|The Stars in the Night Sky
Author: erinsgirl PM
It was never going to be a calm, quiet Christmas in the St James household.Rated: Fiction T - English - Family/Spiritual - Rachel B. & Jesse sJ. - Words: 7,112 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 16 - Follows: 5 - Published: 12-24-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7668544
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Authors Note: Obviously I don't own anything.
This story started out as a trip from New York to Washington DC with a stop-over in Boston. Instead it seems to have a hopped a plane to Australia, taken a tour around Europe and somehow ended up in Hong Kong. i.e it ended up in a completely different place than it started!
I know it kind of jumps all over the place but I can't figure out if I hate it or like it so I decided to post it and let you guys figure it out.
This is an extremely belated birthday/ Christmas present to Bruised Smile and Northstar who's recent submissions are responsible for sparking this idea and to Cris who is responsible for me writing at all.
Merry Christmas/ Happy Holidays everyone!
Rachel snuggled deeper into the warmth of the blankets and hugged her pillow tighter. It was the first time in almost a week she had gotten a full night's sleep and she intended to let it last as long as possible. She didn't have a rehearsal or a meeting, there was no appointment or goal that had been set that she needed to accomplish. Instead she could just let her tired body relax. It was something she didn't normally do but for once she was going to indulge in it.
A slight breeze danced across her neck. She groaned slightly but merely burrowed deeper into the warm cocoon of the quilt refusing to relinquish her slumber. The air whispered along her skin once more and Rachel let out a cry of frustration, "go away you stupid breeze." She was still more asleep than awake and that fact had diminished her usually extensive vocabulary slightly-"it is entirely too early for you to be drafting in here waking stars who are trying to sleep"-but only slightly.
The air's response came in the form of a low chuckle.
'Great', Rachel thought, 'now the wind's laughing at me.' 'Except', her drowsy mind noted, 'since when does the air actually laugh?' It had been a familiar one too. One that she would have recognized anywhere had she been fully conscious and not still half-dead to the world. She frowned and roused herself just enough to take in her surroundings. She rolled over and moaned when she saw her husband grinning at her mischievously.
"Go away Jesse. It's early and I'm having too good a dream about you to be disturbed."
Jesse just laughed again. She shifted back to her original position only for him to follow her. He pulled her close and placed a kiss on her bare shoulder. "C'mon Rach, is the dream me really more superior to the actual me." "Yes", she retorted instantly. "He's a lot more considerate than you. He lets me sleep!"
Jesse apparently was in no mood to follow her directive and forced her onto her back. He rested on arm on either side of her head and leaned over her with a playful frown. "There are so many other things we could be doing right now besides sleeping. Things that are vastly enhanced and much more sensational and sensual awake than in a reverie." He kissed his way up her neck and nuzzled the curve where her neck met her jaw. He whispered into her ear. "I could show you things that would outshine, surpass and excel anything a second-rate fantasy could do."
His companion rolled her eyes. "Trust you to need to prove your better than even an imaginary version of you." Jesse just smirked at her and nipped at her earlobe. Rachel had been looking at the ceiling during all this but her gaze snapped to her spouse as something occurred to her. She sat up straight in an instant forcing Jesse to do the same to avoid her crashing into him. Crossing her arms over her chest she glowered at him. "Did you just call my imagination second-rate!"
Jesse arranged his features in a contrite expression. "There is absolutely nothing second-rate about you my beautiful," he kissed her jaw, "intelligent," and started kissing his way down her neck, "gifted, sexy, kind, creative, amazing, loving wife." His lips had reached her throat and his fingers were tracing her ribs. Rachel, however, felt the full force of the anger she had been feeling for the better part of a week and pushed him away.
"I'm not having sex with you now," she told him firmly. "I'm furious with you for leaving like you did. You gave me no warning and then you take off for five whole days just like that. On my birthday!" "Technically it was after midnight so it was the day after your birthday," Jesse corrected. "THAT'S NOT THE POINT," Rachel fumed.
Jesse let out a sigh. "I'm sorry Rach, I really am. I had to go on this publicity tour for the movie you know that. I put it off as long as I could so I would be here for your party. I would have told you earlier but I didn't want to upset you and spoil your mood for your birthday. I came back as soon as I could. I sent you all those wonderful gifts for Hanukkah and I called at least twice a day." He wrapped his arms around her and brushed his forehead against hers, conveying penitence in his entire demeanor. "Forgive me?"
Any woman who happened to be in that spacious apartment, who happened to be in that opulent bedroom - hell any woman who happened to be within aural and visual range of a fully clothed Jesse St James, let alone a naked one - and who saw and heard his apology would have fallen to their knees begging for his forgiveness instead. There wasn't any one, male or female, who would be able to resist that kind of tone. Any one who wasn't his tenacious lover that is.
"Why should I?"
"It's Christmas Eve. Where's your holiday spirit? Besides I'm your handsome, clever, witty, brilliant, charming, talented husband who absolutely adores you and who you vowed to love, honor and obey as long as you lived?"
"Okay, let's get a few things straight," Rachel demanded hotly, pulling herself away from him, crossing her arms over her chest and glaring at him. "Firstly, I never promised to obey you!" "True," Jesse agreed, "you don't obey anyone. It's one of the more frustratingly appealing qualities of yours that made me fall for you. If you had actually agreed to that I would have had to stop the ceremony. On the basis you weren't the woman I was planning to marry if you were willing to abide by someone else's command of course. It would have completely exposed the fact that my bride was a robotic imposter."
"Secondly," she continued on as if there had been no interruption. He had only said that to get a reaction out of her, "you took the same oath and yet you're refusing to honor my need for beauty rest." "You could be sleep-derived for the rest of your life and you would still be the most exquisite girl in the entire universe".
"Thirdly," Rachel said, her scowl deepening, he was just being deliberately aggravating now, "Hanukkah is over. Moreover, you're not the least bit sorry! I refuse to pander to your libido just because you happen to show up the night before Christmas Eve. A holiday I don't even celebrate I might add!"
"You seemed perfectly happy to see me last night," Jesse observed with a smirk. "In fact you were downright ecstatic. You were perfectly willing to 'pander to my libido' then and your own as well!"
Rachel hurled her pillow at him and pulled herself from the bed and his embrace with a strangled scream of frustration. She grabbed the closest article of clothing she could reach, which happened to be his shirt and tugged it on. Whirling around so fast on the thick, plush carpet that her dark locks swirled back into her face she glared at her partner.
"I'm sorry I couldn't satisfy you then! If all you want is sex whenever you feel like it then you can go straight back to the bimbos you were busy cavorting with during the week. I actually have a life and interests and responsibilities that don't center around you! If you can't handle that you are welcome to leave but don't sit there pretending otherwise. If you want out of this marriage at least have the decency to tell me to my face!" She finished her speech by stalking into the large ensuite bathroom and slamming the door behind her.
"And then he had the nerve to suggest that I was being unreasonable. How dare he," Rachel fumed to her best friend. "He said I was being overdramatic and that there was obviously something else wrong. After I had already explained what was wrong! Who does he think he is! I told him there was nothing else, threw my juice at him and left."
"You threw your drink at him and he thought you were being overdramatic and unreasonable. I can't imagine why", the sarcasm in Kurt's voice has clear even over the phone.
"You agree with him!" Rachel demanded stung.
When she had come out of the bathroom, Jesse had ambushed her. He had wanted to have a calm rational discussion over the fact that she had, in his opinion, clearly overreacted. Rachel considered it an attack, had told him as much, threw the orange juice he had offered at his head and had stormed out of the apartment despite the sub-artic temperatures. She had walked along until she found a vegan friendly coffee shop, sat down and called Kurt to report to him that her marriage was over.
"I'm not agreeing with anyone but you have to admit that that was extreme even for you," Kurt commented. Rachel bristled, annoyed at Kurt's tone. "I can't believe this! My husband's cheating on me or at the very least leaving me and not even my best friend is on my side. You can't muster up even the slightest sympathy for the fact that I'll be divorced before I'm twenty-five! The press will have a field day, I'll get the blame of course and that will be the end of my career. No one will ever hire me again because of Jesse's influence. I'll end up as a homeless lonely drunk, with an addiction to prescription medication and a fondness for stray cats. Some random person will find me dead before age thirty. I'll remain an unknown and the worst of it is my talent will tragically never reach all those people in the world who have yet to witness my greatness. I've always idolized the greats before me but I never wanted to emulate the personal lives of most of them!
Kurt sighed and when he spoke again his tone was one of long-sufferance and weary affection. "First of all Rachel, you've already won a Tony. You are a well-respected Broadway star. Your career is not going to go down in flames any time soon. Secondly if your marriage was in trouble every time you and Jesse had an argument you'd have to move a relationship therapist into your spare bedroom! He's not going to leave you Rachel. I've never been the guy's biggest fan but even I know that he absolutely adores you. Jesse's many things but he isn't a cheater especially one that would sneak around behind your back with every cheap wannabe that came along. He knows they don't hold a candle to you."
Rachel calmed slightly at Kurt's words but she still wasn't convinced. "When did you start defending him?" she asked her voice small. She was going to lose her husband, was she going to lose her best friend too?
"I'm not," Kurt said patiently, "so don't even think about replacing me as your best friend because who else are you going to get? Blaine and Puck might both love you as a sister but Blaine gets scared when you get angry and Puck might be willing to get into a fight with Jesse over you but he's not going to watch a Judy Garland marathon. You're stuck with me.
"I started trying not to hate Jesse when you guys started getting serious again. When you two got engaged I figured I should at least tolerate the man my best friend was marrying. Time and exposure has caused me to develop a somewhat positive attitude to him.
"Rachel seriously why are you so sure it's over. He's not going to leave you because he wants to be with someone else or because he's gotten bored playing happily ever after with you."
"There are other reasons for him to want to leave," Rachel said softly as the situation rose to the front of her mind.
"Well from what you said Jesse isn't aware of any of them", he snapped before pausing for a moment. When he spoke again his voice held a gentle urgency. "Jesse's right isn't he. There is something else that's actually bothering you isn't there?"
Rachel tensed. She loved Kurt but she couldn't say it out loud. Not now. Not yet. He was not taking no for an answer though and tried again. "This isn't like you. You always say what's bothering you."
A woman passed by the table, her over-powering perfume causing Rachel to feel queasy. The smell and the conversation had taken their toll on her before she could stop them. She needed to get away.
"I have to go Kurt"
"Rachel talk to me. Whatever it is it'll be alright. We can"-
"Merry Christmas Kurt." She hung up the phone and once more braved the winter elements.
Jesse was fairly certain he was confused. It was not something he was used to experiencing so he couldn't confirm his suspicions but he was fairly certain what he was feeling was confusion. Rachel's outburst that morning had left him perplexed.
Something was wrong. Rachel could deny it all she wanted but Jesse knew it was true. She had been upset when he had left but had been elated to see him on his return. She had been slightly quiet during some of his calls but when he had questioned her on it she had claimed it was tiredness. Her reaction this morning proved there was some crisis occurring and he sensed it was a significant one. Rachel normally didn't hide things no matter how much trouble she thought they would cause and that was the root of his worry now.
He desperately wanted to talk to her and force the issue if necessary. Whatever it took to find out what was wrong. First though, he had to find her.
Jesse shook his head as he took in the quiet snow-blanketed street. He had only just managed to get home the previous night before a blizzard had hit. The entire city had been affected. While there were some people still venturing out onto the streets it was positively deserted by New York standards, which would make it easier to find his missing wife.
Jesse took another look around the street. Rachel hadn't gone far he knew that. She had a head start but not by much. The snow had hit hard the prior night. Jesse himself was having some trouble walking, Rachel was definitely having even more difficulty. More snow was forecast to fall later that afternoon and it was being predicted that many people would be snowed in the next day, adding to Jesse's desire to just enjoy the holiday at home with his wife.
A flash of turquoise a few yards down caught his eye. Moving swiftly down the center of the road since there were no cars able to travel down it he hurried after the small, somewhat round figure.
Careful not to alert her of his proximity to her he slipped up behind and caught her arm. Rachel spun around and Jesse had to swallow the laugh in his throat. Ignoring the angry indignation on his wife's face, he instead took in her appearance. The normally sleek-fitting blue jacket puffed out around her indicating several bulky sweaters underneath, she had at least two hats on her head that he could see, three scarves and multiple pairs of gloves. He didn't know for sure but he'd be willing to bet his Oscar that she had several pairs of tights on as well. 'Only Rachel would storm out of the house and still bundle up in five different layers to fume outside in polar conditions,' he mused.
"Did you come to tell me the truth," Rachel demanded fiercely. Jesse rolled his eyes. She was still on that argument. He didn't know where she had gotten the idea that he was cheating on her but it wasn't like her to be so paranoid. "Will you stop accusing me of infidelity Rachel? I'm not cheating on you nor am I planning on leaving you and I never will. Stop attacking me and start talking to me."
Rachel shifted uncomfortably. "We always knew this marriage was too unpredictable and explosive to last. We should just call it quits now and part on amicable terms while we still can." "We've been married for six months!"
Rachel settled her gaze on the snow at their feet. "That's how I feel," she said softly.
Jesse felt a spasm of frustration and anger - something he was familiar with when dealing with his wife's more illogical side - ripple through him. Rachel had accused him of betraying her, yet she was the one trying to end their union with no reason or explanation.
"No! You don't get to accuse me of having an affair, something you know is ridiculous, and then announce that you want us to divorce. I'm not going to let you blame me just so that you can make yourself feel better. Rachel for fuck's sake will you please enlighten me as to what is going through your head right now, because I sure as hell can't figure it out!," he snapped through gritted teeth. "At this rate I'm going to have to use that cliché expression men use when they can't understand a woman's mood swings and decide that you're PMSing."
The way Rachel's head snapped up at his words and the expression on her face told Jesse everything. He felt shock flash through him, temporarily paralyzing him and allowing Rachel time to vanish once more into the mini snowstorm.
Rachel hurried through the snow. She knew it was cowardly, running away like that but she was terrified to see Jesse's reaction to her silent admission. She needed to get somewhere warm and quiet to think. She needed to prepare for the consequences and the inevitable result. Jesse may not have realized their relationship was over this morning but he did now. There was no way he would stay once he knew.
She was just passing St. Patrick's Cathedral when the music caught her attention. A sign at the door revealed a choir were performing Christmas carols in the church. She didn't celebrate the holiday and she had never set foot in the stone edifice before and had never intended to. The soft harmony and soothing melody called to her though and it seemed as good a place as anywhere else. If nothing else the music could distract her for a while.
She entered the building and saw it was crowded with people despite the weather. Sneaking up the far side of the church she slipped into a free place on one of the long wooden benches. The choir was good. Most of the singers took turns singing but Rachel noticed that one of them a girl about her age maybe slightly older took more solos then the others. She had a fantastic voice, not as good as her own of course but still amazing.
The performance didn't alleviate any of the turmoil she felt but it did at least provide a short respite, despite also reminding her of it. Rachel was only slightly surprised to find that she recognized most of the songs. As well as the traditional Christian hymns and the iconic gospel ones, they also sung some of the more commercial songs. She found herself rather enjoying the concert, she may not celebrate what the songs or singers did but she could appreciate beautiful music in all its forms.
The show ended and people started to file out. Some stopped to greet each other, some went to praise the singers and others simply left with a smile. Rachel stayed in her seat, merely smiling and complementing the performance to anyone who acknowledged her. Some time passed and eventually she was the only one left in the Cathedral but still she didn't leave. It may not have been her place of worship but it was warm and tranquil and she could think and indulge in her melancholy all she wanted.
She found it slightly ironic that she had ended up in a Catholic church of all places. Jesse had been raised as a Catholic at his paternal grandmother's vehemence. She had died when he was thirteen and Rachel didn't think he had step foot in a church since her funeral. Still he had more right to be there than she did and it felt as if she was wounding him after their fight but she couldn't bring herself to brave the cold or the outcome of her actions.
A surge of restlessness hit her and she rose from her spot. She studied her surroundings out of curiosity. They were lovely though very different to what she was used to, still it was mildly comforting and disconcerting at the same time. She wandered towards the center podium and saw the crib and found herself moving towards it.
It was huge. Rachel was fairly certain that most of her old glee club could have fit comfortably in the mock stable with room to spare. She knew the story of course. Despite the repeated reminders from herself and Noah that not all the club were in fact followers of Jesus Christ the story was hard not to hear. Rachel found herself thinking of it now as she studied the life-size statues. There were the usual donkey, sheep and cows of course. The three wise men held their gifts out and the sheppards stood behind them. A star and an angel hung from the roof and Rachel briefly wished she had one of each to help her. All the figures were staring down in awe of the baby at the front but Rachel only gave the porcelain child a brief glance turning her gaze away after a quick moment as pain stabbed at her. Instead she fastened her eyes on the two figurines closest to her.
'Mary and Joseph' she reflected, 'the people charged with bringing a savior into the world and raising him to adulthood.' Rachel felt a sudden affinity for Mary. Here was another young Jewish woman who had suddenly found herself pregnant unexpectedly. Had she been scared? Her life would surely have been changed and not necessarily for the good.
"Weren't you worried," she asked the sculpture, unable to stop herself from voicing her thoughts aloud. "Being the mother of God's son is huge. How were you able to just deal with it? And you", she turned to the figure of Joseph now, "why did you stay? It wasn't your son Mary was carrying. You didn't owe her anything. Why didn't you leave?"
"Joseph planned on quietly breaking his betrothal to Mary to spare her as much contempt as possible when an angel appeared to him. It convinced him to marry Mary and raise the child as his own in God's way."
Rachel spun around in surprise. Jesse stood a few feet back down the aisle leaning against one of the seats watching her, his showface firmly in place. She couldn't read him at all. Then again she wasn't sure she wanted to at this current moment in time.
"How long were you…?" "I saw the concert."
Rachel nodded. Jesse's voice was guarded so all she could hear were the words spoken in a neutral tone. She felt like she had just walked on stage and realized she couldn't remember any of her lines.
"When did you realize?" Jesse broke the quiet. "The day after my birthday. I haven't been to a doctor yet, or even taken a test but…." "But you know." He didn't doubt her, just trusted her assurances implicitly. Rachel felt strangely comforted by that. Jesse for his part seemed to mull over the situation in his head before deciding to ask some questions.
"What are you planning to do?" He knew her so well. After five days of knowing he realized that she would already have a plan, that she would have considered her options. And just as he understood her she recognized his question for what it was.
"I thought about it," she confessed. "I'm only a month at most but I…. When I went to make a call I…" She swallowed and wrapped her arms protectively around her and her baby. She had considered it but the thought of aborting her child, Jesse's child, their child, had caused her to throw up in the bathroom for over twenty minutes and cry for another forty. She tried not to judge others for their decisions, especially when she didn't know the true reasons behind them but the idea had caused pure horror in her. Regardless of her feelings, this was an innocent baby who didn't deserve to be punished because its parents had slipped up. "I can't."
Still she couldn't help wondering if she would be smote down for even entertaining the idea. As far as she knew the Catholic God wasn't fond of Jewish young women who wandered into his home and confessed to having considered killing their unborn child without telling their husband, especially the night before his son was born. The Jewish God would probably condemn her just for stepping foot in the church in the first place.
The hormones from her pregnancy were really bringing out her dramatic streak.
Jesse nodded at her confession, staring at her intensely. Whether to ease her discomfort, upset her more or just as a general observation he noted, "your parents will be thrilled." 'Yours won't be.' Rachel bit down the words just before they passed her lips. It didn't matter, spoken or unspoken they both knew the words hung in the air.
That was part of the reason that Rachel was so certain Jesse would just leave her. His feelings regarding his extended family were somewhat genial but his relationship with his immediate one was tenuous and complicated to say the least. She had always known that Jesse's upbringing had been vastly different from her own but he rarely commented on his family. She had never pressed him since he would just close up when the topic was mentioned but she had been able to glean at least some information. Still she had been shocked when she had met them for the first time shortly after Jesse had proposed.
His mother was a beautiful elegant woman. The kind that could charm anyone she met. A true lady, she had informed Rachel, who women admired and men proudly boasted of. Her husband had been an older version of his brother and sons in appearance. Distinguished and influential, he was rich and powerful and he demanded that others regarded him as such. Jesse's brother was a slightly shorter and diluted version of his youngest sibling. While he shared the good looks he didn't have the same level of talent, charm, intelligence or ambition that Jesse had. Their sister was as attractive as the rest of the St James family but she had a personality that would put Santana to shame. Something that seemed to be responsible for the lack of success or happiness in her life.
Jonathan and Jennifer St James had made it clear that they did not think Rachel was anywhere near good enough for their youngest son. They wanted someone more like Quinn of course. It had been after her future-mother-in-law had confirmed that suspicion and overhearing Julia and Jaden debate whether the real reason Jesse had proposed was that she was pregnant and blackmailing Jesse or that she was a "'tomcat in the sack'", that she had taken refuge in the bathroom.
While there she had seriously considered breaking off the engagement. It was obvious Jesse's family didn't like her, they hadn't exactly been subtle in expressing their feelings. Jesse had stood up for her even though she hadn't expected him too, after all the treatment she was receiving wasn't exactly new. He had point blank warned his family that if they forced him to choose, he'd choose her. Rachel had to stop herself from bursting into tears at the sweetness of the gesture.
It had upset her though as well. Jesse rarely said things without meaning and even if the threat was pure bluff the idea that he would jeopardize his relationship with his family for her, had made her feel incredibly guilty.
Jesse may have been willing to rebel against his family's wishes and his parents' approval but Rachel knew he still wanted their love and acceptance. It was a thorny subject to say the least but Rachel understood. Jesse may not come from a close-knit family like she had but she didn't want to be the one to break them apart either. Rachel could empathize with her fiancé from her own experiences with Shelby. Her birth mother had let her down so many times but Rachel could never fully expel the part of her that wanted some sort of connection or affection from the woman who had brought her into this world.
She had been all set to find Jesse and confess to him her feelings when his older cousin Annabeth had come in. As observant as her younger relative, she'd realized what had been going through Rachel's mind and had talked her out of it. When she hadn't been sure about whether she was getting through she had recruited Jesse and his uncle to help.
They had managed to ignite Rachel's determined spirit. It had taken some time but eventually she had managed to convince her parents-in-law that she was an unobjectionable match for their youngest child. Once the engagement had been announced and the wedding had been arranged, there wasn't much they could do. Apparently the scandal that would arise from the break-up of a marriage or engagement was far more insufferable than having Rachel Berry as a daughter-in-law.
Jaden had been the easiest to convince. His problem seemed to stem more from Jesse than from her. Indeed he tended to hit on her whenever he had been drinking – which was more or less all of the time. Julia had been the hardest one to win over. She had been downright vicious in her comments towards Rachel. She still wasn't a fan but the two could hold a civil conversation. Her in-laws tolerated her now at least. Still Rachel was sure that her in-laws would only ever really approve of her if she was to suffer a young, tragic and untimely death, leaving their son free to remarry a woman of better pedigree. Needless to say they would not be overjoyed to know that she would be the mother of their grandchild.
"Is that what has you so sure I'll walk away?" Jesse asked, his voice surprisingly gentle.
Rachel frowned slightly and swallowed trying to order her thoughts into some sort of comprehensive form. "We never talked about kids. We never planned on having any, especially so soon, so young." Both of their careers had taken off astonishingly fast, almost faster than either of them had even dreamed possible. They had been dating for a reasonable period when Jesse had proposed. Despite it being younger than she had planned, Rachel had not hesitated to accept. She had already won her first Tony and she loved Jesse. Notwithstanding the numerous dramas and worries that arose, she had never once thought she would ever regret her decision, except for now.
Rachel knew that his childhood had left Jesse with no desires to ever be a father. Anytime the subject, even in abstract, had arisen he had always made his thoughts on the matter glaringly obvious. Rachel had never brought up the topic because she had never been sure she wanted children herself. She had the stage, her career and someone to share it with. She could live with never having children.
She wasn't sure she could just give up her child either though.
"You think I don't want kids. That I'll desert you and our baby, have no interest in you because you're pregnant and a mother and make a horrendous father. That's why you were so insistent I was having fictitious liaisons," Jesse remarked. "N-n-no-o-o," Rachel stuttered. It was one of her main worries that Jesse would walk out on her but Rachel didn't believe for a second that he would desert his own child or make anything less than a worthy parent. She knew him too well.
"Then what is it Rach? We need to be on the same page here. Whatever has got you so anxious, we can handle it. Is it my family? If it is I have absolutely no problem with never letting them near our baby. Are you worried about me hating-"
"What if the baby hates me?" Rachel blurted out, interrupting Jesse's questioning. "What if they hate the stage. What if they aren't as musical or as talented as us! What if they're better than we are! It could be a girl and she might hate me because she'll be related to me. She'll loathe me because I'm her mother instead of someone more beautiful and perfect. She won't want to be anything like me so she'll cut class and smoke and date uncouth and apathetic boys. We'll never be close or even get along. She'll want to hang out at the mall all the time instead of attending rehearsals. She'll have no real dreams or ambitions. She'll – Oh my god, she'll be a CHEERLEADER!
"Or it might be a boy." "Yes and he might have no motivations either. He could despise me too. Or maybe we'll be inappropriately close and I end up smothering him and he becomes a serial killer. One day his picture will be on the news because the police arrested him for murdering a bunch of people while dressed as a clown. It's always the mother's fault you know. It's always my fault.
"Jesse, stop laughing, this is serious!" she admonished, not sure if the tears rolling down her cheeks were from misery, fear or anger at her husband. Jesse had started grinning not long after she had started her speech and by this point was snickering loudly. "Seriously Rach if all you're worried about is-"
"What if I don't love it?" she confessed her biggest worry. "What if I develop post-natal depression or I resent it for ruining my body and destroying my career because I have to look after it? What if I abandon or neglect them? What if I'm not there when they need me to be? What if I'm such a terrible mom that you end up detesting me and realize the best thing to do is kick me out and never let me see them? What if-"
"What if you're like Shelby?" Jesse surmised. "That's what really has you terrified. Not my reaction or the impact on your career or our lives. You're afraid that you'll be the same kind of mother to the baby as Shelby was to you."
Rachel sobbed harder as Jesse uttered her darkest fear since discovering she was pregnant. "That's impossible. You are incapable of being anything less than a fantastic mom."
"She once said I was her," Rachel admitted as Jesse pulled her into his arms. "I'm so like her it's uncanny sometimes. If I'm so like her in looks and talent than why wouldn't I be like her in parenting?" Jesse pulled back just enough so that he could look her in the eyes. "You're incredibly like Hiram and Leroy too. They obviously have first-rate parenting skills. You're a shining example of that."
"I'm not my dads."
"You're not Shelby either. Just like I'm not my parents. You're you and I'm me."
"No," Jesse interrupted fiercely. "You are the sweetest, kindest, most loving person I have ever met. It's utterly unfeasible for you not to absolutely adore this baby. The baby has my genes too remember. He or she will be more than smart enough to know just what an extraordinary mom they have.
"I'm nervous too. My parent's were never real, actual parents. I was a trophy, an accomplishment. I'm an excellent one of course but that's not how kids should think. I don't ever want my son or daughter to think that they aren't loved or wanted for themselves. I'm terrified that I might actually mess this up, but I know we're going to be the world's best parents. We learnt from our parents' mistakes and we're not going to repeat them. The fact that we're already thinking about that just proves it.
"Whatever this baby aspires to do, they'll be a success. An idol and a role model in their field. We'll be immensely proud of them and we'll love them and be a happy, celebrated family that everyone will want to emulate while insanely envious of us at the same time."
Rachel smiled as Jesse soothed her fears and admitted his own. He seemed so sure, so certain. He spoke with such conviction it was hard not to believe every word. It wouldn't be easy but they would succeed. They always did. Still she needed to be positive.
"You always said you were never going to have kids."
"I also said I was never going to get married. You convinced me otherwise. I grew up in a different kind of home then you did. My parents' marriage was built more on mutual convenience and aspiration than love and respect and it's what I believed was the same for all of them. My childhood revolved around nannies and rules and expectations. It was all I knew. I never experienced anything different but I knew I didn't want any part of inflicting it on a child of my own.
"Then I met you. No matter how hard I tried to deny it or fight it I fell deeply in love with you. I absolutely worship you Rach, and I don't want it any other way. This baby is both of us. There is no way that I can be anything less than a loving and devoted father because of that. I'll have you with me to make sure. You never accept anything less than the best of everyone. We'll be a fantastic family because of that."
"You really are happy then?" Rachel asked.
"Happy? I am absolutely delighted, my darling. This is the best Christmas present I've ever gotten. In fact this moment right now is currently in joint first-place with your first Sectionals performance, our first meeting, my Oscar win and our wedding as the best moment in my life, my love."
Rachel burst into tears again at the beautiful declaration. Jesse smiled and let his hand twist in her hair as he held her. "This pregnancy is really going to put your drama queen side into overdrive isn't it," he observed in amusement. She nodded. Their mutual appreciation for dramatics was part of the reason they worked so well. Still Rachel was unashamedly the bigger offender as her dad would say and her hormones had already proven capable of surpassing even her high standards. "I always love a challenge and I can never claim that my life is boring with you in it," he smiled affectionately.
Burying her head in his shirt, she sniffed, "I'm sorry I threw juice at you."
"I would prefer it if you let me wash and style my own hair. Unless you're in the shower with me, then by all means there are plenty of ways I'd like your help," he teased.
"Jesse!" Rachel scolded. Honestly he had no sense of decorum or restraint at all. "We're in a house of worship. Your place of worship."
"You are quite right as usual. Although God supports the sanctity of marriage, we should go home and celebrate and worship properly," he grinned. "Unless you would like to stay for midnight mass?"
Rachel smiled and shook her head. She had a fondness for the church now and might even consider coming back again but she wasn't about to convert anytime soon.
Smiling with joy the young couple headed for the doors and their home pausing just to voice "Merry Christmas" to an empty church.