Never Asked To Feel Your Halo


Chapter Thirty-One: Sorry, I Want a SuperMan to Sweep Me Off My Feet

This couldn't be real life.

That was the only thing bouncing back and forth in Rachel's suddenly cavernous mind; that and the whistling wind and the rustle of the obligatory tumbleweeds. Real life wasn't like this. A more plausible explanation was that Quinn had punched her a few minutes ago and now she was experiencing an episode of delusion caused by a severe concussion.

That didn't explain why Quinn had been singing a love song to her only minutes prior to the violent head assault. (A breakaway thought had her lifting a hand to her nose, to check its well-being just in case). Quinn abhorred the idea of singing love songs even in her general vicinity, let alone to her. So why would she . . .?

That had been a nasty collision with her desk chair and in the real world what were the odds of her recovering with as much grace as she had? Far more likely was the possibility that she'd been unable to save herself and had crashed clumsily head first into her computer, knocking herself unconscious and freeing her sub-conscious to delve into this fantasy world where Quinn Fabray would willingly spend time hanging out in her bedroom . . .

Except Quinn had already been in her bedroom when she'd danced into the chair . . .

She hadn't been getting much sleep recently, thanks to Quinn invading her every waking thought and refusing to go away even long after she'd closed her eyes for the night. It made perfect sense that she'd fallen asleep at her desk, mid-way through her math homework, and had dreamed of an evening spent in the company of one of Quinn's nicer personalities. After all, when else was Quinn ever amiable for such an extended length of time except in her dreams?

So, no, this wasn't real life, but at least this time she'd been spared the nudity and the audience of cackling Cheerios. In fact, if she could just wake up now this could go down in the 'feel-good' section of her dream diary . . .

"Ow!" she rubbed furiously at her arm. "I could have done that myself, you kn . . .? Um, Quinn, did you just pinch me awake?"

"I wish."

"Oh. So I was already awake," Rachel said, to herself, slowly working this unexpected information into what she already knew of the evening's events. It was all just too far beyond the realm of the believable. "Are you sure?"

Quinn rolled her eyes. "You are such a loser."

She barely heard the insult, she was too preoccupied with the other things she'd heard. A wild smile took over her as the last of her doubt drained away. She opened her mouth to express her excitement and triumph and . . .

"Don't!"

Rachel closed her mouth again. Quinn was using that tone. The one she would always associate with an intense desire to get out of the cheerleader's way as quickly and painlessly as possible. But where was she supposed to run to now when Quinn just happened to be standing in the middle of her usual bolt-hole?

Things were different now though, weren't they? Wasn't that kind of the point of the life-changing epiphany she was currently in the middle of? There was no need to be scared of Quinn's moods anymore.

She opened her mouth again . . .

"I said, don't!"

"Don't what?" Rachel pouted, not thrilled that her jubilation was being dampened by Quinn's inexplicable black cloud. Shouldn't this be a joyous occasion? Her thoughts were filled with trumpets, confetti canons and dancing elephants (if responsibly cared for, naturally), and Quinn was severely raining on her parade.

"Don't smile like that. Don't get all excited. Don't say I told you so or tell me how you knew all along or ask me anything you know I don't want to be asked. Don't jump up and down. Don't give in to that crazy need I can see in your eyes to do a lame victory dance. Don't even think about dedicating a MySpace video to this hellish moment, but mostly, above all else, do not start singing!"

"Despite what you think, I can control myself. I don't burst into song whenever and wherever the urge takes me." Quinn gave a disbelieving look and Rachel crossed her arms and sank sullenly down on the edge of her bed. "Fine, well, whatever urges I may have had five minutes ago have now been completely killed off, so you don't have to worry about me celebrating this hellish moment with a fitting musical number."

"Good. Keep it that way." Quinn perched on the bed beside her, but unlike earlier in the evening there was a good bit of deliberate space between them. "And, Rachel, I think we'll both be more comfortable if you could avoid talking about your, um . . . urges, around me."

Rachel didn't know whether to blush or scoff. Quinn had made the word sound so sexual even though she hadn't meant it that way at all. "I'm perfectly comfortable."

"Yeah, well I only really care about how I feel, I was just trying to be polite."

See it wasn't all bad, even Quinn caring enough to be polite was a step in the direction she wanted them to take.

"So I listened to your list of don'ts. Is there anything I am allowed to do?"

"No." Even before Rachel could protest, Quinn realized this was too harsh and hesitated before amending, "You can do whatever you like, I'm not your gir. . ." she cleared her throat uncomfortably. "I mean, I'm not the boss of you."

"Really?" Rachel feigned surprise. "I was starting to think you thought you were."

Quinn smirked, "It's not my fault you sometimes need a firm hand to keep you in line."

The cold tone was back but Rachel just could not help the way it curled her lips in a provocative smile.

"Oh God." The words tumbled out on a shaky breath as Quinn made a show of shifting a few inches further down the bed. "Stop that!"

Rachel laughed, but Quinn didn't look like she was seeing the funny side, and so in a small voice, she asked, "Hellish? Really?"

"Do you have a better word for describing this situation?"

Actually, she did. "How about 'wonderful'? Or 'awesome', 'inspiring', 'monumental'? Or if you must get Biblical why not go with 'Heavenly'?"

After cringing at every word Quinn barked a laugh, incredulously turning to her. "Heavenly? Heavenly? Are you kidding me? Does any of this feel Heavenly to you, Rachel?" "Well maybe not right now," she admitted, voice small again, but then with strength she continued. "But that's only because you're being like this. Why can't this be a good thing? If this is really something . . ."

"It's not," Quinn said quickly.

Confused and irritated, Rachel's eyes narrowed, "So now it's not something?"

"No. I don't know." Quinn turned her face away to mutter, "It might be something . . . I just don't think it's anything we should call good."

"Why not?"

"Stop asking stupid questions."

"Stop giving me stupid answers and I will!"

Quinn turned sharply, ready to give her a warning, but Rachel met the cold fire in her eyes with a fierce heat, flame for flame.

"You won't get it."

"I'm not as naive as you think I am," she countered.

"Yes you are."

"No I'm not! You're just scared to have an honest conversation about anything that means something," Rachel ranted, and then paused. "Wait!" She replayed her own sentence back in her head. "That's it! You came here to have an honest conversation about something that means something, only then you chickened out."

"No I didn't. I had the conversation with you that I came to have. So stop trying to twist things. I was just trying to show you that I-I didn't . . . you know . . . hate you or something, by meeting you halfway. I should have known that would never be enough for someone like you."

"You're lying." At those words Quinn was up again, pacing two steps one way three steps the other, before kneeling to tidy the last of her things into her book bag. Rachel stood too and despite Quinn's clear discomfort, Rachel didn't relent. "You came here tonight because you like me."

It sounded just as insane as Quinn would have her believe when she said it out loud, but it made her smile all the same.

"And you wanted to make things okay between us again because we have this thing. This difficult, mysterious, beautiful thing. It's been driving me crazy trying to figure out what's been going on you?" The other girl was silent, still on one knee in the middle of the room but unmoving, head down and listening. Rachel took it as a yes. "So maybe it is bad, but maybe it's amazing instead. How can we really know if we don't even talk about it long enough to figure it out?"

More beats of silence passed before Quinn rose gracefully to her full-height, snatching the TV remote from the carpet as she did so. Fluidly and without needing to look she muted the set over her shoulder and crossed her arms.

"Okay, let's talk."

She should be cautious in her excitement, but that wasn't really the Rachel Berry way. She stepped closer, all the better to gush with enthusiasm. "Well, how about we begin by talk . . ."

"No. Me first. You sit."

The curt words stopped her in her tracks, but with a mild eye-roll she waved her arm graciously to show Quinn she had the floor. Which she did, she was still standing in all of her head cheerleader glory in the middle of it. It made Rachel feel a bit giddy when she took it all in, eyes sweeping appreciatively over her adversary.

A small push to the center of her chest had Rachel's butt meeting the bed again but before she could get indignant, Quinn was finally sharing.

"I don't want any of this, Berry. I don't want it to be happening. I don't want to talk about it or think about it or-or feel it. This isn't that thrilling moment when you realize the cute boy you're really into likes you back, okay? At least not for me."

"Maybe that's because neither of us are boys. Perhaps if you stopped thinking in such straight lines, no pun intended . . ."

Quinn laughed anyway, but not in a 'You're so funny' way. "Sweetie, that's just one of the reasons this is never going to happen. Look, no offense, okay? But I just can't be into you. Not like that," she laughed again, clearly thinking she was hilarious, before adding softly, "Not like anything, actually."

Catching herself and shooting Rachel a dazzling, insincere smile, she continued, "I have plans, big, important life plans, and you just can't be a part of them. It's not that I don't like you or anything, but nobody ever got to the top by aiming for the bottom . . . shit!" Hearing what had just come out of her mouth, Quinn swore under her breath and then rushed straight on as if it hadn't happened. "And besides, you of all people know how much I have on my plate already. I mean, I'm pregnant! How much teen drama does one girl need, Rachel?" she forced out another laugh. "I finally have the baby problem dealt with thanks to Mrs. Schue, and once that's over I just want to go back to being a normal sixteen year old again. That's not too much to ask, is it?"

She'd listened politely, but it finally seemed to be her turn. "What about what I want?"

"If you . . . if this really is a thing, between us, and you . . ."

"Have feelings for you?" Rachel filled in the words Quinn seemed incapable of.

Quinn nodded reluctantly, "You'll want what's best for me, right?"

"How do you know exploring this isn't what's ultimately best for you?"

There was just a flash of uncertainty in Quinn's eyes, but she disguised it well by avoiding a direct answer. "You can't decide that for me and I'd appreciate it if you didn't try to."

That didn't feel fair; rational, but not fair. "So you want me to just sit around and watch you ignore the feelings we have for each other?"

Quinn smiled, self-satisfied. "That would be perfect, Rachel, thank you . . ."

"No."

"I'm sorry?"

"I said no. I'm afraid avoidance doesn't work for me. You can't just come to my house, tell me you have the same feelings for me that I have for you and then expect me to just, what Quinn, put a pin in it because it's not convenient for you right now?"

"That's not exactly what I said, is it Sweetie?" Quinn smiled and Rachel relaxed a little, relieved, until, "Forget the pin, I want you to drop a house on it, because it's never going to be convenient, Berry. You and I? I don't care if we're the freaking reincarnation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, it's not happening."

"You're scared."

"Give the girl a gold star! Terrified, actually," Quinn admitted a little too easily.

Well that was an easy fix! Did Quinn really think that she wasn't scared too?

"There's nothing to fear but fear itself!" she quoted one of her favorite motivational slogans. "And we can conquer it together! I'll be by your side every step of the way . . ."

"Oh boy, that'll make life easier."

Rachel ignored her sarcasm. "I think you should at least give us a chance. I could be really good for you, Quinn."

"You would mean suicide to me, Berry."

"You can't be serious?" Rachel demanded when a fierce, cold fear spiked her veins with ice and made her angry. "You'd rather hurt yourself than admit to being attracted to me? That's offensive and disrespectful and selfish and . . . and what about your friends? What about your parents? What about God? What about your baby? What about Glee Club?"

She could have gone on but Quinn pointing the television's remote at her head and wailing, "Oh my God, why is the mute button not working?" effectively silenced her and with an irritable sigh she crossed her arms and settled for glaring.

"Don't get so hysterical, Berry. I meant social suicide. There, you made me say it. Happy now?" Quinn threw her hands in the air. "Giving into this attraction would totally ruin me. My friends would turn their backs on me. My parents have done everything they can to make me who I am today, and I cannot repay them like this. My God? Not a big fan of homosexual's if you believe what he wrote in black and white. My baby will probably be born premature just to get away from me faster and Glee Club? Are you serious? They'll be the worst of the lot! Can you even imagine how they'd react to us? Sorry, Rachel, but I've worked way too hard to ever risk there being an 'us'."

Now would be the time to tell her to get out. Even better to put a foot up her butt and kick her out. Maybe it was that this was still Quinn Fabray or maybe it was the fun they'd had before the confession that had ruined everything or maybe it was just plain and simple Berry stubbornness, but what she did instead was to turn cunning.

"This isn't a one way street, you know?" Rachel leaned back on her arms as she attempted to give as good as she'd been given. "What do you think people would say if they found out I was into you? I'm already a laughing stock at school, Quinn; the only shred of dignity I retain is the one where I don't bow down to you and your peons. If people knew . . . I'd lose even that. And as for my dads', they'd probably switch me to intensive therapy if they knew I was harboring feelings for the girl who's been bullying me incessantly for the last three years."

It was what she'd been angling for, but she was still surprised when it worked. Quinn's stance relaxed as she laughed in amazement.

"You're ashamed of me?"

"Not ashamed, I would proudly be your friend, but your inflection in that single sentence is why I'd be stripped of the last ounce of self-respect I have left if anyone found out there might be more."

Quinn made an annoyed growly sound under her breath. "I can't be your friend. Santana is already out for me because I protected you this afternoon; and after I put the sophomore Cheerios through the wringer for what she and Kassie did yesterday it wouldn't take much to sway the squad away from me. There's no way I can risk that right now."

"But would you want to be, if that wasn't an issue?" Rachel pushed.

"Do I want to be your friend?"

"Yes."

"Not really."

She'd set herself up for that, hadn't she? Trying not to show she was hurt, she was about to bluster out something about Quinn's friendship being not that important anyway.

"I have friends already," Quinn's arms fell to her sides, like she was too weary from the conversation to hold them up anymore. "That's not what I need from you."

"Need?"

"Want!" Quinn corrected quickly. "Shit, I mean . . . whatever. I don't see you as a friend, Rachel."

"Ever?"

"You really suck at reading between the lines, don't you? Actually, you just really suck. Why are we doing this to ourselves? I already told you this is going to come to nothing. I should just leave."

"Then leave, and we'll just finish this conversation the next time we can't keep away from each other."

She was being crafty again.

It worked again.

"Okay, so what do you see us getting out of this?"

Oh. She didn't know. She had a bunch of Quinn-related fantasies to call on, but they weren't appropriate to mention now and beyond them . . . what did she expect? If Quinn didn't want to be friends with her, or her dare she even dream girlfriend, then what did that leave them?

"We could, I don't know, just keep doing what we've been doing, maybe?"

"That's the thing," Quinn griped. "I don't even know what we've been doing lately."

That didn't really ring true. If even Rachel could see they'd been flirting then surely someone who'd had boyfriends and admirers their whole beautiful life could detect it.

"We've been getting to know each other," Rachel shrugged innocently; and this performance totally had 'Tony Award Winner' written all over it. "That's all. Is there any reason we can't keep doing that?"

"Only a million," Quinn said, but in a tone that gave Rachel hope.

"My daddy always says you should get to know your enemies as well as you know your friends, because an enemy in need becomes a friend pretty quickly and you never want to let your friends down."

"Keep your friends close and your enemies closer," Quinn said softly. "I think someone famous said that. Are we enemies?" she sounded distressed by the idea, which frankly was ludicrous for someone who had been picking on her for as long as Quinn had, but unfortunately endeared Rachel to her more than ever.

"We were certainly cast that way, but maybe we're not now."

"I guess . . . I guess it wouldn't kill either of us to get to know each other better. We're in a lot of the same classes and we have Glee club together." Quinn slowly ran a hand through her ponytail, pulling at it, gaze not quite focused on Rachel as she spoke. "It could be beneficial in all sorts of ways to learn a little more about each other."

It was the breakthrough she had wanted but hadn't dared hold her breath for.

It left her not knowing what to say next. Being ever the eager little over-achiever and taking into account her level of enthusiasm for this subject (so much greater than for History!) she wasn't lost for words for long.

"Can we start now?"

"No. I'm exhausted." Quinn finally twisted on her heels and perched back on the edge of the bed.

"Please? Just quickly. It's still early," she wheedled, and then, "And we still have lots of pizza to eat."

Quinn's nose wrinkled, "I don't think I can eat anything after . . . that."

"After what?"

"All of the . . ." Quinn waved a hand vaguely and laughed at herself. "For want of a better word, excitement of the last thirty minutes." Had it really been that long? Had Quinn Fabray really liked her for thirty whole minutes already? "I feel a bit light-headed from it all actually."

So did she!

Then the side of her that couldn't help but put Quinn's welfare above everything else kicked in. "Really? Then all the more reason for you not to skip meals. It's not healthy. Unless you'd just like to lie down on my bed until the feeling passes?"

Quinn looked from Rachel to the bed, the bed to Rachel, and Rachel to the bed, bed, Rachel, and cocked that expressive eyebrow. ". . . Okay, give me a slice of pizza."

Rachel sighed, rolling her eyes good-naturedly as she left the bed to fetch her some of the meaty side from the box on the floor. "That wasn't a come-on, I was purely thinking of your health."

"Sure. Whatever." By her smirk Quinn clearly didn't believe her. "Thanks," she added as she accepted a clean paper napkin with the slice.

Rachel sat next to her once more. "So what's your favorite color?"

"Why?"

"I'm getting to know you," she explained with a bright, encouraging smile.

"Are we in kindergarten?" Quinn chuckled as she bit into her pizza.

After waiting patiently for, oh, about fifteen seconds, she repeated, "So what's your favorite color?"

"Seriously?" Quinn caught red tomato sauce as it dribbled past her lips. "Oh fine! Uh, yellow maybe, or red? That's all I'm answering."

"What's your favorite musical?"

"Stop it!"

"What's your favorite song?"

Quinn deliberately took a large bite of her pizza to prove she wasn't answering.

"Do you sing in the shower?"

Quinn put a hand over her mouth to hide her semi-chewed mouthful as she garbled out, "Don't think of me in the shower!"

"Sorry. Sometimes it's hard not to; now that I've witnessed you in the act a few times, seen you having a shower in the flesh, so to speak . . ."

Oh Barbra, she'd nearly killed Quinn Fabray! Thankfully the offending chunk of pizza was eventually cleared from her windpipe but she hadn't had a hope of catching the escaping sauce this time. It dribbled and dripped from her lips and down her chin to land on material that despite being worn all day was still ice white. The sauce was really more orangy, she decided, when seen in contrast with the blood red lettering just inches from it. She'd read somewhere that the most mundane things came into sharp relief moments before the end of your life. She had a feeling only one of them was making it out of this room alive tonight and it wasn't Quinn's day to die.

"You idiot! Look what you made me do!"

"Sorry, sorry, sorry!" she chanted, wishing she hadn't frozen to the spot; it was making it so hard to run away.

Quinn swiped at it instinctively, smearing it and making it worse. "Just great! Coach Sylvester is going to kill me!"

"Maybe if we soak it quickly . . .?"

"It needs to be dry-cleaned, moron!"

"Sorry."

Quinn was still staring at the stain in dismay, then she waved a hand in dismissal. "It's done now, forget it."

"I'm really sorry." They'd been starting to get on again and she couldn't believe she'd messed it up just for the sake of getting a silly rise out of her. "I'll pay for the dry cleaning. Maybe we can get it as good as new before Coach Sylvester even has to see it."

"I said forget it. It's not totally your fault I turn into a klutz when you're around."

That didn't sound like death was waiting around the next corner. She risked a smile and Quinn just rolled her eyes.

"Can I at least get you something to change into?" she asked, leaving the bed to open her closet.

Quinn watched her thoughtfully before unexpectedly grinning, "Trying to get me into your clothes again?"

Her fingers had been brushing over the hoodie Quinn had borrowed before.

"Not at all. I know how torturous it was for you last time."

"It was actually. You have no idea how much crap I took that day."

"I can assure you that my good deed caused me a lot more crap than you."

"Yeah, I probably should have apologized for that." She still didn't though. "Anyway, it's fine. I don't want to borrow anything. This'll dry in a minute. And besides, I'm not changing in front of you."

Rachel would have taken offense to that, if Quinn wasn't still grinning. Instead she volleyed back, "That's a little redundant, don't you think? I've already seen everything."

"Doesn't mean you're going to get to see it again. Especially not now."

"Why especially not now?"

"Another stupid question, Gnome? I thought you were supposed to be smart?"

"Gnome?" Rachel questioned, smiling in surprise at how warmly the epithet had slipped from Quinn's tongue. Far from sounding derogatory, it felt almost affectionate. Her smile grew when Quinn had to turn her face away to hide an instant blush.

Tingling with all the possibilities the night seemed to hold, Rachel slowly made her way back to the bed. "My go-to shower song is Defying Gravity. The acoustics in my bathroom are amazing and allow me to really do it justice. I can show you if you want."

"I'll take your word for it." Quinn threw the crust of her pizza into the box and looked at the sauce still coating her fingers. Rachel automatically stooped down to get her another napkin. "Thank you." And then she sighed out, "D'you know, 'You can't hurry love?'"

"Huh-what? That's not what I'm trying to do!" Rachel spluttered. "Light-hearted banter is simply an excellent ice-breaker in awkward social situations. I definitely wasn't trying to rush you into anything more than we've already agreed to."

She could be single-minded and overly-enthusiastic in pursuit of the things she wanted but she was still trying to decide if a romantic entanglement with the ice-cold, luke-warm, too hot to handle Queen Bee (B was for bitch, everyone said so) was something she even genuinely wanted outside of the realm of fantasy. She'd thought so, until she'd been confronted with it, now she didn't know whether to be exhilarated or terrified and Quinn's attitude towards the subject wasn't making it any easier to choose.

The one thing she did know: she certainly wasn't ready to start bandying words like LOVE around!

Now why was Quinn smirking at her?

"That's my shower song. 'You Can't Hurry Love' by The Supremes.

"Oh, um yes I know it." Rachel blushed at her mistake, and smiled because Quinn was opening up. Never one to waste an opportunity: "So speaking of showers . . ."

"I'd really prefer it if we didn't."

"But we've already come so far," she joked and then ploughed on. "So was that the first time you, um . . .?"

"What?" Quinn shook her head cluelessly. "The first time I showered, the first time I shared my hair products, the first time I . . ." she stopped abruptly, biting her lip and that blush was back. "Why don't you just finish your sentence?"

"The first time you realized you had feelings for me?"

"Jeez, no!"

"So it was before that?" she asked, shocked.

"No! No way! It was later, much much later."

"Later that day? Later that week?" she pushed.

"I don't know, just later! I thought we were supposed to be getting to know each other here, so why do I feel like a guest of the Spanish Inquisition?"

"Well, more like an intruder really . . ."

"Stop it," Quinn insisted, trying to fight her grin. "And stop being so one-sided. What's your favorite color?"

"Pink," Rachel said easily.

"Oh." The hot air went out of her and she sat back a little. "I think I knew that."

"You can ask me something else if you like," she offered graciously. "Anything, really."

"What color panties are you wearing?"

If she'd been eating pizza she would definitely have just breathed her last. As it was she made a perfectly good job of choking just on the air in her lungs. Her over-excited breathing was further hampered by Quinn lunging at her and slapping a hand over her mouth.

"Don't answer that! It was a joke, do not answer it! I will beat you up for real if you answer that!"

After ten seconds of Quinn hyperventilating and Rachel suffocating, she raised a finger to point at the way her airways were being compromised.

"Sorry." Quinn slowly withdrew her hand as she sat back, finger now pointing at Rachel in warning. "I didn't mean to almost jump on you."

"That's okay," she promised, trying to re-regulate her breathing. "I've had worse experiences of you jumping on me." And to prove her point, she added, "Incidentally, my panties are blue, with tiny yellow hearts . . . ahh!"

She was goading her, but she'd never really expected Quinn to attack, and even if she'd foreseen it there was no way she was agile enough or fast enough to avoid it. She squealed as she was tackled to the bed, her back thumping against her squishy comforter as her feet flailed in empty air over the edge of the bed.

"I warned you!" Quinn growled, following her down as she chased her wildly waving wrists.

"Hey, isn't yellow your favorite color? Maybe you should take a look." It probably wasn't wise to be laughing uncontrollably when Quinn looked so fierce - all manic smile and a wild glint in her sharp hazel eyes. "Oh hey, the wolf's come out to play," she giggled helplessly.

"Oh yeah," Quinn agreed, struggling to pin her down. "Just try rubbing my tummy now."

"If only." Despite trying to wrestle them away Rachel suddenly found her wrists pinned by her ears. "Uh-oh."

"Uh-oh, indeed." Quinn said through bared teeth, but if she'd been an actual wolf, Rachel was sure that despite the show of dominance (or maybe because of it) her tail would be wagging. "What are you going to do now, Berry?"

Rachel smiled, "Well, as you're the one doing the straddling, making me currently at your mercy, I think the better question is: What are you going to do now?"

Quinn's face raced through a myriad of expressions before she finally came to the conclusion that restraining a girl on her bed didn't look that good when all things were considered. Of course Rachel could only guess that was what was going through Quinn's mind, the only evidence she had was the deepening shades of her blushing cheeks.

"Oh God, that was so not okay. You are such an ass, Berry. What were you thinking?" Quinn crawled off of her and turned to sit on the edge of the bed. Her daintily socked feet hit the carpet with twin thuds of exasperation. "I'm pregnant, I can't just start . . . wrestling with you!"

She couldn't help it; that set her off giggling again. "Why? Didn't you like wrestling with me?"

"No. Look, just shut up. That's not even the point anyway. I like eating sushi, but that doesn't mean I'm going to do it while I'm pregnant."

"If you'd thoroughly read my fact-sheets, you'd know that most Sushi is perfectly safe to eat while pregnant."

"It is?" Quinn asked dubiously.

"It is, but if you're in any doubt," Rachel grinned. "You could always stick with the vegetarian option."

"Oh shut up," Quinn insisted again, the back of her hand lightly cuffing Rachel's knee as she tried not to smile.

"Will not," Rachel returned the gesture, reaching up to gently push at Quinn's shoulder, hoping to incite some more 'wrestling'.

She incited something, but not what she was hoping for.

Quinn went still, body tensing all over. "Whoa, don't!"

Concerned, Rachel sat up. "Sorry, did I hurt you?"

"No you didn't hurt me!" Quinn was speaking through a clenched jaw.

Rachel grew instantly defensive. "I touched your shoulder with three fingertips, is that not allowed now?"

"Shhh."

"I will not be told to shush in my own bedroom."

Quinn stood up. "Baby and pizza are wrestling now."

"What?" One look at Quinn's waxy, pale face cleared things up. "Oh! Feel free to use my bathroom. You know where it is."

"Not gonna be sick, just a need a minute to . . ." Apparently she changed her mind because suddenly, with a hand over her mouth, Quinn ran.


Chapter Thirty-Two

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