Rachel climbed the stairs to Quinn’s apartment slowly, which was completely out of character, but she practically had to beg her feet to please cooperate. This wasn’t her thing. She didn’t fix things. Fights with a boyfriend usually ended up with either a break up or a mutual unspoken promise to never speak of it again. This whole… defusing that she was learning to do since she started dating Quinn was new to her.
It had been that first fight. That misunderstanding that Rachel had handled as per her usual modus operandi and had resulted in a week without Quinn. No. No, that would not do. She couldn’t allow herself the luxury of walking away and sulking, or avoiding the conflict or doing any of those things that she’d learned to do so well. She couldn’t grab all her frustration and scream it at her face and tell herself that it didn’t matter because next time- next time surely she’d find the right person.
Turns out, Rachel was fairly sure Quinn was it. So her focus had to shift from a… volatile and detached way to handle crisis, to a more calm, rational stance. Cutting the aggravating feelings off and walking away would not do anymore. Now she had to fix them. Mend them. And that was new. And it made her feel like she was clingy, to be honest. Like she was begging for Quinn not to leave her. She wasn’t sure exactly at what point of her life her brain decided that anything less than letting people go was automatically equal to clinging, but there it was.
And it was hard to fight it.
“Hi, Quinn.” Rachel wasn’t really smiling. She also didn’t know why Quinn was, to be honest. It confused her. It also made her uneasy, because she really hoped Quinn wasn’t going to pretend nothing was wrong. Rachel could defuse, but she was not nearly at the point where she could also beg for her girlfriend to tell her what was wrong. “Thank you.” She offered when she took the glass, even though it seemed… she didn’t know. She didn’t know what it seemed. She was thirsty, but not for that water. And she didn’t need to make sense.
Rachel walked into the familiar apartment without asking for permission. Quinn wouldn’t make her stay outside, right? She didn’t think she would. So she just walked inside and handed Quinn one of the bags. “Here. I thought you’d like comfort food.” She shrugged slightly, awkwardly, and she hated this whole thing.
It hadn’t even been intentional. If she’d really been trying to be ruthless, if she’d tapped into that cutthroat part of her brain, she wouldn’t be apologizing. She’d just shrug and tell Quinn that it sucked that she was hurt, but if she couldn’t take the heat she should’ve stayed out of the kitchen. But no. That hadn’t been it at all. Rachel had been completely oblivious until Quinn slapped her with that particularly graphic text. Until that very moment, there had been no doubt in her mind that they were still playing. That Quinn was faking that jealous rage to see her break again, like when she’d gone out of character a little bit earlier out of concern for her. This had caught her completely off guard.
“I’m sorry, baby.” Rachel suddenly wanted to cry. She’d hurt Quinn, and she hadn’t felt this awful in a very long time. Not even during the Crack House incident of ‘03. But she bit back the tears because she didn’t want to be that person. The one who ended up being consoled by the one they hurt. That person sucked.
“I had no idea. I promise you, Quinn, I promise you I would never in a million years purposefully hurt you in any way.” She looked at her with an almost pleading look in her eyes. She had to know that, right? She had to know that Rachel wasn’t that awfully self-centered. “I thought we were playing. I thought- I thought we were being silly, like when you mention Jon. You know? I thought it was just… a little bit of jealousy, and you playing it up so I’d back down like earlier.”
Rachel shifted on her feet, avoiding part of the issue, which had less to do with Quinn’s feelings and more with her own. Fix first. Then talk. Wasn’t she mature. She almost didn’t believe this was the same girl that walked into that coffee shop almost two months earlier. “I just- I want you to know that I wasn’t trying to use any… sexual experiences from my past against you. I only mentioned it for a- well, I guess I wanted to assert that I’d gone up against people bigger than you. And then-” She sighed, because avoidance and denial sounded extremely appetizing to her.
“When you mentioned how they’d never… given me an orgasm.” Awkward. Rachel preferred only touching certain topics via tumblr, text or in the heat of the moment, when she could use shorter, snappier, cruder words. “I guess I didn’t see the line. I ran with the sex thing and I didn’t realize when I’d started hurting you. And I’m so sorry. I am.” She left the untouched glass of water on the nearest surface. She was still thirsty. She just didn’t want that stupid glass of water.
Rachel’s feelings hit her like a piano. Not just any piano, actually, a piano falling from the sky, from the moon, even. It was raining pianos in this room. She knew it would the moment Rachel said her name like that with the cute ‘w’ sound and all, but Quinn just took the bag of so far unidentified comfort food with a weaker smile than before, disarmed by Rachel’s pleading eyes and unsmiling lips.
“Thank you.” she replied uneasily. Yeah, things weren’t going swimmingly so far, but they were about to get a lot worse. Rachel’s voice. Quinn’s eyes widened for just a second, panicked by the blunt way Rachel laid out her heart for Quinn to inspect at will. Squirreling. Her apology was just out there, and Quinn did sort of get it. She got it because it wasn’t like an “I’m sorry” kind of apology, it was like an “I regret this” kind of thing, and Quinn swallowed hard because gosh, this was quite intense and she felt a little bit claustrophobic. It was over crowded. Too many pianos.
What was she supposed to say? “It’s okay”? She didn’t know, because who the hell actually apologizes in an argument anyway? Couldn’t they just hide away for a bit and come back with flowers when it didn’t all feel so raw? Rachel was throwing her off.
She opened her mouth to say something, anything, probably just “yeah, it’s okay” but Rachel kept going. Oh god. Oh god, it was getting bigger. Pianos, squirrels. How could such a tidal wave come from such a tiny human? It hit Quinn with full force. She felt flushed, dizzy from all the love coming her way, and she didn’t know if she liked it or not.
Sure. Sure, of course she liked being loved. Quinn loved love. Who wouldn’t? But this… It was just a lot. It was heavy and the air was thick and Quinn, big brave Quinn Fabray, was struggling to sustain eye contact.
She listened, hands braced against the kitchen counter, knuckles a little pale from the stiff grip, like it was the only thing keeping her from getting swept away in Rachel’s big, big big big, big feelings. Even if she knew what to say right now, Quinn wasn’t going to get a chance to speak up. Rachel was rambling almost frantically, going a mile a minute with wide, pleading eyes. Damn it, Bambi. Quinn was almost sure that her own expression was simply stunned, unsure of how else to react.
Well. Rachel was really good at apologizing. But oh, god, she said “orgasm” and Quinn’s cheeks lit up like strawberries, honeyed eyes darting away because jeez! Who even… just… what?!
One long, excruciating moment later, Rachel was done. Quinn dared to look back up at her, but it was a sad sight. Okay, say something. Fix it a little bit on your side, meet her halfway, Quinn. Jesus Christ, she just handed you her faults wrapped up neatly in an apology and tied up sweetly with a bow. Help her out here.
“I know.” she said quietly, her voice now a lot softer than the breezy, cool tone she was going for before. Oh god, pianos, pianos everywhere, she was going to get squashed. ”I know, it’s okay. I’m sorry too.” So, yeah, okay, Rachel’s display of emotions were upstaging Quinn’s by a fair few miles, but still. It’s not like this came easily to Quinn. Feelings. Stuff. It was the kind of stuff that made her want to shrug and go walk her dog, shoulders hunched over and hands in her pockets like it didn’t matter or even exist. This… this talking stuff. It was like wearing clothes that don’t quite fit, clinging in places you don’t want them too, too much fabric gathering in folds that just don’t feel right. She just… she didn’t like it.
“I…” she cleared her throat, fingers drumming the counter just a little while she worked up the courage to shove her fist down her throat, grab all those feelings in there, and drag them up to her tongue where she could leave them to be said.
“I’m sorry I got so jealous. I don’t… I don’t even know what happened. It’s stupid, it shouldn’t have been a hurtful thing, it’s just… that’s what happened and that’s okay. I guess I just don’t like thinking about it.” Pianos. Pianos of feelings, clunking down on her shoulders. Well, if Rachel wanted to bring her to her knees, she was definitely winning. She needed to pull herself together. Okay say something to make it better.
“I’m sorry about… that stuff. And I’m sorry that I’ve given you a heart attack, by the look of you. Are you okay? You look so… scared.” so it was a weak joke, but her smile was genuine, even if very small. It was a start. Go away pianos. This squirrel was trying her best.
From the sofa a little distance away, Parker raised his sleepy head and tiredly eyed Rachel before lazily flopping his chubby body to the floor and plodding over to his biggest fan, where he stood by her feet, waiting expectantly. Oh Parks. The fat puppy always had Quinn’s back, and today was no different. He was breaking the tension with his big, ridiculous eyes. Remind her to buy him all the puppy-appropriate treats in the world later on, okay guys?
Quinn’s smile was only half-formed on one side, and it drooped a bit when she looked back up to Rachel, but she was a little calmer since the puppy arrived.
“Look, Rach, I’ve never done this before. You know, the feelings and the talking and the pianos.” Wait, she hadn’t explained the pianos to Rachel. Well that was the least of her worries right now. “I don’t know how to let you make things better while I just… do nothing and soak up all the apologies. Aside from awkward, it doesn’t even feel fair to you.” A tense hand rubbed at the back of her even tenser neck. “Can we just… kiss and make up now? This part is… ugh, I just really hate not being okay with you.” she gestured to exhibit A, right there between them: all that space keeping them apart. They weren’t even like this on their first date (which totally wasn’t even a date, don’t get her started on that right now) It just wasn’t right. Quachel were rock solid, they were supposed to be tangled up at all times, with kissy faces and silly nicknames that grossed everyone else out. Okay, so they couldn’t hop right into that again, but they could, you know, eat and talk a bit? Just for a little while.