Chapter 8: I Knew You Were Trouble
Once upon a time
A few mistakes ago
I was in your sights
You got me alone
You found me
You found me
You found me.
Quinn led them into a nearby Starbucks, and Rachel looked at her like she was crazy.
"What?" Quinn asked.
"I just thought you were too cool for Starbucks. Don't you have some hole in the wall cafe that all artists visit?" Rachel questioned her.
Quinn rolled her eyes. "Yeah, but the coffee's shit. I only went there because I was poor. Now I can afford something better."
"Do you want anything?" Quinn had been so nice to her, she wanted to at least try to repay her. That, and she wanted to stall for time before she told her story.
"Yeah, but I'll buy it," she replied, getting into the line.
"No, let me get this for once. It's the least I can do after everything you've done for me," Rachel argued.
"It's your birthday, let me get you something."
"My birthday's not until tomorrow, and you don't have to get me anything."
"I want to."
Rachel was cut off by the sound of someone clearing their throat. The cashier was standing in front of them. They had somehow made it to the front of the line without noticing. "What can I get for you?"
Rachel ended up paying for the coffee, having been able to whip out her credit card faster than Quinn could find anything. To get back at her, Quinn flirted with the barista. At least that's how Rachel interpreted the situation. Quinn was probably just being her natural charming self, but Rachel was getting jealous for some strange reason. She tried her best to shrug the feelings off.
"Okay," Quinn said after they sat down. "You don't have to tell me anything you don't want to."
"I know," Rachel assured her. "But you deserve to know since I dragged you into the tabloids with me."
"No you didn't. I willingly went along with you."
"Be that as it may, you still need to know some things," Rachel took a deep breath readying herself to let out her secret. "I am currently single." She looked around, making sure that the paparazzi weren't going to come bursting in at that statement.
"So you're no longer dating Finn Hudson?" Quinn asked carefully.
Rachel wanted to cringe at the mention of him, but she had already trained herself not to. Instead she found herself nodding to answer Quinn's question. "No one else knows though outside of my manager and him, and I guess you now."
"Why are you telling me this?"
"It'll be common knowledge soon enough. We're announcing the breakup in January," she replied, dodging the question. Quinn didn't press her about it, though. "Kurt thinks that it would be best to wait until after the holidays, both for the mood of the public and for my emotional health. Before I came to London I was… Not my best."
Quinn nodded in understanding.
"Can I ask you a question?" Rachel asked abruptly.
"Besides the one you just asked? Sure."
"When you told me everything that happened between you and Zoie, did that really help you?" Rachel wanted to get rid of these feelings, but she wasn't sure if it would actually help by telling Quinn or if she'd just be bringing all these memories back up for nothing.
"It did. I think it's something to do with telling a stranger your deepest secrets," she explained. "It puts you in the mindset that if you're telling all this to some random person from the streets, it must not mean as much as it used to. And it doesn't."
"Okay. I'm going to tell you my story because if there's a chance I can get rid of this, then I want to take it."
"Go ahead. I'll listen."
And he's long gone when he's next to me
And I realize the blame is on me.
"So I'm just going to start with high school because that's sort of where it began," Rachel said. "Okay. Well, to say I was unpopular in high school is an understatement. What I told that little girl earlier was true: I had no friends. Not only that, but the cheerleaders and football players would slushie me for fun."
"Slushie?" Quinn asked, not really understanding the terminology.
"It's when they take a slushie and purposely throw it in your face," Rachel explained.
"Oh. That's kind of harsh."
"That was my life for four years. Always keeping a spare set of clothes in my locker for the inevitable slushie of the day. But there was one guy who never slushied me."
"Let me guess: Finn Hudson?"
Rachel nodded. "He was quarterback of the football team and not once did he slushie me. I thought he was different. That's probably why I had a huge crush on him. Nothing ever happened with that. I mean, I was pretty obvious with my affections, and he seemed like he might have thought I was an okay person, but there was still the fact that I was a complete loser and he wasn't. So I graduated high school and forced myself to move on from the crush.
"College was better for me. I still wasn't well-liked, but I did have a few genuine friends. It was performing arts college so of course everyone was cutthroat. I casually dated a couple girls and guys over my four years, but they all found me overly annoying at times, so none of them ever lasted long. When I was cast in my first movie, the princess movie, at the end of my senior year, that severed almost all ties I had made with people at school. Getting a role is a big deal there, and no one likes you any better for it. The only friend who stayed by my side through it all was Kurt, and that was probably only because he'd switched to performing arts management the year before, after he got nodes and Broadway was no longer a possibility for him.
"Fast forward a year later to the premiere of my first major movie. I was so excited to have gotten to do something so good for my second movie. I remember being on the red carpet and seeing all the camera flashes and then there he was, behind them. Finn Hudson." She smiled slightly at the memory. "He was so tall, so of course you could see him over the paparazzi. It had been years, and yet there he was with his goofy smile and a single rose. I was so enchanted, and so flattered that he remembered me after all this time. My small crush from high school returned."
'Cause I knew you were trouble when you walked in
So shame on me now
Flew me to places I'd never been
'Til you put me down.
"I gave him my number that night, and we started talking. It turned out he was in LA acting as well. He had only managed to get small roles on television shows, but he knew his big break was coming. Apparently he had seen my picture on a billboard while on the way to work, and realized he went to high school with me, so he decided to show up at my premiere to congratulate me. This all seemed like the sweetest thing to me, like a story out of a modern day fairytale, and I've always been a fool when it comes to romance. So when he asked me on a date a few weeks later, of course I said yes. I should've said no. I find myself regretting not saying no all the time.
"We began dating regularly, and soon enough it was all over the tabloids. The positive exposure he got from being with me was enough to land him a starring role on a comedy show. He became a household name, and it was all thanks to me. I should've realized then that he was using me, but I finally had someone other than Kurt who would spend time with me. It should have been obvious when he would only be affectionate with me when we were in public." Rachel sighed. "God I'm so stupid."
"No," Quinn protested. "You were lonely. Sometimes that makes people do crazy things, like have meaningless sex with a bunch of girls, for example."
This brought about a smile from Rachel. "You know exactly what to say, don't you?"
"Not always," she replied. "But continue on."
He'll never see you cry
Pretends he doesn't know
That he's the reason why
"Things were okay for a while. We were a slightly happy couple. We went to all the premieres together and we got so much exposure. Then one day a couple weeks ago, I had to fly to New York for an audition. It's always been my dream to be in musicals on Broadway, but I've never had the chance. If you do movies first, they don't really want you on the stage unless you become a big name celebrity that will draw a fanbase to the theater. I had finally gotten a call from Kurt that there was a good chance I could get a Broadway role, but I had to fly out to New York for a couple days to audition.
"I left Finn, telling him I would probably be gone a week to audition and visit with my dads a bit while I was there. They live in New York. He wished me luck and saw me off at the airport because goodbye kisses at the airport are the best publicity." Rachel rolled her eyes. "My audition… It didn't go over well at all. I was so nervous that I completely messed it up. Simple dances that I could've done when I was five were tripping me up at every turn. My voice cracked at least three times. By the time we got to the acting portion, my nerves were so shot that I completely misread my character. It was a disaster.
"I got on the next flight home, wanting nothing more than to have Finn hold me and tell me there would always be other auditions. I didn't even call him to let him know I was on my way back so he could pick me up or send my driver for me. I couldn't talk at all or I would burst into tears. I just quietly made my way back and got in a cab at LAX to go straight to his house. That was a mistake."
"Oh God," Quinn said, knowing there was only one thing that could come next.
"When I got there, I just let myself in. I had a key, after all, and it was late. I assumed he was already in bed, and he was. Oh he was. I walked in wanting to cuddle and cry, but he was in the middle of sex with his co-star from the show. I completely froze for about half a minute before I walked out of the room. Somehow they were so into it that they never even noticed me. Before I left his house, I took my key off of his keyring. I didn't need him showing up there anymore. I would've deleted my number from his phone if it hadn't been in his room.
"I honestly thought about killing myself that night when I got home, but I couldn't do it. I had to remind myself that I didn't survive four years of slushies and mean names just to give up now. Later he tried calling, he tried coming over, but I wasn't dealing with him. I shut myself off from the world, only stopping to tell Kurt to handle things. Eventually Finn got the message.
"I had to go back to work for a week to film the finale of the tv show I was a recurring character on, and I barely made it through that week. Halfway through it I booked a flight to London for the upcoming weekend because there was no reason for me to stay in LA for it. I could've gone home to my dads, but they would've just asked me where Finn was and I didn't want to deal with that just yet. So I came here, because I like London. No one will throw me a birthday party here because no one knows me here. I meant this as a weekend to finally build myself back up before I have to go to my dads' for a couple weeks on Monday to celebrate the holidays. And you know what? It worked. This weekend has helped me so much, and it's only Saturday afternoon."
Quinn smiled. "I'm happy to have helped. Just be glad you found me and not Santana. She would be making her way to LA right now to kick Finn Hudson's ass."
"I'm happy it was you too. I don't think I would've connected to Santana as much as I did to you. There's just something about you that makes me feel completely at home," Rachel admitted.
"Really?" Quinn had to admit she was surprised. When she let her walls fall down a bit, she felt that way too. She would never admit it, but it was nice to know that she wasn't alone in the feeling.
"Yeah," Rachel assured her.
They were both silent for a while, staring at each other. Neither wanted to look away. Before Quinn knew what she was doing, she felt herself slowly leaning across the table toward Rachel, and surprisingly Rachel was too. Before they could get to each other and Quinn could find out what happened when they did, her phone rang.
Annoyance crossed Rachel's face, and Quinn sighed as she sat back in her chair to answer the phone. She saw from the caller ID that it was Puck, and she hoped that he wasn't calling to tell her something stupid like he was 98% of the time.
"Yeah?" Quinn asked, not even bothering with a proper greeting.
Her own annoyance quickly vanished as he told her what he had called for. Rachel, on the other hand, remained annoyed.
"We'll be back at my the flat soon. Don't leave without us, okay?" Quinn said to Puck.
After she had said her goodbyes, Quinn hung up the phone.
"What's going on?" Rachel questioned.
Quinn grinned at her. "We're going to a party."
He was long gone when he met me
And I realize the joke is on me.