The bell ringing to signal the end of fifth period startled Quinn awake and sent her into a confused panic.
'Where am I? What's happening? Who am I laying on. . .?'
"Five more minutes, Daddy!"
'. . . Oh, God, it's Rachel! Of course it's Rachel, isn't this how all my nightmares end?'
Whether they're actually nightmares or not is subjective.
'Does it sound like I'm actively praying right now?'
Sometimes it's hard to tell, and you did call out your Lord's name. Don't tell me it was in vain?
'Of course not, I would never do that. Much. I'm sorry.'
You're forgiven. Besides, you have a bigger problem right now.
'Is falling asleep on another girl a sin?'
You tell me?
'Ugh, I'm getting really sick of that answer!'
Does it feel like a sin?
'It feels wonderful.' As evidenced by the fact that she still hadn't moved more than her head from Rachel's shoulder. 'But aren't sins supposed to be tempting?'
Let's be honest, you've been walking that fine line between good and evil for a couple of years now, Lucy. Which side of it do you think this puts you on?
'Evil?' No, that felt too obvious. '. . . Good? Seriously?'
Doesn't it feel like goodness?
'Ye-ah', she prayed cautiously, sure there was a catch.
Then maybe you should build on that. And to help you out, Rachel's about to wake up in three . . . two . . .
Shot through with nerves, Quinn did her best to smile when Rachel slowly opened her eyes.
"Hi, sorry, I didn't mean to fall asleep too. What time is it?"
Rachel blinked a few times and then squinted at her. "Huh?"
"A, um, . . . bell just rang. I assume sixth period is about to start any minute."
"Okay." Rachel rolled her shoulders against the stall wall. "I have Music. As long as I'm not too late I'll be forgiven."
Quinn had Government but she didn't care. "Thank you for letting me sleep."
Rachel smiled. "You're welcome. I obviously succumbed to the need. . ."
Acting on either the advice from above or instinct, she wasn't sure, Quinn leaned those few inches closer. After a moment of inaction, both of them surprised by what she'd done, she pulled Rachel's lips open with her own and they shared their first open mouth kiss.
It lasted about five seconds before Rachel pulled away, head falling back against the wall as she giggled. "Oh, God, I'm so sorry! That was awesome but your mouth tastes like death."
Quinn jerked away from her, covering her offended mouth with her hand. How could she have forgotten she'd spent fifteen minutes throwing up before she'd fallen asleep? Morning breath was apparently bad enough but she must have devil's morning breath right now!
She moved up onto her knees. Rachel made an attempt to pull her back but she was still weak with giggles. "I'm sorry," she said again.
"Don't worry about it. We have to go anyway."
"Yes, I guess we should."
Neither of them jumped up right away though because their legs were numb from sleeping for nearly an hour in an awkward position. Rachel made it up first, using the stall wall behind her for help.
"I've never fallen asleep with someone before. It was nice." Despite her bright tone she sounded kind of shy.
Quinn knew she sounded just as shy when she answered, "Yeah, it was. We probably shouldn't make a habit of it in school though."
"Can we make a habit of it elsewhere?"
Quinn chuckled softly as she grabbed her master key from beside the toilet and finally made it to her feet. "Does this mean I'm forgiven?"
Rachel's face clouded over, but it was with white clouds now, rather than the dark ones that had been there before.
"Maybe, I don't know. How much of my speech did you hear before you fell asleep?"
"You made a speech?"
Her answer was a roll of Rachel's eyes and then she was walking out of the stall. Quinn followed her.
"Why don't you just give me the CliffsNotes?"
"You have to clear my name. Not come out or anything, just tell people that I didn't try and jump your bones while you were throwing up. Tell them I was just holding your hair back or stayed on hand in case you needed the nurse and Santana twisted it to blackmail you, or because she thought it would help her secure the Homecoming crown!"
Quinn was washing her mouth out in the sink, but now she turned back to her. "Rachel, I want to but it's not that simple!"
"Look, I don't even care if you pretend to still hate me! And that's me being very easy-going, Quinn. I just need you to clear my name. I can't have everyone thinking I tried to force myself on you!"
Quinn's mind raced, trying to come up with a way to placate Rachel without having to do the impossible that she wanted. "What if I un-veto the sex thing?"
Rachel's eyes went wide and not in a good way (at least not after the first second or two).
"I am not Finn! You can not manipulate me with sexual acts."
"Really?" she tried, but the glare told her all she needed to know. "Fine, but in that case I'm veto-ing the sex back up."
She rolled her eyes. "Like you mean that."
"This isn't getting us anywhere!"
"Where exactly do you want us to get, Berry?"
"I don't know," Rachel admitted quietly.
"We should just go. We've already missed the first fifteen minutes of class."
Rachel nodded and walked to pick up her bag from by the door. Quinn would have to stop by her locker for hers because she'd left it in there at lunch. Rachel was waiting for Quinn to come forward and open the door, but before she could slide the key in the lock there was a hand on her shoulder. She turned her head to glance down at the hand and then met Rachel's eyes curiously.
"This is what I want," she murmured and went up on her tiptoes to kiss her. Quinn's knees went weak during their second open-mouth kiss. It lasted about three seconds longer than the last one. "Hold on, I have some mints in my bag."
She didn't even care that her breath had just been insulted again and blurted out the only thought to enter her head. "We're going to stay in here and keep kissing?"
"Oh no." Rachel looked apologetic as she pulled a box of Junior Mints out of her bag and handed them over. "I just don't think you want to inflict that breath on anyone else."
"Watch it, Gnome," she murmured with a smile as she popped three of the mints into her mouth. "Keep that up and I won't kiss you again."
Rachel grinned, "What makes you think I want you to?"
Quinn stepped in, pinning Rachel back with her sheer presence and one hand braced on the door behind her. She hovered just there, an inch away. "Do you?"
Rachel just continued to grin up at her, not giving much away.
Quinn was still so unsure about most of this, no all of this, but the building excitement in Rachel's eyes gave her all the courage she needed to close the gap between them by half an inch. "Do you?"
"Clear my name," Rachel breathed.
"It's not that easy," she breathed back.
"Then know this will be the last time I ever let you kiss me."
Rachel arched up into her to press their lips together and immediately Quinn dipped her head to meet it. After a second of chaste contact she parted her lips, brushing them over Rachel's until hers parted too. Quinn lost count of the seconds it lasted this time, or maybe she'd never started counting in the first place. Surely, this could only be good. It might be wrong on a . . . socio-economic level, but there was nothing evil about this!
Actually, was it too good?. She was pressing the other girl firmly back against the door with just the length of her body and the power of her lips and only realized the implications when Rachel's arms tightened around her neck and she whimpered into her mouth. The rush of heat that coursed through her body had her pulling back abruptly, shocked by her own actions (and reactions).
"Mmm, minty." Rachel licked the curve of her smile with intense (bordering-on-crazy) eye contact. She was clearly a novice seductress, but it still called to some unmentionable feeling inside of Quinn. It was all she could do to resist the pull when Rachel tried to draw her back down into another kiss.
"We really have to go now," she insisted after a deep, steadying breath and finally slid the key into the lock.
Rachel nodded and picked her bag up from where she'd dropped it again. "Well, it was nice getting to know you, Quinn."
She gave her an odd look as she unlocked the door. "That sounded final."
"Well, I think I made my point perfectly clear."
Oh, right. No coming clean, no more kissing.
"I guess you did." She held the door for Rachel. "It's your loss, you know?"
"It's our loss," Rachel countered as she sauntered out.
Quinn rolled her eyes. "Whatever."
Following Rachel out, she hesitated over it for a moment before reaching out to hold her hand as they walked. It was a small gesture – and partly a power-play if she was being honest – but it made Rachel smile at her and lightly squeeze her fingers so Quinn was happy to consider it a good move.
"I suppose we should make the most of this before we encounter civilization and I have to drop your hand like a hot brick lest anyone thinks I actually like you," Rachel, still smiling, added an oversized wink to sell her quip.
It was a joke that could have easily fallen flat, but Quinn was still buzzed from their kiss and the hope that despite Rachel's adamant demands things were going to work out okay, and laughed easily.
"Civilization? At McKinley? I think you're over-reaching there. So are you going to sing your Kelly Clarkson solo in Glee club today?" she asked, deciding to make conversation of the thing playing on her mind.
She was convinced now that she'd picked the right song. How could she not have when she was practically bursting with the emotion within the lyrics? It would be so awesome if she could just sing it to Rachel now, alone in this deserted corridor instead of in front of ten other kids and a teacher. She knew she wouldn't be able to do it justice, not with all of them watching her and judging her – and she didn't just mean for her singing.
Rachel nodded, but she didn't look very sure. "Yes. If I'm permitted to."
She looked nervous. That was new. So far there had never been a time when Rachel didn't eagerly jump at the chance of a solo. Quinn only had to think for a second before the answer was obvious.
She was quick to reassure her. "I won't let a repeat of yesterday happen, Rachel. I don't . . ." she hesitated over what she was about to say, but really no good could come from sugar-coating. "I don't know how exactly, and if I'm honest I might have to be a little mean, but I won't let you . . . either of us go through that again. If the worst comes to the worst, I'll . . . set off the fire alarm."
"That's not the problem," Rachel began, but before Quinn could learn what actually was she was pulled to a stop. "You're coming to Glee club? I thought after your walk out yesterday you'd stay away, at least for a little while, to save face."
She shook her head. "If anyone questions it I'll just pretend to be as stubborn as you and say I refuse to be run out."
"Pretend?" Rachel grinned.
Quinn scowled before breaking into her own grin. "Leaving would be bad for votes anyway." At Rachel's confused frown, she added, "For Homecoming Queen. I'm counting on collecting at least ten from Glee club. Obviously Santana will vote for herself and Brittany's vote will go to her too, but . . ." Suddenly she heard voices coming from around the corner, where the locker rooms were, and sighed. "Not exactly what I'd call civilization, but . . ." she said, hoping to mask how fast she'd let go of Rachel's hand with some levity.
"Well, one of them, maybe not both," Rachel said, not sounding in the least bothered that her hand had been dropped like a cursed spirit stick.
A second later Finn and Puck came around the corner, both laughing over whatever stupid boy-thing they'd been talking about.
"Hey!" Finn greeted them both with a surprised smile but it faltered all to quickly. "Wait, what are you two doing here? Together?"
There was going to be no beating around the bush then.
"Morning sickness." She needn't have bothered opening her mouth, his eyes were on Rachel anyway.
God, that pissed her off.
"We bumped into each other in the bathroom." Rachel was telling the truth but she sounded so guilty. And she called herself an actress?
Finn was picking up on it. "Wait, you followed her into the bathroom again?"
His accusation was softly spoken but it was still an accusation. This was where she stepped in, except she didn't. She could at least blame it on being distracted by Puck.
"More morning sickness, Fabray?"
"Glad you finally found a cure for that."
She just glared at him, not sure what he was insinuating.
Finn finally dragged his eyes from Rachel to Puck. "You know about the lemon soap stuff?"
"Huh? I was talking the magical abilities of Berry's tongue!"
"Uh, ew!" she snapped automatically. "Berry's tongue has never been anywhere near me!" Although another ten seconds of kissing earlier and it might have been playing with her own! Quinn tried not to lose herself in that thought.
"I thought it was in your mouth two days ago?"
Puck successfully cut through her thoughts, leeringly, but it took Rachel's snapped reply to bring her back up to speed.
"That never happened!"
Oh right, that. This was her opening. She couldn't seem to take it.
"Quit lying, Berry. We all know the truth. I think it's hot. You throwing yourself at the ice queen here. It's gonna keep me warm for more than a few nights."
"That's because you're disgusting!" Rachel spat. "And Finn, shouldn't you be defending your girlfriend?"
It seemed to bring him out of his jealous stupor and he punched his best friend on the shoulder. "Hey, don't talk about Quinn like that."
"Oh please? You still think she's so innocent? She's screwing Berry, for fucks sake!"
"I am not!"
"She is not! Take that back, Noah Puckerman!"
"Well something is going on. And I'm thinking she forced her tongue down your throat the other day and you kinda liked it, so you invited her back for seconds."
"I never forced my tongue down her throat! Quinn, please!
The buzzing white noise was back but she forced out, "It never happened."
"Of course you're going to say that now that you've been caught out."
"It never happened," she repeated and it sounded like someone else was saying it, from far, far away.
"Back off, Puck!" Finn snapped. "You heard her, nothing happened today."
"Not just today!" Rachel was glaring at her.
Why was Rachel glaring at her, she was doing what she wanted! Did she have to say it again? Fine!
"Oh right, okay . . . no, wait, still not believing it," Puck laughed
Quinn decided she didn't really care, but Rachel obviously did by the glaring that was still going on. "She didn't . . . I mean, she didn't . . ." 'Oh, Jesus, why is this so hard?' "Nothing happened today, alright? I was being sick, she just came to see if I was okay."
"So she's stalking you now?" Puck seemed to like that idea just as much.
"I am not stalking her! We just bumped into each other!"
"It's a dead-end corridor miles from the lunch room, Berry, pretty big coincidence that you just happened to be walking down it at the same time as her, don't you think?"
Rachel threw her hands up in an 'I can't win!' way and then put them on her hips. "This is ridiculous and I don't see what it has to do with you anyway, Puckerman. You are not Quinn's boyfriend so I don't understand why I have to explain myself to you and, frankly, you salivating over the fantasy of Quinn and I kissing is as offensive as it is repulsive!"
"But it's alright for you to salivate over it?"
"What's 'salvinate' mean?" Finn asked, trying to keep up. "Is it a sex thing? Because I'm not okay with either of you doing that with my girlfriend. Especially if I can't salvinate with her too," he added quietly to himself.
"Nobody is salivating over me!" she insisted.
"Wishful thinking, Fabray, especially now I know it's mutual."
Quinn shuddered as she shot back, "There is nothing mutual between us, Puckerman."
He gave her a long look, which briefly dipped to her stomach before he met her eyes again. Crap, now what was he going to say? This suddenly had the potential to be so much worse. Thankfully he cut her a break, of sorts.
"I wasn't talking about us. I was talking about you and Berry. I can talk about us if you . . ."
"There is no me and Berry. There is just Berry and her crush, Finn and I, and you and your delusions . So I don't know what you're insinuating, but you seriously need to stop with it."
"Yeah? I think you've forgotten that I know what you look like when you have an itch to scratch," he teased. "It's just a matter of time. I'll even buy you the wine coolers if you let me wat . . ."
Oh wow, this suddenly just got so much worse!
"I have no idea what he's talking about," she bit out in the face of Finn's confusion and Rachel's glare turning inquisitive. "If you think I wanted Berry to kiss me, you are so mistaken, Puckerman!"
"Quinn, I didn't do anything!"
She turned to snap, "Quiet, Man . . . hands."
Quinn licked her bottom lip regretfully, wishing she hadn't gone there, but this was so much bigger than them now. In fact right this second, she didn't give a shit about them. She had bigger game to kill.
"Listen closely!" She stepped right into Puck's personal space. "I do not care that she tried to kiss me. I do not care than she has a crush on me," she growled into his face. "I do not care that she followed me down here today to try for seconds. In fact, do you know what? I think it's kind of awesome. I'm happy for her to pester me. And I do not care if you go and tell the whole world that. But, so help me God, Puck, if you do not shut your stupid mouth and get out of my face right now I will care, I will care a great fucking deal and I will make your life hell!" She punctuated the threat with a sharp stab of her finger to the center of his chest.
He tried to stare her down but she was his one weak spot, or at least the thing growing inside her was, and he slowly lost his grin when he couldn't take the cold, deadly serious look in her eyes any longer.
He rocked onto his back foot, hands lifting slightly from his sides. "Whatever, Milf. You and I both know the truth, right?"
"The truth is I don't care what you think, about anything."
He sneered and made another 'whatever' gesture and then turned to walk away. She only stopped glaring after him when he turned the corner.
"Whoa, that was intense." Finn looked scared by the ferocity of her outburst.
"He pisses me off." She was still seething. She wasn't the only one. "What now, Berry?"
"You are unbelievable!"
"You should try it when she kisses back." Finn's grin dropped and he back-stepped from their dual glare. "That was a joke! I thought you said you didn't care . . ." When Quinn was unforgiving he turned to Rachel. "Come on, I think I'm being pretty cool about you trying to kiss my girlfriend again," he pleaded with her.
"I. Did. Not. . . ."
Now that Puck was silenced for a while longer, Quinn could think about them again. She knew she had just done the opposite of what Rachel wanted, but she'd had to slap Puck down. He was higher up the list of her priorities. There was a positive spin to be put on this though.
"Finn, stop talking. Rachel, take a pill. I just did what you wanted."
"That was nothing like what I wanted!"
"I just told Puck that I didn't care that you liked me, yunno, like that. I told him I was completely okay with it. It'll be around the school by tomorrow morning and then nobody will think what happened is a big deal anymore. Those losers you want so badly to be friends with won't have a good reason to be mad at you if I'm not and it'll totally take the wind out of Santana's sails too."
"But they'll all still think I've forced myself on you . . . twice, now!"
Quinn shrugged a shoulder; what else could she do with Finn standing right there.
"No, Quinn, just no! That is not good enough."
"It's called compromise, Berry!"
"I am not compromising on this."
She shot her boyfriend a glance. He was listening closely but by the strained look on his face she could tell he wasn't really following.
"Well, you're going to have to."
"No I don't."
With one last glare filled with disappointment and resentment, Rachel stormed off.
"Rachel, I'm sorry, but you can't have it all your own way!"
At the corner, Rachel spun back to face her. "This isn't about pizza toppings or . . . or solo performances, Quinn. This is about right and wrong and how your decisions are affecting my life. Think about what you're doing to me. Would you compromise if our roles were reversed?"
She knew she wouldn't and her expression must have been speaking for her.
"Exactly!" With an angry shake of her head Rachel turned the corner.
It was too late, she was really gone. Quinn stared into the empty space, knowing that she'd just blown it again and her chances had to be running out.
Maybe if she explained about Puck to Rachel the other girl would understand why she'd gone on the attack instead of calmly denying all of his claims, but then that would mean someone knowing about Puck. She'd already trusted Rachel with a lot, she felt like she could trust her, but what if it didn't make things alright between them – Rachel would have way too much on her if they went from this straight back to being enemies.
And that felt like a very real possibility.
"Quinn, what's going on with Rachel?"
She'd forgotten Finn was there but he must have been watching her, them, this whole time and now his brain was starting to put dangerous elements together. Never a good thing.
"You know what's going on, everyone does."
"I know what I've been told, but that . . . that seemed like there was more to it."
She didn't say anything.
"Look, don't get mad at me, okay? But, did you lie about her kissing you? You can tell me, I won't say anything."
What was he asking exactly?
Was it just what it sounded like? If so, maybe she could reach Rachel this way. Maybe just this small thing would be enough. One offer of truth, one person who wouldn't think Rachel was a horrible person. Would that be enough for things to be okay between them? Was she even brave enough to do that? Did she want it enough?
"So what did happen?"
She leant back against the wall, hands clasped in front of her and stared down at the floor.
"Santana was about to beat Rachel up in the bathroom because Mercedes and Tina slushied her, and I just happened to go in there about to be sick and . . . interrupted. I didn't want to throw up with Santana there, you know what she's like, so I made up some excuse to get her out of there, but Rachel wouldn't go. She was too scared of Santana catching her again, I guess. So I let her stay in there with me, locked the door and then threw my guts up. Rachel didn't do anything wrong, in fact she stayed out of my way the whole time we were in there, but now Santana thinks I deliberately stepped in to stop her beating on Berry and she's trying to get back at both of us."
She replayed what she'd said in her head. It was a good mix of truth and lies, definitely believable. She glanced up at Finn to see if he thought so too. He looked . . . faraway.
"So why did you send that text message?"
"Santana stole my phone from my bag and sent it."
"That's why you were so surprised about it at lunch."
She did her best to restrain her eye-roll. "Yes."
"So why did you go along with it in Glee?"
She was getting sick of the twenty questions and was starting to wish she'd just lied again.
"Because Santana had me over a barrel and then apparently Rachel's been going around telling people she wants to kiss me. It kind of freaked me out, okay? I didn't know she'd been saying stuff like that."
That wasn't a lie.
"So she does actually like you?"
"I have no idea."
Again, no lie. Rachel could easily be back to hating her again already.
"If it never happened, why did she apologize for it last night on the phone?"
That caught her off guard because she'd forgotten he'd called Rachel last night. Darn! Now what did she say?
"Maybe she just feels bad that you think she kissed me. You know how dramatic she can be. She probably thought that apologizing to you would make you want to be friends with her again regardless of what actually happened."
"I guess. She can be kinda needy like that." Quinn wouldn't really know, so far she'd been needy enough for the both of them. It was so pathetic. She couldn't wait for this baby to be out of her! Finn gestured back down the corridor. "But what about today?"
"It actually was a coincidence. She was already in there when I went in to be sick. She hung around to make sure I was okay, that's why we were walking out together."
"Okay, but . . ."
"No." She pushed off the wall. "No more. I've answered all your questions so far but I do not intend to spend the rest of the day talking about Rachel Berry with you. You know what really happened now, surely that's enough?"
"Yeah. Thanks. You know you could have just told me the truth all along, right? You don't have to keep stuff from me. I could have helped or something. We're having a baby together, I want to help you with everything, if I can."
She smiled at the sincerity in his eyes and reached out to stroke his arm. "I know, and I would have." If she'd thought of it, if she hadn't been so caught up in thoughts of Rachel, she probably would have told him something to save herself some of the heat. "But it really all just happened so quickly. I thought that text would be the end of it. I didn't know Santana was going to take it to the next level."
There was something else on his mind.
"Spit it out."
"You know you're letting everyone think she did a really bad thing?"
Of course she did, she wasn't stupid, and the fact that he even felt the need to check got her back up. "Why does everyone think wanting to kiss me is a really bad thing? I think Rachel wanting to kiss me should actually gain her some respect. Push her a few rungs higher up the social ladder. Why wouldn't she want to kiss me?"
'Note to self: Shut up!
"No, of course, I mean, yeah! You're awesome to kiss!"
'Thank you, Rachel thinks so. Even with the Devil's morning breath.'
"I'd kiss you right now if we were in a, oh wait . . ." Finn's smile turned into something he probably thought was seductive. It kind of was in a goofy way. ". . . we are in a deserted, dead-end hallway with no one else around."
She couldn't really say no, well she could, but . . .
He stepped closer and her head just tilted up automatically, otherwise she'd have been staring at his chest a few inches from her face. When he leaned down to kiss her it was familiar, it was nice, but it was not the thirty-some seconds in Heaven she'd recently shared with Rachel.
"You two, break it up before I get the hose!" Quinn's heart stopped when the terrifying voice started shouting from down the corridor. They jumped guiltily apart as the cheerleading coach bore down on them. "Jockstrap, what are you doing eating the face off of my head Cheerio when you should be out on the field?"
"Yeah, uh, Coach Tanaka sent me to fetch some rolls of toilet paper. Gil Steventon busted his lip really bad when Puck tackled him."
Quinn pushed at his chest. "And you stopped to make out with me?"
"Go!" Sue barked.
Quinn tried to take that as her cue too.
"Not so fast, Q! What are you doing down here? I happen to know you should be in one of those pointless classes where you learn about history of the penny or how the slaves invented under-floor heating. So you better have a damn good reason for being not in it."
She really didn't. Not one she could tell the coach anyway. Still, she was a master at dealing with Sue Sylvester and now Finn had gone she could freely lie about him.
"Finn and I had an argument at lunch. I asked him to meet me here so we could make up."
"Hmm, I knew he was lying. I could smell it on him. Was the argument about Glee club?"
Coach Sylvester beckoned her closer with her finger. "Come and tell me about it."
Now what did she say? She didn't have to dig very deep.
"Mr. Schuester keeps giving all of the duets to Finn and that Rachel Berry. The rest of us are getting completely ignored. He doesn't even care that I'm his girlfriend or that there are much better female singers in that club than her. It's like he's biased towards them or something."
"I see. You know, Q, I think I can do something about your predicament next week when I finally take on my role as co-Glee director."
"That's awesome." Quinn was just happy her lies were being bought until the words sunk in. "Wait, what?"
"I tried to weasel out of it when the idea started to bore me, but Figgins is insisting. I trust I have your full support in this, Quinn?"
She had no idea what she was agreeing too, but Coach Sylvester was clearly willing to turn a blind eye to her class-skipping if she did.
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