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Chapter 16: I Almost Do

I bet this time of night you're still up

I bet you're tired from a long hard week

I bet you're sitting in your chair by the window, looking out at the city

And I bet sometimes you wonder about me.

It wasn't until the day after Quinn dropped Rachel off at the airport that she noticed. She was going out for a quick trip to her studio to pick up some things when she was practically attacked by paparazzi. They were throwing around questions about Rachel while snapping pictures, and Quinn felt immensely uncomfortable. Sure, she had dealt with her own fair share of the press, but that was at gallery openings. She had never had people waiting for her outside her studio.

How did Rachel constantly deal with this? Quinn could barely take the minute it took her to get into her studio. She was ready to punch these people. They weren't saying nice things about her, and they certainly weren't saying nice things about Rachel. Quinn tried her best to keep a straight face, but she knew she just ended up looking pissed off. She wasn't an actor.

When leaving to go back to her flat, Quinn took the fire escape out into the alley just to avoid having to walk back through the paparazzi. She couldn't bring herself to go past them again. She knew if she did, someone would end up getting hurt. So she took the fire escape, which she was very accustomed to doing in most buildings due to her countless one night stands.

The entire walk home, she wondered why the paparazzi wanted to take pictures of her. After all, she and Rachel hadn't done anything terribly scandalous. Seeing the two of them arriving at Heathrow and then once again ice skating, well, that shouldn't cause this much of a stir. They hadn't followed her around before back when she was with Rachel, so what was different now?

She immediately went to Google when she got back.

"What's up, Q?" Santana asked from the couch as Quinn sat in a chair with her laptop in hand. "You look stressed."

"There were paparazzi outside my studio," she replied, not even glancing up from what she was doing.

Santana sat up, looking impressed. "Damn, I didn't know your paintings were getting that good."

"It's not because of my paintings," Quinn said. Then she found the picture. Her heart almost stopped. "Shit."

Quinn was so lost in the picture that she didn't notice Santana get up and look over her shoulder. "How the hell did you manage that? Because I'm pretty sure Berry was fucked up after what you did to her."

"She said we meant nothing, so I asked for one last kiss," Quinn whispered, still caught in the haze of the picture. God, this could ruin Rachel.

Out of nowhere, Santana hit Quinn upside the head. "What was that for?" she asked, glaring at Santana.

"For being a fucking idiot. You know it wasn't nothing and you made her kiss you anyway."

"I didn't make her do anything!"

"Yeah well, we both know Rachel has a self-esteem the size of a paperclip. She wasn't going to say no."

Quinn turned around to look at her questioningly. "Since when did you learn so much about Rachel?"

"Since you fucking abandoned her to go running after the devil," she stated.

Quinn sighed, resigning to her own defeat. "This is all my fault."

"Of course it is. And yet they're still calling her a cheating slut in the article!" Santana yelled. Quinn hadn't even gotten to the article yet. She couldn't take her eyes off the picture.

"I need to call her," Quinn stated, pulling out her cell phone. "I have to make sure she's okay."

"Do you even have her number?"

Quinn stopped scrolling through her contacts. It dawned on her that she and Rachel had never exchanged numbers, as they had always been with each other throughout the weekend. "Do you?"

"Yeah, but there's no way in hell I'm giving it to you," she replied. "You're probably the last person she wants to hear from."

"Does Brittany have her number?" Quinn asked. Brittany was off teaching a dance class at the moment, and she wouldn't be home for hours.

Santana scowled at her. "If you even fucking think about it"

But that was the last Quinn heard because she had jumped up and was pulling on her coat.

"Oh no you don't," Santana said, stepping in front of the door to block Quinn as she tried to pull her old sneakers on without untying them.

"I have to do this," Quinn stated after putting her shoes on. Then she turned around and went in her room.

"Um," she heard Santana say, but it didn't matter. She was already opening up the window that led out to the fire escape. She was gone before Santana could even realize what she was doing.

I bet you think I either moved on or hate you

'Cause each time you reach out there's no reply.

I bet it never ever occurred to you that I can't say "Hello" to you

And risk another goodbye.

The rush to Brittany's dance studio was one of pure adrenaline. Quinn's thoughts never strayed from the task at hand, to get Brittany's phone and make sure Rachel was okay. She was on such a one-track mind that she ended up getting off at the wrong Tube stop, and had to run a couple blocks.

By the time she actually got there, she was sweating and breathing hard. Quinn knew Sue Sylvester would kill her if she saw her now, bent over trying to catch her breath after running what was less than a mile. She wondered when exactly it was that she let her Cheerio stamina leave her, and how many intense dance lessons with Brittany it would take to get it back.

When she was able to breathe again, she went inside. Brittany was still supposed to be teaching a class, so this was good news. Quinn planned on sneaking into Brittany's office and hoping for the best.

What she didn't plan on was for someone to be sitting at Brittany's desk.

"Fuck," Quinn said upon entering the room.

"It's actually Puck, but you can call me whatever you want," said Puck, smirking at her.

Quinn rolled her eyes. "What are you doing here?"

"Santana called," he replied. "She said you might be looking for this." He held a phone out in front of her. Quinn tried to snatch it away, but he wasn't letting her have it that easily.

"Damn you both," Quinn muttered. "Just give me the phone."

"If Rachel wanted to talk to you, I think she would've given you her number," he stated. "So no, you're not getting this phone."

"You're supposed to be my friend," she complained. "Not hers!"

"Not when you're acting like a dick."

"I just need to make sure she's okay," Quinn tried to explain, but Puck was shaking his head.

"Nope. The way I see it, you've done enough damage to her life," he said. "Calling her now is just going to hurt her more."

"But"

"No."

Before Quinn could try to come up with another argument, the door opened. They both looked up to find Brittany there, looking extremely confused.

"Uh, hi guys…" she said, closing the door behind her. "Not that I'm not happy to see you because I totally am, but why are you here?"

"Brittany can I use your phone?" Quinn asked before Puck could say anything.

"Did you lose yours again?" Brittany questioned, smiling at her knowingly. Quinn had lost her phone twice, and to Santana and Brittany she was forever known as the person who always loses her phone.

"No, but can I use yours?"

"She wants to call Rachel," Puck added.

"Then yes, of course you can use my phone," Brittany replied. "Puck please move so I can get it out of my desk."

"Um." Puck stood up, and handed the phone over to her. "Just so you know, San doesn't think it's a good idea. Neither do I really."

"Sometimes I wonder about you guys," Brittany stated, smiling at him. "I'm sure you mean well and all, but you just don't know anything."

"I take offense to that," he said as he walked over to the door. "But please don't let Santana kill me for giving the phone over?"

"I'll try, but just in case you probably shouldn't come by for a while."

"Will do," he replied. "Well, I have to get back to work."

Brittany waved at him as he walked out the door, and Quinn just glared. She still wasn't happy with him keeping her from talking to Rachel.

"So I can call her?" Quinn asked once he was gone.

Brittany handed the phone over. "Go ahead. I believe in you two. But only one call, okay? If she doesn't want to talk, you need to give up."

"I promise." Quinn only needed one call.

"Make it count," she said. "But I need to get back to my class. I just came in here to grab my 90s mix cd." She picked up a cd off the shelf of various cds on her wall.

"Thanks, Brittany," Quinn said, trying to smile at her.

"You're welcome. Tell Rachel I said hi and that you two had a super cute kissing picture in the paper!"

"Wait, you saw that?"

Brittany waved her off as she opened the door. "We'll talk about it later!"

Quinn sighed. At last, she had the number to call Rachel. The question was what to do with that number?

Oh, we made quite a mess, babe

It's probably better off this way.

Five hours later and Quinn still hadn't made the call.

She had put the number in her phone and went back to her flat, but she couldn't bring herself to dial the number. What if Rachel didn't answer? What if she didn't want to talk? What if calling her made things worse for both of them?

And it wasn't like Rachel really needed to talk to her. Rachel had lived without talking to her for almost her whole life. She should have plenty of people to talk to when situations like this arose.

Yet if Quinn remembered correctly, and she knew she did, Rachel had told her about not having any real friends. So who did she go to when she had problems? Quinn needed to call. But she couldn't.

She sighed, collapsing on the couch where she had been sitting in silence for the past twenty minutes.

Santana looked up from her textbook she was reading nearby. "Still can't call?"

"No," Quinn groaned.

"For someone who was so desperate to call that they took the fire escape out of the building, you sure are taking a long time to call," she noted, taking her reading glasses off.

"I know, I know," Quinn assured her.

"I guess it's probably a good thing you can't do it. It's probably really late over there now."

"No, you have your time zones wrong. We're ahead of America. It's still the middle of the day there," Quinn explained.

"Fucking America," Santana stated. "They just have to be different."

"You have no idea what you're talking about. Just read your med book."

"Don't tell me what to do. I want to bother you so you won't mope around anymore waiting for the perfect time to call Rachel," she said, putting her textbook on the coffee table. "So when Britt gets out of the shower, we're going to put on a Disney movie and you will sit in between us and we'll get our cuddle on with you just like we did for Rachel after you fucked everything up on her birthday. You will be putting the phone down and you will eat lots of food with us. Got it?"

Quinn didn't know what to think of this. Santana never invited her to their movie nights, much less allowed her to sit in between them. Still, if it kept Rachel off her mind for a while then she couldn't complain, no matter how weird it was. After all, it did sound really nice.

She smiled. "That sounds great."

"Just don't expect it from now on. This is a one-time thing," Santana said, moving over to the couch to sit by Quinn, who had to sit up so Santana could fit. She held out her hand. "Phone."

Quinn carefully placed her phone in Santana's hand, upon which Santana immediately threw it into Quinn's bedroom through the open door.

"Hey!" Quinn cried. "That's expensive!"

"Oh please. It had a case and I'm sure it landed on your bed," Santana replied before pulling Quinn close to her. "Now let's cuddle."

"Yay cuddling!" Brittany exclaimed, appearing from their bedroom in her Christmas pajamas. She jumped onto the couch and wrapped her arms around Quinn as well.

Quinn sighed, but couldn't hide the grin that was forming as Santana switched the channels over to the dvd player where Finding Nemo was already inserted. Her friends made everything better.

She only wished that she could have the assurance that Rachel was receiving the same kind of love that Quinn knew she needed.

And I just wanna tell you

It takes everything in me not to call you

And I wish I could run to you

And I hope you know that every time I don't

I almost do

I almost do.

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