"Stay," Rachel mumbles, tearing her eyes from the book Quinn has propped on her stomach.
"Hmm?" Quinn asks softly, turning her head slightly toward Rachel. They’re lying in Rachel’s bed, legs tangled together and Rachel’s head resting on Quinn’s chest. The window is cracked open slightly, just enough for a gentle breeze to swirl its way around the room, bringing in the cool night air and providing a balm for the girls’ sun-kissed skin. They had spent the day lounging outside, soaking up the heat and diving into Rachel’s pool when the midday sun had become unbearable.
"Stay," Rachel repeats, her gaze slow and steadily on Quinn.
"I’m not going anywhere…" Quinn gives Rachel a confused look and gestures toward the book. "We haven’t even finished the chapter."
"I meant stay over," Rachel clarifies, running her big toe up and down Quinn’s shin. "For the night."
"You don’t have to—I just thought— It’s ok if you—"
"I’d love to stay over, Rachel." Quinn grins bashfully and tucks a piece of chestnut brown hair behind Rachel’s ear. "As long as it’s ok with your dads."
"They love you," Rachel says quickly, and she thinks forward to a time when she’ll be able to openly replace the ‘they’ with an ‘I’. They’re not together, per say, and neither of them have really discussed what they are, but they’ve kissed once and held each other and if it weren’t for the outside world, Rachel feels sure they’d be much more by now.
“Leroy loves me,” Quinn points out, shifting a little so that she can put down the book she’d been reading to Rachel—The Bell Jar—and turn over onto her side. Rachel slides off of Quinn’s body and mirrors her position, immediately moving to tangle their legs again.
"Hiram does too, he’s just…"
"He hates me."
"Just give him time, Quinn. He’ll come around," Rachel assures her gently. "You’re not who you used to be, and he’s just a bit stubborn."
"Gee, I did wonder where you got that from," Quinn teases, grinning widely and feeling her heart swell as Rachel feigns offense and pushes her fist against Quinn’s shoulder.
"Hush, you," Rachel bites her lip and then scoots closer to the girl opposite her. "So you’ll stay?"
"You still have time to kick me out," Quinn winks before stretching her limbs and sitting up in bed. "But um, I didn’t bring anything to sleep in."
"You can borrow anything you want!" Rachel smiles, getting up off the bed and stretching her arms over her head as she walks over to her dresser. Quinn does her best to pry her eyes off of the small sliver of skin revealed as Rachel’s top rides up. "What do you usually wear to bed?"
"Just…um, underwear, usually. And a teeshirt." Quinn blushes furiously, and Rachel turns around just in time to see the ruddy color trickle its way up Quinn’s neck.
"Me too," Rachel says softly, and Quinn can’t tell if she’s reassured, or suffocating at the thought of Rachel in her sleep ware. Rachel rummages in her dresser, straightening after a moment and tossing a pair of the tiniest sleep shorts on the bed next to Quinn, accompanied with an old, faded Rent teeshirt. “All yours,” she nods before turning and heading into the bathroom to change her own clothes. When she reemerges, Quinn’s heart nearly stops—she’s seen Rachel in less, they did spend the day swimming together after all, but there is something so intimate about the little pale pink camisole and crimson sleep shorts Rachel has on. Quinn reminds herself to breathe.
"You can change in there, if you want," Rachel nods toward the bathroom and Quinn gets up off the bed, grabbing the clothes Rachel had loaned her. She clears her throat before hurrying into Rachel’s bathroom and stripping down. Rachel’s clothes are a bit small on her, but she manages to slip into them. She takes a self-conscious look in the mirror and her heart sinks; she shouldn’t have let Santana force her into breakfast, she thinks to herself as she runs her hands across her stomach and pinches the areas she despises so much. She takes a deep breath and shakes her head, exiting the bathroom and smiling despite herself at the sight of Rachel curled up against her headboard, on top of the covers, holding her little stuffed lion that Quinn had won her at the carnival a few weeks ago.
"You’re cute," Quinn grins, walking over to the bed and watching as Rachel’s eyes trail slowly over her body.
"And you’re…." Rachel takes a deep breath. "Stunning, as always."
"Your clothes are too small, short-stuff." Quinn tugs at the teeshirt a little, trying to make it resemble anything other than a crop-top.
"I knew you’d look good in it," Rachel smiles, gesturing to Quinn. "And look, I was right."
"You weren’t," Quinn huffs, climbing into bed and pulling the comforter up over herself. "I look awful."
"Quinn, you know I think you’re beautiful…"
"Well I don’t. I never did." Quinn says, her voice small. Rachel’s heart breaks a little and she slides under the covers to join her girl.
"Stop, ok? You’re nothing short of gorgeous. Inside and out."
Quinn takes another deep breath and nods, curling into Rachel and taking her hand, entwining their fingers.
"You make me feel real. Like I’m not a ghost anymore." It’s a whisper, but Rachel can still hear it. Her heart breaks and mends its self over and over again.
"Well, Ms. Fabray, you make me feel wanted, so I guess we’re even."
Quinn smiles and leans over, kissing Rachel on the cheek.
"I’ll always want you," she says. There’s silence for a moment and then Rachel clears her throat.
"Do you need to call your parents? To let them know you’re staying?"
Quinn swallows, her eyes darkening. She thinks of bottles of alcohol, screams, fights, and the thwack of her father’s belt. She thinks of her mother, passed out on their white chiffon couch, red wine dripping onto the floor. She thinks of the house phone ringing, no one picking up. She thinks of her father finding out whose house she’s been at all night. She thinks of pain.
"Are you sure—"
"Yes, Rachel. Let’s just…do you want to watch a movie or something?" Quinn asks, trying to deflect.
"Not really," Rachel shakes her head. "I’d rather stay up talking with you."
"Me too," Quinn smiles, and this time she thinks of warmth and bubblegum-pink sheets and the taste of Rachel. Her phone goes off in her bag where she’d left it hours ago, and she jumps a bit at the noise.
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