Chapter 2: The Glee Club
Quinn strode into the locker room after the first day of Cheerio try-outs with a thin layer of shiny sweat covering nearly every available inch of her skin, a dull throbbing weighing on each of her limbs, and a splitting headache that resulted from some over-eager clutz completely losing the beat and going for her cartwheel too soon, consequently kicking Quinn right in the ear.
Needless to say Coach Sue Sylvester gave the other girl her own earful; the harsh words combined with the use of a megaphone in a less-than enormous gym had the poor thing running out of the room in tears in under thirty seconds.
The hard woman in charge, clad in a red and white tracksuit, had terrified Quinn a bit at first, but when she gave the aspiring cheerleader a gruff, "You okay?" she knew that the coach at least had some semblance of natural human compassion. She nodded that yes, she was okay, and grasped tightly to the bit of hope she found when she saw what she was sure was a flash of approval in the woman's eye.
"What's your name, blondie?"
"Um, Quinn Fabray."
"Alright, Q. Let's see what you've got."
As she was bent over a bench, lacing up her sleek new tennis shoes, Santana walked behind her and gave her a playful nudge on the shoulder. "Hey Q, glad to see you still have your ear. I thought that girl's giant clown foot would've cleaved it clean off for sure."
Quinn let a wry grin find its way onto her lips. "Even without it I'd be able to hear the sarcasm in your voice."
Santana smirked, accepting the jab for what it was, and continued on her way with a wink and a small wave.
Quinn smiled to herself as she left the girls' locker room, freshly showered and changed. Her body officially hated her, and she knew she probably didn't smell like a field of ripe strawberries, but she was satisfied with the way her day had gone. It wasn't often that girls who got kicked in the head at Cheerios try-outs even stayed on their feet, let alone got themselves on Sue Sylvester's good side - it was usually the one who did the kicking - so she allowed herself to enjoy the scrap of pride she had earned.
She made her way through the deserted school in the direction of the parking lot, where her mother, Judy, was waiting in the family car to take her home.
Quinn had to do a double take when she passed her boyfriend standing in the doorway to the auditorium; he had a bag haphazardly dangling from one shoulder and was clearly eavesdropping on what looked like some kind of singing audition. She stopped, turned, and walked back towards him. She peered around his bulky form to see what about some girl singing her lungs out could possibly have him so engaged. She stilled just behind him; he hadn't noticed her.
It was the girl who had run into her yesterday morning. Quinn blinked as a small amount of surprise coursed its way through her.
She was really good. Actually, if Quinn was honest, the girl was knocking that song out of the park. Quinn remained motionless behind the frozen figure before her and found herself equally mesmerized by the performance. The short brunette ended with a big, drawn out final note. She raised her arms over her head with it and everything.
The music faded, and the small group watching from the rows of seats inside the auditorium clapped. Quinn snapped out of her reverie. She looked up and down the hall to make sure no one was around to have seen her, then rolled her eyes at herself. Everyone was gone for the day; everyone except for the (almost oafish) boy standing a few inches to her front. Speaking of which – "Finn!"
The young football player jumped about a mile high with a rather high pitched yelp and spun around to face the girl who surprised him with his hands poised as if he were about to karate chop her. He quickly realized who she was and let out his breath. "Oh, Quinn. You scared me." He smiled in that way of his, and Quinn took a second to remind herself that she loved that smile. It was one of the things that had made her want to date Finn in the first place.
"What are you doing?"
"What? Oh. Um, nothing?" he said, the statement coming out more like a question. He looked far too guilty for her liking. "Y'know, just… watching."
She lifted a single eyebrow and scrunched her lips to one side. "Watching what, exactly?" She knew it was wrong, but Quinn almost relished the way she could make Finn squirm. She'd always had the pants in their relationship, and that power was something she enjoyed having over him.
"Oh. Y'know, the, uh… Rachel Berry's trying out for glee club." He did his best to pass it off as something that could be said by anyone of football player status at McKinley and still sound normal, but he didn't quite succeed.
Inside the auditorium behind them, someone shouted an excited, "Go Mercedes!" as another girl took the stage and started singing about R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
"I'm sorry, what - Rachel who? How do you even know her? Why do you care if she's trying out for glee club?"
Panic filled his eyes. He was clearly intimidated by the glare Quinn fixed him with. "I - she's Puck's friend. I met her yesterday. I was just walking to the locker room to get ready for football try-outs and I heard singing from in there," he gestured toward the auditorium door, "so I stopped to listen for a minute."
"And why exactly is some stupid show choir audition of interest to you?"
Finn turned his eyes to the floor, pushed his hands into his pockets, and mumbled a response. Quinn didn't quite catch it over the sounds of the girl on stage, apparently named Mercedes, as she gave Aretha Franklin a run for her money.
Quinn blinked exaggeratedly and asked, "What was that?"
Finn shuffled his feet and avoided looking her in the eye. "Well... I was thinking about joining."
Quinn looked up at him, unable to accept what she had just been told. Had she heard right? Maybe this was some kind of badly thought out joke. He couldn't be serious, so there had to be some other explanation.
Glee club was the lowest of the low. The kids in the glee club were the ones the losers from the chess club and mathletes team picked on. Joining the glee club was basically guaranteeing yourself a slushie facial every single day for the entirety of your high school career.
Quinn wasted no time in relaying all of this to Finn.
He glanced back into the auditorium, where applause erupted briefly again. "I know, but… I like singing. And I'm good at it. We could join together! It'd be fun."
She paused, incredulous, before responding, "You are seriously deluded, you know that?"
"No, listen. It could work out. Glee is Tuesdays and Thursdays, and football is Monday, Wednesday, Friday. I think coach cut down on practices because he's given up all hope of us ever winning a game…" His face lit up with excitement, and Quinn had to close her eyes momentarily to retain the stony demeanor she needed in order to kill this latest idea. "And your Cheerios practices are mostly before school, right? And the ones after school aren't until later at night. Come on, I know you sing to yourself when you think no one can hear you. Your voice is great." He reached out and placed his hands on her arms.
Quinn put her hands on her hips and rolled her head back before she fixed Finn with her best glare. "You have got to be kidding me." She shrugged his hands off with a huff.
In truth, Quinn did think joining the glee club had the potential to be a lot of fun. She did enjoy singing, quite a bit. But she had to face facts. The kids who joined glee were the biggest jokes in the school. Quinn's older sister, Franny, had told her in no uncertain terms prior to her first day, that there were concrete boundaries between the social classes in high school, and you were sorted into your place the moment you crossed the threshold.
Upon first glance you were high society, royalty, or a lowly, untrimmed peasant; or you were one of the many in the middle who made no impression at all. The track she and Finn were on now, they were headed for the throne room in no time. The glee kids, they were the ones picking through the trash outside the castle. She shook her head at her boyfriend disbelievingly.
"Do you not understand what happens to people who are stupid enough to join glee? It's not a matter of just aligning schedules, okay? The order in this school would, would fall into chaos if either of us were a big enough dufus to try and cross that line."
"Okay! Okay, fine. I get it. I have to go get changed for try-outs. I'll see you later," he said, with a sad frown. He looked into the auditorium one last time before turning and stalking off in the direction of the boys' locker room.
Quinn sighed. She knew she'd have to make some sort of apology to Finn later for snapping at him. She leaned against the doorframe and looked on as the auditions continued. She knew she should have felt worse than she did about her hostility to her boyfriend. She watched as a brown haired boy with a rather high pitched voice got up to sing his heart out, and told herself she'd try to be a better girlfriend. She didn't have to be a bitch all the time.
She started to turn to leave, but glanced back when she heard another voice join that of the boy on stage. It was the girl. Rachel Berry. She had moved unnoticed to sit in the back when she left the stage. She was singing along quietly. Someone in the front yelled, "Yeah Kurt!" encouragingly, and wolf-whistled. Quinn was sure no one else could hear the voice that had softly joined in with the one on stage.
It was almost admirable. As much of a diva as the girl appeared to be when under the spotlight, Quinn could see that she wasn't singing now for attention. She wasn't singing to prove to anyone that she was the best. She was singing because she loved the music. She was singing because she couldn't not. Or whatever.
The song ended and Quinn watched the short girl hop up and all but skip forward to rejoin the group, chatting and laughing and generally being happy. Quinn found herself smiling along with them. It painted a pretty picture.
Apparently the teacher in charge of the show choir agreed, as he stood and addressed the collection of students. "Great job, guys, really. I am so impressed. And this, right now, this is what it's all about. The friendships you're forming, the laughs you'll all share. Glee, by its very definition, is all about opening yourself up to joy. I'll see you guys tomorrow."
There were a few short exclamations of, "Aw, Mr. Schue!" and everyone began collecting their things. Quinn started, realizing that they would all be headed in her direction.
She hitched her bag up on her shoulder and power-walked her way through the halls and out to her mother's car. Judy turned to her excitedly as Quinn jumped into the passenger seat and started firing questions about how the Cheerios try-outs went. "Yeah it was great, can you drive please?" Quinn looked behind her, praying no one had seen her. The rest of the would-be cheerleaders had long since headed home, and she was not interested in coming up with an excuse for her still being at school. She couldn't exactly tell people she and her boyfriend had been spying on the glee club auditions. Her mother gave her a curious look, but took it in stride and stepped on the gas.