She thinks she's dead. It's like a scene from a movie—only everything is too bright and too loud. She coughs, aware of her surroundings for the first time.
Someone is rapping on the car window and saying something, but everything feels so distant, like she is sitting inside a bubble.
Quinn blinks, attempting to put together what just happened.
"Seriously honey, what were you thinking?" Judy Fabray's voice is reed thin as she walks into Quinn's room in the emergency room.
"Texting and driving. What are the neighbors going to think? Our insurance is already through the roof. And wha-"
Judy's mouth clamps shut and she looks at Quinn cautiously.
"He can't move back in," Quinn says quietly, not wanting to meet her mother's eyes. "I'll find a job. I'll make it work. Just..."
She blinks. Quinn Fabray does not beg.
"Don't let him back into our lives."
But neither does Judy Fabray. Hesitantly, Quinn looks up at her mom, who is a little speechless at her admission. Although that only lasts for a split second. Ever the Fabray, Judy puts on her unreadable face and clears her throat.
Just then, they hear a knocking on the glass door. The doctor slides the door over and steps in, introducing himself to Judy and greeting Quinn.
"Well," the doctor starts as he clips x-rays on the illuminator. "It looks like the impact left you with a mild concussion. You have several contusions on your arm, which I'm guessing probably came from shielding your face from the airbag."
The doctor turns around to face Quinn.
"I know you probably don't want to hear this, but you were really lucky Quinn. The CT scan showed no brain injury and there were no signs of internal bleeding."
Quinn hears her mother exhale next to her.
"The contusions are fairly minor so those should heal in no time."
Quinn nods, looking at her left arm.
"That's good," She comments quietly.
"Although, I would like for you to stay in the hospital overnight. Maybe even two nights."
At the mention of this, both Quinn and her mother look at the doctor.
"Is that going to be necessary?" Judy asks with a sweet voice that makes Quinn want to puke.
"I would just be more comfortable if we were able to monitor her tonight and tomorrow. Her concussion did leave her disoriented. And she fainted on the site."
Quinn looks back at her mom before looking at the x-rays.
Quinn's head almost snaps off when she looks up at the source of the eerily familiar voice.
"Berry?" She says in disbelief.
"Quinn?" Rachel Berry replies incredulously, her eyes wide before breaking into a huge grin. "Hi! I wasn't aware that you were here!"
Rachel goes from being excited like she just ran into one of her school teachers outside of school to realizing that she ran into a Quinn Fabray in the hospital in two seconds. Her face falls.
"Are you alright? Are you feeling ill?"
"Uh, no, I'm fine," Quinn mumbles. Which is ridiculous, because what kind of person checks themselves into a hospital if they're perfectly healthy. Not to mention, who in their right mind voluntarily wears the god awful hospital gown she has on now?
She prays for the ground to just open up and swallow her and the stupid hospital gown whole. It may have happened before, and it is definitely not the first time Rachel has seen her in this setting, but why is it that Rachel Berry always shows up when Quinn is at the lowest of her lows?
Quinn sits up straight and gives Rachel her patented look. The shorter girl has on a purple hospital coat that is longer than the skirt she is wearing. Is that even appropriate? People go to hospitals because they already had a heart attack, not because they're asking for one.
"Oh," Rachel replies, seemingly oblivious to Quinn's efforts to stare her down. "I volunteer here!"
She enthusiastically motions to her 'Rachel B. Berry – Volunteer' name tag. There is a gold star on it and Quinn has a sneaking suspicion that it isn't really part of the regimented volunteer uniform.
"See?" She lets out excitedly as she points to a gold pin on her lapel. "As the pin—which I recently received last spring—states, I have one thousand volunteer hours and counting to my name."
"Oh," is all that Quinn can say. "So, uh, what do you do?"
Rachel takes that as an invitation to come in. She pulls up a chair and sits next to the bed, immediately making Quinn regret asking her a question.
"I actually do quite a lot…"
Quinn has no clue how she ended up doing what she's doing now, bent over and facing Rachel Berry, both of them trying to complete the day's newspaper crossword puzzle together on Quinn's hospital bed.
"I'm not quite sure that word is correct Quinn. I highly doubt they would put in such an inappropriate word."
"Inappropriate? How is 'pirating' an inappropriate word?"
"Well," Rachel starts with her matter-of-fact tone, twirling her pen subconsciously. "It's promoting illegal activities. How are musicians and artists supposed to make an honest living if newspapers are prancing around, putting words such as pirating in their crosswords?"
Quinn resists the urge to smack her with the newspaper. She settles for rolling her eyes.
"Whatever you say, Berry," She drawls out, writing the word anyway. "See? It works."
"This is preposterous," Rachel mumbles to herself. "These people are going to receive a strongly worded letter from me. If I—"
Quinn and Rachel turn to the door and they find one of the nurses standing there.
"The volunteer manager called. She needs you to work at the surgery family lounge because Edy called in."
"Oh," Rachel says quietly, slowly getting off of Quinn's bed. "I'll gladly fill in for Edy. Her job is quite exciting, if I might add. Please let her know that I'll be making my way down now."
Rachel fixes her pins and straightens her coat.
"Don't forget this," Quinn tells her, picking up the newspaper and pencil.
"I think it would be best if you finished it, Quinn," She says with a smile. "With your penchant for inappropriate words and all."
Quinn rolls her eyes again.
"I'll be back tomorrow," Rachel tells her without being asked. "Feel better."
"Bye," is all that Quinn replies. She watches Rachel leave her room before turning to the puzzle. Rachel never even once asked what she's doing in the hospital
"How are you doing today, Quinn?"
Quinn looks up from her still incomplete crossword puzzle and finds the doctor from yesterday standing by her door.
"Better," She says with the slightest hint of a smile. She has no clue what his name was. "Good morning, doctor. How are you?"
She watches as he pulls a chair by her bed, close enough so he can see the crossword.
"Great, actually," He responds with a smile. He motions to the crossword. "Stuck?"
"Just a little. I never figured out this one," She points to the clue.
"Let me see," the doctor mumbles, looking at the paper and twirling his pen subconsciously.
"Ah. Sergeant Pepper," He whispers to himself, writing in the letters. "There we go."
He smiles triumphantly, handing the paper back. Quinn looks at the completed puzzle.
"Thank you doctor..."
"Berry. It's Dr. Hiram Berry."
Quinn almost laughs at the irony of it all.
"You were probably still a little disoriented when we met. And no problem," He mentions as he puts his pen away. "I quite like puzzles. And I've got quite a penchant for words."
Quinn nods. That's where Rachel gets that one from.
"But anyway, I just wanted to check up on you. Sometimes, injuries from car accidents don't show up until the next day because the body is still in shock. But so far, everything looks great. It looks like you'll be able to go home no problem. Most likely by tomorrow."
"Really?" Quinn lets out in surprise. Dr. Berry laughs.
"You almost sound disappointed, Quinn."
Quinn clamps her mouth and looks at her away for a second.
"No, I'm not. Just a little surprised," She mutters, missing Dr. Berry's knowing smile. Quinn almost asks him about something that has been bugging her when they hear a knock.
"Good morning, Quinn!"
Quinn looks up at the doorway and sees Rachel in her volunteer's uniform holding that day's newspaper in her hands.
"Oh, sorry da—Dr. Berry," Rachel quickly corrects. "I didn't know you were here."
"It's no problem, Rachel," Dr. Berry replies, smiling and waving her over. "I was just about to finish up."
Dr. Berry returns his attention to Quinn and gives her a small smile.
"Just relax for today," He tells her with a tone reminiscent of a father. Or maybe a doctor. Quinn isn't really sure which. "Try not to use your left arm too much and stay away from the caffeine. You'll be home before you even know it."
Quinn nods, plastering a smile. She isn't really sure how much she wants to go home right at that moment.
"I'll see you later," Dr. Berry says before getting up, passing Rachel and acknowledging her by tousling her hair. Rachel pouts ever so slightly, before smiling and evading her father's hand.
Quinn watches the exchange curiously, immediately looking away when Rachel turns her attention to her.
"I assume you cheated and had my father help you with the crossword," Rachel starts with a disapproving look, sitting on the edge of the bed and grabbing the paper.
"It was one word," Quinn responds and raises her eyebrow, slightly appalled by the accusation.
Dr. Berry clears Quinn to go home several hours after lunch. Rachel wishes her a speedy recovery before frolicking off to her other duties as a volunteer. She also leaves Quinn that day's crossword and a book of crosswords she has brought with her, thinking that Quinn's stay at the hospital is going to last for longer than a day.
Quinn sits in the room, dressed and ready for her mother to pick her up.
Forty-five minutes later, Quinn realizes that it's pointless.
She stares at her phone, ignoring the stupid ticking clock above the door. She knows the nurse is going to go into the room any minute soon; asking about her mom and about when she is coming pick her up. Quinn isn't going to tell them that her mom never picked up in the first place. Or that her phone has been dead since before the accident.
Closing her eyes and taking a deep breath, Quinn pulls out her address book and looks for a number.
"What kind of shenanigans did you get into now?"
"The usual," Quinn says dryly, throwing her things into the back seat.
"Hey! I've told you a million times before—watch it. That's leather."
It takes all that Quinn has to not roll her eyes. She opens the passenger door, sits down and checks her reflection in the mirror. She hears a snort and turns to her left.
"Jesus, Q," Santana starts. "It's a hospital."
"Which is why you took forever, right? Because you couldn't pick an outfit?"
Santana's mouth clamps shut.
"Well excuse me for driving over here on such short notice to pick your ungrateful ass up. I have a life too, ya know."
Quinn looks away. She never is a big fan of owing people.
"Okay, fine," Santana concedes, throwing her hands up in the air. "So maybe I was just chilling in my room and watching Jersey Shore when you called. You happy?"
Quinn almost laughs. She shakes her head and buckles her seat belt.
"What is it with that show that has you glued to the screen?"
Santana smiles, putting the gear on reverse and pulling out of the parking lot.
"It's only the awesomest show in the world. You should see for yourself. I think if I speed and blow all the stop signs in my neighborhood, we should make it before Snooki figures out how to spell 'tomato.'"