Junior prom was a disaster.
Rachel hadn’t expected it to be great – for various reasons – but she also didn’t expect it to be so messy.
She supposed that she should take her share of the blame; taking Jesse St. James as her date was obviously a perfect ingredient for chaos. Rachel Berry was anything if not a forgiving person, but she hadn’t quite forgiven the boy for leading her on and humiliating her.
Yet she said yes, because seeing Finn and Quinn together made her heart ache, and maybe taking Jesse to the prom would help her forget Finn. Or make him realize what he was missing. She didn’t really think it through, evidently.
It worked, if getting Finn jealous enough to start fighting with Jesse leading to both boys getting kicked out of prom was considered a success.
Everything had just unravelled terribly after that. Kurt had been elected Prom Queen and ran off, and Rachel was appalled Principal Figgins hadn’t realized it was an act of bullying before he read the name out loud. At least Blaine was there.
She immediately regretted everything once she followed Quinn to the bathroom. She wasn’t exactly planning on spending her junior prom getting slapped and then reconciling with the blonde, but somehow it made her relieved.
They ended up back on the dance floor eventually, and New Directions (sans Finn) enjoyed what was left of prom.
Rachel couldn’t help the guilt that bubbled in her chest when she watched Quinn get a prom photo alone. Rachel lost her date, too, but she hadn’t cared about winning prom queen, and it wasn’t like she was in a relationship with Jesse.
So, near the end of the night, she wrung her hands nervously and approached the blonde who had just finished bidding farewell to Mercedes.
“Hey, Quinn,” Rachel called softly.
Quinn had clearly noticed her approach and arched a brow in question. Rachel hesitated, waiting for a verbal response, and Quinn sighed. “Yes, Rachel?”
“Well…” she started, a little unsurely. “I was wondering if you’d perhaps want to – to come over to my place tonight. Seeing as our dates have been… removed from the premises, they’ve probably gone home already, so…”
Quinn’s face twitched, her lips curving into a small smile. “Yeah, I kind of still blame you for that.”
Rachel ignored the dig and instead thought about the muted sadness in Quinn’s eyes. “Okay – so let me make it up to you.”
Quinn visibly softened, with a small shake of her head. “I didn’t mean it like that,” Rachel opened her mouth, about to respond, before Quinn continued. “Fine. I’ll come over, if it’ll make you feel better.”
Rachel beamed. “It will.”
Quinn had rolled her eyes when Rachel held the door open for her with a dramatic bow, but Rachel could tell she was fighting a smile.
It worked out, seeing as Finn was Quinn’s ride to prom. Luckily, Rachel and Jesse had opted to arrive in their own vehicles. Well, in Rachel’s case, it was her dads’ vehicle. She texted them before they left to inform them that she was bringing a guest.
Finn had offered to pick her up, Quinn told her as they drove.
Rachel chewed her lip as she kept her eyes on the dark road. “Do you… want me to drop you off at Finn’s?” She wasn’t a fan of that plan for many, many reasons but she also didn’t want to force Quinn to hang out with her.
“No,” Quinn laughed, somewhat bitterly. “I’m still mad at him.” The guilt stirred in Rachel’s chest again before the blonde spoke again. “Besides, how else will you make it up to me?”
Rachel relaxed. “True. Unfortunately, it wasn’t planned so I don’t have anything prepared, but we could watch a movie or something – if you want,” she suggested as they pulled up to her block.
“A movie is fine with me,” Quinn shrugged. “I just can’t wait to be out of this dress.”
Rachel could agree with that sentiment, although she wasn’t lying when she said Quinn was the prettiest girl she ever met. It was very apparent the moment she saw her all dressed up in a beautiful blue gown.
Wordlessly, they rolled up to Rachel’s driveway, until Rachel shut off the ignition. “Nice house,” Quinn commented, and Rachel realized that she had never been here before. She just smiled and gave a quiet thanks.
The two girls exited the car, and Quinn waited patiently for Rachel to take the lead and unlock the door. Once the door was opened, they both promptly shuffled inside. Quinn delicately removed her heels, and Rachel moved to set her own shoes inside the closet. It was clear her dads had gone to bed already, as there were no lights on other than in the foyer.
“Okay,” Rachel said, “My room is upstairs. Follow me.”
Quinn did as she was told. From the corner of her eye, Rachel could see the blonde peeking around curiously as they walked up the stairs and down the hallway.
“This is my room,” Rachel said, a little shyly, as she flicked the light on. She suddenly became self-conscious; she hoped Quinn didn’t think it was childish.
Quinn looked around briefly. “It’s very… you.” Her tone wasn’t particularly malicious, but Rachel didn’t know if being “her” was a bad thing to Quinn or not. She would have asked her to elaborate, but the blonde had started fiddling with her dress.
“Oh! Um, I guess you’ll need to borrow pajamas,” Rachel realized as she made her way towards her dresser.
“Yeah, I wasn’t exactly planning on sleeping over at your house,” Quinn smirked.
“Is a t-shirt and PJ shorts okay?” Rachel hoped it was, because she could imagine the comments Quinn would make about her cutesy-printed pajama pants.
“Yeah,” Quinn replied, and Rachel handed them to her. “Thanks. Where should I…?”
“Oh, the main bathroom is your first left in the hallway. There’s a spare toothbrush in the drawer that you can use.” Rachel turned to get her own pajamas, before looking back to Quinn who had nearly left the room. “Um – wait.”
“What is it now?”
Rachel moved closer. “Could we maybe… take a picture together before we take our dresses off? Just a casual one,” she clarified. “You look really pretty, Quinn.”
Quinn rolled her eyes. “Okay.”
Rachel held back a huge grin as she pulled out her phone, moving her head close to the blonde’s. They smiled briefly for the photo, although Rachel noted that Quinn’s smile hadn’t reached her eyes.
“Did you want proof that I came to your house or something, Berry?”
“Of course not!” Rachel huffed, crossing her arms. “I just thought it’d be a nice memory to keep.”
Quinn’s eyebrows drew together almost imperceptibly. “I’m going to get dressed now.”
Rachel watched her go, then walked back to the dresser to retrieve her own pajamas. She sighed. Maybe it was a mistake to invite Quinn over; she obviously hadn’t had the best night, but Rachel hoped that she’d be able to cheer her up a bit. Instead, the blonde just seemed withdrawn.
And maybe it was just her hopeful nature that made her believe they connected earlier tonight. There was always something about Quinn that made her think they were meant to be more than enemies – she hesitated to even use that word, because she never saw Quinn like that – but maybe Quinn did. Everyone else in Glee club certainly believed it.
Rachel shook her head, trying to clear her thoughts. She was being a terrible host! She dressed into her pajamas hastily and tidied up her room a little (although there really wasn’t much of a mess). The sound of footsteps coming down the hallway caught her attention about five minutes later, and she set down the pillow she was fluffing.
Quinn knocked quietly, and Rachel smiled. “You can come in.”
Rachel tried not to feel pleased at the sight of the taller girl in her clothes. She looked good, like she always did, so Rachel didn’t think that was surprising. What was more surprising was how immediately comfortable Quinn looked without the dress.
“So, about that movie…?” Quinn prompted.
Rachel blushed. She had been staring. “Oh! Feel free to sit down on my bed. Normally we’d watch in the living room, but it’s pretty late, and my room is mostly soundproof, so…”
Quinn laughed softly as she sat down on the plush mattress. “Rachel, you don’t have to explain everything. I don’t mind.”
Rachel exhaled. She hadn’t realized how nervous she had been, but Quinn was acting a little more relaxed, so maybe it would be okay. “Sorry. I was just afraid that I had upset you.”
The blonde bit her lip, as if she was debating on saying something or not. “No, no. Let’s just watch a movie, okay? I’m a little tired of drama for tonight.” She looked down for a moment.
“Of course,” Rachel finally sat down, leaving considerable space between them. “Do you want me to make popcorn, or get you a glass of water? Then we can watch.”
“I already brushed my teeth, but a glass of water would be great.”
“Okay, I’ll be right back. You can choose the movie over there,” the brunette signalled towards her extensive collection of DVDs.
Quinn smiled. “I hope you have more than just musicals.”
“I do,” Rachel assured her, moving towards the door. “I’m sure you’ll find at least one movie that’s to your taste.”
With that, Rachel set off to the kitchen. She made a brief detour to brush her own teeth and do her skincare routine – abbreviated because she didn’t want to keep Quinn waiting – but she was glad to feel refreshed after such a long night.
Rachel returned to her room to see Quinn on her cellphone, looking a little perturbed. However, the blonde was quick to set her cellphone down on the bedside table when Rachel stepped closer. Quinn’s hair had been let down, loose curls falling over her shoulders as she looked up.
“So, did you find one to your liking?” Rachel asked as she handed Quinn a glass of water, the blonde smiling gratefully in response.
“Right here,” Quinn grabbed a DVD she had set aside, handing it to Rachel.
Rachel was surprised to see that she had chosen a romantic comedy, but she wasn’t going to question it. The brunette turned her bedside lamp on and inserted the movie into her TV, flicking off the light before she went to settle on the bed next to Quinn. Her chest fluttered when the blonde gave her a small smile.
This wasn’t how she imagined her junior prom, but somehow it felt appropriate.
Throughout the movie, they both got more comfortable on the bed. Rachel would peek over and see if Quinn found the same scenes amusing, although she was pretty sure she was caught multiple times. There was little conversation between them, only small comments from time to time, but Rachel was content with the silence.
However, near the end of the movie, Quinn spoke up. “I wouldn’t have forgiven him, if I were her.”
Rachel glanced at her, bemused. “Why not? I mean, he’s kind of dopey and slow to catch on to things, but he loves her.”
“I don’t know,” Quinn shrugged. “It just seems like she’s settling.”
Rachel thought there were many comparisons to be drawn here, but she didn’t want to try disentangling that. Instead, she just laughed. “It’s supposed to be a feel-good romance, Quinn. The kind that makes you gush because love is fun and exciting.” Rachel fiddled with a blanket absent-mindedly as she paused. “When you’re in love, you can look past someone’s faults. Or appreciate them.”
Quinn raised a brow at her, looking back at the screen. “I just think it’d be ideal to be with someone who understood you without having to constantly explain things.”
Rachel could see the appeal, but she was also a romantic at heart. To her, true love would prevail no matter the hardships. Finn flashed in her mind, although she wasn’t sure if it was brought on by Quinn’s words or her own thoughts. He was a lot of things, but perceptive was not one of them.
Rachel was notably distracted for the rest of the movie. They were seemingly at an impasse, so she dropped it. There was a part of her that wanted to ask about Finn, but the other part of her was afraid to tread into that conversation again after tonight’s events.
Once the credits had rolled, Rachel stood up to turn the TV off.
“So…” Quinn started, “Where should I sleep?”
Rachel hummed for a moment. “You can sleep in my bed. I mean, we have a guest room if you’d really prefer that.” She kind of liked the idea of having an authentic sleepover experience, in the same room and all. But that was a little embarrassing to admit.
“Where are you sleeping, then?”
“The floor is comfortable enough. I’ll just have to gather some blankets.” She made the move to retrieve said bedding before she felt a touch on her arm.
“Your bed is big enough for two people. Let’s just share it.” Quinn was unexpectedly firm.
Rachel blinked, moving to sit down on the bed again. “You’re okay with that?”
“Well, as long as you don’t snore too loudly,” Quinn teased, hazel eyes glinting with amusement.
“There won’t be an issue, then,” Rachel retorted, moving to slip under the covers and lay down on her side of the bed. Quinn followed suite, and for a moment Rachel was afraid everything would become terribly awkward.
“Thanks.” Rachel looked over to Quinn, who had turned to face her. Her voice was quiet, and Rachel almost missed it.
“I don’t know – you always try to be my friend. Even when I…” Quinn trailed off, worrying her lip beneath her teeth. “I’m not good at opening up to people.”
“I’ve noticed,” Rachel said, amused.
Quinn let out a small laugh at that. Rachel grinned in return, before leaning over to switch the lamp off. The only light that illuminated them was from the moon through the window.
“God, tonight was a disaster,” Quinn murmured after a few moments. Rachel squinted, trying her best to see Quinn’s features in the dim light.
“It really was,” Rachel agreed, nodding against her pillow. She thought about her words carefully before she continued. “If it makes you feel any better, I think you deserved to win prom queen.”
“Don’t flatter me, Rachel,” Quinn let out a self-deprecating laugh. “I was so focused on winning, and I thought if I had aligned everything perfectly… well, that obviously didn’t happen. I was just fooling myself.”
“There’s always next year,” Rachel tried to hold down the guilt that was threatening to overcome her. Everything was so messy between them.
Rachel’s skin pricked as she felt eyes staring pointedly at her despite the darkness. “To have any chance of winning, you need a partner. Well,” Quinn continued wryly, “At least that’s what I thought until Kurt’s name was announced.”
“That was a cruel joke, but I’m glad he took it in stride,” Rachel murmured. She was distracted by the first part of Quinn’s statement. “You’re making it sound like you won’t be dating anyone next year.”
“Are you kidding?” Quinn laughed coldly, and Rachel flinched. “Finn’s going to break up with me any day now.”
Rachel’s stomach churned. “Finn cares about you. How can you be so sure?”
“You must be aware of how he looks at you. He’s not exactly subtle about it,” Quinn let out a defeated sigh. “Besides… I’m not sure if Finn and I are meant to be more than just a high school relationship.”
There was a time Rachel would be beyond exuberant to hear all these things. But somehow, she only felt a confusing swirl of sadness and longing and guilt. She found herself at a very rare loss of words.
“You picked the corsage, didn’t you?”
Suddenly Rachel felt more awake. “Uh, no – of course not–“
“Don’t lie to me, Rachel.” Quinn sounded weary.
“Well…” she hedged, fiddling with her blanket nervously. “I may have given him some advice.”
“Figures.” Quinn was quiet for a while, and Rachel waited in trepidation. “I just… sometimes I wonder if I’ll find someone who actually cares about me.”
Rachel scooted a little closer, her brows knitted. “Of course you will. I do.” She could only barely see the smile on Quinn’s face in the dark, but it was one that was filled with vulnerability. Maybe it was the fact that Rachel had already seen her cry tonight, or that it was so late, but it felt like a rare sight regardless.
“Noted,” Quinn’s smile had spilled into her voice. The blonde hesitated for a moment. “You know… you could do so much better than Finn.”
Now it was Rachel’s turn to be bothered. “Could I? Because if you haven’t noticed, I’m not exactly popular, or incredibly pretty, like you. Sometimes I ramble too much, and I’m selfish. Finn understands that.”
“Then why didn’t he date you when he had the chance? Face it, Rachel. Finn just wants the girl he’s not actually with at the time.”
Rachel struggled to come up with a response that wouldn’t end in an argument. She wanted to make Quinn feel better, not fight about boys. “Let’s just drop it, okay? He’s still your boyfriend.”
The blonde relented with slight reluctance, leaning heavily against the bed. “You’re right, sorry. I just… thought my prom would go a lot more romantically.”
Rachel smiled knowingly. “I expected a little more kissing, myself – but, well, seeing as I don’t even have a boyfriend at the moment, I guess that wasn’t in the stars for me.” She nudged Quinn playfully. “But this isn’t a terrible alternative, right?”
Quinn made a noise of amusement but didn’t look at her. “It’s not the worst. So, you and St. James aren’t going for round two?”
“Oh, um – no, we were just going as friends.” Rachel hoped she didn’t have to explain that she mostly said yes because of Finn (and Quinn).
“Good. He was a jerk,” Quinn murmured, her voice starting to betray drowsiness. “You’re way too forgiving.”
“Maybe,” Rachel said softly. “I believe in second chances.”
Quinn didn’t reply outright, just made a noise to signify that she heard. Rachel thought this was a suitable end of the conversation, and she was getting sleepy, herself. So, she rolled onto her back, staring at the ceiling. “Goodnight, Quinn,” she whispered into the dark, closing her eyes.
When Quinn didn’t reply immediately, Rachel assumed she had already fallen asleep. She was feeling herself drift when she felt a movement on the mattress next to her. Rachel blinked confusedly when a presence disturbed the air above her.
Before she could think of anything to say, her heart startled when she saw Quinn’s face so close to hers. The blonde’s eyes were reaching so intently into her own that she didn’t move, nor did she want to speak anymore. Her heartbeat felt so loud. Maybe she had fallen asleep and she was just having a dream that felt very, very real.
But that theory went out the window the moment Quinn leaned closer, pressing her lips so softly against Rachel’s that she felt dazed. Soft curls of blonde hair tickled against her cheek. Rachel’s eyes inadvertently closed again as Quinn pressed a little more firmly, and maybe it was partly exhaustion, but her limbs felt light and all she could focus on was wherever her body met Quinn’s.
Wow, Rachel thought fuzzily as Quinn pulled away. She didn’t pull back completely, though, and Rachel looked up into warm hazel eyes with wide brown ones. Her immediate reaction was to pull Quinn back in, but she quickly quelled that urge. She wasn’t sure if that was appropriate.
“Goodnight, Rachel,” Quinn’s voice sounded warmer than Rachel had ever heard it. Then, the blonde pulled away completely, settling on her side of the bed turned the other way, and left Rachel to try to calm her frantic heart down.
Rachel licked her lips, confusion settling in quickly. She didn’t know how she was supposed to interpret that. Was Quinn making a move on her? Was it just to make Rachel feel better? Maybe this is what usually happened at sleepovers between girls?
Okay, Rachel was pretty sure that last one wasn’t true. Then again, she didn’t have a huge frame of reference.
Normally, Rachel was the type to overanalyze everything, and she really, really wanted to analyze this, but she was exhausted. So, she took a deep breath and attempted to relax. They could discuss this tomorrow, and everything would be figured out.
They didn’t discuss it the next day.
In fact, Quinn had acted so normally the next morning, Rachel was having trouble deciding whether or not she had actually been dreaming. She had been too tired to get on her elliptical in the morning, but she was still an early riser and thus went to shower while she let Quinn sleep. By the time she had finished, Quinn was awake.
They didn’t get much of a chance to talk before Quinn had asked to have a turn in the bathroom to freshen up, and then her dads called them down for breakfast.
Rachel spent all of breakfast staring, but the blonde hadn’t reacted to her at all. Well, she partook in casual conversation, but it was so casual that Rachel was left reeling. Then again, she didn’t particularly want to bring up last night with her dads around, either.
Before she knew it, Quinn was standing in the foyer with a small smile. “Well, I should get going.”
“Do you need a ride?” That would be perfect time to have a real conversation!
“No... no, it’s fine. Finn is picking me up.” Oh.
Rachel felt a stab of jealousy. “I see. Thank you for coming,” she tried to smile normally, but it came out tighter than she intended.
“Well, thanks for being a good host.” Quinn had moved to grab her dress in the bag she was borrowing. Her tone was teasing and light, and confusion stirred in Rachel’s chest again.
Quinn had turned to open the door, but Rachel reached out to touch her arm. “Wait – Quinn –“ Rachel stumbled over her words when the blonde turned, her face suddenly unreadable.
Rachel flushed, afraid she had misinterpreted the friendly tone from earlier. “I just wanted to…”
Spit it out, Rachel!
“I just wanted to tell you that I really enjoyed myself,” she said nervously. It was true, but it wasn’t what she wanted to say. She wanted to ask about last night!
Quinn looked at her strangely. “Okay.”
Rachel’s shoulders sunk as she watched Quinn leave. She never should’ve said anything.
Her dad approached moments later, glancing outside the window that Rachel was standing by forlornly. They watched the blonde enter the car together. “So… that girl is a friend of yours? Quinn, was it?”
“Yes, daddy.” She hoped he hadn’t recognized her from past conversations; she tried to avoid talking about any negative school experiences like bullying with her fathers, but sometimes it slipped out.
“She seemed polite at the kitchen table. Why are you looking so gloomy?”
Rachel suddenly pulled herself away from the window. “I’m not. I’m fine,” she proclaimed, waving her arms as if to dispel any negative feelings.
“This doesn’t happen to be the girl that you fought with over Finn, does it?” Leroy raised a brow at her.
“She is – but it’s okay! We’re friends,” she hesitated to add I think, so she didn’t. “I respect her relationship with Finn.”
Her dad looked unconvinced, but he wasn’t the type to push. “If you say so.”
Once her dad had left her alone, she wasn’t sure what to do with herself. It was a Saturday, so she didn’t have any pressing matters to attend to. Perhaps she could do homework as a productive distraction.
She returned to her room and tried to focus on her homework, managing to get through quite a bit of it before her phone buzzed, catching her attention.
It was a number that had never texted her first, although she had made a point of adding every Glee member into her phone’s contacts because she was a good captain. So, her heart palpitated at the name Quinn that appeared on her screen.
I had a good time, too. -Q
It was Monday before she knew it. Rachel hadn’t even thought about what would change at school after such an eventful prom, but there were definitely changes at McKinley High.
She saw Brittany and Santana striding through the hall with elbows linked, for one. They were always a little bit touchy, but now they appeared to be even closer.
Kurt, similarly, was carrying himself with more confidence as he walked the halls alongside Mercedes. They exchanged a friendly wave when he walked by.
And then she saw Quinn. And Finn. She wasn’t even going to try to untangle the confusing feelings that twisted within her. She didn’t really intend to see them, but Quinn’s locker was in the same hall as hers. They were embracing, briefly, before Quinn had wrapped her arm around his and they walked off.
Maybe the status quo wasn’t too shaken.
Distracted, Rachel dropped the binder she had been retrieving from her locker and jumped. With a sigh, she leaned down to pick it up.
Just the other day she would’ve had to look away because it hurt to see them together. Well, it still hurt, but before it was easily decipherable because she knew she wanted Finn. But now there was Quinn – maybe – and it was all so confusing.
She had always sympathized with Quinn despite their differences, but she also believed Finn was meant to be with her, not Quinn. The thought made her chest tight with guilt now, knowing Quinn’s feelings on the matter.
And then there was prom night! She still didn’t understand where the kiss came from. She never thought of herself as someone with latent sapphic leanings, but she didn’t exactly dislike the sensation of Quinn’s lips on hers.
She threw her face into her hands. Having a crush on a boy with a girlfriend was one thing, but harboring a crush on a boy and his girlfriend was another thing altogether. Now that would be unacceptable.
Maybe she just was so enthusiastic about becoming friends with Quinn that she was simply mistaking it for romantic feelings.
A hand waved in front of her face. “Hello? Earth to Rachel?”
“Oh! Hi, Kurt!” Cue nervous laughter. “I thought you’d gone to class already.”
“Yes, well, since we share the same first period I noticed your absence. I didn’t expect to find you still standing here, in midst of a breakdown. Should I leave you to it?” He peered at her.
“I am not having a breakdown. I was just… thinking,” she muttered somewhat petulantly.
“Right, I also think with my hands covering my face,” he said breezily. “You might want to postpone thinking if you want to get to class on time, though.”
It wasn’t until now that she realized that the hallways were largely cleared out, other than for a few stragglers. “Oops.” She began walking alongside Kurt, a little hurriedly. “Thanks for coming to get me.”
“Where would you be without me?” He teased.
Rachel managed to get through most of the day with no other breakdowns, as Kurt would call it. She was still more distracted in class than usual, but overall, she paid attention to the teachers’ lessons.
She couldn’t help but seek out Quinn with her eyes in the class they shared fourth period, but whatever she was looking for wasn’t returned. The blonde had been turned away, mid-conversation with Santana. Rachel pulled her books closer to her chest before taking her usual spot near the front of the class.
It was foolish of her, really. Of course nothing was going to change between her and Quinn Fabray.
Rachel pointedly kept her eyes on the front of the room for the rest of class.
The bell rang, and Rachel started gathering her things when she felt a light tap on her shoulder. She turned her head, wide eyes meeting Quinn’s. “Is there something you need?” She tried to push down the hopeful, fluttery feelings threatening to rise.
“What, I can’t just say hello?” Quinn sounded amused.
“Well, you haven’t really made it a habit,” Rachel licked her suddenly dry lips. “But I wouldn’t complain if you did.”
Quinn smirked. “I’ll keep that in mind,” she said as she sat down on the table Rachel had cleared her stuff from. “But I just wanted to tell you that I have the pajamas and bag I borrowed in my locker. I washed the PJs, of course.”
Rachel blinked. “Oh. Yes, I almost forgot about them. When do you want to…?”
“You can just walk with me to my locker now, right? Our lockers are nearby, so.”
“Yes, I suppose they are.” Rachel stood up, clutching her books. The two walked down the hall together, and Rachel tried to ignore the people who shot curious glances at the pair.
“You’d think they know we’re in Glee together,” Rachel grumbled quietly.
Quinn shrugged. “Let them gawk.”
Rachel tried not to stare too obviously at the blonde as they walked. Evidently something had changed, at least compared to sophomore year, because back then Quinn wouldn’t risk any popularity by hanging out with the likes of Rachel Berry.
Once they arrived at Quinn’s locker, Rachel waited as she unlocked it. She peeked at the inside when it opened and tried not to frown when she noticed a picture of her face was covered by a magnet. She could admire how neat it was, at least.
“Here,” Quinn said, drawing her attention as she handed her the bag with the pajamas presumably inside.
“Thanks,” Rachel murmured quietly, noting that it smelled slightly like the blonde. It seemed to be a good opportunity to ask about that night. “Quinn… could we talk –“
“Not now, Rachel,” Quinn cut her off, a nervous lilt to her voice. It was almost a snap, and Rachel shrunk away slightly. “I have to get to my next class,” she must have noticed Rachel’s reaction, because she seemed apologetic. “See you in Glee?”
Rachel gathered the bag closer to herself and tried not to look disappointed. “See you in Glee,” she echoed.
Quinn hesitated for a moment, but she left without another word.
Rachel had been on her way to the choir room before she was stopped by Finn.
“Hey, Rach,” the tall boy greeted with a silly grin on his face.
“Hello, Finn,” she returned amicably, fidgeting with her skirt as she spoke. Normally she’d be happy to converse with him, but she felt uneasy trepidation creeping its way through for reasons she couldn’t grasp.
“So… you and Quinn had a sleepover?” He asked, and Rachel avoided his curious gaze.
“Um – well – we did, but how did you know?”
“I picked her up, remember?” He chuckled.
“Oh. So you did,” she smiled. She had been so nervous she’d forgotten.
“It’s nice to see you two getting along,” he said sheepishly, scratching the back of his head with a smile. “It kinda surprised me, though.”
Rachel held back the urge to grimace at his last statement. Why does everyone act like it’s impossible for us to be friends? Jeez! “I don’t really expect her to become my closest confidant or anything. I just thought it’d be nice to invite her over, since…” Well, since Finn got himself kicked out, but it seemed rude to say that to his face.
Finn frowned, catching her drift for once. “She was really mad at me. I had to apologize like ten times over text before she replied. I would have spent the rest of the night with her!”
“She didn’t want you to?” None of this really came as a surprise, since Quinn had told her this, but the notion of hearing Finn’s perspective intrigued her.
“Like I said, she barely texted me, until the morning anyway. I was afraid she was gonna be scary Quinn when I picked her up then, but she actually seemed okay, you know?”
Rachel wasn’t sure how to interpret any of this, so she just let out a simple: “Oh.”
“Anyway,” the doofy grin was back. “I just wanted to thank you for giving me advice on that whole corsage thing. She was totally happy with it!”
“I’m glad,” she said, her smile becoming forced. Her stomach churned guiltily again when she remembered the conversation she had with Quinn. Why can’t I just focus on Finn and stop thinking about Quinn’s feelings? Argh!
“You’re really great with these things, Rach,” he complimented her with a particular look in his eyes that made her feel guiltier, so she turned away.
“I’m here to help,” she murmured quietly. “But we should get going. We’ll be late to Glee.”
“Sure thing,” he responded easily, and the two walked towards the choir room together.
She really should have expected the look Quinn shot at them when they arrived, but now she was a little less certain what it meant. She supposed it was probably the usual meaning, which was stay away from my boyfriend.
Finn went to sit beside Quinn, which wasn’t a surprise, and Rachel sat in the only other empty seat next to Kurt and Tina since they were the last to arrive.
“Looks like we’re all here,” Mr. Schuester clapped his hands together. “We’ve got to start seriously rehearsing for Nationals, guys. This month and a half will fly by before we know it.”
After he went on and some friendly banter went around, New Directions practiced for the rest of the period. Nothing was out of the ordinary. That is, until Rachel met eyes with Quinn from across the room, and the blonde offered her a timid smile that made her heart beat quicken.
She nearly stumbled over Puck’s foot before he steadied her. “Whoa, babe. Take it easy.”
Rachel giggled nervously and stepped away. She hazarded a glance back at Quinn, who had a brow arched. The blonde smirked at her before turning her attention back to the performance.
It was very easy to admit that she found Quinn attractive; heck, she found a lot of people attractive. Quinn was very high up in that list. But she was so used to their usual relationship dynamic – rivals or terse friends, however you wanted to twist it – that she didn’t know how to respond to a Quinn that gave her shy smiles and kissed her in the dark.
Besides, there was Finn, wasn’t there? The one who Quinn was currently dating, the one who Rachel had a crush on… right?
Everything was very confusing.
Quinn was proving to be more slippery than Rachel anticipated. The rest of the week had similar results to Monday; Rachel would try to catch Quinn in a private moment to talk, but the blonde was adept at coming up with sudden excuses or avoiding her in general.
Yes, Rachel could tell that Quinn wasn’t eager to talk about it, but she always did best when able to communicate her feelings and work it out verbally. It was in her nature to confront things directly. The strangest thing was that when they were in a group, or just in a place where private conversation wasn’t possible, Quinn treated her in a friendly manner.
By Friday, Rachel had all but given up on getting the blonde to speak to her. Well, at least until next week, then she’d give it another go – she was no quitter! But for now, she was going to give up and go use the bathroom before spending her lunch period not looking for a certain girl.
She opted to go to the bathroom near the teacher’s lounge, because it was usually empty and that made it fantastic for post-slushie recovery – not that she got slushied that often nowadays, but it was still useful to know where the emptier bathrooms were.
Today that was not the case. When she entered the bathroom she walked into none other than Quinn Fabray herself, carefully touching up her makeup. For a moment, Rachel had considered leaving before she was spotted; she wasn’t sure how many times she could bother Quinn this week before she got annoyed.
But Quinn had noticed her, as she just met eyes with her in the mirror.
“Hello,” Rachel said with a little wave.
Quinn went back to applying her eyeliner. “Hi, Rachel. Why is it that we always end up in the bathroom at the same time?”
“I wasn’t following you or anything, I just happen to prefer this bathroom,” Rachel explained. “Though we do have an awful lot of coincidental bathroom get togethers, don’t we? Maybe it’s fate.”
Quinn was stifling a smile as she shook her head. “I wish fate could pick a more sanitary place for us.” She dug through her makeup case before pulling out a powder brush. “Are you sure you weren’t following me? I’ve seen an awful lot of you lately.”
“Um, no. I had no clue you were in here, I swear,” Rachel said truthfully. This was her chance to bring it up! But she didn’t want to make Quinn run away like a startled deer, either.
They stood in silence for a few moments, and Rachel was running through the pros and cons before the blonde spoke first. “Aren’t you going to ask me something?”
“Like what?” Rachel said, her voice pitched higher than usual.
“The thing you’ve been trying to ask me all week.”
Rachel paused. “Well, I was going to let you off the hook, but if you’re giving me a chance to speak now, I’ll gladly take the opportunity,” she began, taking in a breath. Quinn rolled her eyes, leaning against the sink but Rachel went on unperturbed, “I mean, I had assumed by the way you were acting that you didn’t want to talk about it, but it’s been a week now, and I still feel – well, mystified might be a good word for it – from certain events that occurred during prom night–“
“Rachel,” Quinn interrupted with the corner of her lips turned up slightly. “Get to the point, or I’m taking the opportunity back.”
“That’s not fair,” Rachel huffed, frowning. “I was just making sure you properly understood the context.”
“The clock is ticking.” Quinn tapped her wrist even though she wasn’t wearing a watch, which would have made Rachel smile if she wasn’t busy shortening her speech in her head.
“Okay, fine. I have some queries about the physical contact you initiated that night.”
“What, the slap? I thought we already cleared the air about that.” Rachel knew Quinn was smarter than this, and she also had a mischievous twinkle in her hazel eyes that made Rachel squint.
“No, not that!” The brunette waved her arms, exasperated. “Are you really going to make me say it?”
Quinn raised a thin brow. “Yes.”
Rachel inhaled. “Okay then, why – why did you kiss me?”
At this point, Rachel had no clue what to expect; maybe the blonde would try to deny it, or maybe there was a perfect logical answer that Rachel couldn’t comprehend. But Quinn didn’t seem to have an answer either and stayed silent.
“Quinn?” Rachel prompted softly, urging her on.
Quinn glanced away, now, and Rachel waited. “Because, I… I don’t know? You were being so sweet, and – well, if you were a boy, I’d definitely have kissed you at that point –“ Rachel’s eyes widened at this, but Quinn kept babbling to the floor. “But, well, you’re a girl, so obviously I wasn’t planning on it – but then you said you’d prefer a prom night with more kissing, so I thought…” Quinn was more flustered than Rachel had ever seen her, and seemed to lapse in her explanation, so the brunette stepped a little closer.
“That was theoretical – I wasn’t – I wasn’t trying to hint at anything,” Rachel said nervously, but when Quinn frowned, she went on. “It’s okay, Quinn.”
“Is it?” Quinn peered at her, uncomfortable.
“Yes. If I can forgive a slap so easily, why would I take offense to a kiss?” Rachel asked, trying to lessen the tension with a smile. “It’s… not like you like me or anything, right?” She tried to push her weirdly hopeful feelings aside.
Quinn suddenly relaxed. “Of course not,” she declared with her chin raised. “I’m dating Finn. I just thought I was doing you a favor.”
“Uh huh,” Rachel nodded distractedly. She wanted to ask more questions, but –
“Well, there you go. You can stop stalking me now.”
Rachel didn’t even have time to act affronted before the blonde slipped past her, leaving her more unsatisfied than before they had the conversation. Quinn had been so open last week, not to mention smiling at her in Glee, that the glimpse of the old, defensive Quinn caught her off guard.
She didn’t expect Quinn to suddenly have a crush on her, but the reasoning behind the kiss wasn’t exactly solid either. Did Quinn really kiss people just to make them feel better? Somehow, Rachel doubted it.
Rachel sighed against the counter. That was that, then.
It wasn’t too surprising when it was fourth period and Quinn wouldn’t meet her eyes at all.
After a relatively uneventful weekend – she went shopping with Kurt and Blaine, but that was about it – she was back to school.
School had become slightly less enjoyable when she realized Quinn was avoiding her with newfound vigor. Even in Glee she wouldn’t speak to Rachel unless she had to, and this time Rachel was out of ideas. At least Finn still treated her like a friend. She hung out with him on Thursday and tried not to feel like she was somehow to blame for how Finn acted too friendly with her, sometimes.
Despite that, she found herself not hanging out with him for the next two weeks while trying to pretend Quinn’s withdrawal wasn’t hurting her as much as it was.
But then everything was stirred up slightly when Mr. Schuester hired Jessie St. James as a consultant for nationals, and the Glee club volunteered to help plan and perform at the funeral of Sue Sylvester’s sister. None of them had met her personally, but it was discomfiting to see Coach Sylvester look so lost, so they performed earnestly.
For once, all rivalries were put on standby.
Rachel was somber by the end and lingered a little longer before she exited the church. It was overcast outside, yet it somehow felt bright, too. Finn’s truck was still in the parking lot, Rachel noticed absently, but then –
Then Quinn had suddenly jumped out of the vehicle, roughly slamming the door and storming off and Rachel was glad that she was not in a noticeable spot. She was honestly a little worried, but since they weren’t really on speaking terms… well, her presence probably wouldn’t be appreciated at the moment.
Instead, she ended up tentatively approaching Finn’s truck, climbing into the passenger’s side after knocking on the window. Finn had his head on the steering wheel, though he had acknowledged Rachel with a half-hearted smile.
“What happened?” She asked quietly. She had a few guesses, but it was probably best not to make assumptions.
“I broke up with her,” he confessed sadly. “Me and her… I don’t think we were meant to work out.”
At a funeral? Rachel almost asked, but she didn’t want to upset him further. She settled on the safer, “I’m sorry to hear that, Finn.”
She hugged him carefully, troubled when her thoughts drifted to Quinn.
“How was the funeral?” Her dad, Hiram, asked as she quietly shut the front door.
“It was fine, dad,” she replied, shucking off her shoes and placing them neatly in the closet. “I mean… it was sad, but it was nice - for a funeral.”
“Do you want me to make you some tea?” He offered when she walked into the kitchen.
“Um, sure. I’ll be up in my room if that’s okay?”
“Of course it is, honey. I’ll bring it up to you when it’s ready,” he said warmly, and Rachel hugged him gratefully before climbing the stairs up to her room.
Shutting the door behind her, she took her phone out of her coat before shedding it. She flopped unceremoniously on her bed. She finally took the time to process things.
She really hadn’t expected anything eventful to happen today past the funeral, but Finn and Quinn breaking up was a big shake-up. Even though it theoretically benefited her, she couldn’t on good conscience celebrate their split.
She shut her eyes, the swirl of confusion and sadness and longing becoming all-too-familiar. She took in a breath, steeling herself, and grabbed her phone. Maybe Quinn was content to ignore her, but that didn’t mean Rachel had to give up on their friendship!
Rachel didn’t know how much she should let on, so she typed a simple message: How are you doing, Quinn?
She waited a few moments, wondering if the blonde was even going to respond at all. They didn’t text each other too frequently – especially as of late – so Rachel had no clue how fast or slow her responses would be.
A knock at the door distracted her. “Come in!”
Her dad entered with a smile, carrying a hot cup of tea on a plate. He set it down on her nightstand, glancing down at her for a moment. “Do you need anything else? Or are you hiding away for a reason?” He joked.
“Dad,” she whined. “I just wanted to relax, is all.”
“I’m just teasing you,” he squeezed her shoulder before stepping towards the door. “Leroy is bringing us takeout for supper, but you have a few hours before then.”
“Okay,” she replied. “Thanks for the tea.”
Once he left, Rachel was quick to notice that a notification appeared on her phone.
Rachel responded quickly. Why is that? Is there anything I can do to help?
It took a few minutes before she got a reply. No. Why would you want to help, anyway? I haven’t exactly been talking to you much for the past few weeks.
She was close to typing So you admit it! before deciding an accusatory tone wouldn’t help. I want to help because I’m your friend, Quinn. Even when we’re not talking for reasons unbeknownst to me, that doesn’t alter the nature of our relationship.
She sipped her tea absently as it finally cooled down enough to drink. But Quinn wasn’t replying, and after ten minutes of waiting, Rachel texted again.
Please don’t shut me out. Can I call you?
Quinn took her sweet time before replying: fine.
So Rachel did, and to her surprise Quinn actually picked up within three rings. She cradled her phone to her head. “Hello?”
“Hi,” Quinn responded, her tone not revealing much at all.
“Thank you for picking up,” Rachel murmured. “So, why aren’t you doing great?”
Quinn sounded somewhere between amused and annoyed. “I’m not exactly the type to start venting my feelings over the phone.”
“Okay! So why don’t we have a sleepover?” Admittedly she didn’t really think too far past inviting her, but the more she considered it the better it seemed – she wanted her friend back! And they could eat ice cream and cry about boys, or something.
“Rachel –“ Rachel could very well imagine the blonde raising a brow. “Seriously?”
“Why not? It’s Saturday.”
“I mean, I’m not exactly in the mood, and…” she trailed off.
“I know you broke up with Finn,” Rachel said quietly.
Now Rachel was positive the tone was one of annoyance. “How surprising. He told you already?”
“Quinn, I saw you leave his truck. He didn’t need to tell me,” she explained.
Quinn just sighed tiredly. “I guess it’s hard to avoid keeping it public when he chose to do it right after a funeral.”
“It isn’t exactly one of his shining moments.”
“That’s an understatement.”
Rachel found herself smiling, even though Quinn couldn’t see it. “So, let me distract you! We can watch a comfort movie and eat junk food. Whatever you want.”
“I’m… I think it’d be better if we didn’t…” But she didn’t sound so sure, so Rachel tried once more.
“Please, Quinn?” She pleaded, and before Quinn could reply she added quietly, “I – I miss you.” Rachel bit her lip as soon as she said it – was she acting too clingy?
But her words seemingly broke Quinn’s resolve. “Okay,” she whispered. “Okay. When should I come over?”
Rachel couldn’t help her beaming smile from spilling into her voice. “Maybe in an hour or two? I just want to shower and get everything prepared – and you can pack. I’ll have food for you around the time you get here.”
“Alright. See you then,” Quinn murmured. She didn’t sound too enthusiastic, but Rachel was happy to make up for it.
“See you soon!” The call ended with a beep, and Rachel leapt out of bed.
Rachel sped down the hall and nearly tripped down the stairs, but she managed to keep her balance. “Dad?” she called, peeking into the kitchen.
“I’m in the living room, honey,” he called back, and Rachel quickly made a beeline towards him. She was fidgeting in a way that made her dad raise a brow. “Did you do something?”
“No! Well – nothing bad,” she insisted, “I was just hoping that you’d be okay if Quinn came over for a sleepover – and well, I kind of already invited her so I would really prefer a yes, otherwise this will be incredibly awkward – and um, would it be okay if daddy picked up extra takeout?”
“Breathe, sweetheart,” Hiram laughed. “I would appreciate getting a bigger heads up than you’ve been offering lately.”
“I know, dad. Everything has been kind of spontaneous, but I’ll make sure to plan better in the future. I’m really sorry.”
He just smiled, a twinkle in his eyes. “Yes, she can come over. I’ll call your father to let him know.”
“Yay!” She squealed, giving him a quick hug before stepping back. “I’m going to go shower before she gets here.”
Rachel skipped back up the stairs, arranging her things before she closed the door to her bathroom and got in the shower.
After suitably scrubbing herself and doing majority of her nightly routine, Rachel stepped out of her bathroom with her hair half-dry. Checking her clock on the nightstand, the bold 6:47PM blinked back at her. Quinn would likely be arriving soon.
Rachel went downstairs to wait. She ended up pacing around the kitchen until her dad attempted to distract her with a conversation, which she gladly fell for.
But then, a quiet knock at the door that was definitely not Leroy’s made her crane her neck mid-ramble. “We’ll continue this later, dad,” she said before moving to answer the door. She had to take a deep breath to prepare herself before she opened the door with a broad smile.
“Hi, Rachel,” Quinn greeted, a touch of nervousness on her features. She had a small overnight bag over her shoulder.
“Quinn! Come in!” Rachel stepped aside with a wave of her hand. She marvelled at the casual clothes the blonde was wearing, as if she hadn’t seen her in ages, despite having seen her at the funeral earlier that day. “It’s nice to see you,” she said honestly.
Quinn bit her lip. “You, too.”
Rachel wanted to hug her, but she really was at a loss when it came to where their boundaries lie. Especially recently. Instead, she continued talking. “So, my dad isn’t home with the food yet, though he should be here soon. We can take your bag up to my room. For now.” Rachel didn’t elaborate on the for now, but she supposed Quinn could take the guest room this time, if she really wanted.
“Sure,” Quinn said easily, following Rachel up the stairs with a small wave at her dad as they passed the living room.
Rachel entered her room, flicking on the light as she let Quinn pass. She watched as Quinn set her bag on the bed, the blonde fiddling with it for a moment. Rachel moved to sit down on the edge of her bed, smiling towards the blonde.
“So, what do you want to do tonight?” Rachel piped up.
Quinn smirked, finally turning to look at her. “Rachel Berry doesn’t have an itinerary?”
She huffed. “I don’t know why everyone assumes I always have everything planned. I didn’t have one for the first sleepover!”
Quinn shrugged, hazel eyes twinkling mischievously. “Well, I just thought you were caught off guard that time.”
“No! In fact, I’m incredibly good at adjusting to spontaneity, and I –“ Rachel narrowed her eyes as she noticed the blonde holding back laughter. “You’re teasing me, aren’t you?”
“Maybe,” Quinn said simply, laughing harder as Rachel moved to push her playfully.
“Jerk,” Rachel grumbled. “And here I thought you were in desperate need of consoling.”
“Sorry. You’re just easy to wind up sometimes,” Quinn murmured, amused. “And I mean… your company helps.”
Rachel’s chest warmed at her words. But part of her wanted to ask, then why do you keep avoiding me, yet she was afraid that if she voiced that Quinn would regret coming. Despite her playfulness, Rachel was certain Quinn was at least feeling somewhat hurt, even if she never liked to show it.
“So do you – do you want to talk about it?”
Quinn wrinkled her nose. “Not particularly,” she admitted. “At least… not right now.”
“Well, the offer always stands. I’ll have you know I’m an excellent listener.” Rachel nodded once, as if to emphasize her words.
“Noted,” Quinn smiled. She settled down more comfortably against Rachel’s bed, moving her overnight bag aside to the foot of it. “Anyway,” she tilted her head towards Rachel in a way that charmed the brunette, “We could just watch a movie? It worked out okay last time.”
“Of course! Do you have one in mind, or…?”
“Go ahead,” Quinn replied. “I trust you won’t pick anything too awful.”
“Do you really?” Rachel asked with a grin.
“Maybe,” Quinn leaned forward. “Depends on what you end up choosing.”
Rachel let out a hum of amusement. “Is that a challenge?”
Before Quinn had time to respond, a knock at her door distracted the both of them. “Come in,” Rachel called.
Her dads opened the door and walked into the room, carrying two boxes of takeout. “Food’s here, honey,” Hiram sang as they handed the food along with eating utensils to the two girls. They took it gratefully.
“Thanks, daddy,” Rachel beamed at Leroy, and Quinn fidgeted next to her. Rachel turned to her, bemused. “What’s wrong?” She stage-whispered in Quinn’s direction.
“I can pay for mine,” Quinn said nervously.
“Nonsense, Quinn. You’re our guest,” Leroy replied firmly, and smiled in a disarming manner. The blonde relaxed a little, but never seemed completely at ease. Her dads made their way back to the door, Leroy stopping for a moment. He glanced at Quinn and he looked like he wanted to say something else, but settled with: “You two enjoy yourselves.”
“We will,” Rachel chimed back, a little perplexed. Once her dads shut the door, she looked towards Quinn and set the takeout aside for the moment. “You don’t have to be scared of my fathers. They’re harmless,” she assured the blonde.
“I’m not scared of them,” Quinn argued. “Just… intimidated.”
“You don’t have to be intimidated either,” Rachel placed her hand on Quinn’s reassuringly.
Quinn looked down at their hands, briefly, before biting her lip. “I just want to make a good impression,” she said quietly.
“I’m sure you have. You’re very charming, Quinn,” Rachel paused. “When you’re not being mean.”
Quinn glared at her, and Rachel laughed, if only because she could see Quinn’s lips twitching upwards. “Go find a movie, or I’ll show you how mean I can be.”
Somehow, that threat doesn’t seem to hold its usual weight, Rachel thought to herself, but hopped off the bed to search for a movie anyway.
They ended up watching Twilight, to which Quinn had quirked a brow and asked – seriously? – to which Rachel had nodded with a wide grin. The blonde acquiesced easily enough with a roll of her eyes, and they set out the food to eat throughout the movie.
They paused in the middle to get into their pajamas and settled more comfortably in Rachel’s bed, laying side by side. The light was turned off, offering a cozier atmosphere. Rachel would smile brightly towards Quinn from time to time, usually resulting in a badly suppressed smile, a shake of a head, or ‘watch the movie’ mouthed with an index finger pointing at the TV.
As the credits began to roll, Rachel stretched her arms and glanced at her alarm clock. It wasn’t exactly late, and she wasn’t tired, so she looked back at Quinn. “Should I find another movie?”
“Sure.” Quinn sat up to take a sip of the water she had beside her. “I’m not really tired.”
“If you say so,” Rachel slid off the bed, finding New Moon and putting it into the DVD player. Once she had set it up, she crawled back into her spot next to Quinn. Seeing the blonde in her bed still felt surreal, if she had to admit it, but it also felt right. Who said they couldn’t be close friends?
“Are you on a Twilight kick or something?” Quinn asked with a small smile. “Or do you have a crush on Robert Pattinson?”
“No,” Rachel replied slowly. “I just thought it was appropriate, seeing as we aren’t exactly full of movie plans. Also, once you start something, you should finish it, even if the acting is subpar at best –“ Rachel stopped herself before she went on a very long tangent about something she doubted Quinn cared about. Instead, she concluded with, “If you want to choose a different movie, go ahead.”
“It’s fine, Rachel,” Quinn laughed, and Rachel couldn’t resist smiling at the sound. “Mindless entertainment sounds good to me for tonight.”
They watched quietly for awhile, until Quinn turned towards Rachel, her cheek pressing against her pillow. The movement caught Rachel’s attention, their eyes meeting. “So… vampires or werewolves?” Quinn asked casually.
“Oh, that’s easy. Vampires, at least in the Twilight universe.”
Rachel wasn’t sure where Quinn’s sudden chattiness came from, but she wasn’t going to complain. “Well, I’m partial to anything that glitters, so I’d be quite enamored if someone sparkled in the sun.”
Quinn giggled in a way Rachel was sure she’d never heard before, without an ounce of cruelness. “Really? I think it’s stupid.”
Rachel’s smile widened, and she leaned a little closer. “Wouldn’t it suit me, though?”
Quinn blinked, glancing back towards the television screen. “It certainly would,” she mumbled.
They continued watching, mostly in silence – although Rachel couldn’t resist saying quips once in awhile – which Quinn didn’t respond to. She got distracted when she noticed that Quinn had begun to move restlessly next to her. At first, she thought the blonde was just finding a comfortable position, but when it kept happening, she looked at Quinn.
“Is something the matter?” Rachel asked, concerned.
Quinn sat up, staring at Rachel so seriously that the brunette felt hot under her gaze. She was about to stammer nervously, but Quinn spoke first. “I’m sorry for avoiding you,” she suddenly blurted out.
“I’m sure you have your reasons,” Rachel murmured, and as always, she had to struggle with the very Rachel Berry urge to question further. She licked her lips. “I mean – I wish you’d just talk to me.” She meant that in more ways than one. “But I understand.”
“No, Rachel. You always try so hard with me – even though I – well, even though I keep running away with no explanation. I’m sorry. I kind of suck at the friendship thing.”
Rachel couldn’t stop herself from protesting. “No, you don’t –“
Quinn hushed her, putting a finger to her lips. The expression on her face looked so sincere that Rachel kept her mouth shut. “Let me do the rambling for once, okay? After our last sleepover on prom night I thought… I got a little scared after – you know – but I also thought maybe me and Finn didn’t have to break up. If I tried harder, or something. And I did, but he still kept…” She sucked her cheeks in, shaking her head. “He likes you.”
Rachel exhaled shakily, a small thrill running through her that quickly dissipated into familiar guilt. The movie playing in the background was merely distant noise. “But why avoid me? Are you… upset with me?”
Quinn broke eye contact, tugging at a blanket absently. “Not at you. Not really. I don’t know.” She took a deep breath before locking eyes with Rachel again. “Are you going to date him?”
Rachel stiffened, thoroughly unprepared for this question and it wasn’t one she could think of an answer for quickly. At least – an answer that Quinn wouldn’t hate. “I mean,” she started hesitantly, “It’s up to him, really. He’s the one who broke up with me, after all. But he just finished a relationship, so I don’t know if he’d be ready –”
“Rachel,” Quinn murmured, and the brunette stopped mid-sentence. “Just answer this. If he asked you out, would you say yes?”
Now Rachel was really at a loss. It felt like a trap no matter which way she tried to answer. Because yes, part of her would say yes if only because Finn was one of the few people who gave her attention romantically, and she knew she was quick to cling onto someone like that. On the other hand – there was Quinn, her friend who just broke up with him – but also, maybe she found herself harboring a tiny, insignificant crush on said friend that she doubted was reciprocated, so really, what was the point in acknowledging that? And really, were her feelings that easily manipulated that she could crush on someone just because they kissed her once?
“You’re taking awfully long to answer what should be a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question,” Quinn interrupted her thoughts. Hazel eyes searched hers, and Rachel was scared that she was missing something.
Rachel tucked a stray lock of hair behind her ear. “As of right now? Probably not. Because you two just broke up. But, um… later? Maybe,” she hedged, and almost regretted her honesty the minute she saw the faintest look of hurt on Quinn’s face.
“Typical.” Before she knew it, Quinn’s eyes had steeled into cold indifference and it was like looking at a different person.
Rachel frowned. “I thought you established you and Finn weren’t meant to be.”
“I did,” Quinn scoffed, “I just… what do you see in him? God.”
Rachel moved closer, but the blonde dodged her gaze. “I still don’t see why you have to avoid me because of it. I’m not going to go run into his arms, okay? If it happens sometime in the future, it happens. I’m not going to force it, but I respected your relationship despite any misgivings I may have had, so… I hope you’ll respect any I may end up in.”
Quinn pursed her lips, as if she was thinking of a myriad of responses. “That’s not why I was avoiding you,” she muttered under her breath, and Rachel’s ears barely caught the words. Quinn’s annoyance seemed to melt into petulance.
Rachel wanted to tear her hair out, a little bit, because Quinn had a way of saying things without actually saying what she meant behind those words and it really did feel like being spun in circles. It was evident, at the very least, that Quinn would never be a fan of Rachel and Finn even if Quinn and Finn wasn’t happening.
But she didn’t want to keep arguing about it. It happened way too often for her liking. “You’re so confusing,” Rachel settled on saying with a placating smile. She looked over at the movie, which was rolling the credits. “Hang on, I’m going to turn the TV off.” Rachel moved to switch on the bedside lamp, turning off the TV and settling back into her spot, laying down and facing Quinn.
“Are you sure you don’t want to talk about the breakup?” Rachel asked quietly, the warm light of the lamp and the quiet of the room leaving the atmosphere more intimate than before.
Quinn sighed into her pillow, her eyes shut. “What else is there to say? I wasn’t in love with him, and I knew it was coming, so…” She trailed off, before opening her eyes and looking at Rachel. “I guess this is me being taught a lesson, huh? I try so hard to control things, but it never goes my way,” she said with a sad smile.
Rachel couldn’t help but grab Quinn’s hand, her thumb running along the smooth skin. “It’s okay, Quinn,” she whispered between them. “We’re in high school. There’s plenty of time to make mistakes and learn from them.”
“I’m doing great, then,” Quinn said dryly.
“You are,” Rachel stressed fervently, squeezing her hand. “You meet all these challenges and you just come back stronger. You’re amazing.”
Quinn’s eyebrows knitted together, and she worried her lip. “Why do you always compliment me like that?”
“Because I think that even when you pretend that you’re fine, you actually need encouragement and kind words. Sometimes it’s just nice to hear that someone believes in you.”
“God,” Quinn let out a watery laugh, and there were tears, now. “You always make me feel even worse about flipping out on you. I should be making things up to you, instead.”
Rachel moved her hand to gently wipe Quinn’s tears with a thumb. “In that case, I have a suggestion,” she said with a wide smile.
“’Course you do,” Quinn smiled back.
“Promise me you won’t avoid me anymore?”
“Okay,” Quinn whispered after a moment’s hesitation. “I’ll try.”
Trying was good enough for Rachel. She raised a pinky, nodded at Quinn encouragingly, and the blonde laughed as they sealed the promise.