Spoilers: Umm, Quinn's hair length from 2.22? I haven't watched Glee since 2.21, so none, really.
Summary: In which Quinn learns the second rule, chronologically speaking.
This fits in the Rules/Signs 'verse, directly after "Wet Hair. Sand. Kiss." I own nothing except the mistakes. This is for Laura, even though it is in no way, shape, or form what she requested. Sorry, Laura!
Quinn was nervous. In fact, Quinn was petrified. Rationally, she knew she shouldn’t be. She had, after all, been alone with Rachel in one or the other of their houses many times. But, well, this was the first time since The Conversation. In her head, Quinn could hear the capital letters, she could feel the brief press of Rachel’s lips against her cheek, she could see Rachel skipping back to her house, waving as she went. Quinn sagged against the sofa, sighing. In exactly — she checked her watch — twenty-three minutes, Rachel expected her at the Berry house. And she was petrified.
It’s not that Quinn didn’t want to see Rachel. Seeing Rachel was all she ever wanted to do, it seemed. And now that they’d decided, well, that they were maybe, kind-of, not really dating but not not dating, and certainly not dating anyone else, there was a whole new level of pressure.
What Quinn really wanted was to take Rachel on an actual, honest-to-God, date. Maybe not Breadstix, which was seriously overrated, no matter what Santana thought. But maybe, like, Thai food. Or a movie. A movie in a dark theater where she and Rachel could share some popcorn and Quinn could slip her arm around Rachel’s shoulders and — her phone rang, breaking her out of her day dream. Quinn glanced at the screen and saw that Santana was calling. Rolling her eyes, she hit “ignore” and stood from the couch, stretching before she got ready to leave the house.
Ten minutes later, she was knocking quietly on the front door of the Berry house, considering whether she had chosen the right outfit. When she’d gotten dressed, she wanted to seem casual, but not too casual, so she’d gone with a Vampire Weekend concert tee-shirt and a pair of white denim shorts, but now she thought maybe she should have gone with an embroidered tank-top. Finally, after an interminable wait, the door swung open to reveal Rachel, wearing a matching tee-shirt over black shorts.
“You stole my outfit!” Rachel said, laughing and pulling Quinn into the house behind her.
“Well,” Quinn said, following closely behind the shorter girl, “we did go to the concert together. This was always a distinct possibility.”
Rachel shut the door behind her, grinning. “True,” she said. “But I still say you stole my outfit.” She leaned towards Quinn, pressing a chaste kiss to the blonde’s lips.
“I confess, Officer,” Quinn said, dazed by even that brief contact.
Rachel blushed. She looked down, noticing that she was still holding Quinn’s hand. Tugging it lightly, she led Quinn to the living room.
“So,” Quinn said, once they were settled on the couch, “are we really doing this?”
“Doing what?” Rachel asked.
“You know,” Quinn said, gesturing first at her lips, then Rachel’s lips, then at their still-linked hands. “This whole sober-kissing thing. Are we doing this?”
Rachel bit her lip and looked suddenly, impossibly, more adorable.
“We — well,” she stammered. “I completely understand if you don’t want to continue our burgeoning relationship, Quinn, although I cannot say that I’m not disappointed. After all, our conversation last night did take place after a full day in the sun, and with your fair complexion you likely were suffering from some sort of heat stroke, and my research suggests that even though the symptoms rarely include hallucinations, that is possible, and perhaps you were suffering from just such a hallucination when you — ”
She was interrupted by Quinn’s lips, pressing firmly against her own. Quinn released Rachel’s hand in favor of cupping her cheeks gently. When she felt Rachel finally start to move against her, Quinn moved away, putting several inches between them.
“Rachel,” she said, her voice raspy, “I want to do this. I haven’t stopped thinking about kissing you since I got home last night. I was just making sure that you still wanted to. You can back out, you know.”
“I — I — I — I — ” Rachel opened her eyes, and Quinn saw that they were unfocused.
“I’m going to take that as a yes, okay?” Quinn asked.
“Good,” Quinn said, leaning in once again to kiss the brunette. This time, Rachel responded immediately, and the kiss quickly grew heated. Half an hour passed as the two girls kissed on the couch, discovering what it felt like to do so without the lubricant of alcohol.
Rachel, by this point stretched out on her back as Quinn hovered above her, gasped as Quinn lightly kissed her neck. “Why don’t we go upstairs,” she suggested, pushing gently at the blonde’s shoulder.
It was Quinn’s turn to stammer. “Are — are — are you sure, Rach?” she asked. “I mean, I don’t mind stopping now, or just — just keeping on doing what we’re doing right here. This is really, really good, here.”
Rachel smiled as Quinn let her forehead drop to rest against Rachel’s collarbone and ran her fingers through the blonde’s newly short hair. “I’m sure, Quinn. My bed is much more comfortable than this couch.”
Quinn groaned. She wasn’t sure how much more comfort she could take. She had gotten caught up in the kiss, of course, but there was that still small voice in the back of her head, reminding her about “first dates” and “taking things slow” and other pesky notions of chivalry. Serving as backing vocals for her own personal Jiminy Cricket were her own firmly held ideas about Rachel’s delicacy, and the importance Rachel placed on her virginity, and the fact that Quinn herself wasn’t necessarily comfortable with having sex on the first day of her new not-really-but-almost relationship.
Quinn was just readying herself to voice these concerns when she felt Rachel’s lips at her left ear. The girl beneath her was breathing heavily and — oh, God — was that a tongue against her earlobe?
Resolve shattered, Quinn wordlessly rose from the couch. She held out a hand to help Rachel up, and then led the shorter girl up the stairs and to the door, marked with a gold star, at the end of the hall.
Rachel smiled and kissed Quinn’s back through her tee-shirt. “Come on,” she said, tugging gently at the blonde’s hand. “Let’s watch a movie or something.”
Rachel walked to the television, putting in Bring It On, one of the few movies that she and Quinn both loved. Quinn took advantage of the sudden space between her and Rachel. Her head cleared, and she resolved to watch the movie. Rachel was incredibly important to her, regardless of whether it was as her best friend or as a possible, potential, sometime in the future maybe, girlfriend. She didn’t want to take advantage of Rachel, or even create the possibility of taking advantage of Rachel. They needed to slow down. Quinn needed to slow down.
Quinn didn’t know it, but Rachel had a plan. Actually, Quinn knew that Rachel had had a plan not to have sex until she was twenty-five, but she didn’t know that the plan had, most definitely, changed. It had changed at roughly the same moment when Quinn’s lips met Rachel’s for the first time behind the storage compartment in the Jones’ yard.
The conversation in the car had just confirmed what she already knew: she, Rachel Berry, wanted to have sex with one Quinn Fabray. Soon. Maybe not the next day, or anything, but soon. So when she found herself underneath Quinn on the couch, she was quick to decide that she needed to get Quinn into her bed as soon as possible. Right that second, preferably.
As she tugged Quinn up the stairs, she contemplated a new plan. She didn’t want to come on too strong — she didn’t want to pressure Quinn, or anything — so she decided to try for subtlety. She would leave the next move up to Quinn, but if things evolved, then… Well, Rachel wouldn’t be the one stopping the action. After putting the movie in, she joined Quinn on the bed, leaving a few inches between them.
The movie started, but Rachel found her eyes drawn to the blonde next to her. Ten minutes in, Quinn moved her hand across the gap and, ever-so-gently, began stroking Rachel’s wrist. Rachel immediately felt goose bumps rise on her arm and she shivered. Quinn, noticing her shiver, scooted closer and wrapped her arm around Rachel’s shoulders, pulling the shorter girl flush against her side. Rachel let her head drop to Quinn’s shoulder and enjoyed the comforting feeling of her not-girlfriend holding her close.
Thus passed several minutes of stillness, save for Quinn’s fingers stroking Rachel’s forearm. Up and down, up and down, up and down — her movements were gentle and rhythmic, soothing Rachel until she was half-asleep. As they watched Cliff push Torrance on the swings, however, Rachel realized that her plan had gone wildly off-course. She lifted her head and began kissing Quinn’s neck. It took Quinn nearly a minute to realize that the soft, intermittent pressure against her neck probably warranted her attention. It took nearly another minute after that for her to respond, turning her head and meeting Rachel’s lips with her own. It took a third minute until Quinn rolled Rachel so that she could stretch out fully over the smaller girl. After that, they both lost track of the minutes.
When the final notes of “Oh, Mickey, You So Fine” rang through the TV’s speakers, Quinn was dying. All she wanted to do was rip off Rachel’s shirt and ravage the brunette. She resisted the temptation, however, and kept her hands firmly above the waist and above the shirt. If Rachel wanted to take the next step, she figured, Rachel would initiate it. She didn’t want to push her girlfr — her Rachel — just Rachel — into anything.
Quinn was torn from that line of thought by the feel of hands pressing against her shoulders. Quickly, she backed away and sat up, lips swollen and her previously meticulously-mussed hair now genuinely disheveled.
“Rach?” she said, frantically, “What’s wrong?”
Rachel sighed. “Nothing, Quinn.”
“Then why did you…” Quinn gestured at Rachel and at herself, “stop?”
Rachel sighed a second time. “The movie’s over, Quinn, and I need to go to my piano lesson soon.”
“Rachel,” said Quinn, slowly, still trying to calm her racing heart, “you don’t have piano lessons today.”
“I mean I have to practice,” Rachel said, getting up and grabbing her hairbrush from her dresser. “I have to practice for my lessons.”
Quinn stared at her, mouth agape.
“At any rate,” Rachel said, “you have to go.”
“I don’t — I mean — What? — ” She watched Rachel furiously brush her hair, muttering under her breath. Her shoulders slumped. “Okay, Rachel.”
She stood up, slowly adjusting her shirt and pulling at her shorts. She swept her fingers through her hair, trying to give Rachel a chance to change her mind. Rachel, however, was determinedly staring straight at her reflection in the mirror.
“Okay,” Quinn finally said, nodding. “Well, call me later, if you want to hang out, or talk, or something.”
With no response from Rachel, Quinn — defeated — left the Berry house. Huh. She was right to be petrified, after all.
She didn’t hear from Rachel again for three days. Quinn vacillated between giving her space — she went for long runs and watched Friends and Frasier marathons — and texting her obsessively — she sent apologies and bad jokes and haikus and anything else she thought might evoke a response, even if the response it evoked was “Go away, Quinn.”
Finally, after three days of radio silence, way too much family bonding time with her mom, and a trip to the Verizon store to confirm that her phone was, in fact, working, Quinn gave up. She officially had no idea why Rachel was angry with her, although it was undeniable that — assuming Rachel had not actually died — she was angry. She reviewed the afternoon when last she had seen Rachel, reviewed every action each of them took, reviewed every word and every facial expression. Nothing. She had no idea what the problem could be.
On the fourth day, Quinn was doing push-ups in her bedroom when she heard her phone vibrate against her desk. She ran towards the phone, desperate to intercept it, and as she tripped over her rug and went careening, head-first, into the bedframe, she saw Santana’s name glowing brightly. Damn.
Ten minutes later, with an ice pack held firmly against her forehead and a fresh lecture from her mother ringing in her ears, Quinn trudged back into her room and picked up her phone. Three missed texts, all from Santana.
First: “Hey, heard that you party-fouled with the Smurf. You have less game than a fat middle schooler. Aka you, four years ago. Lame sauce, Fabgay.”
Second: “Brit said the teeny tiny blueBerry’ll forgive you if you apologize.”
Third: “So please, unlucky-Lucy, please, apologize. I’m sick of your little friend harassing my BritBrit when I wants to get my mack on. If you don’t, I will end you.”
Quinn rolled her eyes and called Santana.
“Sup, Q?” Santana asked, answering after the third ring.
“What the hell are you talking about, Lopez? My head hurts and your cryptic texts make less than no sense.”
“I’m talking,” Quinn heard a giggle from somewhere near the phone, followed by a shuffling noise, “about you not being man enough — or woman enough — to take off your little friend’s shirt even though she was totally giving you the signs.”
“Santana!” barked Quinn. “Turn off the fake Lima Heights Adjacent stuff. Say what you’re trying to say, and say it quickly.”
Santana sighed, deeply, before she spoke again. “Fine,” she said, all traces of “ghetto” gone from her voice, “Rachel called Brittany yesterday, all upset about what you didn’t do at her house last time.”
“What didn’t I do?” Quinn asked, feeling herself become ever-more frustrated.
“Well, as I understand it, after furiously making out on her couch, Rachel invited you into her bed.”
“Uh-huh,” Quinn agreed.
“Then,” Santana continued, “Rachel put on a sexy movie, and — ”
“It was not a sexy movie!” Quinn interjected. “It was Bring It On, for god’s sake!”
“Hey!” said Santana, “Kiki Dunst was hot before the meth. But is this really what you want to argue about?”
“No,” said Quinn, “you’re right. It’s not.”
“Okay, then,” said Santana. “So after she put on the sexy movie, you and Rachel made out for another almost two hours, and the whole time you didn’t make a move to take it further.”
“I was being respectful!” Quinn cried. “I was trying not to force her into anything!”
Santana snorted. “Dude, she says she was giving you all the signs and you totally shot her down when you didn’t take off her shirt. She says you broke another rule — whatever that means.”
“No, no, no!” Quinn said. “Not another rule! I didn’t even know I was supposed to take off her shirt!”
Quinn could hear rustling on the other end of the phone, and then heard Brittany’s voice coming through the line.
“Look, Quinn,” Brittany said, “Rachel thinks you’re the boy and the rule is that when the girl invites you to bed the boy has to take her shirt off. Everyone knows that.”
“But — ” Quinn started.
“Nope,” Brittany interrupted. “No buts! Now, we’ve got to go have sexy times. Fix things with Rachel. I don’t like when she’s sad. Blue Berry is my least favorite kind of Berry.”
It took Quinn three hours to decide on a course of action, and another hour to get dressed, get to the florist, pick out a bouquet, and get to the Berry house. She nervously brushed her hair with her fingers as she rang the doorbell.
After what seemed like hours, the door swung open, revealing Rachel, again wearing her Vampire Weekend teeshirt, this time paired with red running shorts.
“You stole my outfit, again,” said Quinn.
“Oh,” Rachel said, flatly, “it's you. Hello, Quinn.”
“Hi,” Quinn said, nervously, pulling the flowers from behind her back. “I brought you these.”
“Oh, Quinn,” Rachel said, her icy exterior visibly melting, “they’re beautiful. Come in, please.”
Quinn smiled, gratefully accepting the hug Rachel offered. She inhaled the scent of Rachel’s passionfruit shampoo. She had missed Rachel so much. Girlfriend, not-girlfriend, making out stuff aside, Rachel really was her best friend. Four days with no contact was four days too many.
“Quinn!” Rachel gasped, pointing at her forehead, “What happened?”
“Oh,” Quinn said, blushing, “I — umm — I hit my head trying to answer the phone.”
“No call is important enough to risk a concussion, Quinn,” Rachel said disapprovingly.
“Well, I thought — that is, I thought that — well, I thought maybe it was you calling.”
“Oh,” Rachel said, looking at the floor. “I’m sorry for not calling for so long.”
“I’m sorry too,” Quinn said. “You know, for the other day.”
The girls examined the foyer rug for a moment, stumped over what to say next.
“Hey, are your parents home?” Quinn asked.
“No,” Rachel said. “Why?”
“Because — ” Quinn said, reaching for the hem of Rachel’s teeshirt “ — I wanted to apologize for the other day, and I wanted to do this.” She pulled off Rachel’s shirt and tossed it aside, not noticing where it landed.
“Quinn!” Rachel exclaimed, shocked at the blonde’s behavior.
“Look,” Quinn said, as she carefully placed her hands on Rachel’s waist and pulled the smaller girl into her body, “I know that we’re making this up as we go along, with the not-dating stuff, but we really have to make this up together, okay?”
Rachel nodded, her hair brushing against Quinn’s cheek.
“You can’t get mad at me for breaking rules that I don’t know about, you know?” Quinn moved her arms so that she was fully hugging Rachel, reveling in the feel of the brunette in her arms. “I didn’t know that you wanting to make out in your bed meant I was the boy and I had to take your shirt off. Clearly — ” she gestured at Rachel’s torso, clad only in an orange sports bra, “ — I would have done it if I’d known that’s what you wanted.”
Rachel sniffed. “You, Quinn Fabray, are the sweetest person I’ve ever known. I lo — like you so much, and I’m sorry for getting mad at you.”
Quinn refused to consider what Rachel’s stutter might mean and focused all her attention on the half-naked woman in her arms.
“You know, though, that I’m a high maintenance person. I have a lot of rules. You’re going to break some without knowing it. But it’s okay, because I’m going to tell you when you break them. We may fight, sometimes, or I may get mad and huffy, but then we’ll be okay again.”
“I don’t want to fight with you, though,” mumbled Quinn, pulling Rachel even closer.
“I know,” said Rachel, rubbing Quinn’s back. “But you have a lot of rules, too, you know? And I’m going to break some without knowing it, too. And it’s all going to even out in the end.”
“Can we get matching notebooks to write down each other’s rules?” Quinn asked, only half joking.
The two girls swayed in silence as they each considered the recent changes to their relationship. This was beginning to sound more and more like “dating,” and neither was sure whether that was a good thing or a bad thing.
“Rach?” Quinn asked, hesitantly.
“I like when you call me sweetie.”
Rachel laughed and pushed Quinn back, grabbing her teeshirt off the lamp where it was draped.
“Well, then, sweetie, come upstairs and watch a movie with me, okay?”
Quinn’s eyebrows lifted as she watched Rachel put her teeshirt back on.
“Does that mean — ”
“Yes,” said Rachel emphatically, and both girls laughed as they climbed the stairs together.