Rachel arrived extra early for American Lit. on Thursday morning and asked every student that came through the door if they would switch seats with her.
Nobody would; they probably liked the fact that she found sitting next to Quinn so torturous.
When the girl in question showed up, taking her place without even a glance in her direction, Rachel sighed and reluctantly followed her to the desk.
She'd spent the night before more upset than angry and had cried herself to sleep over being stupid enough to let her guard down with Quinn Fabray; for worse than that even, for daring to contemplate that she was someone Rachel could give her heart to. Somewhere in the past week, and largely due to Quinn's own shifting attitude towards her, Rachel had gone from cautiously companionable to optimistically expectant in terms of how she approached their budding friendship and that had obviously been a mistake.
One that Quinn was completely to blame for . . . and Rachel really should have seen coming.
Of course Quinn had been using her all this time. For her umbrella, her fabric softener, for her sympathy and her pathetic willingness to please the girl who had made her school life a misery for years. And now for her talent.
She'd let herself believe that Quinn liked her, really liked her, even if the cheerleader would never be prepared to admit it out loud or take it any further than holding her hand in secret.
But Quinn had only ever been leading her onto get what she wanted.
Sitting beside her now, Rachel felt the pain recede as her anger reared again.
How dare she manipulate her feelings so callously like that!
And she was still wearing her scarf!
Mr. Laxforth was halfway through the day's chapter when the blonde's notebook was edged closer.
Did you calm down yet?
Rachel ignored her and heard a heavy sigh as Quinn went back to taking notes.
Another five minutes passed before the notebook was in her line of sight again.
You're seriously overreacting about this.
Rachel huffed in annoyance. When she didn't receive a reply, Quinn made a similar noise.
The next time she saw the notepad, a longer message was scrawled at the bottom of a page full of Quinn's habitually meticulous note-taking.
OMG, would you just get over it? I didn't kill your puppy! I just took you on a date, for F's sake. The date you were begging me for Fri night! You should be thanking me for what I did! After all, it's not like anyone else is willing to spend time with you without there being something in it for them too, so what did I do that was so bad?
Hands literally shaking with fury, Rachel had no idea how she managed to tear the top sheet from the pad before Quinn could stop her. Maybe it was the shock factor. Whatever it was, she managed to rip the paper into sixteen roughly torn pieces and throw them in the air before Quinn reacted with more than a surprised widening of her eyes.
"You freaking midget bitch!" she shouted, trying to catch the tiny pieces as they rained down on her.
"What's going on back there?" Mr. Laxforth had risen from his seat and was already striding down the aisle towards them.
Everyone else had turned in their seats to look at their desk too.
Quinn didn't seem to notice as she glared hatred at Rachel.
Rachel noticed but didn't care as she grinned smugly back. "How do you like it?"
"You're dead, Manhands!"
"And you're overrated!" Rachel shouted back, drawing a collective gasp from the audience.
"Figgins' office now, both of you! And detention after school."
"You can't give me detention. I have Cheerios."
"Not today you don't. Now GO!"
Figgins let them off with a warning, but - despite lengthy protests from both girls - insisted they attend the detention.
As luck would have it, and probably for the first time in McKinley history, only two students received detention that day.
Rachel arrived first and was both gratified and, perversely, upset when Quinn took the furthest seat from her there was. She merely grunted her displeasure though and went back to reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Quinn heard her and gave a dark chuckle as she fished her own paperback copy from her bag and did the same.
The hour long detention was twenty minutes old when the overseer stood from grading French essays.
"I have to go to my office for five minutes. I trust you to behave in my absence but remember I can see and hear this room from there."
"She's here because she threatened my life and you're going to leave us alone?" Rachel couldn't believe it.
As soon as the door closed behind her, Quinn called over, "Scared of me, Stubbles?"
"No. I just find it terribly bad teacher practice."
"Want me to make you scared of me?"
Rachel shook her head wearily, pretending to go back to her book.
"What am I saying? You'd probably get off on me touching you, even with my fist."
Rachel turned the page, even though she hadn't read more than the first paragraph of the previous one.
"It certainly didn't slow you down Friday night."
She finally cracked, "I only have your word that I even kissed you Friday night and now that I know exactly how much your word means, for all I know you made it up! You probably thought you could hold it over me if taking me bowling didn't get you what you wanted. Well, do you want to know something? It won't work. I'll stand up at the invitational tomorrow night in front of everyone and tell them that I was stupid enough to kiss you before I let you use that against me too."
Quinn was seething. "You wouldn't dare!"
"Why does that make you so angry? It's not like you kissed me back!"
"I . . . I know! But everyone in Glee already thinks we're an item now or something thanks to you. If you tell them that, they're either going to consider it confirmation or they're going to ask why you're still alive."
"Why am I still alive? You punched me the first time, why not the second?"
"I told you why!"
"Yes, but I no longer have cause to believe anything you said Tuesday night so I'd like the real answer."
"Go to hell!"
"I'm Jewish, we don't believe in hell."
"I'll make your life a living hell, can you believe in that?"
"Considering you've been doing that for three years, yes I can believe it. I simply don't care anymore. And, to go back a few retorts, if I may, they don't think that thanks to meme on a date, you told Santana about it . . ."
"It wasn't a date!"
"Yes it was!" Rachel screamed across the room.
Quinn fell silent for a moment, glaring, breathing heavily. "Yeah, well it was the last one you'll ever get with me."
Rachel threw her hands up, Huckleberry Finn flapping around her thumb. "Good! You're a lousy date anyway!"
"I am not!"
She wasn't. She'd even walked Rachel to the front door at the end of the night. It had seemed a little strange at the time but had only fanned the flames of her crush.
"You are, because I'm pretty sure you aren't supposed to have an ulterior motive when you ask someone out on one!"
"Oh God, are you still on that?"
Rachel paused, some of the wind going out of her sails. "Isn't that what we're arguing about?"
Quinn looked the same. "Uh, yeah . . . I'm just getting sick of hearing your voice!"
"Then you'll be extremely pleased to know that I have no desire to speak to you ever again." She went back to the book.
"I was . . . We were desperate, Berry," Quinn muttered after a minute or so had passed. "It wasn't personal."
"That's where you and I differ, because for me it was entirely personal."
"That's not my problem."
"I never suggested it was. However, the way I feel now is your fault, so I'd appreciate it if you could just leave me alone in the future."
"What if I don't want to?"
The French teacher came back before she could formulate a response to that so she took the opportunity to not have to.
When detention was over, Quinn was up and out of her chair immediately. Rachel stayed seated but held up a large plain white envelope she'd retrieved from her locker after her last class.
On the front it said: Health Science – From Four to Forty Weeks.
Quinn's step faltered a desk away as she read it but then, without breaking stride again or looking at her as she passed; she took the envelope and left the room.
Friday lunch time Rachel found a note in her locker.
Thank you. x
She was in the bathroom when April Rhodes came in, drunkenly slurring the lyrics to 'Last Name'.
She waited until her middle-aged replacement had left before exiting her stall and washing her hands, taking her time so she wouldn't follow her straight out.
She'd opened the main door, but only by a sliver when she heard Mr. Schuester talking to the ancient interloper, and stopped to eavesdrop on what sounded like the Spanish teacher giving his high school crush her marching orders.
That's how she knew they needed an understudy.
She hadn't forgiven Quinn, she would never forgive her, but the note in her locker had both mitigated some of the pain and dulled the edge of her anger.
So ten minutes later she found herself standing in front of a hostile Glee club, trying to offer her help.
"I was wrong to quit Glee. We're a team; and I know it's mostly one-sided, but regardless, I consider you my friends and I couldn't live with myself if I let you down when you needed me the most."
She made the mistake of catching Quinn's eye on the last sentence. Naturally Quinn used it to put her down in front of everyone, pointing out that she would be useless in the performance because she didn't know the choreography.
Finn came to her defense, earning a glare from his girlfriend.
Rachel just rolled her eyes and went to change into her costume.
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