“We still on for tonight?”
U.S. History, the last class of the day had just ended and the rest of the class was racing for the door, fighting with the teacher to see who could make it out first. The two of them lingered behind.
“Of course!” Rachel said excitedly. “As if I would ever turn down a chance to attend revival night at the theater with you! Usually there’s an intense amount of bribery involved…”
“I’m still open to all forms of bribes excluding that of monetary value.”
“Why would I bribe you when I’ve already got what I want?” she teased.
Quinn smiled, but Rachel was distracted by someone bumping into her so she never saw how the smile didn’t quite reach fruition and how quickly it disappeared. She came around the desks and took Rachel’s arm gently, pulling her a little closer. The brunette grinned. She didn’t know the reason for the gesture, but it’s not like she needed one. Just happy to be close, she curled her arms around Quinn’s shoulders. They were alone now.
“Do you remember our first date?” Quinn asked quietly.
Rachel’s eyes clouded with the painful memory, unprepared for it to be brought up so unassumingly. It took her a while to respond, but Quinn just waited.
“How could I forget?” she said bitterly. “The night you got so angry… Screamed at me in front of an entire crowd of people. Told me I was disgusting. I wasn’t fit to breathe the same air as you. I was ugly. I was pathetic. Shrieked at me to never to come near you again…like I was some kind of monster… Yes, I remember it well.” She took her arms away and wrapped them around herself instead. “Why would you bring that up?”
Quinn wasn’t finished yet. “Do you remember how I came to you later that night? 3AM, pounding on the door, still sobbing like I had been for hours?”
“My fathers were quite displeased. They almost didn’t let you in.”
“But you let me in.”
“Because I loved you.”
“Even though I did that?”
Rachel sighed. “You hurt me so terribly, Quinn. You made me feel like nothing. Like I was worthless. I have never been so badly wounded as I was by you that night and will probably never face anything in my life again that will scar me as you did. But as badly, as wretchedly, as it hurt me, I could see that it had hurt you more.”
She nodded tightly. “When you let me inside, I told you how sorry I was, how ashamed, how guilty. How terrified I was of the things you made me feel.”
“Quinn…” Rachel didn’t know why they were talking about this. It happened over four years ago, they were long past this.
Yet she persisted. “I swore to you that if you could find a way to forgive me, to forgive me for hurting you so terribly, so undeservingly, that I would spend the rest of my life making up for it.”
“I remember,” she whispered.
“I swore that I would never hurt you like that again, that I would do anything to protect you, that I would do anything to make you happy. Anything. Because I love you.”
Rachel was near tears. “I love you too. Why are you saying this?”
“I just wanted to make sure you remembered.” She kissed her gently and picked up her bag. “See you tonight?” she asked, as though nothing at all had occurred.
The brunette was at a loss for words.
“Oh shoot,” she said, rummaging through her bag. “I have to go, Mom needs me to run errands, but I left my notebook on the piano in the auditorium. Can you grab it for me? Give it to me later?”
“Sure, but, sweetie, why are you so-?”
She cut her off with another peck on the lips. “Thank you.”
Rachel watched her leave the classroom with a sick sort of feeling settling low in her stomach. Just before Quinn turned away, she saw the tears in her girlfriend’s eyes.