It’s weird after the break-up, is the thing. It’s strange to be sitting in Finn’s room without being his girlfriend, even if the whole relationship had never meant anything to her romantically. She’s always cared for Finn, always. And she’d wanted to stay friends with him, but it’s weird, to be standing near the bed they used to make out in. She fiddles with her necklace and watches Finn stand around awkwardly, his lanky form feeling a bit too large for the room. Was a month of no contact long enough to make sure they could go down the track of friendship?
They had been friends once before they started dating. She knows now that he’d liked her for almost the whole time they were friends, but she hadn’t caught on before Santana and Brittany had told her to get a move on because Finn Hudson was drooling over her.
“Want to go out and play some ball?” she asks, as she notices a basketball lying on the floor. They used to do that a lot, even though Finn mostly was a football-player and Quinn was a cheerleader, it had been fun to get out of their comfort zones and play a friendly game. It stopped when they started dating, obviously.
Finn looks at her for a few seconds and then smiles his crooked smile.
He grabs the ball - Quinn notices with disgust that it’s dirty, leaving a smudge of earth on the floor - and drags her down the stairs and out into the yard, where he has a net hanging from a wall on the house and another on the wall of the shed.
Quinn thanks the gods she wore loose jeans today, because they get competitive - and therefore sweaty - very fast. They’re both good at it, dribbling the ball back and forth, faking out, tackling each other and getting the ball in the net with lightning speed. Quinn would even say she’s beating Finn, but that’s likely because her coach is a slave driver and Finn’s coach barely even knows the difference between a hot-dog and a football. However, Finn still trained a lot to become the Quarterback as a sophomore, so it’s surprising when he suddenly stops running, ball in hand, his eyes going unfocused as he looks at the road. It’s far too early for either of them to be exhausted.
Quinn turns to see whatever has him in such a stop, and.
The girl is beautiful, her hair long and dark, eyes covered by a pair of sunglasses, her pink sports-bra clinging tightly to her body, her yoga pants clinging to her every curve as well, her white skin - only barely tanned by the sun - is glistening in the sun. A headphone cord is dangling delicately with her every step as she runs, her iPod clutched in her hand, her high pony bobbing up and down.
“Wow,” Finn whispers. Quinn is just speechless.
“She’s - she’s gorgeous.” Finn continues.
Now, the only reason Quinn doesn’t scream “I call dibs” (besides the fact that screaming in public is not the Fabray way of doing things) is because, well, firstly, Finn doesn’t know about her being a lesbian, and also because she’s so tired of seeing him look sad and lonely and at least if he has a hot girl to obsess over, he won’t be looking at her with those puppy eyes. And girls aren’t property to ‘call dibs’ on anyway.
She feels tempted to do it anyway. According to every romcom she has ever seen, friends are not allowed to hit on someone you think is hot.
“Hey!” Finn shouts and starts dribbling the ball. The girl starts, and pulls out one of the headphones, looking around curiously.
Finn waves an arm over his head, and Quinn doesn’t know what to do with her arms. What do you do with your body when it suddenly feels like every nerve ending is buzzing?
Oh god, she’s wearing a too-big shirt and her hair is just up in a messy pony, nothing like how she looks at school, and this is the prettiest girl she has ever seen, even prettier than Brittany looked, that one time Quinn kissed her, all red, swollen lips and blue eyes. This is terrible.
The girl runs over to them, and Quinn smiles nervously at her as she mentally waxes poetry about her graceful legs and powerful shoulders.
“Hi,” the girl says.
Finn grins at her. “I’m Finn, this is my friend Quinn. We haven’t seen you around before, do you go to McKinley?”
She flashes a set of pearly whites, and says, “I’m Rachel Berry. And yeah, I go to McKinley.”
She looks at Quinn, and inquires, “You really haven’t ever seen me around?”
Quinn feels her cheeks redden and she shrugs apologetically.
“Well, I think we should change that. Do you maybe want to go with us to the burger joint later? They make these really great burgers with three layers of bacon!” Finn says enthusiastically, really amping up the charm, and Quinn catches a glimpse of Rachel grimacing apologetically before she looks away to study the grass. Of course, she doesn’t want to come.
“I, uh. I’d like to, but I’m a vegan,” she says. Quinn’s eyes shoot up of their own volition to stare at her. Vegan?
Yes, it’s a stereotype, and probably even offensive, but Quinn has talked to lesbians online, and almost all of them are vegetarians or vegans. It’s like lesbianism causes you to just abhor all types of meat.
“Oh,” Finn says, disappointment coloring his voice for her moment, and without even looking, Quinn knows he looks like a kicked puppy.
“There’s a lot of vegan options at The Lima Bean,” Quinn pipes up, and Rachel’s eyes connect with hers. Quinn feels shaky. Rachel’s smile is like the sun, and she sounds excited as she starts to say, “I’d love to go to the Lima Bean! I-“
But then her phone rings, and with a glance, her face falls slightly. “I can’t right now, I have to be at a ballet class in half an hour, this is just warm-up.”
Quinn wants to ask about the ballet class and find out how similar it is to cheerleading and maybe ask Rachel if she could teach her some moves, but she doesn’t know how to start, and Rachel is already smiling regretfully and backing away. “It was really nice to meet you Quinn… and you too Finn.”
“Next time,” Finn tells her, “I’ll give her my number,”
“Next time,” Quinn echoes, still entirely stuck on the fact that Rachel had said her name and had smiled at her.
She wonders if she’ll get to see her before school starts again.
In fact she does, just three days later. She’s not afraid to admit that she’s been spending extra time over at Finn’s, even when Puck’s also there. (She’d never say it out loud though.)
That day, Puck is not there though. Quinn’s wearing a pair of yoga pants and the shirt from her Cheerio uniform, and getting ready to slam Finn in their one-on-one game of basketball - though she knows both of them have an eye on the street, watching for pretty girls running past.
Finn clearly doesn’t have his head in the game, so they end up just throwing the ball at each other, and he makes a joke about a horrid, pink car that drives by a couple times, as though driving in circles through the neighborhood. On its fifth trip, a loud, wrong sound comes from the car, and they both just know something is up with it. They both turn their head and - ridiculously, it’s Rachel who climbs out of it. Quinn has a flashback to her pink sports bra, and wonders if Rachel is one of those girls who color-coordinates everything. She finds the thought more endearing than she would have thought.
Right now though, Rachel is cursing and muttering, saying nonsensical words such as “Patti Lupone”, and “Kristin Chenoweth would be disappointed in you Rachel”.
“What’s happened?” Finn shouts at her. She turns, looking annoyed for a moment, but then she smiles. “It broke down,” she says, rather needlessly, patting the roof of the car, and tapping on her phone.
“I can take a look at it,” Finn offers, and Quinn shoots a surprised look at him. Finn doesn’t know the first thing about cars.
“No, it’s fine, Kurt is coming to help me out,” Rachel explains. Quinn feels her stomach twisting. Is Kurt her boyfriend? She isn’t sure what she’ll do if Rachel turns out to have a boyfriend.
“um, we saw you driving around in circles, why were you doing that?” she asks, to distract herself. Rachel’s eyes widen, and she coughs.
“I, uh. I just got my driver’s license, so I decided to practice a bit by myself, but clearly, I’m just not good enough yet. Kurt’s dad a mechanic though, so he’ll fix that right up.” Rachel says the last bit cheerfully, snapping her fingers as she says “fix that right up”
So much for not thinking about Kurt, Quinn thinks bitterly.
A few minutes later, the mysterious ‘Kurt’ shows up in a black, very fancy car, and turns out to be a very pretty boy, with very bright blue eyes and dark hair, whose neck Rachel flings her arms around in joy. Kurt’s voice is very high, as though he’s actually several years younger, though the fact that he owns a car does reveal him to be their age. It takes her a moment, perhaps because she has learned to block out every victim of the dumpster tosses (if she can’t remember them, it didn’t happen), but then she realizes it’s Kurt Hummel, capital G gay, so flaming that he’s practically on fire, and she breathes out in relief.
Kurt looks at her with a piercing blue gaze, examines her for an uncomfortable amount of time, and then compliments her on her choice in workout gear.
She can’t help but feel that that examination was about something else than fashion though.
Her suspicions that the boy is gay are confirmed when Kurt’s eyes linger on Finn’s biceps, but it turns out Kurt is really good with cars nonetheless - she’s heard enough jokes about Hummel’s Tire and Lube through the years that it does genuinely surprise her - and he has it fixed within moments.
“Do you want to watch me play?” Finn asks Rachel. Rachel looks at Kurt, who raises his eyebrows, looking as though he wants to say ‘yes please’, but then he looks like he changes his mind and says, “Quinn will be playing too, I assume?”
Finn grins. “Sure. She’s the only one I know who can keep me on my toes.”
Something feels different about this game. Yes, she knows Rachel is probably a perfectly heterosexual girl, and probably perfectly into Finn, and besides, Quinn isn’t even really ready to come out yet, so the point is really moot, but.
She still wants to impress Rachel. She wants Rachel to remember her.
The summer sun makes the sweat dribble down her back in that really disgusting way she hates, but she’s toe-to-toe with Finn, and whenever she sees Rachel out of the corner of her eye, she can pretend that her admiring eyes and excited clapping is for her and her alone. Finn almost stops existing, he becomes just an enemy on the court she needs to defeat, but in the end, he actually wins, defeating her 10-9. Her hair sticks to her temple, and her chest heaves as she sighs in defeat, catching Rachel’s dark eyes. Finn does his victory dance, always the same one, whether he won a game of football or beat her on the court, fists in the air and jumping around like crazy. She can hear him whooping, but she can only see Rachel.
The moment is over just as soon as it began though when Rachel starts looking around in her purse, and Quinn is imagining her future as a lesbian spinster with fifteen cats and a diet consisting entirely of Ramen Noodles and ice cream. Ridiculously dramatic when remembering the fact that she has only seen Rachel twice? Probably. Prophetic? Probably.
Finn whisper-shouts to Quinn, “I’m gonna go get her number now!” and goes running for his phone, which is lying in the grass, and she nods, debating whether she should go inside the house to get some water.
This is when Rachel walks up to her, handing her a small slip of paper. Her cheeks look redder than they have any right to, like two red apples, and she’s smiling so sweetly that Quinn can barely open the note.
Call me xx
Underneath was a phone number.
“Just in case you ever want to show me those vegan cookies,” Rachel says breathlessly, and then she runs away. She jumps into her car within moments and drives off in haste, with Kurt following behind her just as quick. Almost as if it had been… Planned…
“What happened?” Finn asks, astonished. He’s just returned with his phone and is standing there awkwardly, without anyone to exchange numbers with.
Quinn can’t hide her smile.