, I hear everything and I know something will happen later. So don't worry but I'll handle it. I guess I can handle a lot of things but I'm not too sure what this Sam Evans is going to do with her."
"Noah," she hissed, "it's not funny. Don't joke with me."
"I am not," he enunciated each word carefully. "You get your business done with boy Blondie. I will handle this."
"I need you to give me your word."
Puck scoffed on the other end. "Rachel, come on! Are you serious?"
Rachel shook her head even she knew he's not going to see her. "Yes, I am serious. I'll trust you on any other circumstances but definitely not when it involves Quinn. So give me your word."
"Okay fine," he said annoyingly. "I give you my freaking word that I will keep an eye out for your lover and will keep her as safe as I can manage. Is that okay with you?"
"Safe, Puckerman," she emphasized. "Don't forget you gave me your word because if anything happens, I swear to God…"
"I know I know. You're gonna crack my nuts or something."
"Goodbye, Puckerman." She pressed the button to end the call and Sam came in at the very minute. "Is there anything else you want, Mr Evans?"
The blonde man shook his head and offered his arm. "No, Miss Berry, there isn't anything else. Thank you for sparing the time."
She shook it and nodded with a polite smile. "I hope you don't mind that I ask. But where is your brother actually? He has been the one I'd been meeting a couple of times before. I find it curious that it's you who's here and not him."
"He has been in some kind of trouble recently. This project is in my hands now," he said with a smile. A smile too happy for a man who had a brother now in a sinking ship into the sea of humiliation. Rachel guessed that their sibling relationship wasn't too good. Sam interrupted her thoughts by telling her that he had to go and will see her if he had the chance in the future.
She touched her chin out of habit as she thought over what Sam just told her. And for the first time in days, her lips twitched into a smile.
He was just pouring himself another glass of wine when his brother came in loosening his freaking tie and waving his stupid blonde hair in exhaustion. Finn scowled at the sight and took the bottle of wine and the glass before bounding upstairs. He didn't need to see any of this crap his brother was deliberately pulling off in front of him. Sam stopped him.
"For your information, I didn't get the shop lot," he shouted loud enough for Finn to hear. The taller man turned around to see his brother standing at the foot of the stairs. "And we won't be getting it in the future. So tell Dad to find another shop lot for his stupid butler café thing."
Finn looked at him dully but something in his eyes told Sam his brother was unhappy. "What the hell happened?" Yep, his tone just confirmed it. "What did you do?"
Sam threw up his hands in innocence. "First of all, I did nothing," he began and started to grin as he loosened his tie. "But it's not like I don't want to do anything with a woman like her in the same room as me," he added to provoke Finn. And he knew he succeeded when he saw the white knuckles on the stair railings. "And yet of course, I did nothing. She told me she sold the share she had back to Quinn Fabray."
"W-What?" Finn stammered in shock.
Sam stared at his stepbrother, unimpressed. "I believe I was speaking English just now."
"I thought the bakery is supposed to bring in money!" Finn exclaimed, making his way back down the stairs.
"You taught me as businessman that I shouldn't ask that many questions. An answer from your opponent or future partner is enough so I had it. She told me she's not going to be able to sell anything since she has nothing because all is back to Quinn Fabray or Santana Lopez."
"But she also told me the only people she's gonna sell the share to will be us."
"Unless the previous owners can still afford the share," Sam reminded his brother. "And they can afford it. So now it's out of our hands since we're pretty sure Quinn Fabray or her ass of a sister won't be selling nothing to us. Now why don't you get your ass upstairs and tell Dad to look for another shop lot?"
The taller man glared at his brother with narrowed eyes. "Respect. Your. Brother," he bit out each word carefully and each word was dripping with warning.
The blonde man only smirked and took one step closer as a challenge. "I have lost all respect for you ever since that day at Sugar Motta's house," he said slowly and with another chuckle, he walked past his brother and bounded up the stairs.
Finn glared at the stairs and he didn't realize the glass he's been clenching had cracked and his hand was now bleeding. He didn't realize it until he felt himself being pulled upstairs by his wife who looked disappointed. Well, she should.
Quinn saw the car pulled up in front of her minutes ago but she didn't see the man following her closely behind until he grabbed her by the arm while other men filed out from the car, making a move to grab her. They stepped back and one of them seemed to recognize whoever it was behind her. She was too frightened to try to turn around and see who it was. All she knew was that she walking back to the bakery and suddenly a bunch of sweaty men were grabbing for her.
"What are you doing here, Puckerman?" one of them asked.
She heard some noise behind her and suddenly she was pulled back and her view was blocked by a big body. She looked up to see a bald head with a mohawk running down the middle of his bald head. "Doing my job, obviously."
The other man looked annoyed and torn. He pursed his lips and approached the mohawked man, jabbing him with his finger. "Look, just because you work for Berry doesn't mean you can meddle with anybody's business. I am doing my job for the Hudsons. So get the hell out of my way before I beat the hell out of you." Her ears perked at Rachel's last name, though she's not too sure if it was Rachel at all. So she stayed quiet as the man who was protecting her – was he? – took a step forward.
He lowered his head. "I'd like to see you try," he dared the other man. "This is New York. Anybody can call the NYPD then we can go to jail together. Do you want that?"
The other man huffed and casted her a look before retreating silently, asking his men to go away. He pointed a warning finger at the mohawked man before driving away. He turned around to face her and she was pretty stunned to see he's actually pretty handsome. He seemed relief to see her unharmed. Then he gave her a nod and started walk away.
"Berry?" He halted in his steps and she slowly walked in front of him. "Which Berry?" she whispered. He looked down at her and she swallowed. "Come on, tell me. Which Berry?"
She noticed his jaw clinched and swallowed again. He ran his hand over his head, ruffling his mohawk and moved his gaze away from her. "God I'm so screwed," he muttered under his breath. He looked back at her when she grabbed his arm, still waiting for an answer for him. "I think you already know."
Suddenly, she found it really hard to breathe and she unconsciously grabbed harder onto his arm, digging her fingers into his flesh, crafting talon shaped scars onto his skin until he finally yelped in pain. She finally released the pressure she was putting on his arm and took her hand away from his arm. She stared at him as he looked away guiltily, massaging his arm. Finally, she decided that they needed to have a talk. So she grabbed onto his arm once again and pulled him into a café nearby, buying both of them drinks and sat him down at a table in a secluded corner.
"Are you her general manager?" Quinn asked cautiously. His head shot up and he stared at her in shock. That response alone was enough to let her know that she's right. "Okay, what does she want?"
He gulped and looked at his cup as if it was the most interesting thing in the world. "How do you know I am her general manager?"
She was ready to tell him about Brittany but decided against it, knowing full well Rachel or him was gonna give that poor girl some lecture if she did. She shrugged. "Call it woman's instincts or sixth sense or whatever the fuck you people call it," she said. "Now tell me what does she want?"
"She wants nothing," he began. "The only thing she wants which involves you is to for you to be safe. So she ordered me to keep an eye out for you. Protect you every way I can. I kind of screwed up pretty big this time." He was back to that guilty kid look."
"Keep me safe from what?" she questioned, gripping her cup forcefully.
He sighed and shook his head, ruffling his mohawk again. "I can't tell you any more than that."
Annoyance took over and she looked at him with stone cold eyes. "This is my life you're talking about, in case you've forgotten. And you don't get a say in whether or not I need a guard – or in my case, she doesn't get a say. So you will tell me what you are keeping me safe from so I will know what or who I need to protect myself from."
Her tone got him and he cursed under his breath. Then he stood up, looking down at her once and sighed, pinching his nose. "I'm sorry," he proffered before escaping from her questions.
She sat there, shocked to no end at the man's sudden flight and when she came back to her conscious mind, he's long gone and she knew she'd never be able to find him. And even he's still continuing on his task of protecting her, she knew she won't be able to find him in the throngs of people outside anyway. At last, she finally decided she's going to do something really crazy.
Rachel twiddled with her pen as she stared down at the sheaf of papers where she had written down possible plans, but all were eradicated because for her, they weren't good enough. It seemed that nothing was good enough ever since she left Quinn at the streets alone. Nothing seemed right to her anymore. She tied her hair into a loose ponytail in frustration and dug into her head for more to come. But nothing came. Nothing but Quinn Fabray dove into her mind and attacked her senses.
She made a disgruntled sound and buried her head into her hands, rubbing her eyes with her palms. She had never been so exhausted before. Never. Her phone rang and she sighed in relief. If she had to stare at the blank paper one more time, she swore she's gonna kill herself. Without looking at the caller ID, she pressed the green button and put it to her ear.
"Talk to me," she ordered harshly.
She heard a man taking a deep breath on the other end. "I think I screwed things big time." Puckerman.
She frowned and stood up, walking to the window to look out at her yard and her gate. "What do you mean you screwed things big time?" she asked cautiously, having a faint idea on what he meant. "Did something happen to Quinn? What did you do?"
"Something happened to her alright," Puck confirmed. "I helped her get rid of those guys and before they left, one of them said they're working for the Hudsons, so you know the rest. And I kind of revealed myself to your girlfriend."
She didn't have to process what he just told her when she saw a figure with blonde hair appearing at her gate after she came out from a cab. Her eyes widened when she saw the woman outside getting ready to press the doorbell. Rachel silenced it in an instance. "What the fuck did you do this time, Puckerman?" she seethed angrily.
"I accidentally said your last name while talking to the assholes. She heard it and she suspected it. She even bought me coffee so I'll tell her what I'm protecting her from." His voice grew smaller with each word and her temper grew stronger with each word he uttered. "I screwed up didn't I?"
She looked back out to see Quinn pressing on the doorbell incessantly. That woman had no idea Rachel had silenced the doorbell before she even had a chance to ring it. She clenched her jaw angrily and unlocked her front door as she opened the gate with the remote. "I will deal with you later," she bit out each word and hung up before he even had a chance to say anything. She opened her front door to see Quinn standing there with her arm crossed and her eyes glazed over. "Why are you here, Quinn?"
Quinn narrowed her eyes at the brunette before and she hated Rachel for being so beautiful and wearing that outfit. But she composed herself and glared at Rachel. "You ordered a bodyguard for me?" she snapped angrily. "A mohawked bodyguard? Are you screwing with me?"
Rachel huffed and cursed at Puck inwardly as she stepped aside to let the blonde inside. She made a note to lecture Puck on not doing his job properly and let Quinn come here alone. Quinn stormed inside and looked around. She noticed the stack of papers on the coffee table with rows and rows and rows of words written on them. But they all seemed to have been abandoned. She ignored them and turned back around to see Rachel standing at the entry hallway, looking at her with longing in her eyes. A pang hit her heard and suddenly she found it hard to breathe.
She opened her mouth and the words came out before she could stop herself. "Who are you?" she whispered, her voice cracking in the middle of those words.
The brunette's eyes widened a little and she swallowed. "I'm Rachel," she said carefully, frowning at the blonde before her. "Who else can I be?"
Quinn watched the confusion, honesty, sadness – and love? – flitting past Rachel's brown eyes, finally replaced by cold clarity. Quinn watched Rachel's body posture went from casual to guarded, then back to casual a few minutes later. And Quinn was more than conflicted now. Her lips parted a little and she pinned Rachel under her forceful gaze. "I don't know," she whispered, shrugging. "Who else can you be?" Rachel frowned at her words. "You can be this innocent Rachel, you can be that mysterious Rachel, you can be the all-businesslike Rachel, you can be everything. You're so good in acting I don't know who you are anymore."
"What brought you here, Quinn?" Rachel asked, ignoring Quinn's string of accusations.
Quinn released a dry laugh. "Trust Rachel Berry to ignore everything you just said and ask you what brought you here," she muttered, but Rachel heard her anyway. "I'm here because I want you to get that Puckerman guy away from me. And secondly, I want to know what kind of danger do I have to keep myself from since you know it better than I do. And lastly – I don't have much hope for this – I want you to tell me exactly who you are."
Rachel pulled off the band that was pulling her hair together and shook her hair into waves, falling behind her back. She tucked a strand of stray hair behind her ear and cleared her throat. "To your first request, I can't do that because I will never have a peace of mind if I don't know someone is keeping an eye out for you and protecting you – no matter how much of a failure he is," she added. "Secondly, you can't keep yourself from the danger even if you want to. I'm not joking. You need someone to keep an eye out for you." Quinn only nodded in understanding, keeping her silence, pending for the rejection to answer her final request. "I can't tell you anything regarding your last request." Quinn mentally patted herself on the back for being so great in predicting.
"Well if you can't do that, do the first one for me. I don't remember giving you permission – and frankly you do not have that privilege ever since you left me alone on the streets day – to assign a bodyguard for me. So keep him away from me or I will call the cops and charge him for stalking," Quinn demanded.
Rachel sifted her fingers through her hair in exhaustion. "Quinn, give me a break, will you?"
"Because I am tired out of my mind and I want to go to bed knowing you are safe. If I call Puckerman off, I won't know if you're safe. I don't feel secure that way," Rachel said.
Quinn stared at Rachel hard and shook her head. "I don't care. I don't even know who you are and I blindly promised to wait for you. I don't know if you're a serial killer or something! I'm going crazy right now trying to figure out who the fuck you are and now you're adding more crazy into my life? Do you honestly think I'm gonna let you control my life that easily?" Quinn exploded in frustration. "I can't concentrate on anything. You are practically ruining my life without doing anything!" Rachel flinched at the desperation and frustration dripping from Quinn's voice. "You're just…I feel like you're using me," Quinn concluded softly and she wiped a straying tear with the back of her hand.
That just did it.
It snapped something in Rachel.
In no more than ten seconds, Rachel had taken two long strides and pulled Quinn into her arms. Quinn buried her face into the brunette's neck despite their height difference and sobbed. All Rachel could do was murmur comforting words into her ears and run her hand over Quinn's back. She had no idea what to do except that she had this fucking longing in her heart to just tell her everything and make love to her. But she couldn't.
But oh, how she wanted to.
However, she couldn't.
She just couldn't.
She carefully covered the woman she only realized she loved with a blanket on the couch and sat on the armchair, watching the blonde sleep. Rachel tried to focus on planning but really, how could she when such a lovely woman was sleeping in her living room? So she abandoned the pen on the table and made sure to get rid of the papers on which she had written on before going into the kitchen to make something to eat while waiting for Quinn to wake up.
Quinn had been crying and saying inaudible words into her neck for the last twenty four minutes until she finally exhausted herself and went into a deep slumber. Rachel's heart had cracked inch by inch as Quinn uttered each word and heaved each sob. But she just had to hold back in the swarm of words she had trapped behind her closed lips and ready to come out like bullets from a fucking AK-47. She just had to watch Quinn cry in agony and do nothing. She just had to let herself and the woman she just loved so much suffer and wallow in complete sorrow.
And what pissed her off the most was she couldn't do any fucking thing about it.
Rachel looked down at the cup of coffee she just made. She watched the blackness swirled between the edges, trapped inside a cup and unable to run away. She felt like she was the coffee. Trapped and incapable of running away. She hated this feeling. She always thought it had gone away the moment she'd learned how to become a conwoman.
But apparently, it hadn't.
And she hated that this feeling had chosen this moment to come back to haunt her. She took in a shuddering breath and resolutely decided to cast the coffee free. She poured the contents into the sink and made herself tea instead. At least it's not black. She took the cup out and paused at the entry doorway back into the living room. Just the vision of Quinn was enough to calm her pounding heart and running mind. Just that vision was enough to determine her that she would never ever stop loving this woman.
Rachel knelt beside Quinn on the sofa and brushed a strand of hair behind her ear and leaned in to apply a kiss onto her forehead. A very tender kiss. But enough to stir her awake. Rachel smiled when Quinn's eyes fluttered open in confusion, finally the realization dawned upon her when she took in her surrounding and also Rachel in front of her. Quickly, she sat upright with her mouth opened as Rachel only watched her in amusement. They had a staring contest between them for a few minutes before Quinn said something.
"You aren't going to tell me, are you?" she said that as a statement, not a question. Because she knew. She knew in her heart that Rachel was going to keep on being secretive. And the regret in Rachel's eyes was enough to tell her that apparently, she wasn't worth it to be told a secret. "I gotta leave," she murmured, pulling back the blanket and jumping on to her feet.
"Do you wanna eat something?" Rachel questioned. "You can leave after you eat. You must be starving."
Quinn was uncertain but her growling stomach betrayed her pending rejection. So she nodded and Rachel finally smiled wider, heading into the kitchen and silently beckoning Quinn to follow her. The blonde settled onto the stool as she waited, knowing not to touch anything. Her mind reeled back to that night. Her cheeks flushed red as she recalled their close proximity when she cut her finger. She remembered a lot of things. But her best moment that night was when the clock struck ten. Quinn missed it. She really missed it.
Her line of thoughts was interrupted when Rachel slid a plate of sandwich in front of her. She looked up to see Rachel smiling at her. A genuine smile. But as Quinn chewed on the sandwich, she wondered. She wondered if the woman in front of her was who she claimed to be or just a fraud. She wondered if the woman in front of her was worth her loving. All she wanted to know was whether the Rachel Berry she had fallen in love with within the span of one month was the real one or the pretentious one. She could feel Rachel's eyes burning into her as she ate so she met the brown orbs with her hazel ones.
And her heart skipped.
What she saw was…not normal. Nobody in her life had looked at her like Rachel had. It was like…like she was devoted in her. And Quinn didn't dare to break the connection, fearing it'll be gone as soon as it happened. So they just stared into each other's eyes while she was swallowing sandwich.
Rachel on the other hand felt overwhelmed. What were they doing? She shouldn't do this with Quinn. But this was unbreakable. Her desire for Quinn, her devotion for the blonde, her affection, everything in her was screaming at her to not stop staring at her. It was like there was this magnetic field between them, attracting them and never letting them break apart, no matter how much she wanted to. And the problem was, she didn't want to break this connection.
Suddenly, within no more than fifteen seconds, their faces were closed together. Rachel and Quinn both knew with just one mistake movement, their lips would met and they would yet again be met with this irresistible urge to devour the other, to relish themselves into the intimacy they both so desired. They also knew that would be a mistake. However, someone in their hearts, their desires had somehow claimed victory, leaving their consciences crying in one corner as losers.
In one deliberate move, Quinn tilted her head and their lips just fitted. Explosions of endless glorious fireworks resounded in their minds as they fought for dominance with their tongues. It was rather uncomfortable to be kissing with a counter acting as a freakin' barrier between them so Rachel hurriedly climbed over without hesitation, settling on Quinn's lap and kissing the blonde senseless. They were each other's drugs. And this time, they were providing for one another's addiction.
This resentful addiction.
If it's not for their needs for oxygen, they wouldn't break apart. Quinn rested her forehead against Rachel's collarbone, panting for air. Rachel wrapped her arms around Quinn's torso and closed her eyes, knowing deep inside that she could never regret this and also eventually, she would have to break the blonde's heart once again. She was growing tired of this debacle. Why would her life be so complicated? Why couldn't Carole Hudson just leave her alone during her life as a child? Why did she have to plant this seed of hatred inside Rachel and never ceased to infuriate the tiny brunette? There were a lot of questions ringing in Rachel's brain, all of which went unanswered.
"I am begging you," Quinn heaved weakly. Rachel frowned and shifted in Quinn's lap so the blonde could be more comfortable. "I am begging you please don't do this to me." Rachel squeezed her eyes shut, preventing the tears that were threatening her from behind her lids to fall out. She knew exactly what Quinn was talking about. "Every day is tormenting for me trying to figure out who you are, trying to figure out which one of you is real, and trying to figure out whether I did the right thing."
"Did what right?" Rachel queried softly, brushing Quinn's hair soothingly.
"I wanted to know if the Rachel Berry I have fallen for is real or just a fraud," Quinn admitted and noticed the hitch in Rachel's respiration. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and carefully pushed Rachel off her lap and stood up. She stared at Rachel for two minutes and shook her hair, running her hand through her tresses. "If you're not going to tell me, then I beg you to leave me the hell alone until you're ready to spill everything. Otherwise, don't come and find me. And please send that stupid mohawked dude off. I don't need a creepy guy following me every day knowing he's related to you." With that, Quinn turned around and walked out of the kitchen.
"Do you remember St. Thomas Orphanage?" Quinn paused and Rachel groaned inwardly.
Quinn slowly turned around to face her. "That's the orphanage I grew up in," she muttered, watching the brunette suspiciously.
Rachel watched Quinn's expression morphed from suspicion to complete curiosity. Might as well just spill all of those out. Maybe just part of those. She didn't know. She breathed harshly and shoved her hands inside her pocket. "Do you remember that kid who stood up for you when the others dissed you for having imperfect legs?" Quinn slowly nodded. Rachel waited. She waited longer until she saw Quinn's eyes widened and clouded with utter understanding.
"You?" Rachel nodded. Quinn processed the new information in her head and she sat back down. Rachel stood beside her. "But…but…she was…"
"She was me," Rachel declared, pointing at herself. "I've changed a lot since then."
"Why didn't you tell me?" Quinn said. Rachel flinched at the slight anger in her tone and also the disappointment. "You could've told me. I've been longing to say thank you to you ever since you gave me the chance to be adopted by Santana's family and for standing up for me."
The brunette witnessed the confusion, the hurt, the sadness, the disappointment, the frustration making their ways onto Quinn's face and into Quinn's eyes, forming a mixture of emotions swimming in those pools of hazel green. She sighed and hoped to God – despite her being an atheist – that her revealing this won't backfire. "I need to show you something," she said quietly. "Quite a few actually." Quinn looked at her, waiting for those things.
Rachel took a deep readying breath and began to pull back her hair and showed her the scar on her scalp, covered by her brown tresses. It ran long from the beginning of her hairline to the back of her head. Quinn gasped and reluctantly touched it. In spite of it not being painful anymore, Rachel still flinched at the cautious touch.
"Who did that?" Quinn asked, concern written all over her face.
"I'll answer your questions after I show you more," Rachel murmured quietly and pulled back the straps of her tank top and pulling it off, revealing the hideous image of her damaged back to Quinn Fabray's eyes. She closed her own when she heard the gasp escaped; a louder one. She knew. She was disgusted herself every morning as she stared at her back in the mirror. Scars had made her back a residence, planted by none other than Burt Hudson. She conjured the image of the scars, remembering how each one had landed her across her back without any particular pattern. Just random like a child's making – except this was the result of an adult's torture of a child.
A feather-like touch reached out to one of her scars and she flinched in surprise. The finger withdrew itself at her reaction. She tilted her head and glanced behind to see Quinn reaching out again. She calmed herself and let Quinn traced the one scar she knew was the longest, created by the whip Burt had decided to use as a punishment to her and it was the second most painful hit of that particular night. But what surprised her most was Quinn's action after that.
Quinn had wrapped her arms around Rachel's waist endearingly and rained kissed along her shoulder.
Rachel had never felt anything as wonderful as that. That just told her that Quinn accepted her scarred past.
She was grateful.
Chapter 9: Chapter 9
They sat in the living room. Quinn on the couch and Rachel on the armchair. They weren't too sure about being too close together. Quinn fidgeted with her fingers and stared into the cup of coffee Rachel made her as she comprehended over everything Rachel had just told her. She didn't know what to say and she felt so freakin' emotional right now. She was furious at the Hudsons and she felt sad for Rachel. Her frown deepened as she reassessed Rachel's words in her head.
Rachel, on the other hand, was watching Quinn closely and she could only smile when she saw the anger and the sadness settled upon her face. She knew she was more screwed than ever for telling Quinn everything. But for this woman, Rachel would do anything, even kill somebody. She'd told Quinn everything. She didn't leave anything out. She just told her everything. And during the telling of her tale, she felt angry and distressful as she went over what happened to her while she was a child. But she thanked God that she didn't cry. She couldn't cry for that anymore.
She fixed her eyes on the blonde before her, pleading her to look up. And finally Quinn did. And she smiled wider. Quinn frowned at her – for what reason Rachel didn't understand – until she said it. "How can you still smile?" Quinn whispered. Rachel looked at her curiously, still smiling. "You just told me the worst part of your entire life and yet you're smiling. How do you do that?"
The brunette could only shrug and her smile saddened. "I can't cry over that anymore," she whispered back. "Every tear I have for whatever happened to me is all gone the minute I heard Carole Hudson told Erika about the success of her plans." She heaved a sigh. "All I carry in heart ever since that night is hatred and complete despise. And I vowed to take revenge on them." Quinn only watched her with painful eyes. "You must understand that I still carry those feelings and I will not stop until the last breath I take."
"Rachel, I…I still hate them for doing this to you. But…" she drifted off.
"I know," Rachel acknowledged, nodding her head to prove her point. "You disagree with me. You think I should let this go since it's been so many years. You want me to stop trying to collapse their family and company's inner structure. You want me to…to just forget about it all and devote my life into enjoying every bit of it."
Quinn nodded. "And you can't if you don't stop."
"I won't," Rachel snapped, her tone harsh. Quinn flinched and she regretted it immediately. She licked her lips and closed her eyes. "Like you said, it's been so many years. I've been carrying this hatred for so many years. And as it should be, it's now carved deep into my soul along the years. If I don't try my very best to destroy them, it's not gonna go away. And I can't ever…" she hesitated but continued, "love you like I should." Quinn seemed startled at the remark. "I love you. But…if I just dispose of this plan for revenge and love you, you will hate me because I will never stop being this miserable human, moving around robotically, constantly thinking about vengeance."
"And how will you do that?" Quinn challenged. "You just told me that my…existence in your life right now has somehow disrupted your perfectly cooked plan. You have no plan now. Nothing. How are you going to take revenge on them?" Rachel blinked. Quinn swallowed and resisted the urge to approach Rachel. "I can't see you wallow in this wretched mindset of yours – forgive me for being so crude. I can't see you continuously pushing everyone who cares about you away and do absolutely nothing!"
"Oh you did a lot," Rachel intercepted smoothly, smiling at her with no sadness this time. "Before I met you, I thought you were a bitch from all the things I heard from other investors and buyers who tried to buy your bakery. But you're not which is kind of the beginning of the disruption of my plan." Quinn narrowed her eyes. "I saw you and I was stunned. You were so radiant, and unbelievably polite. You were so smart for a woman who runs a bakery. As I further deepened my acquaintance with you, I find myself unable to proceed with my initial plan. But I still forced myself to proceed, no matter how seemingly hard it was for me. But then, when I found out you were really the sweet blonde girl who was this perfect kid despite her flawed legs, I couldn't anymore."
"How am I involved in this plan of yours?" Quinn asked, curious to no end on how she could be in Rachel's plan to take revenge.
Rachel hesitated on telling Quinn but she knew she had to be truthful with her if she wanted any chance of being with her at all. "You have to promise me to not be angry after I tell you."
"I think we're past the point of being angry."
"Yeah well, you still have to be not angry because I have a distant idea that this will erupt yet another bout of anger in you," Rachel said quickly and pleaded with Quinn. Quinn finally sighed and nodded. Rachel nodded and smacked her lips. "Okay, I heard from many people that the Hudson Organization has been trying to buy your bakery from you wouldn't budge. So I…I asked another accomplice of mine to tell Mercedes to buy similar quality – faked – ingredients from a much cheaper company. So that will cause a crisis in your company and then I will swoop in to help you. Your initial insistence on not selling the bakery kind of shocked me actually but then you yielded." She didn't dare to look at Quinn. "I bought a part of your share, which is more than nothing and I planned to sell it to the Hudson Organization. I didn't," she added hurriedly. "I can't even think about destroying your family without feeling remorse. So I gave it back to you and tried to cut off my connections with you until I succeed with my unplanned revenge."
"And?" Rachel's gaze snapped to Quinn and all she saw was understanding and not a bit of disgust or anger or disappointment that she expected. Just understanding.
"And then I will find you again and try to win your forgiveness, hence your heart," Rachel whispered. "I know it will take a hell lot of work but…I'm willing to do anything."
Quinn pinned Rachel under her scrutiny and she wanted to tell Rachel to back out of this disastrous and dangerous game she's playing with the Hudsons. But she knew from Rachel's words and tone that the brunette wouldn't back down so easily. The Hudsons had done too heavy a damage to Rachel that in her mind, they should be annihilated. She knew she should feel angry and remorseful when she found out she was a pawn in Rachel's well-thought game of chess. However, she couldn't. The love, the adoration and the care she had for this brunette in front of her had completely swallowed all those feelings without any form of reluctance.
"Do me a favor?" Quinn finally asked, her tone pleading. Rachel nodded without hesitance. "Promise me to stay safe. Swear to God that you will be safe so that I won't have to suffer yet another heartbreak." Her voice cracked at last and Rachel took a deep breath. "Promise me, Rachel."
The brunette nodded with a smile. "I promise."
Quinn watched the Rachel and swallowed the lump she felt in her throat. "And also…also promise me that you will not come for me unless you are entirely you're done with this." It was really hard for her to say this but she had to. "I don't think I can handle you leaving me one more time. I don't think I can handle having this awful plan of yours in my conscious and not try to stop you from doing it."
Rachel felt the pain behind the words, because she was feeling it too. It wasn't easy to just let Quinn go so easily but if Quinn wanted this, she would agree. "Only if you agree to let Puck keep an eye out for you," she stated surely. "If you won't have him, I will be at the bakery every day to check out on you. And don't doubt me, Quinn."
The blonde sighed but surrendered with a nod. "Do you think…do you think it's okay for me to stay here until ten?" she whispered. Rachel's eyes widened. She was startled by Quinn's request, although she wasn't weirded out. Quinn wanted the memory before they parted for God knows how long.
She finally grinned and nodded. "Of course, Quinn."
Carole Hudson sat in the studying, leafing through a book when Erika came in after a knock. Carole looked up, dismayed at the disturbance of her long-awaited peace.
"What is it, Erika?" she questioned sternly; slapping the book closed and put it on the small table next to her armchair.
Erika inclined her head apologetically. "I have received news, madam. Crucial news," she added. Carole waited impatiently for the 'crucial' news Erika was talking. "It seems that young female entrepreneur; Rachel Berry is the child you have used to gain Mr Hudson's trust many years ago."
Carole's eyes widened and her mouth opened in shock. "Where did you hear this, Erika?"
"I am acquainted to the manager of St Thomas Orphanage, madam. And he asked me how Rachel Berry is doing because he knows that you adopted her years ago. And madam, you have only adopted one child ever in your life. Though we do not know the name of that child, it is to my belief that Rachel Berry is that child," Erika said fearfully. "I have made the initiative to tell you instantly after I heard from him."
"That woman is back for revenge," Carole concluded as she processed the information Erika had just passed on to her.
"I am afraid so, madam. What is your next step, madam?"
Carole looked back at her personal servant and her eyes were steely. "I will plan ahead, Erika. Wait for my word."
Erika nodded in obedience and retreated out of the room, leaving Carole Hudson to her bewildered and yet cunning mind.
"It's nine fifty-five," Rachel said quietly. She stared at Quinn over the brim of her wineglass as she drank. She put it down on the table after drinking. "You wanna go see it?"
Quinn smiled and dumped her napkin on the table. "I stayed just for it," she replied and stood up, following Rachel's lead out to the courtyard and to the extraordinary fountain.
Rachel glanced at her wristwatch and hummed. "Five, four, three, two…one."
And the magic happened again. Quinn giggled as she watched the water veiled around them, feeling the water droplets pattering on her skin and for once in a long time, she felt like she was freed from a cage, finally able to fly away. She wished she could stay in this cocoon forever, with Rachel next to her so that she won't have to feel all those crazy emotions and think all those stupid things. She turned to Rachel to see the brunette staring at her lovingly. She smiled shyly and Rachel grinned.
"Trust me when I say this," Rachel began as she reached for Quinn's hands. "You are the only woman I will ever love." She lifted Quinn's pale hands and kissed them.
Quinn's cheeks flushed red as she watched the tenderness and love swimming in Rachel's brown eyes. "Likewise," she answered. The water wall subdued by then but all they could see was each other. "I still hope so deep in my heart that you will think about what I told you and…and do it. Give it up and come back to me."
"Quinn," Rachel admonished. "Trust me, I want to. I really do. I had been thinking about abandoning this revenge thing and forget about it every night since I've decided to return your other half of the bakery to you. But you can't even begin to imagine this boiling loathing for them every time I think about what they did to me and this…this desire for payback just begin to rise. So it is clearly impossible for me to just ditch this and be with you, without the ability to focus on you…us."
The blonde could only suppress the overwhelming dread threatening to overtake her like a shark swallowing a tiny fish. Unconsciously, she was squeezing Rachel's hand so tight that the shorter woman nearly could not feel her fingers. Quickly, Rachel took a step forward and laid a chaste peck on Quinn's lips, distracting her from reality and also to give her hands some much-needed relief. It was successful. Quinn's grip on her hands immediately relaxed and she didn't seem so intense anymore.
Rachel displayed a subdued smile before leaning in for a proper kiss. Quinn released a shuddering breath before opening her lips to Rachel's probing tongue. There wasn't any sort of fight for dominance or control this time. It was sensual and relaxed – arousing, even – as Rachel explored Quinn's mouth while Quinn could only feel the shivers of utter pleasure climbing up her spine, rapidly engulfing her entire body in flames of desire and want. Her arms snaked around Rachel's waist, pulling her close to her.
Their bodies fit. Every contour, every curve, everything fit. That just further enhanced their longing for each other. Rachel unhesitatingly laced her hands behind Quinn's neck, pulling her down for a much better angled kiss.
Somehow, an innocent peck on the lips had morphed into a sensual connection on the lips, filled with absolute lust and worship.
Quinn didn't want this to end. Neither did Rachel.
They stopped in front of Quinn's apartment building. Rachel pulled the stick into park and sat there, waiting for any word to come out of Quinn's lips. She couldn't stand this. Never had she ever felt this overwhelmed over a woman, but she had also never felt so much for a woman too. It's official. She's totally head over heels with Quinn Fabray.
Quinn looked out the window to see Gavin, the apartment building's guard sitting behind the counter, eating a doughnut. She saw the reflection of Rachel in the glass of the window and she saw the distress showing itself on her face. How similar was it to what she was feeling now in her heart. She gulped and turned to look at the brunette. As always, she just took her breath away. Quinn opened her mouth but she didn't know what to say. So she reached over for Rachel's hand and hold it one last time.
Rachel stared at her. She dared not do anything. She was afraid that if she do something, she won't be able to stop. She watched Quinn's thumb stroking the back of her hand. She watched a drop of tear sliding down Quinn's cheek.
And she was frozen on her seat.
It was like she couldn't move. She was frozen. She wanted to reach out and wipe the tears away. She wanted to reach out to touch Quinn's soft hair. But it's like her brain wouldn't function and command her limbs to move. Her mind went blank completely when Quinn leaned over the console to kiss her one last time before pulling away. Quinn smiled sadly at her before releasing her hand and climbing out of her car.
Rachel could breathe again and she quickly rolled down the window, calling out for Quinn. The blonde stopped on the steps but didn't turn around. Rachel's heart broke when she saw Quinn's shoulders shaking. She expelled a quivering breath before yelling, "I love you, Quinn Fabray!" That was loud enough for Gavin to hear.
Quinn slowly turned around to face her with a smile even though tears were running tracks down her cheeks. She laughed a little and shook her head at Rachel's ridiculousness. "I love you too."
They shared a deep moment as they stared at each other. One inside the car; one standing outside the building. Rachel took in a deep breath and cleared her throat. "I hope you can understand why I'm doing this, Quinn," Rachel finally said. "Really."
The baker looked at Rachel intently for the next couple of minutes before she inclined her head. "I know, Rachel. I understand. Really, I do. But I still don't think you should do it." Rachel opened her mouth to protest but Quinn cut in. "Still, if you insist on doing this, then I'll support you. Just…promise you'll be safe and…don't mess with anything illegal," she added with a giggle.
Rachel giggled and nodded. She waved at Quinn. "I'll see you when I'm done with all this shit, alright?" she prodded.
The blonde nodded and mouthed 'I love you' one more time before turning back to head into the building. Rachel watched as Quinn's figure diminished into nothingness as she walked away. She leaned back against the seat, bumped her head against it and closed her eyes. In her mind, the thoughts of Quinn and also what to do next raced. Her ringing phone disrupted her line of thoughts and she quickly answered it without looking at the caller ID.
Her eyes snapped open and pushed her head from the chairback. Finn Hudson. "Mr Hudson, why do you have my number?" she questioned suspiciously, darting glances at the entrance to the apartment building. "I don't remember giving you my number at all."
She heard him chuckle on the line. "I have my ways," he simply said and changed the subject. "Tell me, how much did Quinn Fabray have to pay for the share you previously owned of her bakery?"
She narrowed her eyes and gripped the wheel tighter. "That, Mr Hudson, is none of your concern. And forgive me for being rude, but this phone call has me feeling insecure since I do not know how'd you obtain my number. I'd rather you tell me how did you get it."
"You did give me your card once, Miss Berry," Finn mentioned dryly. "You seem a little…off guard, hearing your tone here."
She blinked and swallowed. She concluded that this man wasn't simple. Not at all. "Yes, I have a lot on my mind lately," she enlightened him. "I feel tired right now. So if you have nothing else to ask, I'd like to go to sleep."
"Oh, sleep huh?" he drawled. She practically felt distasteful tremors running up her skin when she heard the lustful tone behind his voice. "How would you like a late night drink with me?"
Rachel's grip on the steering wheel tightened in anger and dismay. How could this man still find it in himself to try a seducing game with her without feeling remorse and guilty? He practically just killed a woman by messing with her emotions not long ago. Her entire being seethed with resentment and complete distaste towards this man. But she needed him if she wanted to take revenge against them. So she forced a hint of pleasantness into her voice before she said anything.
"I'm sorry, Mr Hudson. But I am really tired right now. How about tomorrow morning? We can have a drink before I head off to work," she said, even though all she wanted to say was words to berate him.
"Yeah okay. I'll see you tomorrow, Miss Berry."
When she hung up, she couldn't fight the shudder of disgust running in her body.
Kurt arched his brows when he saw the number on his phone screen. Warily, he answered the call and braced himself for the man to tell him where to meet so he could be assigned his next job.
"Redneck's Roadhouse. Be there in thirty," Puck barked and hung up.
The private investigator sighed and pocketed his phone. His fingers lingered on the card he hadn't been able to throw away ever since Blaine had given it to him. But he didn't want to delay more time so he quickly got into his car and drove towards the roadhouse. He reached there five minutes earlier and ordered himself a fish and chips and a diet coke. The waiter looked at him like he had three heads when he placed his order. Kurt stared back at him, with eyes that shouted 'I am gay, buddy. Ordering a diet coke is what gays do.' The waiter finally nodded and walked behind the bar into the kitchen.
Puck came in not long after and sat down opposite Kurt. He flagged the waiter down, ordering himself a super-size cheeseburger and also a can of beer. Kurt grimaced at his choice of food and shook his head to himself. When the waiter left, he looked at the mohawked man in front of him.
"What do you want this time?" he asked curtly.
"Stay away from Quinn Fabray and her family. No more investigations should be done on them unless necessary," Puck began. Kurt smiled at the words. "But I will be quite busy as of late so I need you to stalk Finn Hudson and his family."
Kurt's eyes widened. "Puck, I'm not superman! I don't have multiple bodies to follow the whole family!" he exclaimed in terror.
"Hire people, do whatever you can. I want daily update on each one of them, most especially Finn Hudson, Evans and their mother," Puck commanded and shut his mouth when the waiter came back with Kurt's order. "Diet Coke? Are you serious?"
Kurt gave him a look before tipping the waiter. "This is what I drink. Shut your mouth if all you have to say is what I eat," Kurt retorted and fed himself his fish. "You practically just made me do an impossible job. I'll need more money to hire people to help me. If you don't give me the money, I won't do this job."
Puck scowled at him and fished out his checkbook from his pocket. Kurt heard him utter something like 'Freakin' bloodsucker' under his breath as he scribbled the check for him. Puck tore the paper off and handed it to him. "This should be enough to hire five or six people. If it's not enough, I seriously don't know what kind of people you're gonna hire."
Kurt smirked and pocketed the check. He drank the coke and stared down at his food, as if he's thinking about something. "Does this mean a green card for me?" he finally asked.
Puck frowned. "Green card for what?" The gay man raised his brow and reached behind him to take out the card Blaine gave him. He put it on the table and pointed at Blaine's name on the card, below his two sisters' names and numbers. "Oh," he said and cleared his throat. "Yeah, sure, go ahead. Just don't…ruin anything."
"I doubt it."
"You can't be too sure."
"Only a person like you will ruin something as simple as this."
Quinn showed up at the bakery early today. She didn't go to Mrs. Motta's restaurant today as she found no appetite to eat this morning. Tina and Mercedes were already in, preparing the ingredients to start baking. Quinn greeted them as she hung her jacket and put down her bag. Both employees watched her closely as she took the chart off the wall and went to the storage to check things off. When she came back, they were still watching her. She looked up and arched her brows.
"Is there a problem?" Quinn asked. They quickly shook their heads and went back to kneading the dough. She hung the chart on the wall and went to the front to check the cashier machine. While she was counting off money, the door opened to reveal Santana and Blaine. Her curiosity peaked when she saw her brother in the bakery. He rarely came unless he's free from work for the day. "Not working today, Blaine?"
Blaine looked at his older sister and shook his head. "No, my boss gave me a day off. So I thought I could come and help out. What? Am I not welcomed?" he teased with a smirk and she returned it. He walked to the back to hang his jacket but Santana stood in front of her at the counter.
Quinn looked up, and back down to the money she's counting. "What do you want, Santana?" she asked tiredly. A hand flew out and snatched the stack of money from her. "Hey!"
Santana's lips thinned into a frown when she saw the indignant look on Quinn's face. She rounded the counter and put the money back into the cashier machine. Then she turned to face her sister. "Are you done pretending now?" she asked the blonde.
Quinn stared back at Santana. She feigned innocence but inside, she knew what Santana was talking about. Hell, the Latina slept in the bedroom next to her. Of course she'd heard her crying like shit last night when she came home. She puckered her lips and breathed. "Leave me alone, S," she snapped and was ready to head to the back but Santana grabbed her elbow, stopping her from walking away. Quinn turned back, annoyed at the Latina.
"So you're gonna pretend that I don't hear you sobbing like a baby last night after you came back from God-knows-where? But I have a pretty clear idea on where you were last night," she added. Quinn's face morphed into one of guilty and melancholy. "You need to stop torturing yourself, Quinn," Santana gritted between clenched teeth.
Quinn's eyes snapped to hers. Santana was startled when she saw the dignity and confidence hidden behind those hazel eyes. "Do I look like I am torturing myself?" Quinn said.
"Yeah!" Santana exclaimed. "Ever since she came that day to buy the fucking bakery, you've changed. You…you've distanced yourself from me, from Blaine, from our mother! You can't stop thinking about her and when she came to ask you out for a friggin' talk, you agreed! She…you…you are completely entranced by the illusion of being with her for the rest of your life that you have completely forgotten that you have a family who care about you back home!"
"Will you please keep your voice down?" Quinn hissed at Santana.
She obliged. "Mom has been worried about you, Quinn. You never ate much. After you do, you just go into your room and lock your fucking door. When I wanna talk to you, you lock me out. Blaine is fed up right now. He told me that if you're gonna keep on being like this, there's nothing that he can do and although he loves you, he's not gonna give a shit anymore. Mom told me that she just wants you to talk to her, even if it's just one fucking sentence! I want you to tell me what is going on in your head there!"
Santana threw up her arms in frustration. "We are all worried about you!"
Quinn stammered and she gripped the edge of the counter tightly. "I…I didn't know."
"Of course you didn't! Because you were out there wishing that Rachel Berry will come back for you! Hear me out, Quinn, she won't!"
"She will!" Quinn defended quickly. "I found her last night and I…I found out something about her. I know what's going on and I just…I was just sad for her last night. But she promised that she will come back."
"Why isn't she here now?" Santana challenged.
Quinn narrowed her eyes at her sister. "She's got some business to get done with. But she will be here when she's done with it."
They glared at each other for a couple more minutes until Blaine interrupted their moment, asking them to help out back there. Quinn quickly stormed into the back while Santana and Blaine's gaze lingered on her. The man looked back at his sister and she shrugged in vain. He sighed and shook his head and walked back into the room to continue baking.
Chapter 10: Chapter 10
Puck came into her study to see her going through files at her desk. He swallowed and approached Rachel, sitting down on the chair in front of her. She glanced up at him for a second before going back to her files, writing more stuff on a piece of A4 paper until she's done. She put down the pencil and closed the file, then leaned back against her chair to stare at him. More like, glared at him. He shifted sheepishly in his seat and cleared his throat.
Silence stretched out like a really flexible spring until she shattered it by saying, "I have absolutely no idea whether I should thank you or screw the hell out of you." Her tone was immeasurably leveled and he couldn't figure out if she's angry or happy. He arched his brow, urging her to continue. "She appeared here yesterday." His eyes widened. "Yeah, while you were talking to me telling me you screwed things up; she jumped out of a cab and rang my doorbell like a madwoman."
His jaw hung open and he stammered before he decided on, "What did you do?"
Rachel leveled her gaze on him as she recounted everything that had happened yesterday. "So tell me, should I be grateful or should I be distasteful?"
He managed a shrug and gulped. "I don't know," he said. "You look like a freakin' doll with no emotion right now and I'm kind of freaked. Maybe you should be…grateful," he said with a shrug. "I mean, all those weights are no longer on your shoulders right? You just gotta be extra careful."
"I feel like I should return the favor of bringing you down after all you did while I was in the loops of complete confusion over my feelings towards her," Rachel contradicted and he paled. She smirked. She stood up and handed him a pile of files. "Put these in my office. Touch none of them. I have a morning appointment with Finn Hudson," she ordered and took her purse before heading out, followed by Puck.
"What? What are you doing with Hudson?" he questioned, taking the files with him.
She glanced over her shoulder and looked back to the front, making her way to the garage. "He called me last night and asked me to go out for a drink with him," she emphasized with disgust. "I can't believe he's got the guts to repeat the same thing after what he did to Sugar Motta not two months ago. I told him I was tired and made an appointment him for this morning. It'll be great for my plan to proceed anyway." She unlocked her car and slid into the driver's seat.
Before she could close the door, he hold it open and ducked his head so he could see her. "I know I'm being an asshole right now for going against my words. But um…" he hesitated, "I think you should think about what Fabray said."
She stared at him disconcertingly, opening her mouth to retort but found no words. Finally, she closed it again and ignited the engine of the car. "That's my problem, Puck. Now, all you have to do is help me put those files on my desk and go do your job – which is keeping an eye out on Quinn and make sure she's safe without screwing things up," she added and slammed the door close, narrowly missing his fingers.
Finn was already sitting at a table in Starbucks when Rachel came in. He grinned and waved at her and she waved back, offering a polite smile. She sat down opposite him and took down her sunglasses to look at him properly. Yup, as dopey and idiotic as ever. She felt pity for Harmony Dale for ending up married to this fool here who only intended to cheat on her time and time again. He looked at her skeptically with a smirk donning his features.
"Are you not gonna order a drink, Miss Berry?" he asked.
She smiled at him and shrugged. "Wait a minute," she prompted and a minute later, one of the attendants at the counter came with a cup of hot caramel macchiato and put it on the table in front of her. He nodded at her with a smile, she thanked him and he walked away. She watched Finn's startled expression as she drank from the cup. "I come here all the time. People know who I am and they know my order so yeah, every time I come in, I won't have to visit the counter again."
He nodded with a smile and drank his own coffee. "That is pretty impressive, Miss Berry."
"Why, thank you, Mr Hudson. So what is it do you want from me?" she directed the question at him, eying him suspiciously.
He quirked his brow and pursed his lips. "Why the sudden attitude, Miss Berry?" He sipped from his cup and cleared his throat. "I just want to get to know you. I want to be friends with you. And maybe…" he narrowed his eyes and his smirk grew, "something more than that."
Her jaw clenched subtly as she refused to give in to the yearning of punching him and defacing him. She forced a curt smile and crossed her arms. "Don't mind when I say this, Mr Hudson. But I had heard through the grapevine that you had been knocking up an innocent girl and refused to take any sort of responsibility of her pregnancy, causing her to commit suicide," she reminded him. But she didn't just hear it, she knew it. Hell, she was the one who led Quinn to the discovery of him being the culprit behind everything.
She couldn't help but feel pleased when she noticed his smirk vanishing and the dangerous glint in his eyes turned darker into something that only screamed agitation. He lowered his cup onto the table and mirrored her posture, leaning back against his seat.
"I don't think it's appropriate for me to risk myself and maybe my body when you have such a bad track record," she continued, leaning onto the table, braced on her arms.
He smacked his lips and ran his hand through his hair. "Everything you have heard is not true," he denied, lying by default.
"Explain why this so-called project for the butler café is now under your brother's control and no longer yours if whatever I have heard isn't true," Rachel chided. He seemed astonished by her persistence and she smiled at him. "I told you I am not easy. So if you really want this, make a divorce and then pledge yourself to be faithful. But if not, I can handle being friends but nothing more than that." She felt like she wanted to vomit hearing herself say those words. What she wanted right now was to be right next to Quinn but in order to have that; she had to be done with the Hudsons.
"Does that mean you want this?" he questioned, the smirk returning to his face.
Couldn't he just stop bloody smirking already? It's bloody irritating! She groaned inwardly. "Maybe," she said with shrug. "On my terms," she added and repeated, "maybe."
He gave her a nod. "Friends it is, Rachel," he said intently and she met his eyes, shaking his hand.
Quinn grabbed her jacket and purse before heading out. She stopped at her doorstep and looked around for someone. When she spotted him at the end of the sidewalk looking at something in a shop through the window, she approached him and tapped his arm. He jumped in astonishment and swung around, ready to fight off whoever it was but relaxed when he saw that it was her.
He looked at her quizzically and she jerked her head to the street. "Wanna go grab lunch?" she asked with a friendly smile. Puck's stomach growled, betraying his starvation and she laughed. She pulled him by his elbow and started walking. "Come on. I'll buy you lunch."
They ended up sitting in Mrs Motta's restaurant and waiting for their orders to come up. He looked around warily, ready for any sort of trouble to come out. When he felt a hand on his arm, he turned to look at her. She was looking at him curiously, as if worried about him. He frowned and gulped. "Shouldn't you be like…mad at me?"
She quirked her brows and let out a chuckle. "Um…and why exactly?"
He shrugged and cleared his throat nervously. "I don't know. For stalking you and running out on you?"
She laughed and shook her head, patting his arm reassuringly before withdrawing. "No, I'm not mad at you. Well, at first I was because you ran out without answering my question. But not anymore. I understand why you're here and despite the many times I've tried to dissuade her from giving me a guard, she's stubborn like an unbreakable rock." Even without saying her name, they both knew who Quinn was talking about. "If I wanna be angry, I should be angry at her."
He narrowed his eyes. "You are, aren't you?" he asked slowly.
She stared at him for a minute, looking into his eyes as if she could see right through him and he was beginning to get anxious. "I was," she finally replied. "I was mad at her yesterday; for posting a guard on me without my permission; for attempting to control my life – which I found out she isn't; for not telling me exactly what is plaguing her and what is going on with her," she trailed off. "More than mad actually. It's more like…absolute rage eating at me and I want to let it out. So I let it out on the source of my rage."
"Rachel Berry," he spoke. And she nodded. "Well, I'm kind of sad you didn't succeed in dissuading her because – God – this just makes me bored out of my mind." He gestured between them and she laughed. "Have you…I don't know, have you ever thought of fixing your legs?" he asked sheepishly, afraid that he'd offend her.
She stiffened for a moment and smiled bitterly. "I've tried to have it fixed before," she said, looking down at her hands. "But…the surgery failed and kind of worsened my condition." She looked up to see him looking at her curiously and she smiled sincerely for him. "I never really limped since I've turned sixteen or seventeen. But I still did, on occasions and then I went to the doctor, trying to get him to fix my legs. He said there's ninety percent chance of it succeeding. I thought I'd be one of the lucky ones." She chuckled to herself. "I guess not."
"I'm sorry," he apologized. "I didn't mean to bring this up."
"No, it's okay. It's a long time ago. Like, six or seven years."
He stared at her for a moment, trying to contemplate on how to word his next question out and he sighed. "So if you have the chance, do you want to like try to get it fixed again?"
She narrowed her eyes at him. "Are you like spying for Rachel or something by asking these questions?"
He panicked initially until he noticed the teasing tone in her voice and he laughed. He shrugged. "I might be. I might not be."
Mrs Motta came to their table with a tray in her hand, carrying their foods and they thanked her profusely, knowing that she must have been going through a hard time now that her daughter's dead. Quinn asked about her recent life and Mrs Motta shook it off claiming that she's coping and she'll keep on coping. Quinn promised that she'll pay the old lady a visit during the weekend and Mrs Motta only gave her a thankful but melancholic before walking away.
They proceeded to take their lunch in silence and Quinn remembered to tip Mrs Motta before leaving with Puck. When they were walking back to the bakery, Puck handed her some bills and she looked at him like he's crazy.
"For the lunch and the coffee yesterday," he explained, thrusting the bills at her again.
She shook her head and pushed his hand back to him. "No, they're on me. Don't worry. You can buy me lunch next time."
He grinned and nodded. "Cool," he said and stuffed his money back into his wallet.
They walked quietly back to the bakery for the next couple of minutes, making way for pedestrians that seemed to be rushed all the time. Quinn rolled her eyes at the sentiment. This was New York, after all. She heaved a sigh and shoved her hands in her pockets. She looked back at Puck who seemed like he was contemplating something. She looked to the front and her eyes widened when she saw a man in a suit talking on his phone and not paying attention to his surroundings. And he was running straight towards Puck. Quickly, she pulled on his arm and pulled him to safety as the man walked passed them without even a second glance. Puck looked bewildered and she rolled her eyes.
"Pay attention to where you're walking, will you?" she scolded and shook her head as she trotted forward, Puck hurriedly following behind.
"Sorry," he muttered under breath.
She sighed and tilted her head to the side, glancing at him over her shoulder. "What's bugging you?"
He glanced at her sheepishly and looked away. "You don't have to know."
She nodded, accepting his answer. After all, they're not best friends. Maybe not even friends. She slowed her steps to be in pace with him. "So how'd you meet her?"
He lifted his head and smirked to himself at the memory. "She kind of saved my life," he began. He turned to look at her to see a perplexed look on her face. "Seriously, she did. I can never imagine what state I'd be in if it's not for her. Maybe I'll be dead." He laughed to himself. He looked at her with a smirk and shook his head, jerking his head towards the nearing bakery. "You should go in. There are people in there waiting for you to boss them around."
"You still haven't told me," she said, making her way to the bakery.
He laughed and shook his head again. "I don't think you need to know."
"No I don't," she said. He looked at her approvingly. She smirked, pushing the door open. "But I want to," she added before going in, leaving him agape outside.
Carole sat on the couch in the study as she listened to the conversation between her husband and her elder son. Finn was asking Burt to give the project back to him but Burt was adamantly refusing. Carole sighed and knew what this was all about. And she worried. She was really worried.
"If you want Rachel Berry, you can just say it," she voiced from behind them. They looked at her startled. "I know what this is about, Finn. You want Rachel Berry to yourself. And you think handling this project might appeal to that woman." Finn opened and closed his mouth several times, but found no words. "God, Finn, haven't you learned a lesson with Sugar Motta?"
He looked angry. "That was a mistake, Mom. Nothing like that will happen again."
"Once it's been done, I guarantee you there's gonna be a second time," Carole said. "Your father is not giving you the project to handle. So don't even think about it."
"Mom!" he protested.
She stared back at him stonily, daring him quietly to defend himself. "You are married, Finn," she said pointedly, part of what she's going to say was intended for Burt too. "You are married," she repeated. "You promised to stay faithful to your wife at the altar five years ago. I am not going to let you sabotage your marriage just because you want one or two sleazy affairs with some whores who just don't know how to keep their hands to themselves." She noticed Burt clenching his fists at the corner of her eyes and her lips twitched. "Rachel Berry is out of your reach, Finn. Forget about her and devote your heart into giving the company's your best effort and also providing your father and me with a grandchild."
He stormed out of the study, leaving his father and mother alone in the study together. She smiled to herself and drank from the glass of whiskey next to her. "Are you screwing with me?" She looked at her husband who looked both guilty and furious. She arched her brows. "The things you said to our son, they were intended for me too, aren't they?"
She shrugged and lifted the glass to her lips again. When she got her fair amount of drink, she put it back down. "Think it anyway you want, honey. I'm just telling Finn to respect us women and especially his wife."
"What is wrong with you?" Burt demanded, standing up. "My daughter is lost. Maybe even dead and you're not even concerned? Whatever it is between us, don't put this on a child! Look, I'm sorry about what happened with that woman, okay? I apologize. But feel at least an ounce of sympathy for me for I have a daughter and I don't even know where the hell she is!"
She stood up as well. "You can't be too sure you even had a child!"
"She told me she gave birth to my child!"
"Yeah? And how do you know if she's lying? Hell, you haven't even seen the child and now you're claiming that it's a girl?"
"She told me it's a girl."
"Because you've wanted a daughter for so long, Burt!" Carole shouted. Her chest heaved as she took each angry breath in. "I loved you, Burt. And I can't even believe you had two children with two different women! One is now living in our house and one is out there somewhere! And you don't even know if it truly exists!"
"It is a she!" he yelled back.
She scoffed and stormed to the door. "The reason I have never divorced you and will not divorce you is because I have a son who needs his father to love him." She stared into his eyes. "But sadly, it seems like you don't at all." She turned the knob and stepped out.
Rachel paced the floor of her office, thinking over everything she knew now. This was mind boggling. She didn't know how to do this. And it was undoubtedly disconcerting. She had never in her life experienced a time where she was so...directionless. She had no guide, nothing whatsoever to tell her what she should do next. She was at a loss. A knock sounded on her door and she stood stiff, ordering the visitor to come in. The door opened to reveal Sebastian. He had a stack of really thick papers in his hands.
She watched him taking a step in and closing the door behind him, with that signature smirk of his pasted on his face. And after so long since he made that crude remark of trying to get her in bed, she wanted to slap that bloody smirk off his face. But she restrained herself from doing anything stupid or impulsive. She braced her hands on her hips and watched him relaxed on the couch after putting down the papers on the coffee table. He turned to look at her.
"These are all I got, so far," he claimed, pointing at the papers. "Their company is deteriorating, from what I gather."
She flopped down on the couch next to him and flipped through the papers he printed. There were stocks charts and the company's daily reports. In conclusion, everything. She raised her brows as she ran her eyes over the prices of stocks in the stock-market. There were falls in stock more often than not. She wondered if it had anything to do with the fact that Sam Evans literally had no brains in this field of occupation at all. Her eyes zeroed in on a drastic fall not two days ago. And then the slight rise after.
"This is…bizarre," she commented.
"That's why I said the company's deteriorating," he told her. She looked at him. "My attempts on hacking into Sam Evans' and his father's personal email accounts came as a success because they were having private conversing through emailing. Evans had been entertained with quite a wonderful tirade from his father through email because of the loss his mistakes and thorough stupidity had brought to the company. I have printed those as well in case you needed them."
Rachel smiled gratefully at him and found the papers consisting of the emailing between Burt Hudson and Sam Evans. Before she could get the chance to read them, Sebastian asked, "So do you have a plan B now?"
She paused in her movements and slowly, she removed the stack from her lap and replaced it on the table. "Have you talked to Puck lately?" she asked him, evading his question.
She heard him grunt and she sniggered, knowing that they had at least one talk. Sebastian threw his arm around her shoulders and laid his head back against the couch. "Unfortunately, yes. Two nights ago, I was awakened from my very pleasurable – and might I say erotic – dreams by a phone call from one Mr Noah Puckerman." He breathed slightly and snickered. "But I was kind of glad he called because I have received some very interesting news from that phone call." She rolled her eyes. "I was initially angry at you for telling her. But then I thought, you've already abolished the initial plan, so why not? And it became far more interesting for me than infuriating, which is a good thing."
She nodded in agreement. When she looked up, he was staring at her in an unreadable way. She shifted in his arm uncomfortably and he laughed. "What? You're making me uncomfortable," she exclaimed.
"Tell me, is there anybody else other than who has made you uncomfortable before?" he asked.
"Quinn," she said without hesitation. "But in a good way. Unlike you and Puckerman. You guys give me the freakin' creeps all the time I freak sometimes."
"Should I be honored?"
He threw his head back and laughed heartily. When he sobered up, he withdrew his arm and leaned forward, bracing his elbows on his knees and clasping his hands together. He turned back over his shoulder and scrutinized her. "But seriously, any plan B?"
She thought about lying but he was one of her two best friends. She couldn't lie to her best friend. It just ate at her conscience. She wanted to laugh at herself for being ridiculous. She somberly shook her head at him and immediately felt guilty when she saw the disappointment making its way to his face.
"Is it okay for me to ask why?"
She shrugged. "I don't know myself. It has all been eating at me. I had a perfect plan but I couldn't use it because it involves the love of my life." He quirked his brow and his eyes turned glassy as he thought about God-knows-what. She swatted at his arm and he chuckled. "I went through information you and Puck had given me. But as far as I know, there is no loophole or lead that can bring us success in this. I still have to think about it. But there will be something. I promise."
"You've thought of giving this up, haven't you?" he asked after a couple of minutes of watching her. Her eyes widened along with his grin. "Come on, Rach, I've known you for like so many years. It's not that much of a surprise that I know what you've been thinking from the looks of your face. We're like sister and brothers, including Puck."
She scoffed. "Do sister and brother have sex?"
He chortled at that remark. "We were drunk! And horny. And angry. Puck is still holding that grudge over me for getting to sleep with you and he doesn't." He slapped her thigh lightly. "It was great, by the way." She glared at him and he grinned slyly, winking at her.
"I am not sleeping with you again."
"We can have a threesome when you get together with Miss Fabray."
He spent the next twenty minutes running away from Rachel in the office.
Brittany bounded down the sidewalk towards Santana and with a squeal, she leaped into Santana's arms, disregarding the annoyed pedestrians walking passed them. Santana laughed and wrapped her arms tightly around her girlfriend. She just never knew how she got so lucky to have this bubbly woman as a girlfriend. She buried her nose into Brittany's hair and inhaled her shampoo-scented hair. Somehow, the shampoo never really smelled the same when Santana used it.
They exchanged sweet nothings when Brittany released her from her bear hug and together, they strolled and talked about stuff, as if there was nothing to worry about. Santana would squeeze her girlfriend's hand occasionally because that action could prove to her that Brittany Susan Pierce was real. Even after months of dating each other, Santana could hardly believe that the blonde girl actually existed! Brittany would then grin at her and leaned in for a peck. People – non-homophobics – would think that they were a happy married couple when they saw the two of them.
They ended up taking a useless stroll in Central Park. Brittany was once again attracted to the ducks at the pond and Santana – of course – stood there and let her girlfriend watched the ducks swim. The fact that these ducks just looked hideous and stupid to Santana didn't matter, as long as Brittany was enjoying herself, there's nothing Santana wouldn't do. When the blonde got tired of standing and watching, they sat down on one of the many park benches and just chilled.
"Is your sister okay?" Brittany suddenly asked, surprising Santana. Santana stared at her wide-eyed and the blonde laughed. "I was just asking, don't worry."
"Why would you ask about my sister?" Santana questioned warily.
Brittany shrugged and scrunched her nose. "It just looks like you were always saying Miss Berry was not treating her right all the time we went out so I thought I'd ask because I don't think they're talking about your sister anymore."
"Puck and Miss Berry, silly!" Brittany informed with a grin.
Santana's mouth formed an 'O' and she nodded to herself. Then she smiled at the blonde, leaning in for a kiss before answering. "Well, Quinn has been…distant recently, I guess. She's been distant like all the time ever since your boss and her got something fishy going on, which was a long time ago. Wait, you mean they talk about Quinn all the time?"
Brittany's gaze shifted towards the ducks at the pond and she looked as if she was thinking. "I guess so. I mean, every time they're talking loud enough I don't hear them talking about Quinn. So yeah, I thought when they're not talking about her, she won't be so sad."
"What do they talk about?"
Brittany shrugged. "Business crap. I don't listen to that because it's like so boring. I like hearing things about people and animals. Especially ducks. Oh, and dolphins!"
Santana quirked her brow and laughed. "Dolphins? Why?"
"Because dolphins are gay sharks!" Brittany leaped to her feet and ran over to the pond, leaving Santana who was rendered speechless by what Brittany had just told her.
Puck climbed out of his car in the alley and locked it before heading to the rusty doors. He pulled them apart and closed them back once inside the bar. He smirked when he saw a group of hot ladies sitting at a booth and giggling while casting occasional glances at him. Jackpot. He sat on a stool at the bar and nodded in acknowledgement at Mike. Mike returned the nod while wiping a glass with a cloth.
"The usual?" Mike asked, already taking out the vodka and tonic from the cabinet behind and mixing them together. Puck nodded and murmured a word of gratitude when the glass of strong alcohol was put in front of him. Mike resumed his task of wiping the glasses clean. "So what are you up to recently?"
Puck shrugged while nursing himself with the drink, savoring the taste of it. "Running errands for Berry." Mike nodded. "She told me you met Fabray."
"You mean Quinn?" Puck nodded in confirmation. "Yeah, I did. She's a…weird lady. I mean, who orders diet coke while in a bar? Especially one with so much swagger as mine!" Mike exclaimed. "However, she's a lightweight. Last time it took her only three glasses of vodka to get drunk. That beat the record of my lady friend."
"You mean your fuck buddy."
Mike narrowed his eyes at Puck. "I mean my girlfriend."
"Then say your girlfriend! What the crap is a lady friend?"
Mike smacked the strip of cloth on Puck's arm. "Sometimes, I wonder why Rachel is such close friends with you."
"I'm her buddy, asshole."
"Yeah, whatever. Listen, I've got some paperwork in my office to look through. So you just…enjoy yourself here. And please don't make more trouble here. I really am growing tired of throwing you out every time you get drunk off your ass and then start some trouble with some dude." Puck flicked him the bird but Mike ignored him. He didn't pass up the chance to hit Puck in the head before retreating in to his office.
Puck brought the glass to his lips and thought back to Quinn's question. How'd he meet Rachel? He chuckled to himself. Under a very weird circumstance. He remembered when he was running around stealing stuff like crazy without any strategy. Then getting caught every single time. He wasn't proud of himself that time of his life. But it was all thanks to Rachel and Schuester that he became the person he was now.
He recalled one night when he failed in stealing some bun and he went starving like shit. He was weak and he had no stamina at all. At last, he collapsed outside Schuester's house. He wondered how long it took for someone like Schuester to carry him inside his house and upstairs to a bed. Must've been exhausting, he thought. When he woke up to the voice of Schuester and Rachel conversing outside the room he was staying in, he found out he'd been out for the past couple of days.
He laughed when he recalled Rachel's alias that time. Barbra Saunders. What kind of fucking name is that? But for some reason, she had decided to tell him her true name, as if she wasn't afraid that he'd tell other people and let the authorities put her behind bars for conning too many people. She even told him her story, for whatever reason she didn't know.
And then Schuester and she spent the next two days pampering him with food and drinks and also the luxury he had never came to enjoy for a long time. For example, a long hot shower. He smiled when he remembered how freakin' awesome it felt when he stood under the shower head and let the hot water washed his filthy body. He swore he'd never felt as good as that before. And then one day, Rachel disappeared. Schuester told him she was back on the road to con more people, to gather more information on her own.
Puck felt the overwhelming desire to help her that time and when she came back three months later, he told her he wanna help her. She was reluctant but at last agreed to let him help. She then taught him everything she knew. Lock-picking, stealing without getting caught, lying to people, you name it.
And now, look where he ended up. He had money, he had two best friends. Yeah, sometimes it was hard working for Rachel, but he wouldn't trade it for anything.
Chapter 11: Chapter 11
He greeted his colleagues and settled down in his cubicle, booting up the computer and going through the files he had piled up on his desk. He touched his gelled hair for a moment making sure it was still neat before heading to the photocopy machine to make some copies of the files. While he waited, his mind drifted to the man he met more than one but never knew the name of. Blaine wondered if he was gay because he really did look like a gay guy.
His gaydar would ping like crazy whenever he saw the man. And Blaine couldn't help but like him. He scoffed and shook his head to himself. How come the whole family could come out as homosexuals he would never know. He was still thankful for his mom for being so understanding and accepted them as her self-dubbed 'gay clan'. The now-silent copy machine shook him from his thoughts. He gathered his copies and files and went back to his cubicle, starting on classifying as soon as he sat down. His job wasn't that bad, it was just awfully boring. He was looking forward to the day he became one of the company's superiors and make some meaningful contribution.
Halfway through classifying the files, his cell phone buzzed in his pocket and he quickly picked it up before any of his colleagues could hear. "Hello?"
"Is this Blaine Anderson?" He frowned. That voice sounded familiar. Then it dawned on him. The mystery man. He widened his eyes and cautiously looked around before sneaking into the currently unoccupied break room.
"Yes," he answered shakily. He heard a rustling sound on the other end before the voice crackled through the speaker again.
"Hi, I'm Kurt. You gave me your card the other day. You said your bakery does deliveries?" Kurt asked, sounding hopeful.
Blaine nodded and waited for a long moment before he realized that Kurt couldn't see him. "Oh, yes, yes, I remember you!" he quickly said. "What can I do for you, Kurt?" he asked calmly, even though he was anything but calm.
He listened to Kurt clearing his throat and thought it was the most beautiful sound he had ever heard before quickly reprimanding himself for such perverted thoughts. "I was…I'm wondering if you would like to…go out for a drink sometime?" Blaine's heart stopped for a second before it went back to beating. "I mean, just a drink. Nothing more."
His lips slowly curved into a tentative smile. "Yeah of course."
Each of them swore they could hear each other grinning through the phone.
There is always a point in life where you just have to stop for a moment – doesn't matter how long it is – to finally solve the problem you have been facing for your whole life.
That's what her father told her. She was very young and didn't understood the meaning behind his words at the time. Now though, as she sat in her room and looked at the family portrait taken a year before his passing, she recalled his words and started to understand.
The things Puck said had her mind rolling every now and then. They still had lunch, occasionally dinner together – as friends. They had fun. Sometimes, they talked about Rachel; sometimes they talked about life. Her fingers traced her father's face. She'd often wondered if there will ever be away for her to cure her legs, to not let her imperfections get to her or get in her way again. She stopped trying two years after her failed surgery. However, when Puck asked her about whether she would have another surgery if it's possible, her selfish side kept yelling 'Yes!' but her rational self knew that it wasn't even close to conceivable.
But God, how she wanted it. She wanted to walk properly. She wanted to be able to run for more than two miles. She wanted to jump more than ten times. She wanted to stop feeling so tired all the time. She wanted to be able to stroll next to Rachel without feeling exhaustion until it was normal to get exhausted by walking.
She put the picture frame back on her desk before standing up and headed outside to join her family who were watching reruns of Desperate Housewives on television. She smiled when she heard them laugh. That's what you got for a house full of women and gays.
They watched Desperate Housewives.
She cleared her throat to make her presence known and then flopped down on the couch roughly next to her brother. He glared at her but she could still see a reluctant smile tugging on his lips. She grinned back at him and wrapped her arm around his shoulders.
"How's my little brother doing?" she asked cheekily before laying a sloppy kiss on his cheek, making him wiped it away in disgust and she laughed. Santana snickered and her mother only smiled adoringly at her children.
He shrugged and snuggled into Quinn's embrace. Maybe he'd been behaving a little repulsively, but it was all just an act. He always loved it when Quinn would just take him like he's still that baby boy she always played with.
"I'm fine, real fine."
Quinn could sense he wanted to say more but he kept his mouth shut. She sneaked a glance at Santana to see the Latina shaking her head at him. Quinn rolled her eyes but was still grateful that they were thoughtful enough to not ask how she was doing.
She wasn't really doing any good as of now.
She squeezed him, her gaze traveling to the television sitting in front of them. "Any special guy?" she asked, narrowing her eyes at him when she felt and saw him tense, as did Santana and Mrs Lopez. Her lips curled into a smirk and she turned him so she could look him in the eye.
"There is a special guy, isn't there?"
He looked at her guiltily and then looked away. Finally, he buried his head into the cushion when he saw everyone in the room looking at him.
"Stop staring at me," he whined, his voice muffled by the pillow.
Santana sniggered and put a finger to her lips before tiptoeing to his side and started to tickle his sides. He jumped so quickly and couldn't escape as Santana kept on tickling him.
"Tell us or I won't stop!" she persisted, her fingers moving agilely over his body and he just giggled and giggled and giggled. Quinn smiled at the adorable sound her brother was making. "Blaine, tell us," Santana yelled with a laugh and she kept on without any intention of stopping.
He was trying his best to keep her hands away whilst catching his breath but it was to no avail. Santana was nothing but stubborn and totally energetic when she wanted to. Quinn took pity of him and pawed Santana off . "Hey, let him breathe, geez." Santana finally stopped but her fingers were ready to go back their job. They watched him panting, waiting for his breathing to go back to normal before breathing a sigh of relief. "Now, lil' bro, are you going to tell us?"
Blaine grunted when he saw his mother's expectant face as well. "God, you guys just won't stop bugging me, will you?"
Santana pretended to take a moment and think, but she shook her head with a smirk anyway. "No."
He rolled his eyes and ran his hand through his hair. Finally, he stood up, holding up his hands in defense in case Santana or Quinn decided to attack him again.
"It's nothing," he stated matter-of-factly. "We had a drink together last night. That's why I came home late. I like him. He's a nice guy. But nothing happened," he emphasized when he saw his blonde sister ready to say something. Quinn closed her mouth and mimed a zipping motion. "That's all I have to say! I mean, we don't really know each other."
"But you want to," Santana interjected slyly and he looked at her aggravated. "Oh, come on! It's not really that weird that we have all taken interest in you and your maybe-newfound relationship. I mean, how long has it been since you've dated somebody? The last time you went out on a date was like…one year and five months ago!"
"Wow, thank you for keeping track, Santana. I will definitely ask you to let me know how long it has been since I've dated someone in the future," he replied sarcastically. She rolled her eyes and flicked a finger at him. He repeated her motion and put down his hands, finally feeling safe. "I just want you to know that I will definitely tell you when I am in a relationship with someone. Like a steady one. So please next time, stop bugging me," he added exasperatedly.
"Just be careful, lil' bro. We don't want you to get hurt," Quinn reminded him and everyone in the room gave her incredulous looks and she rolled her eyes. "I don't want to talk about me," she enunciated each word carefully. She shot a deadly glare to Santana and the Latina just stared at her. "Lay off me!" she demanded when everyone won't stop staring at her.
Blaine scoffed. "Oh, like you wouldn't lay off me just now?"
"Okay, so you and Santana have been telling me all sorts of things about…her and I can't even tease you for fifteen minutes?" she snapped, trying ignore her weakness of not being able to say Rachel's name. Quinn stood up and raised her brows at them, daring them to say something. Santana and Blaine finally broke their gazes off her and looked down at their feet guiltily.
"Quinn?" She turned to her mother. "Can I say something? I haven't spoken a word all this time so I think I reserve a right to speak my opinion now. After all, I am your mother."
Quinn closed her eyes in frustration and finally she exhaled tiredly before opening her eyes. Maribel was immediately concerned when she saw the obvious fatigue in her daughter's eyes. She had been concerned before, but she was even more so now.
"Mom, I don't want to be rude and I love you, really. But I just really would like it if you guys could just lay off my back for awhile. I am really, really tired from all this stuff, especially when two of your children won't stop bugging me about it," she said pointedly.
Maribel looked at her daughter closely before nodding in assent. "I understand, Quinnie. But maybe you should take a rest, honey. You look tired."
"I am tired, Mom," Quinn confirmed and she looked around before sighing. "I think I'm gonna go out to walk off this stress. I'll see you at dinner." She grabbed her jacket from the peg at the door, pulling it on as she walked out.
She walked out into the sidewalk and halted in her steps when she saw Puck standing outside smoking. He noticed her presence and stubbed his cigarette with the toe his sneakers. She looked at him slack-jawed before thrusting her hands into her jacket pockets.
"It's weekend," she informed him. He nodded knowingly. "And you're still working for her during the weekend?"
He chuckled and approached her, falling in step with her as they walked to nowhere in particular. "I think even if I complained, she would've ignored me."
She shrugged and looked down at her moving feet. She concentrated on moving one foot in front of the other. She hated Puck a little right now. Why did he have to stand there and make her talk about Rachel? Her intention of coming out here was to clear her fucking mind of Rachel Berry. She sighed and looked up, squinting her eyes at the neon lights of the shops in the night.
"You could have ignored her."
"And let her go all crazy on me? No, thank you. You have no idea how far her rage can go. Besides, if I don't do this job for her, she's gonna scout all day herself and by then, she won't be able to accomplish anything and…" he stopped midway, realizing what he was going to say and Quinn chuckled dryly. "She just cares about your safety too much, obsessing over the fact that Finn Hudson or Sam Evans are going to find some way to harm you."
She stopped in her tracks and swung around to face him. "Do me a favor," she said. He nodded. "If you wanna keep on following me like this, don't talk about her. I really…I have had enough of it upstairs with my family. I actually came down here to clear my head. I just didn't expect to see you on a freakin weekend."
He threw his head back and laughed. He shrugged and gestured for her to keep on walking. They walked for a couple of miles and ended up near the alley where Mike's pub was situated. She stopped at the alley and then made her way inside, reaching for the rusty door. He smirked behind her and helped her open it, the two stepped into the wonderland of Mike Chang's creation. She smiled thankfully at him and they sat at the bar where Mike was serving – again.
The Asian man's brows rose and grinned when he saw the blonde who had come in. "Why hello there, Quinn," he greeted. "To what do I owe the honor of your visit?"
Quinn laughed and braced her elbows on the bar surface. "I just…want a drink and forget about life."
Mike watched her in amusement and nodded. "Alright, what do you want? Vodka? Whiskey? Beer? No diet coke." She smiled and he grinned. Mission accomplished.
The blonde looked around and her eyes lit up when she saw the dance floor. She could shake it up tonight and forget about everything by dancing. But…she looked down at her legs and sighed, and then she turned back around. Fucking legs, she silently cursed. She smiled at Mike. "Whatever I had that day is fine," she said.
He smirked and gave her a mock salute before pouring vodka into a glass. He glanced at Puck quizzically and the mohawked guy shrugged and signaled that he wanted a drink as well. Mike rolled his eyes and slid a can of beer over to him. Puck nodded thankfully and popped the can open. He lifted it to his lips and drank a quarter of it. Quinn watched him with pure horror displayed on her face and he raised his brow at her, silently asking her what the big deal was.
She shook her head and her face contorted in disgust. Mike laughed and put the glass of vodka in front of her. She scrunched her nose at it. "Wait, I was drinking vodka?"
Mike barked out a laugh before nodding. God, don't shake off your head, man. "Yeah you were. Like drinking it non-stop. Rachel ordered it for you actually."
Quinn stiffened at Rachel's name and her grip around the glass tightened. She distinctly heard Puck cleared his throat from next to her and could see him shaking his head at Mike from the corner of her eyes. She huffed a breath before downing the entire glass of vodka and signaled to Mike for a refill. He looked at her cautiously before pouring her another glass. He widened his eyes in innocence when he saw Puck glaring at him like he's ready to kill him.
"What am I suppose to do?" he mouthed.
"Stop pouring her vodka! Switch the damn drink!" Puck mouthed back, watching as Quinn drank the whole glass down again. This time, she ended up choking on it and coughing.
They grimaced and Puck warily brushed his palm up and down Quinn's back, trying to relax her…esophagus or whatever. Shit, he didn't know where the fucking vodka was choked at. He knew he should have studied science! He looked up quickly when he heard the Asian man hopping over the counter and gave Puck a 'What the fuck' look. Puck widened his eyes and lifted his shoulders. Mike rolled his own and flicked Puck's palm away. He replaced it with his hand, making circular motion, pushing at her skin. Quinn – without another second – heaved one final cough and went back to normal.
"You alright?" Puck asked and she nodded, lifting a hand to stop him from fussing over her.
She calmed her beating heart and sighed. She looked back up and pointed at her glass, and then held up one finger. Mike widened his eyes and looked at her as though she was insane. She rolled her eyes and pursed her lips.
"I want another one," she spoke.
"Quinn, you just choked on that one!" Puck scolded.
She glared pointedly at him and he slumped back into his seat. How the hell could two women like Quinn Fabray and Rachel Berry make a man like him want to pee his pants? That was just out of the world! She turned back to Mike and gave him the same glare.
"Now, are you going to give me that bloody drink or not?" she said through gritted teeth.
The Asian sighed, unscrewed the bottle, and refilled the glass with an involuntary shrug. Puck sighed and nursed his own beer. Quinn was hopeless now. They both knew they couldn't stop her from drinking her ass off even if they wanted to. This went on for the next three hours and she was finally ready to pass out. But Puck wasn't ready for her to pass out on him! That would just give him something he didn't want to think about. So he did the only thing he could think of.
He called her.
"Hello?" Oh, she was sleeping. Okay, he didn't give a fuck whether she's sleeping or not. He wasn't going to let Quinn pass out here! No friggin way! "Puck, what's going on?"
"You need to get to Mike's bar pronto," he said, looking over his shoulder to see Quinn slurring at Mike and Mike nodding in agreement, even though he didn't understand a single word she was saying. Fucking professional. Mike Chang could definitely be an actor.
He heard Rachel sighed on the other end. "Puck, I'm sleeping. I've got a meeting with Evans tomorrow," Rachel said and was ready to hang up but Puck stopped him.
"No, you need to get here pronto and get Fabray the hell outta here," he pleaded.
"What?" This time, he heard rustling and he knew she was getting out of bed. "What the hell is she doing at Mike's? What did you do?"
"I did nothing!" he proclaimed loudly. "We took a stroll and ended up here. Mike and I tried to stop her from drinking too much but she wouldn't listen. She's on her thirtieth glass or something and she's ready to pass out. And I know you wouldn't want her to pass out all over me and let me think all those stupid things. I swear to God Quinn Fabray's hot as hell and I don't know what I'm gonna do."
"Oh God," Rachel murmured. "Keep her conscious. I'll be there in twenty. And don't even think about doing anything to her!"
"Jesus, Rach, I called you because I don't want to end up doing something to her!" But she had already hung up.
Rachel turned into Fifth Avenue and glanced at her watch. Two thirty in the goddamn morning. And she couldn't even bring herself to care. Because it was Quinn Fabray they were talking about. The whole ride from her house to the bar she'd been wondering why Quinn would want to drink. The answer was right in front of her.
She wanted to forget. She wanted to find an outlet where she could just store the goddamn painful memories of Rachel and just keep it there. And alcohol was the only solution Quinn could find. Even if it's just temporary, Quinn was willing to use it.
Rachel brushed away a stray tear at the thought of that. She slammed the heel of her palm on the steering wheel and hissed when she felt the pain shooting up her arm, overwhelming her nerves and quickly pulled over to the side of the road. She checked her reddened skin and massaged it to soothe the pain. She sighed and laid her head on the steering wheel. How the hell could things turn out so freakin bad? She'd ask herself this question all the time. And she'd never gotten an answer.
What's worse was that she had to keep on associating with the Hudsons in order to proceed with her plan. Releasing another sigh, she revved up her engine and headed towards the bar. What she saw was completely startling and unexpected. She had never seen Quinn so drunk before. Not that she'd seen her drunk many times. But if she compared this time and the last time she'd seen Quinn drunk, this was so much worse. Puck was holding onto Quinn's elbow, keeping her from tipping over as she talked in slurred words. She turned to see Mike watching the blonde cautiously behind bar.
Rachel groaned and brushed her hair back before making her way to Quinn. So much for not seeing Quinn until she's done. Complete failure. She shook her head and wrapped her arm around Quinn's stomach to steady her equilibrium. Puck looked at her gratefully and she sighed, pulling out money from her wallet. She smacked it on the bar and pointed to herself. Mike nodded in acknowledgement and took the money. Rachel bade them goodbye while dragging Quinn out to her car. She had a hard time trying to strap Quinn in as the drunken woman could only flail her arms blindly and talk.
"Come on, Quinn. We're going home," Rachel coaxed, finally succeeding in buckling Quinn's seatbelt.
Quinn nodded and giggled. "Am I dreaming?" she said and Rachel backed her car into the main road. "Are you –" hiccup "– Rachel?" Another hiccup. Rachel kept her silence and resisted from taking Quinn's hand in her own. She kept her hands tightly on the steering wheel and drove forward, turning when necessary. Quinn had fallen asleep for almost the entire ride but woke up when they reached her apartment building. She rubbed her eyes and turned to Rachel. Still drunk, Rachel confirmed. She unbuckled her belt and killed her car before helping Quinn out.
"Come on. We need to get you up to your apartment," Rachel coaxed.
She was throwing Quinn's arm around her neck and helping her onto her feet when she heard Quinn murmured, "I miss you, Rach," into her eyes. She froze. Quinn whimpered in her ear, burying her face deeper into Rachel's neck, obviously thinking that she was still dreaming. "I really, really missed you, Rachel. I…I tried to not think about you all…all the time," she muttered. "But I can't. I missed you all the time."
Rachel inwardly sobbed. Quinn had no idea how fucking lethal her words were. Quinn had no idea Rachel's heart was bleeding non-stop. Quinn had no idea that this was her reality, where everything freaking hurt. She had no idea. Before she knew it, she had wrapped her arms around Quinn's body and pulled her into her arms. Rachel inhaled the smell of Quinn's hair and sighed. How long would she have to wait to finally come back to Quinn's arms? To finally come back to where she belonged?
Her breath shuddered and she tightened her arms around Quinn. "Me too, sweetheart. Me too," she whispered brokenly.
Quinn could only whimper and doze off in Rachel's arms.
Rachel sat in the conference room in her office building and read over the files while waiting for Sam to come. Yeah, right. She had been reading the same line for the last fifteen minutes and she couldn't even bring herself to care. Her brain was clogged. Everything she thought about would be disturbed by thoughts of Quinn and that night. She wondered if Quinn remembered what she said. She wondered if Quinn even knew that she was the one who brought her home that night.
She told Santana to not tell Quinn that she's the one who brought her home but her irrational part of mind was hoping to God that Quinn knew. Fucking irrational. She shook her head to get rid of those thoughts when the door opened and Sam strode in. She put on a smile and put down the file as he sat opposite her. She took a deep breath and handed a file over to him.
"I found a shop lot for you that you might be interested in," Rachel explained her motives. "I thought this could make a better café than Lopez Delight's lot."
Sam opened the cover and began reading and looking at the photos taken. "It is furnished, renovated and refurbished. Everything is brand new." Yeah, like hell it's brand new. Rachel spent her money on all the shit in that failing shop lot located in a failing street. Thus, the beginning of her plan to topple Evans' family.
She could see he was tempted by the look on his face. She smirked to herself. This kid would surely be the main tool she'd use to destroy his family. But her target wasn't him. Her target was his stepmother, the woman who had brought her into this mess. She knew her dead parents wouldn't be proud of her – whoever they were – but she didn't give a shit. They're dead and buried somewhere on earth, she felt that they have no right to feel disappointed anymore.
He smacked his lips and looked up at her. "Why are you doing this?"
She chuckled and folded her hands on the table, swiveling her chair from left to right repeatedly. "I am doing this because I want to. And of course, I want to ask for a little favor," Rachel added.
He narrowed his eyes. She laughed and inclined her head towards. "Fear not, Mr Evans, it's nothing too much. It's just that I would like to get five per cent of the profits you will earn for the first month after you open the shop."
"What if I say no?"
She smiled and shrugged. "I will buy that lot for myself. And believe me, I will buy that lot no matter how much it costs me," she sniggered.
Sam stared at her for a moment longer before his lips quirked up. Her smile widened. Bingo. Fish was now heading into the big fucking net. She was just waiting for him to swim into it, and then a horde of fish consisting of Finn Hudson, Carole Hudson, Burt Hudson and Erika would follow his tail.
Quinn Fabray was messed up. She buried her head into her hands and groaned. Five days since her drunken adventure. Or non-adventure. Whatever. She wanted to cry right now. Santana had refused to tell her who had brought her home. Neither did Puck. Their refusals were enough to tell her that it was her who brought her home that night.
She should've known. She thought it was a friggin' dream when it was actually real. It was really Rachel who brought her home that night. Quinn let her head slid and hung low as she thought back to the thing she had said that night. She moaned in exasperation and fall down onto her back on the bed. Why would she even say those things? Even if it was a dream, she shouldn't have said them! This was a disaster. She knew it. So much for not seeing each other for the moment. That had just fall down the cliff and could no longer be found.
She wanted to punch herself so much.
So she did.
She curled her hand into a fist and punched herself in the cheek. Blaine who happened to pass by saw it and quickly rushed to her side. "What the hell are you doing?" he exclaimed, alarmed and concerned. He pulled her up by the arm and examined her bruised cheek. "Holy crap, Quinn. You're bruising!"
"Who the hell cares?" she exclaimed and buried her head into her pillow.
"I do!" he replied loudly. "Come on, I'm going to put something on that awful bruise." He forcefully pulled her into the kitchen and took out an ice pack for her. She applied the pack to her cheek. "I should have known you'd go down the road of depression when you asked to stay home today. It's Friday and the day when the bakery would constantly be visited by customers and you're asking for a day off. How freakin' weird is that?"
"Shouldn't you be at work?" she muttered, frowning at her brother.
He shrugged. "Day off."
"Go out on a date or something," she ordered.
"I am. Tonight."
She smiled and winced at the pain in her cheekbone. Shit. What the hell was she thinking when she punched herself in the face? He grimaced. She hissed in pain and he clicked his tongue at her. "What?"
"You are a dumbfuck for punching yourself in the freakin face like that," Blaine commented quietly.
Doctor's office. They were sitting in the doctor's fucking office. And she was looking around as if it was her first time coming here. It actually was. She'd never been to a hospital before. She mentally shook her head. Never in her whole life had she ever damaged herself to the extent of coming to the hospital. So it freaked the hell out of her as she sat in the waiting room, waiting for the fucking doctor to just come back from the restroom and get down to business.
Sebastian rolled her eyes when he saw Rachel looking around, anxious as shit. He put a calming hand on her shoulder and she turned to him. He raised his brows at her and held up his hand.
"You need to stop. You're making me anxious when I am not and that is not okay. So stop this shit and just calm the hell down. The doctor is going come in and you're gonna talk to him," Sebastian scolded and Rachel heaved a sigh before nodding. He nodded. "I don't even know why the hell you asked me and not Puck."
"He's on guard duty, in case you've forgotten," she snapped. He chuckled and brushed his brow. "It's not funny. Her safety is my priority now."
"Not even the plan for vengeance can top that?" She shook her head without hesitation. "Okay, so you've covered her security. Why the hell are you covering her medical needs as well?" Sebastian questioned curiously. "I know you're in love with her. But I just don't know why the hell you'd want to do this."
She rolled her eyes. "Do you even hear yourself? I'm in love with her. I love her. She's important to me. I want her to be healthy. So why don't I just seize any possible opportunity I get to help her? I will do anything I can to help her. Including this. I don't even care how much it costs me."
Rachel pinched the bridge of her nose as she listened to her subordinates argue everything from staff performance to stock clearance of the corporation. She took a deep breath and smacked her palm on the long table, shocking everybody to silence. She sighed and braced herself on the table, weight on her elbows. Her gaze traveled from Puck, who was snickering behind his palm, to her Human Resources manager, Wes Montgomery. She took a long breath before forcing a smile on her face.
"Wes, you are the Human Resources manager. I asked that you hire people with potential to handle the pressuring jobs in my corporation. And yet you have hired a bunch of worthless and lazy people to work for me. Now, I have less than satisfactory work performance and I still have to pay their salary! Explain, please," she commanded coldly, despite the friendly smile on her face.
Wes opened his mouth to talk but Timothy Walker, her Financial Management Manager decided to interrupt. "Miss Berry, I think it is obvious that Mr Montgomery – drunkard, as we all know – was drunk when he was interviewing these lazy 'worthless and lazy people'. I have sources telling me that he has been drinking his sorrow away these past few months over his wife leaving him."
She turned to him, unimpressed. "And your sources being?"
Walker looked taken aback but he cleared his throat. "For one, Mr Montgomery's secretary, Miss Hillary."
Rachel closed her eyes and ran her hand across her face. "And I believe she became your 'source' because you have been sleeping with her for the past few months," she answered. Walker's face paled and Puck snorted. She narrowed her eyes at him and he quieted down.
She was growing tired of this. She stood up and regarded everyone in the room. "I will release a memo on my decision on whether to fire those people and Mr Wesley Montgomery. Also from now on, my Technical Department manager, Sebastian Smythe will be supervising each and every one of you every day."
They began protesting but she held up a hand. "Let me clear this up for you. This is my corporation. You might be running various departments in this building, but I am the one who gives you the permission and commands. I invest in different fields of business to make money and I ask that you assist me in enriching the investments that I have made. I don't care if one of you decides to engage in sexual relations with another. But I want complete cooperation and outstanding performance from each one of you. If I find even a little blunder in your work progress, you can bet your sweet little behinds that action will be taken on you."
She waited for more objections but was only met with silence. Her lips twitched with satisfaction. "Mr Smythe," she addressed and Sebastian looked at her with interest, "do you understand your job from now on?" he nodded. She nodded back. "Alright, meeting adjourned."
She sat down while everyone filed out of the meeting room quickly. She flipped open a file to read the reports and noticed that someone was still in the room. She looked up to see Sebastian had moved to the other side of the table, sitting opposite Puck and they were both staring at her. She raised an eyebrow at them.
"Puck, shouldn't you be off to…guard duty?" she muttered, her eyes went back to the file.
He shrugged. "At this time in the morning, she's still in her apartment. Probably having another argument with her siblings or bonding with them," he commented dryly. "A meeting at seven in the morning. How bloody crazy are you?"
She smirked but refrained from answering him.
"Anyway, you did tell me that you and Sebastian have something for me."
Quinn knocked on Santana's door and waited for a response. She heard a muffled reply and opened the door to see Santana putting down her phone on her bedside table. The Latina raised her brow at Quinn and Quinn rolled her eyes. She reached behind her and took out two tickets and handed them to Santana.
Santana took them and stared at one of them for a moment before her eyes widened. "How the hell did you get these?" she gasped in awe.
Quinn smirked and shoved her hands into her back pockets. "I could never understand how you can be interested in crap like football, but a friend of mine gave these to me. I'm not interested so I thought you can go with Blaine or the so-called Brittany." Santana rolled her eyes and Quinn laughed. "You know, it's been like two months and you still haven't brought her to meet with the family."
"I'm not sure I want her to see our stupid antics at home," Santana joked and Quinn chuckled. "She did ask me when she is going to meet all of you. I just don't think now is appropriate."
The blonde arched her brow. "Why not?"
Santana shrugged and put the tickets aside. "Let's see. You and I, or rather you and all of us aren't really on very good terms right now," she suggested and Quinn slumped. "Not that I blame you, but I sure won't like it when she comes and you and Blaine just decide to jump at each other's throats like always. So I was thinking that I'll bring her back home when this – whatever this is – is done with."
Quinn nodded understandingly. "Fair enough." She stood up and patted her thighs. "Well, I'm just going to head out for a walk."
"You have been out for a lot of walks recently. What's up with you?" Santana questioned and Quinn smiled tightly.
"I just…I need to clear my head. It's been pretty messed up since that day I got drunk off my ass," Quinn answered. That was part-truth. She also didn't want Puck to be alone and bored out there.
Santana nodded. "Hey, before you go, I just wanted to tell you that I am really sorry about that day. We just don't really understand the dynamics between you and Berry." Quinn looked at her awe struck and Santana laughed. "I feel guilty!" she exclaimed.
Quinn laughed on her way out and she nodded to herself. Maybe this could be a good day after all. She bade goodbye at Blaine and her Mom and put on her jacket as she waited for the elevator. She touched her bruised cheek softly and winced at the slight pain. She grimaced. This might be a very serious bruise. She puffed out a breath and walked out when the elevator doors slid open. Puck grinned at her and she grinned back. His casual expression was replaced with alarm when he saw her bruise.
"What the hell happened to your cheek?" he asked.
She inwardly whined. Of course, how stupid of her to think he'd get pass that. It was not like he was blind. She sighed and tilted her head. "I…punched myself," she said reluctantly. The look on his face was priceless and she sighed. "I know. I guess I was still a little hung over that day."
"Even though you were a little hung over, what led you to punching yourself in the face?"
She eyed him for a moment. "I figured out who it was that brought me home." He tensed and stared at her, shocked by her answer and she chuckled to herself. She nodded and started walking down the sidewalk with him. "Yeah, I figured it was her when you and Santana both refused to tell me who it was." She chanced a glance at him and smiled when she saw the guilty look on his face. "I was pissed at you at first but I thought…both of you were just hiding it from me probably to protect my feelings, or because she told you not to tell me."
"Both," he replied immediately. She jumped in surprise at his quick response. "I did not tell you because of both reasons. But I think your sister didn't tell you because she didn't want to hurt you and she didn't want you to know, regardless if Rachel told her not to tell you."
Quinn refrained from wincing at Rachel's name and nodded. "Okay, now that we've gotten that out of the way. What do you say we go and get lunch? You still owe me lunch and a drink." She smirked when he looked taken aback. "Don't look so surprised. I can extremely stingy if I want to. And I don't feel like paying today."
He quickly fell in step with her. "I don't think I have ever seen this side of you before. It's frightening."
Her smile grew wider. "See this as a gift, Puck. Even Rachel hasn't seen it yet."
"Somehow, I think she's lucky because she hasn't," he muttered but she could hear him anyway. She laughed out loud. He laughed along.
They made their way to Mrs Motta's restaurant and ordered their food. The older lady seemed to be coping well with her daughter's death now. Quinn was glad. She made a mental note to visit Mrs Motta when she had the time. For now, she just wanted to satisfy her hunger. Their meals were served not long after and they ate while chatting about random things. In the middle of their conversation, Puck sneaked out a handful of pamphlets from God-knows-where and gave them to her. She stared at them for a minute before looking up at him.
"Why are you giving me pamphlets about legs? Or more specifically, bones?" she asked him.
He exhaled a breath he'd been holding when she wasn't getting upset. "Okay look, don't get pissed at me for this because I honestly had no idea this had been going on. But she'd been to the doctor and she was…researching for you. I…sort of…told her that you told me if you have the chance to fix your legs, you'd take it. So she went to the doctor and asked him about stuff. And she wanted me to give you these pamphlets to look over."
She narrowed her eyes at him. "What else did she say?"
He groaned. He muttered some profanities under his breath as he put down the pamphlets. "She…they…she said that if you want to get the surgeries listed in these pamphlets, she asks that you wait until everything she has at hand is over and done with. She wants to be there with you."
"And?" she prodded.
"How is it that you know I have something more to say?" he asked, mortified. "Nobody's ever done that to me before!"
She shook her head. "Don't change the subject, Puckerman. What else?"
"Shesaidshewillpayforit," he said quickly in one breath.
"I beg your pardon?"
He stomped his foot under the table – yes, he stomped his foot – and grunted in frustration. "I told her you'd probably say no but she said she will pay for it."
Her brows drew together on her forehead and she laughed nervously. "Pay for it," she repeated softly. "You mean, pay for the surgery? If I want to have it," she added.
"I mean, pay for the surgery and everything else. Like the meds and the hospital room and crap like that. She will pay for everything. Before you go mad, I did tell her that you would most likely refuse her offer," he added, looking at her cautiously for any sign of outburst.
She stared at the pamphlets for a moment before calmly putting them in her purse. The calmness she radiated added to his anxiety. He was sure she's gonna explode! Then she stared at him with her icy cold eyes and he understood. The storm was brewing inside. He swallowed.
"What do you think her reaction would be if I took a trip to her house right now?" she asked him, her tone no longer friendly and warm. Suddenly, he found himself would rather pay for the lunch than have her storm off to Rachel's house.
"Uh…I think whatever her reaction may be might not compare to your possible reaction," he responded cautiously.
She smiled at him and stood up. "See you tomorrow."
His eyes widened and he quickly jumped up from his seat, slamming the money for the bill on the table before rushing out after her. He caught her arm and swung her around. "Quinn, you can't go to her place!"
Quinn clenched her jaw and glared at him. "Why not?"
"Okay, I know you're upset," he spoke slowly and didn't bother to release her arm. "But even if you go there, you will not be able see her." She raised her brow. "She's not in New York. She flew to LA at noon to visit someone there."
She folded her arms across her chest and narrowed her eyes at him. "Who?"
He threw his hands up. "I have said more than I should, Quinn. If I say more, I'm sure she's gonna punch me in the face. Or worse. So you," he pointed her, "calm down. And just…read them over and think it over. I can see there are a lot of options and I am sure she has only your best interests in your mind. She did tell me a few days ago that she worries about your financial status. If you want to get the surgery but you don't want the money from her, just tell her straight away." She gave him an aggravating look and he realized his mistake. "Oh yeah…you're not seeing each other for the moment. Okay, so tell me and I'll tell her."
"I think she thinks that I am a charity case," she voiced her opinion.
"Wait what?" He processed her words and flinched. "No! Quinn, no! Oh my God, you're making this whole shit shittier! No! She does not think you're her charity case. She loves you. She cares about you. That's why she wants to pay for it. She does not think you are her charity case."
"When did she go to the doctor?" she asked him.
"Um…from what they told me, yesterday," he informed her.
She narrowed her eyes at him. She thought over everything he'd said from the restaurant till now and realized one thing. "You keep saying 'They'. I don't believe Rachel knows how to split her body into two different people.
He opened his mouth and closed it again. Then he opened it again but nothing came out. His breathing went frantic and he cursed under his breath. How could he be so dumb? He knew Sebastian was gonna kill him. That man specifically told him to not let Quinn know of his existence. This was just fantastic. A fantastic disaster. He ran his hand through his hair and steadied his breath. Then he smiled at her. Too wide a smile and she knew it was fake.
"Seriously, you are not making it any better for me. In fact, you are making it worse. So I think it's better if you'd just go home and read over the pamphlets. Ignore everything I have said. Come on, go!" He urged her, pushing her to the direction back to her apartment building. She stopped and he nearly tumbled into her. She swung around and looked at him quizzically and he groaned. "Oh come on, let it go, Quinn! I can't divulge more than I have or Rachel's seriously gonna kick my ass!" he pleaded.
She ignored the sound of Rachel's name and only shook her head at him. "I expect to meet the other one of the 'them' you were talking about when all this crap is over and done with."
"I'll talk to Rachel about it," he squeaked and quickly pushed her back to her home.
Rachel washed the dishes and watched from the window as the older man she had been visiting walked outside and sat at small table in the backyard. She smiled and wiped each plate dry before grabbing a bottle of wine from the cupboard and two glasses and headed outside to join him. He smiled thankfully at her as he took one glass from her and poured the wine into it. They clinked their glasses and sipped. Silence wrapped its arms around them for a minute or two before he broke it.
"I honestly thought you had forgotten about my existence since you made it to New York four months ago," he spoke.
She chuckled and put the glass down. "Like I'd ever forget about you, Mr Schue," she commented with a grin and he laughed.
"How is Puck doing?" he asked her.
She turned back to look at the night sky. "He's been well. He wanted to come but I've put him on guard duty on someone."
"Ah…Quinn Fabray." She turned to him sharply and he chortled and shook his head. "Oh well, Puck has been calling me these days and he told me everything." He turned to her with a fatherly smile. "After all these years of seeing you come and go, conning here and there, going from one's bed to another, I am truly glad you have finally found a special someone."
She touched the rim of her glass and smiled to herself as she thought of Quinn. She nodded and turned to Schuester with a smile. "She is rather special."
He chuckled and shook his head at her apparent hopelessness against love. "However, I haven't had a single hint of what that woman looks like," he said and she grunted. He laughed. "I know you and Puck have been at it for months. How can I not know when you've lived here the whole time he's been doing the background checking while you're doing the planning? The plan's ruined, by the way," he reminded.
Rachel scoffed. "As if I don't know, Mr Schue."
He tittered and nodded. "But I still haven't a single inkling on what she looks like despite how you've been spreading all those papers in my living room just months ago." He shifted in his seat to look at her. "Mind letting me know what she looks like, dear?"
She grinned and shook her head at his persistence. "Didn't Puck show you?" He shook his head and she was amused. "That quite rare of him."
He laughed. "He's terrified of you, that boy is. I don't blame him. You can be quite a horrifying woman when you choose to be." She scowled at him. "Scowling at me won't work, young lady. Now are you going to show what Quinn Fabray looks like or not?"
"I'll show you tomorrow," she informed him.
"But you're going back to New York tomorrow! I still don't know what you're going to do since one of your supposed pawns is now unusable."
"She's not a pawn. She is a woman I love very much. I hope you can respect that," she said sternly. He sighed and drank more wine. "Even if I'm going back tomorrow, I can show you what Quinn looks like before I board the plane!"
"Okay, fine. I'll hold you to that."
"I don't expect any less."
He sighed. They sat there listening to the crickets and looking up at the pitch black night sky for a few moments. He shifted and leaned forward, bracing his upper body on his knees with his elbows. "Have you thought of giving up?" She turned to him with a ridiculous look on her face and he stifled a chuckle. "What is the point of all this? You have a life now, Rachel. A life I am sure you're absolutely happy with because you have found your soul mate and you have two amazing friends who do everything for you. And you have me as a substitute for a father! P.S. I am not bragging." She giggled and he grinned. "I just mean that I get that you hate the Hudsons. I get that, really I do."
"Then you should get that to…quell this burning abhorrence I have for them, I need to do this," she said softly.
"Hey, I'm just giving you my opinion!" She released a sigh and leaned back in her chair, sipping from her glass. "I still stand to what I said just now. From the beginning, I haven't liked the whole idea of you taking revenge on the Hudson family. However, I understand why you want to. You can choose not to. You have been convincing yourself all these years that they deserve to have everything they possess taken away that you somehow forgot who you are. When you were living here with me, with Puck, with Sebastian, you were this lively woman who laughed all day long and never really cared about the outside world."
"I still laugh now!" she protested.
He raised his brows skeptically at her. "Really? Fine, even if you do laugh now, it's rare. All I hear from Puck, occasionally from Sebastian, is that you are being so bloody uptight and expect everything to be perfect. You were not like that when you were here! Rachel, you cannot keep on doing this and destroy yourself whilst destroying them. If you end up in an asylum or come back being a completely different person, I'd rather you end the entire debacle here and now and go back to truly living your life – with Quinn."
"Did Puck put you up to this?" Rachel questioned suspiciously.
"No! Rachel, what makes you think that?" he exclaimed. He threw his hands up as if to emphasize his point. "Puck did not put me up to this. Sebastian did not put me up to this – in case you're wondering. I genuinely want you to stop doing this. The Hudson family will not triumph for long if they are as evil and cunning as you describe them. This is called karma. One day, they will get what they deserve, which is nothing. One day, you'll live happily ever after while they are going to suffer from their wrongdoings."
"So you're saying I'm doing something wrong," she concluded.
Schuester sighed and ran his hand through his hair. "I'm just offering my advice on this. You don't know what you are doing –"
"You don't! You are hurting yourself. You are also hurting Quinn. And in extension, you are giving Puck and Sebastian more trouble. They are busier than ever now. They have to do everything. One of them is now staring at his computer doing whatever the hell he's doing while one of them is probably at Quinn's apartment building, bored as hell and doing nothing but smoking and watching people come and go. While you are giving yourself a bloody headache just for the sake of watching them tumbling down. Tell me, after all this is done, what do you get out of this?"
She opened her mouth, ready to defend his words but she found nothing to say. She closed her mouth slowly and looked away, thinking over his words.
"You get nothing," Schuester continued. "Sure, you'll get that short moment of satisfaction and then you'll go back to your life, maybe with Quinn. Well then, why don't you shorten your misery of being without her by abandoning this whole thing and just be with her?"
She clenched her fists as if everything he said was just trash. But she knew better than that. She knew he was somehow right. She smirked bitterly to herself when she remembered what Quinn told her that day at her house. Quinn was also telling her to stop fighting the Hudson, telling her that it would do her no good. She stifled a laugh and turned to Schuester. He was looking at her expectantly and she shook her head with her smile.
"You and Quinn are going to be great friends, Mr Schue," she said. He grinned at her and she mimicked his grin. "I'll think about it."
He wheezed a laugh and nodded. "That's better than a no."
She retrieved her luggage and walked towards Sebastian who was waiting for her outside. When they fell in step together, she relaxed a little bit. Just a little bit.
"Someone's following me," she said stiffly.
He tensed and stared at her for a moment before wrapping an arm around her shoulders. "Do you know who it is?"
She chanced a glance over her shoulder and only saw a man in a bomber jacket and hat concealing his face. Her eyes found his hand in his pocket, holding onto something. A hitman, she concluded. She had vague suspicion on who his employer was. She quickly turned back and their steps quickened. "I think I do but I know he has a weapon in his pocket."
He narrowed his eyes and nodded stiffly as he led them to his car in the empty parking lot. "Do you have your gun handy?" he asked quietly. They were indeed being followed. She shook her head. He took in a deep breath. "Here are the keys." He handed a bunch of keys to her. "Wait for me in the car. I'll be back in a sec."
She took it and looked up at him. "Be careful."
He nodded and watched as she walked to his car, before turning around. The man following them was standing five feet away from him, pistol in his hand, aimed at Rachel. Sebastian took out his gun from the back of his pants and smirked when he saw the man's surprised expression.
"I am licensed to have a gun, mister. And if I'm not mistaken, you are a hitman. I'm sure the police will thank me profusely if they realize that one of the criminals loose in the world has been found, don't you think?" he said smoothly, taking slow steps towards the hitman. "If you pull the trigger, I will pull my trigger and believe me, with this distance between us, you have no chance of surviving at all." The hitman's finger twitched around the pistol's trigger. Sebastian jabbed his gun against the hitman's chest and lowered his head till his mouth was next to the hitman's ear. "Put the gun down." The hitman shuddered and Sebastian sniggered. "Put. It. Down."
The longest two minutes any of them had ever experienced passed and the hitman lowered his arm. Sebastian chuckled quietly and he straightened his posture.
"Who is your employer?" Sebastian coaxed as he took the pistol from the man. "Come on, I still have the gun cocked. And I'm starting to feel tired so if I get angry, I'm not sure I'll be able to stop myself from accidentally pulling the trigger."
The hitman released a breath and gulped. "Carole Hudson."
Sebastian wasn't surprised. He nodded and took off the hitman's hat, putting it on himself.
"Alright, did she tell you anything other than asking you to kill Miss Berry?"
The hitman shook his head. "No."
"Okay." Sebastian pulled out his checkbook from inside his jacket and scribbled a huge amount of money on it before tearing it off. He handed it to the hitman. "Take the money and get out of United States before she hires another one to kill you."
The hitman snatched the check and took a look at it before nodding. Then he swung around and scrambled away.
Sebastian's smirk vanished as soon as the hitman was gone. He uncocked his gun and stuck it back into the back of his pants before making his way to his car. Rachel was already in there, sweating with anxiety and heat. He climbed into the driver's seat, quickly started the engine and drove away.
"You okay?" She nodded frantically. "You knew it was Carole Hudson, didn't you?" She released a sigh and closed her eyes, resting her head against the chair. "Well, guess like she's figured out who you are."
"I intended for her to figure out who I am."
"Are you insane?" Sebastian exclaimed. "You could have died!"
"I didn't know she'd take action so quickly," she replied curtly, fanning herself with her hand. "Just when I thought I was gonna give up," she muttered, "She wants to come back for more."
"Wait, what?" Sebastian said. "You're giving up?"
She took a moment to rethink her decision and finally gave a decisive nod. "Bring me to Quinn's apartment. I need to talk to you and Puck."
He couldn't say he wasn't surprised when he saw Sebastian's Lexus pulling up in front of him. Puck snuffed the cigarette he'd been smoking with the toe of his sneaker and waited for Sebastian to come out. Instead, the window rolled down to reveal both Sebastian and Rachel in the car. His eyebrows arched and they stared at each other for a few long moments. He saw the look in Rachel's eyes and nodded.
"I'll…I'll call her. You wait here," he said and fished out his phone, dialing Quinn's number. Quinn sounded tired and he gulped. "I have to go for a moment. Can you stay in the apartment until I get back?"
He heard her sigh. "Surely you are kidding me, Puckerman. I have a bakery to uphold. Of course I'm not staying the apartment! I'll go there with Santana. Everything's going to be okay," Quinn said.
He swallowed and looked over his shoulder to see his friends staring at him curiously. "No, Quinn. It's just for fifteen minutes or so. I promise I'll be back. Come on, do this for me. Rachel's gonna screw my ass if you don't," he whispered the final part.
There was a pause before she responded, "Fifteen minutes, Puck."
"Thank you!" he exclaimed. "I'll buy you lunch later. Bye!" He hung up and ran back to the car, barely climbing into the backseat before Sebastian floored the engine, pulling away. They stopped not far from the apartment building, Sebastian throwing the car in park before Puck spoke. "So, before you tell me anything, I have something to tell you first, Rachel."
She turned in her seat. "What did she say?"
"She's a really scary woman when she wants to be," Puck commented. "Anyway, I told her everything you told me. And she got pissed when I said you said you're going to pay for it. I told you she's gonna get pissed," he added. She rolled her eyes. "She wanted to go to your place in spite of the thing between you two about not seeing each other for the moment. So she was really pissed. I stopped her. I told her to look over those pamphlets and think about it."
"So she's thinking about it?"
He nodded and licked his lips. "She also thinks that you think she's your charity case."
"Okay, I don't wanna interrupt but five minutes are up. You have ten minutes left so why don't you get on with it?" Sebastian intruded impatiently, tapping his finger on the wheel. "Rachel, tell us what you are thinking."
Rachel took her lower lip between her teeth and took a breath. "I know this is abrupt, but I have decided to relinquish the plan," Rachel announced. Sebastian only stared at her while Puck nearly choked. "Mr. Schue gave me some worthy advice during my visit and…Quinn did ask me to give up. So I'm no longer going through with this."
"Even when Evans had already signed the lease to that lot?" Sebastian began. "Even when she found out about you and tried to kill you?"
"Wait, what?" Puck said. "Who tried to kill Rachel?"
Rachel covered her eyes with her palm and sighed. "Someone was following me at the airport just now. It was a hitman. Sebastian took care of him and apparently, his employer is Carole Hudson. I think it's obvious that she's discovered my identity."
"What are you going to do about it?" Puck asked.
"I'm still giving up," she said, staring pointedly at Sebastian. "I can also take care of myself. Don't say a word, Sebastian Smythe. That situation just now was inevitable and coincidental because as it so happens – and in case you don't know – I cannot carry a weapon in an airport. I'll get caught." Her voice dripped with sarcasm. "Also, dear Sebastian, I know self-defense."
Sebastian could only purse his lips and looked out the window. Puck looked from Sebastian to Rachel. He opened his mouth but then his phone rang. He hurriedly fetched it out and groaned when he saw Quinn's name. He looked up at them and said, "I'll be at your house tonight, Rach. We'll talk later. Now, do you have a new cigarette pack?" Sebastian carelessly took one out of the glove box and tossed it to him. "Thanks," he muttered and climbed out of the car, running while answering the call. "I'll be there in five!"
He hung up and ran like a maniac towards the apartment building. Quinn's expression was grim when she saw him. He panted and swallowed to moisturize his throat. "Sorry, sorry. I went to get a new pack of cigarettes."
She shook her head and stalked away. He quickly followed her. "You keep smoking those things and you're gonna die," she commented dryly and waited for him to unlock his car. "And why didn't you take your car to get them?"
"I felt like taking a walk," he lied and pulled away from the curb.
She huffed and crossed her arms. She turned and looked out the window. He could only sigh and shake his head. Women, he thought and grimaced.
"What's got your panties in a twist?" Santana questioned her with a frown after she'd snapped at a nearly tearful Tina for the fifth time. Quinn threw the heavy dough on the station, kneading forcefully and ignoring Santana. But she wouldn't have it. "I'm still waiting here."
Quinn looked up with a scowl and retracted her hands from the dough. "I am not feeling well now, Santana. So please shut up before I throw this into your face," she warned, pointing at the dough.
Santana rolled her eyes. "You said that like you've never thrown dough in my face before." Quinn rolled her eyes and went back to kneading. Santana eyed her warily before she decided to tread the finest line between them. "I saw the pamphlets," she said. Quinn stiffened and Santana knew she'd hit a nerve. "You're considering surgery again?" No answer. "Mom, Blaine and I will support you if that's what you want, Q. We all want the best for you."
"I don't want to talk about it," Quinn responded curtly. "Stop talking or our customers will be eating spit instead of cookies."
"Well, if I can get you to talk, I'd rather let them eat my absolutely wonderful saliva," Santana quipped.
Quinn gave a disgusted growl and glared at her sister before returning to work.
Puck parked his car next to Sebastian's and Rachel's in the garage and climbed out. Sebastian appeared from the door which led to the interior of the house. Puck nodded at him and they both walked in to find Rachel going over some papers in her study. Sebastian knocked before they went in, taking a seat in front of Rachel. She ignored their presences and continued looking at the papers and occasionally tapping numbers in the calculator. They waited.
The silence stretched for twenty minutes long when she was finally done. She put the papers in separate folders and put them aside, and then she stared at them. They stared back.
She smacked her lips. "I need a drink," she stated and stood up, walking over to her liquor cabinet to grab a bottle of vodka. "You guys want some?" They nodded and she poured three glasses for each of them. She sat back down and drank the entire glass down before pouring more into her glass. She set it down on the table. "I am giving up."
"We know that," Puck said.
"I know you know that. But I don't know if you know what giving up entails," Rachel replied.
Sebastian let out a loud breath and put his glass on the desk. "Okay, then tell us what giving up entails."
"Sam Evans bought the bound-to-be failing shop lot before I've made my decision of giving up," she began. "And even though I said I want to stop, I wouldn't really despise to idea of seeing them cry over a huge amount of loss because of that shop." Grins spread across both men's faces and she smirked. "As for Carole Hudson, you don't have to worry," she emphasized again to Sebastian. "I'll take care of myself. I have my gun ready anytime. Nothing will happen to me."
"You kind of also asked me to release false news about a definitely failing stock in the market," Puck mentioned. "And I've already released them, to an exec in the Hudson Organization."
Rachel nodded. "So it shall be a really big amount of loss," she announced. "Okay. But there will be no more moves you need to make because all I want to do now is focus on the corporation's operation."
Puck gave her a skeptical look. "What about Quinn?"
Rachel's head turned to him abruptly. He raised his brow challengingly at him. She set her jaw and picked up the glass. Her lips hovered over the edge of the glass, then she downed the vodka in one gulp. "I will…I will make my appearance when I'm ready. Before that happens, you are still on guard duty."
He furrowed his brows. "I thought you were ready already." She refused to make eye contact with him and he leaned in. "Look, Rach, I know I've been kind of abrasive about Quinn before, but that's because I didn't really know her. Now that we've become quite good friends, I don't want to see her hurting anymore. You have no idea what I have to see on her face every single day." She winced at his tone. He ignored it. "She maybe laughing and smiling, but she isn't happy, not without you. So if you really love her, go see her. If you don't, you should tell her as early as possible to end her misery."
"Do not question my love for her," she warned him with a cold tone.
He clenched his jaw and nodded. "Then go see her."
"It's not that simple."
"What's not simple about it? Drive your damn bike or car there, and tell you love her and you've given up. It is simple!"
Rachel gritted her teeth and she glared at the floorboards, unwilling to look at any of her best friends. Sebastian looked from Puck to Rachel, then back to Puck. He kind of thought this was fun. Rachel and Puck fighting was always the highlight of his life.
"She asked me to give up earlier, Puck. I refused to. I told her I couldn't give up. And now I have to suddenly announce to her that I've given up? Like you said, she's miserable! She'd think I purposefully want her to be miserable before finally telling her I'd give up. She'd think I'm fooling around with her like a toy. She'd think she's not anyone important in my life."
"Well, is she?" She stared at him as he just asked the stupidest question ever. He kind of did. "If she is, you should go there now and end her misery. Let her see your face. Let her…let her kiss you or do whatever it is that you women do. Go see her instead of sitting here and let each of you miss the other like some stupid indecisive people."
"When was it that you have become the Rachel and Quinn guru, Puckerman?" Sebastian amusedly asked. Puck glared at him and he smirked. "I don't completely disagree with Puck, Rachel."
"You still disagree then?"
Sebastian shrugged. "I've never been in love before. I don't know how it feels like. So somewhere inside me will disagree because I, personally, think the term 'no strings attached' is godsend." She rolled her eyes and he grinned. "However, you do love her. She loves you. I don't see what's so complicated about that."
"What happened to your persistent disagreement about me giving up?"
"I don't think I have any say in that."
She nodded. Puck looked hopeful. She contemplated her choices, tracing the rim of her glass as she thought. Her gaze traveled to clock on her desk. It was already eleven. Her eyes narrowed a little as she thought about whether to go or not. She'd take that chance.
She stood up and went to get her jacket and put it on. When she looked back, they're having identical impish grins on their faces. She couldn't help but smile.
"If I come back heartbroken, you guys might need to get me a therapist stat," she said.
"Like you need a therapist," Sebastian commented and she rolled her eyes, walking out of the study. "Bye, boys!"
Sebastian and Puck sat in the room for a minute longer before Puck turned to Sebastian. "Wanna go to Mike's?"
The other man gave the suggestion a thought and then nodded. "Yeah, after all these months, I need to loosen up." He stood up and together, they went to Mike's to finally knock the pressure off their shoulders.
She stopped in front of Quinn's bakery and saw the lights still on. She frowned. Why wasn't Quinn home? Didn't Puck send her home just now? Concerned, she climbed out of the car and walked into the bakery. It was empty inside. Her heart thudded and she walked into the back without hesitation. She nearly collapsed with relief when she saw Quinn standing by the station, staring into the space.
The noise Rachel made snapped her out of her trance and she turned to see Rachel standing at the door. Her eyes widened slightly and her mouth hung slightly open. For the first time, Quinn was left speechless. Her grip on the edge of the baking station tightened unconsciously as she looked into Rachel's eyes. Her mind wandered. She wondered how many months had it been since she met Rachel, excluding the time when she was drunk.
That was four months ago.
Quinn hadn't realized she'd missed Rachel so much. Sure, she did miss the brunette. But seeing the brunette in real life now, it all seemed like a dream. She hoped not. She couldn't imagine herself suffering a heartbreak anymore. Her anger towards the woman was temporarily forgotten. Quinn opened her mouth but couldn't find the words to say anything. Neither could Rachel.
Finally, Rachel said, "I gave up."
The words echoed in Quinn's ears. She stared wide-eyed at Rachel, her jaw hung open. She stammered and cleared her throat. "Gave up as in?"
"Gave up as in not proceeding with the plan anymore. I am no longer focusing on taking revenge on the Hudsons," Rachel elaborated. She took a tiny step forward. "I am giving up. For my own sake and for the sake of our happiness."
Suddenly, Quinn felt the anger boiling inside her veins again and she strode forward. Rachel mistook her intentions and opened her arms. Instead, Quinn's palm connected harshly to Rachel's face. Her head swung left and her cheek reddened. Rachel grimaced and touched her cheek.
"Not sure I deserve that," she muttered.
"Do you have any idea how worried I was about you? Do you have any idea how I suffered through missing you every damn day without crying unless I'm in my room? Do you have any idea how much I wanted to see you safe and sound in front of me these past few months?" Quinn snarled, angry tears running down her face. "I have to listen to my sister and brother talk crap about you. I have to pull through the looks they've given me. I have to pull through the heartache I feel every goddamn day by myself. And where were you?" Rachel could only stare at her with her face torn. "You weren't here," Quinn whispered, shaking her head and furiously wiping her tears with her sleeve.
The brunette swallowed and extended her arm, but put it back down. She didn't know if Quinn could bear having her touch her. She understood why Quinn was angry with her. She was angry with herself. Rachel inhaled and breathed out harshly.
"I don't have the slightest idea on what you're doing here but if my sister is crying because of you, I will kill you." They turned to see Santana stalking towards them and stopped next to Quinn, glaring at Rachel.
Rachel nodded. She threw her arms up a little and then slapped her palms against her thighs. "Go ahead. Kill me," she said softly to Santana, her eyes on Quinn. Santana's jaw dropped. Rachel frowned a little and shook her head. "I know I can't just ask you to forgive me," she directed the statement at Quinn. Quinn scoffed and turned aside, shaking her head. "It's not that easy. But I did promise you that I'd come back for you when I'm done. I promised I'd come back to see you."
Quinn stared at her, her lips pursed into a thin line. Santana clenched her fists, resisting the urge to just punch Rachel.
"It sure isn't done. I don't want to let it be done either. I want to…I want to do my best to have you. I want to finally call you mine." Santana's jaw couldn't be wider. Quinn was did a mental double take as she listened to Rachel. Rachel wasn't ashamed. She also wanted Santana to hear this; at the very least so she could get off her ass. "Believe it or not from now on I won't leave you alone. I'll keep on going after you until you accept me and let me kiss you again. I'll not give up until you agree to be mine. I'll not give up until you let me put this ring on your finger."
Quinn gasped when Rachel pulled out a ring from her pocket. "Rachel," she breathed.
Rachel smiled sheepishly and shrugged. "I got this the day after you left my house. I kept it in my pocket every single day. All the while hoping one day, you can be its owner."
"Damn, Berry, who knew?" Santana whispered, awestruck. Her eyes stayed on the sparkling ring now laying on Rachel's palm.
"Santana, can you go out for a second and let us talk alone?" Quinn ordered, eyes never leaving the shorter brunette before her.
Santana lifted her head to look at Quinn, ready to protest, but the look on the blonde's face was enough to stop her. She sighed and walked towards the door, stopping for a minute next to Rachel. "If you make her cry again, don't think I'll hesitate from throwing you off the Brooklyn Bridge," she whispered menacingly. "And I am telling you this as politely as I can." Rachel nodded. Satisfied, Santana went out to the front, not bothering to close the door behind her
Quinn and Rachel stared at each other before Quinn said, "You were right. It's not as easy as you coming back and me just forgiving you." Quinn looked down at her upturned palms. "I actually came here this late at night, risking myself, because I know Puck's gone back home and I need some much-needed alone time," she stressed. "And with my mother and siblings talking like cars honking in the streets, I'd rather not stay there. So I came here. Not long after, you suddenly appear right there at the door." At least Rachel knew to look guilty. "I think I need at least a reason why you suddenly gave up."
"I took your advice."
"I also took some advice from a very important person to me," Rachel finished. "He told me to not live my life without you if I am unhappy just so I can see that damned family topple. He told me it's not worth it if I can't be happy. He told me if that short moment of satisfaction is worth all the heartbreak, I should go to hell. He told me a lot of things. But really, all of them are about how I should give up and be with you and be happy." Rachel smiled to herself. "And he's right. Just seeing you, safe and alive, is enough for me to forget about the bitter thing that is life." Quinn's heart quickened and she gripped the edge of the baking station tightly. "Are you trying to sweet-talk me?"
Rachel grinned when she heard the teasing tone in Quinn's question. "Is it working?" she asked while arching her brow.
The blonde couldn't help but smile at Rachel's attempt to joke with her. She shrugged. "Slightly."
Rachel's heartbeat faltered. That was a joke. Was Quinn serious or was Quinn being teasing just now? Rachel shifted her posture and crossed her arms. "Is this…is this you forgiving me?"
Quinn stared at Rachel for a moment before smiling a little. "No." The look of disappointment on Rachel's face made her chuckle. "This is me…letting you make an effort to get me to forgive you." Rachel grinned and she grinned back. "And now, first step of you trying to make me for you is buying me supper because I am starving. I missed dinner."
"Santana won't kill me, right?" Rachel asked as Quinn made her way past her.
"Don't worry. I'll stop her if she tried."
Somehow, that didn't really ease Rachel's mind.
Quinn sat down opposite Rachel at the booth and looked around. The diner was dingy at best, and it was loud inside. She didn't even know there's a 24-hour diner nearby! When she turned back to Rachel, the brunette was smiling at her. Quinn raised her brow.
"This is your way of getting forgiveness?" she asked, unimpressed.
Rachel chuckled and flagged a waitress down. "Oh you won't use that tone with me again when you get a taste of their food." A waitress approached them in a skimpy uniform and Rachel didn't even bat an eye. Quinn's lack of enthusiasm diminished as she watched Rachel making her order while looking directly at the waitress instead of lusting after her like any other lesbian or bisexual would. "So, Quinn, what do you want?"
Quinn snapped of her reverie and cleared her throat. "Um…just a cheeseburger will do. Extra cheese," she added. "Diet coke."
The redheaded waitress smiled seductively before walking away with their order. Quinn looked at Rachel, bewildered. Rachel smirked. "She's into you." Quinn's face morphed into one of complete ridicule. "You into her?" Rachel asked innocently.
The blonde looked taken aback at Rachel's question and she averted her eyes from Rachel. She hesitated but smiled a little. "I'm not into her." She chanced a glance to see a smile growing on Rachel's face. She grinned and looked at Rachel amusedly. "Are you jealous?" she asked.
The brunette stared at her blankly. "Well, I did say I want you to be my wife," she evaded.
Quinn's grin grew wider. "Ah…" she drawled. "So you are jealous."
Rachel rolled her eyes and shook her head with her grin still intact. Quinn couldn't help but laugh. The sound of her laughter was just music to Rachel's ears. "You are unbelievable, you know that?" Quinn shook her head firmly. Rachel laughed. "Well then, I'm telling you now. You are unbelievable."
"You love me," Quinn blurted and quickly shut her mouth. Shit.
Rachel sobered and she smiled sweetly at Quinn. She nodded. "I do." Quinn swallowed and watched Rachel brushed a strand of hair behind her ear. "I love you so much that I nearly went to kill Finn Hudson that day you told you he nearly raped you. I love you so much that I'd really love to bring you to Las Vegas now and elope."
"You're making things awkward," Quinn quickly intercepted.
"No," Rachel firmly said. "I'm not making things awkward. And if I am by saying the truth, so be it. Because I do love you. Look, I know I still have a long way to go to get you to pardon everything I've done in the past. And I will go that way however long it is. But…many things happened since I met you that taught me only honesty can really help me. I wasn't honest with you until you stormed up to my house. And I felt like my heart was being put on fire every single day. You just…you made me speak the truth. And I felt good after that!"
"You felt good?"
Rachel nodded. "I felt like a fifty thousand pound weight was finally off my shoulders. I felt like…like I don't have to hide from you anymore, do you understand?"
Quinn stared at Rachel and nodded. "Yeah, I guess."
"I feel wonderful now. It's really amazing that we get to sit together and talk again. I don't remember the last time we did this," Rachel commented with a grin.
The blonde raised her eyebrows. "I do." She sobered when she saw Rachel's smile faded. "I don't blame you that day. I was not and still am not angry with you for that day. You left me." Rachel grimaced. "But I knew that there must have been something holding you back. And there was." She opened her mouth as she looked at Rachel struggling with her emotions. "I…I can't deny that I love you." Rachel's eyes snapped to hers and she managed a twitch to her lips. "I can't. Honestly, before you came back, I want so much to not love you that I'd do anything to get that goddamn hurt that's been in my chest forever out."
Rachel ran a hand through her hair and wanted to say something but the waitress interrupted her by approaching them with their food. She put a receipt near Quinn and mouthed 'call me' to her before walking away. Quinn took the receipt saw a name and a number written there. She couldn't help but laugh a little. She handed the receipt to a curious Rachel. The brunette broke out laughing too when she saw the scribbled words on the paper.
"Oh my God, someone just gave you her number," Rachel mused, admiring the neat scrawl. "She's got a nice handwriting."
"I feel bad that she's gonna get disappointed because I won't call her," Quinn said.
Rachel looked up from the receipt. "Or you can just walk up to her now and tell her you're not interested."
Quinn considered that option and nodded. "I'll do that later."
They dug into their food, leaving only a few crumbs on their plates after just a couple of minutes. Rachel paid the bill. Quinn told the waitress she wasn't interested. Surprisingly enough, the waitress didn't take it too hard. She only looked over Quinn's shoulder at Rachel and then winked before looking back at the blonde. She told Quinn she got it. The blonde didn't know what she 'got', so she only nodded plainly and walked out into the empty street with Rachel.
"You haven't dated in awhile, have you?" Rachel asked. Quinn laughed. "Figured since you're so…oblivious to everything around you." Quinn nodded and puffed out. The white form taking part around her lips and she grinned. "I can't believe it's getting to winter already."
"Time sure flies," Rachel commented. "Wonder if it'll snow."
"Be careful when it's snowing. You'll get snowballed into," Quinn warned with a mischievous glint in her eyes.
Rachel smirked. "Not before you do."
Quinn grinned and nudged Rachel with her shoulder. "Is that a threat?"
"It's a favor returned," Rachel teased. She rubbed her hands together and blew air into them. "God, it's so cold."
Quinn stopped and turned to Rachel. She reached her hand out and demanded, "Give me your hands." Rachel looked at her suspiciously. "I'm not gonna bite, Rachel. Give me your hands!" The brunette put her hands into Quinn's and the blonde quickly took them to her lips, blowing hot air into Rachel's palms while rubbing them with her mitten-covered hands. Spasms of shock and pleasure ran up Rachel's arms rapidly, burning a trail of comfortable fire into her system. Their eyes met and there were sparks thrown into one another as Quinn continued to warm Rachel's hands. "Does that feel good?"
Rachel was dazed and she nodded numbly. "Yeah, it feels great," she whispered back, looking into Quinn's smoldering hazel-green eyes.
Quinn stretched her lips into a small grin and nodded with a raised eyebrow. "Yeah?" Rachel breathed out a laugh and nodded. Quinn tilted her head and slowly released Rachel's hands, missing the feeling of them already. She took off one of her mittens and handed it to Rachel. "Here. You'll not feel that cold with this on."
Rachel put it on her left hand, while Quinn put hers on her right. Rachel lifted her bare right hand. "What about my other hand?"
The baker stared at the outstretched hand and then her own. Then she gulped. For the sake of their warmth, she'd risk it. She smiled and tilted her head to one side. "I guess we'll have to do it this way." She reached out and grabbed Rachel's hand with her bare one. "There, feel better?"
Rachel grinned and nodded. "Much." So much better. They walked a couple of miles before Rachel asked, "Where did the warmth go anyway?"
"The cold chased it away, I guess."
From afar and in strangers' eyes, they might as well be a real couple.
"What does my father want?" Finn asked the doctor. He looked for a name tag and saw the name 'Arthur Abrams' embossed on the plate. "Dr Abrams, can you tell me what my father wants with you?"
Dr Abrams pushed his spectacles up with his forefinger and swallowed. Finn's interest heightened at that gesture. "He was…he was coming for his monthly check up. I am the doctor he consulted. Though, I am not your family doctor. I assume you're Mr Finn Hudson?" Finn nodded. "Well, you should keep a close eye to your father from now on because he is…his heart is deteriorating and he has been taking medications but it'll be better if there's someone there to look out for him."
Finn stared hard at Dr Abrams for a moment, seeing the deep – much too deep – concern in the doctor's eyes. But he finally nodded. "I will. Thank you for telling me, Dr Abrams. I appreciate it. Goodbye." With that, he walked out the front door and to his car. He stared hard at the steering wheel as a drop of tear traced a path down his cheek, followed by a dozen others.
Quinn did a double take when she saw Puck standing by his car outside. He let out a sigh and rolled his eyes.
"Apparently, I'm still on guard duty," Puck said.
Quinn drew her brows together and she opened her mouth for a moment before saying, "That makes no sense."
"That's what I said and she said for your safety, I have to do it. And I have to do it since she's paying my salary," he replied curtly. "Now get in the damn car." She got in and he started it. "So are you going for breakfast or straight to the bakery?"
"Rachel's office," Quinn announced. He looked at her, surprised. "I wanna talk to her about this silly thought she has about me being in grave danger."
"You were kind of in grave danger," Puck muttered, heading towards the office building he worked in.
She stared at him skeptically. "Am I still?"
He gave it a thought and lifted his shoulders in a shrug. "You have to ask Rachel about that."
She inclined her head in a nod. "Exactly. And you have to bring me to her so I can ask her."
"I should be paid for being your chauffeur every single day," Puck complained.
"She made you do this. You ask her to pay you."
Sebastian looked taken aback when Quinn walked in from the door with Puck. His eyes widened and he averted his attention from the sexy receptionist behind the counter to them. His eyes found Puck and all the man gave him was a grin and a wink. He excused himself from the blushing receptionist and strode towards them in a few strides, taking hold of Puck's elbow.
"Excuse us for a minute, Miss Fabray, Puckerman and I need to talk," he said with a too wide smile and pulled Puck aside without waiting for a response from the blonde. They stopped far enough from Quinn so she couldn't hear them. "What the hell are you doing bringing Rachel's girlfriend here?" he hissed furiously.
Puck rolled his eyes and pulled his arm from Sebastian's tight grip. "First of all, Quinn is not Rachel's girlfriend. Not yet," he added. "And second, I didn't want to bring her here. She wanted to talk to Rachel. So I brought her here. Calm the fuck down. By the way, is the coffee machine working? I need some caffeine while blondie talks to Rachel."
Sebastian glared at him for moment before pulling him back towards Quinn. "Miss Fabray, Puck will bring you to Rachel's office right now," he said with a polite smile and forcefully pushed Puck towards her. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Miss Fabray."
Quinn stared at him in confusion and managed an awkward smile. "Yeah," she drawled uncertainly, "sure. It's a pleasure to meet you too, Mr…" she trailed off.
"Oh, Sebastian. Just call me…Sebastian," he said slowly. He shook her hand and released it quickly. "It would be better if you go now. Rachel's time is precious."
Puck ushered her to the elevator, throwing a dismissing look over his shoulder at his friend. Sebastian signaled that he'd be waiting at the cafeteria. Puck nodded and waited with Quinn for the elevator. He could sense the curiosity radiating off Quinn's body. He waited for the question. But she didn't really ask him anything. He looked at her weirdly before pressing the button to Rachel's office floor. They stopped short when Brittany stopped them from going in.
"Sorry, Puck, Miss Berry isn't available for the moment," Brittany told him, throwing a shocked glance at Quinn.
Quinn's lips stretched into a tiny smirk when she read the name plate on Brittany's chest. "Why isn't she available?"
Puck grunted and shoved his hands into his back pockets. "She's not screwing Montgomery's ass again, is she?" he said tiredly.
Brittany chuckled and nodded. "Actually, she is. I mean, she's gonna be losing money because she has to pay the salary of a bunch of incompetent workers," Brittany said. "So I think she's taking it out on Wes again, which I think is quite reasonable."
"Well then, you should go and tell her Quinn Fabray wants to talk to her. I'm sure as hell that she'd stop whatever it is she's doing just to entertain her," he gestured at Quinn.
Quinn stopped him by putting her hand on his arm. "No, let her finish whatever she's doing. I don't really want her distracted when I talk to her later," she voiced.
He nodded and they sat down on a sofa outside. They waited for twenty minutes more. Brittany had been juggling between completing her tasks and looking curiously at Quinn. The other blonde didn't waste the opportunity to check out her sister's girlfriend as well. Brittany was indeed beautiful.
And unbelievably tall.
Quinn could see from her looks that she was a very bubbly person. She didn't have enough time to look at her more when Wesley came out of Rachel's office looking beaten. Quinn raised her brows. Was Rachel really that strict? He looked up and smiled timidly at Puck.
"Work this shit out, Wes," Puck told the Human Resources Manager. His head hung low as he walked away. Puck turned to Brittany. "Now, will you please go tell Rachel that Quinn's waiting to meet her?" Brittany nodded and went in. "That man just got quite the verbal beating," Puck muttered.
"Is she really that fierce?" Quinn stage-whispered. "I could literally see a tail between his legs when he walked away just now."
Puck scoffed and shook his head while clicking his tongue. "Oh you wouldn't know and you wouldn't want to know. Let's leave it at that," he said. The door opened suddenly to reveal Rachel, Brittany lurking behind her. Rachel stared at her wide-eyed before looking at Puck, then back at Quinn. He stood up, slapping his palms against his thighs. "Okay, I'll just go and wait at the cafeteria. Call me when you're done. Good luck, Berry." He strode away, whistling tunelessly.
Quinn got up on her feet and smiled at Rachel. "Can I…can we talk?" she asked.
Rachel opened her mouth for a moment before nodding numbly, stepping aside to let Quinn in. "No visitors until I say so, Brittany," she muttered when Brittany passed by to walk out. "And please, do not eavesdrop this time." Brittany's eyes widened and Quinn smirked.
"It really isn't my fault when you and Puck talk like the office is soundproofed," Brittany argued. Rachel rolled her eyes when Quinn snorted. Brittany laughed.
"Just…try to refrain from listening," Rachel ordered and closed the door. She locked it behind her for safe measure and turned to see Quinn looking at the ornaments in her display cabinet. She leaned back against the door and stared at the blonde. She was sure that no matter how many times she sees Quinn, she won't ever grow tired of looking at her. She was so beautiful that it literally took Rachel's breath away. Rachel pushed away from the door and approached the blonde. "So what do you wanna talk about?"
Quinn looked at Rachel's reflection over her shoulder through the glass of the cabinet and turned around to face her. "Who's Sebastian?" Rachel cocked her brow at the unusual question. "We ran into him just now at the lobby and he seemed…furious at Puck. And you two seem to be close because he kept calling you Rachel instead of Miss Berry, like how Brittany calls you."
Rachel nodded slowly as she turned towards the liquor cabinet and took out a bottle of champagne, poured two glasses and handed one to Quinn. She gestured towards the couch and armchair. "Sit down, please," she said and settled down in the armchair. Quinn sat on the couch near Rachel. "Sebastian is one of my accomplices – other than Puck – in the former plan of taking revenge on the Hudson family. He is…a very close friend of mine."
"So is he the one you brought to the hospital with you?" Quinn asked bluntly, staring straight into Rachel's eyes. "You know, with the pamphlets and the offer to pay for literally everything. Is he the one you brought to see the doctor?"
The brunette's movement to bring the glass to her lips halted and she stared into the space, unable to bring herself to look at Quinn. She then drank a little of the champagne before putting it down, and slowly turned to Quinn, gathering all sincerity into her eyes to let Quinn know she meant everything she was going to say. "I know you are displeased that I offered to pay for everything if you ever decided to have the surgery performed. But you have to know that I absolutely do not think you are a charity case or…for the lack of better words, a kept woman." Quinn raised her brow. "Quinn, come on! Listen to me!"
"Kept woman?" Quinn repeated. "Really?"
"I said I don't think that you are a kept woman. And you will never be a kept woman. If I want to be in a relationship with you, I'd flaunt it in public to let everyone know you're taken! And I do! But I have to earn the opportunity and not take you for granted. You are so much more than that." She paused, waiting for Quinn to respond. When Quinn didn't say anything, she kept on. "I merely offered to pay because I have the initial thought that you were in some sort of financial problem, so I didn't want you to strain it any further."
Quinn looked at Rachel intently before inclining her head in understanding. "Well, now I am declining your offer," she said politely.
Rachel stared at her for a moment before nodding. "I understand."
"That was not the reason I came here today, though," Quinn said. Rachel raised her eyebrows in curiosity. Quinn braced her weight on her elbows and laced her fingers together. "Am I still in danger?" she asked carefully, narrowing her eyes slightly at Rachel. "I thought that with you canceling the crazy idea of taking revenge you'd relieve Puck of his 'guard duties' from now on," she air quoted.
"Frankly, I'm not sure," Rachel replied. "Neither Finn Hudson or Sam Evans has contacted me recently but I am sure they will in the future." Quinn looked at her curiously and she took a deep breath. "I kind of introduced them – or Sam Evans, for that matter – to a failing shop lot to buy to stop them from buying your shop lot. That was before I even made the decision to give up. So I am pretty darn sure they're gonna find me if they find out that the lot isn't really earning them any money, which could be anytime."
"Why do I sense that there's something else?"
"I also asked Puck to release information on a rising stock to an exec in the Hudson Organization," Rachel blurted quickly, unable to be dishonest to Quinn.
"And it isn't really rising…at all."
Rachel opened her mouth for a second and shook her head. "Not really," she said with a smile.
Quinn looked at her and let out a stifled laugh, letting her head hung low. "And how will that actually affect my safety?"
"Somehow, they will know you are the most important person in my life. And trust me when I tell you that they will do anything to get back at me," Rachel said easily. Quinn was astonished at Rachel's latest revelation. She was the most important person in her life. The brunette smiled. "Until I can be sure that you are safe, I can't let you wander off alone."
The blonde shook her head and combed her hand through her golden locks. "Just a curious question," she began and was interrupted when her phone rang. She grumbled under her breath as she pulled out her phone from her pocket and read Santana's caller ID on the screen. "I'm not free right now, Santana," she gritted.
"Ha. Ha. Very funny. Get your ass here now, Quinn. We need an extra pair," Santana grumbled coldly into the speaker.
"Be there as fast as I can manage, now shut up." She hung up without waiting for an answer and shoved her phone back into her pocket. "So…just a curious question," she repeated. Rachel nodded. "What will you do if they really harmed me in one way or another?"
"I'll hunt them down and kill them. Literally."
Puck strolled in the doors leading to cafeteria and winked at a passing waitress with a cocky grin before approaching Sebastian's table. He nodded gratefully at him when he saw a cup of hot chocolate on the table for him. Sebastian nodded back and drank his mocha. The mohawked man tugged on his mohawk a little and drank the chocolate. Sebastian frowned.
"You know, pulling at your mohawk won't make your hair grow longer," Sebastian said dryly, sipping on his mocha.
Puck laughed and shook his head. "Gotta try once in awhile. By the way, tell that kid there the chocolate's really good," he said, nodding at the barista.
"Tell him yourself. I ain't no Pony Express," Sebastian replied. "So why did you bring her here again?"
"I told you, Quinn wanted to talk to Rachel. So I brought her here," Puck explained once more. "I was intending on going on with being a lowly-paid security guard."
Sebastian's brow rose. "Lowly-paid? Your salary as a General Manager is more than enough. What else do you want?"
"Buddy, lesson number one. Nobody in this world will ever think their money is enough. Human beings are greedy. They get this much, they will want more. That's how the world works. It's a kind of balance," Puck theorized. Sebastian rolled his eyes. "I intend to tour around the world when I retire."
"From being a man-whore?" Sebastian deadpanned.
Puck narrowed his eyes. "No, you idiot, I'll not retire from being a man-whore, as you so well put it. How can I? It's awesome, jumping from bed to bed. I'm talking about retiring from working with Rachel – and you. I'm growing tired of looking at the both of you every day."
"Likewise, my friend," Sebastian answered. "You gotta marry someone someday."
"Please don't tell me you wanna get married." Puck had a look on his face that was close to disgust.
"Not now." Sebastian shook his head and then tilted his head to one side with a shrug. "Maybe when I turn thirty."
"That is so boring. Married life is boring."
Sebastian chuckled and crossed his arms. "Tell Quinn that when she and Rachel get married in the future," Sebastian drawled.
"I'll tell her that. Don't worry."
Sebastian's brows furrowed and he cleared his throat. "Aren't you scared of…contacting sex disease with all these conquests you have?" Sebastian asked. "I mean, I've heard a lot of sad stories from my friends' friends who are players like you."
"I live. I don't fear."
Sebastian smirked and looked up to see Quinn entering the cafeteria with Rachel behind. "You seem to be awfully afraid of them." He jerked his head towards the women approaching them and Puck turned to look at them.
"Yeah, they are unbelievably scary," Puck muttered.
"Who is?" Quinn asked.
Santana tagged along when they went out for lunch today. Puck still hadn't fulfilled his promise of lunch. They stopped by Mrs Motta's restaurant to say hello and then made their way to the Chinese restaurant around the block. Santana made a note to order food that was expensive, much to Puck's dismay while Quinn smiled behind her menu.
They placed their orders. Puck was glaring at Santana while ordering and when the waitress walked away, he sneered at her. She shrugged and smiled sweetly at him. Quinn suppressed a laugh behind her closed lips and looked around. This was classic. She wondered if they would break out in a sidewalk brawl later. She turned back to them and saw the two of them indulging in a pretty intense staring contest. She raised her eyebrows and crossed her arms.
Maybe this wasn't such a good idea.
Initially, she was just thinking of introducing Santana to her best friend – she was surprised herself – but she never thought that their personalities were just too similar that they totally hit it off with an insulting conversation the minute they began walking. She tried to break it off but it proved to be a wasted effort since they completely ignored her presence and just kept on jabbing insults at each other. And their conversation was just…colorful.
Too colorful, she thought.
They did entertain her for the rest of their walk. She learned quite a handful of useful profanities that she was sure she could use against people she disliked. Namely, Finn Hudson. She would never refrain from offending the man every time he came with a brand new contract in hand. She was thankful that he ceased bothering her with the topic of buying the bakery from her because that would only be a waste of effort on his side. Not that she cared…
Her wavered attention came back when she realized they were talking again. Or…insulting, for that matter. Quinn rolled her eyes and leaned forward, catching their eyes. She smiled – a little too sweetly – at them.
"I would really appreciate it if you guys can stop arguing for the rest of lunch. Honestly, I don't know how you guys end up talking with each other like you're lifelong enemies when you only just met," Quinn said, frustrated.
Santana and Puck's eyes met across the table and they huffed in annoyance. "Well, you can say we just met…if you want to," she added, glaring at Puck. Puck rolled his eyes and crossed his arms.
Quinn narrowed her eyes and looked from one of them to the other repeatedly. "Am I missing something here?" she finally asked, suspicion lingering in the back of her mind. "Do you know each other before?" she asked again.
Puck moved his gaze from Santana to Quinn. "Yes," Puck finally said. "We do know each other." He turned back to the Latina with an evil smirk. "Quite intimately, I can tell you."
Quinn's eyes widened and her jaw hung slacked. "You guys had sex?" she stage-whispered dramatically. When they didn't respond, her jaw went wider. She ran her hand through her hair and threw her hands up. "Oh my God, this is rich. When did you have sex?"
"Why don't you say it a little louder? I think the ones occupying that table didn't hear you," Santana snapped.
"I didn't realize you were one for subtlety," Quinn mused.
"I am if it involves this dumbass here," Santana replied, gesturing at Puck. "What are you doing here, Puckerman?" she spat at Puck.
Puck shrugged. "I am friends with Quinn. Do I have to explain everything to you? You seem a lot happy with Brittany. Or do you want more of the infamous Puckasaurus?"
Santana gagged and turned to Quinn. "How did you know him?"
"Via Rachel, believe it or not." Quinn turned towards Puck. "So you know my sister but didn't tell me that you knew her these past few months?" He shrugged in indifference. "Did Rachel know you knew her?" He shook his head. "Hold up. When did you two have sex again?"
Santana gritted her jaw and glared daggers at Puck. "We had a short-term intimate dalliance last year."
"How much of a 'short-term'?" Quinn asked.
"Six months," Puck answered with a smug look on his face. "Six months in total. We were just…occasional sex buddies…or bunnies."
Quinn's face twisted with disgust. Santana moved forward in her seat and pointed her fork at him. "Don't make me stab you," she threatened.
He threw his head back and laughed. "Ah…I see that sassy and sexy side of yours is still there. I thought you've gone all marshmallow after dating Brittany. Did she tell you that dolphins are gay sharks?" Seeing Santana's surprised expression, he chuckled. "Oh yeah, she told me that too. Among a lot of other things. Did I tell you I slept with her too?"
Santana was near jumping onto her feet and stabbing him with that fork in her hand when Quinn stood up and pushed her down, looking sternly at Puck. "Okay, that's enough. Be a good guy and gal. We came out here for lunch, not to start World War Three." She sat back down when she was sure that Santana was in a calm state of mind. "So tell me, why do you hate each other so much?"
"We hated each other from the beginning," Puck said indifferently.
"He was acting like a sexist."
"She was acting like a bitch."
"We ended up having drunken angry sex with each other that night we met at the bar."
"And never stopped since."
"Each time we're angry at something or someone."
"We took it out on each other."
"Like the lions getting it on."
"We never really resolved our hatred for each other."
"It was like touch and go."
"Though I will admit it's good sex."
"I thought you're lesbian," Quinn interrupted their game of 'continuing your sentences'. She was getting annoyed at the verbal ping pong they had between them. And she was getting slightly disgusted by Puck's constant need to put in some crude remark.
Santana shrugged. "I am a lesbian. I don't develop feelings towards men and I don't really get turned on by men."
"Except for the Puckasaurus."
"Will you please shut up?" Quinn and Santana snapped simultaneously. He shut his mouth and rolled his eyes. There it was. Another woman to be afraid of. Great. Plenty rich.
Quinn looked back at her sister. "But why did you have sex with him? And for six months!" she exclaimed.
"He was there. I was sexually frustrated. I still respond to touch. So…it was all good. Until I grew tired of everything. I never looked for him since. Not once. I deleted his phone number. I stopped answering anonymous calls because I was afraid it was his booty call," Santana elaborated. "And I am telling you, I received text booty calls for the next one month. They were disgustingly…disgusting that I nearly threw up." Santana grimaced and ignored Quinn's amused look.
"Okay, are we done talking about this? 'Cause I know I am and I would love for this conversation to end. Santana, you know you'll keep seeing me and I'll keep seeing you and blah blah blah…so why don't we just ignore each other's hatred and try to be civil? Oh, food's here. Now shut up and eat, I'm starving."
Brittany skipped towards Santana when she saw her sitting in the lobby waiting for her to finish work. Santana opened her arms for Brittany to jump into and she wrapped her arms around the blonde, enjoying the feeling of embracing her girlfriend. When she opened her eyes, she saw Rachel standing near the elevator talking to someone with a briefcase in hand. Her eyes widened when Rachel threw stolen glances at her with a smirk and she quickly released her girlfriend.
Rachel bade goodbye to Sebastian and walked pass the couple canoodling in her lobby. She knew she should feel angry and displeased at the public display of affection in her building but she couldn't help but bring herself to be happy for Brittany. She deserved to be happy. And if Santana – much to Rachel's annoyance – was the source of happiness, she'd accept that.
"Just so you know, Quinn met her today," Rachel said as she passed by and her smirk broke into a full mischievous grin when she heard the audible gasp sounding behind her. She looked over her shoulder and winked at them before handing the valet her keys and waited for him to get her car.
Santana quickly looked at Brittany to see her grinning and nodding enthusiastically. The brunette stammered and then groaned, pulling Brittany out of the building with her and to her car. They buckled themselves and Santana drove them towards the food court where they usually grabbed dinner. Brittany went from enthusiastic to nervous during the entire car ride because of the scowl on Santana's face. When they finally sat down at a table, she didn't dare to look at Santana.
"When did you meet her?" Santana prompted, covering Brittany's hand with hers.
The blonde looked up from her noodles and put down her fork. "Just now," she replied timidly.
Santana's jaw dropped in shock. Why didn't Quinn tell her she met Brittany? Didn't they just have lunch together today? Though it was quite uneventful since all she did was spitting into her sweet and sour pork while arguing with Puck over she-didn't-remember-what.
"I didn't know she was coming!" Brittany hastily added, thinking that Santana was furious at her. "I just…Puck came by this morning, bringing her with him. Quinn wanted to talk to Rachel. So I kind of met your sister briefly. It's not really a big deal. She didn't really indicate that she knew I'm dating you."
"I'm pretty sure she knew because that nameplate itself is so much of a giveaway. Also, I told her that you work for Berry."
Brittany contemplated it and shrugged. "So maybe she does know. Why are you so concerned? Don't you want her to meet me? Are you ashamed of me?"
"What? No! No, Britts, I am not ashamed of you. I also want you to meet my family. I just don't know if this is a good time because there is a lot going on in my family right now," Santana explained softly. "Don't even think I'll be ashamed of you." Brittany resolved into a smile and she leaned in to kiss Santana before continuing to eat her noodles. "So…a little bird told me you slept with Puck before."
"Wait, you can talk to birds now? That is so cool!" Brittany beamed.
"No, I mean, Puck told me you slept with him," Santana said, trailing off. There was like a light bulb in her head now brightening and her eyes widened when she realized it. "Oh my God. That was…you…Noah Puckerman. Oh my God…" Brittany watched her in concern as she went into a personally panic-induced haze. "Oh God…That was Puck?" Santana exclaimed.
"Who was Puck?"
"You told me that Rachel has a close friend who's also her General Manager named Noah Puckerman," Santana said and Brittany nodded in confirmation. "Holy sweet hell, why didn't I realize that it was Puck all along?"
"You know Puck?" Brittany asked.
Santana looked up into Brittany's curious blue eyes and nodded numbly. "Yeah, yeah, sort of. We kind of…had sex for six months last year until I ended it," she muttered. "That was only six months! And I haven't met you! I was just…sexually frustrated. We were like each other's booty calls. Oh my God, I am ruining everything," she rambled.
Brittany laughed and quickly took one of Santana's hands in her own. "No, no, you're not ruining anything. It was just surprising that both of us slept with Puck. But six months? Wow. For a lesbian, you have quite something going on in there."
"Yeah, yeah, I know. I'm weird that way. So when did you…you know…with him?" Santana asked.
The blonde poised her chin in her other hand and seemed to be thinking until she murmured, "Like…two or three weeks before I met you."
Santana nodded and motioned for Brittany to eat, while she was chanting that she was going to kill Puck in the back of her mind.
And Quinn too.
Chapter 15: Chapter 15
I am so so so so sorry for updating so late! Seriously, I am so sorry! Two weeks is just too mean of me! I apologize. As an apology gift, I give you a shocker in this chapter!!!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Sebastian's eyes hadn't left the computer screen for thirty minutes. He was shocked at the email he just received from the lab. He couldn't even begin to fathom what Rachel's reaction would be. Hopefully she wouldn't end up killing someone.
Kurt's eyes widened when he saw Rachel entering the restaurant with Quinn following behind. He could still see them, since the walls were made of glass, and they seemed to be pretty close, judging by the grinning and talking. He drank his cup of coffee as he watched them intently.
His attention was snatched away when Blaine plopped down on the chair opposite him and grinned at him. Kurt turned to him with a smile and flagged to waitress to take Blaine's order. Kurt watched the man talking to the waitress and couldn't help but smile fondly. They had gone out for drinks a million times since he gathered up the courage to call him, but except for talking, they hadn't done anything else. They still called each other friends despite the obvious attraction hanging in the air.
"So, how's life been treating you?" Blaine asked. Kurt snapped out of his daze.
Kurt snapped out of his daze, and he raised his brow. "We just met two days ago," he offered. Blaine shrugged. He rolled his eyes. "Nothing's changed. I'm still…doing private investigation." Blaine nodded. "Did you know your sister is on a date?" he asked.
"What?" Kurt motioned to the restaurant across the street. Blaine narrowed his eyes and his mouth slowly formed into an 'O'. "I…didn't know." In fact, he didn't know his sister and Rachel were friends again.
Kurt watched him and then turned back to the women inside the restaurant. "They seem quite happy," he commented.
Blaine turned back to Kurt, sparing a brief glance at the waitress returning with his drink. He thanked her politely for the drink, taking a sip before placing it back down on the table. He turned to look at his sister once more, and then looked back again. "She wasn't happy before," he muttered under his breath.
The paler man watched the women talking animatedly in the restaurant. "She is now."
Secretly, Kurt hoped he and Blaine would end up like them.
"So I found out today that Santana and Puck had sex before," Quinn said casually as she fed herself spaghetti. She grimaced when Rachel choked on hers and had a coughing fit. Quinn handed her a glass of water and Rachel drank it, looking at her gratefully. "You okay?"
Rachel nodded and swallowed the water down her throat, putting the glass on the table. "What did you say just now?"
"I said Santana and Puck had sex last year," Quinn repeated. "For six months."
Rachel looked perplexed and she coughed again. "I thought…I thought she's lesbian?"
Quinn nodded frantically. "That's what I thought. And she said yes. She told me they met at a club and hated each other instantly. But she was sexually frustrated and Puck was there. So they had sex. They were kind of like…friends – or enemies – with benefits for six months."
"How did you find this out?"
"We had lunch together. I've now learned that I can never bring Santana and Puck together to anywhere. They're like…two dogs fighting for a bone," Quinn said with a grimace. "By the way, does Puck always make sexual innuendos? Like, constantly?"
Rachel laughed. "You're only learning that now? Wow, lucky you. I've had to listen to him for more than ten years."
"That's…tragic," Quinn said with a stifled laugh.
"I know right."
"I can't even stand him for ten minutes and you've had to endure it for more than ten years? That has got to be some record."
"I'm surprised it isn't in Guinness Record."
Quinn burst out laughing, surprising everyone in the place. She hung her head and smiled at them apologetically. When she turned back, Rachel's shoulders were shaking with laughter. Quinn narrowed her eyes playfully at her and Rachel shut her mouth, controlling herself, but her shoulders still shook sometimes. Quinn rolled her eyes and revealed a reluctant smile.
She enjoyed spending time with Rachel. The entrepreneur was beautiful, humorous, courteous, generous…She also shamelessly claimed to be in love with Quinn. She was…amazing. Quinn looked down so Rachel couldn't see the blush rising up her cheeks.
Rachel could see her blushing and she smiled in amusement. Her eyes stayed on the blonde as she fed herself more spaghetti. She couldn't move her gaze away even if she wanted to. Quinn was just too beautiful to look away from. Anybody who could look past Quinn and not notice her beauty was an idiot. She smiled subconsciously and it took her a lot – a lot – to not reach out and brush the stray strand of hair behind her ear.
I love you.
Quinn waved goodbye to Rachel one last time before making her way inside the building. She greeted the guard with a nod and a polite smile and went to her apartment floor. She was smiling like a lovesick teenager all the way up. She had a really great time with Rachel tonight. She was sure of it.
After dinner, they had gone to the docks to enjoy the sea breeze at night. It was wonderful to get to see such a great view and also to have an awesome companion next to her. Rachel had been nothing but chivalrous tonight. She had offered her jacket in fear that Quinn would be too cold out by the docks. She paid for dinner, refusing Quinn when she intended to pay her back, and before she drove Quinn back to her apartment, she'd bought Quinn a rose from the little girl who was selling them at the docks.
Quinn looked down at the aforementioned rose in her hand and smiled, imagining Rachel in her head. Who knew Rachel Berry could be such a romantic? She knew Rachel was doing everything she could to get Quinn to forgive her. What she didn't know was that forgiveness had been given much earlier; Quinn just wasn't ready to get into a relationship so fast. She still had to process everything in her head. It all had somehow happened too fast for her.
She didn't notice Blaine sitting on the couch until he called for her. She stopped in her tracks and turned to him with a smile. He looked at her with an undecipherable expression, thus giving her the creeps and in process wiping away her smile. He opened his mouth to say something but closed it again, as if he couldn't find anything to say. He then stood up, approaching her. She could see her mother appearing from the doorframe of the kitchen and she gulped. He stopped in front of her and held up his hands.
"Quinn, are you dating Rachel Berry?" he suddenly asked, and the weird feeling she'd had disappeared, replaced by amusement and suspicion.
She narrowed her eyes into slits and stared at him for a moment. "Why would you ask that?" she asked carefully.
He swallowed and rocked on the balls of his feet. "I was…I was out for a late coffee drink with a friend and I saw you in the restaurant across the street. You were with Rachel and you seemed to be happy. So I wanted to ask you, are you dating her?"
"Wait…so Santana didn't tell you anything about Rachel recently?" Quinn asked again, evading his question.
"No, she didn't," her mother cut in. "And stop changing the subject."
Quinn looked from Maribel to Blaine, then back to her mother. She took a step back and threw up her hands in innocence. "Rachel is back. I can tell you that. She won't leave. She's back, like…really back. And we are not dating," she emphasized. "We're just…friends."
"Did you plan to tell us anything about this?" Blaine queried.
She hesitated and sighed. "Not until I was one hundred per cent sure that our friendship was going to stay intact."
Maribel's eyebrows shot up to her hairline at Quinn's choice of words. "Friendship?"
Quinn turned to her mother and nodded. "Yeah, friendship. I told you, there is nothing between us! Why are you two ganging up on me for this?"
Blaine sighed and ran his hand through his hair. "We are not ganging up on you."
"Then what are you doing?"
"We're just concerned. I am concerned. Mom is concerned!" Blaine explained, motioning at their mother who was still standing at the door of the kitchen. "Don't lose your temper when we're just trying to care about you. We're worried that you'll end up like you did last time. You were a wreck."
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, what the hell is going on? Did someone die?" They turned to see Santana latching the door closed behind her and hanging up her jacket. She looked at them suspiciously and held up her hands. "Seriously, what the fuck is going on?"
"Santana," Maribel chastised.
"Sorry, Mom," Santana murmured and turned back to her siblings. "Are we having a happy family union or an angry one?"
Quinn shook her head and pursed her lips into a thin line. She stared at Blaine for another moment and clenched her jaw. "I'm gonna say this one last time," she said, her tone was unusually quiet and it emitted repressed anger. They knew better than to talk. "Rachel and I are just friends, nothing more. I will tell you if something changed. I would love it if you stop asking me anything about her from now on." She took a deep breath and stalked into her room, slamming her door on purpose.
Santana looked at the closed door and to her brother. "What did you do?" she queried.
Blaine swallowed and returned Santana's stare. "Did you know Rachel Berry's back?"
Santana's eyes lighted up in realization and her mouth formed an 'O'. She finally nodded. "I actually do."
"And you didn't tell us?" her mother asked, approaching them.
Santana rubbed her palms together and cleared her throat. "Quinn asked me to not tell you. She said she didn't want…bring hopes up."
"We're not hoping anything," the senior Lopez said. "I purposely prepared myself for another bout of heartbroken Quinn if Rachel Berry ever returns. I'm not looking for anything from that woman. Not that I've met her, but Rachel Berry equals enemy in my dictionary ever since Quinn came back crying that night after Sugar's funeral."
"I know," Santana commented, nodding. "So does she. That's why she didn't want to tell you. She didn't want you to…" Santana sighed and looked up at the ceiling, murmuring Spanish curse words. She looked back down to see her mother still waiting for her and her eyes told Santana that she recognized every single curse word Santana just uttered. Santana scolded herself for not being subtle. "Look, Mom, trust me. The Rachel Berry in all of our dictionaries is the same. Enemy. Except for Quinn's."
"Exactly. And that is why I want to make sure my baby girl doesn't end up hurting. So does Blaine. None of us want to see Quinn hurting, so we are preparing ourselves. But why didn't you tell us Rachel Berry was back?"
The younger Latina rolled her shoulders and gulped. "First, Quinn asked me not to. I respect her." Blaine scoffed but stopped when his sister shot him a glare over her shoulder. "Second, I was waiting for Quinn to tell you because really, it's not my place to tell. Do you understand?"
Maribel looked at her daughter inquisitively before nodding. "Okay, I believe you. Blaine, please, respect your sister. We should respect her. I know you care about her. So do I. But seriously, we can do nothing about it. If that's what your sister wants – at the risk of having her heart broken – we should let her have it."
Blaine could only sigh and agree. This family was getting so complicated. He entered his room and dialed Kurt's number instead of arguing with his mother or sister.
Finn and Sam sat before Burt Hudson in the study. Carole Hudson was sitting in the armchair in the room, a glass of whiskey. The bald man stroked his chest as he explained the details of the party he was going to hold for the company's twenty-sixth anniversary.
"I'm going to let you handle it, Finn. Handle it well," Burt stressed to his eldest son. Finn nodded, his expression stoic. He felt like his father was humiliating him by letting him organize a stupid party. "Sam, tell me how it's going with the café."
Sam swallowed and shifted in his seat. He hesitated. Finn smirked at his brother's obvious discomfort and took over. "It's not doing that well, sir." Sam glared at his stepbrother and Finn only offered him a smirk. "Not like how Sam had expected when he introduced you to the shop lot. I did tell you that the location wasn't good enough for business but Sam insisted that the café had potential, that it would do well."
"And it will," Sam interrupted. "I promise you, sir, the café is going to do well. It just opened, so of course not many people will know about it. Dad, give it a couple more months and I promise you it will bring us the money that you so desire."
"Dad, listen to me. Shut down the café before it's too late. Trust me; the location of the lot is enough reason for you to shut it down. We have more than enough money flowing into our accounts, but if you continue with the café, I can assure you that another couple of months is going drain your account – our accounts, even – dry," Finn prompted.
Burt narrowed his eyes at Finn. "You did not just say that."
Finn clinched his jaw and leaned back against his seat. "I've been to the location. It's packed with blue collar workers and they are often only interested in sleazy bars where hookers hang out and cheap beers are sold. I firmly believe that if you don't shut off the café within the month, you will go through a very big bankruptcy."
"And why would Rachel Berry want to introduce us a shop lot that is obviously not doing well?" Sam retorted angrily, glaring at his brother.
"Because she's intent on leading us to the state of bankruptcy," Carole interrupted, standing up from the armchair and approaching the three men. She locked eyes with her husband for a moment before looking down at her son and stepson. "Rachel Berry is not a good woman. She is greedy. She is sly. She is keen on seeing us collapse so she can climb to the top position in the business world, as in replace us. Sam, I don't mean to demean you but you are apparently too blind to not see that woman is up to no good and too young to dabble in this business."
Sam stared up at his stepmother for a moment before lowering his gaze in shame. Finn fought the urge to scoff and turned back to his father. "Dad, if you are so determined that this café is going to bring you profits – which I am pretty sure won't happen – give it two more weeks. When two weeks are gone and there is no profit; only loss, shut it down. Trust me on this one."
"All you've done is sabotage the family name. How can I trust you?" Burt snapped.
"Burt," Carole scolded and he turned to her, frustrated. "Listen to your son, for once in your goddamn life. He has a point."
The bald man huffed and stared at his elder son for a minute before bracing himself on his elbows against the desk. "Two weeks, Finn. No arguments during these two weeks. I want you to focus on the party."
"Invite Miss Berry," Carole instructed. She shrugged. "I'd like to see what kind of person she is."
Finn and Sam stared at her before the taller man nodded numbly, silently thinking about calling Rachel when he went back into his room.
Rachel put down the receiver slowly and ran her hand over her face. She stared at the phone for a long minute before standing up and heading to the liquor cabinet to pour herself a drink. She decided on a Chardonnay and poured herself a full glass before sitting back down.
That was phone call from Finn Hudson, giving a personal invitation to a company party. He even said she was allowed to bring a plus one. She frowned, deep in thought. Why would he invite her – an enemy, so to speak – to a company party? It seemed unusual to her. She let out a harsh breath and sipped loudly on her Chardonnay. The party was next Tuesday, which would be five days later.
She cleared her throat and picked up her receiver, dialing Sebastian's sub-line. He answered it quickly.
"Are you free right now?" she asked.
She heard papers rustling and his chair being pushed back. "I was actually ready to go on the daily patrol you assigned me to. Why?"
"Cancel it today. I need to talk to you."
"Is something the matter, Rachel?" Sebastian asked.
"Just…just come up here. I really have to talk to you."
"Do you need me to call Puck?"
She took a moment to think and cleared her throat. "I'll call him myself. You just…okay, go do your patrol. But I want you up here when it's past work time."
She hung up and closed her eyes. Really, should she go? Or should she not?
"Rachel Berry has to be eliminated," Carole Hudson declared furiously to Erika.
"I understand, ma'am, but how are we going to eliminate her?"
Carole stood up from her bed and paced the floor, thinking of everything. And then she smiled. "Rachel Berry may be a genius in business making and she may pretend to be the woman who's not afraid of anything. But a human being must have a weakness." Erika frowned at her mistress's deduction. "I need you to find Rachel Berry's weakness within the next five days."
"And how am I supposed to do that?"
"Hire someone. Or just…do whatever it takes. I want the information before the party. Do you understand me?"
"As you wish, ma'am."
Rachel waited for her two best friends to appear and while she waited, she busied herself with reading and signing documents. She couldn't keep thinking about the suspicious invitation or her head would blow up. And she couldn't have her head blow up and die because she still wanted to live a life with Quinn. She dismissed Brittany an hour ago and was growing fidgety at the absence of Sebastian and Puck. She was ready to call them when a knock sounded on her door.
She replaced the receiver and urged them to come in. The door opened and the two men stepped in, both dressed in a shirt, a pair of jeans and a leather jacket. If it weren't for the uneasy feeling in her heart, she would have laughed at them. They latched the door closed behind them and sat down opposite her.
Sebastian looked at her with an eyebrow raised. "So what's the problem, Rachel?"
She took a deep breath and shifted in her seat. "Finn Hudson called me this morning," she claimed.
Both men straightened up in alert at the name. "Finn Hudson called you?" Puck questioned quickly. She nodded in confirmation. "What does he want?"
"Oddly enough, he's invited me to a party for his company's launching anniversary."
"Are you going?"
"I'm still thinking about this. There's something fishy about everything and I would really appreciate your opinion on the matter."
Sebastian rubbed his chin with his fingers as a habit of being deep in thought while Puck only stared at her intently as he thought about what Rachel had just told them. "What else did he say?"
"He wanted to thank me for offering such a 'beneficial' shop lot," she air quoted. They looked bemused. "That's my instant reaction. Then he said as a thank you gift he'd like to invite me to the party. I could bring a plus one."
"He's up to something."
"Well, do you want to go?" Sebastian asked her.
She shrugged. "I'm okay either way. But I am sort of interested with their associations. Maybe if I can make their acquaintance, I can make more money."
Puck stifled a chuckle when Sebastian grinned. "All the worries you've given us and now you're more concerned about money?"
She laughed. "I am concerned about everything. I'm just listing the pros and cons here."
"Give it a go," Puck told her and she looked at him with a frown. "I mean, what's the harm? They can't really do anything at a freakin' party. There are going to be witnesses there. Like, a lot of witnesses. So the chance of anyone getting harmed is highly unlikely."
"Besides, you're armed," Sebastian added from next to Puck.
"I will be armed," Rachel confirmed.
"So what's the harm in going?" Puck said, clapping his hands together. Rachel nodded. "So who're you going to bring as your plus one?" Rachel swallowed and stared at them for a minute too long.
She gulped and picked up her phone, dialing a number she'd memorized a long time ago. It rang twice before the call got picked up.
She sighed in relief when Quinn's voice crackled through the speaker. "Hey, Quinn. It's Rachel."
"Oh, Rachel! Hey, what's up?"
She took a deep breath and glanced at her partners, who nodded at her supportively. "I have a question for you. Finn Hudson called me this morning and personally extended an invitation for me to go to a company party. He also said I could bring a plus one." She grimaced and braced for the onslaught. After all, Quinn Fabray hated Finn Hudson's guts.
There was a long pause before Quinn said, "And you want me to be your plus one."
She nodded, even though Quinn couldn't see her. "I mean if it is okay with you. I know you and him aren't on good terms. Well, you and him are on really bad terms. I can go with Sebastian or Puck if you don't want to. It's nothing, really."
"I…" She heard Quinn sighed harshly and she pulled a concerned expression. "I…I don't know, Rachel. I mean, he made Sugar commit suicide." Quinn's voice choked and Rachel suddenly felt so bad for even considering asking Quinn to go with her. It was so inconsiderate. But before she could say anything, Quinn cut in. "Can you let me think about it for a day? I'll tell you tomorrow."
"Are you okay?" Rachel asked worriedly.
Quinn sighed, apparently stressed by the news she'd just received. "I just…I was just taken aback at the reminder of Finn Hudson and thus Sugar. This is really sweet, Rachel. It's sweet of you to think of bringing me to the party when you can bring just anyone you like. But to Finn Hudson's party, I don't think I'm going to take it that easily."
"Look, it's okay, Quinn. I can go with Puck or Sebastian, I told you. You don't have to do this. I just thought that bringing you might show to people that…I'm taken. Or something like that," she murmured the last part, blushing when she saw Puck and Sebastian grinning at her in amusement.
Silence stretched out between them before she heard Quinn chuckling, sounding defeated. Rachel frowned in confusion. "You gotta stop being so sweet, Rachel."
"I am nowhere near sweet," Rachel said sternly, though she couldn't fight the silly grin stretching out across her face. "What does that mean, exactly?"
"Yes?" Rachel repeated.
"Yes, I will go with you."
The brunette's grin grew wider. "So I guess my sweetness worked out, huh?"
"Now you aren't really that sweet," Quinn retorted and Rachel laughed; a full-out laugh that people rarely heard. She rolled her eyes when Puck made whipped noises from the opposite side of the table. "But yes, I will go with you."
"Are you really okay with it?"
"I can't guarantee that I won't try to frustrate that douche though."
Rachel chuckled. "That's okay."
"Actually…I'm kind of starving right now and Santana won't give me the time of the day because I didn't tell her I've met her girlfriend – thanks to you – so I want you to bring me out to that diner from last time," Quinn demanded with a playful tone.
Rachel raised a brow and smirked. "Did you just ask me out, Quinn Fabray?"
"No, I didn't. I just demanded for you to bring me out for a late night supper. I'm not asking you out."
"What if I say no?"
Quinn cleared her throat. "Well, I guess you've taken one step forward and two steps back from getting me to forgive you," she teased.
"Oh, we're still on that?" Rachel joked.
Quinn hesitated and smiled. "No, we're not."
Rachel paused, shocked by Quinn's answer. She threw her friends a glance before looking back out the window. She then opened her mouth and quietly said, "I'll be there in twenty." She hung up and put down her phone slowly.
"Dude, you're so whipped!" Puck exclaimed, oblivious to Rachel's current shocked state until Sebastian nudged him harshly in the ribs. He turned to Sebastian with an agonized expression whilst massaging his chest.
Sebastian gave him an 'are-you-serious' look. He shook his head and turned back to Rachel. "What's going on, Rach?"
The brunette lifted her head to look at him for a minute, shell-shocked. Suddenly, she stood up and grabbed her jacket from the peg. Without saying a word, she opened the door and fled, leaving her two friends alone in her office. Puck and Sebastian stared at the creaking door and then at each other, both thinking that Rachel had gone insane.
Quinn initially thought that she had said too much, causing Rachel to hang up; she couldn't even find words to describe the massive relief she felt when she saw Rachel's car pull up in front of the building from her bedroom window. She quickly jumped onto her feet and ran out, claiming that she was going to be late tonight to her family, sitting in the living room, before slamming the door closed behind her. Her phone rang in her pocket and she hurriedly fished it out while waiting for the elevator.
"I'm out front," Rachel stated. Quinn noticed a slight tremor in her tone.
She nodded and walked into the confinement of the elevator. "Yeah, yeah, I know. I'm in the elevator now. Wait for me there." She hung up and swayed on the balls of her feet as she waited for the elevator to reach the ground floor.
Steve, the night guard, looked up at her from the magazine he was reading in surprise when she suddenly appeared from the elevator. He smiled at her. She waved at him and hurried to Rachel's car. Quinn slid into the passenger's seat and finally took a much-needed breath. Rachel nodded at her in acknowledgement before driving them to the diner.
The silence was extremely uncomfortable since they didn't know what they should say to each other. Quinn was fidgeting with her fingers and worrying her lower lip while Rachel was holding onto the steering wheel like it was her life. She parked the car and they came down and sat at the same booth they were seated at before. They made their orders and silence enwrapped them again, despite the noise surrounding them.
Rachel broke the silence. "What you said just now…is it true?" she asked uncertainly.
Quinn hesitated and silently cursed herself for saying that during the call. She didn't know what had possessed her to suddenly reveal something like that, but she couldn't take it back now. She nodded, unable to meet Rachel's eyes. "Yeah, why would I lie about something like that?"
The entrepreneur released a sigh and tried to catch the blonde's eyes, to no avail. "You meant it?"
Quinn ran a hand through her hair and gathered to courage to lock eyes with her. "Yes, I mean it."
"So you forgive me?"
"Oh God, don't you understand English?"
"I was just…trying to get a confirmation."
Quinn extended halfway across the table, hesitated, and fully reached out to take Rachel's upturn palm into her hand. Rachel snapped her gaze to Quinn, surprised by her action. Quinn smiled and tilted her head. "Rachel Berry, I forgive you for the things you've done to me and to yourself." Rachel raised her brow. "Don't even try to deny that this whole revenge thing didn't change something inside you."
"And how would you know?"
Quinn's smile widened and waggled her brows playfully at Rachel. "Because I know you," she whispered at last and Rachel grinned.
Quinn was right. She did know her. She knew Rachel very well.
Rachel was grinning like a lovesick child the whole day ever since she came in to her office. Even Brittany stumbled a little when Rachel placed a cup of hot chocolate on her desk, claiming that Brittany deserved it. She and Quinn had a great time for two hours last night. They chatted, holding hands the whole time unless they were eating. They hadn't kissed yet, but Rachel was satisfied.
Sebastian came in at three in the afternoon with a yellow folder in his hands. He looked sheepish and she frowned. He'd never looked sheepish before. He sat and placed the folder in front of her. When she reached out for it, he stopped her. She glanced at him curiously. He took a deep breath and huffed, tapping his feet rhythmically. Then he tilted his head to look at her. The guilty look on his face only increased her curiosity.
He leaned in and braced himself on his elbows. "Before you open that folder, I have something to say. I know you've called off the revenge plan on the Hudson's. But before you did, do you remember that time when we saw Burt Hudson in the hospital with a crippled doctor?" She nodded. "That was before you called off the plan. And you asked me to find out who the doctor is. So I did a little research, even went to the extent of obtaining his saliva for a little DNA test – I don't know what got into me that day. I found out a lot about a month ago and I was struggling between deciding whether to tell you or not. But I feel like you deserve to know."
"What are you talking about, Sebastian?" Rachel asked, narrowing her eyes at him.
He huffed and gestured at the folder. "Open it. Read it. And please don't get mad."
She gave him another glance before opening the folder, reading detailed description about Dr. Arthur 'Artie' Abrams. She was actually rather impressed by his academic background and read on amusedly. When she flipped to the final page containing the results of the DNA test, the amused look on her face slowly morphed into one of astonishment and bewilderment.
Sebastian braced himself for the upcoming explosion. But all he got was Rachel staring at him over the folder and then back to the test.
"Artie Abrams is Burt Hudson's long lost child," she began. Her voice grew shallower as she continued, "I was his scapegoat."
Surprised? Mortified? Or not surprised at all? I thought this could be a really good shocker :P
Anyway, just a heads up for y'all. My trial exam is coming up soon so I may have to delay the update again. Don't beat me. I'll put my best foot forward. Don't worry!
Chapter 16: Chapter 16
Hiatus? Haha...I lied. There's like some background thingy going on here. And I think you're gonna be so happy at the end. Or just...kind of happy. Enjoy!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Brittany stared at her girlfriend as she put her clothes back on; the sunlight bathing her with a golden hue that made Santana look so much like a goddess. She pulled the blanket up to her chest as she fondly watched Santana combed her hair with her fingers. The Latina's cheeks flushed with a little pink when she noticed the blonde in the mirror staring at her with a dreamy smile.
She grinned and tied her hair up into a ponytail before turning around, her hands resting on her hips. "Don't look at me like that!" She tried to act stern but all she could manage was a silly grin and a slight tint of pink on her cheeks.
Brittany laughed and slipped out of the bed with the blanket around her. She approached her girlfriend and pecked her on the lips. "That's not really possible because I won't stop looking at you like that," she said, voice husky, as she opened her blanket and motioned for Santana to come forward.
Brittany sensed the sudden tenseness in Santana's posture and mistook it as resentment. She pulled back and stared at Santana bewildered.
The blonde smirked and took a step forward. Their noses brushed against each other and she rested her forehead against Santana's. Santana instantly thought this woman may as well be trapping her in a room forever and she'd be satisfied. Santana tensed at her thoughts and her breath hitched. Brittany sensed the sudden tenseness in Santana's posture and mistook it as resentment. She pulled back and stared at Santana bewilderedly.
"Hey, if you really have to go to work, you can go now. It doesn't really matter," Brittany said, unable to keep the small hint of hurt from her voice.
The Latina went back to reality at Brittany's voice. She didn't miss the hurt evident in the blonde's tone but she dismissed it, suddenly having a lot to figure out on her own. She ran her hand across her face and nodded blankly, getting her jacket.
"I'll…I'll call you later," she replied swiftly with a frown on her face. She decided on kissing Brittany on the forehead before leaving, slamming the door closed behind her.
Brittany looked at the door, as if Santana would come in again, but two minutes passed and nothing happened. She heaved a disappointed sigh and sat back down on her bed, running her hand through her hair.
Quinn raised her brows when she saw Santana coming in with a stricken look on her face. She stopped working the dough and motioned for Mercedes to take over. She took off her gloves and placed them in the sink, staring at her stepsister the whole time. Santana seemed to not notice her because she just walked past Quinn like she was invisible. The blonde frowned and looked at her sister who robotically pulled on an apron and went to work at her station.
The blonde frowned and looked at her sister who robotically pulled on an apron and went to work at the station.
"Who are you and what did you do to Santana Lopez?" Quinn asked, injecting a bit of tease into her tone. The Latina ignored her and went on mixing batter in a bowl. Instant panic flooded Quinn when Santana didn't respond. She looked to Mercedes who shrugged and then back to Santana. She approached Santana and pulled her away from the bowl and into the storeroom. Santana glared at her and she ignored it. "What happened?"
The dark brunette shook her head and pursed her lips, attempting to step past Quinn but her sister wouldn't have it. Quinn grabbed her tightly by the elbow and yanked her back. "What is your problem?" Santana exclaimed, shooting daggers at Quinn.
The blonde faked a sweet smile and rested her hands on her hips. "What is my problem?" Her smile vanished, replaced by a scowl. "What is your problem?"
Santana didn't cease the glaring and she crossed her arms defensively. "Stay out of my business, Q," she stated darkly.
Quinn scoffed and shifted her weight to another foot, shaking her head at Santana. "Keep dreaming about me staying out of your business since you won't keep your nose out of mine with Rachel," she said dryly. "Now, tell me what the hell is going on? Is it Brittany?"
The Latina froze and swallowed, looking at her sister stiffly. Quinn watched her with a skeptical brow raised and Santana sighed. "I came to a realization of sorts when I woke up this morning," Santana replied.
"Naked or clothed?" Santana gaped and Quinn chuckled. "You didn't come home last night. I'm kind of an insomniac, remember?"
Santana managed a reluctant smile and uncrossed her arms, suddenly feeling it was unnecessary to be defensive in front of her sister. "Naked," she stated and Quinn grinned playfully. "And I realized something while talking to Brittany." She licked her lips and let out a shuddering breath.
Quinn tried to catch her eyes but failed. "What did you realize? Is it bad? Or good?"
"Half bad, half good…I think," Santana muttered. Seeing Quinn's expectant eyes, she blew up. "I just…Brittany was looking at me in…a kind of weird way. Like…like she could be happy just being with me. I…you know I'm not the kind to commit, Quinn. But…but the way Brittany was looking at me made me realize that I can also be happy just being with her. And that kind of scared me a little."
Quinn had a feeling this wasn't going to turn out good. She patted her palms on her jeans and cleared her throat. "What did you do?" she asked cautiously. Santana mumbled inaudibly and she edged in closer to hear her. "What?"
"I left, saying I had to work," Santana said, ashamed.
"You left?" Santana nodded. Quinn huffed and looked at her as if she was an alien. "Santana Lopez, what the hell were you thinking?"
"I got cold feet! I wasn't prepared! I just…oh my God, I am such an idiot!" Santana breathed, covering her face with her hands.
The blonde nodded. "Yeah, you are."
"Can you stop applying salt to my wounds?"
"There is no wound, S," Quinn began. "Call her. Tell her you're sorry. Take her out to dinner. Or something!"
"Oh I hope she doesn't hate me," Santana mumbled into her hands.
"Girl, you guys are so in love with each other I don't think she can stay mad."
Rachel dismissed Wes from her office and breathed into her hand as she stared into space. She popped her lips and pulled out a drawer, taking the worn out envelope out. She stared at it for a moment. She had contemplated a lot of things ever since Sebastian put the fucking folder into her hands. She hated Artie Abrams and yet pitied him at the same time. These conflicting emotions were just flooding her entire being for four straight days.
She took out one specific paper and scanned it again one more time, wishing every single time that it wouldn't be real; that she was just dreaming. Her wishes certainly were never granted. She stared gravely at the word 'positive' at the bottom of the page. Familial ties: positive. She read Burt Hudson and Artie Abrams' names. There wasn't anything wrong. It was true. The document was even watermarked. She supported her forehead on her fist, closing her eyes as she suppressed the familiar anger back into the depths of her mind. She forced herself to be rational. She forced herself to not make sudden decisions such as reliving the revenge plan, but this time, involving the crippled doctor.
She couldn't think of anything else to do except going to the hospital and killing the doctor once and for all.
You promised Quinn, her subconscious whispered. Her frown deepened and she dug the heel of her palm into her eye, not caring that her eyeball hurt right now. She forced herself to stay seated. She forced herself to not stand up and grab her jacket, drive to the hospital and stab a freaking knife into his heart. She forced herself to not act on her goddamn impulses.
She really didn't know what she could do with this newfound information. Damn Sebastian for being so obedient. Damn him!
Quinn, her subconscious whispered again.
She grunted and pushed her head away from her hand, slamming her hands onto the desk. Rachel felt immensely guilty. She had never been at such a dead end before. She couldn't find a way to climb out. She couldn't find a way to knock the fucking wall down and find a way out. It was too fucking thick.
She couldn't betray Quinn's trust again. It was too unforgivable and she wouldn't do it. She would not do it.
It turned into a mantra and she kept chanting it in her head as she made her way to her car and drove home. She slammed on her brakes when she saw an old lady walking in across the road. A blind lady. She panted nervously when she thought of the possibility of her running the lady down. She rested her head against the chairback and breathed, chanting the mantra again. Her head ached from the thinking and she could only think of one way to ease it.
She fished out her phone, uncaring of the cars honking behind her and dialed a number.
"Hey, can you come out?"
"The dinner's tomorrow. Can't you wait until then?" These were the first words Quinn had said once she'd settled into the car.
Rachel smiled guiltily and drove away from the curb. "I…needed someone to talk to before I do something I'm sure I will regret."
Quinn turned her head towards Rachel and she looked at her warily. She noticed how Rachel was gripping the steering wheel too tightly for comfort and frowned. She wanted to ask more but decided not to implore. She would ask when they reached wherever Rachel was taking them. She turned back and hummed along with Rihanna, who was playing on the radio. Rachel's smile widened when she heard Quinn and sneaked a glance at the blonde before looking back at the road.
"So you like Rihanna?" Rachel asked casually.
Quinn averted her eyes from the window to Rachel with an innocent look. She shrugged and hummed. "We do have a radio in our bakery. Santana loves to blast songs with it, no matter how many times I tell her to lower the volume. Those radio stations just don't understand that there are not only five songs in the world, do they?"
Rachel giggled and shook her head. "I don't think they do."
Quinn nodded with a grin. "Figures," she murmured. "Where are we going?"
The entrepreneur smiled. "Train station."
"We're going to Coney Island."
"You live in New York, Quinn. You should know where Coney Island is," Rachel commented, amused at the blonde's reaction.
Quinn rolled her eyes. "I do know where it is, Rachel. I just don't know why we're going there."
"I own a house there. It's like my…personal spot there. I wanna bring you there. You seem to be the only person I can talk to right now," the brunette replied.
"What about Puck? Or Sebastian?"
Rachel scoffed. "They're…they're not really the right kind of people to talk to about what I have in mind."
Quinn couldn't fight the urge anymore. She shifted in her seat to face Rachel. "Okay, what is going on?"
Rachel looked at Quinn and gulped. "I can't tell you here."
"You'll tell me there?"
"Cross my heart."
She didn't know what she should think when she saw the 'house' Rachel claimed she owned. She gaped at the place, shooting Rachel an incredulous look. This was not a house! It was a freaking castle! Rachel seemed unfazed by the hugeness of the castle and screened her palm at the gate. The gate cranked and creaked as it slowly swung wide open for them. Rachel smiled reassuringly at her before driving the rented car into the property. Quinn gaped in awe as she saw dozens of giant trees lined up on both sides of the road. She saw wide fields beyond the tree lines and wondered just who the hell had she fallen in love with.
This was not just some rich person's property. This should belong to a freaking billionaire. She felt slightly pressured when Rachel rounded a fountain only to stop in front of the front door of the castle. Rachel got out and went to the other side to open Quinn's door. The oak front door opened to reveal an aging man in a tailored suit. Quinn was speechless when the man spoke politely with Rachel, nodding every now and then. He called a name and a young man emerged. He took the car keys from Rachel and drove the car away – to where Quinn had no idea.
She turned back to see Rachel looking at her expectantly. The brunette's lips twitched at Quinn's expression and stretched out her arm at the front door, mimicking the old man's position. Quinn assumed he was the butler. She didn't know butlers still existed in this era. "After you, Miss Fabray," Rachel stated teasingly.
Quinn stared at her in confusion, then walked forward, going up to the threshold and waited for Rachel. Rachel came up beside her and took Quinn's hand, making her heart leaped at their contact, and led her into the castle – Quinn insisted. Rachel's face broke into a grin when she saw Quinn's jaw dropping again at the décor of the foyer.
Red velvet carpet covered the floor. There was a sleek smooth wooden table – carefully crafted – in the middle with a white marble statue on top. Quinn dared not reach forward and touch it, fearing that it would break at just a touch of a finger. Who the hell knew how fragile this statue could be? Her gaze swept the walls where a lot of paintings hung. She had no idea how much these pieces were worth but she guessed they must have been very expensive since everything in the foyer – only the foyer – looked like they were worth millions. Two marble staircases on each side of the foyer led to an indoor balcony.
The blonde gathered herself and snatched her gaze away from the marvelous décor to Rachel. "How much do these cost?" She gestured at the paintings on the walls.
Rachel raised her brows at the odd question and glanced at the paintings. "Some of them over twenty thousand, but most of them I bought from those street painters. So I guess not much."
"Not much? Are you serious, Rachel? Twenty thousand dollars?" Rachel nodded as if it was nothing particular. "Do you realize what kind of stuff twenty thousand can get me?" Quinn patronized, staring at the brunette as if she'd just grew a second head.
"Oh I don't know. Two new ovens or more, a used car, anything! I can't believe you use them all in a castle like this when you're the only one living here," Quinn listed, exasperated at Rachel's lack of general knowledge of a poor person's life – not that she was really poor.
Rachel frowned. "Why? Do you need ovens? I can get you some. And you don't drive. You don't know how to drive. You take the bus! Also, you're exaggerating. It's a house, not a castle," Rachel said.
"Stop right there," Quinn said, holding up a finger at Rachel. "That's what I don't like about dating rich people – not that I've dated any but I have friends who had. You love to lavish your partners with expensive stuff, like they're your kept woman or something! I'm just telling you that just the money of buying these paintings – and frankly, hideous paintings – is enough to get me a lot of stuff. I'm not asking for you to buy things for me."
"Oh are we dating now?" Rachel picked up, raising her brows at Quinn. "I had no idea."
Quinn stilled and she kept her eyes on Rachel who was staring at her hopefully. She pursed her lips and ran her hand through her hair. She looked around and back to Rachel, breathing through her nose harshly and cleared her throat.
"I need to think. Do you have tea? Anything, really. I just need a drink and time to think," she said to the butler.
The man turned from her to Rachel, asking her silently for permission. "Yes, Thomas, please fetch Quinn a cup of tea. And some wine for me, please. Thank you." He scurried off into the huge archway beneath the balcony, maybe leading to the kitchen or something. She faced Quinn and raised her brow. Quinn challenged her with her signature eyebrow raise. Rachel sucked on her lip and rolled her eyes. "Come, I'll bring you to the lounge," she muttered, taking Quinn's hand again.
Quinn followed Rachel under the archway. She was brought into a large room with a beautifully carved fireplace, five white cotton sofas and an expensive looking coffee table in the middle. As expected, there were paintings everywhere. "Do you have some secret fetish for paintings?" Quinn asked out of curiosity, finding the paintings completely uninteresting.
Rachel threw some logs into the fireplace and lit fire to the logs. A small fire slowly rose from the logs, slowly morphing into a big flame warming up the room. She followed Quinn's gaze and smirked. "I just bought these from art galleries and the street painters because I find them interesting and quite unique."
"I don't see anything unique at all," Quinn stated honestly.
Rachel laughed and shook her head. "I'm not surprised. Not even Puck and Sebastian appreciate these pieces. I don't know, I guess these paintings just have something in them that draws me in."
"Why do I not see any painting at the mansion?"
"Because Puck and Sebastian won't stop babbling about me wasting my money on these paintings. But then again, I have too much money and I don't know where to spend it." The butler – Thomas – came in – from where? – with a cup and a glass sitting on a silver tray in his hands. He handed one cup to Rachel and another one to Quinn. He bowed before scurrying out again. "You should sit."
Quinn sat down on one of the sofas, which were extremely comfy. Rachel settled down next to her and drank her wine before putting it on the coffee table. Quinn put her cup down as well.
"Just how rich are you?" she asked.
"I have fat account," Rachel answered with a lift of her shoulders.
Rachel seemed to be thinking and a sense of dread flooded Quinn's senses. Oh God, did she fall in love with multi-billionaire? "Over thirty billion," Rachel answered as if it's nothing weird. "I hope I won't get robbed for telling you," she said jokingly, trying to ease Quinn. "Why do you care so much?"
"Because when I fell in love with you, I never expected you to be that rich," Quinn answered truthfully. "How did you get the money?"
"I invest. I invest in all kinds of things. Distributions, farming, industrialization, new inventions, you name it. And most of my investments successfully added more zeros into my account," Rachel replied.
"There's something you haven't told me," Quinn stated, seeing Rachel trying to hide a secret behind her eyes.
"Do you really have to know everything?"
Quinn stared at Rachel with narrowed eyes. "If you want to get an answer for what you've asked me in the foyer just now, you have to answer all my questions so I can be sure that my decisions are not made harshly," Quinn said seriously.
Rachel sighed and broke eye contact, looking down at her folded hands instead. She couldn't look at the blonde in the eyes when she told her this. "I…I was a conwoman." She looked up and Quinn was only staring at her. Apparently, she didn't hear her. "I said I was conning around. I conned people."
The blonde's eyes widened a little and she swallowed, shifting on the sofa and her brows furrowed a little. "You mean, you were like a conman or something?"
Rachel nodded and laughed dryly. "Or, in my case, a conwoman." She saw emotions flitting past Quinn's eyes as she struggled to decide what she should feel about Rachel's past. "Look, I told you. I got adopted. I got beat up. They kicked me out. I didn't know what to do. So I began conning. Yes, at that young age, before you ask. I've offended a lot of people. But I stopped conning when I met Schuester."
"Why didn't you go back to the orphanage?" Quinn asked softly.
"Because I knew if I went back, they'd call the cops and arrest the Hudson's for child abuse. I didn't want them to call the cops. I wanted to…exact revenge on them myself. Which, obviously, didn't quite work out," Rachel explained. "I saved the money – a big amount of money – in a box and then Mr. Schuester provided me with a safe, promising me he wouldn't steal my money. He then made me promise that if I want to stay with him, I had to stop this lying around and stealing money from people. Come to think of it, I was actually like Neal Caffrey in White Collar."
Quinn couldn't help but smile at Rachel's reference. "Except you're much younger and you didn't rob banks or anything big like that."
"But I was a genius!" Rachel exclaimed excitedly. Then she sobered. "But I was kind of glad that I stopped. I don't know where I would have ended up if I didn't. Maybe I wouldn't have met you if I hadn't stopped," Rachel said.
"So you don't con now? This business you're running, it's not conning? It's purely business, right?"
Rachel looked Quinn in the eye and nodded. "Yes, it's purely business. It's all genuine money I made from striking deals and investing."
Quinn nodded and looked down at her hands. Their hands were just millimeters apart; with just a move they could touch each other. Her breath shuddered as she exhaled and she clenched her hands, trying to ease the itch to take Rachel's hands and never let go. As if she could read her mind, Rachel reached forward and took her hands, holding them as if they were precious. Quinn looked up to see Rachel smiling at her. She marveled at how their hands fit and smiled.
Quinn moved in her seat to fully face Rachel, crossing her legs. "Who's Schuester?"
The brunette grinned at the man's name. "His name is Will Schuester. He was a teacher. I met him on the streets when I was half dead because I was starving. He gave me something to eat and he kept asking me questions until I told him what happened to me. He told me he'd let me stay with him and teach me stuff but only if I would stop all these shenanigans with the conning. I didn't really completely stop. I still conned a little here and there, but I mellowed. Sometimes, I con to give money to the poor. Will kept grilling me to get me to stop. I took his warning to heart six months after when he looked so furious I was scared for the first time since the Hudson's threw me out."
"So he's like a father to you?"
"Yes, he's like a father to me and Puck and Sebastian. He's really kind. I love him," Rachel concluded easily. "Puck came when I was eighteen or nineteen and I was already planning the revenge. He decided he wanted to help, and he surprised me by letting me see him picking locks and conning as well. Puck was in the same state as I was when I found him, in case you're wondering. Sebastian was…running from the cops when Schuester found him. Maybe Schuester could see because he picked up two conmen, he could see Sebastian was one as well. The only thing was, Sebastian was a hacker. He hacked to steal money. The cops found out about his alias and decided to capture him. Luckily for him, the cops only knew his alias."
"So from then on, you guys have been a team?" Rachel nodded. "Let me guess. When you told me you took someone's advice to heart and called off the plan, it was his advice."
Rachel was grinning like an idiot now. "Oh God, the woman I love is a genius!" she commented.
Quinn blushed. "So you promise that you won't restart it again?"
The brunette faltered and then she relived her determination to not hurt Quinn ever again. "I promise," she stated.
Quinn frowned. "Is there something else?"
Rachel saw the worry so obvious Quinn's eyes and she yearned to remove it. She felt that pull in her heart again. The pull to move her forward and take Quinn's lips, the pull to drive her hand into her pocket and take out the ring residing there, the pull to ask Quinn to marry her. She took a deep breath and suppressed the urge. Instead, she squeezed Quinn's hand and swallowed.
"The day after you told me...you've forgiven me," Rachel began, her voice cracked. "Sebastian gave me news. When I was at the doctor getting information for…you know, your legs, I saw Burt Hudson talking with a doctor, as if they were old friends. I was still keen on the plan of revenge so I asked him to check the doctor out. He even went to the lengths of obtaining saliva and got a DNA test." She ran a hand through her hair and laughed at herself for being so affected by this. "Turns out, the doctor is Burt Hudson's doctor and also his long lost child."
Quinn was still a little blurry at what Rachel was trying to say. She replayed Rachel's words, picking at them and trying to piece the puzzle together. Then her eyes widened as realization dawned on her. "Does that…so…does that mean you're his…scapegoat?"
Rachel laughed a little and frowned, swallowing the lump in her throat. She didn't know why but Quinn's presence seemed to have made all of this much more vivid for her. "Glad to see you figuring that out," she choked.
"But you…you're a girl!"
"Apparently, the woman who he had an affair with lied to him and told him the baby was a girl. But it was a boy. A boy who got into a car crash when he was ten and now he's a crippled doctor, happy as always."
"So you were…what…his substitute or something like that?" Quinn queried quietly.
Rachel nodded. "I was…I had this…this urge to just ignore you and plan to destroy their lives again, this time involving the doctor." Quinn stilled and she tried to withdraw her hands from Rachel's grip but Rachel tightened her grip, looking at Quinn fearfully. "No, no, Quinn, please, listen to me," she pleaded. "I said I had! But I didn't. Because I promised you, I promised Puck, I promised your sister and I promised myself that I will not hurt you again. And I know if I did, you'd wish you've never met me or you won't want to see me again. And Ineed you."
Quinn looked down at their hands and squeezed her eyes shut. "I just can't bear the thought of losing you," she whispered softly.
"You won't lose me," Rachel reassured, holding Quinn's chin with her thumb and forefinger and lifted her head so she could see Quinn's beautiful eyes. "You will not lose me," she reassured firmly. "I called you and I brought you here so I can be brutally honest with you. I don't want to hide anything from you unless necessary. I don't want to lie to you anymore. I don't want to think about you everyday and not be able to see or touch you. I don't want to let you think that I'm using you."
"What do you want to do now?"
Rachel smiled, but her smile didn't reach her eyes. Her hand traveled from her chin to her face, caressing Quinn. "I don't know. What do you think I should do?" she whispered brokenly, brushing a strand of stray hair from Quinn's face.
Quinn couldn't help but lean into her touch, her expression so broken that it broke Rachel's heart. She took a deep breath and opened her eyes again, seeing Rachel staring at her, as if she was the answer to everything. "I think you should forgive him. I mean, he didn't know anything about you. He's innocent in all this. I'm not asking you to forgive the Hudsons. I'm just…asking you to forgive him. He was a baby when everything happened to you. He had no idea."
Rachel thought about what Quinn said and found the logic in it. So she smiled and nodded. "I'll try. But I can't guarantee anything."
"What's his name?"
"Arthur Abrams," Rachel answered. Quinn's eyes widened. "What?"
"Did I tell you I went to the doctor yesterday?" Rachel shook her head, alerted at Quinn's statement. "The doctor I met yesterday was Artie Abrams. And he's…he's good. He's very kind. He explained a lot of things to me. A lot that aren't printed on the pamphlets Puck gave me."
Rachel nodded slowly and breathed, "Okay, okay. That's…that's good, I guess. Now I have to forgive him," she said with a chuckle. "Wait why were you at the doctor?"
"I wanted to see what options I have if I actually want to fix my legs." As if to prove her point, she swung her shorter leg. Rachel turned to look at it and grinned. "But I won't let you pay for it," Quinn interrupted and Rachel's grin fall. "I don't want you to pay for it," she stressed.
"Not even a small part of it?" Rachel pouted.
Quinn laughed and shook her head. "No."
"You are so mean!"
"Uh huh, I am mean. You didn't know that?"
"I do know that."
They stared at each other for a moment with fond smiles on their faces before Rachel leaned forward and kissed Quinn. Quinn's eyes widened, but the feel of Rachel's lips was irresistible so she closed her eyes and kissed Rachel back. It was addicting. Rachel was quickly addicted and she pushed Quinn onto her back on the couch and draped herself on top of the blonde.
The room seemed to be spinning around them, sending them into a whirlwind of desire. Quinn clutched desperately on Rachel's shirt, never wanting this moment to end. Rachel's arms encircled Quinn's waist, pulling her as close to her body as possible. She wanted to feel her. She wanted the feel of dull electricity driving itself through her blood vessels, shocking every part of her body with sensual want and she couldn't help but moan when Quinn yielded to her probing tongue and opened her lips.
The urgency of the kiss was unbearable and Quinn clutched on Rachel tighter. She yelped into Rachel's mouth when she felt the brunette's teeth sink into her lower lip. Rachel chuckled and invaded her mouth with her tongue, tasting her and touching her. Quinn moaned and danced with Rachel's tongue. She wanted every fiber of Rachel's being. Rachel's grunt drove her forward and she made a courageous move by flipping them around and draped herself on top of the brunette.
Their lips parted for a moment as they panted for air. Quinn looked into Rachel's eyes and wondered if they had ever been so dark. She felt an unfamiliar feeling coiling in her lower stomach and she squirmed against Rachel, accidentally burying her knee into Rachel's crotch. Rachel's eyes widened and she gulped.
"Sweetheart, if you keep doing this, I swear I won't be able to control myself any longer," Rachel breathed.
Quinn's eyes widened and she quickly scrambled away from Rachel's body, moving to the far end of the sofa. Rachel laughed and sat upright herself. She pulled her clothes straight and cleared her throat.
"You know, you still haven't explained about the whole dating thing in the foyer," Rachel teased. Quinn looked at her wide-eyed and swallowed. Rachel tilted her head and raised her brow. Quinn squirmed nervously. "Stop squirming!" Rachel demanded in frustration. Quinn watched her curiously. "Look, what happened just now made me sexually frustrated and if you keep squirming and moving, I don't know what I'm going to do to you later."
"Oh," Quinn breathed. So the feeling in her stomach was the feeling of being turned on…
"Yes, oh. Now, will you explain to me what you meant in the foyer?"
Quinn cleared her throat again and tried not to move. "I meant what I meant," she said. Rachel's lips twitched and Quinn smiled. "Just as long as you promise you won't lavish me with clothes or cars or jewelry; like you're paying me to dating you."
Rachel nodded and tested her chance. She moved next to Quinn and reached for her hand. "So can I call you…my girlfriend?"
Quinn laughed and finally nodded. "Yes…girlfriend."
So? SO? Review please! It's good for the health! Really, with one review, you make me smile. And Quinn did say in Prom Queen that smile makes people healthier. So you'll make me healthier! Make this unhealthy lady's wish come true please! (Haha, joking. I am very healthy. I just want to be heathier.)
I've been pretty engrossed in the Fifty Shades trilogy recently and oh my dear God, I can't stand the BDSM nature of it. I only read it for the plotline, to be honest.