Rachel Berry thought that the summer after her sophomore year was going to be magnificent. Glee club was secure for at least another year, Quinn had safely delivered a healthy baby girl, and Finn told her that he loved her. While Rachel was a little wary of declarations of love, especially from Finn Hudson, the drama of the before the curtain confession was not lost on her and was, in fact, greatly appreciated. That being said, Rachel devised three very achievable goals for the summer: 1. Prepare for Glee 2. Befriend Quinn Fabray 3. Develop a lasting summer romance with Finn that would stand the test of time. She wrote them out with her gold pen on a clean piece of paper and taped it in front of her elliptical.
The first goal was the easiest to achieve. Rachel set aside two hours every day (one between breakfast and ballet and the other between her MySpace video and bedtime regimen) in order to fully devote herself to Glee. She would lock herself in her soundproof room with a pair of chunky pink headphones, a notebook, and tapes and recordings of past Glee performances. She planned to dissect each and every one of their vocals in order to measure their strengths and weaknesses. The diva had amazing auditory capabilities and was able to pick out the individual voices of her Glee mates. Once each singer's vocal range and quality was established, she began scoring various resources for songs and arrangements that would suit New Directions both as individuals and as a whole. If everything went as planned, and Rachel was pretty sure it would, she would have a set song list for Sectionals and a tentative plan for Regionals before summer was over.
Her second goal, to become friends with Quinn, made her feel a little apprehensive. The blonde cheerio had always intrigued her. If she was completely honest with herself, and she usually was, she had noticed Quinn long before she had ever noticed Finn, and it wasn't because Quinn was throwing slushies at her. She was the prettiest girl Rachel had ever seen. Sure, she had a fit body (even when lugging around an eight pound human) and her blonde hair made Rachel want to run her fingers through it, or grab a fistful and…do something, but it was her eyes that really drew Rachel in. Quinn's eyes were the most guarded, and most expressive, part of her. If Rachel wanted to judge how successful a song was, she locked onto Quinn's pools of hazel and watched the emotions, or lack thereof, flicker across the surface.
Rachel was painfully aware of the fact that Quinn had turned her friendship down on numerous occasion. During her pregnancy, she had warmed up to everyone, it seemed, except Rachel. But, Rachel Berry was determined. She just had to wait the appropriate amount of time and strike again, preferably when Quinn was still a little soft with leftover pregnancy hormones. So, two weeks after school ended, Rachel made her move, sending Quinn a quick text message.
Rachel: Good afternoon, Quinn. I hope your summer has been satisfactory.
She giddily awaited the reply. She never expected that one wouldn't come.
The next day she started earlier, during breakfast.
Rachel: Good morning, Quinn. Have a pleasant day!
She sent a text again at lunch, another one at dinner, and one more before bed, never receiving a reply. She was a little bit worried. While she expected to be snapped at, she didn't expect to be completely ignored. Wasn't it common courtesy to respond to a text? What if something had happened? Because she was fairly sure that Quinn, for all her faults (and perfections) was a courteous person. The next day she doubled her efforts, the day after that she tripled them. Finally, just before Rachel sent her customary good night text, Quinn replied.
Quinn: What the hell, Berry? I don't have unlimited texts.
Rachel bit her lip, feeling a little bit relieved and a little guilty for using up so many of Quinn's texts.
Rachel: I apologize, Quinn. I was under the impression my messages weren't getting through, as I never received a reply.
Quinn: I got them. I just didn't feel like responding.
Rachel gasped lightly.
Rachel: Oh. It wasn't my intention to bother you. I thought that, perhaps, we could use this summer as a fresh start. I wish to extend my hand in friendship and support.
Her phone lit up immediately and she hesitated to look at Quinn's response.
Quinn: I don't need another friend right now.
Rachel blinked rapidly, unsure why her eyes were suddenly burning. Hadn't she expected this? And why did it matter so much when she had gone 16 years without Quinn Fabray's friendship? Why…?Her phone beeped and she forced herself to pick it up.
Quinn: I didn't meant that like it sounded.
Why was she suddenly so relieved?
Quinn: Listen, Berry. I need to work on myself right now. I can't focus on that and deal with all of our…issues at the same time.
Rachel sat down on her bed and pulled one of her pillows close as she debated on how to respond.
Rachel: I understand. I just wanted to keep in touch. I don't want to begin this school year the way we did last school year.
Rachel: It would only be a couple of text messages a day, perhaps an email.
Quinn: I already told you I don't have unlimited texts. And your email address is still marked as spam.
Rachel: Two. Just give me two texts a day.
Rachel wasn't sure why she was so desperate, but the ten minutes it took Quinn to respond seemed to crawl by.
Quinn: Fine. Two. But don't ever expect me to respond.
Rachel: Thank you. Goodnight, Quinn.
Rachel lay back in her bed and thought. She would use one text to say good morning and one to say goodnight. Maybe her text messages would prove to be a constant in Quinn's life and, even if she never responded, Quinn would realize that Rachel was there for her. She sighed, squeezing the pillow tighter. That wasn't going to happen anytime soon. Quinn was stubborn and extremely guarded, and Rachel knew her enough to know that when she said she didn't want any more friends, she meant it. The two texts were a pity allotment. And, while Rachel now knew her second goal was impossible to achieve, she was at least thankful that Quinn was considerate enough to throw her a bone. She supposed, with all of the extra time freed up, she could put more effort into her relationship with Finn, which was already a little unsteady despite her best efforts.
During the first official week of summer, and the first week of wooing Finn Hudson, Rachel decided that, this time around, she was going to be far more casual and relaxed. She didn't complain when he took her to Breadstix, even though the only vegan dish they carried was a poorly constructed garden salad. She took him bowling and tried to have fun, even when the men in the next lane over got a little inebriated and asked her what it was like living with fairies. She looked over to Finn, who was holding his fingers over the air vent of the ball return and assumed he hadn't heard them. So she fixed the men with her most genuine smile (despite the fact she wanted to slam a bowling ball in their faces) and said that she didn't remember sharing any rooms with Tinkerbell. She was lucky they were jovial drunks, because they just laughed uproariously and turned back to their game. Finn was still by the ball return and when he dropped her off that night she noticed that he looked slightly uncomfortable. She assumed it was because she beat him by one pin, a complete bit of dumb luck on her part considering her lack of skill.
The next week whenever she called or texted him, no more than three times a day respectively, he was always playing video games and could never seem to talk. While Rachel could appreciate video games as much as any other teenager (she had an extensive collection of Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter games), she didn't understand why Finn couldn't make time for her; especially after such a successful first week. She resolved to change her approach.
She spent the third week, fresh off of her rejection from Quinn, going through various magazines in order to concoct a series of dates (minus the suggested sex) guaranteed to make a man swoon, or whatever a man's version of swooning was. She was just about to call Finn, after her good morning text to Quinn, when her phone lit up. For a second, she thought it was the blonde responding, but it was Finn. She tried to ignore the slight drop in her smile and read the message.
Finn: rach need 2 tlk cu prk 11
Rachel ignored the slight feeling of trepidation in her stomach.
When Rachel arrived promptly at eleven, Finn was nowhere to be seen. She made her way over to the swings and sat down, scuffing the toe of her black mary janes in the dust at her feet. She heard a door shut and glanced up. Finn walked towards her, his shoulders slightly hunched and his hands in his pockets. She gritted her teeth because she had seen that look on his face before, when he told her he wanted to be a rock star.
She forced a smile. "Finn! To what do I owe the pleasure of your company?"
He stopped in front of her, squinting as he looked down. "Rach… this isn't going to work."
"What do you mean?" Her hands gripped onto the chains tighter.
"We're just too different."
"Too different? We did everything you wanted the last couple of weeks. I didn't complain when you ignored me in favor of Call of Duty. I haven't even made matching calendars."
"I know, Rach. But you don't really like those things anyways. And you don't like football either, and that's a big part of who I am."
"I don't have to enjoy everything you do, Finn. And, it's not that I don't like football, I just don't understand it completely. Even if I didn't like it, I would tolerate it for you and perhaps even come to enjoy it. A relationship is supposed to be give and take."
"And you always take, Rach."
"What are you talking about? I give a lot of things. I sat there in that bowling alley while drunken bigots mocked my fathers and didn't really say anything because I wanted you to have fun."
Rachel's eyes narrowed as she saw the same look of discomfort from that night pass across his face.
"Finn Hudson, are you breaking up with me because my fathers are gay, and you can't handle the pressure?"
"Of course not!" he snapped, his cheeks turning red. "You know I don't have a problem with your gay dads."
Rachel jumped off of the swing and stood on her tiptoes, her eyes blazing.
"Yes, you are! You heard what those people said and didn't say anything. You let me deal with them alone, because you were afraid and you didn't want them to associate you with the fairies, too!"
"And they're not my GAY dads, Finn. They're my DADS. You've never been able to accept that and I say good riddance to you!"
She shoved past him and stormed all the way to her car, angry tears streaking down her face.
It was only after the day slipped past and she lay in her bed, her face buried in a pillow, that she realized four weeks hadn't even passed and she had already irrevocably failed two of her three goals.