A/N: I realized after the fact that I wasn't happy with Quinn and Finn's conversation at the end of the last chapter. I felt like Quinn likely wouldn't spell out her sexuality, even for a friend. But since it was already out there, I decided to delve a bit into the "coming-out" experience as shameless justification for my slip. I don't exactly feel this answers everything, but I'm okay with that. It's sort of how Ryan Murphy tends to play fast-and-loose with the canon of the show, anyway.
Just how I'm going to ignore the fact that Quinn was ever known as Lucy Quinn Fabray, or Lucy Caboosey for that matter (which, can I just say, may be the most laughable attempt at bullying ever. Lucy Caboosey? That was worst they could come up with?), or that she ever transferred schools. For the intents of this story, she has known Rachel and the others since the first day of middle-school, unless otherwise stated.
It wasn't the world's most cataclysmic revelation, but it had hit the blonde pretty hard when the evidence piled up in an undeniable fashion leading to the only viable conclusion: she was a big homo. Well, that was how Santana had phrased it when she finally sat the Head Cheerleader down one night during cheer-camp last summer. Santana reasoned that the surreptitious glances at several squad-members during their locker-room routines not to mention a relatively new attitude towards a certain Glee club midget had gone on long enough, and Quinn needed a firm, rational talking-to.
"You're a big homo," the Latina deadpanned.
"I beg your pardon!" Quinn gasped, her eyes growing wide at the accusation.
"Seriously," Brittney chimed in. The Head Cheerleader snapped her attention from the Latina to the other blonde in disbelief. Well, she had never in her li—
"It's not a big deal," Santana shrugged.
"I beg your pardon!"
"Look, Queerio, you can beg all you want, but a pardon isn't what you really want."
"You want the lady-kisses," Brittney interjected.
"In case you have forgotten," Quinn said behind gritted teeth, "I have a boyfriend."
"Who, Finnept? Come off it, Quinn!" Santana laughed. Quinn's eyes grew to the width of saucers in her amazement. "Hudson is, by and large, the Great Converter and not in a good way. Just look at Berry."
"See?" the Latina gently pointed to Quinn, "that dreamy way you said her name, her first name no less, proves that you are without a doubt a Vagitarian." Quinn's face contorted in disgust at the crass word, but the Latina didn't seem to notice or care.
"Rachel would totally love your lady-kisses, Q," Brittney squealed.
"Rachel is not gay!"
"Well, that's neither here nor there," Santana waved a hand around aimlessly for emphasis. "The point is, that you have just outted your big les-bot crush on the midget. This is of course triggering my gag-reflex like, hello."
"It doesn't matter, she's not gay," Quinn replied emphatically. Her expression fell when she realized that she did, in fact, reveal her thus-far unknown secret. Quinn was so used to hiding aspects of her personality from the greater-populace that it stands to reason she'd be an expert at hiding it from herself too.
Santana gave her a self-satisfied smirk and reclined back onto her bunk in the cabin the three Cheerios exclusively shared. Brittney snuggled in beside the Latina, and Quinn glanced at the two, her eyes a little sad at their obvious display of affection. Perhaps she would never know that level of openness, but it couldn't hurt to admit to her best friends that yes, she did often catch herself looking at the posterior of a few WMHS co-eds, or she had a time or two daydreamed in pre-calc (because, honestly, Quinn could do that shit in her sleep) that she was backstage behind the auditorium with a faceless brunette, whose size and shape may have very well been Rachel Berry. They may have also been sharing a heated kiss or two, and in one particularly heated imagining, Quinn may have grazed the tips of her fingers along the girl's inner thigh.
That probably should be left unsaid.
But she could admit that she felt something. Some stirring whenever a beautiful girl walked down the hallway, or when Rachel Berry met her glance in the middle of a performance. But that was sort of a natural reaction, wasn't it? Rachel poured so much into every performance, and it didn't matter if you were Matt Rutherford or Mr. Shue, Rachel bared her soul to you in every word she sang, and every gaze she levelled.
But Quinn supposed that while it might be a natural reaction, it was probably only natural if you were attracted to that person. Though she may not put it quite as bluntly as her second-in-command, Quinn reasoned that she could, potentially, in maybe the slightest, most miniscule, almost negligible way... be gay.
Since moving out of her parents' home after baby-gate had unravelled, Quinn had been living with first Mercedes, then Santana. She hadn't been under the thumb of her fundamentalist Christian family for quite some time, and though God was still very important to her, it had been made abundantly clear by Mercedes's and Santana's families that the God she knew and loved was not the spiteful God her parents had taught her to fear. He was a God of love in all its forms. Perhaps it was because of this that the lightning bolt of this particular revelation was not the most harrowing Quinn had ever encountered.
That honour fell to realizing that she liked Rachel Berry. Of all the girls she knew.
Rachel Fucking Berry.
"Oh, fuck," she murmured, breaking the silence that had descended on the three girls.
Though a year had past in which Quinn had come to terms with her "flaming fires of homo-dykerie" (again, Santana's words) she still hadn't quite addressed that Berry conundrum. True, she could recognize that she was attracted to the girl. But the diva was still that, a diva, and she was barely tolerable on a good day. Quinn did not find her incessant rambling endearing, nor did she think the girl would be endurable if she could keep her mouth shut long enough; unless, of course, her mouth was silently occupied.
Quinn rolled her eyes at her musings. She closed the cover of her book, no longer finding solace from her thoughts in between the pages, and placed it haphazardly atop the pile of other books waiting to be finished. Quinn was constantly rotating books, and while it may take her a year or so to finish reading one, it was only because she always had ten or so on the go. Santana's mother didn't mind the pile of books beside the well-worn recliner chair, but she always shook her head when she would see the blonde with a new book barely started knowing full well there was a pile beside the chair waiting to be completed.
Quinn was easily distracted, and while she would pick up one of the books several months later and find a renewed interest in its story, she never failed to get distracted when she started a new tale. But because Quinn was easily distracted, and the girl realized this of her own volition, it annoyed her that her mind never got bored with thoughts of the pint-sized headache named Rachel Berry.
If only she had a crush on Danica Miller, the back spot who supported Quinn as a flyer. The red-head was strong, and had a very desirable physique. Her hair fell in waves around her face when she let it air dry from her shower after practice. And there had been that one time, when Quinn had miscalculated slightly her turn axle in mid-air (there had been a spectator in argyle sitting at the top of the stadium bleachers that had momentarily caught Quinn's eye) and she fell awkwardly but Danica had still managed to catch her.
"You're okay. I gotcha," she had whispered into Quinn's ear so as not to let Coach Sylvester hear. Not that the slight error had gone unnoticed if the immediate demand for suicides for the entire squad was any indication, but Quinn had appreciated the reassuring tone the girl had used.
And Danica was tall, which Quinn was used to. Finn was a behemoth, and while Quinn didn't really like her partner to be that tall, she did like being able to look up at someone. Though she did have to admit it was nice to be gazed up at.
And Quinn had heard rumours about Danica getting close with quite a few of the members on the squad at parties. Which didn't necessarily make her gay (it wasn't as though it would be the first time in history a girl made out with another girl at a party in order to attract a boy), but it also didn't discount the possibility of the girl being bi-curious. Quinn didn't really like the idea of kissing a girl only because that girl wanted to get with some guy. Quinn didn't think she had the heart to handle some pretend, drunken liaison; she was still trying to be delicate with her affections, especially now that she realized she was possibly, likely, very much so gay.
Quinn glanced at the clock. Sigh.
She had a closing shift that started in forty-five minutes, and she still needed to shower. She had thrown away the better part of her day trying to read Ganssle's A Reasonable God, and trying not to think about a certain annoying brunette. And now she had to go to work. At least Santana was closing with her, and they could pretty much slack off until the 'hour of power,' the final hour of their shift where they did all the necessary closing duties.
"Q," came the familiar voice of Santana from the top of the stairs. Quinn glanced up and met the mischievous smile of the other cheerleader. "B's coming over tonight before she has to go back to the camp tomorrow, so I switched my shift with Berry."
Quinn was taken aback. Son of a bitch.
"Son of a bitch," she murmured aloud.
"You're welcome," was the sing-song reply.
"Good, Lord, what are you doing here?"
"Well, Kurt," Rachel replied evenly, "it seems Santana needed a favour. A rare opportunity to spend with her inamorata had presented itself this evening. Santana appealed successfully to my hopeless romantic side, and while I had some reservations about closing the store being that I've never participated in a closing-shift, Santana reassured me that I would be working with Quinn who would be a stellar help in associating me with the responsibilities of a closer."
Quinn busied herself in the backroom by putting the overstock of espresso away as the two talked only a few feet away. Quinn caught Kurt's inevitable eye-roll, and his sympathetic smirk. She shrugged her shoulders as though to say, what're you gonna do?
"When does B go back?" Kurt asked, his question directed at the assistant-manager.
"Tomorrow morning, allegedly," Quinn replied, barely keeping the ire out of her voice.
"Its suffocating-ly queer in here," John intoned sardonically from behind them, and the three turned their attentions towards the backroom entry-way where he entered in from the front of the store. He mussed Kurt's hair in passing, knowing the boy would be aggrieved at the gesture. He curtsied at Rachel, who returned the greeting. He jokingly scoffed at Quinn, and Quinn met him with a look of disgust but the corners of her lips curled slightly anyway.
"I'm going home," John sighed heavily. His eyes twinkled as he addressed Quinn, "Don't molest the new hire tonight, Personal Best."
This time the look of disgust was devoid of jest, and Quinn narrowed her eyes, but it didn't seem to have any weight behind it as the two males laughed mockingly at the blushing girls. Rachel didn't hold Quinn's gaze, but her eyes did briefly settle on the blonde as they flitted around the room in embarrassment.
"I assure you, Boys Briefs 5, that Berry will remain unharmed where I am concerned."
"That is so touching," Kurt feigned a gush, and held his hand demurely to his chest. "You are just such a gentleman."
"I will end you, Hummel," Quinn replied, though her tone was mostly void of any bite. He blew her a kiss, before declaring he too was heading home and that he would see them all on Monday.
When the two boys had left (and Quinn really did consider John in that rather pubescent category because despite being in his forties he still acted like a tween most of the time), Quinn finally looked squarely at the brunette.
"Sorry about that," she gestured towards the retreating form of John. "He sometimes doesn't realize he's a total ass-hat."
"Absolutely no apologies necessary, Quinn," Rachel beamed. "John admitted in my interview that he had a rather brash sense of humour, and that his employees needed a thick skin and the ability to laugh at themselves. I informed him that I was on a first-name basis with Teasing and his cousin, Practical Joke."
Quinn had the decency to look accusable, but Rachel reached out and held her wrist meeting her eyes with a benevolent smile. "It's no big deal anymore, Quinn. Since Santana and David started the Bullywhips I've managed to eke out a slushy-free living in the hallways of McKinley high. Though it certainly isn't utopian, as some, even Santana herself still refer to me as 'Treasure Trail' or 'Argyl-blin' which is a less than creative portmanteau of 'Argyle' and 'Goblin'. It doesn't roll off the tongue that easily, in my opinion."
Quinn couldn't help but grin at Rachel's attitude towards her nicknames; she did manage to keep her head held high even though Quinn knew that if the roles were reversed she would probably have transferred schools to get away from even that level of taunting let alone what Rachel had to endure for the better part of seven years. It seemed Quinn was once again reminded how remarkable the diva really was, and it only served to root her crush deeper in reality. Plus, as further proof, Quinn was sure Rachel's gentle grip on her wrist was leaving scorch marks.
The bell above the store's front door chimed, indicating a new customer would be making their way to the front counter momentarily. It also served as an alarm to Quinn that she and Rachel had been touching for much longer than was politely customary, and she should take a step away from the girl. Without another word she moved towards the front of the shop, and saw a tall red-head waiting patiently at the counter staring up at the menu board.
When Quinn approached, the girl dropped her gaze to politely smile in greeting. Her grin grew wider as she saw her squad's Head Cheerleader.
"Quinn!" Danica Miller exclaimed. Her eyes raked over the blonde in her form-fitting Lima Bean top and cut-off jean shorts. Quinn noted briefly that Danica's eyes seemed to linger south of her face for a moment, before she raised her sparkling eyes at the assistant-manager. Quinn felt comfortable enough with the other girl's subtle scrutiny to give her own once-over. Danica had clearly stopped in for coffee on her way back from a run, and Quinn gulped down a breath as she noted the light sheen of sweat clinging to the girl's biceps and neck. Her hair was gracelessly pulled back into a ponytail, but Quinn smiled crookedly at the soft hairs that fell out of the ponytail framing her face. Danica did look good, and Quinn was pleased with herself that Danica seemed to think Quinn looked pretty good also.
"Hey, Danica, how's your summer going?" she queried as she leaned against her forearms on the counter. The other girl followed the movement with her eyes, and Quinn noticed Danica momentarily captured her bottom lip between her teeth. She may not be gay, but she didn't seem to need alcohol to think Quinn was attractive.
"Uh, good. And yours?"
"Working, as usual," she replied with an affectionate eye-roll.
"Can we get something started for you?" Rachel pointedly asked. She had slipped in front of the till, and waited with a pen in her hand to take down the girl's order. Danica's eyes quickly glanced in Rachel's direction, and she smiled politely at the brunette.
"Uh, yeah, can I just get a medium-sized London Fog?" Rachel looked at the buttons on the till with panic, and turned confused eyes towards Quinn. Quinn smiled fondly at the diva, before reaching around her to press the button and indicated where Rachel needed to press for the size. Rachel grinned appreciatively at her, and Danica dropped her eyes from the two employees, snickering softly to herself.
Rachel then skipped over to the bar and began to prepare the drink. Quinn had caught the quiet snicker and felt her cheeks burning. She couldn't stop the blush from reaching her ears, so she instead ducked her head and began to steam the milk for Rachel without another word.
A couple of minutes later, Rachel triumphantly announced, "One medium-sized London Fog!" her voice at an unnecessary decibel since Danica was standing right there, but Quinn didn't have the heart to tease her for being too loud. Danica also didn't say anything, just moved around to the other side of the bar and picked up the proffered drink. She smiled thankfully at Rachel, and sipped the beverage.
"Delicious, Berry. Nice work."
"Thank you, Danica."
"Hey, Q," Danica called. "When you're done work you should come over to Puck's tonight, he's having a small get-together." Quinn knew that Puck had never heard of the term "small get-together" and anticipated it being a rather raucous affair. She shrugged noncommittally.
"Well, if you do, bring Berry. Puck's been regaling Tiffie and me with tales of his girl-bro." Quinn turned in Rachel's direction with a raised eyebrow. She only shrugged, but she still had a blush on her cheeks and was sporting a wide grin. "I hear your Mario-Kart ghost is undefeatable."
"Well, I'm not sure about that. I have no idea what I'm doing most of the time. I'm sort of a Mario Kart idiot-savant."
Danica laughed heartily as she moved towards the exit. "Well, I'd still relish the challenge face-to-face."
"Anytime, Miller," Rachel returned teasingly. Quinn felt like she was trapped in a lost episode of the Twilight Zone. Danica Miller, a first-string Cheerio, was affectionately teasing Rachel Berry, McKinley High's resident pain-in-the-ass.
But then again, Quinn was a gay Head Cheerio with an impossibly stupid crush on the aforementioned pain. Weirder things have been known to happen.
"I'll see you guys around. And don't forget Puck's tonight!" With a final wave Danica was out the door. Rachel just smiled up at Quinn, as though nothing was out of the ordinary.
Twilight Zone, indeed.