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Live and Learn

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CHAPTER 1

 

“Do you know what this meeting is about?” Finn dropped on the chair beside her.

 

“Not really, it seems important though.” She looked ahead of herself, waiting for the remaining teachers to fill the room and take their seats.

 

“Are we still on for next Wednesday? I have a 15% off at the Breadstix and maybe we could talk about us?” He reached for her hand, but she pulled back and clasped her hands over her lap.

 

“Aren’t you the romantic one? I thought you were going to try a little harder!” She snarled, under her breath not to be heard.

 

“I am! We went to the movies two weeks ago and I am taking you out tomorrow, aren’t I? I really want to work things out, Rachel.” He sighed, filling her nostrils with the smell of his cheap cologne.

 

“It’s starting.” She looked aheaf of herself, when Principal Sylvester walked inside the room and slammed her hands on the desk.

 

“Listen up. I know some of you made some sacrifice to replace pedo-Ryerson with his classes, but almost all of you failed miserably, so I decided to hire someone to do a better job, hopefully.” Sue looked toward the door. “Fabray, move your lazy ass.”

 

“Same ol’ funny Sue, huh?” A pink haired woman brisked into the room. She was wearing a leather jacket over a silk button up shirt, paired with combat boots and ripped jeans.

 

“I don’t pay you enough for the sarcasm, Fabray. Introduce yourself and then get the hell out of here, all of you.” Sue barked to the audience and left the room, slamming the door shut.

 

“Great, like a bone thrown to the wolves.” The new teacher sat at the edge of the desk, sitting her helmet down onto the wooden surface. “So, I’m Quinn and I will be the English teacher for the year. Questions?”

 

“Are you single?” Finn blurted out, earning a glare from the brunette beside her. “What?” He whispered to her, who shook her head disapprovingly.

 

“Not interested. Next one?” Quinn smirked at his hurt face.

 

“How do we know you qualify to be a teacher here? Did you even graduate?” Rachel raised an eyebrow in puzzlement. Who was this girl? She looked like part of a motorcycle gang, rather than a teacher.

 

“Not to be rude or anything, but who are you?” Quinn raised an eyebrow in puzzlement. “It should be Sue’s business, anyway, but since you seem pretty petulant about it…” Reaching in her bag, she grabbed a stack of papers and dropped it on the brunette’s desk. “I graduated from Harvard with honors with a major in English literature and a second field in American Literature. Then, I got my Master between Stanford and Cambridge.” She smirked at the shock on everyone’s face. “I am doing Sue a favor, while I am here to take care of family business. Do you think I still do not meet the requirements to teach here?”

 

“No, that’s fine.” Rachel stuttered, looking away from those intense hazel eyes.

 

“Thanks, Miss?” She took the papers back and slipped them inside her messenger bag.

 

“Berry! Rachel Berry, she’s my girlfriend.” Finn answered on her behalf. “She is the music teacher and in charge of the Glee choir.”

 

“Delightful, you gotta love a man who speaks for you, huh?” She kept staring at the brunette, who could read the sarcasm in her voice. “Let me guess, you’re the gym teacher?”

 

“What gave it away?” He rubbed the back of his head.

 

“Besides the whistle and the football jersey? Just a lucky guess.” She shrugged and looked around herself, to the other people in the room.

 

“Hey, Tubbers? What about me?” A brunette latina said from the back of the room, filing her nails.

 

“Aren’t you the infamous Cheerleader Coach and Spanish Teacher? Sue told me everything about you.” Quinn smirked. “We crossed paths a couple of times and I totally kicked your ass, at the top of the Pyramid.”

 

“I knew it! You’re that Fabray?” Santana slammed her palms on the table. “Gurl, what the fuck happened to you?”

 

“I’ll tell you over a beer or something stronger than that.” Quinn winked and turned to the guy on the wheelchair. “Math?”

 

“And Chemistry.” He replied with a smile and a nod. “Artie”

 

“Me! Me!” A tall blonde raised her hand, waving it.

 

“Go ahead.” Quinn smiled and watched her stand, with her hands behind her back.

 

“I’m Brittany and work at the school library. Will you come visit me, sometimes? You look like a rebellious princess.”

 

“I’ll gladly drop by, Brittany.” Quinn stood back up and gathered her stuff. “Well, I guess i’ll see you tomorrow. Thanks for this, it was fun.” She sent Rachel one last glare and walked out the door.

 

“Fuckin’ princess Fabray went punk. That’s rich…” Santana muttered to herself.

 

“She’s hot, we should have her over for a threesome, Sanny.” Brittny nudged her girlfriend.

 

“Mailman! Mailman” Finn grunted and fled the room.

 

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Quinn had just walked through the metal doors, when she noticed all the stares were on her. The students had stopped doing their things to check her out, as she walked through the teacher’s lounge to get a lukewarm cup of coffee and her schedule for the day.

 

“Intimidated?” Artie walked up to her, on his wheelchair and escorted her to their shared room.

 

“Naw” she chuckled. She entered the room and held the door open for him, before heading to the coffee machine to grab a plastic cup, “Do you want some?”

 

“No, I’m good.” Artie gathered his own stuff and headed out. “See you at lunch?”

 

“We can sit outside.” Nodding, she waved him back and drank the beverage, disgusted. “This shit is awful.” She almost spat it out, when Rachel walked in the room with two cups of coffee.

 

“Miss Fabray.” Sitting one cup down, she walked to the cabinet to retrieve a napkin.

 

“Miss Berry.” She saluted her and grabbed her bag. “Have a good day…” She went to walk out the door, when Rachel stopped her on the threshold.

 

“I know the coffee sucks, so I took the liberty of getting you a cup from the Lima Bean. It’s not Starbucks or a sophisticated italian coffee shop but-”

 

“Thanks, it’s very thoughtful of you.” Quinn grabbed the cup and brought it to her mouth, not caring about taking a look inside. “Caramel flavored with two espresso pumps and some almond milk? Yummy.”

 

“Glad you like it, it is my favorite.” Rachel looked at her. “I wanted to apologize for my uncalled behaviour, it was very inappropriate.”

 

“Don’t fret about it. Heard you’re quite the legend around here, so it must be challenging to let someone new in. We’re still in high school, after all.” Leaning against the door, she watched Rachel frown.

 

“I do not feel threatened by you or your punkish attitude. You’re a temp and next year, you’ll be just a distant memory. I don’t know why Sue even considered you in the first place!” She wanted to storm out, but Quinn just stood in the way.

 

“Do you want to make a dramatic exit?” She moved aside, making Rachel almost scream out in frustration.

 

“You’re insufferable!” With that said, she grabbed her things and walked out of the room, almost colliding with Finn who was walking her way.

 

“Hey babe!” He started but the brunette pushed him aside, slamming him against the row of lockers with a thud sound.

 

“Such a bitch…” She muttered to herself and walked to her class.

 

“Morning Finn.” Quinn carelessly walked out of the teacher’s lounge, sipping her coffee as she headed to her destination.

 

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“Is there anything relatively edible around here?” Quinn sat her tray down, staring at her plate of Mac&Cheese and vegetables, but everything looked the same.

 

“The trick is homemade food or take out.” Artie opened his tupperware and shoved it across the table, so she could dig in as well. “I have plenty of those in my bag, serve yourself.”

 

“You’re a lifesaver, man.” Quinn pushed the tray to the side and dug into the pasta salad, moaning almost in pleasure.

 

“Sanny, she is moaning like you did this morning. But you were not eating, more like I was eating you-“ Brittany sat beside her, making her choke on her food.

 

“Baby, that’s private!” Santana blushed and sat across from them, opening her own homemade sandwich.

 

“You’re something else, Pierce.” Quinn smiled and looked at her food, made of baby carrots and mini hot dogs.

 

“I am a human being!” She smiled brightly and started eating, as the rest of the people watched her with a soft smile.

 

“How was your day, Fabray? How many did you send to detention and how many nosebleeds?” Santana snorted, having caught few comments about the new teacher. Some of her Cheerios were already crushing on the hot teacher.

 

“Couple of jocks, but mostly fine. They surely disliked me when I surprised them with a test.” She chuckled and stole an hot dog from Brittany.

 

“A surprise test? On the first day? That’s a bit cruel.” Rachel sat down, at the end of the table with Finn in tow, who was carrying a tray full of fried food.

 

“It’s the best way to sample their knowledge.” Quinn rolled her eyes. “I don’t know how far they are in their program, so this will give me answers.”

 

“Aren’t you supposed to be the one providing them with answers?” Rachel challenged back.

 

“Alright, what’s your problem with me?” Quinn stood up from her seat. “It’s been less of a day and I’m getting shit from you, as if you were my boss. If you have problem with me being here, take it out with Sue.” Grabbing her cigarette pack, she walked out of the cafeteria to have a smoke.

 

“You were out of line, Rachel.” Artie shook his head.

 

“Gotta agree with Wheels, here. You’re acting like she is pissing in your territory, she is not interested in Puffy nipples over there.” She pointed to the guy stuffing his mouth with fries.

 

“Hey!” He barked, spitting some food out.

 

“Finn! Keep your mouth shut.” Rachel sighed and stood up, to go after the pink haired woman.

 

When she walked out in the courtyard, it was easy to spot the new teacher. She was sitting on one of the picnic tables, with a cigarette dangling from her lips and her black Wayfarer perched up on her nose. She knew she had been out of line, but she had secretly hoped she had earned Sue’s trust enough to give her that spot. Music was her passion, but she could have done Literature equally well.

 

“I’m not in the mood for Round 3, Miss Berry.” Quinn blew the smoke out and looked ahead of herself, toward a group of jocks passing a football.

 

“I’m here to apologize, again.” Rachel stood in front of her, hoping she’d catch her attention.

 

“I’m all ears.” She kept staring ahead and inhaled another deep drag, feeling it in her throat and down in her lungs.

 

“I...my attitude is totally unfair, you were called to do a job and I shouldn’t interfere. You’re probably qualified to do it and you have a spectacular degree to prove it, even if there are many other options out there.” Rachel rambled, earning an amused chuckle from the other woman.

 

“You suck, Berry.” Quinn threw her cigarette away and jumped off the table, graciously. “It was a mediocre apology...but I accept it.”

 

“It was not that bad…” Rachel huffed and watched the taller woman stretch, popping some bone in place.

 

“What the hell are they doing?” Quinn muttered and watched the group of jocks circle a young brunette girl. “Hey!” Jogging her way across the backyard, she stepped in the circle when the slushie had just been thrown, showering the girl in a blue sticky essence.

 

“Quinn!l” Rachel ran after her, having witnessed the same scene, reliving some of her own memories from high school.

 

“You’re all getting detention, you heard me?!” She grabbed the nearest jock and tugged it towards the brunette, who shivered in coldness. “Take your letterman and give it to her, now!” She barked in his face, making him pale for her tone.

 

“Miss Fabray, that’s fine.” She stuttered and rubbed her arms slowly.

 

“No, Marley. They will apologize for their barbaric behavior.” She looked at Rachel, who nodded and helped Marley gather her stuff.

 

“Let’s get you cleaned up, do you have a spare change?” Rachel grabbed the letterman and draped it over the girl’s shoulders.

 

“Yes, I always have a change in my locker.” The young brunette nodded and walked with the teacher, back into the school building.

 

“You’re all coming with me and I’ll make sure you get the proper detention for this prank.” She walked ahead of the guys, who followed her with no further words or protests.

 

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“Suspension? You cannot suspend my guys, we have a game in three days!” Finn yelled back in Quinn’s face, who stood there with no intention of backing down.

 

“They attacked her with a slushie! They should br punished for this behavior...what do you suggest then? That we pat their backs and send a note to their parents?” She snorted, looking at Sue and then at the brunette teacher, who had witnessed the episode as well.

 

“I agree with Miss Fabray. We tolerated this kind of behaviour for too long, it’s time we put some rules in place.” Rachel nodded in agreement and looked over at Sue, who sighed in deeply.

 

“What? C’mon Rach. You got slushied too, you know they don’t mean anything bad, it’s a joke!” Finn tried in vain. “You’re turning against your boyfriend, to side with her? You don’t even like her!”

 

“Hudson, if you bring your personal shit in this conversation, I’ll use it against you. I’ll pretend I did not hear your comment…” Sue turned to Quinn and Rachel, ignoring him. “I won’t suspend them, for now; but any other misbehaviour will be severely punished...Berry, make sure you enroll them for that pathetic Glee club you’re directing and make them do whatever you want...just keep them busy.”

 

“They cannot join Glee, the sessions overlap with football trainings. What should we do?” Finn whined.

 

“You can do them before and after school starts, that’s all. Get the hell out of here.” Sue dismissed them, sending an approving nod to Quinn as she walked out as last.

 

“I can’t believe you took her side, over mine!” Finn pointed to the disinterested pink haired woman, who leaned into the lockers nonchalantly.

 

“It’s not about picking her side or yours! We’re talking about doing the best thing for all of our students...do you think I loved being slushied, Finn? Do you know how many times I cried myself to sleep? Or how mortifying was to hide in a bathroom to get changed? You did not live that. You were on the other side!” Rachel almost shouted in his face. He still didn’t get it.

 

“So, you’re taking revenge on me! I apologised for that, what else should I do?” He threw his hands up in surrender.

 

“Nothing, you can’t do nothing…” She looked away and watched him storm out.

 

“Do you have a ride home?” Quinn hovered behind her, who shook her head. “I’ll take you home,then” She headed towards the parking lot, to the solitary black Jeep.

 

“Didn’t you have a bike yesterday?” Rachel slipped in the passenger seat, buckling herself up.

 

“I had to run some errands for the house, so I took this one. My trunk is filled with furnitures…” she chuckled and handed her the phone. “Type your address, so I can take you home.”

 

“Do you need a hand with those things? I’m pretty good with building and following Swedish instructions.” Rachel chuckled and checked the route back to her place.

 

“I don’t want to impose…” The pink haired woman started following the directions.

 

“I don’t really mind, it will take my mind off things. I just want to change into something more comfortable…” She spotted her family house and made Quinn pull over. “I’ll be back shortly…” with that said, she slipped out of the car and inside her house.

 

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“Weren’t you supposed to be good at following directions?” Quinn huffed, dropping her back to the floor. They had been trying to set the coffee table, but there was some piece missing.

 

“I am pretty experienced in this, Quinn. Are you sure you got all the right components? Maybe we are lacking a key piece.” Rachel looked back into the box, but there was nothing left in there.

 

“Let’s undo it and check under the couch, maybe something rolled under it?” Quinn lifted the hem of her wife beater to wipe the sweat off her brows and face, showing Rachel a glimpse of her toned abdomen.

 

“Yeah, we should.” Blushing, Rachel looked away from the pink haired woman and started undoing the coffee table, unable to meet her gaze.

 

“You don’t have to answer me but...how long have you and Finn been together?” Quinn leaned over the rug to grab the table legs, pulling them from the base.

 

“We...well, it’s complicated. We’ve been together throughout our high school years. We parted ways when I went to NYC for college and he stayed back, but we ended up getting back together after a couple of years.” Rachel sighed in deeply and looked down at the star tattooed on her wrist. That symbol still haunted her dreams, reminding her of what she had not achieved.

 

“And when you came back, you gave it another try.” Quinn nodded softly. “You’re one of those couples that somehow ends up getting back together, huh?”

 

“That’s what we always thought. I think Finn believes in that but...I am no longer so sure about that.” Rachel looked up at the other woman. “Maybe it’s a stupid thing, but I always thought love was something spectacular that took your breath away...it used to be like that, but I haven’t felt special in so long. Is it bad that I don’t recall the last moment that I felt really happy? That kind of happiness that makes you feel like walking on cloud nine.”

 

“It’s not stupid. I believe you’re entitled to your own perception of love and you shouldn’t settle for anything less than what you longe for. Have you tried talking to Finn about it? Despite his appearance, he seems to genuinely care for you.” Quinn sat back against the couch and reached for her bag, taking a cigarette out.

 

“He wouldn’t get it. He wants to settle down and have a house with a white picket fence and kids…I want that, but also more.” Rachel borrowed the cigarette and took a long drag. She hadn’t smoked in so long.

 

“Then, you should talk to him before falling into something you don’t want anymore. Maybe time will fix it…” Quinn retook the cigarette and finished it. “Do you want a glass of wine?”

 

“That’d be awesome.” Rachel smiled and watched the other woman get to her feet and pad to the kitchen. Why did it feel so natural to speak to Quinn about her love troubles? Since Kurt had gotten married, she hadn’t really had a real friend to talk to. Santana barely tolerated her and there was no one else that could lend her an ear.

 

“It’s a Bordeaux from 1999, hope you’ll like it.” She handed her a glass and plopped back down, leaning back against the couch.

 

“It sounds expensive...how comes you have a a full winery but you lack your living room furnitures?” Rachel chuckled.

 

“Wine is part of my dietary regimen.” Quinn chuckled, earning a loud laugh from the brunette beside her. “Do you want to stay for dinner? We can order pizza or have some popcorn.”

 

“Popcorn and red wine? Are you a fan of Olivia Pope?” Rachel raised her eyebrow in puzzlement.

 

“If you behave, I will let you try my tequila collection as well. You can’t go wrong with Meredith Grey’s recs…”

 

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She stirred slowly.

 

Her neck was killing her and her head was not in a better shape. She hadn’t gotten drunk in so long and she was already regretting that. Burrowing he face in the soft pillow under her, she heard Quinn’s steady heart beat under her ear, making her aware she was not resting on a comfy pillow but the other woman’s breast.

 

Pulling abruptly back, she ended up falling on her ass on the hard floor, probably bruising herself.

 

“Fuck…” she groaned, rubbing her backbone.

 

“Mmm…” Quinn slowly gained consciousness and reached for her, smacking her forehead with her palm.

 

“Damn it, Fabray!” She rubbed her forehead and pulled back, using her phone to flash the pink haired woman with its light.

 

“Oh my gosh, I’m sorry!” Quinn yawned loudly, shielding her eyes from the offending light.

 

“What time is it?” Rachel rubbed her temples, while Quinn retrieved her phone and checked the time. “I’m never drinking with you again.”

 

“I didn’t force you to drink more than half of my good Tequila bottle, on your own.” Quinn chuckled. “It is almost 4 in the morning, way too early to do anything else but going back to sleep.” Falling back onto the couch, she buried her face into the cushions.

 

“I should get home.” Rachel yawned.

 

“No way you’ll walk alone, so late at night. I’ll take you home in a few hours.” Quinn patted the spot beside her. “Get up here, I don’t mind sharing, unless you do.”

 

“Too tired to mind.” Rachel crawled back onto the couch and dropped face down, resting the side of her face against the girl’s bare shoulder and bicep.

 

“Space hogger.” Quinn mumbled and closed her eyes, falling back asleep.

 

When she woke up, approximately two hours later, she found herself alone on the couch, with a blanket draped over her front tucking her in. She looked around for the other woman, but she couldn’t see her anywhere.

 

“I left you some of my clothes on the bed, if you want to shower here or I can take you home.” A voice from the back of the room startled her.

 

“Geez woman.” Rachel grunted and looked at the amused pink haired girl, who smirked and walked up to her.

 

“You’re funny.” Quinn sat on the edge of the couch and brushed her fingers along her forehead, making sure she had not left a mark earlier. “All clear, no mark.”

 

“My butt is still sore.” Rachel mumbled before realizing that.

 

“Do you want me to check that out too?” Quinn smirked and went to grab it playfully, but the petite woman jumped out of her way, blushing hard.

 

“Quinn!” Rachel stomped her foot and walked up the stairs to have that shower and, hopefully, calm herself down.