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By mel


Chapter 1

Quinn Fabray bopped her head with the song on the radio as she rolled up to the gates at the Paramount Pictures lot. The security guard checked her name off on the production list and waved her through, and she smiled wiggled her fingers at him playfully as she drove off. She had put her time in doing bit parts on television as she worked her way through school at USC and some higher-profile supporting roles in larger productions after she had graduated, and now, at the age of twenty-five, she had made it to the big leagues.

She pulled into a space marked 'Fabray' and grinned.

"Alright, you enjoyed it, now suck it up and act cool, Fabray. At least pretend that this isn't your first rodeo," she lectured herself as she unplugged the aux cable from her iPhone. She slipped the phone into her purse next to her wallet and a ridiculously expensive pair of noise-cancelling headphones. She had learned early in her fledgling acting career that sets can be obnoxiously noisy places to work, and that thin aluminum trailer walls did little to drown out the sounds of people talking, metal clanging, and cars zipping by. In order to maintain her sanity, she needed to block that extra noise out.

Quinn took a deep breath and closed her eyes, counting to ten as she breathed in and out slowly, and by the time she got to ten, her childlike grin was gone, replaced with a cool, calm, professional façade. Once her expression was perfectly schooled, she climbed out of the car and nodded hello to various grips and other technicians milling about as she made her way out of the bright Southern California sunshine and into the dark interior of Building 5.

She quirked one corner of her mouth up into a half-smile of greeting as she saw the screenwriter coming her way and she felt her heart skip a beat in her chest at his expression. It was serious. And she had been around sets long enough to know that a serious look on the screenwriter's face on the first day of shooting meant changes. Usually big changes.

"Chase, what's up?" she asked, pushing her aviators up onto her forehead. Her half-grin turned into a frown the longer the lanky, typically-bookish man remained silent.

"I...um... I was hoping I'd be able to find you before you got over to hair and makeup," Chase Evans said timidly.

"What happened? Are we shooting today or not?" she asked, suddenly wary. The final read-through the night before had gone well. Everybody had seemed to have a decent grasp of their characters. So for the writer to be looking like he was about to pee himself not even twelve hours later, something big had to have happened.

"Um, yeah," he muttered. "There's just been a tiny casting change."

"How tiny?"

"Well-" he toed the concrete floor anxiously, "-Tyson..."

Quinn nodded understandingly and groaned at the writer's mention of her male co-star's name. Tyson Howe had that boy-next-door look, the build, the goofy smile, but he was far from the brightest light bulb in the box. "What did that moron do now?"

Chase grimaced. "He got arrested."

There were any number of things Quinn was expecting to hear, but that was certainly not one of them. "Arrested? For what?!"

"Soliciting a prostitute," Chase murmured.

Quinn rolled her eyes at the man's stupidity. "He could have walked into any club in the city and had any girl he wanted, and the dumb fuck decides to pick up a hooker. Was she at least pretty?"

Chase blushed and looked down at his shoes as he mumbled, "Well... I'd give her a four."

Quinn stared at the writer for a moment as his words sank in before she started laughing. Loudly. Not giggles, but full-on belly laughs that had tears pouring from her eyes. It was too much. It was... "Perfect!" God, he really was an idiot.

Chase watched Quinn laugh and didn't know whether it was out of actual amusement or hysterics, so he just stood there, nervously shuffling his script from hand to hand as he tried to look anywhere but at her. Once her gales of laughter had faded to a faint chuckle, he asked, "Are you okay?"

Quinn shook her head and waved her hands in front of herself. "Yeah. No. I dunno. What's the plan?"

"Well, he's been fired."

Quinn's laughter died. No male lead meant no movie. "What?"

"But, me and James Moore," he said, referring to the film's director, "have a plan."

Quinn frowned. "A plan?"

He nodded vigorously, causing his shaggy brown hair to fall into his eyes and his glasses to slip down his nose. "Yeah. We'd actually had a couple of different variations in mind for the script as the two romantic leads were fairly ambiguously written, and after his arrest we decided to go with our plan B."

"Which is..." She encouraged.

"What would you say to a female romantic interest?"

Quinn swallowed thickly as his words once again took their sweet time making sense. She was not opposed to the idea at all, especially considering her personal preferences, but it was a drastic change from the traditional rom-com she had signed on for. It was certainly forward thinking. A move that would create waves in the press and bring the film a ton of publicity, both good and bad, but still...

"A female romantic interest?" she echoed, thinking that she should probably call her agent before she agreed. But then she realized that she was quite interested in the idea of doing the movie with a female costar, no matter what her agent thought about it, and disregarded that thought completely.

Chase slowly tipped his head in confirmation, deciding not to say anything more until he had a better idea of what Quinn was thinking.

"The studio signed off on that?" Quinn asked, her head still spinning as she tried to envision what the final product would look like. Would they change the script at all? There were a number of rather explicit love scenes in the script that she didn't think a major studio would be comfortable with. A small-budget Indy film, sure, but this was Paramount Studios.

"Got Steven Shepherd to sign off on it just now," Chase confirmed, referring to the studio's CEO.

"What kind of changes were put into the script because of this?"

"None," Chase said with a grin. "We were told, and I quote, 'I'll give you the rope you need to hang yourselves with, do with this as you see fit'. So, we see fit to keep it all the same and just change the gender of that one character."

Quinn licked her lips and nodded, unable to find it in herself to turn down the opportunity to make a movie that she knew was already contracted out to be shown in thousands of theatres across the country. "Okay then. Yeah. I'm in. Who do you have in mind?"

The writer let out a loud sigh of relief and ran a hand through his hair as he smiled at his star. "She's actually been on Broadway for the last few years, won three Tonys, and is now wanting to branch out into film."

Quinn's jaw dropped for what felt like the hundredth time that morning. She knew that résumé by heart. She Googled the owner of that résumé at least three times a week just to see what the brunette was up to, how her career was going, and, though Quinn would never admit it to anyone else, who she was dating. She didn't consider herself a stalker, per se, but whenever she was bored, lost, or lonely, she would punch those eleven letters into the search box to see what was happening with the other woman. "Rachel Berry?"

Chase perked up and nodded, both surprised and pleased that Quinn knew who he had been referring to. "Yes. Do you know her?"

Quinn sucked her lower lip between her teeth and worried at it for a moment as she thought of all the different ways she knew Ms. Rachel Barbara Berry. Some were real, some were fantasy, but yes, she definitely knew her. "Yeah, you could say that."

"Great!" Chase exclaimed, his face lighting up with joy, obviously unaware of the blonde's history with Broadway star. "Well, she's getting on the studio's private plane as we speak and she should be here by lunch."

"Excellent," Quinn drawled distractedly.

"Oh, this is great. I'm so glad you're on board with this. This is actually the plot I wanted all along, but then Shepherd made me change Hayden's gender from female to male and..."

Quinn stared at the man as he babbled on about changes to his 'baby' and how he was 'so happy they were going to make the movie he'd wanted to make', not hearing one word that fell from his lips as she tried to process exactly what was going to be happening in four short hours.

She was going to be filming with Rachel Berry. The Rachel Berry she had tormented through high school because it was easier to be positively awful to the brunette than admit that what she felt for the pint-sized powerhouse was not hatred so much as an overwhelming attraction.

Fuck, don't start lying to yourself now, Fabray, she chastised herself silently as Chase Evans continued to ramble on-and-on in front of her. It is definitely way more than attraction--you love her.

And that was going to be a big problem. Because she was pretty sure that Rachel hated her guts.

Rachel slipped her oversized designer turtle-shell sunglasses onto her face as she gracefully descended the stairs from the Gulfstream jet the studio had sent for her. At first, she had been tempted to tell the director of the film that he made the mistake of not casting her initially and that Rachel Berry played second choice to nobody; but, as she looked around her lonely apartment, she realized that she needed a change. Her contract for her latest Tony Award winning play had expired the week before, and she had opted, against the wishes of her agent, not to re-sign. Not because she did not enjoy being on stage--she did, the stage was her home--but she was tired. Tired of the eight-shows-a-week schedule. It was a grueling existence, an absolutely exhausting way to live, and she needed a change. That was why she had originally auditioned for the part in the brilliantly written rom-com that would, she knew, show the world that it did not matter who you loved, it just mattered that you had somebody to love. Honestly, she had been more upset about not getting that part than she had been the first time she had been nominated for a Tony while she was still in school at Julliard and lost.

But, she had been in the business long enough to know that it was a business. As much as the people who wrote and directed and acted only wanted to exercise their craft, the only reason they were allowed to do it was money. Generally speaking, lots of money. So, though she was upset about losing out on the part to a man, she understood. It was not the director's fault that he had caved to the studio executives at the last minute and decided to go with the safer heterosexual love story instead of the lesbian love story. It was not his fault that the suits made the writer change his screenplay. So, she had agreed to take the part without bothering to ask who ended up to be cast as the other lead. In fact, after she had listened to his entire spiel, she only asked him one question.

"When do you need me there?"

After what seemed like a never-ending string of compliments Moore had said, "How fast can you get here?"

And that was how she ended up on the opposite side of the country from where she woke up, looking at the bright late-morning sun and breathing in thick, smoggy air. Los Angeles was a completely different animal than New York City, but that was exactly what she wanted. She had conquered Broadway, just like she had always told everybody she would; but the victory, while exhilarating and humbling, was also hollow because she had nobody to share it with. Sure, she had dated. Being the biggest thing on Broadway guaranteed a never-ending line of pretty-boy suitors. But none of them had the spark, the fire, the presence of the person who dominated her dreams, leaving her with an indefinable feeling of emptiness. Her days were full of singing, dancing, and interviews, while her nights were full of curiously warm hazel eyes, soft, silky smooth lips, and gentle loving touches that never failed to cause her to awake flushed, sweaty, and oh-so-painfully aroused as she gasped for air and struggled for some recollection of her mysterious lover's face.

Chapter 2

The morning had dragged on for Quinn as she spent it holed up in her trailer, worrying about how Rachel would react to seeing her again. It was disconcerting to know that the object of each and every one of her desires was going to walk back into her life right when she was finally comfortable with it. It had taken her a long time to come to terms with her sexuality. Her father's incessant sermons about homosexuality being a sin were hard ones to eventually learn to ignore. But, after being immersed in the much more accepting culture of Southern California for a few years, she finally admitted to herself in her junior year of college that she was, in fact, gay. Not long after that, she had met her ex-girlfriend in a small, off-campus bar. To this day, she had no idea how she ever gathered the courage to approach the brunette, but she had, and they ended up dating for two years until Jamie got her JD and accepted a position as an associate at one of the most prestigious law firms in Manhattan.

A part of her recognized the fact that it was more than a little ironic that she lost two women to the same city, while an even larger part of herself was glad that Jamie had left. Not because she did not enjoy the brunette's company--she knew that Jamie had played a big part in her finally finding herself and she would always love her for that--but because the more secure she became with herself, the more she acknowledged the fact that the woman she held in her arms every night was not the one she wanted to be holding. So it was with a few tears and a general feeling of relief that she had driven Jamie to the airport one typically sunny afternoon in June, sealing her future with a quick, chaste kiss goodbye before she drove off into the flowing traffic before Jamie had even disappeared inside the terminal.

She was not naïve enough to think that she would see Rachel and that the Broadway star would just fall into her arms, confessing her undying love, but she was hoping for a second chance. A second chance to show the brunette that she was not the she-devil she pretended to be in high school. A chance to show her that she had grown and matured, and that the woman she was now was nothing like the immature, scared little girl Rachel remembered. She took heart in the knowledge that Rachel had agreed to play the role of her onscreen lover, if only because it meant that the brunette was comfortable with at least pretending to be gay. And a not-so-insignificant part of her hoped that, while the brunette had only dated men in the past--or so the tabloids reported--something might develop between them. The idea of Rachel loving her in return was a dream to be sure, but she figured that even she was allowed dream every now and again.

Quinn flipped through the quickly revised script she had been handed a couple hours before and twirled her pen in her fingers as she read lines she had already memorized, occasionally making a note in the margin or crossing out a pronoun that was missed when her costar's gender was hastily changed. Not that she would make a mistake while filming, but she liked things to be perfect. Some habits were hard to break, and the habits ingrained by Coach Sylvester were the hardest to break of all.

After she had finished the last page of the script, she pushed her headphones off the back of her head so that they were hanging from her neck and looked anxiously out the window of her trailer. She was nervous about what was going to happen when Rachel saw her, and her mind ran wild with dozens of questions about her. Did Rachel even know that she was her costar? If Rachel did, and she still signed on for the project, what did that mean? If she did not know, how would she react? Would she demand Quinn be fired? Would she pull one of her patented storm-outs? Would she smile sweetly and...

Yeah, that's not going to happen, Quinn-my-girl, so don't even go there. She glanced at the oversized chunky steel watch on her wrist and bit her lip as her heart beat an irregular staccato in her chest.

Rachel should be arriving on set any minute.

Sure enough, not even ten minutes later, there was a knock on her door. She dropped her pen onto her script that was lying open and forgotten on the table, and walked across the short expanse of her trailer, pulled it open, and arched a perfectly sculpted brow at the PA who had knocked. "What's up?"

"They're ready for you," the production assistant said, tilting his head in the direction of the set.

"Is she here?"

He grinned. "Yup. She's been in with Moore and Evans now for about twenty minutes, they just sent me to find you."

Quinn nodded and ran a slightly shaky hand through her hair. This was it. "Tell them that I'll be right there," she said as she closed the door and went in search of her shoes that she had kicked off earlier. She slipped her feet into the battered pair of Rainbows and gave herself a quick check in the mirror, smoothing her hair and reapplying her lip gloss, before she left her trailer and headed over to set.

She took her time walking over to the director's office, using that time to try and steady her nerves and to figure out what, exactly, she would say to Rachel once she finally saw her. She smiled nervously at Moore's secretary as she passed through the smaller outer office and she paused in the doorway to the director's inner sanctum.

James Moore and Chase Evans were on one side of the table, their backs to the large windows that overlooked the sound stage, and across from them sat the woman who had dominated Quinn's thoughts, and dreams, for years.

Quinn's breath caught in her throat as she spotted Rachel, absently tapping her pen against the tabletop as she read through what Quinn could only assume was the script. The brunette was obviously paying no attention to the men who were also flipping through random pages, pointing out scenes that they felt were the most important to the development of her character. She hovered silently in the doorway for a minute or so, just drinking in the smaller woman's presence, appreciating the way her dark jeans molded to her legs and the tempting dip of the neckline of her cranberry red shirt that showed the barest hint of cleavage. Rachel Berry had definitely learned how to dress.

After she felt she had perved enough on the unsuspecting woman, Quinn cleared her throat softly, discreetly announcing her presence to the group assembled. "Ahem."

Rachel looked up at the quiet sound, turned to look toward the door where she was certain the person responsible for the noise stood, and froze. When she had asked about who she would be starring alongside, James and Chase had raved about a woman named Quinn whom they said was sure to be the next big thing in Hollywood. They went on and on about this Quinn's accomplishments, spent quite a bit of time praising her work in an action drama that had earned her an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress the year before, but she had just assumed that it wasn't anybody she knew. She realized it was an unusual first name, but it had never occurred to her that their Quinn was the Quinn she grew up with. She had been cocooned in her Broadway bubble for so long that she honestly hadn't even realized the blonde was in the business. And, the only reason she was able to not show any reaction as she looked at her for the first time since high school graduation was years of diligent work perfecting her craft. Because, to say she was shocked was a colossal understatement. She was...speechless.

And Rachel Berry did not do speechless.

"Hello again, Rachel," Quinn said softly, slipping her hands into the back pockets of her jeans and tipping her head in greeting at the woman she had dreamed of for so long. She could tell that Rachel was surprised to see her, but she also saw something else flash in the other woman's beautiful brown eyes. Was it fear? Before she could identify it, it was replaced with a cool detachment that she recognized as the diva's game face. It was the same one Rachel would don after being slushied or tormented or... God, I really was a repressed asshole in high school.

Rachel found Quinn's soft smile incredibly disarming, but she was, above all else, a professional, so she managed to put her confusion aside for the time being as she gathered herself and returned Quinn's smile with one of her own. She knew it was forced and she could tell that Quinn knew that it was too, but she was thankful that the two men in the room with them did not. Some humiliations were best not shared. She took a moment to openly appraise the woman who had made her high school years a living hell, and she had to admit that Quinn looked good. Amazing, really. Quinn had always been a beautiful girl, but the woman standing before her now with her hair falling in loose waves around her face in a pair of artistically faded low-slung boot-cut jeans, tattered brown leather flip-flops, and a lightweight blue oxford hanging open, sleeves rolled casually to expose toned, tanned forearms, over a tight-fitting scoop-necked white shirt, was absolutely breathtaking.

Finally finding her voice, she said, in a tone that was a little bit deeper than her normal speaking voice, "Quinn Fabray. Fancy seeing you here."

Quinn ducked her head for a moment before she looked back up at the brunette through her lashes and nodded. "I know, right?"

Rachel sucked a quiet breath in between her teeth as she met Quinn's dangerously beautiful hazel eyes. This Quinn standing in front of her was not the Quinn she remembered. She could not put her finger on what it was, exactly, that made her realize this, but there was just...something that pinged her sixth sense. Quinn looked relaxed. Certainly more relaxed than she ever remembered seeing her, and there was something in the way she was standing, leaving herself open to be judged, that showed that she was comfortable with herself. Not overly confident, although Rachel was sure there that that particular facet of the blonde's personality was still intact, but just, comfortable. Like she knew who she was and did not mind being judged. It was like she was looking at a completely different person than who she grew up with.

"So you're the Quinn they've been raving about for the last fifteen minute," Rachel said softly as she continued to stare at the blonde, unable and unwilling to let the other woman out of her sight.

"I guess I am," Quinn confirmed just as softly, holding Rachel's gaze for a moment longer than necessary, trying and failing to get a read on her thoughts before she looked up at Moore and Evans. "Guys, can we have a minute?"

"Actually," James Moore spoke up, "we can give you more than that. You two take today to get to know each other. Do a couple read-throughs to get a feel of how you're going to play your parts, and we'll meet up again at seven tomorrow morning to start shooting."

Quinn nodded. She had expected them to put off filming for a few days at the very least with this last minute casting change, and she had no doubt that the reason they were not taking a longer break was because Rachel had assured them both that she would be ready by the morning. "Same scene schedule?" she asked, figuring that she would make sure to pay special attention to the scenes they were shoot the next day with the brunette.

"Everything's the same as we discussed before, I'll let you fill Ms. Berry in on the details."

"Of course," Quinn said amiably as she turned her attention to Rachel, who was still staring at her with a look that was a mix of aloof-detachment and curiosity. She bit the inside of her cheek to keep from laughing and instead smiled warmly at the brunette. "Well, if we're not going to be filming today, would you like to go somewhere else to go through all this?"

Rachel offered Quinn a genuine smile in spite of herself and nodded. She would have to get comfortable in the blonde's presence as soon as possible if they were going to work together, and she saw no reason to delay getting reacquainted. "Where did you have in mind?"

Quinn shrugged as her eyes fell onto several large black suitcases lined up neatly against the wall. "I'll show you to your trailer first, as it's right next to mine, and then, if you want, we can either hang out here or we can go somewhere else. Can I help you with your bags?"

Rachel was taken aback by the blonde's offer to help with her luggage, it was yet another sign that the Quinn before her was not the one she remembered, but she nodded quickly. "I have to call my assistant to see what she managed to secure in regards to my living arrangements for the time I'm here, but yes, that would be quite helpful. Thank you."

"No problem." Quinn crossed the space to yank up the handles on two of Rachel's three oversized bags, purposefully ignoring the speculative look the director was giving her. Once she had come out, she had never seen a reason to keep her preferences secret and, while it was not something commonly known amongst the general public, she did have a reputation, in certain circles, for having a thing for beautiful brunettes.

Rachel watched Quinn for a moment before she forced herself to turn her attention back to the two men opposite her. She was confused by the speculative look in James Moore's expression, but she quickly waved it off as being unimportant. "Thank you for the opportunity, I sincerely appreciate you thinking of me after last night's unfortunate events."

"Our pleasure, Ms. Berry," Chase said, smiling warmly as he stood to shake Rachel's hand.

"Thank you for agreeing to come out on such short notice," James Moore said as he, too, shook Rachel's hand.

Rachel nodded. "Okay. So, I guess I will see you all bright and early tomorrow morning then." She slipped her script into her oversized Louis Vuitton purse and stood. She turned to look at Quinn and smiled. "Since you know where you're going, I'll follow you."

Quinn licked her lips and nodded before she gave Rachel her most charming smile she could manage. "As the lady commands," she drawled with an exaggerated bow, her smile growing wider at the soft chuckle she heard fall from the brunette's lips. "Come on, Rach, let's get you settled."

Rachel nodded obediently as she slipped her purse onto her shoulder before gathering her remaining piece of luggage before following Quinn out of the office. They walked in silence across the busy lot, each of them lost to their thoughts, and before long they stopped in front of a white Star Waggon trailer that had the name 'Hayden' on a piece of plain white paper taped in the window.

"This is you," Quinn said, tilting her head at the brunette's trailer. "Do you want your bags inside, or..." Her voice trailed off as she wondered why, exactly, Rachel's luggage was out at all. She would have just left hers in the trunk of her rental car. "How did you get here from the airport?"

A faint blush tinted Rachel's cheeks as she answered, "The studio hired a town car to bring me over from the airport. They should be providing me with a means of transportation sometime today."

"So I guess you want these inside?" Quinn asked, even as she reached out to open the door to Rachel's trailer and begin moving the luggage inside. "My god, what did you pack in here, bricks?" She grunted as she struggled lifting the first of Rachel's bags into the trailer.

"Those are my shoes."

Quinn started to laugh, but when she glanced over her shoulder at Rachel she saw that the brunette was not joking. "You seriously brought a giant suitcase full of shoes?"

"Of course," Rachel replied, her brow furrowing in confusion. Surely Quinn packed more than one pair of shoes when she traveled for a prolonged period of time. "Well, it's not all of my shoes--just the ones I felt I would need immediately. The rest of my clothes are being shipped as we speak."

"Right," Quinn drawled as she finally managed to wrangle the bag inside and out of the way enough that she could get to work on the other bags.

"Not everybody can get away with just wearing flip-flops everywhere, you know," Rachel said huffily.

Quinn grinned and winked at her. "You can here. It's one of the best things about living in LA."

Rachel rolled her eyes and refused to answer, quietly relieved that her remaining two bags seemed much easier for Quinn to handle. She followed Quinn into the trailer to have a look around after her final bag was lifted inside, and smiled approvingly at what she saw. The interior was clean and bright, with a large cream-colored couch on one end, a flat screen television mounted on the wall above a dark wood cabinet that transitioned from storage to a decent sized mini-bar, and a makeup table.

Quinn watched Rachel take everything in, and smiled to herself at the way the brunette's expression relaxed into a genuine smile as she took stock of her home away from home for the time she'll be in Los Angeles. "Is everything okay? If anything's wrong, I can go find Gus, the guy who handles the trailers and stuff for us here, and have him get on the phone with the rental company to fix any issues."

Rachel turned to the blonde and shook her head. She put her hands on her hips and gave her a thorough once-over. "Who are you, and what have you done with Quinn Fabray?" she asked, the smile on her face negating the almost harsh phrasing of her question.

Quinn chuckled and ducked her head in acceptance and embarrassment. "Touché, Rachel. I certainly more than deserved that. As for the Quinn you remember... she just grew up."

Chapter 3

Rachel licked her lips as she listened to Quinn explain the film's shooting schedule. Part of her wanted to tell Quinn that she was more than capable of reading the paper herself, but that was just a small part. A teeny, tiny part. Most of her was just enjoying being in the company of this new Quinn Fabray. She had initially been apprehensive about being alone with Quinn, but now, after a little more than an hour with her, she felt confident in her earlier observation that the Quinn she was looking at now was most definitely a different Quinn than she remembered.

Realizing that Rachel wasn't quite with her, Quinn looked up from the page she was going over aloud and chuckled as she noticed the far-off look in the brunette's eyes. "You still with me here, star?" she teased.

Rachel looked up into smiling hazel eyes and felt her breath hitch in her chest. She really is startlingly beautiful. "I am. You were saying that for the next three to four weeks we'll be here at the studio, doing some of the interior work that they needed the sets for, and that after that we'll be going onto location for the rest of the filming with some occasional set work thrown in where needed."

Quinn laughed and nodded her approval. "Very good. Do you have any questions?"

"Actually, I do," Rachel said, sitting up straighter in her seat as she studied the woman across from her. While she was certain that Quinn had changed, there was a part of her that could not believe that Quinn was actually comfortable with her character's orientation. And, in true Rachel Berry fashion, she decided to address the matter directly. "Are you seriously okay with this role? With playing a lesbian and kissing another woman?"

Quinn's stomach flipped at Rachel's question. She had known that she would have to tell Rachel about herself and her life-altering epiphany eventually, but she certainly had not figured it would be quite this soon. She bit her lip nervously as she took a second to think about the different ways she could answer Rachel's question and, for the briefest of moments, she considered deflecting it with a 'Sure, it's just pretend'. But she also knew that since she would be kissing and touching and doing simulated sex scenes with Rachel over the course of their filming, that she should tell her the truth. Not the whole truth, of course. Rachel did not need to know that she was actually in love with her. Now that she finally was actually sitting in the same room as Rachel, she did not want to send the poor girl running back to New York as fast as her luscious legs could carry her.

Rachel watched curiously as a million thoughts seemed to flash through Quinn's eyes and tilted her head questioningly as the blonde chewed her lip nervously. "Quinn?"

The sound of her name pulled Quinn from her thoughts, and she shook her head and rolled her eyes. You're being an idiot, Fabray. Just tell her, she chastised herself. A horde of butterflies took off in her stomach, leaving her feeling as if she were coming out for the first time again. "I'm gay, Rach."

Rachel's jaw dropped in surprise. "You're... Oh."

"Yeah, oh," Quinn muttered as she studied Rachel's face carefully, trying to get a read on what she was thinking. After staring at each other for an extended moment, it became clear that she had just managed to render Rachel Berry completely speechless, and she cleared her throat again. "Sorry, I could have done that a little more smoothly, or something, but I was just... I really hate..."

"Shh," Rachel shushed, leaning into the table and reach across to cover one of Quinn's hands with her own, in what she hoped Quinn saw as a reassuring gesture. "You just caught me off guard. You're gay?"

Quinn felt her breath hitch in her throat at the feeling of Rachel's hand over her own. God, that feels good. "Yeah."

Hundreds of questions for the blonde immediately came to mind, which Rachel knew that she had no right to vocalize, but she couldn't help asking, "When did you know?"

Quinn shrugged and looked up at the ceiling, focusing on the glowing halogen lights rather than the warm brown eyes across from her. "Looking back on my past, on everything I tried so hard to feel, and not feel, I realize that I've always kind of known it. But I didn't accept it until about four years ago."

"Okay," Rachel murmured after a moment, still trying to wrap her head around the idea that HBIC, Prom Queen, Chastity Club president Quinn Fabray was gay. "What do you mean when you say you tried not to feel?"

That was a part of her story that she was not at all ready to share with Rachel, and Quinn blushed as she shook her head. "That, I'm afraid, is a story for another time, Rach."

"Yeah, of course. I understand," Rachel said quickly, feeling both nervous and relieved and completely, entirely, confused.

Not wanting Rachel to feel uncomfortable, Quinn said softly, "You have more questions." She did not have to ask, she could see the questions swimming in Rachel's big brown eyes.

Rachel smiled shyly. "How did you finally figure it out? I mean, if you don't mind me asking."

"I don't mind," Quinn murmured, finally lowering her gaze to meet Rachel's. And she really did not. Now that the cat was out of the bag, so to speak, the rest of the story was easy to tell. "I was at a party one night in college, drinking, of course."

Rachel laughed and smiled. "Of course."

"Well, I'm an affectionate drunk," Quinn said, with an embarrassed smile. "Anyway, there was this girl there, and we started talking and she asked me to dance with her so I said yeah. We spent the night drinking and dancing together and then she kissed me."

"Just like that."

"Just like that," Quinn agreed softly. She licked her lips and nodded to herself as she remembered everything she had felt that night. "And it was like, all the questions I had about why I never felt anything for any of the guys I'd dated were suddenly answered, because I felt more in that one kiss with a perfect stranger than I ever had before with any of the guys I'd ever been with. After that, it just took some soul searching to find acceptance within myself, and that was it."

"So was she your first girlfriend?"

Quinn smiled and shook her head. "I never saw her again after that night."

"That's too bad."

The disappointment in Rachel's voice made Quinn laugh, and she shook her head. "No, it was fine. I wasn't ready to deal with what she made me realize about myself at the time anyway. I wouldn't have been good for her."

"Hmm. So I guess you really won't have a problem kissing me," Rachel said shyly.

Quinn shook her head. "I seriously don't think that will be a problem, Rachel," she agreed, adding silently to herself, It's going to be the stopping that I'm going to have problems with. "Are you okay working with me on this project, knowing that I'm attracted to women?" Please, please, please say yes.

"Of course," Rachel answered immediately. "I have two fathers, you know, so homosexuality is obviously not something I'm uncomfortable with. And after working on Broadway for the last six years..."

"Yes, Rachel, I know," Quinn chuckled. She also knew that it would take Rachel some time to wrap her head around everything she just told her, and she figured they would be better off getting out of the small, intimate confines of the brunette's trailer while she processed everything. "Look, I'm getting hungry. You wanna go get some lunch?"

The mere mention of food made Rachel's stomach growl, and she blushed as she met Quinn's warm gaze and nodded. "I think that sounds like a great idea."

"Awesome. Come on." Quinn jumped to her feet. "I know just the place."

Rachel followed Quinn out of the trailer and, after she locked up, walked silently next to her as they wandered off the lot and down a small side street that was more of an alley but cleaner than any alley one would find in New York. Before long, they were walking down a street full of small store-front shops. She had absolutely no clue where they were going and, remembering Quinn's fondness for bacon, she just hoped that wherever it was that Quinn was taking her at least had a decent selection of salads. Or, any salad.

More than once as they walked, Rachel caught herself glancing over at Quinn, studying her placid expression, trying to figure out how the Quinn she remembered had managed to become the woman she was with now. She figured that Quinn accepting her sexuality had to have played a large part in her transformation, but she could not help but wonder what else had happened in the years since they had last seen each other. How did Quinn get into acting? What did she do for fun? Rachel realized that she wanted to know everything about Quinn and, as soon as she acknowledged that fact, she found herself suddenly asking, "Do you have a girlfriend?"

Quinn chuckled and turned to look at Rachel, eyeing the brunette speculatively, trying to figure out where that seemingly random question had come from. "No. Not for the last year or so."

"Oh. I'm sorry. What happened?"

"She got her JD and accepted a job in Manhattan for some high-powered law firm," Quinn said with a nonchalant shrug.

Intrigued, Rachel asked, "Which one?"

Quinn arched an amused brow and grinned. "You know the different firms in Manhattan? There've got to be hundreds of them."

"There are," Rachel agreed. "But you said 'high-powered law firm' and there are only a handful that fit that description."

"How do you know that?"

"I do deal with a lot of lawyers, Quinn," Rachel pointed out with a smile. "You of all people should know that contracts don't just sign themselves."

"Eh, I let my agent handle that stuff." Quinn waved her hand in the air dismissively. "But, I think it was Walton, Warren, and--"

"Wilkerson," Rachel interrupted. "That's my lawyer's firm."

"Of course," Quinn muttered.

"I wonder if I've met her," Rachel mused, finding herself incredibly curious as to what type of woman Quinn was attracted to. "What did you say her name was again?"

"I don't believe I told you her name," Quinn chuckled. "But her name is Jamie Roberts," she said as she opened the door to a small vegetarian café she had discovered the last time she worked on the Paramount lot. She waved at Rachel to enter first and she smiled as she watched the brunette's eyes light up at the chalkboard menu hanging above the small cash register that had the vegan friendly dishes marked in bright green.

"I want to say I met her last time I was at the firm to see my attorney regarding a restraining order I had to file against an overzealous paparazzo," Rachel mused as she studied the menu. "Brunette, about my height?"

"That sounds like her," Quinn said softly, hoping that Rachel did not pick up on the similarities between herself and her ex.

"She's hot," Rachel said.

"Thank you. I think," Quinn said with a smile, her smile fading as a familiar face walked out of the back. She had been hoping Michelle would have somebody else working the front counter so that the brunette wouldn't know she was here.

"Quinn Fabray," Michelle greeted the blonde as she situated herself behind the register.

Rachel looked at the woman, thinking to herself that the petite brunette was quite beautiful, even as she wondered why she was speaking to Quinn so coolly, before she turned to look at Quinn, who, she noticed, was wearing an almost embarrassed smile and blushing ever so slightly. "Come here a lot?" she asked in a hushed whisper.

Quinn bit her lip and nodded. "Not as much as I used to, though," she said softly as she glanced at the woman behind the register. "Hi, Michelle. How's business?"

"Can't complain," Michelle drawled. She gave the blonde a tight smile as she wiped her hands off on her apron. "Miss seeing you in here all the time, but I can see that you've got your reasons," she said, flicking her gaze over to Rachel. "What can I get you?"

Rachel looked at Quinn, who motioned to her that she should go first, and she smiled politely at the woman behind the counter as she scanned the menu. "Um...I'll have the fettuccini with the Thai peanut sauce. And, could I get a water, too, please."

"Make that two," Quinn said as she pulled her credit card out of her back pocket and handed it over.

"I can buy my own lunch," Rachel argued quietly.

Quinn smiled warmly at Rachel and shook her head. "I know that. It's not a big deal, Rach," she said as she took her card back and handed Rachel one of the bottled waters. "Let's go sit down," she said, tilting her head at a collection of small tables that were tucked off to the side.

Rachel stiffened ever so slightly for a moment as she felt Quinn's hand against the small of her back, her long ingrained history with the blonde demanding that she prepare to be attacked, before she forced herself to shake it off. Quinn has been nothing but sweet since I first saw her today, she reminded herself, feeling embarrassed and foolish for her reaction to the touch.

It had been impossible for Quinn to miss the way Rachel's step faltered as the brunette's entire body stiffened under her touch, and she quickly removed her hand. She had not even been aware that she had reached out for her, to be honest. It was just habit for her to protect the women she was with, and attempting to guide Rachel with a gentle touch had been purely instinctual. "Sorry," she apologized softly.

"It's okay." Rachel shot Quinn an apologetic look, and felt her heart seize a little at the almost heartbroken expression in the blonde's eyes. "I don't know why I did that," she lied as she sat down at a small, square table that was tucked into the far back corner of the dining area.

Quinn chuckled darkly as she took her seat across from Rachel and gave her a sad smile. "I think we both know that isn't exactly true, Rachel. I will never be able to tell you exactly how sorry I am for the way I treated you in school, but I truly am."

Needing to convey her sincerity to the blonde, Rachel reached out and covered her hand with her own. She smiled shyly as Quinn copied the action and the blonde's free hand covered hers. "It's okay, Quinn. It's the past."

"Still..." Quinn looked down at their hands and tried to find the words she needed to convey that she really was sorry for everything that had happened between them.

"Shh, it's fine," Rachel murmured. She stacked her free hand on top of Quinn's and brushed her thumb over the back of Quinn's knuckles reassuringly. "It's fine. Let's just forget about it and focus on the present. Because I can already tell that you have grown into an amazing woman, Quinn. One whom I am really looking forward to getting to know better. So let's leave the past in the past, where it belongs, and just live in the here and now."

Quinn smiled shyly, feeling a weight she had not even known she had been carrying lift from her shoulders at Rachel's forgiveness, and nodded. "Thank you."

Rachel looked into Quinn's warm hazel eyes and nodded, telling her with a look that she understood. "So, what do you think of the script?" she asked, trying to shift their conversation back to a less painful topic. "What was it that made you interested in doing it?"

"You mean besides the fact that I got one of the leads?" Quinn teased, relaxing back in her chair but not pulling her hands away from Rachel's. "I guess I identified with Charlie's character."

"Which part? The badass detective part?"

The blonde grinned shook her head. "More of the realizing that you love somebody that you couldn't stand when you first met them, part."

Rachel frowned as she considered Quinn's answer. It was almost as if she were trying to tell her something important. "Anybody in particular?"

"Yes." Quinn licked her lips and nodded slowly. "But, that's a story for another time," she said quietly, holding Rachel's gaze captive for a moment before the intensity that was building between them was shattered by the arrival of Michelle with their food.

"Oh, this looks amazing," Rachel cooed as she pulled away from Quinn and looked at the plate that was being set down in front of her. "Thank you!"

"Yeah, thanks," Quinn said. She smiled at the woman she had gone out with a couple times and then turned back to Rachel and their lunch, relieved that Michelle took the hint and disappeared into the back. She hated knowing that she had hurt her, but Michelle had known that she was not looking for anything serious when they had first hooked up a few months after Jamie had left for New York; and as soon as she realized the other woman was beginning to develop feelings for her, she called things off.

"So, what's the story with her?" Rachel asked, waving her fork at the door to the kitchen Michelle had disappeared through.

Somehow not at all surprised by Rachel's intuitiveness, Quinn rolled her eyes. "Figures you'd pick up on that," she muttered. "There's really nothing to tell."

"Did you two date?"

Quinn bit her lip and considered her answer carefully, not wanting to tell Rachel that the other woman was just a casual fuck. "In a manner of speaking," she said evasively.

Rachel laughed and winked knowingly. "Yeah, I've had a few of those myself."

"Rachel Barbara Berry!" Quinn laughed.

The Broadway star arched a brow challengingly and grinned. "What? Girls like sex--"

"Yes, I know, Rachel," Quinn interrupted. "Trust me, I know."

"I guess you would, wouldn't you," Rachel drawled, giving the blonde a knowing smirk.

Not at all ready to get into this kind of conversation with Rachel just yet, Quinn just laughed and shook her head. "Okay, can we get off the topic of sex, please?"

"Sure," Rachel agreed easily. "So, after lunch do you want to run through the script together?"

Quinn smiled and nodded as she turned her attention to her food. "I think that sounds like an excellent idea."

Chapter 4

"And then we live happily ever after." Rachel sighed dramatically as she flipped the final page of her script closed. She glanced out the night-darkened window of her trailer and yawned. She was absolutely exhausted from her busy day, never mind the fact that she was still functioning on East Coast time, but she did not want to call it a night just yet. Even though she knew she had the next few months to spend with Quinn, she was not ready to leave her for the evening. "You know, I think this movie will resonate well with the public."

Quinn swallowed thickly, rather liking the sound of her and Rachel living 'happily ever after', and nodded. "I do too. But do you think it'll be because we're both women, or because of the story?"

The question was a good one, and Rachel bounced her head from side to side as she considered her answer to it. "Honestly? Both. I think the initial wave of press attention will be focused on the fact that the two romantic leads are both women, but I think that once people see past that, they'll just see it for what it is."

"A love story," Quinn supplied.

Rachel nodded emphatically. "Exactly."

"So, did you ever hear back from your assistant about where you're going to stay while we're in LA?" Quinn asked as she slipped her copy of the script into her purse.

"Yeah." Rachel pulled out the envelope that had been delivered to her by courier that afternoon. "It looks like I am already checked in to a garden cottage at the Chateau Marmont," she read aloud as she pulled an electronic keycard from the heavy manila envelope. "That sounds familiar--I'm assuming it's okay?"

Quinn nodded, easily picturing Rachel strolling around the historic grounds of the famous hotel. "Very okay, Rach. You'll like it."

"Have you stayed there?"

"Not at the hotel, no. But it has a really nice bar and restaurant that I've been to a few times for functions and stuff."

Rachel smiled as an idea struck her. "So you know how to get there from here?"

The naiveté behind Rachel's question had Quinn biting the inside of her cheek to keep from laughing. One would be hard pressed to find anybody who was in the business in Hollywood that did not know where the Chateau Marmont was and how to get there. Instead of pointing that out, however, she kept her answer simple and concise. "Yes."

"Well, then how about if you let me follow you over there so I don't have to listen to that nasally woman on the GPS and we can go to dinner."

Quinn chuckled, secretly pleased that Rachel wanted to spend more time with her, but could not resist teasing her a little. "The GPS isn't that bad."

Sensing victory, Rachel threw her hands up in the air delightedly. "Yay! Okay, so now I just have to get my bags into my car and... are there any PAs around still to move my bags?"

"I can take care of your bags," Quinn said, still chuckling at Rachel's excited antics. "What kind of car did they get you?"

Rachel's eyes dropped to the keys that were delivered to her earlier while she and Quinn were running lines. "A Mercedes."

"Go find it and I'll start bringing out your bags."

"I can help," Rachel argued weakly, knowing full-well that she really could not. She had crammed so many clothes into the few bags that she had brought with her on the plane that there was no way she would be able to lift any of them.

Quinn grinned and shook her head. She was more than fine taking care of Rachel. "Go find your car and bring it over here, and then we'll see about that."

Never one to back down from a challenge, even ones she was fairly certain she would not win, Rachel glared playfully at Quinn. "Why is it that I'm sensing that you're mocking me?"

"No clue, superstar," Quinn retorted. "Go get the car. If we're going to go to dinner we need to get rolling because I'll still have to get back to Venice afterwards."

"You live at the beach?"

"I do. And I promise I will answer any and all questions you have about it after we get you to your hotel. Now, get those long legs of yours moving!"

Rachel smiled and nodded before she opened the door to her trailer, skipped down the steps, and took off in search of the car the studio rented for her.

Once Rachel had disappeared around the corner of the trailers, Quinn finally allowed the soft smile she had been holding back all afternoon to break free. She had spent the majority of the day alone with Rachel, and it had been amazing. And, for reasons beyond her understanding, the brunette still wanted to spend time with her.

"It's like a fucking dream," she muttered to herself as she slipped her purse onto her shoulder and made her way over to Rachel's luggage. "Goddamn bricks," she muttered as she hefted the heaviest of the bags out of the trailer and set it down onto the blacktop.

By the time Quinn had gotten all of Rachel's luggage out of her trailer, the brunette was just pulling up in what looked like a brand-new black C-Class coupe. "Damn!" Quinn whistled appreciatively. "Nice wheels," she called out as Rachel climbed out of the car.

"Thank you," Rachel said, beaming over the roof at Quinn as she made her way around the back of the car. She used the keyless remote to open it and then she stood back with a frown as she looked at the area inside the small trunk. "All my stuff isn't going to fit."

Quinn had to bite her lip to keep from smiling at the utter adorableness of Rachel's expression. "Don't worry about it, Rach. I have more than enough room in the back of my car. We'll fit what we can in here," she said as she rolled the lightest of Rachel's bags over to her and looked into the trunk, "which will be this bag here. And I'll just put the other two into my car and bring them over for you," she said as she easily lifted the suitcase into the back of the car.

Quinn's genuine helpfulness was another reminder to Rachel that the woman in front of her was nothing like the girl she once knew, and she could not contain the bashful smile that tweaked her lips as she looked at her. "Thank you," she said softly, sincerity ringing in her words as she reached out with her right hand to give Quinn's forearm a light squeeze. "Really. You have been too sweet today."

Taken aback by the way her body reacted to the simple touch, Quinn licked her lips and ducked her head as she murmured, "It's my pleasure, Rachel. I parked in the lot over there--" she pointed at the parking lot just behind their trailers, "--so meet me out there and we can caravan over to your hotel."

"Can I help?"

Quinn laughed and shook her head. "Rach, if you help me get these out to my car, then we'll just have to bring you back here for your car. Don't worry about it, I got these. Just meet me over there."

"If you're sure," Rachel murmured. "What kind of car do you have?"

"A white X5. You won't be able to miss me. It'll be the one with a blonde wrestling with two ridiculously large pieces of overstuffed luggage into it."

Rachel chuckled. "Right. Look for the hot blonde by a white SUV with luggage. Got it."

"Exactly." Quinn gave Rachel a small, embarrassed smile before she turned on her heel and took off through the maze of trailers toward the parking lot.

Quinn had already managed to heave the heaviest of Rachel's bags into the back of her car when the brunette came crawling up the aisle. She could not resist making a show of lifting the last bag a little higher than necessary, a move she knew Puck would tease her relentlessly for if he knew about it, and set it atop its mate in the cargo area. She slammed the hatch closed and brushed her hands off on the back of her jeans before she walked over to Rachel's car and knocked playfully on the roof, leaning down to look at the brunette through the open driver's side window. "What cottage are you in?"

Rachel pulled out her paperwork to check. "Number four. Does it matter?"

"Yes." Quinn nodded. "There's off street parking for the cottages and bungalows and I want to make sure we get you as close to where you're staying as possible. Now, here's my cell," she said, and waited for the brunette to be ready before she rattled off the number. "Call me if you lose me."

Rachel smiled and looked up at Quinn as she finished entering the phone number. "Don't you want my number too?"

More than you could possible know. "I absolutely do," Quinn assured her. "But, for now, this'll do. I can get your number once we get to the hotel. Good?"

Rachel took a deep breath and nodded. "Good."

"Then let's roll," Quinn said jovially, patting the roof of Rachel's car a couple times before she hurried back to her own car and climbed behind the wheel.

There were a handful of different routes to the hotel from the studio, some quicker than others, but Quinn decided on the one that had the fewest number of turns and was the easiest to remember. She spent almost the entire drive with her eyes focused on her rearview more than on the street in front of her as she made sure not to lose Rachel in the typically insane Los Angeles traffic. She even went so far as to stop at every yellow she hit instead of running through them so that Rachel would not be forced to choose between running a red light or being left behind. Which meant that she was the recipient of more than a few honking horns and an equal number of middle fingers, but it was all worth it because she got Rachel safely to her hotel in one piece.

"That's the last of it," Quinn announced as she rolled Rachel's third and final bag through the front door of the small cottage. After the first two bags were brought in, she had told Rachel to just wait inside while she ran out for the final suitcase.

"Can you bring it into the bedroom?" Rachel's voice carried out to her from the back of the house.

Quinn rolled her eyes and did as requested, using her foot to pull the front door closed behind herself as she made her way down the narrow hall to the bedroom. The suitcase rolled easily enough over the hardwood floors and she smiled as she entered the bedroom to find Rachel sprawled across the bed, her dark hair splayed over the white duvet, with her eyes closed. Rachel had opened one suitcase and pushed it up against the wall, and had shoved the other into the closet. Quinn studied the layout of the room carefully, trying to figure out where to fit the final bag. Her gaze swept across the bed and she allowed herself a moment to drink in the sight of Rachel lying there, eyes closed and looking so peaceful that she just did not have the heart to make her move.

"Do you want me to just leave this here and get going so you can go to bed?" she asked softly. "We do have an early call tomorrow."

Rachel did not bother to sit up as she shook her head from side to side, though she did open her eyes to look at Quinn. "No. I want to spend more time with you, and I promised you dinner."

Beyond ecstatic that Rachel wanted to spend more time with her, Quinn nevertheless forced herself to be the mature voice of reason. "Rach, you're dead on your feet. It's almost midnight your time. It's okay if you just want to go to bed."

"You know what we need?" Rachel declared, lifting a hand in the air for emphasis. "Room service. There has got to be room service."

"Room service?" Quinn repeated. "Of course. Is there anything her highness would like in particular?"

Rachel finally sat up enough to point a warning finger at Quinn as she shot her a mock-glare at Quinn. "Don't be a smartass."

"My apologies, ma'am," Quinn quipped with a decidedly impish grin, earning herself a laugh that warmed her heart. "Seriously, Rach. I can order you room service before I go. What do you want?"

"You can order both of us room service before you get your butt onto this bed with me," Rachel retorted as she flopped back down onto the bed. "We can eat right here and watch a movie. And drink wine. It's been a long day. I need wine."

Quinn groaned inwardly at the thought of spending any amount of time on a bed with Rachel, especially with alcohol involved, but could not find it in herself to turn her down. So, instead of leaving as she knew she should, she found an empty area of floor space to set the suitcase she was still hanging onto before she went in search of the folder she knew would have the room service menu. She scanned through the options quickly before she picked up the phone in the living room and dialed up the kitchen. The hotel did not have a lot of vegan options and she was too tired to try and make a special request, so she just ordered two salads and a bottle of Pinot Grigio. She had no idea how much wine Rachel 'needed' but she knew that the cottage had a refrigerator in the small galley kitchen where she would be able to save the wine if there was any left.

"Thirty minutes or so," Quinn announced as she made her way back down the hall into the bedroom. She pulled up short in the doorway, frozen to the spot by the sight of Rachel in a pair of ridiculously short bright pink sleep shorts and a nearly see-through white cami. "Oh, fuck me," she muttered under her breath as her eyes roamed greedily over the curves and skin on display. This is karma's way of kicking your ass for being such a bitch to her in high school, she thought to herself as she licked her lips. But so totally worth it. Look at those legs...

The tenor of Quinn's voice made Rachel smile, and she could not help but feel flattered at the openly appreciative look the blonde was giving her. "Would you like to change into something more comfortable? I'm sure I have something you could wear."

"Um, no. Thank you," Quinn answered quickly, her voice a little rougher than usual. "I'm good."

"You sure?"

Yeah, the more clothing the better, Quinn thought as she nodded. "Yeah. I'm okay."

"Okay." Rachel flopped back down onto the bed, positioning herself so that she was leaning against an impressive collection of pillows that were piled near the headboard. She looked up at Quinn, who was still standing in the doorway, and grinned as she patted the bed next to her side. "Come on, Fabray. I don't bite."

Quinn groaned softly as that comment sent her mind straight into the gutter, and kicked her flip-flops toward the side of the room before she climbed carefully onto the bed. She settled herself next to Rachel, purposefully keeping a careful distance between their bodies so that she would have a better chance of ignoring her desire to reach out and touch the brunette, and sighed contentedly as the mattress molded to her back. "This bed is amazing."

"I know, right?" Rachel smiled. "And, look. The TV's right there--" she waved a hand at the wall opposite them, "--so we can just lie here and watch a movie. It's perfect!"

"Perfect," Quinn agreed, her voice softening in spite of herself as she looked at Rachel. Her imagination ran wild, picturing what would make this situation even more perfect, kissing, touching, preferably the removal of clothing...

Rachel's brow furrowed a little as she took in Quinn's softened expression, noting the way Quinn's eyes had grown fractionally darker, not quite understanding what it was that she was seeing. "You okay?"

That question was enough to snap Quinn out of her daydream, and she nodded quickly as a faint blush tinted her cheeks. "Yeah, of course. I was just thinking."

"That it's a little weird how we met up today for the first time in seven years and are friends now?" Rachel offered hesitantly.

Not exactly, Quinn thought, but she nodded anyway. "Yeah."

"I find myself strangely comfortable with you," Rachel admitted softly as she rolled onto her side to face Quinn. She reached out and covered the blonde's hand with her own and smiled shyly as she twined their fingers loosely together. "I've never been this comfortable around anyone before."

"I'm glad," Quinn murmured, mirroring Rachel's positioning so that they were completely facing each other. And she was glad that they had fallen into such a comfortable friendship so quickly. It was certainly far better than some of the scenarios she had imagined. Problem was, it was still so much less than what her heart truly wanted. But that isn't for me to decide, she reminded herself as she stared into the most beautiful brown eyes she had ever known. Friendship is good. Having Rachel as a friend is better than not having her at all.

"Where do you go when you get quiet like that?" Rachel asked gently.

Quinn laughed softly and shook her head. "That, my dear, is yet another story for another time."

"You say that a lot."

"I do. And, I promise that someday soon I'll try and figure out a way to tell you," Quinn said, her voice soft and warm as her eyes danced over Rachel's features, committing everything about this moment to memory so that she would never forget any of it. The air crackled with electricity as they stared into each other's eyes, and when the urge to lean forward and capture Rachel's lips with her own became too strong to ignore any longer, Quinn cleared her throat and turned her head toward the television across the room. "So, anything good on HBO?"

It was obvious that there was something important Quinn was not telling her, but Rachel did not want to pry. She was incredibly curious, of course, but she was so happy to have found a friend in a person who she had always felt a strong connection to, that she didn't push. Quinn is allowed her secrets, she told herself as she stared at the blonde's profile. She must have stared for too long though, because she suddenly found herself lost in Quinn's questioning gaze. She really does have beautiful eyes.

"You okay, Rach?" Quinn asked gently, purposefully keeping her tone light as she fought the urge to just lean in and kiss her.

Rachel nodded, feeling more than a little confused by the path her thoughts had traveled down. "Yeah," she said as she turned her attention toward the television. "Let's see what's on."

Chapter 5

Two glasses of wine, one amazing salad, and a terrible movie later, Quinn knew that she needed to get going. It was nearly eleven thirty, she had at least a half hour drive ahead of her, and they needed to be on set and in the hair and makeup trailer in less than eight short hours. She knew that she needed to call it a night, but the feeling of Rachel's hand in her own and the sight of the brunette lounging peacefully beside her made it hard to leave. Hard, but not impossible. You'll have the entire course of filming to spend time with her, she reminded herself. Just say goodnight, Fabray. Shooting starts tomorrow, and we're already going to be playing catch-up after not filming today.

Quinn took a deep breath and squeezed Rachel's hand gently. "Rach, I should really get going."

Rachel nodded and gave Quinn an understanding smile. "I know," she said as she crunched herself up to a sitting position. "Thank you for keeping me company tonight."

There's nowhere else I'd rather be. Quinn smiled. "It was my pleasure. This was actually the most fun I've had in longer than I can remember."

Rachel blushed and looked down at their joined hands. She had just been thinking the same thing. "Me too," she confessed softly as she regretfully pulled her hand away from Quinn's. "I'll walk you out."

"You don't have to. I mean, if you're comfortable, there's no reason for you to get up, the door will lock after me," Quinn said as she slid off the bed and began searching for her flip-flops.

Rachel shook her head. There was no way she would ever ask Quinn to see herself out. That was something one did to guests they did not like, and Quinn certainly did not fall into that category. "Its fine, Quinn. Really."

Quinn slipped her feet into her shoes and looked up at Rachel with a bashful smile, beyond pleased to have the opportunity for even a few seconds more with the brunette. "Okay."

Their eyes met across the darkened room and their gazes held for a handful of heartbeats before Rachel tilted her head toward the front door. "Come on, Fabray. You need to get home and get your beauty sleep. Can't have my leading lady looking tired on set tomorrow."

Quinn chuckled under her breath and obediently followed the brunette down the hall, her flip-flops clopping hollowly against the hardwood floors until they stopped in front of the door. She sighed as she watched Rachel's hand wrap around the knob, and she forced herself to smile as it was pulled open. "Thanks again, Rach," she said as she made to slip past the brunette.

Rachel instinctually reached out for Quinn's hand as the blonde passed by, and she pulled Quinn into her arms, not wanting to let her go quite yet. "Thank you," she whispered, her voice low and sincere.

Quinn swallowed thickly and wrapped her arms around Rachel's waist, pulling the smaller woman flush against her. We fit together as perfectly as I'd always imagined. She rested her cheek against the side of Rachel's head and breathed in deeply through her nose, committing everything about to moment to memory. She did not know what had prompted Rachel to hug her, but she was more than willing to linger in the touch for as long as she possibly could.

Rachel, for her part, was equally confused by her actions, but found herself sinking deeper into Quinn's embrace, her body feeling strangely warm and alive everywhere they touched, until the tiny voice of reason inside her head spoke up, telling her that she had already held onto Quinn for far longer than was appropriate. It was with a soft, regretful sigh that she released her hold on her newfound friend and backed way with a small, embarrassed smile. "I'm sorry."

Quinn smiled and reached out to tuck an errant strand of hair behind Rachel's ear, her fingers lingering for the briefest of moments against Rachel's skin before she pulled away. "Never be sorry for that." She forced herself to take a step back as her lips tingled with her need to kiss Rachel. She waved as she began backing down the walk, through arches of overhanging foliage, and called out, "Sweet dreams, Rachel Berry. I'll see you tomorrow."

Rachel laughed lightly and returned the blonde's wave, her smile fading and her arm dropping as she watched Quinn spin on her heel and disappear into the night. She sighed as she stepped back inside the cottage, feeling immeasurably more alone than she ever had before, and closed the door. She padded down the hall and back into the bedroom, her eyes lingering on the pillow that Quinn had been laying against as her heart picked up speed in her chest. She had never felt such a sense of loss after a friend had left her house for the evening before and she could not figure out why the sight of those abandoned pillows made the feeling of loss more pronounced.

"What is going on with me?" she asked herself, her voice sounding lost and confused against the instrumental music spilling from the television, where the credits to the movie they'd watched were still rolling.

Silence and a strange empty feeling in her chest were her only answers as she crawled back onto the bed. Her brow furrowed as she climbed beneath the fluffy white duvet and tried to make sense of what she was feeling. The soft fabric slid smoothly over her legs like the hesitant touch of a reverent lover as she pulled it up over her body and laid back against the pillows. Confused as to why she felt so suddenly alone, she took stock of herself. Her left hand, which had spent the majority of the night wrapped protectively inside Quinn's, tingled, making her feel like she was missing something. Her heart was beating irregularly inside her chest, and, for reasons beyond her understanding, her stomach was twisted into the familiar expectant knot that she got whenever she was about to appear on stage. She knew what she was feeling, but she had no clue as to what it all meant and she was entirely too tired to try and figure it all out.

She grabbed the clicker for the television and switched it off before burrowing deeper beneath the blankets. Exhausted as she was, sleep eluded her. Her mind was too busy trying and failing to make sense of the things she was feeling. She eventually rolled onto her side, her head coming to a stop on the pillow Quinn had lain against, and it was only then, with the smell of Quinn's vanilla-scented shampoo wrapped around her comfortingly, that the darkness of sleep washed over her.

Quinn, for her part, had no such problems identifying what she was feeling. She knew that the feeling in her stomach was that of expectation and missed opportunities brought on by the lingering hug they had shared before she had forced herself to leave. She knew that the tingling in her hand and her arms, was that of a phantom lover's touch. Yes, she knew what she was feeling. She knew what it all meant. But what she did not know was what to do about it.

She was torn. Her heart had latched onto the idea that Rachel might have felt something when they were together. That the fact that Rachel had continued to seek out her hand to hold meant that Rachel had to feel at least a sliver of the affection she held for the brunette. That the little glances she had catch being thrown her way, the soft smiles she had caught being thrown her way out of the corner of her eye, and that that hug--that magical, wonderful hug--all actually meant something. That was what she hoped, but what she feared was that those touches, those looks, that hug, meant nothing more than acceptance and friendship for Rachel. That the smiles were nothing more than Rachel's surprise at how far she had come from her HBIC high school persona. That Rachel was showing her acceptance by purposefully holding her hand. That their hug goodbye was just that. A hug. A hug with no underlying meaning, hidden agenda, or masked feelings of attraction.

"Goddamn it, Q!" she cursed under her breath as she turned onto her street.

This was not good.

She knew she had broken the first rule of lesbianism. Of course, in all honesty, she had broken the 'don't fall for straight girls' rule about nine years ago, but tonight...tonight sealed her fate. There was no way she could spend time with Rachel like she had and not fall even further in love with her. She even found Rachel's absolute helplessness when it came to handling her luggage adorable. She was so far in, so completely head-over-heels, that she knew she was done-for. Screwed. Royally, majorly, fucked.

Which brought her back to her initial problem. What do to about it?

Did she continue on like she had today, letting herself fall further in love with a woman who, most likely, would never return her affections? Or did she pull away, protect her heart, and most likely hurt Rachel in the process? She knew Rachel would not handle the rejection well, especially since she could not just come out and tell her, "Look, I'm in love with you and I'm doing this so that I might have some piece of a broken heart left after you go back to New York".

It was a mess of Puckerman proportions.

"This is so fucked up," she muttered as she climbed out of her car, the garage around her lit only by the headlights of her SUV. She shook her head sadly as she closed the garage door and walked into her house, not even noticing the moonlit waves outside the large windows that stretched across the back of the house.

The house was silent as she trudged up the stairs to her bedroom, lit only by strategically placed night-lights and the ambient light of the full moon that hung low in the sky. She kicked off her shoes and stripped off her clothes as she made her way across her spacious bedroom, her bare feet sinking into plush carpet, and by the time she had reached her bed she was wearing nothing more than her bra and underwear, and a tired, solemn frown.

"What do I do?" she whispered as she climbed into bed and pulled the covers up over her nearly naked body. "What do I do?" she repeated as she rolled onto her back so she could stare out the window onto the ocean. She had bought the house because it allowed her instant access to some okay, usually terrible, occasionally magnificent waves, and normally the smell, the sound, and the sight of the ocean was enough to calm her soul.

Tonight was not shaping up to be one of those times, however.

She laced her fingers behind her head as she shifted her gaze toward her ceiling, hoping to find some kind of an answer there. But there was still nothing. No hint. No sign. No clue. She sighed as she turned her attention back to the windows and she smiled sadly at the moon. She knew what she needed to do. She just hoped she was strong enough to survive the inevitable heartbreak she had suffer for it.

"For better or worse, Rachel Berry," she said to her otherwise empty room, her voice no louder than a breath even though it rang loudly in her ears, "I will be your friend. I will hold your hand if you want me to, and I will gladly accept any hug you want to give me on the hope that someday you might feel something close to what I feel for you. Because I can't hurt you again. I never want to see you hurt or disappointed, so, this time, I'll be the one to take it. I just hope I'm strong enough to survive it."

And with her decision made, she rolled onto her side and fell instantly asleep, her left hand resting comfortably in the middle of the bed as if she were waiting for Rachel to take hold of it again.

Chapter 6

Soft lips ghosted across her own, taunting her with the promise of more, but when she lifted her head to claim them, they were gone and a faint, familiar laugh tickled her ear.

"Nice try, Rach," her lover teased in a voice that was warm and smooth as honey.

She wanted to say something witty, something that would show she was not a slave to the feelings coursing through her body as nimble fingers spiraled slowly around her breasts, but all she could come up with was a strangled, desperate, "Please."

Her lover hummed throatily against her ear, the sound reverberating through her body until it crashed wetly between her legs. She gasped as those teasing fingers finally closed around her nipples, pinching and rolling the hardened nubs and tearing a low moan from her throat.

She turned her head to the side as her lover's lips began blazing a path down her throat, nipping and sucking, and she writhed as that wonderful mouth latched onto her collarbone and sucked against it hungrily. She cried out in pleasure after a particularly forceful suck, not caring that she would most likely have a mark there in the morning, and arched into her lover, silently begging to be touched.

"Rachel," her lover growled, sending another delightful wave of desire coursing through her. She was on fire, every nerve ending in her body was awake and begging to be touched.

"God, baby, please," she sighed as her lover's lips brushed over the plane of her chest and across the swell of her breast, and when warm breath and an agile tongue caressed her nipple she tangled her hands in the sheets to try and ground herself because it felt so goddamn good. Desperate to know who was making her feel so incredible, she lifted her head enough to look down her body at her lover and she groaned as all she could see was the familiar pair of hauntingly beautiful hazel eyes.

She held her lover's gaze as plump lips wrapped around her nipple, sucking it deep inside her lover's hot mouth and tearing yet another feral moan from her lips. She tightened her hold on the sheets as her lover made love to her breasts, winding the white-hot coil of need low in her hips that much tighter with every suck, nip, and lick.

She was gasping and moaning, her hips bucking wildly off of the mattress, searching for contact, for friction, for something to ease the ache that was pulsing between her legs and finally, just when she thought she could not take any more, her lover abandoned her breasts and began trailing a string of kisses over her stomach. She let loose a ragged sigh in relief, and she spread her legs wider as her lover moved lower, a quiet whimper falling from her lips at the feeling of soft skin brushing against her inner thighs. Hot breath falling over her pulled her head up, her eyes immediately searching out her lover as she looked down her body, through the valley between her heaving breasts. She moaned at the sight of lust darkened hazel eyes looking back at her through a curtain of blonde hair as a pink tongue extended past plump lips to trace slow circles around her clit.

"Oh god," she groaned as strong hands wrapped around her thighs and pulled her open wider. Her groan morphed into a guttural moan that shook the rafters as her lover laid a broad, flat lick across her clit, drawing a ragged, "Fuck yes," from her lips as her head fell back onto the mattress and her eyes rolled back in her head.

After that first light, teasing touch, her lover's mouth became ravenous, licking, sucking, nipping everywhere, devouring her whole and driving absolutely insane until with one last flick of a tongue over her clit, she flew over the edge into the blissful embrace of release.

Rachel awoke gasping for air as her body trembled with orgasm, and she groaned as she realized she had had another dream. She had hoped that her dreams would not follow her across the country but, apparently, she had been wrong. Not only had they followed her, they had grown more vivid. And, in that moment, with her body still quaking with the force of her climax, she was not at all sure if that was necessarily a bad thing.

Before, all she had been able to remember was her mysterious lover's eyes. Hazel. But this time there was a voice that was so familiar that she knew, instinctively knew, that she had met its owner at least once--but, for the life of her, she could not place it. She wracked her brain for any other details from her dream that might help her identify her lover, but came up with nothing. All she could remember was beautiful hazel eyes and a hauntingly familiar voice.

She groaned in exasperation at her failed attempt to identify her mysterious lover as she cast a bleary eye onto the alarm clock beside the bed. It was nearly 5:30, which meant that she had gotten a little less than six hours of sleep. She knew the alarm would be going off in fifteen minutes anyways, so she turned it off, rolled out of bed, and shuffled across the room toward the en suite bathroom for a shower. As hot water pounded into her scalp and sluiced down her back, it took the lingering frustration about not knowing her mystery lover's identity with it, leaving her feeling awake and refreshed and excited. It was her first day on set. She was going to be in a movie. And, most importantly of all, she would be seeing Quinn again soon.

Suddenly the day was looking a lot brighter.

Across town, Quinn was just returning home from a punishing early morning run through the deep, loose sand of the beach behind her house. Both her legs and her lungs burned with exertion and, as she reached the low wall that separated her backyard from the boardwalk, she grabbed a bottle of water she had left sitting atop the cinderblock. She drank greedily as she meandered back down onto the sand, dropping unceremoniously onto the ground a few yards away from the wet line that marked the tide to stretch. Normally she went through her cool down routine in her backyard or up on the grass that surrounded the boardwalk, but today, after a restless night spent dreaming of Rachel, she knew she needed all the peace and calm that the Pacific could offer.

She finished her water slowly as she stretched and, when both it and her stretching were finished, she pushed herself back up onto her feet. She absently wiped the sand from her legs as she walked up to her house and by the time she had hit the sliding glass door she had gotten most of it off. A flip of the wrist sent her water bottle flying into the recycle bin with a hollow rattle as she passed through the kitchen and, glancing at the clock on the microwave, she realized that she needed to get moving if she was going to get out to the set on time.

Quinn jumped into the shower and sped through her normal morning routine. Half an hour later, she was climbing into her car, a travel mug full of steaming coffee in her hand. As she flew north on the 405 freeway to Santa Monica Boulevard she had to admit that the best part of early calls was that traffic was almost non-existent. The surface streets were equally empty, and she turned onto Wilton only half an hour after she had left her house. Practically a world-record.

She got to the lot so quickly, in fact, that she was actually fifteen minutes early. She took her time walking from her car to her trailer, enjoying the crisp early-morning, smog-free air. She dropped her bag off and made her way over to hair and makeup, figuring that they were probably there already and just waiting for her and the rest of the cast to show up. She frowned, a feeling of déjà vu overtaking her as she spied Chase flitting nervously in front of the hair and makeup trailer, and she waved hesitantly as she got closer.

"Quinn, thank god!" Chase greeted her.

Quinn faltered at the writer's greeting. "Please tell me nobody else got arrested."

Chase frowned and shook his head. "Nobody got arrested. Rachel's already here and I just wanted to check with you about her preparations since you spent yesterday afternoon with her. Is she really going to be ready?"

"Breathe, Evans." Quinn chuckled and reached out to give his shoulder a reassuring squeeze. "She's fine. When I left her last night, she had the scenes for today and tomorrow down pat, and we're planning on working on the next few days' worth of scenes during our breaks."

"Okay, good," Chase sighed.

Quinn smiled reassuringly at the writer. She knew this was his first big-budget script, so she could empathize with the man's nervousness. "We'll take care of your baby, Chase," she assured him. "Now, for as fun as talking with you is, I need to get in there," she said, tilting her head at the trailer to their right. "So, I'll see you on set?"

Chase nodded and smiled thankfully at Quinn before he turned and disappeared into the sound stage, rolling and unrolling his copy of the script as he walked. The movement seemed to be unconscious, much like a Catholic fingering a set of rosary beads, and part of her wondered if he was offering up a prayer as he did it. Once he was gone she turned toward the trailer, a grin lifting her lips at the knowledge that Rachel was only a few feet away.

The sound of the door opening behind her drew Rachel's attention and she looked up from the magazine she had been staring blankly at for the last ten minutes as she waited for the hair and makeup team to arrive. She was helpless to contain the smile that broke free as her eyes locked onto the mirror, tracking up long, lean legs encased in tight-fitting denim, over a toned torso wrapped in a plain black tee, and past plump, perfect lips until she focused her attention on smiling hazel eyes. "Good morning," she greeted Quinn's reflection.

"Good morning yourself, Ms. Berry," Quinn drawled as she closed the door after herself. As she looked at the brunette, she knew that deciding to leave herself open to the other woman had been the right one because, as she looked into Rachel's big brown eyes, she could not help but fall a little further. Yes, it was probably going to hurt in the end. But, for now, she decided to just go with it. To be friends. To smile and flirt ever so slightly, and see what, if anything, came of it. "Getting an early start to the day, I see. Did you sleep okay?" she asked as she maneuvered herself into the empty chair on Rachel's right.

Rachel groaned as Quinn's question brought her dream back to the forefront of her mind. She nodded, answering the question she could see burning in Quinn's eyes. "As well as I ever do," she said cryptically.

Quinn frowned and turned to look at Rachel. "Everything okay?" she asked quietly as she leaned-in closer.

"Yeah, fine," Rachel said, rolling her eyes as if she were just being silly. Which, she could not help feeling, she was. A sex dream was a sex dream, but she could not get past the feeling that she knew who her mysterious lover was, and that was what bothered her the most. "Just had another weird dream. It's nothing. I get them all the time."

Quinn could tell that Rachel was putting on an 'everything's great' act and instinctively reached out to take the brunette's hand into her own. "You sure?" she asked softly, staring intently into Rachel's eyes. "You wanna talk about it?"

Rachel's breath caught in her throat at the way Quinn's gaze seemed to pierce right through her, leaving her feeling both exhilarated and afraid that Quinn would not like what she saw. She licked her lips and nodded as she put on her best fake smile, intent on assuring Quinn that she really was okay. "Totally sure. And, no. Thank you. Like I said, it's nothing."

Quinn could tell that Rachel was lying, but she allowed the brunette her space, giving her a soft smile and squeezing her hand gently before she pulled away and leaned back in her chair. "So, you ready?"

"Yeah," Rachel answered, feeling both relieved that Quinn didn't push any further and more than a little disappointed that the blonde had released her hand. "From the order of scenes, I guess I'm going first today, huh?"

Quinn nodded and winked at Rachel in the mirror. "May as well start with the best, right?"

"From the way James and the screenwriter were raving about you yesterday, I hardly think that's the case," Rachel replied as a light blush tinted her cheeks from the compliment.

"Yeah right," Quinn laughed. "I've seen you own that Broadway stage, Rach. You're amazing. I'm going to be working my ass off just to try and keep up."

Rachel's brows shot up in surprise as she turned and looked at her companion. "When did you see me on stage?!"

"Lots of times, really. But the last time was last summer. I want to say that it was right before you won your third Tony."

"Why didn't you come backstage to say hi? Or, at least call? I'm sure your agent would have been able to find my phone number somehow..."

Quinn looked down at her jeans, picking at imaginary lint as she shrugged. "Honestly? I didn't think you'd want to see me. You really were spectacular though."

Rachel blushed and smiled, her heart swelling with more pride than even after she had won that third Tony, and it was all because Quinn thought she was good. The small, nagging voice in the back of her mind wondered why she cared so much that Quinn liked her performance, but before it could grow in volume, the door behind them was thrown open to reveal their hair and makeup team.

She met Quinn's gaze and reached out for her, inordinately pleased when Quinn took her hand, and whispered, "I would have loved to have seen you, but thank you."

Quinn smiled and squeezed Rachel's hand affectionately. She ignored the flurry of activity happening behind them as the two women who had just intruded on their conversation busied themselves with readying their supplies. "I'll make sure to remember that next time I fly across the country to see one of your shows," she said softly, holding onto Rachel's hand for a heartbeat longer before reluctantly letting it drop. She sat up straighter in her chair as a drape was tossed around her neck and she closed her eyes as she gave herself over to the stylists. She had learned early-on that the hair, makeup, and wardrobe teams were the biggest gossips on the set, and she had no interest in providing them with any fodder for their coffee break later.

Rachel watched the way Quinn relaxed in her chair, and her eye's lingered over the blonde's profile for a moment before she copied her companion and relaxed back in her own chair and closed her eyes as well. She was still tired, and it was going to be a long day. She knew that she needed to rest while she could.

Chapter 7

Filming began without a hitch, and by lunch they had even managed to make up a little ground on the work that they had missed the day before. Now it was late afternoon, and Chase Evans was standing off to the side of the sound stage behind the mess of cameras and cables, with a well-worn copy of the script in his hand as he watched Quinn channel Detective Charlie Conway just as she had existed inside his mind. This, watching actors take the characters he had written and bring them to life, was his favorite part of writing, and he smiled as Quinn glowered and delivered her next line of dialogue with perfect timing and just the right amount of snarky bitchiness.

She was good. Really, really good.

A shadow to his right, inching closer to the set, drew his attention and, as he looked closer, he could tell that it was Rachel. The Broadway star had been everything he had hoped she would be in her take earlier that morning, and all of his doubts and fears about her being ready had disappeared the moment she had stepped onto her mark and opened her mouth. He tapped his script against his thigh as he abandoned his vantage point to sidle up beside the brunette, who looked absolutely entranced by Quinn's performance.

"Not bad, huh?" he said softly, pulling Rachel's attention away from the set where Quinn was waving her arms emphatically with whatever line of dialogue she had just delivered.

Rachel licked her lips and nodded as she turned to find the screenwriter standing right beside her. "She's amazing," she said honestly, her eyes drifting away from the writer and back to Quinn who was now standing with her hands on her hips and her head dropped in defeat.

"AND CUT!" the director's voice boomed over the sound stage.

Quinn looked up and smiled at Ryan Shields, the actor playing her Captain, and smiled. She obliged the burly, bald-headed man by giving him a high five, her hand practically disappearing into his giant paw, before they sauntered off of the set and wandered off into different directions. She waded through a sea of grips, techs, and prop masters as she passed out of the lights and into the shadows, her eyes busy scanning the crowd for Rachel.

Chase watched a genuine smile break free across Quinn's face as her eyes landed on Rachel and, as he glanced at the brunette, he was a little surprised to see that she was wearing an identical grin. Interesting, he thought to himself as Rachel launched herself at Quinn and practically tackled her to the floor.

"Jesus, Rach!" Quinn laughed as she struggled to catch the excited brunette. She adjusted her grip and wrapped her arms around Rachel's waist as Rachel's arms snaked around her neck. Her breath caught in her throat at the proximity of Rachel's lips and she tried to cover it up by playfully asking, "What was that for?"

"You're amazing!" Rachel said earnestly, hugging Quinn even tighter. "So good, Quinn. Really."

Quinn blushed and squeezed Rachel back gently before carefully setting her back down onto the floor. "Thank you," she said softly. "You ready for our first big scene together?"

Rachel nodded and tucked her hair behind her ears. "I am."

Finally seeing Chase standing off to the side, Quinn turned to the writer and grinned. "So, what did you think?"

Chase laughed. "I think Ms. Berry wrapped my thoughts up pretty well."

Quinn arched a brow and grinned. "You're not going to jump on me too, are you?"

"I think I'll leave the jumping to her," he said, tilting his head at Rachel.

"Thank god," Quinn sighed in mock relief.

Chase rolled his eyes good-naturedly and looked over at the set where James Moore was pointing something out to one of the cameramen. "I think they're going to be ready for you soon."

Quinn glanced back at the set and nodded. "Come on, Rach. Let's go show these fools how it's done."

"You sound so sure of yourself," Rachel teased as she fell into step beside Quinn.

"Well, what can I say," Quinn drawled, looking over at Rachel and grinning impishly. "A three-time Tony Award winning actress just told me I was amazing. I'm not going to argue with that."

Rachel laughed and smacked Quinn's arm affectionately before she reached down and slipped her hand inside the blonde's. "I would never argue with somebody who has that résumé either."

Quinn rolled her eyes. "I'm sure you'd find a way," she teased as she gave Rachel's hand a light squeeze to reassure her that she was just playing around.

Rachel tightened her hold on Quinn's hand and pulled them both to a stop. "Hey!"

Quinn smirked as she turned to look at the brunette. "What?"

"I am not argumentative."

"Says the diva as she argues her point," Quinn murmured, just loud enough for Rachel to hear. She is so freaking cute when she gets riled up like this.

"You know what? I take it back. You're not amazing."

Quinn pulled her hand away and crossed her arms over her chest as she stuck her lower lip out in a pout. "That hurts, Rach."

Rachel rolled her eyes and shook her head at Quinn's antics, even though she found them completely endearing. "That's bad."

"Is not."

Rachel bit her lip as she looked at the blonde for a moment before she conceded with a soft laugh and a nod. "You're right. It's absolutely adorable."

Quinn grinned and waved at Rachel to go ahead of her through the narrow passage between the large cameras, holding her hand out just in case she tripped over the myriad of cables that littered the floor. "I knew you'd cave," she whispered against Rachel's ear as she passed.

Rachel just shook her head and opted not to comment as she strode across the brightly lit section of the set to where the director was standing.

James Moore was still in discussion with his main cameraman, talking about lighting and angles and how they would circle around the two women as they played out the scene. He looked up from the schematic he was showing the cameraman as Quinn hopped up onto one of the drab, olive green desks they'd procured to furnish the bullpen set, and smiled as he pushed his reading glasses up onto his head, the lenses sitting high on his dirty blonde hair. "You ladies ready?"

Rachel leaned against the edge of the desk, her hip brushing against the side of Quinn's knee, and nodded. "We're ready whenever you are."

Moore nodded, the smile disappearing from his face as he got down to business. "All right then. I want you two to run through the scene however you'd planned and we'll see what we got. I'll make changes from there."

Quinn nodded and slid off of the desk. "You got it."

Rachel nodded her agreement and watched as the director and the cameraman disappeared into the shadows surrounding their set. She smiled at Quinn as a handful of extras filtered in around them, some taking their positions at the empty desks while others stood off to the side with file folders and sheets of papers in their hands, ready to stroll across the set at their mark, similar to how minor characters would hover just off stage in the theatre. She found the similarities between filming and the stage comforting, and what lingering doubts she had about whether or not she could really do this faded from her mind.

Quinn watched Rachel as the brunette took in everything that was happening around them and smiled at the almost childlike wonder that was sparkling in the smaller woman's eyes. She really is so beautiful, she thought to herself, continuing to stare unabashedly at Rachel until the brunette's big brown eyes landed on her.


"Nothing." Quinn smiled and reached out to run her fingers down the length of Rachel's arm before she walked away to take her place, swiping up an extra file folder off of a desk as she went.

Rachel's breath hitched in her throat at the soft touch, but before she could really ponder what had just happened, the director called for everybody's attention.

"HERE WE GO, PEOPLE!" James' voice boomed. "ACTION!"

Quinn looked up from the file she was 'reading' and looked disdainfully at Rachel across the squad room. She sighed as she closed the folder and started toward the brunette, the extras flowing seamlessly out of her way as a cameraman just off to her left tracked her movement. She held Rachel's gaze captive as she approached, and purposefully stopped just inside the smaller woman's personal space. She crossed her arms over her chest and gave Rachel a thorough once-over, her face showing that she was not at all impressed, as she said, "Detective Hayden Walker."

Rachel tilted her head to the side and arched her brow in a way that quite clearly said she was not intimidated by the taller woman's antics. "Detective Charlie Conway. Charmed, I'm sure."

Quinn tensed her jaw, grinding her teeth together. Her character was not pleased with being saddled with a freshly promoted detective for a partner. Especially one who had a reputation of ignoring protocol and winging-it in order to make her collars. She stared at Rachel for a few seconds, challenging the brunette to look away first, and when that did not happen, she rolled her eyes and shrugged in defeat. "We have a case," she said, slapping the file folder she was holding against Rachel's chest. "Read up while I drive us out there."

Rachel frowned at Quinn's retreating back as she flipped open the file folder, purposefully not moving to follow. Her character was a bit of a rebel and would not take kindly to being ordered around like that by somebody who was supposed to be her equal. So she stood beside the desk and read the daily horoscopes that were tucked into the folder, which informed her that love was apparently on the horizon for her, until Quinn's voice called out coldly. "Detective Walker. Now."

She smirked as she closed the file and tossed it onto a desk before she sauntered toward Quinn, holding her beautiful hazel eyes captive as she passed. "You coming, detective?" she drawled over her shoulder as she made her way out the door of the precinct.

"AND CUT!" James' voice called out. "LOVELY, GIRLS. JUST LOVELY!"

Quinn grinned and turned around to find Rachel only a few feet away, wearing an identical smile. "That was fun, huh?"

Rachel nodded. It certainly had been fun, even if she had felt as if she had been suddenly confronted with a frighteningly controlled version of high school Quinn. But, rather than bringing up any negative emotions, it just reinforced the fact to her that Quinn was not the same girl she used to be. "You were quite intimidating," she said.

Quinn blushed. "Well, you know. I had lots of practice growing up. You, however, were perfectly sassy."

Across the room, hidden in the darkness, James Moore was hunched over a small monitor that was playing the scene they had just shot, trying to spot any areas that he wanted to change.

"Talk about eye-sex," he muttered to himself as he watched Charlie stare Hayden down. Quinn and Rachel had nailed the simmering hostility that bordered on unrestrained sexual tension that he'd been hoping for on their first take.

"Good, huh?" Chase said as he peered over the director's shoulder, knowing that what was captured by the camera was always so different than what played out before his eyes.

"Fucking perfect," James chuckled. "The chemistry between those two is amazing."

Thinking back to the women's earlier interactions, Chase nodded. "There is definitely chemistry there."

James nodded absently and stuck his hands into the back pockets of his jeans as he turned from the monitor to look at the set, trying to decide where he wanted a camera placed to try and get a better view of Rachel's face. Quinn's eyes were smoldering in that first take and he figured that if Rachel's showed even half of that emotion on a retake, they could be done with the scene in just two takes. "This is going to be fun, Evans," James said with a smirk as he turned on his heel and began directing the camera crew into their new positions.

Six hours, four more scenes, and a couple of handfuls of M&Ms later, Quinn found herself leaning against the side of the wardrobe trailer waiting for Rachel to finish changing into her street clothes. After their last scene had required her to purposefully dump a Big Gulp of Diet Coke onto Rachel's lap, she had promised the brunette dinner to make up for it. She knew it was all in character and that Rachel did not mind, but the whole spilling drinks on Rachel thing was hauntingly familiar enough for her to feel like she needed to make amends.

She smiled as she spied the familiar silhouette of James Moore walking toward her. As always, the director was in a pair of battered Asics running shoes, jeans, and a polo shirt, and she found the predictability comforting. He had been the director of her very first movie, so to be working with him again was a real treat.

James grinned as he sidled up to the blonde. "How's it going, Q? Haven't had a chance to talk to you since all hell broke loose yesterday morning."

Quinn chuckled. "It's going good, James. Honestly, I like how this is shaping up with Rachel as Hayden instead of Tyson."

"You two were amazing together," James said. "Really amazing."

Quinn blushed and nodded. "Thanks."

"Why you hanging out here?"

Quinn bobbed her head from side to side and shrugged. "I promised Rachel dinner to make up for chucking that coke at her earlier."

"So what's the story with you two?" James asked as he copied Quinn's posture and leaned back against the side of the trailer.

Quinn turned and looked at the director. "What do you mean?"

"Eh." James shrugged. "From the way you two acted in my office yesterday, I knew you were at least familiar with each other, but after watching you with her today, the chemistry..."

"It's not like that," Quinn said quickly even though she dearly wished it were exactly like that. "We went to high school together. Sang in the same Glee Club, if you can believe it."

"I believe it," James said. "I remember how you killed that karaoke scene in Sneak."

Quinn laughed. "That's right. God, please never bring that up again. I'd like to go back to pretending that isn't recorded on film for all time."

"Why? You were good," James argued.

"Good at what?" Rachel asked as she skipped down the steps of the wardrobe trailer.

"Nothing," Quinn answered quickly.

Rachel looked at Quinn carefully and shook her head. "I don't believe you. Good at what?" she asked again, this time directing her question at James.

James grinned at the two women's interaction. "Singing. She did a karaoke scene in her first movie with me that was amazing."

"It wasn't amazing," Quinn argued. "It was painful."

"Hardly," Rachel scoffed. "Quinn, you have a great voice. What song did she sing?"

James jammed his hands into his pockets and grinned. "I Kissed a Girl."

Rachel laughed, finding the song choice highly appropriate as her thoughts flashed back to what Quinn told her the day before about how the blonde ended up coming to terms with her sexuality. "I can see her doing a good job with that one."

Quinn groaned and grabbed Rachel's arm. "Okay, enough of you two ganging up on me. I don't sing. Rachel, let's get going. James, we'll see you in the morning," she said as she steered Rachel away from the wardrobe trailer.

James laughed. "Have fun, you two," he called after them, his smile growing wider as Quinn turned to glare at him.

"You know, I think we should go do karaoke one night," Rachel said thoughtfully as she allowed Quinn to drag her toward the parking lot.

"Of course you do," Quinn muttered.

Rachel threaded her hand through Quinn's arm and pulled herself in close to the blonde. "Can we go do karaoke one night, Quinn? Please? I really do need to keep my voice in shape while I'm away from the stage."

Quinn's brow dropped and she turned her head to look at Rachel who was giving her the sweetest fake-innocent look she had ever seen. "That's playing dirty, Berry."

Rachel grinned. "Yay! Okay, so, this weekend?"

Quinn rolled her eyes and shrugged. "We can do whatever and go wherever you'd like, Rachel. Just as long as you remember that I don't sing."

Rachel laughed and leaned in to drop a quick kiss to the blonde's cheek. "We'll see about that," she whispered, her lips ghosting over Quinn's cheek.

Quinn bit her lip to contain the whimper that wanted to escape as the feeling of Rachel's lips against her skin sent a frisson of desire rolling down her spine. You're friends. Just friends. Friends don't jump friends, Fabray, she reminded herself.

Rachel watched Quinn's eyes darken and she was struck by the nearly overwhelming urge to kiss the blonde properly. What is going on with me? she thought as she turned her attention back to where they were walking.

"Why don't we take your car back to your hotel and then I can just drive us to the restaurant," Quinn suggested, her voice a little lower and rougher than usual.

Rachel licked her lips and nodded. "Sounds good to me," she agreed softly, her breath hitching in her throat as her eyes met Quinn's. Why is it that I never really noticed how beautiful her eyes were before?

Chapter 8

Rachel looked at the sign hanging off the side of an immaculately restored 1920s era brick building in Echo Park and smiled. "Sage Organic Vegan Bistro," she read aloud. "This is the second vegan restaurant you've taken me to. Have you given up bacon?"

Quinn smiled and shook her head. "Not entirely. I have cut back on how much I eat though. I just like to eat healthy and have managed to find a few places like this around the city."

Rachel tucked her hand into the crook of Quinn's arm and smiled up at the blonde. "Well, I must say, I am very impressed, Miss Fabray."

Quinn chuckled and reached for the door. "Then my day is now officially complete." She pulled the door open, her smile growing wider as Rachel refused to let go of her arm and instead steered the both of them through the narrow doorway.

"Oh wow." Rachel came to a stop just inside the restaurant. The bistro was spread wide open in front of them, full of small square tables covered with pristine white tablecloths that were nearly all occupied by people who were talking and laughing as the waitstaff bustled about. It was busy, crowded, a little loud, but the restaurant still had extremely relaxed vibe to it.

The hostess, a pretty twenty-something redhead who was definitely checking Quinn out, led them through a maze of tables to a quiet spot in the back. "Is this okay?" she asked, ignoring Rachel completely as she sought Quinn's approval.

Quinn groaned inwardly at the girl's attention even as she smiled and nodded. "Perfect. Thank you," she said dismissively as she pulled a chair out for Rachel to sit, hoping that the young girl would get the hint and leave her alone. She heard a huff of a breath and the sound of retreating feet and when she took her own seat, she was pleased to see that the girl had left.

Rachel, for her part, had immediately caught on to the young woman's interest in Quinn, and she was surprised to realize that, far from being amused by the fact, she instead felt mildly jealous. Or, if she was being truly honest with herself, her level of jealously was nowhere near mild. "I think she's into you," she pointed out, trying hard to keep her tone neutral as she picked up her menu.

"I noticed," Quinn muttered, rolling her eyes. "At least it was just the hostess and we won't have to deal with her anymore."

Quinn's disinterest in the other woman was obvious, and Rachel found herself relaxing because of it. "Does that happen to you a lot?"

Quinn frowned as she reached for her own menu. "Does what happen a lot?"

"Women just falling over themselves in front of you like that."

"Um," Quinn stalled, a light blush creeping up her neck. "Define 'a lot'."

The idea of enough women trying to get Quinn's attention that the blonde wanted a definition of 'a lot' was distinctly upsetting to Rachel, and she pursed her lips thoughtfully as she appraised the woman across from her. Quinn was smart, funny, beautiful, kind, and talented. It made perfect sense that other women would want her. "Never mind. Of course women are attracted to you," she said as she looked back at her menu, hoping to distract herself from her confusing thoughts with the task of finding something she wanted for dinner. "Who wouldn't be?" she muttered under her breath.

Quinn's frown deepened as she watched Rachel's expression shift from curious, to jealous, to upset. It was quite a range of emotions to be hit in such a short period of time, even for Rachel, and she could not help but wonder if James' observation about the chemistry between the two of them had been right on. She was curious and wanted to ask Rachel about what had just happened, but she could tell that the brunette wanted to drop it for now, so she just opened her menu and did not press her on it.

The strange tension that had developed between them eased as their waiter--a very pretty, very gay man in his late twenties or early thirties who reminded Quinn of Sam Evans for some reason--took their orders and promised to be right back with their drinks.

"So, what did you think of your first official day on set?" Quinn asked after he left, directing their conversation to safer, more general topics.

Rachel had been waiting for Quinn to break the silence that had developed between them and she was relieved that the blonde avoided asking her about her obviously jealous reaction earlier. Until she figured out for herself why she felt such jealousy over the hostess' interest in her companion, she would just like for it to be left alone, so she went along with Quinn's attempt with perhaps a little more enthusiasm than the question warranted. "It was fun. Tomorrow is more of the same?"

Quinn nodded. The next day was Wednesday, and she and Rachel had a relatively easy shooting schedule with only a handful of scenes slated to be filmed--the majority of the work tomorrow was going to be done by the 'bad guys' their characters were chasing. "Pretty much. More official police-type stuff. I think we get to interview a suspect or something, that's always fun. We'll also have a decent chunk of down-time in the middle of the day if you want to run through the script again."

"I think I'd like that."

"Me too," Quinn said, smiling warmly at Rachel.

Rachel returned Quinn's smile as she smoothed her hands over her lap and tried to think of something to say that would distract her from her unexpected bout of jealousy. "Why don't you sing anymore?"

Quinn bit her lip and shrugged. "It's not like I don't sing at all, I just don't sing for other people anymore. I was never good at it like you."

"I always thought you had a beautiful voice."

Quinn grinned and hiked a brow playfully. "Even when I was pitchy?"

Rachel had the grace to blush as she shook her head. "Yeah, immature me was rather annoying, wasn't she? You were never really pitchy. I just couldn't stand the idea of you being better at singing than me."

Quinn rolled her eyes and scoffed, "Like I was ever anywhere near as good as you. Everybody in Lima knew how talented you were. Are," she corrected herself quickly. "I was just good at pretending to be somebody I wasn't. Which, I guess, is how I ended up in acting."

Rachel looked ready to say something in response, but she held her tongue as their waiter reappeared with the drinks. A glass of red and a water, each. She reached out and played with the stem of her wine glass as she looked at Quinn. She wanted to ask the blonde about her 'pretending to be somebody I wasn't' comment, but she had a feeling that would either lead to a serious conversation she wasn't ready for, or she would be rebuffed with yet another 'that's a story for another time'. So, instead, she said, "Will you sing when we go to karaoke this weekend?"

Quinn rolled her eyes and nodded, knowing that she would never be able to refuse Rachel anything that was in her power to provide. "If you really want me to, yes. Is there a particular night you'd like to go?"

Rachel smiled and shook her head, feeling momentarily lonely at the idea of spending the weekend by herself in a new city. "No. I honestly don't know what I'm going to do this weekend, so we can go whenever it'd work best for you."

It was obvious to Quinn that Rachel meant what she said, but she could also see a slight shadow of something flash in the brunette's expressive eyes that tugged at her heartstrings. She guessed it was the idea of spending the weekend alone that had Rachel a little bothered, and she immediately thought of the perfect solution. She wasn't exactly looking forward to spending her weekend alone either, especially knowing that Rachel was so close. She knew it would not be the easiest weekend she had ever had, but once the idea of spending it with Rachel wormed its way into her mind she could think of no reason not to do it. "Well, how about if you come stay at my house this weekend? We can just hang out and do a movie night or something on Friday and then Saturday night we can go do karaoke, stay out late, drink too much, and just have fun. And Sunday we can sleep it all off so we can start shooting again bright and early Monday morning."

The idea of spending the entire weekend with Quinn brought a big smile to Rachel's face even as a handful of butterflies fluttered in her stomach. "I think that sounds like a lot of fun. You're sure I won't be imposing?"

Quinn shook her head. "I usually surf for a few hours in the mornings, but the rest of the weekend I'm generally busy running errands or just hanging out at home. I'm quite boring, actually, you might want to try and find somebody else to spend the weekend with."

"I like boring. Wait, not that I'm calling you boring, because you're not. You're amazing. It's just..." Rachel's voice trailed off as Quinn started laughing. "I'm shutting up now."

"Please don't," Quinn chuckled.

Rachel pouted adorably and, when Quinn's laughter had begun to wane, said, "Hush. You surf?"

"I do." Quinn reached for her wine glass. It had been something she picked up while in college, and from her first time out she had been addicted to the serenity of the ocean, the smell of the water, the burn in her shoulders as she paddled out, and the rush that went through her as she caught a wave. "You want to try? I have an extra wetsuit that should fit you okay enough if we cuff it a little at your ankles and wrists," she offered, her mind already running to the gutter with the idea of helping Rachel into the skintight neoprene suit. "We can take my old longboard out and I bet we can get you up on your feet within a couple hours."

"You really think you can teach me how to surf?"

Quinn smiled. "Sure. You'll be a regular Stephanie Gilmore by the time you're done here."

Rachel frowned. "Who?"

"She's one of the best female surfers in the world," Quinn said, thinking that having to explain it kind of took the fun out of the comment.

"Oh." Rachel smiled. "Well, okay then. I'm going to hold you to that. By the time we're done filming, I expect to be a world class surfer."

"And if you're not?" Quinn teased.

"I have every confidence that you'll live up to your billing," Rachel said cheekily as she winked at the blonde.

"Pressure's on, huh? Can I call you Gidget?"

Rachel laughed. "Only if I can call you Moondoggie."

Rachel looked thoughtfully out the window as Quinn drove down the 101 freeway toward West Hollywood. Their dinner had actually ended up to be quite enjoyable as they both relaxed into what was becoming their usual teasing banter, both of them silently agreeing to just ignore what had happened when they had arrived at the restaurant. In the natural silences that settled between topics of conversation, she found herself watching Quinn carefully, her gaze focused on the blonde's lips, her eyes, the sexy way her throat worked when she swallowed. It was sometime around dessert, an absolutely sinful vegan pecan ice cream, that she realized that she was looking at Quinn in the same way she would look at a potential lover. That thought knocked the breath right out of her and their conversation, which had been flowing smoothly until that point, stalled as she tried to wrap her head around her epiphany.

Do I really want Quinn as a lover? she wondered to herself as she fell into warm hazel eyes. She is beautiful. And so incredibly sweet. Her lips look so soft... and why am I staring at her hands as she talks?

What lingering remnants of her jealousy that had remained through their dinner were extinguished when, upon leaving, Quinn turned down the hostess' blatant attempt to give the blonde her number. She had been a little surprised by the, That's right, she's mine, thought that had flashed through her head when Quinn had pointedly set the business card the redhead had given her back down onto the podium; but as she walked out the door with Quinn's hand placed protectively against the small of her back, she stopped questioning it.

Rachel Barbara Berry had never been one to lie to herself about what she was thinking or feeling, and she was not about to start now. Now that she understood what it was that she was thinking and feeling, that is. Her inexplicable attraction to Quinn was surprising, of course, as she had never really found herself attracted to women in the past, but she was not close-minded enough to ignore it.

But what do I do about it? she wondered as she turned her head to look at Quinn, drinking in the blonde's profile as it was highlighted by the headlights of the oncoming traffic. She was not denying her attraction to the other woman, quite the opposite, actually--she was accepting it--but she did not know what to do with it. Women were a new frontier for her. Men were easy. Give them a come-hither smile and flash a little cleavage and they were like an excitable puppy, bounding around your feet, ready and eager to please. She did not know what Quinn liked.

She did not even know if Quinn was attracted to her.

What if she wasn't? She knew Quinn was a lesbian, but that did not mean the blonde would be interested in her. They had just formed a friendship after seven years apart. Did she really want to risk this fragile, newfound connection? After only thirty-six hours she already felt closer to and more comfortable with Quinn than she ever had with anybody else. Friend or lover or whatever. Quinn made her feel safe and protected. Quinn made her laugh. Quinn challenged her professionally because the blonde truly was an amazing actress.

Was telling Quinn that she was attracted to her worth the risk of losing all that?

Quinn could tell that Rachel was once again lost in her head so she turned up the radio and left the brunette to her thoughts, occasionally casting a quick glance in the smaller woman's direction. She was finally forced to break the silence that had settled between them when she pulled up in front of the gate to the private street behind the Chateau Marmont. "Rach, I need the key," she said softly.

Rachel nodded and dug the electric keycard out of her purse and handed it to Quinn, carefully avoiding touching the blonde. Now that she was aware of her attraction, her body literally ached to touch Quinn. And she did not trust herself to do that. Not yet, anyway.

Quinn frowned at the way Rachel handed her the key. Rachel had been so touchy-feely up until what she was beginning to think of as the disastrous beginning to their dinner, and now Rachel would not even make eye contact with her. It hurt a lot more than she expected it to. But, she had promised herself the night before that she would do and be whatever and whoever Rachel needed her to be, so she swallowed her discomfort and quickly swiped the key before handing it wordlessly back to Rachel. She drove slowly down the narrow, alley-like street, and she stopped just in front of the lit path that would take Rachel to her cottage.

She cleared her throat quietly and tried to smile at Rachel. It felt forced and fake and she was sure it looked more like a grimace than a smile, but it was the best she could come up with under the circumstances. "So, I'll see you tomorrow?"

Rachel licked her lips and nodded. She could tell that Quinn was feeling unsure of herself, but she did not know what to tell the blonde just yet. She just needed to get some space to think and, though she hated the fact that it was hurting Quinn, she did not know what else to do. "Of course. We are filming, aren't we? Thank you so much for dinner, Quinn. I... I had a great time."

Quinn reached out and tucked an errant strand of hair behind Rachel's ear. "You okay, Rach?" she asked softly, her eyes dancing over the brunette's face, searching for some clue as to what Rachel was thinking.

Rachel's heart kathumped in her chest at Quinn's soft touch, and she nodded jerkily. "Yes. Of course. I think I'm just tired." She reached for the door handle. "Still haven't adjusted to the time change. Thanks again, Quinn."

Quinn's brow furrowed in confusion as Rachel fumbled with the door handle and spilled inelegantly out of the car. "Sweet dreams, Rachel," she said softly, so softly the words barely carried past her lips, as Rachel slammed the door shut and started down the path to her cottage, never once looking back.

Quinn did not realize until Rachel was gone how much she had been looking forward to another goodnight hug from the brunette.

Chapter 9

Early the next morning, Rachel awoke, once again, flushed, sweaty, and painfully aroused even as her body trembled with orgasm. The dream was a different variation on the same theme, her mysterious lover guiding her slowly to the edge and holding here there, on the cusp of release, until her body burned with desire and her lungs ached for oxygen. Oxygen that was wasted on her screams and cries and mewls of pleasure. The only difference was that this time, when those beautiful hazel eyes looked at her, she knew exactly to whom they belonged. She recognized them and the curtain of blonde hair they peered through, and when she did finally come undone, it was with Quinn's name on her lips.

That was definitely a new development.

Her mysterious lover was no longer a nameless, faceless entity. Her nighttime lover had a face. A face so beautiful she was certain it could make angles cry. And a name. Yes, more than anything, it was the name that belonged to her dream lover that had her heart beating an irregular staccato in her chest.

"Quinn," she whispered roughly as she clutched the wrinkled bed sheet to her chest.

She replayed what she could remember of some of her past dreams, and she realized that it had always been Quinn who had danced just beyond the grasp of her consciousness. But why would she suddenly start dreaming about Quinn after so many years? The dreams had started, what, two years ago? She tried to think. No, not two years ago, that was just when they started happening more regularly. Now that she was really focusing on the dreams, she realized that they had been occurring much less frequently for much longer than that. They had been happening ever since...

"Oh my god," she murmured, her right hand lifting to cover her mouth that had formed a perfect O in understanding and disbelief.

They had been happening since her senior year of high school. Had it been Quinn this entire time? Had her subconscious been trying to tell her she wanted Quinn for the last eight, almost nine, years? She nodded slowly to herself as she admitted that yes, that was probably the case. She had always thought Quinn was beautiful and, sure, they had fought over boys all through high school, but why? Why did she always have to have the boy Quinn had? Of course, now that she was questioning herself and her motives, the answer was perfectly clear. She wanted the boys Quinn wanted because it was the closest she could get to admitting to herself--her determined to prove to the world that having two fathers didn't necessarily mean that she was going to be gay like everybody always told her self--that she wanted the girl instead.

And, as her body tingled with the aftereffects of her dream-induced orgasm, she had to admit that she really, really wanted Quinn.

But what was she supposed to do about it? Nothing had changed from the night before. She was still concerned about risking her fledgling friendship with Quinn over what could very well be her one-sided attraction. But this latest epiphany of exactly how long she had been wanting Quinn brought forth an entirely new and different set of complications.

First and foremost was her impending weekend-long sleepover at Quinn's house. Should she still go? She had told Quinn that she would, but that was before she had been smacked in the face with her attraction to the blonde.

The answer to that question was an easy, and simultaneously complicated, yes.

She could not bear the thought of hurting Quinn, and she knew that suddenly revoking her acceptance would do just that. So, even though spending the weekend alone with Quinn would be hard because she wanted her as much more than just a friend, she knew she had to go.

And that brought forth a second, more agonizing set of questions. Could she really let this opportunity pass her by? Could she let Quinn go without at least trying to see if she returned her affections?

The answer to those questions were also simple and undeniably complicated because she knew that she could not just ignore her attraction. She had been haunted by the idea of the blonde for too long to do nothing about it.

But what should she do?

She knew that if she just walked up to Quinn and blurted out that she was attracted to her, that Quinn would think she was insane. No, she could not approach this...this...thing with Quinn in her usual straightforward manner. She needed to test the waters. She needed to try and see if Quinn had any feelings for her that were not purely platonic.

She needed to flirt and see how Quinn responded to it.

The sun was just beginning to peek over the ridge of mountains that surrounded Los Angeles as Quinn pulled into her parking space at the Paramount lot. She glanced at her reflection in her rearview mirror as she killed the engine, and groaned softly. Makeup was going to have to work overtime on her today to try and hide the black bags under her eyes. Rachel's strange behavior the night before had kept her awake, tossing and turning until the early hours of the morning, and she had netted maybe two hours of sleep. If that. She was completely, utterly exhausted, and her head just wouldn't stop spinning.

Did I do something wrong? Did I do or say something that gave away how deeply I care for her? Would that have made her so uncomfortable?

She was pretty much certain that she had done something to set Rachel on edge because the brunette had been perfectly fine before dinner, but, for the life of her, she couldn't figure out what, exactly, it was that she had done. She knew Rachel reacted jealously toward the over-attentive hostess, but she had not flirted with the girl and had even gone so far as to make sure that Rachel saw her leave the card with the girl's number on the hostess' station, so that could not be it. Not that Rachel had any right to be jealous since they were just friends, but still.

Maybe the fact that she reacted jealously means she feels something more than just friendship for me.

She rolled her eyes as the hopeful thought crossed her mind once again. Coupled with the 'what did I do wrong?' question, this was the thought that had really kept her up all night long. She was pretty sure that it was not the case at all, but the thought would not leave her alone.

"Not even forty-eight hours with her and she's already driving me insane. Again," Quinn groaned as she dropped her head onto her steering wheel. She considered banging her head on it a few times to try and knock some sense into herself, but past experience had proven that that approach did not really accomplish anything, so she decided to give the hair and makeup people a break. They were going to have a hard enough time with her eyes, she did not need to give them a giant red mark on her forehead to try and deal with as well.

Because Quinn had her head resting against her steering wheel, she did not see Rachel's little rented Mercedes pull into the spot next to hers. And, because of the deafening conversation taking place inside her mind, she did not hear the brunette's car door slam shut either. So when Rachel knocked lightly on her window, she literally startled in her seat and just about had a heart attack. "Jesus, Rachel," she muttered as she placed a hand over her racing heart. "Very funny," she said as she opened her door, smiling in spite of herself at the melodious sound of Rachel's laughter.

"S-sorry!" Rachel squeaked between fits of giggles. "God, Quinn, you should have seen your face!"

Quinn rolled her eyes. "Paybacks are a bitch. Just remember that."

"You wouldn't dare." Rachel smiled and batted her lashes at Quinn who, she noticed, looked really tired. She felt an immediate pang of regret as she noticed the dark circles under the blonde's eyes, somehow knowing that her behavior the night before was the cause of them.

"Oh, you think so, do you?" Quinn slammed her door shut and tried to glare impressively down at Rachel, who was looking especially sexy that morning in a pair of skinny jeans and a fitted red t-shirt.

Rachel nodded and flashed Quinn a megawatt smile. "I do."

Beyond pleased that Rachel seemed to be back to her old self, Quinn smirked and hiked a brow challengingly. "Well, then, I guess we'll just have to see about that, huh?"

"Bring it on, Fabray," Rachel retorted as she reached for Quinn's hand.

Quinn was surprised at the way Rachel reached for her hand after the way she had avoided touching her the night before, but she smiled as she felt the brunette twine their fingers together. "Don't tempt me, small fry," she said, but her voice had slipped from playfully threatening to warm and amused, so her words carried none of the weight she had intended them to. And, as she looked down into warm chocolate colored eyes, she had to admit that she was okay with that.

Rachel squeezed Quinn's hand as she looked up at her and winked. "Small is cute."

It was the wink. The playful, somewhat sassy wink that threw Quinn. She tilted her head ever so slightly to the side as she studied Rachel's expression. Rachel's eyes were dancing with mirth and her lips were pulled up in a dangerously sexy smirk as they stared at each other. Her mind raced, trying to pinpoint what exactly was different, but she could not quite put her finger on it.

"Well?" Rachel prodded after Quinn had stared at her for what felt like forever without responding.

"You're right. Small is absolutely adorable," Quinn murmured softly in agreement as she started walking toward the set, tugging a surprised Rachel along after her.

Rachel grinned and did a quick double-step to catch up to Quinn so that they were walking side-by-side, their hands swinging lightly between them. She noticed that they got more than a few surprised-glances from people as they passed but she didn't give them a second thought. She was just enjoying the feeling of walking with Quinn and holding the blonde's hand. Nothing else mattered so far as she was concerned.

On set later that afternoon, Rachel smiled as she sashayed over to where Quinn was chatting amiably with the suspect they were interrogating. The man was huge. Easily six-foot-five and two hundred and fifty pounds, with a shaved head and fake tattoos that were incredibly menacing even though she knew that they would wash off with just a little bit of scrubbing.

Quinn looked over at Rachel as the brunette stopped beside her and grinned. "How you doing, Rach?"

"Pretty good. James says he want to try the scene one last time."

"Figures," Dalton Igo, the burly actor they'd been terrorizing all afternoon, said understandingly. "I think they're trying to get a better angle on this one here." He hiked a thumb in Rachel's direction. "Girlfriend's fierce when she goes all badass."

Rachel beamed. "Well, thank you so much, Dalton. I must say, you are also rather fierce with your imposing stature, build, and tattoos."

Quinn watched, dumbfounded, as Dalton and Rachel bumped knuckles. "What am I, chopped liver?"

Rachel laughed and slipped her arm around Quinn's waist. "Quinn, sweetie," she cooed. "You just don't have it. It's okay to be a softie. The world needs people who aren't fierce like me and our friend Dalton here."

Quinn automatically wrapped her arm around Rachel's shoulders even as she argued, "I'm fierce." Rachel had been even more touchy-feely than normal all day long, and it had not taken Quinn long to get over the shock of Rachel's touch and just react as if it were a perfectly normal aspect of their relationship.

Dalton and Rachel laughed.

"I think you hurt her feelings, Rachel," Dalton drawled.

"Please," Rachel scoffed even as she cast a warm glance up at Quinn. "After being under Sue Sylvester's thumb through high school, this is nothing."

"Who's Sue Sylvester?" Dalton asked.

"Satan incarnate," Quinn muttered. "And I am too fierce. I'm Quinn Fabray!"

"Sorry, babe, but Dalton says that you're not, and I, for one, am inclined to agree," Rachel countered.

Quinn huffed dramatically at the brunette. "Are too!"

"Are not!" Rachel retorted, not even bothering to try and keep from smiling.

Quinn stuck her tongue out at Rachel. "Are too!"

"Wanna bet?" Rachel challenged.

"Sure. What's the bet?"

Rachel smiled sweetly and turned to her new best friend Dalton. "What do you think it should be?"

Dalton smiled nervously as he looked at the two women. The little brunette was honestly frightening in her intensity, but there was something in the blonde's eyes that told him she was not a woman to be messed around with either. "Um...dinner?"

Quinn rolled her eyes. "She'll just talk me into taking her out to dinner anyways. That's no good."

Rachel stomped her foot dramatically and tried to pull away from Quinn, but the blonde would not let her go. "You offered to buy me dinner last night!"

Quinn smiled down at Rachel and bit her lip to keep from laughing. Rachel always was so adorable when she got worked up. Actually, she thought to herself as she watched Rachel's eyes fill with fire, adorable isn't quite the right word. Hot would be better. Or sexy. Irresistible. Yes, she's definitely irresistibly sexy right now. God, what I wouldn't give to be able to just lean in and kiss her when she's looking at me like that.

Rachel smirked and reached up to smooth the blonde's brow with her free hand. "Where did you go?"

Quinn cleared her throat and blushed. "Nowhere."

Rachel studied Quinn carefully for a moment, correctly reading the embarrassment on the blonde's face. "Story for another time?"

Quinn licked her lips and nodded as she squeezed Rachel's shoulders in a silent 'thank you' for dropping it. "How about bragging rights?"

"That's as boring as dinner." Rachel grinned as she got an idea. "Winner gets to choose the loser's first song at karaoke this weekend."

Figuring that was the best offer she was going to get, Quinn quickly took it. "Deal."

"HERE WE GO PEOPLE!" James' voice boomed through the megaphone. "PLACES!"

Quinn, Rachel, and Dalton scampered across the sound stage to the interrogation room set that was tucked into the corner. They assumed their positions on either side of the table and Dalton held his hands out for one of the props guys to put his handcuffs back on.

Once everybody was in position, James called out, "ACTION!"

Quinn scowled as she leaned over the table, leveling Dalton with her best HBIC glare. "We know you did it."

"I didn't do nothin'," Dalton answered gruffly. "You got nothin' on me."

"We found her necklace in your apartment!" Quinn bellowed, slamming a plastic evidence bag onto the table in front of the man. "Are you saying you don't know how it got there?!"

Dalton glanced at the bag and shrugged. "Never seen it before. How do I know you didn't put it there?"

Quinn's eyes turned to ice as she appraised the man across from her. "Bullshit, Mears! You fucking killed her!"

"I ain't killed nobody!" Dalton screamed back.

Rachel, who had been standing off to the side watching the scene unfold, placed a hand on Quinn's shoulder, instantly calming the blonde as she tilted her head appraisingly at their suspect. "Where is she?"

"I DON'T KNOW!" Dalton bellowed.

Rachel shook her head and leaned across the table. "Where is she, Mears? We didn't plant that necklace, and you know it. So, where did it come from?"

"I've been telling you, I don't fucking know!"

Rachel was eerily calm as she appraised their suspect. Dalton had not been kidding, she was fierce. But hers was that innate calmness that said she was the one in charge. Quinn ran hot and, while generally serving to elicit an immediate reaction, the cold fire Rachel was directing toward the man opposite them was a thousand times more threatening. "Who has keys to your apartment?"


Rachel released her hold on Quinn's shoulder and crossed her arms over her chest. "Then you put it there."

"I did not!"

"Mears," Rachel snapped, "if nobody else has a key to your apartment, then you had to put the necklace in the dresser drawer. So, what is it? Did you put it there, or did somebody else?"

"I didn't do it!"

"So who did?" Quinn growled.

"Mikey Irons has a key," Dalton said quickly.

Quinn arched her brows in surprise as she leaned back from the table. "Mikey Irons. As in, underling to Paulie Parker--leader of Cincinnati's mob?"

Dalton nodded and hung his head in defeat. "Yeah."


Quinn grinned at Rachel before she turned her attention back to Dalton who had already been un-cuffed by a propmaster and was now towering above them. "So, who was more fierce?"

Dalton looked for a place to hide as he said, "Rachel."

Quinn's jaw dropped as Rachel clapped and squealed excitedly. "I WIN!"

"No way," Quinn muttered.

"Sorry, Quinn. She was scary intense," Dalton said with an apologetic smile. "Good luck singing, it was nice meeting you both."

"You too," Rachel gushed.

Dalton smiled at them both and waved as he walked off of the set. "Good luck with the rest of the filming!"

"I can't believe I lost," Quinn mumbled. "I was totally badass."

Rachel smiled and wrapped her arms around the pouting blonde's neck. "Face it, Fabray. You just can't bring it anymore."

Quinn rolled her eyes even as she wrapped her arms around Rachel's waist in a light embrace. "I can still bring it."

"Are you pouting?"

Quinn stuck her tongue out at Rachel. "No."

"Quinn! Rachel!" James called out as he jogged over to the two women. He paused for a moment at their embrace, but ignored it as what he wanted them to do next would be so much more intimate than a simple hug. "We have the time and the crew's all here, so I want to try and get the first kiss scene done tonight. Go to wardrobe, they're already waiting for you, and when you get back we should have everything set up and ready to go."

Chapter 10

Quinn nervously pulled her shirt over her head and smoothed it out over her stomach before she tucked it into her slacks. Her hands trembled, making the process much harder than it should have been, and by the time she finally managed to zip and button up her pants, a light sheen of perspiration coated her brow. She kept telling herself that this was just work, that she had kissed tons--okay, not tons, but a good number--of people in front of the camera, and that this would be no different, but her heart knew that was a lie.

Because everything about this situation was different.

The scene James wanted to sneak in that evening was originally scheduled to shoot the following Monday. Their first lovemaking scene was scheduled for two and a half weeks after that, which was right before a three-day weekend that marked their filming transition from being primarily on the Paramount lot to doing more stuff on location. After that, the romantic scenes were spaced out over the rest of the shoot. There were a grand total of three lovemaking scenes, and a dozen or so kissing scenes. She did not know the entire shooting schedule by heart, but she had memorized which days she would be expected to kiss Rachel. To touch Rachel. To get naked with Rachel.

And she was not ready.

Her heart clenched with the realization that in roughly twenty minutes she would be actually doing what she had dreamt of doing for so long, and she could not help being bitter and angry about it. Bitter that her first kiss with Rachel would not be real. Angry that she was going to be forced to share that moment with who knows how many people. When they filmed their love scenes it would be with a skeleton crew to make the undeniably awkward situation less awkward, but this was just a kiss and that meant that everybody would be there. Watching. Judging. Intruding on what, to her, at least, was an especially private moment.

"It's not fair," she whispered, her voice cracking. The statement was childish, but there was nothing childish about the heartbreak she was experiencing. She would finally get to kiss Rachel, and she knew that meant nothing. There was nothing fair about that.

She closed her eyes and lifted her face to the ceiling, hoping gravity might keep her tears at bay. She took a deep breath and held it, foolishly hoping that the extra oxygen would calm her nerves.

Keep cool for now, Q, and when you get home you can lose it, she told herself sternly. Two, maybe three hours and then you can cry, scream, throw shit, whatever, but for now you have to behave professionally.

If only it were that easy.

She took one last ragged breath and opened her eyes to study her reflection in the mirror. She was pleased to see that none of her internal distress was visible. She swallowed thickly as she walked out of the trailer, not caring if the door actually shut behind her as she started across the lot to the set. Her feet moved slowly, heavily, and she jumped when she stepped into the sound stage and the door slammed loudly behind her.

Across the large shell of a building, she could see Rachel sitting on top of one of the desks in the 'bullpen' chatting amiably with Chase. Rachel was dressed similarly to herself, slacks and a shirt, fake gun holstered on her right hip, badge hanging off the left side of her belt, and Quinn eagerly drank in the sight of her. Rachel was laughing at something Chase had said and when she looked up at Quinn, her eyes twinkling with mirth and a large, happy smile on her face, Quinn could not help but smile back. Her smile must have been off, however, because as she walked up to Rachel and Chase, the brunette took one look at her and quickly excused themselves from the writer. Quinn shivered ever so slightly as Rachel's fingers wrapped around her arm and she allowed Rachel to drag her across the set to a dark, quiet corner away from the action.

Rachel frowned as she studied Quinn's face intently. "Are you okay?"

No, I'm not, Quinn thought to herself, even as she nodded and focused her attention on the wall just over Rachel's right shoulder, unable to look into her eyes as she lied. "Yeah. Fine."

Rachel recognized the mask Quinn was wearing as the one she had adopted in high school whenever something was not right. It would have been easy to push for an explanation, the words were sitting on the tip of her tongue, but Rachel held them back, reminding herself that it was not her place to question. Though she wished for a deeper relationship with Quinn, right now they were just friends--new friends, even--and she had not yet earned the right to push. "If you're sure," she whispered.

Quinn nodded as she dared to look into Rachel's worry-filled eyes. "Thank you."

Rachel smiled understandingly and pulled Quinn into her arms, reassuring her without words that she would be there for her. That everything would be okay. She sighed as Quinn's hands moved to rest lightly against her hips, the touch so soft and hesitant that it made her heart skip a beat, and she leaned in to rest her head against Quinn's shoulder. She had missed not hugging Quinn the night before when had she fled from her car without a backward glance, but at the time she had not been ready for this.

In all honesty, she was more than ready to do even more than just hold her.

As Quinn relaxed in her arms, Rachel tried to figure out what was bothering her. She smiled as she imagined the Quinn's response if she were to actually ask.

That's a story for another time.

Holding Quinn close, Rachel could not help but wonder if all of those stories had something to do with her. Questions, thoughts, and concerns remained unspoken as they basked in the other's presence, both of them drawing strength from the connection, each of them secretly wishing it meant something more.

After a time, James' voice carried across the sound stage, calling for his actors and forcing the two women to slowly disentangle themselves from each other. Wanting to see Quinn smile, Rachel quipped, "Ready to go make out?"

Quinn's reaction, however, was not what she was expecting. For the briefest of moments, Quinn looked pained before a fake smile that did not come close to reaching her eyes, appeared on her face.

"You bet. Do you need a tic tac?"

Rachel shook her head. "Already had a couple. They're in the top left drawer of the desk over there if you want any." She pointed at the desk James and Chase were standing in front of.

"Everything okay?" James asked as his two leads stopped in front of him.

"Fine," Quinn said. "How do you want to do this?"

James smiled awkwardly and, feeling more like a pervert than he ever had while directing heterosexual kiss scenes, said, "Quinn, since your character is more dominate than Rachel's, let's have you standing and Rachel sitting on the desk. I know that the script originally called for it to be staged the other way around, but with those couple changes to the dialogue that Chase added in this morning think this will work better with you two. Sound good?"

"Sounds good to me," Rachel agreed.

Quinn remained silent and just nodded, and before long it was just her and Rachel under the lights as James and the rest of the crew disappeared into the shadows that surrounded the set.


Quinn started pacing in front of Rachel, muttering darkly under her breath as her character worked herself into a frenzy. Charlie had just been forced to rescue Hayden from the private office of the crime boss they were trying to get enough evidence on to convict for multiple homicides.

"Dammit, Conway!" Rachel swore harshly. "Just admit that my way worked!"

"You went against standard operating procedure. Again!" Quinn snapped. "What if it was Paulie Parker that had walked in on you instead of one of his easily frightened accountants, huh? What would you have done if you'd been confronted with a Mac-10 instead of a MacBook?"

Rachel shrugged and waved a hand dismissively. "It worked, Conway. And you storming in all fire and brimstone scared him enough that he's cooperating with the investigation. So just say 'thank you' and be done with it."

"Say thank you," Quinn seethed. "Right. I should tell you thank you for scaring the ever-loving fuck out of me!"

"I can handle myself, Conway. I don't need you to rescue me!"

"Could have fucking fooled me," Quinn growled.

"What's your problem?"

Quinn ran her hands through her hair as she stopped moving and turned to face Rachel, who was sitting casually atop the desk and looking as if they were discussing where to order takeout from for dinner rather than the fact that the brunette had been very nearly caught in the private office of Cincinnati's most prolific crime lord. "You wouldn't understand."

"Try me," Rachel challenged.

"Walker," Quinn groaned. "You could have been killed!"

Rachel crossed her arms over her chest and arched a defiant brow. "But I wasn't."

Quinn rolled her eyes dramatically as she threw her hands up in the air in defeat. "Do you know how scared I was?" she asked, her voice quieter as it finally filled with fear rather than anger.

Rachel's expression softened. "You had no reason to be scared, Conway. I can handle myself. It was fine."

"It's not," Quinn argued. "You can't just do shit like that!"


Quinn ran a hand through her hair as she began pacing in front of Rachel once again. Her character, much like herself, was conflicted about her desire to kiss the other woman. They both wanted it. Oh, how they wanted it, but there was that line. That invisible line that once crossed, could never be undone. "You don't want to know why," she muttered roughly, her personal pain causing her voice to crack.

"Why not?" Rachel asked, for a moment forgetting she was in character as Quinn's distress rocked her to her core. She knew Quinn was acting, but there was something to the edge in the blonde's voice that spoke to her, telling her that Quinn was very much struggling with the idea of kissing her.

Quinn stopped in front of Rachel and took a deep, steadying breath as she reached out to cradle the brunette's cheek tenderly in her palm. "Because you'll run," she said softly.

Rachel smiled. "Conway, haven't you caught on by now that I don't run away from anything?"

Quinn ducked her head and nodded. "This is different," she whispered as she brushed her thumb over Rachel's cheek.

Rachel's breath hitched in her throat at the gentle caress, and when she delivered her next line, it was not in the argumentative, demanding tone the script suggested. Her voice was soft. Hopeful. Scared. "Why?"

"I want you," Quinn said, her eyes and her voice showing exactly how much she meant it.

Rachel licked her lips instinctively at the confession. The words were written in the script, but the longing that was laced in those three words, the look of unfettered desire that caused Quinn's hazel eyes to glow, most certainly was not. That was all Quinn.

And it took her breath away.

If she had not realized the night before that she wanted Quinn, those three words and that look would have been more than enough to make her come to her senses. Her mind raced, trying to both stay in character and make sense of everything that was happening. She felt as if she were standing at the edge of a cliff, arms outstretched, body tensed as she prepared to leap. To fly. "Charlie..." she breathed.

Quinn bit her lip and nodded, her eyes dancing over Rachel's face as she searched for some tiny fragment of hope that this would mean something to her as well. And then she saw it. It was in the softening of the corners of Rachel's eyes, and in the way her pupils dilated ever so slightly. Rachel might not have feelings for her yet, but Quinn could tell that she wanted this.

The script called for her to say something in response to Rachel's statement but, as she fell into the brunette's gaze, she forgot what it was. So, knowing that they were on camera no matter how much she wished they weren't, she nodded. "God do I want you," she husked softly, so softly that only the microphone hidden in the collar of her shirt and Rachel heard her. The words might not have been in the script, but they were in her heart.

Rachel smiled softly and leaned into Quinn's touch even as she reached out to grab hold of the blonde's hips and pull her in closer. A frisson of desire rolled down her spine as Quinn eased between her parted legs, and she sighed as Quinn's breath danced across her lips. They were close, so close, and yet it felt as if there were an eternity between them. "Kiss me," she whispered.

Quinn licked her lips and moaned softly as she forgot everything around her except the feel of Rachel's cheek in her hand and the very real want that was glowing in Rachel's eyes. She dipped her head and lightly brushed her lips over Rachel's, just the faintest ghost of a touch and whimpered at the feeling. So soft. "Rachel," she breathed, letting her eyes fall shut as she closed the distance between them and captured Rachel's lips with her own.

So this is what I've been missing, Rachel thought as she gave herself over to Quinn's kiss. It was soft and sweet. Tender, much like the hand upon her cheek, and she immediately knew that one kiss would never be enough. She lost herself in the feeling of silken lips moving against her own, moaning loudly as her grip on Quinn's hips tightened, pulling her in closer even as she arched forward into her. She wanted more, she needed more. She groaned her displeasure when Quinn began to pull away, and moved her hands up to the collar of Quinn's shirt, pulling her back so she could reclaim those delicious lips.

It had taken her twenty-five years to finally realize that she wanted to kiss Quinn Fabray and she sure as hell was not ready for this moment to end just yet.

Quinn whimpered as she submitted to Rachel, having neither the strength nor the will to pull away. Her knees threatened to buckle beneath her when Rachel's tongue slipped boldly into her mouth, and she whimpered as she wove her fingers through the brunette's hair, her arms flexing as she pulled Rachel into her. Heaven, this is heaven, she thought as Rachel's tongue stroked lightly against her own.

Behind the camera, James and the rest of the crew watched the women lose themselves in each other and, although they had ignored the script from about the third line of dialogue from the end, James could not find it in himself to care. The kiss happening before them was not what was scripted. It was not an almost violent collision of desire. But it was real. There was no denying that it was real.

And he did not have the heart to stop them.

Rachel sighed as their kisses slowed to a series of light, lingering pecks, and when they stopped altogether, she opened her eyes to stare into the most beautiful hazel eyes she had ever seen.

"My god, Quinn," she breathed, her words so soft that they could be easily edited out should the microphone have picked them up. Not that she was thinking about anything beyond the woman in her arms and the feelings the kiss they had just shared had elicited within her. She had been kissed passionately before, but never had she ever felt anything like she was feeling now. It was beautiful and exciting and addictive, and she wanted more.

For the first time since James had mentioned that he wanted to move this scene up in the schedule, a genuine smile curled Quinn's lips as she stared affectionately into Rachel's big brown eyes that were shining with surprise and joy and desire. Yes, there was definitely desire swirling in those smoldering mahogany orbs. "Hi."

Rachel chuckled at the warmth and affection she found looking back at her, and her heart jumped in her chest at the knowledge that Quinn was feeling the same things she was. "Hi."

And then the bubble that surrounded them was shattered with a loud, entirely unwelcome, "AND CUT!"

Quinn flinched at the intrusion, a harsh reminder that they were not alone. Rachel felt it and fisted her hands even tighter in Quinn's shirt so that she could not pull away. She had accepted the fact that she was attracted to Quinn, but after kissing the blonde she recognized that her feelings already went further than simple attraction. She was not ready to put a name to those emotions, but they were there. "Look at me, Quinn," she pleaded softly.

Quinn looked at Rachel and was blown away by what she saw. She had thought it was impossible, but the way Rachel was looking at her suggested otherwise. "Rachel?"

Rachel smiled softly and lifted her chin to brush a tender kiss across Quinn's lips. "We need to talk," she whispered before she regretfully pulled away.

Quinn blinked and nodded jerkily. "Okay."

James had the grace to look embarrassed as he interrupted the two women. "I, um... That was, very good. Not quite what I was going for originally, but I think it works." He paused as both women turned to look at him, Rachel's hands falling from Quinn's shirt that was now thoroughly wrinkled at the collar to rest upon the blonde's hips.

"Sorry," Quinn muttered.

James gave her a soft smile that said he understood. "Don't be. I like this approach better, actually, but I need to get a couple different angles, so I'm going to need you two to run through the scene the same way a few more times."

Rachel smiled and nodded. "Of course."

"Quinn?" James asked.

Quinn tilted her head in understanding. "You're the boss."

"Right, give me a few minutes to move the cameras to where I need them, and then we'll hit this again from the top," James said as he turned and hustled back behind the cameras.

Quinn blushed adorably as she turned her attention back to Rachel, her eyes sweeping over Rachel's body. "I messed up your hair," she muttered as she ran her fingers gently through dark silk, smoothing it back into place.

Rachel smiled. "I don't mind. And, anyways, I wrinkled your shirt."

Quinn looked down at herself and smiled, the expression soft and awed. "I really didn't mind," she murmured.

They shared a shy smile as the hair and wardrobe team walked onto the set to fix up their appearances, and soon enough they were starting the scene over again from the top. No matter how much they wanted to sit down and figure out this thing that was blossoming between them, they had a job to do. The only bright side was that their job required them to do the one thing they both wanted to do more than talk.

"God, do I want you," Quinn husked.

"So kiss me," Rachel whispered, lifting her chin and meeting Quinn's lips in a soft, gentle kiss that said better than words ever could how much she wanted her as well.

Chapter 11

Rachel took the bottled water Quinn offered her and sat back onto the couch in the blonde's trailer. The final take of their first kiss scene had gone in the can about fifteen minutes ago, and now, after changing back into their street clothes, it was time for them to have their talk. Problem was, she had no idea where to start. It was not like she could just come out and tell Quinn that she had been dreaming of her for years. That she woke up, more often than not, trembling with an orgasm dream Quinn had given her. No, that was most certainly out of the question. But what should she say? I liked kissing you and I want to do it more? That would be the truth, never mind how easy it would make her sound, but it was not everything. Yes, when she looked at Quinn she wanted nothing more than to kiss her again, but there was more--more that she did not fully understand yet.

Quinn was facing a similar problem as she pulled a bottled water for herself out of the refrigerator. She knew that she and Rachel needed to talk about what had happened between them on set, but she did not know where to start. She did not want to just lay everything out and risk scaring Rachel off. It was one thing to secretly lust after a woman for years, it was quite another to come right out and tell her that. And Rachel was not making finding the right words easy, either. Rachel with her flushed cheeks, kiss-swollen lips, and messy hair that was a picture-perfect example of the indescribably sexy look that women got after they had been bedded certainly was not helping her find the words she knew she needed to say.

She sighed as she dropped heavily onto the couch beside Rachel, facing the wall opposite them rather than the woman she desired because she found it easier to think when she was not looking at her. "Interesting scene, huh?"

"Very interesting," Rachel agreed softly as she fiddled with the cap on her water. "I don't know where to start, to be honest. That was..."

Amazing. Earth shattering. Perfection. The best kiss of my life, Quinn thought as she waited for Rachel to finish her thought.

"... god, Quinn. It was amazing," Rachel sighed.

Quinn smiled and reached out to take Rachel's hand into her own. She lifted Rachel's hand to her lips, and pressed a soft kiss to her knuckles. "I've been dreaming about that kiss for years," she whispered softly, watching Rachel out of the corner of her eye to see her reaction.

And Rachel did not disappoint. The brunette's jaw fell open as she turned to fully look at Quinn. "Really?"

Quinn nodded. "Really. Since, oh, I'd say junior year, or thereabouts. That was when I started to realize that what I felt for you wasn't hatred, that I actually really liked you and hated myself for wanting you like I did. You were a beauty even then, with your mouth-wateringly short skirts and hideously god-awful sweaters."

"My skirts weren't that short," Rachel argued the one point she could because, looking back at herself in high school, even she had to admit that her sweaters were not the most fashionable.

Quinn grinned and shook her head. "They absolutely were, and god bless you for it, Rachel Berry."

Rachel blushed at the warmth in the blonde's tone. "I wish I'd known you felt that way."

"Would it have made a difference?"

"I don't know," Rachel sighed. "But I would like to think so, yes. I really enjoyed kissing you tonight. I...almost feel cheated about it."

Quinn's brow furrowed in confusion, even though she had thought something similar herself before they'd begun shooting. "Did I do something wrong?"

"No, no. It's nothing like that," Rachel said quickly. "You were perfect. It's just... I'm attracted to you, Quinn. Like, really attracted to you. And I feel cheated because our first kiss wasn't really ours."

Quinn's brow smoothed out as a soft, awe-struck smile lit up her face and her mind latched onto the four words that gave her heart hope. "You're attracted to me?"

Rachel blushed and nodded as she shyly turned her attention to her lap. "Is that okay?"

Quinn licked her lips and nodded as she carelessly tossed her bottle of water across the trailer, not caring where it ended up. So long as it was not keeping her from touching Rachel, she did not particularly care what happened to it. She ran a delicate hand over Rachel's brow and down her cheek until she was able to tenderly cradle the brunette's jaw in her hand, lifting Rachel's face so she could look her in the eye. "It's more than okay, sweetie." She stroked her thumb over Rachel's cheek as her eyes danced over the brunette's face. "I want...can I kiss you?"

Rachel's heart leapt into her throat, and she nodded. "Yes."

Quinn smiled as she scooted closer to the brunette. "You are so beautiful," she whispered reverently as she closed that final distance between them and captured Rachel's lips in a kiss that was so heartbreakingly tender it brought tears to her eyes.

It might not have been the first time they kissed, but it was the one that they would both remember as being their first kiss. The first kiss that was entirely theirs, initiated because they both wanted it, and shared without intrusive prying eyes.

Rachel whimpered softly as Quinn's lips wrapped around her own, and she dropped her unopened bottle of water onto the floor as she reached for Quinn. She tangled her hands in Quinn's shirt, much as she had earlier during filming, and pulled the blonde into her, needing to feel the other woman's warmth, her strength, her everything. She sighed at the feeling of Quinn's tongue dancing lightly across her lips, and she opened her mouth to her, saying without words how much she wanted her as their tongues met in languid exploration between them. The kiss grew deeper, hotter, hungrier as their bodies pressed forward into one another, trying to find that ideal state where two bodies became one. She gasped as one of Quinn's hands trailed down her side, brushing against the side of her breast and igniting a firestorm of need low in her hips.

"Jesus, Quinn," Rachel gasped between kisses as she arched forward into the blonde, a shiver of desire rolling down her spine as she felt Quinn's nipples brush against her body.

Quinn moaned and began blazing a trail of kisses over Rachel's jaw to her ear, the sound of the brunette's breathless cry sending a current of arousal coursing through her. "Mmm, Rachel," she husked against the perfect shell of Rachel's ear as she tried to calm her racing heart. She needed to get control of herself before things got out of control.

Rachel, however, was thinking nothing of the sort. She mewled softly at the feeling of Quinn's breath falling in hot, ragged breaths against her ear, each wave of warm air sending a corresponding hot wave of desire rolling through her body. She wanted, needed more. She pulled back enough to reclaim Quinn's lips in a kiss that was immediately deep and probing, all tongues and teeth and desire as she moved to straddle her thighs.

"Oh god," Quinn whimpered as she felt Rachel settle onto her lap, and she moved her hands from the brunette's hair to her hips, drawing her in closer, all thoughts of control and stopping lost in the heat of Rachel's kisses. She slid her hands over Rachel's hips and palmed the ass that she had so admired since her high school days, roughly squeezing as she slanted her head to the side to deepen their connection.

Rachel groaned loudly and immediately tilted her head to the side, opening her mouth wider as she tangled her hands in Quinn's hair, idly noticing how soft it was as she used that hold to pull Quinn into her. She had never kissed a woman before today and, as she took control of the kiss and began sucking on Quinn's tongue, coaxing a feral moan from the blonde, she tried to figure out why, exactly, she had not done this before. Because this was fucking brilliant.

Back and forth they went, giving and taking control, giving and taking everything the other had until the need for air finally surpassed their need for each other. Rachel pulled back reluctantly and rested her forehead against Quinn's. Her body was thrumming with energy and pulsing with desire, and, as she stared into lust-darkened hazel eyes, she was blown away by the knowledge that it was Quinn Fabray who made her feel this alive, this reckless, this aroused. Dear lord was she aroused.

"What are you thinking?" Quinn asked quietly.

Rachel smiled. "You are amazing."

Quinn laughed and shook her head. "Hardly. You, my dear, beautiful girl, are the amazing one."

Rachel shook her head. "You are amazing, Quinn Fabray. Please don't ever doubt that."

Quinn smiled and pressed a quick, chaste kiss to Rachel's lips. "As the lady commands," she whispered. "I think somebody's hungry," she chuckled softly as Rachel's stomach made its presence known.

"It's late," Rachel retorted with an unapologetic shrug. And it was. It had been well after eight when they had left the sound stage, and that was before their impromptu make-out session. She could feel her pulse pounding heavily between her legs, and Rachel knew that if she gave in to it, gave in to the desire that was running rampant through her veins, that she would not be able to stop. And, for as much as she wanted Quinn, she did not want to rush whatever this was that was simmering between them. She instinctively knew that it was too important to rush. "Why don't you take me out to dinner so we don't have to end the day yet?"

"Dinner, huh?" Quinn drawled, arching a perfectly sculpted brow in that way only she could ever pull off without looking ridiculous. "Okay. Anywhere in particular?"

"Somewhere with really good French fries," Rachel said thoughtfully.

"French fries," Quinn repeated. "Right. Does it have to be a vegan place, or are you okay with a salad for dinner?"

"We went to a vegan restaurant last night, Quinn. We can go wherever you'd like. So long as there's a salad on the menu, I'll be fine. And French fries, of course."

"Of course," Quinn repeated with an amused smile. "Okay, I know just the place. Parking can be a bit of a bitch though, so we'll just go in my car and I'll bring you back to yours afterwards."

Rachel nodded and reluctantly got up from Quinn's lap. "I'm, uhm, sorry I crawled on top of you like that."

Quinn reached out and pulled Rachel back down onto her. "Never be sorry for that, Rachel," she purred as she kissed the brunette soundly. "You can crawl on top of me whenever you want."

Rachel laughed. "I'll keep that in mind," she murmured demurely as she once again got to her feet. "Now, dinner, Fabray. I'm hungry."

"Yes, ma'am." Quinn got to her feet and held out her hand, her smile growing impossibly wider when Rachel took hold of it and automatically interlaced their fingers. I will never get tired of that, she thought to herself. "Come on, Berry, lemme show you a piece of Old Hollywood."

Rachel looked around the interior of the restaurant with a critical eye. It was busy, there was no escaping that fact, but it looked like it hadn't been redecorated since the early 1970s. The booths were upholstered in a brown Naugahyde fabric that she was certain fell out of style as quickly as it fell into it, the tabletops were dark, chipped, and scarred, the actual tables that littered the center of the restaurant were small, the walkways between them were narrow, and it was all strangely... comforting. She felt like she was back in New York. "What is this place, again?"

"Canters Deli," Quinn supplied as she sat down in the chair next to Rachel's at the small, square table the hostess had shown them to. "I know it's not very flashy..."

"No, it's great," Rachel said with a genuine smile as she picked up the oversized menu. "It reminds me of New York. So, you said the fries were good. Is there a salad that you'd recommend?"

Quinn smirked. "Um, Rach. It's a deli. I don't exactly come here for the salads."

Rachel dropped her menu enough to stick her tongue out at Quinn before lifting it back up to read. "Duly noted. You come for the carrion."

"Hey, now that's just rude. I'll have you know I come for the pastrami, and it's to die for."

Rachel dropped her menu again and hiked a brow suggestively. "To die for, huh? I bet something died for it...like a cow," she muttered, her eyes twinkling with amusement.

Quinn rolled her eyes but was saved from responding by the arrival of their waiter. "Welcome to Canters, my name is Jake, and I'll be your server this evening. Can I start you ladies out with something to drink?"

"Water with lemon, please," Rachel said.

"Make that two," Quinn added with a smile. "And, my friend here was wondering about your salads. Is there one that you would recommend?"

"The Chinese Chicken Salad is good."

Rachel screwed up her face and Quinn laughed. "Guess I should have also told you that she's vegan."

"Well, we can make any of our salads without meat and add in a pan-seared marinated tofu for protein and a soy-based vegan cheese if that's what you'd prefer," Jake offered helpfully. Vegans were not a large percentage of the deli's customer base, but it was LA so they did see their fair share and the kitchen staff was well aware of how to modify the deli's existing menu options accordingly.

"Thank you," Rachel murmured as she turned her attention back to her menu. "Chicken, ew," she muttered after their waiter had disappeared.

"You're the one who said you didn't care if the restaurant was vegan or not," Quinn pointed out playfully.

Rachel laughed and shrugged. "I know. I think I'll go with the chopped vegetable salad and a side of fries. What are you getting?"

"Pastrami on rye with extra mustard, fries, a pickle, because they have the best pickles, and a piece of apple pie for dessert," Quinn rattled off her usual order. "And, maybe some kugel," she added thoughtfully.

Rachel's jaw dropped. "You can seriously eat all that? Where do you put it?"

"I have a fast metabolism," Quinn said as she continued to scan the menu, now looking at the desserts. She really was hungry. "Plus, I usually run every morning on the beach, or surf, and I lift when I have time."

"But still," Rachel murmured as she gave Quinn a thorough-once over. "Damn."

Quinn laughed and snapped her menu shut as she returned the favor, letting her eyes roam slowly over Rachel's body. "Like you're one to talk."

Rachel rolled her eyes. "I'm glad you think so."

"I do," Quinn assured her, both her tone and her expression conveying exactly how perfect she thought Rachel was.

"This is surreal," Rachel murmured.

"What is?"

"Sitting here with you like this. Joking around, trading compliments, knowing that an hour ago I was kissing you..."

Quinn sucked her bottom lip between her teeth nervously. "And this is a good thing, right?" she asked hesitantly. Yes, Rachel had said that she was attracted to her. Yes, they had kissed. A lot. But nothing else about their situation had really been discussed.

"Yes," Rachel answered quickly, her voice strong and full of conviction. "I can't say this is something I expected to happen. Hell, before you, I can't say that I was ever really attracted to another woman. But I do know that what I'm feeling for you is strong enough that I really want to give us a try and see what happens. If you do, I mean," she added quickly.

Quinn let out the breath she had not even realized she had been holding and nodded, but her response was interrupted by the arrival of their waiter. After he had deposited their drinks and taken their orders, he disappeared with the promise that their dinners should be out shortly.

"I would like that," Quinn murmured softly as she reached across the table for Rachel's hand. "I would really like that," she repeated herself for emphasis. "Can I take you out on a date this weekend?"

Rachel smiled and nodded. "Of course. You'll just have to tell me what you have in mind so I know what to pack to bring with me over to your place."

Quinn grinned at the reminder that they had already made plans to spend the entire weekend together. "That's right."

"Did you forget?" Rachel teased.

"I could never forget one thing that had to do with you, Rachel," Quinn answered truthfully. It was sappy and corny and utterly pathetic, but true.

And, thankfully for Quinn, Rachel seemed to appreciate sappy and corny and utterly pathetic. "You are too much," Rachel murmured as she began stroking her thumb over the back of Quinn's hand.

"It's the truth," Quinn said with a dismissive shrug of her shoulders.

Rachel gave the blonde a speculative look that quite clearly said that she was going to test the statement. "What was the name of my goldfish sophomore year?"

"Babs," Quinn answered automatically.

Rachel squeezed Quinn's hand gently, silently confirming that she was correct. "What song did I sing at Prom?"

Quinn grinned. "Which year?"

Rachel huffed. "Junior."

Quinn thought back to the disaster that was her Junior prom, and smiled at the memory of how beautiful Rachel looked singing on stage. "Jar of Hearts. And, might I add, you were amazing."

Rachel smiled at the compliment but was not willing to give up the game just yet. "Thank you. My favorite movie?"

"Please. Even Santana would know that one. Funny Girl."

Rachel laughed and nodded. "Do you still talk to Santana?"

"Every once in a while," Quinn said. "Kind of hard not to since she and B live in LA."

"Are they still together?"

"They are," Quinn confirmed with a grin. "And she's still just as whipped as she was in high school."

"So Santana and Brittany live in LA," Rachel mused. "What are they up to now? Do you see them a lot?"

"Well, San's in her last semester of law school at Pepperdine, so her life is pretty hectic, and then whatever time she's not using to study case law or whatever the hell else it is that they have her trying to memorize she spends with Britt, so I don't see them a whole lot."

"What is Brittany doing?"

"Choreographing music videos. Last I heard, Beyoncé was trying to get her to sign onto her tour, but Britt isn't going to leave Santana to disappear on a world-wide tour like that."

Rachel smiled as she thought of Brittany. The blonde had always been friendly to her, even when it was not 'cool' to do so. She was glad to hear that Brittany had managed to find her niche in the world. "Maybe we can meet up with them one night for dinner or something?"

Quinn nodded. "I can call Santana tomorrow when we're on set." She could tell that Rachel was curious as to why she wasn't going to call her after they were done with dinner, so she added, "If she's home and actually not studying for a change, I don't want to interrupt her Brittany time."

"Aww, that's sweet."

Quinn laughed and shook her head as she squeezed Rachel's hand gently. "No, it's self preservation. She's just as big of a bitch as she was in high school if you interrupt her Britt-Britt time."

Rachel laughed softly and regretfully released Quinn's had so she could lean back in her chair as their waiter set her salad down in front of her. "Thank you, this looks great," she told him sincerely.

"My pleasure," he replied, smiling brightly at her. "And, if I may, could I take your picture for our celebrity wall before you leave?"

Quinn chuckled. "See, told you that you were the bigger star."

"Actually," Jake said as he turned to Quinn. "I'm also a big fan of yours as well, Miss Fabray. So it would be a real pleasure to get a picture of you two together."

Rachel gave Quinn a 'told you so' look as she clapped her hands excitedly. "Of course. Would it be possible for you to send me a copy?"

"It wouldn't be a problem at all," Jake said with a grin. "Enjoy your meal, ladies. I'll check back with you in a bit to see how you're doing."

Quinn nodded and waited for him to leave before she shot Rachel an exasperated look. "Please tell me that you're not really going to give him your email."

"No," Rachel scoffed. "I'll give him my agent's email and tell her to forward me the attachment. Besides, it'll be our first picture together--I have to see it!"

Quinn smiled and picked up her sandwich. That was a piece of logic she was unwilling to argue with. "Send it on to me when you get it, 'kay?"

"It'll cost you," Rachel teased.

"Oh, it will, huh?" Quinn laughed. "What'll it cost me?"

Rachel smiled sweetly as she speared a cucumber in her salad. "A kiss."

Quinn grinned and picked up her pickle. Canters really did have the best pickles. "Well, it just so happens that that is a price I'm more than willing to pay."

Chapter 12

After they had finished their dinner and Quinn had made quick work of a disgustingly large piece of apple pie, a la mode, thank you very much, they obliged their server by posing for a picture together in front of the bakery counter. Quinn smiled at the camera as she wrapped her arm around Rachel's shoulder, and her smile grew even wider when she felt Rachel's wrap itself around her waist. That was definitely a feeling she could get used to. After the picture, they signed a few autographs for people who had suddenly recognized them because of the camera, and then they made their way out of the deli with Rachel's hand tucked firmly in the bend of Quinn's arm.

"I can't believe the number of people who recognized you," Quinn said as she pushed open the door. "Talk about being a superstar, Berry."

"Hey, I'll have you know that just as many people recognized you--Miss-I-just-got-four-phone-numbers. You did throw those away, right?"

Quinn laughed and nodded as she placed her hand over Rachel's on her arm. "Not yet, no. There wasn't a way to do it discreetly while we were surrounded," she answered, enjoying Rachel's little possessive streak. "I will later, Rach. Don't worry. They're so not my type."

"Good," Rachel laughed as she pushed open the door. "Just so long as you remember that."

"What? That I like beautiful brunettes?"

A blinding flash of light interrupted Rachel before she could form a response. Not even half a second after that, the yelling started.






Quinn plastered on the fake smile she always wore for the paparazzi and glanced at Rachel. "Don't answer them," she murmured under her breath. She tightened her hold on Rachel's hand that was still tucked into her arm, and began pushing her way through the small crowd. She had no idea if the paparazzi in Manhattan were as ruthless as they were in LA, and she did not want Rachel inviting trouble. She was not a big enough celebrity that this sort of thing was commonplace for her, but she had run into her fair share of cameras during the Oscar race the year before, so she knew what kind of trouble they could be. She did a quick count of the flashing bulbs and was relieved to note that there were only a handful of paparazzi surrounding them. Five eager photographers were easy enough to get away from, but she cursed herself for parking a little less than a block and a half away from the restaurant. Not that it was her fault, that was the closest space she could find, but it still meant that they had a few minutes' walk to get to her car.

And that meant the paparazzi had a few minutes to yell at them and take pictures.







Rachel just smiled politely beside Quinn as the paparazzi took their pictures, the only sign of her discomfort being the way her hand tightened on Quinn's arm. She was used to paparazzi following her in New York, but she had honestly figured that she would not be an interest to them once she got away from the bright lights of Broadway. A couple times she had to do a quick double-step to keep up to Quinn, who was still smiling and nodding at the reporters as they swarmed around them yelling and taking pictures, trying to get a rise out of the women, trying to get something that would net them a healthy paycheck from a tabloid.

Quinn used the keyless remote to unlock her car's doors when they finally got near it, and gallantly opened the passenger's side for Rachel. She would have done it anyways, but the swarming paparazzi had her feeling especially protective of the tiny brunette. Once Rachel was safely inside, she slammed the door shut and hurried around the front of her car, away from the paparazzi, and climbed inside. Thankfully, the crew seemed to be happy with the pictures they'd snapped as the women walked down the sidewalk because none of them jumped out in front of the car when Quinn pulled away from the curb.

"Sorry about that," Quinn murmured softly as she took Rachel's outstretched hand.

"You don't have to apologize, Quinn." Rachel shook her head. "It's not like you called them and told them we were there."

"Still, that picture is probably going to end up somewhere. And..."

"And, what?" Rachel asked.

"Your hand on my arm, the way we walked out of the restaurant, it's going to start some speculation about whether or not we're dating."

Rachel shrugged. "So what. Let them speculate."

Quinn pulled to a stop at a red light and looked incredulously Rachel. "You can't be serious."

"Of course I am."

"What about your reputation? Isn't your publicist going to have a conniption?"

Rachel giggled and nodded. "Oh, she will all right. Kind of makes me wish I was in New York when it hits the fan because her reaction is going to be priceless."

Quinn's brow furrowed as the light turned green and she pulled through the intersection. "What?"

"My publicist is Tina," Rachel explained.

"Tina, Tina? As in, Glee Club Tina?" Quinn asked, glancing over at Rachel who was smiling and nodding.


Quinn chuckled, easily picturing Tina's response even though she hadn't seen the other girl since she left Ohio seven years ago. Rachel was right, her reaction would be priceless. "Yeah, she'll freak all right. But, seriously Rach, do you think we should maybe tone it down when we're in public? Do you really want to be--"

"Outed in the tabloids?" Rachel interrupted, knowing exactly what Quinn was going to say. Because, really, it was a valid concern, and she was touched that Quinn was so worried about protecting her. "Not particularly. But all they got was a picture of me holding onto your arm. If they want to speculate, let them. It's not like we were making out or anything. And, if they did happen to get a picture of something like that, they get a picture. It's not like being gay on Broadway is a new thing," she said as they passed under the famous Paramount Studio arches.

Quinn was quiet as she considered what Rachel had said, and it was not until she was parked in the nearly empty lot beside Rachel's little rented Mercedes that she spoke.

"Rach, I..." Her voice trailed off as she turned in her seat so she could face Rachel. "You know how earlier I told you that I'd dreamed of kissing you for years?" She waited for Rachel to confirm with a small nod that she remembered before she continued. "Yeah, well, I've wanted you for just as long. Have wanted to be with you for just as long. And if this thing with me is just an experiment, or something you're not sure of, I... I don't want you to suffer the media backlash that dating me would bring you. I--"

Rachel frowned as she reached out and placed her index finger over Quinn's lips to silence her rambling. "Yes, this is new to me. No, I have never dated a woman before. But this isn't some fling to me, Quinn. You aren't just an experiment. I am genuinely attracted to you. I feel more when I kiss you than I ever have with anybody else. Am I gay? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe I'm bi, I don't know. All I do know is that I am serious about seeing what develops between us. And if an industrious photographer or two gets a picture of us together while we're figuring it out, good for them. I don't care. Tina isn't going to care."

"Rach," Quinn sighed. "I just don't want to see you get hurt."

Rachel smiled sweetly, her heart warmed by the knowledge that Quinn cared more for her well-being than her own, and leaned across the center console to kiss the blonde softly. "Then just don't break my heart."

I couldn't. I love you too much. Just please don't break mine, Rachel. You have it in the palm of your hand and you don't even know it, Quinn thought to herself as she took a deep breath and held it for a moment before she opened her eyes and nodded. "I won't."

Rachel caught a glimpse of fear and sadness in Quinn's eyes before the blonde turned away from her, and she frowned as she reached out and gently turned her face so she could look at her. "Where did you go, just now? And don't tell me that it's a story for another time, please."

"Rachel," Quinn groaned softly.

Rachel had matured, she was not nearly the diva she had been in high school, she could play it up if she thought it was in her best interest, of course, but she was still just as tenacious as she had been back then. "Why did you look so sad when you said you wouldn't break my heart?"

Quinn saw the steely reserve in Rachel's eyes and knew that she would not be deterred. And she could not think of a convincing enough lie to lie about it. So she just shrugged, accepting the fact that the truth would have had to have come out eventually, and closed her eyes as she whispered, "Because I love you too much to ever do that, Rachel. I'm much, much more afraid of you breaking mine."

Rachel's eyes widened in surprise as she processed what, exactly, Quinn had just said. Suddenly all of Quinn's cryptic comments about 'realizing she loved somebody she thought she hated' and 'pretending to be somebody she wasn't' made sense. And as understanding set in, Rachel's eyes softened as she looked at the blonde in wonder. Quinn Fabray just admitted to being in love with her.

Quinn, for her part, was terrified by Rachel's silence, and after a heartbreaking moment where she waited for the normally verbose brunette to say something, she tried to pull away, her eyes burning with unshed tears. Desperate to run from the rejection she knew was inevitably coming. Problem was, they were in her car. There was nowhere she could run to.

"Quinn," Rachel said softly as she slipped her hand up from under the point of Quinn's chin to cradle her jaw tenderly, forcing the blonde to stay with her.

"I'm sorry," Quinn whispered. "I didn't want to dump this on you so soon. I know it's a lot to process, and weird, and I swear I wasn't trying to seduce you or anything, and--"

This time Rachel stopped Quinn's rambling with a gentle, lingering kiss. "Shh," she hushed as she pulled away to rest her forehead against Quinn's, her thumb rubbing lightly against a pale, perfect cheek. "You have nothing to be sorry for."

Quinn couldn't help but apologize again, though. "I'm sorry."

Rachel smiled. "Thank you for telling me," she murmured. "I can't say that I love you too, just yet, but I promise that if you're willing to give us a try, to see what we could be together, that I will do my very best to protect this beautiful gift that you've given me."

Quinn's heart skipped a beat at the sincerity ringing in Rachel's words. She was still scared, terrified, even, but this was what she had dreamed of all along. A chance. An opportunity to try and earn Rachel's love. So, while a similar declaration would have been nice, this was really all that she could have reasonably expected. And she was thankful for it. "Of course," she rasped.

"Look at me, Quinn," Rachel whispered. And when those beautiful hazel eyes she'd dreamed of for years opened and she saw that they were swimming with tears, her heart broke. "Oh sweetie," she murmured as a few tears leaked out to tumble slowly over alabaster cheeks and she wasted no time wiping them gently away with her thumbs.

"Sorry," Quinn murmured as she tried to brush Rachel's hands away so she could swipe at her own tears. While she was not the girl she used to be, there were aspects of her haughty Fabray upbringing that were still very much a part of her, and she still hated crying in front of other people. She was stopped, however, by a soft yet insistent mouth against her own, and she forgot about everything else as Rachel seemed to pour her heart out into the kiss. She met the kiss eagerly, welcoming the warmth and the reassurances that were offered, and when it eventually reached its inevitable end, a small, soft smile tweaked her lips.

"There's that smile I like to see," Rachel murmured. She smiled as she rested her forehead against Quinn's and smoothed a hand through the blonde's hair. "You okay?"

Quinn nodded and gave Rachel a shy smile. "I think so, yeah. Thank you."

"No reason to thank me," Rachel said gently as she tangled her fingers in the soft hairs at the nape of Quinn's neck. "If anything, I should be thanking you for telling me."

Quinn nodded again and, as the tension surrounding them eased, she found herself feeling relieved that she did not have to pretend anymore. "You're sure you want to do this?"

Rachel smiled. "I am."

They sat in silence for what felt like forever, just staring at each other, a look of pure wonder etched onto each of their faces as their hearts raced at the prospect of what they could be together. After a time, Quinn leaned in and kissed Rachel softly. Feeling the need to lighten the mood, she whispered cockily, "You should know then, that I always get what I want."

Rachel laughed. "I think I'm kind of counting on that," she murmured, punctuating the sentence with another tender kiss. And, as the words fell from her lips onto Quinn's, she realized that they were true.

Quinn hummed approvingly at the brunette's words and dipped her head enough to reclaim Rachel's lips with her own. She sighed as the hand at the back of her neck pulled her in closer, and she went eagerly, her mouth opening under an insistent tongue as the kiss shifted from gentle and reassuring to hot, deep, wet, and probing. Her pulse was pounding in her ears, among other places of her anatomy, and when the stars behind her lids began to spin, she pulled back, gasping for air. "My god, Rachel."

"Indeed," Rachel agreed softly. She stared into Quinn's lust-darkened eyes, wondering how in the world she had not known that the eyes in her dreams were Quinn's. And, as her gaze slipped down over defined cheekbones to full, kiss-swollen lips, all thought left her as she was overcome with an overwhelming desire to taste those lips again. "Better than my dreams."

Quinn could tell that Rachel had said something, but what that was, exactly, she could not tell, and before she could ask the brunette what she had said, soft, sweet lips wrapped around her own and she realized that she did not particularly care what Rachel had said so long as the brunette kept kissing her like this. This is so much better than I'd ever dreamed.

Rachel's eyes, which were already closed, rolled back in her head as Quinn took control of the kiss, the blonde's tongue actively exploring her mouth. "Yes," she whimpered as a hot hand slipped under the hem of her shirt to rest against her side, occasionally grasping or kneading her skin in time with their kisses.

It was frighteningly easy for Quinn to lose herself in the moment, but she remained aware enough to know that they needed to take things slow. This was entirely too important to rush. So when she felt her body riding that edge where it would take just a nudge to make it nearly impossible to stop, she pulled her hand out from under Rachel's shirt to cradle the brunette's face in her hands as she began slowing their kisses to a series of light, lingering pecks. She wanted more, god how did she want, but she was not going to risk ruining this chance the fates had somehow decided to bless her with by rushing things.

Rachel whimpered as Quinn's kisses slowed and she tried to pull the blonde back into her. She was not done kissing Quinn. In fact, if the throbbing between her legs was any indication, she was not done doing a lot of things with her. "Quinn," she whimpered as she blindly sought to reclaim the blonde's lips.

There was no mistaking the rough timbre of Rachel's voice, and it took every ounce of willpower Quinn possessed to actually pull away. "I know, Rach."

Rachel licked her lips and forced her eyes open enough to look at Quinn and she groaned at the sight that greeted her. Perfect alabaster skin flushed a delicate pink, hazel eyes dark and smoldering with desire, lips bruised, swollen, and wanting--Quinn was the embodiment of sex in that moment, and she wanted. Oh, how she wanted. "Jesus, Quinn."

"Believe me, sweetie, I understand," Quinn murmured.

"I want..." Rachel began quietly and she swallowed thickly as she failed to find the words to properly express everything she wanted.

Rachel might not have been able to complete her thought, but Quinn understood perfectly. The nearly black eyes looking at her said more than words ever could. "I know," Quinn whispered. "But I love you too much to rush this, Rachel."

Rachel's desire was banked ever so slightly by Quinn's confession. "Soon?" she asked, not caring at all if it made her sound desperate.

"I think that's a safe bet, yes." Quinn smiled softly and nodded. "It's getting late, Rach, and we have another eight o'clock call tomorrow. I should probably get going."

Rachel nodded sadly and leaned in to kiss Quinn again. Much like her first night in Los Angeles, she was not ready to let Quinn go just yet. "Call me when you get home?" Rachel asked as she reluctantly reached for her door handle.

"I can do that."

"Okay," Rachel sighed and, deciding that she needed one last kiss, leaned back into Quinn to recapture her lips. She smiled as she pulled back, and drew a shaky breath as she reached up to caress the spot she had just kissed with her fingertip. "Then I will speak with you shortly. Drive safely, Quinn."

"As the lady commands." Quinn smiled and tipped her head in a small bow. "I'll see you tomorrow, Rach."

Rachel let her eyes linger on Quinn's face for a moment longer before she sighed and climbed out of the car, the cool night air stinging against her flushed skin before she slipped into her little Mercedes. She gave Quinn a soft smile and a wave as she started the car and pulled out of the lot, somehow knowing that Quinn would not leave until she was safely on her way.

Chapter 13

Quinn's phone began ringing just as she turned into the Paramount Studios lot early the next morning and she dug blindly in her purse for the device as she waited for the security guard to let her in. She waved at the overweight man as she rolled slowly through the gate, and answered her phone with a distracted, "Hello."

"So, you're boning Berry now?" Santana asked without preamble.

Quinn rolled her eyes and had to laugh at the Latina's phrasing. "Um, no. Who told you that?"

"TMZ dot com."

"Fuck," Quinn hissed as she pulled into her parking space. "How bad is it?"

"Not too bad. You're both smiling that polite 'get the fuck out of my way' smile that only you celebrities can manage without looking stupid. It's the speculation that goes with the picture that gets interesting."

"Are you going to read that to me, or am I going to have to look it up once I get to my trailer?"

"Chill, Q," Santana chuckled. "It says, Quinn Fabray and Rachel Berry were spotted leaving Canters on Fairfax late last night looking especially chummy with the Broadway star's hand tucked intimately in the arm of Hollywood's biggest up-and-coming actress. Waitstaff refused to comment on their dinner, but patrons seated near the women confirmed that Fabray and Berry were smiling and holding hands through the majority of their meal and looked, according to one witness, to be very much in love. Fabray hasn't had a serious girlfriend since Heather O'Reilly--hold up. Was she really that serous?"

Quinn laughed in spite of herself. "Not really. I took her to one studio party, she got her picture in the paper, and then she dumped me for some hotshot doctor looking for a trophy wife."

"Ooh, hetero burn," Santana chuckled. "Anyways, it goes on to say, Rachel Berry, last linked to her RENT co-star Liam Henderson, seems to have found a new leading lady in Fabray. The two are working together on James Moore's new film Serendipity, which is about two detectives who fall in love while working a dangerous case. We'll keep an eye on this latest bi-costal connection and keep you posted of any developments."

Quinn bit her lip and nodded thoughtfully as she processed what Santana had told her. "Well, that's not too bad," she said after a few seconds.

"So are you dating Berry now?"

"Would you believe me if I said no?"

"I would, actually, but then I'd be forced to skip class to drive down there and kick your ass until you grow a set and finally ask her out. Seriously, Q--talk to me."

Quinn took a deep breath and ran a hand through her hair. She hated talking about this kind of stuff with Santana, but the brash Latina was, besides Brittany, the only person who knew exactly how she felt about Rachel, how long she had fought against it, and how much she had changed once she accepted it. So, while she was not looking forward to the teasing and crude comments she was sure she was about to get, she knew that she needed to talk to somebody about everything she was thinking, and Santana was her only real option. "Fine. Just, try and be nice. We kissed yesterday on set for the movie and it was..." Her voice trailed off into a sigh. "Yeah. Anyways, we talked afterwards and she said that she...you know what, never mind. Bottom line is that we're going to try this and see what develops."

"Only you can make dating the girl of your dreams sound like a chore," Santana chuckled, the warmth of her tone saying better than words ever could how happy she was for her friend. "Does she know you've wanted to get your hands under her skirt since high school?"

Quinn rolled her eyes and nodded even though the Latina couldn't see her. "Yes. Happy now?"

"Immeasurably. Britt says you two look cute and that we should all go to dinner soon, by the way."

"Well, tell Brittany that Rachel would like that too. Once she found out you two were out here, she wanted me to call and try to set something up. She wants to go do karaoke this weekend, would you guys be interested?"

"Um, things are getting crazy here right now. I have a midterm in Entertainment Law next Wednesday and have to submit a final edit of my article for the Law Review by Thursday, but I could probably skip one of the study sessions for my midterm and still nail it. I don't have to really do anything for my bar exam workshop, so...yeah. When were you thinking?"

"I dunno...how does Friday sound? I want to take her out on a real date Saturday," Quinn said as a light knock on her window drew her attention. She smiled warmly at Rachel who looking gorgeous as usual in a billowy white blouse over what looked like black leggings, oversized glasses, and a floppy black hat. Her smile grew wider as she noticed that Rachel was holding two cups of coffee. "I gotta get going, San. I'll call you later?"

"Sure. I'll talk to B about Friday and we'll figure something out. I've learned that sleep is overrated at this point anyways, we'll find a way to work it out."

"Sounds good."

"Right. Now, go tap that ass you've been drooling over for forever and a fucking day, and please, for the love of god, Fabray, don't tell me about it. I know you've been in love with the girl forever, but you and the midget is a visual I do not need."

"First of all, Ms. Law, you know that 'midget' is a derogatory term and that I don't like it, so please don't call her that. And, two, I think I'll manage to contain myself," Quinn quipped as she slipped her purse onto her arm and opened her car door. "Thanks for the heads up."

"I'll try, but I'm not making any promises on the nickname. Old habits and all that. And, no problem. Tell Berry that Brittany says hi."

"Just B?" Quinn asked as she leaned in and pressed a soft kiss to Rachel's cheek.

"Fine. Me too. We'll see you guys soon. Try and stay away for the paps."

"Will do, S. Thanks," Quinn said before she disconnected the call and dropped her phone into her purse.

"Santana?" Rachel asked as she held out the caramel macchiato she had brought for Quinn.

"Yeah, she was calling to tell me we've made the tabloids already," Quinn said as she took the coffee. "Her and B say hi, by the way. And she's going to talk to Britt about maybe doing karaoke with us on Friday."

Rachel nodded thoughtfully and wondered how long it would be until she heard from Tina. "It would be fun to see them. I hope they can make it. Now, tabloids. Who and what?"

"TMZ online," Quinn said, shaking her head. "Nothing too bad, just basically what we talked about last night. They're speculating that we're dating. Apparently we looked very lovey-dovey holding hands and smiling at each other through dinner. The only picture they've posted is from when we were walking to the car afterwards."

"That's not so bad," Rachel agreed as she slipped her hand into Quinn's. "Good morning, by the way."

Quinn smiled. "Good morning yourself, Ms. Berry. How did you sleep? Any more weird dreams?"

Rachel blushed and nodded as memories of last night's dream floated across her mind. "In a manner of speaking, yes. But I don't believe that 'weird' is an apt description of them anymore."

Quinn squeezed Rachel's hand as they wandered across the parking lot toward their trailers. "Are you going to explain that rambling vagueness?"

"Maybe later," Rachel murmured, a light blush tinting her cheeks.

They walked the rest of the way to Rachel's trailer in a comfortable silence, each of them happy just to have the other in close proximity once again. Quinn hung back by the door inside Rachel's trailer as she watched Rachel toss her purse onto the couch before turning toward her with a playful glint in her eye.

"Is there something I can help you with?" Quinn teased.

Rachel licked her lips and nodded as she walked over to Quinn. "As a matter of fact, there is."

"Hmm," Quinn hummed as she wrapped her arms around Rachel's waist. "And what would that be?"

"Well, a kiss good morning would be a decent place to start," Rachel murmured as she lifted herself up onto the balls of her feet and lightly ghosted her lips across Quinn's.

Quinn smiled and dipped her head to kiss Rachel softly. "Good morning," she whispered as she pulled away, beyond pleased that Rachel did not seem at all put-off by the fact that they were now officially tabloid fodder.

"Good morning," Rachel husked as she rocked into Quinn. She giggled when Quinn spun them around, and could not help but whimper when Quinn's body pressed up against her own, pinning her to the wall beside the door. "Well hello there," she murmured as she ran her fingers through Quinn's hair.

"Hi," Quinn breathed as she slipped her hands around Rachel's tiny waist and leaned in to claim her lips in a lingering kiss.

The call Rachel had been expecting from Tina ever since Quinn had told her about the TMZ article came as the crew broke for lunch. She sighed as she looked over at the blonde, who was talking with James about something she wanted to try with the scene they were supposed to shoot right after they all got back, and lifted her phone to her ear. "Hello, Tina," she answered after the third ring.

"So, don't you think it'd be nice for you to let your publicist know that you've decided to take a walk on the Sapphic side?" Tina drawled in lieu of a formal greeting.

Rachel rolled her eyes at the laughter she could hear in her friend's voice, even though she had to admit that having the Asian woman amused by her fledgling relationship was better than some of the other scenarios she'd imagined. "Not particularly, no. Besides, it was a little bit of a surprise to me as well."

"Please, Rachel. You used to stare so hard at Quinn's legs in high school that you had to have had some idea that this was going to happen before you got out there."

"I did not stare at her legs."

"Hah! You did too. The only thing that was more obvious was the way Quinn would drool whenever you danced up next to her in Glee."

"I didn't even know she was gay before I got out here," Rachel argued as she turned her back on the set and left for the privacy of her trailer. She knew that Quinn would come looking for her whenever she was done talking about whatever it was she and James were talking about, and she did not want to have this conversation with an untold number of curious ears around her.

"That's because you've been happily living in your little Broadway bubble of denial. Now, as your publicist, I have to say that you need to be as discreet as possible, just as you would with any relationship, but as your friend I have to ask if you're sure about this. I mean, she is Quinn Fabray."

Rachel nodded. "I know, Tina. But if you met her now, you'd see that she is nothing like the Quinn we remember from high school."

"So long as you're sure," Tina said, concern evident in her tone.

"I am," Rachel assured her. "Look, I know that this must seem strange, but from the moment I showed up on set she's been nothing but sweet and caring. She's grown in a beautiful, amazing woman and I... I want her Tina. And when is the last time you remember me saying that about anybody and genuinely meaning it? I can't remember, that's for sure. We kissed, yesterday, for the first time during shooting, and even with all the cameras and the people watching us it was still the most amazing kiss of my life. I finally felt those butterflies everybody talks about. I felt...safe. Cherished. There were at least forty people watching us and the only person I was aware of was her. I've never felt anything even close to that with anybody before, so that means this can't be wrong, right?"

Tina sighed. "Rach, you know I love you, right?"


"Then don't worry about what's right and wrong. If you think she's sincere, then go with it. You've been in one disastrous relationship after another for years now; you deserve some happiness. Do I think it's a little weird? Um, duh. I mean, it's you and Quinn. But, at the same time, I can't sit here and say that I'm totally surprised either. You took this job to try something new, so go try something new."

"Like Quinn."

"Exactly. So, has anything else happened in the three short days you've been away from the center of the universe?"

Rachel laughed as she entered her trailer and closed the door after herself. "Well, I learned that Santana and Brittany are here in LA too."

"Are they still together?"

"They are. Britt's choreographing music videos and Santana's in her last semester of law school."

"You know, I find neither of those things surprising."

"Those occupations do seem rather fitting for them both, don't they?"

"Totally. What else?"

Rachel laughed and threw herself down on the comfy sofa. "You mean my developing serious feelings for Quinn Fabray, starting my first film, and managing to somehow learn my lines for the next week in a day and a half isn't enough?"

"Serious feelings, huh?"

Rachel nodded as the door to her trailer opened and an inquisitive blonde head peeked inside. She smiled warmly at Quinn, holding hazel eyes hostage as she said, "Yes. Very much so. She just walked in, do you want to say hello?"

"Oh, you bet your butt I do!"

Rachel chuckled and held her phone out to Quinn. "Tina wants to say hi."

"Shit. Is she mad?" Quinn whispered as she obediently took the phone Rachel was holding out for her.

Rachel shook her head and lifted her feet for Quinn to sit. "Nope," she said, her smile growing wider as Quinn sat beside her and she set her legs back down onto the blonde's lap.

"We'll see about that," Quinn muttered as she lifted the phone to her ear. "Hello, Tina."

"Quinn," Tina said seriously, trying her best to sound intimidating. "Rumor on the ol' internet is that you and my client are something of an item."

Quinn bit her lip and nodded as she began rubbing her right hand up and down Rachel's shins. "Well, you know what they say about rumors."

"If they're reported on TMZ, they're usually true?"

Quinn rolled her eyes. "Look, is there something you needed, or did you just want to do the overbearing parent thing and give me a hard time?"

Tina laughed loudly. "Oh, Quinn. I want to give you a hard time. And," she said, her voice dropping threateningly, "to make sure you understand that if you hurt Rachel I will fly out there, hunt you down, and kill you. We clear?"

Quinn grinned. "Crystal. And, what will you do if she hurts me?"

"Give her a high five?"

Quinn's grin disappeared and her brow dropped in disbelief. "That's just mean."

"Well, you know. I gotta protect my assets."

"Well, I think it'd be best if you also remember that those assets are mine to protect for as long as she'll have me," Quinn drawled, ogling Rachel's chest.

Rachel blushed at Quinn's words, her cheeks growing hotter as she heard Tina's laughter spilling from the phone. "Quinn!" Rachel hissed.


"That was bad, Fabray," Tina said through her laughter. "But, I'll let it slide since I know for a fact that you've been ogling those assets since we were in high school. Treat my girl with respect, okay?"

"Of course," Quinn answered sincerely. "Here, I'll give you back to Rachel now so you guys can finish discussing whatever it is you were talking about."

"We were just gossiping about you, but okay," Tina replied. "Nice talking to you Quinn. Try and stay away from the paparazzi, okay?"

"I'll try my best," Quinn said as she handed the phone back to Rachel.

Rachel smiled sweetly as she took the phone from Quinn, making sure to let her fingers linger over the blonde's for a moment before she pulled back and put her phone back to her ear. "What did you say to her?"

"Nothing. I gotta go deal with my next headache now. Please call me if you two get ambushed again. I would like to be prepared next time for the phone calls that I've been handling all morning."

"Okay," Rachel agreed. "I'll talk to you later, Tina."

"She seemed to take the news pretty well," Quinn said as she watched Rachel drop her phone onto the floor..

Rachel nodded. "Actually better than I'd thought she would, to be honest. She just warned me to try and be discreet like she normally does."

"She didn't try and talk you out of seeing me?" Quinn asked softly, as her hand moved past Rachel's knee and began drawing light circles against the brunette's toned thigh.

"No," Rachel said as she pushed herself up into a sitting position. "She didn't seem all that surprised about it, to be honest."

One corner of Quinn's mouth quirked up in a surprised smile as she looked into Rachel's serious gaze. "Really?"

"Really." Rachel leaned in and kissed Quinn tenderly. "She said something about having seen it back in Glee. Did you like it when I danced by you?"

Quinn blushed and nodded. "I did. Especially when you were wearing one of your little skirts that would fly up whenever you did a spin," she said as she leaned foward, smiling as she forced Rachel back down onto the couch so she could hover above her. "It was very...distracting," she husked as she dipped her head and captured Rachel's lips in a searing kiss.

Rachel met the kiss eagerly as she reached out for Quinn's hips, pulling the blonde down into her as their lips parted and their tongues tangled together. She sighed as Quinn settled atop her, their bodies fitting together perfectly as their kisses grew deeper, hotter, and hungrier. She groaned as Quinn's hand settled onto her side, just below her breast, gripping and massaging her side in time with their kisses, and she dearly wished that Quinn would move that hand just a little bit higher. Never before had she wanted to be touched as badly as she did in that moment.

There was no mistaking the tension in Rachel's body as she kissed her, and Quinn studied Rachel's face carefully as she pulled away to look at her. "Is this okay?"

"God, don't stop, Quinn," Rachel husked as she lifted her head off of the couch to recapture the blonde's lips with her own.

A low moan rumbled in Quinn's throat as she melted into Rachel, pouring every ounce of desire and affection she had for the brunette into the kiss. "I could do that forever," she murmured, smiling as she nuzzled Rachel's cheek with her nose. "What about lunch?"

"Craft service isn't going anywhere," Rachel murmured, her eyes still closed as she searched blindly for Quinn's lips. "Kiss me, Fabray."

Quinn laughed softly and acquiesced to Rachel's demand, capturing the brunette's perfect lips with her own in another deep, languid kiss. "Are you always so bossy?" she asked softly between kisses.

A low hum was her answer as Rachel's hand slipped under her shirt and pressed into the small of her back. "Quinn?"

"Yes, beautiful?"

"Shut up and kiss me."

Quinn smiled as she did just that, immediately opening her mouth and slanting it over Rachel's as she possessively thrust her tongue past Rachel's lips. They had about forty-five minutes until they had to be back on set, and she could think of no better way to spend that time than what they were doing. Food, for as much as she loved it, lost every time if she had to choose between it and Rachel Berry.

Chapter 14

Quinn poked her head out of the door to Rachel's trailer and looked around. Not seeing who she needed, she pulled her phone out of her pocket and dialed the production assistant who had been assigned to her for the movie. She hated using the glorified gophers any more than necessary, but this was one of those times where she did not have much of a choice.

"Johnson," the kid answered on the first ring.

"It's Quinn Fabray. I need you to get me a veggie wrap, a turkey wrap, two bottles of water, and a couple apples or something and meet me at the hair and makeup trailer."

"Of course, Ms. Fabray. I'll be there shortly."

"Thanks," she said as she turned to look at Rachel, whose hair she had managed to completely destroy, and grinned.

"You're lucky you didn't give me a hickey." Rachel studied her reflection in the mirror and smoothed her hands over her clothes. If their lunches were going to consist of incredibly hot make-out sessions, she was going to have to start changing out of her character's clothes.

"You were the one who said 'shut up and kiss me'," Quinn argued as she ran her fingers through Rachel's hair, trying to smooth out the strands she had mussed. "You can't blame me, I was just following directions."

Rachel laughed and nodded. "I have to say, you did that very well. Are you always so obedient?"

A lascivious grin quirked Quinn's lips as she stepped back and gave Rachel a thorough once-over. She still looked completely disheveled, but it was passable enough that they should be able to leave the trailer without anyone saying anything. "It depends on my mood. Let's get over to the torture trailer and get fixed up."

Rachel laughed and took Quinn's outstretched hand. "The torture trailer, really?"

Quinn pushed the door open and nodded. "It is. I hate doing all that stuff. They poke and pull and..." Her voice trailed off as she heard Rachel snigger beside her. "It's not funny! It's like being one of Sylvester's she-bots all over again!"

Rachel forced her laughter back and nodded. "Of course, Quinn. You're absolutely right."

"That's just condescending and mean. And to think that I was going to offer to take you out to dinner again tonight."

"You bought dinner last night, Quinn. It's my treat this time," Rachel said as she pulled open the door to the 'torture trailer' and waved Quinn through.

The two stylists looked up from their lunch as the actors entered the trailer. "Well, hello again ladies. Looks like you two need a touch-up," the smaller woman, Becca, Quinn thought her name was, said with a smile.

Quinn cleared her throat and nodded as she glanced at her watch. Wardrobe had let her keep her oversized Tag, saying that it fit well with her character. "We're supposed to be on set in ten."

Becca looked over at the other woman and winked. "You up for the challenge, Jo?"

Jo smiled and wiped her hands off on a napkin as she nodded and got to her feet. "I think we can manage," she said as the door to the trailer was thrown open.

"Ms. Fabray," Johnson, the PA Quinn had called before leaving Rachel's trailer, said as he climbed inside. "Here's your lunch."

"Thanks," Quinn said as she took the veggie wrap and bottled water out of his hands and gave them to Rachel before taking her own food. "Just set the apples on the windowsill and we'll grab them on our way out."

"You got it. Is there anything else?"

"Can you hustle over to the set and tell James that Rach and I are just getting touched-up and that we'll be there in a minute?"

"No problem," the kid said as he turned on his heel and left.

Quinn arched a brow at Rachel and shrugged. "It's nice to have minions to do my dirty work," she said as she sat down in one of the stylist's chairs, setting her water between her legs before she began opening her sandwich.

Rachel chuckled and assumed a similar position in the chair beside Quinn as the stylists began working on their hair. "You always had minions doing your dirty work."

Quinn gave Rachel an embarrassed smile in the mirror. "At least this time they're being paid. And, it's like extra credit or something for their college classes. Win-win."

Rachel rolled her eyes. "Whatever, Fabray. We have three scenes this afternoon?"

"Yeah. And, um, remember to remind me to tell you what James said later," Quinn said.

Rachel sighed, immediately understanding what Quinn was referring to. "Is it bad?"

Quinn scoffed. "You kidding? Production company is thrilled. Free press."

Ten minutes later, with their hair and makeup put back into their original condition, Rachel and Quinn exited the hair and makeup trailer into the bright midday Southern California sunshine. The lot was a predictable flurry of activity, with people walking briskly to and fro, and they blended seamlessly into the swarming mass, thankful for their moment of anonymity.

"So what did James have to say about us?" Rachel asked once they were free of prying ears.

Quinn reached out and took Rachel's hand into her own. "Same as everybody else; just wanted us to be careful. He said that ArcLight, the production company, is already talking about junkets and press releases and looking to take full advantage of us being together to draw free publicity to the film and he wanted to make sure that we both understand what we're getting into."

"That was nice of him."

"That's because James is a nice guy," Quinn said honestly. "I told him our publicists were aware of the situation--"

"When did you talk to your publicist?" Rachel interrupted.

"When you were shooting that scene in the 'locker room' earlier," Quinn answered. "Jack doesn't care. I gave him a brief history of our history so that way he's prepared for a well-timed 'no comment' or two, and beyond that, he told me just to not get caught with my pants down."

Rachel laughed. "Have you?"

Quinn grinned. "Not yet."

"Do you think they'll really dig up stuff from high school?"

Quinn shrugged. "Probably. They dug up stuff about Beth when they started paying more attention to me last year during Oscar season. I'm assuming you haven't made a secret of the fact that you were bullied in high school?"

Rachel shook her head. "No. I thought it would be good for kids to know that you can survive it and still thrive. So you think somebody will tell them about how we were in high school?"

"Maybe," Quinn said as she looked around the sound stage. James was standing beside Chase, most likely going over something with the script, and she caught his eye and pointed at herself and Rachel and then to an abandoned corner of the set, silently telling him that they were going to take a minute. She saw him nod and she pulled Rachel over to a couple of unused director's chairs. "I can talk to Puck and have him keep an eye out for reporters. But beyond that, there's not a whole lot we can do, Rach," she said as she guided Rachel into one of the chairs.

Rachel reached out and pulled Quinn in closer so that the blonde was standing between her legs. Searching brown eyes looked up into open hazel as Rachel worried her lower lip between her teeth. "Won't that hurt you?"

Quinn frowned. "Won't what hurt me?"

"That stuff coming out. Old HBIC Quinn Fabray."

Quinn's frown turned into a soft smile as she looped her arms around Rachel's neck. "Sweetie, it's not any worse than me getting pregnant at fifteen, getting kicked out of my parents' house, and then giving the baby up for adoption at sixteen. Oh, and the pink hair. We mustn't forget the pink hair – the tabloids especially loved that last time around."

"The hair was cute," Rachel chuckled. "What about Beth? Is it known that you're her mother?"

Quinn nodded. "You know how the Lima gossip chain works, Rach. Everybody knows. Last year, when the paparazzi decided I was interesting enough to follow to podunk Ohio, somebody told them that she was mine, but I was prepared for it and already had restraining orders and orders to cease and desist drawn up and ready to be delivered to all of the major press outlets. Nobody really pushed because she's just an innocent kid and it's in her best interest to not have this publicized. I'm sure all bets will be off when she turns eighteen, but, for now, she's safe."

"For somebody who said they didn't deal with lawyers, you handled that well."

"I never said I didn't deal with them, I just said I let my agent and publicist worry about that stuff. It was actually Jack who talked to the lawyers and got all that squared away, anyways."

"What about your...preferences? Is this a secret?"

Quinn rolled her eyes and smiled. "From whom? The general public, or Beth?"


"I haven't officially come out or anything, but it's pretty much known that I'm a lesbian. As for Beth, she's only nine, Rach. She just knows that I live in California and make movies that she can't see until she's older. There wasn't a reason for me to tell her about the rest of this until I found somebody special," she said, giving Rachel a look that quite clearly said that she could be that someone. "Shelby knows. And she keeps an eye on the tabloids. So far, none of the kids at Beth's school have said anything, so it isn't a big deal."

"How do you know all this?"

"Remember our senior year when Shelby let me and Puck meet Beth?"

Rachel nodded.

"Well, it was a little rocky to start, but things have smoothed out now. Puck sees her about once a month and I try and see her whenever I'm in Lima--which isn't that often, but I always try and make it back for her birthday. Don't you ever go back home? I'm sure none of this is particularly secret."

Rachel licked her lips and shrugged. "Well, you know my relationship with my...mother has always been strained, so when I left for New York, Dad and Daddy just came to see me every couple months so that way I never really had to go home."

Quinn sighed, feeling like an even bigger asshole than normal because she was part of the reason that Rachel had no desire to return home, and pulled the brunette into a hug. "I'm so sorry," she whispered as she rested her cheek against the top of Rachel's head.

Rachel smiled at the emotion in Quinn's voice and squeezed the blonde gently. "And I already said that I forgive you," she said as she pulled back and lifted her face for a kiss.

Quinn pressed her lips to Rachel's and, when the kiss broke, they were both smiling. "I'd say you're too forgiving, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't thankful for it. Any other questions for the time being?"

Rachel sighed and shook her head. "Nothing that can't wait. We should probably get back to work."

James Moore stood silently beside one of the cameras set up around what was Quinn's character's living room. His attention was focused not on the set itself, the furniture had long since been placed, but rather on the two women who were slowly but surely making their way across the set to where he was standing. Having worked with Quinn before, he was aware of her past history with the tabloids, and he was concerned for his friend's well-being despite the fact that she had assured him that hers and Rachel's people were on board with everything.

So, as his lead actors approached, he gave them a concerned smile. "Everything okay?"

"Yeah," Quinn answered, giving the director a look that said everything was fine. "Just...stuff."

"Yeah, well, stuff does tend to show up when you least want it, doesn't it?" James asked, relieved to see that both Quinn and Rachel seemed to be handling the situation well.

"It does," Rachel agreed. "So, what's the plan?"

"Well, it's the dinner scene, obviously," he said as he waved a hand at the 'room' set up behind him. "Takes place after the kiss in the script, so your characters are, well, you."

Rachel smiled and looked up at Quinn who was blushing. "I guess they are," she agreed. "So, you want nervous and excited, some jitters, but overall you want the mood to be..."

"Let's go for outright sexual tension and scale it back from there," James replied. This was the scene that set up the big first love scene of the movie, so it was important that the characters' desire be on display.

"I think we can manage that," Rachel said with a playful wink.

James smirked. "Somehow I don't doubt that. Just remember we need to get through this scene and two more before we're done for the day--so go a little easy on my girl Q, here, huh?"

"Yeah," Quinn agreed before she realized what, exactly, James had said. "Hey!"

James and Rachel laughed and the director reached out to place an affectionate hand on Quinn's arm. "Q, really, you're too easy. Go seduce Detective Walker, will ya."

"I dunno James," Quinn drawled as she cast a speculative eye in Rachel's direction. "She seems like a bit of a tough nut to crack. I don't know how successful I'm gonna be."

"I think Detective Walker could be coerced into playing nice," Rachel purred as she ran a playful hand down Quinn's arm, causing goose bumps to erupt in the wake of her touch and an obvious shiver to roll through the blonde's body.

Out of the corner of her eye Quinn saw James' smirk grow and she couldn't help retorting, "What if Charlie doesn't want her to play nice?"

Rachel chuckled and pushed herself up onto her toes so that her lips brushed against Quinn's ear. "Handcuffs are hardly first-time accessories," she husked, purposefully letting her breath fall in hot waves over the sensitive skin. "But maybe, if you're a good girl, later..."

James watched Quinn's expression shift from playful to wanting to downright embarrassed and couldn't hold in his laughter even if he'd wanted to. Which he didn't.Which he didn't. "My god, Rachel. What did you just say to her?" he asked as he reached out to touch Quinn's flushed cheek, needing to see if it felt as hot as it looked.

It did.

Rachel smiled and brushed her lips across Quinn's ear softly before she lowered herself back to her regular height and turned to the director. "I merely pointed out that, while fun, ha-"

Quinn's hand shot out to cover Rachel's mouth before she could finish, which caused James to laugh even harder, Quinn to blush even more furiously, and Rachel to tease the center of the blonde's palm with the tip of her tongue, making Quinn shiver and drawing even more raucous laughter from their director.

Having had enough, Quinn pulled her hand away from Rachel's mouth, and wiped it off on her pants. "When you two are done, I'll be on set waiting to get to work," she said as she turned on her heel and strode briskly onto the set.

"That storm-out needs some work," Rachel observed quietly as she watched Quinn strut away from them, thinking that the cut of the blonde's slacks made her ass look even more delicious than it normally did.

James laughed. "Yeah, that was pretty weak."

"I'll work with her on it," Rachel said with a wink before she took off after Quinn. She was pretty sure that Quinn had been playing around, but things between them were new enough that she wanted to make sure that she had not overstepped any of Quinn's boundaries.

"Rachel," James' voice stopped her.


James smiled and shoved his hands into his back pockets as he looked at the petite woman who had not only rescued the film, but most likely made it better than it would have been otherwise. Not just because of her acting, which was phenomenal, but because when she and Quinn were together on screen, they just clicked. It was a chemistry that could not be forced or faked, and he had never been happier for such a colossal staffing change happening right before filming was set to begin. "She's just messing with you. And, for what it's worth, I'm rooting for you guys."

Rachel blushed and tipped her head at the director. "Thank you, James. That means a lot to me. And Quinn, I'm sure. So, you want sexual tension, yes?"

He nodded.

"Watch me get her worked up." Rachel flashed him a saucy smile as she turned back toward the set and did her best diva strut over to Quinn who, James noticed, seemed to really appreciate the extra sway the brunette was putting into her hips.

"Poor Quinn," James chuckled as he turned back to the cameraman who had just returned from his lunch.

"What?" the cameraman asked.

James just shook his head and waved a hand at the set where Rachel and Quinn were settling themselves onto a comfortable looking cream-colored sofa that fronted a small coffee table that held two wine glasses full of grape juice. A bottled water was flashed in front of his face and he grinned as he swiped it out of his friend's grasp.

"What has you in such a good mood?" Chase asked as he untwisted the cap on his own bottle.

"Charlie's about to get worked," James chuckled.

A large grin lifted the writer's lips as he turned to look at the film's leading ladies. "What did you tell them?"

"Outright sexual tension."

Chase laughed. "Yeah, poor Quinn."

James nodded and slapped Chase on the back as he called out, "AAAAAAAND, ACTION!"

He watched as, on the set, Quinn and Rachel leaned back onto the couch, each of them holding a half-full glass in their hand. Rachel had positioned herself close enough to Quinn to be just inside the blonde's personal space, and Quinn had reciprocated by turning ever so slightly, so that their legs touched and she was able to brace her right arm over the back of the couch as she looked directly at her companion. The scene played out slowly, full of lingering touches and smoldering glances, and, as James watched the monitor, he had to admit that not only were the two women nailing the shot on the first take, Rachel was also doing a damn fine job of riling Quinn up.

Nearly as good of a job as Quinn was doing on the brunette.

He smiled to himself as they ran through the longer than average section of dialogue, both women's eyes locked on the other as they talked, seemingly oblivious to the world around them. Both had a look of desire in their eyes that he knew was not fake, and that was what made the scene all the better. He had never pushed actors into a so-called 'showmance' but he had to admit that he could see the perks.

The scene was winding down, Quinn and Rachel drawing it out perfectly with heated stares and blatant touches, their earlier flirtation replaced with pure desire. And then it ended, with just a little bit of symmetry that he knew Chase especially loved to include in his writing.

Quinn reached out and took Rachel's glass from her hands, and turned to set them down onto the coffee table.

"Charlie?" Rachel asked.

Quinn smiled softly and turned to the brunette. "Hayden," she said, her voice low and smooth as she leaned in to woman beside her. "I want you."

Rachel's eyes darted down to the floor for a moment before she looked back up at the blonde. She licked her lips and nodded ever so slightly as she said, "So take me."

On the set itself, Quinn knew that James should be calling 'CUT' any moment now, but since the command did not come, she figured he wanted them to finish acting out the scene. And she really did not have a problem with that. She had never been one for public displays of affection, scenes such as this had always been more than a little uncomfortable for her to shoot before, but now, with Rachel looking at her with those dark bedroom eyes, she could care less that there were a bunch of people watching them.

"You're sure," Quinn adlibbed, arching a brow questioningly as she leaned in close enough that their foreheads were touching.

Rachel swallowed thickly and nodded. "Yes." Her consent was no louder than a breath, but the boom mics had no problem picking it up.

"So beautiful," Quinn murmured as she closed that final distance separating them and captured Rachel's lips in a kiss that was lingering and sweet, and full of the promise of more.

And, of course, that was the moment James remembered to do his damned job. "AND CUT!"

Quinn smiled into the kiss but held onto it for a few heartbeats longer before she pulled away. "You were really good there, Rach."

"So were you," Rachel said with a small smile as she gave the blonde a light peck on the lips.

James cleared his throat as he approached his actors, effectively pulling them from their little bubble. "Very well done, you two."

Rachel grinned as she leaned into Quinn. "Was that enough sexual tension for you?"

"Did you lose track of the script?" Quinn teased as she wrapped an arm around Rachel's shoulders and pulled the brunette into her. "You do realize that we're not here to just give free girl-on-girl shows to you and the rest of the crew."

James laughed and shook his head as he sat down onto the coffee table. "Q, you know that while I can appreciate the beauty in what you two share and are bringing out on screen, it's not exactly my thing. And no, I didn't lose my place in the script, but I like the tenderness you bring to this when it involves Rachel and I wanted to see where you took the scene after that obvious stop point."

Knowing that she wasn't going to win the argument, playful as it was, Quinn rolled her eyes and shrugged. "Right, then can you find whatever schmuck put Manischewitz into the wine glasses and kick his ass? That stuff is awful!"

Rachel laughed and nodded her agreement. "It's an acquired taste."

"I believe the schmuck was Chase," James whispered conspiratorially. "And, since it appears that the pranking has begun, all I ask is that you not destroy studio property. Again."

"That fire was not my fault," Quinn said automatically.

Rachel looked from the director to Quinn and asked, "Fire?"

"Just a small one," Quinn said.

James shook his head. "It was by no means a small one, and it was totally your fault."

"Those were supposed to be little firecracker type cherry bombs," Quinn argued. "How was I supposed to know that they were the spinny-sparky-shooty kind of fireworks?"

"Fireworks?" Rachel repeated.

James ignored the obviously confused brunette as he laughed at Quinn. "I dunno, maybe because they weren't shaped like cherries? Never mind the fact that firecrackers are cylindrical?"

Quinn frowned. "Cherry bombs are really shaped like cherries? Well, whatever. He deserved it anyways."

"Who?" Rachel asked as she tried to follow the ping-pong match of a conversation that was happening in front of her.

"Maybe," James agreed. "But still, one of those spinny-sparky-shooty fireworks, as you called them, landed next to the propane tank that was set up next to the campsite and it blew up!"

"What?" Rachel asked.

Quinn laughed and flung her free hand up on the air. "Again, not my fault! That was all on the idiot who forgot to bring a prop tank and set out a real one that was full instead."

"OKAY!" Rachel yelled, waving her hands out in front of herself so that her left ended up on Quinn's chest and her right was in front of James' face.

Quinn smiled and carefully moved Rachel's hand from her breast. "Yes, dear?"

Rachel blushed at where her hand had landed, but still managed to look appropriately confused and annoyed. "I will ignore the fact that cherry bombs are illegal for the moment and not ask about how you came into possession of one--"

"Props," Quinn said quickly.

Rachel rolled her eyes. "Whatever. Did you really blow up a campsite?"

Quinn grinned and nodded. "But it was only a small one."

"She is telling the truth about that one," James said. "It was a small campsite."

Rachel shook her head and muttered. "Just a small one. Sure, I mean, it's not a big deal if you only blow up a small campsite."

James laughed. "All right ladies, for as fun as this is, we do have a movie to shoot. So, let's try this again from the top, I want to try a couple different camera angles."

"You're the boss," Quinn said. "Just get something else into these glasses, will ya."

"Real grape juice, coming up," James replied as he got to his feet and waved a propmaster over. "Replace the juice in these cups with little kid friendly grape juice, not that Manischewitz stuff," he said as he handed the man the glasses. "Anything else?" he asked Quinn and Rachel.

Rachel smiled and shook her head. "Not that I can think of."

"Good. Then we'll get going again as soon as he brings those glasses back."

"Are you going to call 'cut' in the proper place this time?" Quinn asked.

James shrugged. "Dunno. Will have to wait and see, I guess," he said with a grin as he turned back toward the camera.

Chapter 15

Florescent lights buzzed softly as hushed voices had harried conversations, the similarity of the sounds blending into a cohesive, comforting white noise that lulled weary actors, grips, and PAs alike into a near comatose state. Quinn glanced at her watch and groaned when she saw that it was already well past nine o'clock. They had been shooting this same scene for over two hours now, which, on any other set would have been typical, but she and Rachel had been nailing their scenes on the first take and had finished up with the alternate angle shots by the fourth. She lost count after take twenty, but she was pretty sure they were at least in the thirties and, by the way James was waving his hands and stomping his feet, it was obvious that they still had a long way to go.

Quinn sighed as she looked away from James, who was now doing something that resembled the chicken dance, and down at Rachel. The brunette had decided to take advantage of the break in filming to lie down on the kitchen counter--the scene they were shooting now took place in Charlie's kitchen--and she idly wondered if there was enough room up there for her as well. Thirteen plus hours on set made for an agonizingly long day.

The afternoon had started out well enough, making out with a ridiculously sexy woman was always a great way to 'work'; but after they had wrapped up the couch scene, James decided that he also wanted to try and get the cast and crew to muscle through the girls' two scenes that were scheduled for Friday. Of course, that meant they still needed to get through the remaining scene they had scheduled for the day before starting those. It was a case of bad news, good news. Bad news was that they had to work late. The good news was that, if they ever managed to get this final scene done to James' liking, they were looking at a three-day weekend.

"How much longer?" Rachel mumbled as she rolled onto her back and bent her right arm over her eyes to block out the lighting.

"I wish I knew, sweetie." Quinn decided to split the difference between standing and lying down, as she folded her upper body over the counter and laid her head onto Rachel's stomach. She sighed contentedly as the brunette's fingers began combing slowly through her hair, blunt nails scratching lightly against her scalp. If Rachel kept it up, she'd fall asleep in less than a minute.

"Do you have the power to make him never try and fit this many scenes into a day ever again?" Rachel grumbled as she wrapped her hand around the nape of Quinn's neck and began massaging it gently.

Quinn groaned. "I wish. We may joke around and be friends and everything, but when it comes down to it, he's the boss when it comes to this stuff."

"I'm tired," Rachel said through a yawn.

"Don't start yawning on me, Berry."

Rachel smiled and resumed running her fingers through Quinn's hair. "Why?"

Quinn rolled her eyes as she yawned. "Because it's contagious, damn it."

"How are you two doing?" James asked as he approached the obviously tired pair. "Think you have a couple more takes in you?"

"Maybe," Quinn groaned as she forced herself up off of Rachel. "What are we trying for this time?" she asked as she took Rachel's hands and pulled her into a sitting position.

James jammed his hands into the front pockets of his jeans as he watched Rachel guide Quinn to between her legs so that the blonde was leaning against the edge of the counter. "Honestly? I don't know. You guys have hit everything I was going for but there is something that just seems off to me."

Quinn nodded thoughtfully, wrapping her hands around Rachel's arms that had looped over her shoulders and now dangled over her chest, as she considered what he was saying. The scene they were playing was the 'morning after' scene that would follow their characters' initial love scene. When she had read this particular scene in the script, she'd thought it was a little rough, but she didn't know what to say. As written, it was awkward and bumbling and they had hit that on every take.

"Can I make a suggestion?" Rachel piped up.

James nodded. "Sure."

Rachel leaned her head on Quinn's shoulder and looked confidently at the director. She knew what was wrong, she just hoped that she was not going to be stepping on any toes by pointing it out. "I don't think Charlie and Hayden would be this closed off around each other. True, their relationship changed quickly from colleagues who loathed each other to lovers, but, as written, both Charlie and Hayden own their actions. They are both confident women who know what they're doing."

Seeing where Rachel was going, Quinn nodded her agreement. "Right. Like, in that scene earlier, Hayden was all like, take me--but now she's shy? That doesn't fit. She stayed the night, which means that she was comfortable enough with what had developed between them to not get up and leave as soon as they were done having sex. If they were comfortable enough to sleep together, literally sleeping, then things wouldn't be quite this weird between them the next morning."

"Exactly," Rachel agreed. "Hesitant? Sure. It's a big thing, to jump into bed with somebody you work with, but they are walking on eggshells around each other and that's just a little too extreme, if you know what I'm saying."

"If you guys are proposing a script change, we're going to have to shelve this scene and get Chase to rework it," James said.

"True," Quinn agreed. "But, I think the dialogue itself is okay, the mood just needs to change."

"Let us try it this way and if it doesn't work then you guys can take it back to the drawing board," Rachel suggested.

James ran a hand through his hair as he looked at Quinn, who was smiling and nodding her approval, to Rachel who was nervously watching him, most likely afraid that she had overstepped her bounds. "All right. Since my way is leaving me feeling depressed and unsatisfied, you guys do what you want with this."

"That's what she said," Quinn quipped as she turned around and helped Rachel down off of the counter.

"Har har," James drawled. "So I can get the cameras where they need to be, how are you going to play this?"

Quinn pursed her lips and studied the set. "Make it so you have the entire kitchen area covered and we'll improvise."

Rachel watched James nod and walk off of the set and she turned her attention to Quinn, who was looking around the set speculatively. "Any ideas?" she asked.

"I dunno. You?"

Rachel licked her lips and nodded. "Yeah. You start over by the coffee pot, maybe act like you're pouring yourself a cup or something and I'll come in from the side."

"Okay. And how do you want to play this?"

"You have to ask?" Rachel teased. "Warm. Playful. A little guarded, but nothing near what we were doing before."

Quinn ran through the lines of dialogue in her head and smiled as she saw what the brunette was saying. "Gotcha."

"READY?" James called out.

Rachel waved in the general direction of the director and smiled at Quinn. "Let's get this done so we can get out of here."

"You read my mind," Quinn agreed, nodding as she backed away from the brunette to take her position in front of the coffee pot.

Rachel rolled her eyes and walked off of the set to stand off camera until it was time to go on. She rubbed her hands on the thighs of her slacks as James' called out, "ACTION", and schooled her expression to careful nonchalance as she walked into the scene.

Quinn could hear Rachel's heels clicking against the floor of the kitchen and smiled as she set the carafe back into position. "Did you find the towels and everything all right?" she asked as she turned toward the brunette.

"I did," Rachel said as she reached out and took the coffee mug out of Quinn's hands. "Thank you for letting me borrow a shirt."

Quinn rolled her eyes and turned to get herself a new cup of coffee, which was actually hot and smelled delicious. "Not a problem," she said as she took a sip of the heavenly brew. She would have to find whoever it was that actually put a working coffee machine onto the set and filled it with coffee, and kiss them.

Mimicking Quinn's actions, Rachel took a sip of her coffee. "So..."

"Yeah, so," Quinn said hesitantly as she appraised Rachel over the rim of her coffee cup.

Rachel bit her lip as she stared into Quinn's eyes, letting her character linger on the nervousness Quinn was showing. "I had a good time," she said softly as she took a small step forward into Quinn's personal space.

Quinn smiled and let her shoulders relax. "Me too." Her words were relieved and hesitant still, but that edge of awkwardness that James had been trying for earlier was gone.

Rachel switched the coffee cup she was holding from her right hand to her left reached up with her right hand to tuck her hair behind her ear. "Are we okay?"

Quinn nodded, her eyes softening as she looked at Rachel, deciding in that moment to skip her line of dialogue that would have had her saying, 'Yeah, sure'. The words were simple, but why use words when a look said so much more?

Rachel smiled as she immediately grasped what Quinn was doing. She was not sure how James or Chase would react to their blatantly ignoring the script--though she had a feeling the director would not care nearly as much as the writer would. "And at work?" she asked, reaching out to tuck the blonde's hair behind her ear, letting her touch linger for a moment before pulling away.

Quinn shrugged and turned to set her coffee cup onto the counter behind her. "We can't do this at work."

"Drink coffee?" Rachel teased, doing her own little bit of adlibbing.

Quinn smiled and shook her head as she took the mug out of Rachel's hand and set it back onto the counter by her own. "I think coffee is okay."

"I know," Rachel drawled as she draped her arms over Quinn's shoulders. "You meant that we can't be this together."

"We're together?" Quinn arched a brow questioningly at the brunette.

"Don't be a smartass," Rachel retorted as she took another step forward so that their bodies were mere centimeters apart. "You know what I mean."

"I do," Quinn agreed softly. "Are you okay with that?" she asked as she placed her hands onto Rachel's hips.

Rachel shrugged and looked away, her body saying quite clearly that she was not okay with it but that she knew they did not have a choice.

"Hey," Quinn murmured. "Look at me, Hayden."


Quinn smiled reassuringly as Rachel's gaze met hers and she dipped her head so that their foreheads were pressed lightly together. "I know this is new..."

Rachel sighed as she wrapped her arms around Quinn's neck. "I think this, you, are worth it. I just hate hiding."

Quinn nodded. "I understand. But I think that this thing between us is worth it too."

"We won't be able to work together once the captain finds out," Rachel said.

"I know. But why don't we just keep this to ourselves for a bit."

"Now who's ignoring protocol?" Rachel teased, doing a little more adlibbing. At this point, they had changed over half the scene, a bit more was not going to hurt.

Quinn smirked and kissed Rachel quickly as she followed her off script. "What can I say, I think you're rubbing off on me."

Rachel chuckled and leaned into Quinn. "There was rubbing involved, yes."

"That was bad," Quinn groaned as she wrapped her arms fully around Rachel's tiny waist and pulled her in close.

"You liked it."

Quinn nodded and rested her cheek against Rachel's head. "I did. Several times."

Rachel laughed. "Now who's making bad innuendos?"

"I am," Quinn drawled as she squeezed Rachel tightly. "But you love it."

"If you say so," Rachel retorted. "Charlie?"


"I liked it too," Rachel murmured.

Quinn smiled and kissed Rachel tenderly, lingering in the touch, sucking on her lower lip, drawing it out before she pulled back and whispered, "I know."


Quinn sighed and leaned her cheek against Rachel's temple as she watched James walk towards them with Chase hot on his heels. "What did you think of that one?" she asked Rachel softly.

"I liked it," Rachel replied quietly as she reluctantly forced herself away from Quinn and stood next to the blonde, facing James, who was grinning, and Chase who looked a little peeved but also had a faint smile lifting his lips.

"Well?" Quinn asked, biting the bullet.

James stopped a few feet away from the women and jammed his hands into the front pockets of his jeans. "I liked it. I think that was what we were missing."

"So we good?" Quinn asked as she wrapped her left arm around Rachel's waist.

James nodded. "I think so, yeah. I'll have a look at this again later and see, but it's already late and you guys put in a solid day--we'll call it quits for tonight."

"Do you want us back tomorrow?" Quinn asked.

James shook his head. "Nah. I told you guys that if you pushed through these extra scenes that you could have a three-day weekend, so that's what we'll do. We're actually ahead of schedule overall, right now, anyways, so we'll just do the scenes that were scheduled to go tomorrow with some of the other cast and you guys can take it off. You've worked hard, and I'm sure Rachel will need some time to learn her lines for next week."

Rachel smiled. "Thank you."

"No, thank you for coming in and getting so much done on zero preparation," James said sincerely. "Honestly, Rachel, you have been an absolute godsend."

"I second that," Quinn murmured with a smile as she pulled Rachel into her.

Rachel blushed and nodded. "Even still, I do appreciate the opportunity you've given me to work on this film."

James grinned. "Well, yeah. Enough of this mutual appreciation shit. Let's get out of here."

"Yay!" Quinn cheered, drawing laughs from everybody. "Rach, come on. We need to get going before he changes his mind," she mock whispered.

"Shut it, Fabray," James chuckled. "I'll see you two lovely ladies Monday morning. And, Quinn?"


"Stay away from the paparazzi." James winked.

"Why is everybody saying that to me today?" Quinn retorted with mock exasperation.

"No clue," Rachel said, smiling as she wrapped her right arm around the blonde's waist. "Because I'm the one who called them."

"See, all her fault," Quinn laughed.

James rolled his eyes and waved his hands at the two women, shooing them away. "Go."

"Gone," Quinn agreed as she released her hold on Rachel's waist and reached for her hand. "Come on, Rach. I'll let you buy me dinner."

"Oh you will, huh?" Rachel laughed as she allowed Quinn to lead them off of the set.

Quinn laughed and shook her head. "Come on, Berry. I'm starving."

Rachel's eyes surreptitiously scanned the lush garden that surrounded her rented cottage as she opened the front door, trying to see if their luck at avoiding the paparazzi had continued to hold. She had been a little surprised that there had only been one guy with a camera waiting outside the studio lot when she had finally left, but she hoped that it meant that she and Quinn were not quite popular enough to warrant a mob-like following everywhere they went. She had been in the business long enough, though, to know that once that picture got enough hits that it would up the ante on new pictures of her and Quinn together. She did not particularly care if she was linked to Quinn in the tabloids, but she had hoped for a little more time to keep this thing between them just between them before it became fodder for public consumption. Hopefully the fact that she and Quinn came back to the hotel in different cars via different routes would keep the paparazzi off of their tails for a little bit longer.

"Your order," the delivery guy said as he held out a white plastic bag full of food.

"Thanks." Rachel took the bag and handed over to Quinn, who disappeared back into the sitting room to begin setting it all out.

"Sign here," the guy said, holding out a small clipboard with a credit card receipt on it.

Rachel scribbled her name on the receipt and handed it back to him with a small smile before she closed the door and turned to Quinn, who was slouched on the sofa and already had her mouth full of vegetable stir-fry.

"Good?" Rachel inquired as she crossed the small space separating them and took a seat beside the blonde on the couch.

"Amazing," Quinn mumbled. "Here," she said as she nudged the carton toward Rachel.

"Thank you." Rachel picked up one of the plastic forks that had been included in the bag of food and stabbed at the food in the carton, her stomach growling loudly as she speared a piece of broccoli on the end of her fork. "Okay, this is really good," she groaned as she chewed.

"Told you," Quinn muttered as she opened another carton, this one containing a tofu curry that she also loved.

"Yeah, yeah." Rachel hummed as she leaned across Quinn's lap to stab at the curry. "I am exhausted."

"It was a long day," Quinn agreed. "I liked how that last scene ended up though. You were right in how you thought it should be."

"You thought the same thing," Rachel argued as she stabbed her fork into the middle of her carton and reached for the bottle of water that Quinn had already opened for her. "It just didn't seem right for them to be so distant when everything leading up to them actually having sex had a kismet vibe. Do you think Chase was mad about the changes?"

Quinn rolled her eyes and finished chewing before she answered. "Probably not. I think we did a pretty good job keeping the dialogue in character for Hayden and Charlie--and writers are used to actors butchering their work anyways. If anything, he looked happy that we were doing his characters justice."

"Kind of hard not to," Rachel muttered as she set her water down and began eating again. She really hadn't realized how hungry she was until she started eating.

"Why? Because their story is, in a way, our story?"

"Exactly." Rachel nodded.

Quinn hummed knowingly as she returned her attention to her food. They ate in silence and, when they were both full, Quinn took the trash into the kitchen and threw it away. When she returned to the living room, she smiled at the sight of Rachel slouched in her seat, her brown hair spread over the back cushion of the couch. The brunette's eyes were closed, and though Quinn hated to disturb her, she needed to see what Rachel wanted to do for their weekend plans.

"Hey, Rach?" she asked as she reclaimed her spot on the sofa.

"Hmm?" Rachel replied as she turned toward Quinn and opened her eyes. "What's up?"

Quinn ran her fingers tenderly over Rachel's brow. "Since it's late and we're both tired, do you want me to just leave my address and directions so you can come over tomorrow whenever you're ready--or do you want me to come back out and pick you up?"

Rachel frowned. "Why don't you just stay here tonight and we can figure out the rest when we wake up."

Quinn smiled, very much liking the idea of not leaving Rachel's side for the night. Over the last year, she had gotten used to being alone, and even relished her solitary ways, but ever since Rachel had popped back into her life, she found herself craving her company and dreading returning to her silent house. "You're sure this isn't too fast for you?"

Rachel returned the blonde's smile and shook her head. "I'm sure. I'll warn you now that I'm too tired to do more than just sleep tonight, but I would love nothing more than to fall asleep in your arms, if you're okay with that."

"I'm more than okay with that idea." Quinn leaned in and kissed Rachel softly. "Do you have something I can sleep in?"

Rachel nodded and kissed Quinn again before she got to her feet. "I should have something that'll work," she said as she held out her hands to help Quinn up off the couch.

Quinn reached out and allowed Rachel to pull her to her feet. When they got to the bedroom, she took the shorts and tank that Rachel handed her and tossed them onto the bed as she began changing. She smiled as she watched Rachel do the same, their eyes locking across the bed before they each diverted their gaze and hurried to change.

It was a little strange, this blatant lack of modesty that was somehow simultaneously shy, but when she slipped beneath the duvet and watched Rachel do the same, all thought disappeared. She was in bed with Rachel Berry. Quinn moaned softly as the mattress shifted under her, dipping and rising as Rachel scooted closer, and when the brunette's body molded to her own, her eyes rolled back in her head in pleasure. Rachel's right leg slipped over her own, smooth skin sliding sensuously together as Rachel leaned in and kissed her softly, sweetly, with just the right amount of pressure and tongue to warm her heart and settle her soul.

It was the most perfect goodnight kiss Quinn had ever received.

"Goodnight, Quinn," Rachel murmured as she pulled away.

Quinn smiled. "Good night, Rachel," she breathed as the brunette's head settle onto her chest. She wrapped her arms around Rachel's waist and sighed as she felt Rachel's right leg slip between her own. "Sweet dreams."

Chapter 16

Rachel awoke slowly from a dreamless sleep late the next morning. A pleased smiled lifted her lips as she realized that she was still in the same position she had fallen asleep in, her body draped around Quinn's, and her head resting comfortably on the plane of the blonde's chest. She sighed contentedly as she pushed herself a little bit closer to Quinn, loving the way Quinn's curves fit with her own. It was definitely a new experience, waking up wrapped around another woman, but much like their first kiss a couple of days ago, it had an overwhelming sense of rightness that left her wondering why in the hell she hadn't figured this out sooner.

She had to bite her lip to hold in a giggle as Quinn made a soft sound in her sleep, and she lifted her head enough to see her face. She's smiling, she thought as she carefully moved herself higher up Quinn's body so that she could really look at her.

Quinn's brow was smooth, her lips parted ever so slightly as she slept, and Rachel thought she looked like an angel. She looked so calm and innocent, so much younger than she did when she was awake and the weight of her years settled upon her shoulders.

Beautiful. Rachel reached out and lightly traced the line of Quinn's jaw with her finger. She smiled as Quinn smiled at the touch, and she couldn't resist running the pad of her index finger over the blonde's plump lower lip, reveling in its shape and softness, stalling in her movement to feel the light wind of the slumbering woman's breath cascading around her finger.

Her hand moved on, slowly brushing a fingertip down Quinn's throat, smiling at the way the blonde's head turned to the side, offering her more skin to touch. To taste. To ravish. She bit her lip, denying herself that connection as she watched her hand travel down between Quinn's breasts, the light weight of her fingertip pulling gently of the fabric of the blonde's shirt. She flattened her hand on Quinn's stomach, feeling the warmth of her skin through the thin material of her top, delighting in the way her own hand moved as Quinn breathed.

The connection was small, just a hand up on a stomach, but, to Rachel, it felt like it was everything in the world. It felt as if she were exactly where she was supposed to be. It felt like home. She settled her weight on her elbow and leaned her head against her hand as she stared down at Quinn's beautiful face, and her heart skipped a beat as she realized that this stunning creature was hers. Hers to have. Hers to hold. The knowledge was powerful and profound, and she knew that it was something special.

Quinn Fabray had always been an enigmatic beauty with her cool façade and repressed warmth that simmered below the surface. She was strong. Even now, relaxed and at rest, her muscles were visible. But the blonde was also emotionally strong. To have gone through what she did in high school and come out the other side with her head held high was no small feat. To have done all that and still somehow manage to turn into the wonderful woman Rachel had spent the week with, was astounding.

Never before had Rachel felt so much so instantaneously for somebody. Not that it was all necessarily instantaneous after her years of erotic dreams starring the blonde, but still. She had become attached to Quinn ridiculously fast, and she found herself dreading the day she would have to leave California and return to New York. Quinn had been hers, truly hers, for not even forty-eight hours, and yet she already knew that it would kill her to live without her touch.

Her smile.

Her kiss.

Rachel's eyes zeroed in on Quinn's lips, and she felt an overwhelming urge to taste them again. It had been too long since she had felt them against her own. She leaned in and brushed her lips against Quinn's, and was unable to contain the soft sigh that escaped her at that light caress. Yes, that was definitely what she had missed. That sweetness. That softness. That feeling of butterflies in her stomach that made her feel like she was flying. She dipped her head and kissed Quinn again, sweetly, tenderly, willing Quinn to wake up so that her kiss could be accepted and returned. As she continued to kiss Quinn to consciousness, she idly wondered if this is what the princes felt like in the fairy tales. Pouring their hearts into their kiss, waiting for the woman they loved to wake up and reciprocate it.

Still mostly asleep, Quinn automatically began meeting Rachel's kiss, her lips moving of their own volition to capture and grasp the brunette's as she was pulled from her dreams to find that the reality was so much better.

This time Rachel really was kissing her.

"Good morning," Quinn husked, her voice low and rough with sleep, as her hands slipped under the hem of Rachel's shirt to press lightly against warm, soft skin.

Rachel smiled against Quinn's lips. "Good morning, beautiful," she whispered, her hand slipping down over Quinn's hip as she lowered herself back down onto her.

Quinn moaned softly and lifted her chin enough to claim Rachel's lips in a deep, languid kiss. She smiled at the way Rachel whimpered as she began teasing her lips with her tongue, her smile growing wider once she was granted entrance and was able to deepen the kiss. Hands began to roam as tongues stroked slowly against each other, igniting a familiar fire low in each of their hips that grew steadily with every press of lips, with every touch of cautious fingertips to hot skin. Quinn groaned when Rachel shifted above her, causing a toned thigh to slip between her own, putting just the right amount of pressure and friction where she needed it.

"Jesus," Quinn grunted as Rachel's thigh flexed against her.

"Hmm?" Rachel hummed.

"Rach, if you keep kissing me like this-" Quinn started to explain before she was interrupted by another lingering kiss.

"I like kissing you," Rachel murmured as she pulled away.

Quinn chuckled softly. "I like kissing you too, baby. But I don't want us to rush into anything you're not ready for."

Rachel smiled. "We're not rushing anything," she whispered as she purposefully rocked into Quinn, drawing a quiet whimper from her lips. "I want you, Quinn," she husked as she dipped her head down to reclaim her lips.

"You're sure?" Quinn asked. She had to ask. This, Rachel, was too important to her not to.

"Yes," Rachel answered softly, her smile growing wider at the low moan that tumbled from Quinn's lips and then, before she knew what was happening, she found herself looking up into dark hazel eyes. "Whoa," she giggled.

Quinn smiled and kissed Rachel tenderly, playfully evading the brunette's tongue as the now pinned woman tried to deepen the kiss. "Rachel," she whispered as she rolled her hips into the brunette, pressing her thigh into the smaller woman as she claimed her lips in a slow, deep, unmistakably serious kiss. She growled as Rachel's hands slipped up under the front of her shirt to palm her breasts and she rocked down harder into the brunette, drawing a fevered gasp from her lips.

"Quinn," Rachel groaned as Quinn's lips began blazing a hot trail over her jaw.

"Hmm?" Quinn hummed as she latched onto Rachel's pulse point and began sucking against it.

"God, so good."

Quinn smiled and sat back on her heels, pulling Rachel along with her so that she was able to remove the brunette's shirt in a single, fluid motion. "Beautiful," she whispered as she tossed the flimsy white cami aside, her eyes feasting on the vision before her. Her imagination had nothing on the reality of exactly how magnificent Rachel's breasts were.

Rachel blushed and helped the blonde out of her tank top. A low moan spilled from her lips as her eyes raked over Quinn's naked torso, her gaze lingering on pert breasts and dusky pink nipples. She finally understood why every guy she had ever dated had been fascinated with hers. Because those, those were exquisite. She licked her lips as she ran her hands over Quinn's shoulders and back down to her breasts, palming the perfect mounds and causing the blonde's breath to audibly hitch. "You too."

Quinn pressed into the brunette as small hands worked at her breasts, pinching and rolling her nipples between surprisingly skilled fingers and she guided them back down to the mattress. She held herself up on her arms as they kissed, her long hair falling around them like a curtain, blocking out the rest of the world as they sank into each other. "Let me love you?" she whispered between kisses.

Rachel's eyes rolled back in her head at the breathy plea, and her normally extensive vocabulary abandoned her, leaving her only able to nod her consent before Quinn's mouth moved slowly down the column of her throat, licking, nipping, and sucking as she went. She was forced to release Quinn's breasts as the blonde's body began moving down her own and she instead tangled her hands in the sheets as soft lips brushed over her chest, sliding slowly over the curve of her breast.

Black-brown eyes watched with rapt fascination as a pink tongue extended past bruised lips to trace the perimeter of her nipple. "Please," she whimpered as she arched her back off of the mattress, offering all that she was to the woman hovering above her.

Quinn's eyes fluttered shut at the breathy plea, and she wasted no time wrapping her lips around the pebbled nub and sucking against it hungrily, drawing a soft moan from Rachel's throat that grew markedly louder when she nipped at the captured bud before soothing it with her tongue. She glanced up at Rachel's face through her eyelashes as she pulled back and blew a light, steady stream of air over the swollen nub.

Rachel moaned at both the loss of Quinn's mouth upon her breast and the cool air moving across her skin and she forced her eyes open as she lifted her head off of the pillows to look into smoky hazel eyes. She licked her lips as she watched Quinn smile at her before taking her other nipple into her mouth and suck against it lightly.

"Fuck," she grunted, her head falling back to the pillows as Quinn's free hand covered her recently abandoned breast and began tweaking and pinching the already erect nipple in time with each suck, nip, and lick that was being delivered by that most talented mouth.

Quinn smiled at the outburst and delivered one last forceful suck to the nipple between her lips before she moved back up to capture Rachel's lips in a hot, heavy kiss as her hands slid down the brunette's sides, her thumbs eventually slipping beneath the waistband of Rachel's sleep shorts. She tugged at them gently, silently asking permission as she rocked her body over Rachel's so that their nipples brushed against each other on every pass.

"Yes," Rachel whimpered into Quinn's lips as she lifted her hips off the mattress, allowing the blonde to work the shorts down over her hips and legs until she was able to kick them off. Her legs fell open as Quinn's hand ghosted up over her inner thigh, and she moaned loudly as Quinn began rubbing her gently through the thin material of her panties. She rolled her hips against the hand between her legs and bit her lip. More. She needed more.

Quinn groaned at the heat that she felt waiting for her behind the barrier of Rachel's panties. She kissed her hungrily as she slipped a finger around the side of the fabric to dip into a pool of desire. "Baby," she husked as she trailed a finger through slick folds.

Rachel whimpered as her hips bucked against Quinn's fingers. "Off. Take them off."

Quinn licked her lips and nodded, pulling her hand away and quickly stripping Rachel of her final article of clothing. "Fuck," she whispered, Rachel's panties dropping carelessly from her fingertips as she drank in the sight of Rachel spread open before her.

Rachel bit her lip at the hunger in Quinn's gaze. "Let me see you."

Quinn's tongue once again swept over her lips as she acquiesced to the request, pushing her underwear and borrowed sleep shorts down over her hips, pushing slowly until gravity took over and carried them to the floor. Dark hazel eyes stared into brown as she kicked the clothes aside, leaving her beautifully exposed.

"You're perfect," Rachel breathed.

Quinn blushed and looked deep into Rachel's eyes as she lowered herself back to the mattress, her hands sliding up the outside of Rachel's legs. "You are," she replied, her words falling in gentle waves over swollen folds as she rubbed her cheek against Rachel's inner thigh. She groaned softly as the heady aroma of Rachel's arousal washed over her, and she held dark eyes captive as she lowered her mouth slowly to deliver that first intimate kiss.

Rachel moaned loudly at the touch, her eyes snapping shut of their own accord as her head fell back onto the bed. She had dreamed of Quinn's touch, of the feeling of the blonde's mouth upon her, but dear god did the dream pale in comparison to reality.

Because this? This was heaven.

Quinn circled Rachel's clit with her tongue one, two, three times, never once delivering that direct touch she knew Rachel craved before she abandoned the nub to run her tongue through the length of her. She had dreamed of making love to Rachel for years, and she was determined to take her time. She moaned at the taste of Rachel's desire as she continued to lick through the length of her, occasionally pressing the tip of her tongue lightly against Rachel's opening before moving higher to circle the bundle of nerves at her apex. Again and again, over and over, she would cover the same path. Up, almost in, and then around and around. Slowly, sometimes softly, occasionally more firmly, but never ever touching directly.

No. This was too special to rush.

Rachel deserved to be worshipped.

"Please, baby," Rachel grunted as she threaded her right hand into blonde silk, pulling, tugging, trying to guide Quinn's mouth to where she needed her as her hips bucked, searching for that elusive contact she craved.

Quinn smirked at Rachel's need and relented, giving up her teasing to wrap her lips around the brunette's clit. She sucked against it lightly as she teased the nub with the tip of her tongue, drawing a long, loud moan from Rachel's lips. It was deep and primal, rich and hungry, and Barbara be damned if that wasn't the most beautiful sound she had ever heard.

Needing to hear more, Quinn began experimenting with her touch, cataloguing the sounds that spilled from Rachel's lips when she sucked here, or nipped or licked there. Her own thighs grew slick at the scream that was torn from Rachel's throat when she plunged her tongue deep inside the brunette, again and again, fast and then slow, teasing her with the irregular rhythm.

Okay, that was the most beautiful sound she had ever heard.

She remembered that one and then set to work alternating touches with licks and nips, sucking against Rachel's clit lightly as she tapped the tip with her tongue, and before long she was playing Rachel's body like a finely tuned instrument. She had always imagined that Rachel would be a vocal lover and, as she dipped and swirled her tongue inside the brunette, coaxing a strangled cry from her lips, she had never been happier to be right.

Rachel had long since abandoned her hold on Quinn's hair, her hands twisted into the wrinkled sheets beneath her as her body bucked and writhed against Quinn's mouth, her body literally pulsing with the strength of her desire. Stars flashed behind her eyelids as Quinn's mouth and tongue worked her higher and higher, each lick and suck, every goddamn thrust inside her pushing her that much closer to the edge. She was vaguely aware of the screams and cries falling from her lips, but she could barely hear them above the white noise hissing in her ears. The entirety of her focus was directed at the feeling of Quinn's mouth against her body.

Soft lips. A firm, incessant tongue. Light licks. Gentle nips. All combined with such precision that she could not tell where she ended and the universe began.

It was glorious.

Hot, white heat spread through her body, causing her limbs to feel weak and her heart to race as her body primed itself for that ultimate release.

"Please baby please," Rachel chanted, her hips rocking forcefully against Quinn's mouth.

Rachel moaned at the feeling of Quinn's tongue so deep inside her, curling, rubbing against her, and then when the blonde's hand slipped over her hip to begin rubbing hard, tight circles against her clit, the stars that had been flashing behind her eyelids exploded. Rachel screamed as her orgasm hit her, causing her entire body to seize and practically lift off the bed with the force of it.

Quinn whimpered at the sight, the sound, the taste of Rachel coming apart in front of her, and a smaller, sympathetic orgasm rolled through her as she pulled back enough to look at Rachel. "Beautiful," she murmured as she drank in the sight of the brunette's flushed, sweat-slick olive skin and perfect peaked mocha nipples that were thrust toward the ceiling as Rachel rode out her orgasm.

She gentled her touch as she eased Rachel through her release, rubbing light circles against her clit as she brushed her lips over Rachel's stomach, through the valley between her delicious breasts until she was hovering above her, staring down at the most beautiful sight she'd ever seen. Rachel Berry was always gorgeous, but here, now, flushed, sweaty, and sated, she was stunning. A textbook example of beauty. She was, Quinn was sure, an angel sent from heaven, just for her. She smiled as she leaned in and captured Rachel's lips in a slow, sweet kiss, her fingers continuing to press slow, soft circles against the brunette's clit.

Rachel moaned at the taste of herself on Quinn's lips and eagerly pushed her tongue inside the blonde's mouth, loving the way she tasted on Quinn's tongue. She floated on the warm, comforting waves of her climax, content to bask in the feeling of Quinn's fingers sliding against her and the softness of the blonde's mouth against her own.

Quinn watched Rachel carefully and once she felt the brunette's body relax she slipped her fingers down to gently push into hot velvet, carefully keeping the heel of her hand away from Rachel's over-stimulated body as she began to stroke her gently.

"Quinn," Rachel moaned.

"Hmm?" Quinn smiled.

Rachel groaned and rolled her hips into Quinn's hand. "God."

"Quinn is good enough," Quinn teased.

"Mmm, so good," Rachel murmured.

"Yes, you are," Quinn agreed softly as she continued to thrust slowly, wanting nothing more than to see that flash of ecstasy flare in Rachel's eyes as she came.

As if she knew what Quinn desired, Rachel's eyes remained open, staring awestruck into glowing hazel eyes that were full to overflowing with love and affection. She smiled as she reached up with her left hand to cradle Quinn's jaw in her palm, her thumb brushing over Quinn's cheek as her chest arched and she gave herself over to her touch.

Quinn smiled as she dipped her head and kissed Rachel softly, their lips parting and their tongues playfully tangling together in the air between them for a moment before she leaned in and rested her forehead against the brunette's. "You are so beautiful," she whispered as she curled her fingers deep inside Rachel.

"Mmm," Rachel moaned as her hips bucked into Quinn's touch. "Sweetie."


Rachel groaned as Quinn's fingers curled inside her again, brushing over hidden ridges that caused her eyelids to flutter shut and her toes to curl. She rolled her left leg out wider in an attempt to take Quinn deeper and she whimpered as the heel of the blonde's hand pressed lightly into her clit, grazing over the hardened nub as long, nimble fingers rolled and scissored inside her.

Oh dear lord, that was good.

"So beautiful," Quinn murmured as she nuzzled Rachel's cheek with her nose, increasing the speed and force of her thrusts as she felt Rachel's body respond to her touch.

"Fuck," Rachel whimpered, her legs falling open even wider, her body wanting to take Quinn as hard and fast and deep as it possibly could. It all felt so, so good, and she found herself fast approaching the edge once again. "Mmm, Quinn. You're a goddess. A fucking goddess."

Quinn smiled and began increasing the speed and force of her thrusts. Pushing, pulling, harder and harder, faster and faster, until the heel of her hand was slapping against Rachel's clit on each and every thrust.

Rachel gasped every time Quinn's hand pressed against her, and moaned loudly every time Quinn's fingers raked over that spot inside her that never failed to make her see stars. As Quinn worked her body higher and higher once more, she wound her left hand into the pillow beneath her head and began stroking lightly up and down the blonde's back with her right.

Tight walls grew even tighter around Quinn's fingers as Rachel's cries grew louder and louder, and she knew that Rachel was once again close, just dancing along the edge of release. "Look at me, baby," she whispered against Rachel's lips. She smiled as she watched her struggle to open her eyes. "That's it, sweetie," she murmured encouragingly as dark eyes focused on her own. Holding Rachel's gaze captive, Quinn stopped thrusting into her and instead began purposefully massaging hidden ridges, rocking the heel of her hand against swollen nerves, and it was not long before she saw the flash of ecstasy flare in her lover's eyes.

Rachel struggled to remain looking at Quinn as her orgasm hit her, and, as she stared into warm hazel eyes, her body trembling with orgasm, she had never felt so exposed. It was like Quinn could see into her very soul. "Quinn," she moaned.

Quinn smiled and leaned in to kiss Rachel softly. "That's it sweetie, just let go," she murmured as she continued to stroke Rachel through her release, trying to draw her pleasure out for as long as possible. "I got you."

Rachel whimpered as she finally closed her eyes and let herself float away on the warm cloud of pleasure that enveloped her, knowing that Quinn would be there waiting for her when she came down.

When Rachel's trembling ceased, Quinn tenderly pulled out of the brunette and wiped her hand off on the sheets before she pulled the smaller woman into her. She pressed her lips to Rachel's forehead as she cradled the spent woman in her arms and finally allowed herself to whisper the three words she'd been keeping herself from saying the entire time she made love to the brunette. "I love you."

Rachel hummed incoherently and snuggled herself in closer to Quinn, wanting and needing to feel the comforting weight, warmth, and protection of her lover. After a time, she came aware of herself and her surroundings once again, and she smiled against Quinn's throat. "Wow," she husked, her voice still rough from screaming.

Quinn chuckled softly and squeezed Rachel gently. "And you're back with me now, I see," she teased.

Rachel laughed and nodded. "I am. But it's your fault I kind of went away on you. Quinn, you are... That was..."


She looked up into smiling hazel eyes and said the first thing that came to mind. "Perfect."

And it had been.

Quinn smiled and lifted her chin to kiss Rachel softly. "You are perfect, Ms. Berry. In every sense of the word."

Rachel smiled shyly, again feeling exposed under the blonde's gaze, and licked her lips as she looked away. A soft whimper escaped her as her eyes raked over Quinn's naked body and she was overcome with a need to touch, a need she satisfied immediately by trailing her left hand down Quinn's torso. "You are so beautiful," she murmured, more to herself than Quinn, as she watched her fingers skate around Quinn's breasts.

Quinn moaned at the soft, almost hesitant touch. "Rach."

Rachel smiled, the wanton sound of her name falling from Quinn's lips giving her confidence as she spiraled her hand higher and higher until she was tracing the tight perimeter of a dusky pink nipple. She bit her lip as she heard Quinn whimper softly and she looked up to find hungry hazel eyes, more gray-green than gold at the moment, staring back at her. "Can I touch you?" The question tumbled from her lips before she could rein it in.

Quinn groaned loudly and nodded, rolling over onto her back and pulling Rachel on top of her. Had she not already been so incredibly aroused, she might have made a joke, something along the lines of you already are; but here, now, with her body already buzzing with need, such playful responses were abandoned. Instead, she simply said, "Please."

Rachel smiled and captured Quinn's lips in a lingering kiss as her fingers closed around Quinn's nipple. She pinched the bud between her thumb and forefinger and smiled against Quinn's lips at the low, needy moan the touch elicited from her. She brushed her lips over the column of Quinn's throat, noting the places that caused the blonde's breath to hitch and the hands on her sides to squeeze her tighter. Her heart fluttered in her chest, feeling as if it were trying to climb its way out of her throat, as she continued to move lower, laying wet, lingering kisses to the flat of Quinn's chest.

As Rachel's chin brushed against the swell of her breast, Quinn released her hold on the brunette and instead tangled her hands in the sheets above her shoulders. Unable to tear her gaze away from Rachel's form even had she wanted to, she watched, entranced as the brunette's head tilted ever so slightly to the side as plump lips parted, sending a wave of warm air cascading over her skin. She moaned again as she watched those lips brush over her nipple, the soft touch absolutely electric as her body came alive under it.

Too focused on what she was doing to look up at the woman who was making the most arousing sounds she had ever heard, Rachel covered Quinn's left breast with her hand as she took the blonde's right nipple between her lips and sucked against it tentatively.

"Fuck," Quinn hissed, her back arching off of the mattress, her body trying to shove more of itself into Rachel's mouth.

Rachel smiled and all trepidation disappeared as she began playing with the blonde's breasts eagerly, the shackles of her uncertainty gone as she gave herself over to her most base desires. She had never touched a woman like this before, but she found herself knowing exactly what to do, where to touch, how to touch, and, as she alternated breasts, she could not help but feel as if this is what she should have been doing all along.

Quinn's grip in the sheets tightened as Rachel tongued and sucked at her breasts, causing the pulsing, throbbing need between her legs to grow stronger, hotter, wetter. God, she was so wet. "Please, Rachel," she whimpered as the brunette bit gently down on her nipple. "I need you," she said as she rolled her right leg out wider.

Rachel pulled back and groaned at the vision that was Quinn Fabray, spread open and wanting beneath her, and the butterflies that had dissipated earlier returned with a vengeance as she found herself wanting to kiss, to lick, to taste. "I've never," she breathed, even as her left hand began trailing down the blonde's stomach, her eyes locked onto its progress as if she was not responsible for it moving.

"Won't take much," Quinn husked as she, too, watched Rachel's hand glide lower and lower. She whimpered as it stopped right above where she desperately needed to be touched.

Rachel bit her lip as she paused for a moment before continuing her path, skirting around the side of golden curls and down into a veritable ocean of want. "Jesus," she muttered as she ran her fingers through the warmth, gathering arousal on her fingertips before she focused her touch on Quinn's clit.

Quinn cried out softly at that first touch, her eyes snapping shut, and she almost sobbed when it disappeared. She looked down questioningly at Rachel and groaned, low and deep, at what she saw.

Rachel was licking her fingers. Tasting her on her fingers. It was, without a doubt, the single fucking sexiest thing she had ever seen.

"Baby, please," Quinn whimpered as she watched Rachel's tongue swirl around her index finger.

Snapped out of her haze by the need reverberating in Quinn's voice, Rachel nodded and picked up where she left off, this time pressing light circles into Quinn's clit at a speed and force that she knew she personally enjoyed. As she touched Quinn, she lifted her head and reclaimed her lips in a kiss that was hot and wet, full of grunts and groans, and tongues dueling for dominance.

"You feel so good," she murmured against Quinn's lips as she dipped her fingers lower and began pressing lightly against the blonde's opening with faint, teasing thrusts.

"God yes," Quinn whimpered, her hips rising off of the mattress to press into Rachel's hand, both her and Rachel moaning when the brunette pressed two fingers deep inside her.

"So good," Rachel whispered, her eyes fluttering closed at the feeling of Quinn's body surrounding her, so hot and wet and needy, grasping at her, trying to draw her in deeper. She had never felt anything so amazing in her life. "What do you need, baby?" she asked, now unsure of what, exactly, to do.

Quinn rolled her hips against Rachel's hand needfully as she husked, "Just... take me, Rachel. Please, baby. Hard. Fast. Slow. Whatever. Just, please. So close," she whimpered as she tightened her hold on the sheets beneath her head.

Rachel closed her eyes as Quinn's words caused a fresh wave of arousal to settle between her own legs and she began thrusting into the blonde, slowly at first, but steadily picking up the tempo.

Quinn's grip on the sheets tightened. How, she was not entirely sure, because she really thought she should have torn through them by now, and she was helpless to contain the sounds falling from her lips as Rachel, her Rachel, pushed her closer and closer to the edge with every thrust, every brush of lips against her cheek. And then, just when she thought she might literally die if she did not come soon, Rachel's fingers curled inside her. She screamed as she was thrown into orgasm. "RACHEL!"

"Oh fuck," Rachel breathed as Quinn's walls clamped around her fingers, squeezing her tight, sucking her in deeper. Once the initial wave of Quinn's climax eased, she began thrusting slowly into her, mimicking Quinn's actions from earlier, knowing how good it had felt to her to be stroked through her release.

Quinn moaned loudly as Rachel's fingers began moving inside her again. She released her hold on the bedding to grasp onto the brunette, her head turning toward the other woman, her mouth searching blindly for Rachel's lips, needing that touch, that connection, as her body continued to tremble. She whimpered as Rachel's lips wrapped around her own and her grip on the smaller woman grew tighter when their lips parted and their tongues began to dance together. It was everything she could have ever imagined and when her orgasm finally eased, she let loose a long, contented sigh. "My god, Rachel."

Rachel smiled as she withdrew her fingers from their warm sheath, sliding them wetly over Quinn's hip as she kissed the blonde softly. "I liked that."

Quinn giggled. "Me too, sweetie."

Rachel's smile grew impish as she studied the blonde's flushed face, the knowledge that she had been able to pleasure the blonde giving her confidence to try something else. "I want to taste you," she husked, punctuating the simple statement with a quick kiss before she began sliding down the blonde's toned body.

"Oh god," Quinn whimpered as she watched Rachel ease between her legs and look up at her curiously as she extended her tongue to lay a slow, light lick across her clit. "Fuck."

Yeah. That was sexy.

Rachel smiled and tightened her hold on Quinn's hips as she dropped her mouth enough to run the flat of her tongue up the length of the blonde, savoring the salty-sweet essence she gathered on her tongue. She hummed as she moved higher to circle the exposed bud at the apex of Quinn's sex.

"Rachel," Quinn moaned as the brunette began flicking her tongue back and forth over her clit. She had no clue where Rachel had learned these particular skills, but she was more than grateful for them.

It was going to be a long, glorious morning.

Chapter 17

Chapter Notes


The midday sun poured through the sheer curtains covering the windows, bathing the bedroom of Rachel's cottage in a warm yellow glow. In the bathroom, Rachel was noisily gathering her toiletries that she'd need for her weekend at Quinn's, while the blonde stood at the side of the bed, in her jeans from the day before and a borrowed t-shirt that was a little too small, staring at an open suitcase. The clothes that had been in the suitcase, because Rachel had never bothered to properly unpack, were stacked in neat piles on the floor to the side of the bed – Quinn's doing, not Rachel's, the brunette had just pulled them out and tossed them wherever – and it was now filled with clothes the singer would need for the weekend.

Quinn ran a hand through her hair, her lips pursed thoughtfully as she looked around the room and wondered if Rachel was even happy here, living out of her suitcases. Sure, the Chateau Marmont was an icon of classic Hollywood, extravagant and everything the Rachel she remembered from high school would want, but to Quinn it just felt... temporary. And that idea bothered her more than anything. What would happen when they were done filming and Rachel went back to New York? She had finally gotten the chance to have the petite brunette, but, even though Rachel said it wasn't, she was still worried that this thing between them would end up just being a fling. Something to fill Rachel's time while she was away from home. Would Rachel move on after filming and leave her in LA? She would deserve it, sure, after everything she put the brunette through growing up, but still...

"Whatcha thinking about, gorgeous?" Rachel hummed as she slid in behind Quinn and wrapped her arms around the blonde's waist.

"Nothing," Quinn answered automatically as she covered Rachel's hands with her own, her body relaxing ever so slightly into the brunette as tan, distinctly feminine hands dove under the hem of her borrowed shirt to press against her abdomen.

Rachel smiled as she lifted herself up onto her tiptoes so she could press a soft kiss to the side of Quinn's neck. "Not buying it. You had that faraway look in your eyes that you always get whenever you're thinking deep thoughts."

Quinn rolled her eyes and laughed when Rachel pinched her stomach. "Hey! What was that for?"

"Don't roll your eyes at me. Now, to repeat my earlier question, what are you thinking about?"

"That this is temporary," Quinn answered vaguely. It had been her first thought before she tumbled down the slippery slope of what might happen once filming was over with.

Rachel nodded. "It's a hotel room, Quinn. By definition, it is temporary."

"And expensive," Quinn muttered.

Rachel laughed and pressed a kiss to the back of Quinn's neck. "Probably, but I'm sure Renee worked out some kind of a deal."

"Your assistant, right?"

"Mmm," Rachel hummed as she began massaging the blonde's stomach, delighting in the way the muscles twitched and jumped under her touch.

"Why didn't she fly out with you?"

Rachel shrugged and pulled herself in closer to the former Cheerio. "I wanted to get away from everything having to do with New York, so she's still on salary and working via phone until such time as I either return home or decide that I need her here."

The words 'return home' reverberated in Quinn's mind and she tried to mask the pain they wrought by replying, "Very brave of you, Ms. Berry."

"Shut up," Rachel retorted.

"What an erudite response," Quinn teased as her earlier fears about what would happen to her and Rachel grew even larger. She had known that Rachel was only in California to film this one movie, but hearing the Broadway star talk about returning to New York was like a knife to the gut. Sharp. Painful. Crippling.

Rachel blew a raspberry and squeezed Quinn tighter. The blonde's playful banter, while fun, held a morosely bitter edge to it and she knew something was up. "Seriously, Quinn, what's going on in that beautiful head of yours?"

You don't want to know, Quinn thought as she imagined having to say goodbye to Rachel. It literally pained her to even think about it.

"Quinn?" Rachel murmured, a knot of worry tightening in her stomach the longer the blonde remained quiet.

Quinn sighed. She had known Rachel wasn't going to stay. She knew Rachel would go back to New York. She selfishly wished it wouldn't happen, but it was inevitable. The only thing she could control was how their time together was spent, and she wanted as much time with Rachel as possible. "I have a guest room that you could use, if you'd like to stay somewhere a little less temporary," Quinn offered quietly.

A wide, beaming smile lit Rachel's face at the offer and, hoping to dispel the cloud of melancholy that seemed to have enveloped Quinn, she teased, "You'd really make me sleep in the guest room?"

Quinn rolled her eyes and smiled. "You may sleep wherever you'd like. I'm just offering my house so that way you don't have to waste your money on a hotel."

Rachel giggled and pressed a wet, sloppy kiss to the side of the blonde's neck. "You just want me closer, admit it, Fabray."

Quinn turned around in Rachel's arms and smiled in spite of the worry and fear roiling in her gut as she cradled the brunette's face in her hands. No matter how much she wanted her, she would not push. She would take what she could, and try to survive the aftermath of whatever happened once they were done filming. "I want you as close as I can get you for as long as you'll let me have you," she murmured before she kissed Rachel tenderly.

Rachel sighed into the kiss and immediately sought to deepen it. She moaned when Quinn's lips parted and she felt her knees go weak when the blonde's tongue began stroking against her own, not in a duel for dominance but just in a slow, sensual dance of affection. She arched into Quinn, needing to be closer to the blonde, wanting to be consumed by her.

The very idea of falling in love with someone after a few days was insane, even to her admittedly romantic mind, but there was something about this situation that was different. She had only been with Quinn for a few days, but she had dreamed of her for years. Had unconsciously sought her out for years, always falling into arms that felt wrong. Too big. Too hard. Too muscular. Had kissed lips that were too thin. Had given herself to men who never made her feel anything. There was always something missing. Some intangible factor that made guy after guy, as nice and successful as they were, fail. And then she'd kissed Quinn and everything changed. She'd realized what it was that she had been missing. She understood what had been wrong with all of her previous relationships.

None of them had been with Quinn.

I really think I love her, Rachel thought as she felt Quinn's right hand slide down her ribs to grab onto her hip while the other tangled itself into her hair, both hands pulling her closer as their bodies ached to become one. When the kiss broke and Rachel looked up into the beautiful hazel eyes she had dreamed about for years, she sighed. There was no denying it – she had somehow managed to fall completely in love with Quinn Fabray in less than a week.

"You're amazing, you know that?" Rachel whispered as she pressed a light kiss to the point of the blonde's chin.

Quinn saw the flash of some powerful emotion flare in Rachel's big brown eyes and nodded as she dropped her hand from Rachel's hair to her hip. "I'm glad you think so. Where'd you go, just now?" she asked quietly.

Rachel blushed. "Just thinking."

"I caught that," Quinn said, bumping her forehead against the smaller woman's. "Anything I need to know about?"

Rachel nodded as she reached up to trace the perfect line of Quinn's lips with her index finger. "I believe so, yes."

Quinn smiled nervously as her heart began to beat an irregular staccato in her chest and arched a brow at the brunette to tell her that she was listening.

Rachel bit her lip and looked deep into swirling hazel eyes, and tried to find the words that could come close to explaining how fast and how hard she had fallen for the blonde. And she couldn't find them. She wanted them. She needed them. But she couldn't find them.

"Rach?" Quinn whispered.

Rachel took a deep breath and held it for a moment before she said, "Let me ramble for a bit and don't interrupt?"

Quinn's brow furrowed with confusion as she nodded hesitantly. "Um, okay?"

Rachel smiled. "Thank you. I have dreamed of you, without knowing it was you, of course, for years. My 'strange dreams'," she said with an awkward smile, "were about you. Every person I'd dated, I compared to my dream lover," she murmured, blushing, "and they never measured up. They were all lacking. And then we started working together, hanging out, and I began to slowly realize that the eyes that had haunted my dreams for years were yours. I'm sure you remember how bizarrely I acted when we left the restaurant Tuesday night?"

Quinn nodded. She remembered that night in vivid detail.

Rachel blushed and nodded. "Yeah. I was jealous. Insanely, ridiculously so. And I avoided you because I was trying to wrap my head around the idea of being attracted to you and what that meant. I was trying to decide whether or not it was worth risking our newfound friendship on feelings that may or may not have been reciprocated.

"And then we kissed on set the next day and everything changed. Much like how you explained your coming to terms with your sexuality, in that one kiss I felt so much more than I ever had before. It was... contrived and stolen and fake, but it wasn't. It was you and me. And I knew you felt it too, because you broke script and whispered my name and I swear to god, Quinn, I had never heard anything more beautiful than my name falling from your lips on a sigh. It was..." Her voice trailed off and she smiled at the memory. "It was everything."

Quinn smiled. It had been everything, and she had been so wrapped up in the kiss that she had barely been aware of whispering Rachel's name.

Rachel's felt her heart skip a beat in her chest as she looked at the blonde beatific smile. Her eyes locked onto Quinn's and she realized that finding the right words didn't matter so much. She could catalogue every kiss, every feeling, every emotion, but in the end, it all boiled down to one simple, undeniable fact. "I love you."

Quinn smiled as her heart swooped up into her throat as she processed what the brunette said.

I love you.

She had hoped to eventually hear those words, but she hadn't expected to hear them yet. The very idea that Rachel Berry, the woman she had been in love with for years, was also in love with her was surreal. "Am I dreaming?" The question fell from her lips on a hopeful, tremulous breath.

Rachel smiled and shook her head. "No, you're not dreaming Quinn."

Warm hazel eyes looked imploringly into brown. "You love me?"

Rachel winked and nodded, suddenly much more comfortable with the knowledge now that it'd been shared. Yes, it was fast. Yes, it was soon. But there was no denying it. There was no reason to even bother trying to deny it. "I do. You love me?"

"So much that I can't find the appropriate words to express it," Quinn answered softly, her eyes dancing over the smaller woman's features as she drank in the moment, committing everything about it to memory. Memorizing the way the sun made Rachel's naturally tan skin glow, the smile that tweaked those beautiful lips, and the love that was literally overflowing from Rachel's gaze.

Rachel whimpered softly at the emotion in Quinn's words, feeling the love behind them as if they were a physical caress, and she licked her lips as she lifted her chin to claim the blonde's lips in a kiss that was slow and sweet. It was a kiss that conveyed love, not want. It was a kiss that promised forever.

It was a kiss that promised everything.

A gentle push of hands on shoulders, a light press of hips against hips guided Quinn back onto the bed and the blonde somehow managed to miss the open suitcase that took up the entire bottom half of the mattress. Rachel smiled into the kiss as she climbed onto Quinn's lap, her hands on the blonde's shoulders urging the taller woman down to the mattress as their kisses grew deeper and hungrier.

"I want you," Rachel husked against Quinn's lips, smiling at the low groan she heard rumble in the blonde's chest.

Quinn smiled and eased her right hand off of the brunette's hip to dip beneath the hem of her shirt as she ran her left up the smaller woman's back to tangle it in dark silk. "I'm yours," she answered simply, her words falling across Rachel's lips on a breath as she pulled her in for another kiss.

Rachel moaned and ground herself down onto Quinn's hips as the blonde's hand slipped higher up her back underneath her shirt to deftly pinch her bra open. She rolled her shoulders up and away from Quinn as the blonde began pulling her shirt up and she reluctantly broke their kiss long enough to allow Quinn to toss both it and her bra aside. She smiled as she dropped back onto her hands, her nipples brushing over the blonde's shirt as she rocked into her. "You have too many clothes on," she murmured against Quinn's lips.

Quinn groaned at Rachel's blatant display of sexuality and rolled her hips up into the brunette. "So whatcha gonna do about it?"

A playful growl was Quinn's only answer as Rachel rocked back onto her knees and wrapped her hands into the collar of the blonde's borrowed shirt, using that hold to pull Quinn into a sitting position in front of her. Rachel smiled as she practically tore the shirt from Quinn's body and wasted no time getting rid of the blonde's bra as well. "Something like that," she drawled as she took hold of Quinn's hands, which had already found their way back to her hips, and pulled them out to the side as she leaned into the blonde, using her body to push her back down onto the bed.

Quinn groaned softly at the way Rachel had taken control and, instead of fighting it, she gave herself over to the brunette, allowing the smaller woman to dictate what she wanted. Their hands pressed into the wrinkled sheets beside her head and she relaxed into the bedding as Rachel's lips hovered above her own, waiting for the brunette to do with her as she pleased.

Rachel stared, awestruck at Quinn's submission and brushed her lips lightly over the blonde's as she rocked her body forward so that their nipple rubbed together. "God," she hissed as electricity coursed through her, ending in a flood between her legs.

"Rachel," Quinn murmured, flexing her hands under the brunette's grip.

Rachel smiled at the rough timbre of her lover's voice and began swaying lightly from side to side on top of the blonde so that their nipples brushed together on each swoop. "I love you," she whispered.

Quinn arched up into the brunette's body as she husked, "I love you."

A frisson of desire rolled down Rachel's spine as she released her hold on Quinn's wrists and settled her forearms onto either side of the blonde's head. She licked her lips as she stared into gray-green eyes that were clouded with lust. "Perfect," she breathed as she closed that final distance separating them and claimed the blonde's lips in a deep, probing kiss.

Quinn groaned and wrapped her hands around Rachel's wrists as the brunette settled fully atop her, their kisses growing more and more heated with every rock of their hips, with each deft swipe of their tongues. Their remaining clothes were slowly removed between kisses, their hands always coming back together beside Quinn's head after each article of clothing was kicked carelessly aside, until they were finally able to lay together with nothing between them.

"You feel so good," Rachel murmured as she rolled her hips into the blonde.

Quinn moaned softly as she flexed her thigh into Rachel, letting the brunette ride the hard muscle of her quad. "Shit, Rach," she grunted breathlessly as the singer ground down onto her.

"Mmm," Rachel hummed as she licked her way over the regal line of Quinn's jaw to lay a wet open-mouthed kiss to the blonde's pounding pulse point. She sucked hard against the sensitive skin, delighting in the grunt of pleasure it drew from her lover's lips as she pushed her own thigh tight against Quinn's center.

Their fingers tangled together amid blonde silk and white linens as their bodies set a steady rhythm against each other. Hips rolled slowly together, coating flushed skin with hot desire as gasps fell from bruised lips, tongues tangling together in the space between, until with a final rotating grind, a final push, a final whimper that was swallowed eagerly by hungry mouths they came apart together. Hearts pounded furiously in time with heaving chests as hands clenched together, holding tight to the one woman they were each certain held their salvation and their benediction.

"I love you," Rachel breathed against Quinn's lips which quirked up in a most adorable smile as the blonde whispered back, "I love you."

Chapter 18

Rachel arched an impressed brow as she followed Quinn into the blonde's driveway. She got a good look at the exterior of the house as they waited for the garage door to roll up and she found herself charmed by the aged cedar shake shingles and bright white trim covering the façade that brought to mind houses she'd seen in Martha's Vineyard. Once the Quinn had pulled into the garage, she parked her little rented Mercedes in the space to the left of Quinn's SUV, the compact sports car fitting easily in the oversized three-car garage, and she let out a sigh of relief as she killed the engine.

Checking out of the hotel had been surprisingly stress-free, just a quick call up to the concierge and a three minute conversation was all it took for matters there to be resolved, but the drive out to Quinn's house was another matter. Traffic had been an absolute mess, with two accidents on the 405 and one on the 10, and she couldn't have been happier about finally getting out of the car.

"You okay?" Quinn asked, smiling at Rachel as she pulled two of the brunette's three bags from the back of her car.

"Yeah." Rachel nodded. "Just... not used to driving so much anymore. And that was..."

"Typical for LA," Quinn supplied with a laugh. She understood what Rachel was getting at – it had taken her a good year and a half while at USC before she got used to LA driving. "I figured it was better to inch along the freeway than risk losing you on the surface streets though."

"Probably," Rachel agreed. "So, this is your house."

"It is," Quinn replied as she pulled Rachel's final bag from the back of her SUV and closed the hatch. "Come on, I'll show you inside."

Rachel nodded and took hold of the extended handle on one of her bags and followed Quinn between the cars toward the door that would lead to the inside of the house. She looked around the organized garage with an appraising eye, noting the painted floor and rows of cabinetry along the back wall, and the stack of surfboards lined up along the side wall of the unused third-car garage. "Are those your surfboards?"

"That's my quiver," Quinn confirmed.

Rachel frowned as she counted the boards. There were six smaller ones of varying heights and two tall ones. "Do you really need so many?"

Quinn laughed and nodded. "Yes and no. It's a guilty pleasure of mine. Some girls like shoes..." Her voice trailed off as she gave the brunette a pointed look which caused Rachel to roll her eyes and nod. "And, while I do appreciate fashion, these are my babies."

Rachel chuckled and turned her attention from the surfboards to Quinn as the blonde kicked the stopper down on the door into the house and pushed it open. Her jaw dropped as she caught her first glimpse of Quinn's house over the blonde's shoulder and her eyebrows rose in surprise. She hadn't really known what to expect but, as she carefully lifted her suitcase over the threshold and set it gingerly onto the blonde's immaculate black hardwood floors, she had to admit that it was very Quinn.

The ceilings were high, easily thirteen feet, giving the large kitchen-great-room area a wide-open feeling. The walls were a warm gray and held numerous large black and white prints in black frames. The effect was very artistic and welcoming. The kitchen cabinets were white like the baseboards and crown molding, the countertops were a blue-gray granite or quartz, Rachel wasn't sure which, but they fit perfectly with the professional grade stainless steel appliances and all of it was offset by the bright blue mosaic glass tile backsplash. The great room that abutted the kitchen was large and cozy, with an oversized stacked stone fireplace surrounded by dark wood built-ins taking up the wall facing the kitchen. The back of the house was either windows or french doors, and all of them provided an unobstructed view to the beach and the ocean beyond.

It was breathtaking.

Quinn smiled as she watched Rachel take it all in and when the brunette's wandering eyes met hers, she arched a brow questioningly. "Verdict?"

"Gorgeous," Rachel answered. "Give me the tour?"

"Of course. This is the kitchen, obviously, and that's the great room. I spend most of my time here whenever I'm home. The front door is up this way," Quinn said, pushing one of Rachel's bags in front of her and pulling the other behind as she walked out of the kitchen into a wide hallway.

Rachel nodded thoughtfully as she took in the overstuffed U-shaped sofa. It looked extremely comfortable and she could easily picture herself cuddling up to Quinn and watching a movie with a fire going. Her eyes lingered for a moment on the large print above the fireplace of an abandoned tire swing hanging from a large oak at the edge of a hill overlooking an expansive valley, thinking that it was both strangely comforting and sad, before she tore her attention away from the picture to again focus on what Quinn was saying.

"Dining room, office, piano, small living room," Quinn said with a wave of her hand as she propped one of Rachel's bags up at the foot of the stairs and lifted the other. "Downstairs powder room," she said with a tilt of her head at the door behind them.

Rachel smiled as she took in the space. It was large but not so large that it was overwhelming, and there was such a logical arrangement to everything that it just made sense. The dining room was on the opposite side of the stairs from the great room; the dark wood table was surrounded by eight chairs and was centered on a cream-colored rug. Looking onto the dining room was what Quinn called the office but what looked like a marvelous study, with built-in bookshelves that were loaded with books and she could easily picture Quinn spending an afternoon curled up in one of the brown leather chairs reading or hunched over the exquisite desk opposite them doing paperwork or something of the like. The front doors were to the left of the office and, as her eyes continued their circuit, to the left of them was a gorgeous baby grand piano. Between the piano and the powder room behind them was a small, intimate seating area made up of four rather comfortable looking chairs upholstered in a dark charcoal and slate blue patterned fabric, and on the wall behind them were five framed prints, this time of marquees and building facades that reminded her of New York. It was gorgeous. "Quinn, this is amazing. I love it."

"Me too," Quinn said with a smile as she started up the stairs. "The master and three guest rooms, laundry, and a guest bath are up this way."

"I love all of your photos," Rachel said as she stopped to look at yet another stunning black and white print that anchored the landing of the stairs. "Where did you find them?"

"I took them," Quinn answered, a note of shyness in her voice as she continued up, leaving Rachel to look at her work. "Photography is a kind of hobby of mine – keeps me busy between projects when the waves are flat."

Rachel shook her head at the blonde's dismissive sounding statement as she studied a picture of the ocean at what she assumed was sunset, with surfers silhouetted against the charcoal gray waves and the sun sinking into the horizon. Like the others she'd noticed, it was absolutely gorgeous. Making a mental note to ask the blonde to see more of her work, she adjusted her grip on her suitcase and started climbing the rest of the way to the second floor. The walls on this level were painted the same color as on the main floor, the warm gray a fitting neutral now that she'd gotten a sense of the blonde's decorating tastes. Though the ceilings weren't as high as those on the first floor, they were still easily at least ten feet and made the open area feel light and welcoming.

The entrance to what had to be Quinn's bedroom faced the head of the stairs and, as there were no other doors on that side of the house, Rachel could only assume that the master suite spanned the back of the house. She looked questioningly at the staircase that made yet another turn and continued to climb, making a mental note to ask Quinn what was up there later, and made her way through the double doors into the master suite.

The first thing she noticed when she walked into the room was the view out the large windows overlooking the pacific. The windows started about two feet from the floor, stretched to the ceiling, and were framed by gauzy white sheers and rich slate blue draperies.

"Wow," she breathed as she wandered into the room.

Once she forced her gaze away from the view, she saw that the bedroom was decorated similarly to what she'd seen of the house already. Quinn's bed was dark, with a tall headboard and a footboard that barely rose above the height of the mattress so as not to detract from the view. A plain white duvet was accessorized with a slate blue quilt across the foot of the bed and matching pillows interspersed with white at the head.

"Nice view, huh?" Quinn asked as she entered the bedroom from a doorway to Rachel's left and leaned her hip against the small loveseat that faced the gas fireplace that anchored the far left corner of the room.

Rachel nodded and sighed as she turned to the blonde and smiled. "It's gorgeous."

Quinn smiled. "Well, through there -" she hiked a thumb over her shoulder at the doorway she had just come out of, "- are the closets. I've set you up in the one on the right, so feel free to unpack. It's completely empty and there are built-in drawers and stuff for any of your things that don't need to be hung up. If you need extra hangers or something just let me know and I can find some for you."

Rachel glanced at where Quinn was saying and nodded. Beyond the closets, she could see the master bathroom, and she was willing to bet that it had the same breathtaking views as the bedroom. "You're sure about this?"

Quinn frowned. "Sure about what?"

"Me staying with you," Rachel answered.

Quinn frowned and crossed the room to stand in front of Rachel. "Would you be more comfortable in one of the other bedrooms?" she asked softly as she wrapped her arms around the brunette's waist. "I just figured, from what you said at your hotel earlier, that you'd want-"

Rachel interrupted Quinn with a lingering kiss. "I just want to make sure that you're comfortable with this." It's like we're moving in together and we've only been dating, if you can even call it that, since Wednesday night. I'd feel rushed, if this didn't just feel so right.

Quinn smiled and nodded. "I'm comfortable with whatever you're comfortable with," she answered honestly. "I just thought that since it sounded like you were planning on sleeping in here with me, not that I mind, at all, by the way," she added quickly. "Anyways, I just thought that if you were going to sleep in here that you'd like to have some of your clothes nearby so they're easy to get to. Seriously, Rach, would you prefer I set you up in a guest room?"

Rachel smiled at Quinn's rambling and turned in the taller woman's arms so she could loop her arms around the blonde's neck. "I would like nothing more than to fall asleep in your arms again," she said softly, punctuating her sentence with a tender kiss. "And I appreciate you wanting me to be comfortable. I just wanted to make sure that you're not feeling rushed by any of this."

"Rachel," Quinn murmured, dipping her head and rubbing her nose against the side of the brunette's, "I've been in love with you for years. Believe me, baby, having you here is exactly what I want."

"Okay then," Rachel relented.

Quinn kissed Rachel softly. "Thank you."

"Thank you," Rachel said as she brushed her lips over Quinn's.

Quinn smiled and pulled the smaller woman into her so that their hips pressed together lightly and eagerly captured her lips in a languid kiss that said exactly how sure she was better than words ever could. Her grip on Rachel's hips tightened as the brunette's tongue danced across her lips begging entrance, which was immediately granted and drew low moans from each of their throats. Hands began to wander as their kisses grew deeper, hotter, hungrier, and their bodies molded into one another.

Quinn was debating turning Rachel around and pushing her back onto her bed when the brunette's phone began to ring. "Do you need to get that?" she asked as she kissed her way over the singer's jaw.

"Shit," Rachel hissed as Quinn nipped at her pulse point. She wanted to say no, but she could tell by the ringtone that she should get it. Her father was persistent, if nothing else, he was definitely where she got her tenacity from, and she knew that if she didn't talk to him now that he'd just keep calling until he got a hold of her. "I think so, yeah."

"Okay," Quinn murmured softly, laying one last lingering kiss to the column of Rachel's throat. "Get it and I'll go grab your other bag from downstairs."

Rachel smiled and pulled her phone out of her pocket. "Hello, daddy."

"I'm not interrupting anything, am I?" Hiram Berry asked.

"No, daddy. We actually got far enough ahead of schedule to get today off. What's up? Is everything okay with you and dad?"

"We're fine, sweetheart. I was actually calling because of something I saw online."

"Oh," Rachel said softly.

Rachel's father laughed. "I guess you know what I'm referring to then. You're in LA now?"

"Um, yeah. Sorry I forgot to let you know. I got a call from James Moore Monday morning about taking over this role in his film because the actor who'd originally been cast had run afoul of the law and was kicked off the project. It all happened so fast that I forgot to call you guys. I landed Monday and started shooting on Tuesday. It's been a crazy week."

"I bet it has," her father replied warmly. "So you're working with Quinn Fabray, huh? How's that?"

Rachel's cheeks flamed as she watched the woman in question reenter the master bedroom with her suitcase. "It's going remarkably well. She's an amazing actress."

Quinn frowned and turned to Rachel with a questioning look. 'Who?' she mouthed.

'My father,' Rachel mouthed back.

"It certainly looks like you two are getting along well," Hiram drawled. "Is there any truth to this dating rumor that I'm reading about?"

Rachel closed her eyes and pressed her phone into her shoulder. "He's asking about us. What should I tell him?" she asked Quinn.

Quinn smiled and shrugged. "Whatever you want, sweetie. He's your dad. If you're not ready to tell them about us, don't."

Rachel sighed. That was exactly the non-answer answer she'd been expecting. "You don't care?"

"You know I don't," Quinn replied before she went to place Rachel's remaining suitcase in the closet to be unpacked.

Rachel nodded and lifted her phone off of her shoulder. "Daddy? You still there?"

"I'm still here, sweetheart. Is everything okay?"

"Yeah, fine. Now, what were we talking about?" she asked, even though she knew exactly what they'd been discussing.

"The rumors of you and Quinn dating."

"Right. Those are actually true," she said softly as she dropped onto the ottoman at the foot of the bed. "Is that okay?" she asked, chewing her lip nervously as her father remained silent. "Daddy?"

"I'm sorry, baby," her father said, and Rachel could hear him clearing his throat softly. "I'm sure you can understand that this is a little surprising, that's all. You're sure about this? You've never mentioned being interested in women before."

Quinn walked out of the closet and paused as she looked at Rachel who was sitting Indian style on the ottoman at the foot of the bed. She considered giving the brunette some privacy, but one look at the singer's face had her deciding against it. She quickly crossed the room and sat down beside Rachel, mirroring her posture and leaning back against the foot of the bed as she wrapped an arm around the smaller woman's shoulders. "You okay?" she whispered, brushing her lips against the brunette's temple.

Rachel smiled and nodded as she leaned into Quinn's embrace and answered her father's question. "I'm sure," Rachel said, punctuating her statement with a nod even though her father couldn't see it. "It's hard to explain, but there's just... I'm sure."

"As long as you're sure. Tina knows?"

Again, Rachel nodded. "She does and she's handling things on her end. I just... Quinn makes me feel things I've never felt before," she said, blushing slightly at the confession and hiding her face in the blonde's chest. "I owe it to both of us to see what this is." She needed him to understand that she was serious about Quinn. Her father didn't need to know everything yet – somehow she knew he'd think she was crazy if she told him that she was in love with the beautiful blonde – but her parents did deserve to know what was happening in her life.

"All right, baby girl. So you're doing a movie now, huh? How's that going?"

Rachel smiled and lifted her head to rest it against Quinn's shoulder as she returned her gaze to the view out the window. "Amazingly well, actually. It's different from being on stage, but it's a good different. I'm glad I decided to take the project."

"Well, your dad has been bugging me about going on vacation soon – maybe we'll go to LA this year and visit you while you're out there. What do you think?"

"I think that sounds wonderful, daddy," Rachel answered honestly, a large smile on her face.

"Where are you staying?" her father asked.

"Well, I was at the Chateau Marmont," Rachel said, smiling to herself as she reached out and tickled the inside of Quinn's thigh. "But Quinn graciously offered her house to me so that I wasn't, quote, wasting money on a hotel room, so I'm going to be staying here for now."

Quinn smiled and nodded, tightening her hold on the brunette's shoulders and pulling her in closer. Damn straight, she wanted Rachel with her.

"Sounds like you two are moving awfully fast," Hiram said and Rachel cringed at the frown she could hear in her father's voice.

Rachel looked up at Quinn and sighed. There was no way to make him understand how right this thing between her and Quinn felt, and he was just going to have to trust her to take care of herself. "We're moving at the perfect speed for us. There's a lot of this story that you don't know, and its Quinn's to tell, so maybe when you and dad come out here to visit you can hear it all."

"I think that sounds fair enough," Hiram said begrudgingly. "How long do you expect to be in California?"

"Probably four to five months, at the most," Rachel said. "We're doing a lot of set work now on the Paramount lot, but we'll be going out onto location in a few weeks and then it'll get interesting."

"I can't wait to hear all about it. Don't be a stranger baby girl, and call if you need anything."

"Of course, daddy. I love you."

"Love you too, baby girl. We'll talk soon."

Rachel groaned and tossed her phone over her shoulder onto the bed. She hadn't anticipated coming out to her father over the phone but, in hindsight, she should have been expecting the call. Both her fathers made a habit of keeping up with her career, and she could only hope that they didn't make a habit of visiting the tabloid sites. There are some things that parents just don't need to know.

Quinn sighed and brushed a light kiss across Rachel's temple. "Is everything okay?"

"Yeah," Rachel murmured as she turned into Quinn and wrapped her arms around the blonde's neck. She leaned her head against the taller woman's shoulder and took a deep breath. "That was just a phone call I never expected to have to have."

Quinn bit her lip. "I'm sorry."

"No, it's fine, Quinn, really," Rachel said as she nuzzled the blonde's neck.

Quinn sighed and pulled the brunette onto her lap. "What did he say?" she asked as she ran her fingers through Rachel's hair.

Rachel relaxed into Quinn and smiled. "He's not mad or anything, just surprised. Although, he did say that him and dad might come to LA for vacation since I'm out here for a little bit."

Quinn nodded. "Okay. I'm assuming that they'll be giving me the inquisition at that time?"

Rachel chuckled. "Probably."

"You're lucky I haven't spoken to my parents since I came out and they both disowned me, again," Quinn murmured as she dropped a soft kiss to the brunette's head. "You don't have to deal with any of that."

"Are we still going to meet up with Santana and Brittany tonight?" Rachel asked.

"If you want," Quinn answered. "I can always try and reschedule."

"No, don't do that. I just meant it as, I'm sure Santana will love to give me a hard time about this."

Quinn chuckled darkly. "I'll make sure she behaves. We'll be in public, so that'll help. Not that she's averse to causing a scene, but Britt will be there to keep her in line."

"Speaking of public, where are we going?"

"Somewhere you're going to love," Quinn murmured, smiling against Rachel's forehead as she kissed the brunette softly. "Believe me. We're meeting them at nine. I do need to go grocery shopping though since I'm out of pretty much everything. I had planned on going last night, but then..."

Rachel hummed and lifted her chin to kiss Quinn tenderly. "I'm glad you didn't go shopping last night."

Quinn chuckled. "Me too. But that means I need to go now. Do you want to come with, or would you like to stay here, unpack, and hang out a bit?"

"I'll come with you," Rachel said without hesitation. "I'll unpack later when I'm looking for clothes to wear out."

Quinn smiled and kissed Rachel softly. "Sounds good. I just have to go make a list and then we can get going."

"How do you handle this?" Rachel asked in a hushed whisper as she followed Quinn through the Whole Foods market near the blonde's home.

"Handle what?" Quinn asked distractedly as she checked the ingredients list on a package of artisan bread to make sure that it wasn't made with eggs so that Rachel would actually eat it.

Rachel looked around at the group of people – men, women, and teenagers – huddled at the ends of the aisle. "Being watched all the time."

Quinn shrugged and dropped the loaf of bread into the basket. "I dunno. I guess it's just something that I've learned to ignore."

"You don't find the invasion of privacy an... invasion of privacy?" Rachel asked as she watched a teenage boy take a picture of them with his iPhone.

Quinn rolled her eyes and shrugged as she pushed their cart over to the jarred pasta sauces. "You don't have to deal with this back in New York, superstar?"

"No." Of course, it also helps that Renee does most of my errands and grocery shopping, Rachel thought.

"Hmm, maybe I should move to New York," Quinn muttered as she skipped over the cream sauce that she'd been kind of craving in deference to a more traditional tomato sauce that her houseguest would actually eat. "It's not that big of a deal, Rach. Really," she added as she looked up and waved at the group with a polite smile.

Rachel chuckled as she watched the group, as one, look away as if they hadn't been caught staring, before disappearing around the endcap.

Quinn grinned. "See. They're all gone now."

Rachel shook her head and rolled her eyes. "I still say that's strange."

"Honestly?" Quinn sighed and nodded her agreement. "Yeah, it is. But most of the time nobody ever recognizes me. I think it's because of that picture on TMZ, which was then picked up by E-Online and a couple other outlets..." her voice trailed off as she caught the look of surprise on Rachel's face and she remembered that she forgot to tell the brunette about the call she'd gotten from Jack when she'd been driving from the Marmont to her house earlier. "Heh. Yeah. I forgot to tell you about that, didn't I?"

Rachel nodded slowly. "Um. Yeah."

"Other outlets picked up on it. And apparently there were a couple shots of us that were taken with a tel-lens when we were on the Paramount lot yesterday. Are you mad?"

Rachel let out a huff of a breath and shook her head. Was she annoyed? Yes. Did she understand it was part of the job? Yes. Was she mad? "No, Quinn. I'm not mad."

Quinn frowned, obviously not believing Rachel's answer. "I'm sorry. If it makes you feel any better, the only place the pictures those people were taking right now are likely to end up are on twitter or tumblr, and I'm pretty sure I didn't see any of the professionals following us here. Of course, there's always a chance that one of those fans will get ambitious and try to sell them, but there are worse things than having your picture taken grocery shopping."

Rachel rolled her eyes. "I don't care about the pictures, Quinn. I already told you that I love you and that I'm serious about this relationship. It's just... strange."

"That it is, Padawan," Quinn agreed.


Quinn's brows arched in disbelief as she waved a hand at the brunette. "Star Wars?"

"Oh." Rachel nodded.

"You've never seen Star Wars, have you?"

"Not exactly," Rachel hedged.

"You had a deprived childhood," Quinn muttered as she started pushing their cart down the aisle, leaving Rachel spluttering behind her.

"I tell you that I love you, and you make fun of me and leave?" Rachel huffed as she hurried after the blonde.

Quinn grinned and surreptitiously checked to make sure they were alone before she turned and placed a quick, chaste kiss onto the brunette's pouty lips. "I love you too, Rach. And I wasn't making fun of you. Much."

"You're lucky I like you," Rachel grumbled with a smile as she wrapped an arm around Quinn's waist.

"I am," Quinn agreed with a goofy smile. "Come on, we're almost done here and those people aren't going to stay away forever. Let's just get this done and get out of here."

Rachel grinned. "I knew they were bothering you."

"Who wouldn't be bothered by a bunch of strangers staring and taking pictures of them?" Quinn chuckled as she glanced at her list. "Okay, so we just need to grab some soy ice-cream and we're good to go."

"Chocolate?" Rachel asked hopefully.

Quinn laughed and rolled her eyes. "Whatever you'd like, Rachel," she drawled, her smile growing wider as the brunette skipped off down the aisle in search of the frozen food section.

Chapter 19

The dishwasher closed with a quiet click as Quinn turned to look across the great room at Rachel who was swaying lightly and singing softly to the music that was pouring from the speakers tucked into the ceiling as she looked out the window, watching the sunset. She dried her hands off on a dishtowel and tossed it carelessly onto the oversized island before she padded quietly across the large space to wrap her arms around the brunette's waist, and looked out upon the ocean as well. The usual evening fog had yet to roll in, so the sky was remarkably clear and awash with color – reds, oranges, yellows, and indigos – and the sun was burning a hot white stripe through the water that grew smaller and smaller as it sank beneath the horizon.

Rachel smiled as she felt Quinn's arms slide around her waist and she relaxed into the taller woman, enjoying the closeness that came from just being held. "It's beautiful."

"It is. Not as beautiful as you, however," she murmured as she brushed her lips over Rachel's ear.

A light shiver rolled down Rachel's spine at the blonde's touch. "I'd say that that line was incredibly corny, but I liked it."

Quinn grinned and nipped at the brunette's neck. "I thought you might."

"Are you always so cocky?" Rachel asked playfully. She frowned in confusion when she was only answered with a low, rumbling laugh and the blonde's face buried in her shoulder. "What?"

Quinn shook her head and laughed. "I can't. It's too easy."

"What's too easy?"

Quinn closed her eyes and took a deep breath, holding it in until she was finally able to calm herself. "Nothing, Rachel. Really."

Rachel pouted and turned in Quinn's arms so she could look at the blonde. "Tell me."

Quinn relaxed her hold and rolled her eyes as she nodded. "Fine. I was going to make a poorly timed lesbian joke."


Quinn bit the inside of her cheek to keep from laughing again because she could tell that Rachel honestly didn't see the double meaning possible in her comment. "I'm not-" she smiled and took Rachel's right hand and slid it down her body until the brunette's hand was pressed against her fly "-cocky." She watched as brown eyes widened in understanding and groaned when Rachel's hand began rubbing against her.

"I must say, I'm rather glad you're not," Rachel murmured, her hand slipping lower to cup the blonde fully as she leaned in and captured her lips in a deep, lingering kiss.

Quinn groaned as Rachel's middle finger pressed into her clit. "Really?" she husked as her hips rolled into the brunette's touch.

"Mmm." Rachel nodded as she began a steady motion of massaging the blonde through her jeans. "Yes. Making love with you is so much better than it was with anyone who had-" she pressed up hard into the blonde again "-that particular appendage. I've definitely been missing out."

Quinn smiled and pulled Rachel's hand away from her crotch. Serious hazel eyes stared curiously into open brown as she lifted the brunette's hand to her lips and pressed a soft kiss to it. "Really?"

"Really," Rachel confirmed, winking at the blonde as she ran the fingers of her left hand up the flat of Quinn's stomach. "I love how soft your skin is, your curves," she murmured, her eyes dropping to follow her hand as it made slow circuits around Quinn's right breast.

Quinn bit her lip as she, too, dropped her gaze to watch what Rachel was doing.

"The way your body responds to me," Rachel continued her mini-dissertation as she brushed her thumb over the blonde's hidden nipple, drawing a quiet whimper from her lover's lips. "The sounds you make when I touch you – quiet, feminine, breathy – are so fucking sexy that I find myself always wanting to touch you so I can hear them again."

Quinn groaned. "Baby."

Rachel looked up at Quinn and smiled, pleased that she was able to elicit this kind of a reaction from her. "And then there are your lips – so soft, so delicious. I just want to spend forever kissing you..." Her voice trailed off as she succumbed to her desires and kissed the blonde, eventually breaking away with a sigh. She licked her lips as she lifted her hand from Quinn's breast to trace a slow line up the blonde's jaw as she stared into swirling pools of green and gold. "Your eyes have haunted my dreams for years, and I wonder how it is that I've only just realized that they're yours," she breathed as she leaned in and kissed Quinn again.

Quinn moaned and, belatedly, released her hold on Rachel's hand that she'd captured so that she could wrap her arms around the brunette and draw her in closer. Her right arm slipped around Rachel's back, her palm pressing tight to the space between winged scapulae, while her left slipped down to wrap around a perfect denim-covered cheek, pulling their hips together as their heads slanted, lips parted, and tongues began to stroke against each other.

Rachel whimpered at the feeling of Quinn's tongue plunging hotly into her mouth and she lifted herself up onto her tiptoes as she wrapped her arms around the blonde's neck. She giggled as she felt Quinn's other hand land on her ass, and then she moaned as she felt herself being lifted into the air, the former Cheerio easily picking her up as if she weighed nothing.

"Wrap your legs around me," Quinn muttered against Rachel's lips. "Just like that," she groaned as Rachel did as she said and wrapped her long legs around her waist.

Rachel smiled and brushed her lips over Quinn's jaw to her ear, licking and sucking at the lobe as the blonde carried her over to the couch. She tightened her hold on her lover's neck as she felt herself being lowered to the sofa and she sighed as Quinn's body settled atop her own, the blonde's hips still cradled between her thighs. "You feel so good," she whispered as she rolled her hips up into Quinn.

"You are amazing, Rachel Berry," Quinn husked as she canted her hips forward into the brunette, driving herself into the pinned woman and drawing a long, low moan from the Broadway star's lips. She smiled into dark brown eyes that were growing noticeably darker and asked, as she thrust into Rachel once more, "Can I have you?"

Rachel licked her lips and nodded. As if Quinn even needed to ask. "Always."

Quinn looked over at Rachel and smiled as she pulled to a stop behind a nondescript clapboard sided building on the outskirts of Malibu. They were late, not ridiculously so, but enough that she knew that Santana would have a field day about it; but she couldn't find it in herself to care. Somehow, she wasn't sure how, and she was honestly too afraid to question it, Rachel loved her. Wanted her. So, she wasn't particularly worried about the fact that Santana would give them a hard time for being a few minutes late when their tardiness was because Rachel couldn't keep her hands off of her.

"Where are we?" Rachel asked as she looked out the window.

"Karaoke," Quinn answered. "Well, kind of. But it's where we're meeting Britt and San. I promise you'll like it."

Rachel smiled and reached across the car to brush the pad of her thumb over Quinn's heart-shaped lips. "I liked what we were doing earlier too, before you made us run out of the house."

Quinn laughed. "What if I promise lots more of that later?"

Rachel's smile grew seductive as she purred her approval. "Lots?"

"As much as you want," Quinn assured her as she forced herself to pull the key from the ignition. Going home and resuming their lovemaking was beginning to sound like a much more tempting activity than singing, even if she was kind of looking forward to getting to see Rachel sing. "Come on, Rach. I promised you a night of karaoke," she said as she forced herself to turn away from the captivating brunette and open her door.

The cool night air washed through the open door, sweeping away the simmering sexual tension that had surrounded the couple as they'd driven up PCH. They had been unable to keep their hands off of each other as Quinn drove, fingers taking turns wandering over smooth skin, stroking up and down inverted forearms, tracing, teasing, caressing. Red lights were spent kissing and more than once the blonde had been nudged into movement by a honking horn behind them. She chuckled softly to herself at the memory of how, after one such make-out session, Rachel turned around and flipped off the driver who had interrupted them.

She hurried around the front of the car and gallantly pulled Rachel's door open, offering her hand to the petite brunette as she slid out of the SUV. A slow, easy grin tweaked her lips as she felt Rachel's hand slip into the crook of her arm and, after she locked the car and dropped her keys into her purse, she covered the brunette's hand with her own. "I like this," she said softly as she scanned the area around them to see if there were any cameras directed their way, but, so far, they had managed to sneak up the coast without being followed.

"Hmm?" Rachel questioned as she looked around their surroundings.

"The way you hang onto my arm when we walk," Quinn elaborated as she reached for an unmarked, black door tucked into a tiny alcove on the building in front of them. Not that she went out a lot, but she'd become friendly enough with the owner of this particular bar that he'd leave the back door unlocked for her so that way she could sneak in without having to go through the front where more people would notice. "It's just in here."

"What's just in here?"

"Singing," Quinn answered vaguely as she pulled the door open and ushered Rachel inside.

Rachel smiled as they walked down a dark, narrow corridor and the sound of old school rock and roll wafted over them. "Where are we?"

"Howl at the Moon," Quinn answered as she pushed the hanging drapery that blocked the end of the hall from the main room aside and allowed Rachel to see.

Stretched across the wall opposite them was a gorgeous mahogany and brass bar, reminiscent of a 1950s jazz club, that was staffed by two bartenders in identical white button downs, black skinny ties, and red suspenders. To their right, there was a decent sized stage, full of people playing guitar, bass, and drums, and the rest of the bar was full of small, bar-height tables and chairs. It was crowded, the clientele a mix of twenty-somethings and baby-boomers, and nearly everybody looked to be singing along with the brave soul who had taken his turn at the microphone.

"It's a dueling piano bar most nights, but once a month they wheel one of the pianos off and bring in some other instruments," Quinn continued her explanation as she waved a hand at the stage.

Rachel smiled as she looked up at Quinn. "This place is unreal."

"Isn't it?" Quinn answered with a smile as she waved at Santana and Brittany, who were seated at a small table just off the left side of the stage. "Come on, I see Britt and San."

Rachel followed Quinn across the back of the bar as the guy on stage did an okay job with an old John Mellancamp song, and smiled when they stopped in front of Brittany and Santana.

"Jesus, Q," Santana teased as she stood and pulled the blonde into a hug. "I was beginning to think you guys stood us up."

Rachel blushed as Quinn laughed and said, "We would never dare stand you up, S. You know where I live. We just got stuck in traffic."

"Bullshit." Santana grinned and pulled Quinn in for a quick hug, her eyes landing on a nearly hidden bruise where the blonde's neck and shoulder met. "That hickey says otherwise. Nice new pics online, by the way. 'Sup, Berry."

"Santana," Rachel greeted the Latina as she leaned in for a somewhat awkward hug. While they had eventually learned to tolerate each other in Glee, there had never been a real friendship between them.

"Rachel!" Brittany yelled as she jumped out of her chair and swooped the tiny singer into a bear hug. "You look hot!"

Rachel laughed and squeezed the exuberant blonde warmly. "Thanks, Britt. You too."

"I know," Brittany said, smiling as she carefully set Rachel back down.

"What about me? Don't I look hot?" Quinn asked playfully as she leaned in and captured the dancer in a light embrace.

"Quinn, you know I'd do you but San wouldn't like it," Brittany said, laughing lightly as she hugged her old friend. "You look happy, Q. It's nice to see you happy again."

"Thanks, B," Quinn whispered, pecking the blonde on the cheek and earning herself a glare from Santana. "Jealous, Lopez?" she teased, kissing Brittany's cheek one last time before she stepped out of the embrace and wrapped an arm around Rachel's shoulders.

"Of you? In your fucking dreams, Fabray," Santana retorted as she wrapped her arm around her girlfriend's waist. "I've just been in the library so much this week that I have barely seen her."

"Aww," Brittany cooed, spinning around to loop her arms around Santana's neck and kiss her gently. "I've missed you too, baby."

"They are just as disgustingly cute as they were in high school," Rachel muttered, just loud enough for Quinn to hear.

Quinn turned to Rachel and grinned as she dropped a quick kiss to the brunette's cheek, mindful of the fact that they weren't alone. "Pretty much," she murmured against the brunette's ear. "What do you want to drink?"

Rachel looked at the cocktails on the table, it looked like Brittany was drinking an apple martini and Santana had what looked like a soda mixer of some kind, and shrugged. "Jack and Diet Coke."

Quinn nodded and pulled a chair out for Rachel to sit. "I'll be right back with that," she said, squeezing the brunette's shoulder gently before she sauntered off across the bar to get their drinks.

"So are you and Quinn dating? The pictures of you guys on the internet are all really cute," Brittany said as she picked up her apple martini.

"Yes, and thank you," Rachel answered politely, casting a hesitant glance in Santana's direction.

The Latina caught the look and grinned. "You treat her right, Berry," Santana warned as she looped her arm around the back of Brittany's chair. "I don't want to have to beat your ass."

"I will," Rachel said, sincerity ringing in her words.

"You really like the lady kisses, huh?" Brittany asked, waggling her eyebrows comically and giggling girlishly as Santana made a production of pulling her in close and kissing her neck.

"I do. Quinn is the first woman I've been with and, I must say, she is a much better kisser than any of the men I've ever dated."

"Wait," Santana said, slapping a hand on the table as she sat up straighter in her chair. "You mean to tell me that you get to LA on Monday, and by Friday you're doing Quinn?"

Rachel blushed and nodded.

"Hot damn," Santana whistled. "That deserves a top of the line toaster. Like a Cuisinart or something."

"I thought Cuisinarts were chopper thingies?" Brittany asked.

Rachel smiled. "They make those too. But, in this case, I believe Santana was referring to the joke that is popular in the gay and lesbian community regarding getting a toaster oven for converting a heterosexual to homosexuality," Rachel answered.

"Like on Ellen!" Brittany exclaimed, her smile growing even wider as Santana nodded and kissed her softly.

Rachel smiled. It was nice to see that, even after all these years, it took just a look from the happy blonde to make Santana melt. "Exactly. Just like on Ellen."

"What's like on Ellen?" Quinn asked as she handed Rachel her drink.

"Santana wants to give you a toaster," Brittany said helpfully.

Quinn laughed and arched a brow at her friend. "Make sure it's stainless to match my kitchen then, S."

"You don't get to place orders on your toaster, Fabray," Santana said with a mock glare.

"Santana?" Brittany said.

Santana's expression softened as she turned to face her girlfriend. "Yes, babe?"

"Why didn't I ever get a toaster?"

Santana blushed and hid her face in the crook of Brittany's neck while Rachel and Quinn laughed. "I'm sorry Britt," Quinn finally spoke up. "It was my job to get you one, but I was trying so hard not to be gay that I never got around to it. Can I send one to you now to make up for it?"

Brittany smiled and nodded. "I'd like that."

"Then that's what I'll do," Quinn said with a warm smile. "Is there a particular color you'd like?"

Brittany clapped happily. "Pink!"

Quinn grinned. "I'll find you a pink one then."

"Fabray," Santana growled. She knew Quinn would go out of her way to find a pink toaster now, and she really didn't want to have a pink toaster sitting on the kitchen counter.

"Lopez," Quinn retorted. "Suck it up. The girl deserves a toaster. Now, how's the bar review article coming? You need an edit on your edit?"

Rachel turned to Quinn with a questioning look. "Have you gone to law school too, or something? How can you help her with her paper?"

Quinn shook her head. "No, sweetie. I was an English major in college. Granted, most law schools like their applicants to hold English degrees because it means we can actually write..."

"Shut up," Santana interrupted her friend, her voice tinged with amusement. "What the ever articulate Ms. Fabray is saying is that, if she hadn't made it in the business, she'd have been starring in a butt-load of teenage boys', and a few girls', naughty teacher fantasies."

Rachel shook her head at the Latina's phrasing. "So you wanted to teach?"

"Yeah." Quinn nodded. "And you're so full of shit, S."

"Whatever you say, number four."

"Number four?" Rachel asked.

"On Maxim's 100 Hottest Women list," Santana supplied.

"Only fourth?" Rachel asked, looking mildly offended that Quinn didn't rate higher. "Who were the top three?"

"Jordana Brewster, AJ Cook, and Stana Katic," Brittany answered helpfully. "She's the hot brunette on that detective show."

Rachel nodded and smiled as she leaned in to brush a light kiss across Quinn's cheek. "First of all, you deserve to be at the top of that list because you are, by far, the sexiest woman I have ever seen. And, secondly, if you were my teacher, I would have totally fantasized about you taking me on your desk after school," she whispered against the blonde's ear so that nobody else could hear.

Quinn swallowed thickly and turned to look at Rachel. "How is it, exactly, that I'm the first woman you've been with?"

Rachel smiled and shrugged as she leaned back in her chair. "Guess I was just waiting for you, good lookin'. So, do you want to know what song you're going to be singing in order to uphold the parameters of our wager?"

"You lost a bet to Berry?" Santana chuckled. "What was the bet? I gotta know."

"Well," Rachel said, with a pleased smile as she turned back toward their table companions, "we were shooting a scene with a rather imposing man named Dalton, who we were supposed to be interrogating. He said something about James, the director, wanting more shots to try and get a better angle on me because I was, I believe his words were something along the lines of 'scary intense'," she said, with air finger quotes. "Quinn took offense and we ended up making bet to see who was more intimidating. Dalton was the judge, and he said that I won. It was actually rather flattering to have a man that large tell me that I was fierce."

If Santana was laughing before, she was literally rolling now. "Oh my god, Q! You really have lost that backbone of yours, haven't you?! I mean, to lose a bet like that to animal sweater girl-"

"I'll have you know I haven't worn one of those sweaters since I graduated from McKinley," Rachel interrupted.

"Thank god for small favors," Santana waved Rachel off dismissively. "Q. Seriously. You lost a bet over who was the most intimidating to Rachel Berry?"

Quinn rolled her eyes and shrugged. "I don't know how it happened."

"You're pussy whipped," Santana laughed.

"Must you be so crude?" Rachel chastised the Latina. "She's sweet."

"Whipped," Santana laughed as she made a whipping motion with her hand.

"What song are you going to sing, Quinn?" Brittany asked.

Quinn sighed, thankful for the dancer's interruption, and looked at Rachel. "What song am I singing, Rach?"

Rachel grinned and leaned into Quinn, slipping her hand around the blonde's waist as she whispered her song choice in her lover's ear.

Quinn rolled her eyes and nodded. Somehow, she wasn't all that surprised by the brunette's decision. She took a gulp of her drink and set the tumbler back down on the table as she got to her feet. "As the lady commands," she said with a mock bow and a flourish before sauntering off in the direction of the stage.

"What song is she going to sing?" Santana asked.

Rachel grinned. "You'll see."

Chapter 20

Quinn took a deep breath as she stepped up to the microphone after talking to the 'band' that was going to back her on the song. There were faint butterflies in her stomach, she hadn't been kidding when she'd told Rachel that she didn't sing for other people anymore, but she had enough experience in putting herself out-there via acting that she knew this was nothing more than a mild case of stage fright.

And, she had to admit, the fact that Rachel chose this particular song for her to sing was actually rather predictable, knowing the brunette's penchant for needing to know and experience everything first-hand. Rachel Berry really was that impish sometimes and, after the way James had played her up earlier in the week, it was essentially a given that the brunette would make her get up and sing this particular song.

She looked around the club, her eyes skimming over faceless strangers, some of whom were looking back at her, while others busied themselves with their own conversations. She was pleased to see that, so far, at least, nobody had really noticed her, and that there weren't any cell phones or cameras pointed up at the stage. She knew that by the end of the night her anonymity would be gone, but for now she accepted it for the gift it was. A half a step forward got her directly in front of the microphone, and she wrapped her left hand around the stand and her right around the microphone itself as she looked over her shoulder at the drummer and nodded.

The drummer grinned and started tapping out a familiar beat, and she let herself relax, an easy smile lifting her lips as she closed her eyes as the guitar kicked in.

"This was nev-er the way I planned," Quinn sang, tapping her foot along with the music as she let herself disappear into the song. She opened her eyes as she sang the next line and winked at Rachel, who was looking at her as if she were handing the brunette the world.

"It's not what, I'm used to, just, wanna try you on, I'm curi-ous for you, caught, my attention..." It was all Quinn to do to keep from laughing as Brittany began dancing beside their table, singing along with Quinn who was now swaying from side to side a little on stage.

"I kissed a girl, and I liked it. The taste of her cherry chap stick. I kissed a girl just to try it, I hope my boyfriend don't mind it." She rolled her eyes. That particular line had always bothered her.

Santana had finally relented and was now up and dancing with a very happy Brittany beside the group's table, while Rachel was just laughing and singing along in her chair, her big brown eyes focused on the woman who had become her entire world.

"It felt so wrong, it felt so right, don't mean I'm in love tonight," Quinn sang, shaking her head to negate the words as she sang them, her eyes liquid sex as she stared at Rachel. She was very much in love. "I kissed a girl and I liked it," Quinn continued, this time pulling the mic from its stand and dancing over to the guitarist who was grinning and singing along quietly as she played.

Rachel shook her head in awe as she watched Quinn own the stage, dancing and singing, performing the song with a confidence that she remembered from their Glee days. The rest of the bar, spurred on by Quinn's performance and Brittany and Santana's dancing, also came alive, some just sitting and singing along, others actually getting up and dancing too. Quinn, Rachel thought, was an absolute vision on stage and even though she sang along with the familiar lyrics, the weight of her attention was on Quinn's smile, her hips, the way her long blonde hair flowed around her beautiful face.

Rachel Berry had witnessed a number of show-stopping performances in her life, but this one was, to her, the best she'd ever seen.

"I kissed a girl and I liked it. I liked it," Quinn finished with a smile and a wink at Rachel as the crowd clapped, stomped, and cheered their approval. "Thank you," she said into the microphone as she slipped it back into its stand, before turning around and thanking the band for their efforts.

She walked off of the stage, blushing at the amount of applause her little performance had garnered, and made her way over to where Rachel was sitting. "So, Rach. Was that good enough?"

Rachel nodded. "You were amazing, Quinn. Really. Why in the world would you hide that voice?"

Quinn smiled sweetly at Rachel as she dropped into her seat. "Please, like I'm anywhere near as good as you. You should get up there and give it a try."

"After me!" Brittany said.

"What are you going to sing?" Santana asked.

"You'll see," Brittany replied with a saucy wink before she turned and sauntered up onto the stage.

"Excuse me, are you Quinn Fabray?" a woman asked as she shyly approached their table.

Quinn rolled her eyes at Santana who was chuckling behind her drink across the table. "I am," Quinn said with a polite smile as she turned toward the woman.

"And you're Rachel Berry," the woman gushed as she looked at the Broadway star.

Rachel nodded and smiled. "Yes."

"You two are so cute," the woman said quickly. "Those pictures online don't do you justice. Anyways, I was just wondering if I could have your autograph and maybe get a picture with you both?"

"Of course," Quinn answered genially. Now that she and Rachel were becoming tabloid fodder, she knew better than to play the bitch and give anyone a reason to go to the press with a negative story about her. Usually she was able to come and sing and cut loose with Santana and Brittany without being noticed, but it looked like the recent online coverage of her and Rachel was going to make that an impossibility this evening. "Who do I make it out to?"


"Alright," Quinn said as she scribbled a generic 'To Tiffany – Reach for the stars. Quinn Fabray' on the paper the woman handed her before sliding it over to Rachel who smiled at the blonde's inscription before adding her own little note and signature to the paper and handing it back to her.

Up on stage, Brittany approached the microphone with a large grin on her face and she pointed Santana as she mouthed, 'this one's for you'.

"Ay, dos mio," Santana muttered as Quinn and Rachel laughed.

"S, take a pic real fast so we can watch Britt sing?" Quinn asked as she handed the Latina Tiffany's camera.

Santana smiled and took a couple quick pictures before handing the camera back to the woman who practically skipped back to her own table. "How many more of those before you call it a night, Q?" she asked, knowing how much the blonde really didn't enjoy the extra attention when she went out.

Quinn shrugged, knowing that there was really no way to predict how the crowd would respond now that her identity was known. One of the perks of coming to places like Howl was that most people in Malibu had money, more money than she did, really, so while an occasional fan or two might seek out an autograph, most of the people just smiled and nodded, and were happy with that slight recognition that they could brag to their friends about later. "We'll see. Normally everybody here is pretty good about leaving me alone – so hopefully she's the only one tonight."

"You do realize that if either of you get up to sing now that they all know who you are, that it'll end up on YouTube or something."

The stars nodded as Brittany began dancing to the beat that the band was playing. It was familiar enough that they all thought they recognized it, but there was something different enough that they couldn't place it.

Until, that is, Brittany sang, "I'm bringing sexy back..."

Santana, Quinn, and Rachel all started laughing as the dancer began seductively swaying her hips up on stage, grinding against the microphone stand for a moment before she pulled the wireless mic free and began strutting around the stage as she sang.

"I'll let you whip me if I misbehave..."

Quinn roared with laughter and rocked back in her chair as she turned to look at Santana who was actually blushing. "Do I want to know?"

Santana scowled at the blonde. "Fuck you."

Rachel hid a smile behind her hand but wisely opted not to join in the pair's teasing. She'd never actually seen Santana look genuinely embarrassed before and it was quite disconcerting, to say the least.

"Come here girl," Brittany crooned, crooking a finger in Santana's direction.

"Go dance with her!" Quinn urged laughingly.

"Fuck you, Fabray," Santana laughed as she shook her head at Brittany. The blonde pouted adorably for a moment before she shrugged and danced over to the bassist who was more than willing to dance with her.

"Oh hell no," Santana swore as she jumped to her feet and bounded onto the stage. It was one thing for Brittany to dance by herself and give everybody a show, but there was no way in hell she was going to let her girlfriend bump and grind with anybody who was not named Santana Lopez.

"I knew she'd go up there," Quinn said as she draped her arm casually over the back of Rachel's chair. "Is this okay?"

Rachel nodded and leaned into Quinn, resting her head on the blonde's shoulder as they watched their friends on stage. Brittany was now using Santana like her very own stripper pole and, if the way the Latina was licking her lips was any indication, that was a perfectly acceptable development.

Quinn smiled and turned her head to press a soft kiss to Rachel's forehead, lingering in the connection as she breathed in the brunette's scent. The bar around them disappeared as Rachel snuggled in closer, the brunette's hand rubbing light tracks up and down her thigh. It was nice, to be able to sit with Rachel like this in public. Even though the brunette had told her that she didn't care if pictures of them being together got out, it was comforting to know that Rachel meant it. Because, if she had any reservations about the world knowing they were together, they wouldn't be snuggled up together in a bar in Malibu.

Oblivious to the looks and pictures being taken behind their backs, Rachel brushed her lips over Quinn's neck, smiling at the shiver that her touch created. It was a heady, powerful feeling to know that she was capable of affecting Quinn Fabray like that. Almost as powerful of a feeling as knowing that she truly did hold the blonde's heart in the palm of her hand. Being loved is, without a doubt, the single most liberating, frightening, and evocative thing that could ever happen to a person; and she was still gobsmacked that she found it with the beautiful blonde who, until a few days ago, had been nothing more than a point of confusion and inexplicable regret in her life.

They sat in quiet contemplation, both watching but not really seeing their friends on stage, until they were pulled from their thoughts by an exuberant, "Get your sexy on!", and applause from the crowd.

"Did you like it?" Brittany asked as she and Santana approached the table, pinkies interlocked, just like they used to do in high school.

"You were amazing," Rachel said sincerely, as she sat up a little bit straighter in her chair.

"Lopez, you were awesome," Quinn chuckled as she began rubbing her thumb over Rachel's shoulder.

"Shut up," Santana growled. "And, aren't you two putting on quite the show for your adoring throng."

Quinn shrugged. "It is what it is, San. We're not going to hide."

"Well, good for you," Santana said seriously. "But could you be a little less nauseating about it?"

Rachel smiled and squeezed Quinn's leg, as she answered, "I don't think that's something we can do, Santana."

"Whatever, Berry," Santana chuckled, rolling her eyes at the Broadway star's response.

"Rachel, are you going to sing?" Brittany asked, smiling as she reclaimed her chair across the table from the Broadway star.

"Maybe in a bit," Rachel said. "I want to catch up with you guys first. What are you doing now?"

"School, school, and more school," Santana grumbled, picking up her drink and finishing it off. "I'll be back. Anybody need anything?" she asked. Everybody shook their heads, indicating that they were okay for the time being, so she just shrugged and strutted over to the bar.

Brittany watched Santana go, a proud smile on her face. "She's been working hard trying to keep the top spot in her class. It's good because it keeps her busy while I'm at work, but it also means that we don't see a whole lot of each other even when I'm home."

"And how is your work going?" Rachel asked, remembering what Quinn had said about Brittany choreographing music videos.

Brittany tore her eyes away from Santana, who was now leaning heavily against the bar and talking with one of the bartenders, and turned her attention back to her friends. "Well, I'm just finishing up with Usher's new video. It's been a really fun shoot, one of the more challenging pieces of choreography that I've had to come up with because of the scale of the set and the number of people in the troupe, but it looks really cool."

"I bet it does," Quinn said with a smile. "Any other projects lined up?"

Brittany nodded. "Yeah. Next is a video for what's going to be the lead single on Lady Antebellum's new album, which will be fun because it'll be slower and sexier, and then my agent is in talks with Brittney Spears's camp to do something for her next album, and after that... I'm sure something will come up. I like to keep busy since Santana is always studying," she explained to Rachel.

"She'll be done soon," Quinn said. "And then you guys will get to spend more time together. Any idea where you two are going to go on vacation to celebrate her graduating?" she asked, knowing that Santana's parents offered to send the girls on vacation as a graduation present.

"I dunno." Brittany shrugged. "San's been talking about the Caribbean or Hawaii."

"I love Maui," Quinn offered.

"Me too," Rachel agreed, looking up at Quinn with a smile. "Maybe we'll have to go there too."

"I think we can work something out," Quinn agreed, brushing a quick kiss across the brunette's lips.

"You two are so cute!" Brittany cooed.

"Disgustingly so," Santana echoed.

"Shut up, Lopez," Quinn retorted. If they weren't in the middle of a crowded bar, she would have really laid one on Rachel in retaliation, but she didn't want to give the people around them anything to talk about.

Rachel, however, had no such qualms about public displays of affection and held Santana's gaze captive as she leaned in and kissed Quinn soundly, even going so far as to rather obviously push her tongue past the blonde's lips, earning a soft moan as the former Cheerio as she raked her tongue over the top of blonde's mouth. "Better?" she teased as she pulled away.

"I think she's drooling," Santana chuckled.

Quinn blushed and ran a hand over her chin, just in case. "Fuck you."

"God, I can't take you anywhere," Rachel teased as she snuggled back into Quinn's body. "Worse than children."

Thankfully, two brave souls decided to try their luck on stage, drawing Quinn and Santana's attention away from their playful bickering with a completely horrific rendition of Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow's Picture. Even the band was having a hard time playing along, as they all looked about ready to dive off the stage and make a run for it. Mercifully, the song eventually ended and the drunken duo went back to their table.

Rachel groaned. "That was awful."

"So go show us something good, Berry," Santana challenged.

Rachel looked to Quinn and nodded. "Okay," she said as she slipped off her chair and made her way gracefully onto the stage.

"You are so in love," Santana teased Quinn as the blonde's eyes traced Rachel's progress up onto the stage.

Quinn smiled and nodded, her gaze never leaving Rachel's glorious ass. "I am."

"I'm happy for you, Q."

Quinn turned and beamed at her friend before she returned her attention to Rachel, who was talking to the guitarist up on stage.

Rachel smiled at the musician and tipped her head in greeting. "Hello."

The woman's eyes widened as she recognized the Broadway star. "You're Rachel Berry."

Rachel nodded. "I am. So, do you think you guys can keep up?"

The guitarist grinned and looked over at her band mates as she nodded. "We should be able to keep up just fine."

"Excellent," Rachel said, before proceeding to tell them all what song she wanted played.

"Not a problem, Ms. Berry," the guitarist said.

"Rachel, please. And thanks..." Rachel's voice trailed off as she waited for the woman to introduce herself.


Rachel nodded. "Riley. On my cue, okay?"

"You're the boss," Riley answered with a grin as she watched Rachel walk over to the microphone. She watched as a wave of whispers rolled around the club and it wasn't long before all conversations had stopped as everybody looked up at the stage.

"Damn, Berry," Santana muttered as she watched the petite brunette command the room without a word.

Rachel smiled down at Quinn, winking at the blonde to let her know that this song was for her, before she turned and nodded at Riley, who began strumming the opening chords to the brunette's selection. She bobbed her head to the music, waiting for her cue, which she hit perfectly.

"I've been awake for a while now... You've got me feeling like a child now... 'Cause every time I see your bubbly face, I get the tingles in a silly place. It starts in my toes... and I crinkle my nose," she sang, crinkling her nose in what Quinn thought was the most adorable expression ever.

Rachel grinned and continued, "Where ever it goes, I'll always know, that you make me smile, please stay for a while now, just take your time, where ever you go."

By this point the crowd, which had been put to sleep with the previous performance, was singing along quietly at their tables, enjoying the show but not wanting to detract from the fact that they were being graced with a private concert from none other than Rachel Berry.

"The rain is falling on my window pane, but we are hiding in a safer place," Rachel sang, smiling at Quinn as she crooked a beckoning finger at the blonde.

"Go sing with your girl, Fabray," Santana said, kicking the blonde under the table.

Quinn looked up at Rachel and arched a brow questioningly. When she was met with a smile and a nod, she got out of her chair and made her way up onto the stage, grabbing an extra mic off the steps as she went so that she was able to join in with Rachel right when the chorus began.

"They start in my toes... make me crinkle my nose... where ever it goes, I always know. That you make me smile, please stay for a while now," they sang in perfect harmony, reaching out to hold each other's hand. "Just take your time, where ever you go... What am I gonna say? When you make me feel this way... I just, mmmm...."

They finished the song to a standing ovation and a chorus of 'encore' that quickly picked up steam until the walls of the bar were literally reverberating with the plea.

"Whattaya say?" Quinn asked Rachel with a grin. "One more?"

"I'm game if you are, Fabray," Rachel said, squeezing Quinn's hand gently. "Do you have anything in mind?"

"I have something," Quinn confirmed as she let go of Rachel's hand and approached the band.

"Okay, one more song," Rachel told the crowd, who all cheered. "I don't know what it is, though, Quinn's choosing this one. I just hope I know it," she said, earning a laugh from the crowd who pretty much all had their phones out and pointed at the stage. Santana was right; this was so ending up on YouTube tonight. Rather than dissuading her from singing, however, it simply made her determined to put on a good show.

"Got it," Quinn said as she resumed her place next to Rachel. "You ready?"

The crowd cheered and Rachel grinned. "When you are, Fabray. Bring it."

"I can bring it," Quinn laughed as she pulled Rachel to the side of the stage so that the bassist and the drummer could roll the black baby grand, which to that point in the evening had sat lonely and forgotten in the back corner of the stage, up so that it took center stage. "Up you get, Ms. Berry," Quinn said as she lifted Rachel onto the lowered lid. Acoustics would have been better if it had been up, but she had always imagined singing to Rachel like this and she wasn't about to give up the opportunity.

"Now I'm a little scared," Rachel said as she scooted back onto the lid.

"Don't be," Quinn said as she slipped her mic into the holder on the piano. Once everything was adjusted properly, she started to play, smiling at the familiar tune as her fingers danced over the keys. "There's too many things, I haven't done yet... there's too many sunsets, I haven't seen. You can't waste the day, wishin' it'd slow down... Would've thought by now, that I'd have learned something..."

Rachel licked her lips and smiled at Quinn as she lifted her microphone to her lips as the drum kicked in. "Ye-hay, yeah, yeah. Mmm, do, do, do, do-ooh-ooh. I made up my mind when I was a young girl," she sang, turning away from Quinn to face the crowd, her left hand lifting for emphasis as she poured her heart into the song. "I've been given this one world, I won't worry it away-ay-ay, no. Now and again I lose sight of the good life, I get stuck in a low light, then love comes in..."

Quinn grinned as she hit the chorus perfectly with Rachel, their voices blending in a perfect mix of smoky sexiness and raw power. "How far do I have to go, to get to you? Many the miles, many the miles."

"Oooooh-ooh-ooh," Rachel crooned.

Quinn shook her head and picked up the chorus again. "How far do I have to go, to get to you? Many the miles, many the miles."

Rachel smiled as the crowd clapped and she leaned back to watch Quinn take the next line, wanting to hear the blonde promise to follow her wherever.

And Quinn didn't disappoint. "Oooh! But send me the miles, and I'll be... happy to, follow you, love. I do what I can whenever I end up, to keep giving my good love... and spreading it around, y-ey-ah. 'Cause I've had my fair share of take care and good-byes, I've learned how to cry... and I'm better for that."

Rachel picked up the chorus again and they sang it to each other this time, ignoring the crowd who had even stopped singing along as they watched the show before them, completely enraptured by the women's performance.

It was one that would go down as the single best duet performed at Howl's Open Mic night.

After the chorus was done Quinn smiled and tipped her head at Rachel who took the next stanza easily. "Red letter day, and I'm in a blue mood, wishing that blue... would just carry me away-ay-ay. I've been talking to God, don't know if it's helping or not, but surely something has got to give, cause I can't keep waiting to live!" she sang, hitting that high note with a power and confidence that was pure Rachel, and Quinn couldn't help but grin even as her skin broke out in goose bumps and she fell into the chorus.

"How far do I have to go, to get to you?"

"Many the miles," Rachel sang.

"Many the miles," Quinn replied.

They alternated lines through the rest of the song, and when they finished, their voices trailing off together, smoky and strong, until the only sound in the bar was the final chord of the piano.

And then the place blew up. People jumped to their feet, clapping and cheering as Quinn helped Rachel off of the piano and pulled her into a hug before they turned, arm in arm, to take their bow.

"You know this is going to end up on the internet, right?" Quinn asked through a smile.

Rachel shrugged and waved at the crowd. "I hope it does. That was an amazing performance."

Quinn laughed and shook her head, giving one last wave before she ushered Rachel off the stage and back to their table. The videos and pictures of them singing were most likely being posted everywhere at that very moment but, as she looked over at a beaming Rachel, she couldn't find it in her heart to care. She pulled Rachel's chair out for her, hyperaware of the fact that everybody was now watching them, and smiled at Santana. "Verdict?"

Santana grinned. "You sucked."

"Yeah, that's what I thought too," Quinn chuckled.

"They did not suck," Brittany said, looking mildly affronted. "They were awesome!"

Rachel smiled and leaned over to rest her head on Quinn's shoulder, a soft, happy sigh falling from her lips as the blonde took the hint and wrapped an arm around her shoulders again. "Thank you, Brittany. I do believe it's your turn to show us how it's done, Santana."

Quinn grinned. "Yeah, S – go show us what you got."

Santana scowled and looked around at the people who were still taking pictures of Quinn and Rachel. "Yeah right. Like I'm going to go up there and be the sacrificial lamb after that performance. Please. Santana Lopez does not do second best. I'll wait for some drunk schmuck to get up there and make a fool out of themselves first."

"Chicken shit," Quinn teased.

"Maybe." Santana grinned. "But, for now, I'm going to sit here with my girl-" she wrapped an arm around Brittany's waist and pulled the dancer closer, "-and get my drink on. You got a problem with that?"

Quinn looked at Rachel and smiled. Being with her girl and getting her drink on sounded like a great idea. "Nope. Not at all."

Chapter 21

It was déjà vu all over again.

Rachel's hand was tucked into the crook of Quinn's arm as they led the way out of the bar, Brittany laughing as she helped a wasted Santana out behind them. Even though Quinn's car was parked in the alley behind the club, they went out the front door so they could help Brittany get Santana into their car, and that was when they hit the wall of cameras.





"Fucking hell," Quinn muttered as she glanced back at Brittany who was far enough behind her and Rachel to not be included in any of the photos that were being taken. Brittany seemed genuinely unaffected by the cameras and she was glad that the dancer didn't react to them at all. She was pretty sure that no magazine would buy a picture of just her friends leaving a bar, but she hated the idea of dragging them into this side of her world. The photographers were moving around, constantly shifting in front of them as she tried to blaze a trail through the crowd to the parking lot where Brittany had said they'd parked. The cameras moved with her, a fluidity to their motion that was almost poetic in the way that they took two steps back for every one forward that she took. At least she had enough of a reputation to garner that level of respect.

Brittany, however, was not unaware of the cameras and had, in fact, experienced more than her fair share of paparazzi while she was working on the videos of some of the biggest musical artists. She knew the focus was on Quinn and Rachel, and she knew that Quinn would be torn between wanting to protect her and Santana, and protecting Rachel. And Rachel needed to be Quinn's first priority. Never mind the fact that once the two stars left that the cameras would go with them, leaving her alone with her still-singing girlfriend so that she could get them home.

"I got the moves like Jagger, got the moves like Jagger," Santana sang drunkenly, drawing everybody's attention to her. That was the song she got up and sang right before they'd left the bar.

Brittany took advantage of the distraction Santana provided and caught Quinn's eye, telling her with a look that she was okay to get Santana home by herself. She had been hoping for a more traditional goodbye, she really had missed Rachel and it had been so nice to spend some time catching up with the brunette, but, for now, this was what needed to happen.

Quinn caught the silent message Brittany was sending her and she nodded once in understanding. She held Brittany's gaze and mouthed, 'text me later', before she abruptly changed direction, tightening her hold on Rachel's hand as she began moving away from the parking lot and in the direction of the back alley where her car was parked.

"You have got to be kidding me," she groaned when she spotted her car. There were four more paparazzi surrounding the vehicle, spaced out for an ambush should she and Rachel exited the bar via the back entrance. Great. Just great.





Quinn sighed and bit the inside of her cheek to keep from rolling her eyes. At least, from the questions being shouted at them, she knew that nobody from inside the club had shared how affectionate she and Rachel had been. She was still glad that they weren't hiding, but she was more than a little annoyed at this level of intrusive scrutiny. They were just two people in a relationship. Did they really warrant this sort of interest?

As was her usual operating procedure, Quinn continued to smile and nod, giving the cameras all the pictures they wanted and none of the words to go with them that would give industrious gossips anything negative to write about her. Instead, she just guided Rachel through the throng, getting the cameras that didn't automatically move out of their way to shift with a soft spoken, "Excuse us, please". The questions continued to rain down on them as they walked but they just ignored them, and Quinn breathed a little easier once she'd helped Rachel into the car.

A photographer blocked her path as she went to round the back of the car and she bit her lip, trying to calm her temper. It would do her no good to lose it now. "Could you please get out of the way?"

He grinned and shook his head as he continued to take picture after picture.

Quinn groaned and looked over at the other photographers who were taking advantage of her situation and snagging a few more pictures for themselves. They're like locusts, she thought to herself. "Okay. That's enough. You guys got your pictures of us, go do whatever it is you do with them and please let us go."


"Nope," Quinn growled, as she pushed past the man that was blocking her path. She knew it would only bring more cameras down on her later on, now that there was the potential for anger and retaliation pictures, which always got good money, but she'd had enough. It had been a good night out, even with the fact that pretty much everybody in the bar had taken videos of her and Rachel singing, and then this clusterfuck had to go and ruin it.

Sometimes she really hated being a celebrity.

"Are you going to be able to back out?" Rachel asked as Quinn jumped into the car and slammed her door loudly after herself.

Quinn grimaced and looked around at the flashing bulbs that surrounded them. "I dunno. If not, I'll call the cops and they'll clear them out," she said as she slipped her key into the ignition and started the car. Keeping her foot on the brake, she revved the engine a few times as a warning that she was going to try and leave, and she sighed as none of the paparazzi moved. "Great. Just fucking great," she said as she pulled out her phone. She scanned through her contact list until she found the entry labeled 'SNAFU – Malibu' and hit send.

"Ryan," a tired voice answered.

"Hey, Ryan, it's Quinn Fabray. I'm outside Howl at the Moon in Malibu and there are a bunch of paparazzi surrounding my car who won't let me get out of here. Could you please send out a unit or two and have them clear out this riff-raff so that I can leave?"

"Will do, Quinn. Anything else?"

Quinn looked out her window at a photographer who had his camera pressed up against the glass and groaned. "Make it quick? They're getting rather pushy."

"Hold on," Detective Ryan said and Quinn could hear him talking on another line. "Alright. Got it covered. There were two units on regular patrol a couple blocks from your position, so they should be arriving any minute. Do you think he's in the group?"

Quinn bit her lip as a shiver of fear rolled through her. "I didn't see him."

"Lemme know if you do."

"I will," she said as she spotted a couple of police cars stopping at the mouth of the alley. "Your boys just got here. I think we're good now."

"Gotcha. Call me if you need anything else."

"Thanks, Ryan," Quinn said before she hung up and turned to smile tiredly at Rachel. "We'll be able to get out of here soon."

"Who's Ryan?" Rachel asked, as she watched the cameras that had been surrounding them begin to disappear.

"A local detective," Quinn answered as she waved her thanks at the boys in blue and backed carefully out of the parking space. "I had an incident up here last year, a fan, and I use the term loosely, pretended to be a paparazzo and got a little too close for comfort."

Rachel gasped. "How close?"

"He had me pushed up against a wall," Quinn answered quietly as she turned onto PCH and headed south, anxious to return to the safety and security of her home.

"Did he hurt you?"

Quinn shook her head as she remembered the feeling of his forearm against her throat and reached over to take Rachel's hand into her own. She rubbed her thumb over the brunette's knuckles and said, "Not really. Armageddon boot camp with Sylvester taught me basic self-defense, and I used to do some kickboxing, so I was able to fight him off. Oddly enough, that night one the paparazzi helped subdue the guy until the cops came. Most were still taking pictures, of course, but Gavin helped. So he's the guy we call now if Jack wants something in particular leaked via visual evidence."

"I can't believe somebody attacked you," Rachel said, her eyes wide with shock.

Quinn shrugged. At the time she had been scared, and angry, but now she was just weary of it all. The guy had got off with probation on assault charges since it was his fist offence and has, so far, respected the restraining order that forbade him from being within two hundred yards of her. "It happens, unfortunately. I need to call Jack and tell him about what just happened. Do you care if I do it now, or would you prefer I wait until we get home?"

Rachel smiled in spite of herself at the way Quinn had said 'home' and shook her head. "I don't mind. I should probably call Tina as well."

Quinn nodded and, at the next light, flipped on her Bluetooth before calling Jack.

"It's one thirty in the fucking morning," Jack Reynolds, Quinn's publicist, answered after the third ring. "So there better be copious amounts blood, broken bones, or a dead fucking body to be disposed of if you're calling me now."

"How about a horde of paparazzi surrounding me and Rachel as we left Howl tonight?" Quinn said, rolling her eyes at his theatrics.

"Shit. Yeah, that'll get me up. What happened, Q?"

"We went out with some old friends from Ohio," Quinn said, smiling as she felt Rachel lips brush across the back of her hand.

"At Howl?"

"Right. It was their monthly open mic night. Oh, you're on Bluetooth now, by the way. Rachel's with me."

"Hello Rachel. Quinn's told me a lot about you," Jack said tiredly.

"Hi," Rachel answered.

"I'm going to need the name and number of your publicist so we can coordinate a strategy for you two," Jack said, getting back to business.

"Tina Cohen-Chang, with Chang and Hall Publicists in New York," Rachel said. "You want her number now?"

"If you have it. Have you called her yet?"

"She's next on the list," Rachel said. "Her number is 212-867-5309."

"Got it. Now, I didn't ask before, but since you've been caught out again – how out do you guys want this relationship to be? Should we release a statement confirming it, or do you want to remain silent? Either way, the tabloids are going to be all over this."

Quinn looked at Rachel who shrugged. "I don't care, Quinn. I'm serious about this."

Quinn nodded. "Well, we weren't exactly hiding anything in the club tonight, so go ahead and coordinate a statement with Tina and send it out. Keep it vague, but cover the basics. And, just so you're aware, Rachel has checked out of the Chateau Marmont and is staying at my house now."

"Ummm, okay," Jack drawled. "Will do. Right, so, tonight. You went to Howl with some friends. Did you guys sing?"

"Yeah," Quinn answered. "One song, just me, two songs with Rachel."

"What songs?"

"I Kissed a Girl, that was my solo, if you will, and then Rach and I sang Bubbly and Many the Miles."

"Well, at least it wasn't anything risqué like S&M or Sexy Back," Jack muttered.

"Um, one of our friends did sing Sexy Back, but that was before most of the people knew who we were."

"Great," Jack groaned. "So, in case I need to deflect any rumors about that stuff, who were you two with?"

"Santana Lopez and Brittany Pierce."

"And they went to high school with you and Rachel."

"They did," Rachel answered.

"Do I need to be worried about them?"

"Other than the fact that being caught with them will bring up the fact that Rachel and I knew each other in high school, no. Santana's a third-year law student at Pepperdine and Brittany is a choreographer in the music industry."

"I see," Jack said. "I'm guessing that the whole high school connection between you two wouldn't be a good thing to get out."

"I've told you before that I was a complete bitch in high school," Quinn said. "So, no. It won't be good for me."

"Which means it won't be good for me. Gotcha. Okay, anything else?"

Quinn shot a look at Rachel and sighed, knowing that there was one last piece of information that needed to be brought to Jack's attention now. "Beth's adoptive mom is Rachel's birth mother."

"Jesus. And I thought LA was inbred," Jack muttered. "Um, sorry."

"It's okay," Rachel said quietly.

Quinn squeezed Rachel's hand and added, "Oh, and there will most likely be video and pictures hitting the internet soon – if they're not already up – of me and Rachel on stage singing, and possibly cuddling at the table."

"No tonsil hockey?"

"Nothing major. A light kiss here or there, one big kiss," Quinn added, flashing back to Rachel's impromptu attack, "but nothing really risqué."

"Well, finish your phone calls and then go get on that. If I'm going to be dealing with this mess, you might as well be getting some," Jack teased, sounding more awake. "I'll call you in the morning."

"I'm going to pretend you didn't say that. Thanks, Jack," Quinn said before she disconnected the call. "Sorry about all this," she murmured, squeezing Rachel's hand again for emphasis.

"It's not your fault, sweetheart," Rachel said, leaning across the car to press a chaste kiss to the blonde's cheek. "It's just the way it works, unfortunately."

Quinn nodded sadly, thinking that her plans of taking Rachel to The Little Door tomorrow night were most likely not going to happen. She had been looking forward to taking the brunette on a real date but, after tonight, she knew it probably wouldn't be a good idea. After these latest pictures hit the tabloids, they were going to be pretty much under house arrest. Good thing we went grocery shopping earlier, she thought wryly. "I'm still sorry."

Rachel's heart clenched at the sorrow in Quinn's voice. "I know, beautiful. But it's not your fault. We'll deal. We'll be fine."

Quinn bit her lip and nodded, hoping and praying that Rachel meant what she said and that they really would be fine. Beginning a relationship under this kind of scrutiny and attention was a recipe for disaster, she could only hope that Rachel being used to some level of intrusive curiosity meant that they could survive it. "Yeah. Okay. You should probably call Tina in case Jack decides he wants to work out a strategy right now."

Rachel squeezed Quinn's hand and slipped back into her seat. "Okay," she said as she pulled out her phone.

"It is four thirty in the morning. This better be damned important, Rachel."

"Quinn and I got ambushed outside a club tonight," Rachel retorted. "Good enough?"

"That'll do it," Tina groaned. "Give me the bullets."

"Open mic night at a dueling piano bar. Brittany and Santana. Singing with Quinn on stage. Video of said singing and possibly pictures of us cuddling at the table will be online within hours. Possibly a picture of me kissing Quinn... like, really kissing her. And Quinn's publicist will be calling you soon to, quote, 'coordinate a strategy' and go over drafting a statement confirming our relationship."

"Coordinating a strategy is a good idea," Tina said. "And, okay. Okay. Okay. I'll handle it. Did you have fun?"


"Good. You sang with Quinn? Like a duet?"

"Two duets, actually," Rachel clarified, smiling at Quinn who was focused on the road. PCH was nearly empty and the blonde was pushing the speed limit, probably trying to get home before any of the paparazzi could beat them there.


"Bubbly, and then Quinn surprised me by playing the piano and we sang Many the Miles."

"Very romantic," Tina yawned. "Anything else?"

Rachel cleared her throat. "I've, um, checked out of the Chateau Marmont and am staying at Quinn's house."

"Damn, Berry. You don't waste any time, do you?" Tina teased. "Just be careful. Alright, I'm heading into the office to try and head off this clusterfuck. Call me after you two roll out of bed later and I'll fill you in."

"Sounds good, Tina. Thank you."

"No problem, Rach. Tell Quinn I say hello."

"I will. I'll call you later," Rachel said, disconnecting the call and dropping her phone back into her purse. "Done. And, Tina says hello."

Quinn nodded and sighed. "Just have one more call," she said as she lifted her phone up to where she could see both it and the road, and scrolled through her contacts until she found the one she needed.


"Puck," Quinn groaned as she put the call through.

"Wassit?" a tired voice answered.

Quinn grinned in spite of everything and yelled, "PUCKASAURUS!"

"Fuck, Q," Puck grumbled, slightly more intelligibly. "It's like, three in the goddamn morning. Is everything okay?"

Quinn rolled her eyes. Of course everything wasn't alright. If it were, she wouldn't be calling him in the middle of the night. "Yes and no."

"Does this have anything to do with the pictures I saw of you and Rachel online?"


"Did you finally nail her? I mean, really, Q. You've been drooling over Berry for-fucking-ever. If you don't tap that now, I'm going to lock you two in the janitor's closet at the reunion next year."

"Hello, Noah," Rachel chuckled.

Puck laughed loudly. "Q, you could have told me I was on speaker! Berrylicious, you hot little Jew, you. How are you doing? You treating my baby momma right?"

Rachel smiled. "I'm doing well, thank you."

"She's amazing," Quinn answered his second question. "But, that's why we're calling. Paparazzi caught us outside a bar tonight."

"A titty-bar?"

"Get your mind out of the fucking gutter, Puckerman," Quinn growled. "Why the hell would I take Rachel to a titty-bar?"

Rachel laughed softly and looked out the window at the variegated charcoal landscape of houses, beaches, and ocean, the ghost of her reflection looking back at her from the glass.

"I dunno. Because it's what we do when you come home to visit?"

Rachel turned back to Quinn and grinned. "Really?" she whispered.

Quinn lifted her hand off of the steering wheel to smack herself in the forehead as she nodded at Rachel. "God, Puck. Can you please just shut up and listen?"

"You got it," Puck laughed. "What's up? Wait, that dumb fuck from last year wasn't there, was he?"

"No, he wasn't. But, there will be video of me and Rachel singing, and some pictures of us cuddling online by the time Lima wakes up in a few hours. I don't want to call Shelby and wake her with this news, so could you please go over there later and let her know what's up. She needs to be prepared in case the press decides to make another visit. The restraining orders and orders to cease and desist still stand, so Beth should be protected, but I want her to be aware of what's happening."

"Will do."

"Good. And, could you let me know if you see anyone hanging around town that shouldn't be there?"

"Can I lay them out?"

"No. Just tell me, so we can tell our publicists. And, if anyone does show up, try and keep them away from my parents."

"Have you talked to them about all this?"

"Puck, I haven't talked to them since I told them I was gay and they disowned me again. You know that. I just don't want them putting a recorder in front of my dad's mouth; god knows what that bible-thumping bastard will say."

"I'll try my best, Q. Anything else?"

"Not that I can think of. Tell Beth I say hello when you see her. And, that I'm still planning on making it out for her birthday next month."

"That'll make her happy," Puck said, a smile clearly evident in his tone. "Okeydokey. You girls go have fun. I've got your backs here."

"Thanks, Puck," Quinn said sincerely.

"Yes. Thank you, Noah," Rachel chimed in.

"No problem. Call if you need anything else, 'kay, Q?"

"You got it," Quinn said, grinning as her only response was a dial tone. "Well, that went okay."

"Had you told him about us?" Rachel asked.

Quinn smiled and turned off of PCH onto Rose. They were almost home. "No. This was the first time I'd talked to him in a month or so. Puck's cool. He still tends to act like an ass most of the time, but he's grown up quite a lot too. He's been on me to try and get back in touch with you since Jamie left. Honestly, Rach, that man is your biggest cheerleader. After me, and probably your dads, of course."

Rachel smiled. "I find that rather touching, actually."

"Yeah. He has his moments," Quinn agreed as she turned onto her street.

"So, you two go to titty-bars, huh?" Rachel asked, her voice tinged with laughter.

"It's our thing," Quinn said with an unapologetic shrug. "It's stupid and whatever, but it's our thing."

Rachel bit her lip and grinned. "Has a picture of that made its way onto the internet yet?"

"Thankfully, no," Quinn said as she pulled into her garage, closing the rolling door behind them before she had even killed the engine.

Chapter 22

The stress of their encounter with the paparazzi melted away the minute Quinn stepped into her kitchen. The pale white light of the moon filtered through the angled slats of the shutters over the windows, highlighting the interior of the house in shades of gray, and was just bright enough that no extra lights were needed to see.

She dropped her purse with a quiet thud on the island as she leaned into it as she pulled out her phone, sliding her thumb over the bottom of the screen to unlock it and quickly pulling up her messaging app. "I just need to shoot Brittany a text to let her know we got back okay."

"Okay." Rachel smiled as she set her bag next to Quinn's on the island. She bit her lip as she looked at the blonde, whose features were thrown into relief from the light of her phone, and was surprised to find that she was no longer worried about what happened outside Howl. The pictures and videos that would undoubtedly be uploaded to the internet, none of it mattered as she drank in the sight of Quinn. Beautiful and focused, pale, perfect alabaster skin glowing with the light of the moon, the blonde reminded Rachel of depictions she'd seen of the goddess Diana.

I can't believe she's mine, Rachel thought as she wrapped her arms around Quinn's waist and moved in behind her, resting her cheek on the wing of the blonde's shoulder.

Quinn's body relaxed back into the brunette as she finished typing her message to Brittany and hit send, knowing that the dancer would stay awake and worry until she had finally heard from them. "Hi," she whispered.

"Mmm," Rachel purred as she nuzzled her cheek against the blonde's back. "Hi."

Quinn's phone chimed almost immediately with Brittany's answering text, telling her that she and Santana had also gotten home safely and that the Latina was already passed out in bed. She sighed and smiled, relieved that everybody was safe, and set her phone down onto the counter.

She turned in Rachel's arms and smiled softly as she lifted her hands to delicately cup the brunette's jaw. Her heart skipped a beat as warm brown eyes landed on hers, and she saw that they somehow, miraculously, mirrored the love she knew was shining in her own gaze. Never in a million years would she have believed that Rachel would forgive her for the way she treated her in high school. Okay, so maybe she'd hoped for it, because the brunette did have a big heart and always found redeeming qualities in everybody, but she certainly hadn't expected this. Rachel. In her arms. Looking at her with such love and affection. Such trust. Goddamn, there was so much trust in that gaze it took her breath away.

The longer Quinn stared at her without speaking, the more curious Rachel became as to what, exactly, the blonde was thinking about. Because Rachel knew that Quinn was definitely thinking about something, the faraway look in the blonde's eyes as they danced over her face meant that something was going on inside the former Cheerio's head. She smiled shyly as she returned Quinn's intense gaze, blown away by the fact that she had finally found everything she had been searching for in a partner in Quinn Fabray. Not only sexually, although that was magnificent and wonderful and every other superlative one could think of, but emotionally. Mentally. She looked at Quinn and couldn't help thinking that soulmates, that old, contrived notion that fed romance novel sales and permeated the plot of every chick flick ever produced, actually existed.

She tilted her head to the side and smiled softly, her eyes quietly searching for the truth as to what Quinn was thinking. To what she was feeling. And she felt her heart skip a beat when she saw it. The loving glow in Quinn's gaze, the absolute adoration that was swirling in those moonlit hazel orbs. And now that she recognized it, the look was unmistakable.

So much of language is unspoken. It's in a sigh, a look, a smile. Meaning is conveyed with a flick of a gaze. A smile. A swipe of a tongue over lips. A thick swallow. Words, for as beautiful as they are, pale in comparison to this language that Rachel and Quinn were now speaking. This was a language of soft touches. Lingering looks. Of flushed cheeks, ragged breaths, and dilated pupils.

This language they were speaking was primal and raw, honest and unflinching. It was silent and profound, and was one that could only be shared between lovers.

Hazel eyes dropped to plump lips, a quick tongue darting out to moisten suddenly dry flesh, and then hands tightened, and eyelids fluttered closed. Air became shared as faces tilted together, noses nuzzling soft cheeks until it, too, became unnecessary as lips wrapped around each other gently. The kiss was soft. Tender. Reverent. Awed. It was a kiss that said 'I love you'. It was a kiss that said 'I adore you'. It was a kiss that promised the moon and the stars and the sky.

The true beauty of a kiss is in the way that such an otherwise simple connection between two people has the ability to say so many different things. Soft, gentle kisses swearing love and adoration. Deep, hungry kisses conveying need, lust, and desire. All from the same caress, yet both intrinsically, inherently different.

A flick of a tongue pleads for more and a sigh answers 'yes' as lips part invitingly, bodies shifting as tongues stroke slowly together. Heartbeats speed and become synchronized as breaths are stolen together in desperate gasps. Hands begin to roam, sliding over curves, and dipping under clothes; searching for that electric tactile connection of fingertips and skin, and when it is finally found, soft moans permeate the air. Fingers dig hungrily into heated flesh, pulling, rubbing, massaging, desperately trying to find that elusive, desired closeness.

They pull apart, gasping for air, lungs burning with their shared need for air, as their eyes locked together. The stare is heated, wanting, and no words are spoken as they come together again, Rachel submitting to Quinn's touch as the blonde begins walking them slowly toward the stairs. Clothes are haphazardly shed as feet shuffle, hands grasping, pulling, reaching blindly for support as they climb. Sighs and whimpers fall from kiss-swollen lips as fiery kisses rain down upon newly exposed flesh, their bodies moving on autopilot as their thoughts are consumed with ideas of touching, tasting, licking, biting.

A soft gasp followed by a long, low moan falls from Quinn's lips as Rachel spins the blonde around on the landing and pushes her into the wall. The brunette's ravenous mouth attacks the taller woman's neck shamelessly as nimble fingers unhook the front clasp of the blonde's bra and pulls it off. Quinn whimpers when hungry hands cover her breasts and she arches her back, pushing herself up off the wall, staggering forward with a purpose as they resume their upward movement.

Rachel groans when she feels Quinn's hands drop to her waist, quickly unbuttoning her jeans and pulling down the zipper, leaving her pants hanging loose on her hips, open and inviting, cool air crashing against flushed skin, causing a shiver of desire to roll down her spine.

Clothes and shoes are somehow removed between kisses as they traverse the final eight steps to the second floor, so that when they are once again on a level surface they are able to come together, skin to skin. Their kisses slow as they near the bed, their touches gentle, their shared need and want still evident but secondary once again to their love and affection. Lips smile against each other as Quinn pulls the duvet down, leaving it hanging off the foot of the bed.

They come together on top of cool sheets with a sigh, hips shifting, hands roaming until they find that perfect fit. Pale fingers trace lovingly over a tan brow, hazel eyes stare soulfully down into brown as kisses grow softer, lips clasping together almost lazily as hips rock together. Another kiss, slow, soft, and sweet as tan fingers circle a pale, perfect breast and alabaster fingers curve reverently around a full, dark breast. Fingers pinch, twist, and roll already erect nipples in time with tongues that dance and stroke in the heated air between open, desperate mouths.

Soft smiles are shared as foreheads come together and hands begin to move as one, pale over tan, tan over pale, wrists brushing together occasionally as random paths converge, until both glide over soft curls and dive into slick want. Another lingering kiss is shared as questing fingers dip low, gathering arousal and bringing it higher, spreading it over hidden nerves, rubbing lightly, circling slowly. Around and around, again and again. Touching softly. Stroking reverently. Breaths speed as arousal grows, hard buds escaping protective hoods, searching, seeking, so that every brush of a finger sends waves of electric pleasure coursing through their bodies.

Hips rock and breasts press together as fingers flick, massage, and roll below. Sighs and moans are the only sounds heard as each touch, every kiss, sends them higher and higher, closer, slowly closer to the edge of oblivion. Eyes lock and kisses stop as legs shift open wider and fingers again dip lower to press against ringed muscles before pushing deftly inside. Tongues dance in perfect harmony, stroking together in time with the fingers thrusting purposefully below. Brown eyes lock onto hazel as breathing becomes synchronized, the world disappearing as they fall into each other.

Eyes shout 'I love you' and kisses promise forever as fingers plunge deeper, curling, stroking, and rubbing. In and out. Again and again. Fingertips raking over hidden ridges, drawing pleasured gasps and groans from open lips. Hazel stares into brown, shining with love and reflecting the light of the moon. Teeth flash white in encouragement as walls begin to flutter. Groans grow louder and more primal, spilling into the room, feeding the fire that is slowly consuming each of them until it explodes in a bright white wave of ecstasy.

Mouths come together sloppily, wetly, hungrily as bodies fall into the primal dance of pleasure, hips rocking, trying to extend release for as long as possible until the spasms ease and their kiss breaks. Foreheads press together as fingers still inside hot velvet sheaths, breaths mingling in the finite space between parted lips, eyes glowing with love for the woman in their arms.

There is no language created by man that could ever compare to the silent language of lovers, but there is one phrase coined by man that comes close. When paired with a certain look, when delivered with a specific intonation, it says everything. It promises love. Fidelity. It vows to protect. It promises the moon and the stars and the sky. It says everything there are words to say and so, so much more. It is simple. Short. Concise. And yet, sometimes, that is all that is really needed.

I love you.

Chapter 23

Still only half awake, Rachel flung her right hand out across the bed in search of Quinn, her hand landing with a quiet thump on an otherwise empty bed with sheets that were cool to the touch. The blonde had obviously not been in bed with her for quite a while now. She huffed a pout as she opened her eyes to look at the empty space beside her, needing that visual confirmation that she was, in fact, alone, and groaned.

She had been really looking forward to some quality cuddling time that morning.

She sighed as she rolled out of bed, the cool ambient air feeling distinctly chilly against her naked skin, and shuffled across the bedroom to the closet in search of clothes. She pulled a pair of sleep pants off of a shelf in her closet along with a ribbed tank and slipped them on, but instead of grabbing one of the sweatshirts she'd brought with her from home, she wandered across to Quinn's closet where she liberated a comfy looking heather gray USC hoodie from its hanger and pulled it on over her head. The sweatshirt felt soft and warm and she smiled as Quinn's scent enveloped her.

I might have to steal this one, she thought to herself as she rolled the sleeves, yawning and stretching as she wandered out of the closet and out of the bedroom, listening intently for any sound that might indicate where Quinn had disappeared to.

She heard it the moment she opened the bedroom door. Music wafting up the stairs. The deeper tones of a piano interspersed with guitar chords and a rich, soulful voice. She would have recognized the artist's voice anywhere, but after last night, it had an entirely different meaning for her.

She smiled as she started down the stairs, the music growing louder as she rounded the landing and started down the final five stairs to the main floor, her bare feet landing silently against the dark hardwood where she stopped and stared into the kitchen. Quinn was at the island, looking absolutely breathtaking in a tight blue t-shirt and her hair pulled up into a messy ponytail, singing along with the music as she worked.

"I live here on my knees as I... try and make you see that you're... everything I think I need here on the ground," Quinn crooned as she sliced fresh strawberries and tossed them into a bowl.

"But you're neither friend nor foe," Rachel jumped in with a smile as she started toward the kitchen. "Though I can't seem to let you go."

Quinn looked up and smiled at Rachel, letting Sara take over the song as the brunette eased onto one of the barstools across from where she was standing at the island. "Good morning, Ms. Berry," she greeted her houseguest as she tossed two more halves of strawberries into the bowl in front of her. "How did you sleep?"

Rachel leaned across the counter to steal a piece of fruit from the bowl. "Great, until I woke up and you weren't there," she said, popping the bite-sized piece of fruit into her mouth.

Quinn ducked her head in apology. "I'm sorry, sweetie. I was just wide awake and didn't want to disturb you."

"You can make it up to me," Rachel said, smiling as she crooked a finger at the blonde and beckoned her closer.

"I can, huh?" Quinn chuckled as she set the knife she'd been using down on the cutting board, wiping her hands off on a dishtowel as she rounded the island and arched a brow at the brunette as she stopped just out of her reach. "What did you have in mind?"

Rachel laughed and got to her feet as she leaned forward and wrapped her fist in the blonde's shirt. She winked as she tugged on the fabric and pulled Quinn in for a lingering good morning kiss. "Like that."

"Mmm," Quinn hummed, smiling as she wrapped her arms around the brunette's waist and kissed her again softly. "I like that."

"You could have had more than just that if you'd have stayed in bed this morning," Rachel said as she playfully pushed the blonde away from her. "But, now I'm up and dressed and hungry. So, feed me."

Quinn laughed and gave the Broadway star a mock bow. "Yes, your majesty. Nice sweatshirt, by the way."

Rachel smiled and looked down at her borrowed top. "It is, isn't it? It's my girlfriend's."

Quinn beamed. "Girlfriend, huh? Lucky girl."

"I think I'm the lucky one," Rachel said honestly.

Quinn blushed and pushed the bowl of fruit closer to Rachel. "Coffee?"

"Please," Rachel said with a smile as she watched Quinn spin around and quickly fill two mugs that were waiting beside the coffee machine.

"Soy milk? Sugar?" Quinn asked as she set a mug down in front of Rachel.

"Black is fine. So, why couldn't you sleep?" Rachel asked as she lifted her cup to her lips and blew across the surface of the steaming brew.

"Last night," Quinn said with a shrug as she poured some milk into her coffee. "Just trying to figure out what the press is going to do with the pictures they got."

Rachel watched the blonde lift a glass container similar to what one would find on a table at a coffeehouse, and pour an unhealthy amount of sugar into her drink. "Are the pictures up?"

Quinn nodded and set the sugar aside. "Yeah. We're pretty popular," she explained with a roll of her eyes. "Pictures from last night are everywhere on the internet; and there were, in fact, several videos of us singing loaded to YouTube."

"Fun. Have you heard from Jack?" Rachel asked, making a mental note to call Tina after breakfast.

Quinn rolled her eyes and took a sip of her coffee. "Yeah. I called him this morning after I woke up and noticed a handful of paparazzi camped out on the beach outside the house."

Rachel picked a piece of cantaloupe out of the bowl and lifted it to her lips. "Great. What did he say?" she asked, before she popped the melon into her mouth.

Quinn blew out a loud breath. "Well, because we told him and Tina to go ahead and do it, they've issued a joint statement confirming the fact that we are, in fact, dating. He's hopeful that it will head off the speculation that is already starting to run rampant, and will at least keep the rumors about us somewhat under control."

"What did the statement say, exactly?" Rachel asked.

Quinn nodded and reached for her iPad, which was sitting on the corner of the island. She swiped it open and quickly tapped her email app. "Here," she said as she handed it over to Rachel. "That's what they sent out."

Rachel angled the tablet so that the kitchen lights weren't reflecting off the screen and read.

Re: Relationship status of Quinn Fabray and Rachel Barbara Berry

As speculated after the appearance of recent photographs, Quinn Fabray and Rachel Berry, co-stars in James Moore's new film Serendipity, have recently begun dating. The pair met up on set of the film after Ms. Berry was called in to replace Tyson Howe, who was removed from the cast after his run-in with the police the day before filming was set to begin. Any further inquiries regarding the couple should be directed to either Ms. Fabray's publicist Jack Reynolds or Ms. Berry's publicist Tina Cohen-Chang at the numbers listed below.

"Hmm," Rachel hummed as she set the iPad down.

"What?" Quinn asked. "Did you find something wrong with that? I couldn't."

Rachel shook her head. "No. I actually thought it was worded perfectly. It's just weird, to see the most significant relationship in your life boiled down to a handful of sentences."

Quinn smiled. "Well, those handful of sentences now have pictures of us together going for over two-hundred thousand dollars."

Rachel whistled. "Damn. So, if they're released a statement, I'm assuming that the tabloids are all now running with the story."

"They are." Quinn nodded. "According to the last text Jack sent me, we're currently trending on E! Online, TMZ, Perez Hilton, a handful of lesser-known celebrity gossip sites, and twitter. Apparently I've picked up a few thousand followers already this morning."

Rachel's arched a brow in surprise. "You have a twitter account? How did I not know that? I have one too."

"I know," Quinn murmured, smiling shyly. "I follow you."

Rachel grinned. "You are so adorable. I'll follow you back later when I get to my phone. Have you read any of the articles?"

Quinn nodded. She normally tried to avoid reading press about herself just because it was generally entirely false and annoying, but she was understandably curious as to the public's reaction to their relationship. "They're still pretty generic; Quinn Fabray, known for such and such, is confirmed to be dating Rachel Berry, yada, yada, yada... nothing too specific, but they'll get there in time, I'm sure."

Rachel rolled her eyes and nodded. That sounded about right. "Response?"

"Pretty supportive, for the most part. There are a few haters out there but, overall, I'd say it's going over pretty well. Oh, and," Quinn added somewhat hesitantly, "he also said that US Weekly and Star have already called asking for interviews."


"I told him to decline the interview requests," Quinn said. "Is that okay?"

Rachel nodded and slid off her seat to walk around the island and wrap her arms around Quinn's waist. "Absolutely. Our relationship is for us, not the world. They can have their pictures, but the story is for us."

Quinn let out a breath of relief. "Good."

"So, anything else?"

"Jack recommended we rethink our idea of going on a date tonight," Quinn said, her voice soft. "With pictures of us going for so much right now, the paparazzi will be relentless and he's concerned about us getting caught in the melee."

Rachel nodded. If they really were that popular with the tabloids, she could understand laying low for a while. "What do you think?"

"I think he's right and that we probably shouldn't go out on that date tonight," Quinn whispered as she brushed her lips over Rachel's brow. "Knowing that there will be one or two cameras is one thing, knowing that there is going to be a veritable mob is another. And if there are guys just sitting on the beach waiting for a glimpse of us, it will be a mob and that's just not safe – for us, or any anybody unfortunate enough to be in our vicinity. I'm so sorry, sweetie."

"Its fine," Rachel murmured, rocking onto her tiptoes so she could kiss the sullen blonde. "We'll just stay in and hang-out. So long as I get to spend time with you, I don't really care where we do it."

"I wanted to take you surfing," Quinn pouted. "I wanted to take you out for a nice dinner. I wanted..."

Rachel smiled at Quinn's adorableness. "Hmm?"

Quinn sighed and dropped her forehead to rest against the brunette's. "Five minutes with you as a regular couple." She knew it sounded ridiculous, but it was true. She wanted just a little time where this thing between them belonged to them and them alone. She wanted to be selfish and keep Rachel to herself for a bit. She wanted to be able to get to know her better without the eyes of the world on them. She just wanted to be normal. "Sometimes I hate that I'm famous."

"Welcome to the club, sweetheart," Rachel chuckled as she ran a comforting hand up and down the blonde's back. "Quinn, its fine. I don't need fancy dinners. I just need you."

Quinn ducked her head and smiled. "I'm sorry."

"For what?"

"Being all melodramatic," Quinn whispered.

Rachel smiled. "Quinn, I understand. Believe me, I understand. It's fine. Besides, it's nice to know that I won't be the only diva in this relationship."

Quinn looked poised to respond when her phone on the island chimed. "Argh," she groaned as she reached around Rachel to check the screen and see who had texted her.


Quinn pursed her lips as she read the message on the screen. "It's Santana. Our duet has just reached the quarter million hit mark."

Rachel smiled. This was just the distraction they needed to get their minds off of everything that was happening that they had no control over. "That's it, I wanna see this video. Do you have a YouTube app on this thing?" she asked, reaching for the iPad she'd set down earlier.

Quinn nodded and kissed Rachel gently. "Yeah. In the 'video' file."

The brunette pulled up the appropriate file grouping and opened the YouTube application. "What should I search for?"

Quinn rolled her eyes. "Probably 'Rachel Berry Quinn Fabray duet' or something like that."

Rachel set the iPad down on the counter and typed in the search query Quinn suggested. She smiled as the search quickly returned the videos of them singing from the night before. "Wow."

"Hmm?" Quinn asked, wrapping her arms around the brunette's waist and looking over her shoulder at the screen.

"There are quite a few videos uploaded," Rachel shared as she tapped the link to the video for their first song.

Quinn rolled her eyes and pressed a lingering kiss to the side of Rachel's throat. "Just hit play, Rach."

"Then stop distracting me," Rachel murmured, her body betraying her words as she relaxed back into the blonde's embrace.

"Fine," Quinn said, pulling away from Rachel and grinning at the quiet whimper of protest that fell from the brunette's lips at the move. "I'm done distracting you. Now, hit play."

Rachel rolled her eyes at Quinn's antics and reached behind herself to pull the blonde in closer, returning the former Cheerio's hands to her waist before she tapped the little triangle to start the video. She smiled as she watched herself beckon Quinn up onto the stage and she giggled as she watched the blonde slide in next to her to start singing the chorus. "We're really good."

"Modest as always, Berry," Quinn chuckled as she flexed her arms around the petite brunette's waist and squeezed her gently. "But yes, you are."

Rachel smiled and turned her head enough to kiss the blonde's cheek. "You're good too, Quinn."

"Thank you," Quinn murmured, dipping her chin and laying a soft line of kisses down the side of Rachel's throat. She smiled as she felt a tremor roll through the brunette and she let out a soft groan when her phone started ringing with a familiar tone. "Fucking twat swat," she grumbled as she lifted the device to her ear. "What's up, Puck?"

"You weren't kidding when you said you guys were ambushed last night," Puck said, his smirk evident in his tone.

"What part of me calling you in the middle of the night about it made you think that I was kidding?" Quinn retorted as she leaned back against the island.

"Yeah, but still. Damn, Q."

"I know, Puck. I know," Quinn grumbled. "Is there any particular reason you're calling?"

"Um, yeah. Thought I'd let you know that Shelby said she'll talk to Beth's school Monday morning to make sure that they're aware of the situation. And, she..."

"She... what?"

Puck swallowed audibly. "She seemed a little, um, surprised by the fact that you were dating Rachel."

Quinn groaned and closed her eyes. She'd had a feeling that the whole Rachel/Shelby connection might make things difficult for them. Shelby had no claim over Rachel, but even she had to admit that it was weird for her to be dating the daughter of the woman who was raising her daughter. "How bad was it?"

"Not too bad," Puck said quickly. "Just, you know. I think it was more the fact that Berry's never exactly dated women before. Beth knows that Rachel is her mom's biological daughter so Shelby's just a little concerned about how she'll react to the idea of her mother dating, in a bizarre way, her sister. I talked with B though, and she's cool. She's smart enough to understand it all, so no worries there. And Shelby really likes you, Q, so I think you guys are fine. I just thought you should know that this story is running wild in Lima. The closet has officially been blown the fuck up."

"I get it, Puck," Quinn sighed. "Besides, we expected as much when we told our publicists to go ahead and confirm the relationship to try and control the speculation. But, now that it is out for public consumption, you should probably try and stay away from Russell for a while, because lord knows he's going to be a complete asshole to anyone who knows me until he finds something else to be pissed about. He was angry enough when I told him the first time and it was otherwise secret, so now that everybody knows I'm gay, he's going to be mad and embarrassed – and in the world of Russell Fabray, that's a dangerous combination."

"I hear ya, Q."

Quinn nodded and ran a hand over her face as she tried to quickly think through the possible permutations of this story running wild in conservative Lima, Ohio. "I wouldn't recommend hunting Judy down, but she should be fine if you see her around town, though. She actually seemed kind of okay when I ran into her last summer. I even got a hello and a polite smile without any bible verses attached. It's just, you know..."

"Same shit, different day?"

"Exactly. It's not that I'm pissed at her anymore or anything, I'm just done caring about any of that stuff."

"I know, Q."

Quinn smiled. "I know you do. I'd appreciate it if you could keep an eye on Rachel's dads for me, though."

"I can do that."

Rachel turned her attention from the iPad where she was now reading the article about her and Quinn on E! Online – she was rather pleased with the picture they used of the two of them singing on stage – to Quinn at the mention of her fathers. "What's going on?"

Quinn licked her lips and shrugged. "We are a popular topic of conversation in Lima."

Rachel nodded, suddenly glad that she had that talk with her father the previous afternoon. "You think my dads will be in trouble? They've kind of been pariahs in that town for years, Quinn."

"Yeah," Quinn agreed softly. "But, babe, now that you're with me there is going to be a whole new level of attention on them. Hollywood tabloids are nothing like the ones you deal with on Broadway."

"Oh," Rachel breathed as understanding set in. "Do you think the press will try and interview them?"

"They might," Quinn said. "You probably want to call them, just in case. And you should give Tina a call so that she knows too."

Rachel nodded and carefully set the iPad she'd been holding down onto the island before she disappeared up the stairs to the bedroom where she'd left her phone.

Quinn sighed and turned her attention back to her phone. "You still there?"

"Yeah. Were you talking about Tina from Glee?"

"Yeah, she's Rachel's publicist."

"Seriously? Wow. That's pretty cool that Berry has somebody from home looking out for her."

"Yeah," Quinn chuckled. "Tina actually tried to threaten me the other day when Rachel told her about us, if you can believe it."

"Fuck, girlfriend's grown some balls!" Puck laughed. "I like it."

Quinn smiled. "Me too. Look, I need to go check on Rach. Is there anything else I need to know?"

"Not right now," Puck said, his voice growing serious. "I'll keep an eye out for the paps and let you know if I see anything. You weren't really out, out when they came into town last time but they already got most of the good dirt with the whole Beth and the Skanks stories. Only problems this time could be-"

"My father with his bullshit righteous indignation and the way I treated Rachel in high school," Quinn said softly, finishing Puck's thought. "Yeah, I got it. Thanks for the heads up, man."

"No problem, Q. Talk soon?"

"Yeah," Quinn mumbled. "I'll talk to you soon. Call me if anything new comes up."

"Will do, Quinn. Later."

Quinn sighed and dropped her phone into the pocket of her warm-up pants as she went in search of Rachel. It didn't take her long to find the brunette curled up in bed, with the duvet pulled up to her hips as she leaned back against the headboard.

"Yes, dad. I'll be careful, but you and daddy need to be careful too," Rachel said, offering Quinn a small smile as she watched the blonde enter the bedroom. She flipped the duvet back and patted the space next to her as she turned her attention back to her conversation. "Dad, I know that my history isn't exactly a secret, but now that I'm dating Quinn the press might decide they want to try and dig up something about the way we were growing up. I'd appreciate it if you and daddy just refused to comment."

Quinn groaned and lay down in the bed beside Rachel, pulling the blanket up over her for warmth as she rolled onto her side to face the brunette.

"Dad," Rachel sighed, reaching out to take Quinn's hand into her own. "I know the story will get out, but I don't need you and daddy confirming it. That'll just make things worse for Quinn. She isn't that girl anymore, and there is no reason for you two to further propagate such negative views of her."

Quinn sighed and lifted Rachel's hand to her lips to brush a light kiss across the back of the brunette's knuckles.

"Thank you, dad," Rachel sighed, smiling with relief as she leaned down and kissed Quinn's forehead gently. "Yes. I know you trust me, and I appreciate it. If anybody contacts you guys, just decline comment and refer them to Tina – she'll take care of everything. Alright. Tell daddy I say hello and that I send my love. I'll talk to you guys soon."

Quinn arched a questioning brow at Rachel as the brunette disconnected the call. "What'd he say?"

"They're on board," Rachel shared. "He'll make sure daddy doesn't talk to anybody he's not supposed to. And, he, um, also expressed interest in meeting you soon. I believe his exact words were 'in order to personally verify your intentions toward his baby girl'."

Quinn smiled. Apparently, Rachel's dad was who she got her dramatic flair and impressive vocabulary from. "You know our shooting schedule as well as I do. I'll make sure the guest rooms are ready for them whenever they want to come out. Or else, if they're willing to wait a few weeks, you can always go back to Lima with me for Beth's birthday. If, you know, that's something you'd be comfortable with. I mean, I know things between you and Shelby are strained, and I'd hate for you to do anything that would make you-"

Rachel smiled and leaned in to kiss the rambling blonde into silence. "I would love to go back with you for Beth's birthday."

"What about your... I mean, Shelby?"

"I'm sure we can manage to remain cordial to each other," Rachel said. "I have long since accepted the fact that she and I will not have a relationship and its fine, really. I have my dads. A mom would have been nice but, at this point in my life, I don't particularly need one."

Quinn smiled and wrapped a hand around the back of Rachel's neck. "You are amazing," she murmured as she pulled the brunette down for a slow, lingering, appreciative kiss.

"Mmm," Rachel hummed. "I like that."

Quinn chuckled. "Me too, sweetie. But I think you should probably call Tina and tell her that you've made her the point person if anybody approaches your fathers."

"Damn responsibilities getting in the way of me getting my mack on," Rachel grumbled, her eyes twinkling with mirth as she watched Quinn dissolve into a fit of giggles.

"Oh god, you totally just channeled Santana," Quinn gasped. "Please don't ever do that again!"

Rachel smiled and shrugged as she pulled up Tina's number and hit send, putting the phone onto speaker after the first ring so that Quinn could be included in the conversation too.

"Chang," Tina answered brusquely.

Rachel smiled at Quinn, who was trying to regain control of herself. "Tina, its Rachel. You're on speaker, by the way, Quinn's right here with me."

"Please tell me you're not in bed."

Rachel winked at Quinn. "Um..."

Tina chuckled. "Fine. Just please lie and tell me you're both wearing clothes."

"I actually don't have to lie about that," Rachel said triumphantly. "We are both wearing pajamas at the moment."

"Good to know," Tina drawled. "But, yeah. Statement. It went out at about six o'clock this morning, my time. And my phone has been ringing off the hook ever since."

"I called my dads and told them to refuse comment if they were contacted by the press and to direct any questions to you," Rachel said.

"Good. I know your dads mean well, but it'll be easier to try and control things if we're in charge of the flow of information. Anything else I need to know?"

"Puck said that the story is already making waves in Lima, so it could get interesting," Quinn piped up.

"Jack told me that most of your skeletons have been uncovered. Is that true?"


"Good. So what we're looking at now is reaction to you two being outed, as well as any stories having to do with your relationship in high school."

"Exactly what I was thinking," Quinn said.

"Alright then. So, I know Jack is your guy, Quinn, but I gotta ask – how do you want to handle things if the slushies and stuff come out?"

"If it becomes a major issue, then I'll have to address it."

"We'll have to address it," Rachel jumped in.

"Right," Quinn murmured. "Sorry. We'll address it at that time. But for now, I'd like to go with the 'let them take pictures of us and write what they write and keep our personal lives private' approach."

"I can work with that. Have you spoken with Jack yet this morning?"

"Yeah. Not about the story being out in Lima, but he's been with me long enough to know how to handle that. He's also a big fan of the whole keeping personal lives private thing, so that won't be an issue. The only thing he might be thrown on is the way I treated Rachel in high school, so I'll call him in a bit. He knows I wasn't exactly the nicest person in the world back then, but he doesn't know any of the specifics. I really don't see that story breaking today though, so we have a little bit of time."

"I think you're right on that," Tina agreed. "Right now, the focus seems to be on Rachel being with you – and whether or not her previous relationships were real or not."

"They're really saying that?" Rachel asked. She hadn't gotten that far in her reading, apparently.

"Rach, honey," Tina drawled, "you're dating Quinn Fabray, number four on Maxim's Hottest Women list. Which, by the way, congratulations on that, Fabray."

Quinn blushed. "Um, thanks?"

Tina chuckled. "But, yes, Rachel. People are naturally going to wonder about you guys because, until this point, you had only ever been linked to really pretty, typical leading-man type guys. So, unless you're ready to come out and declare yourself as gay or bi, let them talk. Talk doesn't hurt in this case."

"I guess you're right," Rachel sighed.

"I'm always right, Rachel," Tina chuckled. "That's why you pay me the big bucks. Look, ladies, I think that for now we've done everything we can do to try and control the situation. Quinn, I need to call Jack back anyways, so I'll fill him in on some of your guys' history so that he's aware of what we're working with. I'm sure he'll be calling you later, but don't worry about it for now. We're not going to release anything else for the time being, so don't stress over it. When the time comes for us to make another move, we will. Now, you guys go try and enjoy your weekend, and I'll call you if I need you."

"Thanks Tina," Quinn said.

"Yeah. Thanks," Rachel echoed.

"My pleasure ladies. Oh, and I gotta say – nice singing last night. You two were amazing together. Reminded me of 'I Feel Pretty/Unpretty' from glee. But, whatever. Back to the salt mines for me. I'll talk to you girls later, try and stay out of trouble."

Quinn laughed softly at the dial tone. "Wow."

Rachel rolled her eyes. "She has her moments. Now, where were we before real life decided to so rudely interrupt our private time?"

Quinn grinned and threw back the covers. "Breakfast," she announced as she made to roll out of bed.

Rachel growled and pulled Quinn back to her. "Food can wait. I was thinking this," she said, her voice low and rich as she pulled the blonde down to her level and claimed her lips in a deep, passionate kiss.

Quinn moaned and shifted on top of Rachel, settling her weight on her elbows as she slanted her head to the side and thrust her tongue inside the brunette's mouth. The kiss was slow, deep, and hungry, and it left both of them gasping for breath. "I don't recall doing this, this morning," she murmured once the kiss broke.

"That's because you got out of bed and left me here all alone," Rachel grumbled, smiling playfully up at Quinn as she slipped her hands under the blonde's shirt.

Quinn whimpered softly as blunt nails scraped up her back, sending a pleasant shiver rolling down her spine. "Sorry?"

"It's okay. You can make it up to me," Rachel purred.

"How's that?" Quinn murmured against the brunette's smiling lips, as she balanced her weight on her left side so she could slip her right hand under Rachel's shirt. "Hmm?" she hummed, as her hand skimmed higher and higher until she was palming a pert breast.

Rachel hissed and arched into Quinn's touch. "I think you're on the right track."

"Oh," Quinn said, grinning impishly as she pinched the nipple under her hand. "I think I like this."

Rachel moaned and nodded. "Me too."

Quinn chuckled and sat back onto her heels so that she could push Rachel's sweatshirt off over her head. She licked her lips as the brunette's breasts were revealed and she quickly tossed the clothes aside as she leaned in to take a peaked nipple between her lips. "Much better than breakfast," she sighed as she licked her way around the tip.

"Oh yes," Rachel agreed breathlessly, her head dropping back to the pillows as Quinn gently bit down on her nipple.

It was definitely better than breakfast.

Chapter 24

Late afternoon found Quinn once again in the kitchen while Rachel was sprawled across the couch in the great room, her nose buried in her working copy of their script, trying to memorize her lines for the coming week. Quinn, for her part, was busy slicing squash and zucchini into thin rounds while the lasagna noodles boiled and the sauce simmered on the stove behind her. She was cheating a little, using a canned sauce instead of making one from scratch, but she knew that with a little fresh basil and garlic thrown in that it would be nearly as good as homemade.

Quinn smiled as the Pandora station that was playing at a decent volume in the background – because Rachel swore she learned better if there was music playing – switched to one of her favorite Melody Gardot songs.

"Deep within your heart you know it's plain to see... like Adam was to Eve, you were made for me," she sang quietly as she set her knife down and turned to have a look at the noodles and to give the sauce a stir. Everything was shaping up nicely. "They say the poisoned vine, breeds a finer wine... our love is easy," she crooned, smiling at the lyrics as she turned her attention to the microwave tucked under the island and turned it on, setting the mixing bowl full of tofu, Italian seasoning, and more garlic spinning on the glass tray.

After the morning's dramatics, for lack of a better word, the day had shaped up to be rather nice. A little lovemaking in the morning followed up by a light breakfast of fruit and coffee and then they just spent the afternoon lazing on the couch going over lines. Once Quinn was satisfied with her own work and Rachel insisted she could learn hers on her own, the blonde got to indulge in one of her favorite activities – a little light reading. Any day that she could lounge on the couch and reread Alice in Wonderland was a good day. Music had played constantly in the background, shifting from pop to rock to jazz, depending on when one of their moods changed and who had the clicker to control the internet radio that was fed through the blue-ray player. The day had been remarkably comfortable.


And now, as the sun was beginning to inch below the horizon, Quinn was doing her best to try and make up for the fact that their celebrity prohibited her from taking Rachel out like she had wanted to. "I like the touch of your hand, the way you make no demands, our love is easy," she sang as she turned off the timer for the noodles and then turned off the burner. She carried the large pan over to the sink to drain, leaving the pasta sitting in the colander as she bustled about, gathering everything she would need to actually make the lasagna onto the island. The microwave dinged that it, too, was finished and she hummed along with the music as she bent down to retrieve the tofu mixture that was going to be her 'cheese' in the lasagna which was now perfectly melted.

"Do you need any help?" Rachel called out over the back of the couch.

"Nope, I got it," Quinn answered as she flicked the heat off on the stove and went to grab the lasagna noodles from the sink. She set the colander onto a dishtowel to catch any drips and carried it over to the island where she was working.

"You sure?" Rachel asked.

Quinn looked up at the brunette who was on her knees, forearms crossed over the back of the couch as she looked into the kitchen. "I'm sure, Rach. I can't take you out, so let me do this much for you. Please?"

Rachel smiled at Quinn's desire to do this on her own and nodded. "Well, since you said 'please'."

Quinn grinned and tipped her head. "Thank you."

Rachel blew the blonde a kiss before she turned back around and curled up in the corner of the sofa so that she could both study her lines and occasionally watch Quinn in the kitchen. Which, if she was being completely honest, was how she'd spent most of the day. Half working, half just staring at the woman beside her, wondering how in the hell she had gotten so lucky. Never before in a relationship had she felt so immediately comfortable with somebody. Granted, her history with Quinn made this relationship different from all the others, but it was still so easy to sit back and just be with her.

Quinn licked her lips, her smile softening as she drank in the brunette's profile. For so long, she had dreamed of having Rachel like this. And now she was here, in her house, and things were going splendidly. She stared at the brunette for the space of a few heartbeats, just appreciating the moment, before she took a deep breath and returned to her work.

She had to get dinner ready for their 'date'.

A ladle full of sauce was spread across the bottom of the red Le Creuset ceramic baking dish she had set out earlier, followed by a row of noodles, some more sauce, alternating rows of squash and zucchini, and some of the tofu faux-cheese filling. Two more layers went down just like the first, and Quinn topped it off with more sauce and a couple handfuls of soy cheese.

She wiped her hands off on a dishtowel as she turned to open the oven that was already preheated to 300 degrees before carefully lifting the baking dish and setting it inside. She closed the oven door, set a timer for two and a half hours, and began the process of cleaning up. Pots were hand washed and dried and everything else was set into the dishwasher and, before long, she was leaning over the back of the couch to press a playfully loud kiss to Rachel's cheek. "How's it going?" she asked.

Rachel giggled and set her pen into her script as a placeholder before she closed the pages and set it on her lap. "Good. The lasagna done?"

"It's cooking now. Should be done in about two and a half hours or so," Quinn said, smiling as Rachel turned to kiss her softly. "I will never get tired of that," she breathed.

"Of what?" Rachel murmured, as she wrapped her left hand around the back of Quinn's neck and pulled the blonde back in for another lingering kiss. She swore that there had to be something addictive in Quinn's kisses because she just couldn't get enough of her.

"Kissing you," Quinn whispered between kisses, moaning softly as Rachel's hand began kneading the back of her neck.

Rachel smiled against Quinn's lips. "Then why don't you come over here so we can do this a little more comfortably."

"Okay," Quinn murmured, keeping her lips pressed against Rachel's as she climbed over the back of the couch. She swallowed Rachel's moan as she straddled the brunette's lap, burying her hands in thick dark hair as she opened her mouth and deepened the kiss.

Rachel sighed into Quinn's mouth and leaned back into the bend of the couch, pulling Quinn down onto her so that the blonde's breasts were pressed snugly against her own. She slipped her hands under the hem of Quinn's shirt, dragging her nails up the blonde's back until she was able to wrap her hands around protruding shoulder blades and hold Quinn tight.

The longer they kissed, the more they sank into each other, and rather than feeding carnal desires as such kisses normally would, these made Rachel's heart ache. There was so much emotion in each one that she felt overwhelmed. She wanted, no, needed, Quinn closer. Not necessarily sexually, just closer. Even though they were pressed tightly together, each of their curves fitting perfectly so that there wasn't one molecule of air between them, it still wasn't close enough. She felt so much, wanted so much, that she didn't even realize she had begun to cry in frustration because she couldn't figure out how to get Quinn any closer.

Quinn pulled back carefully when she tasted Rachel's tears in their kiss, her eyes immediately searching the brunette's face for any sign of what had caused her distress. "Rach?"

Rachel closed her eyes and shook her head, embarrassed that in the midst of such an amazing expression of love, she found herself crying. Crying like the overdramatic diva everybody always accused her of being. "I'm okay."

"Clearly, you're not," Quinn retorted gently as she climbed off of Rachel's lap and sat down beside the brunette so she could wrap her arms around the smaller woman. "Baby, what's wrong?"

Rachel bit her lip and shook her head. "Nothing's wrong, Quinn. I just..." her voice trailed off as she tried to figure out how to explain what she was feeling.

Quinn sensed the brunette's frustration and pulled the Broadway star onto her lap, cradling her like a child, even going so far as to rock her gently from side to side. "It's okay, sweetheart," she murmured, brushing her lips against Rachel's forehead. "It's okay. I'm right here."

Rachel swallowed thickly and buried her face in the crook of Quinn's neck, silent tears still streaming down her face. "I love you," she whispered brokenly.

Quinn frowned and pressed another soft kiss to Rachel's brow. "I love you too, Rachel," she murmured, as her mind churned a mile a minute to try and figure out what had brought on Rachel's tears. "So much, baby."

Rachel nodded, her tears staining the collar of Quinn's t-shirt as she fisted her hands in the soft cotton and pulled herself in closer, trying to fuse herself to the blonde. Trying to find that closeness that evaded her. Like before, her heart ached with the need to give itself to the blonde and she couldn't figure out how to make it happen. "I... I..."

"Shh," Quinn soothed, still rocking slowly from side to side, her hands smoothing gentle circles on the brunette's back. She was a little worried about Rachel's mini-breakdown, but was comforted by the fact that the brunette seemed to be trying to get as close to her as possible. So long as Rachel wasn't running away, she could handle whatever it was that was bothering her. "It's okay, baby. Just get it out. Whatever it is, just let it out."

"Have you ever felt this indescribable need to be closer to somebody even when you can't get any closer?" Rachel asked in a small, almost childlike voice.

Quinn's brow furrowed as she tried to figure out where Rachel was going with this line of questioning. She had, of course, felt what Rachel was describing every time she held the brunette close. Every time they kissed. Every time they made love. Every time they touched, it felt as if her heart was trying to rip itself from her chest and give itself to the brunette. She wasn't sure if that was what Rachel was talking about, but she knew that the brunette needed to be reassured that such powerful emotions were normal, so she nodded and whispered, "Every time I hold you."

Rachel sighed and sat up, focusing her teary eyes on the woman who had become her whole world. "I love you."

Quinn smiled tenderly and reached up with her right hand to gently cradle Rachel's face in her palm and brush the brunette's tears away with her thumb. "I love you," she whispered, lifting her chin to kiss Rachel softly.

Rachel sighed and leaned her forehead against Quinn's. "I'm sorry."

"Can I ask what brought that on?" Quinn questioned hesitantly.

Rachel nodded and lifted her hands to Quinn's face, framing it in her palms as she stared into worried hazel eyes. "I just got overwhelmed," she whispered. "Not by anything you did, really," she added quickly, not wanting Quinn to feel like she had done something wrong, "but by how much you make me feel. I love you, Quinn. God, do I love you. And it's like my heart is trying to just give itself to you and I can't figure out how to do it and it just..." her voice trailed off as more tears spilled from her eyes.

Quinn smiled in understanding and nodded. "Shh, it's okay. I get it, Rach. I know what you're trying to say."

"How can I love you so deeply after so short a time?" Rachel asked, her voice small and quiet once more, her eyes pleading for Quinn to make sense of it all for her.

Quinn sucked her lower lip between her teeth and sighed, wishing she had the answer Rachel so clearly needed. "I don't know, sweetie. I'm so happy you feel so much for me, but I don't know how you got there so quickly."

Rachel licked her lips and nodded, her heart beating a thunderous cacophony inside her chest as she whispered, "Do you believe in soulmates?"

Quinn's eyes softened as she nodded slowly. "I do."

Rachel worried her lip as she brushed her thumbs over Quinn's cheeks, her eyes dancing over the blonde's face as she asked, "Do you think that maybe you're mine, and that's why this feels so right?"

Quinn licked her lips anxiously and shrugged. Sure, after finally loving Rachel and having that love returned, she believed that the brunette was 'it' for her. Call it kismet. Call it destiny. Call it, ironically enough, serendipity. Call it soulmates, whatever. But she couldn't make that decision for Rachel. "I think that's something you have to figure out on your own, sweetie."

"Do you think I'm yours?" Rachel pressed.

Quinn's breath hitched in her throat and she held Rachel's gaze captive as she answered with a slight, barely noticeable tip of her head. Yes, she did.

Rachel nodded minutely. "I think you might be mine," she confessed in a whisper. "I think you're the person I've been searching for my whole life."

Quinn's heart swelled with love as she lifted her chin and kissed Rachel softly, tenderly, letting her emotions bleed into the kiss so that there was no way Rachel could mistake what she was feeling. Kisses merged seamlessly from one to the next, each soft and sweet, every one deep and full of meaning, soothing each of their souls while igniting that slow burning ember of desire until, with a look, a smile, a soft hand ghosting over a smooth cheek, they broke apart.

"Let me make love to you?" Quinn murmured against Rachel's lips, her breath falling in warm waves over kiss-swollen flesh.

Rachel sucked her lower lip between her teeth and nodded. "Sweetie," she whispered as Quinn took her hand and helped her off of the blonde's lap.

Quinn couldn't help glancing at the clock to see how much time was left before the lasagna was done as they made their way out of the great room and up the stairs to the bedroom. She squeezed Rachel's hand gently as they climbed, the gesture both calming and reassuring, and when they stopped beside the bed, she smiled softly as she turned Rachel to face her. "I love you," she breathed as she ran her fingers up Rachel's arm, over her shoulder, until she was able to wrap them around the back of the brunette's neck. "So, so much," she whispered, dipping her head and claiming Rachel's lips in a kiss that was just as soft, just as sweet, just as tender as those they had shared downstairs.

Rachel melted into Quinn, their lips finding a naturally slow and undemanding rhythm against each other as hands began to roam, dipping under clothes, lifting, pulling, pushing, tugging, until there was nothing left between them. She smiled shyly as Quinn helped her back onto the bed, feeling somehow more exposed in that moment than she ever had before in her life, but her unnatural worries were calmed as Quinn climbed up beside her, the blonde's left leg thrown over her own as they fell into another string of slow, deep, lingering kisses.

Quinn propped her head on her right hand as she let her left begin sliding over Rachel's body, drawing light, barely there lines up and down the brunette's toned abdomen. Stroking, touching, awakening slowly. This wasn't about achieving release, although that would be the inevitable conclusion, it was about finding that closeness they each craved.

Rachel moaned softly as Quinn's fingers began slowly spiraling around her right breast. Around and around, lightly touching, nails barely scraping the sensitive underside of the mound. Higher and higher, each circuit a little smaller, a little tighter, until the blonde was trailing a single fingertip around a dark areola. Around and around, slowly, gently around until she was finally rubbing against a half-peaked nipple. "Quinn," she whimpered, her body arching into the ghost of a touch.

Quinn smiled and kissed Rachel softly. "I know, sweetie. Just feel me love you," she murmured as she halted her teasing circuits and covered Rachel's breast with her hand, squeezing it gently as she claimed the brunette's lips in another languid kiss, their tongues tangling together amid heated sighs.

A low, plaintive whimper fell from Rachel's lips when she felt Quinn's hand leave her breast and begin sliding back down her stomach and she immediately rolled her right leg out to the side, opening herself to the blonde's touch, wordlessly offering all that she was to her.

Pale fingers danced down the curve where leg and torso met, skating down a soft inner thigh, up and down, back and forth, lightly, slowly, again and again, leaving goose bumps in their wake. Rachel sighed and let her leg fall open wider, Quinn's touch upon her skin so painfully soft and tender that she was helpless but to sink into the bed and give herself completely to the woman making her feel so good. So loved. She could literally feel Quinn's love for her in each brush of the blonde's lips, in every feather-soft touch of the blonde's fingertips against her skin.

"Quinn," Rachel moaned when the blonde's fingertips finally dipped between her legs. Like before, the touch was soft and gentle as it slid up and down through her center, never slowing, never stopping to press inside or rub against her clit, just moving, continuously moving, up and down, over and over again. "Baby."

Quinn hummed softly, reassuringly, but did not speed her touch, did not alter the course of her finger as it trailed through moist, swollen folds. "Just enjoy," she whispered against Rachel's lips before she kissed her, just as softly as before. "Just feel," she murmured as she circled the hood of the brunette's clit. "Feel me love you," she breathed as she gently cupped Rachel's sex in her hand and squeezed, drawing a soft moan from the brunette's lips.

Rachel sighed and closed her eyes as Quinn resumed lightly running a finger through her folds, focusing her attention on that finite connection of Quinn's skin against her own. Feeling Quinn's love for her that was evident in the soft kisses that were rained down upon her cheeks, her lips, her jaw, her throat.

"Gorgeous," Quinn murmured as she began pressing soft circles into Rachel's clit, gently rubbing the bundle of nerves. "You are so gorgeous," she breathed, nuzzling the brunette's cheek, closing her eyes and savoring the scent, the feel of the woman beneath her.

Rachel sighed happily and reached up with her left hand to tangle her fingers in Quinn's hair, the long golden strands threading through her fingers as she turned her head back toward the blonde and kissed her softly.

Quinn smiled and dropped her forehead to rest against Rachel's, hazel eyes gazing reverently into brown. "My beautiful girl," she whispered as she eased her middle finger down Rachel's slit to press lightly against her opening, teasing, stimulating the sensitive ring of muscle with every press, and every swirl.

A low moan spilled from Rachel's lips at the feinting touch and she bit her lip, her eyes still locked onto Quinn's as she reached down with her right hand to cover Quinn's left, pressing the blonde into her.

"Please," Rachel breathed, her lips against Quinn's ear, as she pressed the blonde's hand into her, rolling her hips into their hands, pleading for a deeper touch. "I need you."

Quinn's eyes fluttered closed and she was helpless to contain the low moan that rumbled deep in her throat as she eased her finger inside Rachel and began thrusting slowly into her.

"Oh yes," Rachel sighed, her hand covering Quinn's moving to trace delicate lines up and down the blonde's flexing forearm.

Quinn growled softly and used her chin to turn Rachel's head to the side so she could brush her lips over the brunette's ear. "Feel me love you," she breathed. "This is me giving my heart to you. This is me telling you how much I love you. This touch-" she curled her finger inside Rachel and pressed into the brunette's g-spot "-is me promising you forever. You have my heart, Rachel Berry, you have my soul," she murmured, nuzzling the brunette's ear as she started thrusting again, just as slowly as before.

"Quinn," Rachel whimpered as her body filled with warmth, with love for the blonde. She could literally feel that closeness she was craving earlier. It was pounding in her heart, and pulsing through her veins.

Quinn eased a second finger inside the brunette and continued her slow, deliberate thrusts. "You are everything in the world to me. You are the reason I live. Because of you, I love. Yes-" she pushed into the brunette and stalled, massaging hidden ridges with a firm yet gentle touch, the heel of her hand rocking against Rachel's clit "-I believe in soulmates. And, yes, I believe with all that I am that you are mine. I am yours, Rachel. Mind, body, and soul, you own me."

Rachel moaned and gripped Quinn's forearm as tears spilled from her eyes. Never before had she ever felt so much. So much love. So much affection. "Quinn," she whispered brokenly.

"Shh," Quinn murmured as she kissed the tears away, knowing that they were borne from emotion and not pain. Knowing that they were evidence that Rachel was feeling everything she wanted her to feel. "I've got you, baby," she breathed as she felt Rachel's walls begin to flutter around her fingers.

And that was it. Those three words were what sent Rachel over the edge, warm, soothing waves rolling gently through her.

Quinn sighed and pressed a soft kiss to Rachel's ear, letting her breath cascade over the sensitive skin as she whispered, again and again, in time with each clench and release of muscles around her fingers, "I love you."

Chapter 25

After dinner, which they managed to get back downstairs for before the lasagna turned into a mass of dried-out noodles destined for the trash can, Quinn grabbed a fresh bottle of wine from the rack above the wet bar and her half-empty glass and smiled at Rachel. "Come on, I wanna show you the best feature of the house."

Rachel smiled and nodded, copying the blonde's example and gathering her own wine glass. "Where are we going?" she asked as she followed Quinn up the stairs.

"You'll see," Quinn replied playfully as she climbed. "Wait here," she said once they reached the second floor landing. "And, could you hold this, please?" she asked, holding out her glass to the brunette. She beamed when Rachel nodded and took the stemware, and quickly disappeared into the bedroom to grab a couple of sweatshirts out of the closet. She returned to Rachel's side with the hoodie that the brunette had worn earlier that morning and another one over her arm. "Ready?" she asked as she reached for her wine glass.

Rachel nodded and pulled Quinn's glass out of the blonde's reach. "I am perfectly capable of carrying two wine glasses, Quinn."

Quinn rolled her eyes. "My apologies," she muttered, smiling warmly at the brunette as she started up the stairs once more. She could hear Rachel right on her heels and she grinned, a small flutter of butterflies swooping through her stomach as she paused at the final landing at the top of the house and opened the door.

Rachel's eyes widened as Quinn opened the door at the very top of the stairs, leading to a large rooftop deck that overlooked the ocean. "Wow."

"Out you get, Ms. Berry," Quinn murmured as she guided the brunette out onto the deck with a gentle nudge.

Rachel shook her head but did, indeed, wander out onto the deck, her eyes drinking in the sight of the moon reflecting off the dark ocean waves and the stars struggling to be seen despite the ambient glow of the city lighting the sky. It was, in a word, breathtaking.

Quinn smiled as she closed the door after them. She turned and pulled a corkscrew from the small wet bar built into the back corner of the deck and made her way over to the small outdoor sofa that anchored the far side of the deck. She set the wine bottle and corkscrew down on the edge of the low fire pit/table that anchored the seating area and tossed the sweatshirts she'd brought up with her onto the couch. They would be needing them soon, but for now they were okay.

Her breath caught in her throat as she turned to look at Rachel, silhouetted against the night, struck by the realization that the brunette was hers. Hers.

"Good view, eh?" she called out as she approached the brunette, not wanting to startle her.

Rachel licked her lips and nodded, smiling as she looked over her shoulder at Quinn. Good was a colossal understatement, so far as she was concerned. "Besides you," she said, winking mischievously, "it's the most beautiful thing I have ever seen."

Quinn chuckled and ducked her head shyly as she reached Rachel's side and dropped a quick kiss to the brunette's smiling lips. "You flatter me," she murmured as she reached out and took her glass away from her companion, lifting it to her lips and draining it of its remaining alcohol.

Rachel rolled her eyes and shook her head at the blonde's rebuttal, but didn't press. "I speak nothing but the truth," she replied airily, reaching up and running a finger over the blonde's lips. "But, believe what you will. I will eventually convince you otherwise."

Quinn smirked and arched a brow challengingly. "You think so, huh?"

"I always get what I set my mind to," Rachel retorted.

"I stand properly forewarned, then," Quinn drawled. "Dance with me," she murmured, dipping her chin and kissing the brunette softly.

Rachel smiled and wrapped her arms around the blonde's neck. "There's no music."

Quinn grinned and pulled Rachel into her, swaying slightly in place where they stood. "Music isn't necessary," she argued as she brushed her lips over the brunette's brow.

Rachel sighed and sank into Quinn's embrace, allowing the blonde to pull her into motion as she laid her head on the taller woman's shoulder. "Mmm, I guess you're right," she whispered, rubbing her cheek against Quinn's shirt, allowing the soft crash of waves and the steady beat of the blonde's heart guide her movement.

"Or," Quinn murmured, resting her cheek on the top of Rachel's head. "We could sing," she offered, smiling as she felt the brunette lips, which were ghosting over her throat, crack into a smile.

"I like that," Rachel agreed.

Quinn chuckled. "I thought you might," she said, pressing a lingering kiss to the crown of Rachel's head. "So... how 'bout this one – I have fallen, I have stood up, I've had the patience of a tree. You have trembled, you have stayed still, and you have tumbled like a weed-"

"I don't know this one," Rachel whispered.

Quinn smiled and kissed the smaller woman softly. "It's okay. All the mountains," she started to sing again, "all the deserts, go for miles and miles around. We have driven for years now, baby, just to get back to a place we have already found. Now you're driving me downtown, baby, on a rainy night... you're driving me crazy, baby, is this real life?"

Rachel squeezed Quinn gently and lifted her head to look at the blonde as she sang, hazel eyes dancing with joy as they looked back at her.

"In the wildest times of the world... Oh, I never thought I would be here with you tonight. In the wildest times of the world, let's stay together in this lonely and crazy life."

Rachel smiled as tears began to sting at the backs of her eyes and kissed Quinn quickly as the blonde took a breath between stanzas.

"I was mistaken... our love was forsaken... worst mistake I ever made. Were you lonely, were you brave, now? I guess the two are one in the same. Now I'm singing here with my sweet, sweet darling in my eye... ain't it funny how you're just walking through life and then it turns on a dime? I was missing you crazy, baby, are you really mine?"

Rachel nodded, silently answering Quinn's question as the tears that had been threatening began to spill over. She wasn't sure if this was a real song or one that the blonde had written, but either way it was perfect for them. She had been just walking through life, going through the motions, getting nothing of any real significance out of it, and then she got on that plane to Los Angeles and everything changed.

"In the wildest times of the world, oh I never thought I would be here with you tonight. In the wildest times of the world... let's stay together in this crazy life..." Quinn's voice trailed off, holding that final note until her lungs burned for oxygen.*

Rachel smiled shyly as Quinn's hands came up to gently cradle her face, the blonde's thumbs brushing the tears from her cheeks. "Did you write that song?"

Quinn chuckled and shook her head. "No, I didn't."

"Oh," Rachel sighed. "I liked it."

"I was hoping you would," Quinn murmured as she dipped her head and kissed the brunette tenderly.

Once the kiss broke, Rachel looked up at the blonde with unfettered awe in her expression. "Quinn, I must say, that after this afternoon-" her gaze flicked down to the side as she remembered the way Quinn had made love to her earlier, the words the blonde had whispered against her ear "-and that song, I am feeling like I'm so incredibly far behind in expressing how I feel about you."

"Sweetheart," Quinn soothed. "The fact that you're here with me is more than enough. The fact that you tell me you love me, the fact that you kiss me, hold me, smile at me..." her voice trailed off as she beamed at the brunette. "Rach, this is all I have ever wanted. I've just known it for so long that, now that I have you here with me, I have to tell you. I can't keep it in. It's too much to just keep in."

"I do love you," Rachel murmured.

"I love you too. Would you like to go cuddle by the fire pit?"

Rachel nodded and looked at the far corner of the deck where Quinn was pointing. "How in the world is it safe to have a fire pit on your roof?" she asked as she followed Quinn past a pair of teak lounge chairs that looked perfect for sunbathing to the L-shaped couch.

Quinn shrugged. "It's nothing more than a glorified fireplace, Rach," she explained. "It's safe, don't worry."

Rachel nodded and dropped into the corner of the couch. "It's amazing," she said as she watched Quinn twist a key beside the pit and stick one of those click-able long-neck lighters into the center of the lava rocks, setting the propane gas on fire. She smiled at Quinn, who glanced over at her once the fire was started, and reclined back into the sofa, her right leg dangling off the front and her left bent up against the back cushions.

Quinn's gaze softened as she drank in Rachel's posture, completely blown away by the fact that the brunette really was there with her. "Here," she said as she reached out and picked up one of the sweatshirts she'd brought up with them, and tossed it in Rachel's direction. "Something to keep you warm."

Rachel smiled and gladly pulled the hoodie on over her head, instantly thankful for the warmth it provided. She hadn't noticed the chill in the air when she'd been wrapped up in Quinn's arms, but she was certainly feeling it now. "Thank you."

"No problem. Wine?" Quinn asked as she cut the foil off the top of the wine bottle she'd brought along and made quick work removing the cork.

Rachel licked her lips and nodded. "That sounds lovely, thank you."

Quinn smiled and poured a generous amount of wine into each of their glasses. "Here you are," she murmured as she handed Rachel her glass.

Rachel hummed her thanks and immediately took a small sip, letting the warmth of the alcohol warm her from the inside out. She watched Quinn set the wine bottle down and pick up her own glass, and she reached out and grabbed the blonde's wrist when she saw her moving away. "Sit with me?"

"I wasn't going anywhere, Rach."

"No. I mean here," Rachel said, waving at the space in between her legs. "I want to hold you," she whispered, smiling at the way Quinn ducked her head and smiled at the simple request. "Thank you," she murmured as Quinn settled down in front of her.

Quinn sighed as she felt Rachel's arm slip around her waist and pull her in closer. It was nice, to be held for a change.

"Mmm," Rachel hummed contentedly as she tucked her chin over the blonde's shoulder. "I like holding you," she confessed softly.

"I like having you hold me," Quinn whispered, relaxing into Rachel's body and resting her head on the smaller woman's shoulder.

Rachel just smiled and pressed a light kiss to Quinn's cheek, content to just hold the other woman close as they looked out onto the night sky. The ocean waves crashed in a rhythmic cadence against the shore, a relaxing soundtrack of white noise that soothed the soul and calmed the mind. It was something Rachel, whose head was always a chaotic mess of thoughts and ideas, could appreciate and get used to. The world, which had been spinning so wildly out of control since she'd stepped off of that chartered plane Monday morning, became manageable. Thoughts that she hadn't truly had time to ponder, became clear.

"After graduation, why did you choose LA?" Rachel asked softly, trying to find some sort of resolution to her quandary.

Quinn shrugged. "I applied to a bunch of schools and after I got all my acceptance letters back, USC offered me something that none of the others did."

"What was that?"

"Distance," Quinn answered softly. "It was the absolute furthest away from Ohio. I liked the idea of the beach and the sunshine too, of course, but really, I decided on USC because it gave me distance from my life in Lima. I wasn't happy there, Rach," she whispered. "I know it looked like I had it all, but I was drowning under the weight of everybody's expectations. After I failed the first time..." her voice trailed off as she remembered what it had felt like to be fifteen and pregnant. "Anyways, I tried to go back to the old Quinn, but I couldn't do it. It wasn't me. Hell, it wasn't really me to begin with, but I'd made it work because it was expected of me. But it was tiring. Suffocating.

"And then there was the whole thing with Beth. I mean, I love now that I can have something of a relationship with her, but I wasn't ready for it then. I was too immature. Too hurt. Too... fucked up. I needed to get away from everything and everybody who knew me and just start over. So what better place to do that than in Los Angeles, land of perpetual strangers?"

Rachel chewed her lip thoughtfully. She had seen the pain Quinn was living with back in high school, but to hear about it was something completely different. "I'm sorry I wasn't there for you more."

"Rachel," Quinn sighed. "I didn't let you. Remember? Lima was too much of a fish bowl for me to find myself, too many eyes watching, too many mouths ready to report back to my parents when I didn't do something right. Coming to LA was probably the best decision I'd ever made. Getting away gave me the space and the distance I needed to find me. Me, me. Not the perfect daughter or the pretty cheerleader everybody saw, but me. Bookish, slightly introverted, geeky, thoughtful me. I honestly don't think I would have ever come out had I not left Lima, the expectations were too high."

Rachel nodded. It made sense, actually, that it would have been easier for Quinn to be Quinn in a land full of strangers. "When did you come out? I mean, I know you've said that your parents didn't take the news well..."

Quinn chuckled darkly. "Understatement of the year, but yes. They reacted rather negatively to the news. It was the weekend I was graduating from USC, actually. Jamie had spent the weekend with my parents and I, and I was tired of pretending that she was just a friend. I was done hiding."

"Was she there with you, when you told them?" Rachel asked.

Quinn closed her eyes and shook her head. "No. I didn't want her there in case Russell... well, just no. I didn't trust my father around her."

Rachel frowned at the words Quinn didn't say. "Was your father a violent man, Quinn?"

Quinn shrugged, trying to deflect the question so that she didn't have to answer it. There was a reason she told Puck to watch out for Russell. "Anyways, I had gained control of my trust fund when I turned 21, so I had money in the bank and I'd saved pretty much all my money from my modeling and acting jobs that I'd gotten through college, so I knew I was fine in that department. So I just told them. I had a BA in English Literature, a fairly steady job acting, and a girlfriend who loved me. I didn't need them and their bullshit any longer."

Rachel nodded and brushed her lips over Quinn's cheek. All of that information was important, yes, but the blonde hadn't answered the question she'd asked. "Did your father ever hit you, Quinn?"

Quinn took a deep breath and nodded, covering Rachel's hand against her stomach with her own as she felt the brunette tense behind her. "But its fine now, Rach. I'm fine. I don't see him, he doesn't see me, everything's fine. It's in the past, and that's where I'd like it to stay – okay?"

Rachel just bit her lip and closed her eyes against the tears that had started to build.

Quinn had heard the way Rachel's breath hitched and knew the brunette was near tears. "Sweetie?"

Rachel shook her head and swallowed thickly. "I will leave it in the past because that's where you want it," she whispered roughly, "but if I ever see him raise a hand toward you, I swear to God..."

Pale fingers squeezed tan. "Thank you," Quinn whispered.

Rachel nodded and took a healthy drink from her wineglass, needing the familiar pleasant burn of alcohol to chase away the images in her head of Quinn suffering at the hand of her father. The wine blazed a warm path through her veins as she tucked her face in the haven of hair at the base of Quinn's neck and drew a slow, deep breath, the scent of her lover calming her more than the alcohol ever could. How anyone could ever hurt this amazing, beautiful, talented woman was absolutely beyond her.

"So what happened after you told them?" she asked softly, not really wanting, but needing to know how it all ended up.

"They left," Quinn said simply. "Russell took my mother by the hand and they left. I could tell that she was shocked but not mad, but she didn't fight him on it – she just let him steer her out of my apartment and out of my life forever."

"She didn't say anything? Fight for you? Nothing?"

Quinn took a deep breath and held it in for a moment before letting it go in a quiet hiss. "Rachel, nobody has ever fought for me," she whispered. "It's always just been me. I was a constant disgrace to my parents."

"What about Jamie?" Rachel asked softly.

Quinn shook her head. "In the end, she left too. Just like everybody else."

"I won't leave you," Rachel whispered, wanting to say something, anything, to prove to Quinn that she was worthy of being loved. That she was worth fighting for.

Quinn rolled her eyes and finally pointed out the obvious fact that they've been steadfastly ignoring. "Rachel, you live in New York."

"Not right now, I don't."

"Right. And what happens when 'right now' is over and it's time to take that next step?" Quinn asked softly, trying to keep the harsh bite of reality from her words and failing miserably.

"Then I would hope that you, being the person that I am so incredibly head over heels in love with, and I could have a mature discussion as to where we would take our relationship at that time. Quinn, sweetie," Rachel murmured as she leaned to the side and set her wine glass onto the table, making sure it was secure on the tile before taking Quinn's and doing the same. "Look at me."

Quinn sucked her lower lip between her teeth as she turned in Rachel's lap so she could look at the brunette. After making love earlier, and then this disastrous series of revelations, she was feeling raw, exposed, and fragile. She didn't want to look Rachel in the eye. She didn't want to be told that yes, she was right and that this would end. She just wanted to exist in her world of make believe for a little while longer before it was all ripped away from her.

Rachel smiled sadly, as she ran a gentle finger over Quinn's brow. "I know now that nobody ever fought for you, but I will. I need you to understand that I will fight for you, Quinn. I will fight for us. I will fight for this little piece of heaven that we've created together. When you made love to me earlier you told me that I owned you..." she let her voice trail off expectantly, waiting for some kind of confirmation from the blonde that those words were true.

Quinn nodded minutely and licked her lips nervously.

Rachel's eyes softened as she returned the blonde's nod. "Well, as you are mine, I am not giving you up. I know you have no experience with this, but you mean more to me than anything and we will find a way to work this out when the time comes. Maybe I'll pick up a play here, maybe I'll pick up another movie, maybe you'll find something that's filming in New York. Who knows? All I know is that come hell or high water, we will figure something out. Together. Just, believe me when I say that. Believe in the possibility of a happily ever after. Believe that, together, we will find it. Okay?"

Quinn closed her eyes and nodded, wanting to believe that what Rachel said was the truth but not quite believing it – no matter how passionate the plea. "I believe you," she lied.

Big brown eyes filled with tears as Rachel took in the sight of the broken woman in front of her, her heart seizing painfully in her chest with the knowledge that while Quinn said she believed her, that the blonde didn't mean it. That she was willing to take what she could, that she would give all that she was, while expecting heartbreak in the end. "You don't," Rachel murmured, leaning in and resting her forehead against Quinn's as she ran her fingers through the blonde's hair. "But hopefully someday you will. You are worth fighting for, Quinn. You are worthy of being loved."

Quinn buried her face in Rachel's shoulder, her hands slipping under the smaller woman's arms as she clung to her. "I want to believe you," she whispered.

Rachel nodded and pulled Quinn into her. She could tell that that was the truth. "I know," she replied softly, dropping a lingering kiss to the blonde's brow.

Quinn sighed, her emotions soothed by the warm press of soft lips against her skin, and lifted her head to look at Rachel, who was regarding her with the sweetest, most concerned expression she had ever seen. "I'm sorry. I hadn't meant for tonight to end up so... heavy."

Rachel smiled and kissed Quinn gently. "Baby, its fine. It was all stuff that we needed to talk about. And I'm glad you trust me enough to tell me."

One corner of Quinn's mouth quirked up in a lopsided smile. "How did you get so perfect?"

Rachel laughed softly. "It's a natural talent," she murmured, her words falling in gentle waves over Quinn's lips as she kissed the blonde again tenderly.

"Mmm," Quinn hummed, sinking into Rachel's body as lips parted and tongues began to stroke slowly together. She moaned softly as Rachel's hands tangled in her hair, tugging lightly and pulling her in closer. Not that she needed much urging, she went willingly, eager to sink into the warmth of the caress and the safety of the brunette's embrace.

After a time, she allowed Rachel to guide her off to the side, so that she was wedged between the brunette and the back of the sofa. "Thank you," she whispered, as she snuggled into Rachel's side, her head resting comfortably on the smaller woman's shoulder.

Rachel smiled and pressed a lingering kiss to Quinn's brow, wrapping her arms around the blonde and holding her tight. "Always."

Eventually the chill of the night air overrode the heat of the fire and the warmth of the wine they'd consumed, and they were forced to head back inside. Rachel watched Quinn carefully as they made their way down the stairs and into the bedroom. The blonde had been understandably quiet after her revelations earlier, and Rachel was still trying to figure out a way to show Quinn that she was serious about their relationship, to show her that they would find a way to make things work once the movie was finished. Unfortunately, so far as she could see, the only thing that would convince Quinn was time. And that was all well and good, but it did little to soothe the blonde's fears at the moment.

"You ready for bed?" Quinn asked as she stripped her sweatshirt and shirt off over her head at the same time.

Rachel raked her eyes over Quinn's half-naked body, enjoying the subtle play of the muscles on the blonde's back as she reached behind herself to unclasp her bra. "Mmm," she hummed, as she reached out and ran a finger down Quinn's spine. She smiled at the goose bumps that erupted in the wake of her touch and wasted no time covering them with her body as she wrapped her arms around Quinn's waist from behind. "I love you."

Quinn relaxed into Rachel's embrace and covered the brunette's hands with her own. "I love you," she whispered as soft lips began raining even softer kisses upon her shoulder. A quiet sigh fell from her lips as a deft fingers flicked open the button to her jeans, and she reached behind herself to hold onto Rachel's hips as the brunette began pushing her jeans and underwear down over her hips.

Once Quinn was naked, Rachel gave her a gentle push toward the bed. She smiled at the faint resistance she felt in the blonde's body, and reassured her with a lingering kiss at the nape of her neck. "I'll be there in a second, sweetie."

Reassured that Rachel wasn't leaving, Quinn climbed onto the bed and settled beneath the blankets. She smiled shyly as she looked up and saw Rachel was watching her, and propped her head onto her hand as she met the brunette's unflinching gaze. After everything that had come out up on the deck she needed this. The closeness. The silent reminder that she wasn't alone.

She licked her lips as she watched Rachel's shirt and sweatshirt go flying, leaving the brunette standing before her in a black satin bra and a pair of jeans. "Beautiful," she whispered, her gaze dropping to ogle the brunette's breasts.

Rachel smiled and made quick work of the rest of her clothes before climbing into bed beside Quinn. "You okay?"

Quinn nodded and kissed the brunette tenderly. "I will be," she whispered honestly, as she reached out and pulled Rachel into her. She sighed contentedly at the feeling of the brunette's skin against her own. This, this is what she needed.

Rachel pressed a light kiss to Quinn's lips as she rolled onto her back and pulled the blonde on top of her. "Let me hold you," she implored softly, somehow knowing that that was what Quinn really needed.

Quinn closed her eyes and nodded, settling her head onto the plane of Rachel's chest and smiling as the brunette's arms wrapped around her and held her close. Rachel's heart beat a steady rhythm beneath her ear and she snuggled herself in closer to the brunette, soaking up the warmth of the brunette's embrace. "Mmm, I like this," she purred contentedly, as she rubbed her cheek against the soft skin of Rachel's chest.

"Me too," Rachel assured her.

Quinn smiled and pulled herself in closer, so that her right leg was draped over Rachel's. "Am I too heavy?"

"Baby," Rachel chuckled, "no. Just, no. You're perfect. Everything about you is perfect."

"Hardly," Quinn murmured against Rachel's breast.

Rachel rolled her eyes and pressed a lingering kiss to blonde silk. "Hush, you. This relationship will work a lot better once you realize that I am always right."

"Yes ma'am."

Rachel laughed softly. "Just go to sleep, baby. I've got you."

"I'm not tired," Quinn yawned.

Rachel laughed softly. "Yeah, I can see that. You want a bedtime story?" she teased.

Quinn smiled at the brunette's offer. "Yeah. I think I would."

Rachel rolled her eyes. Somehow, she should have known that that would have been Quinn's response. "You are adorable," she murmured.

"Still waiting on my story," Quinn hummed.

"Fine," Rachel huffed, banging her head back onto the pillows as she tried to think of a story to tell.

"And you have to make it up," Quinn instructed. "The best bedtime stories are always made up."

"Of course," Rachel muttered, smiling at the blonde's excitement over what she'd intended to be a joke. "Fine. You ready?"

Quinn nodded happily and burrowed in closer to the brunette. "When you are, short stuff."

"Once upon a time," Rachel began, and smiled as she felt Quinn smile against her chest, "there were two princesses who were from two very different kingdoms. One was tall, blonde, and breathtakingly beautiful while the other was short and socially awkward, with boring brown hair. Now, princesses have to go to school just like everybody else and, of course, these two princesses were constantly at odds with each other. It was expected, as the blonde princess's kingdom was known for its powerful knights and the brunette's was only known for its minstrels, but the dark-haired princess had always hoped that the blonde would be her friend. She could tell that there was something warm and captivating behind that cool façade but, try as she might, they became nothing more than acquaintances.

"After the princesses graduated from princess school, they went their separate ways. The princess from the minstrel kingdom went on to sing for the people of kingdoms far and wide. She was happy with her work, she had always loved to sing, but she was lonely. So when a dutiful page presented her with an opportunity to travel far from her new home to ply her hand at a new art, she jumped at the idea and left immediately. And, lo and behold, who did she see when she arrived, but the blonde princess who had never been far from her thoughts."

"You thought about me?" Quinn asked.

"I told you that I'd dreamed of you for years, but yes – I always wondered what you were doing, as well. Now, hush. You're interrupting the story."

Quinn smiled and pressed a soft kiss to the underside of Rachel's jaw. "Sorry."

"Now, it turned out that the beautiful blonde princess had grown to become a widely regarded thespian, and the singing princess was shocked to find that she felt immediately comfortable in the blonde's presence. She could tell from the moment they met again, after so long apart, that there was something different about her, though she didn't know what. But, being a professional, she soldiered on – agreeing to the project and joining the thespian's troupe. One day at lunch the blonde divulged to the brunette her greatest secret, one that explained so much of their troubled past together. The beautiful blonde princess, whom everybody always assumed would marry an equally beautiful blond prince, liked princesses better."

"A lot better," Quinn muttered, smiling as she ran her right hand up Rachel's stomach to palm the brunette's left breast possessively.

"Anyways," Rachel said laughingly as she pulled Quinn's hand off her breast, she wouldn't be able to finish her story if the blonde continued to distract her like that, "the dark-haired princess was surprised, to say the least, by her new friend's confession but she wasn't put off by it. Instead, she just accepted it and moved on, trying to forge a friendship with the blonde. They worked together with an ease she had never experienced before in her life; they would share meals, laugh, and joke, and tease each other, and then at night she would go to bed and dream of beautiful hazel eyes.

"Now, the singing princess was always an open-minded girl, and it didn't take her long to realize that the eyes from her dreams belonged to her new friend. This was a surprising realization, to say the least, because she had always expected to marry a prince, but once she wrapped her head around it, she decided to try and pursue a relationship with the blonde. And then one afternoon during a performance, the script called for her to kiss the blonde. The moment their lips touched she knew she'd found the person she'd been searching for her whole life." She smiled and kissed the top of Quinn's head gently. "She felt more in that one kiss than she had in any kiss before in her life, and she knew, without a doubt, that she needed more. The princesses talked about the kiss and agreed that they would court each other-"

"You make it sound like a business agreement," Quinn muttered.

"Do you want to hear how the story ends?" Rachel challenged.

Quinn grinned and nodded. She really, really did.

"Then stop interrupting me," Rachel lectured playfully. "Now, the princesses courting each other drew the attention of both of their kingdoms and the world at large, for it was an unusual thing for two princesses to be together in such a way, but they made it work. They continued to work on their theatrical project, growing closer and closer together until it became obvious to them both that they couldn't live without the other. When they finally finished their project, the dark-haired princess and the beautiful blonde vowed to never stay apart from each other and they set about finding a way for the singing princess to go back to her singing and the thespian princess to continue to act. It wasn't easy, but they managed to find a workable solution and they lived happily together, each exploring their passions during the day, while at night they explored their passion with each other."

Quinn chuckled.

"And then," Rachel continued on, as if Quinn hadn't interrupted her, again, "one day the blonde princess got down on one knee, just like the princes of the land were known to do, and she asked for the brunette's hand in marriage."

Quinn smiled and rolled her eyes. Of course, Rachel would expect her to be the one proposing.

"Don't roll your eyes at me," Rachel chastised, delivering another light slap to the blonde's back for emphasis. "The singing princess said yes immediately, of course, and after months of planning they were married in front of all their friends. The princesses became Queens of their own land, and went on to have two princesses and one prince of their very own with the help of a fairy godfather, and they had the perfect storybook life, the one they had each dreamed of since they were small princesses, and they lived happily ever after. The end."

"Thank you for my story," Quinn said, smiling.

"You're welcome," Rachel chuckled. "Did you like it?"

Quinn shrugged. "Eh, it was alright."

Rachel laughed and smacked Quinn's back lightly. "Hey!"

Quinn laughed. "Just kidding Rach," she said as she lifted her head off of the brunette's chest so she could kiss her properly. "It was great."

Rachel smiled. "I'm glad you liked it."

"I did," Quinn assured her, as she leaned in and kissed the brunette softly.

"I'm glad," Rachel murmured, as she lifted her head off of the pillows and captured Quinn's lips in a lingering kiss. It had been a stupid, spur-of-the-moment thing, but she could see that it had soothed at least some of the blonde's worries. "I love you."

"I love you, singing princess," Quinn murmured, smiling as she kissed Rachel again one last time before laying back down on the brunette's chest. "So much," she yawned as she closed her eyes.

"Sweet dreams," Rachel breathed, dropping a kiss to the crown of Quinn's head before she, too, closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep.

Chapter 26

Sometime during the night, Rachel and Quinn had shifted positions so that when the blonde woke up, it was to the comforting weight of the brunette's head resting upon her chest. Quinn smiled as she reached up and ran her fingers through dark tresses, combing through the curls that the moist sea air the night before had created. She felt lighter than she had in ages. Her fears that Rachel would leave her when things were all said and done were still present, of course, but they weren't nearly as strong. She felt like she could breathe. Like there was a light at the end of the tunnel. While she hadn't intended to tell Rachel about it the night before, she couldn't deny that having done so was a good thing. Yes, a part of her was still afraid that filming would end and that Rachel would go back to New York, but the brunette's words from the night before resonated beside those dark thoughts, showering them with the flickering light of hope that they would find a way to be together in the end.

She just had to believe.

That was still a problem, of course, she was too used to being left behind, kicked aside, or abandoned, but she wanted to believe Rachel when the brunette promised to find a solution. More than with anyone else in her life, she wanted to believe Rachel wouldn't hurt her.

She wanted to believe.

She was pulled from her thoughts by a deft tongue flicking across her nipple, and she grinned as she murmured, her voice thick and rough with sleep, "Good morning, my beautiful singing princess."

Rachel smiled against Quinn's breast as she delivered another light lick to the tempting rosy nipple in front of her mouth. "Good morning. How are you feeling?" she asked softly, still mildly concerned about the blonde after the previous night's confessions.

"I'm good. So, you know," Quinn murmured, smirking as she scratched Rachel's scalp, "feel free to continue what you were doing."

Rachel laughed and kissed Quinn's breast softly. "You liked this?"

"Not at all," Quinn drawled, her breath hitching audibly in her throat when Rachel's mouth surrounded her. She groaned as the brunette's tongue circled her nipple, flicking lightly over the bud. "You are so good at that," she murmured.

Rachel grinned and sucked the nub between her lips; her right hand sliding up Quinn's stomach to palm the blonde's other breast, squeezing the mound under her hand as she sucked hungrily against the other. She hummed approvingly as Quinn's chest arched up into her and she licked her lips as she pulled back to examine her handiwork. Peaked nipples seemed to stare back at her, begging for attention, and she whimpered as she leaned back in for more.

"God, I love your boobs," she murmured as she kissed her way around the blonde's left breast. "I could just play with them forever."

Quinn bit her lip as her eyes rolled back in her head at the brunette's raspy confession. "Rachel."

"Hmm?" Rachel asked as she painted a broad swipe of her tongue over the blonde's straining nipple, watching the way it bounced back into place before she sucked it deep inside her mouth.

Quinn let out a long, loud moan, her fingers tightening in Rachel's hair as the brunette pulled back and blew a lightly over her nipple, the cool air over the hardened nub sending a wave of desire coursing through her. "So good," she sighed.

Rachel smiled and switched breasts again so that she was able to rest her weight on her left arm as she ran her right hand in slow, meandering circuits down Quinn's stomach; nipping lightly on the blonde's nipple as she scratched her nails over toned muscles, swirling her tongue around the bud as she swirled her finger inside the blonde's bellybutton. Her fingers slid slowly back and forth between protruding hipbones as she licked a path up Quinn's neck to hover promisingly above the blonde's parted lips.

"You are so beautiful," she murmured as her hand dipped between Quinn's legs, her fingers diving into a veritable ocean of want. "So wet," she whispered approvingly.

Quinn groaned, her left leg rolling out wider, opening herself to the brunette's touch. "Baby."

Rachel smiled and captured Quinn's lips in a deep, lazy kiss as she ran a finger up and down through the length of the blonde, gliding through soft, swollen lips that seemed to wrap around her finger, skating through slick desire that was so warm, so wet, so fucking perfect against her skin. She would never get tired of this.

Another low groan rumbled in Quinn's chest as Rachel's finger continued to run through her, never pressing too hard, never delivering contact where it was most needed. Just up and down, again and again, slowly, almost reverently, and it was nice and made her feel loved but goddamn it she just...

"Touch me," Quinn finally growled in frustration, tearing her mouth away from Rachel's as she stared imploringly into dark mahogany eyes. "Please."

Rachel smiled and moved one finger up to Quinn's clit, again keeping her touch painfully soft as she rubbed light circles against the bud. "Like this?"

Hazel eyes flashed fire and an agile tongue swept over kiss-swollen lips as another low growl rumbled in the back of the blonde's throat. "Rachel..."

"Hmm?" Rachel hummed, pressing harder against the bundle under her fingertip.

"Yes," Quinn groaned, her eyes rolling back in her head as electricity shot through her.

Rachel smirked and resumed her earlier touch, running her finger up and down through the blonde's folds, this time ending with light circle against the blonde's clit. It was, she could tell, both satisfying and frustrating, and she was rather enjoying keeping Quinn guessing. "Better?" she asked teasingly, dipping her chin and kissing the blonde softly.

Quinn groaned and shook her head. It was better, so much better, but still not enough to get her anywhere. Rachel could keep touching her like this all day long and it'd be doubtful to push her over the edge. "More."

Rachel smiled against Quinn's lips and pushed her middle finger inside the blonde, whimpering softly at the way strong muscles gripped at her and pulled her in deeper. "Like this?" she asked, pumping in and out in the same tortuously slow tempo.

Quinn bit her lip and nodded, because dear lord it did feel good, but she quickly followed it up with another shake of her head.

"What do you need, sweetie?" Rachel whispered. The question was playful, it was quite an experience to watch Quinn writhe beneath her, but it was also serious. All of this was still so new, that she wasn't quite sure what she should do next.

"More," Quinn groaned unhelpfully, rolling her hips up into Rachel's hand, trying to pull the brunette deeper. She moaned loudly when she felt a second finger push inside her. But, again, the strokes were slow.

Rachel watched Quinn with rapt fascination as the blonde's expression shifted from pleasure to thoughtful. "What?" she asked, stalling her thrust when she was buried inside the blonde.

Quinn smiled and kissed the brunette hotly. "Rachel..." she murmured, her smile growing wider as the brunette's brow furrowed in confusion.


"Fuck me," Quinn husked, reaching down with her left hand to cover Rachel's and push it harder against her.

Rachel bit her lip and groaned as every muscle in her body clenched. That was, without a doubt, the sexiest thing she had ever heard in her life. "Jesus, Quinn."

Quinn smiled and lifted her head enough to kiss the brunette softly. "Please. Make me yours," she murmured, pulling her hand away from Rachel's and reaching up to grab hold of the pillow beneath her head.

Rachel licked her lips as she looked down into lust darkened hazel eyes and nodded as she resumed thrusting into the blonde, this time moving faster and harder than before, her speed and force picking up with each thrust until the heel of her hand was slapping loudly against Quinn's clit and the room was filled with the sounds of the blonde's screams. She groaned softly and moved so that she was able to add her hips to her thrusts, forcing herself harder and faster, the inside of her own thighs growing measurably slicker as strong muscles began fluttering around her fingers. Rachel's name was torn from Quinn's throat as the blonde came undone, shaking and trembling under the petite brunette who continued to thrust against her, the brunette's movement slowing and gentling as Quinn's orgasm eased.

Quinn groaned when Rachel pulled out, and smiled lazily up at the brunette who was wearing a Cheshire Cat grin. "I love you."

"Mmm." Rachel licked her lips and nodded. "I love you," she whispered, momentarily forgetting the throbbing between her own legs as she was swept up into a deep, lingering kiss, Quinn's tongue plunging hotly inside her mouth.

A slow, seductive smile tweaked Quinn's lips as she stroked her tongue against Rachel's. Her body was still humming with the lingering aftereffects of her orgasm, but she knew Rachel had to be close. The brunette had been moaning almost as much as she had been there at the end.

Rachel pulled back and smiled questioningly at Quinn when she felt two insistent hands at her hips, trying to pull her over onto the blonde.

"Trust me," Quinn murmured, tugging again at Rachel's hips. She just... needed... the brunette... on top... of her. There. "Perfect," she murmured as Rachel settled atop her, exquisitely long legs on either side of her hips. She pulled the brunette down into another wet, sloppy kiss as she eased her right hand between their bodies so that she was able to run two fingers through wet, swollen lips.

"Quinn," Rachel whimpered when the blonde's fingers ghosted over her clit, her hips automatically bucking down into the touch. Her body had cooled down a little, but that one touch pushed her right back toward the edge and she needed more.

"Mmm?" Quinn hummed as she circled Rachel's clit one last time before dipping lower and hooking her ring and middle fingers just inside the brunette.

She was answered with a deep mewl as Rachel pushed herself up and away, the brunette's hips straightening over her fingers and pulling her in deeper. Quinn licked her lips as she pushed herself fully inside, loving the way Rachel's body, so hot and wet, wrapped around her fingers and sucked her in further. She pulled out slowly, purposefully not pushing against the ridges that would make the brunette see stars, and smiled as she teased Rachel's opening with light, feinting thrusts. Her eyes raked over full, hanging breasts, with dark mocha colored nipples peaked and begging for attention, and she bit her lip as she ran her left hand down the flat of Rachel's chest, palming the brunette's right breast and squeezing it. "You are so sexy," she murmured, squeezing the mound again.

Rachel groaned, her head falling back as her chest arched forward into the blonde's hand. A thumb brushed over her nipple as she pushed her hips down on Quinn's hand, driving the blonde's fingers deep inside her, drawing a quiet whimper from her lips.

Quinn watched with rapt fascination as Rachel began moving above her, slowly at first, up and down, the brunette's free breast swinging lightly with the movement. She began massaging the breast under her palm in time with the brunette's thrusts, pressing the back of her wrist against her stomach and using her hips to help drive herself deeper, meeting each of Rachel's thrusts with one of her own.

Rachel let loose a primal moan as she began to unabashedly fuck herself on Quinn's fingers, her body finding that perfect rhythm it craved as she pushed herself up and down, rolling her hips every time Quinn was buried as deep inside of her as the blonde could get, so that her clit would rub against her lover's wrist. She was vaguely aware of Quinn's continuous murmurs, the soft I love yous and You are so fucking sexys pushing her higher and higher until with one last slow, rotating grind of her hips against Quinn's wrist she came undone, shaking and trembling as she fell on top of the blonde.

Quinn buried her face in the crook of Rachel's neck and pulled the brunette in closer as strong muscles continued to spasm around her fingers. When the last tremor eased, she wiggled her fingers inside the brunette and smiled as the motion earned her a small aftershock. "That was hot," she murmured.

Rachel blushed and groaned against the blonde's ear. Never before had she ever just let go like that. In the heat of the moment, she'd become a creature of sensation, seeking pleasure, but now... now, she was mildly embarrassed.

Quinn could tell that something was off so she carefully pulled out of the brunette, wiping her fingers off on the sheets before wrapped her arms around the smaller woman's waist as she quickly flipped them over. "What's wrong?" she murmured, smoothing Rachel's hair out of her face so she could see her better.

Rachel looked past Quinn and shook her head. "Nothing. Just a little..."

It was like a light bulb went off in Quinn's head. "You have nothing to be embarrassed about, sweetie," she murmured, dipping her head and kissing the brunette softly. "Dear god, that was the sexiest thing I have ever seen. You are the sexiest thing I've ever seen."

Rachel's eyes fluttered closed and she smiled bashfully. She didn't see herself as 'sexy' at all, and she was still a little embarrassed about her wanton behavior, but the earnestness in Quinn's voice soothed some of that discomfort away. "Thank you," she whispered.

Quinn smiled sadly, seeing that Rachel didn't quite believe her, and kissed the brunette again. "You are perfect," she murmured against Rachel's lips before moving lower, sliding down the brunette's body so she could tongue an erect nipple. "Gorgeous," she breathed against the stiff peak.

Rachel gasped and looked down into Quinn's smiling hazel eyes as the blonde slipped further down her body, hands tracing lightly down her sides.

"Let me have you?" Quinn asked, as she settled herself between Rachel's legs. Her eyes never wavered from the brunette's as she stared imploringly up into beautiful brown eyes, her hands gliding slowly up and down the outside of Rachel's thighs. "Please. You are so fucking sexy, Rachel, and I want... please let me have you," she murmured.

Rachel groaned and nodded, unable to refuse the blonde's lustful plea, and she groaned as she watched Quinn's gaze dip to her center. Strong hands pulled her legs open wider, exposing her to the blonde's hungry gaze and she whimpered when a light, delicate kiss was pressed to her clit.

"You are incredible," Quinn hummed as she extended her tongue and ran it boldly up the length of the brunette. "Exquisite. Delicious," she murmured, looking up at Rachel and winking.

Rachel blushed and looked away for a moment, before a quick tongue flicking over her clit drew her attention back to her lover.

"I loved watching you let go," Quinn murmured, brushing her lips over Rachel's inner thigh, her words falling in hot waves of the brunette's sex. "Watching you ride me," she growled, laying another broad, heavy lick through slick lower lips.

Rachel whimpered and reached down to tangle her finger's in Quinn's hair, her hips rocking up to meet the blonde's mouth. She sighed when Quinn stopped talking and began sucking lightly against her clit, the blonde's talented, oh so talented, tongue swirling intricate patterns over the captured nub and sending currents of electricity coursing through her.

"Quinn," she moaned, her fingers tightening in blonde silk.

Quinn groaned at the feeling of Rachel's blunt nails scratching her scalp and rolled her head up into the touch, the brunette's clit falling out of her mouth as she batted it mercilessly with her tongue. She worked her right hand under Rachel's leg and thrust two fingers deep inside the brunette, groaning softly as hot velvet pulled her in deeper. She laid one last swirling lick to Rachel clit before moving back up the brunette's body, her fingers thrusting slowly down below.

Rachel's hand slipped down to the back of Quinn's neck and she used that hold to pull the blonde into her, claiming the former Cheerio's lips in a deep, probing kiss, and moaning loudly at the taste of herself up on the other woman's tongue. Her hips rocked slowly, meeting each of Quinn's gentle thrusts, their tongues swirling around each other at an identical pace.

Quinn smiled as she pulled back, resting her forehead against Rachel's as she sped the pace of her thrusts by a fraction. "I love the way you feel around my fingers. So hot. So wet. So tight," she murmured. "When you come, you look like a goddess."

Rachel bit her lip and blushed. "Quinn."

"That was actually a fantasy of mine, watching you ride me," Quinn confessed softly, shortening her thrusts and moving her thumb to press firm circles against Rachel's clit. "And, baby, I gotta tell you, my imagination had nothing on how sexy you were in real life," she husked, pressing her thumb into Rachel's clit and curling her fingers hard, sending the brunette flying.

"Fuck, Quinn," Rachel gasped as her orgasm overtook her.

Quinn smiled. "Gorgeous," she murmured as she pulled out of Rachel and began rubbing the brunette's clit encouragingly. "A goddess. My goddess," Quinn breathed.

Rachel whimpered and shuddered again, another orgasm ripping through her at Quinn's words. "Shit," she hissed.

"Mmm," Quinn murmured. "Yes. So incredibly sexy," she whispered, pressing her lips to the brunette's cheek. She slowed her fingers as Rachel's trembling slowed until she was simply holding the brunette's sex in her hand, unwilling to give up that intimate touch just yet.

"Mmm, baby," Rachel moaned. Her pulse was pounding through her veins and her brain was distinctly muddled, leaving her unable to complete a more coherent thought.

Quinn smiled and nuzzled the brunette's cheek. "So sexy," she whispered playfully.

"Mmm," Rachel hummed, her body going limp as the final waves of adrenaline from their lovemaking left her.

Quinn smirked and kissed Rachel's parted lips softly. She knew Rachel wasn't necessarily agreeing with her, but she'd take it. She licked her lips as she pulled back to look at her sated lover, and her smile softened as her eyes roamed over Rachel's features, her heart filling with so much love for the brunette that she quite literally lost her breath. Rachel was everything she'd ever hoped to someday find and more, and she vowed to herself to do whatever it took to keep her. The brunette's story floated through her mind, the singing princess and the actor princess got their happily ever after and she wanted hers. No matter what it took, she wanted her happily ever after with Rachel.

She just had to believe.

And, as she smoothed her hand over Rachel's cheek and kissed the brunette's lips tenderly, drawing a soft sigh and a contented smile from her lover that caused her heart to thud heavily in her chest, she found that she truly was starting to do just that.

Chapter 27

It was around midday on Sunday when Quinn just couldn't take it anymore. Staying inside all day Saturday hadn't been too much of an inconvenience because, between bed and Rachel learning lines, they'd kept relatively busy, but today they didn't have those distractions. Rachel had already learned her lines for the week and, annoyingly enough, chafing was beginning to become an issue.

She was standing in front of the windows that stretched across the back of the great room, looking at the beach with an almost wistful expression on her face. Today the sand was devoid of the cameras she's spied yesterday, and her muscles twitched with the urge to get out. To do something. The hubbub over hers and Rachel's relationship had made her miss her morning surf the day before, which was incredibly disappointing because she had been looking forward to teaching Rachel and with the shooting schedule lined up for them she won't have the opportunity until after their trip to Ohio; while the threat of a horde of paparazzi following them out into public had ruined her plans for dinner. She was a quiet girl, really, she liked her solitude and enjoyed nothing more than spending the day reading a book – but she was also physical and surfing, running, biking, and hiking were activities she usually used to fill her days, and being cooped up like they had been just put her on edge.

The day looked nice, bright blue skies and only a smattering of wispy white clouds. The outside thermometer she had set up off to the side of the patio showed that it was cool outside, by LA standards, with temperatures at the beach barely topping sixty, but that would work in their favor. She just needed out of the house for a bit; and the cooler temperatures would keep the crowds to a minimum.

She turned and smiled at Rachel who was scowling adorably at the blonde's iPad. The brunette had become determined to beat Quinn's score at Fruit Ninja but couldn't get past the 400 mark. "Hey, Rach?"

"Hmm?" Rachel replied as she started a new game.

"You wanna get out of here for a bit? Go outside?"

The game was instantly forgotten as Rachel looked up at Quinn with a confused expression. "I thought we couldn't go out?"

Quinn smiled and shook her head. "Baby, we can leave the house. Restaurants and stuff are bad because you're sitting in them for a while and that gives the paps time to get set up outside for pictures and cause a general mess, but I just want to go outside. Maybe a bike ride on the boardwalk?"

"I thought you said there were paparazzi out there yesterday?"

"Sweetie, there are going to be paparazzi everywhere we go – but I don't see any out there right now and I really need to get out of the house. I'm going crazy. Please come on a bike ride with me?"

Rachel looked down at the sweats she was wearing and nodded. "That sounds like fun, but I need to change."

"Can I help?" Quinn asked hopefully.

Rachel laughed and shook her head, as she slipped the iPad she'd been monopolizing onto the coffee table. "Sweetie, I love you, but I'm still a little sore."

"Well, damn," Quinn muttered playfully. "Fine. You go on up and change then and I'll get the bikes down."

Rachel laughed and set the iPad she'd been monopolizing down onto the coffee table. "Right. You do that," she said with an affected air, smiling as she waved at Quinn and made her way upstairs.

"Damn," Quinn muttered, grinning like an idiot as she watched the petite brunette go.

Quinn was just finishing filling the tires on her backup bike when Rachel meandered into the garage in a pair of jeans and a lightweight sweatshirt, with a pair of black Toms on her feet. Quinn smiled as she set the pump back into its cupboard and closed the door. "You look great. Ready?"

"I'm wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, just like you," Rachel said as she looked over the cute red beach cruiser that Quinn had been working on. "How is that great? And, yes?"

Quinn smirked. "I'm a simple girl, Rach. Fancy dresses and all are nice, but jeans let me ogle you ass better."

Rachel let out a bark of laughter and rolled her eyes. "Smooth, Fabray."

"Eh." Quinn shrugged unrepentantly. "What can I say? You have a really great ass. Now, this bike'll be for you – get on it and let's see if I need to adjust the seat any."

"You'll help me stay up?" Rachel asked as she hesitantly approached the bike.

"No, I'm going to let you topple over," Quinn muttered. "Yes, Rachel. Now, up you get," she said, smacking the brunette playfully on the ass.

Rachel yelped and turned to flash the blonde a sultry smile. "Hi."

"Rachel," Quinn groaned. "Please. Chafing, remember?"

"You started it," Rachel retorted as she climbed onto the bike and set her hand on the blonde's shoulder for balance. "The seat needs to come down just a hair."

"Right," Quinn said as she helped Rachel down and then pulled a wrench out of her back pocket to loosen the nut holding the seat in place. A couple quick twists to the left, a little wiggle of the seat, a few more to the right and she was done. "Try that."

Rachel climbed onto the bike again and nodded. "Better," she announced as she climbed off.

"Good," Quinn said as she turned toward her own bike, a blue cruiser to match Rachel's red one, and tossed the wrench into the open toolbox that was tucked into the back corner of the garage. "Then let's go," she said, as she reached up and slapped the remote that would open the garage. Once they were in the driveway, she used the keypad set into the frame to close the door and they were off. Two houses down there was a little walkway that got them to the boardwalk, on the way to which they saw exactly zero cameras, and then they were free.

"I thought Venice was like, crazy?" Rachel asked as they rode, her eyes looking out over the nearly empty beach.

Quinn smiled. "It is. This is more of the residential part of the city. The money, if you will. The canals are right over there," she said, flinging her right hand out to point away from the beach. "But, yes, the Venice you're thinking of does exist and we'll get there in a few."

"How far do you plan on riding?"

Quinn looked over at the brunette and grinned. "What? Legs getting tired already? I thought you did hours on the elliptical every day?"

Rachel rolled her eyes. "One hour, smartass. Which I haven't done in a week, by the way. And, no. I'm just curious."

"I have an elliptical at home you can use," Quinn offered. "Sorry, I wasn't thinking. Should have shown you that already."

"Where do you keep it?"

"There's a kind of workout space built in over the garage," Quinn shared. "That door to the left of the bed gets you there."

"I wondered what that door led to," Rachel said. "So, what else do you have in there?"

Quinn shrugged. "Nothing major. The elliptical, of course, a Bowflex I got off Craigslist for like a hundred bucks – that was a good deal – some free weights, an exercise ball, and a heavy bag. Just enough to keep me occupied when I can't get to the gym."

"You are just full of surprises," Rachel drawled. "This is fun."

Quinn nodded and looked out over the beach, smiling softly as she took a deep breath of the wet, salty sea air. "Yeah."

They rode on in a companionable silence until they hit the so-called crazy section of Venice, the part that tourists almost universally think of when they hear the name, that was full of gaudy signs, tourist-trap storefronts, and loud music. They got off their bikes and pushed them down the wide sidewalk that fronted the businesses and was lined with street-performers, henna tattoo artists, people dancing, homeless guys talking to themselves, t-shirt stands, and even a sunglass vendor whose sign read 'Don't get caught staring at titties – Sunglasses $5'.

Rachel was, of course, entranced by it all and had to stop and look at everything. She actually looked through the knock-off sunglasses, which was funny because she was wearing a three hundred dollar pair of Gucci's, and she looked genuinely torn over the idea of purchasing a florescent pink shirt that had a glittery silver 'Venice, CA' emblazoned across the front.

"My god, you are too freaking cute," Quinn chuckled, as she looped an arm around Rachel's waist and pressed a sweet kiss to the brunette's cheek, ignoring the few random people around them who cast curious looks their way.

Rachel smiled and leaned into the blonde as she pointed at the pier up ahead in the distance. "What's that?"

"Santa Monica Pier," Quinn answered as she caught sight of a tel-lens poking out of a bush up to their left. "Company, eleven o'clock," she muttered as she dropped another adoring kiss to Rachel's cheek.

"Do you want to go back?" Rachel asked as she spotted the paparazzo.

Quinn shook her head. "Only if you want to."

"I want to see the pier," Rachel replied, leaning her head on the blonde's shoulder. "Can we?"

"We can do anything you'd like," Quinn answered, squeezing the brunette's waist for emphasis. "Come on," she murmured, pulling away from Rachel as they hit the end of the sidewalk faire and ran back into the boardwalk. She swung her leg over the seat of her bike and flashed a quick smile at the brunette. "If you're good, maybe we can ride on the Ferris wheel," she teased, and felt her heart swell at the absolutely delighted look that flashed across Rachel's face.

"I'm going to hold you to that," Rachel said, beaming as she climbed onto her bike and started off again. "Come on, I wanna go on the rides!"

"So cute," Quinn chuckled, smiling and shaking her head at the brunette's antics as she took off after her.

The pier was, for all intents and purposes, relatively empty because of the cooler temperatures and the fact that it was still a little too early in the season for a large amount of tourists to be prowling around. After two rides on the Ferris wheel and three rides on the roller coaster (where Rachel insisted they had to hold their arms up in the air because that was the proper way to ride), they wandered out to the end of the pier, past the screeching rides and screaming children, and just looked out over the water.

Quinn stood behind Rachel, putting herself between the petite brunette and the crowd behind them, still acutely aware of the fact that there were cameras trained on them (she'd spotted two paparazzi sitting at tables near the food vendors), and wrapped her arms around the smaller woman's waist. She leaned her chin on Rachel's shoulder as she watched the waves took shape a few yards off the end of the pier. She loved watching the way they'd grow in size until they began to break, rolling under the pier with a crash as the whitewater slid around the pylons.

"So, did you have fun?" Quinn asked softly.

Rachel beamed and nodded, as she placed her hands over Quinn's upon her stomach and leaned back into the blonde's body. "Yes."

"Good, I'm glad," Quinn murmured as she pressed her lips against the brunette's cheek.

Rachel's smile softened as she relaxed into Quinn. It really had been a fun afternoon and, more importantly, it'd given them that opportunity to just be 'normal' like Quinn had admitted to wanting the day before. It had been a long time since she'd spent the day doing something as simple as riding a Ferris Wheel on a pier and going for a bike ride. "I think I'll keep you," she murmured, laughing softly as she imagined the eye roll Quinn was undoubtedly giving her.

Quinn chuckled. "Really now? Well, thanks, I think."

Rachel laughed as she turned in Quinn's arms, looping her hands around the back of the blonde's neck as she leaned back against the safety railing at the end of the pier. Her breath hitched in her throat when her gaze landed on Quinn's smiling face, the sunlight giving the blonde's normally alabaster skin a golden hue. "You are gorgeous," she murmured, in a soft voice.

Quinn bit her lip and smiled. "Thank you. You're not so bad yourself, Ms. Berry," she murmured, her voice barely carrying over the sound of the people around them and the wind and the waves.

Rachel licked her lips and tugged at the back of Quinn's neck. She knew cameras would catch this moment and sell it to the press, but she didn't care. She was so incredibly in love with the woman in front of her and she wanted to kiss her, photographs be damned. "Kiss me," she husked.

A perfectly sculpted brow arched up over the frame of the blonde's sunglasses as a playful smirk tweaked her lips. "You're sure?"

Rachel licked her lips again, slowly, seductively, as she pushed her glasses up onto her head and nodded. "More sure than I've ever been about anything."

Quinn smiled and mimicked the brunette's actions, pushing her own sunglasses up onto her head, as she took a small step forward, so that she was pressed up against Rachel. "I love you," she murmured, nuzzling the brunette's cheek.

Rachel sighed and lifted her chin enough to brush a soft, sweet kiss across Quinn's lips. A low moan rumbled in her throat when the blonde's lips wrapped around her own, the crowd around them disappearing as she sank into the caress. Lips parted, allowing tongues to swoop and swirl and dance, and she smiled into the kiss as she heard Quinn groan.

Eventually, the need for air forced them apart, the smell of the food stands, the loud clatter and screech of the rides, the sound of the milling crowd descending upon them in a rush, reminding them that they weren't alone. Quinn smiled as she pulled away, dropping a handful of lingering pecks on Rachel's lips as she took the brunette's hands into her own. "Come on, Rach. Let's go home."

Rachel twined her fingers with Quinn's as the pair made their way back down the pier, spotting a grand total of four paparazzi who were content to snap away from a distance on their way to the stairs that would drop them back off at the boardwalk where they'd locked up their bikes. They smiled shyly at each other as they started home, and before long they were both giggling like madwomen.

"Five bucks says Tina calls me within two hours to tell me that those pictures have gone viral," Rachel chortled as she followed Quinn onto the swoop of the boardwalk that circumvented crazy Venice and took them closer to the water.

Quinn looked over at the brunette and grinned. "Lucky you."

Rachel rolled her eyes. "Jack isn't going to call you?"

"Not unless something insane happens," Quinn answered. "We told him we weren't hiding, and that was us not hiding. Safely, I might add. No innocents were run over and no cars were rammed."

Rachel's jaw dropped as she looked over at the blonde. "I'm afraid to ask."

Quinn rolled her eyes. "Last year, during the whole Oscar buzz, I was at a restaurant with Jack, of all people, and there was a mob of cameras outside. Two paparazzi knocked over an old lady in a walker trying to get a picture of me leaving the restaurant and then, when another rocket surgeon with a camera decided to try and follow us in his car, he ran into the valet station and the other car that was parked there."

Rachel shook her head. "So that's why he warned us off of going out to dinner last night."

"Pretty much." Quinn nodded.

"So what are you making me for dinner tonight?" Rachel asked as she playfully zoomed past Quinn.

Quinn laughed and stood up on her pedals to catch up to the laughing brunette. "I cooked last night. Isn't it your turn?"

Rachel laughed. "Sweetie, I'm a New Yorker. We don't cook – we order takeout."

"Well, when we get home I'll point you in the direction of the menus and you can decide what you're going to order for us then," Quinn quipped, as she took off, leaving a laughing Rachel behind her.

"Well, Rachel, I have to admit - you can order up some mean Chinese," Quinn drawled as she flopped onto the couch, the DVD remote in hand.

"What movie are we watching?" Rachel asked as she laid back against the arm of the couch and set her legs on the blonde's lap.

"You'll see," Quinn answered as she hit play and tossed the remote onto the table. She smiled at Rachel as she began massaging her feet, and leaned back as the movie started to play.

Rachel laughed as the famous musical score started to play – just because she'd never seen the movie before didn't mean that she hadn't ever heard its music – and nudged Quinn with her foot to get the blonde's attention. "Star Wars?"

Quinn shrugged. "You'd never seen it before, so I figured, why not."

Rachel smiled and settled in to watch the movie. They laughed at the outdated special effects, but she had to admit that the story itself was quite good and she found herself really getting into it. So much so, that she literally growled when her phone rang and she could tell from the tone that it was, as she expected, Tina.

"Hey, Tina," she answered, her eyes still trained on the screen where Luke and Han were trying to rescue the princess.

"Thought you should know that the pictures of you and Quinn from today are up on the internet and that People Magazine has notified me that they will be including them in their little celebrity candid section in this week's issue."

"Okay," Rachel replied. "Oh, watch out!" she yelled, waving a hand at the television screen.

"What's wrong?" Tina asked, sounding suddenly panicked.

"Nothing, Obi Wan is just light saber fighting a bad guy," Rachel answered distractedly. "Luke is shooting the blaster thingy at the white soldier guys and... he does save the princess, right?" she asked Quinn.

Quinn nodded and paused the movie so Rachel wouldn't miss anything.

"Yes, he does," Tina answered the brunette's question, not knowing to whom she had been speaking.

"Good," Rachel sighed. "Oh, and does he hook up with her? Because Quinn won't tell me, and you know how much I like knowing how the romantic interests pan out."

Tina let loose a bark of laughter that had Rachel scowling at her phone. "Um, I'll let you wait and see."

"You suck," Rachel grumbled, thinking that if the whole Luke/Leia thing wasn't finalized in this 'episode' that she'd have to Google it to see what happens. "So, was there anything else?"

"Not really. I just... you're sure about all this, right? I mean, it's a little late to take it all back anyways, but I just thought I'd check."

"We knew the cameras were there, Tina," Rachel said, cutting her eyes over to Quinn who was watching her, rather than the screen that was paused with Obi Wan and Darth Vader locked in combat. "It was one kiss. It wasn't like we were tearing each other's clothes off-"

"Thank god for small favors," Tina chuckled.

"Well, I'm too sore for anything else, anyways. I don't think I've ever had so much sex in such a short period of time, never mind the fact that Quinn is an absolute goddess in bed, and I'm feeling a little sore," Rachel said, knowing that the comment would make Tina blush.

"Jesus, Rach!" Quinn muttered, her cheeks pinking adorably with embarrassment as she gaped at her over-sharing lover.

"I so do not want to know," Tina groaned. "I'll talk to you later Rach. Tell Quinn I say hi."

"You got it," Rachel cooed as she disconnected the call and set her phone back onto the coffee table beside Quinn's. "Tina says hi."

"Quinn says that was really embarrassing," Quinn retorted.

Rachel laughed and sat up so she could rest her chin on Quinn's shoulder. "You're so cute when you're embarrassed," she murmured, reaching up to tuck the blonde's hair behind her ear and pressing a loud smackeroo type kiss to her cheek.

Quinn rolled her eyes and turned her head to look at the adorable brunette. "You're lucky I love you."

"I am," Rachel agreed, smiling beatifically.

Quinn laughed and kissed Rachel softly, capturing the brunette's lower lip between her own and sucking against it lightly. "I love you."

"I know." Rachel smiled. "I love you too. What time do we have to be at work tomorrow?"

"Six," Quinn groaned, as she restarted the movie. The three-day weekend had been nice, but they were going to be back to working their asses off before they knew it. "We'll need to leave here around five thirty."

Rachel pouted and looked at the clock on the cable box that said it was already after nine. "How much longer is the movie?"

"About half an hour," Quinn answered, wrapping her arms around Rachel's waist and pulling the petite brunette onto her lap. "You okay to stay up and see the end, or do you want to go to bed now?"

Rachel kissed Quinn quickly and shook her head. "I want to see the end of the movie."

Chapter 28

Pranking is a time-honored tradition on sets where hours are long and tempers inevitably grow short. It helps keep things lively, it keeps the actors and crew laughing, and it builds a sense of camaraderie amongst everybody working on the film. It is an unavoidable aspect of acting and one that Quinn Fabray had, to this point, accepted with open arms. Her years spent under Sue Sylvester's tutelage had taught her plenty of ways to attack, and she rarely if ever hesitated to put her skills to good use.

"No fucking way," Quinn swore softly.

It was one thing for her to be pranked. She expected it. She could take it. She knew how to retaliate. But they had pranked Rachel. Her Rachel. Sweet, innocent, beautiful, loving Rachel. Of course, she had to admit that it was a good one, there was no denying that – it had to've cost a mint to pull off and it was done spectacularly – but still. Going after Rachel was incredibly uncalled for, so far as she was concerned.

"Seriously. No fucking way," she muttered, hands on her hips, as she surveyed Rachel's trailer that had been covered in one of those plastic wrap things that businesses put on cars to make them mobile billboards. But this one was a picture of her kissing Rachel on the pier. It was impressive, if not more than a little excessive, and she groaned as she stepped forward to inspect the trailer and realized that whoever had wrapped the trailer had also applied the wrap over the door handle so that Rachel couldn't even get inside. "How in the hell..."

Rachel smiled at their larger-than-life likenesses and dug in her purse for her phone so she could take a picture of it. "That really is a good picture, though. I wonder if whoever did this will be able to get me an eight-by-ten."

Quinn smiled in spite of herself. Of course Rachel's first thought would be to try and get a copy of the picture. "I'll have Jack try and hunt one down for you, okay?"

Rachel beamed. "Thanks. I guess I'm using your trailer today," she said, a soft smile tweaking her lips as she snapped a picture of the pranksters handiwork. Stuff like this didn't happen in the theatre, too many divas and attitudes floating around. If anything like this had been done on Broadway... well, suffice to say the tantrum would have been epic. But here, in the more laid back atmosphere of a movie set, it was, well, there was really no other word for it but fun.

Quinn looked over at her trailer, which was, by all outward appearances, completely untouched, and groaned. If the guys got Rachel, who they didn't even really know, she was fucked. Because it was almost the same exact crew as the one that worked on Stolen Thunder and she had gotten most of them pretty good while they'd been shooting that one. Thunder was filmed during the monsoon season in Mexico because the movie was about modern day pirates who utilized the weather to their advantage while hijacking private yachts, which was all well and good, but the daily storms were sometimes fierce enough to force them to put a halt to their filming and seek shelter. Too much down time meant that there was more than enough time to come up with creatively over-the-top pranks to fill their days, and she had embraced the opportunity for a little fun with open arms.

She approached her trailer slowly, carefully, with measured steps much like somebody walking through a minefield who was anticipating their next step to be the one that blows them off the face of the earth. She tentatively touched the door handle and quickly pulled her hand back in case it had been electrified because, yes, that had been a prank somebody pulled on the Thunder set. No, she wasn't the one who had pulled it. She did, however, make the propmaster who had set it up teach her all about it so that she would be able to replicate the shocking surprise – pun intended – if ever given the opportunity. "Thank god."

"What?" Rachel asked, completely oblivious to the level of pranking she'd just been thrown into.

"Nothing," Quinn muttered as she opened the door. She peeked inside the dark trailer, somebody had closed the blinds that she normally kept open, and counted to ten, waiting for something to move or make a sound.

But nothing happened.

Right, you can do this, Quinn told herself as she entered the trailer with the same hesitant gait she'd used before. She made it all the way inside with nothing happening and let out a sigh of relief when Rachel came in behind her, flipped on the lights, and pulled the door closed after herself.

And that was when all hell broke loose.

Quinn could only stand in shocked surprise at the interior of her trailer that had been somehow wrapped in the same manner as Rachel's but on the inside – which was just, crazy and creative and wow – but she was snapped out of her momentary befuddlement when thousands upon thousands of hard little somethings pelted down on her from the ceiling. Her arms automatically lifted to protect her head as she looked at Rachel who was laughing hysterically with her eyes closed as multi-colored pellets rained down on her head.

It reminded her of one of Coach Sylvester's training exercises where the eccentric coach had shot airsoft BBs at them while they were running through a routine so that they would learn to ignore distractions.

But whatever they were being attacked with was larger than an airsoft BB. Intrigued as to what, exactly, they were being bombarded with, Quinn's eyes followed the projectiles' path to the floor. She was surprised to note that the multi-colored pellets were already pooled an inch deep around their feet and, as she studied the rainbowed projectiles that were rapidly piling up over her shoes, she finally recognized what they were being attacked with.

They were Skittles.

Lots and lots of Skittles.

The candy finally stopped falling on their heads after another minute and she looked around her now candy-flooded trailer with wide eyes. Her first thought, as she surveyed the damage, was, Holy shit. Her second was, How the hell did they do this? Her third and final thought was, It is so on.

Once the barrage had stopped, Rachel opened her eyes to look at what had attacked them. "What is it?" she asked, leaning down to scoop up a handful of the multi-colored candies.

"Skittles," Quinn said, laughing at the absurdity of the situation. Because, really, it was funny. This, she could see the humor in. This was the guys teasing her, and she could take that. They were still going to pay for getting Rachel though. "They somehow filled my goddamn trailer with Skittles."

"Are they your favorite candy?" Rachel asked, obviously and adorably confused.

"Rach," Quinn sighed, as she shuffled through the mass of candies to wrap her arms around the brunette's waist. "What is the Skittles slogan?"

"Taste the rainbow," Rachel answered automatically; it was a rather well known marketing scheme, after all.

Quinn nodded. "Exactly."

Rachel was quite for a moment as she considered how, exactly, that new information would lead to the reason why that particular candy was chosen and when understanding finally dawned, she chuckled. "Well, that is a... rather creative approach to teasing you then, don't you think?"

Quinn smiled and nodded. "It is. However, once I figure out who did all this," she said, her voice going low and dangerous, "it is so on."

Rachel grinned and kissed the blonde tenderly. "I'm worth it though, right?"

"Baby," Quinn purred, picking Rachel up into her arms and spinning the brunette around in a circle. "You are worth everything," she said, her declaration breaking off into a quiet scream as she lost her footing and fell backwards into the Skittles covering the floor. "Damn, that hurt," she groaned.

Rachel laughed and pushed her hair out of her face before doing the same for Quinn. "Quinn?"


"Taste the rainbow," Rachel murmured, smiling as she leaned in and captured the blonde's lips in a slow, deep, passionate kiss.

Quinn moaned and tangled her fingers in Rachel's hair, slanting her head and drawing the brunette in deeper, everything outside of their connection disappearing in the blissful heat of the moment.

And that was when all hell broke loose.


The door to Quinn's trailer was flung open and claps and cheers, a couple blasts of an air horn, and a lightning storm of flashes rained down on them. Quinn instantly turned away from the kiss and looked out the door to find James, Chase, Rob, Mark, and Randy (three of the prop guys who had also worked on Thunder) along with a host of extras, PAs, Grips, and Techs outside her trailer laughing, clapping, and yelling.

"This is so embarrassing," she muttered.

Rachel giggled and hid her face in the crook of Quinn's neck, wordlessly agreeing to the blonde's statement.

From her position on the rainbow flooded floor of her trailer, Quinn met James' gaze and arched a brow questioningly. "You?"

James laughed and shook his head. "Nope. But, it was a good one."

"You know who did it?"

James grinned and nodded. "But I'm not telling. Now, get those fine, fine asses of yours to make-up and stop rolling around in your own personal rainbow. We have a movie to shoot, dammit!" He winked at Rachel and Quinn before he stalked off, a gaggle of people following in his wake until the area outside the trailer was empty.

"Rachel?" Quinn hummed.

Rachel pushed herself up onto her elbows and looked down into swirling hazel eyes. "Yes, Quinn?"

"Kiss me again."

"But James wants us on set."

Quinn smirked and ran her fingers through Rachel's hair, tugging lightly on the strands in a way she knew drove the brunette crazy. "James can wait a minute. I wasn't finished tasting the rainbow."

Quinn smiled at Rachel as they sat atop opposing desks in the bullpen set. They had eventually made it out of the blonde's trailer, thankfully without further injury, and over to make-up and wardrobe. Two calls from Jack and Tina, giving them each an update on their recent publicity – all positive, for the most part, and Jack promised to get Rachel a copy of the picture the brunette had wanted – kept the questions from the hair and make-up team to a minimum, and an hour later, they were back on set, dressed and ready to go as Charlie and Hayden. From then on, it was business as usual. The jokes stopped, the smirks faded, and the work began. The only thing that was different from the week before was that during breaks in filming, such as the one they were on now, random people would come up and congratulate them on their relationship. Which was weird, but so much better than a Skittles shower.

"I think I'm going to put something up on my twitter," Rachel announced as she looked at her phone. She'd kept off the social site all weekend because, well, she and Quinn had been busy with really getting to know each other, never mind the fact that she hadn't wanted to add any fuel to the fire that was their coming out, but now she was bored and twitter was practically calling her name.

Quinn shrugged and pulled her working copy of the script out of the desk drawer to read as, around them, grips and lighting techs were scurrying about trying to get everything ready for the next shot. James and Chase had made a few changes in the blocking and dialogue for a few scenes they were going to shoot in the next few days, and she wanted to make sure she had it right before they rolled film on them. "Go for it," she told Rachel, so focused on the blue pages slipped in amongst the white, yellow, and pink ones in her script that she completely missed the flash of mischief that flared in the brunette's expressive eyes.

Rachel licked her lips and grinned as she pulled up her twitter app, quickly opening a new tweet screen and typing, Hard at work on the Serendipity set with the beautiful @QuinnFabray. Today, it's more filming in the bullpen... and then took a picture of Quinn, attached it to the tweet, and hit send. "Done," she announced in a sing-song voice that did little to hide her amusement.

Quinn looked up at the brunette, who was looking back at her with a decidedly impish grin, and frowned. "What did you tweet?"

Rachel shrugged and leaned forward to take the script Quinn was reading out of the blonde's hands. "I dunno..."

"Bullshit," Quinn chuckled, pulling her phone out of her pocket to check her twitter feed. And, there it was, top of the list... "Aww, baby. You think I'm beautiful?" she cooed as she waited for the picture attached to the tweet to load. "And you put a picture of me on your twitter."

Rachel rolled her eyes. "Please, you know you're beautiful. And, I must say, you do look so incredibly hot with that extra button on your shirt undone and that gun on your hip."

"You're ridiculous," Quinn murmured, blushing slightly at Rachel's complement, as she replied to the brunette's tweet with a short, I'm working, but @TheRachelBerry seems to be playing around. #illletitslidebecauseshessocute. "There. All fixed."

"What did you do?" Rachel asked.

"Check your feed," Quinn drawled, as she yanked her copy of the script back out of Rachel's hands.

The brunette's eyes flashed back to her phone and she giggled when she saw what Quinn had done. "I'm only cute?" she asked, feigning hurt.

Quinn laughed and shook her head. "You are the sexiest woman I have ever seen, Rach. I just didn't think that was appropriate fodder for our first public tweet."

"You're so sweet," Rachel said, smiling as she watched James approach. "But, if Jack or Tina call about that one, I'm so letting you handle those phone calls."

"Why me?" Quinn argued. "You started it."

"Do I want to know what you ladies are up to?" James asked, smirking at the sight of matching iPhones in each of their hands.

"Playing around on twitter," Quinn answered. "So, now what?"

"Next scene on the list," James answered. "You two ready?"

"Of course," Rachel answered.

"Now that's the enthusiasm I like to see," James said, shooting a playful look at Quinn.

"Hey," Quinn said, holding her hands up, "don't blame me. My enthusiasm got beat out of me by a torrential downpour of candy this morning."

James laughed. "That was a good one."

"How the hell did they get so many freaking Skittles into that trailer?" Quinn asked, as she slipped off the desk. Really, the rig to drop them all was a relatively simple affair, but she had yet to figure out how the pranksters had managed to get that much candy to drop on them; the rig itself didn't look large enough to hold everything that rained down on them.

James shoved his hands into his pockets and grinned. "Maybe when you find out who did it, you can get them to tell you."

"You do realize I have my ways," Quinn drawled, smirking at the director.

"Yes, but I have a feeling that the lovely Ms. Berry won't let you use most of them," James said, before he clapped his hands, marking the shift in conversation from playful to serious with the movement. "So... back to work. Now, this time, Quinn, I want you to try and be a little more expressive facially, do that eyebrow thing that makes everybody swoon after Hayden says 'lover'."

"The eyebrow thing?" Quinn questioned, arching her eyebrow exactly how James was describing.

"That one," Rachel said, pointing at the blonde.

Quinn froze and took stock of what her face was doing. "Huh. Half the time, I don't even realize I'm doing it."

"Yeah, but it's sexy," James said.

"It is," Rachel agreed.

"Hmm," Quinn murmured. "It makes people swoon?"

Rachel smiled and nodded. "Mmm. It always has."

"It so does," James agreed, as he walked off set. "Everything else was pretty good, cameras are set up for close-ups of your expressions this time. So... let's do it," he said, as he took his place in front of the monitors and yelled, "PLACES!"

Quinn went and dropped into Charlie's desk chair and grinned across the desks at Rachel, who was already in place and playing with her computer. "Ready, Hayden?" she joked.

Rachel licked her lips and answered huskily, "When you are, Charlie."

Quinn smirked and blew the brunette a kiss as she slipped the script she'd been reading into a desk drawer and picked up a case file.

"ACTION!" James bellowed.

The set became a beehive of activity, with extras floating around, talking on phones, working at desks, dropping off mail, whatever, as Rachel started typing and frowning at her monitor and Quinn flipped through an open file.

"Where do you think he could be hiding it?" Quinn muttered.

"Dunno," Rachel answered. "The files his accountant's passwords got us into don't really say. I think he splits the work between different ones so that nobody but him really knows what's going on."

"Yeah, but somebody has to be keeping tabs on the big picture," Quinn argued, closing the file she'd been 'reading' and pushing it away. "I mean, he has to have somebody he trusts enough to take care of this for him," she said, rocking back in her chair and running a hand through her hair. "Because, let's face it, Paulie Parker is a lot of things – but a financial genius is not one of them."

"You're right. And none of his accountants on file oversee everything. They each have a portion that they're in charge of, but none of them know what else is happening within the organization. What about family?" Rachel offered.

Quinn shook her head. "He killed his brother to take control of the cartel and get to where he is now – I don't think he'd go to somebody who could just do the same to him."

Rachel blew out a loud breath. "Fine. But it has to be somebody he sees at least once a week, if not more. Or daily."

"Yeah, you're probably right on that one," Quinn agreed. "There's a lot to keep tabs on, from the drugs, to the weapons, to the gambling, and he does seem the type to want to continuously know what was happening and where he stood. He may be a criminal, but he runs his organization like it's a Fortune 500 company."

Rachel pursed her lips thoughtfully and waved her hands in front of herself. "Standard-issue minion?"

"I doubt it. If he doesn't trust any of his accountants enough to handle all of his money, he's not going to trust a minion with overseeing his empire."

Rachel rolled her eyes and huffed exasperatedly. "Fine. So if we're going with the idea that it's somebody he trusts and sees frequently. What about a lover?"

Quinn arched an eyebrow like James and Rachel had suggested. "You know, that might not be a bad angle," she said softly, casing a lingering look at the file in front of her. "There's nothing in here about that aspect of his personal life, but he's been caught on film with the same redhead the last handful of times he's gone out in public. Wonder if the accountant, what was his name again? Billings?"

Rachel nodded.

Quinn licked her lips and nodded, leaning forward in her chair to show Charlie's excitement. "Hmm. I wonder if Billings would know anything about this. He does handle the part of Parker's estate that seems to be mostly personal expenditures."

"Like the thirty thousand dollar vacation he took to Grand Cayman last summer," Rachel offered.

Quinn licked her lips and nodded. "Exactly."


"You mean trailer," Quinn retorted, stressing the singular form of the noun as she and Rachel started walking off the set toward where James was standing behind a bank of monitors. She had gotten some of the PAs to unwrap Rachel's trailer so that they could get inside, but hers was still a veritable snack shack.

"Whatever," James laughed. "Go grab a bite to eat..."

The crowd around them laughed heartily and somebody coughed, 'Skittles', which elicited even more laughter from the crew.

"... and we'll send a PA out to get you when we're ready to go again."

"I will figure out who pulled that off," Quinn warned, looking around at the group that surrounded them. "And I do know that it was more than one of you," she said, as her gaze landed on Mark, Rob, and Randy, who were all grinning at her.

"Quinn, let's go," Rachel laughed, tugging lightly on the blonde's arm. She didn't mind the jokes, to her it was just a sign that the crew was welcoming her onto the set. "I would like to go take a nap while I can."

Quinn instantly backed down and allowed Rachel to pull her toward the door. "You're lucky she's tired," she told the smaller group of people who were still watching the two actors leave.

"Yeah, you just keep believing that Q," James chuckled. "Good work, ladies. Rest up and we'll hit the B&E scene next."

Two hours later, Rachel and Quinn were dressed in dark pants and shirts, with black ski hats on their heads and matching black gloves on their hands, standing in the 'hallway' outside a darkened office in a different sound stage than the one they had been filming on earlier in the day.

This was the scene where they were going to break into Paulie Parker's office against regulations – Hayden's idea, not Charlie's – to try and find something that they could use to connect him to the string of murders that had been plaguing the city.

James looked at his lead actresses and grinned. "You two wear the cat-burglar look well. You guys ready?"

Quinn reflexively reached into the cargo pocket on the right leg of her pants, where a leather wallet that held a full lock-pick set was secured, and nodded. "Are you guys really locking the door or not?"

James grinned. He had helped Quinn prank her costar in Thunder and knew that the blonde could not only pick the lock, but that she could also do it quickly. "You betcha. But, Charlie's good, Q, so you're going to have to be fast."

"You know how to pick a lock?" Rachel asked, her voice rising in surprise.

Quinn licked her lips and nodded. "Yeah."

"Who taught you how to do that?"

"Puck," Quinn said, smirking as she remembered the night he'd taken her to the high school and helped her break into Sylvester's office to fill the cheer coach's track suits with itching powder. That had been a good night.

"That grin tells me there's something else to that story," Rachel drawled, smiling at the blonde.

Quinn nodded. "Yeah, remind me later and I'll tell you. So, James," she said, turning her attention to the director, who had been watching them with an amused smile on his face, "what's the deal?"

"Right now... you picking the lock, bitching at Hayden, and sneaking inside. Then we'll cut, switch the cameras and take it from you guys entering the office and tossing the place."

"Sounds good," Quinn said, wiggling her fingers to loosen them up. "What's the record?"

"What record?" Rachel asked.

"Fifteen seconds," James answered Quinn's question. "To pick the lock," he said, answering Rachel's.

Quinn grinned and rolled her shoulders. Fifteen seconds for a regular lock like this one should be a cakewalk. "Let's do it!"

James laughed and smacked the blonde on the shoulder. "Go get it," he said, backing away from the women and slipping behind the cameras. "PLACES! AAAAAAND, ACTION!"

Quinn approached the door slowly, Rachel tight on her heels. The set was silent as she pulled the leather wallet she'd been playing with moments before out of her pocket and kneeled down in front of the closed door, eyeing the lock speculatively. "Watch my back," she said softly, as she pulled a tension tool and a hook from the case and set it down carefully at her feet.

Rachel nodded and turned away from Quinn, placing her right hand on the butt of her still-holstered gun, as she looked back and forth down the 'hallway' as if she were expecting them to be discovered any time now.

"I can't believe you talked me into this," Quinn muttered as she slipped the hook into the lock over the tension tool and began working at the lock. She grinned when she felt the first tumbler click into place; she was going to have that record with time to spare.

"Please," Rachel muttered. "Like it took a lot of effort to talk you into coming with me. All it took was one kiss and..."

"Got it," Quinn hissed, looking up at the brunette and grinning victoriously, throwing in the eyebrow thing that she now knew drove Rachel wild. "Who's the man?"

"Thankfully not you," Rachel muttered as she watched the blonde pack her tools back up and slip the leather wallet back into her back pocket. "You ready?" she asked.

Quinn nodded. "When you are, Walker."

Rachel winked and slipped past Quinn into the office, immediately ducking to the side of the door so Quinn could enter and give the cameras the shot they needed. Once the blonde was inside as well, she shut the door behind herself and then James' voice boomed, "AND CUT! GIVE US A FEW TO MOVE THE CAMERAS AND WE'LL BE GOOD TO GO AGAIN, TAKE YOUR MARKS IN THE HALL, WE'LL START WITH RACHEL ENTERING THE OFFICE."

"I can't believe you really know how to pick a lock," Rachel said disapprovingly, as she walked back out the office door to stand on the pink tape on the floor in the hallway that was her mark.

"It's sexy though, right?" Quinn asked, waggling her brows suggestively.

Rachel laughed. "No, not really. It's a good thing you're so fucking sexy."

"I know, aren't I?" Quinn sighed, running a hand over her black beanie and striking a pose.

Rachel laughed and shook her head. "Wow. And modest, too."


Quinn winked. "Let's go catch the bad guys," she said, just before James yelled, "ACTION!"

Rachel swooped into the office, Quinn two steps behind her. Once they were inside, the blonde carefully closed door behind them, and they pulled out matching pocket-sized Maglites as they went to 'work'.

"Charlie, take the file cabinet," Rachel said as she began rifling through the desk.

Quinn nodded and placed her flashlight between her teeth as she opened the top drawer and began thumbing through the manila folders. She hesitated for a moment on one that held, instead of fake paperwork, a picture of a rather busty naked woman that looked to be torn from the pages of Penthouse magazine, but somehow managed to keep the light held firmly between her teeth and didn't let her surprise show in her expression. That one, she was sure was Rob, and she made a mental note to get him back later. "Anything?" she asked in a hushed whisper.

"Nothing," Rachel growled, slamming the desk drawer she'd been looking through a little too forcefully. "I'm going to try and hack into his computer."

"You know how to hack into computers?" Quinn asked, turning away from the file cabinet she was supposed to be searching to shoot the brunette a surprised look.

Rachel grinned. "You're not the only one with special talents, Detective," she said, her voice a low, sensual purr.

Quinn chuckled and shook her head. "Just get to it, H. I don't have all night."

Rachel rolled her eyes and turned on the computer. "That's what she said," she muttered under her breath.

Quinn groaned. "Bad, Walker. That was bad."

They both startled a loud noise clattered in the hall outside the office.

"What was that?" Rachel hissed.

Quinn groaned softly and shook her head. "I dunno. Come on, we need to get out of here."

"But we haven't found anything," Rachel argued.

"If we stay in here much longer," Quinn retorted, walking toward the door with slow, purposeful strides, "we're going to be found. So, let's go. We'll figure something else out. This place is clean, there's nothing here for us. He has to keep what we're looking for at his house."

Rachel blew out a loud breath and nodded as she quickly killed the computer that had barely finished loading. "Fine," she said, looking over at Quinn who now had her ear pressed to the door. "Anyone out there?"

"Don't think so," Quinn muttered, pressing her ear to the door and 'listening' for anyone approaching the office. She tightened her grip on the gun in her right hand as she reached for the doorknob with her left. "Ready?"

Rachel nodded tightly. "Yeah."

Quinn turned the knob slowly, instinctively knowing that there was a camera zoomed in on her hand right at that moment, and then she pulled the door open slowly. "Clear?"

"Looks good," Rachel said as she slipped out the door, her gun held out and away from herself, its muzzle pointed at chest level as she went.

"CUT!" James yelled, jogging out onto the set to talk to his actors. "That was good, but we need a little more tension between you guys. Put that 'oh fuck, we're gonna be caught' tone into your voices."

Rachel and Quinn nodded their understanding.

"Good. Let's hit it from the top," James said as he jogged back to the monitors he was watching the scene on.

Quinn sighed and waved a hand at Rachel for the brunette to take her mark in front of her. "Just another day at the office," Quinn quipped, as she took her spot behind Rachel.


Chapter 29

After that first Skittle-filled day back on set, Quinn and Rachel had fallen into a routine that consisted of lots of work, a little play, and minimal sleep. Sixteen hour days bled into each other, helped along by the six-day work weeks they were pulling, and though the paparazzi had managed to get pictures of them together on a regular basis, life had actually settled down to a state that was relatively near normal. There were more cameras following them around on a day-to-day basis than either woman was used to, but they weren't intrusive. For the most part, the paparazzi hung back and took their candid shots with a tel-lens, and that was realistically all that the women could ask for. Jack and Tina handled the press, repeatedly declining interview requests from magazines, newspapers, and internet sites on the couple's behalf, and Quinn and Rachel were left to focus on themselves, their work, and life in general.

Now, with almost four full weeks of filming under their belts, they were on their last scheduled scene before the three-day weekend that had been scheduled as a break between straight on set shooting and the on location shooting they were going to begin the following week. It should have been relaxing, knowing that they had one scene to go before finally having a well-deserved break, but the scene itself was going to be a tough one to film, never mind the fact that once they were done shooting they were going to have to run over to LAX to make their flight to Ohio.

The studio lot outside the trailer Quinn and Rachel had taken to sharing was abuzz with activity, although markedly less activity than normal, and inside the trailer it was silent. There was no music playing, no television, nothing. Just Quinn and Rachel, wearing identical calf-length fluffy white robes, waiting to be told that they were needed on set.

Quinn leaned back on the couch as she watched Rachel quadruple-check the knot on the sash holding her robe closed. "You okay?" she asked, her voice soft and gentle.

Rachel looked at Quinn and smiled. "Yeah, just a little nervous. I've never..."

Quinn nodded understandingly and held her arms out for the petite brunette, beckoning her closer. "Believe me, it's understandable. I'm a little nervous too."

"Why?" Rachel asked, crossing the trailer to sit on Quinn's lap.

"It's not like getting naked in front of a bunch of people is ever an easy thing to do," Quinn murmured, brushing her lips over Rachel's cheek as she smoothed her fingers through thick chestnut locks. "At least I won't have to worry about a patch this time, though," she added, almost as an afterthought.

Rachel frowned. "Patch?"

Quinn chuckled and nodded. "Yeah. It's made out of this like non-see-through, nylon-y material and is super-uncomfortable because it tapes to your front and then you tuck it back between your legs and it ends, well, in your cheeks. Guys wear it so that their um... thing..."

"Penis?" Rachel offered, grinning at the way Quinn was dancing around saying the word.

"Yeah, that," Quinn said, shuddering dramatically and earning herself a soft giggle from the brunette for her antics. "Anyways, they wear it to not be totally exposed and women will wear them so that if anything should accidently pop out, there isn't any actual penetration. We will have a sheet covering us from the waist down for the majority of the scene, so it's up to you if you want to wear one. If you do, I can help you get it on, if you'd like."

Rachel frowned as she tried to picture what Quinn was describing. "I don't know. That sounds... incredibly uncomfortable. Are you wearing one?"

Quinn shook her head and offered the brunette a warm smile. "It's just you and me – I think I can trust you there."

Rachel pursed her lips thoughtfully for a moment, seriously considering whether or not the patch would make her more comfortable than she already was, before she smiled shyly and shook her head. "I'll be okay, I think. Is it really uncomfortable doing these kinds of scenes?"

"Very much so," Quinn answered honestly. "For me, when I have done them in the past with men, it was uncomfortable because, no matter how much your mind realizes that what's happening is not real, your body will react. So I had men on top of me who were, um, rather obviously enjoying the experience to some degree. Not necessarily on every shoot, because it's obviously hard to get seriously aroused when there are lights and cameras and people watching, but still. It's not romantic. It's not sexy. It's weird and sometimes embarrassing and just..."

Rachel nodded. "Uncomfortable."

"Yeah," Quinn murmured. "But with you, this is going to be different because... well, it's your first love scene so I'm going to be very protective of you. Wanting to make sure that you're okay with everything that's going on. I know I can be super-protective when it comes to you anyways, but I know I'm going to be on edge about making sure you feel safe. And it'll be different because I don't..."

Rachel watched and waited as Quinn struggled for words.

"... I want it to look real, obviously, but at the same time, I hate the idea that this part of us will be exposed. It's one thing for the paparazzi to take pictures of us kissing or hugging or holding hands, I'm fine with that part of our relationship being out there for public consumption, but this is different. This is you and me at our most vulnerable. I know that it won't be real, but in a strange way it kind of will be, and I hate that we're having to share this part of our lives."

Rachel sighed and nodded, leaning in to rest her head on Quinn's shoulder as the blonde's hand began tracing lightly up and down her thigh under her robe. "How many people will be in there, again?"

"Four. James, two camera guys, and a sound tech. Everybody else is out – it's a closed set," Quinn answered.

"You trust them all?"

Quinn nodded, pressing a lingering kiss to the brunette's temple. "I do," she said, as her phone began ringing in her pocket. Shooting with a skeleton crew meant that there were no PAs wandering around to play gopher, so James had told them he'd call when everything was set up. "They're ready for us," she said softly.

Rachel nodded. "Okay," she said, sliding elegantly off of Quinn's lap and holding her hand out for the blonde. "Let's go get naked."

Quinn smiled tightly and took Rachel's hand, allowing the brunette to lead them across the short distance from their trailer to the set. Their robes flapped around their legs as they walked and the flip-flops on their feet snapped quietly with each step, and Quinn was thankful for the fact that the weather had warmed enough to make this trip as comfortable as it could possibly be. There was nothing worse than making the basically naked walk across the lot in forty degree weather wearing nothing but a robe, some Uggs, and a parka. She held the door to the set open and ushered Rachel inside, never once letting go of the brunette's hand.

She waved at James as they approached the set of Charlie's bedroom and once they were 'inside' the room, she finally released her hold on Rachel's hand so she could instead wrap her arm around the brunette's shoulders. "Ready?"

James nodded. "Yeah. You know Mike, Will, and Andy, right?" he said, waving at the two men behind the cameras and the audio tech who was standing next to him.

Quinn and Rachel both nodded.

"Good. So, set is closed, it's just the six of us here, why don't you guys take your places, and then we'll set up the first take," James said, smiling reassuringly at his actors. These were his least favorite scenes to film, simply because of the awkwardness of it all.

"Ready?" Quinn asked Rachel softly.

Rachel swallowed hard and nodded as she looked into Quinn's cautious hazel eyes. "Yeah," she said as she started toward the bed that was lit softly from above and surrounded with glowing candles. She licked her lips nervously as she untied the belt of her robe and she looked back at Quinn who was standing right behind her. "Okay," she said.

Quinn nodded and slid Rachel's robe off of her shoulders, holding it up between herself and the brunette so that it was effectively blocking the guys' view. She smiled at Rachel's questioning look and whispered, "I'm just helping you get comfortable, baby. Nobody but me can see you right now."

Rachel licked her lips and smiled shyly. "Thank you."

"In you get," Quinn murmured, tilting her head at the bed. "Go ahead and climb under the sheet, pull it up as high as you want."

Rachel took a deep breath and did what Quinn said, pulling the maroon sheet up over her breasts. "What about you?"

"I'm fine," Quinn assured her softly as she laid Rachel's robe on the foot of the bed. "Just look at me, Rach," she whispered as she slipped off her own robe and tossed it on top of Rachel's, keeping her back to the cameras the entire time, before she climbed under the sheet with the brunette. "Okay?"

Rachel felt her heartbeat slow at the feeling of Quinn's body against her own. This was familiar. This was not scary. "Yes."

"Good," Quinn murmured, kissing Rachel softly. "Now, James is going to be back and forth in here. He won't touch you," she said, repeating things that they had discussed with the director earlier. "His instructions will be verbal, or he might adjust the sheet a little to show more or less skin, depending, but you are safe. I will keep you safe, okay?"

Rachel nodded. "Thank you."

"My pleasure," Quinn assured her.

"Ready?" James asked as he approached the bed.

Quinn turned her head and nodded. "On top?"

James nodded. "Yeah," he said, watching carefully as Quinn shifted so that she was holding her weight on her elbows and hovering above Rachel. "Good. Now, Quinn, I want you in like a half push-up position... good. That gives us space between your bodies for the candlelight to show through. And, here," he said, jumping forward to pull the sheet down so that it was bunched just above the swell of the blonde's ass. "You have awesome muscles in your back and arms, I want to try and get them on film," he explained as he backed away, nodding to himself as he took in the scene. "Rachel, can you reach up and um, hold Quinn's breasts, please?"

Rachel blushed and nodded, sliding her hands up Quinn's stomach to palm the blonde's breasts gently. "Like this?" she asked.

"Yeah," James said, as he crouched down beside the bed, his eyes at about the level of the camera, and really looked at what the camera would be capturing. "Quinn, left hand back about half an inch," he directed, wanting the blonde's forearm to block out the side view of Rachel's breast. He had a very specific idea of how he wanted this scene to begin, and it wasn't with anything actually showing. They might get there later on but, for this particular shot, he wanted it to be pure. This scene wasn't about two women in bed together; it was about showing that there was an undeniable connection between them. He wasn't looking to make a porno, he really wanted these types of scenes to help show that love is love – no matter the form it takes. "Good."

Quinn nodded her understanding as she smiled reassuringly at Rachel. "You okay?"

Rachel nodded. "Yeah."

"All right," James said as he stood. "For this shot, let's have soft kisses. Sweet ones, you know? Camera one is going to sweep up from the foot of the bed and focus on your faces, and camera two will focus mostly on Quinn's arms and back. We good?"

"Yeah," Quinn and Rachel answered together.

"Awesome," James said, as he picked up their robes and carried them off camera with him. "Here we go then-" he picked up the slate and held it in front of the camera "-AAAND ACTION!"

Quinn smiled reassuringly as she dipped her head, her arms bending slightly, to kiss Rachel softly. Their lips wrapped instinctively around each other and she moaned softly when Rachel's hands squeezed her breasts, her body instantly responding to the touch because it was Rachel's. She rolled her weight forward a little as she deepened the kiss, knowing that it would give James the shot he wanted of her arms, but when Rachel's mouth opened beneath hers and the brunette's tongue stroked against her own she forgot all about trying to give James the shot he wanted and just focused on kissing her girlfriend, ever aware of the cameras tracking their every move.

After about five minutes of Quinn and Rachel sharing soft, slow, lingering kisses, James yelled, "CUT!"

"I wish we were alone right now," Quinn murmured, nuzzling the brunette's cheek.

"Tell me about it," Rachel agreed with a soft giggle.

"Too bad we can't tell them to get out." Quinn smiled. "You okay?"

Rachel nodded. "But I wasn't done kissing you yet."

"Well done, ladies," James said, smiling as he approached the couple. "That was good, really good. Now, here's the deal – we can't show too much. I got the close ups of your lips and mouths that I wanted with that last shot, so now we just need to kind of go for it. I will be able to edit out the stuff that is too risqué, but I want this to be real. This is the first big-budget movie to have a lesbian couple as the focus and I want to do this right. Rachel, are you comfortable?"

Rachel nodded. "Surprisingly enough, yes."

"Good," James said. "This take, I want you to start kissing on the mouths and then, maybe Quinn can start working down, um, lower? God, I feel like a perv," he chuckled. "Slow, lingering kisses and stuff down Rachel's throat, upper chest. Skip the nips," he said.

"But that's like, my favorite part," Quinn whined jokingly, trying to keep the mood fun and playful.

"Mmm, mine too," Rachel agreed, having caught the mischievous glint in Quinn's eyes.

James flushed bright red and coughed uncomfortably. "Right. Of course," he said. "Look, I want it slow and sweet. It's Hayden and Charlie's first time. I want to make it as cinematically striking as I can while staying within the rather strict confines of the rating system. I think, at most, we're looking to fill maybe ninety seconds to two minutes of screen time with this scene. Quinn, kiss your way down Rachel's stomach and then we'll cut. I'll check the tape, see what we have, and we'll go from there."

"Got it," Quinn said.

James looked at Rachel. "I know that we didn't negotiate these scenes with you like we normally would have, had you been cast before filming started, and there's a good chance your breasts will end up in the shot. Are you comfortable with that idea? If you're not, I can make sure to edit around it in post-production, but you need to let me know either way."

Rachel was quiet for a moment as she thought about what James had said. She'd never done a nude scene before, but it seemed important that they not try and hide things here. She wasn't sure about being topless on screen, but it wasn't gratuitous nudity, it served a purpose, and so she just bit her lip and nodded slowly. "I... yeah. I trust Quinn, and I trust you. Let's make it beautiful," she said, smiling shyly at the director.

James let out the breath he'd been holding as he waited for the brunette's answer and nodded. "All right, then," he said, as he sauntered back behind the camera to pick up the slate, which had already been changed by one of the cameramen while he'd been talking to Quinn and Rachel.

Quinn licked her lips and smiled down at Rachel. "I love you."

"I love you," Rachel said softly, reaching up to tuck Quinn's hair behind her ears.

"Here we go. TAKE TWO! AND... ACTION!"

James snapped the slate in front of the camera and watched the monitors with a critical eye as Quinn and Rachel started kissing again. He nodded his approval when Quinn pulled back and used her jaw to turn Rachel's head toward the camera. He tapped Mike, who was closest to him, and made a motion with his hand for the cameraman to zoom in on Rachel's face because the brunette was smiling softly at the caress, as he kept an eye on the monitors. A pleased smile tweaked his lips as he watched the scene unfold. It was slow, sweet, and passionate, and exactly what he wanted.

He glanced onto the set as Quinn started moving lower, slowly kissing and licking her way down Rachel's throat, lovingly attending to every inch of skin she passed. He looked back at the monitors, pleased to see that Will was doing a good job following Quinn's face on a relatively close zoom, and he swallowed thickly as he watched the blonde rake her teeth over the brunette's clavicle, her lips dragging sensuously across the abraded flesh.

Yeah, that was hot.

Quinn looked up at Rachel as she kissed lower, her body shifting, the muscles in her back moving beautifully as she rocked her weight back onto her knees. He nodded as the blonde's hands swooped over the brunette's breasts, covering the nipples from direct view as she began to kiss her way up the swell of Rachel's right breast.

"Good," he whispered to himself as Rachel's right hand tangled itself in Quinn's hair. He could definitely work with that.

Like they'd discussed, once Quinn hit Rachel's nipple, the blonde slid lower, her hands leaving the brunette exposed as she dragged them down her sides. She reached up with her left hand and tucked her hair back behind her ear as she moved lower, turning her head to the side to give the camera a good view of her mouth as she laid a string of slow, hot, wet, open-mouthed kisses down Rachel's abdomen.

James watched carefully as Quinn moved lower and lower. "Good," he muttered softly as he watched Quinn's tongue extend to flick into Rachel's belly button. That was sexy and camera-friendly. "Little more," he quietly urged, nodding to himself as Quinn kissed lower down Rachel's stomach and just when the blonde's chin looked like it was about to brush against Rachel's mound, he called out, "CUT!"

He smiled as he turned from the monitors and saw that the guys working the scene had all turned away from the set to give the actors some privacy after he'd called cut and they'd turned off their equipment. They really were a good group of guys, and that was why he'd specifically chosen them for this shoot. "Thank you guys," he said softly as he passed by them onto the set.

Quinn was back to lying bodily atop Rachel, and he could see that the two women were having a hushed conversation so he hung back for a minute, giving them the space they needed. These scenes were always difficult on the actors, but he knew that this one was probably more difficult than the others because what Quinn and Rachel were sharing was something that was intensely personal and intimate.

"I know you said you are alright, but was what I did okay?" Quinn asked softly, as she rested her forehead against Rachel's so that she could look deep into the brunette's big brown eyes.

Rachel nodded. "Yes."

"How are we doing?" James asked as he approached the bed slowly.

"Good," Quinn answered. "How was that?"

James cleared his throat and nodded. "Very hot. And I'm gay."

Rachel laughed. "I'll take that as a complement."

"You should," he told her honestly. "Okay, so I think I have most of what we need, so let's do a few more takes of whatever. Making out, rolling around, whatever you feel like. Have fun with it, as much as you can," he said, smiling as the two women nodded at him. "Alrighty then. Let's get this over with. Watching you two together is making me question my sexuality."

Quinn let out a bark of laughter and buried her face in the crook of Rachel's neck as the director walked off set, laughing and shaking his head.

Rachel giggled and pressed a soft kiss to Quinn's shoulder. "Come on, baby. Let's get this wrapped so we can go home and do this for real."

Quinn groaned. "You're mean. You know we have to go to the airport from here," she muttered against the brunette's ear. "Besides, audience watching us or not, do you have any idea how hard it was to not take your delicious nipple into my mouth and suck it?" She smiled as Rachel groaned loudly beneath her.


In a mirror image of how the shoot began, Quinn exited the bed first, exposing herself to the room at large as she slipped into her robe, before she held up Rachel's, once again blocking the brunette from view, as the smaller woman slipped into the cover up.

"So, now that we're done, what did you think?" Quinn asked as she tied Rachel's robe closed.

Rachel smiled and tucked her hair behind her ears. "It wasn't at all romantic," she said softly, afraid of hurting Quinn's feelings, because the blonde had been doing most of the work and she'd pretty much been a pillow queen.

"Nope," Quinn agreed. "It was nice, to do this with somebody I actually want to touch, though," she said in a hushed whisper. "I love you."

"Love you too," Rachel breathed, lifting herself up onto her tiptoes and kissing the blonde softly.

"Geez, you'd think that nearly four hours of rolling around in bed together would've worked all that out of your systems," James teased as he approached the couple.

Quinn smirked and rolled her eyes. "Would you get tired of being able to kiss her?"

James hiked his brows and shrugged as he jammed his hands in his pockets as if to say, 'dude, not my thing'. "So, there has been a little bit of a scheduling change that you guys need to know about. I know that we were supposed to pick back up again on Tuesday with the shoot downtown in the jewelry district, but there was something wrong with the permit and we're not going to be able to do it until Wednesday. So, you get an extra day off."

Quinn grinned and nodded. "Cool."

"Any big plans?"

Rachel looked up at Quinn as the blonde answered, "Going back to Ohio for the weekend."

"Both of you?" James asked.

"Yes," Rachel said.

"Good for you," James said, instantly recognizing the fact that, while the media's attention on their relationship had eased, the idea of the two women going 'home' together for a weekend would be a big draw for more coverage. "Are you flying commercial?"

Quinn frowned. "Um... yeah. We're taking the red-eye out tonight at midnight."

James nodded. "Well, if the paps give you girls a hard time let me know and I'll get you guys the jet for the flight back," he said, looking at his watch. "Welp, it's already almost nine, so I'll let you guys go so you have plenty of time to get through security. Good work tonight, ladies, I'll see you when you get back."

Quinn smiled and slapped him a high five as Rachel's hand worked its way into her own. "Call time Wednesday?"

"Let's say five," James said. "But if that changes, I'll text you."

"Sounds good," Quinn said. "Ready?" she asked Rachel.

Rachel nodded and squeezed Quinn's hand gently. "When you are."

The inside of the Delta Airlines terminal at LAX was surprisingly busy considering the late hour and, after checking their bags at the curb, Quinn and Rachel found themselves standing in line for security behind a harried looking mother who had two small children, both dressed in pajamas, with her. It was obvious her plan had been to take the red-eye so the children would sleep, but the kids looked so wound up that it was doubtful they'd be falling asleep any time soon.

Quinn smiled politely when the older child, a girl who appeared to be around four or five years old, turned around and looked at them with an excited grin on her face.

"We're going to Florida to see my Grammy and Pop Pop," the little girl said.

"That sounds like fun," Quinn replied. "Is this going to be your first trip on an airplane?"

The little girl beamed and shook her head proudly. "No. I'm five now and I went on one when I was free. But this is my brover's first plane ride. He's free now too. Just like I was for my first plane ride!"

"Plane doe high in da sty!" the little boy said excitedly, throwing his arms out to the side and making airplane noises.

"I'm so sorry," the mother apologized, as she tried to shush her children and get them to turn back around.

"It's fine." Quinn grinned and squatted down in front of the kids so that they were at eye-level. "So, what are you going to do in Florida with your Grammy and Pop Pop? Anything fun?"

"We're goin' to the Florida Disneyland!" the little girl announced happily.

"Oooh! I love Disneyland," Quinn said. "Have you been there before?"

"We goed to da one in Talifornia," the little boy answered.

"But not the one in Florida," his sister added.

"What's your favorite ride?" Quinn asked them. "I love Peter Pan."

Rachel watched, completely enchanted, as Quinn engaged the children in what turned out to be a rather serious discussion of the different rides at Disneyland and who their favorite characters were. The blonde duck-walked behind the kids as the line moved forward, chatting amiably with the excited children. She caught the mother watching the trio interact with a speculative look on her face and she smiled, knowing that the mom recognized Quinn but couldn't quite place her.

"Where are you going?" the little girl asked Quinn after they'd finished discussing the merits of Sleeping Beauty and Lightning McQueen. Quinn had, of course, thrown the little girl for a loop when she admitted to liking Buzz Lightyear the best, but the entire conversation had been absolutely priceless.

"We're going to Ohio," Quinn told her, waving a hand at Rachel who was standing behind her.

"Why?" the little boy asked.

Quinn smiled. "We are going to a birthday party."

"I had a Tars birfday," the little boy shared proudly.

His sister rolled her eyes, rather dramatically for a five-year-old, Rachel thought, and said, "Yeah, yeah, we know, Ryan. You love Lightning McQueen."

Rachel chuckled and hid her grin behind her hand as the little girl's mother sighed. "Alice, be nice to your brother. Okay guys, it's our turn now. So say goodbye to your new friend."

"BYE!" the kids chorused happily.

"Have a fun trip," Quinn said, groaning quietly as she pushed herself back up to her feet.

Alice smiled. "What's your name?"

Quinn bit her lip and for a brief moment considered lying, because it had been obvious that the kids' mother hadn't really recognized her and Rachel, before she answered honestly, "Quinn."

Rachel watched understanding dawn on the mother's face and smiled as her eyes jumped from Quinn to Rachel and back again. The question of, Is that really them?, was obvious in the mother's gaze so she just nodded, silently affirming the woman's suspicions.

"That's a pretty name," Alice said.

"Why, thank you." Quinn smiled.

"Come on, sweetie, we need to get going," the mother said, reaching down and grabbing hold of her talkative daughter's hand. "Thank you for entertaining them."

"My pleasure," Quinn told her honestly, smiling as she felt Rachel's hand slip into her own. "Have a good trip. Hopefully they'll settle down for you once you're in the air."

The mother smiled and laughed quietly. "I know, right? It was nice meeting you," she said, before turning and leading her kids over to the line marked 'Families with small children'.

"I think I'm even more in love with you after that," Rachel murmured against Quinn's ear.

Quinn smiled and kissed the brunette quickly as she handed the TSA officer both of their IDs and boarding passes. The officer looked at Quinn and Rachel's tickets and IDs and, in a testament to how many celebrities passed through LAX on a daily basis, showed no reaction to either of their names. Once they were waved forward, they went through the whole shoe, belt, whatever else might trip an alarm, removal, and set their purses and everything they'd taken off in the little gray plastic bins next to their clothes and slid them forward on the rollers.

"Crap, hold on," Quinn said as she grabbed her bag and pulled her iPad out, setting it into the bin beside her shoes. The last time she'd gone through security they'd ended up searching her purse because the tablet needed to be scanned individually. "Okay. Sorry."

Rachel smiled and followed Quinn through the metal detector, and once they were on the other side they grabbed their bins and sat down on a bench to put their shoes back on.

"BYE QUINN!" Alice and Ryan yelled as they walked by with their mother.

Quinn looked up, grinned at the kids, and waved. "Make sure to go on Peter Pan for me!"

"We will!" Alice answered, before skipping off down the terminal singing, "Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer..."

Quinn laughed at the little girl's song choice and shook her head as she finished tying the laces on her running shoes. "Ready, Rach?"

Rachel nodded and slipped her purse over her shoulder. "When you are, sweetie."

Quinn smiled and reached for Rachel's hand, twining their fingers together as they started toward their gate. She glanced at her watch and said, "It's just after eleven, you wanna go get a drink in the bar before our flight? It's not going to board for another half an hour or so."

Rachel yawned and nodded. "Sounds good to me."

Thirty minutes, two glasses of Chardonnay for Rachel, and one tall Snakebite for Quinn later, they settled their tab and wandered out of the bar toward the gate where their flight had already begun boarding. The flight attendant did a little double take at their boarding passes but let them through with a smile, and Quinn sighed happily, wrapping an arm around Rachel's shoulders as they wandered down the airbridge to the plane. The brunette was leaning heavily against her side, already half-asleep, and mumbled something about reindeer and Tinkerbell as the blonde helped her settle into her seat.

"Would you like some blankets?" the flight attendant asked Quinn, as the blonde finished buckling her seat belt and pushed the armrest up so Rachel could snuggle up against her.

"That would be great, thanks," Quinn whispered.

The woman nodded and pulled a couple of blue blankets out of the overhead bin and handed them to Quinn. "Here you go. Need anything else?"

Quinn smiled and shook her head as she spread the blanket over hers and Rachel's laps. "I think we're good, thanks," she said, as the brunette's head landed on her chest. "How long until take-off?"

"We should be leaving on time. As soon as we're up in the air you can go ahead and lean your seats back if you want. If you need anything, just let me know."

"Thanks," Quinn said, looking away from the flight attendant to Rachel, whose fists were wrapped in the material of her sweatshirt. She yawned and scooted down in her seat, trying to get a little more comfortable. Once she was in as comfortable position as she could get, she brushed her lips over her sleeping girlfriend's forehead and whispered, "Sweet dreams, Rach."

Chapter 30

Lima looked almost exactly the same as it had seven years ago when Quinn and Rachel had graduated from William McKinley High School and headed out into the world. Kids still rode bikes down the middle of the street, front yards were still filled with balls and bats and abandoned skateboards, houses were still kept tidy, and font gardens still bloomed with the bright colors of summer. It was the same and yet, at the same time, it was undeniably different because this, Lima, was no longer home.

"You can never go home again," Quinn murmured as she steered their rented Mini Cooper into the Berry's driveway.

Rachel turned and looked at Quinn, trying to gauge her mood. Ever since they'd landed in Columbus earlier that morning, Quinn had been quiet. Introspective. She hadn't been too worried about it because she'd learned that the blonde fell into moods like this occasionally and she just attributed it to nerves about them seeing Beth later that afternoon, but there was something in the former Cheerio's tone that had her wondering if it was something more than just that. "I've heard that phrase before. What is it from?"

"It's the title of a book, by Thomas Wolfe," Quinn answered, as she put the car into park and killed the ignition. "And the title itself is kind of a summary of a paragraph in the novel where the protagonist comes to terms with his life, but..." her voice trailed off as she watched Rachel smile at her. " What?"

Rachel grinned. "You know that paragraph by heart, don't you?"

Quinn nodded. "Lit geek, remember?"

Rachel chuckled. Yes, she had been exposed to quite a few of Quinn's so-called 'lit geek' tendencies in the last few weeks, including the snappish way the blonde would sometimes respond if she tried to talk to her when she was reading, and the utter joy that would fill her hazel eyes when she was talking about specific books and the characters in them. "Tell me."

Quinn arched a questioning brow at Rachel but could see that the brunette was genuinely curious, and had that look in her eye that said she wasn't going to back down, so she sighed and said, "Do you want the entire paragraph, because it relates back to the story in quite a few places so it won't make sense to you, or can I give you an abridged version that you might understand better?"

Rachel shrugged. It didn't really matter to her. She just wanted to be let into Quinn's mind, to know what the blonde was thinking. "Either one."

"Abridged it is," Quinn said, smiling softly. "You can't go back home to your family, back home to your childhood, back home to romantic love, back home to a young man's dreams of glory and of fame... back home to lyricism, to singing just for singing's sake-" she winked at Rachel "-back home to aestheticism, to one's youthful idea of 'the artist' and the all-sufficiency of 'art' and 'beauty' and 'love,' ... back home to someone who can help you, save you, ease the burden for you, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time--back home to the escapes of Time and Memory."

Rachel licked her lips and nodded. "I think I like the shorter quote better."

Quinn grinned and nodded. "I thought you might. It's less... jaded, that way."

"Right, because I can still sing for singing's sake," Rachel said, pointing out the one line that had, for obvious reasons, stood out to her the most. "It's fun. It's a release. It's part of me that I don't think I would ever be able to give up completely – no matter if I'm on Broadway or not."

"Are we really going to sit in your parents' driveway and discuss the merits of a paragraph from a book you haven't read?" Quinn chuckled.

"Maybe we are," Rachel said, crossing her arms over her chest and shooting the blonde a challenging look.

Quinn sucked her lower lip between her teeth and ran a hand through her hair. "It's... the book is about a guy who moves from a small town to New York City-"

"Smart man," Rachel interjected with a grin.

Quinn rolled her eyes. "Anyways, he writes a book about his hometown and when the people of his hometown read it they are appalled by his depiction of them, and they start sending him death threats and stuff. He tries to gain a greater knowledge of his artistic identity by throwing himself into New York's social scene, then to a group of ex-pats in London, then to Hitler's Germany. And from all that, he learns to once again love the place that directed so much hate at him. Yes, the quote seems dark and twisted, full of hopelessness and loss, but it's not. It's optimistic. It's saying that yes, things change. Yes, those childhood notions you once held in such high regard are gone. But all is not lost. You can't go back home because Time and Memory have changed that place into something you don't recognize. But that doesn't mean that you can't embrace it anyways. It just means that you have to look at it and see it as it is now, and not try and force it to be as you remember it was."

The car was silent after Quinn's heartfelt analysis. Quinn looked down at her lap in embarrassment because she hadn't meant to go off like that, it's just that the book had spoken to her when she'd read it – she could relate to the searching to find yourself, the realization that different wasn't necessarily better, the coming to terms with who you are and where you're from as a basis of who you have become.

Rachel, however, was looking at the blonde with absolute awe in her eyes. "Yeah, if you were my English teacher and I got to listen to you talk like that every day, I would have so totally fantasized about you throwing me down on your desk and doing me," Rachel murmured, effectively shattering the tension that had filled the air around them during Quinn's impassioned rant.

Quinn laughed and covered her face with her hands, shaking her head at the brunette's bluntness.

Rachel grinned and reached out to pull Quinn's hands away from her face so she could look into her eyes. "I think your mind is incredibly sexy," she said. "I like that you get so impassioned about stuff like that. It's what makes you, you. And I happen to love you," she whispered, smiling at the light blush that had tinted Quinn's cheeks as she leaned across the center console to kiss the blonde softly. "A lot."

Quinn leaned her forehead against Rachel's and sighed. "I love you too," she said.

After a few minutes of just sitting together quietly inside the car, soaking in each other's presence, a familiar face peered through the driver's side window and caught Rachel's attention. "You ready to go inside?" Rachel whispered.

Quinn chuckled and shook her head. "Not at all."

"Well, we're going to have to go inside soon," Rachel said, flicking her eyes over Quinn's to look at her father. "Because daddy is standing outside your window."

Quinn groaned and closed her eyes. This was not how she'd wanted to first meet Rachel's parents. "Any chance he'll just go away and leave us alone?"

Rachel laughed and kissed the blonde softly. "Don't think so, baby. Come on." She kissed Quinn again quickly before pulling away and climbing out of the car with an enthusiastic, "Daddy!"

Quinn groaned and climbed out of the car, smiling in spite of her embarrassment at the sight of Rachel's father smiling and hugging the brunette tightly. She had been briefed on the drive out about both of Rachel's fathers, so she knew that this one, who had the same skin tone and compact build as Rachel, and glasses was her biological father, Hiram. "Hello, sir," she said.

"I am in love with her, daddy," Rachel whispered, finally telling her father what she'd been holding back for weeks as she gave him one last squeeze before backing away, the steely glint in her eyes quite clearly warning him to behave himself.

Hiram shot his daughter a look of surprise. He'd known that she was quite fond of the blonde, but hadn't realized that her feelings were so deep, and nodded as he watched Rachel take her place at Quinn's side. "Quinn," he said, trying to sound delighted and only managing to sound anxious as he reached out to shake the blonde's hand. "Nice to see you again."

Quinn licked her lips and nodded. "You too, sir," she said, shaking his hand.

"You can call me Hiram. It'll make things a lot less confusing when my husband gets home," he said. "But, please, come on in girls. Your bags in the trunk?"

Quinn nodded. "I can get them."

"Nonsense," Hiram said, walking around the back of the car to the hatch and lifting it up. He pulled two medium-sized suitcases out and set them on the driveway. He was hoping the activity would give him a little time to process what Rachel had told him but, so far, it wasn't working.

"Where's dad at?" Rachel asked as she watched her father slam the hatch closed.

"He went to the market, we ran out of coffee this morning," Hiram shared as he started up the drive, the girls' luggage in tow. "I'll just go put these upstairs and then we can sit and catch up. What time is the party?"

"Three," Rachel answered.

Quinn beeped the car locked and shyly smiled as she felt Rachel's hand slip into her own.

"You're fine," Rachel whispered, smiling reassuringly up at the blonde. "Relax."

"That's a little hard to do at the moment," Quinn whispered back, licking her lips nervously. She knew that over the last few weeks of phone calls from Rachel that the Berrys had gotten used to the idea of her being with Rachel; but she also knew that, so far as they were concerned, she was still that evil, repressed little bitch who had tormented their daughter in high school. Because of that, this was an important weekend for her, and for hers and Rachel's relationship, because she needed to convince both of the brunette's fathers that she was truly worthy of their daughter's love. "But I'm trying, okay?"

Rachel nodded and pulled Quinn inside the house and into the living room. She watched as Quinn looked around the room curiously, taking it all in, and squeezed the blonde's hand gently, silently assuring her that everything was okay.

Quinn let go of Rachel's hand as she spotted some old photographs of the brunette tucked into the painted white bookshelves around the fireplace and wandered over to have a closer look. "How old were you in this one?" she asked, holding up a picture of a very young Rachel in a red bedazzled leotard and a matching tutu, with a big show biz smile lighting up her face.

Rachel rolled her eyes. Of course, Quinn would find that picture. "Three. It was right before my first dance competition."

Unnoticed by both girls, Hiram had returned from dropping off their bags and was now standing in the doorway watching them.

"You won that one, right?" Quinn asked, carefully setting the photograph back onto the shelf, her eyes dancing over all the other pictures of her love.

Rachel's eyes widened in surprise. She couldn't remember ever telling Quinn about that. "How do you know that?"

Quinn shrugged and picked up another picture. This one showed Rachel sitting on a bench in a bright yellow Lima Little League jersey wearing the most heartbreaking pout she'd ever seen. "You used to talk about it in Glee," she said. "What about this one?"

Hiram cleared his throat. "That was my failed attempt at giving her a more well-rounded childhood."

Rachel rolled her eyes as Quinn's lit up. "What happened?"

"She was doing so much music and dance that I thought it'd be best if she did something that was more of a team sport, so we signed her up for T-Ball. That picture," he said, as he crossed the room to take the picture out of Quinn's hand and look at it fondly, "was taken after the first inning of her first game. She was mad because she got in trouble for singing The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music, picking dandelions, and dancing in right field... and then she couldn't hit the ball off the tee and ended up getting called out after the tenth strike."

Quinn grinned. "Really?"

Hiram forced a tight smile and nodded. "Really. So she decided to try and throw one of her diva fits and storm out, but we made her sit on the bench and watch the rest of the game."

"I bet that went over well," Quinn chuckled.

"Not at all," Hiram agreed, a small smile tweaking his lips at the memory. "Anyway, after that game, we caved and pulled her out of the league because it was obvious that she wasn't going to enjoy herself and we didn't want her ruining the fun for the other kids."

"And then I got back to my dance and voice lessons where I belonged," Rachel said as she took the picture out of Quinn's hands and set it back onto the shelf. "Any other embarrassing stories you'd like to know about me?" she teased, as she wrapped her arms around the blonde's waist.

Quinn grinned mischievously and nodded. "I want to know all of them," she said, her smile growing wider as Rachel groaned dramatically and headbutted her shoulder.

Hiram gave Quinn a searching look before her turned his attention to his daughter. "We'll get there in time. So, how was your flight out, good?"

Quinn nodded and allowed Rachel to pull her over to the couch. She rolled her eyes as the brunette pulled her down right next to her, and couldn't help but smile when Rachel's head landed on her shoulder. "It was your typical red-eye," Quinn answered.

"Did Rachel sleep at all?" he asked, figuring that if he kept the topic of conversation on his daughter he might be able to wrap his head around what he was seeing quicker. The idea of Quinn and Rachel being together was one thing to come to grips with over the phone, but seeing them together was something entirely different and every protective instinct he had was primed and ready to go. "Normally she can't sleep on planes."

"Oh, she was out before the plane even took off," Quinn said. "We had a long day on set yesterday so it wasn't too hard to fall asleep."

"And the wine totally helped," Rachel added.

Hiram smiled at Rachel's addendum to Quinn's explanation and shook his head. "How is the movie going? Still having fun with it, Rach?"

Rachel nodded. "Yeah. Yesterday was a little strange because of what we were shooting, but..."

"What were you shooting?" Hiram asked.

Quinn cleared her throat uncomfortably and gave Rachel a look that quite clearly said, this one is all you.

"It was the first of three love scenes," Rachel told her father, smiling at the blush she could see creeping up Quinn's neck. "And, as I've never done nudity before, it was definitely a surreal experience."

"Is my baby girl here?!" An excited voice bellowed from the doorway before Hiram could ask any more questions about that one.

"Dad!" Rachel yelled, jumping up off of the couch and running into her other father's arms. Quinn's head turned to follow her girlfriend's movement and she smiled as she watched the little brunette leap into her dad's arms. Leroy Berry was the complete opposite of his husband in appearance, but the smile on his face was the exact same one Quinn had seen on Hiram's face when he'd been hugging Rachel on the driveway earlier.

It must be nice, she thought, as she got to her feet, her hands nervously smoothing out the wrinkles on her jeans as she waited to be formally introduced to Rachel's other father, to be surrounded by that much unconditional love.

"Dad," Rachel said, pulling back from his embrace and giving him the same serious look she'd given her daddy earlier, "I'm in love with her. Behave."

"I will, baby girl," he assured her. Just because this was the first time she'd said those words specifically to him, he wasn't at all surprised. He could hear it in Rachel's voice every time she called. "But first I need to do the dad thing," he said, patting the top of her head patronizingly as he walked into the room, his right hand extended in greeting. "Quinn Fabray, I assume. Nice to meet you."

Quinn swallowed thickly and forced a smile onto her face as she shook his hand. "Nice to meet you too, sir. Rachel has told me so much about you guys. Thank you for opening your home to me this weekend," she added, casting a wary glance over her shoulder at Hiram who was scowling at her.

Leroy pursed his lips thoughtfully and gave the blonde a quick once over. He already approved of her from everything Rachel had told him over the phone, but he couldn't resist making her sweat just a little bit. "It was our pleasure. Now, sit, sit. So," he said, dropping into an empty armchair across from the sofa where Quinn had dutifully reclaimed her seat, "you met up with Rachel again on set?"

"Yes, sir," Quinn answered.

"Dad, daddy," Rachel said, a protective tone in her voice as she sat down beside Quinn and took the blonde's hand into her own.

"And you two are now dating," Hiram said. It wasn't a question, because Rachel had told them, never mind the tabloids and everything else they'd seen on the subject. And they had seen a lot. It seemed like every day there were new pictures of Rachel and Quinn up on the internet and the gossip sites absolutely loved to talk about them.

Quinn nodded, unsure of where, exactly, this conversation was going. "Yes, sir."

Rachel huffed indignantly. "Daddy!"

Leroy laughed and shook his head. "Relax, Rach. We're not going to give the full inquisition. We'd have to be fools to not see the change in you since you two met back up. You haven't been this happy in... I don't know how long, honestly. But surely you can understand that we do have some questions," he said, looking pointedly at Quinn.

Quinn nodded. "I expected you would. I'll answer whatever questions you have."

"My baby girl is in love with you," Leroy said, smiling at the two women who couldn't help but look at each other. The love on their faces was so clear that even a blind man would have known it was there. "Do you love her?"

"Yes," Quinn answered quietly, tearing her eyes away from Rachel to look at her fathers. "Looking back on it now, I can say with absolute surety that I have been in love with your daughter since we were in high school."

"High school," Hiram repeated.

Quinn nodded. "Of course, there were so many things keeping me from doing anything about it back then: my parents prejudices, societal pressures of a small town, my ultra-religious upbringing. Had I been able to wrap my head around what I was feeling and been okay with it, my parents would have surely shipped me off to one of those camps that 'fix' gay kids – so it might have been an unconscious act of self-preservation there, I don't know. I do know that I dated boys who were easy to control because I could keep them at a distance and not have to commit to a truly emotional relationship. I knew that then, and I sure as hell know that now. It was high school, appearances were really all that mattered, and by linking myself to boys who were malleable I provided myself with the safety net of a heterosexual relationship without any of the risk of what might become a sexual relationship. I didn't want to be with them, but in a way I needed to be, if that makes sense."

Leroy nodded, his understanding plain on his face, but Hiram scowled.

"So the taunts and the nicknames," Hiram pressed. "Treasure Trail, Man Hands, and the like – were because of what?" Hiram asked pointedly. He had spent more nights than he could count consoling Rachel after she'd suffered under the blonde's bullying.

Quinn licked her lips and nodded. "You wouldn't believe the hours I've spent thinking about all that. I even saw a therapist for a short time to try and make sense of it all; because even after I accepted the fact that I was a lesbian, I wasn't a happy person. It took some serious work for me to come to terms with the Head Bitch that I was, and who you surely remember me as being, and who I really was.

Anyways, what my therapist finally helped me realize was that by calling Rachel all those horrible names, I was trying to essentially de-feminize her, I guess you could say. Because if she wasn't a girl, then my attraction to her would have been okay. I mean, look at her – she's gorgeous," she said, smiling as she looked at Rachel, who blushed adorably. "She has the most beautiful brown eyes I have ever seen, gorgeous legs that just go on for miles, lips that make you want to just..." her voice trailed off as she remembered she was speaking to Rachel's fathers, "um, never mind. But, yeah. I wanted her then and I knew I wasn't supposed to, so in my messed-up, bible verse filled head I thought that if I made all those things I so loved about her less feminine, less womanly, less beautiful, then maybe it was okay that I liked them. That's not an excuse for my behavior and I've already apologized to Rachel for all of it, but it is an explanation."

"When did you accept it?" Leroy asked softly, everybody in the room understanding that 'it' was the fact that she was gay.

"Beginning of my junior year of college," Quinn answered honestly. "I was at a party and this girl kissed me and it was like everything finally made sense. I had grown enough as a person that I couldn't deny it anymore. It took me a while after that to really accept it, but my friends at school were all very laid back and they helped me realize that being gay didn't define me as a person, it was just a part of what made me, me. The therapy that I mentioned also helped a lot with my accepting it too. I met my first real girlfriend at the beginning of my senior year. She was a second-year law student at USC, very confident with herself and her sexuality, and she kind of helped me through the whole coming out process."

"I'm assuming your parents know, then," Hiram said, his voice slightly more gentle.

Quinn nodded. "I came out to them the weekend I was graduating from college. They um, disowned me again after that, but I have never once regretted it. I was finally happy. I was happy with myself, and with my life. My career was taking off and I was tired of lying about who I was."

"So you were out publicly before Rachel?" Leroy asked. His tone was much friendlier than his husband's – where Hiram was attacking the blonde, he was simply curious. He knew being gay wasn't easy and he wanted to make sure that, even though public response to Quinn and Rachel had been positive so far, the blonde had the wherewithal to protect his daughter should the press and the public turn nasty toward them.

"Not really," Quinn answered. "Jamie, my ex, took a job in New York about a year after I graduated, which was right about the time that Thunder was released and I really got to be known. After her, I had occasional dates but nothing serious, so it wasn't like I had anything to really confirm or deny. There were pictures taken of me with other women, but as it was never the same one more than a few times, they were all written off as 'friends'. People in the industry knew, my friends knew, I certainly wasn't hiding anything, but it wasn't necessarily public information. It wasn't until Rachel and I got together that I actually 'came out' in the press."

Leroy nodded. "What changed?"

Quinn smiled and looked over at Rachel. "Everything."

"You two are too freaking cute," Leroy cooed.

Hiram watched both Rachel and Quinn blush and couldn't help asking, "What about Beth?"

"I'm sorry?" Quinn asked.

"Daddy!" Rachel hissed. It was one thing for her fathers to ask Quinn about their shared past, but it was quite another for them to question the blonde about her child.

"It's an entirely valid question, Rachel," Hiram said. "I'm just wondering why, if you really loved Rachel back in high school, would you give your baby to the woman who had hurt her so badly?"

Quinn squeezed Rachel's hand reassuringly and sat up straighter in her seat. "It's okay, sweetheart," she murmured, before she turned her attention to the brunette's father. "With all due respect, sir, at the time, I was beyond confused about myself and what I was feeling. I had just given birth to a beautiful little girl who was perfect, so perfect, who I knew I couldn't raise, and there was Shelby – who wanted Beth, who could care for her the way she deserved, who could give her everything I wanted for her. That decision had nothing to do with Rachel," she said, shooting a quick glance at the woman on her right. "Sorry."

"It's okay," Rachel whispered.

Quinn looked down at the coffee table and took a deep breath as she quickly organized her thoughts. "Yes, I was aware of the whole Shelby/Rachel connection but it didn't factor into my decision at all. I didn't give Beth to Shelby to make Rachel miserable. Rachel had two fathers who loved her unconditionally. I had nobody, and I didn't want that for Beth. I gave Beth to Shelby because I knew she would be able to give my daughter a good life. I was a mother, looking to do what was best for my child. And, for that, I will never be sorry because Beth is happy and I know I made the right decision."

Rachel had stayed quiet as Quinn defended her actions, but she couldn't any longer. Yes, she had been hurt initially when she'd learned that Quinn had given Beth to Shelby, but she had gotten over it. Rather quickly, to be honest. And now, after hearing Quinn's reasoning, she only felt pride – pride that Quinn, at the tender age of sixteen, had been able to step outside of the mixed-up, often backwards world of high school to make such a profound and responsible decision. "Sweetie," she murmured, drawing Quinn's attention off of the coffee table she'd been staring lasers through and onto herself. She smiled as watery hazel eyes met hers and reached up to cradle the blonde's face in her hand. "I know you made the right decision too," she whispered.

Quinn swallowed thickly. "Do you?"

"Yes. You were a scared kid who did the most responsible thing you could have done. I am actually very proud of you for being able to step up like that. You could have just handed her over to an agency, where she would have ended up who knows where, and that would have been easier because you wouldn't have had to really think about any of this, but you didn't. You found a woman who was desperate to become a mother, and who you knew would raise your daughter well. That isn't something to be ashamed of, sweetie."

Quinn bit her lip and nodded. "Okay."

"I love you," Rachel whispered, ignoring her fathers completely as she leaned in toward the blonde.

"I love you too," Quinn whispered, smiling shyly when Rachel pressed a soft, chaste kiss to her lips. She was still very aware of the fact that Hiram and Leroy were watching them carefully.

"Now apologize," Leroy ordered his husband in a stern whisper that wasn't a whisper at all.

Rachel and Quinn turned to look at the two men as Hiram held Leroy's gaze for a few seconds, silently arguing with him that he didn't need to apologize, before an arched brow from his husband had him looking away as he cleared his throat quietly. "I'm sorry I upset you," Hiram said. The blonde had said exactly the things he had hoped to hear, but that didn't mean he was completely on Team Quinn just yet. Just because Rachel and Leroy had forgiven her, didn't mean that he was quite ready to. "I was just curious as to why you did it."

"It's okay," Quinn said, as she settled back onto the couch. "I don't want there to be any misunderstandings here. So, is there anything else you'd like to ask?"

"I think they've asked enough questions for the time being," Rachel said pointedly.

Hiram looked ready to argue that he had more questions he wanted answers to but, at the sight of both Rachel and his husband glaring at him, he swallowed the words before they could leave his mouth. "Rachel's right," Hiram said. "We have all weekend."

"So, do you girls have any plans before the party?" Leroy piped up, drawing attention away from his husband, who he could tell was still harboring something of a grudge against Quinn, and onto himself.

Rachel shook her head. "Nope. Just hanging out here, maybe grabbing a quick nap before it's time to go."

Hiram and Leroy both smiled, the both of them obviously pleased with the idea of spending as much time as possible with their daughter. "So, tell us about the movie business," Leroy urged excitedly, letting Hiram off the hook of having to play nice for now.

Quinn laughed and leaned back into Rachel as the brunette started telling her fathers all about Hollywood. It was somewhere around Rachel's description of her trailer that Quinn started yawning. Rachel had slept on the plane ride out, but she had been too nervous about meeting the Berrys to sleep and now that the adrenaline of the 'inquisition' was over, she was understandably fatigued.

"Why don't you go upstairs and sleep," Rachel suggested gently, as she watched Quinn try and cover up another jaw-popping yawn that made the blonde's eyes water.

"Is that okay?" Quinn asked softly.

"Of course, sweetie," Rachel assured her.

Hiram cleared his throat and set his shoulders, trying to exude confidence and superiority. He knew that what he was about to say was going to land him in hot water with both his daughter and his husband. "I put your bag in the guest room across the hall from Rachel's bedroom."

"Daddy!" Rachel yelled.

Quinn squeezed the brunette's hand and shook her head. Yes, she wanted to fall asleep with Rachel in her arms, but she was a guest in their home and she would do as they wished. "That's fine. Thank you," she said, dropping a quick kiss to Rachel's cheek before she got to her feet and left the room.

Rachel glared at her father, but didn't say anything until she heard the guest room door close upstairs. "Really, daddy? The guest room?"

"What? Do you really expect her to sleep in your room with you? I'm trying to be understanding about this whole thing, I really am – but she is the reason you hated high school."

"And she's explained, rather eloquently, I might add, why she did it," Rachel said. "I have forgiven her. I am the one trusting her with my heart, my career – because she is the one helping me through this film – and my body. So why are you still punishing her? I thought we got over this?"

"You got over it. And you, too, apparently," Hiram said, looking from Rachel to his husband, with something of a wounded look. "But I don't forgive that quickly."

Rachel shook her head. "Bullshit."

Both of her fathers froze at the expletive. Rachel hardly ever swore in their presence. "I'm sorry?" Hiram pressed.

"I said bullshit," Rachel said, getting defiantly to her feet as she repeated herself. "Dad bullied you in high school and you forgave him, obviously," she said, noting the pained expression on her dad's face. She hated to bring this up, knowing that Leroy still felt terrible about the things he'd done to Hiram when they were teenagers, but it was entirely relevant to her argument and she knew it was her best weapon to prove her point.

"That's different," Hiram huffed.

"How?" Rachel challenged. "How is him making your life less than pleasant for a few years in high school any different than Quinn doing it to me?"

"Because you're my daughter!" Hiram blew up. "I'm supposed to protect you and I couldn't!"

Rachel's defiant expression softened. "You did everything I needed you to do. You loved me. You supported me. You held me when I cried and told me that everything would be okay. Quinn is not the same confused, repressed girl she was in high school just like dad is no longer that boy. People grow up. They change. I am so in love with her, daddy. She is who I want. She is the person I see me spending the rest of my life with. Nothing you do or say will change that, so I need you to at least accept it. To move past the grudge you're harboring against who she was and make an effort to get to know the amazing, beautiful, intelligent, sensitive woman she is now. Because when you do that, I know you'll see what I do. I know that once you really get to know her you'll see that she is everything I need in a partner. I. Am. In. Love. With. Her. I love you and I always will, but I am in love with Quinn and I need you to respect that."

Hiram took a deep breath and looked over at Leroy, who was looking at their daughter with so much pride in his eyes that it took his breath away. "You can honestly say that you forgive Quinn for everything she did to Rachel?" he asked his husband.

Leroy nodded and met his husband's questioning gaze. "I do. I know what it's like to be where she was, and I know how hard it is to come to terms with it. She and I are a lot alike," he said softly. "We were both athletic, popular, scared, and insecure. And we both fell in love with tiny, outgoing, confident, and sometimes brash Berrys. I can empathize with where she was then, and I can accept where she is now. And I can see how happy she makes Rachel – and that is all that really matters."

Hiram nodded slowly, obviously defeated. "Okay, then. I'll try and make an effort to get to know her."

"And I'm moving her into my room after her nap," Rachel said.

"And she's moving into your room after her nap," Hiram agreed. "Excuse me, I need to go get a drink of water," he said. He dropped a quick kiss to Rachel's forehead as he walked past and she visibly relaxed at the gesture. "I'm sorry."

"I'm not the one you need to apologize to," Rachel whispered.

"I know. I'll say something to her before you guys leave for Beth's party," he said, before leaving her alone in the living room with her dad.

Rachel looked at Leroy and hesitantly asked, "You really forgive her?"

Leroy nodded and got up from his chair. "I do. Now, why don't you go on up and rest with Quinn, and I'll try and talk your daddy down a bit. He'll be fine, sweetie, he just needs a little more time. You have to understand that a month ago you were straight, and now you're in love with the woman who tormented you when you were teenagers. Hearing you talk about your relationship on the phone, or seeing photographs of you two together in magazines, and seeing it in action are two very different things, and I think your daddy was just thrown for a loop when he actually witnessed you two together. Because, baby girl, the love you have for each other literally radiates off of you both."

He smiled reassuringly, his voice softening as he continued, "You know as well as I do that your daddy tends to hold grudges against those who've hurt any of us. Quinn said everything she needed to say to convince us that she's sincere, and you more than put your foot down on the matter, so just give him some space. I'll keep him in line until he comes around," he said, holding his arms out to his daughter.

Rachel smiled sadly and fell into his embrace. "I really do love her."

Leroy smiled and kissed the top of her head affectionately. "I know you do, sweetie. Go tend to your girl. I'll deal with your father."

Rachel nodded, flashing him a thankful smile as she pulled away. They walked out of the living room side by side and split up at the stairs, Rachel going up and Leroy heading down the hall to the kitchen where they could hear Hiram banging in the cupboards. When he was upset, he baked, and from the sound of things it looked like they were going to be rolling in pastries in a couple of hours.

Rachel found Quinn asleep on the bed in the guest room, her body curled up around a pillow as if it were Rachel's small frame. She hated seeing the blonde as exhausted as she'd been, but a part of her was glad that Quinn had been able to sleep through the yelling that had gone on basically right under her feet. She didn't regret for a moment standing up for Quinn like she had, but she was glad that the former Cheerio didn't have to listen to it. Rachel smiled softly as she stopped beside the bed, reaching down with a gentle hand to brush Quinn's hair out of her face as she toed off her shoes. She carefully pulled the pillow out of the blonde's arms, drawing a whimpered protest from her lover's lips, which she shushed with a light kiss before she laid down in her arms. "Hold me instead?"

"Always," Quinn murmured sleepily, tangling her fingers with Rachel's and moving them to rest above the brunette's heart that she could feel was beating faster than normal. "Everything okay?"

Rachel nodded and scooted back into Quinn's body, her ass fitting snug to the blonde's hips as she pulled their arms tighter together over her chest. "Yeah. Everything's fine. We'll talk more later. Let's just rest for now."

Chapter 31

The alarm on Quinn's phone woke them up an hour and a half before Beth's party. Rachel groaned and swatted at the device, annoyed that she was being woken up when she had just fallen asleep, and Quinn chuckled softly as she reached over the brunette's body to turn the offending noise off.

"Better?" Quinn whispered as she pressed a lingering kiss to Rachel's cheek.

"Mmm," Rachel mumbled, nodding sleepily as she relaxed. "Whatimeisssit?"

"Time to take a shower and get ready," Quinn answered, smiling down at Rachel as she ran her hand lightly up and down the brunette's arm. "If you still want to go with me, that is. You can stay here and sleep if you want, baby."

Rachel groaned and shook her head as she shifted on the bed so she was laying on her back and looking up at Quinn's smiling face. "I want to go. I just really, really, really want to sleep too."

"Me too," Quinn whispered, dipping her head down and claiming Rachel's lips in a slow, sweet kiss. "Thank you for snuggling with me. Guest bath is in the hall?"

Rachel shook her head. "No. You're staying with me in my room and I have my own bathroom."

Quinn frowned and pulled back so she could see more than just Rachel's eyes. "But your dad-"

"My father," Rachel interrupted, "was being a jerk. And I told him that. And I also told him that you were moving into my room when you woke up."

"Rach, sweetie, I'm not worth you fighting with your father," Quinn murmured, her eyes dancing over the brunette's face as she smiled somewhat bashfully at her.

"And that's where you're wrong," Rachel whispered, slipping her right hand between their bodies so she could press a finger to the blonde's lips. Since the night of their first 'date' at Quinn's house the subject of the blonde thinking that she wasn't worth a fight hadn't really come up again. Everybody on set was more than supportive of their relationship and they avoided reading the articles that were written about them so they hadn't seen anything negative, but it was something that, when life finally slowed down to a manageable pace, still haunted her. "You are worth that fight and so many more, Quinn," she said, staring intently into her lover's eyes. "I will fight for you – be it with my overprotective father or the world – because you deserve somebody who will do that. Lucky for you, I am so completely head over heels in love with you that that job has fallen to me. So, get used to it, Fabray. You're mine and I'm not giving you up." She pulled her finger away from the blonde's lip and bopped her on the nose with it for emphasis. "Kapisch?"

Quinn's lips quirked up in a shy smile and she nodded as she leaned in to kiss the brunette tenderly. "I love you."

"I love you," Rachel murmured, as she cradled the blonde's face in her hand. She took a deep breath and bit her lip as she looked up into smiling hazel eyes. "Thank you, for answering their questions earlier. Lord knows they weren't polite about it."

Quinn shrugged and kissed Rachel again softly. "It was fine. If I was them and you brought me home as your girlfriend, I'd have a lot of questions about it too. Let's face it, Rach; I wasn't the nicest person when I left here."

"You were," Rachel argued. Quinn gave her the eyebrow that never failed to drive her wild and she couldn't help smiling as she rolled her eyes. "Okay, fine. You had moments of unpleasantness, but even then I could see that you were hurting and didn't know how to fix whatever was wrong."

"I was a bitch," Quinn said flatly.

"No," Rachel argued. "You were a confused kid with no support whatsoever, trying to find her way in the world. And, you can just swallow that argument I can see building in your eyes now because you know, deep down, that I'm right. I already told you that I've forgiven you for our past, Quinn. You need to do it too."

"It's not that simple," Quinn whispered. "Sure, at home, away from Lima, it's easier to forget the way we were and just focus on the way we are, but here... it's like a time warp, Rach. I come back here and I'm that girl again."

"But you're not," Rachel said, scooting away from Quinn so she could sit up. This was turning into a conversation that she didn't want to have lying down.

"Everybody who knows me thinks I am," Quinn argued, mimicking Rachel's actions as she sat up and folded her legs in front of her.

"Then they don't know you," Rachel said.

"Your father-"

"Was being an asshole," Rachel interrupted Quinn before the blonde's argument could gather any steam. "He had no right to speak to you the way he did and I am so sorry I didn't make him stop, but he doesn't know you, Quinn. He knows the child you were, not the amazing, beautiful, smart, funny, loving, selfless woman you are now. Dad and I got him to realize that he was being a belligerent ass and he's promised to put a lid on his attitude and try and get to know you this weekend. So, just give him a chance. Please. For me."

The room was quiet for a moment and then Quinn whispered, "How is it that you always know what to say to get me to calm down and just be?"

Rachel smiled and leaned in to kiss the blonde softly. "It's because I love you."

"I love you, Rachel," Quinn murmured, automatically smiling at the brunette as she said it. "Can I ask you a question though, now that it is kind of out there?"

Rachel nodded. "Of course."

"I know we've discussed what would happen today and you said that you were fine being my date to Beth's party but, tell me honestly, is it going to bother you to see Shelby with her? Are you really okay with the fact that out of everybody in the world, I chose to give Beth to Shelby?"

Rachel took a deep breath and smiled.

"Honestly," Quinn repeated.

Rachel huffed out a laugh and glowered playfully at the blonde. "I was going to answer honestly, Ms. Interrupting-Pants. I'm fine. I meant what I said earlier – I think you are perhaps the bravest person I know for what you did. Honestly... yes, sixteen-year-old me was a little hurt that you would give your daughter to the woman who didn't want me, but I got over it rather quickly because I could see how much you were hurting from the decision to give Beth up. And, after hearing you talk about your thought process for why you did it, I could never be mad at you for that. You were right. You made the right decision for your daughter. My feelings don't matter in this case."

"They do," Quinn argued, as she sighed and scrubbed her hands over her face. "We should have talked about all this before we came, but there was just no time. Your feelings matter to me because I don't want to put you into a situation where you feel uncomfortable."

"So you would stop seeing your daughter if I couldn't handle seeing Shelby?" Rachel questioned, scoffing at the absurdity of what she'd just said.

Quinn frowned. "I... no. I couldn't. It would hurt her too much if I just suddenly disappeared from her life. But I-"

Rachel interrupted the blonde with a slow, sweet kiss. "Sweetheart, you don't have to worry about my feelings here. She is your daughter and you have every right to be as involved in her life as she and her mom want you to be. I am fine just saying hello to Shelby and then disappearing into the background. This isn't about me. This is about that beautiful little girl you've shown me pictures of. And she wants both her mom and her mother at her party. And I want her to have that. I missed it growing up and I will not try and take that away from her. Okay?"

Quinn nodded. "Okay. You're kind of perfect. You know that, right?"

"Psht," Rachel laughed. "There's no 'kind of' about it. I'm totally perfect. Now, up and at 'em, Fabray. We have a little girl's birthday party to get to," she said, slapping Quinn on the leg as she got off the bed and started for the door.

"Yes, ma'am," Quinn said, obediently climbing off the bed and grabbing her bag. She followed Rachel across the hall into the brunette's room, her eyes darting over the space that was familiar to her from the Broadway star's MySpace videos in high school. "So, do you want first shower?" she asked as Rachel closed the bedroom door behind them.

Rachel licked her lips and looped her arms around Quinn's neck as she lifted herself up onto her tiptoes. "Why does one of us have to go first? Why can't we shower together?"

Quinn chuckled and kissed the tip of Rachel's nose playfully. "I'll give you two guesses."

Rachel grinned. "But my room is soundproofed."

Quinn groaned and wrapped her arms around Rachel's waist, pulling the brunette into her. She sighed as she dropped her forehead to Rachel's and murmured, "Maybe we'll take advantage of that fact later, then. But, for now, we do not have anything close to the time we'd need for me to love you like I've been wanting to since last night." She smiled as she heard Rachel whimper softly. "I want to take my time with you. I want to kiss every glorious inch of your body as I make you come again and again and again. I didn't like having James and the guys see you like that and I want to make you mine again."

Rachel moaned. "Do you have any idea what your words do to me?" she husked, shifting her hips slightly to try and get away from the moisture that had flooded her panties.

Quinn smiled and nodded. "I think I have a pretty good idea of that by now, yes."

"Then you suck," Rachel pouted.

"Mmm." Quinn nodded. "I do. And I lick and bite and..." her voice trailed off in a giggle as Rachel moaned and headbutted her shoulder. "Sorry."

"No you're not," Rachel argued.

Quinn grinned. "Okay, I'm not."

"Just for that, I'm taking the first shower," Rachel said.

"Okay. Save me some hot water?"

Rachel scoffed and smiled as she pulled away. "I don't think that's a problem. I'm probably only going to need the cold tap anyways."

"Cool," Quinn said, smiling as she kissed Rachel sweetly. "Thanks."

Rachel rolled her eyes and smiled in spite of herself, it was nice to see Quinn's playful side had returned. "If you want to put some clothes away, the dresser is empty and there are hangers in the closet. Do you still want to get there a little early?"

Quinn nodded. "Yeah. I'd like a few minutes with her before things get going just to catch up a bit and to introduce you to her."

"Then that's what we'll do," Rachel said, smiling as she backed out of Quinn's arms. She pulled out the shorts and shirt that she'd packed for the afternoon, along with a small bag of toiletries. She kept spares of everything at her parents' house so there wasn't a lot she needed to bring with her, just some moisturizers and stuff that were too expensive to leave sitting in Lima for a once a year use. "I'll be out in a sec," she said as she disappeared into the bathroom and hooked the door almost closed with her heel, purposefully giving the blonde in the other room a show as she stripped.

When Quinn was finished getting ready she made her way downstairs to where she could hear Rachel and her fathers talking. She followed the sound to the kitchen and her stomach growled loudly at the sight of dozens and dozens of cookies and a full sheet of brownies. It all looked amazing.

Leroy was the first to notice the blonde hovering somewhat hesitantly in the doorway and he smiled as he called out, "Hey, Quinn. Want a cookie?"

Rachel turned to her girlfriend and waved her into the room. "Here, babe," she said, holding out a cookie for her lover.

Quinn smiled and ducked her head as she took the cookie Rachel was offering her. "Are they vegan?" she asked hesitantly. She'd tried Rachel's vegan cookies at home, the ones the brunette claimed were 'to die for', and had been less than impressed. In her mind, cookies needed butter. Real, from a cow, fatty, delicious butter.

Hiram, remembering his promise to behave himself and to put a real effort into getting to know Quinn, forced himself to smile as he said, "Some are, and some aren't. That's a non-vegan cookie."

Quinn nodded. "Thank you," she said, taking a bite of the confection and moaning softly as the gooey chocolaty chippy flavor flooded her mouth. "This is amazing."

Rachel smiled and hooked a finger in the pocket of Quinn's shorts so she could pull the blonde closer. "Daddy is an excellent baker – he's the one who taught me how to bake."

Quinn nodded around a mouthful of cookie. "Well, they're delicious," she declared after she's swallowed.

"Do you girls have time for lunch?" Hiram asked. He really was trying to be pleasant. "We have stuff for sandwiches."

Quinn looked at her watch and nodded. "Yeah, we have time."

Leroy smiled. "Then have a seat next to Rach and I'll whip something up. I'm not a baker, but I do make a mean sandwich."

"Are you sure?" Quinn asked.

"Yup," Leroy answered as he turned and opened the fridge. "We have turkey, avocado, bacon, lettuce, tomato... what sounds good?"

Rachel pulled Quinn onto the barstool beside her and placed her hand high on Quinn's thigh as she said, "Ooh. Can I have an LT?"

"LT?" Quinn repeated.

"It's a lettuce and tomato sandwich," Rachel answered, giving the blonde a look that quite clearly said she should have known that. "A BLT without the 'B', if you will."

"What's the point in that?" Quinn asked, grinning at the indignant look that flashed across Rachel's face at her question.

"Please don't get her started," Leroy chuckled as he set a loaf of bread, a tomato, and some lettuce on the island. "So, Quinn, what'll it be?"

"Um, turkey, avocado, and bacon sounds good, if it's not too much trouble."

"Not at all. Mustard?"

"Please," Quinn answered.

Leroy nodded and pulled a Tupperware with sliced avocado in it, the bright yellow container of mustard, some lunchmeat, and a baggie of already cooked bacon out of the fridge and set the ingredients onto the cutting board beside the ones for Rachel's sandwich.

"So, what do you two have going on today?" Rachel asked her fathers, as Hiram began cleaning up some of the baking supplies and Leroy got to work on their late lunches.

"Not a whole lot," Leroy answered, as he sliced the tomato he'd set out on the cutting board. "Just hanging around the house. What do you two have planned for today, besides the party?"

Rachel looked at Quinn, who just smiled and shrugged. "I think it's kind of up in the air still. I know Quinn is hoping to spend some time with Beth and besides that, nothing. It's actually kind of nice to not be working for a change."

Leroy nodded as he finished quickly put Rachel's sandwich together. "Movies are a lot of work, huh?" he asked, as he carefully cut the sandwich across the diagonal.

"Eh," Quinn said, shrugging as Rachel said, "Yes!"

The Berrys laughed at the girls' conflicting answers. "So, Quinn, how did you get into the movie biz?"

"Completely by accident, really," Quinn said, crossing her arms on the counter in front of her as she watched Rachel dig into her food. "My roommate my freshman year was in the business -- one of those completely screwed-up child actors you always hear about -- and she dragged me along to an audition she had for a television spot because she was nervous and wanted company. Anyways, I was just sitting in the waiting room and one of the casting directors came out, saw me, asked a few questions, and the next thing I knew I was standing in the audition room with a script reading lines that I'd never seen before."

"And you got the job?" Hiram asked. His tone wasn't necessarily warm, but it was obvious that he really was trying.

"I did. And then I had to get a new roommate because Rebecca completely lost it, pulled off a diva storm-out that even Rachel would have been impressed with, and convinced her father that she needed to live off-campus by herself because dorm life was 'stifling her creative sensibilities'," Quinn shared, air quotes and all, with a laugh. "Honestly, it was a relief to be rid of her. And I got a job out of the deal, so it was a win-win all around."

Leroy grinned. "And, I have to ask, just because we watch them every year – the Oscars... are they just as amazing in real life as they are on television?"

Quinn ducked her head and smiled shyly. "You do know I lost, right?"

"Who cares!" Leroy practically yelled, waving his hands in the air and making Hiram duck away from the knife that was now a little too close to his face for comfort. "You were nominated for an Oscar! That's amazing!"

"I won three Tony Awards," Rachel said petulantly.

"Yeah, but the Oscars," Leroy retorted somewhat dreamily. "Quinn was at the Oscars!"

Quinn grinned at his enthusiasm as she placed a placating hand high on Rachel's leg. She couldn't tell if the brunette was genuinely upset or just playing, but she figured that, either way, the touch would calm her down. "The Golden Globes are more fun but, yeah, it was pretty cool."

"Why are the Golden Globes more fun?" Hiram asked.

Rachel smiled at her father's genuine effort to get to know Quinn better as the blonde answered simply, "Alcohol. The Oscars are all about winning. Everybody there is on edge because of the pressure from studios and the press and everything, it's that seminal award that if you win will define your career so there are egos on the line and it's just... not the best time. It's fun, don't get me wrong, and, to steal an often overused line, it really was an honor just to be nominated, but the Globes are a more laid-back dinner show with lots of alcohol. Lots and lots of alcohol."

"A room full of drunk celebrities?" Leroy mused. "I need to see that. You'll have to take me as your plus one next year," he said, handing Quinn her sandwich that he'd made while she'd been talking

Quinn laughed and looked over at Rachel, who was looking a little annoyed that her father would even dare to try and steal Quinn away from her for such an important night. "I'll let you duke that one out with Rach," she said, wisely taking herself out of the equation.

"I can take her," Leroy said, winking at his daughter who let out a petulant huff. "Look at her, she's tiny!"

Quinn smiled as her eyes danced over Rachel's face. "I think she's beautiful," she murmured, her smile growing wider as Rachel blushed adorably and whispered, 'I love you'.

Leroy grinned as he looked away from the two girls to catch his husband watching the couple with a soft smile on his face. He shook his head as he leaned into Hiram and whispered, "She's the one. You know that, right?"

Hiram nodded. Intellectually, he didn't want to believe it because he could still remember the way the blonde's taunts had tormented Rachel in school, but there was no denying the look in Quinn's eyes as she looked at his daughter. And Rachel had the same look in hers. "Yeah."

Leroy glanced at his watch. "If you're going to apologize before they leave, you better do it soon," he whispered.

Hiram took a deep breath and nodded as he wiped his hands off on a dishtowel. "Quinn, could I have a word with you in the living room please?"

Quinn looked from Rachel, who looked mildly concerned, to Leroy, who looked completely relaxed, and shrugged. "Sure," she said, looking longingly at her untouched sandwich before she got to her feet and followed the Hiram down the hall to the living room. Hiram stopped at the back of the sofa and turned to face her and she smiled hesitantly as she stopped a few feet away. She didn't think he would try and hurt her, but some ingrained habits were hard to break and being alone in a room with a father figure she didn't really know had her a little on edge. She jammed her hands into her pockets and tilted her head questioningly, willing to give him the upper hand since he was the one who requested this conversation.

Hiram leaned back against the back of the sofa and smiled reassuringly at the blonde. "Don't worry, I'm not going to ask you any more questions," he said.

Quinn licked her lips and nodded, again opting to remain silent until she had a better understanding of what was going on. Questions weren't what she was afraid of.

"I need to apologize to you for how I treated you earlier," Hiram said contritely. "I shouldn't have automatically discounted your relationship with Rachel by putting your things in the guest room, and I shouldn't have attacked you about Beth."

Quinn sighed and held a hand up to stop him there. "Sir, I understand why you felt the need to question me about my past with your daughter. Were I in your shoes, in all honestly, I probably wouldn't have even let me into the house. I know I wasn't the nicest person when I was younger, and you have every right to make sure that I have changed."

Hiram nodded. "I'm... thank you, for understanding where I was coming from."

"It's not a big deal," Quinn said, shrugging lightly. "Look, I know all of this is new, but I need you to know that Rachel is my number one priority. I will do whatever I have to do to keep her safe and happy. I promise to be respectful of her and her feelings, and I swear to you that I will never purposefully hurt her. She is absolutely everything in the world to me and I will never betray her trust."

Hiram took a deep breath and held it for a moment before letting it go and giving the blonde a small smile. "I... thank you. I appreciate that. And, I... I want you to know that we do see how happy you make Rachel, it's so blindingly obvious that there's no way we could have missed it, and... well, I am sorry. You are good for her, Quinn. You... you have my blessing. Just treat her right, okay? She's our little girl."

"Of course," Quinn said softly, as the grandfather clock in the hall chimed the half-hour mark.

Hiram noticed the way the blonde's eyes flicked down to the watch on her wrist when the clock chimed and asked, "What time were you planning on heading out?"

"About now," Quinn said, running a hand through her hair as her stomach growled loudly.

"Come on, then," Hiram said, leading the way back down the hall to the kitchen. "We'll get Leroy to wrap up your lunch to go and you can eat in the car."

Quinn followed Hiram back to the kitchen and smiled reassuringly when she caught Rachel's anxious gaze. Leroy had heard his husband's announcement and was already digging in the drawers for a Ziploc baggie for Quinn's sandwich, and the blonde just smiled and dropped a quick kiss to the brunette's brow as she picked up half of her sandwich and took a giant bite out of it. Eating on set was sometimes a rushed, get it while you can type of affair, and the skills she'd learned of eating without actually chewing a whole lot came in handy as she polished off half of her sandwich by the time Leroy finally found a baggie. She smiled shyly as he looked from her plate to her and shrugged as she picked up the second half of the sandwich and made quick work of it as well.

"Sometimes we don't have a whole lot of time to eat on set," Quinn explained as she grabbed one of the bottled waters that were on the counter. "You ready to go?" she asked Rachel.

Rachel nodded. "Do you have her present?"

"It's in my purse on the stairs," Quinn said. She then looked up at the Berry men and smiled warmly. "Thank you for lunch."

"No problem Quinn," Leroy said, returning the blonde's smile with one of his own. "Just remember my culinary skills when you're looking for a date to the Golden Globes."

"Dad!" Rachel pouted.

Quinn just laughed and shook her head. "Come on, sweetie. We need to get going."

"Are you two going to be back for dinner?" Hiram asked.

Rachel shrugged and looked to Quinn, who didn't look entirely sure, herself. "I don't know. Usually I go out to dinner with Puck after these things, but I'm sure we can just..."

"Hey, no worries," Leroy said. "He's more than welcome to join us as well, or else you guys just go out and have fun. Just give us a call and let us know what's going on so we won't worry."

"We will," Rachel said as she looped her arm around Quinn's waist. "You ready?"

Quinn smiled at the brunette and nodded. "When you are, beautiful.".

Chapter 32

Much to Quinn's surprise, Rachel somehow managed to wait until they were both bucked-in in the car before she asked what Hiram had said to her in the living room. Really, she had been expecting the brunette to say something the moment the front door had closed behind them.

Quinn grinned at the brunette as she backed out of the driveway. "It was nothing," she said, as she shifted into first and started down the before she reached across the car to place her hand on Rachel's leg. The brunette was wearing shorts, leaving her long, toned, tan legs on display and it had taken all of Quinn's self control earlier to not touch them.

"Sweetie," Rachel laughed as she placed her hand on top of Quinn's, which had started to stroke up and down her thigh. "Stop. And just tell me what daddy said to you."

Quinn sighed and pulled her hand away to shift into second gear, immediately returning it to its previous position when she was done. "He just apologized, Rach. I told him he had every right to give me the third degree, and then I told him that you are everything in the world to me and that I would never hurt you. We stared at each other for a few seconds, he smiled, and then I wolfed down a sandwich in world-record time. The end."

"Okay," Rachel said, squeezing Quinn's hand as they rolled to a stop at a stop sign. "Well, thank you for that."

Quinn sighed and turned her hand over underneath Rachel's so that she was able to twined their fingers together. She lifted their joined hands to her lips and pressed a soft kiss to the brunette's knuckles, letting her lips linger on soft skin for a moment before she was forced to let go of Rachel's hand so she could shift back into first and get going again. "I don't think I did anything worthy of your thanks, but you're welcome."

One of the good things about small towns is that it takes next to no time to get anywhere. Fifteen minutes after they'd pulled out of the Berrys' driveway, Quinn was pulling into a parking space in front of a large, flat gray, warehouse-type building. Rachel looked around the area skeptically, frowning slightly as she scanned the business names stretched across the different units' windows. There didn't look to be anything here that would be appropriate for a nine-year-old and her friends.

"Where are we going, again?" Rachel asked. When she had asked the blonde when they were packing back in LA, Quinn had just told her it was a party place with lots of trampolines, but she didn't see anything that looked like a 'party place'. The building in front of them looked more like a 'creepy, unshaven, ass-grabbing pervert' kind of a place.

Quinn grinned and pointed at the end unit that was just outside her window. "There."

Rachel's eyes followed where Quinn was pointing and she read, "Tramp Zone." Her brow furrowed with confusion as she looked at Quinn and asked, "You aren't bothered by the fact that Shelby is allowing Beth to have her birthday party at a placed called the 'Tramp Zone'? That hardly sounds like an appropriate venue for a young girl to celebrate her birthday in."

Quinn laughed at the very Rachel Berry-ness of that statement and shook her head as she lifted her right hand to cradle the brunette's aghast face in her palm. "'Tramp' is short for trampoline. It's like an older-kid bounce house place. There are basketball hoops around the outside and the entire floor is a series of trampolines so the kids can just jump their little hearts out."

"Oh," Rachel said, smiling at Quinn's touch. "Well, that sounds fun."

"It is," Quinn assured her, stroking the pad of her thumb over Rachel's cheek. "And completely appropriate for a bunch of eight- and nine-year-olds. But you know what's even more fun that jumping?"

"Hmm?" Rachel hummed.

"Kissing you in the parking lot," Quinn said, smiling as she leaned in and kissed the brunette softly. "Thank you for coming with me to this," she whispered as she pulled away.

Rachel smiled and leaned forward to press a lingering kiss to the blonde's lips. "Thank you for asking me to come with you," she whispered.

"Always," Quinn murmured, capturing Rachel's lower lip between her own and sucking lightly against the delicate flesh as she ran the tip of her tongue over it.

Rachel moaned and deepened the kiss, sending her tongue out to tangle with Quinn's as she threaded her fingers through luxurious blonde locks and pulled the former Cheerio in closer.

One kiss turned into two, turned into three, but before things could get too out of hand Quinn slowed things down, shortening their deep, probing kisses to light, lingering pecks until she was able to whisper, between kisses, "For as much fun as this is, it is unfortunately neither the time nor the place for it."

"Later?" Rachel murmured, licking her lips as she looked beseechingly into dark hazel eyes.

Quinn grinned and nodded. "Absolutely," she husked. "Now, come on. Time to get our jump on." She grabbed her purse with Beth's present inside it and opened her car door.

"Wait," Rachel said as she, too, climbed out of the car. "I thought this place was for the kids to jump."

"It is," Quinn said. She stopped in front of the car on the sidewalk and held a hand out for the brunette to take. "But the adults can jump too, if they want. It's a lot of fun, Rach. I promise."

Rachel licked her lips and nodded. "If you say so," she drawled, as she slipped her hand into Quinn's and their fingers automatically laced together.

They walked hand-in-hand into the Tramp Zone with Quinn chivalrously holding the door open for Rachel, and once they were inside the brightly painted facility that looked like a Crayola box had thrown up all over it they were greeted by an entirely too enthusiastic college-aged kid, who the brunette was sure was on something, and pointed in the direction of Beth Corcoran's 'party room'. Quinn smiled reassuringly at Rachel as she opened the door to Party Room A, tightening her grip on the smaller woman's hand as she ushered her inside.

"Quinn!" An excited voice called out from the far side of the room.

Quinn smiled and released Rachel's hand as she watched Beth come running at her. "Hiya, B!" she said, oomphing dramatically when the little blonde girl jumped into her arms. "Happy birthday, big girl," Quinn said as Beth's arms looped around her waist and hugged her tight.

Rachel bit her lip to keep from tearing up at the sight. Beth looked like a mini-Quinn, with her delicate features and honey-blonde hair, but with darker skin, courtesy of her father. She watched as Quinn held the child close, just soaking in the moment, and even though they had only been together for a month, a small part of her couldn't help looking forward to the day that she'd see Quinn holding their child like that.

Quinn glanced over her shoulder as Beth pulled away and smiled gently at Rachel, holding her hand out to the brunette. "Beth, this is Rachel Berry," she said, as she took Rachel's hand into her own.

Beth smiled and held out her right hand. "Pleased to meet you. I'm Beth Corcoran."

Quinn smiled at the formality of Beth's greeting as Rachel laughed softly. "Rachel Berry," she said shaking the little girl's hand. "It is so nice to finally meet you in person."

Beth smiled at Rachel, her eyes dancing over the brunette's face. "So, I guess we're kind of sisters, huh? Because Quinn's my birth mom and my mom is your birth mom and everything."

Rachel looked at Quinn, who offered her a soft smile, and nodded. "I... yeah. In a way. Is that weird?"

"I think it's cool," Beth said confidently. "I've always wanted a sister."

Rachel's breath caught in her throat as she nodded haltingly. "Me too."

"And it's even better because you're dating Quinn!" Beth declared, her excitement causing her voice to rise in volume. "My friend Heather showed me a picture of you guys that she found in one of her mom's magazines."

"Oh boy," Rachel murmured, quickly running through some of the pictures of her and Quinn that had been published in magazines and praying whatever one Beth had seen had been child-appropriate. She could tell from the way the blonde stiffened beside her that Quinn was doing the exact same thing.

"Yeah," Beth said, nodding enthusiastically, not picking up on both Rachel and Quinn's sudden unease. "You guys were riding bikes at the beach – it looked like a lot of fun. Was that by your house, Quinn?"

Quinn laughed as she squeezed Rachel's hand gently. "It was." She nodded and smiled at Beth. "So, how's school going, kiddo?" she asked, moving their conversation to much safer topics.

Beth rolled her eyes dramatically. "Fine. Fourth grade is too easy. But, I just finished the last Harry Potter book! It was awesome, just like you said it would be! Even though it was kind of sad because a lot of people died, but I liked that Harry, Ron, and Hermione didn't."

Rachel chuckled softly. Beth had that same excited look in her eye that Quinn got whenever she was talking about a book she loved.

Quinn grinned and smiled at Rachel, the smirk on her face and the arch of her brow quite clearly saying, Yeah, she gets the book thing from me. "So, what's next on the reading list?" she asked Beth, and smiled indulgently as the girl rattled off the titles of the Percy Jackson books.

"But mom says I have to wait until after my birthday for those," Beth complained, "because she said I might get them as presents. I told her I could just exchange the present ones for other books, but she still wouldn't let me go get them."

Rachel smiled and bit her lip to keep from laughing at the conspiracy taking place right under the little girl's nose as Quinn chuckled softly and ruffled Beth's hair. "Well, if you don't get them today I'll take you to the bookstore tomorrow before I leave and we'll get them all, okay?"

"YAY!" Beth yelled, clapping her hands excitedly before she threw herself back into Quinn's body. "You're the best, Quinn!"

"I'm so glad you two were able to make room in your work schedules to come today," a soft voice said, drawing the trio's attention up to smiling brown eyes.

Quinn licked her lips and smiled as she squeezed Rachel's hand reassuringly. "Hello, Shelby."

"Quinn," Shelby said, smiling as she leaned in and pulled the blonde into a one-armed hug. "It's good to see you again."

Quinn smiled. "Thanks. You too. You remember Rachel?"

Shelby smiled and nodded. "Of course. It's so nice to see you again, Rachel. Congratulations on your success."

"I, um... thank you," Rachel said, as she allowed the older brunette to pull her into a light, incredibly awkward, embrace. "Thank you for having me."

"It's my pleasure," Shelby assured her with a small, albeit genuine smile on her face. "Beth was so excited when she learned that both you and Quinn were going to be able to make it today."

"Is Puck coming?" Quinn asked.

Shelby rolled her eyes and laughed. "Of course. You know as well as I do that he'd never miss a chance to get in there and slam dunk a basketball."

Quinn laughed and nodded. "That sounds like Puck."

"What sounds like Puck?" a familiar voice asked.

"PUCK!" Beth yelled as she pushed through Quinn and Rachel to get to him.

Quinn looped an arm over Rachel's shoulders as they turned to watch Puck and Beth work their way through a complicated handshake, complete with bumping knuckles, wiggling thumbs, high fives, and a lot of silly words. Shelby murmured something about checking on the cake as Beth and Puck went through their usual routine, and Quinn just smiled as she turned her head to press a soft kiss to Rachel's forehead. "You okay?" she whispered.

Rachel nodded and leaned her head on Quinn's shoulder. "Yeah. That was... actually better than I thought it would be. I'm fine, sweetie, really. Beth looks even more like you in real life than she does in those pictures you showed me."

"I know, right? Poor kid," Quinn muttered.

"Please. You're the most beautiful woman I've ever seen."

Quinn smiled against Rachel's brow and brushed her lips over the soft skin. "You're biased."

"Completely," Rachel agreed, drawing a light laugh from the blonde. "I can't believe Noah shaved off his Mohawk. What happened?"

"They made him get rid of it when he joined the fire academy," Quinn said as she watched Puck grin at their little girl.

"You ready to get in there and jump?" Puck asked Beth. Really, it was hard to tell who was more excited about the party plans – him or her.

Beth jumped up and down and nodded vigorously. "Yeah!"

Puck looked up from his conversation with Beth to smile warmly at Quinn and Rachel. "Hey Q. Hey Rachel," he said, as he pushed himself back to a standing position. "Long time no see."

Beth squealed excitedly as three of her friends walked into the room and she offered Quinn, Rachel, and Puck a rushed, "I'll see you later!" as she ran over to her friends.

Quinn smiled at Beth and her friends, who were now in the middle of an extremely animated conversation full of flailing arms and jumping around. Whatever it was they were talking about, it was certainly exciting, and it was nice for her to see that Beth was happy.

"So cute," Rachel chuckled as the four little girls looped arms and ducked their heads into a huddle. "Although, that can't be good."

"Probably not," Quinn agreed, dropping a quick kiss to Rachel's forehead before she let go of the brunette to pull Puck into a light embrace. "It's good to see you again, man," she murmured. "Thanks for all your help recently."

"No prob, Q. You know I'm always here for you if you need it," he said, winking at Rachel as he squeezed the blonde tight, picked her up off of the ground, and spun her around in a circle.

"Put me down!" Quinn laughed. "Thank you," she said as he let go and her feet once again landed on the floor. "You oaf."

"Drama queen," Puck teased as he turned his attention from Quinn to Rachel. "Berrylicious, you're looking hot!"

Rachel blushed and Quinn slapped Puck on the arm with a hushed, "Behave, you ass!"

"I am behaving," Puck argued, smiling playfully at Rachel as he swooped in and pulled her into a big hug. "It's good to see you again," he said seriously.

Rachel smiled into his shoulder and nodded. "It's good to see you too, Noah."

Puck laughed. "Of course it is. Who wouldn't be glad to see the Puckasaurus?" he teased, catching Quinn's eye as he dropped a kiss to the brunette's cheek.

"Puck," Quinn growled.

"Ooh, I forgot she was the jealous type," Puck drawled, laying another chaste but lingering kiss to Rachel's cheek before letting go.

Rachel laughed and rolled her eyes at his antics and moved back to Quinn's side so she could wrap her arm around the blonde's waist. She looked at Puck and warned, "Don't go causing trouble."

Puck grinned. "It's what I do best, babe."

"Yes, I do remember that about you," Rachel drawled.

Behind Puck, the door to the party room opened and Shelby walked in with ten more girls and a college-aged guy in a pair of black warm-up pants and a bright red polo shirt with 'Tramp Zone' stitched on the front of it. Quinn, Rachel, and Puck all watched as he went through the safety speech (socks have to be on your feet, no wrestling, no jumping onto people, no flips, yada, yada, yada). As he spoke, he wandered across the brightly colored party room to another door and, after sharing the location of the shoe cubbies just inside the 'gym', he threw open the door, yelled, "Go for it!", and took off into the gym, bounding across the different mats.

"Well, he certainly knows how to make an entrance," Rachel drawled.

"Come on Quinn! Puck!" Beth hollered from the doorway, waving excitedly at the adults who were still standing around.

"Awesome!" Puck answered as he took off after the kids, hopping on one foot as he tried to both run and remove his shoes at the same time.

Quinn laughed and pressed a soft kiss to the crown of Rachel's head. "I've been summoned. Would you like to go jump with me?"

Rachel laughed at Puck's antics and nodded. "Sure."

An hour later, the group shuffled back into the party room on extremely unsteady legs, each and every one of them taking halting steps that looked like they were expecting the floor to give way under their feet. Rachel smiled as she felt Quinn's hand slip into her own and she squeezed it gently as she followed the blonde over to a table on the far side of the room.

"How are your legs?" Quinn asked the brunette, as she slid onto the tabletop so she could watch Beth, who was smiling broadly at the large chocolate cake with blue and green icing that sat in the middle of the large table in front of them.

"Wobbly," Rachel answered. "I thought I was in shape, but I am totally exhausted after that."

Puck grunted as he stumbled over to the table where Quinn and Rachel were sitting and dropped heavily onto the bench beside the blonde. "I think I pulled something."

Quinn laughed. "It was probably the Michael Jordan impersonation you were trying to do."

"Probably," Puck agreed. "But the chief is going to kick my ass if I can't go on shift tomorrow afternoon."

Quinn licked her lips and was about to respond when, out of the corner of her eye, she saw a match flare. So instead of engaging in a little bit of verbal banter with the man, she instead tilted her head at Beth and turned to watch her little girl's reaction to the cake presentation. Beth was smiling and bouncing excitedly in her seat as Shelby lit the nine candles that were spaced out around the cake, and Quinn couldn't hel smiling right along with her.

"Happy Birthday to you..." Shelby sang, and the rest of the room automatically joined in to serenade Beth.

Quinn sighed and wrapped an arm around Rachel's shoulder as she leaned into the brunette, who was singing softly, obviously trying to not draw attention to herself. She pressed a soft kiss to the brunette's cheek as she reached out for Puck and placed her hand in his oversized paw. As the candlelight danced in Beth's eyes, Quinn couldn't help but bask in the absolute perfection of the moment. She had the woman she intended to spend the rest of her life with on one side of her, the one friend who had never really abandoned her on the other, and her daughter was happy, surrounded by friends and people who love her. It was perfect.

After the kids and Puck had devoured the cake, Beth climbed up into a giant inflatable chair that looked like a throne and the presents portion of the program began. DS games, gift cards, and other miscellaneous nine-year-old girl type gifts were unwrapped with gusto and, before long, the parents who hadn't stayed for the party arrived to pick up their children and the party room slowly began to empty. Quinn noticed that she and Rachel were the recipients of a few surprised looks of recognition from the parents of Beth's friends who hadn't seen Quinn before, but thankfully none of the other adults approached them. Quinn didn't want hers and Rachel's celebrity to steal attention away from the person for whom today was all about – Beth.

As the last of Beth's friends wandered out the door with her mother, Quinn pulled Beth's gift from her bag. She looked at Puck and nodded, pulling gently on Rachel's hand as she got to her feet. Together, they made their way over to where the little blonde was standing with Shelby.

Quinn couldn't remember which year it was that they stopped giving Beth their presents when the rest of the kids were still around, but she relished this final time to spend some quality time with her daughter. She didn't get to see Beth as much as Puck did, so, to her, it was little moments like this that she cherished; the chance to look into hazel eyes so remarkably like her own; the opportunity to see Puck's impish smirk flashed at her from a much cuter face.

"And here you are, milady," Puck said, dropping down to one knee and presenting Beth's present to her with a flourish.

Beth arched a brow at his antics and Rachel gasped and looked at Quinn. "She does your eyebrow thing."

Quinn laughed and nodded as Beth set the box from Puck onto the table and began to tear into it. The large box, once opened, revealed another wrapped present, and then another, and another, until Beth was stuck holding a long, thin rectangular box that made Rachel think of jewelry. Of course, with Puck being Puck, what was inside the box wasn't anything resembling jewelry.

"Box seats to the Indians!" Beth screamed, jumping up and down in her excitement. "When do we go?" she asked Puck, her eyes busy dancing over the tickets trying to find a date.

"Next weekend," Puck told her, smiling his thanks at Shelby for agreeing to let him take Beth up to Cleveland for the day. Ever since Beth was five, going to games had been his and her thing, and he knew how much of a privilege it was for him to be able to spend that quality time with her. "The Yankees are in town."

Rachel puffed up at the mention of who she considered to be 'her' hometown team, and her look of pride faded as Beth muttered, "Damn Yankees."

"Beth Marie Corcoran!" Shelby snapped.

"Sorry, mom," Beth said, looking and sounding entirely unapologetic as she slipped the tickets into the back pocket of her shorts.

"This is from both me and Rachel," Quinn said as she handed Beth her present. "Don't drop it, though, it's fragile."

Beth grinned and took the package carefully. She set the box onto the table and began unwrapping it slowly, her face a mask of confusion until she saw the picture on the front of the box. "OHMYGOD! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!" Beth yelled as she leapt at Quinn and Rachel, looping an arm around each of their necks as she jumped up and down and hugged them excitedly.

Quinn grinned and whispered, "Open it up. There's more to it than just the Kindle."

Beth gasped and spun back around to her present, reverently pulling it out of its box. "What?"

"Turn it on," Quinn chuckled. And shook her head as Beth automatically found the button and powered up the device. Kids and their comfort level with technology really was something else to watch.

Beth squealed as she saw the alphabetical list of authors on the screen. "Oh my god!"

Quinn laughed. "Rachel and I loaded this up with a bunch of books for you," she explained as she watched Beth's eyes dance over the screen. "And every one of the Percy Jackson books is on there as well. There should be enough on there to keep you busy for a few months."

"I'll say," Shelby muttered, looking over her daughter's shoulder at the screen that was filled with every YA author she'd ever heard of and quite a few others as well. When Quinn had called and asked if it would be okay for her to get Beth an eReader, she hadn't expected this.

Beth sighed and carefully turned the Kindle off before she handed it to Shelby. "Thank you," Beth said as she threw her arms around Quinn's neck.

Quinn smiled and wrapped her arms around Beth's waist. "You're welcome. Happy birthday, sweet girl."

Beth nodded against Quinn's shoulder before she pulled away and, smiling shyly, gave Rachel a hug too. "Thank you so much," Beth whispered.

Rachel swallowed thickly and smiled as she hugged the girl gently. "You're welcome, Beth. I'm so glad you like it."

"So what do I have to do to be able to get her more books for this eventually?" Shelby asked Quinn, using the question as a distraction so she wouldn't keep staring at her daughter and Rachel. She had long since accepted the fact that she had messed up with the Broadway star, but seeing the young woman who looked so much like herself hugging her daughter drove that point home even more.

Quinn smiled. "Nothing. It's hooked up to my Amazon account, so whatever books she buys will just get charged to my card."

Shelby shook her head. "This is too much."

Quinn shrugged. It probably was, but she had the money and she wanted to give Beth something she knew the girl would love. "It's fine. Just, try and not let her go too crazy," she said, with a laugh as Beth bounced away from Rachel to pull the eBook out of Shelby's hands.

"Thank you both," Shelby said, looking from Quinn to Rachel. "And you too," she said, looking at Puck.

"It's our pleasure," Quinn answered for the group, as she watched a trio of employees in matching red polo shirts enter the room. "I think we're being kicked out now."

Shelby looked over her shoulder and nodded. "I guess so. Would you guys like to come back to the house for a bit, or do you have plans?"

Quinn wanted to say yes, but she first looked to see what Rachel thought of the idea because, although the brunette seemed to be handling the whole Shelby thing well, she didn't want to do anything to make her uncomfortable. But Rachel just smiled and shrugged, telling the blonde with her eyes that whatever she wanted to do was fine, and so Quinn answered, "Sure, we can come over for a little bit."

Quinn looked over at Rachel as she pulled out of the parking lot and eased into the flow of traffic. Ever since she had told Shelby that they would come over, Rachel had been quieter than usual and she was worried that she had read the brunette's expression wrong. "Are you sure you're okay with this?"

Rachel smiled and nodded, her eyes locked onto the back of Shelby's silver Camry. "Of course I am, sweetie. I would never ask you to give up time with your daughter. You deserve this chance to be part of her life, Quinn."

"That's not-"

"I know," Rachel interrupted, reaching out to place her hand on the blonde's thigh. "I know. But, Quinn, what I don't think you understand is that I want you to have a relationship with Beth. I want you to be a part of her life and I want to be a part of your life, and I know that those two things together mean that I will have Shelby in my life as well, to a degree. I am fine with the polite distance we had with each other at the party. I am honestly fine being the third wheel here. I'm not looking for her acceptance of me as her daughter – because I have accepted the fact that, while she and I are connected by blood, we aren't family."

"Rach," Quinn sighed.

"No," Rachel said, her tone firm. "I swear to you that, to me, Shelby is nothing more than a woman I know from my teenage years. I am not expecting her to be my mother, nor am I expecting her to treat me as her daughter. I am expecting her to treat me as the girlfriend of the woman who gave birth to her daughter. That's all."

Quinn bit her lip, hearing and understanding the definitive tone in the brunette's voice. She could argue, but it wouldn't do any good and would only serve to upset Rachel further, so she just nodded. "Okay. I... thank you."

Rachel smiled and squeezed the blonde's thigh. "No thanks necessary."

Quinn covered Rachel's hand with her own and the car descended into silence. She followed Shelby over familiar roads to the Corcoran's house, and sighed as she parked in front of the small yet tidy three-bedroom cottage. She pulled the key from the ignition and smiled sadly as she turned to look at Rachel. Just because the brunette seemed to be fine with what was happening didn't make her feel any less guilty about it. "I love you," she whispered, reaching out and cradling Rachel's face in her hand.

"I love you," Rachel murmured, leaning into Quinn's touch and lifting her chin to kiss the blonde's softly. "I'm fine, baby. I promise. So let's go spend some time with your daughter. Okay?"

Quinn nodded. "Okay," she agreed, dropping one last kiss to the brunette's lips before pulling away.

Quinn watched Rachel climb out of the car and took a moment to just look at the brunette before she followed suit. She squinted into the bright sunshine that was glaring, even through the polarized lenses of her aviators, and nodded resolutely to herself as she walked over to where Rachel was waiting for her on the sidewalk. She wouldn't ask the brunette if she was okay anymore, but she would keep a close eye on her. And the moment Rachel showed any discomfort, they would leave. Yes, she appreciated the opportunity to spend some more time with Beth, but she would not let Rachel suffer for it.

They made their way up the walk hand-in-hand and Rachel smiled as she squeezed Quinn's hand gently. She could tell that the blonde was still a little on edge, but she wasn't and before they could even knock or ring the bell, Beth threw the door open and welcomed them inside.

"Rachel! Quinn!" Beth greeted the two women excitedly. "Come see my new room!" she said, as she reached out and grabbed Rachel's free hand, which she used to drag the brunette up the stairs.

Quinn laughed and allowed Rachel to pull her along as well, and smiled when they were ushered into Beth's room. It had obviously been painted since the last time she'd visited, as the girl's previously purple walls were now painted a bright golden yellow. "Wow."

"I like it," Rachel said, smiling at Beth who was standing proudly in the center of the room. "Ohh, and there are stars on your bedspread – it's perfect!"

Quinn just rolled her eyes as Beth and Rachel flew off into an excited conversation about gold stars and couldn't help but think that, despite her worries, that everything really would be fine. Once Beth had shown them everything of importance in her bedroom, the three of them wandered back downstairs to where Shelby and Puck were sitting in the living room, discussing the finer details of the Cleveland trip the following weekend.

"Did you show them your room?" Shelby asked Beth as the young blonde bounced happily into the living room and perched herself on the arm of the chair she was sitting in.

Beth nodded. "Quinn said it was pretty and Rachel loved it. Rachel said gold stars were her symbol and that metaphors are important."

Shelby laughed and nodded, smiling affectionately at her daughter as she watched Quinn and Rachel settle onto the loveseat opposite her. "They most certainly are. Why don't you go get that copy of your soccer picture from the family room that you've been waiting to give to Quinn."

"Oh yeah!" Beth squealed, clapping her hands excitedly as she jumped to her feet and ran out of the room.

Shelby smiled as she watched her daughter disappear and sighed as she looked over at Quinn and Rachel. "Thank you for letting her show you her bedroom. She was so excited to be able to paint it and choose new bedding that wasn't, and I quote, 'little girly'."

Quinn laughed. "Our pleasure. Honestly."

Shelby nodded. "So, how's the movie coming? Is it more work than the theatre?"

Rachel smiled and sank into Quinn. "It is. I don't think I've ever worked so hard in my life."

"Well, I'm sure you'll be as amazing in movies as you are on stage," Shelby said. "We saw you in Rent last year and you were spectacular."

"You did?" Rachel asked, obviously surprised.

"We did." Shelby nodded, her eyes softening as she smiled warmly at Rachel. "And I have never been more proud of anybody who wasn't Beth. You really did it, Rachel."

"She did," Quinn said, wrapping an arm around the brunette's shoulder and holding her close. "She really did."

Rachel smiled at Shelby, beyond pleased at the compliment. She recognized that it wasn't an apology or a segue to rekindling some semblance of a mother/daughter relationship, but it was rather a compliment between two adults who shared a past and could hopefully manage some sort of friendship in the future. "I... thank you."

"Here it is!" Beth yelled as she bounded back into the room and thrust a wallet-sized photograph into Quinn's face. "I was on the Wildcats this year!"

Quinn took the picture and smiled at the image of her daughter in a red and blue soccer uniform beaming at the camera. "Awesome."

"What position do you like to play?" Rachel asked.

"Forward," Beth answered quickly. "It's fun because I get a dollar for every goal I score and in one game I scored seven goals..." she continued to explain the highlights of her soccer career to a smiling Rachel and a quietly proud Quinn, while Puck looked on with amusement and Shelby smiled indulgently.

The clock in the hall chimed the three-quarter hour mark and Shelby sighed as she checked her watch to see that it was, indeed, getting late. "I'm terribly sorry, you three, but Beth and I need to get going to dinner with my parents," she said, pushing herself up off of the couch and smiling at their guests.

"Of course," Quinn said, getting to her feet and holding a hand out to Rachel. She smiled at the brunette as she easily pulled her to her feet before turning her attention back to their hostess. "Thank you for having us over."

"It was my pleasure," Shelby assured her.

"Bye Quinn. By Rachel," Beth said, wrapping her arms around the women. "Thank you for coming to my party and for my Kindle. I love it and I can't wait to start reading Percy Jackson."

"I'm glad you like it," Quinn murmured as she indulged herself for a moment and smoothed her hand through Beth's hair.

"When are you two coming back to Lima?" Beth asked as she backed away.

Quinn looked to Rachel, who was watching her and Beth with an affectionate gaze, and shrugged. "I honestly don't know. But hopefully soon. It depends on our work schedule."

Rachel saw the way Beth's excitement dimmed at Quinn's response and couldn't resist smiling at the little blonde and promising, "Definitely soon. Even if I have to drag her back here myself."

Beth laughed. "I don't think you're big enough to drag her anywhere."

"Think so, huh?" Rachel grinned.

Beth nodded. "Uh huh."

"Well," Rachel said, huffing dramatically and earning herself another giggle from Beth, "I guess I'll just have to prove it."

"Please don't drag me to the car," Quinn whined, playing along. She and Rachel both knew that the brunette wouldn't have to drag her anywhere – she would willingly follow her to the end of the earth and beyond.

Puck rolled his eyes at Quinn and Rachel's antics as he placed his hand on top of his daughter's head. "B, I'll be here Saturday at nine so we can drive up to Cleveland for the game. Sound good?"

"Sounds great," Beth assured him. "I'll walk you guys out," she said, turning and heading for the foyer.

Quinn, Rachel, and Puck all gave Shelby a small wave goodbye before following after Beth, who was now standing at the front door. After another round of goodbyes and hugs, the three friends found themselves standing on the sidewalk by their cars, all of them content to just linger in the moment for a little bit longer.

Puck smiled at Quinn, whose arm was wrapped lightly around Rachel's shoulders. Normally, after these things, he and the blonde would go out to dinner and spend the night reminiscing about how fast their little girl was growing up; but he wasn't sure if that was something she would be interested in doing now that she had Rachel with her. "So, um... you two want to go grab a bite?"

Rachel squeezed Quinn's hand and smiled at Puck. "Instead of going out to eat, could I interest you in having dinner at my house? My fathers said that you were more than welcome, and I know that they were kind of looking forward to having me home tonight because my show schedule never gave me time to come back and visit."

Puck looked to Quinn, who was smiling and nodding, and grinned. "Sure. I'm always up for free food. Lead the way, Berry."

Chapter 33

Leroy Berry smiled as he looked down the dinner table. To his left were Rachel and Quinn, to his right was Noah Puckerman, and sitting opposite him, at the other end of the table, was Hiram. His eyes flicked back to the two women and he couldnt help but bask in the joy that having Rachel home and happy gave him. The last few whirlwind visits that the brunette had managed to squeeze into her busy stage schedule had been markedly different from this one, his daughter's new lover notwithstanding.

When Rachel had come home in the past, she was always alone and she never went out. It had been impossible for him and his husband, as the fiery brunette's parents, to miss the fact that Rachel had seemed distinctly lonely and, as much as they had hated to admit it, unhappy. It killed them to see her living her dream and yet not enjoying it. The spark in her eye was gone, and it was almost as if her dream had simply become her job. Something she did. Not something she loved.

But now she was glowing, literally glowing with love and life and happiness, and she once again looked like that indestructible teenager he had helped move to New York City seven years ago. She had spent the day outside of the house which, granted, was because of Quinn's daughter's party, but still, it was something; and now the two girls and Noah were talking about possible plans for the evening.

It was perfect.

Quinn had given them their daughter back.

"You girls don't have to stay around here tonight; you know that, right?" Leroy said, as he stood from the table and began to gather the plates. Hiram waved Quinn and Puck off as they tried to stand to take care of their own dinnerware, so the two guests just sat back in their chairs and allowed the Berry men to clear the table.

Ignoring Puck, Quinn shrugged and looked to Rachel. Even though the brunette had said that she was okay with a distant relationship with her birth mother, it still pained Quinn to watch it happen. Rachel was such a beautiful woman, so loving and forgiving, that she deserved to have everything her heart desired – even if she claimed to not want it. "Whatever Rachel wants to do is fine with me," Quinn said, smiling at her lover.

Rachel licked her lips and pressed a lingering kiss to the blonde's cheek. "I'm good with whatever you want, baby."

"Too cute," Leroy cooed in a hushed whisper as he finished piling the dinner plates.

Puck rolled his eyes and kicked his right foot out under the table, landing a solid kick to Quinn's shin, trying to draw her attention to him. He knew and respected the fact that Rachel was now the blonde's primary focus, but that didn't mean he was going to let her get away with abandoning her friends. Well, him, anyways.

Quinn gasped and pulled her leg back under her chair as she glared across the table at Puck, who was staring pointedly at her. "Damn. What was that for, man?"

"Its bromance night," Puck said, almost sounding a little whiny, which drew small laughs from Leroy and Hiram as they disappeared into the kitchen with the plates and silverware. "You guys have to come out with me. Besides the fact that it's tradition, I had to bribe Gabriel with a case of beer and my tickets to the first home game of the season for the Blue Jackets to get him to switch shifts with me so I had tonight off."

Quinn sighed. The beer wasn't a big deal, but she knew Puck was really looking forward to spending time with her and Rachel if he gave his buddy his opening night hockey tickets. "Why the hell would you give up those tickets to spend the night with us?"

Puck grinned and shrugged. "Guess I just really missed you, baby mama."

Rachel giggled. "Noah, we would love to spend the evening with you, doing whatever it is that you and Quinn do during your bromance nights."

Puck grinned and did a triumphant little fist-pump as Quinn groaned and leaned over to whisper in the brunette's ear, "Sweetie, you do remember what it is that Puck and I usually do together, don't you?"

Rachel frowned for a moment because, no, she was pretty sure Quinn had never told her what it is that she and Puck do together, and then she remembered the phone call the blonde had made the night they had been ambushed by the paparazzi outside Howl at the Moon. "Oh."

"Right," Quinn chuckled. She looked over at Puck, who was watching them with the stupidest grin on his face, and said, "I'm fine with us going out somewhere with you, but not that. Not with Rachel."

"Quinn," Puck whined. He already had a stack of singles rubber-banded together in the glove box of his car and a plan to teach Rachel all about sliding them into thongs.

"No, that's fine, Quinn," Rachel said, placing her hand high on the blonde's leg under the table. She actually wasn't too sure about going to a strip-club, but it was something that Quinn and Puck did together and she wanted to learn everything she could about the blonde. Even if it meant going someplace that she wouldn't normally think to visit. "I trust it is a classy establishment?"

"It is," Puck said helpfully, smiling at Rachel, who he knew was the one making the decisions for the couple. It hadn't taken him long at all to figure out that, while Quinn could still play the bitch if she needed to, the blonde was helplessly whipped when it came to the pint-sized brunette and would do whatever Rachel wanted. "It's a really upscale place, Rach, honest. Quinn wouldn't go with me otherwise."

Rachel nodded, her mind made up, as her fathers reentered the dining room. "Dad, daddy, Quinn and I are going to go out for the evening with Noah, but we'll do brunch with you guys tomorrow?"

Leroy smiled and kissed his daughter on top of the head. "Okay."

"Woohoo!" Puck cheered, complete with another celebratory fist-pump. "How long are you two going to need to get ready?"

Rachel shrugged, she hadn't a clue as to what qualified as appropriate attire for a night out on the town such as this, and looked to Quinn for the answer. "Baby?"

Quinn shook her head. She had a vague recollection of the different clothes Rachel had packed for the trip, but she wasn't sure if there was anything in the brunette's bag that would work for the club. The 'going out' clothes they had both packed were more appropriate for a fancy dinner in Columbus, but between the both of them and, god help them all, Rachel's closet, they should be able to come up with acceptable outfits. "Give us an hour, just to be safe," she said as she pushed her chair back from the table and got to her feet.

"You guys going to a club?" Hiram asked, leaning up against the doorframe opposite the girls.

"Yes, sir," Puck answered, clearing his throat softly.

Hiram nodded. "Call us if things get out of hand and you guys need a ride home," he said, smiling as he turned and left. "Rach, we'll be in the family room watching TV, let us know when you girls leave."

And that was how, three hours later, Rachel found herself standing in a well-lit parking lot on the outskirts of Columbus, wearing high heels, a dangerously short black skirt that was a leftover from her college days that Quinn found hanging up in her closet, and a sparkly black shirt that hugged her body tight and dipped low enough in the front to give off a tantalizing view of cleavage. To her right was Quinn, who was looking incredibly sexy in a pair of tight-fitting black slacks, stilettos, and a shimmery silver top that somehow managed to be both conservative and tempting all at the same time; and to her left was Puck, who had even changed into a pair of dress slacks and a crimson red shirt, the sleeves rolled to show off his muscular forearms.

"We look good," Puck said, grinning at the girls beside him. "You ladies ready for some fun?" he asked, waving at the surprisingly non-neon sign that read 'Felicity'.

Quinn nodded and reached for Rachel's hand. "No buying Rachel a lap dance."

"What if Rachel wants a lap dance?" Puck challenged, winking at the brunette.

Rachel laughed and shook her head. "Sorry, Puck. The only lap dance Rachel wants to get is from this sexy woman right here," she said, squeezing Quinn's hand gently. "And I definitely don't want it with anybody else watching. So, you go right on ahead if you're so inclined, Mr. Puckerman. We'll be just fine on our own."

Puck laughed. "Good enough. Alright, let's do it!" he said jovially, as he started to strut toward the front door that was manned by a rather good-looking young man in a tuxedo.

The bouncer let them in immediately, his eyes raking over Quinn and Rachel as they passed. Just because he worked at a club where the women inside were basically naked didn't mean that he was blind – and Rachel and Quinn were definitely worth a slow, thorough once-over. Quinn rolled her eyes at his lingering gaze and she couldn't resist placing her hand low on the brunette's hip as they walked by, so that it was pretty much on the brunette's ass, and looking over her shoulder at the kid with a smirk that quite clearly said, She's mine.

The interior of the club was expectedly dim. The lighting around the perimeter kept to a minimum so that the club's patrons were granted some semblance of privacy and that all attention was drawn to the large stage that filled the majority of the room. The stage itself was a spoke and hub design, with a large half-circle platform at the far end of the room. From that main stage, the narrow spokes originated, each ending at a smaller circular stage and a polished brass pole. The design left plenty of room for tables on the floor, and maximized the number of girls that could be dancing at any given time. The music was loud, but not so loud that you couldn't talk to somebody who was sitting close to you, and while it was heavy on the bass and incredibly sensual, it wasn't trashy or too over-the-top.

"Wow," Rachel breathed, her eyes latching onto a rather bendy, topless blonde who was dancing on the small stage near where they stood.

Puck laughed and followed the brunette's gaze, a slow grin tweaking his lips as his eyes locked onto the woman's breasts. "Yup."

"Let's just go get a table," Quinn said, smiling as she guided Rachel across the bar to one of the darker areas where they would have less chance of being recognized. She could tell that the brunette was enjoying the floorshow and just wanted to get them to a table before she drew attention to them. The last thing they needed was a picture of the two of them at a strip-club leaked to the press.

Rachel followed Quinn to a small table and sat down in the chair the blonde had pulled out for her, her eyes never leaving the large stage that was filling with four different women clad in matching white dress shirts, black fedoras, and stilettos that, while sexy, looked to be incredibly painful.

Quinn sat down beside Rachel and looked up at the stage to see what was occupying her girlfriend's attention. An embarrassingly large part of her hated the idea of Rachel looking at other women like this, but even she had to admit that the brunette's unabashed staring was funny. Even if she'd rather have Rachel staring at her. Might just have to give her that lap dance later, she thought to herself as she scooted her chair closer to the brunette and looped an arm over her shoulders.

The dancers on stage broke off from their group choreography and separated onto the different spokes, and Quinn couldn't help but grin as she noticed who was coming their way. "Ooh, Puck," she laughed, tipping her head at the woman who had just walked out onto the main stage, "look who it is."

"You two know her?" Rachel asked, obviously surprised and more than a little jealous at the idea that Quinn might actually know an exotic dancer. She didn't want Quinn looking at anyone but her, in all honesty, and if it weren't for Puck's hangdog expression back at her parents' house when he thought bromance night was off, she would have never agreed to this particular outing.

"No. Puck just likes that redhead," Quinn explained, brushing a soft kiss over the brunette's cheek.

Rachel looked over at Quinn, who was leaned back in her chair, her legs crossed nonchalantly, with her hair falling in soft waves around her shoulders, and smiled. "My god, you're gorgeous," she murmured, completely forgetting about the show going on in front of her as she ogled her girlfriend.

Quinn looked over and blushed. "You're looking pretty good yourself, Rach," she said, leaning in and kissing the brunette tenderly. "Are you okay with this?"

Rachel licked her lips and nodded. "Yes. I'm surprisingly not..." her voice trailed off as a topless woman approached their table. Yup, that confirmed it. She was definitely a boob-girl.

"What can I get you guys to drink?" the topless barmaid asked.

"Um, a Jack and coke, please," Rachel said, feeling like a pervert as she licked her lips and forced herself to tear her eyes away from the woman's breasts. She was surprised to see that the woman was blonde; from her skin tone, she would have pegged her to be a brunette.

"Kamikaze," Puck said, his attention focused on the redhead who was sauntering down the small stage toward them.

"Aberfeldy, neat," Quinn ordered, smiling at the waitress.

"Twelve or twenty-one?" the topless waitress asked as she scribbled the blonde's order on her notepad.

Quinn pulled Rachel into her side and said, "Twenty-one".

"What's Aberfeldy?" Rachel asked, her eyes following the exaggerated sway of their waitress' hips as she strutted off toward the bar.

"Scotch," Quinn answered, nuzzling Rachel's ear. She chuckled when the brunette blushed and looked back at her. "Hello."

Rachel smiled shyly, opting to pursue her line of questioning rather than admit that she had been caught ogling their waitress. "What's so special about it?"

"Besides the fact that it's fuckin' expensive?" Puck asked, his attention completely focused on the woman who was now swaying her hips up on the stage right in front of them.

Quinn laughed and shook her head. "It's just really, really good scotch."

"Right," Rachel drawled, biting her lip as she watched the woman's hips work to the music, her gaze focused on the dancer's fingers that were slowly unbuttoning the white shirt she was wearing. Sharp green eyes peered out from underneath the brim of a black fedora, sliding from Rachel to Quinn to Puck, a soft, easy smile playing on the dancer's lips that gave the woman an air of confidence. She was good, and she knew it. The music, combined with the slow strip tease, had Rachel's blood pumping in a way she had only ever experienced before in bed with Quinn.

The brunette chuckled to herself at that epiphany and leaned over to Quinn, her lips brushing lightly against the blonde's ear. "I am so gay," she whispered.

That was certainly not something the blonde had been expecting and she let out a bark of laughter, and raised an apologetic hand at the dancer, silently telling the woman that she wasn't laughing at her, as she turned and kissed Rachel passionately. "Me too, sweetie," she murmured as they pulled apart. She had been apprehensive about bringing Rachel to the club for many reasons; first and foremost was that it seemed incredibly wrong to bring her girlfriend to a strip club, but so far Rachel didn't seem to care, and so long as the brunette kept kissing her like that, she was fine with it.

Puck was so enchanted by the redhead on stage that he didn't even notice Quinn and Rachel making-out beside him. He smirked as the woman the woman sashayed closer to where he was sitting, and nodded his head appreciatively as the shirt she'd been wearing slid off her shoulders and dropped to the floor where it pooled around her feet. His eyes raked slowly up the dancer's long, pale legs, over a set of ridiculously defined abs, and lingered for a moment on her breasts, which swayed invitingly with the movement of her hips.

Quinn thanked the waitress when their drinks were discreetly slid onto the table, her companions too focused on the woman dancing in front of them to notice the arrival of their beverages. "Drink up," she said, pushing the drinks at her companions, who both distractedly reached for their glasses and drank without bothering to look at what was in the glass.

She laughed as she watched Puck pull a wad of bills from his pocket and just rolled her eyes when he reached for Rachel's hand and pulled the little brunette up beside him. Part of her wished she had a camera to record the moment as Rachel blushed and smiled shyly at the dancer who was now dancing on her knees in front of the pair as she allowed Puck to help her slip a folded bill into the woman's thong.

If only Santana could see her now, Quinn thought to herself, laughing as Rachel hurried back to her seat and finished off the rest of her drink in a single gulp. "Well?" she prodded, grinning as she looped her arm over the brunette's shoulders.

"Interesting," Rachel said, her blush deepening as she buried her face in the crook of the blonde's neck. "Please don't tell anybody I did that."

"Aww, sweetie," Quinn cooed, tickling Rachel playfully. "That's what you're supposed to do at these places. When you're on stage you get standing ovations, when they're on stage they get standing... well, never mind, and tips. That's how they know they're doing a good job."

Rachel just shook her head and laughed self-consciously. "I can't believe I let him do that to me."

Quinn rolled her eyes and kissed the crown of the brunette's head adoringly. "Then just tell him no next time."

Puck caught Quinn's eye and arched a brow questioningly but the blonde just grinned and rolled her eyes as she mouthed 'embarrassed' as an explanation for her girlfriend's behavior. Puck laughed and shook his head as he picked up his drink and returned his attention to the woman dancing in front of them.

Eventually the redhead finished her turn on stage and disappeared into the back, and Puck, Quinn, and Rachel began playing the game 'real or fake', which, to both Quinn and Puck's surprise, Rachel was incredibly good at. They laughed and joked, their attention split between the women dancing in front of them and each other, and just enjoyed spending time together.

"You know, Rachel, I have to tell you that I am so impressed with you right now," Puck said seriously, as the music dimmed and the dancers on stage hurried off so that the next group of dancers could come out.

"And why is that, Noah?" Rachel asked as she leaned into Quinn and rested her head on the blonde's shoulder. She was now nursing her third Jack and Coke and was more than a little tipsy.

"I just never expected to be sitting in a bar like this with you and not listening to a rant about how demeaning and misogynistic this is."

Rachel looked up at Quinn and chuckled. "I'm impressed he knows the word misogynistic."

Quinn smiled and kissed the tip of the brunette's nose playfully. "That's because I taught it to him."

"Right." Puck nodded. "I can't believe I got that lecture from Q and not you!"

Rachel just smiled and shrugged. "Honestly? I do find the idea of places such as this to be demeaning and misogynistic because of the objectification of women that is inherent to the operating practices of such establishments; but, as I'm enjoying the show as much as you are, it would be rather hypocritical of me to say anything negative about the entertainment provided, now wouldn't it?"

Puck grinned and lifted his glass at the brunette. "Welcome to the club, Berry."

Rachel beamed and tapped her glass against his as Quinn looked on with an amused expression on her face. "Thank you."

Quinn rolled her eyes and laughed. "So, Puck, did you get her name yet?"

"Who?" Rachel asked.

"The redhead."

"It's Mary Ann," Puck said.

Quinn grinned. "Wait. So the ginger you've been drooling over is named Mary Ann?"

Puck nodded slowly. He wasn't drunk by any stretch of the imagination, more like barely buzzed, to be honest, but he still wasn't really able to follow the blonde's quick wit. "Um, yeah."

Rachel, however, had no problem following Quinn's train of thought. "Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale..." she sang.

Quinn laughed and kissed the brunette soundly. "God, I love you."

"I don't get it," Puck said. "But that kiss was totally hot. Do it again." He waggled his brows suggestively.

"No," Quinn laughed. "Your dancer is a ginger, whose name is Mary Ann. Ginger, Mary Ann..."

"A tale of a fateful trip. That started from this tropic port, aboard this tiny ship..." Rachel sang, grinning as Puck laughed when he finally caught on.

Quinn smirked. "You can be Gilligan, Puck."

"You two have had too much to drink," Puck chuckled. "But, if I'm Gilligan, who are you?"

"Well, Quinn is obviously Ginger," Rachel supplied. "Since, you know, she's the sexy movie-star and everything."

"See, and I would have made her the Professor," Puck said, smiling at Quinn. "She's so wicked smart that half the time I don't understand what she's talking about. And, while she does look hot all dolled up, you gotta admit that she looks great in a pair of trousers and a button-down."

Rachel licked her lips and nodded. "You're right. However, I do not like the idea of you looking at my girlfriend like that."

Quinn laughed and kissed Rachel gently. "He might be able to look, but you're the only one who gets to touch, sweetie."

"I like touching," Rachel said, smiling up at Quinn as she ran her hands over the blonde's stomach.

"I like you touching me too," Quinn said, placing her hands on top of Rachel's wandering ones and grinning at Puck who was making a gagging noise behind them.

"If you're not going to let me watch, knock it the fuck off, you teases," Puck laughed. "Now, if I'm Gilligan and Quinn is a Ginger-Professor hybrid, who does that make you, Rachel?"

Rachel shrugged, honestly not seeing where she fit in this analogy, as Quinn supplied, "The Skipper."

"Oh, I'm an overweight man, huh?" Rachel asked, crossing her arms over her chest and feigning annoyance.

"Hardly. But, I'd follow you anywhere," Quinn murmured, her voice low and rich as she nuzzled the brunette's cheek. "To the moon and back. To New York. Anywhere."

Rachel frown turned into a soft smile as she reached up and cradled the blonde's jaw in her palm. "Okay. Then I'm the Skipper."

"With a little bit of Ginger," Quinn added. "And a dash of Mary Ann because you have that adorable girl-next-door thing you can pull off so good. So, you're a combination of Ginger, Mary Ann, and the Skipper."

"You always have to make shit complicated," Puck groaned. "Oh," he said, sitting up straighter in his chair and turning toward the stage as he caught sight of the next wave of dancers. "She's back!"

Rachel moaned softly as Quinn's tongue traced around the shell of her ear. "Unless you're planning on finishing that now," the brunette whispered, "you should probably stop teasing me like that."

Quinn smiled and sucked the brunette's earlobe between her lips. She nipped at the captured flesh and let it go as she whispered, "I love you."

"Love you too, baby," Rachel murmured, torn between feeling relieved and disappointed when the blonde pulled away from her. "We'll finish this later, okay?"

"Okay," Quinn agreed.

"He really has a thing for redheads, huh?" Rachel asked, as she once again rested her head on Quinn's shoulder, her attention focused on Puck rather than the woman spinning on the pole in front of them.

Quinn rolled her eyes and nodded as she picked up her glass and took a sip of the amber liquid inside. "You have no idea."

It was a little after one o'clock in the morning when the trio walked out of the bar. Rachel smiled at the bouncer as they passed and yelped when Quinn's hand, which had been on her hip, dropped down to squeeze her ass. The bouncer just laughed and shook his head, and Quinn smirked over her shoulder at him as she moved her hand back up to a more appropriate location upon Rachel's hip as she steered the brunette toward their car.

"You girls go ahead and sit in the back together," Puck said as they approached his car and he used the remote on his keychain to unlock it.

"You sure you'll be able to stay awake for the drive?" Quinn asked. Normally, they would blast the radio and sing along at the top of their lungs to whatever song came on in order to make sure that they both stayed awake during the drive home. Night-darkened farmland was not the most visually stimulating when it was late and you were tired.

"Yeah," Puck said, looking back at the girls. He stopped dead in his tracks when he spotted a familiar face scowling at them from a few spaces away. The man was obviously drunk and, even if he hadn't known exactly how mean of a drunk he was, Puck would have been on edge because there was an unconcealed hatred in his eyes that screamed danger and promised that somebody was going to get hurt. "Fuck. Quinn, get behind me now," he said, turning and moving between the blonde and the other man.

"Why?" Quinn asked, frowning as she turned to look at Puck. And that was when she saw him. "Fuck," she hissed, automatically taking a protective step in front of Rachel. The only way he was going to get anywhere near the brunette was over her dead body.

"What?" Rachel asked, as she too spun around, her eyes immediately landing on the one person she had prayed they wouldn't run into while they were in Ohio. "Mr. Fabray."

Chapter 34

Out of everybody in the great state of Ohio, her father was the one person Quinn had really been hoping she wouldn't run into. Not so much for herself, but for Rachel. Because, while Rachel had known and grown used to her particular brand of verbal assault back in the day, even HBIC Quinn Fabray had nothing on her father. Quinn knew Russell would go for the jugular and, while she was prepared to take it, she wasn't sure Rachel knew what they were in for.

She had told Rachel that Russell had been abusive, but she didn't tell the brunette why he'd ever gotten angry enough to start swinging. Granted, it didn't take much to set him off if he'd been drinking, which it looked like he more than certainly had been, but she knew that the recent spate of pictures of her and Rachel that had been showing up online and in magazines would have angered the man and embarrassed him. She knew that he would see her happiness and sexuality as an attack on the way he raised her, and if there was one thing Russell Fabray could not stand, it was anything he perceived to be an affront to his 'Christian morals'.

"I can't believe you have the gall to show your face in this state after what you did," Russell spat. "You're a disgrace. An abomination. Bringing your filth around good people, trying to-" he took a step forward toward the group.

"That's far enough, man," Puck warned, lifting a warning hand at him.

Russell laughed maliciously. "You don't scare me, boy. Look at you," he snarled at Quinn. "What kind of a girl goes to a place like this? Huh? Are you trying to spread this disease you have amongst the rest of the world? Trying to infect everybody with your perversion? You're going to burn in hell, you little dyke. You know that, don't you? Are you trying to bring the rest of humanity down with you? Answer me!" he bellowed.

"Russell," Quinn said, reaching back and taking Rachel's hand in her own. It wasn't much, but it was the best she could do to tell the brunette that they would be okay because she didn't dare take her eyes off of her father when he was behaving this way. When she spoke next, her voice calm and even, even though her body was ramrod straight and primed for attack. "You need to go somewhere and just sleep this off."

"How dare you speak to me like that," Russell hissed, taking another menacing step forward. He was drunk and angry, but he wasn't stupid enough to actually touch Puck. He ruled his house with fear and intimidation and he knew that if it came down to a real fight he'd lose, so stopped just outside the burly man's reach. "I am your father, young lady."

Quinn bit her lip and shook her head, blown away by the fact that after everything he'd done to her that he would still try and use that line on her. At this point, he was no more her father than Puck was.

"Like hell you are," Rachel said, stepping out from behind Quinn and glaring at Russell. She had been shocked into silence by the vitriol in the man's voice, at the harshness of his words. Quinn had told her that Russell was an angry, violent man, but knowing and seeing are two very different things and now that the shock had worn off, she would do everything in her power to protect the blonde from that seething mess of a man who just made the mistake of claiming to be her father.

"Excuse me?" Russell said, his voice flat and cold.

Rachel stood straighter and stared him in the eye. "I said, like hell you are. You gave up that right when you walked out of her life three years ago. Hell, you gave up that right when you gave her thirty minutes to pack her bag when she was fifteen fucking years old."

Russell grinned. "And what do you know about it, little girl? You're just as bad as she is. You're going to hell, both of you."

"And you're not?" Rachel laughed, squeezing Quinn's hand that was wrapped around hers before she twined their fingers together. "Please. If I'm going to hell for loving this beautiful woman who managed to become so selfless and loving and wonderful despite your fucked-up influence, then what about you, you child-beating bastard?"

Russell's eyes narrowed dangerously. "You don't know what you're talking about."

Rachel smirked and unflinchingly met his gaze, fighting against Quinn who was trying to pull her back. It was false bravado, but she wasn't going to give Russell Fabray the joy of seeing her scared. "Oh, I do. And, might I say, that I also find it highly amusing that you're standing in the parking lot of a strip club, where you have obviously been inside drinking like a fish, by the smell of you, preaching about morality."

"I'll show you morality," Russell growled, clenching his fists and taking a step toward the little brunette.

That step forward was the wrong move, because it was just the thing Puck had been waiting for. He lashed out, connecting a solid jab to Russell's chin and knocking the man out cold. "Goddamn," Puck said, smiling as he shook out his hand. "I've been wanting to do that for years."

"Shit, Puck," Quinn hissed, dropping Rachel's hand so she could take his massive paw into her own to inspect the damage. "Did you break anything?"

Puck wiggled his fingers tentatively and hissed at the pain. It hurt like a son of a bitch, but it was totally worth it to finally get a shot in at Russell. "Don't think so," he said, as movement from the direction of the club caught his attention. "Aww, fuck. Here comes trouble."

"What's going on here?" the club's bouncer asked as he approached the group. He'd watched the altercation taking place, but had been too far away to hear what was being said. He had only reacted once the younger man dropped the older one with a single punch.

"Nothing, now," Puck answered, taking his hand back from Quinn so he could face the bouncer. "Look, this man verbally assaulted my friends and looked like he was going to try and attack them, so I hit him. It was self-defense."

"How do you know he would actually hit them?" the bouncer asked skeptically, as he tried to figure out whether or not he needed to call the cops. Brawls in the parking lot were rare, because Felicity brought in a higher class of clientele, but he had seen enough to know that if it was straight-up assault, that he needed to call in the cops.

Quinn groaned. This was so not something she wanted to come out. But, if she was going to keep Puck out of jail, she needed to explain. "He knew, because it wouldn't be the first time that man had hit me."

"He's her father," Rachel added quietly, wrapping her arms around Quinn's waist and holding the blonde tight.

The bouncer looked at Rachel and Quinn, finally placing where they looked so familiar from, and down to Russell. He considered himself to be a good judge of people, and he knew that they weren't lying. In which case, the older man on the ground got exactly what he deserved. He nodded resolutely. "Alright. Will he press charges?"

Quinn shook her head. "No. He's not going to want any of this to come out."

Russell groaned on the blacktop.

"How you feeling, sir?" the bouncer asked Russell.

"Like shit," Russell groaned. "Is that bastard still here?"

"You bet your ass I am," Puck answered. "You wanna go for round two?"

Russell sat up and shook his head.

"Didn't think so. You only like boxing matches where you're bigger and stronger," Puck taunted. "Get in a cab and go home. Leave Quinn and Rachel alone."

"You can't tell me what to do," Russell grumbled as he slowly got to his feet. He brushed his clothes off and finally lifted his gaze to Quinn's. "You're dead to me."

Quinn placed her hands over Rachel's on her waist. "Good," she said, staring Russell in the eye to prove that she meant it.

Russell nodded and spat in her direction, before he turned and started back toward the club, muttering about getting another drink and calling a cab.

"I don't think you should let him back in there," Quinn told the bouncer.

"We'll watch him," the guy said. "I'd rather he be in there, where we have guys everywhere ready to step in if needed, than out here with you. Will you all be okay to get home?"

Puck nodded. "Yeah. I got it. Thanks man."

The bouncer nodded. "My pleasure. Ms. Fabray, Ms. Berry, sir," he tipped his head at each of them. He smiled reassuringly as he watched the two stars' eyes flash with fear that he recognized them and said, "Your secret's safe with me. I'm not going to sell you out."

Quinn sighed and smiled. "Thank you."

The bouncer grinned, gave the group a small wave, and turned on his heel to jog across the parking lot where he easily caught up to a staggering, swaying Russell.

"Well, that was a fun night out on the town – huh?" Puck drawled, as he reached across his body to pull his car keys out of his right pocket with his left hand.

"Up until that disaster, yeah," Quinn answered. "Seriously, Puck. Do we need to get you to an ER?"

Puck looked down at his swelling hand and shrugged. "It seems okay for now. If it's still like this in the morning, then I'll go."

"Are you going to get in trouble at work?"

Puck grinned and laughed. "Nah. Chief has a special hatred for men like your father – he'll probably give me a medal or something."

Quinn smiled tiredly and leaned into Rachel. "Well, if he does, let me know when the ceremony will be taking place because I'd personally like to pin that one onto your uniform."

"Me too," Rachel echoed.

"Come on, ladies, your chariot awaits," Puck said, waving his good hand at his car.

"I better call Judy and warn her," Quinn said as she slid into the backseat next to Rachel. She didn't really want to do it, but her conscious wouldn't let her get away with not warning her mother that she might be in danger.

"You want me to do it?" Puck offered.

"Or I can," Rachel said softly, smoothing the backs of her fingers over Quinn's cheek and looking intently into the blonde's tired eyes.

"I got it," Quinn said. "Puck, just get us home. Rach..."

"What do you need, sweetie?" Rachel whispered, brushing a kiss across the blonde's lips.

"Just hold me?" Quinn whispered, leaning heavily into the smaller woman as she punched in a number she knew by heart but hadn't had programmed into her phone for years. She sank into Rachel's embrace as Puck drove out of the parking lot toward the freeway.

"Hello?" Judy answered after the third ring.

Quinn cleared her throat. "Hi, um, mom," she said. "I just thought you should know that I'm in town and just ran into... dad."

"Are you okay?"

Quinn nodded. "Yeah. I was with Puck."


"Anyways, I just thought you'd want to know that Russell's drunk and angry, and that you should probably be somewhere else for a few days until he calms down. Puck laid him out in the parking lot, so his ego's bruised and you know how that usually ends up..."

"He doesn't live here anymore, Quinnie," Judy said softly. "I changed the locks last week when I kicked him out and filed for divorce, so he can't get back in here. I'm safe. But, thank you for thinking of me."

"I... uhm... yeah," Quinn stuttered, surprised by the news that her mother had filed for divorce. "I... well, okay."

"Okay," Judy said sadly. "You take care of yourself, sweetie. And let Rachel take care of you too, if you need it."

Quinn swallowed thickly as tears rolled down her face. It had been so long since she'd talked to her mother like this, where Judy actually seemed to care about her well-being, which she hadn't realized until now how much she missed having a mother. "Okay."

Judy sighed into the phone. "Right. Well, you know where to find me, if you ever want to talk. I know I wasn't the best mother to you up until this point, but please know that I am here for you now if you need me."

Quinn nodded and turned to rest her forehead against Rachel's temple. It was all too much. First Russell, who behaved just like he expected, and now Judy, who was finally acting like a mother. "Okay. Thank you."

"Okay," Judy parroted. "Have a safe flight back to Los Angeles, and tell Noah Puckerman that I say thank you for him standing up to your father for you."

"I will," Quinn murmured. "I'll.... I'll talk to you later? Maybe?"

"I'd like that," Judy answered, her smile evident in her voice. "Goodbye, Quinn."

"Bye... mom," Quinn whispered.

Puck kept his mouth shut and his eyes on the road as Rachel gently pulled the phone out of Quinn's hand and set it into her purse so they wouldn't forget it in the car. The brunette smiled softly at the blonde as she pulled back far enough to kiss the tears from her cheeks. Because Quinn had been wrapped up in her arms, she had been able to hear both sides of the conversation that had taken place and she knew that her girlfriend had to be reeling.

"What are you thinking?" Rachel murmured against the blonde's cheek.

Quinn shrugged. There were too many thoughts bouncing around inside her head to pick out just one. She was shocked. Upset. Pissed. Hopeful. Angry. She felt betrayed. She felt... "I don't know."

Rachel hummed knowingly. "Are you okay?"

Quinn nodded slowly. "I think so, yeah. Just..."

"Surprised," Rachel supplied, smiling softly when Quinn nodded. "I'll bet. Me too, baby."

"What do I do?" Quinn whispered, unbuckling her seatbelt and turning so she could wrap herself around the brunette.

"Whatever you want to do, Quinn," Rachel answered gently, pulling the blonde in close and automatically running her fingers through soft honeyed locks. "You don't have to do anything now, sweetheart. Just take your time and digest everything that's happened, and then decide what you want. It is your call, baby. Whatever you want to do, you know I'll be by your side supporting you."

Quinn smiled and brushed her lips over the shell of the brunette's ear. "I love you," she breathed.

"I love you, Quinn," Rachel whispered, turning her head so she could claim the blonde's lips in a slow, sweet, lingering kiss.

Up front in the driver's seat, Puck glanced away from the deserted highway to his rearview mirror to check on Quinn, and smiled as he saw her wrapped up in Rachel's arms. For so long, he'd been afraid for her. She was so closed off that he was afraid that she'd never find somebody to truly be with. Somebody to take care of and to allow them to take care of her. He knew she had always been desperate for that closeness, that acceptance she never got from her parents growing up – it was what got him into her pants back in high school, after all – and he was glad that she'd finally found it all with somebody who knew her not only as the woman she was now, but also as the girl she had been. Because, growth and maturity aside, he knew Quinn still struggled with the lingering effects of her past, with the idea that she wasn't worth loving at that everybody was bound to leave her, and it was comforting to know that Rachel not only knew all of that but also had the tenacity to fight for her.

The car ride out of Columbus was quiet. Both Rachel and Puck knew Quinn well enough to know that if the blonde wanted to talk she would, so they didn't press. Puck watched with rapt fascination as Rachel slipped into her professional mode and called Tina to let her know what happened. He was used to the whole PR machine because of Quinn, and he had more than a few memories of Rachel taking charge during glee, but it was something else to watch the brunette take control like this. This wasn't about getting her way, this was about protecting Quinn, and he respected the hell out of her for that.

He sighed as he watched Rachel press her lips to the blonde's brow when she told Tina about the altercation in the parking lot, silently reassuring the other woman that she was safe and that everything would be fine, and he smiled as he watched Quinn sink into the touch. He'd never seen the blonde let somebody hold her like that. Even when she'd been with Jamie, Quinn always had her walls up; she had never really let the attorney in as far and as completely as she had Rachel.

That alone showed him that Rachel really was 'the one' for Quinn.

"She'll call Jack and get him up to speed," Rachel whispered, as she disconnected the call and brushed another soft kiss across Quinn's lips. She couldn't help but smile when she felt the blonde respond to the caress, arching into her and kissing her back tenderly.

"Thank you," Quinn whispered, before she tucked her head into the crook of the brunette's neck and burrowed into the warmth of her embrace.

"Always, sweetie," Rachel murmured, resting her cheek on the top of the blonde's head as she caught Puck's watchful eye in the rearview mirror. She read the silent question in his gaze and nodded minutely, wordlessly telling him that everything would be taken care of, as she wrapped her arms tighter around Quinn and held her close.

The car descended into silence once again, the classic rock pouring from the speakers lulling them all into a daze as they raced past moonlit farms on the nearly empty highway.

"So, besides Tina, do you keep in touch with anybody from glee?" Puck asked softly, not wanting to disturb Quinn, whose eyes were now closed.

Rachel pressed a soft kiss to the top of Quinn's head and smiled softly as the blonde's breath fell in steady waves against her skin. "I'll get a phone call every once in a while from Kurt, but that's pretty much it."

Puck chuckled. "Did he flip his shit when the story of you and Quinn came out?"

Rachel smiled and shook her head. "Oddly enough, no. He didn't seem too surprised. He's coming out to LA for some big designer something-or-other in October though and has made me swear on my Louboutins that she and I will at least go to dinner with him while he's there, though."

"Sounds like something he'd do. Finn says he's in London now?"

Rachel nodded. "Yes. He has a little shop in the West End. He designs high-end menswear accessories – hats, scarves, coats, ties, stuff like that, and seems to be doing quite well for himself."

"You know, I always expected him to stay in New York with you."

Rachel shrugged, instantly wincing as Quinn mumbled incoherently and snuggled in closer to her; she hadn't meant to disturb the blonde. "He met a boy when he was at NYU who was from England and when they graduated, he just followed him back there. He did an apprenticeship with some major designer in London whose name I can't remember, and hung up his own shingle about a year ago. How is Finn?"

Puck glanced at the brunette in the mirror and smiled. "He's good. He's a PE teacher a high school down in Dayton and coaches the football team. They won their division last year, so that was pretty cool. Still not married, but he's been dating the same girl for a couple years now so I'm sure it's just a matter of time."

"Good for him," Rachel said, a genuine smile lifting her lips. "You keep in touch with anyone else?"

Puck nodded. "Yeah. Pretty much everybody from glee, really. I know Q said you guys went out with Santana and Britt so I don't need to tell you about them. Sam's down in Tennessee, doing the country-music thing in Nashville. Artie is in Boston, he's an actuary – don't ask me what that is, I don't have a freaking clue. Mercedes is in med school up in Seattle."

"Really?" Rachel interjected, smiling.

Puck shrugged. "Yeah. I dunno. Um, who else? Oh, Mike is on tour with some hot new pop star whose name I can't remember – he's her lead dancer."

"I'm glad he was able to do something with his talent," Rachel said softly, acutely aware of the blonde sleeping on her chest.

"Me too," Puck agreed. "So, yeah. Pretty much everybody but me managed to get out of town."

"Why didn't you?" Rachel asked. "I mean, you don't have to tell me, of course, I was just..."

Puck chuckled and shook his head. "S'okay, Berry. I didn't leave because I wanted to watch Beth grow up. I used to come back home every-other weekend when I was at OSU to see her, and after I graduated I realized that I didn't want to keep making that trip. I had already figured out that I wanted to be a fireman anyways, so I just joined up in Lima."

"Well, I'm proud of you, Noah," Rachel said softly. "You are really great with Beth, you know that – right?"

Puck smiled. "Thanks, Rach."

"Rachel," Quinn mumbled sleepily.

The brunette smiled as she turned her attention away from Puck to the woman in her arms. "It's okay, sweetie," she soothed. "I've got you. Go back to sleep."

"Okay singing princess," Quinn murmured, tightening her hold on Rachel and dropping a sleepy kiss to the brunette's neck.

"Singing princess?" Puck whispered, once it was clear that the blonde had fallen back asleep.

"Long story," Rachel replied, smiling as she pressed a soft kiss to the top of the blonde's head.

It was nearly three when Puck dropped the girls back off at the Berrys' house. Rachel had been pleasantly surprised when he had jumped out of the car to pull each of them into a big hug, and she had to bite her lip to keep from tearing up when he'd whispered in her ear that he'd missed her and asked her to take care of Quinn.

The two women walked hand-in-hand up the stairs to the brunette's bedroom, where Rachel closed the door quietly behind them and made sure to engage the lock. Her fathers weren't in the habit of just walking into her room anyways, but she figured it was better to be safe than sorry.

She watched Quinn pull some pajamas out of her suitcase and she smiled as she crossed the room to gently pull them out of the blonde's hands. "Not tonight," she whispered, dropping the clothes onto the open bag.

"Your dads," Quinn argued weakly. She craved that skin-on-skin contact Rachel was promising her, it was comforting to be completely surrounded by the brunette like that, but she was also very aware of the fact that she wasn't necessarily on Hiram's good side yet and she didn't want to do anything to make him disapprove of her any more than he already did.

"Know that we're sleeping together," Rachel replied in her typically blunt manner. "And they don't just walk into my room unannounced. And I locked the door," she said, kissing the blonde softly as she began slowly undressing her. "I like feeling your skin under my cheek when I fall asleep," she murmured as she unzipped and removed Quinn's top, unconsciously licking her lips when the blonde's bra-less chest was exposed to her. "I love feeling your breath on my skin when you let me hold you, as you fall asleep on my chest." She dropped the shirt onto the floor beside their suitcases and slid her hands down the blonde's sides to dip into the waistband of her slacks.

Quinn groaned as she flicked her heels off in the direction of her suitcase. "Rachel."

"I know, sweetie," Rachel breathed, smiling as she leaned in and kissed Quinn softly. She moaned softly when the blonde's hands landed lightly on her waist, holding her close as their kisses deepened, their tongues stroking slowly against each other as she unbuttoned and unzipped Quinn's pants and pushed both them and her underwear down over her hips until gravity took hold and carried them to the floor.

Rachel's shoes and shirt were the next to go, followed immediately by her bra, skirt, and panties, and the brunette moaned softly as Quinn's arms wrapped around her waist, hands spread across her back, pulling her in closer. Their kisses remained slow, deep, and languid, more about providing closeness and comfort than arousing, and when they eventually slowed to a stop, Rachel buried her face in the crook of the blonde's neck to soak in the warmth of her lover's embrace.

"Thank you... for being there for me today," Quinn whispered, as she pressed a soft kiss to Rachel's forehead. "For going to Beth's party, for standing up to Russell... for holding me and reminding me that I wasn't alone."

Rachel sighed and brushed a soft kiss to the blonde's neck. "You're not alone, baby," she murmured. "I will always be here to hold you. It's one of my favorite things to do, actually," she added, trying to lighten the heavy mood that had surrounded them ever since they'd walked out of the club earlier.

Quinn nodded, her cheek brushing against the top of Rachel's head. "Come on, let's get in bed, Rach," she whispered as she pulled away from the brunette.

Rachel watched as Quinn slipped under the sheets, and she smiled as she climbed in after her. She settled onto her back beside the blonde and whispered, "Let me hold you?"

Quinn smiled shyly and nodded as she rolled onto her side, her right leg slipping between the brunette's as she laid her head on Rachel's shoulder. She bit her lip as she ran her hand up the brunette's stomach and whispered, "I love you," as she placed it over her heart.

Rachel covered Quinn's hand with her own, twining their fingers together, and whispered, "I love you."

"I do believe you, you know," Quinn murmured, her lips brushing against the soft skin of Rachel's throat as she spoke.

Rachel squeezed Quinn's hand gently. "About what, sweetie?"

"That we'll find a way to make us work when we're done filming," Quinn whispered, closing her eyes as exhaustion once again swept through her body.

Rachel smiled and pressed her lips to Quinn's forehead. "Yes, we will," she murmured. "Yes we will."

Chapter 35

Considering what time they finally went to bed, Quinn woke up early the next morning. On any other day, waking up at nine would have been considered sleeping in, but after no sleep Friday night because of the flight out, and then going out the night before – never mind the chaos that had ensued after they'd left the club – it was early. Very, very early.

But she was wide-awake.

It was early, and she had gotten the barest amount of sleep, but her mind was already working at a million miles a minute dissecting everything that had happened after they had left Felicity. The show-down with her father had been decidedly unpleasant but she was mostly relieved to be done with him. Sure, if she ever ran into him again, he would probably spout the same hateful words at her, but she could handle that. What she couldn't handle, however, was how the phone call with her mother had gone after the fact.

She had been thrown by Judy's confession that she had kicked Russell out and filed for divorce. She had been even more bewildered by the way the woman seemingly accepted her relationship with Rachel by telling her to let Rachel take care of her. It had been nice, really, really nice to hear the gentle concern in her mother's voice, and she had surprised herself when she left the door open to possibly rekindling some kind of a relationship with her.

Because, while having her mother back sounded like heaven, she wasn't sure it was in her best interest to let Judy back in now, just when her life was finally where she wanted it to be.

She sighed softly, knowing that she would eventually have to figure out what to do about her mother, but she pushed those thoughts aside. This weekend wasn't about her fucked up relationship, either real or imagined, with her parents. It was about Beth, and getting to know Rachel's fathers. And that was it. She didn't have the energy to make a good impression on Rachel's dads when she was also thinking about possibly reestablishing a relationship with her mother. She knew she got quiet and somewhat abrasive when thinking about her family, and the last thing she needed was to come off as that bitch of a girl that Leroy and Hiram remembered her being. She had made a good first-step the day before in showing them that she had matured and she wasn't about to risk screwing that up. Rachel was more important to her than anything else.

She smiled and gratefully turned her attention away from her thoughts to focus on Rachel as the brunette let out a quiet sigh and a small whimper while she slept. The night had been warm and the sheet they'd fallen asleep under had been kicked to the foot of the bed sometime during the night, which meant that she was blessed with an unadulterated view of her lover's body.

Her gaze lingered on plump, perfectly kissable lips before sliding down, over the regal column of Rachel's throat and gliding lightly around the dip at the base of her neck. She licked her lips as she imagined teasing that spot with her tongue, her mind easily conjuring the sounds the touch would evoke from her lover. Moving on, her eyes slid down, over the sloping plane of the brunette's chest to slide sensuously around full breasts, her tongue once again sweeping over her lips as her gaze focused on delectable mocha colored nipples.

Absolutely exquisite, she thought, as she moved onward, over trim abs and dark curls, down long, lean legs and back up again. Rachel was so beautiful, so graceful and elegant, even in sleep, and she knew that even if she were blessed with the opportunity to wake up like this every day for the rest of her life that she would never get tired of it. That she would never have enough time to just look at her. To worship her with her eyes.

She is so incredibly beautiful.

She was running her eyes back up Rachel's legs, caressing them with her eyes, when Rachel whined softly and shifted below her, the brunette's left leg falling open and exposing her to the blonde's hungry gaze. A slow, wicked smile tweaked Quinn's lips as she remembered Rachel's words from the day before about the particular sound suppressing qualities the brunette's childhood room possessed. She had originally been planning on abstaining during their stay at the Berrys' – risking the chance of Rachel's fathers overhearing them having sex seemed like a colossally bad idea for a first visit – but if there was no real risk of being overheard, there was no harm in having a little fun. Right?

Besides, lord knows they deserved it after the last couple of days.

Rachel mewled quietly in her sleep and shifted again, and Quinn couldn't resist reaching out and touching her. She ran the backs of the fingers on her right hand lightly around the brunette's breast, just barely ghosting over tanned skin, and grinned when Rachel arched ever so slightly into the touch. Generally speaking, Rachel was an incredibly light sleeper and even this would have woken her up, and the fact that she was still asleep after that gentle caress was both a gift and a challenge to the blonde, and she couldn't just ignore it. She wanted to see how far long she could tease the brunette before she woke up.

She carefully shifted away from Rachel, pausing once they were no longer touching to make sure that she stayed asleep. Which she did. Quinn's smile grew wider as she pushed herself up onto hands and balanced her weight carefully on either side of the brunette, again pausing to make sure that Rachel didn't wake up before she dipped her head to lay a light lick to a semi-erect nipple. She had to bite the inside of her cheek to keep from laughing when Rachel let out a soft moan and arched into her when she swirled her tongue around the bud, and she couldn't resist teasing the brunette's other breast in the same manner before she shifted her attention elsewhere.

She eased her legs into the small space between Rachel's and guided them open wider with a gentle touch as she slid down the brunette's body until she was able to lay comfortably between her thighs. Hungry hazel eyes danced over glistening shell pink lips as she laid her hands atop the Broadway star's hips, holding the brunette gently in anticipation of the moment when she would wake up. Quinn smiled as she leaned in closer to lay a light, feather-soft kiss to Rachel's clit. She stifled yet another giggle that bubbled in her throat when the brunette still didn't wake up before she started tonguing the bud with slow kitten licks. She pushed herself up onto her elbows as she continued to work her tongue lightly against the bundle of nerves, her goal to arouse and not awaken. Seconds turned into minutes as Rachel's body responded to her touch, and she couldn't hold back her smile when she felt the brunette finally shift above her.

"Good morning to you too," Rachel husked, smiling as she reached down to thread her fingers through Quinn's hair and massage the blonde's scalp encouragingly.

Quinn dropped her chin to lay a broad lick up the length of Rachel's folds, collecting and savoring the arousal that had pooled there while she'd been teasing the brunette. "Good morning."

Rachel groaned and tightened her hand in Quinn's hair when the blonde's tongue pushed briefly inside her. "God, you're good at that."

"You're sure your room is soundproofed?" Quinn asked, punctuating her question with another swipe of her tongue over the brunette's clit.

Rachel bit her lip and nodded. "Uh huh, yeah," she grunted, rocking her hips against Quinn's mouth. "But I can be quiet too."

"No you can't," Quinn murmured playfully, proving her point by thrusting her tongue inside Rachel and drawing a long, low moan from the brunette. She grinned and added, "Especially when I take my time with you. And, baby, I want nothing more than to take my sweet time with you."

The blonde's words sent a flood of arousal coursing through Rachel and she couldn't contain the ragged gasp that spilled from her lips. "Fuck."

Quinn smiled and pushed herself up so she could look into Rachel's eyes. "So, you're sure we won't be overheard?"

"Does it matter?" Rachel asked, rolling her hips up toward Quinn's mouth as she tugged none-too-gently at the blonde's hair, trying to direct her back to where she needed her.

"Yes," Quinn answered seriously, even as she grinned and licked playfully at the brunette's clit. "If there's even a chance of your fathers hearing us, I'm stopping."

"You can't!" Rachel gasped, her eyes widening in disbelief as she stared at her lover.

"I can," Quinn murmured, smirking as she dropped back down and rubbed her cheek against the inside of Rachel's thigh, letting her breath fall in sensual waves over the brunette's sex. "So, I ask you again, is there any chance your dads would hear us?"

Rachel licked her lips and shook her head. "None whatsoever. So long as they're not in the hall with their ear pressed up to the door, they won't hear a thing."

Quinn grinned. "Good," she husked, sliding her hands down from Rachel's hips to her thighs and pulling the brunette open wider before her.

Rachel groaned and threw her head back onto her pillow, her back arching wantonly toward the ceiling as the blonde's tongue began rolling and flicking against her. Her hands found their way to the sheets beside her head, her fingers tangling themselves mindlessly in the fabric as her hips began rocking against Quinn's mouth.

Quinn smiled at Rachel's submission and pulled back to blow a steady stream of air across the brunette's clit, causing the engorged bundle to jump and twitch and drawing a rumbling moan from her lover's lips. "You are so beautiful," she murmured, turning her head to press a lingering kiss to the inside of Rachel's thigh.

"Baby," Rachel whined, rolling her hips to the side, trying to force Quinn's mouth back between her legs.

Quinn just smiled and pulled further away, sliding down the bed until her mouth was even with the brunette's knee. "Gorgeous," she whispered, as she guided Rachel's leg out wider so she could lick at the crease behind the knee.

"Oh fuck," Rachel groaned, surprised by the unexpected sensuality of the touch. That was new.

Quinn giggled and ran her tongue over the spot again, delighting in the way Rachel's body was responding to her. "I think I'm going to need to give you a full-body massage one of these days," Quinn murmured as she brushed her lips over impossibly soft skin.

"But you're going to get me off today, right?" Rachel asked, her voice breathy and desperate, as Quinn began laying a line of lingering kisses up her inner thigh.

Quinn chuckled. "Yes," she murmured, smirking as she nipped at the skin under her lips. "Mine," she muttered.

"Mmm, yours," Rachel agreed, rocking her hips upwards in a blind search for contact.

Quinn's breath hitched in her throat as her body reacted with an almost primal ferocity to Rachel's admission. "Mine," she repeated, moving her lips only fractionally higher as she kissed the brunette again.

Oh sweet Jesus, Rachel thought as the blonde fell into a steady rhythm of 'mine's and kisses, sucks, or nips, moving slowly, so tediously, maddeningly slowly up her body. She groaned as each 'mine' brought a fresh wave of arousal crashing between her legs, having never before imagined that the simple act of being claimed in such a way would be so arousing.

Quinn marveled at the way her own pulse was pounding in her ears as she ghosted her lips over the curve where Rachel's leg and torso met. She growled softly as she bit down on the sensitive skin and sucked against it hungrily, smiling at Rachel's low moan of approval at the rougher touch. She soothed the mark that was already building with the flat of her tongue and husked, "Mine."

"Goddamn," Rachel grunted. "Yes."

Quinn smiled and ran the tip of her tongue through the fold between outer and inner lips, teasing Rachel with the heat of her breath and the proximity of her touch that was so close and yet so far from where the brunette wanted it. She knew that Rachel loved to be teased, and she loved nothing more than taking her time loving the brunette. She could spend the rest of her life right there, between Rachel's legs – tasting her, kissing her, touching her – and be perfectly content.

"Please, baby," Rachel whimpered, her fists twisting in the sheets as her hips shifted and rocked against the blonde's mouth. A soft sigh tumbled from her lips when Quinn hummed quietly and laid a light lick across her clit.

"Please, what?" Quinn teased, dipping her head down to tease the brunette's opening with the tip of her tongue.

Rachel groaned. "Quinn."

Quinn smiled and thrust her tongue as far inside Rachel as she possibly could, once, twice, three times, drawing a rumbling, feral moan from the brunette's throat before she pulled out and shifted her body down the bed once more.

Rachel's hips bucked wildly against the air where Quinn's mouth used to be and she grunted her disapproval of the way the blonde had left her. "Fuck."

Quinn chuckled and used her chin to guide Rachel's left leg open wider so she could lick across the back of it. "I told you that I wanted to take my time with you," she murmured as she nosed the bend of the brunette's leg.

Rachel could feel Quinn smiling against the soft skin behind her knee and she released her hold of the bedding so she could pushed herself up onto her elbows and look down into laughing hazel eyes. "Are you having fun?"

"I am," Quinn said, smirking as she nipped at inside of Rachel's thigh. "Are you getting anxious?"

Rachel licked her lips, her eyes dancing over Quinn's playful expression as she considered the question. Judging by the throbbing between her legs, the blonde had been teasing her for quite a while before she woke up, and she honestly was getting more than a little anxious. It had been a few days since they'd last made love and now that her body was worked up to its current state of arousal, she really just needed to come. But she could tell from the playful glint in her lover's hazel eyes that if she admitted that she wanted more, Quinn would purposefully keep it from her.

So that meant she needed to take matters into her own hand, so to speak, to nudge the blonde in the direction she wanted.

Rachel shook her head. "Not at all," she said, holding Quinn's gaze captive as she ran her right hand down her body and wasted no time dipping her fingers into the flood of arousal between her legs. She smirked as Quinn's eyes dropped to focus on her fingers, the blonde's playful hazel eyes turning hawkish and predatory as they focused on the way she began rubbing broad, sweeping circles against her clit.

Quinn moaned and licked her lips as she shifted higher, completely forgetting about her intention to draw things out as she watched the brunette's fingers swoop and swirl. It was the first time Rachel had ever touched herself in front of her and she was torn between wanting to watch and wanting to take over. Both options were incredibly tempting, but the sight of Rachel playing with herself knocked her ability to form a cogent thought right out of her mind.

Rachel smiled at the glazed look in Quinn's eyes and deliberately slowed her touch to a stop. "Baby?"

"Hmm?" Quinn hummed, not bothering to look up from Rachel's sex.

Rachel laughed. "Quinn?"

The sound of her name drew the blonde from her hypnotized state, that brief moment of clarity providing her just enough time to make a decision.

Rachel was hers.

"Yes?" she asked, looking up at Rachel as she reached out and wrapped her left hand around the brunette's wrist. She arched a brow challengingly, daring the brunette to pull away from her, as she lifted Rachel's hand and sucked the brunette's glistening fingers deep into her mouth.

Of course, Rachel had no desire to do that. "Mmm, Quinn," she moaned, as the blonde's agile tongue danced around her fingers.

Quinn used her grip on Rachel's wrist to pull the brunette's fingers from her mouth, scraping them against her teeth as they fell with a quiet pop. "Did you have a question?" she asked playfully.

Rachel shook her head. She had been planning on teasing the blonde, asking her if she was going to finish the job herself or if she needed to take over, but the possessive look in the Quinn's eyes told her quite clearly that the blonde was in charge. "No."

Quinn nodded and twined her fingers with Rachel's, folding their hands on top of the brunette's stomach. "While that was incredibly hot," she said, lowering her mouth until it was a hair's breadth away from Rachel's clit, "and while I wouldn't mind you doing that for me again sometime in the future-" she flicked her tongue over the bud "-today, you are mine."

Rachel groaned and rolled her hips toward Quinn's mouth. "Please, baby," she murmured.

"Mine," Quinn husked, as she laved her tongue through Rachel's folds.

"Yours," Rachel moaned, as a broad tongue pressed heavily against her. "All yours, Quinn. Mmm, so good."

Quinn squeezed Rachel's hand and sucked the brunette's clit between her lips. She moaned softly as she ran her tongue over the captured bud, letting the waves of her voice caress the sensitive bundle before she began sucking against it in a soft-soft-hard rhythm that she knew drove Rachel crazy.

"Jesus," Rachel groaned, her voice low and rich and primal as the blonde worked her higher and higher, coiling the white-hot knot of desire low in her hips tighter and tighter with every suck and with each swirl of her tongue. "Please, baby..."

"Hmm?" Quinn hummed, releasing the nub and flicking her tongue quickly over it from side-to-side.

Rachel moaned and rolled her hips hard into Quinn's mouth, wordlessly begging the blonde to make her come. Her hand flexed under Quinn's atop her stomach while her other hand weaved its way into the blonde's hair, grasping wild strands and pulling her in closer. Quinn's mouth became ravenous, licking, nipping, and sucking at her until she couldn't contain the long, low, drawn-out cries of pleasure that spilled from her lips.

Knowing that Rachel wasn't going to fight her, Quinn released her hold on the brunette's hand so she could grab onto her hips, trying to still their movement as they began to rock more and more erratically against her mouth. The sounds of Rachel's pleasure pulled Quinn closer and closer to the edge, the gasps and moans that filled the air feeling like a sensual caress, stoking the fire of her own arousal until, with one last forceful swipe of a tongue through the brunette, Rachel came undone.

Quinn tightened her hold on the brunette and moaned loudly against her sex as the sound of her name being ripped from Rachel's throat pushed her over the edge as well. Once the first wave of her orgasm had rolled through her in gentle, trembling ripples, she began to lap at the fruits of her labor until Rachel's hand that was still tangled in her hair tugged against her, urging her higher. She ran her lips and chin up the plane of the brunette's stomach leaving a trail of sticky wetness in her wake, and she laughed softly as she swooped up to claim Rachel's lips in a slow, deep, lingering kiss.

Rachel groaned at the taste of herself on the blonde's tongue and sucked against it hungrily, smiling into the kiss as the move elicited a low, deep, rumbling moan from her lover. "Wow," she breathed.

Quinn nodded. "Indeed," she murmured, resting her forehead against Rachel's as she stared into warm brown eyes that were the color of dark chocolate. "You are amazing."

"I think that's my line," Rachel chuckled.

Quinn bit her lip and smiled, a surge of affection rolling through her as she looked at Rachel, cheeks flushed, hair mussed, and eyes dark with desire. It was in moments like this that she found herself once again blown away by the fact that the brunette was hers. "I love you."

Rachel smiled and hummed softly. "I love you too, sweetie."

Their next kiss was slow and sweet, full of love and adoration, and, when it broke, they just stared into each other's eyes, letting the weight of their gazes' say all the things there weren't words to say. After a time, reality descended upon them again via the rumbling of Quinn's stomach, and the blonde bit her lip as she buried her face in the crook of Rachel's neck.

"I'm sorry," the blonde murmured.

"S'okay," Rachel assured her. "I'm starting to get hungry myself. You want to share a shower before we go downstairs for breakfast?"

"Mmm, yes."

Rachel laughed as the blonde's tongue tickled her neck. "Okay then. Up you get, Fabray."

Quinn smiled and sucked lightly against Rachel's neck, mindful of not leaving a mark where it would show, before she rolled off of the brunette. She sat on the edge of the bed and ran her hands through her already wild hair, and shivered when Rachel's lips connected with the back of her neck. "You keep doing that we won't get in the shower for a while," she warned the brunette, even as she tilted her head to the side to give her girlfriend more skin to devour.

"Maybe I want to have you in the shower," Rachel murmured, nipping at the blonde's earlobe for emphasis before pulling away. "I'll see you in there," she said, smiling as she turned and sauntered into the bathroom.

Quinn groaned and pushed herself up off the bed, her eyes glued to Rachel's ass as she followed the brunette into the bathroom. She stopped behind her lover, who was leaning into the shower to turn on the water, and wrapped her arms around the smaller woman's waist. "You're a tease."

"Hello Pot," Rachel chuckled, as she stood up and leaned back into the blonde's embrace as she held a hand under the spray to check the temperature of the water.

"Kettle," Quinn murmured, as she slid her hands up Rachel's stomach to palm her breasts.

"God," Rachel hissed, hips bucking backwards as the blonde's thumbs brushed over her nipples. "Stop. It's my turn for you."

"Mmm, I'm good," Quinn assured the brunette, squeezing the mounds under her hands. "Watching and listening to you come does wonders for me, baby," she purred, smiling as she nibbled on a temptingly delicious earlobe.

Rachel blushed and pulled her hand out of the spray to wrap both her hands around Quinn's wrists. "While that is incredibly flattering," she said, as she pulled the blonde's hands off of her breasts so she could climb into the shower, "I like touching you."

Quinn smiled and arched a brow as she stepped into the tub with Rachel and slid the door closed behind herself. "What if I wasn't done yet?"

Rachel huffed a laugh, rolling her eyes as she put her hands on Quinn's hips and turned the blonde so that she was under the spray. "Later. I'm not kidding, Quinn," she said as she watched the blonde prepare to playfully argue with her. She slid her hands down the plane of the blonde's chest and husked, "It's my turn."

Quinn sighed and gave in, closing her eyes as she tilted her head back into the spray. "This room is soundproofed too, right?"

Rachel cupped the blonde's breasts in her hands. "It is," she said, lifting the mounds as she dipped her head to run the flat of her tongue over each nipple. "You should know how much I like to sing in the shower."

"Oh, I do," Quinn chuckled, threading the fingers of her left hand in Rachel's hair as she reached for the wall with her right for balance as Rachel's licks turned to deep, heavy sucks. "Mmm, baby. That rendition of the theme song from The L-Word that you did the other day was amazing."

Rachel rolled her eyes. "Ha ha," she said, as she pulled away to admire her handiwork.

"I'm serious," Quinn said, stepping into the brunette's space and kissing her hungrily. "The way you sounded when you sang 'fucking'..." her voice trailed off into a low moan.

A light blush crept up Rachel's neck at Quinn's words. "You like the idea of me fucking you?" she asked, as she ran her hands over the blonde's hips to grab her ass roughly.

Quinn groaned and nodded. "Almost as much as I like the idea of me fucking you. God, the things I want to do to you," she husked, taking another small step forward until she was able to pin Rachel against the far wall of the shower.

Now it was Rachel's turn to groan as her body reacted almost violently to the blonde's words.

Well aware of the effect she was having on the brunette, Quinn smiled as she moaned softly against Rachel's ear and added, "And, oh, Rachel, the things I want you to do to me. Do you have any idea how hot it is when you just take me? When you hold my hands down and dominate me?"

"Fuck," Rachel whimpered.

Quinn nipped at the brunette's earlobe and nodded. "Mmm, yes."

The sharp, stinging sensation of pain and pleasure snapped Rachel out of her Quinn-induced-haze and she tightened her grip on the blonde's ass as she pushed off the wall and walked them back across the tub, under the beating spray of the shower until Quinn was pressed up against the wall.

Quinn groaned as Rachel's mouth descended hungrily on hers, the brunette's tongue pushing forcefully inside her mouth to stroke hard against her own. She moaned when Rachel's hands found her own and lifted them up above her head so that the backs of her wrists were pressed into the cold, damp tiles of the shower wall. She gasped as she felt the brunette's hot, hungry mouth drop to her neck and latch onto her pulse point, and when Rachel sucked hard against her, hard enough to leave a bruise, she couldn't contain the low, "Oh my god, Rachel," that spilled from her lips.

pleased by the blonde's outburst, Rachel adjusted her grip on Quinn's hands so that she was holding them both in place with one of her own, and ran her free hand down the blonde's body. "I want you," she growled, as she slipped her hand between the blonde's legs and cupped her firmly.

Quinn whimpered and nodded, a long, low moan spilling from her lips as two fingers pushed deftly inside her. Her hips automatically rocked forward, seeking more contact, as Rachel began thrusting into her. The brunette toyed with her, alternating between hard and fast and soft and slow thrusts, and the first time the heel of Rachel's hand slapped against her clit she saw stars and had to bite down on her lip to keep from crying out.

Rachel saw this and smirked as she pushed up onto her toes to lick at the blonde's lips. "Don't hold back, baby. I want to hear you."

"Oh god," Quinn moaned.

"That's it," Rachel encouraged, curling her fingers inside the blonde and dragging them over hidden ridges. "Mmm, perfect," she purred, as Quinn cried out.

Quinn's fingers flexed under Rachel's grip as the brunette worked her higher and higher until, with one last forceful, slapping thrust she was pushed over the edge. Rachel's name was ripped from her throat on a scream as her orgasm tore through her, and she couldn't help but be surprised by the force of it. She groaned when the brunette's hold on her hands loosened and she was able to loop her arms around the smaller woman's neck for support, and she sighed as she dipped her head to meet Rachel's lips in a sloppy kiss as the brunette stroked her through her orgasm.

"Rachel," Quinn moaned softly when the last spasm wracking her body eased. She opened her eyes to look at the brunette and she couldn't contain the wide, beaming smile that lifted her lips. "Hi."

The brunette chuckled and kissed the smiling blonde softly. "Hey."

Quinn blushed and pulled Rachel into her in a loose embrace. She pressed her lips to the brunette's temple, lingering in the soft connection as her heart rate slowed back to normal, and only pulled back when Rachel grunted softly in surprise and jumped away from her. "Sweetie?"

Rachel grinned and shook her head. "We, um, ran out of hot water."

Quinn automatically held her hand out to feel the water that was barely lukewarm and well on its way to cold. "Better hurry up then," she said, as she reached for the bottle of shampoo and pouring some into her hands. "Want some?"

Rachel held her hands out. "Yes, please."

They both hurriedly washed their hair and bodies, dancing around each other and the rapidly cooling water as they rushed to get out of the shower before it turned to ice.

"Why is it that we never have this problem at your house?" Rachel asked, her teeth chattering as she wrapped herself up in a plush towel.

"I have a tankless water heater so I never run out of hot water," Quinn explained, hopping around on the bathmat as she pulled her towel tighter around herself, hoping to get warm. "Damn, that water got cold fast," she muttered.

"Come here," Rachel said, beckoning Quinn closer with a tilt of her chin. She opened her towel invitingly and said, "We can share body heat to warm up."

"Mmm, I like this," Quinn hummed, leaning down and brushing her lips over the column of Rachel's neck as they huddled together for warmth. "Body heat is good."

"You're a dork," Rachel laughed, the happy sound turning into a groan as the blonde nipped at her throat.

"I'm your dork," Quinn corrected, soothing the skin she'd just bitten with her tongue.

"You are," Rachel agreed, sighing contentedly as the blonde's lips once again landed on her own. "I love you."

Chapter 36

Leroy Berry looked up from the waffle iron he was manning as Rachel and Quinn padded barefoot into the kitchen. He smiled warmly at his daughter and her girlfriend, who both looked surprisingly alert for how late they had gotten back from their outing with Noah Puckerman. He had to bite the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing at the hickey on the side of the blonde's neck that wasn't completely covered by her make-up and attempted to cover his amusement by tilting his head at the nearly full coffee pot that was on the counter to his left. "Coffee?"

"Yes, please," Quinn sighed, smiling thankfully at Rachel's father.

"I got it," Rachel said, brushing past Quinn and heading for the machine. "You just sit down, baby."

"You like waffles, Quinn?" Leroy asked, as he set a perfectly golden brown waffle on top of another one on a plate.

"Oh yeah," Quinn said, grinning as the tall black man turned and brought the plate over to her. "Thanks. This looks delicious."

Rachel set the cup of coffee she'd prepared with the exactly right amounts of milk and sugar for Quinn down in front of the blonde and leveled a serious look at her father. "Are they vegan?"

"No. I put all this effort into making brunch and purposefully used the waffle batter that you wouldn't eat," Leroy scoffed. "Of course they're vegan."

"Mmm," Quinn hummed as she lifted a butter and syrup covered bite to her mouth. "I think I love you for this, Leroy," she said, moaning indecently as she chewed. Even Rachel's vegan butter didn't detract from the flavor – they were amazing.

Leroy grinned. "So does this mean you're taking me to the Globes next year?"

"Don't push it, dad," Rachel warned.

"I dunno Rach," Quinn teased as she set downher fork and picked up her coffee. "I may have the wrong Berry. I mean, yeah, you know how I like my coffee and everything, but that one cooks!"

Leroy laughed and fist-pumped as he turned back to his waffle machine. "Oh yeah."

"Dad! Quinn!" Rachel pouted, stomping her foot dramatically.

Quinn arched a brow and laughed at the brunette's antics. "Really, Rach? A foot stomp? You going to pull a diva storm-out next?"

Leroy laughed and glanced over his shoulder look at his daughter. "Ooh, yes please!" He laughed louder when he saw that she had her arms crossed over her chest and her lower lip jutted out in an adorable pout. "Will you, Rach? I haven't seen one of those in years!"

The sight of Rachel trying not to smile at her father's teasing was absolutely precious and Quinn smiled as she reached for the brunette to hook a finger in the pocket of her shorts and pull her closer. "You won't leave me, will you?" she asked, her hazel eyes twinkling playfully as she scooted her chair back from the table so she could pull the Broadway star onto her lap.

"I dunno," Rachel retorted, even as she looped her arms around Quinn's neck. "I mean, I have no desire to stay where I'm not appreciated..."

Quinn chuckled and brushed a kiss over the brunette's cheek en route to her ear. "Sweetie, I don't think you want me appreciating you on the kitchen table right now – your dad is still in the room."

Rachel let out a bark of laughter as she blushed and buried her flaming face in the crook of the blonde's neck. "That was bad, Fabray."

"Mmm, but now you're thinking about it, aren't you," Quinn husked, tickling the brunette's sides and causing the smaller woman to squirm on her lap.

"Stop! Stop it!" Rachel laughed and slapped at Quinn's tickling fingers. "Quinn!"

Quinn sighed dramatically and relented, sliding her hands down to Rachel's hips as she just held the brunette in place. "I'm sorry."

"No, you're not," Rachel argued with a smile as she leaned in to kiss Quinn softly. Her smile grew bigger when she heard the blonde moan at the caress and she had to fight back a similar moan when she felt the former Cheerio's tongue trace slowly across her lips.

"Well, I see everybody is finally up and at 'em," Hiram said loudly as he entered the room.

"We are," Rachel said, pulling back with a grin and holding onto Quinn, who she felt stiffen under her.

"Good morning, Quinn," Hiram said, unable to keep from smirking at the blonde's deer-in-the-headlights expression and the badly concealed hickey on her neck.

"Relax," Rachel murmured, as she massaged the back of the blonde's neck reassuringly. "What were you up to this morning daddy?"

Hiram shrugged and walked across the kitchen to see how the waffles were coming. "Nothing much. Your dad and I went on our walk, and then when he started making brunch he kicked me out of the kitchen so I went into the den and did my crossword puzzle."

"I kicked you out," Leroy laughed. "Please. You kicked yourself out after the last time you almost set the stove on fire. Here-" he handed his husband a plate "-take this to your daughter and stop making me look like an ass."

Quinn bit her lip to keep from laughing as Rachel giggled and slipped off her lap to sit on the chair beside her. "Dad, you do realize that that was like ten years ago, right?"

Leroy ladled more batter into the waffle iron and retorted, "Doesn't matter."

Too used to his husband's theatrics to pay them any mind, Hiram just rolled his eyes and set Rachel's plate down in front of her. "Any plans for the day?"

"Nope. Just hanging out with you guys," Rachel said, beaming at her father as she scooped fresh strawberries onto her breakfast. "I was thinking we could introduce Quinn to the Very Berry Sunday."

"Good idea," Hiram said, smiling at his daughter. "Leroy, you in?"

"I'm the hat," Leroy answered.

Quinn gave Rachel a confused look. "What?"

"Monopoly and movies," Rachel explained, as she speared a piece of strawberry with her fork and held it out to the blonde. "Dad always has to be the hat."

Quinn nodded as she let Rachel feed her the bite of fruit. "M'kay," she said after she'd swallowed. "What movie? Please tell me no musicals."

Rachel pouted. "You don't want to watch Funny Girl?"

"Not really," Quinn answered, smiling as she picked up her knife and fork and fixed herself another bite of waffle. "These waffles are amazing, Leroy. Really. I'm going to need your recipe."

"You got it, Quinn," Leroy said, flashing the blonde a grin over his shoulder.

"Quinn," Rachel whined.

Quinn sighed and smiled at the brunette. "That's cheating," she said as she waved her fork at the adorable pout Rachel was giving her. "You know I can't say no to that face."

"I can," Hiram said, smiling at the blonde and clearly making an effort to play nice and really get to know the woman who had stolen his baby girl's heart. "Besides, we thought it might be fun for all of us to sit down and watch Stolen Thunder. That's the movie you were nominated for the Oscar for, right Quinn?"

"It is!" Rachel answered for Quinn. "That's a great idea, daddy! I still haven't seen it!"

Quinn did a mental facepalm at the idea of sitting through Stolen Thunder with Rachel's fathers. Her birthday suit wasn't exactly a side of herself that she had been planning on showing the men that weekend. "Yeah. Great."

Quinn knew she was a competitive person, but the Berrys took competitiveness to a whole other level when it came to Monopoly. She was honestly relieved that a lack of funds had forced her to quit the game three-hours in, because the game was now going onto the four-hour mark, it was down to Rachel and Hiram, and things were getting vicious.

"Oh yeah!" Rachel yelled, jumping up from her spot on the couch beside Quinn to do a ridiculously cute booty-shake celebration dance. "Two thousand bucks! Pay up!" she demanded, holding her hand out, palm up, and wiggling her fingers at her father who had just rolled an eight to land on her hoteled Boardwalk.

Hiram scowled at his daughter before turning to Leroy, who had also been knocked out of the game but who was manning the bank and said, "I need to sell the hotels I have on Marvin Gardens and Atlantic."

Leroy grinned, snatched the indicated properties off the board, and handed his husband the funds from their 'sale'. "Here you go honey, but if you hit any more of her squares, you're toast."

Hiram nodded and looked at the board. Rachel was sitting safely on the Water Works square that she owned. "If I can get her to land on Pennsylvania Avenue I'll be okay," he said.

"Wishful thinking old man," Rachel taunted as she dropped into Quinn's lap.

Quinn smiled and wrapped her arms around Rachel's waist. "You know," she murmured, nuzzling the brunette's cheek, "I find this competitive entrepreneurial side of you slightly scary, sweetheart."

Rachel laughed and leaned back into the blonde. "Really?"

"Mmm," Quinn hummed. "Completely. Although," she murmured, as she moved her mouth right next to the brunette's ear, "I also think that it's ridiculously sexy."

Rachel smiled and rolled her eyes at the blonde's comment. "I bet you do," she retorted as she scooped up the dice and gave them a toss. She rolled a five and whooped as she hit the Community Chest instead of Pennsylvania Avenue. She laughed as she scanned the card before reading it aloud. "Grand Opera Night – collect $50 from every player for opening night seats."

Quinn watched Hiram cash out a hundred for two fifties and hand one over to Rachel and chuckled, "Oddly appropriate, that one."

"I know, right?" Rachel said, turning around and smiling at the blonde.

Hiram shook his head and picked up the dice. He shook them between his hands for a few seconds before letting them fly and groaned when they totaled six. That put him on Reading Railroad, which was another one of Rachel's holdings. "I'm out," he said as he picked up his meager pile of multi-colored money and chucked it playfully at his daughter. "You win. Again."

Quinn just smiled as Rachel jumped up off her lap to do a victory booty-shake dance around the family room, replete with a chorus of 'uh-huhs' and 'oh-yeahs' that would have been annoying had they not been used to emphasize the brunette's overdramatic hip thrusts. She forced herself to look away from her gyrating lover and instead cast a disbelieving look at the woman's fathers. "Is she like this every time she wins?"

Leroy grinned and nodded. "Every. Single. Time."

"And you still play with her?" Quinn chuckled, shaking her head. "I think I'd find a new game."

Hiram shrugged. "It makes her happy. And we don't throw the game anymore, so it's not like we have to put up with this every time we play."

Rachel froze midway around the room and stared at her parents. "You used to throw the game?"

Leroy smacked Hiram in the arm. "No, sweetheart. Of course not."

"Daddy?" Rachel asked.

Hiram shrugged again. "What? Every parent throws the game so their kid can win."

"Mine never did," Quinn said.

Rachel gave Quinn a look that quite clearly said what she thought of the blonde's parents and instead leveled a serious glare on her fathers. "Be that as it may, I find it highly disturbing that you and daddy would purposefully delude me into believing that I had won the game when I, in fact, had not."

"It's a board game, Rach," Quinn said, rolling her eyes. "Who cares?"

It was obvious that Rachel was gearing up for a long-winded rant and Leroy quickly changed the topic to something less likely to provoke an argument. "Who wants popcorn with the movie?"

Beyond thankful for Leroy's quick thinking, Quinn smiled at the man as she jumped to her feet and yelled, "I do! I'll even help you make it."

Leroy winked at the blonde and looked over at Rachel who was scowling. "Rachel, why don't you and Quinn go make the popcorn and your father and I will clean this all up."

The brunette nodded tersely and stomped out of the room, which had Quinn laughing and rolling her eyes.

Leroy groaned and rubbed a hand over his head before he smacked his husband again for good measure. "I can't believe you told her we used to throw the games!"

Quinn laughed at the men who were now busy sorting the colored bills into their appropriate sections in the box and made her way down the hall into the kitchen. She leaned against the counter in front of the sink and smirked at her girlfriend. "You're not going to throw anything at me, are you?"

"No," Rachel said, as she pulled the popcorn machine out of the cupboards and set it onto the counter. "I may have to challenge them to a rematch to prove my superiority though."

Please, god, no. Quinn groaned. "Just, please not this weekend? I'm Monopoly-ed out, baby."

Rachel smiled. "Of course. Anything for you, my love," she said, purposefully brushing against Quinn and trailing her hand across the blonde's waist as she went to get the popcorn kernels from the pantry.

"I'll remember that," Quinn assured the brunette as the phone in her pocket started playing Puck's ringtone. She pulled the phone out and looked curiously at the screen. "Wonder what's up with him?... 'Sup, Puck?"

"Hey baby mama. Sorry to bug ya, I know you're hanging with Rachel's dads and all, but do you think you can swing by the hospital and give me a ride home?"

Quinn frowned and pushed herself up off of the counter. "Why are you at the hospital?"

Surprised, Rachel turned from the pantry to look at Quinn. "Noah's at the hospital?"

"I went into work this morning and Cap made me go get my hand checked because it was all swollen and bruised and it hurt like a son of a bitch. The guys are all out assisting with a fire down in Cridersville and the docs here won't let me drive myself home because they gave me a shot of the really good painkillers and I'm a little loopy. I'd call my mom, but she's out of town in Cincinnati on a girls' weekend with my aunt and-"

"I'll be right there," Quinn interrupted him. "You know I'll always help if I can. Give me half an hour to get down there and I'll take you home."

"Sweet. You rock, Q."

Quinn rolled her eyes. "Just sit tight, Noah. I'll be there as soon as I can."

"What happened?" Rachel asked, as she set the container of kernels she'd pulled from the pantry onto the counter beside the popcorn machine and looked worriedly at her girlfriend. "Why is Puck at the hospital?"

"He broke his hand punching Russell," Quinn said, sighing softly as she distractedly slipped her phone into her pocket. "I need to go sign him out and get him home because he's on painkillers and the docs won't let him drive."

"Of course. Do you want me to go with you?"

Touched by Rachel's offer, Quinn smiled and shook her head as she pulled the brunette into her arms. "It's okay. I got it. You stay here and hang out with your dads. I'm sure they'd love some time alone with you. I'm just going to go pick him up, run him by the pharmacy to pick up whatever prescription they wrote him, and take him home."

"He is more than welcome to come back here." Rachel wrapped her arms around the blonde's neck and brushed a quick kiss across her lips. "Please tell him that?"

"I will." Quinn smiled and kissed Rachel again softly. "I will. I just need to go get some shoes and the car keys."

Rachel nodded and smiled as she dropped back to the floor and let go of Quinn. "I'll miss you. Hurry back to me."

Amused by the brunette's sudden clinginess, Quinn chuckled and leaned into kiss the Broadway star's forehead affectionately. "There's nowhere else I'd rather be," she whispered. "I love you."

"Love you too," Rachel murmured as she tilted her head at the hallway. "Go get what you need. I'll walk you out."

"Thanks. I'll be right back," Quinn said, as she hurried out of the kitchen and took off up the stairs to their bedroom.

Rachel groaned and ran a hand through her hair as she dug in the drawer for a measuring cup. She scooped two-thirds of a cup of popcorn kernels into the machine and had just finished drizzling vegetable oil over it all when she heard Quinn come back down the stairs. She wiped her hands off on a towel as she abandoned the food prep and hurried out to meet the blonde in the foyer.

"Everything okay?" Leroy asked as the girls passed the family room.

"Um, yeah." Quinn turned and smiled awkwardly at Rachel's fathers. "I just need to go pick up Puck from the hospital."

"What happened? Is he okay?" Hiram asked.

"He's fine," Quinn assured them. "He just broke his hand and was given an injection of a pretty strong pain medication so the doctors won't let him drive himself home."

"How in the world did he break his hand?" Leroy asked.

Quinn licked her lips. "He broke it when he punched my father in the face last night." Both men gaped at her explanation and she sighed as she ran a hand through her hair. "It's a long story that Rachel knows, so maybe-" she turned and gave her lover an imploring look "-she can explain it all while I go get him?"

Rachel nodded. "I can do that." She didn't really want to, but she knew that her fathers would demand to know what had happened the night before and Quinn really did need to get to the hospital to help Puck. "Dad, daddy, I'm just going to walk Quinn out to the car, okay?"

"Of course," Leroy said, holding a hand out to stop Quinn before she could leave the foyer. "Please, if Noah doesn't have anybody at home, let him know that he is more than welcome here."

Quinn smiled. "I'll let him know. Shouldn't be too long," she said, spinning the key ring on her finger and pulling her aviator sunglasses down over her eyes.

Rachel gave her fathers a reassuring smile as she followed Quinn down the front walk to where their rental car was still parked in the driveway. "How much do you want me to tell them?"

Quinn shrugged. "Honestly, babe? Whatever you think they need to know. It's not like I can control what Russell does any more now that I could when I was a kid, so whatever you think they should know, just tell them."

While that was exactly what Rachel expected Quinn to say, she huffed and reached for the blonde's arm and pulled the former Cheerio to a stop so she could actually look at her. "I don't want to betray your confidences."

"I know, sweetheart." Quinn smiled sadly and pushed her sunglasses up onto her head. "And I love you for that. But it's all water under the bridge now and I really don't care if they know. It's not something I want out there publicly, for obvious reasons, but these are your fathers and they have a right to know because you are with me."

Rachel sighed and nodded as she reached up to cradle Quinn's face in her hand. She smoothed her thumb over the blonde's cheek and felt her heart skip a beat when the taller woman relaxed into the touch. "Okay. Call me if you need me?"

"I always need you." Quinn smiled and leaned in to kiss the brunette softly. "But if something should happen besides me just picking him up and taking him home or here, I'll give you a call. Okay?"

"Okay," Rachel sighed. "Drive safe."

"Always," Quinn replied, smiling reassuringly at the brunette as she unlocked the car and climbed behind the wheel.

Rachel smiled and blew Quinn a kiss as the Mini's engine turned over, and stood in the driveway watching as the blonde drove away. She took a deep breath and held it for a moment before letting it go with a quite whoosh. "Great," she mumbled, turning on her heel and walking back up to the house.

She found her fathers in the kitchen, each of them leaning against the counter with a bottle of water in their hand. She gave the men a tight smile as she crossed to the fridge and got herself a drink, and sighed as she sat down on one of the barstools at the island, giving them a look that said she was ready for their questions.

"Honey, where did you three go last night?" Leroy asked.

Rachel nodded at the expected question and unscrewed the top of her bottled water. "A gentleman's club in Dublin called Felicity." She took a long drink as she let those words sink-in. She knew it was completely out-of-character for her to enter such an establishment and that her fathers would need a moment to wrap their heads around the idea that she had gone to a strip-club. Deciding she needed to say something more to try and explain away their obvious confusion, she added, "It's something that Quinn and Noah do together whenever she's in town and, because she and I are dating, he wanted to include me as well. It was his way of welcoming me to the boy's club, so to speak."

"Oh," Hiram said. He'd heard them all talking about a club the night before, but he'd figured it'd been a dance club. "Well. Okay. I must say that I am surprised, but you are an adult, after all, and I can't very well forbid you from going to such places. But how did Noah Puckerman break his hand?"

Rachel huffed a sigh and folded her hands around her water bottle. "Dad, daddy... Quinn didn't have the best childhood. I mean, I know you guys know about her getting pregnant in high school and the way that her parents had given her thirty-minutes to pack her bags before they threw her out of the house, never mind all the completely predictable teenage drama that the pregnancy kicked up; but even before then, she... her home life wasn't the best."

"Wasn't the best, how?" Leroy asked hesitantly.

Even though Quinn had said for her to share whatever was needed, she still felt weird doing so and Rachel sighed as she massaged the back of her neck thoughtfully. "You both know that her family was almost fanatically religious, right?" she asked, and waited until she saw both her fathers nod before she continued. "Right, well, Quinn's father wholeheartedly accepted the doctrine of 'spare the rod and spoil the child'," she said, nodding slowly as she watched understanding dawn on her fathers' faces. "How often it happened, I don't know. She didn't say and I didn't have the heart to press for more details, but she did tell me that he used to hit her."

"Oh god," Leroy mumbled.

"That poor girl," Hiram said softly. "And I all but attacked her when she walked into the house yesterday. I... sweetie, why didn't you tell us this so we would have known better?"

Rachel shrugged and toyed with the paper label on her water. "It isn't something that affects her everyday life, so we don't really talk about it. I was admittedly afraid that we'd run into Russell when we were here, but she didn't seem to be. She comes back a couple times a year to see Beth and, so far as I know, this is the first time since she came out to him that she'd seen him again."

Hiram took his glasses off and ran his hand over his face. He felt like a colossal ass for the way he behaved the day before, but there was nothing he could do to take those stinging questions back. "She must have been terrified of me."

Rachel sighed. "Really, daddy, she wasn't. Not any more than somebody who was meeting their lover's parents for the first time would be. She expected your questions. She knows that we didn't have the best history going into this relationship and she's more than willing to try and make amends for that. I wish you hadn't been so harsh with her, and I'm sorry I didn't make you stop, but I didn't because I also happen to know that she desperately wants your approval for her to love me. Because she does love me. She loves me so much that I can't even begin to explain it to you."

Both men nodded, each making a silent promise to themselves to make sure they let Quinn know exactly how much they approved of the girls' relationship before the couple left the next morning.

"What happened with Russell Fabray?" Leroy asked.

"We were leaving the club and kind of ran into him in the parking lot. He called Quinn some incredibly mean, hurtful names, and when he got too close Noah punched him."

"Good," Leroy muttered as Hiram nodded his agreement beside him.

Rachel nodded. "I know. I wish I were bigger so I could have protected her that way, but I am glad that he was there to do it for her since I couldn't. Anyway, that's how he broke his hand."

"Why didn't he go to the hospital last night?" Hiram asked.

Rachel shrugged. "He didn't seem to think it was broken then."

"Do you think he'll come back here with Quinn?" Leroy asked. "Because I'd sincerely like to shake his hand – the one that isn't broken, I mean – for the way he protected you girls."

"He protected Quinn," Rachel corrected.

"No, Rachel," Leroy said, smiling sadly at his daughter. "From what you just told us about Quinn's relationship with her father, he protected both of you. Because if Russell Fabray had no qualms beating his own child, he certainly wouldn't have given a second thought to hitting you as well."

"Call Quinn and tell her to bring him to the house, Rachel," Hiram said. "We'll barbeque some burgers, veggie for you, and he can at least get a good meal in his stomach for his pain medication. It's not much, but it's all we can do to say thanks and we would like the opportunity to do so."

Rachel could see the seriousness in her fathers' expressions, so she nodded. "Okay. Can we push the movie back until later?"

"Of course, baby girl," Leroy said gently. "We'll run out to the store to get stuff for dinner. You stay here, call Quinn, and wait for them to get back."

Rachel smiled sadly and nodded. "Okay. I'll call her," she said.

Hiram and Leroy both hugged Rachel a little longer and a little harder than usual before they left, and she knew it was because they couldn't understand why a man would treat his daughter the way Russell had with Quinn. Once the garage door had closed after them, she went upstairs in search of her phone and laid down on her bed as it rang through to her girlfriend.

"Everything okay, Rachel?" Quinn asked, sounding worried. She hadn't expected the brunette to call her.

"Everything's fine, sweetheart," Rachel assured her gently. "Dad and daddy have all but demanded you bring Noah back to the house for dinner though. They want to thank him for protecting you."

"He protected both of us, baby. But he's right here, so hold on," Quinn said.

Rachel smiled as she listened to the blonde say, "Puckmeister, you up for some free grub?"

"When aren't I?" Puck replied, and Rachel had to laugh at the truth in the statement. For as long as she had known Puck, and it was quite a while considering they went to temple every weekend growing up, the boy had never turned down a free meal, no matter what it was.

"Good," Quinn said, still obviously talking to Noah. "Because the Berrys want you to come over for dinner."

"Sweet. Tell my fellow Jew that I'll be there."

"You get all that, baby?" Quinn asked, her smile evident in her tone.

"I did," Rachel assured her. "Drive safe, and come back to me soon. I miss you already."

"D'aww, I miss you too, honey. We'll be there in ten- fifteen-minutes tops."

Chapter 37

Puck watched Quinn drop her phone into the cup holder between their seats and he couldn't help grinning at the soft smile tweaking the blonde's lips. "D'aww, I miss you too, honey. You are so fucking whipped."

Quinn laughed and rolled her eyes. "So?" she retorted, knowing that there was no point trying to argue. "What pharmacy do you use?"

"The CVS on fifth," Puck answered, rubbing his hand over his head as he looked back out the windshield. "Look... I know I give you a hard time and shit sometimes because that's our thing, but I have to say, Q, that this is the happiest I think I have ever seen you. Ever. Is she treating you good?"

Quinn nodded. "She is. She's absolutely perfect, Noah. I'm going to marry that girl someday," she added softly, her smile growing wider because it was the first time she had said those words out loud and they sounded absolutely amazing.

"You know, that doesn't really surprise me," Puck said, shifting in his seat to awkwardly use his left hand to pull his wallet out of his right back pocket so he could hand the blonde his credit card when they got to the pharmacy. Even with all the wiggling he was doing, he couldn't miss the incredulous look Quinn gave him and he laughed as he finally freed his wallet and dropped it into the cup holder beside the one holding the former Cheerio's phone. "What? You've been in love with her since high school, even if you were too repressed to realize it. Of course I knew that if you were lucky enough to have her forgive you for all your angsty teenage bullshit and fall in love with you that you'd marry her. You've always wanted that, even when you didn't know you wanted it."

Quinn looked away from the nearly deserted street to gape at her old friend. "How in the fuck did you get to be so damned perceptive?"

Puck grinned and shrugged. "I know you, Quinn. Even if you don't think I do. So, any plans on when you're going to do it?"

The blonde shrugged and hummed noncommittally as she turned into the drive-thru for Puck's pharmacy. "Hell, I dunno. I do know that it's not going to be anytime soon, though. We've only been together for a month."

"Yeah, but you were living together after five days."

"Yeah, but that was just because there was no reason for her to waste money on a hotel when my house is more than big enough for both of us," Quinn retorted. "I offered her one of the guest rooms, Puck. I wasn't trying to pressure her into more. She wanted to sleep in my room with me."

"And you love it."

"I abso-fucking-lutely do," Quinn agreed, smirking at her old friend as she rolled down her window. "Picking up a prescription for Noah Puckerman," she told the pharmacist, who had seen them drive up and was already waiting at the window.

"When are you going to ask her?" Puck pressed, as the pharmacist scampered off to find his pills.

Quinn sighed and ran a hand through her hair. "I don't know. I just know that it's not now. We need to finish shooting this movie and then we still have to figure out what our next step is. I haven't told Rachel this, but I already have my manager on the look-out for any new television shows that shoot in New York so that if Rachel wants to go back to Broadway I'll have something."


"No, he's my publicist," Quinn said. "Meredith is my manager."

Puck frowned. It was hard to keep all of the blonde's 'people' straight sometimes. "I thought you fired her."

"Not yet," Quinn said, blowing out a loud breath at the idea of having to fire the woman who had been representing her since she first started in the business. "But I might have to because she's hardcore LA and if I need to go east to stay with Rachel I'll need somebody more well-versed in that scene."

The pharmacist came back to the window with a small white bag and peered into the car. "Is Mister Puckerman with you?"

Quinn nodded. "Yeah, he's right here."

Puck leaned over Quinn to look out the window. "I'm Puckerman."

The pharmacist nodded. "Have you taken Tylenol with Codeine before?"


"So no questions?"

"Nope," Puck answered, handing Quinn his credit card.

"Okay. Sign at the bottom X, please," the pharmacist said, handing a small clipboard to Quinn, who passed it over to Puck. "Total is $10.46."

Quinn handed the man Puck's card and laughed as she watched her friend try and sign his name with his off-hand. "You suck at that."

"Can't do anything left-handed," Puck grumbled. "Not even-"

"I don't think I want you finishing that thought," Quinn interrupted. "Just scribble across the line and give it back – they don't really care."

"Whatever," Puck mumbled, doing as Quinn said and just scribbling his mark on the page. "So, if you know you're not going to ask her anytime soon, does that mean you've been thinking about it?"

"Of course," Quinn said, smiling at the pharmacist as she took Puck's card and medication from him.

"No need to sign, it's under twenty dollars," the pharmacist said.

"Thanks," Quinn said, putting the car into gear and pulling away from the window as she tossed Puck's pills and card at him.

"How are you going to do it?" Puck asked.

Puck's persistence in questioning the issue was surprising and Quinn huffed a laugh as she shot him an incredulous look. "Why do you care?"

"Because you do."

The absolute sincerity in his answer made Quinn smile. Puck really was a good guy. "I don't know. I just know that it's going to have to be perfect."

"You know she'd say yes if you asked her in the middle of fucking McDonalds, right?"

Quinn blushed. "Maybe so. But she deserves special. She deserves that fairy tale, Noah. And if you say anything to her about this, I'll beat your ass. Clear?"

"You'd beat-up the man who broke his hand defending you?" Puck asked with mock horror.

Quinn rolled her eyes and sighed. "We both know I wouldn't. But I would totally take a shot at you and you'd deserve it, so just... please."

"C'mon, Q. Like I'd ever do anything to fuck that up," Puck drawled. "Give me a little credit, huh?"

"Last time I gave you a little credit you got me pregnant," Quinn retorted, smiling at him to make sure he knew that she was just kidding. She had long since forgiven him for everything having to do with Beth, because she knew she was a better person for having had her.

"And here we go again," Puck said, throwing his hands up in the air in mock exasperation before letting them fall heavily back onto his lap. He grinned and looked at the blonde, who was wearing the soft smile that was reserved for their little girl. "She's a good kid."

"She is," Quinn agreed. "We done good, Puckerman."

"We did, Fabray. We sure as fuck did."

"And... Noah?"


Quinn looked at Puck and gave the man a small, soft smile. "Thanks for last night."

Puck nodded. He wanted to ask her about what Judy had said on the phone, but he knew that the blonde would shut down if pressed. He wasn't kidding around before. He did know Quinn. And he knew that she still shut-down and ran away better than anybody else in the world. He could only hope that whatever it was, Quinn would at least let Rachel help her through it, because, from what he'd seen of them together, Rachel was the only person Quinn didn't run away from. "I'll always have your back, Q. We're bros, right?"

Quinn licked her lips and nodded as she turned onto Rachel's dads' street. "Always."

"You know," Puck said, rubbing a hand over his shaved head, "I never thought I'd be at Berry's house so much. You keep bringing me by her more and I'm going to start to think that you're trying to civilize me."

"That'll take a hell of a lot more than a couple of dinners," Quinn chuckled as she parked the car in front of the house. "I'm starting to think it's a lost cause, honestly. How's Jane doing?" she asked, curious about Noah's latest girlfriend because he hadn't mentioned her yet.

"Good," Puck said, smiling. "She's in Ann Arbor this weekend – her brother is graduating."

"You're dating a girl whose family are Wolverines?" Quinn asked, arching an eyebrow questioningly. "Isn't that like against the Big 10 rulebook or something?"

Puck laughed. "Don't worry, Q. She's a Buckeye. It's not her fault that her brother's an idiot."

"You know, I am going to have to meet this girl one of these days. I have to make sure she's good enough for you," she said, smirking at him as she climbed out of the car. "Can't have just anybody trying to settle down with my baby daddy."

Puck grinned and nodded as he climbed out of the car and followed the blonde up the walk to the Berry's front door. "Admit it, Q. You still want me," he teased.

Quinn looked over her shoulder at him and rolled her eyes. "Yeah right. I think we both know that the only person I have ever really wanted is the girl waiting for us in there," she said, as she opened the front door. "Rach, we're back!" she hollered into the house as she toed off her running shoes and left them on the mat just inside the door.

"Quinn and Rachel sitting in a tree," Puck sang as he left his shoes by the blonde's, "K-I-S-S-I-N-G."

The blonde laughed and smacked him in the stomach. "Shut up."

Puck blew her a kiss and continued, "First comes love, then comes marriage-" he hiked a brow at the blonde "-then comes a baby in a baby carriage!"

"Real fucking mature, Puckerman," Quinn growled, making a move like she was going to punch him.

Rachel, who had been standing on the stairs watching Puck serenade Quinn with the childish song, cleared her throat as she flounced down the final couple steps to the foyer. She winked at the fireman as she looped her arms around Quinn's neck and kissed the blonde softly, lingering in the connection for the space of a few heartbeats before pulling back and smiling at him, pleased to see that he wasn't leering at them. He was watching them, yes, but there was a softness to his gaze that said he was happy for them. "I want three kids."

"Of course you do," Puck retorted. "Because two would be completely average and Rachel Berry is anything but average."

Rachel let out a bark of laughter and laid her head on Quinn's chest. "He gets it!"

"He's a kiss-ass." Quinn sighed and wrapped her arms around the brunette's waist, pulling the smaller woman in closer as she caught his eye over Rachel's head and mouthed, 'Not a single fucking word.'

Puck grinned and nodded. "So, Berry... what's for dinner?"

Rachel smiled and shrugged. "Dad and daddy went to the market to get stuff to barbeque."


"Would you like to sit down in the family room and rest a bit?" Rachel offered from her position in Quinn's embrace.

"Sure," Puck said, smiling at Quinn as the blonde reluctantly let Rachel go so the little brunette could lead the way. He made a whipping sound as he passed by the blonde and laughed when she reached out and gave him a little shove. "Watch it, woman!"

"Don't you dare 'woman' me, Puck," Quinn warned, reaching out to push him again but he danced out of her reach.

"Do you two need to be separated?" Rachel asked, without bothering to look over her shoulder at the two old friends who were behaving like children.

"No," Puck answered laughingly.

"Yes," Quinn said. "Maybe you should take me to your room for a time-out," she said, smiling sweetly at Rachel when the brunette turned around to shoot her a disbelieving look.

"I think you'd like that too much," Rachel drawled, winking at the blonde.

"Mmm, I would," Quinn confirmed.

"Mailman, mailman, mailman," Puck chanted, sending all three of them into a fit of giggles as the two women dropped onto the loveseat and he took a comfy looking recliner. "Toss me the clicker, Q. The Indians are playing."

"Why should you get to control the TV?" the blonde challenged, even as she obligingly picked the remote up off of the table and tossed it at him.

"Because I'm just so damn good-lookin'," Puck retorted.

"I think you need to come up with another argument, Noah," Rachel said. "Because, if we're basing the decision of who controls the television off of looks, I'm afraid Quinn would win every time."

Quinn smiled and pulled Rachel onto her lap. "I think you'd win," she whispered, nuzzling the brunette's cheek affectionately.

"I think I'm going to be sick," Puck laughed, flipping on the television and turning on the game. Seven years ago, he would have been captivated by the scene happening next to him, but now, while he couldn't deny that the two women were unbelievably hot together, it just felt weird to look at them that way. Quinn was one of his best friends and so, while the Puckmeister part of his personality wanted to perv on the women, he just did his best to tune them out and focus on the game.

Quinn laughed and pulled Rachel closer, reaching up with her left hand to turn the brunette's face so she could kiss her tenderly. "I love you."

Rachel smiled and leaned her forehead against Quinn's. "I love you," she whispered, kissing the blonde again softly before sliding off of her lap and curling into her side to watch the game.

That was how Hiram and Leroy found the trio when they returned home. Puck's attention was focused on the ballgame, his casted hand elevated and resting against the side of his head, and Rachel and Quinn cuddled together on the loveseat, both paying more attention to the other than the game on the television.

Rachel smiled at her fathers, who were leaning up against the doorway to the family room watching them, and lifted her head off of Quinn's shoulder as she said, "Hey dads."

Quinn and Puck looked up at the brunette's greeting and smiled.

"Hello," Quinn said.

"Thanks for having me over again," Puck said.

"Please," Leroy scoffed, rolling his eyes as he walked into the room. "I think dinner is the least we can do for you after what you did for the girls last night. What did the doctor say?"

"It's broken," Puck groaned, lifting his casted covered hand as evidence. "I'll have to be in this thing for six weeks and then will have to do about a month worth of PT before I'll be totally cleared for work."

Leroy winced. "Ouch."

"Yeah. Only good news is that the doc cleared me for non-field work, so I can still do some stuff around the station."

"Well, we both really appreciate what you did," Hiram said, smiling sincerely at the burly man sitting in his chair.

"Eh, it was worth it." Puck shrugged. "I've been wanting to hit that guy for years."

"Well, even so," Hiram said, straightening his glasses on his face. "If you find that you need anything, anything at all, while you're recuperating, please don't hesitate to let us know. Even once the girls are back in LA, Leroy and I will be more than willing to help you out with whatever you need."

"I... thanks," Puck answered. He wasn't any more used to having caring father figures than Quinn was, and the fact that the Berrys had welcomed him into their home so completely was a little overwhelming.

"Our pleasure," Hiram said sincerely. "Any man who takes care of our girls like that more than deserves our help if he needs it. Now, we got burgers for all of us carnivores – Rachel, we got the stuff to make black bean burgers for you – corn on the cob, watermelon, and salad for dinner. Are you kids hungry now, or do you want to wait a bit until we start cooking?"

"I'm always hungry," Puck said, chuckling and patting his stomach indicatively. "Whenever Q and Rachel want to eat is fine with me."

Rachel looked at Quinn, whose stomach had just rumbled quietly, and said, "Let's just eat now and then we can watch the movie afterwards. Noah, would you like to stay and watch the movie as well?"

"What movie?" Puck asked hesitantly. If it was a musical, he was going to claim exhaustion and ask Quinn to take him home.

"Stolen Thunder," Rachel said proudly.

Puck's eyes widened comically as he looked at Quinn, who was biting her lip and blushing. "Q?"

"None of them have seen it," Quinn explained.

"Oh," Puck drawled, a mischievous grin tweaking his lips. "Then, yeah. I'd love to stay and watch the movie with you guys."

"Great!" Leroy said happily, as he went off to prepare dinner.

"Do you need any help?" Rachel asked Hiram, who was following his husband out.

Hiram looked at his daughter, who was curled around Quinn with her legs thrown over the blonde's lap, and shook his head. He still wanted to make sure that Quinn knew that he and Leroy completely approved of her dating Rachel, but the two women looked so comfortable cuddled together that he didn't have the heart to pull them apart at that moment. He was sure that an opportunity would arise at some point for him to speak to her before they left the following morning, and decided to give them some quality time together while they could indulge in it. "Nah, we got it, Rach. You guys just hang out and we'll call you when it's ready."

Quinn glowered silently at Puck until Hiram was out of sight. "I'd love to stay and watch the movie," she mocked. "You suck, Puckerman."

Puck grinned and waggled his brows suggestively. "I'm more about licking and biting."

"Oh my god, please stop!" Rachel yelled, slapping her hands over her ears.

"What?" Puck asked Quinn.

Quinn smirked at him as she rubbed a soothing hand up and down the brunette's back. "I may have said something to her along those same lines yesterday. I think you traumatized her."

Puck rolled his eyes. "Whatever, Fabray."

"And why don't you want him to stay and watch the movie with us?" Rachel asked.

Quinn bit her lip and closed her eyes as she offered up a quick prayer that the Berry's DVD player would magically break. "Because it's a pretty solid R-rated movie, sweetie. It'll be embarrassing enough having to sit through it with your fathers, let alone Puck."

"Quinn's buck-ass naked it," Puck piped up helpfully. Or, unhelpfully, depending on one's point of view.

Rachel's eyes widened as understanding set in. "I see."

Quinn blushed and threw her head back onto the couch. "Yeah."

"Why didn't you say anything earlier?" Rachel asked.

"Because you all were so excited to see it and, well, I mean, it's not like it hasn't been seen by millions of people already, and-"

"Yeah... I don't particularly like the idea of so many people having seen you naked," Rachel interrupted.

"Ooh, busted," Puck sing-songed.

"Does this mean I get jealous-possessive sex later?" Quinn asked, trying to find something good about what was bound to be a mortifying evening.

Rachel smiled at the blonde's question. "I don't know. I guess it depends on how much is shown and how," she answered reasonably.

Quinn smiled and pulled the brunette into a hug, holding her close as she locked eyes with Puck, whose hands were thrown up in the air in victory and who was nodding and mouthing, 'You are so getting laid!'

On the television, Quinn was walking out of the surf, essentially naked as the day she was born as the white lace thong she was wearing hid basically nothing, with a triumphant grin on her face. On the couch where she was currently sitting, the blonde was blushing profusely, averting her eyes from the screen, and surreptitiously trying to find an escape route. Puck was, predictably, wearing a 'yeah, I tapped that' smirk; the Berrys were both blushing and looking at the ceiling as if inspecting it for damage or something; and Rachel was, quite literally, glaring daggers at movie-Quinn while digging her fingernails into the forearm of girlfriend-Quinn who was sitting beside her.

"Sweetie, ow," Quinn murmured, wincing as she tried to pull Rachel's hand away from her arm. She was pretty sure that she was not getting laid later, contrary to Puck's prediction.

Rachel looked down at Quinn's arm and blanched when she saw the angry red marks she was leaving on the blonde's alabaster skin. "Sorry," she muttered, pulling her hand away and sliding it underneath her leg so that she could gouge the hell out of the sofa instead of her girlfriend's arm. Both she and Quinn relaxed when the blonde disappeared from the screen.

"I love this movie, Q," Puck announced. "You totally should have won that Oscar."

Quinn groaned. "Puckerman."

Hiram and Leroy chuckled uncomfortably as they tried to not look at the blonde. In all honesty, they probably weren't going to be able to look her in the eye for quite a while. "How much longer is this movie?" Hiram whispered.

Leroy checked his watch. "About another forty-five minutes or so."

"I think it's safe to say that we have seen much more of Quinn than we ever expected to," Hiram muttered.

Leroy licked his lips and nodded. "Uh-huh."

Rachel watched her fathers whispering to each other and sighed as she turned to inspect Quinn's arm. She winced as she ran her fingertips lightly over the marks she'd left and hesitantly lifted the arm to her lips. "I'm sorry," she murmured, as she brushed a kiss over each of the half-moon welts marring the blonde's skin.

"It's okay," Quinn breathed.

"Um... are there any more nude scenes or have we seen them all?" Rachel asked. She was actually rather torn because she had to admit that Quinn looked really, really, really good on screen, but she hated the idea that millions of people had seen the movie; and she was mortified that her fathers had now seen her girlfriend in all her beautiful, ridiculously sexy glory.

That wasn't a part of Quinn she wanted to share with anyone, let alone her parents.

Quinn licked her lips and nodded. "One more scene," she said.

"Are you alone in it?" Rachel asked.

"Um, not really," Quinn answered. "Mike and I are in the shower together. It's a-"

"I don't want to know," Rachel interrupted. "Just, tell me he wore one of those patch thingies."

"Every time," Quinn assured her. "And, if it makes you feel any better, he is totally gay. Like, totally."

"Michael Newman is gay?" Rachel asked, surprise making her voice rise above the hushed whisper she had been using.

"He's gay?" Hiram and Leroy echoed, sounding rather excited about the idea of one of the biggest working actors being a homosexual.

Quinn groaned. That was supposed to be a secret. "Yes, but he's totally bearding and isn't out – so you don't know that. Please."

"Of course," all three Berrys said sycophantically.

"I thought he was engaged to that chick from the Slasher flicks," Puck piped up. "What's her name...? Renee Morrison."

"She's using him as a beard too," Quinn said.

Puck groaned. "Fuck. Is, like, all of Hollywood gay?"

"A decent chunk, yeah," Quinn said, nodding and sitting up straighter in her seat, pleased to have the room's attention diverted from the screen. Not that there was anything risqué happening at the moment, but it was nice to know that everybody wasn't thinking that they'd just seen her boobs. "It's harder to get cast in movies where the romantic interests are decidedly straight if you're out, so a lot of people choose to stay in the closet until they're either retired or too big of a star for it to matter."

"So why the fuck did you come out?" Puck asked.

Hiram and Leroy sat up straighter as they turned to the blonde. They had asked her about coming out the day before, but neither of them had considered this particular angle. Neither of them were naïve enough to think that being out in Hollywood was easy, but they hadn't stopped to think that being out might not be in a working actor's best interest.

Quinn sighed and ran a hand through her hair. "I had never intended to stay in. I don't care so much about my marketability. I mean, of course I care to a degree, this is my job, after all; but I had always figured that when I found the woman I'd want to spend the rest of my life with that I'd pull an Ellen and just go for it. I care more about being happy than pretending to be somebody I'm not. Been there, done that, have no intention to do it again..." her voice trailed off as she realized what she'd said.

Rachel smiled and kissed the blonde softly. "I love you, thespian princess."

Quinn blushed and hid her head in the crook of Rachel's neck. "Please tell me that I did not just say that."

"Mmm, but you did," Rachel whispered.

Quinn groaned. "Do your fathers look like they want to kill me?" she whispered.

Rachel laughed and looked over her shoulder at her parents, who were leaning into each other and smiling at her and Quinn. "They actually look like they're close to tears, sweetheart. I think you're safe."

Quinn sighed and lifted her head to look at the Berry men. "Am I back in the guest room?"

Hiram and Leroy both laughed and shook their heads. "You're cool, Quinn," Leroy assured her. "I mean, I'm not sayin' your case wouldn't be helped by an invitation to the Globes or anything..." he said, laughing and winking at the blonde who just smiled as Rachel rolled her eyes at him. "You're fine, sweetheart. Really. Trust me," he said, his voice gentling with warmth and sincerity. He had liked Quinn before they'd ever been properly introduced and, after everything that had happened in the last day or so, he approved of her even more.

"Although I think there's another talk we're going to have to have sometime in the future," Hiram added, smiling warmly at the blonde so she knew he wasn't attacking her. "Just because you have our full support and approval to date our baby girl, that approval doesn't get you out of having to come and ask us for her hand when the time comes."

Quinn licked her lips and nodded, blown away by what Rachel's fathers had both said. After her talk with Hiram the day before she knew that she was on pretty solid standing with the men, but it was something else entirely to hear their approval of her and Rachel's relationship stated so plainly. "Of course. I was planning on speaking to you both first."

Puck watched the way the men smiled at Quinn, everything about their posture and tones accepting and warm, and nodded to himself, pleased with what he saw. He hadn't expected Rachel's fathers to attack the blonde for loving their daughter, but it was nice to see that he wasn't going to be the only man protecting her from now on. Of course, he couldn't say anything about that, so he just laughed and reached across the back of the couch to punch her in the shoulder. "Way to man-up, Q."

"Not helping, Puckerman," Quinn snapped, reaching out and smacking him upside the head.

"What?" Puck argued playfully. "I think it's pretty butch of you to already be thinking of nutting up and-"

"Shut. Up. Puck," Quinn growled, as Rachel's fathers laughed.

Rachel smiled and pulled Quinn's hand down between them so the blonde couldn't hit Puck again. "Noah, I would greatly appreciate it if you resisted the temptation to mock my girlfriend as I would very much prefer that she be the 'man' in that situation and if you tease her too much I'm afraid that she might never 'nut up', as you so eloquently phrased it."

"Oh god," Quinn groaned. She was screwed. The universe was out to get her, there was no other explanation for her having to sit through this movie with the men she hoped would be her someday father-in-laws and having the 'I plan on proposing to your daughter' conversation on the first weekend she really met them.

And then, just when she thought things couldn't be worse, she moaned. Loudly. Or, her character on screen did, anyways, which was even more embarrassing because she was simulating shower sex with a man who was most definitely not Rachel Barbara Berry after she had just admitted that she would someday like to marry said brunette.

"Damn, Quinn," Puck teased, as shower-Quinn's leg was lifted over her lover's hip.

"Noah!" Rachel and her fathers yelled, all three of them looking away from the screen as the camera slowly panned down the actors' wet, naked bodies.

"Oh god. Fuck me," Quinn groaned quietly, hiding her face in her hands.

Rachel laughed and kissed the blonde's cheek tenderly. "Later, sexy. Promise."

Chapter 38

After taking Puck home, Quinn entered the Berry's house and let out a sigh of relief when she realized that there was nobody in the living room. She had been half-expecting an ambush by the Berry men regarding her earlier comment about 'finding the woman she was going to spend the rest of her life with'. She toed off her shoes and climbed the stairs to Rachel's room, noting the light coming from under the door of Leroy and Hiram's room as she passed, and slipped inside the brunette's childhood bedroom, fully expecting to see her girlfriend laying in bed reading or watching television.

Only there was no Rachel in sight. The bed was turned down as if expecting to be occupied, but her girlfriend was nowhere to be seen. She closed the door and locked it as she called out, "Rach?" A quiet giggle preceded two arms snaking around her waist and she smiled as she leaned into the touch, laying her hands on top of the brunette's. "What are you doing?"

Rachel smiled and raked her teeth over the blonde's shoulder. "Nothing. Yet. Is there something you'd like for me to be doing?"

Quinn shivered at the throaty timbre of the brunette's voice and answered with the first thing that popped into her mind. "Me."

"I think that can be arranged," Rachel husked, sliding her hands out from under Quinn's, her right dipping down to cup the blonde through her shorts while her left glided up to palm the blonde's right breast. She smiled at the quiet moan that tumbled from Quinn's lips as her thumb brushed over the blonde's nipple. "You have on too many clothes," she murmured.

Quinn smiled and tried to turn around to look at her lover, but Rachel's grip held her in place. "Rach..."

"Yes?" Rachel smiled at the quiet need lacing Quinn's voice.

Quinn groaned. "I want to kiss you." It came out as more of a plea than she'd been intending, but the result was the same as Rachel's grip loosened and she was finally able to spin around in her arms. She smiled, finally seeing that Rachel was wearing exactly nothing, as she pulled the brunette into her and crashed their lips together.

The kiss was instantly hot, wet, and needy as their mouths opened and their tongues tangled together. They shuffled toward the bed, Quinn's hands roaming aimlessly over Rachel's body as the brunette busied herself with getting rid of the blonde's shorts and underwear.

Rachel let out a quiet oomph when she was pushed down onto to the mattress and she licked her lips as she looked at her lover, her eyes dancing over firm thighs and trimmed curls. Quinn was still wearing her shirt and bra, and Rachel smiled as she reached out to slip a finger between the blonde's legs, gathering some of her arousal on her fingertip before moving to rub slow, soft circles against her clit. "Take off your shirt."

Quinn groaned, her hips automatically rolling into Rachel's touch as she hurried to comply with the brunette's request. She yanked her t-shirt up off over her head and tossed it blindly across the room as she took a small step to the side, opening herself up to Rachel's touch.

"Bra too, baby. I want to see all of you," Rachel murmured, punctuating her statement by sliding her middle finger down to the blonde's opening and pushing inside to the first knuckle.

The finger inside her began to move slowly in and out, never pushing all the way in, just teasing her with short, barely-there thrusts, and Quinn bit her lip to hold in the moan that wanted to spill from her lips. She held Rachel's gaze captive as she reached behind herself to unhook her bra, loving the way the brunette's eyes darkened as she tossed it aside. She reached out with her right hand and threaded her fingers through Rachel's hair, massaging the brunette's scalp gently. "Better?"

Rachel nodded and leaned in to kiss Quinn's stomach as she pulled her hand away from the blonde's center. "Much," she said, pushing herself slowly to her feet as she dragged her tongue up her lover's body until she was able to capture her lips in a passionate kiss.

Quinn whimpered when the brunette's hands latched onto her breasts. "God, Rachel." She reached down and grabbed the brunette's ass, pulling the smaller woman into her roughly as she reclaimed her lips and thrust her tongue into her mouth.

A rumbling moan reverberated in Rachel's throat as the hands on her ass began to massage her in time with their kisses. It felt good, amazing, actually, but it wasn't what she wanted. "Bed," she murmured, using her grip on Quinn's breasts to help spin them around until she was able to push the blonde back onto the mattress. She licked her lips as she looked at Quinn, drinking in the sight of lust-darkened hazel eyes and kiss-swollen lips, and delighting in the knowledge that she was the cause of both. The blonde's alabaster skin was flushed, her rosy nipples peaked and begging to be touched, licked, and sucked. "I want you," she admitted, her voice low and rich, smooth and dripping of sex, as she climbed on top of Quinn, using her body to guide them both more fully onto the bed.

Quinn groaned as she laid back on the pillows, her eyes never once leaving Rachel's as the brunette hovered above her. A fresh wave of moisture pooled between her legs as smoldering mahogany eyes seemed to stare into her very soul. "I'm yours," she whispered, never breaking eye contact as she rested her hands on the brunette's hips, waiting for her touch.

Rachel smiled at Quinn as she knelt between the blonde's legs, which spread almost eagerly to accept her. She loved this, knowing that Quinn was waiting for her. Waiting for her touch. Her kiss. Her caress.

Brown eyes held hazel captive as Rachel dipped her head to kiss the blonde slowly, deeply, thoroughly. She smiled into the kiss as she purposefully held herself up so that their only connection was their lips, enjoying the way Quinn's hands tugged needfully against her hips. She hummed quietly and refused to budge, which made Quinn grunt exasperatedly and pull more forcefully against her, and she chuckled as she finally acquiesced to the blonde's urging and pushed forward ever so slightly so that their nipples brushed against each other.

"Baby," Quinn whimpered, when Rachel's lips began blazing a slow, tortuous trail across her jaw to her ear, the brunette's breath falling in hot, glorious waves against her skin.

Dull teeth nipped playfully at the blonde's earlobe. "Do you have any idea how beautiful you are?" Rachel whispered, bracing her weight on her left had so she could trail her right over Quinn's body. She smiled against Quinn's lips as the blonde's hips undulated beneath her, searching for and failing to find some sort of contact. Pressure. Friction. "How much just looking at you turns me on?" she husked, trailing her fingertips over an erect nipple.

Quinn bit her lip and shook her head, her grip on the brunette's waist tightening as she tried to pull the hovering brunette down onto her. "Rachel..."

"Mmm, I know, sweetie," Rachel murmured, nuzzling Quinn's ear as her right hand moved lower, tracing swirling, indistinct patterns over the blonde's stomach, teasing her with a soft touch before finally ghosting her hand between her panting lover's legs to stroke slowly through her center. She kissed her way back to Quinn's lips as she slid her fingers up and down the blonde's folds, and groaned as she felt Quinn's hand slide between her legs, the blonde's talented fingers instantly finding and sliding over her clit. "Jesus."

Quinn smiled and lifted her chin to kiss the brunette softly as she matched her rhythm. "Feel good?"

Rachel chuckled and nodded, resting her forehead against Quinn's as she stared into her eyes. "Feels so good," she murmured, her eyes fluttering closed as the blonde's fingers pressed just that little bit harder against her. "God, Quinn."

"Mmm," Quinn hummed, as her hips rolled steadily against Rachel's fingers. Wanting more, she abandoned her touch on the brunette's clit and pushed two fingers inside her, drawing a low moan from the singer's lips as she curled her fingers and dragged them back down over hidden ridges. "Oh yes," she breathed, as Rachel thrust deep inside her.

They fell into an easy rhythm, their hips rocking together as their fingers thrust in perfect syncronisity. Their breaths tumbled out in quiet gasps and their moans crashed together in the space between their lips and the world shrank around them until there was nothing beyond the feeling of the other's touch and the racing of their own heart. Quinn was the first to fall, her cry of pleasure swallowed by Rachel's kiss as her body convulsed around the brunette's fingers, her own thrusts stalling for a moment as that first blissful wave of release rushed through her before she slammed her hand up into Rachel, burying herself as deep inside the brunette as she possibly could and pulling her over the edge with as well.

"Baby," Quinn murmured. She lifted her chin and kissed Rachel softly as she traced wet circles over her hip, smiling into the caress as she felt the brunette do the same. "You are amazing," she breathed.

Rachel smiled and kissed the tip of Quinn's nose playfully. "You are. And I'm not done with you," she said, winking at the blonde as she slid down her body to suck a rosy nipple between her lips.

Quinn groaned and arched into the touch, her left hand snaking up above her head to latch onto the bottom of the headboard as her right threaded itself in Rachel's hair, holding the brunette close. "Jesus, Rach."

Rachel hummed softly as she sucked harder against the blonde's nipple and pulled her head away, stretching the sensitive tip with her until it fell from her lips with a wet, barely audible pop. "Yes?" she asked rhetorically as she covered the nipple she'd previously been playing with her hand and began running her tongue around the blonde's other breast. "I really do love your boobs," she murmured, almost reverently, as she laid a broad lick over the pebbled peak.

Whatever Quinn might have said in response to the brunette's quiet observation was lost as she watched Rachel's mouth open wide and the brunette tried to suck as much of her breast into her mouth as she possibly could. Her grip on the headboard tightened as Rachel's tongue swirled around her nipple, and when the brunette bit down gently on the tip she was helpless to contain the pleasured gasp that fell from her lips. Every suck, lick, and nip sent jolts of pleasure coursing through her until she was once again writhing atop the sheets. "Please, Rachel," Quinn groaned, when the brunette once again switched her attentions from one breast to the other instead of moving down to where she really needed her.

Rachel smiled and rolled the blonde's breasts under her hands as she looked up into lust-darkened hazel eyes. "What do you want, sweetie?"

"Your mouth," Quinn grunted, her hips rocking up into Rachel's stomach when the brunette pinched her nipples roughly. She pushed gently at the top of Rachel's head, trying to move her where she wanted her.

A low moan spilled from Rachel's lips as she nodded her understanding and delivered one last tweak to Quinn's nipples before she began kissing her way down the blonde's stomach. She slid her hands down the former Cheerio's sides to hold her hips still as she stopped to play at her protruding hipbones, teasing both with quick, feather-light brushes of her tongue and hard, heavy sucks. "Patience," she chuckled, as Quinn's hand in her hair pushed a little more forcefully against her.

"Rachel," Quinn whimpered, licking her lips and lifting her head enough to look imploringly into smiling brown eyes. "I need you."

"I know," Rachel answered, smiling as she moved her hands from Quinn's hips to push the blonde's legs open wider. "I can tell."

Quinn groaned and dropped her head back onto the mattress. She rolled her hips up into the brunette and growled as she felt Rachel's lips brush against her inner thigh. "Please!"

Rachel huffed dramatically. "Fine," she said in feigned annoyance as she slid down that little bit further so that her mouth was hovering above the blonde's center. She licked her lips as her eyes drank in the sight of swollen, shell pink lips coated in desire. "Beautiful."

Quinn mewled and rocked her hips needfully toward Rachel's mouth, praying that the brunette would take pity on her and just... touch... her... "Oh my god, yes," she sighed, her body sinking into the mattress as a nimble tongue flicked lightly over her clit.

Rachel smiled and swirled her tongue around the hardened nub as she ran her hands up and down the outside of the blonde's thighs. She closed her eyes as she dipped her chin to lay a broad lick through the blonde's folds, immersing herself in the taste, the smell, the feeling of Quinn under her mouth. It was something she knew she would never get tired of. "I swear you taste better every time I do this," she murmured, her words falling in gentle waves over the blonde's sex.

Quinn groaned and threw her head back into the pillow as she felt a fresh wave of arousal settle between her legs.

"Oh yes," Rachel hummed approvingly as she dipped her head down to lap at the moisture. Noticing the way Quinn's hips jerked every time her tongue brushed over her opening, she slid her hands up to press the blonde's hips into the mattress as she pushed her tongue inside her, curling and wiggling it inside hot velvet walls and drawing a desperate, broken scream from Quinn's lips.

"Agh.. Rach... fuck!" Quinn chanted as the brunette began slowly fucking her with her tongue. "Right there, sweetie... oh, yes... Rachel... my Rachel... so good..."

Rachel moaned against Quinn's sex as she eased her right hand over the blonde's hip to press her thumb firmly against the writhing woman's clit.

Quinn screamed as the a bolt of electricity rocketed through her from the slow, heavy circles Rachel was rubbing against her. It was too much, combined with the heavenly feeling of Rachel's tongue stroking, curling, flicking, fucking her slow goddamn slowly that she thought the white-hot coil of need low in her hips might never snap and give her release. She was vaguely aware of the desperate words falling from her lips as she strained to reach that edge, her hips working blindly against the brunette's mouth, trying to find that perfect rhythm that would send her flying.

Rachel groaned and threw her left arm over Quinn's stomach and pressed down as hard as she could, trying to hold the blonde still. The hand in her hair tugged roughly against her and she sighed as she pulled her right hand off of the blonde and wrapped her fingers around Quinn's wrist. "Sweetie," she murmured, as she gave the captured wrist a gentle tug.

Quinn swallowed thickly and nodded her understanding as she moved her hand away from Rachel's hair and slid it up under the bottom edge of the headboard beside her other hand. "Sorry."

"S'okay," Rachel breathed, her gaze focused on the lean body extended above her as she ran her tongue through Quinn's folds, ending with a hard, heavy flick against the erect nub at her apex. She felt the inside of her own thighs grow slick as she watched Quinn's stomach muscles flex and the blonde's pert, perfect breasts arch toward the ceiling in a wanton display of need. She closed her eyes as she placed both her hands on Quinn's hips, holding her still as she pulled the blonde's clit between her lips, flicking her tongue over the bud as she sucked against it hungrily.

Quinn's shoulders flexed as she arched her back off of the mattress, her hips rolling against Rachel's mouth. "Please baby, please," she murmured, half mad with desire as she desperately sought out her release. "God, Rachel, please make me come, please make me come, please make me..." her plaintive chant broke into a long, low moan, her heels digging into the mattress and her hips rocking hard against Rachel's mouth as her orgasm swept through her.

Rachel moaned at the feeling of Quinn's body spasming under her as she eased the blonde through her orgasm with light sucks and, once the strongest convulsions eased, soft kitten licks against her jumping, pulsing clit. When the last tremor left Quinn gasping and boneless above her, she smiled and laid one last lick through the blonde's center before wiping her mouth off on the back of her hand and moving up to look into her lover's eyes.

Quinn blinked and tried to focus her gaze on Rachel's face as she husked, "Hi."

"Hey," Rachel chuckled, dipping her head down and capturing the blonde's lips in a slow, deep, lingering kiss.

"Mmm," Quinn moaned at the taste of herself on Rachel's tongue. "Baby," she sighed, as she finally pulled her hands off of the headboard to set them on the brunette's hips.

"You like?" Rachel teased, nuzzling Quinn's cheek as the blonde's hands scratched lightly up and down her back.

"Fucking awesome," Quinn chortled. "How are you doing?"

Rachel smiled and shifted her legs together uncomfortably. "I'm fine," she lied.

Quinn grinned and turned her head to kiss the brunette gently. "Liar," she murmured, sliding her hands down Rachel's sides to grasp her hips firmly. "Come on. Up you get, Ms. Berry."

Rachel shot the blonde a confused look. "What?"

"Up," Quinn directed, pulling against Rachel's hips. "Want to taste you," she elaborated vaguely as she tugged again at the brunette's hips.

"Oh," Rachel breathed, as she finally understood what Quinn was saying.

"Mmm," Quinn hummed, smiling as the brunette slid up over her. "Hands on the headboard, baby. You're going to need something to hang onto," she said as tan thighs straddled her face.

Rachel swallowed thickly and nodded, resting her hands on the top of the headboard as Quinn's hands stroked slowly up and down the back of her thighs. She licked her lips and looked down her body at Quinn, her hips twitching forward as hot breaths cascaded against her center. "Quinn?"

Quinn smiled and looked up through the valley between Rachel's breasts to catch somewhat hesitant eyes staring back at her. "You okay?" she whispered, as she slid her hands up over the swell of the brunette's ass and massaged the perfect globes gently. She knew that Rachel would be feeling incredibly exposed right now, but having the brunette like this was one of the things she'd always fantasized about and she really hoped that the Broadway star would just let go and ride her.

Rachel closed her eyes as her breath hitched in her throat because... no, she wasn't entirely okay. She wasn't at all sure about being in this position. She felt like she was entirely too open. Too exposed. Like each and every one of her physical flaws was on display and she wanted to move. To hide.

But she trusted Quinn.

So she licked her lips and nodded as she moved her knees out to the sides a little and allowed the hands on her backside to pull her down to the blonde's waiting mouth. Her grip tightened on the headboard when she felt the tip of Quinn's tongue flick against her clit and she groaned loudly when the hands on her ass squeezed and pulled her down further.

Quinn kept her eyes focused on Rachel's face as she worked her tongue over the the brunette's bundle of nerves. Even though Rachel couldn't see it, she smiled when brown eyes flashed open to lock onto hers and she squeezed the cheeks under her hands encouragingly, drawing another soft, low moan from the brunette's lips. "Let go," she implored, squeezing her hands again, the words falling sensuously over intimate lips. "Just... god, Rachel, you look so beautiful. Let go, baby."

Rachel moaned, her chin dropping to her chest as she closing her eyes and rolled her hips forward against Quinn's mouth. She shuddered when she felt the blonde's answering moan tremble against her and, with the hands on her ass gently guiding her into motion, she began rocking her hips against the blonde's mouth.

That's it, sweetheart, Quinn thought as Rachel's hips set a slow and tentative pace against her. She ran her tongue everywhere the brunette moved, silently urging the smaller woman to take what she wanted from her. She moaned again when Rachel's movements became more sure, more rhythmic, more demanding as the brunette's hips rocked harder against her. Beautiful, so fucking beautiful, she thought as she watched the way Rachel's stomach muscles moved and the way the brunette's breasts began to sway.

"Oh god," Rachel groaned, her head falling back and her mouth falling open as she gave herself over to Quinn's touch. The blonde's tongue was everywhere, licking and pressing, tasting and probing, stoking the already burning fire of need in her belly to a bright white flame. Her reticence disappeared as her need took over, and she finally did as Quinn had asked and just let go, mindlessly rolling her hips against the blonde's mouth, searching for that touch, that rhythm that would send her flying.

Fucking gorgeous. Quinn groaned and opened her mouth wider, thrusting her tongue up into Rachel's center as the brunette rocked against her. She flicked her tongue back and forth over Rachel's clit when the brunette's hips stalled above her, tightening her hold on the smaller woman's glorious ass and lifting her head up to take the pulsing bundle between her lips and suckle it.

"Fuck yes," Rachel breathed, pulling her right hand from the headboard and reaching down to thread her fingers through Quinn's hair. "Mmm," she moaned, scratching the blonde's scalp encouragingly as a hungry mouth sucked against her. "So good," she sighed.

Quinn moaned and dragged her nails down over the luscious swell of Rachel's ass as she rolled her tongue over the bundle between her lips. Rachel's answering moan and the way that the brunette's hips jerked against her mouth told her that the brunette was close, and she redoubled her efforts, sucking harder and faster against the nub and tapping it with her tongue in the rhythm that she knew would push Rachel over the edge.

The hand in her hair tightened as the cries falling from Rachel's mouth grew louder and louder and the movement of the hips against her mouth became more desperate. She released the nub she'd been toying with and went back to licking the brunette everywhere, touching everywhere Rachel's body was telling her that the brunette needed to be touched, and she moaned loudly when a fresh wave of moisture spilled from her hovering lover, coating her lips, her tongue, her cheeks, her chin.

Fucking glorious, she thought, lapping at the sweet nectar as well as she could with Rachel's hips rocking against her face.

"Jesus... Quinn... oh god, baby... please..." Rachel's chants were growing more frantic the closer the brunette got to the edge. Quinn was everywhere. And then Quinn was right where she needed her to be, nimble tongue flicking and swirling, making the fire in her belly spread, down her legs into her trembling thighs and up to her heart, which was already beating an irregular staccato in her chest. "Fuck yes," she moaned, as the orgasm she'd been chasing crashed into her, sending her body into a series of cathartic convulsions as her hips continued to rock against her lover's mouth.

Quinn moaned approvingly as she felt Rachel clench and tremble above her and she loosened her hold on the brunette's ass, stroking the globes softly as she continued to lick at her center, trying to draw the smaller woman's orgasm out for as long as possible.

When her orgasm finally faded, Rachel groaned and flopped back onto the bed beside Quinn, her head landing next to the blonde's knees. "Jesus."

Quinn laughed and turned herself around so she could kiss Rachel softly. "Do you have any idea how fucking hot that was?" she asked, her eyes playful but her tone serious.

Rachel bit her lip and rolled onto her side so that she was facing away from Quinn. "No. I don't," she mumbled.

Quinn frowned, feeling a little thrown by Rachel's reaction. "Sweetie..." she soothed, scooting closer to the brunette and curling herself around the smaller woman. She felt Rachel tense against her and her brow furrowed in confusion, her mind racing to figure out why the brunette didn't want her to touch her. "Did you not enjoy it?" she whispered, feeling a knot of guilt wind itself around her heart because Rachel was obviously upset about what had just happened.

Rachel sighed, her tense frame relaxing ever so slightly even though she refused to turn and look at the blonde. "Yes. I enjoyed it. I just..."


"I feel weird," Rachel whispered, turning into Quinn's body and burying her face in the crook of the blonde's neck. She knew that 'weird' wasn't the best adjective she could have used, but she didn't know how else to explain the unease that had settled in her stomach. It was like the time she had first let go and ridden Quinn's fingers, she was honestly shocked by her own behavior. "I can't believe I actually just did that." I can't believe I used you like that, she added silently, unable to force the words past her lips.

"Oh, sweetheart," Quinn murmured, smoothing her hands up and down Rachel's back, her voice cracking a little. "It was just something that I wanted to try that I thought you'd like. I'm sorry -"

Rachel sighed and shook her head, her eyes stinging with the threat of tears. This wasn't what she'd wanted to happen. "Please don't apologize, Quinn. You have nothing to be sorry for."

Quinn nodded and swallowed thickly, silently willing away the tears she could feel building in her eyes. The last thing Rachel needed right now was for her to start crying. She brushed her lips across the brunette's forehead and whispered, "I'm sorry I pushed you into something you weren't comfortable with. I'm -"

"You didn't," Rachel interrupted her softly. "I... please don't... just... you didn't push me into anything, Quinn. Okay?" she asked, finally opening her eyes and lifting her head to look her lover in the face. "Oh, sweetheart," she murmured, when she saw the absolute fear and regret looking back at her in Quinn's eyes.

Quinn bit her lip and forced herself to hold the brunette's gaze even as the knot of guilt tightened around her stomach until she felt like she might be sick. She could see Rachel's unease in her eyes and she knew that she was responsible for putting it there. A violent wave of nausea rolled through her as she realized that she had forced Rachel to do something the brunette hadn't wanted. "I..."

Not fully understanding the emotional turmoil roiling inside her lover's head, Rachel shushed the blonde with a kiss. "I love you," she murmured. "You didn't push me into anything, okay? It's just me. I'm just... you didn't push me into anything. Okay, sweetheart? God, Quinn, I love you so much," she breathed, her heart clenching as she watched Quinn look away. She accepted the avoidance for what it was and sighed, recognizing the fact that Quinn was shutting down on her. The blonde had never really pulled away from her like this in the last month that they'd been together, and she didn't know what to do. Quinn shivered slightly against her and ran what she hoped would be perceived as a loving, comforting hand over the blonde's arm. "Just... come on, baby. Let's turn around and tuck-in. The room is getting chilly," she whispered.

Desperate to not upset the brunette further, Quinn licked her lips and nodded even as the heart-clenching fear that she had forced Rachel into something the brunette wasn't comfortable with made her feel like she couldn't breathe. They turned themselves around so they were laying the right way on the bed and Rachel turned off the small lamp on the bedside table before reaching down to pull the sheet and blanket up over their naked bodies, the room that moments before was filled with the sounds of love and pleasure now harshly silent around them.

Unable to look Rachel in the eye, Quinn rolled onto her side away from her as the tears she'd been holding back finally spilled free and slid silently down her cheeks to wet her pillow as she drowned in her guilt. She bit her lip to hold in the sob that wanted to escape her as she fisted her hands around the sheet, hating herself for what she'd done.

Rachel frowned as her eyes roamed over the blonde's tense back, not understanding why Quinn had pulled away from her. She knew that she was partially responsible because of the way she had tried to hide from the blonde after her last orgasm, but she was just embarrassed with herself, not mad at Quinn, and she couldn't make sense of why the blonde was avoiding even looking at her. She wanted to explain herself, to explain her actions, but the wall Quinn had swiftly erected between left her struggling to find a way to tell the blonde exactly what she was thinking. 'Weird' hadn't been the right word, but Quinn was so closed off now that she wasn't even getting the chance to try and find the right one. "Sweetie?"

Quinn screwed her eyes shut as a fresh wave of tears coursed down her face, the old familiar voice inside her head telling her that she was once again going to lose the most precious thing in her life. "Just go to sleep, Rach," she mumbled, forcing herself to hold still when she felt the brunette's hand land tentatively on her side. She could tell that Rachel wanted her to roll over, but she couldn't do it. She couldn't bear to see any more hurt in those expressive brown eyes she loved so dearly.

"Are you okay?" Rachel asked hesitantly, squeezing Quinn's waist gently.

"Yeah. Just... just tired."

Rachel sighed at the obvious lie. "Quinn?"

"We have an early flight," Quinn said, her voice flat and distant. "You should really get some sleep."

"Can... can I hold you?" Rachel whispered, her heart breaking when she was answered with a grunt and a half-assed shrug. Not wanting Quinn to revert totally inside herself, and hoping that this was one of the times where a good night's sleep would make everything all better, Rachel scooted over to the blonde and molded herself to the taller woman's back, hesitantly wrapping her arm over her waist so that her hand was pressed flat against her lover's stomach. "Is this okay?" she asked, as she pressed a soft kiss to the back of the blonde's shoulder.

Quinn nodded as silent tears continued to stream down her face. She didn't deserve Rachel's comfort, and she hated herself for needing it so desperately.

Chapter 39

Quinn came awake exactly three minutes before the alarm was set to go off, and she carefully extracted herself from Rachel's embrace to turn off the device so that it wouldn't wake the brunette. Residual fear and self-loathing from the night before had her stomach in knots, and she welcomed the opportunity to just be by herself for a while as she padded into the bathroom. She held the handle open as she closed the door so that it shut with a silent click and tossed a towel over the top of the shower doors before turning on the water. She avoided looking in the mirror as she waited for the water to come to temperature, afraid of what she'd see in her own expression.

She had never imagined that she would ever hurt Rachel the way she had the night before, even if the brunette swore that their activities had been consensual.

"Stupid, Fabray," she quietly chastised herself as she climbed under the beating spray and slid the door shut behind her. If only she had stopped when she'd seen the hesitant look in Rachel's eyes rather than urging the brunette to let go.

She went through the motions of her shower on autopilot, washing her hair and her body without conscious thought as her mind went over and over the different things she should have done the night before, all of them ending with the same conclusion, I should have stopped.

She felt as if she'd violated Rachel.

And that was the thought that had her feeling like she was seconds away from throwing up.

After she'd finished in the shower, she went through her post-shower routine quickly, still actively avoiding her reflection, even going so far as to just put her hair up in a ponytail because it was a style she could manage without having to look in the mirror. With her towel wrapped tight around her body, she eased out of the bathroom and slunk over to her suitcase. She put on the first clothes she grabbed, honestly not caring if her bra matched her underwear. On top of the mismatched underwear, she pulled on the pair of jeans she'd worn on the flight out, a clean t-shirt, and a clean pair of socks. Her running shoes were downstairs by the front door, so she didn't need to search for those.

She gathered her clothes that were scattered around Rachel's bed, never allowing her gaze to travel up to the sleeping woman's naked body, and tossed them into her suitcase before she zipped up the bag and carried it over to the door. A soft sigh fell from her lips as she turned to finally look at Rachel, who was hugging the pillow she'd used the night before to her chest and smiling softly in her sleep. A feeling of complete inadequacy washed over her as she watched the brunette snuggle closer to the pillow. She wasn't worthy of the brunette's trust. Not when she had so blatantly broken it not even ten hours before.

Head hanging low in shame, she shuffled across the room to run a gentle hand down the brunette's back. "Rach. Time to wake up. We need to get going soon."

Rachel stirred at the feeling of her lover's touch and smiled as she rolled over to look at her. "What time is it?"

"Six twenty-five," Quinn answered, glancing at the alarm clock she'd shut off earlier. "We need to get out of here by seven if we're going to make our flight."

Rachel nodded, her eyes dancing over the blonde's distant expression. "Sweetie?"

Quinn sighed and licked her lips nervously. "I'll go put my bag in the car and then I'll get the coffee going if your fathers aren't up yet," she said softly as she slowly backed away from the bed.

Rachel frowned, instantly knowing that the blonde was still hung up on what had happened the night before. She hadn't pressed then, not knowing what to say or how to push past the walls Quinn had thrown up between them, but she was going to do it now. "Quinn, what's going on?" Her voice was sterner, demanding that the blonde at least acknowledge her.

"Nothing," Quinn lied, giving the brunette a small, entirely fake smile that looked more like a grimace. "Everything's fine. We just need to get rolling."

"No," Rachel said, sitting up and hugging the sheet to her chest. She noticed the way Quinn's eyes darted to the ground, as if the blonde were afraid to look at her naked skin, and sighed. Yes, whatever it was that was bothering Quinn, it was big. And she needed to fix it. "What's going on, Quinn?" she repeated, dropping the sheet she'd been holding and sliding out of the bed to stand in front of her lover when the blonde continued to refuse to look at her. "Sweetie? Talk to me."

Quinn swallowed thickly and forced herself to meet Rachel's concerned gaze. "Nothing's wrong, Rach."

"Yeah," Rachel murmured, nodding absently as she reached up to cradle Quinn's jaw in her palm. "That right there? That's a lie. Are you... is this about last night?" She knew that whatever was bothering the blonde was about what had happened after their lovemaking the night before, but she was hoping that by phrasing her conclusion as a question that Quinn wouldn't feel attacked and wall herself off more. Rachel knew she needed to get through to the stubborn blonde, and she knew enough of her personality from their troubled past to know that the minute Quinn felt as if she were being attacked that she'd shut down. She knew all this, but it still killed her to see the blonde's eyes drop back to the floor. "Sweetie..."

Quinn shook her head and stepped away from the warmth of Rachel's touch. "I forced you. I..."

"You didn't," Rachel replied, stepping forward into the blonde's space. Quinn took a step away from her so she followed, again and again, until the taller woman was trapped between her and the wall. She had been hoping to gently extract her lover's thoughts, but now that she knew that Quinn was thinking that she had forced her into doing something she wasn't comfortable with, she couldn't be gentle. She couldn't worry about the blonde pulling further away from her. She needed to bulldoze her way through whatever walls Quinn had constructed so she could get to the loving, warm, terribly frightened woman hiding behind them. "Look at me," she said, her voice simultaneously firm and pleading as she waited for sad hazel eyes to once again look at her. "You did not force me to do anything."

"I did."

Rachel shook her head and hooked her finger under the blonde's chin, forcing the taller woman to hold her gaze. "You did not. I could have said no, Quinn, but I didn't."

"Fine. I made you uncomfortable," Quinn argued quietly.

"No, you didn't," Rachel argued back, and groaned when Quinn shot her a disbelieving look. "Okay, yes, I was uncomfortable – but it wasn't from anything you did. I'm just not... before you..." her voice trailed off again as she tried to find the words she needed to reassure Quinn that she really was fine. "I obviously wasn't a virgin when we met up again, but I had never particularly enjoyed sex all that much, either. In fact, I generally tended to try and exhaust myself at work so that I wouldn't have to sleep with my boyfriends because it was never satisfying. It never gave me that feeling of closeness I'd always longed to feel. The majority of the time I just faked it when they were done so that they would get off of me. Sex wasn't pleasurable, it was just something I did because it was a required facet of being in an adult relationship."

Seeing that she at least had Quinn's attention, Rachel soldiered on, hoping to make the blonde understand. "But with you, it's different. It is so different. I like what you do to me. The way you look at me. The way you touch me. I love the way you make me feel. And, yes, last night I was a little uncomfortable after the fact, but it wasn't because of anything you did. I... that was the first time I had ever done that, and I was just a little embarrassed by how much I liked it. I mean, I shouldn't have liked it as much as I did. I was quite literally using you by... by... by just humping your face like that, and it shouldn't be such a turn-on for me but it was and I just..."

Quinn nodded as she began to understand what it was that had made Rachel uncomfortable. She could see that the brunette was telling the truth, that it wasn't anything that she had done. Rachel's, at the time, cryptic statements of 'I feel weird' and 'I can't believe I just did that' made so much more sense now that she knew exactly what it was that the brunette had meant. The crippling fear that she was losing Rachel that had her stomach in knots began to ease as she stared into open, honest, plaintive brown eyes and she mentally kicked her own ass for shutting down like she had the night before.

Rachel watched different thoughts race in Quinn's eyes, but the blonde's serious expression and lack of response had her guessing as to what, exactly, those thoughts were. "Please say something," she whispered.

"It's okay for you to like riding my face," Quinn murmured.

Rachel blushed and leaned forward, her forehead landing with a solid bump against the blonde's shoulder. "Quinn," she whined, headbutting her lover again for good measure.

"Rachel," Quinn sighed, giving in to her instincts and wrapping her arms around the brunette's waist, her fingertips sliding softly over the smaller woman's skin. "I loved the feeling of your thighs against my cheeks," she whispered, pressing a lingering kiss to the brunette's head. "I loved being able to look up and see you, all of you, primed and ready to let go. I loved the way your hips rolled against me, the way your body moved, telling me what you wanted. What you needed. I loved watching your breasts sway with your movement, the way your nipples grew harder and tighter the closer you got to release. I loved being able to give you what you needed. So, really, honestly, I swear to you that it is more than okay for you to enjoy riding my face like that."

"I'm sorry I made you feel like you had done something wrong," Rachel murmured, sliding her arms around Quinn's neck and pulling herself in closer to the blonde. "That really wasn't my intention at all. I was just embarrassed with myself, sweetie. It wasn't you."

Quinn brushed a soft, sweet kiss over the brunette's brow. "I'm sorry I didn't ask you if you would be comfortable with the idea of it beforehand," she whispered. "I'll always ask first from now on, I promise."

Rachel blushed and turned her head to press a lingering kiss to the underside of the blonde's jaw. "Well, for the record, I am fine with doing that again. Although, I would like to maybe trade places so I can really see what it was that you liked so much about it."

Quinn sighed, her eyes rolling back into her head a bit as she let relief truly wash over her. "That can be arranged," she murmured.

"What else?" Rachel asked.

Quinn frowned, not at all following Rachel's train of thought. "What else, what?"

The brunette nestled her head under the blonde's jaw and held her tight, not wanting to lose this closeness after a night where it felt like they were miles apart. "What else would you like to try? You said you'd 'ask first from now on', which implies that there are other things you'd like to do."

Quinn groaned and glanced over at the alarm clock. It was now nearing the twenty 'til mark. "Can we talk about this later? We really need to get going if we're going to make our flight."

"So come into the bathroom with me and talk while I shower," Rachel said, pulling back and smiling up at the blonde. "I don't want this hanging over our heads for the flight home." Her smile was light and her tone playful, but she put enough seriousness into it so that Quinn would know that she would keep pushing until she got what she wanted.

Quinn caught the serious edge to the brunette's voice and sighed resignedly and nodded. "There's no way I'm going to get out of this now, am I?"

"Nope," Rachel chirped, popping up onto her toes to kiss the blonde quickly before sauntering off to the bathroom, not bothering to look over her shoulder to check and make sure Quinn was following her. She turned on the water and smiled as she heard the bathroom door close behind her. "So..."

"So..." Quinn repeated.

Rachel chuckled and stepped into the warm water. She knew from their shower conversation the day before that Quinn had admitted to wanting to 'do things' to her, and vice versa, but she really wasn't versed enough in having sex with another woman to have any idea what those things might be. "Tell me. You have said that you fantasize of doing things to me and of me doing things to you... what are those things?"

Quinn licked her lips as she watched Rachel tip her head back into the spray, and hopped up onto the counter for a better view. She ogled the brunette as the Broadway star smoothed her hands through her hair, eyes closed, breasts jutting forward temptingly, and tried to figure out what to say and where to start. This wasn't exactly a conversation she'd had before. Jamie had been the one to introduce props to their bedroom and she had just rolled with it, surprisingly enough, considering her strict, conservative upbringing; and her conquests between Jamie and Rachel had been simple, no toys needed encounters, so she was unsure of how, exactly this conversation should go. She didn't have a clue what to say or where to start, but she accepted the fact that the ball was in her court. She massaged the back of her neck thoughtfully as she watched Rachel bathe, and finally decided to start with what was, to her, at least, the most sensual accessory one could use in bed. "How do you feel about blindfolds?" she asked, her voice just loud enough to carry over the sound of the water. She bit her lip nervously as she watched Rachel pause in her movement to reach for the shampoo, worried that she might have started out with the wrong suggestion and scared the brunette off.

Rachel recovered quickly and poured some shampoo into her hand and began massaging it into her hair. "On me or you?"

Pleased that the brunette hadn't just outright cast the idea aside, Quinn said, "Both?"

Rachel whimpered as her body reacted quite enthusiastically to the idea. "I... I'm okay with that."

Quinn nodded. "Okay. What about being tied up? Or, tying me up?"

Rachel groaned. Her imagination did an excellent job of painting the mental picture of Quinn hovering above her, smirking, while she was forced to simply lie there and wait to be touched. Then the image inside her mind shifted to Quinn, spread out below her, unable to stop her as she took her sweet time kissing the blonde everywhere, teasing her until she was begging to be released... that was, yeah. "I... um, yes... please," she said, dropping her head back into the spray to rinse the shampoo from her hair and to hopefully wash away some of the blush that she had felt creep up into her cheeks.

Quinn licked her lips and nodded. "Duly noted. Um, I don't particularly like it used on me, but... a strap-on?" She watched Rachel nod in the shower and, when a verbal reply still hadn't come after a few more seconds, she slid off the counter to open the door opposite the showerhead. She stuck her head inside the stall and asked, "Was that a yes?"

Rachel bit her lip and nodded again. She didn't really miss making love with that particular appendage involved, but she wasn't opposed to the idea of it either. In fact, the idea of being with Quinn like that was incredibly arousing. "Yes."

Quinn smiled at Rachel and arched a brow questioningly. "Should we stop this conversation for now?"

"I... is there more?" Rachel asked, her eyes dark and her voice an octave lower than normal.

Quinn smiled softly and shook her head. "Not really," she murmured. "Those were the big things I'd been wanting to share with you. But, since you said that it was the position last night that you were uncomfortable with..." she trailed off thoughtfully, unsure of whether or not to proceed. On the one hand, she loved making love to Rachel. But there were times that she really just wanted to take the brunette. "Would you... would you be okay with me just bending you over and fucking you?"

Rachel bit her lip to stifle the moan that rumbled in her throat and nodded. "That would be okay. I... that sounds, amazing, honestly," she said, looking away and chuckling embarrassedly, astounded by the fact that she was actually having this conversation. Up until Quinn, her sex life had consisted of the missionary position and maybe, maybe a rare so-called 'doggy-style' encounter when she was feeling particularly generous. None of her lovers had cared enough about her pleasure to try anything more, and not one of them had ever introduced the idea of adding anything to the bedroom. Of course, she hadn't been too enthused by the idea of having sex with them to begin with, so she hadn't really cared that sex with each of them – and there were only three after Finn, not that he really counted for anything anyways, with his little problem – was boring. She just figured she hadn't found the right person yet – and that that was why she wasn't enjoying sex as much as everybody else seemed to be.

And she'd been right. Because the right person was Quinn.

Sex used to be a chore, but now... now it was like a whole new world was being opened up to her and she found herself excited to explore it. She knew moments of embarrassment, like the night before, were bound to happen again, but she also wanted to get past them. To truly give herself to Quinn, to just let go and enjoy all of the things the blonde did to her. She promised herself that if she did every experience that gut-twisting embarrassment again that she'd talk to Quinn about it rather than using vague words like 'weird' to describe it, and she just had to hope that that would be enough to keep them from having such a monumental misunderstanding again.

Rachel cleared her throat quietly. "However, for as, um, stimulating as this conversation is-" she chuckled "-I think we should save the rest of it until we get home because I am getting incredibly turned-on right now and we don't have time to do anything about it."

"You're probably right," Quinn agreed, licking her lips as her eyes focused on the way Rachel's nipples had tightened to hard little points. "But..."

Rachel looked up into dark hazel eyes and smiled. She had been so wrapped up in her thoughts that she'd honestly forgotten that she was standing naked in the shower and that Quinn was fully clothed outside it looking at her. "Hmm?"

"Come here," Quinn murmured, holding a hand out to Rachel. She smiled softly as the brunette moved in front of her and reached out to cradle the smaller woman's jaw in her hand. "I love you," she whispered, her thumb rubbing slowly over Rachel's cheek. "I'm sorry about last night. I'm-"

Rachel interrupted her with a slow, deep, lingering kiss that was full of love and affection, promises and forgiveness. "I love you too, sweetheart," she murmured, nuzzling the blonde's cheek with her nose.

Quinn smiled and kissed Rachel again softly. "I'll pull some clothes for you and then go get our bags into the car while you finish up, okay?"

Rachel sighed and nodded, wrapping a wet hand around Quinn's neck and pulling her in for another kiss. "M'kay," she husked, smiling as she tilted her head to the side and pushed her tongue inside the blonde's mouth.

Quinn moaned at the feeling of Rachel's tongue stroking her own and leaned into the kiss, meeting the brunette's tongue eagerly as she reached out and grabbed hold of the smaller woman's waist. She pulled her in closer, needing that full-body contact and hissed when the water on Rachel's skin soaked through her clothes. "Damn it."

Rachel giggled and pulled back to look at the blonde. "It looks like I got you a little wet."

"You have no idea," Quinn chuckled, leaning into the stall to deliver a playful slap to the brunette's ass.

"Watch it," Rachel warned, eyes full of mischief. It was like a weight had been lifted off both their shoulders and they were back to being able to playfully tease the other without worrying about how their words and actions might be perceived. "I might just pull you in here with me if you keep that up."

"Oh baby, I wish you would," Quinn murmured. "But then we'd miss our flight."

Rachel's eyes darkened as she reached out to fist her hands in the hem of Quinn's shirt. "There are more flights. Lose the jeans and get in here," she husked, as she lifted the blonde's shirt up and off over her head. She was turned-on from their conversation, yes, but, more than that, she wanted the closeness of feeling Quinn's skin against her own. She wanted to kiss, to touch, and to be touched – to banish the ghosts of embarrassment and fear and insecurity that had haunted them and bask in the warmth of Quinn's presence.

The blonde groaned and reached down to her pants, quickly flicking the button open and shoving both her jeans and her panties down over her hips as the brunette flicked open the front clasp on her bra and shoved the straps down her arms. She kicked and tossed all the clothes away and yelped when Rachel's hand wrapped around the back of her neck and pulled her forward into the shower. "Fuck," she grumbled, as she regained her footing in the tub.


"Wet socks," Quinn whined.

Rachel rolled her eyes and laughed as she ran her hands down Quinn's back to palm the blonde's ass possessively. "Who cares?" she murmured, as she leaned back against the wall and pulling the taller woman into her.

Quinn smiled and slipped her right leg between Rachel's. "Not me," she husked. She rocked forward into the brunette and moaned softly as she felt exactly how turned on their conversation had gotten her. "You feel so good," she murmured, dipping her head and claiming the smaller woman's lips in a slow, deep, passionate kiss.

Rachel gasped at the feeling of Quinn's strong thigh flexing against her. "Mmm, baby."

"Hmm?" Quinn hummed, trailing a string of fiery kisses over the brunette's jaw as she continued to rock into her. She brushed her lips over the sweet spot beneath Rachel's ear before latching onto it and sucking hungrily, finishing with a gentle nip and a broad swipe of her tongue to soothe the sting. She slid her right hand over Rachel's hip and pulled the brunette harder onto her thigh, drawing a grunt of approval from the smaller woman's lips.

"Oh yes, Quinn," Rachel murmured, her grip tightening on the blonde's ass encouragingly as she rocked herself harder against her leg.

Quinn groaned softly and braced her left hand on the wall beside Rachel's head as she ran her tongue around the shell of the brunette's ear. "I love you," she breathed, her words falling in sensual waves over the wet flesh and causing a shiver to roll down her lover's spine. She bit her lip and nuzzled the brunette's ear as a trembling moan fell from the smaller woman's lips, relishing the closeness they were sharing. Rejoicing in the fact that this piece of heaven hadn't been lost to her forever. "So much," she whispered, dropping a light kiss to Rachel's ear as she lifted the brunette's left leg up over her hip so she could thrust more fully against her.

"Oh god," Rachel whimpered, her hands scrabbling up Quinn's back to wrap around her neck, needing that extra support to stay upright as the blonde's thigh hit her just right, every single time.

Once Quinn was certain that Rachel's leg would stay up around her hip, she trailed her hand down the back of the brunette's thigh to her ass. "My Rachel," she sighed, lips still nuzzling the brunette's ear as she palmed the firm globe and gave the muscle a squeeze.

"Yours," Rachel agreed, already half-gone to the pleasure building inside her. "All yours, sweetheart. Mmm, Quinn," she moaned when the blonde's hips rotated against her, grinding against her clit instead of just slapping at it. "So good."

"Yes, you are," Quinn husked, as she slipped her hand down under the brunette's cheek to dip into her center, testing the touch to see if it was something Rachel wanted.

It was. "Fuck yes," Rachel whimpered. "Please. Inside."

Quinn hummed softly and slid her hand up and around the brunette's hip so that she was able to slip it between them, the back of her wrist pressing against her thigh as she trailed two fingers through wet, swollen lips. She pulled back to look at Rachel as she teased her with light, feinting thrusts, and bit her lip, holding dark brown eyes captive as she slipped inside.

Rachel moaned throatily and her head fell back against the hard tile wall as the blonde's long fingers filled her, her hips instinctively rocking forward to draw her lover in deeper. "Baby," she groaned, as those wonderful fingers began thrusting slowly inside her, curling deep and dragging over those hidden ridges that never failed to make her see stars.

"I love you," Quinn whispered, leaning forward and resting her forehead against Rachel's as she began to use her hips to drive herself deeper inside the brunette. "You are my world, Rachel Berry."

Rachel licked her lips. "I love you," she murmured, her right hand massaging the back of the blonde's neck. "God, do I love you," she sighed, as Quinn's fingers paused inside her and began massaging her, the heel of the blonde's hand rocking slowly against her clit. "Mmm, just like that, sweetie."

Quinn smiled and did as instructed, continuing to massage the front of Rachel's channel and rubbing the heel of her hand against the brunette's clit as she pressed her lips against her lover's forehead. She could tell by the fluttering around her fingers that Rachel was close, and she rolled her hips forward into her hand, pushing herself just that little bit harder into the brunette and sending her flying. "I love you," she whispered, her lips brushing against Rachel's forehead as she closed her eyes and drank in the sound and the feeling of Rachel coming undone beneath her. "Thank you for loving me," she breathed, the words so soft that they weren't even audible to her own ears.

Rachel could feel Quinn's lips moving against her skin but couldn't hear what the blonde was saying. Part of her wanted to ask, but the rest of her was happy to just bask in her lover's embrace and accept the moment for what it was. A chance to grow closer. An opportunity to show how much they loved each other without words. "Mmm, baby," she murmured, as the gentle waves of her orgasm waned.

Quinn smiled and kissed the brunette's forehead tenderly. "I love you so very, very much, my singing princess," she breathed as she regretfully pulled her fingers free of their warm velvet sheath.

Rachel sighed and finally moved her leg off of the blonde's hip so that she was once again standing on her own two feet. She smiled shyly up into serious hazel eyes that were looking down at her with so much love that it stole the breath from her chest. "I love you too. Are we okay?"

Quinn nodded. "Of course we are, sweetie," she assured the brunette, smiling as she dipped her head to kiss her softly.

Chapter 40

The sun was hanging high above the Pacific when Quinn pulled into her driveway, tired from the weekend's activities and more than happy to be home. Surprisingly enough, even with their impromptu shower activities and a prolonged goodbye from Hiram and Leroy – in which the men confirmed that they would be coming out to California toward the end of July – they had made their flight out of Columbus and hadn't needed to go standby on a later one. Of course, the only reason that had happened was because of a small gray and white kitten named Tempest who had managed to escape her carrier and disappear into the mass of luggage in the cargo hold under the plane. The rogue kitten was eventually caught after a three-hour standoff with airport security, who managed to coax her out of her hidey-hole with some food, treats, and a laser pen, and flight 0529 was finally allowed to board and take-off.

Because of the delay it was already early afternoon back in Los Angeles, and all Quinn wanted was to unpack, start some laundry, and relax. Maybe sunbathe up on the rooftop deck or just lounge about on the couch. Or in bed. Where the relaxing was to be done didn't matter so much as the idea of peace and quiet and spending some quality time with Rachel.

Of course, real life had other plans and her cell phone started ringing the moment she pulled into the garage.

"Fuck, that's Jack," she swore softly, groaning as she killed the ignition. She knew something had to be going on for him to call her because he was much more hands-off than Tina was with Rachel – and the only reason he'd bother her was if there was something circulating that he needed more information about.

"Wonder what's going on," Rachel said. She opened her door and climbed out of the car. "I'll get the bags, you talk to him."

"I can do both," Quinn argued as her phone continued to ring.

Rachel rolled her eyes and shrugged. "Fine. But you better answer that before it goes to voicemail."

"Yeah, yeah," Quinn muttered, before she actually took the call. "Fabray."

"Q – true or false: you got engaged this weekend," Jack said without preamble.

Quinn frowned. "Um, false. What's going on?" she asked. She shrugged at Rachel's questioning look as she took her suitcase from the brunette and started into the house.

"Well, there are some pics of the two of you at the airport in Columbus. It's no secret that you and Rachel are both from Ohio, and a few of the less than honorable tabs are running speculative stories that you went home to ask Rachel's fathers for her hand. No mention has been made of your strip club exploits, by the way."

"Well, that's good. But, they seriously drew that conclusion from pictures of us in an airport?" she asked, rolling her eyes as she left her suitcase at the foot of the stairs and went to sit down in one of the armchairs in the living room.

"Like I said, we're not talking major outlets here, but the story is out and it won't take long for the wolves to latch onto it," Jack said. "So... you did not get engaged this weekend?"

Quinn sighed and ran her hand over her face as she watched Rachel start up the stairs with both of their bags. "No, I did not get engaged this weekend." What went unspoken was her desire to actually propose. Even though she knew it was too soon, and that they needed to figure out the future, she couldn't deny the fact that she wanted to marry Rachel.

"Alrighty then. If any of the more reputable reporters call, I'll put the kibosh on it. I'm guessing you don't want to issue a statement."

"You guessed right," Quinn confirmed. She groaned quietly as she slouched down in her seat so that her head was resting against the back of the chair. "Do you think this is something that is going to keep coming up?"

Jack sighed. "Honestly, Q? I don't know. I mean, I know Tina's been denying interview requests left and right for Rachel because everybody is curious about how she went from only dating men to being very out-and-proud with you, but I don't know. The response to you guys being together has been incredibly positive and most people don't care, but it is a story. Like it or not, people are curious. I'm more than fine continuing on like we've been, just letting stuff go and not doing any interviews; but you have to realize that you are, even though you refuse to admit it, a major player in Hollywood and that Rachel is essentially Broadway royalty. You two together are going to garner more than your fair share of interest."

Quinn groaned. "Do you think we need to do an interview?"

"We're not at the point to where we have to do one yet, but you aren't going to be able to avoid the press forever. I totally understand and sympathize with your desire to keep your relationship private, but I don't think you're going to be able to avoid ever talking about it. I mean, the press junkets you guys will be doing for this movie are short little interviews and the television spots will be five to seven minutes at best, so there won't be a lot of time for them to press you for answers about stuff – and we can always try and negotiate the parameters of the interviews – but you also can't afford to come off as being completely standoffish, if you know what I mean."

Even though Jack couldn't see her, Quinn nodded her understanding. "Yeah, I know," she muttered. She licked her lips and looked over at the stairs as she daught sight of Rachel making her way back down.

"Sucks, huh?"

Rachel sat in the chair opposite Quinn and reached out to place a gentle hand on the blonde's thigh. "What's going on?"

"Totally," Quinn said, holding up a finger to her girlfriend as she finished her telephone conversation. "Look, Rach just came downstairs so I'm going to talk to her about all this. If anything changes in the game plan I'll let you know, otherwise just go with what we discussed."

"Will do."

"Also, just so you're aware in case anything gets out, I do have Meredith looking into projects that are being done outside of LA."

"New York?" Jack asked knowingly.

Quinn smiled reassuringly at Rachel, who was shooting her a questioning look. "Yeah. From what she's told me, she's just making casual inquiries right now and not really actively looking, but you never know what might leak."

"I'll keep an ear out for rumors on that too, then. Tell Rachel I say hi, and that I am coordinating with Tina on all of this so she probably won't get a call from her."

"No problem. I'll talk to you later, J," she said, before she disconnected the call with her publicist.

"What's going on?" Rachel asked.

Quinn sighed and sat up in her chair. "Come here," she said, holding out a hand to Rachel and guiding the smaller woman onto her lap. "Mmm, much better," she murmured, as she wrapped her arms around the brunette's waist.

"I agree," Rachel said as she sank into the blonde's embrace. "But this doesn't explain why Jack was on the phone and why you looked so tense when I came back downstairs."

"There are some pictures of us from the airports today that are already online and there is some speculation floating around about them," Quinn said, rubbing her cheek against Rachel's shoulder. She didn't know what it was about holding Rachel like this, but she always found herself incredibly calmed by the feeling of the brunette sitting on her lap.

Rachel smiled at the feeling of Quinn's cheek rubbing against her back and placed her hands on top of the blonde's that were looped loosely around her waist. "What kind of speculation?"

"The 'we got engaged' kind of speculation," Quinn answered. She felt Rachel stiffen slightly in surprise, so she added, "And, no, that wasn't why I looked tense, as you described, because I honestly can't think of anything better than marrying you." She smiled at the soft 'aww' that fell from Rachel's lips at that confession. "He was telling me stuff I knew but didn't want to admit."

The brunette sighed. She had a good idea what the 'stuff' Jack was telling Quinn was, because Tina had been in her ear for the last couple of weeks about things that were going on outside their little bubble of existence, but she wanted to hear it from the blonde. "Like what?"

"Like... we won't be able to keep us completely to us," Quinn said. "Apparently Tina's been declining a lot of interview requests on your behalf?"

Rachel licked her lips and nodded. "Yeah. I didn't say anything because I figured you were getting the same."

"Yes and no," Quinn said. "Jack's been turning down a few, but not nearly as many as he made it sound like Tina's been doing. Basically, he made me admit that once we hit the interview circuit promoting this movie that we're going to be bombarded with questions about our relationship."

Rachel nodded. "I figured as much. I mean, depending on the medium, we can have Jack and Tina try and restrict the questions so that they're not overbearingly personal, but we're in a relationship in real life because we met up on the set of the movie. Add in our history and... yeah. It makes sense."

"And you're okay with that?" Quinn asked. She honestly didn't care about the questions so far as her reputation was concerned, but she was fiercely protective of Rachel and didn't want the brunette catching any flack for being with her.

Rachel shrugged and turned so she could rest her head on the blonde's shoulder. "To a degree, yes. I know we agreed that our relationship is for us, but there will come a point where we are going to have to become a public commodity – to a certain extent. I'm not suggesting we invite camera crews into our house and follow us around, but I'm fine answering basic questions. Who asked who out, and whatever. What about you?"

"I'm okay with those types of questions," Quinn murmured, turning her head and brushing her lips over the brunette's brow. "I just want to keep the important parts of what we have private."

"Me too." Rachel smiled and moved to rest her forehead against Quinn's so she could look into the blonde's expressive hazel eyes. "Now, what's this about you talking to your agent about things not filming in LA?"

"Just thinking ahead," Quinn said softly. She smiled and reached up to run her fingers through the brunette's hair. "I want to know what my options are for when you go back to Broadway. I know you did this because you needed a break from the stage and all, but you can't tell me you don't miss it."

Rachel smiled and nodded, incredibly touched by the blonde's gesture. "I do miss it. I don't necessarily miss the eight shows a week, because that was, at times, just exhausting, but I do miss singing."

Quinn sighed and pressed a lingering kiss to the point of Rachel's chin. "Yeah."

"What are you thinking?"

Quinn shrugged. "I dunno. It kind of depends on what's going on. I'm not opposed to doing television, even though I've made a name for myself doing movies, because if there was something filming in New York then we could be together. I would hate for you to go back to Broadway and then I end up back here, or wherever, for a few months at a time doing a film. I just want to be where you are."

Rachel smiled and burrowed deeper into Quinn. "I want to be where you are too. So if that means I have to give up Broadway, I will."

"I won't let you," Quinn said. "You belong on Broadway, baby. You are Broadway. I mean, don't get me wrong, you are totally killing it on this movie too, but I could never ask you to give up your dream like that."

"While that is perhaps the sweetest thing you could have said," Rachel murmured, lifting her head and pressing a soft kiss to the side of Quinn's mouth, "I'm not going back right away after this. I've been wanting to cut a CD for a few years now but haven't had the time because of being on stage, so I think that when we're done filming stuff for this movie that I'm going to get into a studio and lay down some tracks. Maybe try and get that Grammy I used to dream about."

"I'm sure you'll get it. I mean, you are Rachel Berry, after all," Quinn said, wrapping her hand around the back of the brunette's neck and squeezing gently.

Rachel chuckled softly. "I know, right? Now if only it were that easy."

"It will be for you," Quinn assured her. "You, my love, are that once in a generation talent who can't do anything but succeed."

Rachel laughed and tickled the blonde's stomach affectionately. "Flatterer."

"Says you," Quinn countered. "I'm just speaking the truth. This is your world, Rachel Berry, the rest of us are just playing in your sandbox."

Rachel blushed and smiled shyly at the compliment as she buried her face in the crook of the blonde's neck. "I love you."

"I love you," Quinn murmured.

Rachel sighed contentedly and relaxed in Quinn's arms, just taking a moment to be and enjoy the simple intimacy of the moment. The future, be it ten minutes or ten months from now, didn't matter. This, being in Quinn's arms, was all that mattered to her. She had agreed to the Serendipity project and left New York for Los Angeles because she had been lonely, incredibly, cripplingly lonely, and she had somehow found the person who made her life complete. It was, she decided, an incredibly serendipitous twist of fate that in making such a career-altering decision she would also irrevocably alter her life as well.

The silence of the house surrounded them, broken only by the quiet hum of the air conditioning spilling from the vents in the ceiling. The world outside could have been ending in a fiery ball of death and neither of them would have noticed. Rachel shifted on Quinn's lap when the blonde's fingers began rubbing up and down her back, and purred encouragingly as she pressed a soft kiss to the sensitive hollow below the blonde's ear. "That feels so good."

"I know," Quinn said, smiling. "This will usually put you right to sleep."

Rachel nodded and yawned. "Mmm, but I don't want to fall asleep yet."

"Do you want me to stop?" Quinn asked, her hand pausing at the small of the brunette's back.

That was the last thing Rachel wanted and she shook her head emphatically "Nuh-uh. Just keep me talking."

"Is there anything you'd like to talk about, then?" Quinn asked, as she slipped her hand under the hem of Rachel's shirt and dragged her fingers up the soft skin of the brunette's back.

Rachel bit her lip and nodded. "There is something I wanted to ask you about, since you haven't brought it up, but I wasn't sure if you wanted to talk about it yet or not so I didn't bring it up."

"You want to know what I'm thinking about my mother," Quinn said.

"I do," Rachel said. "But only if you want to tell me."

Quinn sighed. "I honestly don't know what to do about her, Rach. I mean, I can't believe she actually kicked Russell out and filed for divorce. And, while I think it is the best thing she could have possibly done, I don't know if she'll stick to her guns and actually follow through. I mean, her track record isn't the best there. If she takes him back, I'll be kicked to the curb again and I don't know if I want to go through that. The second time was bad enough; I don't think I could do it a third."

"Oh, sweetie," Rachel murmured, sitting up and turning so that she was straddling Quinn's lap. She held hazel eyes captive as she wrapped her arms around the blonde's neck and leaned in to rest her forehead against her lover's. "You know I'll be by your side no matter what, right?"

"I do," Quinn assured her. She lifted her chin and kissing the brunette softly. The kiss was supposed to be short and sweet, but the feeling of Rachel's lips moving against her own had her opening her mouth and inviting the brunette's tongue out to play. Their tongues stroked lazily in the shared breath between their lips and she sighed, her fingers flexing at the brunette's sides as she drowned in the caress.

It was just a kiss, but it held the weight of so much more. It was a kiss that promised a lifetime of love. It was a kiss that pledged unwavering acceptance. It was a kiss that assured her that Rachel would be there for her come hell or high water, for the rest of their lives.

It was just a kiss, but it promised everything.

She smiled a small, sad smile against the brunette's lips as she wrapped her head around the idea that her relationship with the Broadway star was the only one that she wanted. That her relationship with Rachel was the only one that she needed.

When they eventually broke apart with a soft sigh and a quiet moan, she kept her eyes closed as she rested her forehead against Rachel's, lingering in the moment and drawing strength from their connection as she whispered, "I just... is it wrong of me to not really want to have either of them in my life? Is that selfish of me?"

Rachel shook her head and lifted her hands to cradle the blonde's face tenderly in her palms. "That's not selfish of you, sweetheart. That's you protecting yourself. I saw some of what you went through when they threw you out of the house in high school and it still makes my heart ache for you. You were so young, Quinn, and I could see how much you just wanted somebody to hold you and tell you that it would be okay. That you would be okay. How you found the strength to bounce back from that... it's just astounding, really. And then to have become the amazing, loving woman that you are in spite of it..." She took a deep breath and continued in a soft, yet unmistakably serious voice, "You are the strongest person I know. And I know that it had to have been hard for you to open yourself back up to them after Beth was born and you gave her to Shelby, but you did. You gave them the benefit of the doubt, and look what they did with it. They hurt you again. I can't imagine what you went through when you came out to them and they walked away from you, but you owe the both of them absolutely nothing."

Quinn nodded as a lone tear broke rank and rolled down her cheek. Even though she had been on her own without her family for the last three years, choosing to cut them off was entirely different from being left behind. In a way, it was a relief to know that she truly was free of her past demons, but it also hurt just that little bit as well.

"Oh baby," Rachel soothed, brushing the tear away with her thumb before pulling Quinn into her, nestling the blonde's head under her chin and rocking her softly. "Shh. It's okay, sweetheart."

Quinn bit her lip to muffle a sob as she buried her face in the soft cotton of Rachel's shirt, her hands fisting the material and holding onto it as if it were the only thing holding her onto this world. And, in a way, it was. Rachel was her anchor. Her loadstone. Her everything. So long as she could call Rachel hers, she was okay. Everything would be okay.

Rachel closed her eyes and rocked Quinn gently, one hand pressed against the side of the blonde's head, holding her to her chest, while the other just held on tight to her waist. Whispered confessions and silly bedtime stories aside, she had known long before now that she would spend forever with the blonde, but it was a completely different thing to totally accept the fact that she was the most important person in Quinn's life. That Quinn chose her over everything and everybody else. It was scary and heartening, daunting and poignant, and she welcomed the responsibility of protecting Quinn's heart.

Of being Quinn's world.

Because, in all honesty, Quinn was her entire world as well. So she just held on tight and assured her with soft touches, tender kisses, and hushed 'I love you's. After a time, she felt Quinn's breathing regulate and she knew that the blonde was done crying. "Do you want to go upstairs and lay down, or do you want to cuddle on the couch?" she asked, her voice a gentle whisper as she dipped her head and pressed a soft kiss to Quinn's forehead.

"Upstairs," Quinn whispered, her voice soft and rough from her tears.

"Okay," Rachel murmured, kissing the blonde's brow again before climbing off of her lap. She held out a hand and smiled reassuringly as bloodshot hazel eyes landed on her own. "Come on, sweetheart. I need to cuddle."

Quinn smiled shyly and took the brunette's proffered hand, and allowed herself to be led upstairs to their bedroom. She let Rachel push her down onto the edge of the bed and only put up a minimal fuss when the brunette kneeled before her to remove her shoes and socks. She watched as Rachel quickly shed her own shoes and socks, and bit her lip as she watched the brunette's jeans slide down over trim, tanned hips leaving the Broadway star standing in front of her in a pair of pale pink lace boyshorts and a t-shirt.

"You too," Rachel murmured, reaching out and flicking open the button on Quinn's jeans, knowing that the blonde would be more comfortable in bed in just her panties and a shirt. "Alright, in you go, beautiful," she said, as she dropped Quinn's jeans onto the floor beside the bed.

"You too," Quinn said, her voice quiet and just a little bit needy as she crawled beneath the covers.

"Of course," Rachel replied, as she walked around the bed and climbed in on her side. She smiled as she felt Quinn turn into her and she wrapped her arms around the blonde and pulled her in close.

A soft sigh escaped Quinn's lips as their legs tangled together under plain white sheets and she slipped her hand under the brunette's shirt to press tight to the warm skin of Rachel's abdomen before easing it higher to rest atop the brunette's heart. She focused on the feeling of the steady beat beneath her palm and on the feeling of Rachel's chest moving as the brunette breathed, those two sensations soothing her soul as she closed her eyes and gave herself over to the exhaustion that had suddenly swept through her body.

Rachel pressed her lips to the blonde's brow as she slept and held her close, assuring her with a touch that she wasn't alone. "I love you so much, Quinn," she breathed, her lips brushing against the blonde's forehead as she spoke. She smiled as Quinn hummed quietly in her shallow sleep. The blonde's slurred 'Love you too, Rachel' was the most pure and honest response she could have ever desired as she closed her eyes and allowed herself to drift on the gentle waves of sleep, her lover's head nestled against her breast.

Chapter 41

The feeling of Quinn stirring slightly in her arms drew Rachel's attention away from her thoughts and onto the alarm clock on the bedside table to her right to check the time. Her eyes widened in surprise at what she saw, and she couldn't help but shake her head in disbelief. Somehow, without her having been aware of it, more than two hours had passed while she'd been holding the blonde and it was now only a few minutes before five o'clock in the evening. Quinn had slept somewhat fitfully, occasionally whimpering and burrowing in closer to her, and she had just lain awake just holding her. Pressing soft kisses to her forehead. Reminding the blonde, even while she slept, that she wasn't alone.

Rachel had put the quiet time to good use as well, using the silence that had wrapped around them like a comforting blanket as an opportunity to think about everything that had changed in her life in the last month. She had been taken aback at first by the realization that she had only been with Quinn for a month because, in her mind, it seemed like they had always been together. Quinn made her feel so complete, that it was astonishing to her to sit back and actually realize that it was only a very short time ago that she had felt so desperately, crippling alone that she had uprooted her life on a whim and moved across the country. True, they suffered the occasional moments of discontinuity, as evidenced by her continued embarrassment in the bedroom and Quinn's surprising yet understandable overreaction, but, all in all, they already had the relationship she had always dreamed of someday having.

"What time is it?" Quinn mumbled, lifting her head off of Rachel's shoulder as she turned to look at the alarm clock. She huffed a breath when she saw the time and rolled away from the brunette to bury her face in a pillow. "I can't believe I slept so long."

Rachel smiled and wrapped herself around Quinn's back, taking the position of the big spoon as they cuddled. She slid her right hand over the blonde's hip and let it rest atop her stomach. "You needed it, baby. How are you feeling?"

Quinn hummed and leaned back into Rachel, sighing contentedly as the brunette began drawing small, comforting circles her stomach through the material of her shirt. "Drained. But better. Did you sleep at all?" she asked, her question ending in a yawn as she struggled to fully wake-up.

"Mmm, no," Rachel murmured. She pushed herself up onto her elbow so she could kiss the side of Quinn's neck. She lingered in the touch for a moment before she moved on to brush her lips against the blonde's ear. "But I got to hold you so it was totally time well spent."

The feeling of Rachel's breath cascading over her ear sent a wonderful shiver down Quinn's spine and she smiled into her pillow. "Sweet talker."

"You know it," Rachel drawled, dipping her head and sucking lightly on the sensitive hollow behind Quinn's ear. She slid her hand down over the blonde's panties and squeezed her gently. She had meant for the touch to be nothing more than a playful overture, but they way that Quinn's leg shifted ever so slightly to give her more room to move gave her other ideas. She took advantage of space Quinn had granted her and slipped her knee between the blonde's to hold her lover's legs apart. "I think somebody likes this," she husked, squeezing her hand again playfully.

Quinn bit her lip and nodded, turning her head and searching for Rachel's lips with her own. "I do," she confessed, her words a hushed whisper as she strained to capture the brunette's lips in a kiss. She groaned loudly when Rachel's mouth finally descended upon her own and she wasted no time seeking out the brunette's tongue to deepen their connection. Rachel's hand squeezed her again and she whimpered as her hips bucked into the touch. "Jesus, Rach."

Rachel hummed softly and pulled back to study her lover's face, her gaze dancing over Quinn's features, drinking in their classic beauty before becoming lost in her eyes. Her tongue swept over her lips as she watched the edge of desire in her lover's hazel eyes soften to a look of pure adoration that took her breath away. "You are so beautiful. I can't believe that you're mine," she whispered, smiling shyly when the blonde beamed back up at her.

"All yours," Quinn breathed, rocking her ass back into Rachel's hips as she lifted her head off of the pillow to capture the brunette's lips in a tender kiss. "Forever yours, Rachel," she murmured, and she moaned softly when the hand between her legs began to massage her slowly.

The blonde's breathy moan spurred Rachel onward, and she began rubbing her gently as she dropped her lips to press a wet, lingering kiss to the blonde's neck. She smiled as Quinn's ass once again rocked back into her and she countered the movement by rolling her hips forward into the blonde. The movement sent a wave of pleasure rolling through her and her eyes widened in surprise. "Oh, wow," she breathed.

That was... quite amazing, actually.

Another low, breathy moan tumbled from Quinn's lips when she felt Rachel's middle finger settled firmly over her clit, the brunette's knuckle pressing into the nub through the thin material of her panties. The Broadway star began thrusting rhythmically against her ass and she whimpered as she met each one, their hips falling into a slow and steady tempo that was matched by the touch between her legs. Rachel's hand squeezed her every time the brunette ground into her ass, the finger over her clit rubbing her just right as their bodies came together. The touch was perfect and the simplicity of the moment was heavenly. It wasn't fucking, nor was it really lovemaking, either, but it was comfort. It was a touch that said I'm here for you. I love you. I have you. The feeling of Rachel pressed against her back, the weight of the brunette's arm over her hip, the gentle pressure between her legs, all of it served to anchor her. To remind her that this, here, in Rachel's arms was where she belonged. "God, do I love you," she breathed.

Rachel smiled and squeezed Quinn gently, her eyes fluttering closed at the dampness soaking through the blonde's panties and the heat she could feel waiting for her on the other side of the thin barrier. She pressed another soft kiss to the side of her neck as she pulled her had away enough to slip it inside the top of Quinn's panties. She groaned as her fingertips forced the soaked material away from Quinn's sex, the moisture coating the fabric providing the barest amount of resistance as she covered the area with her hand and her middle finger once again settling over the length of the blonde's slit. "You feel so good," she murmured, as she resumed her grinding motion against blonde's ass and dipped her fingertip between silky-smooth lips.

"Rach," Quinn gasped, bucking hard into the brunette and groaning when the hand against her tightened and Rachel's fingertip pressed against her opening.

"What do you need, sweetheart?" Rachel murmured, brushing her lips over the blonde's neck as their bodies continued to rock slowly together.

Quinn groaned and shook her head. She honestly didn't know what she needed at that point besides the woman holding her in her arms. "Just you, Rachel."

"Is this good?" Rachel asked, squeezing the blonde gently.

"Mmm." Quinn nodded. "So good, baby."

Rachel smiled and pressed a soft kiss to the sensitive hollow beneath Quinn's ear. "Okay," she breathed, before she began peppering soft kisses over the skin in front of her. She was more than content to stay where she was, touching the blonde like she was. It was about as innocent a touch as something like this could be and, after the last couple days that were surprisingly stress-filled, she found herself sinking into the ease of it. It wasn't anything creative or fancy, but the connection they shared at the moment was absolutely breathtaking.

It was love. Pure, uncensored love in its most basic, intrinsic form.

Quinn sighed and reached back to wrap her hand around the brunette's hip, pulling the Broadway star into her with each thrust; loving the way the movement caused Rachel's finger to slip over her, pressing into her clit and sending gentle waves of pleasure rolling through her body.

It was perfect.

"I love you," Rachel breathed as she kissed Quinn's neck softly. She swept her tongue over the skin and pulled back to let her breath fall in cascading waves over the damp flesh, knowing how sensitive the blonde was there.

Quinn smiled and arched back into the brunette. "I love you," she whispered, a low moan falling from her lips as Rachel's knuckle pressed firmly into her. "God."

"Rachel is good enough," the Broadway star murmured, smiling as she nipped at the blonde's neck. She could tell from the moisture pooling under her hand that Quinn was getting close and she adjusted her hand ever so slightly so that her knuckle was pressing harder into the blonde's bundle of nerves.

"Mmm, perfect," Quinn sighed, her grip on Rachel's hip tightening as a jolt of electricity shot through her. She moaned approvingly as the brunette began thrusting harder against her, every connection of Rachel's hips against her ass pushing her closer and closer to the edge.

Again and again, they came together. Lips brushing over pristine porcelain skin. Breasts pressing into a muscled back. Hips thrusting rhythmically against each other. Again and again. Over and over. Each connection electric. Every touch magnified tenfold as their breaths became ragged and their bodies strained for release.

Quinn cried out softly when she was finally pushed over the edge, her hips bucking erratically against Rachel's hand as her orgasm rolled through her. She moaned softly when she heard Rachel gasp behind her, the brunette's thrusts stalling for a moment before grinding more firmly into her ass, knowing that she had just come as well.

Rachel buried her face in the back of Quinn's neck as she rode out her climax and groaned softly when she felt Quinn's hand shift to cover hers, holding her in place between the blonde's legs. "Mmm, sweetie," she murmured, shifting ever so slightly so that she was as close to her as physically possible.

A slow smile tweaked Quinn's lips as she relaxed back into Rachel, her heartbeat slowing as she lingered in the afterglow. She giggled softly as light kisses began to rain down on her neck and she finally released her light hold on the brunette's hand as she shifted and rolled onto her back to look at her. Warm hazel eyes gazed adoringly into brown as she lifted her hand to cradle Rachel's face in her palm. "I love you," she whispered, brushing her thumb over the Broadway star's cheek, her smile growing wider as she watched her lean into the touch.

Rachel pulled her hand free of Quinn's panties and leaned in to kiss the blonde softly with just the barest connection of lips. "I love you," she breathed, smiling as she set her hand upon the blonde's hip. She bit her lip as Quinn's fingers snaked their way around the back of her neck, gently kneading and massaging as they stared into each other's souls.

They would have been content to stay there for the rest of the night, just holding one another, sharing soft kisses and light touches, but the world – as it often did – saw fit to interrupt them in the form of a ringing telephone.

"Should you get that?" Rachel asked, even as she dipped her chin and captured the blonde's lips in a tender kiss. Just because the world was knocking, trying to get to them, it didn't mean they had to answer.

Quinn groaned and shrugged, not feeling particularly motivated to move from where she was at the moment. "It's Santana. She can leave a voicemail," she said, smiling as she shifted her hips and rolled them over so that she was lying on top of the brunette.

"Hello," Rachel giggled.

Quinn grinned. "Hi," she replied, her voice rich and playful. She dipped her head as if she were going to kiss the brunette, but pulled back at the last moment, a quiet laugh rumbling in her chest at the expectant and annoyed expression on Rachel's face. "What?"

Rachel sighed and reached up to cradle the blonde's face in her hands. "I want to kiss you," she said, her tone serious while her eyes twinkled with mirth. She loved playful Quinn.

"Really? Why?" Quinn asked, feigning confusion.

Rachel groaned and rolled her eyes. "Hell if I know."

"Maybe because you love me?" Quinn offered as her cell phone went quiet and Santana was obviously kicked to her voicemail.

Rachel pursed her lips thoughtfully as she valiantly tried to hold back her smile. "Nah, that can't be it."

Quinn laughed and leaned in to kiss Rachel hungrily, wasting no time slanting her head to the side and using her tongue to pry Rachel's lips apart. She whimpered when their tongues first touched, and arched into the brunette as the kiss grew deeper, their tongues rolling around each other in a heated, passionate dance. She swallowed Rachel's moan as she shifted so that she was lying between her legs and rolled her hips into the Broadway star's center. She hummed approvingly at the way Rachel's hips rose to meet her and she tore her mouth away with a groan when her phone started ringing again. "I'm going to fucking kill her," she grumbled, hiding her head in the brunette's shoulder.

Rachel laughed and swatted the blonde on the butt. "Just answer it and see what she wants. If she called back this quickly, you know she's not going to give up."

"I need to stop bringing my phone into the bedroom," Quinn muttered, as she climbed off of Rachel and stumbled rather ungracefully out of bed. She picked up her phone and glared impressively at the screen before she finally answered the Latina's call before it could go to voicemail again. "What?!"

"What the fuck's wrong with you?" Santana asked.

"I dunno, twat swat, why don't you tell me," Quinn mumbled as she flopped back onto the bed. She glanced over at Rachel and smiled in spite of her frustration at being interrupted when the brunette slid over and laid her head on her shoulder.

Santana laughed. "The fuck you doing answering the phone then?"

"I figured it was something important if you called back straight away," Quinn groaned. "What's going on?"

"Mama Lopez wanted me to call and double-check to see if you and Berry were still coming over next weekend after my graduation. She is planning on making those tamales you love and wanted to know how many she needed to make."

"I don't know why you couldn't just leave a stupid voicemail for that," Quinn muttered. "Of course we're coming to your graduation, San. It's not every day one of your friends graduates from law school. And we would love to come over to Casa de Lopez for food afterwards."

"Right, then I'll have her make an extra pan of tamales so that way everybody else can have some. I even looked up some vegan recipes so there'll be stuff here for your fiancée."

Quinn rolled her eyes and pressed a quick kiss to Rachel's forehead. "We're not engaged, S. That's just the tabloids being the tabloids. Don't you think I'd call you myself after I finally proposed?"

Rachel nodded. "She would so call you two, Santana," she said, loud enough for the Latina to hear. "I'm going to go clean up," she whispered against Quinn's lips.

Quinn nodded and kissed Rachel quickly before the brunette rolled out of bed. "So, now that you've chased my girl out of my bed – what's up?" She knew that Santana calling her twice in a row instead of leaving a voicemail about her graduation meant that there were some serious thoughts on the Latina's mind.

"Just curious how things in Lima went."

Quinn sighed. "Oh, you know, the usual. Beth's party was good, we got to spend some time with her and Shelby afterwards that was surprisingly not too incredibly awkward, and then Puck insisted on taking us to Felicity."

"Berry went to a strip club!" Santana laughed. "How did that go?"

"Great, until we ran into Russell in the parking lot," Quinn said, wincing as she heard her friend inhale sharply.

"What did he do?"

"Chill, S. Nothing bad. You would have read about it in the papers already if he had done anything too crazy. He just spouted off, calling me names, the usual, and then Rachel told him off and Puck punched him."

"Good for Puck."

"He broke his hand."

"Well, that asshole has a hard head," Santana replied.

"True," Quinn agreed, waving at Rachel as the brunette pointed at the stairs and mouthed 'I'm going to go look at stuff for dinner' at her. "That's not even the craziest part though," she said, closing her eyes as she laid back onto the bed.


"I called my mom... to warn her about Russell, because you know how bad he gets when his dominance has been challenged."

"Yeah. That was nice of you, Q. Dunno if I would've done it."

"Yeah, well, she said she kicked him out and filed papers."

"Wonder what he did to finally push her to it?" Santana wondered.

Quinn shook her head and bent her arm over her eyes. "Hell if I know. Anyways, she told me to let Rachel take care of me and that if I needed her I could always call."

"Fuuuuck," Santana drawled. "Whatcha gonna do?"

"I don't think I'm going to call her," Quinn said, her voice soft and quiet. "It's just... after everything that's happened..."

"Shh, no. Just stop. Of course you don't have to keep in touch with her. Just because she finally showed a sliver of humanity after twenty-five years, doesn't mean that you need to go running to her. You don't owe them anything, Q, you hear me?"

Quinn smiled and nodded. "I hear you. Rachel told me the same thing. It's just..."

"Weird," Santana supplied.

"Yeah. Anyways, how's life as a soon-to-be lawyer?"

"Good," Santana said, and Quinn could hear the smile in her friend's voice. "Had my last final last Wednesday and the results should be posted tomorrow. I killed it though, so I'm not worried."

"Of course you did," Quinn chuckled. "You still sitting first?"

"Provided these results fall the way they should, yeah."

"Not bad for a cheerleader from Lima, Ohio. Eh?" Quinn said proudly.

"Not at all," Santana said, and Quinn could easily picture the smug look that was undoubtedly on her friend's face. "You two go back to work tomorrow?"

"Um, no, actually. We were supposed to, but there was some kind of a SNAFU with the permit since we're shooting in the jewelry district, so we don't start up again until Wednesday."

"Cool. You guys wanna BBQ or something tomorrow? Hang out a bit? Britt's been bugging me about seeing you and Rachel again and she scheduled the next couple weeks off..."

"I think that can be arranged," Quinn said, smiling. "You two want to come down here, or do you want us to come to you?"

"We'll come to you. My parents get in tomorrow night anyways, so we can just swing down to LAX from your place and pick them."

"That'll work. We'll need to run to the market in the morning and pick up some groceries, but we're not planning on going anywhere. Just call when you're on the way."

"Will do, Q. Want us to bring the usual?"

Quinn grinned, her mouth watering at just the thought of the Latina's homemade salsa. "Yes, please."

"Heh, Berry's knocked some manners into you. I like it. We'll give you a call when we're heading out tomorrow. Early afternoon-ish?"

"Sounds good," Quinn said, smiling as she hung up the phone, already looking forward to spending the next afternoon with her friends.

After cleaning herself up and slipping on an old USC t-shirt and a pair of faded red knee-length boardshorts, she made her way downstairs to find Rachel hunched over the island, a myriad of takeout menus spread out in front of her. "You're cooking, huh?" Quinn teased, as she wrapped her arms around the brunette's waist from behind.

Rachel rolled her eyes. "I can bake. I just don't cook. Besides, it's beside the point when there is no food in the house. So, yes, we're doing takeout. What sounds good?"

Quinn grinned and growled softly against the brunette's ear. "You."

"Maybe later," Rachel said, laughing as she squirmed away from the blonde's wandering fingers that were tickling her stomach. "I'm actually starting to get hungry. Pizza or Chinese?"

Quinn stilled her fingers and instead just held the brunette close. "Um, Chinese."

Rachel nodded and pulled the appropriate menu forward. "What's sounding good?"

Quinn tucked her head over the brunette's shoulder so she could read the menu with her. "Um-mum-mum... spring rolls and the garlic chicken. But make sure to order it extra-spicy because otherwise it doesn't have any heat at all."

"Okay," Rachel said as she reached for her purse. She pulled out her phone and her wallet and called in their order. The barely intelligible man on the other end promised the food would be delivered in less than an hour and she smiled as she hung up the phone. She sighed contentedly as she leaned back into Quinn, who was still hugging her from behind, and rested her head on the blonde's shoulder. "It'll be here in forty-five minutes or so," she shared. "What did Santana want?"

"To make sure that we were still going to her graduation and the dinner at their place afterwards. And to see how Ohio went," Quinn said, squeezing the brunette gently before she let go and turned to go sit on the couch in the great room.

Rachel spun on her seat and licked her lips as her eyes landed on the blonde's ass, the luscious curves highlighted by the cut of her shorts. "I like those shorts."

Quinn laughed and turned to wink playfully at the brunette as she fell backwards over the back of the sofa, so that her legs were dangling in the air. "Do I want to know why?"

Rachel smiled and walked over to the couch, resting her hands on the blonde's knees and easing between her legs as she stared lovingly into twinkling hazel eyes. "They make your ass look really, really good."

"I'll remember that," Quinn drawled, folding her hands behind her head as she looked up at her lover. "Maybe we should get you a pair... although, I do love you in those little booty shorts you like to wear."

"I noticed," Rachel quipped, as she stroked her hands up and down over the blonde's thighs.

"I bet you did," Quinn purred. She folded her hands behind her head and relaxed into the sofa as Rachel's hands continued to ghost up and down her legs. "Oh, and S and B are coming over tomorrow afternoon for a little BBQ since we have an unexpected day off."

Rachel nodded and leaned forward, massaging the top of Quinn's thighs. "That will be fun."

"Mmm, I thought so too," Quinn said, smiling as she closed her eyes and relaxed into Rachel's touch. "We should probably start the laundry tonight then, though."

Rachel chuckled and pinched the inside of Quinn's thighs playfully. "You are such a romantic."

Quinn laughed and squirmed away from her lover's hands. "You know it," she said, finally giving up on wiggling away from the brunette and instead rolling into a backwards somersault off the sofa. "Come on, Cinderella. I'll race you upstairs."

Rachel rolled her eyes. "Fine. Ready... set... go!" she said, starting for the stairs and laughing when Quinn pushed past her. She stopped with her right foot on the bottom step and called after her lover, "You win! Make sure to pull all the dirty clothes out of the suitcases and throw those in too!" She grinned when Quinn's head popped over the railing, the blonde's hair falling in messy waves around her face. "Hi."

"Aren't you coming?" Quinn huffed.

"I trust you to get it started," Rachel said. "I mean, I did take care of dinner, after all."

Quinn rolled her eyes. "Yes, Miss Rachel. Is there anything else?"

"I'll let you know," Rachel drawled, giving the blonde a little finger wave as she turned and headed back to the family room. She grabbed her copy of the working script out of her purse that was still sitting on the kitchen island and wandered over to the doors that led to the back porch. The weather was so nice that she figured she'd take advantage of it and sit outside as she read over her scenes for the upcoming week and waited for their dinner to arrive.

Quinn laughed and shook her head as she watched the brunette disappear. "You're lucky I love you!" she called out, and laughed harder when she heard the brunette's playful reply.

"Yes, you are!"

Chapter 42

"Here, make yourself useful and take this," Santana grumbled, as she thrust a reusable grocery bag into Quinn's arms and pushed past the blonde into the house. Even without the one bag she'd passed off onto Quinn, she still had her arms full with two bottles of tequila and two plastic two-liter bottles that the actress deduced contained the Latina's homemade margarita mixer.

Quinn smiled at her friend's predictably gruff greeting and readjusted her grip on the items that the Latina had shoved off on her. "Yes, it's so lovely to see you too, Santana."

"Quinn!" Brittany cried, bounding happily into the house and wrapping her arms around the former head Cheerio's neck in a crushing embrace.

"I'm a ray of fucking sunshine and you know it, Fabray," Santana replied with a smirk, winking over her shoulder at the blonde. "Where's Berry?" she asked, as she sauntered down the hall to the kitchen. The bottles she was carrying were getting heavier by the minute and she needed to put them down before she dropped them.

Quinn ignored the Latina's question and instead wrapped an arm around Brittany's waist, squeezing the dancer lightly she juggled the bag Santana had shoved into her arms. "How you doing, B?"

"So good!" Brittany enthused, releasing her hold on Quinn and backing away to look speculatively down the hall. "Where's Rachel?"

"She's up on the deck," Quinn said, smiling. "You can go up if you want. Santana and I can handle the stuff down here."

"Okay, cool," Brittany replied, dropping a quick kiss to the shorter blonde's cheek before she skipped down the hall and took off up the stairs.

Quinn shook her head and walked down the hall to the kitchen. "How in the world you ended up with a girl as sweet as that one, I'll never know," Quinn teased as she dropped the bag she'd been handed onto the island. "You didn't have to bring that, you know." She tipped her head at the alcohol. "Besides, it's just the four of us, you said you have to go pick up your parents at the airport tonight, and Rach and I have to be at work at six tomorrow morning – how much drinking do you really expect we'll be doing today?"

"A lot," Santana said, grinning. "I did it."

Quinn stopped digging through the bag and looked up at her friend. A wide, proud smile creased her face as she instantly understood what wasn't said. "Really?"

The Latina nodded. "Really. I did it. First in my class. And, I heard from Cregg and McGarry today too," she said, her smile growing wider as she referred to the largest and most highly respected Entertainment Law firm in Los Angeles. "I got it, Q. I got it!"

"Holy shit!" Quinn shouted as she jumped over to pull Santana into a bear hug. She knew how badly the Latina had wanted an associate position at the firm and she also knew exactly how selective they were. Last year they had accepted only one new associate. The year before, they hadn't taken anyone. It was either the-best-of-the-best or nothing, so far as they were concerned. "I'm so proud of you, S."

Santana smiled and hugged her friend tight. "Thanks, Q," she murmured, lingering in the embrace for a moment before she pulled back and slapped at the blonde's shoulder. They both laughed as the Latina wiped at their eyes, swatting away their tears before they could fall. "Get me that big-ass red plastic chip and dip bowl so I can get this ready," she said, changing the subject as she pulled a large Tupperware container of salsa and an equally large bag of tortilla chips out of the bag she'd foisted onto the blonde the minute she opened the front door. "So, how's the flick going?"

Quinn set the requested bowl onto the island and went to find a spoon for Santana to use to scoop the salsa out with. "It's going. The usual sixteen- to eighteen-hour days, you know?"

"Mmm." Santana nodded. She did know. Besides having heard second-hand from Quinn, she'd also seen first-hand how crazy shooting schedules could be from all the time Brittany had spent on sets. "How's Berry handling it? Any diva storm-outs yet?" she asked as she filled the bowl with snacks.

"Not a one."

"I'm impressed."

Quinn chuckled and cast a wary eye at the stairs to make sure they were alone. "To tell you the truth," she whispered, "I am too."

Santana smirked and whispered, "Why are we whispering?"

"Like you don't know," Quinn retorted, dropping a serving spoon into the chip tray. She laughed as she left the Latina at the island and went to pull out the extra-large plastic glasses she kept in a cupboard above the mini-wet bar.

"You're scared of Berry," Santana teased.

"So are you," Quinn chuckled, as she set four of the multi-colored glasses onto the counter beside the tequila and went back for the matching ice bucket.

Santana just smirked. "Not really. But if you believing that makes you happy, whatever, Q. So, Ohio. How'd it go with Berry's dads?"

Quinn smiled and shrugged. "It went well. They did the whole inquisition thing, which was to be expected."

"Well, yeah," the Latina scoffed, grimacing as she thought back to some of the things they'd put Rachel through. Really, it was a miracle that the Broadway star was even speaking to them, let alone living with and dating Quinn.

"Like you were any better back then," Quinn retorted, as she pulled the large ice tray out of the freezer and began transferring cubes to the bucket. "Anyways, they approve. Hiram told me that I have his blessing and Leroy wants me to take him to the Globes as my plus-one next year."

Santana pursed her lips thoughtfully and nodded as she loaded the glasses and freshly filled ice bucket into the grocery bag. "I'm glad... I was actually kind of worried for you on that one."

"Why?" Quinn asked, as she closed up the salsa container and went to put it into the fridge.

The Latina shrugged. "You have been in love with her for years, Q. Fucking years. I just... wanted you to finally win, ya know? I wanted to see you actually end up with prize for a change."

Quinn smiled and looped her left arm through the handle on the bag and picked up the chips and salsa. "I got her, San. And I'm sure as fuck never letting her go."

"Speaking of which," Santana drawled, smirking at her old friend as she picked up the tequila and mixers she'd brought and followed her out of the kitchen toward the stairs, "what's with the engagement rumors?"

"Hell if I know," Quinn groaned, without looking back at the Latina as she started up the stairs. "For some reason the tabs want to believe that pictures of us at Columbus International meant that we were in town for me to ask her fathers' permission or something. I mean, it's not like I don't want to marry her – I totally do – but it's too soon. It's only been a month. What about you?"

"I'm going to ask Britt when we're in Maui," Santana said, smiling. "I'm thinking I'll do it on the beach at sunset or something like that."

"You have a ring?"

Santana nodded, even though Quinn couldn't see her. "Yeah. Picked it up last week."

"And?" Quinn prodded. "Cut? Weight? Details, woman!"

"You're such a chick sometimes, Fabray," Santana chuckled. "It's not as fancy as what I'd like to really get her, but it's nice. One carat princess cut center stone in a channel-set platinum band."

Quinn smiled. "Sounds beautiful. Where'd you get it from?"

"Tiffany's," Santana said, smirking as she watched the blonde in front of her hesitate. "Just because I can't afford the biggest ring out there, doesn't mean I'm going to give my baby a piece of shit ring either."

"I would have never thought otherwise." Quinn looked over her shoulder at the Latina as they rounded the landing at the second floor and continued to climb and smiled. "You nervous?"

"A little," Santana confessed. "I mean, I don't think she's going to say no or anything, but it's..."


"Fucking huge," the Latina agreed, sighing. "Right, so... enough of this anxiety-inducing bullshit. What else is going on in the ever-so-fascinating life of Quinn Fabray?"

"Well, I gave you the Cliffs Notes version of the Russell smack down, so you're caught up there. Um..." Quinn's voice trailed off thoughtfully as she adjusted her hold on the stuff in her arms so she could pull open the door to the rooftop deck. "I have Meredith looking into potential projects for me in Manhattan."

Santana nodded and followed the blonde out onto the deck. She smiled at the sight Brittany and Rachel laying out on the lounge chairs as they chatted, and she rolled her eyes when she saw the towel Quinn had brought up for the dancer. "I can't believe you bought her another rubber ducky towel."

"I had to. Somebody-" she gave the Latina a pointed look "-forgot her other one at the beach last summer."

"Did you know I was in the dog house for a week because of that?" Santana grumbled. "I mean, I get that she loved the thing and all, but it was just a fucking towel. But, back to you. Manhattan, huh? I can't say I'm totally surprised with you looking east. I'll miss your annoying clingy ass, but I kinda saw this one coming when you two hooked up. Is she going back to Broadway?"

Quinn shrugged and set everything she'd been carrying onto the large rectangular teak wood table that anchored the far left side of the deck. The oversized navy blue umbrella was already up because she'd been sitting in the shade going over her lines for the week while Rachel did the same while sunbathing. She could have actually used a little bit of sun, but the brunette's scarlet red bathing suit was more string than bikini and she found lying next to her while she tried to work to be entirely too distracting. "I think she wants to, but she said she doesn't have anything lined up yet. She did say she wanted to take a bit more time after we were done filming to record an album," she shared, as she set the glasses and ice bucket in front of Santana, who immediately began filling them.

"Streisand and Celine covers?" Santana joked.

"I honestly don't know what kind of music she's thinking of doing," Quinn said, refusing to rise to the bait as she looked up from the table to gaze adoringly at her girlfriend. She frowned as she noticed a slight tint of red on the brunette's shoulders and reached for the tube of sunscreen that was sitting in the middle of the table. "She's getting burned. I'll be right back."

Santana rolled her eyes and continued prepping their drinks. "You are so whipped."

"How does me taking her sunscreen make me whipped?" Quinn challenged as she started walking toward Rachel.

"It doesn't. But you are."

Quinn glanced over her shoulder and grinned. "And I'm loving every minute of it," she retorted, popping the lid on the sunscreen as she neared the lounge chairs.

Brittany, who had been facing the table, smiled as she watched Quinn approach. "Is San being mean?"

"Nah." Quinn shook her head. "Just being her," she said dismissively. She sat on the edge of Rachel's chair and ran a soft finger over the brunette's shoulders. "You're getting red, babe," she explained as she squeezed some lotion into her hand. She dropped the tube onto the brunette's towel as she rubbed her hands together, and smiled when she caught Rachel watching her. "What?"

Rachel flinched as the cool lotion touched her sun-warmed skin and purred when Quinn's strong hands began massaging the sunscreen into her skin. "Nothing. That feels so good," she murmured, dipping her chin into her chest so the blonde could get the back of her neck that was exposed by the messy bun she'd put her hair up in.

Brittany smiled as she watched Quinn rub lotion onto Rachel's back. She had seen the connection between the two back in high school, long before Quinn had even admitted her attraction to herself, and she was so glad that they had finally made their way together. "Did San tell you her big news?"

Quinn nodded. "Yeah."

"What big news?" Rachel asked.

Santana, who had been bringing two of the drinks she'd made over to the group, grinned. "Valedictorian, bitches!"

Rachel smiled at the beaming Latina. "Congratulations, Counselor."

"Thank you," Santana said with a bow as she handed Brittany her drink, which the dancer set onto the small table that was nestled between the two lounge chairs. She gave the other one she was carrying to Rachel and adjusted her sunglasses before she went back for hers and Quinn's drinks.

"And she got a job too! She starts work the Monday after we get back from Maui," Brittany shared.

Rachel frowned and looked up at Santana, who was making her way back to the loungers. "I thought you had to pass the bar exam first?"

"Most of the time you do," Santana said as she handed Quinn a drink. "But the firm is going to bring me on board and basically pay me to study for the exam, which is at the end of July. I'll have about five weeks to study, and then, God willing, I'll be a fully accredited lawyer."

"I'm sure you'll do fine," Rachel said confidently. "I know you were gearing your coursework toward Entertainment Law, is that what this firm specializes in?"

"It is," Santana confirmed, as she sat down on the bright yellow ducky towel next to Brittany. "Cregg and McGarry is the best Entertainment Law firm in the state."

Brittany nodded. "They are super-good. I know lots of people who use them. The best part of San working there is that the office is in West Hollywood, so she'll be right by most of the studios I work in and we can go to lunch together sometimes. We couldn't do that before because Malibu was too far away from the sets, but now it'll be super-easy. Right?"

Santana leaned in and kissed the dancer softly. "Right."

Quinn smiled at the couple before turning her attention back to Rachel's shoulders. "You should really put a shirt on or something, sweetie," she murmured as she ran a light finger over the brunette's skin, delighting in the goose bumps that erupted in the wake of her touch. "Last thing you want is to have a sunburn and be running around in a long sleeve shirt and Kevlar, trust me."

Rachel bit her lip and nodded. The idea of suffering in the heat with a heavy vest rubbing on her shoulders sounded particularly painful, especially considering the long hours they spent in costume. "You're probably right," she murmured as she pushed herself up to a sitting position so she could pull on her cover-up. She eased her arms into the sleeves of the white terrycloth dress and zipped it up so that she was effectively covered. "Better?"

Quinn smirked and shook her head. "No. But yes," she teased, leaning in to nuzzle Rachel's cheek, pointedly ignoring to the looks she was getting from Brittany and Santana. "You look so good in that bikini, baby," she husked, nipping at the brunette's earlobe.

"Give it the fuck up, already," Santana said, smiling in spite of words and she got back to her feet. "I'm gonna go get my grub on. B, you coming?"

"Sure!" Brittany said, jumping to her feet and linking her pinky with the Latina's.

Rachel smiled and, ignoring Santana's teasing, turned her head to capture Quinn's lips in a slow, sweet, lingering kiss. "I love you."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah – you're in love and its all rainbows and unicorns and shit. We get it already," Santana grumbled, purposefully loud enough for the kissing couple to hear.

Quinn smiled into the kiss, reaching up and cupping the back of Rachel's head to hold the brunette to her as she lingered in the connection. She sighed happily as she finally pulled away and dropped a quick kiss to the tip of Rachel's nose. "I love you," she whispered, before turning to Santana. "And, shut it, Lopez. Like you're one to talk."

Santana laughed and shook her head at the former head Cheerio. "Whatever. Stop making out and come entertain your guests, Fabray. Geez."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah... fine," Quinn retorted, leaning in to press one last quick, chaste kiss to Rachel's lips before she got to her feet. "Come on, Rach. You gotta try Santana's salsa – it's to die for."

Rachel nodded and allowed the blonde to pull her to her feet. She reached down and picked up her drink, and took a small sip as they started toward the table where Brittany and Santana were already sitting. "Okay, this is a really good margarita," she said, holding her glass up and looking at the drink inside as if she could, by simply looking at it, determine what was in it that made it taste so much better than a typical margarita.

"Mmm." Quinn agreed. "S makes her own mixer and uses an insane amount of tequila. Don't drink it too fast and don't let her give you too many."

"Got it," Rachel said, as she set her glass down in front of an empty chair and eyeballed the salsa on the table. "So, how spicy is this stuff?"

"Not too spicy," Quinn said, grabbing a chip and scooping up a generous amount of the green salsa. "It does have a kick, but it isn't going to blow the top of your head off or anything."

Rachel nodded and reached for a chip. She dipped it in the salsa, collecting just a little bit on the edge of the triangle-shaped chip, and took a bite. A low moan rumbled in her throat as she chewed, the perfectly balanced lime and herb flavors and the heat from the peppers doing wonderful things to her taste buds. "This is amazing!"

Santana beamed at the complement. She wasn't as good of a cook as Quinn, but she did take great pride in the few things she could actually make. "Was there ever any doubt?"

"Well, a little," Rachel mumbled, grinning at Santana as she reached for another bite. "This is insanely good, really. What's in it?"

"An onion, two jalapeños, one Fresno chili, a big bunch of cilantro, one can of tinned tomatoes, salt, and lime juice. I just chuck it all into a Cuisinart and blend," Santana said.

"That's it?" Rachel asked, holding her hand up in front of her mouth as she chewed.

"Yup," Santana replied, reaching for a chip. "So, Berrylicious, how you liking the movie-making business?"

Rachel smiled and sat down in her chair. "It's fun. A lot of work, but I'm learning a lot and am really enjoying it. All of it is so different from being on stage."

Santana nodded. "I'll bet. You guys gotten your inner-porn star on yet? I know when Q was first telling me about the script she said that there were a few love scenes in it."

Rachel blushed and Quinn rolled her eyes. "Yeah. We got the first scene in the can last week before we headed out to Ohio."

Santana smirked and reached for her drink. "Really now? And how did that go?"

"How they always go," Quinn replied, reaching out and taking Rachel's hand into her own.

"It was the most awkward and least romantic experience of my life," Rachel said. She cast an apologetic look at Quinn and added, "Sorry."

Quinn smiled and pressed a quick kiss to Rachel's pouty lips. "None needed. It was awkward and completely not-romantic."

"Yeah, I can imagine that," Brittany said. "I mean, it's totally fun to make sexy movies, but I don't think I would be comfortable with a whole bunch of people watching. It's awesome to watch them later though. Like, I love being able to really see Santana's face when I go down on her and everything..."

Quinn and Rachel laughed as Santana groaned and hid her face in her hands. "Over-share, Britt."

Brittany nodded and smiled sweetly at her girlfriend. "Sorry. I keep forgetting."

"Right, so Maui?" Quinn asked, changing the subject entirely. "When do you guys leave?"

"Sunday morning," Santana answered, sitting up and giving her friend a thankful smile. "Graduation is Saturday afternoon – three p.m., you bitches better not be late – dinner with the 'rents that night, and we have a seven a.m. flight out of LAX."

"Where are you staying?" Rachel asked.

"The Westin," Santana answered. "My parents got us an ocean-view suite as my graduation present."

"And we're going to go swimming with dolphins!" Brittany shared excitedly.

"I want to go swimming with dolphins," Rachel said, looking at Quinn expectantly.

"Of course," Quinn sighed, rolling her eyes dramatically. "Let me get right on that, Ms. Berry," she drawled, getting everybody to laugh.

"That was fun," Rachel said, as she closed the front door after their friends. It was a little after eight o'clock, and Brittany and Santana were off to LAX to pick up the Latina's parents for the week, leaving her and Quinn alone to enjoy their last moments of freedom before filming began again bright and early the next morning.

"I'm glad you had a good time," Quinn said, smiling as she backed the brunette into the door. Her smile deepened as she heard Rachel's breath hitch and she held her lover's dark brown eyes captive as she moved in closer, pinning the smaller woman to the door with her body.

Recovering quickly, Rachel smirked and looped her arms around the blonde's waist. "Hi there."

"Mmm, hi," Quinn purred, placing her hands against the door on either side of the brunette's head. She licked her lips as she dipped her head and brushed a soft, fleeting kiss across the brunette's lips.

Rachel moaned at the gentle caress and pulled Quinn in tighter. "Baby," she sighed, looking up into smiling hazel eyes.

"I love you," Quinn whispered, kissing the brunette quickly, not allowing the connection to deepen beyond a gentle suck against the brunette's lower lip before she backed away.

"I love you," Rachel murmured, smiling at the blonde's playfulness.

Quinn smiled and, in a voice that was no louder than a breath, said, "I want you."

"Oh yes," Rachel sighed, leaning her head back against the door.

The blonde's hazel eyes turned dark and hungry as she leaned her forehead against Rachel's, staring heatedly into smoldering mahogany eyes as she ran her right hand down, over the brunette's shoulder, to palm her breast possessively. She dragged her thumb heavily over an already straining nipple and smirked wolfishly. "Somebody likes this."

Rachel licked her lips and swallowed thickly, trying to get her voice to work. "I do," she admitted, her nipples growing harder at the low growl her words evoked from the blonde.

Turned-on beyond belief, Quinn still had the presence of mind to remember the disaster that happened two nights ago. Not wanting to make the same mistake again, she brushed her lips over Rachel's cheek to her ear and husked, "Can I have you here? Now?"

Rachel nodded and answered immediately. "Yes."

Quinn moaned. "You're sure?"

Rachel nodded again and let out a strangled cry when Quinn nipped at the sensitive hollow beneath her ear. "Please! Yes! Fuck, Quinn, just fucking take me!"

There was no mistaking the consent and need evident in the brunette's words and Quinn wasted no time stripping off Rachel's cover-up, leaving the Broadway star standing in front of her wearing the little red bikini that had been driving her insane all day long. She smirked as she palmed Rachel's breasts, the brunette's erect nipples even more pronounced without the dress covering them. "Your tits look fucking amazing in this top, baby," she murmured throatily, squeezing the mounds roughly. "All day long, even when you had the dress covering them, all I could think about was how luscious they looked with those barely-there triangles covering your nipples."

Rachel groaned and tightened her hold on Quinn's hips, needing that grip to remain upright as the blonde's words had her instantly ruining the bikini bottoms she was wearing and had her knees feeling like they were about to buckle.

Quinn chuckled softly and continued her verbal assault, her words falling in sensual waves over Rachel's ear as her hands continued to play at the brunette's breasts, squeezing, pinching, rolling, massaging. "I wanted nothing more than to rip that top off of you, take your sweet nipples into my mouth and suck on them until you were screaming my name for all of Venice to hear."

"Jesus," Rachel whimpered.

"Quinn," Quinn corrected playfully, loving the effect her words were having on Rachel. "But, for as good as your tits looked – and, baby, they really were exquisite – your ass..." she moaned softly. "God, the things I was imagining doing to you," she confessed, nipping at the brunette's earlobe. "I wanted to take you. To pull you up onto your knees in front of me and just have you."

Rachel groaned, and couldn't help thinking that if she'd known that was what Quinn was thinking that she would have sent Brittany and Santana on their way a hell of a lot earlier.

"Turn around," Quinn whispered, her voice low and rich, as she took a step away from Rachel so that the brunette could actually do what she was asking. She smiled when desire blown eyes landed on her and she licked her lips when Rachel didn't hesitate to do as she requested.

Rachel's heart was thundering in her ears as she turned her back to her lover so that she was facing the front door. She shivered slightly as Quinn's finger traced down her spine, the touch soft and gentle and the complete polar opposite of the image the blonde's words had painted in her mind. She had been expecting to be immediately ravished, but it looked like Quinn was content to take her time for now.

When Quinn's teasing fingers reached the small of her back and began drawing small circles there, she felt the blonde's other hand land on her hip. The hand on her hip squeezed her gently and pulled her back into Quinn's hips, before it joined its twin at the small of her back and they swept around her sides in unison, sliding up her stomach to palm her breasts again as the blonde's body pressed into her back. She stumbled forward slightly, reaching out with both her hands to brace herself on the door, and she couldn't contain the tremor that rolled through her when Quinn's mouth brushed over her neck and a smooth voice dripping of sex and promises whispered, "Perfect," against her ear.

Quinn swallowed thickly as Rachel's hips rolled back, thrusting the brunette's ass into her. "Okay?" she whispered.

"Yes," Rachel husked, her voice rough and thick with desire.

"Okay," Quinn murmured, moving her hands away from Rachel's breasts and down to the little bows on each side of the brunette's hips that were holding her bikini bottoms in place. She pulled on the strings and smiled as the Broadway star's suit fell away. She rolled her hips back, giving the fabric the room it needed to fall to the floor, and wasted no time covering the perfect globes with her hands. She squeezed Rachel's ass and husked, "God do I love this ass."

Rachel chuckled and pushed herself back into Quinn's hands, silently telling her partner that she too enjoyed the fact that the blonde was so enamored with her backside. Her soft laugh morphed into a groan, though, when the hands on her began a slow, rough massage, each clenching of the blonde's fingers rocking her forward. Her head dropped between her outstretched arms as she thrust her ass up into Quinn's hands, her back dipping down as she tried to put more of herself into the blonde's grip.

A low moan rumbled in Quinn's throat at Rachel's submission and she reached up with her left hand to untie the two bows holding the brunette's top on. She licked her lips as she watched it fall to the floor, the crimson fabric a striking contrast to the dark wood, and took a deep, shuddering breath as she trailed her fingertips down the brunette's naked back and thought that she had never wanted the brunette more than she did in that moment.

And, judging by the soft, plaintive mewling noises Rachel was making, the brunette wanted her too.

She wrapped her left hand around Rachel's hip, holding the smaller woman tight as she eased her right hand down between the brunette's legs. "Mmm, so wet," she purred, as she ran the tip of her middle finger back and forth through slick folds.

Rachel's breath hitched and she canted back into Quinn, her hands sliding down the door as she unconsciously presented herself to her lover. She was so turned on that it was actually mildly uncomfortable and she needed to be touched.

She needed Quinn's touch.

And, thankfully, Quinn seemed to need to touch her just as badly because she felt two fingers press against her, applying the barest amount of pressure before slipping inside. "Fuck, yes."

"My god," Quinn whimpered softly to herself, as she started thrusting into the brunette, her movement growing firmer and more demanding as Rachel's ass continued to lift into her hand. "You look so hot like this," she murmured a little bit louder, and smiled when Rachel moaned in response. She braced the back of her wrist against herself and used her hips to drive forward into the brunette, the added force drawing a ragged scream from Rachel's lips. "So fucking hot," she sighed.

Rachel groaned and rocked back into Quinn's hand, loving the feeling of the blonde moving behind her. Inside her. Short nails raked down her back and she cried out again, arching into the touch for a moment before sinking down again to give Quinn's hand a better angle. The blonde was moving relentlessly against her, each thrust harder and more forceful than the last, but because Quinn was coming at her from behind she needed more. "Please, baby," she gasped, pushing herself back against her lover's hand.

"What do you need?" Quinn asked, even though she knew exactly what the brunette needed.

The brunette's answer was immediate. "More."

Quinn nodded and pulled out of the brunette, moving her ring finger into position beside the others that were glistening with Rachel's arousal. She eased in slowly, allowing the brunette to adjust to the new width. "Okay."

"So good," Rachel gasped, rocking back into Quinn, impaling herself on the blonde's fingers. And it was good, especially when Quinn started moving harder and faster inside her, quickly resuming the relentless pace she'd been setting before. And then she felt it, just the slightest pressure over her mound before nimble fingers were sliding over her clit. "Quinn!"

The blonde smirked and pressed firm circles against Rachel's clit as she pounded into her from behind, loving the way the brunette's walls were growing hotter and tighter around her fingers. "You feel so good," she murmured, leaning forward and raking her teeth over Rachel's back, nipping none too gently at a protruding scapula. "So hot. So wet. So tight... my god, Rachel, you are fucking perfect." She smiled when she felt the brunette tremble beneath her. "Come for me, baby," she encouraged, her voice low and rough and demanding as she pressed hard against the sensitive bundle under the fingers of her left hand.

Rachel screamed in surprise as her orgasm ripped through her. She had been close, but she hadn't been there yet – but Quinn demanding she let go somehow had her racing past 'almost there' and straight into release. Every muscle in her body seized, her arms, her shoulders, her abdomen, her ass, her legs, her pussy, as her climax hit her hard. She stayed there, frozen, for what felt like an eternity before her muscles eased into a rough series of convulsions, each one tearing a strangled cry from her throat.

Quinn moaned softly as a smaller sympathetic orgasm rippled through her own body as she continued to focus on Rachel, gentling her thrusts as she eased the brunette through her release. When the muscles around her fingers went limp and the cries from the brunette had reduced to quiet whimpers, she carefully pulled out and wrapped her arms around the smaller woman's waist, lifting her up and holding her close as she waited for her to come back to earth.

"My god, Quinn," Rachel murmured breathlessly, when she had finally regained control enough of herself to speak.

"I really liked that," Quinn purred. She pulled away from the brunette and spun the smaller woman back around so that her back was against the door and she could kiss her properly. "You are so sexy, baby."

Rachel moaned into the kiss and threaded her fingers through Quinn's hair, tugging lightly on the strands as she met the blonde's eager tongue stroke for stroke. "Wow," she gasped, when they finally pulled apart.

"Haven't gotten anywhere near 'wow' yet," Quinn said, winking suggestively at the brunette as she dropped to her knees in front of her.

Rachel's brow furrowed in confusion as she looked down at her lover. "What are you doing?" she asked. She whimpered softly when she was answered with a smirk and a determined hand guiding her leg up over the blonde's shoulder.

"I wasn't done with 'more' yet," Quinn said, moaning softly as she leaned in and laid a broad lick through the brunette's swollen folds.

Chapter 43

The moon hung high in the sky as the cast and crew of Serendipity worked through the night. Night shoots had become regular occurrences in the last week and a half since they had returned from Ohio, and Quinn couldn't suppress the jaw-popping yawn that belied her exhaustion. Sixteen-hour days were one thing when they were during the day, but they became so much more painful when they were done at night because the body's natural circadian rhythm was thrown off by the lack of sunlight. All she really wanted was to sleep – to curl up somewhere with Rachel and forget the world, but the brunette was off shooting a scene by herself and she had nobody to cuddle with.

"Fucking night shoots," she muttered, pulling a blanket up over her shoulders as she snuggled deeper into the sofa in the trailer. She yawned again as she closed her eyes and the gentle, soothing waves of sleep were just beginning to lap at her consciousness when her phone rang. She reached blindly for the device and held it up to her ear. "Fabray."

"SHE SAID YES!!!!" Santana screamed in her ear.

She grinned happily in spite of her exhaustion. The Latina and Brittany were still in Maui, the couple had only two days left on their trip, and she'd been expecting the phone call long before now. "Congratulations, S. What took you so long to ask?"

"Just... waiting for the perfect moment," Santana said, her smile evident in her tone.

"Mmm," Quinn hummed through another yawn. "Did she like the ring?"

"Of course."

Quinn smiled and nodded. "Good. So, do you two have a date?"

"She wanted to get married now, but I talked her out of it because none of our families are here. So, probably in a couple weeks or something. I wanna do it before I pass the bar and have to start pulling eighty-hour weeks at the firm."

Quinn ran a hand through her hair and sighed. "You do realize that it's nearly impossible to put together a wedding that quickly, right?"

"No shit, Sherlock," Santana chuckled. "But we don't want a big wedding. Something small will work fine for us – we'll leave the fairytale to you and Berry. So... I'm thinking an intimate little ceremony up in Santa Barbara somewhere, maybe do a reception at a restaurant up there."

"That sounds lovely, actually," Quinn murmured, looking up as the door to the trailer she and Rachel were sharing opened. She pressed the phone into her shoulder to muffle her words and smiled at her lover. "Hey you. Guess who got engaged tonight?"

"Santana did it?!" Rachel squealed excitedly, looking entirely too awake for three in the morning. She hurried across the trailer and grabbed the phone out of the blonde's hand. "You got engaged?!"

"I did," Santana said, laughing. "And, damn, Berry – turn down the fucking volume already. Now, could you please give the phone back to your better half so I can ask her to be my maid of honor?"

"Oh, yeah, of course!" Rachel said, smiling. "Just... congratulations. Really. I'm so happy for you guys."

"Thanks, Rachel," Santana said sincerely, her voice soft and warm.

Rachel smiled and handed the phone back to Quinn. "She wishes to speak to you."

Quinn chuckled. "What's up?"

"Will you be my maid of honor and, you know, stand with me when I get married and all that shit?"

"Of course," Quinn answered, smiling as she pulled Rachel down onto the couch with her. "Just get us the date and everything and we'll be there. You're not going to make me wear some fucking hideous dress, are you?"

Santana chuckled darkly. "You'll just have to wait and see, Fabray. Look, Britts just came inside from calling her parents and is looking mighty fine and fuckable, so I'll talk to you when we hit the mainland."

Quinn rolled her eyes as she heard Brittany squeal on the other end of the phone, followed by what had to've been the wettest, sloppiest kiss ever followed by a hushed 'I love you' that had her smiling and sitting up to kiss Rachel softly. Someday that would be them, celebrating the beginning of the lives together. "You know I'm still on the phone, right?" she said loudly.

"Whatever, you pervert," Santana chuckled before she hung up with a muffled, "Later," that sounded like it was swallowed by a kiss.

Rachel laughed softly as she watched Quinn toss her phone onto the floor and immediately covered the blonde's body with her own. "So... James said he's done with us for the night," she murmured, brushing a soft kiss over the former Cheerio's lips.

"Did he now?" Quinn asked, wrapping her right hand around the back of Rachel's neck and pulling the brunette down into a deeper, more serious kiss. Before her phone had rang she'd been exhausted, but now... it was strange. Hearing that Santana was getting married had her feeling awake, alive, and hungry for Rachel's touch.

She knew, cogently, that it was entirely too soon for her and Rachel to take such a giant step – but it didn't stop her from wanting it. From wanting to see a ring on the brunette's finger.

Rachel pulled back and smiled at Quinn. She could tell from the wistful half smile on the blonde's lips and the softness in her eyes that that there were some serious thoughts floating through her mind. "What are you thinking about?"

"Nothing." Quinn smiled and shook her head. "Just got lost in my head for a minute."

"Mmm," Rachel hummed, nodding slowly, still curious. "Nothing bad?"

"No," Quinn whispered, lifting her chin and capturing Rachel's lips in a slow, sweet kiss. "Nothing bad. I promise."

Rachel smiled. "Well, since we've been released for the night – do you want to get out of here?"

"Mmm, yes," Quinn sighed. She stretched her hands up over her head and twisted her torso from side to side, working out a few of the kinks that had developed in her back from laying down on the couch, before glancing at her watch. "What time do we need to be back tomorrow?"

"Four," Rachel answered, climbing to her feet. "He wants to try and get another take in at sunset before going back to the running through the streets stuff again."

Quinn nodded thoughtfully. She knew that the 'another take at sunset' meant that there was something he didn't like about the scene she and Rachel had shot earlier. Not that she particularly minded having to redo a take where she was kissing the brunette, but she was curious as to why they needed to do it. "Did he say why he wants the sunset scene done again?"

Rachel nodded and held her hands out to help the blonde up off the sofa. "He said he liked the one we did tonight, but he wanted another few takes to have film to edit together if need be. I think he's just being careful, really," she added. "Because I saw the playback of it and I thought what they got in the few takes we were able to squeeze in tonight looked good."

That actually sounded like something James would do. The director had been surprisingly easy to please with the majority of the scenes they'd filmed thus far, but he was being exceedingly more critical of the romantic ones. It was obvious to everybody on set that he wanted those scenes in particular to be outstanding. Whether to offset the fact that the two leads were women and make the film more widely accessible to the public that was still, for the most part, rather conservative, or because the studio was breathing down his neck, Quinn couldn't say, but the scenes they re-shot the most were the ones that had nothing to do with their characters being cops.

"Well, I guess I could force myself to make-out with you again," Quinn drawled playfully, as she allowed the brunette to pull her to her feet.

Rachel rolled her eyes and scoffed as she turned away from the blonde and began gathering her things. "Gee, thanks."

Quinn smiled and wrapped her arms around the brunette's waist from behind, pulling the smaller woman into her. She brushed her lips over the side of the brunette's neck, delighting in the slight shiver she felt roll through her lover's body. "I love you."

The brunette sighed and her eyes fluttered closed as she relaxed into her lover's arms. "I love you too, Quinn. Now, let's get home. We've been here since noon, and I really want to just climb into bed and sleep."

"Yes, ma'am," Quinn drawled, nipping at Rachel's neck before she pulled away. She quickly picked up her phone from where she'd tossed it and tilted her head at the brunette as she slipped her purse over her shoulder. "You ready?"

Rachel nodded slowly as she cast a quick glance around the trailer. Her phone was in her purse, and nothing else she'd brought onto set needed to come home with them. "Yeah." She followed Quinn out of the trailer and slipped her hand through the crook of the blonde's arm as they started walking toward their car. "Oh, and I overheard Rob, Mark, and Randy," she named the three propmasters responsible for the Skittles debacle, "gloating that you haven't gotten them back yet."

Quinn grinned and turned to drop a quick kiss to the brunette's cheek. "That will be taken care of shortly," she shared. "Trust me."

"Do I want to know?" Rachel asked, chuckling.

They reached their car and Quinn pulled the passenger's side door open for the brunette and gave her a devious little grin. "Probably."

"Is there any chance you'll be arrested?"

Quinn laughed and shook her head. "No. I've already organized what I need to pull it off, I'm just waiting for the perfect opportunity to present itself." She winked as she slammed Rachel's door shut, and sauntered around the front of the car to get to the driver's side.

"And nobody will be arrested?" Rachel asked again, once Quinn had climbed into the driver's seat. She had heard more of what had gone down on the Thunder set and knew that if Quinn and the boys really got into it that things could get ugly.

"Nobody is going to get arrested," Quinn murmured, leaning across the center console to kiss the brunette softly. "I promise."

"You're not going to electrocute them, are you?"

Quinn chuckled and rolled her eyes. Apparently the brunette hadn't noticed the way the men in question were opening all doors with their gloves on in case the handles were charged. Even if she'd wanted to give 'em a little jolt, it wouldn't have worked. "I'm not going to electrocute anybody, Rach. I'm just going to..."

The 'perfect opportunity' for Quinn's prank presented itself the following Tuesday when they were doing yet another night shoot, this time in Griffith Park. The propmasters were up in the hills with the actors and the rest of the team to oversee filming because it was a shoot-out scene and they were needed to make sure that the fake blood packets were applied properly. Which meant that their cars were parked a mile down the hill in the lot by the carousel that the crew had set up as their base of operations for the three-day shoot.

Quinn smirked as she slunk away from the set long enough to place two calls, one to the on-set security team who was in on her prank, and one to the people who'd be pulling it off for her, and when she returned to set she went back to work like nothing had happened.

Rachel, however, could see the self-satisfied smirk that the blonde was valiantly trying to hide, and knew that something was up. "What did you do?" she asked, once the blonde had gotten close enough for them to speak quietly.

"I didn't do anything besides talk on the phone," Quinn answered, smiling as she reached out and pulled the brunette into her. "I can't say that there won't be other people doing stuff, though," she murmured against the brunette's ear. "However, tonight I need you to help me screw up as many scenes as possible so that we're up here until morning. The application team is going to need at least eight hours to get them done."

Understanding set in and Rachel grinned, knowing that tonight was the night Quinn was finally going to put her plan into action. At first, she'd been appalled at the idea of how much money the blonde was spending on her 'prank' – but even she could see the genius behind the idea and she'd been quickly swayed into supporting the cause. "Which one did you decide to go with? One of yours, or Puck's?"

Quinn chuckled softly and brushed a light kiss over Rachel's ear. "You're just going to have to wait and see like everybody else." She caught James' eye across the set and sighed. "We're needed. Let's do the first few takes as well as possible, and then we'll start taking turns screwing stuff up."

James watched the couple approach and grinned. "So, Rachel, you ready to get shot at?"

"I am," Rachel said, grinning. She was quite looking forward to doing some real stunt-type work. It wasn't as physical as the fist fight that Quinn got to do the week before when their characters had run down a suspect, but she hadn't done anything even remotely like this on stage and she was rather excited about the whole thing. It wasn't every day that you got shot, after all.

"Good." James nodded and waved a hand at the shorter, dark-haired man beside him. "Well, ladies, this is Ryder Graham – aka David Lyons, Paulie Parker's right hand man – and he's going to be the guy you'll be running after all night."

Quinn gave Ryder a quick once-over, thinking that his bright blue eyes were really striking against his dark skin and hair, and smiled as held out her hand. "Quinn Fabray, nice to meet you."

"The pleasure's mine," Ryder said, giving the blonde a toothy grin as he shook her hand. "And you must be Rachel Berry," he said, turning his attention to the brunette.

Rachel nodded and shook his hand. "I am. Nice to meet you."

"So," James said, drawing everyone's attention back onto himself, "this one is going to go a little different than most because Rachel and Quinn, your characters have split up to chase after the suspect so we're going to shoot all three of you separately. At the end, of course, we'll be shooting you two together-" he looked at Rachel and Quinn "-but, for now, let's get some shots of each of you ducking around trees and running through the brush and stuff. So... who wants to go first?"

Quinn subtly nudged Rachel with her elbow, silently urging the brunette to take the lead. She had been planning on having just her and Rachel draw out the filming, but if she could get Ryder to help them out it'd be even better.

Thankfully for Quinn, Rachel understood exactly what it was that the blonde wanted and she raised her hand, giving James her megawatt Berry-smile. "I'll go first."

"Awesome," James drawled, grinning like a madman and clapping his hands excitedly. "Then here we go."

Quinn dropped a kiss to Rachel's cheek for luck and smiled as she watched the brunette follow James down into the gully that was serving as their set for the night. "So, Ryder – have you done this stuff before?" she asked nonchalantly.

Ryder looked over at the blonde and nodded. "Yeah. Mostly extra work, kind of like this, but I've also had a few small television parts."

"You ever been pranked?" Quinn asked.

"Why? Are you planning on getting me? We're only going to be working together for like a week," he said, chuckling.

"Not you," Quinn assured him.


Quinn and Ryder watched Rachel bob and weave through the 'woods' below them and once James had called 'CUT', the blonde looked at the dark-haired man and grinned. "I'm getting the prop guys back for something they did to me and Rach."

"Cool," Ryder drawled. "Why are you telling me, though?"

"Because I need to make sure that we keep everybody up here all night long. The people I have working on it need at least eight hours to get it done – although they would prefer more time if at all possible. So... think you can mess up a few takes? Help us draw this out?"

Ryder grinned. "Not a problem. I'm sure I can manage to flub what few lines I do have."

"Awesome," Quinn said, holding her hand out and bumping knuckles with her newest co-conspirator. She watched as Rachel and James huddled together, obviously discussing what the director wanted from the brunette, and smiled as Rachel returned to her mark for a second take.

Eight long, grueling hours later, they were set to film what would hopefully be the final take of the night. Rachel, Quinn, and Ryder had jumped, ran, and tumbled through the foliage until they were all scraped, sore, and tired but none of them voiced their discomfort because they had all watched their stunt-doubles do double the work and take double the falls that they had. All in all, it had been a fun night, because anything physical was fun, but they were all more than ready to be done for now.

"So, any questions?" James asked, as he watched his actors being attended to by the prop team. Each of them was going to suffer some form of a wound in this next scene, so it was important to get all of them kitted out properly so that they could get it done in as few takes as possible. Every retake meant at least a partial clothing change because of the fake blood they were using, and the goal was to do it on the first take, if at all possible.

"Nope," the trio chorused, as the team of propmasters finished working on each of them.

Quinn fingered the little packet taped on her side – Charlie was going to suffer a gaze wound on the abdomen – and looked over at Rachel. The brunette had her shirt pulled away from her neck so that her shoulder and the flat of her chest was exposed. Hayden was going to catch the brunt of the attack for the duo. "Lookin' good, Berry," she teased.

Rachel smiled. "Thanks."

"We're good to go," Mark, the propmaster who was working on Rachel announced as he backed away from the brunette.

James nodded. "Right then. Quinn, take the position behind the tree there where we ended your last shot. Rachel, I want you hiding behind that little rock formation to Quinn's left, and Ryder, you're going to be hiding in this thicket of brush here."

The actors nodded and made their way to the places they were told. Quinn pulled her gun out from its holster on her hip and looked over at Rachel who was doing the same. "You ready to kick some ass?"

Rachel laughed. "You betcha. Until I take that bullet to the chest, anyways."

"Yeah, I don't like that," Quinn said. "Maybe you could duck it?"

"I don't think that's an option," Rachel said, smiling. "Just make sure to get the bad guy – 'kay?"

"I'll do my best," Quinn assured her.

They fell silent as they waited for the slate to snap, both of their eyes trained on the brush where Ryder could just be seen hiding. Charlie and Hayden had chased Lyons into the 'woods' and this was the culminating scene from the chase. The sound of crickets and wind rustling dry brush surrounded them as they waited, each getting into character, all ready to spring into action once they heard the crack of the slate.

And then they heard it. "ACTION!"

Quinn looked over at Rachel as she flattened her back to the tree she was using for cover. "Give it up, Lyons!" she yelled. "You're surrounded!"

"Yeah right," Ryder shot back.

Rachel held Quinn's gaze as she pointed first at herself, and then at the brush where Ryder was hiding. Her silent message was clear – 'I'll go get him'.

Quinn shook her head vigorously and hissed "No!" But she still tightened her grip on her gun.

Rachel rolled her eyes and crept slowly out from behind the rock formation, her gun leveled on the area where their suspect was hiding. Each step was measured so that she made as little noise as possible – Hayden might be reckless when it came to most everything, but she wasn't suicidal, even if her current approach was questionable – and she cast a glance back at Quinn, who was mirroring her movement and inching forward as well.

And then the first shot sounded. Well, it sounded more like a pop than the loud rapport of a gun, but it was enough for the actors to know to visibly react.

"Fuck!" Quinn hissed, reaching for her side where a pool of red was spreading across her pale blue shirt.

Rachel bit her lip and fired a shot into the brush where a flash of Ryder's shirt could be seen. She gave Quinn a small, quick glance before she moved forward, pressing her advantage, firing another two shots at the bushing that were moving in front of her. "Give it up, Lyons!" she yelled, glancing over her shoulder at Quinn to make sure that the blonde was doing okay.

"Fuck you!" Ryder yelled back, snapping both of their attention forward, and then they heard two 'shots' fired in quick succession. The quiet pop, pop echoed eerily in the night as the packets taped to Rachel's chest and shoulder exploded, sending a wave of warm syrupy liquid flying.

Quinn, who was in perfect position to see Rachel get hit, screamed in fear and rage. She started to give chase when Ryder took off running, disappearing into the dark woods, but quickly abandoned the hunt to check on her partner. "Hayden, sweetie," she murmured, dropping to her knees beside the brunette.

Rachel moaned dramatically and stared up into Quinn's tear-streaked face. "I'm fine," she whispered, forcing herself to look at Quinn and not the boom mic that was being inched in closer over their heads.

"No, you're not," Quinn said, shaking her head. She pulled her phone from her pocket and dialed dispatch. "This is Detective Charlie Conway, badge number A9843. I'm in the west side of Banks Park near the reservoir and my partner has been shot. I need an ambulance sent to this location ASAP! Alert all responding units that the suspect has fled the area heading south east toward the lower park entrance."

Quinn pretended to distractedly listen and when she imagined the 'dispatcher' would be done confirming the request, she yelled, "Fucking HURRY!", and turned her attention back to Rachel, forcing her attention onto the unfocused brown eyes in front of her and not the blood pouring out from between her fingers as she tried to apply enough pressure to stem the brunette's bleeding. "You stay with me, Walker, you got that? You can't leave me, Hayden. You hear me?"

Rachel smiled weakly.

Quinn swallowed thickly but gave no other sign that she heard the brunette as she began running her hands over Rachel's body, trying to determine which wound was worse before she gave up and set one hand over the brunette's shoulder and one over her abdomen. It was too real, the feeling of warm blood seeping through her fingers, and she began rocking back and forth, murmuring a string of broken pleas that were mostly unintelligible, though Rachel – and the microphone tucked into the blonde's collar – could hear her perfectly. "God, please don't take her from me," was murmured the most often, followed by "Hang on, sweetheart, help is on the way", "I love you", "Stay with me", "Please don't leave me", and "I need you".

On the sidelines, behind the dim lights and the cameras, James Moore stood with his hands in his back pockets, watching the scene unfold. It was even more heart-wrenching than he'd imagined and he had to clear his throat before he could yell, "CUT!", and save Quinn from her anguish.

Rachel snapped out of the moment almost immediately and smiled reassuringly as she reached up and cradled Quinn's face in her hands. Not knowing if James would want another take or not, she had to fight her instinct to smooth away the blonde's tears with her thumbs, and instead settled for pulling her lover down to her level and kissing her softly. "You were amazing, baby."

Quinn closed her eyes and drew a shuddering breath as she tried to calm her racing heartbeat. She had mentally prepared herself to see Rachel fall to the ground like she had, and to see the blood staining the brunette's clothes, but it was so incredibly different when she was actually confronted with the image of a prone and bloody Rachel. She had managed to remember her lines through the 'stay with me' dialogue, but the longer the scene played out, the more trouble she had distinguishing between what was real and fake, and with Rachel just laying on the ground, not moving, blood – fake or otherwise – seeping from the brunette's wounds and coating her hands... it had been too much. Too real. Altogether too heartbreaking.

And it wasn't until she felt Rachel's lips on her own that she was finally able to differentiate between what was true and what was pretend.

"I'll second that," James said, smiling as he approached the couple. Even knowing that it was fake, he had been moved nearly to tears by the blonde's performance. "Q – excellent work. Really superb."

"Thanks," Quinn said, smiling as she looked up at the director. "So, did we do it?"

James nodded. "Yeah. But I want to do a couple more takes of just you and Rachel at the end there. I'm thinking of maybe circling you guys, spiraling in closer and closer as Charlie's grief threatens to overtake her. Once we get close, maybe press a light kiss to Hayden's lips, whisper some sort of a plea for her to stay with you or something, and then we'll cut. I think an overlapping transition of your tear-stained face to Hayden in the hospital will work good here and I want to try and get the right angle for it all. So, a few more?"

Quinn looked at Rachel and sighed. She wanted to say 'no', but she couldn't, so she just shrugged. "You're the boss," she said, helping the brunette lay back down how she was when the scene had ended.

It took them another hour and a half to get everything that James wanted, and while the techs began gathering their equipment, Rachel and Quinn hopped onto the back of a golf cart that would take them down the hill to their trailers. Rachel kept shooting concerned glances at her lover as she held her close, concerned about the distance in the blonde's hazel eyes. Every take seemed to be harder on Quinn than the last, and Rachel had been moments away from claiming exhaustion and throwing a diva fit if needed to get James to call it a night because she was convinced that Quinn couldn't take anymore.

Thankfully for everybody involved, James had been satisfied with their work and had called it a night.

Rachel gave the PA driving the cart a small smile as he pulled to a stop in front of their trailer. She wrapped a protective arm around the blonde's waist as she helped her off the cart, and she swallowed thickly as she opened the door to their trailer and ushered Quinn inside.

"Come on, sweetie," she murmured, as she led the blonde down the hall to the bathroom that had a small, albeit functional, shower tucked inside it. She threw the door open and reached inside to turn on the water, and then she turned to look at her lover. "Let's get you out of these clothes," she whispered, as she tugged the blonde's shirt from her pants.

Quinn licked her lips and shook her head. "I can do it."

"I know, but I want to," Rachel said, as she batted the blonde's hands out of the way and began removing the blonde's clothes, one dirty, torn, bloody piece at a time. Once Quinn was naked, she guided the blonde into the shower stall and under the spray, and quickly shucked her own clothes so that she could climb into the tiny stall alongside her lover. It was a tight fit, they were pretty much standing toe-to-toe and breast-to-breast, but Rachel was banking on the physical closeness to help pull the former Cheerio from the darkness of her thoughts.

In silence, Rachel poured a healthy amount of soap onto a loofah and began tenderly scrubbing the dried fake blood from Quinn's porcelain skin, rubbing at the stains with small, gentle circles until they disappeared. She sighed and looked up into Quinn's eyes, which were blankly watching her every move, and smiled reassuringly as she kneeled down to press a soft kiss to the now unblemished skin. "All better," she breathed, kissing the spot again before she got back to her feet.

Still holding Quinn's gaze captive, Rachel squeezed another generous amount of soap onto the loofah and began scrubbing the fake blood from her own skin. It was a longer process because the propmasters had used three times the blood packets on her than they did on Quinn, but with every swipe of her hand that sent the red-brown stain dripping down the drain, she saw a little more life come into the blonde's eyes.

"Let me," Quinn whispered, as she took the loofah from Rachel.

Rachel nodded and let her arms fall to her sides as she stood before the blonde, both of their eyes trained on the way the last of the fake blood that had been caked to her skin disappeared. She felt her heart break at the ragged sigh that fell from Quinn's lips as the blonde dropped the loofah and pulled her into her arms. "It's okay, sweetie," she murmured. She wrapped her arms around the blonde's neck and held her close. "It's okay, Quinn. I'm okay, baby."

Quinn nodded and pressed a lingering kiss to the sweet curve where the brunette's neck and shoulder met. "I know," she muttered. She pressed another kiss to Rachel's neck and flexed her arms around the smaller woman's waist so that their bodies were crushed together. She knew Rachel was okay, but she still needed the physical reassurance that the brunette was fine. "It was just..."


"Fucking excruciating," Quinn agreed. She looked up and leaned her forehead against Rachel's so that she could look the brunette in the eye. "I don't ever want to see you like that again. I knew it was fake, but you weren't moving and there was so much blood..." her voice trailed off.

Rachel nodded in understanding. Though she wasn't about to compare the emotional torture that the scene was for the both of them, it hadn't been easy for her to just lie there and watch Quinn fall apart, over and over again, and make no move to comfort her. She sighed and lifted her chin to kiss the blonde softly. "I love you."

A ghost of a smile quirked one corner of Quinn's lips as she whispered, "I love you." She kissed Rachel again as she ran her hands over the brunette's body, her fingers seeking out the areas that had been 'wounded' to verify that the skin was healthy and whole. Their kisses deepened as their hands began to roam, cupping a firm buttock, cradling a breast, and, had the trailer's propane water heater had more juice, they might have ended up making love right then, but the rapid cooling of the water raining down on their heads forced them from the small stall and the sound of voices moving past the trailer reminded them both of Quinn's prank. They shared a small, knowing smile that promised they'd pick up where they left off once they got home, and hurried to dress and get out to the parking lot before their marks did.

They linked hands as they strolled through the maze of trailers to where everybody's cars were parked, and Rachel laughed quietly and shook her head when she saw what Quinn had pulled off. Ron, Randy, and Mark's reactions were going to be priceless. "You know... remind me never to make you mad."

Quinn smirked and pulled the brunette into her arms. She rocked the smaller woman from side to side, just enjoying the feeling of a the Broadway star's warm body against her own after the emotionally draining shoot, and said, "I sincerely doubt you have anything to worry about, my love. Oh, look – here they come!"

Rachel chuckled at her girlfriend's excitement and turned around in her arms so she could watch. Randy was in the lead, which was perfect because his truck was parked closest to the staging area, and was therefore the first to see what had been done to his car.

"Oh holy fuck," he swore, grinning in spite of the Randy's Brushless Car Wash – The Best Hand Jobs in Town! wrap that had been applied to his four-door Tacoma.

"Nice!" Ron howled, smacking his friend on the back, and pointing at the small print beneath the larger logo which read, Honk if you like a good hand job!.

"So... how good of a hand job are we talking?" Quinn hollered, smirking.

Randy shook his head and laughed. "Well, my wife never seems to have any complaints," he chuckled. "Nice one, Fabray."

Quinn tipped her head at the man and grinned. "Thank you, sir."

"No fucking way!" Mark yelled, when he saw the bright yellow wrap that covered his Explorer. His read Mark's Lumber Yard – We've Got ALL the Wood You Need!. "That just sounds like a bad boy-bar slogan!"

"How the hell did you come up with these?" Randy asked, as he ran his hands over the wrap, trying to see if it would come off easily. He sighed when he realized that it wouldn't. "You do know that you suck – right?"

"Mmm, sometimes," Quinn replied, chuckling. "But I'm more of a licker."

"QUINN!" Rachel shrieked, smacking the side of the blonde's leg indignantly as the guys all laughed.

"Busted," Ron sing-songed as he turned away from Randy and Mark's cars to look at his own. "Oh hell no."

Mark and Randy laughed loudly as they read aloud, in perfect synchronicity, "Mark's Early Morning Wake-Up Service – a Free Cock With Every Doodle-Doo!"

"Honk if you're an early riser!" Ron yelled, laughing as he pointed at the hood of the car. "Oh my fucking god, Fabray!"

"Damn," Ryder laughed as he joined the group. "You guys really go all-out, don't you?!"

Quinn nodded. "Anything worth doing is worth doing well, my man. So, boys – we even?" she asked the three prop guys, arching a questioning, or one could say challenging, brow in their direction.

"Yeah, man, we're good," Randy answered for the group. "Seriously though, how do we get this off?"

Quinn grinned and reached for her car keys. "Go get in the car, sweetheart," she whispered in Rachel's ear. She just shrugged at the men and waited until she heard Rachel's door open before she said, "Well, you'll have to call All-City Wrap to make an appointment... but I can tell you that they're booked solid for the next two weeks! See you guys tomorrow!"

Chapter 44

Rachel stared intently out the window as Quinn pulled off of the freeway in Santa Barbara. The mid-afternoon sun shone brightly in the cloudless azure sky and she was quite looking forward to the upcoming extended weekend. The towering palm trees lining the boulevard were magnificent, and she studied a small restaurant tucked off of the side of the road, just under the freeway. It looked like it'd be a fun place to go for drinks, though why she thought that just from the exterior, she couldn't say.

Of course, they weren't in town simply to enjoy some time off – though it was bound to be an incredibly enjoyable weekend nonetheless – they were there because Santana and Brittany were getting married in two days time. How Brittany (and hers and Santana's mothers) had managed to put the whole thing together on such short notice was something neither she nor Quinn understood, but they both were more than excited to see their old friends tie the knot.

They drove down Cabrillo Boulevard, past a small estuary full of tall grasses and birds, until the beach came into view. There were a half-dozen volleyball courts full of bronzed-skinned, bathing-suit clad people jumping and diving and giving their all to their pick-up games, and the sides of the road were packed with cars that were parked bumper-to-bumper in what she assumed was an attempt to avoid having to pay to park. Part of her wondered why all these people were at the beach on a Thursday afternoon instead of at work, but she chalked it up to summertime. Because, really, who could be expected to sit inside and actually work when it was so spectacularly gorgeous outside like this?

The thermometer in the dash showed that it was a perfect seventy six degrees outside and, as she drank in the sight of beachgoers laying out on the sand, she wondered if she and Quinn would be recognized if they were to try and go sunbathe on the beach. Though she had sincerely wanted to just go lay down on the hot sand and feel the warmth soak into her back as the sun warmed her front, she hadn't been able to go out to the beach behind Quinn's house and sunbathe because the press knew where they lived and neither she nor Quinn were of a mind to give the tabloids a free show like that; but here... until the more industrious paparazzo discovered they had fled LA for the weekend, they had a blissful level of anonymity that meant she might actually be able to do it.

"It's beautiful," Rachel said, as Quinn pulled to a stop at a red light.

Quinn smiled and looked over at her companion. "It is," she agreed. She had fallen in love with Santa Barbara her sophomore year in college, when a friend from school invited her to tag along on a weekend visit back 'home', and she now spent a decent portion of her 'down' time exploring the historic city.

"And Santana and Brittany are really getting married at a zoo?" the brunette asked, for what was probably the twelfth time since they'd gotten the phone call from the Latina the week before.

"And they are really getting married at the zoo," Quinn confirmed with a nod as she slowed down as she approached a signal. She turned right onto a small street beside a massive white stucco building and hung a quick left into the driveway. The building was beautiful, the black rod-iron railings on the small balconies contrasted beautifully with the light façade, and the flower beds were full of lush foliage. It looked like an oasis, a beautiful, Spanish Colonial oasis in the middle of Southern California.

Rachel noticed a low-built half-wall of a sign nestled amongst the lush foliage that surrounded the property that declared it to be the Hyatt Santa Barbara, and frowned. "Is this where we're staying?" She hadn't recognized the name of the hotel Quinn had told her they were staying at, and she certainly recognized Hyatt, so she was incredibly confused as to why Quinn was pulling to a stop in front of the valet and getting out of the car.

"Yup," Quinn said, smiling.

"I could have sworn you said we were staying somewhere else," Rachel said, as she climbed out of the car and went to stand on the sidewalk. She watched Quinn pop the hatch and motion the bellhop over to deal with their luggage and smiled when the beautiful blonde turned toward her. She gladly accepted the light kiss that was dropped upon her lips and sighed happily as Quinn's hand found its way into her own.

"The Hotel has two names, in a sense. Hyatt owns the property, but it operates under the name Hotel Mar Monte – which is what I've always called it. It's my favorite place to stay when I spend the weekend up here. And, the best thing about it is that the zoo is right up the street," she explained.

"I see," Rachel murmured, as they walked into the hotel in silence, content to simply be together, which gave her the opportunity to truly take in the opulence of the hotel's interior. The floors were a rich, dark hardwood and the walls were painted a light cream which combined to create a warm and inviting ambiance. The couches in the lobby seemed to match the walls perfectly, and there were a couple of dark leather wingback chairs that finished out the intimate seating area. "It's beautiful."

Quinn made a small noise of agreement and led them over to the front desk. She set her purse upon the counter and smiled at the concierge. "Hi. We have a reservation under the name of Lucy Trinity."

Rachel frowned and cast a speculative look at her lover. She wasn't surprised that the blonde had made their reservation under a false name, and she knew why Quinn had used 'Lucy', but she was confused as to where the name 'Trinity' had come from. She knew the blonde well enough to know that she would always pick a name that had meaning to her, but Rachel couldn't figure out why she'd chosen that particular moniker.

"Of course," the concierge said warmly, as she typed the name into the computer. "Yes, I have you in one of our Ocean View King suites," the woman said, as she pressed a few more keys before looking back up at the couple. "I see we already have your credit card on file, so you are now checked-in. How many keys would you like?"

"Two would be good," Quinn answered, reaching out and looping her arm around Rachel's waist. She couldn't imagine a scenario where they would split up, but it never hurt for both of them to have their own key.

"Of course," the concierge answered, as she swiped two plastic key cards through the programmer. "Here you are, then. You are in room 324."

"Excellent," Quinn said, pocketing the keys. She glanced over her shoulder and smiled when she noticed the bellhop waiting a polite distance away with their bags on a trolley.

"I see that William has your bags already; he will follow you to your room with them. I hope you enjoy your stay at the Hotel Mar Monte and if you find that you need anything, please don't hesitate to call down to the front desk."

"Perfect," Quinn said, as she picked up her bag and slipped the strap over her shoulder. She turned to Rachel and smiled as she held out her arm. "Milady?"

Rachel smiled and looped her hand through the crook of the blonde's arm. "Why Trinity?" she asked quietly, as they wandered over to the elevators.

Quinn grinned and reached out to punch the call button. "Coach Sylvester used to call me, S, and B the Unholy Trinity. I figured it was a fitting name to use for the weekend."

"I see," Rachel drawled, chuckling. "Yes. Very appropriate, then."

"What room are you in?" the bellhop, William, asked, as he stopped a few feet away from the women. He smiled at the couple, having recognized the blonde instantly from her movies, and he was able to quickly conclude that the brunette on her arm was Rachel Berry from the pictures in all the tabloids his girlfriend left lying around their apartment.

"Three twenty four," Quinn said, as the elevator chimed. She turned her attention back to Rachel as they made their way inside the car and murmured playfully, "I'm glad you approve." She looked up at the bellhop, who hadn't moved, and asked, "Are you coming?"

"No, ma'am. I'll take the next one," he said, smiling. "It'll give you a chance to check out the room real fast and decide where you'd like me to place your bags."

"Right," Quinn said, punching the number three on the panel. "We'll meet you up there, then."

Rachel smiled politely at the man until the doors closed between them, cocooning her in the small elevator with Quinn. The polite smile she was wearing turned to a smirk as she lifted herself up onto her tiptoes and pressed a lingering kiss to the blonde's lips. "I love you."

Quinn laughed and wrapped her arms around the brunette's waist, pulling the smaller woman into her. "I love you too, sweetheart," she whispered, dipping her head and kissing her again softly. She was well aware of the fact that the elevators had security cameras, but she'd had Jack send a stack of NDAs up to be signed by all hotel staff as soon as she knew when and where the wedding would be happening, so she wasn't too concerned about anything getting out. Besides, it wasn't like there hadn't already been pictures of her and Rachel kissing published online or in the tabloids. It was actually quite amazing how many pictures of them ended up in the trades considering how much time they spent on set.

Having stayed in their assigned suite on a previous visit, Quinn waited at the door for their bags as Rachel took off to examine everything. She laughed at the excitement in the brunette's voice as she found the whirlpool tub in the en suite bathroom, and she just rolled her eyes as the petite singer skipped across the suite to wander onto the small balcony that overlooked the ocean.

After their bags had been deposited on the floor beside the surprisingly large closet and the bellhop had been tipped, Quinn turned and smiled at Rachel, who was still out on the balcony, her back to the room as she leaned against the railing to look at the ocean. Hazel eyes raked over sundrenched chestnut-colored locks, and Quinn felt something inside her stir at the way the luxurious strands were sifting about Rachel's face from the breeze. It was at times like that that she felt as if she were, in fact, living a dream. Because, for as much as she had always dreamt of being with Rachel like this, she had never actually expected it to happen.

Her heart swelled with love as she she kicked off her shoes and padded barefoot across the suite, her feet sinking into the plush light beige carpet, and she bit her lip to try and ground herself as she stepped onto the small terrace. Her heart skipped a beat as she neared the object of her desire and she let out the breath she'd been holding as she reached out to run a gentle finger over the curve of the brunette's shoulder. "Whatcha looking at, beautiful?" she murmured. She sidled in behind Rachel and wrapped her arms around the smaller woman's waist and set her chin on her shoulder as she too looked out onto the ocean.

Rachel sighed and sank into Quinn's light embrace. "Nothing, really. Just admiring the view. You'd think I'd be used to it after living at your place for the last two months, but I'm not. I just love looking at it."

Quinn turned her head to press a soft kiss to the sensitive hollow beneath Rachel's ear. "I feel the same way about you," she shared, smiling. "I will never get tired of looking at you."

"You say that now..." Rachel murmured teasingly.

"I'll say that forever, Rach," Quinn countered sincerely. Ever since Santana had called to let them know about the wedding, she hadn't been able to shake the idea of proposing to Rachel. She still felt as if it were too soon for them, but she couldn't deny wanting it.

"I feel the same way about you," Rachel sighed, turning in Quinn's arms. She tilted her head to the side as she stared into stunning hazel eyes that were more green than gold in the moment, and smiled as she saw the nearly crippling love she was feeling mirrored back at her. She licked her lips and wrapped her arms around the blonde's neck, and a low moan spilled from her lips as she kissed Quinn softly. Reverently.

A low, melodious purr rumbled in Quinn's throat when the kiss finally broke. "God, do I love you."

Rachel smiled and brushed another soft kiss across the blonde's lips. "Do we have anything with Santana and Brittany tonight?"

"No." Quinn shook her head. She'd actually been rather relieved with how the wedding preparations had gone – between her work schedule and Santana's, the Latina's directions had been for her to