Never Asked To Feel Your Halo


Chapter Fifteen: I Gotta Feelin' (Tonight's the Night)

At the end of the short passageway was Mrs. Puckerman's bedroom and Quinn had the door unlocked as quickly as possible. As soon as it was open she let go of Rachel's wrist and shoved the key at her. Hand over her mouth now, she couldn't speak but Rachel got the message and locked the door behind them, fast enough that she was still able to rush into the adjoining bathroom in time to see Quinn slide across the floor on her knees and bury her head in the toilet.

She actually wouldn't have minded missing the next few minutes.

What was she supposed to do? She didn't even know why Quinn had dragged her in here, so she spent the first minute just staring at the back of the cheerleader's head as it bobbed over the toilet bowl. Then she paced the small bathroom from sink to shower stall for another minute. When it was clear the girl's sickness wasn't passing quickly, Rachel worked up the courage to kneel behind her.

"Can I touch you?"

Quinn was having a moment of respite, but her arms were still crossed over the bowl, her forehead resting on them and she was breathing heavy.

"I'm not really in that kind of mood right now, Berry."

Rachel's lips quirked in a little smile. "I was just offering to rub your back. It makes me feel better when I'm being sick."

She barely heard the soft, "Okay."

Rachel nodded and shifted slightly to one side so that she could comfortably rub circles on Quinn's lower back. It had the opposite effect of what she was going for and Quinn suddenly tensed up seconds before she started to be sick again. Unperturbed, she simply switched to pulling the loose strands escaped from Quinn's ponytail back from her face, tucking them behind her ears in soothing strokes. When the retching was losing its intensity she went back to rubbing the slow circles. Quinn panted into the toilet bowl for a while before she was able to speak. "For someone who's never had a mom you're pretty good at this."

"I don't understand what difference that makes. My dads always do this for me when I'm sick."

"Probably because they're gay," Quinn muttered, retching again briefly before recovering and dropping her head back to her crossed wrists.

Stiffening, Rachel snatched her hand from Quinn's back. "If you're just going to insult my fathers then I don't know why I should help . . ."

"I wasn't!" Quinn looked over her shoulder, her usually pale face flushed and sweaty. "I just meant my dad would never do this. I mean, I can kind of remember when I was five and had the flu or something he stayed up with me all night, but it was only because my mom and sister had it too. It's always my mom's job; although she's been conveniently not noticing how often I've been rushing to the bathroom just recently."

"Oh." Rachel wasn't sure how to respond to such a lengthy admission. "I'm sorry for jumping to conclusions."

"Whatever."

Rachel rubbed her back again and a few minutes passed in silence. "Do you feel any better?"

"Not really. Can you wet a wash cloth for me?"

As she stood to do that, Quinn reached up to flush the toilet and then sat back on her heels. Rachel knelt back down beside her and handed over the dampened cloth. Quinn wiped her face, in particular her mouth, before throwing it back in the sink.

"Is there anything else I can do for you?"

"Yeah, don't get any funny ideas."

Before she could even ask what that meant, Quinn's nose was buried in her neck, inhaling the blue wool shoulder of her cardigan.

Well, she hadn't been expecting that! Rachel threw her arms out to the sides, partly because the shock-factor had wobbled her balance and partly because the sentiment behind their 'No touching' rule had suddenly gained a great deal of significance

No funny ideas? Heh, okay.

She rolled her shoulders and fortified herself with a deep, calming breath . . . Oh, Quinn's hair smelled so pretty!

And she was doomed!

"Um," she pulled a dubious face but promised, "I'll try."

Quinn chuckled under her breath, "I'm really sorry, I just need a minute."

"Take all the time you want . . . not that I'm enjoying this . . . but if it helps."

"As unsettling as it is, it does."

"Do you still want me to rub your back?"

"If you feel comfortable with that, Berry, sure."

She didn't really, but that didn't mean she wasn't going to do it. As she started the slow circles back up she smiled because it was almost like they were hugging. Sure, Quinn's hands were firmly planted on the floor either side of her hips and one of her own hands was also braced down there now for balance, but Quinn's head was in her neck and her other arm was around Quinn's waist, hand on her back . . . yes, she was smiling . . . but definitely not enjoying herself, she thought quickly as a precaution.

Quinn took an extra big sniff of her shoulder, nuzzling her nose deeper into the woollen fabric and her right hand came up off of the floor to clench some of the cardigan into her fist.

Okay, maybe she was enjoying it a little bit . . . and getting a few ideas. Should she say something? No, it wouldn't help Quinn to know and that was all that mattered until they left this bathroom.

Quinn felt her head shake. "What?"

"Nothing."

"What?"

Rachel spent a second coming up with a suitable and non-threatening-to-their-current-position question. "I was just wondering how you knew about Puck's secret bathroom."

Quinn chuckled again and Rachel felt it against her neck. "It's not a secret bathroom. It's just off-limits. Puck's Mom knows he has parties whenever she and his little sister are visiting his grandparents for the weekend. I guess she stopped trying to fight it and settled for giving him ground rules instead."

"Like?"

"Like he pays for anything that gets broken, the house is tidied up before she gets back, and no one goes into his sister's room or her room."

"And he abides by those rules?" It didn't sound like Puck.

"Well, I know he bought her a new TV about six months ago because some idiot put his foot through her old one and you saw how reluctant he was to give me the key for in here."

Rachel nodded, cheek brushing the side of Quinn's head. It could have been her imagination but she thought the hand gripping her cardigan pulled a little tighter, a little closer.

She thought about what she had noticed earlier and how Puck had given up the off-limits bathroom key reluctantly but without asking for an explanation.

"Does Puck know?"

There was a nod against her shoulder.

"How?"

No answer.

"Quinn?"

"How do you think? Finn told him. They're best friends."

"I take it you trust him not to say anything."

Quinn shrugged against her. "As much as I trust you."

It was blandly delivered and not the most confidence in her that could have been displayed but Rachel felt warmed by it anyway. Puck was one of Quinn's friends and while it wasn't a comparison she'd ever hoped for, she'd take being on a par with Puckerman under these circumstances.

She couldn't help her chuckle though.

"What?"

"I just never in a million years thought I'd be in the same boat as Noah Puckerman. You know, both knowing the biggest ever secret at McKinley High and not being able to say anything about it. Maybe we should start a support group for each other."

"Do you want to say anything about it to anyone?"

Rachel shook her head vigorously, knowing Quinn would feel it. "No, I don't."

"Speaking about boats?" Quinn began, suddenly sounding uneasy. "What the hell were you thinking earlier?"

Rachel had no idea what she was talking about; her mind still full of a fantasy of her and Puck sitting in a circle (could two people make a circle?), drinking black coffee out of one of the those big metal urns and sharing war stories about Quinn's mood-swings and the price of fabric softener.

"I'm sorry, what?"

Quinn pulled her head back enough to give her a look of disbelief and mutter, "You know what! Announcing to everyone you were going to . . . to rock my boat!"

Rachel started laughing at Quinn's scandalized expression and the way she'd looked left and right as she whispered it, as if anyone could possibly be in here with them.

"It's not funny," she hissed next, slapping at Rachel's thigh. "I thought my head was going to explode!"

That just made it even funnier and as she remembered Quinn's bug-eyed expression at the time, the drink in her system further fueled her giggles and now she couldn't stop.

"It's not my fault," she defended herself. Clutching helplessly at Quinn's arm, she leaned into the cheerleader as the laughter made her weak and breathlessly insisted, "You should blame Kurt!"

"Excuse me?"

"He said . . . he said, I was sc-scared to stand up to you in case I . . . I rocked the boat." Shaking with the force of her giggle-fit, Rachel keeled helplessly over onto her back.

With the way they'd been leaning against each other, Quinn half-fell and was half-dragged down to the floor with her. With the reflexes of a Cheerio, Quinn just managed to catch herself with hands at either side of Rachel's shoulders before she had the misfortune of landing right on top of her.

Misfortune?

Rachel snorted with laughter, slapping a hand against the linoleum beneath her back, at that gross misrepresentation.

"What is so funny?"

"Misfortune is a misnomer," she explained, trying her best to calm down and get her words out in a steady intelligible stream. "Like . . . like you falling on top of me could ever be unfortunate. I expect it would feel like our whole bodies were holding hands. Imagine that, Quinn, full-body sparkles! That would be awesome. Don't you think that . . . would . . . be . . . um." It was the way Quinn's eyes were going so big and wide and bewildered that finally clued her in. "And you were still talking about Kurt! Oh Barbra!" On some level she knew she should be embarrassed but she couldn't stop laughing long enough about her mistake to be so. "You . . . you have to promise to delete that! Delete the sparkles, Quinn!"

"Trust me, I would if I could and I'm not talking about Kurt. I'm talking about your apparent desire to rock my boat tonight? Why would you tell anyone that?"

Maybe it was something in her voice, the serious tone of the question. Or maybe it was the intensity of the eye contact between them as Quinn made no move to shift out of the awkward position of being on her hands and knees above her. The laughter caught in Rachel's throat and she had to nervously gulp it down to speak.

"Um, I don't know. I didn't think it was a big deal. Kurt was goading me into confronting you, for his own amusement no doubt, and you kept stealing my drinks. He dared me to . . . to rock the boat. I'm sorry, I shouldn't have let him provoke me."

"Rock the boat?"

"Yes, sorry."

"So you didn't mean . . .?"

"Uh?" Rachel didn't know what she meant anymore, she was too busy getting sucked into the beauty of Quinn's eyes. "What?"

"I thought you were talking about . . ."

She was growing no less confused with all of these open-ended sentences. "What?"

"Nothing, it doesn't matter."

"Can I ask you a question now?"

"Sure."

"Why do you keep taking my drinks away? Anyone would think I was the pregnant one."

"Because you're already drunk and drunk people say things they shouldn't, and with your brain to mouth filter already useless I don't plan to take any chances with you."

"Pfft, I'm not drunk!" She waved her arm to show how ridiculous she found the notion and slapped Quinn in the face. "Oops."

Chuckling, Quinn shifted away and Rachel felt that she had very good thought-to-mouth communication, thank you very much, because she stopped herself from begging the cheerleader to stay right where she was. It paid off in the form of Quinn dropping onto her elbow beside her and stretching her legs out.

'We're laying down next to each other and Quinn Fabray has her head on my shoulder!'

Okay, so technically it was her nose, but still!

This was the greatest party ever. And she loved morning sickness! Morning sickness was the best. When she was famous she was going to become the Morning Sickness Spokesperson to the UN! If it could unite her and Quinn like this just think what it could do for the warring nations of the world.

"Berry, you downed your first ever bottle of beer in one go, which was phenomenally stupid by the way, and then you told me I was pretty!"

Rachel started giggling again, although now it was mostly from the embarrassment catching up with her. "Okay, maybe I'm a little bit drunk, but it's not like I was doing anything other than making an astute observation. You are pretty."

"I know, but the last person I want acknowledging that out loud right now is you. Not to mention your barbed little comment at the end of your sex speech."

Quinn poked her hard in the side making her squirm away but she only got so far before her wrist was grabbed and she was pulled back into position, or a slightly different position. Quinn's head was exactly where it had been but now she was inhaling her pink t-shirt where it covered her collarbones.

Rachel glanced down at her before focusing on the ceiling and distracting herself with what Quinn was accusing her of.

"That comment was most certainly not barbed. It was just an effective way to wrap up the topic."

"You looked straight at me when you said 'teen pregnancy'!"

"I did no such thing. And besides, you released Santana in response knowing full well her desire to kill me, so I consider us even."

"I didn't let go of her because of that, your comment just happened to coincide with the same moment I got bored of holding her back."

"You're lying. I saw that evil glint in your eye. I know that evil glint very well."

"How do you know what kind of glint was in my eye if you weren't looking at me?"

Rachel looked up to give her a smile but it was lost on the top of Quinn's head. "Well, like I said, we're even."

"Okay, my turn to ask a question: Did you just smell my hair?"

Rachel thought about denying it but just shrugged instead. Pointing a finger at Quinn's nose, she said, "Pot." And then pointed to her own nose. "Kettle."

Rachel felt the warm breath of Quinn's chuckle roll over the side of her neck and she was pretty sure she left claw marks in the linoleum of Mrs. Puckerman's bathroom floor as a result.

"At least I have a good reason."

"So do I."

"And that would be?"

Rachel shrugged again. "It smells nice."

"Not as nice as you . . . I mean your neck . . . I mean shoulder! . . . uh, t-shirt . . . your t-shirt!" Rachel started laughing and when Quinn groaned out, "Shit." She started laughing harder. "Stop it!" She was writhing with her laughter now and Quinn reached over and grabbed her shoulder, hard, to hold her still. "Seriously, stop laughing at me or you won't make it out of this bathroom alive."

"I'm sorry!" The bruising clutch of Quinn's fingers brought her out of her drunken giggle fit, a little. "It's just you're normally so calm and collected, every look chosen for maximum effect, every word carefully thought out. It's a strange experience to see you without your usual perfect poise."

"Yeah, well it's hard to project perfect poise when your life feels like it's upside down. I don't even understand what's going on in my head. Sometimes I don't think I'm even me anymore and it's . . ." Quinn's voice faded on the last sentence until she trailed off completely.

She stopped trying to leave bruises on Rachel's shoulder but her hand still lay there innocently; her arm dropping to be a light, relaxed pressure across Rachel's ribs.

When she continued her voice was strong and clear again. "So I try harder to be me, like today, but that doesn't feel right either. In fact it feels even worse. Maybe being scared is all part of the big thing I've been waiting for and I just need to live with it."

"How do you mean?"

The silence (well, apart from the muffled party noises coming through the walls and Quinn's intermittent sniffing) stretched on so long Rachel didn't think she was going to get an answer. She didn't really expect an explanation anyway. From what she knew Quinn didn't do long, rambling answers; that was more her own style.

"You'll probably think this is stupid, or conceited or something but . . . maybe I've just had it too easy for the last few years. When I started McKinley my goal was to make head cheerleader by senior year and Coach Sylvester handed me the crown after my first semester. When Finn made Quarterback I gave myself a month to make him mine, it took three days, and I fully believe it would have taken one day if I'd had the courage to make the move that quickly."

Rachel stared wide-eyed up at the ceiling. Already shocked that Quinn was opening up to her like this at all, the admission that she'd been nervous about staking a claim on Finn was mind boggling. Quinn never showed any kind of weakness to anyone, least of all Rachel. And it was ridiculous, because who didn't want Quinn Fabray? She could have anyone.

Anyone!

"Maybe I've had it too easy," Quinn repeated. "I set myself all these challenges and then they just fall into my lap. I was starting to feel like I was stuck in a rut at sixteen, how stupid is that?"

"Fairly stupid."

"Hey!"

"You know it is." Quinn nodded slightly and Rachel felt the brush of a nose against her skin, just above the neck of her t-shirt, and it made her insides quiver. "So you've been waiting for something big to come along or . . . or a new challenge and you feel like it finally has?" More nose brushing. "Well, I can certainly see how carrying Finn's baby is both big and challenging but . . ."

"I'm not talking about that."

The only time Rachel had heard Quinn's voice go as soft as that had been the day before . . . behind the workshop. "Oh."

Quinn obviously didn't like something about her tone because her head shot up and the sharpness to her voice was back. "I'm not talking about anything else either, Berry. I'm just . . . I don't know, venting to a captive audience or something."

"I understand."

Quinn nodded tersely before dropping her nose back to Rachel's t-shirt and inhaling deeply.

"Things have been confusing for me recently too."

"Why would I care if you're confused?"

Rachel ignored that. "For the last three weeks I haven't known what to expect. Before I did, you know? I could plan my day around slushie facials, name-calling and all the mysterious tripping over of invisible objects that I do in the hallways. I knew the routine. Now the routine has all changed and I feel like I have a pet . . . a pet wolf all wild and vicious and beautiful and I never know at any given minute whether she'll let me stroke her tummy or tear my throat out if I so much as look at her."

"Okay, first of all, if you ever try and stroke me and I will tear your throat out." Quinn's quiet laughter against her collarbone was making the threat much less scary than it might have been intended. "And second of all, I am not your pet anything, Berry!"

Rachel grinned, "Okay, let me try another analogy. You're like the hot cheerleader version of Jekyll and Hyde. I'm really starting to be concerned that you have a dual personality disorder. I never know what to expect from you next and half of me likes it and half of me hates it."

Quinn's whole face had been pressed to her t-shirt as she tried to stifle her amusement but now she raised it just enough to be heard, "You realize you've now called me pretty and beautiful and hot all in the same night? Anyone might think you have a little crush after all."

Smirking, Rachel raised her head again to reply. "Then you will just have to inform Anyone that they are wrong."

"That would almost be Oscar-worthy, if you hadn't just smelled my hair . . . again."

"I can't help it, it's right there!"

Giggling, Quinn pushed up on her elbow a little to look at her. "You're such a bad liar."

"You're not that great at it yourself." Rachel was also giggling again, but mostly because Quinn's face was mere inches from her own and it was making her heart race and her pulse fizz and she was suddenly getting some really bad funny ideas.

"Sure I am, I can lie like a pro. I have a lot of experience."

A few strands of blonde had fallen loose and were tickling Rachel's chin so she pushed them gently back behind Quinn's ear. "In what kind of lies?"

"The ones I tell myself," Quinn whispered, tilting her head slightly to better accept Rachel's gesture and Oh, holy Barbra!

Rachel was already raising her head from the linoleum, preparing to seize the moment, when she saw the panicked expression in Quinn's eyes and realized she'd read the moment completely wrong.

"I'm sorry, I'm really sorry!" she started in a rush, frantic to get her excuses out before Quinn could get angry. "I swear I wasn't going to . . .!

"No, wait!" Quinn said at the same time, just as frantic. "I need to brush my teeth first!"

Drunk as she was that sentence pierced the alcoholic fog like a high F. Quinn had said wait not stop and . . . A different type of fog filled her brain, one where she couldn't see past those words to the meaning behind them.

"What?" was the best she could manage.

Quinn's eyes suddenly looked huge. "What?"

"First?"

"What?"

"You said first, what comes second?"

"I never said first!"

"You did."

"I didn't!" Quinn pushed herself up and on to her knees. "What would I . . .?" She swallowed hard. "Why would I say first?"

Rachel sat up. "That's what I'm trying to figure out."

"You're delusional and . . . and did you just try to kiss me?"

"Are you trying to pretend you didn't want me to?"

"No! No, don't project your sick fantasies on me, Manhands! This is what I get for lowering myself enough to be friends with you!" She could see Quinn's hands were shaking as she tried to pull her inner bitch to the fore. "I-I really should have known better."

"You didn't want to be friends, remember?" Rachel had been angry at Quinn plenty of times, on average about three times a day since they'd known each other, but she could never remember being this incensed. How dare she try and turn this on her! "You just want to hold my hand and stuff in private so you can lie to yourself it never happened."

"You're freaking insane. Like I'd ever want you anywhere near me!"

Rachel saw red and it was almost a pity Kurt wasn't around to see how hard she was about to rock this boat!

"Maybe not, but you want this."

She lunged forward, grabbing Quinn's shoulders, but before she could bring their lips together as intended a fist powered into her chin and then she was sprawling back across the bathroom floor.

It hadn't even hurt, it was more the shock and drunken clumsiness that had sent her flying, but the way Quinn was staring at her in guilty shock was of absolutely no consolation.

Tenderly holding her chin, Rachel staggered to her feet. "I hate you."

"I hate you more. Now fuck off."

She didn't need telling twice and stormed out of the bathroom and then the bedroom, leaving the door wide open. If anyone trashed Mrs. Puckerman's room then Quinn could take the damn blame.


Quinn stayed on the bathroom floor after Berry had stormed out. She felt sick all over again but she knew this time it had nothing to do with morning sickness. It was because of what she'd almost done and because of what she had done. She'd roughed the girl up a few times but she'd never actually punched her before.

'Berry had it coming!'

See, she was a brilliant liar, because she almost believed that.

Groaning, she reached into her bag for a handkerchief, but as soon as it was over her nose she knew it wasn't going to be of any help. It just wasn't as good as the real thing; not after having her nose pressed against the real thing for half an hour.

Slowly she got to her feet and spent ten minutes just staring at the reflection of the other side of the room in the mirror it was safer than looking at her own reflection right now. She told herself she was stalling because it wouldn't look good if they joined the party at the same time after being absent for so long, but really it was because she just had no desire to move. Moving would mean leaving the bathroom and leaving the bathroom would mean having to see Rachel.

'What is wrong with me?'

Eventually she used the wash cloth on her face again no one but her would know it was to wipe away tears and then squeezed some of Mrs. Puckerman's toothpaste onto her finger and scrubbed it around her teeth. She used the mouthwash too, just for good measure.

When she finally felt put back together enough to re-join the party, she made up her mind to head straight for Finn and not leave his side for the rest of the night.


When Rachel stormed through the kitchen Puck was still there, with two Cheerios she didn't know well enough to be on first name terms with. She was pretty sure one of them was a senior and she was also pretty sure both of them had been kissing his neck until she'd interrupted.

"Puck, can I please have some more of your drink?"

"There's beer now, Berry."

"But yours is stronger, correct?"

"Yeah."

"Well, I feel in the need for something extremely strong."

He shrugged and reached behind him for the bottle on the counter. As soon as it was in her hand she tried to guzzle it as she had the beer earlier but, oh God, it tasted so much worse without the cola. After two mouthfuls she handed it back, spluttering wetly which caused both cheerleaders to glare and shrink away from her.

"So did you and Q have fun?" Puck asked and there was a leer in his voice that Rachel really didn't care for.

"You know Quinn better than I do, Puckerman, does anyone ever have fun in her company?"

The leer was visible now. "Sure, sometimes."

"Then I have obviously just not yet had the pleasure of experiencing it."

Mike came through the door then in search of another beer but on spying Rachel changed his plan. "Hey, do you wanna dance?"

"I would like that very much." She took his offered hand but Puck's hand on her shoulder stalled her.

She was very surprised when he leaned in to whisper in her ear. "Is she okay though?"

"Aside from being a complete psychopath . . . I think she's fine now," she whispered back and then let Mike pull her away.

"What was that about?" he asked as they entered the even louder than before living room.

"Just Puck being Puck," she lied, not caring enough to put any real effort into it.

She danced with Mike for an hour, with a short interlude when Brittany grabbed her hand and they performed the routine they were supposed to be learning for Sectionals. She noticed Quinn walk into the room just as they got to the part where they turned slowly together in each other's air space, but Quinn just sneered as their eyes met and walked away. Rachel rolled her eyes in response and kept dancing.

Later, out of breath and still buzzing, she found herself sat between Mike and Kurt on the couch. She was sipping on a strawberry wine cooler, which was the best tasting drink so far. It probably wasn't wise to mix her drinks - hadn't she read that somewhere? - but the bottle was half gone and she didn't even care.

"But I don't get why she took you with her," Kurt said for the third time.

"I was the closest female for her to grab." Rachel had been giving the same kind of answer each time.

"Did she hurt you or anything?" Mike asked.

She'd already checked in the chrome plate of the kettle so she knew there was no bruise forming on her chin yet. "No. She just wasn't feeling well and wanted someone there with her," she explained to both of them. "Believe me, she regretted her choice of someone's and I regret allowing her to drag me after her. A confused Quinn Fabray is extremely mean."

"Confused?" Kurt asked, eyebrow arching.

"I said 'queasy'." And with the volume of the music and people's voices he was hard pressed to disbelieve her.

"Well, she seems okay now."

Kurt looked over to see what Mike meant, Rachel didn't need to, she was already looking. Quinn was making out with Finn, enthusiastically, against the far wall. It occurred to her that she had never seen them do this before. Sure, she'd seen them kiss a thousand times in the halls at school and in Glee even, but those had all been superficial pecks. Now it looked as though Quinn was trying to pull his tonsils out of the back of his throat with her tongue.

It was really quite repulsive.

And it was making her lower abdomen churn in a weird way.

She didn't like it.

Apparently Puck didn't either when he finally came out of the kitchen, "Get a freakin' room, guys. But not in this house!"

Despite the fact that he looked like was barely able to keep up with his girlfriend's vigorous display of affection, Finn gave his best friend the finger.

Brittany suddenly bounced into Rachel's line of sight so between her and Quinn. "No, they totally have the right idea. We should play Spin the Bottle!"

"I'm in," Puck leered.

"Me too," Santana was also leering.

"I'm game," Kurt chuckled nervously beside her.

"In!" Mercedes and Matt said at the same time, grinning shyly at each other.

"What about you, Rachel?" Mike asked when she didn't automatically jump at the chance to play. "We don't have to."

Quinn suddenly pulled away from Finn, leaving him mentally staggering by the looks of it, but whether it was at the prospect of the game or because her tongue was now just extremely tired, Rachel didn't know.

She did a second later, when Quinn met her eyes and said, "We're in."

"We are?" Finn asked, grinning. "Cool."

Rachel rolled her eyes again at Finn thinking he had anything to do with Quinn's participation.

The decision having been taken out of her hands, she smiled at Mike, "I've always wanted to play Spin the Bottle."

"Anyone else?" Puck called over the music.

There was a loud chorus of 'No's' from the rest of the Cheerios and jocks present and Puck shrugged with a muttered, "Losers! Okay, we'll play in the kitchen. Come on, guys."

Following behind Mike, Rachel couldn't pinpoint what emotion she was feeling right now she was a confusing jumble of angry, excited and nervous. The only thing she was sure of was that this game was going to be . . . messy.


Quinn didn't know why she'd agreed to this stupid game. She'd already been kissing the only person she wanted to kiss before it had even been suggested. Now she was sitting across the table from Rachel-freaking-Berry and listening to these Glee losers catcall as Mercedes and Mike shared the chastest kiss known to mankind.

Mike sat back in his seat, giving Berry a sickeningly apologetic smile, before taking his turn to spin the empty bottle of vodka on the table. She subtly watched Rachel's reaction rather than the spin of the bottle. The girl was grinning, not in the least bothered her date was about to kiss someone else, and then the smile suddenly dropped like a rock. Quinn was only aware of why when the new catcalls started, all including her name.

She looked down to see the bottle pointing squarely at her, and smirked. "Okay, Chang, time to find out what a real woman kisses like."

He looked nervous but joined her in standing up and leaning over the small table. Quinn shot a triumphant look at Berry just before taking his face in her hands and laying one on him. It wasn't much less chaste than his kiss with Mercedes, but she made sure it lasted longer.

He looked dazed when he sat back down. So did Rachel. Quinn smirked some more as she twirled the bottle.

It landed on Finn. Smiling delightedly, she turned to her boyfriend and gave him a real kiss, a real, real kiss. She ignored the general laughter, but Rachel's muttered, "Puck was right, get a room." just spurred her on to keep it going.

When she finally let him go, Finn was so over-excited he flipped the bottle right off of the table. It landed in Brittany's lap.

"Well, I guess there's no doubt who that spin was intended for," Kurt said dryly.

Grinning goofily still, Finn leaned over to give Brittany a peck on the lips. It wasn't his fault Brittany literally didn't know the meaning of chaste. Quinn laughed as he got a full on smacker and tried not to think about the tongue that was most likely involved too.

Brittany's spin landed on Santana, hardly a surprise seeing as they were as good at this game as she was they'd spent months practicing their spinning abilities in middle school in preparation for the time they'd get to play for real.

As the two Cheerios kissed, they garnered even more vocal appreciation and Quinn rolled her eyes.

Santana spun Puck, once again proving her expertise, but when it was Puck's turn to spin all hell broke loose.

"What? No way! Doesn't count."

Kurt stayed quiet, looking slightly fearful.

"Like hell it doesn't count," Santana snapped, "I kissed Britt!"

"Yeah but . . ." Puck took a second to gather himself. "Actually, you know what? I read stuff; I know what homophobia really means. I'm down with the chicks, you all know I'm down with the chicks, so what's the big, right? So, come on, Kurt, lay one on me."

"I . . . ah . . . I'm not sure. . ."

"Jeez, man, don't be such a pussy!" There was only Mercedes sitting between them so it was easy for Puck to lean over and kiss Kurt. It lasted longer than her kiss with Mike but not as long as Finn's kiss with Brittany.

Puck sat back down, swiping the back of his hand across his mouth, "See, no big deal."

"Did I see a little tongue?" Santana teased.

"Maybe. Why, did it turn you on?" Puck shot back.

"A little, yeah."

Quinn turned to Kurt, who was looking completely shell-shocked, and smirked as she reminded him, "Your turn."

"Oh . . . right." He spun the bottle. "Oh . . . crap."

Quinn didn't bother to hide her laughter at his reaction.

"I'll have you know I could be a very good kisser," Rachel snapped. "But whether I am or not, you still have to kiss me."

With a sigh of dread, Kurt stood and leaned over the corner of the table. "Just know, that unless you become extremely famous, this will not be in my memoirs."

"You won't even rate tonight's entry in my diary, Kurt."

Considering everything that had happened, Quinn believed that.

The two kissed with pursed lips and it was more awkward looking than Mike kissing Mercedes.

When Rachel sat back down, her big grin was back and she spun the bottle enthusiastically. So enthusiastically that it went around five times and everyone was getting apprehensive about where it might stop.

It stopped on Finn.

Rachel looked smug. Finn looked nervous and Quinn knew that look. It was the look he got when he wanted something he was scared to ask for, like when he wanted to go to second base with her.

"No."

"Why not?" Rachel shot back. "It's just a game, Quinn."

"I said no. Spin again, RuPaul."

"Why? No one else has had to spin twice."

"Spin again or I'll make you swallow that bottle."

"That'd be hot."

Everyone turned to Brittany for a second before looking back at the tension building between her and Rachel.

"Fine." Rachel placed her finger and thumb back on the bottle. "But if you're really so insecure about your relationship with Finn, maybe that's something you should address."

She spun the bottle before Quinn could make a scathing comeback. It landed on Finn again.

"No!"

Rachel didn't even argue this time, just heaved a deep sigh, took a long swallow from her wine cooler and spun the bottle again.

It landed where it really, really, really shouldn't have landed.

It was also where she'd kind of been hoping it would land, true, but now that it had . . . this was bad. She couldn't do this. If she couldn't do it in a locked bathroom, she definitely couldn't do it now.

Why didn't she just let the dwarf kiss Finn?

Oh God, she was doing the pointing thing again, this wasn't going to be good.

"Ha! You only get one veto!"

Quinn groaned as either side of her people muttered about there being no veto rule and hadn't Quinn technically had two already and if Quinn kept vetoing Rachel's spins did that mean the rest of them could too if her next spin landed on them?

"I make the rules, Berry, not you, and I get anything I want."

"Not anything, Quinn, there are limits to what even your charms can accomplish."

Quinn's eyes narrowed. "No, there really aren't."

"So are you two gonna kiss or what?" Puck asked.

"No, I think I should just spin again."

There were several groans around the table now; the rest of them wanted a damn go!

Quinn used their reaction to ask, "Scared to kiss me, Berry?"

Rachel met her eyes head on. "Not in the slightest."

"Then come on, let's get it over with." Quinn stood up. She could do this if it meant kissing Manhands, she decided, it was the idea of kissing Rachel that freaked her out. "This is actually exciting; I've never kissed a drag queen before."

The insult pulled Rachel out of her seat, fists balled at her sides. "That doesn't surprise me; some Barbie's come in a box and stay in them their entire plastic little lives."

"Wow, did Stubbles just show her claws?" Santana sounded impressed.

Quinn was too, with a side of furious.

She laughed it off, placing her hands on top of the table and leaning across. "Then why don't you show me what I've been missing outside of the box."

A shrug of her shoulders pushed her tight Cheerios shirt into better view and framed it with her bare upper arms. A practiced shake of her head not only flipped her pony-tail about playfully but also tilted her face in an alluring way. Up went the sexy eyebrow. The only thing she kept of her previous expression was the cold smirk on her lips, because that was just going to make it so much better when Rachel gave in and kissed her in spite of it.

And she was about to any second now. She was totally hooked! Staring at Quinn, licking her lips, taking a tiny step forward and then another one as her hands played nervously together in front of her before reaching to lean on the edge of the table.

"Well, come on then, Manhands, what are you waiting for? Kiss me."

Poof!

Damn, she'd gone too far and the moment was over.

"Actually, I'm not feeling very well. I think I'm just going to call my Dad to pick me up." Rachel stumbled back from the table. "Thank you for welcoming me into your home, Puck. Mike, I'm sorry to cut our date short, I promise you I had a wonderful time. I'll see you all on Monday."

Berry didn't even look at her as she left the room, heading for the front door.

"Aw, it's a shame the idea of kissing you made her feel sick, Quinn."

Her eyes snapped to Brittany, not sure if the insult was intended or innocently delivered. She sank back down in her chair. "It was completely mutual."

"I don't know, you seemed pretty into the idea of kissing her," Puck teased.

Where was the line of over-reaction? She settled for rolling her eyes and calmly reminding him, "Kissing is the point of the game; and after your little speech before kissing Kurt I could hardly refuse, could I?"

"And you totally messed with her head too," Santana laughed. "By the time you'd finished I didn't know whether she was going to start humping your leg or blow her stupid rape whistle."

Quinn chuckled, because that was exactly how Berry had been looking before making her excuses and rushing off to call her Dad for a ride.

Something about that sentence jarred her. What was she forgetting? As soon as she remembered she wished she hadn't because now she had to something about it.

"She's not calling her Dad."

"What? How do you know?" Finn asked.

"They're out tonight. Out of town out. And they don't know their precious little princess is at her first girl/boy party either. There's no way she's calling them."

"Well, why did she say she was?" Mercedes asked.

Quinn shrugged like she didn't have a clue. "She said she wasn't feeling well. Maybe she wanted to throw up in Puck's bushes without an audience."

Finn shrugged hopefully. "So maybe she'll come back in when she's done."

"Or she'll try and walk home."

Halfway across Lima. At eleven-thirty on a Friday night. Drunk.

"Well, she has her rape whistle," Santana said like the conversation was done and reached for the bottle.

"I . . . I should go and walk her home, right?" Mike checked, starting to stand.

That was a terrible idea!

"You're drunk, she's drunk and now you know she has an empty house for the next few hours. I don't think so, Chang."

"Hey, what are you accusing me of?"

"Being a teenage boy." She got to her feet like it was the biggest hardship ever. "I brought her; I suppose I should make sure she gets home. I'll be back in a little while."

"Do want me to come with you?"

As she reached down to pick up her bag she gave her boyfriend a soft kiss on the lips. "No, you stay here. You deserve to let loose tonight. You've earned it. I'll be back soon."


Chapter Sixteen

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