Chapter 5: Holy Ground
I was reminiscing just the other day
While having coffee all alone and Lord, it took me away
Back to a first-glance feeling I knew your type
Back when you fit in my poems like a perfect rhyme
They found an all-night cafe nearby, and after ordering, sat down together in a booth. The two didn't speak at all until their coffee arrived.
"So," Quinn said after taking a sip. "What all did Kurt tell you?"
"How did you know my manager's name is Kurt if you didn't know about me before?" Rachel lashed out, and this brought about a sigh from Quinn. Rachel still didn't fully believe her. She'd said as much while they were trying to find somewhere that was open. Though she had wanted to leave and go to her hotel, she just couldn't let go of Quinn's hand. Something about it just felt right.
"You mentioned it earlier. You know, back when you were accusing me of cheating?"
"Oh," she murmured, busying herself with putting sugar in her coffee to hide her embarrassment. "Um, I was told you are dating, or, well, dated, a photographer named Zoie James. And that you get around. That's all."
Quinn sighed again. Rachel noticed she had done that quite often over the course of the night. "Do you want the full story? Will that help you believe me?"
She chuckled, shaking her head in disbelief. "I can't believe I'm going to tell my story to a random stranger. I truly must be drunk. And yet I don't remember drinking that much."
"Maybe you need to tell it to a stranger to fully rid yourself of it," Rachel stated, looking out the window into the darkness instead of at Quinn. She had no idea what Quinn was going to tell her, but she knew that it would make herself feel a whole lot better if she could get rid of her own story. Yet she knew she couldn't. No one could know outside of her manager. Not yet.
"Woah," Quinn smiled. "And here I was thinking you were a flirty drunk."
Rachel shrugged. "According to you I'm naturally flirty."
"True. Though I never expected you to be the one to spout philosophical rubbish when drunk."
"I guess I'm full of surprises."
"That you are."
After that, Rachel just stared at her expectantly, which meant it was time to start.
"Okay. So when I was a kid in Ohio, my best friend in the whole world was Zoie James. We did everything together. Like literally everything. I pretty much lived at her house from the time I was six, and her parents were like the parents I never had.
"We went through middle school and dated boys like you're supposed to during that time, and I remember that whenever one of us was dating a boy, our relationship was very strained. It wasn't until years later that we realized it was because we were jealous of the boy.
"High school was the first time when we actually weren't attached at the hip. I began cheerleading because my parents made me, and Zoie decided to take up photography for the yearbook. That put us on very different ends of the popularity spectrum. We stayed friends, but we weren't completely in each other's lives like before. So when Zoie began dating a girl, I was shocked. My best friend couldn't be gay." Quinn laughed a bit to herself. "When she came out to me, she admitted to being in love with me right before kissing me. This was still when she was dating another girl, so it should have set off warning signs in my head. Though I was a bit preoccupied running away and having a gay panic."
"You had a gay panic?" Rachel asked, giggling. "But you're so… well… gay."
Quinn smiled at her. "Be that as it may, I grew up in an extremely conservative Christian home. I had heard all too often that the gays were all damned straight to hell and I was not to associate with any of them, lest I catch their disease."
"We would've never been able to be friends then. I have two gay dads," Rachel stated. "Not to mention that I was a huge dork and the cheerleaders at my school made life a living hell for me."
"I suppose it's a good thing we're meeting now and not in high school," she replied as the waitress walked up with their food. Quinn looked up at the girl, who was probably a little younger than them, and flashed her a smile. She was probably working this job while juggling university classes. "Thanks."
The girl grinned back, and Rachel found herself rolling her eyes. "Let me know if you need anything else."
Took off faster than a green light, go
Yeah, you skipped the conversation when you already know
I left a note on the door with a joke we'd made
And that was the first day.
"So where were we?" Quinn asked after they settled into eating.
"Mm," Rachel said, pretending to think. "Well, before we had to deal with the flirty waitress who wants to jump your bones, I think you were having your gay panic."
This brought about a smirk. "Are you jealous?"
"Not at all. Just stating a fact."
"If you say so." Quinn had seen the jealousy practically radiating off of Rachel back during her interaction with the waitress. But she also wasn't going to push Rachel to admit it when she already knew the answer "So. My gay panic. After Zoie kissed me, I realized that, well, I really liked her kissing me. Except I couldn't be gay. My parents would kill me before allow me to be gay. So I ignored Zoie for a while, hoping that would help everything go away. I even launched myself straight into a relationship with the quarterback from the football team. Yet the longer I waited, the more I couldn't deny that I was developing feelings for her.
"One day I was so sexually frustrated that I couldn't help myself. I pulled Zoie into a janitor's closet and made out with her for a while before I came to my senses and ran out. Then it started becoming a regular thing. One of us would pull the other into a closet or an empty classroom or the auditorium and we'd make out, though it always ended with me running away. That is, until the day came that Zoie wouldn't let me run away." Quinn closed her eyes, the pain of it all hitting her again. She took a deep breath before opening them and continuing.
"She said she wouldn't let us keep doing this. She wanted more, and she knew I wanted more too, but I was too scared to admit it. I tried to explain how my parents felt and how much trouble I would get into if they found out what I was doing, but she wouldn't hear any of it. Zoie said I had to make my own decisions; to hell with what my parents thought." Quinn smiled a bit at this. "That was one of the good things she taught me.
"Anyway, she gave me an ultimatum: either we stop kissing, or I go on a date with her. So I gave up the kissing… For a while. It didn't take long before I couldn't resist dragging her into an empty classroom to kiss her. Which meant that she got to take me on a date. And it was an absolutely perfect date. It made me realize that Zoie was worth all the trouble that it was going to cause should my parents find out. She was special."
Spinning like a girl in a brand new dress
We had this big wide city all to ourselves
We blocked the noise with the sound of 'I need you'
And for the first time I had something to lose.
"Somehow we stayed a secret throughout high school. Though we both knew we didn't want to hide it in college. We wanted to get away, really get away, and so we found a university in London. It had a very respectable law program, which my dad was convinced I was going to go into as it's Fabray tradition, so he was fine paying for it. The art program was pretty great as well, so Zoie had no problem getting in with her photographs.
"The two of us really let loose that first year. We were going out to clubs, exploring the city, and having sex every chance we could get. We were happy, for the most part. I was pretty miserable in school because I hated law, but Zoie was such a wonderful distraction. She encouraged me to pick up an art to help me have a lighter workload one semester and get me to relax. So I took painting, and I was really good at it. It was something I liked to do as well, and so after a bit of pushing from Zoie, I dropped law for art.
"That was probably the worst thing I could've done. Looking back, I should've just double majored to keep my father happy, but I was thriving off my 'fuck it' attitude that Zoie had taught me. Well, when my dad got my report card in the mail, he noticed the change in major. He and my mother flew straight to London the next day without informing me. As luck would have it, they walked right in on Zoie and me fucking on the couch."
Rachel giggled at this. "What a nice way to come out to your parents."
Quinn grinned at her. "I know, right? As you can imagine, my father walked right back out of the room. My mother stayed long enough to tell me that I should probably plan on staying somewhere else for the holidays, and that she would try to transfer some money into my bank account when she could. That was the last I heard of my parents. My older sister, Frannie, packed all my stuff up from their house and took it to her apartment in California for safe-keeping.
"As it turns out, my mom couldn't get me any money, and my dad cut off the payments for my schooling. Fortunately this wasn't too much of a problem, as Zoie helped me find a bunch of art scholarships. We made it through university, and we both became pretty well-known in the art world. That's when things started to go down. Zoie started spending lots of time out of the apartment. At first I didn't question it, because she had always spent hours roaming the streets trying to find some good pictures. But she'd come back in the morning, having not even bothered to call to let me know that she was staying out." Quinn shook her head. "I loved her so much that I thought she was just trying to put together a new portfolio to send to a museum. It wasn't until I checked her memory card one day and saw all these pictures of girls on them that I admitted that maybe she wasn't just walking around taking pictures."
And I guess we fell apart in the usual way
And the story's got dust on every page
But sometimes I wonder how you think about it now
And I see your face in every crowd.
"When I asked her about the pictures, she just said they were art, and that she was trying something new. When I suggested she let me come along on the next shoot to make sure, she got really angry about how I should trust her. I probably would've backed down then and apologized if Zoie hadn't at that exact moment got a text from one the girls asking when her next session was because she was horny. Apparently she had been fucking her fans behind my back and then taking pictures. After the text, Zoie simply said that it was art and if I couldn't handle it then that was my problem.
"So I gave her the ultimatum: she either stop, or leave. She claimed the flat was in her name, so I had to leave. I moved in with my friends and cried for days. My friends tried to help me the best that they could. It wasn't until Santana suggested I just pick up having mindless sex that I actually started getting better. Of course they all ended up looking like Zoie. If I pretended hard enough it was her, and I could be the one to leave her and break her heart every night. Which brings me to now, where I most certainly do not have a girlfriend, and haven't for over a year."
Rachel was speechless. Here she was, three in the morning with a random stranger who just poured her heart out, and all she could think of was how much she wanted to just cuddle with Quinn. It was the first time in quite some time that she wasn't worried about paparazzi or her own tattered relationship or her future or anything. She just wanted Quinn to not be all broken inside anymore.
"I'm so sorry," she finally managed to get out. "I didn't know."
"How could you know?" Quinn asked, managing a smile. "Hardly anyone at all does. You're not the only one who tries to keep her life out of the presses."
"So you not only lost your best friend, but the love of your life as well? Man, she sounds like a complete bitch."
This got Quinn laughing. "Santana said the same thing. I can see you two getting along."
"Well I would like to meet her so we can discuss options of how to best get revenge on this girl," Rachel replied, half joking.
"If you stick around long enough, you will. She's one of my flatmates. Which reminds me, you're welcome to stay at my place for the night if you'd like."
"Oh no," she gasped, suddenly coming to a realization. "I'm one of the Zoie lookalikes, aren't I?"
"Pro tip," Quinn stated. "I don't tell all my one night stands my entire history. You're special, Rachel Berry, and not just because you've won some awards."
"You didn't answer the question."
She groaned. "Yes, you look like her. Happy now?"
"You didn't answer my question, either. Do you want to stay at my flat? I'm not going to try to sleep with you, well, you'll have to sleep with me because there's only one bed available and it's mine, but not have sex sleep with me," Quinn rambled on, and Rachel giggled.
Truth was, if she showed up at her hotel, she would probably have to deal with paparazzi. Plus it would mean leaving Quinn. She wasn't sure she was quite ready for either of those just yet. "I'll stay with you."
Cause darling, it was good
Never looking down
And right there where we stood
Was holy ground.