Quinn doesn’t exactly want to think about why she chose sitting with Mr. and Mrs. Hummel versus sitting anywhere near the woman that had adopted her daughter and the daughter that she had given away, probably some mix of confusion and utter mortification, but she had come to the conclusion that between ‘mother and step-father of my dead ex-boyfriend’ and ‘child that probably wants nothing at all to do with me and mother that probably hates my guts’...well, she had decided that the Hudson-Hummels were the lesser of the evils. Sure it’s weird being around Finn’s mother and it has been since she and Finn broke up the first time and it didn’t help that he was gone now but at least she hadn’t tried to get her child taken away from her out of selfishness. Spite. It was just easier to suffer through Rachel’s play and pretend that there wasn’t an empty seat there for Finn and that Beth wasn’t sitting in the next row , the blonde mercifully separated from her by several of the former members of the Glee Club.
Funny Girl , she grumbled to herself, shooting the Broadway stage (standing in for Rachel) an absolutely murderous glance. It was certainly funny how Quinn had been warned about Carole and Burt making an appearance but not Shelby and Beth. Quinn was unamused.
And how was she going to explain the appearance of the young girl to Finn’s mother? Burt might not have been able to put two and two together to realize that Beth had once been thought to be his stepson’s, but Carole would. Maybe not at first glance, but she was certain that it would eventually come out. The little girl looked like Quinn. Not that Quinn had looked. No. She had seen her brief glimpse of blonde toddler and become very interested in eavesdropping on the Hummels and pretending that she was invisible and didn’t exist.
It was for the best, anyways. She had stolen every chance that Finn might have had to know the little girl, to know Drizzle , and now he wouldn’t ever be able to. He’d never be able to meet the little girl that Quinn knew he had loved -- had wanted , Finn had wanted Drizzle, even when she hadn’t and he had been so hurt and Quinn hadn’t even tried -- and now Beth would never know and…
Well, none of that mattered. Finn was dead and Drizzle would never know him and Drizzle shouldn’t know Quinn (Finn was always better than her, even when it came to the baby), but she did and Quinn regretted it.
She regretted a lot of things.
Mainly things that had to do with Finn.
She glanced over at the seat that Rachel had set aside for him, on her opposite side (Burt and Carole had insisted), willing the tears that had formed in her eyes to go away. She had no right to cry over him -- they had been friends, nothing more, nothing more after what she had done -- and there was no point in trying to not draw attention to herself if she wasn’t going to start weeping. It was just sad. And pointless. And now she felt stuck with a future with Puck , and Quinn didn’t know if she wanted that at all. Hadn’t she given Beth up to avoid that fate? She had, hadn’t she? She had wanted to keep the little girl -- but she’d wanted a life. Not for her, but for the baby. What life would the baby have had being a pawn in Finn and Noah’s Cold War? Being raised by her and Judy ? She had been right from the start, she’d decided, telling Finn that the baby was better off than being raised by them.
The stolen moments that she and Drizzle had had with Finn at the hospital would have to be enough.
Quinn drew in a shuddering breath, before plastering on a winning smile.
She wished that Rachel hadn’t insisted on them all coming so early, but Quinn hadn’t been able to figure out a way to abandon Rachel’s need for emotional support without thinking of him , and how he would have wanted her to be better than she was, how he would have dropped anything for her if she had needed it, how the least that Quinn could do was see Rachel perform in Funny Girl on opening night, sandwiched between an empty seat that represented bittersweet memories and the mother of those bittersweet memories. She could just...ignore Beth. It wasn’t what Finn would do (Quinn could hear his protesting in her head that ignoring Drizzle was wrong) but what else could she do? Ignoring Drizzle was wrong but this wasn’t really the time or the place to explain the Hudson-Hummels to her child or explaining her child to Burt and reminding Carole of what a horrible person she had let sit beside her. (She could hear Finn saying that she wasn’t horrible...but Quinn had always had a higher opinion of Finn than she had of herself.)
“I miss him,” she heard a voice say, belatedly recognizing it as hers, and she cringed inwardly, relieved when there was no tiny blonde girl darting over to them at the sound. Carole turned to look at her, wearing the same expression of sorrowful concern that she’d worn at the funeral, the last time Quinn had encountered the woman. “He deserved better.”
Better than what ? Dying how he had? Quinn knew there was no coming back from what had happened to Finn, she didn’t have to be a nurse to use google, to know there was no hope, to know that if he had ‘come back’ it would have been to a life he wouldn’t have wanted to live. It was better for her to think of Finn as being up in Heaven, where he wasn’t hurting anymore and he got to know his father, and...whatever, it was better than being here. Wanting Finn as he had been at the end was selfish, and Quinn knew it.
“He deserved better,” she repeated, before Carole got a word out in response. “I’m sorry I didn’t come for the memorial.”
“It’s okay,” she said. “Finn wouldn’t have wanted you to take off from school if you needed to stay there. He knew how you felt. We,” Carole said, gesturing to herself and Burt, “know how you felt”
Quinn fell silent. It was so easy to just ignore the chattering girl behind her, talking with ever-oblivious Brittany about whatever subject the twosome had settled on, but was that fair to anyone but herself? Wasn’t introducing Beth to Carole what she should be doing? At least, if Shelby let her? Wasn’t that the least the older woman who had taken Quinn in when she’d had no one deserved?
“Do you want…”
“I wanted -- you have every right to say no -- I just -- “ Great. She was rambling. “Never mind.”
She was a coward. She had thought about contacting Shelby when she had heard that Finn was in the hospital and trying to explain to her what had happened, in the hopes that she could convince her to do her dying ex the favor that Quinn didn’t deserve but that Finn certainly did, but in the end her grief had been too much to supplant the thought of putting Beth through visiting her comatose pseudo father in the hospital that she had been born at. She had forced herself to put the thought out of her mind, never expecting that she would be faced with this decision anytime soon.
She glanced briefly back at the row behind them, accidentally catching Beth’s eye before returning herself to the conversation between Burt and Carole, which had apparently turned from whatever it was that they had been talking about to a newfound commitment to staring at Quinn.
“What?” She demanded, her false bravado giving way to a resigned whisper.
“Are you okay?”
“Does it matter?” Quinn shrugged. “Nothing matters, does it? Whether I’m okay, or not. I don’t know if I’ll ever be okay. And I don’t know if I have the right to even be upset. I mean...look at Rachel. He was her fiancee and she...she’s okay. We’re all here to see her big debut.”
“ All of us,” she stressed, hoping that Carole could put two and two together to make rainbows.
“I just thought that ...we would be married,” she whispered. “One day we’d build a life together, Finn at Mr. Hummel’s garage and I was going to be a Realtor and we were going to have a house with a white picket fence and that we’d be seeing Rachel in her Broadway shows together, not like this . And I had thought that maybe he would have understood about...well, you know, and maybe he would have gotten to know her as more than a newborn blob that he snuck into the hospital after everyone left to see.” Quinn couldn’t look the Hummels in the eye as she rambled. “I really wanted him to know her, Carole, you have to believe me. And now he’s just gone . How is she ever going to understand? What she meant to him? How much he deserved her and she already knows how much I didn’t.”
“I know I didn’t deserve them,” she said. “I’ve accepted that. And I know Finn would have never picked me over Rachel, because why would he have? Don’t answer that. And don’t turn around.
Shelby must have decided to come see Rachel,” Quinn muttered through gritted teeth. “Or she was invited and decided that I needed the additional emotional trauma of seeing Beth. I don’t want you to see her if you don’t want to.”
“The baby?” Carole asked. “Finn never mentioned meeting her.”
“I think --”
“I’m not a baby. I’m three .”
Quinn couldn’t bring herself to look over in the direction of the protests, which sounded dangerously close to her ear, at least, not until she saw the look on Mrs. Hudson’s face, and she turned to look at her daughter. Or, rather, the blanket that Beth was wearing wrapped around her as a cape, as the little girl bounced happily on Finn’s seat.
I took it everywhere when I was little, I cried when I went without it . My dad gave it to me, but I want her to have it.
“Please get down,” Quinn instructed Beth in a tone that left no room for arguing. She could just see the reaction Rachel would have to Beth daring to sit in Finn’s reserved seat, even though Quinn thought Finn himself wouldn’t have an issue with it. It would do no one any good for Rachel to have a nervous breakdown or diva-esque fit while in character as Fanny Brice. “Rachel has that seat saved. Where is your mother?”
“She went to see Rachel backstage ,” the preschooler supplied, oblivious to the fact that her decision to leap on to Quinn’s lap had made her and that blanket of Finn’s that much closer to his mother . “Britty said you were sad.”
“I’m fine,” Quinn lied. “I didn’t know that Shelby had given you this,” she commented, touching the blanket gently, trying hard not think of high school halls and banks of lockers and stupidly noble now-dead ex-boyfriends . Mainly the last one.
“Finny did,” Beth declared, peering up at her, as if her own daughter could sense her heart breaking. “Before I knew Mommy.”
“I know,” she said. “He wanted you to have it, Beth, he really loved you. His dad had given it to him and he wanted you to have it, so you would know how much he loved you.”
It was true that Finn had loved Beth, no matter how much Quinn had tried to convince him not to, or how much he had been angry at her and Puck for their deception, for lying to him about who the little girl’s dad was and leading him astray for months, she still remembered how excited he’d been when he’d snuck in to visit them and found the baby awake, eying Quinn with impatience until she had convinced the nurse that Finn was perfectly capable of feeding little Drizzle a bottle and holding her until she fell asleep, which he had delighted in, drinking in every aspect of the baby he’d loved. The difference between Finn and Puck’s behaviors around the child had been the deciding factor in her decision to cut her losses with Beth, no matter how much it had hurt. She was grateful she had. Better only Quinn have her memories of their one night tinged with sorrow, rather than Beth having potentially three years of memories ruined.
The young girl seemed to be contemplating this, and Quinn decided to press on. “Finn, he wants you to meet his mom,” she said, trying to modulate her tone. It wasn’t like Finn wanting her to know his mother was a lie, he’d been so sad when Quinn hadn’t wanted her to know about the baby when she was pregnant.
“ Drizzle ?” Carole asked, and she didn’t bother to correct her. Beth didn’t appear to mind the unusual name, though she eyed her warily.
“That’s what Finn wanted to name you,” she told her. “You were so special to him, sweetheart.” The toddler seemed to accept this. Quinn elected to bravely press on. “I’m so sorry.” She didn’t know who she was apologizing to, or what she was apologizing for, but sorry was a very apt description for what Quinn was. Sorry. With a side helping of pathetic.
“Don’t apologize,” Carole said. “Burt and I, we’re glad to meet you, Beth.”
She wanted to protest -- nice wasn’t the word Quinn wanted to use to describe this, the phrase ‘super fucked up’ came to mind, and Quinn rarely swore -- but, whatever. Maybe it provided Carole some comfort to realize she wasn’t a grandmother. All Quinn saw when she looked at Beth was her laundry list of regrets.
“You can watch the show with me, if you want,” she offered the little girl, resigned to the fact that the evening couldn’t possibly get even more uncomfortable than it already was. “If your mom will let you.”
“Will you ask?” Beth asked.
Quinn nodded, letting out a quiet sigh.