Chapter 18: Begin Again
Walked in expecting you'd be late
But you got here early and you stand and wave.
I walk to you.
Rachel had chosen the place, deciding on a small coffee shop in a suburb outside of LA. She hoped that this would keep the paparazzi from finding them. It also allowed an equal playing field due to neither of them having been there before.
It was the day after Quinn had shown up at her house. Rachel hadn't wanted to wait any longer, and Quinn had agreed. So since Rachel didn't have to go into work until that afternoon, they were able to meet up in the morning.
Rachel was nervous. It was silly after everything that had happened for her to be nervous, but she truly was. She had taken to heart the idea of starting over, and subsequently she was just as nervous as she normally was on a first date. Not that she'd had very many first dates to compare this with.
"Will you be needing a ride afterwards?" Bradley, her driver, asked when they came to a stop outside the coffee shop.
Rachel had no idea. There were so many directions that this could go in. "I'll let you know."
"Alright. Well don't get in too much trouble," he said. "Mr. Hummel might have a heart attack."
Rachel smiled at him. "I honestly don't think I can get into any more trouble than I did yesterday."
He laughed. "You're probably right."
She got out of the car and looked down at her phone. She was exactly five minutes early, just how she liked it. She would be able to order a coffee and grab a table before Quinn finally showed up later. Though she didn't know why, she imagined Quinn as the type of person who was casually late to everything. It was probably the whole artist image.
So when she went inside, she definitely didn't expect for her name to be called. She looked over and found Quinn waving at her, already at a table with two coffees.
Rachel grinned and waved back before walking over there. She hated being proved wrong, but she was strangely okay with it this time.
You pull my chair out and help me in
And you don't know how nice that is
But I do.
"You know my coffee order," Rachel stated. They'd been sitting in silence for a couple minutes, just enjoying each other's presence and drinking their coffee.
Quinn looked up from her coffee. "Yeah."
"How do you remember that?"
She shrugged. "Because you paid for our coffees last time. I had to make sure I got them this time."
Rachel rolled her eyes at this. "You're insane."
"I'm aware. But so are you."
"Oh really? How so?" Rachel asked.
Quinn thought about it for a moment, wondering whether she should bring it up. Then she realized she didn't want to keep anything from Rachel. "You're here right now, giving me a second chance."
"I'm not insane for doing that," Rachel said. "I just realized how hard it is to make the right choice sometimes."
"Is there a story behind that?" Quinn knew there was. She could see it on Rachel's face. The question was whether Rachel would tell her.
"On the day I flew to New York, Finn showed up to apologize. Then he asked me to marry him," she explained. Quinn's heart sank.
"And you said yes."
"I said yes," Rachel confirmed. "And we were going to announce it yesterday before I realized what a horrible mistake it would be."
"For what it's worth, I'm glad you didn't marry him."
"I kept waiting for you to show up to stop me," she admitted. "Then I realized that I'm not an actual character from a movie."
"You made it clear at the airport that we were done. I was scared that you meant it." Quinn didn't want her final conversation with Rachel to be a phone call where she was yelled at; if she had to have a final memory, she wanted it to be the kiss at the airport. She was thankful that it wasn't her final memory with Rachel, though.
"I was scared you would hurt me even more. I thought I'd be better off on my own."
"And now?" Quinn could hear the hopefulness in her own voice, and she hated how her emotions could give her thoughts away.
"And now I'm not so sure."
We tell stories and you don't know why
I'm coming off a little shy
But I do.
Rachel wasn't aware it was happening until it happened. By then it was already too late. Her guard had dropped, and she was letting Quinn back into her life.
"So what have you done since I left London?" Rachel asked.
"Nothing, really," Quinn replied.
Rachel noticed that she seemed a bit hesitant in her answer. So she pushed for more. "Oh come on. Surely you've done something in the past few weeks."
Quinn looked her directly in the eye. "Have you done anything since you left London?"
This stopped Rachel. When she looked back on it, she realized that she had spent most of her days in bed or watching movies with her fathers. She hadn't once done something productive. She was too devastated for that. "Okay, you got me. I barely left my bed."
Quinn smiled, nodding in agreement. "Santana just about killed me."
"Oh I can imagine." And Rachel could. Santana didn't seem like the type to let someone just mope around.
"It's the reason we came here. She couldn't put up with me doing nothing anymore."
"She literally had been in the house for ten seconds after coming back from spending Christmas with her family when she started telling me that it was time to get the fuck over it or do something," Quinn explained. "Brittany felt it would be best if we came here."
"We? Does that mean they're here too?" Rachel questioned.
"Yeah. We're all staying with my sister. I think they were going to the beach today."
"And why aren't we there?" she asked, teasing Quinn.
"Because you have work," Quinn reminded her.
Rachel waved her off. "I don't have to be on set until 4."
"Do you really want to go?"
"Why not? It'll be fun. And there's only so long we can sit here and harp about the past." Rachel was excited about this. She normally wasn't spontaneous, but with Quinn she felt like she could be.
"There might be paparazzi."
"Let them come. The worst was yesterday. Things can only go up from here." Rachel stood up and then reached for Quinn's hand to pull her up. "So let's go!"
Quinn laughed, but followed along behind Rachel as she led them out of the coffee shop. "I'll call Brittany and let her know."
And you throw your head back laughing like a little kid
I think it's strange that you think I'm funny 'cause he never did.
Within half an hour they were at the beach. They had debated stopping at a shop for bathing suits, but ultimately decided against it. Neither of them thought it was quite warm enough to get in the water.
"Q!" Santana shouted upon seeing them approaching. She was laid out on a towel, reading one of her med books. Brittany was beside her, building a sandcastle.
Upon hearing Santana shout, Brittany looked up and then took off running toward them, abandoning the sandcastle.
"Rachel!" she cried, wrapping the girl in a hug that almost knocked her over from impact.
"It's good to see you too, Brittany," Rachel said, trying to keep from laughing.
Quinn loved how happy Rachel looked. She made a vow then and there to try to make her smile like that every day.
"What are you doing reading a textbook?" Rachel asked when they approached Santana. "You're at a beach in California."
"Bite me, Berry," Santana said, not looking up from her book.
"No thanks. You're not my type."
"Bitch please. I'm everyone's type."
"Someone has a large ego," Rachel noted, sitting down beside Santana on the edge of the towel. Quinn sat beside her.
She shut her book. "Be a little more appreciative. I dragged Q's ass here when I should have been studying."
"I'm very appreciative," Rachel said. "So appreciative, in fact, that we just had to come to the beach to bother you." She pulled Santana up and into a hug.
Santana groaned. "Q, make her go away!"
Quinn shook her head. "Hell if I'm getting in between this."
Brittany giggled. "Rachel just missed you."
"Quinn's going to miss Rachel soon because I'm going to kill her." This just caused Rachel to squeeze her tighter before finally letting go.
"How about I buy you all tickets to Disneyland just to say thanks?"
Santana looked horrorstruck, and Rachel soon found out why as Brittany screamed, "Disneyland!"
"She's always wanted to go there," Quinn explained to Rachel. Brittany, meanwhile, took off running into the ocean, screaming the whole time.
Santana took Rachel by the shoulders and stared her in the eyes, a look of panic written across her face. "Do you realize what you've done?"
"What did I do?" she asked, confused by what was so wrong with making Brittany happy.
"We took Brittany to Disneyland Paris once," Quinn started. "And she didn't want to leave. When we tried to leave, she ran off from us. We couldn't find her and she slept in the park overnight. I mean Brittany can act a little childlike at times, but when she's in that theme park she literally reverts back to a five year old."
"So we shouldn't go to Disneyland tomorrow?"
"Oh no, Berry. We have to go now," Santana said. "You've already mentioned it to her and there's no backing out after that."
Suddenly Brittany ran back up to them and wrapped her arms around Rachel to hug her from behind. "You're the best!"
"You're welcome, Brittany," Rachel hurriedly said, hoping Brittany would let go before she got completely soaked from the wet girl.
"Come play with me, San. We're going to Disneyland tomorrow!" Brittany pulled Santana up by her hand and dragged her along behind her back to the ocean.
Quinn laughed at their antics, and Rachel smiled at her. She just realized how much she loved Quinn's laugh.
"Santana's probably going to kill you, you know," Quinn stated, watching Brittany splash Santana with water.
"I think I can handle her," Rachel replied.
"You might have to for quite a while."
"Oh really?" Rachel looked at her curiously.
Quinn's gaze never left the two in the water. "Well, she is one of my friends and flatmates."
"What makes you think I'll be spending any amount of time with you? I have a very busy life, after all," Rachel teased. In reality she knew that somehow she was going to spend as much time with Quinn as possible.
"Oh I know you do, superstar," Quinn replied. "But I'm pretty sure Brittany has become attached to you."
"Only Brittany?" Rachel poked her in the ribs, trying to get a smile out of Quinn. It worked.
"Mmhm," she hummed.
"You're infuriating, you know that?"
"So I've been told, probably by you," she stated. "And yet you're still willingly spending time with me."
"Oh I'm not here for you. It's just for Brittany."
"Ah yes. Brittany," Quinn mused, a smile forming at the corners of her mouth. "Then I'll go ahead and designate you the one that has to get her to leave Disneyland tomorrow."
Rachel gaped at her. "She'll hate me!"
"I'm sure Santana will agree with me."
"Fine. I'll handle it, and I surely won't handle it so poorly that she spends the night in the park."
"I believe in you."
"Do you really?"
Quinn looked her in the eyes. "I do."
Rachel didn't know what to say. "…Thank you."
"I believe you can do anything, from taking down Finn Hudson on live television to getting Brittany to leave Disneyland to being my girlfriend and even to making it on Broadway."
Rachel grinned. "What was that third one?"
"You tell me."
"Yes." She stood up.
Quinn got up as well. "Yes?"
"Yes!" Rachel took off running into the ocean, not caring that she was getting her clothes wet or that the paparazzi could snap a picture at any time. She didn't care about anything except how fantastic she felt at the thought of a new beginning.
And without hesitation, Quinn followed her.
I've been spending the last eight months
Thinking all love ever does is break and burn and end
But on a Wednesday
In a cafe
I watched it begin again.