Quinn has a lot, a lot of great reasons to dislike Rachel Berry, including but not at all limited to the fact that Rachel's trying to steal Quinn's boyfriend and seems to believe she actually has a shot at it. Quinn doesn't have time to obsess over little wannabe sophomores who think they're better than they really are, but if she did, the nerve on that girl would drive her insane.
But she doesn't. And she's not a crazy stalker girlfriend, either, so she doesn't tell Finn to stop hanging out with her. Much. She trusts Finn, for the most part—Quinn is too pretty to be cheated on, and Finn knows that—but all the time he spends with Rachel Berry? That is such a waste. Because Finn may be going through a show choir streak, but that's really all Rachel has to offer. That's all Rachel cares about, as she so blatantly demonstrated when she quit Glee and came back just because she couldn't stand the thought of somebody else taking her spotlight. Couldn't stand the fact that someone else might have just as much talent as she does.
This bothers Quinn. Quinn may have the icy bitch reputation, but she's not the kind of person who cares more about a stupid solo than about her own friends. And, okay, she doesn't do a lot of things for them, but that's the reason they're friends in the first place: they have similar interests, so it's really easy to find things they can do together. Rachel doesn't even go to Finn's football games.
So that's why Quinn isn't all that happy to play backup to Rachel's figurative star. Rachel doesn't deserve all this support, not the Glee kids' and definitely not Quinn's. But she stays, even though she's not trying to dismantle them anymore, because Finn does. Finn is a great boyfriend, as things go. Even when he messes up, it's hard to hold it against him for longer than a day or two. He just gives Quinn that puppy face and it's so obvious he didn't know what he was doing that Quinn has to forgive him.
Rachel's the kind of person who would get caught up in hitting her silly glory notes, forget to pick someone up from practice, and remain entirely guilt-free.
Rachel still gets slushied all the time, too, which is why Quinn can't stop wondering why she's even letting Rachel talk to her right now. What if she gets blue slushie splashing all over her red cheeriform? Quinn's dad will get the perpetrator suspended for a week, but she'll have to get a decontamination shower. That's a real blow to a Cheerio's reputation.
"—so I hate that I have to say this, but you can't miss rehearsal today," Rachel says, as if Quinn ever misses rehearsals. Somebody has to keep an eye on Rachel. That's why Quinn's in Glee Club in the first place. If she didn't go to rehearsal, what would the point even be?
"Of course I'll be there," Quinn says coolly. "Someone has to make sure the choreography isn't horribly embarrassing." Which is a perfectly valid concern and another reason to dislike Rachel—she couldn't spot a cheesy move if it bit her in her enormous nose.
"Great," Rachel says, obviously annoyed by how little sarcasm she can put into a word when she actually means it, so she gives up on that and offers a small smile, one that actually seems sincere, but Quinn's not falling for that, and says, "See you there," and walks off.
Quinn wishes Rachel sang through her nose, because, seeing as it's definitely big enough to contain her ego, maybe Quinn could pop it with a pin and see all her stupid, undeserved talent slide out of her like air from a balloon. Quinn's not jealous of that, because she excels at many things Rachel wouldn't even know the name of, and besides, at least in his show choir streak Finn, to the casual watcher or judge, is in not entirely embarrassing company. Quinn can give Rachel that. Won't, but could easily, if Rachel did something to deserve the compliment.
A good voice isn't nearly enough to redeem someone Quinn has so many reasons to despise.
So, okay, maybe Quinn should listen to a few words Mr. Schuester says every now and then, because apparently the reason Rachel was so antsy about Quinn attending rehearsal today was that they're putting together a two-girl duet, and Quinn has a bigger solo than she did in Say A Little Prayer. Which is actually kind of exciting, because Rachel, for all her faults, is the kind of performer you can rely on.
She's also the kind of performer who will do her best to outshine everyone else, though, and Quinn's a little scared of that, but then it turns out Rachel arranged the distribution of the vocals with Mr. Schuester and Rachel's also scared to outshine Quinn, and when she puts it like that, like "The entire performance will crumble down if you're not up to par," it's hard not to believe Rachel means it. The angles Rachel chooses to look at things from make every reasoning out of her mouth sound selfish, but believable. Because of the selfish part. But Quinn can deal with that, can deal with Rachel's fear that someone else will ruin her performance, because it makes total sense for Rachel.
What Quinn can't deal with is Rachel's nerve to think Quinn is going to embarrass her. What is wrong with that girl?
"I'm just as terrified to sing with you as you are," Quinn says defiantly, rolling her eyes. "Actually, make that more. Definitely more."
Rachel widens her eyes meaningfully at Mr. Schuester. He says, "If Quinn is okay with it, you can use the auditorium on Saturday."
"Saturday?" Quinn echoes. "Don't you have anything better to do on a Saturday?"
"Do you want to win Sectionals or not, Quinn?"
Quinn snorts. "I really couldn't care less," she says, except Rachel opens her mouth like she's going to give Quinn a speech about the powers of geek choir or something, and Quinn does not have time for this. "But since all of this will be reflected on my file now," she amends, glaring at Finn for dragging her into this, "I guess I can make time for some preemptive damage control."
If Quinn's words offend Rachel in any way, she doesn't show it. She just grins like she's won this argument, and the five million feelings of displeasure it causes in Quinn's stomach make her want to hurl.
It could have been worse, is the first thing that crosses Quinn's mind when, after going over the song for the umpteenth time, Rachel declares it's good enough for the first week of rehearsals and she's happy to go home now knowing they're on the right track.
It's about time—they've been singing to a CD since the band geeks Rachel roped into playing for them left an hour and a half ago.
Quinn follows Rachel up the stairs because she can't find one of her shoes at first, and there's something impossibly revolting about the idea of someone finding something she left behind in the auditorium when the only people there were her and Rachel. It shouldn't bother her this much—everyone is familiar with Rachel's unorthodox concentration methods, and Quinn is surely not the first person Rachel's persuaded into performing barefoot since she joined Glee—but it does, and it takes her longer than it should to spot the golden gleam of the ballerina pump she somehow kicked into the orchestra.
Rachel stills to a halt before Quinn reaches her, and Quinn blinks. The silence seems vaguely ominous.
"I'm afraid to say this out loud, but," Rachel pauses, kicks the floor lightly with her heel, "I think we're locked in."
"You think?" says Quinn.
"I'm ninety percent sure," Rachel explains.
Quinn shakes her head nervously in disbelief. "How can we be locked in?"
Rachel turns to look at her, and her eyes fly to Quinn's nostrils, which Quinn is aware are unfortunately flaring in a less than dignified gesture, but then again Rachel just said something inordinately stupid, and it's not like Quinn cares if Rachel sees her at her worst in private. This is so not shareable information.
"Well, the door is locked from the outside," Rachel says, enunciating. "Is the concept not familiar to you?"
"But—" Quinn begins, then stops at Rachel's blank face. Clearly Rachel is too shellshocked to try to do something, even if it's just engaging in speculation regarding how the hell this happened. "Let me call Finn," she says instead, and walks over to a seat further into the theater. It really shouldn't take more than a few minutes for Finn to get here and let them out.
Or let Quinn out, anyway, and make Rachel pay for her negligence. She's supposed to be on top of things. She's the one who dragged Quinn into this.
After a few seconds, Quinn huffs, annoyed. "Of course there is no signal," Quinn says, glowering at Rachel for a lack of anything better to do, though she's not sure the effect intended works from across the room.
As though reading her mind, Rachel lifts her own phone before putting it in her pocket and crossing the distance that joyfully separated her from Quinn. At least she has the presence of mind to settle a few seats over.
"There has to be something we can do," Rachel says determinedly after a few seconds. Quinn narrows her eyes at Rachel's optimistic grin. "Maybe we can ping the security system."
Quinn would give this theory the benefit of the doubt, except— "With what?" she says, hoping her gesture conveys every detail of how she feels about this: disappointed, pissed off, unable to believe she didn't predict something like this would happen if Rachel was involved, and ultimately, well, resigned and pretty damned confident her dislike of Rachel is, if it wasn't already, perfectly justified now.
There's a long silence while Rachel rummages in her bag, then takes a walk around the auditorium, phone raised up in the air trying to get a signal, before ending up right where she started: sitting cross-legged on a school auditorium fold-up seat and looking from Quinn's face to the nails Quinn is looking at, then focusing her gaze on her surroundings. Again.
After a while, Quinn sighs loudly. "I can't believe I'm locked in with you," she says. "I can't believe I'm locked in in the first place, but I really can't believe I'm locked in with you." It's like a huge cosmic joke. Quinn doesn't know what she's done to anger God or the universe. She's a good girl. She's a virgin by choice, for fuck's sake. She hardly ever curses, recent thoughts notwithstanding; she respects her parents and she's maybe cold and kind of a bitch sometimes, but she's a cheerleader—because of the freaking athletics aspect, not the status, not that she's about to admit that to anybody anytime soon—and it comes with the territory. It's expected of her. If she acted nice she'd get Slushied even more often than Rachel just for the incongruity of it, and Sue would probably kick her out for good measure.
She's about to remind herself of how much her life would suck if she hadn't joined the Cheerios when she hears Rachel sigh—for show, surely.
"What?" Quinn snaps, then kicks herself for biting. "You were supposed to be on top of things. I'm in my right to be baffled by all of this. You got us locked in," she repeats.
"Right," Rachel says, giving her a small, sad smile. "It must be a strange concept to you, since you're so used to locking people out."
Quinn narrows her eyes menacingly. She considers not even answering—neither the remark nor the remarker deserve it—but she's locked in with Rachel Berry in a school auditorium and she figures a fight will, if nothing else, distract her until she figures something out. "What's that supposed to mean?"
Rachel looks a little taken aback by the aggressive tone, but quickly regains what little composure she's capable of and shakes her head tartly. "Celibacy Club? A club? I get it if you're scared people might think you're a prude if you're the only self-declared virgin by choice in school, but a club just reinforces school cliques and, given the number of Cheerios in it, leads to other students fearing their own sexualities and also possibly to spreading self-repression."
Quinn gapes for a split second before composing herself. "Wow," she says sharply, "could you be any more random?"
Rachel chuckles, which doesn't make any sense, and then reaches into her bag to pull out a couple of energy bars. She offers one to Quinn. "If we're going to exchange snide remarks until someone rescues us, we might as well stay fed."
"Okay, you could actually be more random," Quinn says, though she's accepting the bar just as the words come out. "I feel like I should applaud your accomplishment or something." She unwraps the bar and takes a bite. It doesn't taste great, but her stomach was beginning to rumble, so it's not that big a sacrifice.
"It's not random," Rachel says matter-of-factly, "I'm just curious. You're a fascinating person to watch."
Quinn rolls her eyes. "Why do I think that's not a compliment?"
"All I'm saying is I'd like to understand your motivations here," Rachel says, "so our duet can be as symbiotic as possible."
"Oh, well, I feel so much better now," Quinn says, "but you can't make a case study out of me without my consent, so that's a no there."
"Well, we're stuck here. Unless you have any other suggestions, the only viable activities are talking or rehearsing again. I would choose talking simply because it might help our brains get in gear and cause new possible solutions to unravel, but if you want to sing some more, I am willing to accept the alternative."
Quinn doesn't know where it comes from; maybe it's the fact that despite the bright electrical lights it's nighttime outside and this place is probably not completely safe and freaking out would be totally the wrong thing to do, or because Rachel's the only person here and ignoring her would make things worse.
Whatever the reason, she hears herself say, "It's not about cliques or elitism," and there's surprise at the end in her own voice, but even the shock wears off easily.
It's not like Quinn cares about what Rachel thinks of her, and it's not like anybody will believe Rachel if she puts words in Quinn's mouth that Quinn denies ever having uttered. As options go, talking about celibacy with Rachel Berry is not the worst thing in the world. Maybe she can even teach some self-respect into her. Noble action of the week, just in time for Sunday mass.
If they even get out of here by then, and—yeah, okay, talking it is.
"It has nothing to do with that," Quinn says.
Rachel settles back in her seat, munching on her granola bar. "So what is it about, then? Because when I was there I didn't really get a sense of firm morals or encouraging yourselves to choose when you're ready to have sex. It just felt like you were all a bunch of bitchy hyenas." Quinn glowers a little. Rachel blinks. "Sorry. Didn't mean to compare you to the henchmen from Lion King."
Quinn rolls her eyes. "We're not just—" she tries. "I can't speak for everyone there, but that's not what the celibacy club is about. The celibacy club is about putting your emotional and physical safety before the pressure brought upon you by your peers."
"That sounds like something out of a brochure," Rachel points out. It's possible Quinn got it from one. It's also possible that's not even what the celibacy club is about for her, but nobody ever asks her that, so it's not like she's lying.
"Yeah, well," Quinn says, "it's a brochure that makes sense, so it works for me."
"But that's not actually celibacy. Celibacy involves abstinence involves sacrifice, and if you don't want it then you're not sacrificing anything and it's actually an Asexual Alliance where a good majority of its members are not aware of what their membership is supporting and have not given their consent to supporting it, either."
"I never said I didn't want it," Quinn points out sharp. Probably the wrong thing to say, because Rachel gets a glint in her eye and it's scarier than the idea that there may be a loose serial killer carrying an ax minutes away from breaking into the auditorium.
Or maybe not.
"You want it but you're not ready," Rachel says, "I can accept that," and it would be a relief if it weren't because it sounds like she's theorizing and there's more bullshit to come. "Or you don't actually want it with Finn. Which, from my side of things, is the most plausible of the two."
"I don't know if you realize this, but your side of things is your side of things. Which means you hardly know anything about what's going on with me because not only are you way too self-centered to get a clear picture of something that has nothing to do with you, but we run in very different circles. Which are really far away from each other," Quinn says. "Besides, what do you care what I want to do or not do to Finn? He's my boyfriend. It's my relationship, and it's mine to think about and mine only."
Rachel shakes her head. "I don't know," she says, though she clearly thinks she does, "I'm kind of friends with him, so it's sort of my business that you won't put him out of his misery by either sleeping with him or not teasing and teasing and letting him rub up against you and see, you're grimacing, that's not the mark of a person comfortable with the idea of entering a sexual relationship within their romantic one at some point down the road."
"Right," Quinn gives, "maybe what it is a sign of is how much I don't like it when people invade my business, Red-Nosed Reindeer."
"Maybe," Rachel begins, "maybe it's a sign that you're hiding something."
"That's ridiculous," Quinn says, "what would I be hiding?"
As soon as the words leave her mouth, Rachel bites her lower lip then swipes the barest hint of tongue over it, and— It's not the first time Quinn has looked, or let a quick glance at Rachel linger. She's committed images like this to memory before. It didn't mean anything, just that Rachel had a really big mouth and a bad tendency to call attention to it by using it to spew inanity.
It doesn't mean anything now either.
Rachel smiles, and Quinn blinks and leans back at her seat, directs her eyes to the empty stage.
"My point is," Rachel continues, "you have a club that's all about self-defense—self-defense from sin and from social standards you don't agree with, maybe, but you're also defending yourself and your principles by making them be seen as those of a group and therefore automatically acceptable rather than showing them as your own and your own only. It is, in a manner of speaking, a closet in and of itself." Rachel's pausing like she's trying to sound spontaneous, but the way she mouths the words make it obvious Rachel's been meaning to ask this for the last twenty minutes, if not weeks. "The bases of your faith offer a virtually flawless architecture of lies to channel a self-repressed latent out-of-the-ordinary-as-perceived-by-oneself sexuality or sexual orientation and I think you should maybe own up to that."
It takes a moment for the meaning of that to dawn in. "Did you just call me a lesbian?"
"Not at all," Rachel muses. "As conclusions go, though, that is a very interesting, very telling leap." Rachel hums for a second, then goes on, "Nevertheless, what I was suggesting was the possibility that all this effort you've put into making celibacy seem desirable could be a means to stay in the closet about something. Maybe not necessarily that you like other girls, but I don't see how that would be an illogical, if not flat-out assumption, postulation. In the hypothetical suggestion sense of the word."
"Because I've decided not to have sex until marriage? By choice?" Quinn says. This is so offensive. Rachel has no right to waltz into her moral system and try to shake it from within just because her two gay dads have gravely skewed her perspective of the world.
"Because I've seen the way you look at me," Rachel says matter-of-factly. "You're not nearly as unsubtle as Jacob or even Finn, but your lack of self-acceptance makes it impossible for you to hide the nuances and I've noticed that."
It dawns on Quinn that she would. If Rachel were to notice anything about Quinn—and Quinn's not saying Rachel's right about any of this—it would be this. This stupid, nonsensical propensity to keep an eye on her that has little to do with Finn spending time with her other than the fact that it's what brought Rachel to Quinn's attention.
"That's ridiculous," Quinn concludes. "The only way I ever look at you is with hatred and resignation."
"I don't care," Rachel tries. "I don't care if you look at me. It's flattering, and it would be too much of a shock to your system if I made this about me now, so I'm not going to. I just want you to know that even though I'm not a hundred percent certain about myself, and my dads have never told me it would be wrong if I had feelings for someone my own gender, I know what you're going through."
Quinn snorts. "I'm not going through anything."
Rachel looks taken aback for a second, and then nods firmly once. "That's part of it." Then she sighs and stretches her back and stands to her feet. "All right, we can go now," she says.
"What?" Quinn blurts out. "I thought we were—"
"Oh," Rachel says with a small smirk, brows furrowed in the falsest attempt at an innocent face Quinn's ever seen outside the Cheerios, "yes, I thought so too. Aren't you glad we had this conversation?"
The scowl comes naturally, and so does the "You bitch."
Rachel shrugs smugly. "Honestly, Quinn," she says, "I'm truly honored that you trusted my word enough to refrain from checking the door."
"That's an abuse of trust," Quinn says. "I could sue you for this." She probably could. Her daddy could, anyway. He's good at finding loopholes. And Sue. Sue would totally get behind her on this.
"Actually, it isn't," says Rachel. "The door's not locked at all, you could have left at any time and I wouldn't have stopped you. Don't worry," she adds, "I won't say a word about this to anyone. My moral code dictates that in high-stress situations everything divulged bears an automatic seal of secrecy applicable to all the parts involved."
Quinn glares at her. "That's— I can't believe you would do that, what kind of freak are you?" Rachel just smiles beatifically at her. Quinn wants to punch her. Instead, she says in a sickeningly sweet tone, "Now I'm going to have to get a second opinion on everything you say about your duet. It's going to slow things down so much. I wonder if it will be ready by the time Sectionals come around."
Rachel nods like she expected Quinn's reaction. "You'll come to terms," she says.
It's infuriating, and the worst part is that, at least to herself, Quinn has to admit what Rachel did was, besides offensively wrong, kind of inspired. As an evil plot, anyway. Quinn doesn't have to like it, but she can respect that, and she's just glad she can go home and forget this ever, ever happened.
Except for those inside sabotage threats she fully intends to fulfill.
On Monday, she's having lunch with Finn in the cafeteria and she finds herself not wanting to kill him for talking about how Rachel isn't all that bad. Most of her anger towards her is gone, and maybe, just maybe, Quinn can admit to herself, in full coherent thoughts, that the main reason she despises Rachel Berry is that she doesn't.
That maybe she likes her a little too much instead.
But that's not the end of the world, is it?