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Rachel checked the table, smoothing out lines in the table cloth. It had to be perfect. It had to be. She had been planning this for days and Quinn deserved it to-

“Relax, Berry. It’s Quinn, not Barbra Streisand.” Santana rolled her eyes and threw a carrot at her.

“Hey, no grazing! I worked hard on those plates.” Rachel glared at her. “Quinn’s been gone for months.”

“She spent a semester abroad, not in a war zone. She’s not going to care about the food you made,” Santana said.

“I just missed her,” Rachel said impatiently.

“We know. She’s all you’ve talked about.” Santana shook her head.

“I haven’t talked about her that much,” Rachel protested.

“You have. And it’s cute. You love Quinn.” Brittany smiled at her.

“I- What?” Rachel asked, looking at Brittany in shock.

“Please, Berry, don’t play dumb. You’ve got it bad for Quinn.” Santana elbowed her.

Rachel slumped. “It’s that obvious?”

“Oh, yeah. Especially whenever she posted pictures of her European conquests on Facebook.” Santana smirked

“She’s- she’s just enjoying herself.” Rachel wrinkled her nose, not wanting to think of Quinn and all those girls.

“I’ll bet.”

“Cut it out, Santana.” Brittany came over and patted Rachel on the back. “Quinn’ll be here soon and all that will be behind her. If you really like her, you should give it a shot.”

“I do. So much.” Rachel shook her head in disbelief. She hadn’t expected these feelings. They’d come on so quickly. One minute she’d been missing Quinn, the next she had burned jealously at every girl in Quinn’s pictures. It had been so confusing. But when she really thought about it, she realized it made sense. She and Quinn had always been so intense with each other. She just finally understood what it meant. And she was ready to go for it.

“Just so long as you’re serious,” Santana said, startling Rachel from her thoughts.

“What?”

“If this is some game, or experiment, just don’t. I’m sure theses some lesbian at NYADA willing to be your experiment. Leave Quinn alone.” Santana glared at her.

“That’s not what this is.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes,” Rachel insisted. “Quinn is so- I would never use her. I’m sure I want to be with her.”

Santana stared at her intently. Finally, she smiled. “Okay.”

“Okay? That’s it?” Rachel asked, unsure of why she was making trouble for herself.

“Yeah. Quinn’s been through a lot and I don’t want her hurt. And I believe you’ll be good to her. That’s all I needed to hear.” Santana shrugged.

“Plus, she wants you to be happy,” Brittany said. “She cares about you, too.”

“Britt!”

‘Aw, thank you, Santana.” Rachel breathed a sigh of relief. Having Brittany and Santana’s support on this gave her confidence. Not that she’d change her mind, but it just made her feel like it was the right thing to do.

“Whatever,” Santana grumbled. “Go check on your food. I think I saw a fly.”

“What?!” Rachel glanced at the food. “Not funny.”

“Relax. Quinn won’t care about the food,” Brittany pointed out. “She’ll just be glad to see you.”

“I- I hope so. I really wanted to be with her.” Rachel smiled slightly, picturing Quinn’s beautiful face.

“Well, it looks like she’s here,” Santana said when she heard the knock at the door. “Go get her, Berry.”

Rachel made her way to the door, bouncing excitedly. It was time. She flung the door open. “Hi, Quinn! Oh. You brought a friend.”

“Yeah, this is my girlfriend, Holly,” Quinn said, her arm around the pretty redhead at her side. “She was abroad in London like me, but she goes to NYU. I hope you don’t mind I brought her with me.”

“Oh, no, it’s fine.” Rachel forced a smile, trying to hide her disappointment. “Hi, Hailey.”

“It’s Holly, Rach.” Quinn smiled, hugging Rachel to her.

“Oh. Sorry. Nice to meet you.” Rachel forced herself to step away from Quinn. If she stayed close, she might completely fall apart.

“Hi.” Holly smiled warmly and Rachel felt even worse. Holly was beautiful. How could Rachel ever compete with that?

“Wow, Fabray, I didn’t know you could score a girl like this. I’m Santana, Quinn’s very best friend.” Santana put herself in front of Rachel and Rachel breathed out deeply. She needed a moment to collect herself. She’d had a plan and it was all over. She didn’t quite know what to do now.

“Rachel?” Brittany looked at her seriously.

“I’m fine. Really.” Rachel nodded firmly, hoping she seemed more certain than she actually felt. “I’ll go get our drinks.”

Going into the kitchen Rachel leaned against the counter. She was a fool to think this would work out. Why would someone as wonderful as Quinn want to be with her? Not when there were so many more beautiful women in the world. It was ridiculous to think she had a chance. She would have to just settle for being Quinn’s friend. That would have to be enough. Having Quinn in her life would be enough.

“Hey, you need some help?” Quinn came into the room, smiling sweetly.

“No, I’ve got it.” Rachel looked over at her, a pang in her heart. Quinn was beautiful. It hurt to even look at her and know that she couldn’t be with her. It was too late, she’d missed whatever chance she might have had. But she still wanted Quinn in her life. Which meant putting on a happy face and faking her way through this meal.

“This was really nice of you, Rachel,” Quinn said, taking a few drinks from her anyway. “I’m sorry for springing Holly on you.”

“What?” Rachel snapped her head up in surprise. Quinn couldn’t know about her feelings.

“Showing up with an extra person was rude. I should have called and asked you.”

“It’s fine. I- I’m glad you’re happy,” Rachel said, actually meaning it Quinn deserved some happiness after everything she’d gone through.

“I am,” Quinn said with sparkling eyes. “This semester in London was everything I needed. I met so many people and learned so much about myself.”

“I’m happy things are working out for you, Quinn. You deserve to have someone who adores you,” Rachel said wistfully.

“I- Holly’s terrific and we’re having fun but it’s not serious,” Quinn said.

“It’s not?” Rachel forced her hopes down. She wouldn’t get ahead of herself this time.

“No.” Quinn shook her head. “Honestly, I didn’t expect to come home with a girlfriend. But we’ll be in the same pace for the summer. I just want to give it a shot.”

“She seems nice.” Rachel managed a smile, not knowing exactly what to say. She wouldn’t reveal her feelings for Quinn when she was already entangled with someone else. Even if it wasn’t as serious as she’d originally thought.

“We’d better get these drinks out. I’m surprised Santana hasn’t demanded hers,” Quinn said with a smirk.

“Right.” Rachel took the drinks to the other room, hoping her game face was good enough she didn’t want Quinn to find out and she didn’t need Brittany and Santana’s pity. She just had to make it through a few hours and then she could fall apart. That was all she could do at the moment.

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Rachel bit back a sigh when Brittany patted her shoulder in sympathy. She understood Brittany felt bad but it just made her feel worse. She’d lost her chance, if she’d ever really had one. Quinn was truly happy. Rachel had never seen her so content with herself. Holly really made Quinn happy and Rachel wouldn’t do anything to ruin that. She loved that smile on Quinn’s face. She just wished that she was the one to make her happy.

“Berry.” Santana followed her to the kitchen.

“I’m fine, Santana,” Rachel said.

“No, you’re not,” Santana said, looking at her in concern.

“Well, I’m as fine as I can be.” Rachel rolled her eyes. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Tough.”

“Santana, please.”

“It’s not serious. Quinn’s been posting pictures of girls all semester,” Santana pointed out. “What makes this one different?”

“She brought this one home,” Rachel snapped at her nerves frayed. She thought she’d done a good job at keeping a straight face but that didn’t mean she wanted to talk about it. She just wanted everyone to leave so she could cry for a while.

“She’s been hung up on you for years,” Santana said.

“She’s obviously not anymore.”

“Rachel-”

“Drop it, Santana.” Rachel blew out a breath.

“I’m sorry, Rachel,” Santana said quietly.

“I- Can you just go?” Rachel asked.

“Yeah.” Santana patted her shoulder and left the room.

Rachel bit her lip, trying to contain her emotions. She was so tired. This day had been so long, she need it to be over. She needed to be alone so that she could make another plan. Not to make Quinn love her but to deal with seeing her and that other girl.

“Hey,” Quinn said softly, coming into the room. “You okay? You’ve seemed a little off all day long.”

“Yeah, I’m fine.” Rachel forced a smile. “You should go be with Holly.”

“She had to leave. Her roommate called.”

“Well, go talk to Santana and Brittany. I’m sure they missed you.”

“They had to leave, too. Santana said she knew I wouldn’t mind helping you clean up,” Quinn said with a roll of her eyes.

“Of course.” Rachel sighed. Santana had to interfere, she couldn’t just leave it alone.

“You don’t mind spending time with me, do you?” Quinn asked.

“No way.” Rachel smiled genuinely for what felt like the first time all day. Despite herself, she just couldn’t help but want to be close to Quinn.

“Good.” Quinn smiled and they worked in silence for a few minutes. “Hey, Rach. What’s going on with you?”

“Nothing,” Rachel said, shaking her head.

“I’m not stupid, Rachel. You’ve been acting weird all day. Did I do something?” Quinn grabbed Rachel’s wrist, preventing her from turning away.

“No, you didn’t do anything. I-” Rachel cut herself off. She wasn’t going to make things difficult for Quinn.

“What? There’s something wrong. Tell me,” Quinn pleaded.

“I- I can’t.” Rachel pulled out of Quinn’s grasp and walked out of the room, trying to calm down. She knew Quinn wasn’t going to drop this. She was going to have to tell her and everything was going to change. And-

“Rachel. Talk to me.” Quinn put her hand on Rachel’s arm and spun her around. “What is going on with you? What’s wrong?”

“It’s me. I- I don’t want to make everything difficult for you.” Rachel blinked back tears.

“Just talk to me, Rachel,” Quinn repeated, squeezing Rachel’s arm.

“I had a plan.” Rachel scoffed, thinking back a few hours earlier. It had seemed so simple back then.

“A plan?” Quinn looked at her in confusion.

“I missed you so much these past few months, Quinn. And I was so jealous every time you posted a new picture with a new girl,” Rachel said quietly, trying to make sense of everything. “And I started to think about why. Why it bothered that me that you were with those girls.”

“Why?” Quinn frowned.

“Because I wanted it to be me. I wanted to hug you, to kiss you. I want to be with you,” Rachel said honestly.

“What?” Quinn asked, looking at her in confusion.

“I- I know you’re with Haley and you’re happy. And that’s all I want for you.”

“Her name is Holly,” Quinn said, a dark look coming over her face.

“Right. And that’s why I didn’t want to say anything.” Rachel could feel things spinning out of control. She wasn’t saying it right. “But- but I want to be with you. You are so wonderful, Quinn, and I love you.”

“Don’t.” Quinn spun around and walked away. “You can’t say things like that.”

“I- I know it’s awkward but-” Rachel stuttered, unsure of what to say.

“Awkward?” Quinn scoffed and turned back to her. “Why would you do this now?”

“I just realized how I’m feeling,” Rachel said shakily.

“I waited years. I wanted you so much. I watched you with worthless guys who were no good for you. But I knew I never had a chance.” Quinn shook her head. “And now I’m happy and you pull this?”

“I didn’t want- I wasn’t going to tell you once I saw you with Haley. Holly!” Rachel corrected herself, seeing Quinn’s barely controlled anger. “But you pushed and- and it’s true. I’m in love with you.”

“No. Stop it.” Quinn shook her head. “You don’t get to do this to me.”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean- I just-” Rachel stared at Quinn helplessly. She didn’t know what to do but that anguish on Quinn’s face was killing her.

“You- I am not doing this with you. I’m happy and I-” Quinn sighed. “I have to get out of here.”

“No, Quinn, don’t go. We don’t have to talk about this. Just forget it,” Rachel begged.

“Forget it? I can’t do that. I need to be away from you right now.”

“Quinn, please. I’m sorry.” Rachel stepped closer to her.

“Just- Not now.” Quinn blew out a breath.

“I’m sorry,” Rachel repeated.

“It doesn’t matter right now. I need some space,” Quinn said.

“Okay.” Rachel wanted to push but she knew Quinn would shut down if she did.

“Good bye, Rachel.”

“Good bye, Quinn.” Rachel watched as Quinn left before collapsing on the couch. She’d really screwed this up. She never wanted to upset Quinn, she had just wanted to be honest. But now things were a mess and she had no idea how to fix them. It wasn’t like Quinn was going to make it easy on her and she didn’t blame her. She’d ruined things between them.

Rachel closed her eyes, fighting the urge to fall apart. Quinn wasn’t going to let her in, she was so guarded. Above everything else, Rachel had wanted to use this summer to get back to being Quinn’s friend. They’d drifted apart the last few years, mostly because of Rachel. And now she had screwed it all up.

This was a total mess. She was in big trouble. And there was really no way to fix it. She had to back off until Quinn was ready to come to her.

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Rachel woke up disoriented. She’d fallen asleep on the couch after Quinn left but she still felt drained. It took a moment for her to realize why she’d woken up. Someone was knocking on the door. She made her way over, looking through the peephole. She opened the door quickly. “Quinn.”

“This is totally unfair,” Quinn said, shoving her way past Rachel.

“What?” Rachel shook her head, trying to gather her thoughts. She hadn’t expected to see Quinn this soon and she wasn’t prepared.

“I was happy, I had a girlfriend. I was finally in a good place and you dump your feelings on me,” Quinn ranted, glaring harshly at Rachel.

“I know but we can ignore it. This doesn’t have to change anything.” Rachel took a step toward her but stopped when Quinn held a hand up.

“Of course it does, Rachel! It changes everything. I was over you and then you do this. Damn it, Rachel.” Quinn clenched her fist, clearly trying to keep herself under control.

“Over me?” Rachel’s heart started pounding. “What does that mean?”

“It means I just broke up with a girl I really liked because you told me you love me,” Quinn snapped.

“I- You didn’t have to do that,” Rachel said quietly.

“Of course I did, damn it.” Quinn rolled her eyes. “How in the world am I supposed to focus on Holly when you tell me you love me?”

“That’s- that’s not fair. I didn’t make you do anything,” Rachel protested. Maybe she should have kept her mouth shut but Quinn didn’t have to break up with Holly.

“You told me you loved me. How- So many years, that’s all I wanted and when I finally start to move on, you-” Quinn shook her head. “Damn it, Rachel!”

“It’s not my fault,” Rachel insisted.

“Why would you do this now?” Quinn asked, crossing her arms over her chest.

“You asked.”

“No,” Quinn said impatiently. “You said you had a plan. Why now? Why do you love me now?”

“I- I don’t know. I just- I missed you so much, Quinn. And every picture you posted with another girl, it killed me. I wanted it to be me with you. I love you, Quinn, and I’m sorry it makes your life difficult but it’s the truth.” Rachel looked closely at her, trying to read her face.

“I- don’t know what you expect me to do.”

“I don’t expect anything.”

“Of course you do,” Quinn snapped. “You want me to fall into your arms. But how can I possibly do that?”

“I don’t want you to do anything you don’t want to do.” Rachel could feel herself getting irritated and forced it down. She didn’t want this to end up in an argument.

“Well, I don’t know what I want to do. You- Ah!” Quinn yelled and spun around.

“I’m not going to tell you what to do.”

“Why not? You sure like telling me how you feel.”

“Don’t, Quinn. You’re trying to turn this into a fight and I don’t want that.”

“I’m serious,” Quinn said. “You run your mouth all the time. You have an opinion on everything.”

“Stop it,” Rachel said.

“I was happy. And now you’re all I can think about,” Quinn said softly.

“What?” Rachel stared at her in shock.

“Damn it, you’ve ruined me.” Quinn crossed the room, took Rachel’s face in her hands and kissed her.

Rachel froze at the moment Quinn kissed her before sliding her arms around Quinn’s back. She didn’t know how long this was going to last and she wasn’t going to miss a single second of it. She tilted her head and parted her lips, allowing Quinn to slip her tongue inside. This was all she’d dreamed of for so long and it was everything she’d ever wanted.

“Whoa,” Quinn whispered as she pulled back, her hands dropping to rest on Rachel’s hips.

“Yeah,” Rachel said, a silly grin on her face that she couldn’t wipe off.

“That- that shouldn’t have happened.” Quinn sighed, trying to pull away but Rachel held on to her.

Don’t do that. Don’t push me away and hide your feelings. You wanted it and so did it.” Rachel looked up at her.

“Yeah but-”

“No buts. You- you kissed me, Quinn,” Rachel said, her lips still tingling.

“I did. And it was good. Everything I dreamed it would be.” Quinn leaned in, pressing her forehead to Rachel’s. “You’re everything I’ve always wanted.”

“Yeah?” Rachel breathed out, hardly able to believe this was happening. Even minutes ago, she wouldn’t have guess that she would ever be in Quinn’s arms.

“Oh, Rachel. You- I’ve wanted you for so long. I just never thought I could have.” Quinn pulled her in even closer. “I was trying to get over you. But it’s obvious that I’m not.”

“I- Selfishly, I’m glad.” Rachel smiled. “I mean, I want to be with you. I love you.”

“I-” Quinn froze and tried to pull away but Rachel held on tightly.

“I do. Maybe I’ve been blind but I think it’s been you for a long time. Please don’t push me away. Not if you feel the same way I do.” Rachel rubbed Quinn’s back, unable to stop touching her.

“You scare me, Rachel.” Quinn buried her face in Rachel’s neck.

“Why?” Rachel asked.

“Because you make me feel so much. You always have.” Quinn bit her lip, clearly trying to collect herself. “I- I forced myself to try to move on but I obviously didn’t and-”

“What? You can tell me anything, Quinn,” Rachel said, pushing herself even closer to Quinn.

“You could break my heart so easily. I know that I will fall apart if we do this and you change your mind. And I know that’s not fair but I can’t help how I feel.” Quinn pulled away and wiped at her eyes.

“I can’t promise you that I’ll never hurt you. That’s not realistic. But I love you so much, Quinn, and I would give anything to make you happy.” Rachel moved slowly, giving Quinn the chance to pull away. She took her hands and squeezed.

“I- I’m still terrified,” Quinn admitted with a watery laugh.

“Too terrified to try?” Rachel asked. “Because I’ll walk away and just be your friend if that will make you happy. That’s all I want for you. That’s all I’ve ever wanted for you.”

“No. Don’t.” Quinn clutched Rachel’s hands even harder. “Don’t leave me.”

“I-”

Quinn threw her arms around Rachel. “I can’t let you go, even though I know it’s the safe thing to do. I just want you.”

“Oh. Well, that’s great.” Rachel wrapped her arms around Quinn.

“Yeah?” Quinn gazed at her seriously.

“Mmhmm.” Rachel kissed her gently. “Oh, my God.”

“What?”

“I thought I missed my chance with you. But here we are.” Rachel smiled.

“That’s all I’ve ever wanted. Me and you.” Quinn pulled Rachel and led her over to the couch, pulling her into her lap. “Hi.”

“Hi.” Rachel tangled a hand into Quinn’s hair. “Can we stay like this a while?”

“We can stay forever, if that’s what you want.” Quinn kissed her once more and they got lost in each other, certain they were exactly where they were supposed to be.