There had been years where they had made the effort of showing up to the wrap party and integrate themselves among the socializing crowd, that was if you you considered desperate-interns-trying-to-convince-their-superiors-of-giving-them-a-job-next-season and drunken crew members hitting on later-heartbroken-and-jobless-interns socializing. But most years they just made a brief appearance before disappearing somewhere to share a bottle of whichever liquor the network had supplied that year.
She didn’t know what liquor would be supplied this year, but she doubted that Quinn and herself would stay there for long. With Coleman and Hot Rachel’s accident, the whole thing was bound to be a grim affair.
Rachel squinted as she stared at her reflexion in the mirror she had placed on the coffee table, the dimmed lights of Quinn’s office certainly weren’t ideal. She shook her head and applied a few more brush strokes on her cheek, it wasn’t as if getting better lighting would make a stark difference to her light makeup. Giving up on the unerasable bags that had found residence under eyes she leaned back on the couch and took a sip from the champagne glass that Quinn had insisted on serving her.
Slumped on the couch she could still see her tired features looking back at her. “Mirror of truth, I think I look acceptable for someone who has survived yet another year in Satan’s asshole.” Her smiling lips were met by a glass of bubbly liquid, sometimes she wondered if they drank to celebrate the end of a season or to forget it.
Quinn who had been putting on her earrings a few feet away, turned towards her protégé “you know Wagz got it trademarked? You now owe her a certain amount of money. Maybe you should give it to her and suggest that she invests it in a better hairdo.” She smiled finding pleasure in her own vitriol.
“Mirror of truth, apparently I saw true love with my own eyes a few hours ago and yet I still think true love is bullshit.” Rachel put her Converse covered foot on the table next to the mirror. She had orchestrated the whole thing, she had gone out of her way to help to people who had a connection rekindle and yet when she thought about it, she couldn’t help, but be cynical. Maybe it was just that she didn’t believe someone could truly love her.
“What happened to you, Cupid? Got your NRA membership revoked?” Quinn quipped from her side of the room before making her way to the couch and sitting next to Rachel.
The younger woman shrugged and took a sip of her champagne. Keeping her straight posture Quinn pushed the mirror so that her face would appear in it: “Mirror of truth, the reason I don’t hire a lot of female crew members isn’t because I think they’re incompetent, it’s because I want to protect them from Graham.” She finished her glass of champagne before giving both of them a generous refill.
Using her foot Rachel pushed the mirror back to her level. “Mirror of truth, it feels like a lifetime ago since I went to the network to take the show from Quinn.” She faked a cough to make her foot bump the mirror towards Quinn. She braced herself for Quinn’s reaction. Who knew that all it took to address a taboo topic was a few seconds of courage provided by exhaustion and a few glasses of champagne?
Reading Quinn’s emotions was like playing a refined game of poker and Rachel knew exactly where to look for tells. Quinn’s lips became a thin straight line, her nostrils flailed ever so slightly, Rachel knew she had hit a sore spot. It struck Rachel in that moment how beautiful Quinn looked. Her sharp cheekbones, her meticulously coiffed hair, her green eyes; Quinn certainly wore ‘covering up murders’ better than her.
“Now that you have shown that you can run the show properly there will be no need for you to conspire to take it from me. I can let you have what you deserve.” She said as if a simple statement could serve as a lid on the ton of things that had gone undiscussed.
Rachel frowned unable to be happy about what she had just heard. First, because she wasn’t sure it meant what she thought it meant, but also she didn’t want to be happy about being given the show’s reins considering they had been taken away so quickly last time. “So am I back to being showrunner?”
“You are.” Barely turning her head she looked at Rachel, an unreadable expression covering her features. A few hours earlier she had told Rachel that she was ‘perfect’ and Quinn had meant it. In this case, perfection wasn’t absence of flaws, it was about having what you had been looking for right in front of you.
Silence grew between them, but this one wasn’t filled with the usual ghosts of things that had gone undiscussed, it was a sympathetic silence, one between two exhausted women giving each other a moment to breathe. It dawned on Rachel then that Quinn didn’t carry ‘covering up murders’ better than she did, it was simply that she had more experience hiding said wounds and the scars they had left behind. Her eyes flickered to the bandage covering Quinn’s hands, her unusually ringless fingers poking out. She smiled remembering Quinn’s face when the nurse had told her that she shouldn’t wear jewelry on them for a few days. Quinn hated being told what to do, especially it seemed when it was for her own good. She hadn’t been surprised to see Quinn put her rings back on in front of the disapproving nurse.
“You took off your rings,” Rachel observed, her fingers touching Quinn’s wrist, where the words Money Dick Power had been written for posterity or lack thereof. As if Quinn needed to check for herself she moved her wrist away from Rachel’s fingers. “I did.” She shrugged. “It’s just us.” Quinn had felt safe enough around Rachel to take off a piece of her armor, but now that it had been noticed and mentioned her warrior instinct felt unnerved.
Desperate to take the attention away from her she looked into the mirror “Mirror of truth, pretty sure Chet is sleeping with Tiffany as we speak, Tiffachet lives on.” She proclaimed with all the disdain she could muster. It didn’t come from a place of jealousy, it really didn’t. Or at least not out of jealous feelings because someone other than her was with Chet.
“Mirror of truth, I really hope we could stop killing people,” Rachel spoke somberly not even bothering to move the mirror back towards her.
“Rach…” Quinn whispered turning towards Rachel. The young woman looked at her mentor expectantly, waiting for her to share some rational that would reassure her. But this time, nothing came.
“Mirror of truth, I don’t know if I want to be here,” Quinn admitted looking straight into Rachel’s eyes. Quinn expressing uncertainty was such a rarity that Rachel took it as confirmation that they had both come to the same realization. There was nothing for them here. Nothing other than each other and maybe that had to be enough.
Rachel’s fingers wrapped around Quinn’s wrist once again, but this time, the older woman didn’t even flinch. They sat in silence, both feeling something they might never be able to verbalize or even realize, as they sat there in silence they were the closest they would ever be to true love.