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28 March 2013 @ 12:02 pm
fic: silently falling apart (1/8)  
Title: Silently Falling Apart (1/8)
Rating: NC-17 (eventually)
Pairing: Quinn/Santana
Prompts: Historical Time Period for Quinntana Week 2013
Summary: Quinn's life is forever changed when she enters Oberlin in the late 60's.
Disclaimer: I don't own them. If I did, they'd probably go at it like bunnies.
A/N: First and foremost, a big thank you to Laura and my girlfriend for pushing me to finish this. This fic is longer than the rest and is part of the reason I haven't updated Love Fool yet (which will be finished and soon, I promise.) It's a gradual progression in Quinn and Santana's relationship, especially given the period of time I'll be dealing with. It's also told entirely from Quinn's POV which means it'll deal a lot with what's going on with her. So, please be patient with me. Special thanks to gleek23 for the beta services. Enjoy!

September 1966

Her parents had fought the whole drive to Oberlin and now her mother stood by the car, practically sobbing about her youngest child leaving the nest. She pulled Quinn into a tight hug and the girl sent her father a panicked look. Chuckling, Russell Fabray set his hands on his wife’s shoulders and tugged. “Now, now Judy, there’s no need to make a scene. Quinn will be home for Thanksgiving in no time. Isn’t that right, Quinnie?” Her father looked over at her with a wink and Quinn smiled.

“Right Mother, I’ll be home in a few short weeks. You needn’t be so worried. I’m sure I’ll be bored out of my mind in a matter of hours. Thank Heavens I have Finn to write to.” Quinn’s smile faltered at the mention of her boyfriend. Finn had been gone for three months, but he wasn’t overseas just yet. No, he was stationed someplace in Nebraska and chronically complained about not being someplace warmer. She wished he were here with her now because her nerves were all jumbled and he always made her feel so calm, unlike her parents.

In fact, Quinn was kind of anxious for them to leave. She’d never been on her own before, but there was an odd sense of freedom that had started to settle over her, one that spoke of new adventures and an exciting life. So, with one last kiss pressed to her mother’s pale cheek and hug for her father, Quinn lifted her two suitcases and headed towards her dorm.

The campus was huge, a lot bigger than her high school, and the weather was unseasonably warm even for September. Quinn was starting to regret the decision to wear her new overcoat instead of packing it, but her mother had insisted. Luckily her building wasn’t very far and there were bright balloons and a welcome banner outside.
Girls close to her age milled about outside with their parents and Quinn was happy her parents had left. She managed to get her suitcases inside of the door and paused at the desk.

“Name?” A girl with curly red hair and unfortunate pale skin asked.

“Um, Quinn Fabray,” the blonde replied, clearing her throat. She glanced at the girl’s name tag and saw that she was called “Betty.” Quinn snottily thought it was a name that suited her. She’d never once met a Betty that she liked.

“Oh there you are,” Betty answered, handing Quinn a key with a giant number seven and a letter “B” on it. “You live on the second floor, ‘B’ side in number seven. Think you can remember that?”

Quinn forced herself to smile brightly. “I have no problems with my memory. I managed to make it to college, haven’t I?”

Betty’s smile turned tight and she looked back down at her paper. “Good. Go on then.”

Girls moved up and down the stairs quickly as Quinn made her way down the hall to room number seven. There was a yellow star cut out of construction paper on the door and the name “Rachel” was handwritten on it. It seemed her roommate was already there.

Quinn dropped the bag in her right hand and used the key Betty had given her to open the door. She stepped inside, immediately moving to the bed on the right because it was the only free space available.

Hazel eyes scanned the mess of boxes and personal effects strewn about. She and Frannie had shared a room before Frannie had married Bill. So, Quinn wasn’t a stranger to sharing. She’d just never imagined her roommate wouldn’t be...well...neat.

“Oh!” A voice exclaimed, causing Quinn to glance over to the open closet doors. A girl shorter than herself with shiny dark brown hair and olive skin emerged. She was wearing a dark cardigan over a white blouse and a tartan skirt. Her knee highs were pristine white and she had worn saddle shoes. “Hi! You’re my roommate. I’m sorry for the mess, but I thought I’d have more time to unpack. You must think me uncouth.”

The blonde stood and shed her jacket, the warmth finally getting to her. She wasn’t certain what to make of this new person. She already talked more than Quinn cared for and she was messy. “Yes well, I’m here now.”

A blush crept the girl’s face and she nodded, taking a step forward. “I’m Rachel Berry.” She stuck out her hand and looked at Quinn expectantly.

“I’m Quinn Fabray,” the blonde replied, taking the proffered hand. She looked around at the girl’s mess again and then back at the girl.

“Oh yes, if you will just give me a moment, I will have all of this out of your way. Then you can bring in your things.” Rachel kicked at one of the boxes with her foot, pushing it out of the way.

Quinn turned back to the two suitcases. “Those are my things.” She hadn’t seen the point in packing everything up when it was much safer at her home.

Rachel’s dark eyes followed the same path and she looked surprised. “Is that all you brought? Doesn’t seem like much.”

“Well, I have plenty of clothing and there’s a laundry facility. Plus my two favorite books. What more do I need?” Quinn countered, crossing her arms.

“I don’t know. What about pictures and posters and things that remind you of home?” Rachel didn’t seem intimidated by the question or Quinn herself, something the blonde was not used to at all.

Quinn rolled her eyes and moved back to her bed. She lifted her suitcase onto it and started to unpack. “I have pictures with me, but I have to admit I don’t watch many television programs and my things will always remind me of home. So, why should I bring clutter?”

Rachel’s quick answers seemed to have petered out and as Quinn turned to her with a smirk. The other girl was standing on her bed, taping a huge poster of a woman Quinn thought looked vaguely familiar.

“What in Heaven’s name is that?” Quinn asked, mildly startled by the sheer size of it.

The brunette’s eyes grew wide and her mouth fell open. “It’s Barbra Streisand. How can you even ask such a question?”

---

October 1966

It wasn’t hard to settle into life at university Quinn found. It had been a culture shock, being surrounded by so many different people. Women and men of all races and backgrounds. Her own roommate was Jewish, something her mother and father found scandalous. She’d had to promise her mother she was indeed still attending services at the campus chapel during their weekly phone calls.

“Quinn!” The sound of her voice shouted across the room caused her to look up. She watched a slightly disheveled Rachel running, towards the table, bumping into a group of boys that’d been standing around passing a tiny ball between them with their feet and bodies. She paused a moment to apologize, Quinn had no doubt, and then made her way over to the table where her blonde roommate sat. “I’m sorry I’m so late. Professor Anders kept us longer than anticipated. She was teaching us the art of movement.” Rachel shed her woolen coat, placing it on the seat she was standing behind and then pulled out the chair, plopping down.

Quinn often wondered how Rachel could be so wild. Quinn and her sister had never been permitted to run indoors and their hair was to be perfectly groomed and their clothing in pristine condition. Years of charm school had prepared Quinn to be the perfect wife and mother. She wondered at what kind of mother Rachel had. Perhaps she found Rachel as exasperating as Quinn did at times.

“It’s okay, Rachel. Just, do you have to shout my name across the room like that? And didn’t anyone ever teach you not to run indoors?” Quinn hissed, looking around to see if anyone had noticed them.

Rachel frowned a little, some of the joy leaving her expression. “Gee Quinn, I didn’t mean anything by it. I was just excited to see that you hadn’t left without me.” She brushed her hair back from her face and sat up straight.

“Yes, but proper young ladies do not shout across the room. They certainly don’t run indoors.” Really, Rachel should know these things by now. They were practically mature women.

“No offense, Quinn, but I think you’re idea of a proper woman is quite boring. Professor Anders says to truly act, we must become who we are. We can’t let society tell us who we are meant to be. We should decide for ourselves,” Rachel countered in a defensive manner.

Quinn made a face. She knew that Oberlin was a very liberal school, but surely women didn’t really believe that. They had a role to play in life. Wife and mother and for those women who couldn’t be either, a workforce job as a secretary or librarian. “She sounds like one of those women my mother and the ladies from her bridge game talk about. The ones that don’t wear bras or shave.”

Rachel shook her head. “Professor Anders isn’t like that at all. She’s just spirited. That’s what my father calls it. You know, it’s okay to have different ideas, Quinn. It’s what makes us special.”

“Hey Quinn,” the voice interrupted her before she had a chance to respond to Rachel. She glanced up and smiled when she saw a blond boy with his hands shoved into his pockets.

“Hi Sam,” she greeted with a bright smile. Sam Evans was in her English class. He wasn’t very good as far as she could tell, but he sat close to her any time he could and smiled whenever they passed each other on campus. He was very handsome, even if his hair was a tad too long and he wore the loose shirts of the other guys on campus.
“A few friends and I are going to go play guitars out on the quad. I was wondering if you’d like to join us.” He glanced over at Rachel as if noticing her sitting there as well. “Oh you can come too. The more the merrier.”

Rachel smiled shyly at that, ducking her head as she tucked her hair behind her ear. Quinn didn’t know what to make of that, but she didn’t dwell on the action. “That’s a really sweet offer, Sam, but I just don’t have the time. I have to finish four different chapters for my classes. I was planning to head back right after dinner.”

Sam looked disappointed, but he nodded all the same. “Perhaps some other time,” he said to both of them, quickly turning on his heels and walking away.

“You’re so lucky,” Rachel bemoaned, leaning on her hand as she watched Sam walk off with his friends. .

“I am? What’s got you so blue all of a sudden?” Quinn asked, taking a bit of her apple.

Rachel sighed and shifted in her seat. “You have a handsome guy off in some exotic place and the guys here can’t keep their eyes off of you.” She looked down at herself. “Standing next to you, I can’t compete.”

“It’s not a competition. My mother said some girls are just late bloomers. Of course, I’m sure Professor Anders would disagree, but if you insist on believing the foolishness she’s feeding you then you should take your own advice. You’re destined to be the next Barbra Streisand, right? That’s what you’re always telling me.” Quinn wasn’t sure what to make of Rachel’s aspirations to be an actress, but the girl seemed determined enough. “Though I can assure you she does not shout across the room nor run inside. I’m also certain she isn’t waiting around on a Friday night. She can have any leading man she wants.” The blonde actually had no idea if that was true, but it seemed to get Rachel out of her rut. “So how does she get a guy she likes to notice her?”

“You’re right! Quinn, you’re the best friend a girl could have. I just have to be like Barbra.” Rachel sat her hands down on the table and looked up at the blonde.

Quinn didn’t think that was quite what she’d said, but she was content for the topic of conversation to be over. She turned back to her to her tray and cut into her salisbury steak. It wasn’t as good as her mother’s, but it was pretty good.

Rachel eventually stood and retrieved her own dinner. She returned moments later with her kosher meal that she insisted on every night. Quinn wasn’t really certain what made a meal kosher or not kosher, but she also wasn’t Jewish. So, she didn’t think she needed to worry. The meals never looked all that appetizing anyway. “So, there’s a new club on campus. It’s supposed to be for women only. Emily Sabrego from my acting class said it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Quinn hadn’t been expecting Rachel to speak. Usually supper time was the only part of the day in which she didn’t talk a mile a minute. “Well, if you want to go Rachel, I don’t see why you shouldn’t.” The blonde replied primly, more out of habit than anything else, scooped applesauce onto her spoon and brought it to her lips. The room was buzzing with people and she glanced around distractedly.

Rachel nodded slowly and let out a breath. “I was thinking we could maybe join together. We’re basically each other’s only friends and it would be good to get out and meet people. Be like Barbra.”

Quinn had a feeling those words were going to haunt her. “Barbra isn’t my inspiration,” she countered, feeling slight apprehension at the growing determination on Rachel’s face.

“Barbra is everyone’s inspiration, Quinn.”

---

”Is THAT ALL?”

The crowd of some twenty women cheered as a woman wearing jeans that flared out drastically at the bottom and a long flowing white blouse spoke loudly. Her arms moved excitedly and her blonde hair was curly and wild.

“How long will we be content to not be seen as equals just because God put us in these beautiful bodies? Are we not as capable as men?”

“YES!” The girls shouted.

“While our men are off fighting the white man’s war, who fills in their jobs? Who takes care of their homes? We do!” There was another round of applause and Quinn had to fight back rolling her eyes. “Women have stepped up for years and do they thank us? Do they pay us the same wages? Do they give us equal rights?” The blonde questioned, her eyes sweeping the room of women.

“NO!”

Quinn glanced over with wide eyes as Rachel chimed in with the rest of the girls. Surely her roommate didn’t believe this rubbish. A woman’s place was at home with the children. Quinn had been taught that her whole life. The only acceptable reasons for women to be in the workplace were spinsterhood and being a widow.

She flicked at an invisible piece of lint on her skirt and bit back her disdain. These women were delusional. She turned over the flyer she held in her hand and frowned. This was nothing more than propaganda meant to attack strong family values. She needed to leave. This wasn’t the place for her. She bent down to retrieve her books, tuning out the rest of what was being said. She didn’t need to hear anymore.

“You’re going?” Rachel asked, her dark eyes wide in surprise. She touched Quinn’s arm as if she meant to make her stay, but Quinn brushed her off.

“I am and so should you before they...brainwash you,” Quinn whispered loudly, throwing her hands up in the air. Her mary janes scuffed the floor as she moved to stand, nearly tripping over a girl sitting nearby.

Rachel looked affronted. There was a protest in her eyes even before she began to speak. “This isn’t brainwashing. This is...it’s truth, Quinn. It’s what society, which is run primarily by men, I might add, doesn’t want us to know. Don’t you want to know the truth?”

Quinn rolled her eyes and stood. She looked down at Rachel, her disappointment and disapproval clear on her face. “This isn’t truth, Rachel. This is...it’s just blatant disrespect. It’s an attack against God and families. If God wanted these things for us, he wouldn’t have made marriage!”

“Yes, well God made man and man is imperfect. You don’t think that maybe man got this part wrong? As far as I knew, God made both man and woman in His image. If God thinks we’re equal, don’t you think we should too?” Rachel’s eyes were bright, glittering with anger.

“There is just no reasoning with you is there, Rachel Berry? You can stay if you want, but I am leaving.” Quinn didn’t like the way Rachel’s words made her mind race with questions she had no answers for. She huffed, shrugging into her jacket and headed towards the door.

A book appeared before her and she skidded to a stop looking down at it. She glanced to her left and saw and girl with hair as dark as Rachel but skin pale as the moonlight. Her eyes were an unusual shade of gray and Quinn found herself unable to look anywhere else. “Sister, take this book. It will change your life. No longer will you be cast in the shadows of night. Here you will find truth in the sun.”

Quinn took the proffered book and looked down at it. It had a simple red cover, it’s title embossed gold letters. The Feminine Mystique. It seemed strange and heavy in her hand, and she glanced back up at the girl. She smiled reassuringly and Quinn mumbled a quick word of thanks before rushing off.

---

November 1966


Freud’s mother was the pretty, docile bride of a man twice her age; his father ruled the family with an autocratic authority traditional in Jewish families during those centuries of persecution when the fathers were seldom able to establish authority in the outside world. His mother adored the young Sigmund, her first son, and thought him mystically destined for greatness; she seemed to exist only to gratify his every wish. His own memories of the sexual jealousy he felt for his father, whose wishes she also gratified, were the basis of his theory of the Oedipus complex. With his wife, as with his mother and sisters, his needs, his desires, his wishes, were the sun around which the household revolved. When the noise of his sisters’ practising the piano interrupted his studies, ‘the piano disappeared,’ Anna Freud recalled years later, ‘and with it all opportunities for his sisters to become musicians.’

Freud did not see this attitude as a problem, or cause for any problem, in women. It was woman’s nature to be ruled by man and her sickness to envy him. Freud’s letters to Martha, his future wife, written during the four years of their engagement (1882-6) have the fond, patronising sound of Torvald in A Doll’s House, scolding Nora for her pretenses at being human. Freud was beginning to probe the secrets of the human brain in the laboratory at Vienna; Martha was to wait, his ‘sweet child’, in her mother’s custody for four years, until he could come and fetch her. From these letters one can see that to him her identity was defined as child-housewife, even when she was no longer a child and not yet a housewife.


Quinn looked up from the book, her mind reeling with thoughts of her own household. Her mother’s sole purpose in life was to please her father. She only made meals that he enjoyed and if she tried something new, and he didn’t like it, she never made it again. She wanted to cut her hair and he told her no. So she didn’t. Frannie and Quinn were also expected to cater to their father. He had to approve of every single aspect of their lives. Quinn’s mind screamed ”why?”

The only answer she could come up with was “because that’s how things were supposed to be.”

---

Quinn felt like she was walking around with her head in the clouds for weeks. She still went to classes dutifully and got good grades on her tests, but she was beginning to wonder why. The next time there was a rally on campus, (she knew because of Rachel’s calendar that hung up across the room) she came in late and stood at the very back. Only this time she listened, taking to heart what the enthusiastic girl on stage said.

Did all she want for her life to reflect when she died was that she was a good wife and mother?

---

“You can’t hurry love, no you just have to wait. They say love don’t come easy. It’s a game of give and take.”

Quinn sat her book aside and regarded her roommate as she had been all week. She wondered what Rachel’s childhood had been like. What was her mother like? It was strange because Rachel was open about everything else, but she never spoke about home outside of mentioning her father and an uncle occasionally.

The girl was spinning around and dancing, singing into a hairbrush as she was prone to do. Though, Quinn didn’t mind because Rachel’s voice was one of the best that Quinn had ever heard. She also really loved this song. “Negro music” was banned from her house, but it was one of the few rules her mother actually disobeyed. When her father was at work or out playing golf with his colleagues, Judy would crank up the Supremes or any number of the other Motown artists and she and the girls would sing along.

But this wasn’t the time for singing and Quinn cleared her throat, tilting her head to the side. “Rachel?” She said loud enough to be heard over the music. The girl whipped around and looked at her, a sheepish grin on her face.

“I’m sorry, Quinn. Did I disturb your reading? My father says sometimes I’m up in the stars when I sing. I guess that’s true.” Rachel rushed to the radio and turned it down, holding up her hand in apology.

“No, no, it’s not that. I was just wondering...why you never talk about your mother.” Quinn shifted on her bed and recrossed her legs at the ankle. Her right bobby sock slid down, but she didn’t bother with it.

A strange expression crossed the brunette’s usually open expression and she sat down on her bed. She fiddled with her hands nervously, something Quinn was also not used to seeing. It piqued her interest. “I suppose,” Rachel started, still not looking at the blonde. “I suppose it’s because I never knew my mother. She died while in childbirth with me.”

Quinn held in her gasp. She knew those types of things happened, but she’d never known anyone personally. “I’m so sorry, Rachel. Do you know what happened?”

Rachel nodded and looked away towards the window. It was just starting to get dark and she shivered as if she were outside. “They-they wouldn’t let my father in the hospital. It was whites only and he is a colored man. So even though she was in labor and even though I was practically coming out of her, they had to drive thirty minutes across town to the colored hospital.” The girl paused and took a shuddered breath. “There was an infection and the colored hospitals they didn’t...they didn’t have the same sorts of medicines and equipment that other hospitals do.”

Nodding, Quinn looked down at her lap. She’d never realized Rachel was colored. She’d just thought it was her Jewish complexion. Her father had always warned her against getting too close to colored people, but she couldn’t look at Rachel and see any differences between them besides their parentage.

“My mother was a beautiful singer. She wanted to be an actress just like me, but she fell in love and well...it’s funny how life works out, you know?” Rachel said softly.

Quinn glanced over at the picture beside Rachel’s bed. She’d always assumed the handsome man with the brown skin was just another one of the actors Rachel liked, but now she could see the resemblance. “Is that your father?” She asked, standing and moving towards Rachel’s pictures. She had them lined up on a shelf.

Rachel gave her a tearful smile and nodded. “Yes, he’s handsome isn’t he?”

He was handsome indeed, Quinn agreed. She picked up a few other pictures and lingered on the one of her father and another man leaning in towards one another. The man was white and taller. He kind of looked like Rachel as well, but it was somehow different. “Who is this man with your father, Rachel?”

There was another strange look on Rachel’s face, a fearful one that gave Quinn pause. “That’s my father’s...companion, Uncle Hiram. He’s my mother’s brother and he came to live with us when I was two-years-old. He was only supposed to stay until I was old enough to go to school, but he and Daddy fell in love.”

Quinn’s eyes went impossibly wide and she looked down at Rachel. “In love? Your father is a...he’s one of those men?” She hastily sat the picture down and moved away from Rachel, putting some distance between them.

She could see the defiant light in Rachel’s eyes was back and she folded her arms. “My father said love is love. That love is never wrong.”

“The Bible said that man shall not lay with man as he does a woman,” Quinn quoted, feeling sick to her stomach at just the idea of it. “God said that sort of love is...it’s an abomination.”

Rachel stood and held her fists down at her sides. “The Bible also said that it is okay to sell your daughter into slavery and that it’s not okay to grow two crops in the same fields. And the last time I checked, you eat bacon nearly everyday, Quinn. That is also an abomination. So is mixing meat and dairy. Do not throw my people’s laws in my face.” She spun on the heels of her saddle shoes and stormed out of the room.

Quinn watched after her, any argument she had dying in the her throat.

---

Thanksgiving was always a big affair at the Fabray house. Relatives from all over Ohio came to eat and Quinn and her mother and sister would spend all day in the kitchen while her father sat in his chair and spoke to the men in her family. This year that fact upset Quinn.

Why did her father get to sit around while the women were expected to make a grand dinner? This year, Frannie’s husband was also in attendance and she bristled at the way her sister practically babied him. He never had to lift a single finger, not even to get his own scotch. Would this be like that when Quinn married Finn? He was off fighting in the war now. So, his letters had all but stopped in the last few weeks.

It was just as well because her feelings were a jumbled mess most of the time and she didn’t know how to talk to him about them. He wouldn’t understand. He’d tell her she was being silly the way her mother had when she’d questioned why she wouldn’t cut her hair simply because her father wouldn’t like it.

Her family members politely asked her about college, but she knew they weren’t interested. They expected she would be in college until Finn returned from the war. They thought he was brave and that she would be lucky when he was home and they were married. College would be just a memory of something she did to pass the time, like knitting a blanket or learning how to make a new souffle.

All of those expectations that Quinn had even once had for herself now angered her and she stopped listening once they’d started poking at Frannie about having children. The turkey was brought to the table and her father made a big speech about carving it. Quinn had heard the speech nearly every year of her life. So, she didn’t bother listening to that either. There was just one thought that seemed to plague her mind.

Who carved the turkey at Rachel’s house?

---

December 1966

December brought more snow than November and though they were cozy inside, the radiator did nothing to thaw the iciness of Rachel demeanor. She was cordial to Quinn, almost too polite, the very definition of a proper young lady. And Quinn hated it.

She missed Rachel’s incessant chatter and singing. Her random thoughts on philosophical dilemmas and which Beatle Quinn thought was the dreamiest (Rachel said John. Quinn liked Paul). She missed having someone to share meals with. Sure she’d started dining with her new friends, but dinner had kind of always been her and Rachel’s. And now the girl sat with her theater friends and didn’t come back to the dorms until curfew, where she promptly went to sleep with a brusque “goodnight” and her back to the other side of the room.

She missed her friend and with all of the confusing thoughts swirling around her brain, she missed having someone to share ideas with. Rachel, she had no doubt, would really understand how much she felt like she was changing, but Rachel wasn’t speaking to her.

Quinn felt terrible and she didn’t know how fix it. She wondered if a simple apology would do the trick. All of the books she’d ever read about proper decorum said that a sincere, heartfelt apology for one’s social faux pas would do the trick.

She’d just never been particularly good at apologizing.

---

Finals forced Rachel to remain in their room to study. She hated the quiet of the library she’d once said and every other place was far too distracting. Quinn had no such problem, but she decided she’d had enough of the silence.

The brunette lay on her stomach on her pink comforter, twirling her pen. She was humming quietly to the song on the radio and everytime Quinn would shift, her shoulders would stiffen. Quinn sighed and looked back down at her science book.

“What are you studying?” She inquired casually.

Rachel’s pen froze, but she didn’t look over. “Math.”

“Is that a new sweater?”

“No,” Rachel replied evenly.

“Who’s the boy you’ve been sitting with everyday at lunch?”

“His name is Kurt.” The other girl rolled to a sitting position and frowned when she looked over at Quinn. “Is there something you really need, Quinn? I’m trying to study for a very important test.”

The blonde sighed. Rachel wasn’t going to make this easy. “I just-” The words lodged in her throat, but she needed to force them out. “I just wanted to say that I’m sorry I said those awful things to you before break. I feel just terrible about it.”

Curious brown eyes met hers, but her expression was unreadable. “Do you still think my father is loathsome?”

It was a test. Quinn knew it was and something in her fought to say that she did still think it was wrong. But she’d thought about it a lot over the last few weeks and she’d even read a few books about it in the library late one night when no one else was around. It had made her think, just like everything else lately. Maybe her parents had been completely wrong. Maybe they’d lied to her all along. “No, I don’t.”

Rachel seemed relieved almost and she smiled a little, rising her feet. Her shoes squeaked the floor as she crossed the room and she hugged Quinn tightly. “Apology accepted. I was starting to believe I’d been wrong about us being lifelong friends.”

Quinn did her best not to stiffen at the embrace. It wasn’t that she didn’t welcome it. She just struggled a lot with physical contact. She patted Rachel’s back lightly and then pulled away. She felt like a burden had been lifted and she was grateful.

“Now, are you going to tell me about the new guy in your life?” Quinn had been admittedly curious about the boy with the pale skin and perfect hair. “I’ve been dying to ask about your new boyfriend.”

Her roommate looked a little amused and shrugged her shoulders. “Kurt’s not my boyfriend, Quinn. He’d very much like a boyfriend of his own someday.”

Blinking, Quinn digested the information. “Oh...well please tell him I wish him luck on his endeavor.”

---

Christmas was a lot like Thanksgiving for Quinn. She and Rachel had exchanged addresses so that they could write each other over the break, but Quinn missed her and their tiny room almost as soon as she stepped into the foyer of her home.

All of the traditions that were once her favorite part of the season now made her question how they even came about in the first place. Did her mother really enjoy having to wrap all of the presents by herself. And why did she have to cancel her bridge game just because her father didn’t wish to have company that evening?

Finn’s letter arrived her second day home. He wished her a Merry Christmas and sent her a picture of flower he’d bought from a local merchant. He spoke of Vietnam being unlike any other place they’d ever seen and said that he loved her and thought of her everyday. The last part made Quinn feel guilty. She missed him terribly, but she’d been thinking about him less and less as she made new friends and was seeing the real truth for the first time. It was starting to feel more and more like Finn didn’t have a place in her new world.

When her father made a joke during Christmas dinner about women being dumber than men, Quinn stood up and left the table.

---

February 1966

Sam asked Quinn out for Valentine’s Day. It wasn’t like she hadn’t seen it coming. She knew when a boy liked her. She just had never thought of her answer.

She gave him a sympathetic smile and took a deep breath. “I’m sorry, Sam. I have a boyfriend.” He took it well and said he understood. She was grateful he wasn’t upset, but she felt something strange in the pit of her stomach. When had those words stopped feeling true?
 
 
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