"I just think it might be cool if I trained her on how to use the bar," Finn interjected for the seventh time. Quinn rolled her eyes; they had been having this conversation for nearly twenty minutes, and while Quinn was as much a fan of friendly procrastination as the next guy, her quick glances at the clock told her this discussion would need to be wrapped up right quick. The subject in question was due to start her bar-training shift in ten minutes.
Quinn heaved a sigh. It would be easier to let him train her, but Quinn felt her stomach churn at the idea of watching him 'Ghost' through the training, stepping up behind her and moulding himself to her back as he guided her hands through the steps. Rachel would probably melt into a puddle on the floor at the movie reference, and Finn would be insufferable for the rest of the week at his assumed lady-killing. She brought her fingers to her temple; she could already feel the storming surge of a migraine developing behind her eyes.
The alternative, of course, would be her training Rachel. As the assistant manager she was the most senior of the two, and with John having the next two days off she sort of had a managerial obligation to teach Rachel the right form, and junk. Her mind quickly flashed to an image of Rachel trapped in the corner of the terribly constructed bar counter by Quinn's own body, and Rachel's deep brown eyes unreadable as they burn through Quinn from behind her lashes. Her looming migraine seemed to twitch at the prospect, and she shook her head quickly to rid herself of the uninvited images. She kneaded her taught neck muscles.
"Plus, we're friends; she doesn't even like you," Finn finished triumphantly. He gave her a smirk, daring her to defy him.
Quinn's eyes immediately snapped to him, and Finn's smirk grew wider as he realized he'd hit a nerve. Quinn's eyes narrowed and his smirk faltered a bit.
"I need you to help Kurt with the till while I'm training Rachel on the bar." With that Quinn turned back to the office desk, and began organizing the many papers that adorned the surface, effectively dismissing Finn from her presence. Finn didn't put up any further argument, but by the way he lumbered out of the office, Quinn knew she had won that match.
A couple minutes later, Quinn heard a soft rapping on the door frame, and she turned to greet the visitor. Rachel stood there in a form-fitting Lima Bean uniform tee, smiling shyly at the blonde. "Kurt said you were going to be training me on how to use the espresso machine today."
"That's, uh, that's right," Quinn murmured.
"Well, I look forward to working with you again, Quinn. I just need to drop off my purse and I'm all yours."
Quinn's heart lurched at Rachel's words, and the blonde mentally slapped herself out of her mania. As a further trial to her patience, her migraine was back, though she wasn't sure it had ever really gone away.
"You want to put about thirty-pounds of pressure onto the tamp," Quinn explained, watching the smaller girl struggle with the weighted instrument and her own leverage, made difficult by her small stature. Quinn grimaced a bit as the portafilter scrapped against the metal of the counter. Her fingers itched to wrap around Rachel's wrist and guide her into the proper position for tamping, but she mentally berated herself for even briefly considering a 'Ghost' moment.
"I'm too... tiny..." she huffed, finally putting the tamp back on the counter.
"Rach, it has nothing to do with how tall you are," Quinn admonished gently. She pushed Rachel gently towards the bar corner, "Now try putting the portafilter basket on the edge of the counter. Might even give you better control."
But Rachel wasn't moving to make the adjustment, instead she was staring at Quinn with a very perplexed look on her face. Quinn returned it, a little taken aback at the scrutiny.
"You called me 'Rach'."
"What?" Quinn scoffed.
"You did," Rachel returned, a whisper of a smile forming on her lips.
"I – No, it was probably me just speaking quickly to try and avoid an hour long rant about how Barista work was prejudiced against short people because it required upper-body mobility that couldn't be achieved with little legs and arms."
Rachel raised a single eyebrow as though to say, now who's ranting? Quinn rolled her eyes, and in doing so caught the amused look of Kurt as he bent over to get a pastry from the display fridge. Her eyes narrowed, but he didn't seem bothered. It wasn't lost on Quinn that Finn seemed to be pushing the till's buttons with a lot more force than was needed, though he didn't dare look in their direction.
"I think you like me, Fabray." Quinn's head snapped back to Rachel instantly, and she eyed the girl with incredulity. This made the brunette's smile turn into a full-blown grin, and the effect was disarming. "You might even consider us... friends." She finished on a slightly mocking squeal, and this made Quinn scowl. Rachel's eyes danced playfully, and Quinn rolled her eyes again.
"Just put the portafilter on the edge of the counter, man-hands."
"Quinn," Rachel gasped, though she could hear the amusement in her voice, "is that any way to treat a friend?" She placed the espresso-filled basket on the edge of the counter, the handle gripped tightly in her hand, and attempted once again to tamp the brown grains down. She spun the tamp gracefully, and pulled it out to reveal a perfectly viable espresso puck. She turned back to Quinn with a look of complete wonder at her achievement. Quinn couldn't help her own grin at the girl's exuberance.
"This is going to be the gayest shift that ever gayed," came a voice from back room. Santana Lopez stood staring at the four behind the counter, more specifically the two girls practically huddled in the corner of the bar area with stupid grins on their faces. Quinn's smile lessened, but didn't disappear as she met the annoyed gaze of her friend. Santana only shook her head in bemusement.
"Maybe Finn should go on his break," Kurt said as he tried to disengage the quarter-back from repeatedly stabbing his index finger into the till buttons.
"Yeah, Finn, go on your break," Quinn sighed, and the boy stalked into the back room without another word narrowly missing running into Santana. He knew better than that, at least. Quinn turned back to Rachel, and watched her place the portafilter into its holding on the espresso machine. Quinn pointed to the button to press, and Rachel pressed it. Rachel quietly counted the seconds until the shots were done, and did a little dance in her spot when the time was within the acceptable parameters.
Kurt and Santana made a mock-retching sound from behind them. Quinn heaved an irritated sigh, and moved to get more cups from the back room. As she passed by the two falsely-sick employees, she heard Santana mutter under her breath, "Oh, Rachel. Your breve makes me cream, your espresso is so silky and hot." She knows Quinn heard her, and laughs when she playfully shoves the Latina into Kurt. Kurt pushes her back, and straightens his barely wrinkled shirt with a disapproving smirk.
"You need new material, Lopez," he scoffs.
"Are you trying to make me jealous or something? Because I'm not into you that way anymore."
Quinn was snapped out of her inventory-induced reverie at the unannounced visitor. It was nearing the end of her shift, and all she had wanted to do was get her orders in before the various whole-sale bakeries closed up shop for the evening. But if it wasn't Santana asking for time off in order to go visit Brittany at the dance camp she was volunteering at ("Q, I needs my sex on like, yesterday!"), or Kurt and Rachel bickering about which satellite radio station to listen to (she sided with Rachel, but only because Kurt's channel choice played RuPaul's "Supermodel: You Better Work" too frequently, and Quinn reasoned that Broadway was marginally less grating than that. Rachel's affectionate smile was not the solidifying factor.) it was John calling in to find out how everything was going over there, which ultimately led into more than one anecdote about cats or the B-52s.
Quinn clenched her jaw and addressed Finn with the most annoyed scowl she could muster. "What are you talking about?"
"All this... stuff with Rachel. I'm not into you that way anymore, and I really don't want Rachel to think that you're competition."
"I'm sorry, one more time?"
"Rachel's a little intimidated by you, and if she thought you were trying to stake your claim, or whatever, she would probably back down." Finn's expression shifted into one of sympathy, "I'm sorry we didn't work out Quinn, but I like Rachel now, and I want to see how it will go."
Quinn was stunned. She thought she had made things pretty clear in the past.
"I thought I was pretty clear before, Finn." His confused stare let her know that she would need to reiterate for him. It was her turn to give him a sympathetic look. She looked under his arm that was braced against the door frame to make sure no one else was listening, though it wasn't as if this was entirely new information to the employees of Lima Bean but Quinn was still pretty discreet and painfully private about this particular aspect of her life.
"I'm gay, Finn... that's why we didn't work out."
"I know," he returned, shuffling his foot nervously against a stain on the linoleum. "I just thought... maybe you had feelings for me again... or something."
"I will always have feelings for you," she consoled, "Just not in that way. You're my friend."
"Cool," he smiled. His eyes shifted and seemed to contemplate the blonde before him. "So what was with all that Rachel stuff today, then?"
Quinn considered his question for a long time, but she didn't really know what to say. She thought about the way Rachel had teased her, the friendly way she greeted her when she arrived for her shift, and the way her eyes had caught Quinn staring more than once while Quinn was supposed to be training her. The conflicted feelings she felt in her stomach and the migraine that seemed always on the horizon whenever anyone mentioned the brunette's name only served to give Quinn further pause. "I'm not sure," she finally whispered.
"I heard her tease you about being her friend. Maybe you should try it sometime," Finn implored. "She can be a really great girl, once you get to know her."
Quinn nodded slowly, but didn't say anything further. The phone rang, and she let out a lamentable sigh, casting an apologetic glance in Finn's direction. He excused himself, closing the door on his way out.
"Lima Bean, Quinn Fabray speaking, how may I help you?"