Title: Love should never be that hard
Rating: PG for the first chapters, eventual PG-13 and NC-17
Length: 43227~the entire thing
Spoilers: not really. mainly AU
Summary: “…We first met long before the society’s ways separated us – first grade. At that time, there were no popular kids’ groups, or anything. I was just Rachel and she was just Quinn…” it’s high school and Rachel and Quinn are best friends, even though mainly outside high school, seeing that they each have their circle of friends.
A/N: Rachel’s POV only in the first chapter/prologue. Quinn’s POV only in the last chapter/epilogue. A/N2: I incorporated the episodes on my multi-chaptered fic titled Cheaters in this fic, because it fitted. So I apologize anyone who has read the fic.
That time she was so lucky in finding someone home that let her in to Rachel’s house. Instead of that, she sat on the Berry’s front steps, patiently waiting for Rachel’s – or anyone’s – arrival. Patience was not a virtue that Quinn effortlessly had, but she was trying, very hard.
Her bag - unusually heavy by the content Quinn had thrown in there to be prepared for making up with Rachel – was firmly placed at her side, in the steps. Quinn crossed her arms and waited. And waited.
Rachel’s neighbourhood was pleasant, Quinn discovered. It was very… familiar. She liked that. In her neighbourhood the only time her parents talked with their neighbours was to say something bad about another neighbour. Now, sitting there, having an out-of-body-experience – it was almost as she was watching herself watching the neighbourhood – Quinn could see how the business man arrived home, waving friendly to the other man, mowing his lawn, just to be greeted by an adorable little girl who ran into his arms; on another house she could spot two house-wives, lazily having tea on a little table at their front porch, and Quinn just had a feeling the subject of their joyful conversation wouldn’t be what the neighbour X had done to his wife; cars – generally mini-vans – slowly came home from work, often slowing down to greet a neighbour, while still inside the car. Suburbia was not that bad, Quinn decided, right there.
The whole point of observing her surroundings – apart from burning time – was to distract her from what she knew was happening: she was waiting for Rachel and the brunette was surely with her boyfriend. Quinn was trying at all cost not to focus on that truth. She wanted to make things good with Rachel – and she knew jealousy was bound to make that more difficult.
Finally, a black Range Rover stopped in front of Rachel’s house. Quinn dropped her eyes to the floor because she didn’t want to watch them. When Rachel finally left the car, it disappeared, along the road, and Quinn so wished that fact would linger, for the long eternity.
When Quinn finally stood up and allowed herself to look towards Rachel, the brunette was walking in her direction, eyebrows hardly furrowed in suspicion and confusion.
“Hi” Quinn greeted and, before Rachel could say anything, she added “can I talk to you?”.
Rachel went pass her, with her house keys on her hand, and she stuck them inside the lock, unlocking the door. Then she looked back, holding the door open for Quinn “come in”.
It almost hurt Quinn’s hurt that Rachel was so forgiving. Not that she didn’t appreciate it; but because she didn’t know if she, herself, could be like her. Rachel was a genuinely kind person: she cared about people and things; it broke her heart to see anyone crying – live or on TV; Quinn knew that because more than once she had caught Rachel looking away of someone who had lost their fiancé to war in Oprah; she liked to cheer up people, she liked to be there for them; she wished everyone the best and she couldn’t stop herself from helping anyone that asked her to.
Quinn couldn’t help to shred some tears – which immediately succeeded in melting Rachel’s heart – and then she showed her what she had brought to her: a photo – because Rachel was always complaining she had only one photo of the two of them together -, the CD she knew Rachel had been meaning to buy and then something else, who firstly Rachel didn’t understand quite what it was – it appeared to be a simple folded napkin from the cafeteria – until she opened it and she saw Quinn’s handwriting on it. It said “Quinn Fabray owes you one”.
Rachel inspected that curiously, frowning confusedly “what’s this?”.
“It’s a coupon. It’s basically a compromise that whatever you would like me to do for you, I’m obligated to comply”.
“What kind of things?” Rachel asked, excitedly, already imagining the never-ending concerts she could drag Quinn to, because no one else wanted to go.
“Big things. Like… if you need me to help you get rid of a body, use it. Kill someone, rob a bank with you… I don’t want you to waste that in something banal, I mean like a real favour. Something that I would really not want to do, but I’ll have to, if you use that coupon”.
With a thoughtful smile, Rachel carefully folded the piece of paper again. She decided to save it for a better occasion. Quinn stared at her, unsure.
“Too cheeky?” she asked, worriedly.
“Just enough” Rachel laughed.
Quinn smiled, because – apart from getting Rachel back – she had just proved herself that she could be a person and, when it mattered, she could sensible.
That night Rachel discovered that Quinn would only haunt her dreams when she was mad at her. Not that Rachel wouldn’t dream about her when they were back to being friends – because she did – but now Quinn was just a pleasant subject to dream about, and not a nightmare that made her wake up drowning in sweat and wondering why that was so hard for her.
“ABBA?” never such an inquiring tone sounded so mocking to Rachel’s ears, as her boyfriend inspected her CD collection.
“For cultural research” Rachel defended herself, amused.
Finn didn’t turn around, still bend over the CD storage “of course” he mumbled, casually. Then he reached for a particular album “ah ah!” he exclaimed, triumphantly, finally straightening himself up, having picked what would be their background music for that little make out meeting.
“What have you got there, boy?” Rachel asked upbeat, while sitting over her bed and casually smoothing the fabric of the dress she was wearing.
“The offspring” he said, already opening the CD box and spinning the metallic CD on his index finger “you know, this is their best record yet…”.
Rachel gasped, raising her eyebrows meaningfully. Finn seemed slightly taken back by his girlfriend’s reaction and studied her, curiously. He wasn’t like Finn hadn’t date other girls before Rachel, but – as Rachel was his first real girlfriend – he was still trying to figure… that out. Rachel was a real girl, in opposite to the other girls Finn had gone out with.
“What?” he asked.
“I’m not going to kiss you at the sound of punk”.
“Oh. Not romantic?” he asked, eager to learn everything there was to learn “what do you suggest, then?”.
“I don’t know…” Rachel muttered, dropping her eyes to the floor, in that way Finn knew meant she knew exactly what she wanted to hear, but she didn’t want to boss him. He smiled to himself, bending down again to search for another CD.
“Alanis Morissette?” he suggested, then, and he saw the immediate approval in the sweet girl’s eyes. He didn’t hesitate in putting it on. It felt a bit too girly for him, but if it was what his girlfriend wanted, then he was fine with it.
When the CD was finally playing, he slid from the opposite side of the bed until he was at the centre of it, patting the smooth comforter by him, trying to allure Rachel closer. Rachel smiled shyly, but slowly complied. Finn’s arm involved her shoulders, and pressed against him and Rachel felt the pleasant warmness his body eradiated.
“Can I ask you something?” she asked, carefully.
If he seemed surprised, he didn’t let it show on his voice “sure”.
“How come did you date Santana?”..
Santana was so not the subject Finn wished he was discussing at that moment “what about her?”.
“She’s not exactly… like me. You know what I mean?”.
“Believe me, I do” if Rachel looked up at that moment, she would see a fool smile spreading in Finn’s lips.
“So?” she insisted.
“She is really not my type. The superficial, high maintenance, bitchy girl… I had enough of them” Finn tried to explain, without really lingering on the subject.
“And I am?...” Rachel tried.
“You are” Finn said, now smiling so strongly that Rachel could feel his jaw muscles tense over her head.
“Good” she said, simply.
“Do you want to make out now?”.
Finn had been being very careful with Rachel. Not a virgin anymore himself, though, he didn’t want Rachel to ever feel pressured, specially being her still one. So he had tried – as hard as he could – to let his respect show through his delicate actions during their make out sessions. It wasn’t the first time that the both of them had been alone, in one of their bedrooms, when the entire situation seemed propitious for something else happen. Finn had used all of his strength not to ever inquire Rachel about it, when they were getting intimate, because he knew that if he asked and she wasn’t ready yet, she would feel pressured, which would never end up in something good. Either she dumped him because she thought he only wanted to have sex with her or she would give in, not being prepared, and he also didn’t want that to happen. As much as he wished – craved – for Rachel’s body, he was going to wait until the small brunette herself suggested it.
So, when Finn was on top of her, Rachel comfortably lying on her back against the fluffy mattress, and her dress started sliding up, because of their movements, Finn would respectably stop to let Rachel compose herself back again. Finn’s hands would explore, but with restrictions. And when Finn was getting a little too… hot – which happened frequently – he would pause for a moment – maybe go to the bathroom, or just take a break from the entire too overwhelming fun.
All in all, Finn was proud of himself of what a gentleman he could be, if he set his mind to. As any other seventeen boy, it wasn’t easy, but he managed to go throught, because having Rachel in the long run was much more appealing than momentary satisfaction.
But he couldn’t help that momentary satisfaction from popping into his brain, now and then. And it he was what Finn was thinking, when an inopportune bell rang, from downstairs.
“I should get that” Rachel said, as she pushed Finn’s chest so that his lips would unglue from hers. It took Finn’s clouded brain a moment to take that in and then he shook the momentary satisfaction off his head, jumping to his feet “I should go to the bathroom”.
As usual, Rachel walked to her window to look downstairs at the front lawn to see who was at their door. She could see Quinn’s light blonde hair pulled on an informal ponytail, and an impatient blonde, who rang the bell again.
“Hey” Rachel opened the door to the cheerleader, slightly breathlessly from frolicking down the stairs.
“Hey” Quinn casually said back “so I’m back from the mall” she lifted her shopping bags to signal that “and I wanted to show you what I got”.
“Okay” Rachel said, lightly “show away”.
Quinn stopped, looking at her suspiciously, and then trying to see anything inside the house “you’re not letting me in your room?” she asked.
“Oh!” Rachel shrieked, amused “Finn’s here”.
“Finn’s in your room?” Quinn repeated. Why couldn’t she hold the jealousy? Please. Please, control yourself, she pleaded herself.
“Yeah” Rachel answered, naturally.
“Oh” Quinn said, simply, devoid of any emotion. Then she made herself get back together and in a cold, but polite way, she continued “am I interrupting anything?”.
Rachel didn’t understand the real content of the question. Or maybe she did, but didn’t show it, because she looked back, as if she was looking for someone inside the house “yes, you kind of are”.
“Sorry, then” Quinn continued, enable to shake off the cold hint in her tone.
“Why don’t you come by tonight?” Rachel asked, smiling friendly “bring your new stuff so that I can approve or, more likely, not-approve”.
“I can’t” Quinn immediately answered, before she could think about it “I have plans” such a big lie. Unless sitting in her dark room looking at the ceiling of her bedroom trying to shake the disgusting image of Finn and Rachel together constituted a plan. It wasn’t a plan, it was a routine. Quinn had been doing that much too often, lately.
“Oh” Rachel seemed disappointed. A beat passed, without anyone talking. Again, Rachel looked back, as if making sure no one was there to here them. Then she leaned closer to Quinn and lowered her voice “is everything okay, Quinn?”.
“Hum?... sure” Quinn answered, shrugging dismissively “why?”.
“I don’t know, you seem…” Rachel started but wasn’t able to finish her thoughts. Mad at me for some reason, she wanted to finish, but she knew that would only cause Quinn to get defensive, and Quinn was exhausting when defensive. But that Quinn was slightly annoyed with Finn, Rachel had no doubt about it.
“Whatever, Berry. We’ll see each other when we see each other” Quinn finished, already backing towards her car.
Quinn was already turning on her car when she noticed Rachel hadn’t yet come inside her house; she was still at the door, looking at Quinn’s car, with a sad or confused expression. It broke Quinn’s heart. Quinn breathed in, before rolling the car’s window down “I’ll be here after dinner” she told and couldn’t help the feeling of joy that spread around her body when Rachel smiled.
Rachel consulted her kitchen’s clock. Almost ten pm and neither of her parents were home. She sighed. At least she wasn’t alone, for a change.
Tea for Quinn, coffee for her. It was always like that. Quinn despised coffee; Rachel couldn’t live without it.
After both cups were prepared, Rachel brought them upstairs, where the cheerleader quietly waited in her bedroom. Opening the door with her back, Rachel backed inside her room, placing the platter over the bed, by Quinn’s side.
Quinn rested the architecture magazine she was reading just behind her, as if she didn’t want Rachel to notice she was reading it; it was automatic, she didn’t even thought about it.
Rachel noticed it, and sighed “I think we should talk about that”.
Quinn held her cup of tea bellow her chin, blowing slightly “what?” she asked, genuinely confused.
“That thing you have for architecture. It’s almost like you think it’s a sin that you like it” Rachel explained, gesturing the hidden magazine.
“It’s nothing. I just happen to like to look at your magazines when I have nothing else to do. It’s not a big deal” Quinn defended herself, shrugging dismissively.
“Well…” Rachel started, slowly, reaching for her coffee “is it something you might consider doing? I mean, in the future, professionally?”.
It was brief, but Rachel caught it. For a quick moment, Quinn stopped and actually considered that. And Rachel could swear she saw satisfaction in Quinn’s expression, but then, that idea was quickly shook aside, when Quinn pulled a face “no. You know my parents. They want me to become a doctor or a lawyer”.
“Well, it’s not like you want to try to make it as an abstract artist. Architecture is a solid major. It’s well paid for…”
“You know my parents. They wouldn’t care for that” Quinn cut, trying to finish the conversation.
“So?” Rachel dared, her eyebrows slightly raised in a provocative way.
“Tuitions. Money. Parents” Quinn explained, defensively.
“Right. But you are their daughter. They wouldn’t disown you just because you want to be an architect”.
Quinn was getting very much tired of that conversation. She knew what Rachel was getting at; her parents intolerance and – even though she knew it better than Rachel did – she couldn’t help but to feel defensive of them “but who said I want to become an architect? I didn’t”.
Rachel felt how Quinn was starting to take that personally so when she continued, she did it more softly, so that the blonde would understand she wasn’t trying to attack her family, she was just asking “but… do you want to be a doctor? Or a lawyer?”.
Quinn looked up to meet Rachel’s chocolate eyes. She couldn’t help but to feel calmer by that action, because what she saw in the brunette’s eyes wasn’t judgment; it was concern “I don’t know” she mumbled, more sweetly, pursing her lips together afterwards and falling into a thoughtful silence.
Rachel always thought she was very “zen” about performing in public. She always thought she wouldn’t be nervous because, until about fifteen minutes before she actually stepped on stage, she wasn’t. But, as soon as reality sunk in, and she realized she was just about to expose herself to the entire William McKinley students’ body, the nerves started getting to her.
The hubbub of the students coming inside the auditorium was clearly heard backstage and it only made Rachel’s heart beat faster and her palms sweat even more. When the nerves started building, Rachel knew only one thing that could take her mind of them and it constituted on sitting on the dusty couch, closing her eyes and thinking about something – someone – more empowering than the nerves. She tried Finn. It seemed like the logical thing to do; Rachel would almost feel bad if she didn’t try him. But it didn’t work. And, as much as it hurt her, she had to think about something else that meant more to her to be able to calm herself down. There was another obvious choice; the one Rachel had been using in every of her previous performances. Quinn.
The image of a strong-outside, soft-inside girl, with beautiful locks of blonde hair falling effortlessly on her shoulders and sweet smile made Rachel’s body instinctively relax. Knowing that she was outside felt like a reassurance of Rachel’s talent. Quinn had been the first one to ever tell her she had a talent – when Rachel hummed along to the music they both were listening in her walkman – and she had been the biggest supporter of Rachel’s dream to sing for a living.
Strange, Rachel thought, how someone with such conservative expectations for herself has nothing against Rachel trying as a singer in the world. Somehow, Rachel felt that Quinn was living the adventure through Rachel, because she knew that her parents would never allow her to do something like that.
Rachel stood up, feeling significantly calmer. She took her bottle of water and gave three sips of its content – a tiny ritual before performing. And, with Quinn on her mind, she stepped into the stage to sing
Conversation and laughers filled Quinn’s room, at eleven pm. Rachel was almost afraid to do something different from what she had been doing the entire night, because this was the best Quinn and her had gotten along in a long time. It felt so natural that Rachel wondered how they weren’t like that more often. And then she remembered life. Because Quinn and Rachel were very good – by themselves, isolated from the rest of the world. But when the world stepped in, that was when things went south. And that was exactly how they had been getting along so well that night: they managed to be just Quinn and Rachel. Not Rachel with the boyfriend, or Quinn the cheerleader and Rachel the not-cheerleader. They were Quinn and Rachel.
It was a hard thing to do, to isolate themselves from the world, but somehow that had just naturally happened in that room, without the two of them even realizing.
That, until Rachel, as unintentional as possible, left a name slip. Finn.
“God, I so not invited you here to be talking about your boyfriend” Quinn said annoyingly, curling in her sheets, with her back turned towards Rachel.
Rachel was, too, bellow the sheets of the bed, even thought it hadn’t been established if she was going to sleep in or not. She leaned towards Quinn body, supported by her elbows firmly in the mattress, to look at Quinn’s angelic face “I’m sorry” she laughed “it slipped”,
“Yeah, well, I’m tired. I’m going to sleep” she said, gruffly, but not really mad.
Rachel studied Quinn’s face attentively “can I sleep here?”.
“Do whatever” Quinn said in her most cheerleader-ish indifferent tone, but her wish firmly closed in her heart.
Rachel smiled, for some reason. Then she leaned back, lying in her back in Quinn’s bed. Quinn was the one closing the bed-side table lamp, condemning the room to comfortable darkness.
For a while, Rachel lied there, looking at Quinn’s ceiling, thoughtfully, and aware that Quinn was awake as well. She felt like she should say something. If there was anytime to say what she felt, that would be the time. But what would she say? She wasn’t even sure of what she felt. She knew it couldn’t possible be regular, because she had never fought, hurt, cried and suffered that much with, because, about Kurt, Mercedes or Tina.
Then she heard Quinn’s sigh – which meant she had officially started trying to stop to think and wanted to fall asleep – and Rachel promptly readjusted herself against Quinn, one arm over her waist. What did it matter what that was, when it felt so beautiful?
Outside cinema was one of the Rachel’s favourite things. And specially when it was such a pleasant evening as that was.
They were sitting on the grass; Rachel leaned on Finn who set his arm around her, protectively. Finn was more passionate, Rachel more friendly.
Finn whispered, some time in the middle of the movie “Rachel?”.
“Hum?” if she wasn’t thinking about something else – someone else – she would have noticed his tone and have anticipated what went next.
“I love you”.
“I love you too” never words tasted as dry as those for Rachel. It wasn’t at all how she had imagined the first time she said them.
Her friends were very excited to hear about that step Rachel and Finn had given. It actually hurt Rachel that they seemed more excited about that than she was which, apparently, wasn’t difficult… since that afternoon, she hadn’t be able to shake that discomfort feeling of her chest; she hadn’t liked, at all, saying those words, without meaning them.
But Finn was so great. If Rachel stopped to think objectively, he had every quality she would ask for her ideal man. But, if so, why couldn’t she just… feel it? How was it possible that she couldn’t even blame Finn with one flaw but still not to feel love for him? And if he was her perfect man, what did it mean that she wasn’t in love with him?
“Dear God, Rach, if you don’t want that gorgeous boyfriend of yours please set him free so that one of us could appreciate him” Kurt said, jokingly, but the truth to that sentence affected Rachel.
“I want him” she smiled, as convincingly as she was able.
Her friends smiled back, interpreting her lack of expression as something of shyness they hadn’t yet seen in her friend. But then again, they had never seen her in love, and love, sometimes, manifests itself in strange ways.
“You are so cute together” Tina commented, sipping her milkshake. Mercedes stared at her jealously, because, being in a diet, Tina’s big appetite was torturing to her, especially because the girl didn’t seem to put on a pound with all the junk food she ate.
“And he is such a gentleman too” Tina stated, wisely, and then he raised her eyebrows meaningfully “because let me tell you, Rach, some of us weren’t as lucky as to find such great guys and I know, from experience, that those who respect your boundaries and your time are very, very few”.
“As he even mentioned?” Mercedes jumped in, curiously, leaning over the lunch table.
“Sex?” Rachel made sure, before continuing “briefly”.
“We talked about him not being a virgin. He lost his virginity at 16 which I, somehow, found a little… intimidating” Rachel replied, shrugging.
“Well, he’s a guy, they lose their virginity sooner than girls” Mercedes said, expressively.
“Well, who do they lose them with?” Rachel asked back, rhetorically “but don’t you think I’m fooled about the fact that I’m the only finalist who’s still a virgin. The problem is not that he lost his virginity when he was 16, it’s that I didn’t”.
“Correction, you’re the only attractive finalist that is still a virgin” Mercedes made sure to make clear.
“And it’s not a problem that you’re still a virgin. 18 is a perfectly good age to lose our virginity” Tina commented.
“And I think it’s sweet that you were really trying to find the right person to do it with” Mercedes said, looking around the table “we know that we all rushed it, and, sometimes, it didn’t go as well because of that”.
“And now you have Finn” Kurt noticed, leaning his head to the side “it was worth the wait”.
Rachel was bothered by the fact that all of her friends seemed to be completely convinced that Finn was the one who she was losing her virginity with. She was bothered by the image of in love they were imposing on her. She didn’t feel like she should act in love just to satisfy them; they were her friends, she should and must be able to go to them and to reveal her insecurities about her real feelings for Finn. But, for some reason, she wasn’t – at the fear of disappointing them – and so she smiled, as if she was completely convinced that Finn was the one who she was losing her virginity with too.
That night, she cried herself to sleep. She wasn’t really sure why she felt that way, but she couldn’t help it.
Mr Sullivan surprise paper for the next day wasn’t – needless to say – well received by the students who frequented English Literature in the first period of the afternoon. Quinn was amongst them and – even though Mr Sullivan had shown to be a competent teacher and had, in various occasions, shown to be worthy of respect from Quinn – she felt like she could jump at him and break his Harry Potter glasses. Apart from only giving an afternoon to get the paper finish, there was also the fact that Quinn had Rachel had planned spending together that afternoon – thing that Quinn knew was a once in a month happening, due to him – and now she would have to cancel and wait for the next time he had a doctor appointment.
But Rachel wasn’t an easy person to cancel things with. After Quinn fully explained to her that she would have no time to talk to her and pay her any attention because she really had to deliver a good paper to maintain her A at English, Rachel still insisted on going by Quinn’s house.
“I can help you” Rachel said, smiling amused.
“No you can’t; you can distract me, and I know that”.
Rachel didn’t give in and Quinn – because the prospect of losing her afternoon with Rachel wasn’t so appealing either – eventually did, after making Rachel swear she wouldn’t intentionally distract her.
Rachel stocked herself with some magazines before going to Fabray’s house and she was fully convinced she would perform her part of the deal. But then, laying by Quinn’s side in her bed – because Quinn apparently always studied and wrote papers over her bed, something that Rachel could never do – Rachel couldn’t make herself be interested in the article about a trip to Rome. And Rachel was the kind of person who usually was interested in travelling stories, being her dream to travel around the world.
But… Quinn Fabray, comfortably adjusted against a pile of pillows, knees bent and notebook over it, pen on her right hand, dress slightly rising exposing bare, perfect legs… it was very attention catching. Carefully, Rachel set her magazine aside and for a while she just stared at Quinn, doing everything she could not to reach out for her skin. It was almost… too overwhelming. It was so strange that she could feel that way just by staring at someone, when she couldn’t feel like that when Finn was holding her or kissing her.
Quinn didn’t want to be disturbed, Rachel told herself over and over again, to prevent her hand from doing that exact thing, travelling on Quinn’s long legs. It was proving to be very hard.
“Quinn, I’m bored” Rachel mumbled, leaning her body against Quinn’s bent legs.
Quinn looked up, pressing her lips together – to show annoyance and to cover a smile – and sighed “I told you”.
“How are you doing?” Rachel asked, hopefully, looking to Quinn’s notebook, upside down.
“I’m almost done, but I need you to let me finish” Quinn said, sweetly, because it was hard to blame Rachel for her impatience when she was feeling the same – or even more.
“Okay” Rachel complied, looking down, slightly mournful “can I do something?”.
Quinn looked around the room despairingly. Something to entertain Rachel.
“You can…” Quinn was sure what she was going to suggest yet, until her hazel eyes dropped on her new baby-blue nail polisher “paint my toe nails. Do you want to do that?”.
For some reason Rachel seemed cheered up by that. She immediately started working. Toe by toe, slowly and carefully, she applied the polisher. Then, when the first layer was done, she waited until it dried off and then applied the second layer. Finally, she proudly stared at her work – it was perfect. Rachel had a lot of training with nail polishers and it was obvious by the impeccable pedicure she had just done.
It didn’t take long to Quinn realize that she had made a mistake. So desperate she was about getting Rachel something to do so that she could concentrate herself on her paper, she completely forgot to analyze what the job she had given to the brunette implied.
Rachel’s soft hands – definitely not manly – carefully touching Quinn’s sensitive feet, Rachel’s warm breath against the skin and then her soft blow to dry the nail polisher.
From the first minute Rachel started, Quinn had completely lost the ability to concentrate on her work or even to think about anything else but Rachel’s proximity.
“Done” Rachel finally stated, obviously proud of herself.
“Great. Now be a good girl and just wait five minutes” Quinn told her, relieved.
Rachel’s smiled fell immediately off her face “more?”.
“Rachel!” Quinn shrieked, impatiently “I told you I had to get this done…”
“You said you were almost finished” Rachel moped, like a little girl.
I would have finished already if you weren’t here, distracting me with your simple existence, Quinn thought, but did not say.
Finally, Quinn couldn’t take it any longer. She rushed the two last paragraphs, and then closed her notebook abruptly, slightly annoyed at herself for not being able to concentrate and slightly annoyed at Rachel for being so distracting “okay, I’m done”.
Rachel immediately sat up, like a little puppy, ready to play “cool”.
“What do you want to talk about?”.
“I actually wanted your advice for something” Rachel said, and Quinn should have noticed her guilty tone, because then she continued “it’s about Finn”.
Quinn’s eyes were rolling long before she commanded them to do it.
“Quinn” Rachel plead, reasonably “I realize we don’t talk about him, but I really need your help on something. Plus, we are friends; I should be able to come to you for this kind of things”.
Even though Quinn would never admit it, Rachel’s speech had pointed out some valid arguments. Still, she rolled her eyes once more “what’s up?”.
“His birthday is coming soon. What should I do?”.
“You’re asking me?” Quinn raised her eyebrows, meaningfully “you’re his girlfriend, not me”.
“Yeah” Rachel shrugged, continuing “but what should a girlfriend do for her boyfriend’s birthday?”.
Quinn bit her lip. She was aware why Rachel had come to her – she really was the best person to be asked this kind of things because, besides of being very boyfriend-experienced, even if she didn’t know what to do, she would always have Brad to ask – but she was really having mixed feelings about helping Rachel on this.
“Rachel…” Quinn mumbled, pressing her palm against her forehead, in an exhausted way.
“Quinn, why are you like that every time that I mention him?” Rachel asked, expressively “do you not like him? Because I don’t think you really know him, at all”.
“It’s not that I don’t like him…” Quinn started, knowing that she was lying “it’s more that…”.
As Quinn left her voice disappear, Rachel stared at her, waiting for the continuation. It didn’t come.
Quinn pulled a face, and then sighed, deciding to go in another direction. She could feel Rachel’s attentive brown eyes almost trying to read her mind “you know how you got mad when me and Puck happened? It’s the same thing”.
“I got mad because I felt disappointed. You don’t even like Puck. Finn’s my boyfriend, I really like him. It doesn’t apply” Rachel corrected, quickly, as if she had rehearsed that argument before.
“Well, weren’t you mad because you were kind of…” the last word Quinn pronounced was said in such a low and unsure tone, Rachel couldn’t understand it.
“Jealous?” Quinn’s eyes were now firmly stuck on the comforter, avoiding Rachel’s.
“Because of Puck?!” the idea was so ridiculous Rachel couldn’t help but to laugh “I despise him”.
“Not Puck, me!” Quinn said, starting to get really impatient.
Rachel’s before arguing face was now drowned in realization of what Quinn was saying and confusion. She paused “jealous of Puck because he was with you?”.
“Yeah, I’m saying that you were jealous because I was with him. You know spending time” Quinn quickly explained, so that there wasn’t any confusion about what she meant “you know, because I admit I’m jealous you spent so much time with Finn”.
“Oh. Okay. It’s only healthy, right?” Rachel asked “we’re close and guys take us time from each other”:
“Exactly” Quinn jumped in, so that Rachel could know that that was all she meant, she didn’t mean jealous in any other way.
“So that’s your problem with me dating Finn?” Rachel made sure, lifting an eyebrow.
“Yes. That and…” now that Quinn had started, she couldn’t not finish it “do you love him, Rachel?”.
Rachel couldn’t help but to completely and absolutely blush at the question. Even if she tried to hide that fact – which she didn’t – she wouldn’t be able, because Quinn captured it from the moment it started. Rachel decided she wasn’t going to answer – she didn’t know how well she could lie to Quinn – but the blonde was waiting for an answer.
“I don’t know”.
“The way I see it, people know if they love other people” Quinn’s annoyance transpired in her tone.
“It’s soon, you know?” Rachel’s voice was much more careful and softer than before “I don’t think I love him. Yet, at least”.
“I know you don’t love him” Quinn replied, without hesitating “I can see it when you talk about him… you don’t talk about him like you talk about… music. Or your dads. I can’t feel or practically taste the passion you have. I can’t feel it”.
Rachel’s mind was blank, as she stared at Quinn’s lips, which moved effortlessly. She didn’t stumble with her words; she got them out perfectly articulated and clear.
Despite everything – despite their different circle of friends, despite their fights, despite the limited time they spent together – Quinn was, and always had been, the person who knew her the best.
“If I don’t love him, then why am I still with him?” the question wasn’t meant to be sassy or sarcastic, Rachel was really trying to get an answer from Quinn, because she felt like Quinn could tell her more fearlessly that she could admit to herself.
But Quinn chickened out. She wanted to answer because you’re afraid of loving me. But she didn’t. She looked down and then back to Rachel’s brown eyes “you really like him”.
Rachel looked down. She was feeling tears tickling her eyes, threatening an appearance. They had been so close. They were so close. But none of them was brave enough to state the truth. None of them was brave enough to act. “A surprise birthday party” Quinn finally suggested, slightly moving away from Rachel