It was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together...and I knew it. - Sleepless in Seattle
Rachel Berry stepped off the train, the blue binder secured firmly in her arms. The binder (and everything inside it) wasn't just her life, it was her future. After nearly four years and hundreds of auditions, she had finally landed a starring role on Broadway. In fact, she'd landed her first role on Broadway.
She supposed she could have slipped the binder into her backpack, but Rachel wasn't taking any chances of loosing it. She located the stairs leading up to Canal Street from the R train station, glancing around at all the people brushing past her to make it home before dinner. Rachel' arms instinctively tightened around the binder in her arms as she turned on her heel, heading in the direction of her apartment building.
At twenty-seven years old, Rachel was finally living the life she had so desperately wanted since she was five. The daughter of a gay couple and their chronically single friend, Rachel Berry had grown up with dreams of making it big on Broadway. High school in Ohio followed by college in the city, Rachel was finally being given a chance to show the world this was where she belonged.
She quickly punched in the code on the outer door of her building and waited for the click, pulling the large brass door open when she heard it. Rachel waved to Spencer, the front desk concierge of her building as she passed by him, a smile on her face.
"Good afternoon Miss Berry," he called to her with a wave. "You look lovely today. Good news I'm assuming?"
Rachel grinned and nodded, waving the binder in his direction. "It's officially official. Got my script today!" she exclaimed, her voice rising an octave with her excitement. "Soon you'll be keeping the paparazzi away from the door," she joked, adjusting the strap of her backpack which had slipped off her shoulder as she chatted.
"We'll be plotting ways to get you out of here and on your way to your premieres unnoticed," he laughed, turning to wave to old Mrs. Hotchner who had just walked in, her ancient poodle Peppermint cradled in her arms.
Rachel took that as her cue to leave, stopping at her mailbox momentarily to snag the stack of bills waiting for her. She gripped her binder, the stack of letters balanced on top, and headed over to the elevator, pressing the up button. Mrs. Hotchner and Peppermint joined her, the pint-sized poodle let out a few high-pitched barks at Rachel while Mrs. Hotchner steadily ignored her.
It was no secret the elderly lady didn't like the influx of young professionals who had moved into her building. She saw them as a nuisance, an intrusion on her quiet life. Even though Rachel had never once held a party or caused trouble in her eight months at The Constable, Mrs. Hotchner still saw her as a smoking, drinking, premarital sex enjoying heathen. the fact that Peppermint barked every time Rachel was near was proof of that in her eyes.
The elevator came to a stop on the third floor and Mrs. Hotchner got off without having uttered a single word to Rachel, swinging her large bag as she exited. Rachel dodged to the left, narrowly avoiding being taken out by the $13,000 Birkin bag.
Rachel rode the elevator up to the fifth and final floor, walking off the elevator and into the empty hall. At four in the afternoon, most people were still at the office or out enjoying an early dinner with potential clients. Not Rachel. Before landing her current acting role, she worked as a receptionist at a spa as a way to avoid starving. She was often home by four and on the couch by five enjoying Netflix and wine.
Rachel pulled her keys out of her bag and stuck them in the door, unlocking and turning the knob after a moment.
She walked in to find a scantily-clad blonde standing on a yoga mat, her body bent over at the waist as she let out a long hum. Rachel dropped her things on the counter with a loud thud, causing the blonde to jump up and spin around, a large smile forming on her face.
"Gillette!" the blonde greeted, launching herself into Rachel's arms, flinging a few beads of sweat onto her.
"What's come over you, bitch barbie girl?" Rachel teased, watching as Kitty Wilde, her roommate and best gal pal stood up straight, dressed in her yoga clothes.
Rachel and Kitty had been friends since college. The two had met at a bar while they were both sophomores at their respective universities. After a few drinks, some heated words, and a fight that required three fraternity brothers to pull them apart, the two became friends.
Almost everyone they knew could never understand why the two girls were friends. From the outside, they were complete opposites. Rachel was the only daughter of two gay men from the Midwest. She'd grown up in a very non-traditional family that almost every group in the USA took offense to. On the other hand, Kitty was from the West Coast, a California girl from birth. Her mother had married in to money and walked away richer with each divorce. They even looked different. While Rachel was petite and brunette with pale skin, Kitty was blonde, tan, and statuesque. Yet somehow, they'd remained friends for almost eight years.
"Just excited to see you. And your script," she said, gazing down at the binder. She brushed the stack of bills off to the side, lifting the cover.
Rachel slammed it back down, a scandalized look on her face. "Kitty! You can't look at that. It's top secret," she hissed, lifting the book off the counter and hugged it to her chest. "Dustin made us take an oath swearing not to let anyone read what's inside these two covers!"
"Oh Rachie, stop being such a drama queen. Besides, I'm not just anyone. I'm your roommate," Kitty called, flipping through the mail. There was a bill for the cable, a credit card bill for Kitty, a few pieces of junk mail, and an envelope made of some very thick (and probably expensive) paper addressed to Rachel.
"I can't!" she insisted. "Dustin said he wants the show to be a secret for opening night. No one except the actors will know what to expect going in," Rachel explained, rushing to her room to deposit the binder on her bed before rejoining her friend and roommate in the kitchen. "It would be like you showing me Ralph Lauren's spring collection weeks before it debuts."
"I showed you the design for their new bag last yer before it came out and you know it you dirty liar," the blonde teased, drumming her perfectly manicured fingers on the counter. Rachel didn't seem amused. "Okay okay, fine. Keep it a secret. So, is this what I think it is?" she asked, spinning the envelope around on the counter.
Rachel snatched it from her hands, tearing the envelope open and extracting the thick cardboard that was inside, a small card and envelope falling onto the floor as she read over the invitation she'd been waiting weeks for.
Mr. Burt Hummel
Mr. and Mrs. Richard and Victoria Miller
request your presence at the union of their children
Saturday the fifth of July, Two Thousand and Fourteen at Grace Baptist Church
Reception to follow at Shawnee Country Club ballroom
Kitty let out a low whistle, reading the invitation over Rachel's shoulder before walking to the fridge and pulling out a bottle of water. "Sounds fancy."
"It probably will be. Aiden's family is rich. Like, old money rich. Kurt's marrying into a life of country club memberships, dinner at five-star restaurants, and summers in the Hamptons. I'm jealous."
"I am too. So who you going to bring as your date?"
Rachel shrugged her shoulders. "I figured I'd just go stag, seeing s I'm single," she said, looking down at the ground.
Sensing Rachel really didn't want to discuss her lack of a date for her best friend's wedding, Kitty quickly changed the subject. "So, what are you new coworkers like?"
"They seem nice. I mean, I spent five seconds with them as I picked up my script and claimed a seat in the dressing room. I met Riley, the male lead, for two seconds before heading home. He's cute."
"Oh? You going to invite him over for some late night rehearsals?" Kitty asked, her tone heavy with meaning.
Rachel's pale cheeks flushed red at Kitty's implication, waving her hand dismissively. "I'm still mourning the end of my relationship. Anyways, it's terrible business getting involved with your co-star. Every decent actress knows that."
"Speaking of former relationships, the asshole stopped by earlier and demanded to see you. I told him to fuck off out of your life, but he insisted on seeing you. I told him to stop by tonight and maybe you'd be here if you weren't busy fucking your way across the Lower East Side. He didn't find that funny and said he'd be here around eight. I told him to go to hell but he ignored that."
Rachel sighed, listening to Kitty recount her interaction with Rachel's ex. She wasn't quite sure why he needed to stop by and talk to her. A phone call would suffice and then she wouldn't have to see him any more than was necessary, but it seemed she didn't have a choice in the matter.
"You know, since he is coming over, you should change out of your toddler clothes and into something grown up so the jackass feels bad about drop kicking your ass to the curb eight months ago."
Rachel looked down at herself, frowning. She didn't see anything wrong with what she was wearing. She had on a blank and white polka dot skirt that settled on her hips paired with a black tank top. She'd draped a large and baggy sweater over her shoulders then finished the whole look with thigh-high black socks and flat ankle boots.
"Seriously doll, you should sex up your look and maybe you'll get more action than just your vibrator between your sheets."
Rachel let out a loud gasp, her face on fire at this point. Kitty just laughed before cracking open a bottle of wine, pouring Rachel a glass.
"Well, if the dick really is coming over to 'talk', might as well self-medicate before so we're ready to deal with his bullshit." Rachel couldn't agree more.
Six hours and four bottles of wine later, Rachel was swaying on the couch while Kitty, still in her red sports bra and shorts from earlier, uncorked another bottle for the two of them. What had started out as a simple bitchfest had turned into a drunken night of laughter and bonding. Rachel and Kitty had lived together once upon a time before Rachel fell in love and moved in with her ex.
Of course, after catching him in bed with another girl, she'd left their shared loft with no real idea of where to go. Most of her friends had moved out of the city and were all over the country. Kitty had been the first person she thought of who she knew had a spare couch.
What started as a temporary place to crash turned into Rachel's new home. Kitty didn't mind, especially since her mom and rich step-daddy were paying for her rent, not her. Rachel payed half the bills and Kitty gave her a room, rent-free.
A knock at the door interrupted the impromptu girl's night as Kitty walked over, pulling the door to the apartment open, the bottle of Cabernet still in her hand. "Speak of the devil and he shall appear," she muttered, opening the door wider to allow Sam Evans entrance to their apartment.
Rachel and Sam had met when she was still in college. She, along with her friends, had gone out to celebrate her 21st birthday, hitting up every bar close to where she lived. At the third bar they went to, in between shots, Sam and his yet-undiscovered band started performing. Four songs, two drinks, and a few whispered words was all it took for Rachel to go home with him, starting a relationship that lasted for more than five years.
"World's largest jackass," Kitty greeted with a nod, shutting the door behind him.
"Supreme ruler of all things bitchy."
Rachel sighed, her head swimming with all the wine she'd drunk. "Can you two cool it for one night? I don't have the patience to deal with your passive-aggressive behavior tonight." She rolled her head to the side, regretting drinking all that wine. She needed a clear head to deal with Sam, yet she needed the alcohol to get the courage to actually deal with him. Therein lied the problem.
"Right, the diva has spoken. Now say your peace and leave. We were in the middle of drinking and laughing as we discussed your pitiful performance in bed," Kitty taunted, pouring herself another glass, her eyes never leaving Sam.
"Look, I know I left things bad between us and that was a dick move on my part. And I just wanted to come over so you hear it from me and not from the radio."
"Hear what?" Rachel asked, swirling her glass around.
"Chelsea and I are engaged."
If there was one piece of news that could make Rachel sick in an instant, that was it. Chelsea, the skank he'd cheated on her with. Chelsea, some bimbo blonde with tits three times the size of hers. Chelsea, the girl who told Rachel to enjoy her trip to South Virginia. He was going to marry her?
Rachel was positive her face was white at this point. She didn't know what to say.
"I just wanted to make sure that you're okay," he said sympathetically. "I mean, she's coming to the wedding with me, so I just wanted to prepare you, especially since you'll be there alone," he said, a smirk on his face as if he knew she didn't have a date.
Rachel's face turned red from a combination of alcohol and embarrassment and she stayed quiet, not knowing what to say to him. She was mad he was assuming she wasn't seeing anyone. How did he know that? As far as he was concerned, she was banging the entire outfield of the New York Yankees. Still, she didn't know what to say without sounding drunk and pathetic.
"Of course she's okay. She's bringing her hot ass boyfriend with her to the wedding," Kitty said from across the room, leaning against the left pillar in the kitchen. "Didn't you know?" she asked as though it was obvious to everyone.
Sam's face conveyed shock. He obviously hadn't been expecting that to come out of Kitty's mouth. "Is that so?" he asked, his eyes flickering between Kitty and Rachel. Kitty had a smug look on her face while Rachel's was still red.
"Oh, it's definitely so. I hear them going at it all the time. I got more sleep when the two of you were going out and she still lived with me," Kitty said, adding in the subtle dig that implied Rachel's new and imaginary boyfriend was far better in bed than Sam was. "I mean, you know how vocal Rachel is when she cums."
Sam rolled his eyes at her. "You expect me to believe you have a new boyfriend?" he asked, turning his attention to Rachel and ignoring Kitty completely. "Where'd you meet this guy? What's his name? What's he do?"
"Why do you want to know? Are you jealous?" Kitty snapped, taking a seat beside Rachel on the couch while Sam tried to keep up the haughty look on his face, though it was slipping each time Kitty added a new detail about Rachel's budding romance, one he was slowly beginning to believe was real.
"Me? Jealous? Please."
"You so are," Rachel accused, looking into the eyes of the man who had broken her heart eight months prior. "Just admit you're jealous and stop embarrassing yourself."
"I'm not jealous!" Sam insisted. "In fact, I'm so not jealous that I can't wait to sit next to this new boyfriend and get to know him at the wedding."
All the color drained from Rachel's face as she recalled a conversation she'd had with Kurt two months ago, one where he told her Sam would be in the wedding party just as she would be. They'd be sitting at the same table, and now Sam was expecting to meet her non-existent boyfriend. She was totally and completely fucked.
"In fact," Sam continued. "I'll give Aiden a call tonight to let he and Kurt know they'll need to add an extra person to our table at the reception," he said, the bravado returning to his face as he watched Rachel grow more and more uncomfortable. "They'll both be thrilled to hear you won't be showing up alone. After all, how pathetic would it be for a maid of honor to show up without a date?" Sam looked down at his watch, rising to his feet. "Well, I've got to be going. Chelsea and I are going to this new impossible to get into club downtown. See you soon and can't wait to meet the new man in your life."
The door shut behind him, leaving Kitty and Rachel alone in their apartment.
"What have you done?" Rachel gasped, her glass of wine sitting forgotten on the coffee table. "Showing up alone was going to be embarrassing enough, but now showing up without a date when I told Sam I had one? I'm going to have to back out of the wedding now. What were you thinking?"
"I was thinking about what an asshole your ex-boyfriend is and how he came over here just to rub it in your face that he's engaged to the skank he cheated on you with. He needed to be put in his place."
"I agree with you, but you've now made things ten times worse!"
"Au contraire, I have made things ten times better for you, mon cheri. Sam totally thinks you're full of shit. He's convinced you don't have a boyfriend that's going to blow his lame ass out of the water."
"And he would be right," Rachel replied, picking her glass back up to take a sip. "I'm woefully single and have been since I left him after catching Chelsea riding him like Seabiscuit. Explain to me how that's going to help me make him jealous."
"Easy. You find a guy who's a million times hotter than him and get him to pose as the guy you're having crazy sex with. Sam gets jealous and bam, you win the break up."
"Win the break up?" Rachel asked.
"Well yeah. Every break up has a winner and a loser. Right now, you're the loser. Sam has moved on to a hot girl and now they're engaged. Sure you've got the new job, but he's a rockstar who's becoming more famous by the day. Until you find a hot guy to shove in his face, you'll always be the pathetic ex-girlfriend who can't get a date."
"No need to sugar coat things," Rachel muttered under her breath. "Alright, fairy godmother, where am I supposed to meet this hot guy? I have almost no male friends, and the ones I do have are either gay or my old high school boyfriend. Where am I supposed to find this hot guy to flaunt in front of Sam?"
"Easy," Kitty explained, flopping on the couch beside Rachel once more. "I know the perfect guy."