"Just because I got out of this rinky dink town doesn't mean my dreams magically came true."Author's Note:
Here it is! The very last chapter of Wonderwall (it's only taken me, what? Two years to actually finish this?)! Since this is the last chapter, I tried, where I could, to go back to how this story started in terms of style. I know that a lot of you aren't going to like this ending but I really hope that you respect it as the honest, realistic ending. This still feels a little bit like something is missing and I spent all day yesterday trying to figure out what it was before I
realized that that's the only way I could feel after reading this. This will never feel complete and sometimes in life, there are moments that don't feel like you've gotten closure but it's not necessarily a bad thing. Anyway, I do hope you enjoy and thank
you very much for taking this journey with me :)
Rachel tells them the appointment is at three and, no, she doesn’t need them to pick her up.
Her appointment is actually at noon and she asks her dad to drop her off at the clinic. She’s not sure if she’s surprised or not when he doesn’t say anything, doesn’t look at her any different, just turns to the sports section and says, “I’ll be ready by 11.”
When they pull out of the drive way, she sees Mrs. Brooks getting ready for her run. Rachel grips her knees. Her dad leans forward, to change the station Rachel assumes, but instead his hand wraps around hers, giving it a gentle squeeze before forcing her to relax her grip. “Have you thought anymore about what your daddy said?”
Closing her eyes, Rachel nods. “Maybe we could all take a weekend trip soon?”
She looks at her father and can’t figure out whether or not the half smile he wears is sad. “That sounds really great, baby. I think I could clear my schedule for next weekend.” He clears his throat and turns left on to Baker. “I’ll call your daddy about it when I get into the office.”
A silence falls between them, only breaking when they pull up to the clinic fifteen minutes later. “Thank you.” He stares as she unbuckles and gathers her purse and coat.
“Do I need to pick you up?”
Shaking her head, she opens the door. “No, I have a ride home.”
Just as she’s about to step out, he grabs the hand closest to him again, forcing her to look back at him. “I love you, my little star.”
It’s something she would’ve expected from her daddy; it surprises her so much that she ends up rooted in her seat, just looking at her father whose eyes, instead of tearing up, become stained red. “I love you too.”
She doesn’t realize she’s crying until her father puts the car in park and wraps his arms around her, pulling her uncomfortably across the middle consol and to his chest. “It’s going to be okay… I am so proud of you, no matter what,” he repeats, rubbing circles on her back. It’s not until he offers to stay with her that she pulls back, wiping her cheeks furiously like she used to as a child.
“No. Please, just go to work. Like you said, it’s going to be okay.” Her cheeks twitch from the effort to smile but she falls short.
“Yeah,” he sighs. He pats her cheek and tucks her hair behind her ears. “Will you be home for dinner?”
The real question hangs silently between them and she shakes her head. “No, probably not.”
At approximately 2 o’clock, hours after her appointment time, Rachel stares up at a blank ceiling, her legs elevated and mind just a little fuzzy. She’s told that she will feel some discomfort, some pressure, but she’s been numbed so it shouldn’t be too much worse (if that) than a standard exam.
It hurts in a way she can’t describe. She doesn’t feel like she’s dying but it’s worse than menstrual cramping, which is what nearly every online resource she read compared the pain to. Her mouth is clamped shut but she realizes that a whine of sorts has escaped her throat when the nurse who offered to hold her hand steps forward and pushes her hair off her face. “It’s okay, deary. Almost done now.”
With the clatter of the doctor returning tools to the tray besides him, Rachel suddenly feels as though she can breathe for the first time in months and she knows that it’s done.
She spends the next half hour in another room, sunk into a cushioned chair surrounded by magazines that are at least two months old. She’s given crackers and water and she finds that she can actually stomach the sight of food again. She shovels so much into her mouth that if she were anywhere else, she’d practice restraint or at least have the modesty to act embarrassed by the amount of food she takes; this feels like the first time she’s eaten since this whole thing started.
She’s advised to go to the bathroom before she leaves. She grimaces at the blood and few clots that appear on the pad they’d given her when she first got redressed. When she shows the nurse, the older woman smiles and says, “All normal then.” Rachel’s face pulls just a bit, because for her that is not normal (her periods have never been heavy and though she’s sure at some point in her life she’s passed a clot, she can’t recall a time when she did), before asking if she can go now.
It’s possible that she’s sad… Actually, she’s pretty sure that she is. She’d built up the idea of having a baby in her head these past weeks, of giving Noah something he seemed to really want. And now she’s empty.
The strange part is she feels more full of life now than she has since she first slept with Quinn and Noah.
Rachel walks out of the clinic at 2:53 and slips on her sunglasses, the sunlight extraordinarily affronting with her senses still a little out of whack, right when Quinn and Noah pull into the parking lot. Neither one looks happy as the exit the car but Quinn is the only one who attempts to smile. “Should we go in,” Noah asks as he shoves his hands into the pockets of his jacket.
“No,” Rachel answers with a shake of her head. “It’s done. We can go home.”
Quinn’s eyebrows furrow before one arches sharply. “It’s done?” She looks down at her watch. “It’s not even three.”
“My appointment was at one.” Rachel shrugs her shoulders when they both continue to just stare at her. “And I’m a bit tired now, so if you don’t mind…” She starts towards their car and they have no choice but to follow.
Quinn knocks on the bedroom door, even though it’s her own, and waits until Rachel tells her to come in before she enters. She wasn’t sure what, if anything, Rachel would want to eat but she stands in the doorway with a cup of apple juice in one hand and a bowl of tomato soup in the other.
She realizes now that might be a horrible combination in the taste department.
“Hi,” she says, hating the way she sounds a strange mix of ashamed and shy. “Did you manage to get any sleep? We told Caroline to keep quiet but, well, you know.”
Rachel sits up and Quinn didn’t realize she was waiting by the door until Rachel waves her over. “What’s in the bowl?” Quinn hands her the bowl wordlessly, setting the cup down next to Rachel’s phone on the bedside table. She tries not to look at the open text message but fails; Rachel’s dad asked if she’d made it alright, adding that they’re good to go to Chicago next weekend and Quinn swallows hard. She watches Rachel take spoonful after spoonful until the bowl is half empty. Rachel looks up at her with the wide eyes Quinn loves. “This is very good,” Rachel compliments softly.
Quinn shrugs. “It’s Campbell’s.”
Rachel shrugs herself and Quinn thinks there may be a small smile. “It’s still good. Thank you.”
There’s a clamor outside, something breaking in the living room, and instead of hearing Noah curse like Quinn expects, he laughs. It unnerves her in a way Quinn can’t describe. “Why did you tell us the wrong time?” The question slips from her mouth unexpectedly and though Rachel doesn’t stop eating, Quinn can feel the way she tenses.
“What would you two have done,” Rachel asks in between bites of soup, “besides glare at nothing and sit in discomfort next to one another?”
Quinn sinks further into the bed, looking as the blank wall behind Rachel. “Could have held you hand,” Quinn supplies.
“There was a nurse there.” Rachel takes another bite before setting the bowl down. “Really, it wasn’t horrible. It was fine.” Rachel pats Quinn’s knee. “I’m fine.”
Quinn wants to call bullshit but Rachel seems so sure of herself that Quinn almost finds herself asking how.
The sun has already set by the time he works up enough courage to go see Rachel. For the most part, they’ve left her alone all day. When Quinn left the room earlier she said that Rachel asked for it but, honestly, he’s not sure he would’ve been able to go in anyway.
He expects her to be asleep but he opens the door to find her sitting on the edge of the bed. “Hey.” She glances back at him with a look he can’t quite figure out but says nothing. He shuffles over to the bed and lies down, pushing the blankets closer to her. “It’s gonna be cold.” He sighs. “Are you cold?” Rachel tilts her neck from side to side, her bones popping and almost echoing in their near empty room, before lying back down. She rolls over and instead of looking at her face, he stares at her arm that’s covered in goosebumps. He lifts his hand to warm her up but stops short.
“You can touch me,” Rachel whispers. She curls into him just a little bit, palming the back of his neck as she buries her face in his chest. Hesitantly, he wraps his arm around her. He expects her to relax in his arms then, but she stays tense. “I need you to do something for me.”
Her whole body shrinks when she exhales. “I don’t ever want to talk about this.” Her nails start pricking his skin. “Dwelling will kill us and there’s nothing…” She pulls back to look at him and it terrifies him how normal she looks when he doesn’t know how to be acting himself. “Everything is okay and there’s nothing to discuss. So, please
, never bring this up.”
He nods because, well, what else is he supposed to do?
Rachel spends the next three days with them. She wakes before everyone and makes breakfast and has dinner ready by the time Quinn comes home. She plays with Caroline and looks genuinely sad every time she has to tell Caroline that she can’t pick her up just yet. Quinn doesn’t remember the last time she saw Caroline this happy. It’s a shame, she thinks, because she and Noah are floundering.
Rachel leads them the three days she stays. She starts conversation, she initiates touch, she does everything and they just follow her cues while trying not to stare at one another wide eyed.
She doesn’t want to think it, and she certainly won’t vocalize it, but she’s glad that Rachel heads home on Friday.
When she gets home from work, after dinner and entertaining Caroline before putting her to bed, she drops onto the couch next to Noah. He turns the TV up two more notches before tossing the remote on to the coffee table and turning to stare at her. “Do you need to talk about it,” Quinn asks.
He scoffs. “Like you don’t.” She smiles just a little bit and nods.
“I don’t really know what to say,” she admits. She’s… well, she’s not sure she could say that she’s happy and there’s really nothing to be sad about, if Rachel genuinely is okay.
“Do you think she’s faking it?” Quinn pulls her bottom lip into her mouth as she shrugs. She allows Noah to pull her legs into his lap and she rests her head on the cushion of the couch. “I feel like I shouldn’t be okay… even if she is.”
His hand rests on her knee and she sits up a little better so that her fingers can tap along it. “Are you okay?”
He’s quiet for a long time and she waits patiently, watching the way his jaw flexes every now and then. She jumps a little when he abruptly chuckles. “You know,” he says, patting her knee before holding her hand, “I don’t know. I don’t really know anything anymore.”
She squeezes his hand. “It’s okay… Not like you knew much before anyway.” He pinches the bottom of her foot and she kicks the inside of his thigh before leaning up and kissing along his jaw.
Rachel thinks that maybe she doesn’t deserve this weekend away. She shouldn’t be gorging herself on food or seeing show after show or shopping so much when this is all on her fathers’ dime and she’s been so distant from them both.
She sits between them as they wait for the ballet to start and looks around as they talk over her. She’s very lucky and she realizes now how incredibly unfair it would have been for them to help support her and a child.
The day before they leave, her fathers take her to look at apartments “just to see if she likes anything.”
She likes most of them.
He kind of tries to start being a better dad.
He doesn’t do much, because he still works long, shitty hours, but what Quinn had said to him was right. He already has a daughter and he should focus on making everything better for her.
(There’s a little part of him that thinks maybe this will help prove to Quinn that they can have a future with Rachel.)
He plays dolls with her one day, does some macaroni art (he’s not sure it could be called art, but) the next. Caroline gets more excited the more they do. Really, it’s the most he’s seen her and Quinn smile in months.
Even Rachel (when she’s around, anyway) gets this look in her eye when Caroline tells her about how he took her to the library after school and let her pick out four books.
She knows that it shouldn’t be awkward around Rachel’s dads, but it really is. So Quinn spends the majority of her lunch hours applying for different jobs. It helps now that she has experience in a field that isn’t waitress-ing and, though Quinn feels bad about leaving them potentially short staffed, Rachel’s come back to work full time; they shouldn’t have a problem finding a replacement if she gets a job elsewhere.
She debates telling Rachel for a long time and it isn’t until three months later when Quinn actually has an interview that she actually does.
Rachel congratulates her and, though she doesn’t know it then, Quinn completely misreads the way Rachel’s voice cracks when she tells Quinn that she’d better tell her dad soon.
It’s been months
since it happened. They’ve gone through winter and spring in this state of… Rachel’s not quite sure what it is. Yes, they’ve been together but it hasn’t been at all like it was before.
Shortly after the abortion (and she can say that now, at least to herself), she hardly spent the night because, while she physically felt great, was weary of being touched. And, frankly, she knew that Quinn and Noah weren’t great. There was a rift between all of them; taking the time to mend it was important, especially for them since they have Caroline to worry about. It didn’t surprise her that even after she felt comfortable in her own skin again she chose to spend more time at home than with them. To be honest, she’s not sure the others even noticed that much. They’ve spent a good amount of time apart, angry and sad and disillusioned by their reality that cramming into that small apartment again felt less comforting than before.
At least once a week they all have dinner together and it’s nice. She loves them and she knows that they still love her. Being with them is still one of the best parts of her life…
But this is not where she’s supposed to be… She’s not sure this is where she wants
to be anymore.
She’s been back to Chicago a few times since that first weekend. She’ll stay a weekend or maybe a week. Sometimes her dads will come with and other times she’ll make the drive by herself and see the little places she wants to check out that her dads would never go. She’s roamed the city and fallen in love with it more than she ever thinks she loved New York. It’s a little upsetting that she was allowed to be seduced by the glamour of New York. With Chicago, she’s going to ever dark, grimy place she can find and she falls in love with each space.
Strangers become friends that lead her to gigs in places she never would’ve seen on her own and take her to diners she never would’ve stepped foot in.
The best part so far though: Chicago drowns out the what ifs.
Quinn lays gasping in the middle of the bed, her body covered in sweat on the first of July. Noah drops on to the bed, his head falling to her belly and sweat dripping and pooling in her belly button. Rachel giggles and collapses next to her. She apologizes when she accidentally pulls Quinn’s hair with her leg, kissing Quinn’s thigh that’s right in front of her face. “I can’t fuck in this heat,” Noah pants and Quinn laughs a little as she licks her lips, tasting nothing but Rachel.
They don’t do this quite so often anymore but Quinn finds that usually makes it better. She and Noah still have sex fairly regularly but Rachel has pulled away a lot, focusing more on her own life than twining herself with them. Noah’s asked if she thought Rachel was fucking someone else but Quinn knows that’s not the case. For all intents and purposes, the three of them are still dating and she knows that Rachel would remain true to that.
Rachel starts tracing imaginary lines on Quinn’s hip and that’s when Quinn feels it.
This is their end.
“I’m going back to Chicago after the fourth.”
Quinn’s fingers tighten around Noah’s hair when he asks, “How long are you going for?” Rachel glances up at her and bites her lip before looking back down at Quinn’s skin in front of her. She can feel Noah looking up at her now but she can’t look down at him. Instead, she does her best to cup her cheek, her thumb tracing along his eyebrow. “Oh.” His voice is a bit gruffer, reminding her of the boy she first let into her bed at 16. “So this is it then?”
Quinn clears her throat. “You were never meant for Lima.”
Rachel smiles and that’s all Quinn wants for her.
If it were any other time, Quinn would shove Noah off her when he rises on to his elbow on her stomach but she deals with the pain because she knows that he wasn’t expecting this. “What about us?”
“Noah,” Rachel cries and buries her face in Quinn’s thigh. “We…” Quinn can feel Rachel’s hot breath on her skin before Rachel bites lightly. “I just…”
Quinn wraps her hand around Noah’s wrist. “Rach, can you give us a minute?” Rachel slides out of bed, tugging on Quinn’s shorts and her tank top before stepping into the living room. Noah rolls on to his back but stays near the foot of the bed so Quinn scoots down to see his face. “You can’t honestly be this surprised.” She palms his cheek, forcing him to look at her when he tries to look away. “You’ve said it yourself… That ever since it’s been different.”
“I didn’t think she’d actually fucking leave us,” he spits out. “It’s been different but it’s not… We just had two really great days with her and our daughter and she wants to leave us for what
in Chicago exactly?” Quinn tangles her legs with his and tries not to notice how red Noah’s eyes are. “Is there some other guy or girl? What’s better than us?”
With a small sigh, Quinn shakes her head. “You’re an idiot,” she states. “Chicago can give her everything else she’s wanted. It has the stage and it’s an actual city
and it’s a place that you know
should be Rachel’s home.”
Noah scoffs. “She thought that about New York too and look at how that turned out.” Quinn slaps his cheek and his glare softens. “Sorry. That wasn’t fair.”
“No, it wasn’t.” Quinn lets out a breath. “She needs to do this… We can survive without her. We are fine
without her. God, I’d even go as far as to say that we’ve been good. Haven’t we been good these past few months?” He nods and she smiles a little bit before kissing him. “This’ll be okay. It’s like that saying.”
“Quinn, if you even say that shit, I’ll push you off the bed.” She laughs as he pulls her closer.
Their lives can not be described as shitty, at least not anymore.
He still works long fucking hours that make him wish he could spend all day sleeping. But ends have started meeting and then some and he’s realized that he needs to focus on the little things.
Like the fact that he has Quinn, who is not someone who tied him down or ruined his life, but instead the best person he’s ever fucking met. And he has Caroline, who is somehow a smart and great little kid despite having him as a dad.
Rachel sends postcards sporadically, and presents for birthdays and holidays but she doesn’t come back to Lima. It was hard at first (and even though Quinn put on a brave face, he knew that right after Rachel left, it tore her up inside) but now when he thinks about her, it’s okay. She’s happy in Chicago and Quinn’s heard from Rachel’s dads (they still don’t care for him too much and he can’t blame them) that she’s doing really well, is even back on stage. On one postcard a month or so back she wrote about her supporting role in a musical and some guy she’s started seeing who sounded a lot like the St. James kid.
He did not think this is where their lives would end up but he can’t find room to complain.