The realization that Rachel wasn't just going to give into her this time struck her hard, snatching away the last ounce of control she had left over her own life and making her feel numb and hollow inside.
So, what else could she do, but lose control.
Why not? What was the point anyway? Being nice to Rachel Berry had only ever caused her stress – unnecessary stress, might she add – so honestly? Screw her! It felt good, it felt good at first, to type nasty, demeaning, vicious little half-truths and she stabbed out and sent the messages each time with a cruel triumph. She took pride in keeping the tone calm and dispassionate even though she was shaking so hard now her fingers skittered dangerously across the keyboard.
The pleasure in being mean didn't bring life back to the numbness in her heart and mind, but it did slowly begin to fill the hollow spaces in her head and chest. They filled with hate and anger and contempt, and then with a panicky feeling tinged with resentment and disgust. And then, finally, with such devastation and chilling shame that tears burned her eyes before streaming down her cheeks.
She knew she was being needlessly cruel but she couldn't stop herself. Rachel was right on that score, she could only be a bitch to the other girl, but she needed to be! She needed to push her away, because the alternative was begging for another chance and she just couldn't do that!
There was a moment when she thought she had Rachel on the ropes, she could feel the girl wavering through her words, but by then she felt too terrible about it all to push for advantage.
After she'd switched her computer off she cried, sobbing uncontrollably into her hands for a long time about the mess she was in and how she'd managed to make it even worse. She cried because Rachel had hurt her and she cried because she had hurt Rachel and then she cried some more because now the flood gates had opened she couldn't close them again.
She cried for so long the tears turned angry and her palms curled into fists pressed tight to her stinging eyes. What made Rachel so freaking special anyway? Seriously, what right did that loser have to turn her into such a state? Yet even as she thought that the other half of her brain was berating her because Rachel wasn't a loser, she was just . . . different, entertainingly so most of the time, and simply harmlessly the rest.
Okay, so she hadn't been so harmless to creepy Mr. Ryerson and she could be a real diva if anyone dared to take a solo from her.
So perhaps she wasn't so different to everyone else after all, deep down, but that still didn't explain why Quinn was breaking down over her. She couldn't have cared less for the girl a month ago, but ever since she'd found out Rachel had a crush on her it was like a door had been opened. A door to all of these new and confusing feelings and potential experiences. She'd tried hard to slam that door closed and barricade it, building walls within her walls to defend herself from these feelings, but at some point – maybe the night before or maybe even earlier – the walls had crumbled, the door had been thrown open and left her exposed and vulnerable.
And for the first time in years, more alive and more herself than ever.
She'd been prepared to walk through that door, she really had; ready to accept what was on the other side of it – and then it had been slammed in her face. How was that fair?
She felt ashamed of giving in.
She felt angry for being denied now that she had.
She felt like an idiot for thinking it could be that easy.
Mostly she felt cheated out of getting what she wanted.
And she kind of wanted to literally kill Santana for kicking the door closed.
And Rachel for refusing to open it again.
And then she wanted to kill Rachel again just for existing and making her feel this way.
Her tears were finally ebbing away when her cell phone rang. For a second she thought 'Rachel!' but then felt stupid all over again because she knew Rachel didn't have her number and why the heck would she actually want her to call anyway.
It was Finn. She blew her nose on some tissue before answering, hoping it would clear some of the tears from her voice.
"Quinn, hey, are you okay? Sorry, I didn't call earlier. There was football practice right after Glee and then my Mom made chicken for dinner. So, anyway, how are you?"
"I'm fine," she said automatically, although the remaining sniffling in her voice was probably carrying over. "Why wouldn't I be?"
"Well, after what happened in Glee . . ." He trailed off for a moment. "I'm really sorry for not believing you."
Another sob escaped her. She tried to turn it into a chuckle but probably failed. "It's okay."
"It's not. You're my girlfriend. I should have believed you over Rachel. It's just . . . I didn't even know she was into girls, yunno, so it sounded stupid, but . . . I'm just really sorry."
She wanted to tell him the truth, for Rachel's sake, and it scared her a little because to do so would be ruining herself. The urge was strong though.
"It's fine, Finn. It wasn't as bad as it sounded. Santana blew it out of proportion. It's not like I was traumatized by it or anything."
"But . . . she, like, she did try and kiss you?"
He sounded jealous, it would be nice to know which one of them he was jealous of.
"Uh, I guess. But it's no big deal. Guys try and kiss me all the time."
Okay, he was jealous for her, which was a little gratifying.
"Well not try, they know I'm with you, but they want to. Sure Berry being a girl made it a little weird but it's not like I'm homophobic or anything."
"Yeah, well she still shouldn't have done it. She knows you're my girlfriend."
She rolled her sore eyes. "You weren't this upset when it was you she wanted to kiss."
"I, uh, that's . . . that's different."
"Well it just is!"
"Because we're both girls?"
"No! I don't care about that kind of thing."
"So are you worried because I might have kissed her back? Did you kiss her back?"
She didn't know why she was pushing this, except that she had some sick compulsion to. Was she trying to catch him out? Admit something to him? She really didn't know.
"I, uh, I mean, no, I know you wouldn't do that, right?" He said awkwardly, and wisely completely ignored her second question.
She almost laughed; it would have been a horrible sound no doubt.
"She's supposed to be my friend, she shouldn't have done that to me."
"You can't help who you like, Finn. She feels terrible about hurting you now."
"How would you know?"
Oops! "I saw her face in Glee, just like you did."
"That doesn't make it okay."
"Finn, just . . .!"
'Cut the girl some slack,' she wanted to add but that would just lead to questions about her out of character behavior and she wasn't letting that happen.
"Let it go, okay?" she said instead. "I don't want to think about it anymore."
"Okay." He went quiet for a moment and his voice was hopeful when he spoke again. "It's still early, did you want me to come over for a while? I bet I could take your mind off of her kissing you, if you wanted me to?"
Now she did laugh but with effort it came out fairly playful and not full of scorn. "I appreciate the offer, but I'm not really in the mood for that tonight."
"Oh. But last night was fun, right?"
"It was." Due to, she was ashamed to admit, she'd been thinking about Rachel. "But I'm just not feeling well tonight."
"Morning sickness again? That sucks. Is there anything I can do?"
Get Rachel to forgive her?
"No, I'll be okay."
"Sniff some more of that lemon fabric soap stuff. That helped yesterday."
The tears came back just like that and she had to get off of the phone before he heard them.
"Uh, yeah, I will. I've really got to go though. I'll see you tomorrow."
"Okay, feel better. Bye . . ."
She couldn't wait any longer and cancelled the call.
Rachel managed to do her homework, although she doubted she'd be getting any A's for her effort.
For the rest of the evening she worked on her Glee assignment.
She'd had her Kelly Clarkson playlist on shuffle ever since she'd logged out of Facebook – skipping Longshot every single time it came on because she didn't need to be in tears while reading the assigned chapter of her Biology textbook – and she'd picked another song to sing tomorrow. Breakaway still summed up many of her current feelings but there was one song that spoke to her above all others tonight. The lyrics didn't necessarily match up but the emotion and sentiment behind them most definitely did.
She spent an hour and a half singing it, perfecting it, and perfecting not crying all the way through it, before she was satisfied.
Her cell phone had already chimed its ten 'o' clock alarm and she was getting ready for bed when it suddenly rang, jarring her with its unexpectedness. Who would be calling her tonight? Quinn's name foolishly came to mind, followed by Mike's. Maybe he was ready to forgive her already.
It wasn't either of them; it was worse and she was in tears again by the time she hung up.
When she finally fell into bed, it was with the yearbook stuffed under her pillow, her right hand pressed clammily between the center pages, knuckles squashed to photo-Quinn's face. She didn't even know why, it brought no comfort, in fact it hurt a little. All she could assume was that the physical pain of Quinn was better than the emotional pain of Quinn.
And it wasn't like she expected to get much sleep anyway.
Quinn had cried herself into exhaustion at some point but she awoke again at two-fifteen, still in her clothes and on top of her covers.
She knew why instantly and bolted from her bed with her hand over her mouth. She only just made it to the bathroom.
She'd had a relatively sickness-free day yesterday but clearly lying about it twice – first to Rachel and then to Finn – had caused Karma to bite her on the ass. She spent twenty minutes throwing up before it began to abate.
She spent a further twenty minutes slumped on her bathroom floor, wishing Rachel was there to ease the after-nausea, before she literally crawled back into her room in need of a distraction.
She grabbed her iPod from her desk and plugged the ear buds in. She started with her usual feel-good sixties mix, hoping it would soothe her, but only halfway through the Righteous Brothers singing 'You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'' she switched to something more contemporary, something that reminded her of who had lost that lovin' feelin', her Kelly Clarkson playlist.
She stayed on the floor, but pulled her pillow down with her and curled up around it, letting the music take her away. She listened to Longshot three times before letting the songs move on – it didn't help and yet it did.
She was almost drifting off when the perfect song filtered sleepily into her ears. Halfway through she restarted it to listen to it properly. After that she replayed it more times than she had Longshot. It was a fast song, but she felt more comfortable with something that gave her the room to dance anyway. By the sixth time she was pulling herself up to turn on her bedside light and grabbing a spare notepad from her desk to copy down the lyrics.
By five am she was downstairs in the garage – far enough away from her parents bedroom to not disturb them – and singing the song over and over, practicing keeping her pitch low even on the high notes so she wouldn't go sharp.
By six-thirty she was throwing up again – it didn't bode well for the rest of the day – but at least she had the perfect song to sing in Glee. And if this didn't win Rachel over, well . . . no, there was no use in thinking negatively.
It would win Rachel over and that was that.
Quinn arrived in American Literature a few minutes early and dropped down into the spare seat at the front beside Finn. She wished she could remain in it for the whole lesson but knew Mr. Laxforth wouldn't let her. She could kill time there for as long as possible though.
Finn was pleasantly surprised, normally she headed straight to her own desk – normally she was in a hurry to sit next to Berry, but not today – and he gave her his adorable grin.
"So how are you feeling this morning?" he whispered.
"Like crap," she admitted, "but you make it a little better."
His grin was more toothy now. "Cool. So I was thinking after school today . . ."
Berry was walking in.
"Yeah, that sounds great." She kissed him.
It wasn't a particularly passionate kiss, but she made it last. Her eyes popped open and she watched Rachel's head jerk away before she stalked to their shared desk at the back of the room.
When she pulled back he had forgotten what he was trying to say.
"Whatever you want," she murmured, "As long as we're together."
She gave him another quick kiss as Mr. Laxforth strode in and then left that seat to go to her own. She sank down next to Berry (it had to be Berry now, she couldn't handle the familiarity of Rachel anymore but couldn't quite bring herself to think of the girl by any of the derogatory nicknames she'd come up with in the past) and pulled out her paperback and her notebook.
"I'm glad you and Finn are okay after yesterday," Ra-Berry muttered.
Quinn hated that she sounded sincere. "Why wouldn't we be?"
The lesson started. It was another chapter reading. Quinn did her best to concentrate.
That went out the window when Berry's notepad was pushed towards her. It took her by surprise because she was normally the one who initiated this kind of thing. She knew she should it ignore it, but curiosity got the better of her.
If you were kissing Finn for my sake you don't have to bother.
She scoffed under her breath and wrote back.
Get over yourself!
Rachel nodded and doodled on her page a little, clearly not paying any more attention to the lesson than she was.
He called me last night.
If Quinn had had any liquid in her mouth she would have done a spit-take; as it was, she settled for gasping hard.
What? He did? When? Why?
Which question would you like me to answer first?
Quinn glared at her out of the corner of her eye. WHEN DID HE CALL YOU?
Rachel took a second to jot down a sentence of notes before responding.
That was after he'd called her.
He wanted to know why I did it.
Quinn cut her eyes to Berry for a moment before staring back down at her pad. It took her a minute before she could write anything.
And what did you say?
That I wanted to see what he saw in you.
It was a good answer and made her ridiculously jealous.
That is not why you did it!
It never even happened, Quinn!
She dropped her pen for a minute, feeling a little embarrassed but mostly sick because that still hadn't left her yet today. She pressed her palm hard to her nose and mouth, willing the feeling away, before picking her pen back up.
What did he say to that?
That I could have just asked him. I said actions speak louder than words. He seemed to accept that.
So you two are okay again now?
There was that jealousy again.
No, he made it quite clear he is still displeased with me but I think he at least believes now that I'm not trying to steal you from him.
Like you could ;)
Maybe the smiley was too much. Maybe the words were. Rachel didn't respond anyway, just went back to doodling and writing the occasional line of notes. Quinn told herself to let it drop . . . and then didn't.
So have you forgiven me yet?
Rachel glanced over and then drew a sad face on her pad. A few seconds later she added,
Quinn slumped slightly in her seat.
After a minute, Rachel added,
Why do you want me to?
She wrote it automatically and then regretted it. Rachel had already glanced over though. She battled with herself for a moment and then drew a deliberate line through her words and wrote instead,
I just do!
I'm not spelling it out for you, Berry. If you don't get it that's your problem.
Our problem, Rachel wrote.
You hurt me really badly Quinn!
She swallowed hard before putting her pen to the paper.
I know. I didn't mean to.
Rachel sat back and her pen bounced against her page so many times Quinn wanted to rip it from her and throw it away . . . but then she'd never get a reply.
She only had to wait, like, five minutes for it.
I want things to be okay between us again, I really do, but there's only one way.
Quinn sat forward and scribbled eagerly.
And that is?
You have to tell everyone what really happened.
Quinn sat back, shaking her head. Berry was asking the impossible. There was no way she was admitting to being attracted to her. No freaking way. It was never happening.
I'm not coming out just because you're throwing a shit-fit over this!
Rachel turned to her, the fact that they were in class forgotten, to give her a wide-eyed look of disbelief. Thankfully she remembered where they were enough to write and not say her response.
I would never force you to come out!
That's exactly what you just told me to do, she wrote back angrily.
No I just I don't know. I don't want to but you pretty much forced me out of the closet yesterday!
Quinn was breathing heavy but she didn't know if she was angry or upset, both maybe.
You're you, nobody cares if you're gay. They pretty much think you are anyway cos of your dads.
Rachel's eyes went wider than ever as she read that and then her elbow came down between them. She propped her head on it so that she couldn't even accidentally see Quinn.
I didn't mean to offend you! Quinn wrote quickly and shoved her pad past Rachel's elbow, not even caring if she was spotted passing notes.
"Leave me alone!" Rachel muttered.
"No!" she muttered back and pulled her pad back to add more words.
I didn't think YOU would be offended by being called gay!
Rachel scribbled back. I'm not offended by that! Just by you!
I can't do that! I'm with Finn and I'm, you know, pregnant and stuff. I can't add any more to that. I'm already going out of my mind.
Rachel read it, sat back, flicked her pen against the page some more, sat forward again and wrote,
Then why are you even pursuing me?
Quinn didn't have an answer for that one and the remainder of the lesson passed with no more notes. Until just before Mr. Laxforth called the lesson to a close. It was Rachel who wrote it.
I'll gladly take on the pursuit if you can make this right.
Quinn rolled her eyes in despair before writing back.
I can't do what you're asking, Rachel.
Then I guess this is it.
The bell rang before she could finish her response and Berry was out of her seat and away much quicker than she ever had been before. Quinn let her pen finish traveling the route it wanted to take anyway.
-o, I don't want this to be it.
Rachel was having a bad day. Not that she'd expected any less, of course. It had started with her getting no sleep whatsoever, the bags under her eyes could have been travel pens for elephants! It was followed by American Lit. Walking in to see Quinn kissing Finn had been bad enough, but it wasn't anything she hadn't seen before, but then during their note passing, just for a little while there she'd thought Quinn was coming around.
And she'd been completely wrong about that.
As a result, when the time came she couldn't get out of there fast enough.
In second period Biology she sat next to Tina, but the Asian goth was even more quiet than she normally was. Rachel had tried to strike up a conversation about the female reproductive system – which they were studying this week – but Tina had kept her head down the whole time, stuttering out one word answers until Rachel gave up.
Recess had been spent locked in a stall in the girls bathroom and she was planning to spend lunch the same way. The classes in-between were spent with her head down, avoiding the knowing, spiteful sneers of any fellow Glee Clubbers that shared the lesson.
Quinn wasn't faring much better. As she was changing her books during recess, Santana's shoulder banged obtrusively against the locker beside hers.
"So what?" she asked, voice neutral, still looking in her locker.
"How's your day going?"
"About average. Yours?"
It gave her some satisfaction to see that Santana was clearly having trouble reading her.
"So have you seen RuPaul yet today?"
"We share a desk in first period. So yes."
Santana smirked. "And how did that go?"
She finally pulled her head out and slammed her locker door. "Well, considering she didn't even speak to me it went fine."
"So I guess I did you a favor then."
She wanted to wipe Santana's smirk off with a slap but decided to play her at own game instead.
"You know you ruined a good thing for me there, right? I had Manhands wrapped around my finger."
Santana shook her head. "Why would you want to?"
"Duh." She rolled her eyes. "When isn't it a good time to have someone wrapped around your finger? I had her eating out of the palm of my hand." Quinn searched for any more cliches she could use but came up empty. "She's not all bad, you know,; there's potential there. She could have been useful sometime. Now . . . ?" she shrugged.
"Sorry," Santana offered with a shrug of her own, like she didn't know what she was apologizing for.
"It's okay, I'll reel her back in. Next time don't screw it up."
"Uh, sure, whatever."
Quinn walked away from Santana, leaving the girl gaping after her. It felt good to put her Captain hat back on and throw her weight around a little. That was why it was so awesome to be head Cheerio. Sure the scholarship was going to be useful, but this power, the power to even make someone like Santana fall in line if she just used the right words, there was nothing that could beat that.
And sorry Berry, but I'm not giving it up any time soon, she thought as she walked to third period with a smile.
The rest of her day didn't measure up, consisting of questions about Berry and comments about Berry. It didn't seem to matter what class she was in or what desk she took, someone from Glee was right there asking her awkward things. She made it through by rehashing her answers from the day before but it was exhausting and left her with a nasty taste in her mouth.
Or maybe that was the result of having to run to the nearest bathroom almost hourly throughout the day.
Either way, today was sucking even harder than she'd expected it to.
Rachel had chosen the bathroom behind the gym to spend lunch in. It was the least used in the whole school which meant there was less chance of being discovered hiding away like a guilty person. It also made it marginally cleaner than the others and therefore slightly more hygienic (or as hygienic as an area dedicated to toilets could be anyway) for eating in. The fact that her next class was on this side of the school also factored in, but mostly it was the first reason.
There were fifteen minutes remaining of the lunch period and after finishing her sandwiches at the sink she was now sitting on a closed toilet seat and, well, feeling sorry for herself really.
She jumped when the main door banged open and in a panic tried to shut and lock her stall door before she was discovered. It was only halfway shut when she heard someone slam into the far end stall to hers, the sound of knees hitting the tiled floor hard and then an all-too familiar retching sound.
No, no, no, this wasn't fair!
Quietly opening her door again, Rachel slid out, careful that her backpack didn't scrape on anything and walked as softly as she could across the floor. All she wanted to do was get out of there before she was spotted but she couldn't help glancing in to see the heaving back of a red and white Cheerios uniform, blonde ponytail bobbing along in sync.
Thankfully Quinn was far too busy to notice her presence and she made it all the way to the outer door only to find it wouldn't open when she got there. The key wasn't in the lock which meant it was probably still in Quinn's hand. Rachel bumped her forehead softly against the solid barrier in frustration.
Dropping her bag by the door she went back to the occupied stall.
The blonde jumped at her voice but it was a little while before she could do more than that.
Eventually she croaked out, "How the hell did you get in here, Berry?"
"I was here first."
"You can't be here. You have to go. Now! Someone might . . ." The end of her sentence was cut off by her rebelling stomach.
"I'd like nothing more than to go, Quinn, but you've locked me in here with you." She took a few steps towards the stall. "Just give me the key and I'll let myself out."
"Can't leave the door unlocked," Quinn spluttered between bouts of gagging. "Coach is out there. Locker room inspection."
"Then what do you suggest I do? Because there is no way I am staying in a locked bathroom with you again."
"I suggest you . . . you be quiet . . . 'cause you are seriously . . . not helping. So just shut . . . up."
"Don't talk to me like that! I understand you have zero respect for me in front of your friends but the very least you can do is speak to me civilly when we are alone."
"Please just shut up. Shut up and come here."
"I hardly think so." Rachel couldn't believe she had the audacity to even ask, except of course she could, this was Quinn. She took a step back instead, crossing her arms over her chest as if it would help root her to the spot.
Quinn's sickness took control again before she could say anything and Rachel watched, grimacing in sympathy as she rocked over the toilet bowl with the force of her heaving. She wanted to help, she wanted nothing more than to help, but she kept herself stationary, her residual anger and furious disappointment churning in her stomach with the same intensity that Quinn's baby hormones were churning in hers.
But the quiet, choked-out, "Please?" a few moments later broke her.
She was on her knees instantly, one hand pulling the blonde ponytail over Quinn's shoulder and holding it out of the way and her other rubbing the small of Quinn's back in tight, even circles.
"This is the very last time," she murmured, forehead pressed hard to Quinn's shoulder.
"Please don't cry!" the whispered plea came out strangled by Quinn's convulsing throat.
"I'm not," she lied. "Just hurry up and finish please."
"I don't exactly . . . set the pace . . . here, Rachel."
She smiled through her tears. "I know, it's okay, I wasn't going to set a timer or anything."
They were quiet for the next five minutes. Rachel didn't know what else to say and Quinn was too busy being sick to make conversation. Through-out Rachel rubbed her back, smoothed escaped strands of blonde off of Quinn's sweaty face and worried about what was going to happen when the vomiting stopped and only the nausea remained.
She found out when the five minutes were up. Quinn wiped her mouth on some toilet paper, blew her nose on another piece and then used a whole wad to wipe her watering eyes and damp face. Rachel took her distraction to try and back subtly away but she was too slow and found her thumb caught gently in the curl of Quinn's fingers.
It was murmured so quietly that Rachel could feasibly pretend she hadn't heard and continue to stand up, but it was the very fact that it had been so vulnerably uttered that broke her resolve all over again.
Quinn kept hold of her thumb as she moved into her and slid her other arm around her waist. It was different to how they'd done this before. Quinn curled into her, resting the side of her head on Rachel's shoulder, tilted just enough that her nose was brushing the collar of her sweater, she pulled her knees up to her chest and let them fall to rest against Rachel's raised right knee and their joined hands were nestled between Quinn's thighs and stomach. Rachel's left leg literally had nowhere to go but wrap loosely around where Quinn met the floor. With Quinn leaning fully into her chest it was more comfortable to shift her weight over so that she could sit down and lean back against the wall of the stall than try and support the extra weight on her knees. After waving her free left arm in the air for a few seconds, trying to figure out what to do with it, she let it drop around Quinn's back, her hand closing lightly around her bicep. It was the most intimate position they had ever been in – with perhaps the exception of Mrs. Puckerman's bathroom floor – and Rachel hated that she never ever wanted to move.
They sat in silence for a minute and apart from the faint press of Quinn's nose to her collar every few seconds it was easy for Rachel to fool herself into thinking she was simply holding Quinn for the pleasure they both found in it. At least, Rachel was finding a lot of pleasure in it.
"What are you thinking?"
"You should be aware that that question sounds very girlfriend-y of you, Quinn."
"No, I . . .I just . . ." Embarrassment colored her words. "You just had this weird frowny-smirk look on your face. I wondered why."
"Well, I was thinking this was a bad day to wear a short skirt."
She couldn't tilt her head enough to see Quinn's face but she figured she probably had her own frowny-smirk now.
"Why is that?"
"It's not behaving very skirt-like at the moment. More . . . belt-like."
Quinn left it at that which surprised Rachel. She'd either expected her to ask why it was a problem or maybe even jump away, but perhaps she was just still feeling too sick to do either. Rachel let the back of her head thud against the wall and tried not to think about the way Quinn's hip was pressing intimately against her.
"Just whatever you do, don't kiss my neck," she muttered to herself.
Rachel blushed, "You weren't supposed to hear that."
"In that case you probably shouldn't have whispered it two inches from my ear."
Nodding, she closed her eyes to hide from the awkwardness she'd created but Quinn didn't seem bothered by it – if anything she snuggled in a little more. Her eyes jumped open again when the bell in the corridor outside the bathroom rang.
Quinn still didn't move. Her voice sounded sleepy as she asked, "What class do you have?"
"Study Hall. Mr. Jacobs is out with the flu."
She should have lied! Nobody cared in this school whether you attended Study Hall or not, most of the time the overseer didn't even turn up until halfway through.
"I have Spanish."
"You probably shouldn't be late for that," she said, somewhat desperately. There was a fine line between never wanting this to end and completely losing her sanity after all.
"I'll tell Mr. Schue my morning sickness was really bad. He won't mark me as absent as long as I collect any assignments he sets."
"So I'm stuck here," Rachel breathed, eyes closing again.
Quinn's tone was a little cooler than before, but also a little amused. "Did you mean for me to hear that?
"Look, if I'm making you uncomfortable . . ."
"You are making me uncomfortable but only because I have never felt so comfortable with anybody in my life. And I know it's not going to last and yet the longer it goes on the more I want it to, but it's not going to, so yes, uncomfortable," she finished with less oomph than she'd started.
There was a beat of heavy silence.
"I'm confused; do you want me to stop sniffing your neck or not?"
Rachel giggled and turned one of the blonde's favorite teasing phrases back on her, "Whatever you feel comfortable with, Quinn."
Quinn squeezed her thumb tight as punishment but didn't move. "I'm perfectly comfortable. In fact I could fall asleep. I didn't get much last night and you're surprisingly snug for a little person."
"I don't think I had more than an hour's sleep all night either," she admitted.
"Do you think we could then?" Quinn did sound very sleepy again. "Just for ten minutes?"
"I think our time could be better spent talking about what this means," she said softly. "Yesterday we were denouncing each other in front of Glee Club and then we were horrible to each other on Facebook."
"That doesn't have to matter right now," Quinn murmured, head sinking a little more heavily onto her shoulder.
"But it does matter. We shouldn't be doing this."
"We're not doing anything except sitting here." Rachel felt Quinn's lips against her neck but it was only because she was yawning. "Stop being difficult and take a nap with me."
"I meant what I said this morning, Quinn. I can't forgive you, I can't continue this, if you don't clear my name. I don't expect you to come out, I would never put that kind of pressure on you, especially when we're not even really together, but you have to tell them something. You could just tell them the truth, sort of, you know, the truth part about Santana making up what happened in the bathroom because she's trying to get your place on the Cheerios. You could say that I really was just in the bathroom to help you and that I didn't try anything funny. That wouldn't be so hard, would it Quinn? Quinn, would it? Can't you do that for . . . this?" She waited ten seconds for a reply. "Quinn?"
She was out; body limp against Rachel, and so warm. Soft, even puffs of breath hot against her neck.
Now she really was stuck here! But it just made her smile. She carefully pulled her thumb from Quinn's loose grasp and slid that hand around her waist, holding Quinn against her in the circle of her arms. She closed her eyes and allowed herself to revel in the warmth of the body against hers. And the fact that Quinn Fabray, despite their thousands of issues, was comfortable enough in her arms to fall soundly asleep.
Maybe it was wrong, but she didn't want to lose this. It felt too right. And it felt like forgiveness wasn't even a . . . a thing now. They'd make it work. No matter what happened. Somehow.
Because something this good just . . . couldn't . . . be . . . denied.
Rachel turned her face enough to kiss the top of Quinn's head and then stopped fighting her heavy eyelids.
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