I love you all.
One and a Half Years Later
You can kiss me, but do it on the front porch so I know its home.
Sometimes life lets you down. Sometimes life breeds happiness through you into others. Sometimes life sets you up for failure. Sometimes life gives you purpose greater than you can see.
And sometimes, just sometimes, life gives you a love story fit for the pages. Life gives you a story so grand, so involved, and so intertwined that you can step back from it and see the beauty in which you had no control.
Quinn knew this was her story. Her life story was loving Rachel.
And Rachel's life story was letting her.
She let her do a lot, actually.
She let her move into her new home.
She let her choose their bedroom color.
She let her use her renovating skills to line an entire wall with bookshelves for her passions. She had her own little library. She even let her put a rocking chair in the corner where the chaise was planned to be, just because she knew Quinn hated it.
Rachel let her do a lot.
She let her do a lot because all she wanted was to make her happy.
And it was exactly Quinn's only want as well.
Quinn spent her days gaining trust back. She spent her days making Rachel laugh. She fought with her. She bickered with her. She left flowers on tables, stood by her after shows for interviews, held her hand walking down the street, and never once turned her back.
Rachel wouldn't see Quinn's back for the rest of her life.
And it was exactly as the blonde wanted it.
Memories of their past stayed present. They constantly talked about their love and their life and their moments. Kissing in the lobby of the ballroom after Rachel walked out of her wedding, well, it opened up the floodgates and they never attempted to close them.
It took half a lifetime to learn how to do everything wrong.
But once they did, they knew how to do everything right.
Quinn knew how to talk to her.
Quinn knew how to hold her.
Quinn knew how to kiss her.
Yes, Quinn definitely knew how to kiss her. And as she tilted her head to left, leaned further into Rachel, and kissed her for the last time, everything felt perfect to the tip of the needle, the needle that soared through the air and punctured her heart.
"This is the last time I'll kiss you," she murmured into those lips she knew so well. She pushed her further into the wall and felt Rachel push right back. It was always a duel, always a duel.
"You love me."
"You're marrying me, you'll me forever."
"Not as a single woman and only because I have to," Quinn huffed while pulling Rachel's tongue into her mouth. She ran hers along the bottom, pulled her lips around its length and then let it slither free and back past a smile.
She pulled her face back and grinned just the same.
"We're cheating," Rachel giggled.
"We always cheated."
"You're not supposed to see me."
"I couldn't wait," Quinn muttered, bit her lip and jerked forward for a happy peck. Rachel smiled dreamily. And Quinn did again. And again. And again.
"Do you blame me?"
"I told you what I wanted and you still ignore me. When you got down on both knees six months ago, you told me you would give me anything and everything I ever wanted," Rachel murmured and brought her lips to the porcelain neck in front of her.
Baby blue shimmering diamonds strung along it.
Rachel placed a kiss over each and then slid her tongue down the breast bone that drove her crazy.
"I exaggerated when I asked you to marry me," Quinn moaned.
Rachel whipped her attention up to that smirking face.
She cocked an eyebrow at the daring smugness and then shook her head.
"You exaggerated in your proposal speech."
"Sure they do!" Quinn laughed and nibbled at Rachel's chin.
The brunette laughed thinking over the memory. It was her most favorite. They'd moved into her apartment that conveniently- surprise!- was only two blocks from Statom-Fabray Books. They lived a year and half without ever speaking about the possibility of getting married. It was too heavy a thought when they needed to relearn how to love each other on a daily basis.
They had to learn how to exist without fear.
They had to learn how to exist without doubt.
It took a year and a half.
And then Quinn got down on both knees.
Actually, Rachel walked in the front door to find Quinn down on both knees right smack in the middle of their living room, Christmas tree dull a few feet away and its light bulb strands tangled and wrapped all around Quinn instead. Rachel immediately erupted into laughter.
"Baby, did you get jealous of the tree?" she smirked, tossed her keys on the table by the door and came fully inside.
"I wanted to be sparkly."
Rachel laughed, her shoulders jiggling with glee, and walked across the hardwood floor to the ridiculous, silly, light-stranded love of her life.
"You look absurd," she laughed. And it was true. Quinn did. She was in grey sweat pants, an old, weathered Columbia "We Move It, You Live It" t-shirt, while down on both knees with a shit-eating grin and white Christmas lights wrapped around her like she was a freaking bush in the front yard. "But you're also kinda beautiful. And tied up, aren't you?" Rachel giggled. "I could take advantage of Tied-Up Bee."
Quinn spread her arms wide to show the light strands swirled around her arms individually and not around her fully.
"You're like a Christmas tree right now," Rachel laughed again.
"I'ma Christmas Bee," she grinned.
"Oh god, could you be more adorable?" Rachel chuckled, shook her head and giggled yet again. She couldn't stop them and she was going to explode from the cute and the silly and the elated feeling of living a life inside pure, raw love.
She'd missed it, craved it, ran from it, and then clenched at it from the altar standing next to another woman. And frankly, she liked that design. It fit her; she was always about the drama. She was fit for the stage. She was fit the dramatic exit with hundreds of light bulbs flashing at her as she walked away from her wedding.
She wouldn't redo it any differently.
"So really, what are you doing?" she asked. "Did you seriously just get bored? Did you finish processing Sarah's second book?"
"I told you I wanted to be sparkly," Quinn repeated, face falling still and eyes glinting. Rachel cocked an eyebrow and her lips curled into a mischievous smile.
"Ok, I'll bite. Why did you want to be sparkly?"
"I needed to compete."
"With this," she said, pulled her light-wrapped arms up to Rachel's face and popped open a jewelry box to reveal a sparkling diamond.
Rachel's jaw hit the floor, her heart lurching out of Quinn's hands and back into her own chest to pound relentlessly.
"Quinn, what are you doing?"
"Being a Christmas tree, competing with your ring, and asking you to marry me."
"You've got to be kidding me."
"Christmas Bee doesn't kid."
"Short Stack," she whispered, slid forward with lights clunking against the floor as she did, and grabbed Rachel's belt loop in one hand while holding the ring out to the side with the other.
She pulled Rachel closer, slid a little further, and landed her eyes on those dazzling brows staring wildly at the ring.
"Look at me," she muttered.
And they stayed on the ring.
And they stayed on the ring.
"I knew I should've speeched first. Dammit, Rachel," she groaned, snapped the ring box closed and stuck it in her pocket. She reached forward with both hands and gripped the front waist of her jeans.
Those dazzling brown eyes finally snapped to hers.
And Rachel found her anchors. She found them daily, but in that moment, they pulled up and she felt them set sail.
"Sorry," she smiled. "It was just pretty."
"I'm prettier, stop talking and listen to me."
"God, it's like you're fifteen again."
"That'd be a little creepy considering what we did last-"
Quinn scowled and she snapped her mouth shut.
"Sorry. You go."
Quinn gripped the belt, straightened her posture up and took a breath.
"I don't have a speech prepared," she said and Rachel rolled her eyes. Quinn gave her belt a yank and they slithered even closer. "I don't have a speech because this was a spontaneous decision and quite frankly, I've run out of speeches for you. I bought that ring five and a half years ago in Madrid. It was always your engagement ring. I've loved you since I was fourteen, knew it at fifteen and now, at almost twenty-six, I realize what it means.
"I realized it earlier tonight when I was decorating our Christmas tree. I was digging through our closet and I found a box labeled Q. It intrigued me," she smiled and Rachel grinned, knowing what was coming. "So when I opened it up, color me surprised that you had a box full of me. You kept me with you just like I kept you with me. I bought that ring five and a half years ago because I knew you would land on my arm.
"And you kept a box full of me because you couldn't live without me either. And then," she smiled, "I went through the box… because I'm sneaky and nosy and can't get enough of you. And well, I found us. I found all of our memories. I found all of our love. And I found a Christmas ornament."
Rachel beamed, eyes glistening over.
"I realized, holding it in my hand, that it was time. We were made for each other and I wanted to put that ornament on the tree. And well, then, I looked at the tree and the lights and realized I had to ask you to marry me in order to put that ornament on the tree. You know, logistics and stuff," she smirked.
Rachel shook her head with such sweet adoration.
"I dug out the ring, I decorated myself so that I would get a least a little bit of attention in this moment, and now here we are: I'm on my knees and I'm only going to ask you once.
"Because I know you already have the answer and the lights are digging into my knee caps and frankly, it hurts," she smirked.
Rachel giggled, swiped stray tears and tried to contain her smile from ripping her face in half.
"So, Rachel Short Stack Berry, be predictable and say you'll marry me."
A laugh choked out of Rachel as she swiped her twinkling eyes again.
"I didn't hear a question in there," she whimpered out through teary laughs. Quinn slid closer, chest to thighs and knees to feet, eyes craned up and begging.
"Will you grow old with me?"
"We're already old."
"Wash my hair in the nursing home old?"
"Okay," Rachel smiled.
She pulled Quinn's hands off her jeans and belt, laced her fingers through them and dropped to her knees in front of the Christmas Bee.
"I'll marry you."
The smile that lit Quinn wasn't like any smile she'd seen grace that perfect face. It told her she'd just made all the blonde's wishes come true. It told her she was about to be taken care of for the rest of her life. And it told her she was rare, to be looked at like Quinn was looking at her.
She was rare. And Quinn was rare. Their love was rare.
They slid together, Christmas Bee and fiancée Short Stack, and then made love on the hardwood floor… after spending a raucous forty minutes untangling Quinn while trying to undress her. It was the chastity belt from hell. And it fit perfectly. Because sometimes, loving-making after working for it was the best kind. Or so they thought.
Turned out love-making pre wedding was really the best kind.
Rachel grinned thinking about the proposal as Quinn reached under her short summery dress, slid her fingers through her and brought stars to her eyes.
"You're cheating so, so hard," Rachel moaned.
"No one will know if you don't tell them."
They whipped to the door to find Judy gasping, one hand over her eyes and one over her heart.
"I can't believe you two! You're mucking with tradition! No seeing each other before the wedding, my God!" she shrieked.
Quinn pulled her hand out from under Rachel's dress, gave her one more quick kiss and then turned to her mother. Judy's fingers split across one eye.
"Is the coast clear?"
"Yes, Mom," Quinn groaned.
She dropped her hand, shook out her embarrassment and then beamed.
"You're getting married!"
"We're the brides; we're aware."
"What does mucking mean?" Rachel wondered, cocking her head curiously at Judy. The mother of the brides could only grin, the most beautiful daughters standing before her, and gave Rachel a haughty glare.
"Look who doesn't know all the words," she taunted.
Quinn whirled around with a proud gawk and shot Rachel a grin.
"Okay, fine, Judy," the brunette groaned. "You win one."
Judy beamed as Rachel meandered back to her vanity and Quinn hovered blissfully against the wall, stare following Rachel wherever she went. They were a sight for sore eyes, or any eyes, and all the eyes. They glistened in white; Quinn with her long slinky shimmering dress and Rachel in her short, whipping in the wind like Marilyn Monroe gown.
She was classy as ever; and Quinn had picked it out.
She watched her daughter look at Rachel with eyes that poured adoration. She could've bottled the love flowing out of them and sold it on the ebays.
It warmed her and she thanked God every day for them.
And the fact that they wanted a small wedding in her backyard.
They were getting married by their swing and Judy couldn't have imagined it better than that. Their plans put her dreams, her books, and her wishes to shame. She never expected anything less. Rose Annalee and Timmy Stockton had nothing on her Quinnberry and Rachelbray. They read the book on true love… after they wrote it… and now they sold it Quinn's bookstore.
Quinn's book shop.
She would never get used to that.
But anyway! Now it was thirty minutes later and she stood at the altar, Russell and Puck to her right and Hiram, Palo and Brittany across the aisle, and she knew it was as it should be. The low, jazzy music picked up and the girls fell in step down the aisle together without escorts.
Their escorts stood at the altar just waiting for them.
That's how they wanted it. They wanted the aisle to themselves.
Their feet took them through the grass and up to the swing posts adorned with flowers, ivy and lights. And when the music stopped, their eyes peeled to each other where they shared a sneaky smile, both ready for their ceremony and ready for their vows.
They'd written them together, bickered over whose were better, and then made love on the scattered papers across the couch.
But no one else needed to know that.
To the crowd, they would be innocent, respectful and sweet.
But to Quinn and her Rachel, they were passionate, erupting in need and promising unabashed love for the rest of forever, just as their relationship had always been. They wouldn't have it any other way, even if it did mean they would recite vows with mental images of the other panting, moaning and whispering sweet nothings into shimmery, sweaty ears.
Quinn smiled, butterflies dancing in her stomach in anticipation, and then brought her eyes forward.
"Welcome to the enchanting backyard of Judy and Russell Fabray. May we all thank them for opening their home for this momentous occasion. Today, we are gathered here to witness the inevitable, yet drawn out, union of one chatty, stubborn Short Stack and her adoring, defiant Bee," Fred announced.
And nothing, in life, would ever sound better.