When Rachel told Quinn in one of her many emails that her fathers would go on a cruise for Christmas and that she didn’t really want to go with them but didn’t want to spend the holidays alone either, the blonde was quick to respond. She invited the brunette to spend the time with her in New Haven and after some hesitation on Rachel’s side (‘But Quinn, I don’t want to keep you away from your family.’ ‘I know it is your favorite holiday, surely you don’t want to spend it with plain old me.’) and reassurances on Quinn’s side (‘No, really, it’s fine. My mom was going to visit my sister so I would have been alone anyway.’ ‘Well, why can’t I spend my favorite holiday with my favorite person?’ She didn’t write that last part down, though, she just wasn’t there yet) the small singer finally agreed.
Quinn was really looking forward to spending some time with one of her best friends and spent the day before her arrival frantically tidying up her dorm and trying to find something nice to wear. Of course, she didn’t want to impress Rachel or anything, she just wanted to look her very best. (So what if she called Santana, like a dozen times, just to ask what she should wear and what color Rachel would like best on her. Just to make sure Rachel felt as comfortable as possible. And not to make the brunette realize what she is missing out in New York dating that Brody whatshisface.)
The 23rd arrived and Quinn was on her way to pick Rachel up from the train station. She bought a bouquet of flowers (she knew it was probably much too cheesy but she did it anyway, Rachel always liked this kind of stuff).
The train pulled up and the blonde waited patiently, if not a bit anxious, until she spotted a familiar looking brunette, who was forcefully making her way through the crowd, her small height an obvious disadvantage. Quinn immediately had to grin at the sight and then contained her smile, trying not to look like a maniac (or a fool in love). They waved at each other from across the station, Rachel still trying to get past all the other people and when she finally stood in front of Quinn, she was slightly out of breath but smiling all the same.
Without as much of a warning, the petite singer threw her arms around the other woman’s neck and pulled her into a tight hug. The blonde almost dropped the flowers, but quickly got over the initial surprise and tentatively put her hands around Rachel’s waist. The hug seemed to go on forever (not that Quinn minded in the slightest) but then the brunette let go and took a few steps back. She smiled happily at the blonde and then started talking excitedly.
‘Hey Quinn! Oh my, you look so beautiful and so much prettier than I remembered. You know, I am really, really excited to spend Christmas with you, even though, as you know, I don’t really celebrate it. But I’m just really happy to see you again, seeing where you live and meeting all your friends.’
Quinn could only nod at Rachel’s fast speech, blushed when she called her pretty and blink twice once the brunette was finished.
‘Uhm, I got you flowers’, was the only thing that came to her mind and she practically shoved the bouquet in Rachel’s face. Taking the flowers out of Quinn’s hand, the brunette held them closer to her face to smell at them.
‘Why, thank you, Quinn. They are lovely, and they smell really nice.’
While Rachel was occupied, the blonde took the time to really look at the small singer. Rachel was wearing her bright orange coat Quinn loved so much, black skinny jeans, dark boots and an adorable hat, all in all looking radiant and cute and Quinn just stood there in awe. Rachel caught her eyes and smiled quite shyly at her and the blonde quickly tried to cover up the fact that she was just staring at her friend.
‘So, shall we get you to my dorm? My roommate is home for Christmas so we will be alone. I thought maybe we could watch some movies, talk and stuff. Tomorrow I wanted to show you a bit of New Haven and then in the evening there is a small Christmas party.’
‘Sounds lovely, Quinn’, was the only thing Rachel said as they were making their way towards the exit.
After they got to Quinn’s dorm, they just made themselves comfy, drinking some hot chocolate and just talking, about everything and nothing.
They laughed for a while about a silly story Rachel told about Kurt and Santana fighting and bickering one morning, trying to settle who was allowed in the bathroom first, while Rachel just walked past them and locked herself in said room. After their laughter died down, a comfortable silence lay in the room. Quinn could feel the brunette’s eyes on her but didn’t dare to look her way.
‘Soooo, Quinn…’, Rachel started tentatively and the blonde turned her head towards her. ‘Santana told me something … rather … interesting. She said, uhm, you were dating your professor?’
Quinn only groaned loudly and buried her face in her hands, inwardly cursing Santana. That bitch!
‘You don’t have to, you know, say anything about it. I just … wondered, is all. I didn’t want to make you feel uncomfortable.’
This was mortifying. But she brought that one upon herself. Why had she been so stupid to let Santana of all people get to her like this? She knew this would come back to haunt her eventually. Mentally preparing herself, she took a deep breath and looked at Rachel.
‘No, no it’s okay. It’s just … oh god, this is so embarrassing. I, I just …’ she took another deep breath. ‘I lied to Santana, okay? I only invented that stupid story because I wanted to wipe that stupid smug look off her face. To cover up that I haven’t, well, that I didn’t have the best of starts. I never dated any of my professors, I promise.’
It all came out in a rush and she wasn’t even sure if Rachel understood what she said, but the brunette nodded understandingly and with a slight look of relieve on her face.
‘That sounds more like you. When Santana told me I couldn’t believe it because this didn’t sound like you at all. And we all didn’t have the most fantastic start, Santana least of us.’
‘Yeah, but you know how she can get. But I am glad you didn’t believe it and asked me instead.’
They smiled at each other and silence befell them once again, this time it was Quinn who broke it.
‘So, what about you?’
‘I’m not dating my professor.’
Quinn looked at her and they both began laughing at the same time.
‘You know what I meant. Are you dating anyone?’
‘No, not at the moment. I broke things off with Brody, he just wasn’t the right one, you know?’
Exhaling loudly, she let the air out of her lungs she didn’t even realize she was holding, her heart instantly felt lighter. This was good news, fantastic even. But, wait, what if…?
‘And, uhm, Finn? Are you guys, I mean, getting b-‘
‘Oh, god no. I closed that chapter of my life a while ago. We can be friends again, I am sure, but nothing more. Since I arrived in New York, I had a lot of time to think about the past few years and I finally realized how miserable I was with him. We both were, but were too stubborn to accept it. So, no chance at all of us getting back together.’
Now Quinn felt truly exhilarated, almost like she could take over the whole world. Or Rachel.
‘That is good news. Though, I gotta admit, we all saw it, you know?’
‘Yeah, I realize that now. That you were right about all the things you said. I am really sorry I never took the time to really listen to you back then.’
If she did, she would have probably realized how utterly in love with her Quinn was. So, the blonde thought, Rachel being blinded by Finn wasn’t all that bad, probably.
‘Well, it’s alright and it is in the past. Let’s just, look into the future and see what it holds in story for us.’
‘Indeed’, Rachel smiled and they clinked their mugs together. They sat like this for a while longer, laughing and talking, until they were both too tired to stay up and went to sleep.
Walking around New Haven the whole day with Quinn pointing out some of her favorite places and telling Rachel all she knew about the history of the city, they were getting a bit tired on their feet so the blonde suggested they go into her favorite café, warming up and resting a bit. They sat down in a comfortable niche and after a few moments, a cute redhead with short hair appeared at their table, her smile widening when she saw Quinn.
‘Hey Quinn, haven’t seen you in a while. How are you doing?’
She completely ignored Rachel and only looked at the blonde.
‘Well, you know, finals kept me quite busy, but everything’s fine. How’re you?’
At the lack of attention from either woman, Rachel coughed slightly, making both of them turn towards her.
‘Oh, Lisa, this is Rachel, a very good friend. We went to high school together. Rachel, this is Lisa, obviously she works here.’
‘But whenever Quinn graces us with her appearance I spend my time with her.’
‘And I always tell you that you will lose your job because of that one day.’
‘And I don’t really care, you know that.’
They both smiled at each other and Rachel got the feeling that this was just a regular thing between them, bickering with each other and having silly and pointless arguments. A pang of jealousy hit her, surprising her. Why would she be jealous just because Quinn found a good friend? A really good friend, it seemed. They both had probably forgotten the brunette was even there.
‘Well, it was nice meeting you, Lisa. Could you … take our orders now, please?’
Quinn looked at her, silently apologizing for ignoring her.
‘You will have the usual, I suppose?’ Lisa asked Quinn.
‘You know me too well.’
‘Not well enough’, Lisa countered and Quinn just grinned at her, slapping her arm and shaking her head. Rachel was hit with another wave of jealousy, trying to figure out what was going on.
‘Well, uhm, I’ll have the same, please.’
‘Got it, be right back with your drinks, ladies’, she said before smiling one last time at Quinn and then turning around to leave their booth.
Once she was gone, Rachel looked intently at Quinn, who looked right back at her, raising an eyebrow at the brunette’s questioning look.
‘What was that?’
‘What was what?’
Quinn was confused. What was Rachel talking about?
‘This. She totally flirted with you. And you totally flirted back.’
It sounded more accusing and jealous that she intended. She wasn’t even sure why this was bothering her so much, because it wasn’t, of course, the fact that Lisa was a girl. It didn’t really make sense.
‘She did not flirt with me. We didn’t flirt. This was just, it’s how we always talk. We’re just friends.’
Why was Rachel being so weird? And why did she sound jealous? But maybe that was because Quinn’s mind was playing a trick on her, letting her hear what she wanted to hear.
‘Quinn, she looked at you like she wanted to eat you. In a good way. And she skips work and risks her job just to sit here with you to talk to you?! She so has a crush on you! And obviously that feeling is mutual.’
Saying this out loud made Rachel really upset. What was wrong with her today? Why was the prospect of Quinn liking somebody making her sad? This was getting more and more confusing, for both of them apparently.
‘What? No, I don’t, I’m not … she’s not the one I am having a crush on. I like her, but, you know, only as a friend.’
‘Well, maybe you should tell her that, because you seem to send out the wrong signals then’
Quinn rolled her eyes, now getting annoyed because Rachel insisted on this and because she let it kind of slip that she had a crush on someone else. A big one, but hopefully Rachel didn’t catch that.
‘I’m sure she is not in like with me. You’re just seeing things.’
‘Well, if you say so.’
‘Yes, I do. Now, can we talk about something else, please?’
She desperately wanted to change the subject, just talking with her friend about silly nonsense and not about her nonexistent love life. But of course, the brunette didn’t have any of it.
‘So, who are you crushing on, then?’
And of course she had to pick up her slight mishap from earlier. This was not going according to plan. Not at all.
‘Rachel, please, can’t you just drop it?’
‘No, I mean, you said she is not the one you have a crush on, implying there is someone else. So who is it? Someone from here? From home? Do I know them?’
‘Seriously, Rachel, let’s just –‘
But the blonde was interrupted by Lisa, who reappeared with their drinks in hand. Quinn was never happier to see her.
‘There you go. Can I get you something else?’
‘No thank you, we are fine’, Rachel said with a rather harsh tone in her voice, as if to dismiss Lisa and get her to finally leave them alone.
Quinn looked apologetic up at the redhead and said: ‘Thank you, really, but for now we are all settled. But we will give you a call when we need anything.’
There was a smile on Lisa’s face again and out of the corner of her eyes she could see the brunette with a rather annoyed look on her face, rolling her eyes and huffing slightly. Lisa waved at them and then turned around and left Rachel and Quinn in their booth alone.
‘What is up with you?’ She looked over at the brunette who was now innocently blowing some steam from her mug.
‘What are you talking about?!’
‘You were really rude.’
Rachel looked incredulously at her.
‘I was not! I merely stated that we didn’t need anything. Oh and, by the way, you should really stop encouraging her when you don’t feel the same way about her.’
Quinn pinched the bridge of her nose and let out a soft sigh of annoyance and frustration.
‘This again. Rachel, whatever you see between us, there is nothing there. We’re just –‘
‘Oh, you’re so naïve, Quinn. You are attractive and funny and smart. You turn people’s heads wherever you go, they fall over themselves to get your attention. She likes you, many people do.’
Momentarily speechless, Quinn blushed and ducked her head, thinking that the one person who actually matters was seemingly the one who didn’t like her back. Life wasn’t fair.
‘Just listen to me, Quinn. She likes you, and you are giving her hope when there is probably no chance of you ever liking her back. You said it yourself, you are not interested in her, are you?’
‘No, I’m not.’
‘Well then, as hard as it sounds, you have to let her down. Gently of course, maybe tune down the flirting and stop giving her the wrong message’
Quinn only nodded, thinking how fitting this was. If Rachel knew about her feelings, would she react the same way?
She had hoped that the brunette might feel the same way about her, had allowed herself a sliver of hope when she reacted almost jealous when talking with and about Lisa, but hearing Rachel talk about it like this made her feel quite hopeless, so she tried to bury her hopes again. She snapped out of her thoughts when she noticed a hand moving in front of her.
‘Where did you just go?’
‘Nowhere, just, thought about how to let Lisa down, is all.’
‘Oh, okay’, was all Rachel answered and they were quiet for a while, each deep in thought. Rachel thinking about her confusing feelings, trying to make sense of them and Quinn thinking about Rachel, trying not to let the pain and sorrow eating away at her heart affect her. At least not now when she wanted to enjoy the holidays with her friend. After sitting in silence for a while, Rachel was the one to break it with a story about her dancing instructor Ms. July, and they ended up comparing their professors, laughing and almost forgetting the tension of earlier.
After they paid (and Quinn quickly saying goodbye to Lisa, who looked a bit upset about the shortness of the moment), they went outside and the blonde dragged Rachel through the snow and into a nearby park. Finding the right spot, Quinn let herself fall onto the snow, swinging her arms and legs around and making a snow angel, a bright smile on her face.
In the meantime Rachel looked around, taking in the beautiful sight in front of her in.
‘It’s so beau-‘, but she didn’t get any further with her sentence because a giant ball of snow had hit the back of her head. She turned around and saw Quinn crouching behind a small snow wall, another snowball already in her hand. She grinned impishly and then swung the ball at Rachel, who squealed and ducked just in time to avoid being hit by it.
‘AH HA! You missed!’
But the next hit her square in the chest. Quinn’s unrestrained and loud laughter was contagious and soon Rachel joined in on the fun.
They ended up having a snowball fight of epic proportions, but neither could win (even though Quinn swore she got more hits that Rachel). When they were thoroughly soaked through from all the snow, they made their way back to Quinn’s dorm, to warm up a bit before getting ready and leaving for the party this evening.
A few of Quinn’s friends threw the party for all those who stayed for the holidays and it was really nice. It wasn’t a wild one, there wasn’t even that much alcohol, but they all had fun, singing along to Christmas carols, eating candy and just enjoying themselves.
Quinn and Rachel were sitting on the couch with two of Quinn’s classmates, talking animatedly about their snowball fight this afternoon and making plans to recruit more members for tomorrow. The brunette got up and excused herself to get more drinks. Quinn was emerged in her conversation, so she didn’t immediately realize that Rachel took quite some time to get back. Looking around but not seeing her, she got up and excused herself, too. It’s not so much that she was worried something bad might have happened to the brunette, she was more worried that one of Quinn’s friends (of the good looking and male fraction) might have caught Rachel and now were sweeping her off her feet.
Not tonight, not ever probably. She didn’t want someone else making her laugh (she is not selfish, at all). Deep in thought, the blonde didn’t really look where she was going. She stumbled into someone and looked down, finding the object of her thoughts (and affection) standing in front of her.
‘Quinn, what a nice surprise. I just got us refills.’
She held up two cups, now filled again.
‘Yeah, and you took forever. I started to get worried so I came looking for you.’
‘Aaw, you are too sweet. I just talked to one of your friends, Nick, I think was his name. He was really nice.’
Dammit, she knew it. All her hopes went down the drain again (and Nick was one hell of a charmer). She rolled her eyes, mostly at herself and then abruptly stopped when she saw what was hanging directly above them. This was not good. Or it was perfect. But it could be really bad. She needed to get out of this situation before she did something stupid, like really actually kissing Rachel and ruining their friendship in the process.
She was about to take Rachel by the hand to lead her away from the kitchen entrance when the brunette looked up as well. Of course, Quinn could not catch a break. Karma is a bitch!
‘Oh look, Quinn, a mistletoe.’
She pointed upwards but Quinn chose the tactic of ignorance.
‘What, where? I can’t see it.’
‘Right there, silly, above us.’
Okay, ignorance didn’t work. Next step, desperately stir Rachel in a different direction, anywhere but here.
‘Oh, yeah great. Well, nice decoration. Anyway, how about we go back to the couch?’
But Rachel crossed her arms and put her foot down, not budging from her position.
‘But Quinn, you know the Christmas tradition.’
‘The one where we give presents to our loved ones? Yeah I know that, of course I know that. So, now how about we go back –‘
Rachel didn’t seem too amused and Quinn just drifted off, not finishing her sentence.
‘The one where you kiss under a mistletoe.’
‘Ooooh, that one, of course. Silly me. But, we don’t have to, of course, wouldn’t want to make you uncomfortable or anything.’
She was scratching the back of her neck now, getting more nervous by the minute. She wanted this, yes, but she was also afraid that she would ruin everything by letting her emotions run wild and not being able to stop the kiss.
‘Don’t be silly. And anyway, isn’t it like, a Christmas law or something? And we wouldn’t want to break that, would we?’
Quinn visibly gulped, not knowing what to think. They looked at each other, both hesitating. But Rachel didn’t want to wait any longer so she grabbed the blonde’s face between her hands and pulled her down, taking her friend by surprise. Quinn stood there for a few seconds, eyes wide and not responding, not really registering that it was really Rachel she was kissing. And then realization hit full force, making her close her eyes and finally respond. The brunette, though, was getting self-conscious and was about to pull back because Quinn wasn’t reacting, so the blonde leaned forward and captured Rachel’s lips with her own once again.
This time she felt it from the very beginning, the warmth and softness from Rachel’s lips and the tingles she got all over her skin, making her shiver pleasantly. Quinn was on cloud nine. The brunette was responding, which meant that she at least liked kissing her which is something she never dared to hope.
When breathing was getting more difficult, they pulled back, looking into each other’s eyes, cheeks flushed and silly grins on their faces. For Rachel, it all made sense now, her jealousy, her protectiveness, her sort of obsession with Quinn back in High School. Only did she wish she could have realized it sooner.
They all but forgot their surroundings, only having eyes for each other.
‘You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to do this.’
‘I should have realized it sooner.’
Quinn shook her head: ‘We both should have.’
‘Sometimes we are just really oblivious, aren’t we?’
Smiling down at Rachel, Quinn leaned in once more.
‘Better late than never, right?’
And their lips met again in a passionate kiss, conveying all the things they couldn’t say with words.