I swear that I'm working on everything else, but this just kind of came to me.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything. This story title comes from the song "23" by Jimmy Eat World.


first.

They both left each other at the altar.

Rachel left a note, of course. But when she saw Thad sneaking out of the church in his tuxedo, she knew that he had done the same thing. But he had the foresight to bring a bag containing a change of clothes with him, which was more than Rachel had thought to do.

So yeah. She was sitting on a bench in Central Park in what had to be the biggest, puffiest wedding dress in the history of forever.

(Yes, it was puffy, not poofy. Rachel didn't know how she let herself be talked into that dress in the first place.)

This wasn't exactly how she imagined her wedding day going. And it wasn't even because she had left her supposed-to-be husband at the altar. It all started with the planning—four hundred guests, interviews with national magazines, appointments with designer dress makers, hours upon hours of comparing the differences between cream and off-white.

Rachel supposed that was what she got for getting engaged to some New York City high society boy. The further they got into the planning, the more Rachel realized this was the exact opposite of what she wanted. Instead of a ceremony in a big cathedral (Thad's family was devoutly Catholic. Or at least, they acted like they were), Rachel realized she wanted a ceremony outside. She imagined having a reception under a big white tent as opposed to the one that was being planned in one of the most expensive hotels in the city. She wanted pretty wild flowers instead of roses that looked too perfect. And they had ordered vanilla cake with citrus icing when all Rachel wanted was chocolate.

This wedding hadn't been her own, and Rachel knew when she was freaking out five minutes before she was supposed to walk down the aisle that she couldn't do this.

She was only getting a few odd looks from people walking by her. Rachel guessed that was one of the perks of living in New York City—people were used to seeing odd things such as some random girl sitting on a park dress in a sparkly wedding dress.

Rachel sighed heavily and ran her fingers through what was left of her expensive updo. In her haste to get out of the church, she left her wallet and her cellphone. It wasn't like she could return to her apartment, because she was certain that everyone would be there already. Maybe she could go to the hotel where she and Thad were supposed to spend their wedding night. She doubted that he would have gone there, anyway. Then Rachel could figure out where to go from there…

Rachel was pulled from her thoughts when a startlingly familiar voice said her name.

"Rachel Berry?"

Rachel froze. Really, this was just the icing on the cake. She hadn't seen this man in seven years, so naturally she would run into him on the day she left her now ex-fiancé at the altar.

It was Finn Hudson.


second.

"Rachel, you're… uh… you're wearing a wedding dress."

Rachel barked out a humorless laugh and tried to ignore the look of surprise on Finn's face. He wasn't used to hearing her laugh without happiness, and Rachel tried to ignore the fact that he was still very aware of that even after seven years apart.

"Very observant, Finn," Rachel said. "Yes, this is a wedding dress."

Of course, Finn wasn't put off by her snappish attitude. His lips quirked up into that easy half smile and he crossed his arms over his chest. Rachel refused to focus on how amazing he looked. "Come on, Rach. Don't be like that."

Rachel deflated, her shoulders slumping. She fisted her hands in the tulle and satin skirt of her monstrous dress. What she wouldn't give to not be wearing it right about now. "I'm sorry, Finn. I've just… been having a bad day."

"I can see that." Finn let out a quiet chuckle, but then his face grew serious. "Rachel, is there anything you need? No questions asked."

Rachel stared at him, and she knew that he was being completely truthful. His amber eyes—the eyes that hadn't changed since the last time she saw them—were open and earnest. This Finn wasn't very different from the one she had known in high school… just more grown up. Even so, Rachel didn't want to drag him into her problems. They had been through so much, and Finn actually looked happy. She didn't want to burden him.

Calling on her acting skills, Rachel managed to smile. "I think I'll be alright," she said. You know, once she figured out where she was going to go and how she was going to get out of this wedding dress.

"Rachel." Finn was giving her that look—the one that he gave her when he knew she was fibbing. They had spent a grand total of two minutes together, and he was already back to reading her like a book.

(Was it wrong of her to want to hug him? Well, if it wasn't wrong, it was probably weird. Definitely weird.)

"Finn," Rachel parroted back at him.

Finn offered her his hand. "Come on, Rach. Let me take you back to my apartment and at least give you a change of clothes."

The look that Finn was giving her plainly stated that she shouldn't even try to argue, because he would find some way to get her back to his apartment. Finn always did have a hero complex, and it was nice to know that some things hadn't changed over the years.

Rachel slid her hand into Finn's large, calloused one. His fingers closed around hers, and it felt like coming home.

But Rachel tried not to think about that.


third.

"Stop laughing at me, Finn Hudson!"

Finn wasn't even bothering to hide his amusement. "Rachel, that dress has to weigh more than you do."

"Shut up," Rachel said in response. There was no real malice in her voice, though, and it only made Finn laugh harder.

It was a struggle to move through Finn's doorway in her voluminous dress. The tulle snagged on the doorframe, and Rachel tugged on it until she heard a tear. She didn't really care, though. She continued on, and then proceeded to trip over the front of her skirt. Rachel would have tumbled face first into the coffee table if it hadn't been for Finn catching her by the arm.

The movement tugged her back against Finn, and she caught herself against him by pressing her hands flat against his chest. Even the hugeness of her skirt couldn't stop Rachel from feeling Finn's firm, toned body against hers.

She wouldn't let herself do it in the park, but now Rachel allowed herself a moment to appreciate just how attractive Finn was. Really, it appeared that he only got better looking with age. Which was saying something, since he had so good looking in high school.

Finn's hair was still thick and messy but cut closer to his head. He had a shadow of stubble on his face, and it just gave him this rugged, sexy look. Those cinnamon-colored eyes were no longer full of uncertainty. Instead, Finn had this air of confidence about him that was easy and comfortable.

And, well… Rachel had to keep reminding herself that it probably wasn't a good idea to keep lusting after her ex-boyfriend when she was wearing a wedding dress and was currently supposed to be at her own wedding.

(But it always, always more than just lust between Finn and Rachel. But she chose not to think about that, either.)

"Are you okay, Rach?" Finn asked.

Rachel pressed her lips together and tried to get control of her raging emotions. Seriously, this was wrong on so many levels, but then why was she feeling this way? How could Finn Hudson make her want to crawl out of her skin with a simple touch?

Suddenly losing her usual loquacity, Rachel replied with, "Uh… I'm not really sure."

Finn's lips ticked up in what was the beginning of a smirk, but he managed to stop it just in time. "Well, I'm pretty sure that's a first."

"Finn Hudson!" Rachel pushed playfully against his chest. But since she was still wrapped securely in Finn's arms, the movement didn't do much. Instead, Finn kind of tightened his arms around her before they suddenly dropped. Finn's eyes moved up and down her body, and Rachel suddenly remembered that she was wearing a wedding dress.

"I'm just going to… go get you something to wear." Finn stepped back from Rachel and stared at her for another moment before he turned on his heel and left the room.

Rachel opened her mouth to call him back, but then she closed it again when she realized that there was nothing she could say. She was supposed to be getting married to another man… and who's to say that Finn wasn't in a happy relationship, anyway? He could very well have a girlfriend that Rachel didn't know anything about.

Once again, Rachel was trying to ignore her true feelings—the ones that were making her feel like she was going to throw up at the thought of Finn with someone else. She gave up any claim she had to him seven years ago when they officially broke up during her freshman year of college.

Shaking those depressing thoughts from her mind, Rachel made an executive decision and followed Finn down the hallway and into what she assumed was his room. Rachel knew right away that it was. It had a comfortable, lived-in feeling, and she was immediately surrounded by Finn's familiar scent. That scent hadn't changed since high school, and Rachel was extremely comforted by it.

"Finn?"

Finn was standing at a set of dresser drawers. He was searching through it, but he stopped when Rachel called his name. He didn't turn around, however. He didn't say anything, either, so Rachel assumed that she could finish speaking.

"I'm really sorry," Rachel said quickly. "I shouldn't have bothered you in the first place. I'm just going to go—"

Finn spun around and strode across the room before Rachel could even finish speaking. His large hand wrapped around her wrist, keeping her in place. "Don't go."

"Finn?" Rachel repeated. Her heart pounded in her chest and she kind of thought she was going to pass out. Was this actually happening right now? Had she fallen asleep on the park bench, and was this just some kind of twisted dream that her subconscious had decided to punish her with?

Finn drew her closer to him, and Rachel sucked in a sharp gasp. God, did she want him to kiss her. But she was still wearing the wedding dress, and should she even want him to kiss her? Her brain wouldn't shut up, and that was all Rachel wanted.

Finn somehow always knew what Rachel was thinking, and this time was no different. "We shouldn't," he said.

"No, we shouldn't," Rachel agreed. But a beat of silence passed before Rachel threw her arms around Finn's neck and drew his mouth down to hers.


fourth.

The moment Rachel's lips touched Finn's, her mind shut off completely. All she knew was the feel of Finn's lips against hers and the way his hands tightened on her waist. Rachel moved forward, trying her best to get closer to him… but the voluminous skirt of her wedding dress kept getting in the way.

Feeling Rachel pause, Finn pulled back to make sure that she was alright. But Rachel put her hands on either side of Finn's face and brought his lips back down to hers. She didn't want to think about anything else. The only thing she was concerned with was feeling Finn pressed against her. To solve her dilemma, she guided Finn's hands to the zipper on the back of her dress.

Finn didn't waste any time in pulling the zipper down and pushing the dress down Rachel's body. The demure, simple, white lingerie Rachel had worn was quickly discarded as well, leaving Rachel's body bare to Finn's eyes.

Well, that wasn't very fair. Rachel slid her fingers under Finn's shirt, feeling the well-defined muscles rippling under her fingertips. Just the feel of Finn's skin under her hands made Rachel moan, and she stepped away from the wedding dress.

(It didn't escape Rachel's notice that Finn Hudson was the one stripping her out of her wedding dress. This had to be some weird sort of alternate reality, but Rachel wasn't going to question it.)

Rachel didn't realize it then, but she was moving away from an entirely different life by discarding her wedding gown. Maybe it was fate, maybe it was something else entirely—but Rachel was re-writing her story with each step she took towards Finn's bed. The only thing Rachel could think about, however, was how fast Finn made her heart beat and how wonderful it felt to have his hands on her body again.

Finn and Rachel's lips parted so she could pull his shirt over his head. They fell back on the bed together, and Finn kept a firm grip on Rachel's waist as his lips moved from her mouth, across her jaw, and down her neck. When he reached the juncture between her neck and collarbone, Finn bit down.

Rachel cried out in pleasure and gripped Finn's shoulders tightly in her tiny hands. As one of Finn's large, calloused hands came up to cup her breast, Rachel felt as she was about to fly apart at the seams.

"Oh, God," Rachel breathed out. Finn's fingers skillfully plucked at her nipple, and just after she pushed his pants and boxer briefs down, he moved his way down her body and kissed between her breasts. His tongue teasingly traced the underside of her left breast. Rachel raggedly moaned Finn's name, and she felt him smirk against her skin. While one hand teased her right breast, Finn's other hand moved to stroke between her legs.

Rachel panted Finn's name and tried desperately to hold on. She didn't want this to be over before it really started, because she didn't want to think about what was going to happen after this. More than that, she didn't want Finn to stop touching her. He chuckled and slid a finger inside her tight warmth. Rachel ground down on Finn's hand and reached up, threading her fingers through his thick hair so she could tug his face down to hers.

Without removing his lips from hers, Finn grappled for a condom. Eager for what was going to come next, Rachel spread her legs further and let Finn's hips drop between her thighs. Finn kissed down the curve of her jaw and then nipped at the delicate skin of her neck. He pulled back just enough to speak.

"Are you sure, Rach?" Finn panted.

Rachel stared into those amber eyes that were so earnest and sincere. In that moment, Rachel fell in love with Finn Hudson all over again. They were naked on his bed, and he was making sure that she was okay with what was about to happen.

Rachel's life may have been falling apart, but this was one thing she was completely sure about. Needing to say it out loud, Rachel breathed out, "Yes."

Finn pressed a hard, passionate kiss to her lips and then didn't waste any time in sliding the condom on to his hard length. Sliding one hand up to cup her cheek, Finn slid into her at the same time. Rachel cried out at the feeling of him inside of her once again. Finn held himself over her for a few seconds, and they both just basked in the feeling of being so intimately connected once again.

When Finn's hips began to move, Rachel reached back and grasped the headboard behind her head. Her legs came up on either side of Finn, pressing against his sides and holding him closer to her body. Little gasps escaped her lips with each thrust Finn made. Her fingers gripped the headboard more tightly, anchoring her to the bed. Finn pressed his lips to her neck without losing rhythm. She lifted her hips to meet his. The friction between their bodies was building, and Rachel knew that she was so, so close.

It had been years since she had felt like this. Finn's touch had always made her react wildly, and it seemed as if that hadn't changed very much.

Rachel's orgasm hit her hard and fast, and she screamed Finn's name as she cradled him closer to her body with her legs. Her hands left the headboard and she gripped Finn's shoulders, her fingers digging into the taught muscles.

The feel of Rachel contracting around him caused Finn to fall over the edge. His hips jerked, once, twice, and then again before he collapsed against Rachel. He managed to settle his body against hers in such a way that he wasn't crushing her, and he pressed his face into her neck.

Finn pressed his lips to Rachel's soft skin, and she closed her eyes and let out a contented sigh. Right now, she would just relish the feel of Finn's naked body pressed against hers. She would worry about the rest later.


fifth.

Later came sooner than Rachel wanted.

The late morning sun streaming through Finn's windows woke her up. She slowly opened her eyes, and it took her a few moments to realize that her surroundings were completely unfamiliar.

With a furrowed brow, Rachel rolled over and came face-to-face with Finn Hudson.

Rachel blinked. So it hadn't been a dream. Finn finding her in her wedding dress in Central Park after she skipped out on her wedding had actually happened. And he had taken her back to his apartment, where they had mind-blowing sex. It was all real.

That was when Rachel started to hyperventilate.

What had she done? She had completely thrown everything out the window and had slept with her ex-boyfriend from high school on the day she was supposed to be married. Was this what had become of her life? It was spiraling out of control and Rachel didn't have the foggiest idea of how to fix it. It was quickly becoming the time that she was going to have face everything—her family, her friends, her ex-fiancé—all of it.

Rachel slipped out of the bed, and it was only then that she remembered she was stark-naked. She spotted her wedding dress (oh God) on the floor, but she definitely wasn't going to put that back on. Given the situation she now found herself in with Finn, he probably wouldn't mind her stealing a shirt.

For just one moment, Rachel forgot all of her worries when she saw all of the plaid shirts in the back of Finn's closet. They were clearly well-worn, so it was obvious that staple of Finn's wardrobe hadn't changed. Rachel took one of the plaid shirts and slipped it on after fishing her bra and underwear up off of the floor. Rachel even grabbed a pair of Finn's shorts, too. They were entirely too large, but Rachel would rather wear those than go without pants. Still, she was sure she would find someone who was dressed even more strangely on the subway.

Now fully dressed, Rachel turned to study Finn's sleeping form. He had rolled over onto his back now that she was no longer in bed with him, taking full advantage of the extra space in bed. Despite the turmoil she felt brewing inside her, Rachel couldn't help the small smile that formed on her lips. He was so sweet.

As she had all those years ago, Rachel leaned forward and pressed a kiss to Finn's forehead. She lingered there, unwilling to pull away. Because she knew that if she left, there was a good chance she might never see Finn again. Rachel had to figure the mess her life had become out before she even attempted to sort out her feelings for Finn.

The last order of business was the wedding dress. Rachel certainly didn't want it, and she wasn't going to leave it for Finn to deal with. So she gathered up the monstrosity that was considered a wedding dress (seriously, what had she been thinking when she let her ex-future mother-in-law talk her into picking it?) and dragged it down to the trash room that was in the apartment complex. She couldn't believe that she had just thrown away thousands of dollars of tulle and satin, but she suddenly felt as if a weight had been lifted from her shoulders.

Then Rachel left the apartment building. And since the first time she had run away from her wedding, she felt like crying.


sixth.

Rachel sincerely hoped that her roommate was in their apartment. Given that she had left her keys with her wallet and phone, her main hope of getting back into her apartment was through her roommate.

(So technically, she was supposed to have moved into a pent house with Thad. But they were still in the process of moving all of her things, and her roommate insisted on leaving her with a key and her old bedroom, should she "need a break.")

Rachel hesitated with her fist raised before the door. She didn't get a chance to knock, however; her roommate swung open the door and yanked her inside.

Santana Lopez took one look at Rachel before she loudly declared, "Holy shit, you got fucked last night!"

"Santana!" Rachel blushed furiously and shut the door to their apartment. They had some terribly nosey neighbors, and more often than not, Santana was the source of their gossip. "Come on."

"No, you come on!" Santana pointed to the interesting ensemble Rachel was clad in. "Please. Your outfit clearly screams "walk of shame." And you stole a button-down, which is extremely unoriginal, by the way."

Rachel ran a hand through her messy hair. She had a day's worth of hairspray and mousse to wash out of it—not to mention she had to go fishing for all of the hairpins hidden in her hair. All she wanted was to take a nice, long, hot shower and then she wanted to crawl into bed and spend the next twelve hours ignoring her problems.

"I don't really want to talk about it, Santana," Rachel murmured.

Santana arched an eyebrow, but she didn't press the subject. Instead she said, "Your fathers have been freaking out. They were camped out here for the entire night, but I finally convinced them to go out and get food. So I would suggest hiding somewhere else if you don't want to be here when they get back."

Rachel released a heavy sigh and collapsed back onto the couch. It seemed as if she wasn't going to get that nap anytime soon. "No, I should stay. I have to talk to them at some point, right?"

"And you might want to take a shower and change before they get back," Santana pointed out. "You have about fifteen minutes."

Rachel sat on the couch for approximately two minutes before she dragged her butt to the shower. She didn't take a long, languid shower—instead, she rushed it and then pulled a pair of yoga pants and an old NYADA sweater. Rachel was still brushing her wet hair out when her fathers came bustling in with several bags of takeout.

They stopped and stood frozen in the middle of the living room, staring at their daughter. Hiram's mouth was hanging wide open and Leroy dropped one of the takeout bags he was holding. Rachel sighed and picked up the bag her father had dropped.

"Did you bring any lo mein? I'm starving." Rachel opened the bag and peered into it. She frowned when she saw that it was chicken and broccoli. She took another bag from Hiram and let out a triumphant noise when she found the carton of noodles.

Leroy snapped out of his surprise stupor first. "Rachel Barbara Berry! What do you think you're doing?"

Rachel found a fork in the silverware drawer and popped the carton open. She twirled her fork in the noodles and inhaled the heavenly aroma. "Eating lo mein."

"Don't be a smart ass, young lady," Leroy snapped. "And stop looking through the takeout bags!"

Rachel ignored both of those statements and peered into another carton. "Did you buy any of those steamed vegetable dumplings?"

Hiram (finally) recovered enough to speak. "Yes, princess," he said. "In the second bag, third carton."

"Excellent!" Rachel found the dumplings and happily bit into one. Leroy gaped at his daughter, his husband, and then back at his daughter.

"Hiram!" Leroy exclaimed. "Don't enable her!"

Hiram made his way over to Rachel and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. Rachel popped another bite of dumpling into her mouth and then dipped her fork into the lo mein. "I'm not enabling her, Leroy. Our little girl got left at the altar. I think that entitles her to a little bit of takeout."

"She left him at the altar too!"

"Leroy!"

Santana chose that moment to slip out of the room, because this was something that she probably didn't need to witness. She could practically feel Rachel burning a glare into her back, but not even the promise of some of the Chinese food was going to make her stay. Santana would probably make a getaway out of the fire escape, at this rate.

Rachel bit into another dumpling with a happy little sigh as she watched her fathers bicker back and forth. Their arguing bit was helping to successfully distract her from the choices she had made the night before. She had just transferred her fork back to the carton of lo mein when Leroy asked, "Well, where did you go last night, Rachel?"

Rachel froze with the forkful of noodles halfway to her mouth. Leroy was watching her, waiting expectantly for her answer. Even Hiram was curious and didn't bother to hide it. Everyone had wondered where Rachel had disappeared to the night before.

That only made Rachel want to cry all over again. The fork slipped from her fingers sand fell back into the carton. Suddenly feeling like she was going to throw up, Rachel gripped the edge of the counter and closed her eyes.

Surprised at the sudden change in their daughter's demeanor, Hiram and Leroy exchanged concerned looks. Rachel flexed her fingers and blinked against the tears forming in her eyes. Finally, she looked at her fathers and managed a shaky upturn of her lips that was a poor excuse for a smile.

"I messed up," Rachel whispered. She was immediately hugged by her fathers on either side when the first tear slipped down her cheek, and they didn't let go until she had stopped.

Half an hour later, Rachel was comfortably ensconced on the couch, wrapped in a fluffy blanket along with a steaming cup of her favorite tea. She had happily let her fathers fuss over her, and they were now whipping up her favorite vegetarian lasagna. Meanwhile, Rachel was amusing herself with trashy reality television and fortune cookies.

She cracked open her first cookie and pulled out the small slip of paper. Rachel read the little blurb and then let out an undignified snort. She crumpled up the little slip and tossed it across the room.

"Your life is about to change in a big way."

Wasn't that the truth?


seventh.

Rachel had two weeks of vacation from her current show, and she sure as hell was going to use it.

Sure, those two weeks was supposed to have been used for her honeymoon. But Rachel wasn't going to think about that.

Rachel loved working on Broadway, of course—she was currently in an original show that was rumored to be up for Tony Award. Even though she adored her fellow cast members, she wasn't looking forward to all of the questions about her failed wedding. The nuptials had been so highly publicized that there weren't very many people on New York City's social scene that didn't know about it.

So Rachel decided that she was going to use her new found free time to do some of the things she had wanted to try but hadn't had time to do because of all the wedding planning. She had always wanted to go to that weird Mexican-Greek fusion restaurant down on 17th Street. There was the thrift store just four blocks down from her apartment that she had been thinking about checking out for almost six months now. Not to mention that she wanted to take the French cooking class offered by a specialty food store downtown.

Plus, she was going to use this time to relax. Rachel couldn't remember the last time she spent a day just curled up on the couch in her pajamas. So it was four days after the day she was supposed to get married, and Rachel was settled on the sofa in the living room with a cup of steaming coffee and a book in her hands.

It was really no surprise that Rachel lasted for only two cups of coffee before she decided that she couldn't sit on the couch anymore.

Rachel had to do something. She could only lounge around in pajamas for so long before she went stir crazy. But just because she wasn't spending the day locked in her apartment, that didn't mean she still couldn't relax.

Walks in the park were relaxing, right? Making her decision, Rachel hopped off of the couch and changed into a pair of leggings and a cute slouchy sweater. She wrapped a chunky scarf around her neck and put on her favorite pair of lounge boots with the fuzzy cushioning on the inside. It was a beautiful autumn day, and it was still warm enough outside that she didn't need a jacket.

Rachel stopped at her favorite coffee place and bought an iced chai before she headed towards Central Park. Now this was relaxing. Being out in the bright sunshine, breathing in the fresh, crisp air, was Rachel's idea of a lazy day. Nothing could ruin this for her.

So when Rachel saw Finn Hudson walking towards her, she wondered if it was her imagination. After all, this was where she had seen him only four days ago. Maybe her mind was playing tricks on her.

But no. Fate was cruel and fickle, and it was indeed Finn Hudson headed her way. It was only confirmed when she heard Kurt Hummel's familiar voice shriek, "Rachel Berry!"


eighth.

"Finn. Finn. Finn. Finn."

Finn was convinced that if he ignored his stepbrother long enough, he would stop.

"Finn. Finn. Finn."

This plan would work.

"Finn. Finn."

Finn was seriously considering stuffing Kurt's scarf down his throat to shut him up.

"Finn. Finn. FINN."

"WHAT, KURT?"

Kurt looked pretty pleased with himself. "You should just tell me what happened already. I know something is bothering you, and I'm not going to leave you alone until you say what's up. So spill, Finn."

Finn rolled his eyes and let out a decidedly annoyed noise. He knew that Kurt meant well, but he wasn't trying to analyze that thing that happened to him four days ago. He didn't even know where to begin on that front.

Huffing indignantly, Kurt crossed his arms over his chest. "You're being ridiculous, Finn," he stated. "Honestly. You're poor mother is beside herself with worry, because she could tell that something was up with you the last time you talked on the phone. Even Puckerman knew something was going on. So you might as well just fess up."

Finn opened his mouth to tell Kurt to just drop it, but then his brother grabbed his arm and hit him—hard—in the chest. "Finn. Finn! Look! I think that's Rachel Berry!"

Finn froze, one hand rubbing at his chest while his other tried to pry Kurt's hand off of his arm (his grip was strong for such a little guy). His eyes cut through the people milling through Central Park, and he found Rachel easily. She was holding a drink in one hand and had her face turned towards the sun. She looked as if she was truly enjoying the early fall day, and Finn couldn't help but think that the last time he had seen that look on her face, she had been collapsing on his chest after being thoroughly loved by him.

Seeing the look on Finn's face, Kurt him in the chest again. "Something happened with Rachel, didn't it? Oh my God, it totally did. You're so busted!"

"Kurt—"

"So busted!"

Finn could see Kurt gearing up to call Rachel's name. Trying to cut him off, Finn pushed Kurt's shoulder and said, "Kurt, no—"

But Kurt went on as if he hadn't heard his brother. "Rachel Berry!"


ninth.

Rachel considered running for about half a second before she got a grip. She tossed her hair over one shoulder, took another sip of her iced chai, and waited for the two men to approach her. She tried to ignore the way Kurt's eyes were flashing curiously between Finn and Rachel, and instead smiled brightly at them.

"Kurt! Oh my God, it's so good to see you!" Rachel hugged Kurt tightly because in truth, she was happy to see him. Looking over Kurt's shoulder, she managed to send something resembling a smile his way. "Finn."

Finn opened and closed his mouth before he nodded his head at her. "Rachel."

Kurt could barely contain his laughter. "Oh good Lord. Something definitely happened between the two of you."

"Kurt!"

"What? I'm just calling it like I see it."

Rachel bit her bottom lip in order to hide her smile, but she didn't do well in succeeding. It was good to know that this hadn't changed either. She snuck a look at Finn and was pleased to see that he was wearing that half-smile that mad her stomach flutter. His cheeks pinked a little when she caught his eye, and Rachel was even more pleased.

The moment was broken by Kurt's loud scoffing. "Oh, please," he mumbled. "I'm getting out of here before you two decide to go at it right in the middle of the park."

"Kurt Hummel!"

"Kurt, what the hell?"

"What?" Kurt repeated. He smirked and was decidedly unapologetic. As an outsider, this situation was kind of hilarious. Naturally, Kurt kept up with all of the society gossip pages, so he knew exactly what had happened four days ago. It didn't take him long to connect the dots after seeing his brother and said brother's ex-fiancée together.

"We should talk," Rachel suggested. "Maybe we could go back to my apartment?" Thank God Santana would be out at the office all day. After graduating from Columbia with a law degree, she had immediately been snatched up by one of the biggest firms in the city. The job was demanding and kept Santana busy, so of course she loved it. Either way, it left Rachel with an open apartment.

Finn sent a glare Kurt's way (because he was attempted to snicker behind his hand and was doing a miserable job of hiding it), before he stepped aside to allow Rachel to pass him and lead the way back to her apartment. As she headed back in the direction she came from, Rachel felt Finn bring his hand up to the small of her back.

She was thrilled when he didn't move it.


tenth.

Finn looked around the cozy, surprisingly large apartment. It was a definite improvement over the loft in the shitty side of the city that she and Kurt had lived in during their time at NYADA, that was for sure.

There was a pile of boxes stacked next to the front door. Rachel saw Finn's eyes pass over the stack, and she grimaced. "All of the presents I have to return," she said as she gestured to the pile. "I haven't really talked to anyone about it yet, but… it has to get done, I suppose."

Finn nodded his head to show that he was at least listening. He didn't really feel like discussing how Rachel had to return the wedding gifts from the ceremony that never happened. Despite the fact that it's been years since they've had any form of contact, Finn didn't want to think about her getting married to some other guy. That in itself should have told him enough about his feelings, but Finn decided that that was an internal debate for another day.

Silence settled between them—not entirely uncomfortable, but not easy, either. Did they really expect anything different? The hardly parted on great terms. There was a nasty break up, one night of coming back together, and then they just didn't see each other. Rachel finished at NYADA and went on to Broadway. Finn got the hell out of Lima, went to school in California, and somehow ended up back in New York City as a sports journalist. They never forgot each other entirely, they just… grew up and moved on.

Or so they thought.

"I threw away my wedding dress," Rachel suddenly blurted.

Finn blinked in surprise at the admission. "You threw away your wedding dress?" he repeated. Finn knew next to nothing about dresses, but even he realized how expensive all of that white fabric had been.

Rachel nodded her head and twisted her hands together, suddenly nervous. "I just threw it away. In your apartment's trash room, actually."

Finn's lips quirked up in a small smile. It was funny, but in that sad way that didn't warrant any laughter. "You just stuffed it in one of the trash cans? Really?"

"Yup." Rachel's lips popped at the end of the word, and she bravely met his gaze. "It almost didn't fit in the bin."

The smile on Finn's face grew, and then he reached out, slipped a hand behind Rachel's neck, and hauled her against him. His lips met hers with no resistance at all, and Rachel all but climbed his body in an attempt to get closer.

It happened quickly from there. They shed their clothes until they were just skin against skin. Finn effortlessly lifted Rachel into his arms and pressed her against the living room wall as one hand plucked at a pert nipple. And then he was inside of her and it was as amazing as last time, as every time.

Just as quickly as it began, it was over. Finn and Rachel both reached the unbearable pleasure, and the only coherent sound coming from their lips was the shouting of each other's name. The remained pressed together, skin-to-skin with Finn still inside of her, for several long moments.

This time, Rachel didn't try to disappear and Finn didn't pretend like it hadn't happened. Instead, they both settled on the couch, and Rachel tucked herself into Finn's side. She tugged the throw blanket from the back of the couch and pulled it over their bodies. Finn slid an arm around her shoulders and they relaxed into a new type of silence.

This was very odd.

But strangely… right.

An hour or so passed like that until Rachel finally stood from the couch. Finn did as well, and they stared at each other for several long moments until they both started getting dressed. Then Finn kissed her cheek, his lips lingering there much longer than necessary—but Rachel didn't really mind.

Then he left, and Rachel once again found herself wondering what the hell she was doing.


eleventh.

"Holy shit, Berry! You definitely got fucked again."

"Santana!"

Santana shrugged her shoulders. "You have a hickey under your collarbone," she pointed out. Then she lowered uninterested eyes to her new manicure, but the smirk on her lips told Rachel that she was plainly amused.

Rachel's cheeks immediately flared bright red and she tugged at the cardigan she was wearing over her purple dress. Luckily, the hickey was further back, near her shoulder, so it was hidden with some adjustment of her sweater a well-placed lock of hair.

She couldn't believe that she let Finn Hudson give her a hickey. What was she, sixteen?

"You're supposed to be a silent observer," Rachel pointed out to her friend.

Santana shrugged her shoulders and snatched the menu up from Rachel's table. She flipped it over and then waved over a waiter that had been checking her out for the past ten minutes. Poor bastard didn't know what he was in for.

Santana smiled sweetly at the waiter and leaned over the table, affording the young man a view down her low-cut shirt. "We'd like a pitcher of mimosas. Two of them, actually. One at this table, and one at that table over there." Santana pointed to a table two away from the one Rachel was currently sitting at. It was hidden enough that it wouldn't be obvious that Santana was watching them, but it still allowed her to watch and hear what was going on. "And keep them coming."

"O-of course," the waiter stuttered. He tripped over his feet in his attempt to hurry back to the kitchens, and Santana flipped her hair over her shoulder in satisfaction. Rachel didn't even bother to try and hide her laughter, and she shook her head.

"You're taking advantage of that poor boy, Tana," Rachel said.

Santana waved her hand dismissively. "Whatever. We might as well use it to benefit us, anyway. If you're making me sit through this brunch, I'm going to need the mimosas. And so are you."

Rachel didn't get to respond, because the other person attending brunch had just arrived. Santana squeezed Rachel's shoulder before she hurried off to hide at her designated table. It was only a few moments later that Thad Winchester sat in the gilded chair across from Rachel.

"Rachel." Thad lifted her hand to his lips and kissed the back of it. Whatever his faults and whatever was lacking in their relationship, Thad had always been the consummate gentleman. "You're looking well."

"So are you," Rachel returned. The waiter appeared and set a crystal pitcher full to the brim with mimosa on the table, and Rachel shot him a grateful look. She poured the drink mixture into the flute provided and then offered it to Thad. He took some as well, and they sat in a semi-awkward silence as they sipped at their brunch cocktails.

"I heard that you left the wedding as well," Thad finally said. "You were quite the runaway bride, it seems."

Rachel had to laugh at that. It had probably looked like something out of a romantic comedy when she had been running around Central Park in her wedding dress.

(It kind of ended like a romantic comedy too, considering she had slept with her ex-fiancé right around the time she was supposed to be getting married to another man.)

"I'm sorry," Rachel said sincerely. "I should have said something to you before the ceremony. Before the engagement party, honestly." She did feel bad. Rachel and Thad had spent two years of their life together. Sure, there were some nice times, but there hadn't been anything that made Rachel believe she wanted to spend the rest of her life with Thad.

Thad shrugged his shoulders. "We both made mistakes. And we could have handled the situation better than we did, but it didn't work like that. I'm not going to pretend that I didn't wrong you, Rachel. I knew that you're heart wasn't really in it when I proposed to you, but I did it anyway."

Rachel shifted uncomfortably in her chair and took a long pull from her mimosa. Had she really been that obvious the entire time? It wasn't as if she hadn't cared for Thad, because she had… but something had been missing. They both knew it. And it had bene because of expectations that they had moved forward with the engagement, anyway.

"Are you happy?" Rachel asked. "Things are different now. I just want to know… are you?"

Thad smiled at her and nodded his head. "I am. My mother is raising holy hell, but she'll get over it eventually." Rachel's former fiancé gave her a scrutinizing look. "And what about you, Rachel? Are you happy?"

Rachel pressed her lips together and thought of her new found freedom. She felt like her own person again, and she didn't feel as if she was constantly trying to please everyone around her. She thought of Finn's amber eyes and how they lit up when he gave her that half smile, and a tingling warmth spread in her stomach.

"Yes," Rachel said. "I am happy."


twelfth.

"Are you busy right now?"

Finn chuckled into the phone and tucked his fingers into the tie around his neck, loosening it until it was no longer lined up neatly with the collar of his button-down shirt. "Well hello to you too, Rachel Berry. Is this normally how you greet your friends?"

Rachel huffed on the other end of the line, and Finn could practically see the look she was sending his way. "Well then. I guess you just don't want to have coffee with me—"

"Of course I do, Rachel." Even after all these years, some things about Rachel Berry would forever remain the same. It was kind of nice to know. "I can meet you at that place around the corner from your apartment."

Rachel let out a happy noise, and Finn could just imagine the smile on her face at that moment. "I've been dying to go there ever since it opened."

Finn stepped onto the subway platform and noted that he only had to wait a few more minutes for the next train. "I'm surprised you haven't gone there yet. It's been open for over a year now." He was well-acquainted with Rachel's love for both coffee and tea, and the little café was right up her alley.

"How long have you been going there?" Rachel questioned.

Finn thought back for a moment. "I don't know. Apparently there's some special kind of tea there that Blaine really likes, so Kurt dragged me there to go find it for his birthday. I guess it was about six months ago, then."

Rachel suddenly grew very quiet on the other end of the line. The subway arrived and Finn slipped in between the doors, wrapping his hand around one of the bars hanging overhead as there was standing room only. He waited patiently for Rachel to speak again, knowing instinctively that she needed a few minutes to collect herself.

Finally, she said, "We could have run into each other at any time over the past six months."

She was right, of course. But Finn was choosing not to dwell on that fact. "We did run into each other," he pointed out. "You were wearing that big poofy dress, remember?" That got a laugh out of Rachel, and Finn grinned in accomplishment. "So I'll see you in about fifteen minutes?"

"I'll see you then," Rachel agreed. He could hear the smile in her voice again.


thirteenth.

Rachel tugged on her tank top and adjusted the light cardigan she was wearing over it as she stood to greet Finn when he entered the café. He was dressed in slacks and a white button down shirt, and his tie was loosened with his sleeves rolled up to his elbows.

He looked so effortlessly attractive, and it was so utterly sexy that Rachel didn't know what to do with herself. She could feel her cheeks heating up, and she wondered when she started feeling like she was in high school again.

This was the same feeling that Rachel used to get whenever she saw Finn walking down the hallway towards her. It was exciting and terrifying all at the same time, because she knew all of those feelings for Finn had never actually gone away.

Finn grinned when he saw her, and he slipped one arm around her waist and ducked down to press his lips to her cheek. He ended up missing, his lips hitting the corner of Rachel's mouth instead. When he pulled back, she saw the sparkle in his amber eyes and knew that he had done it on purpose.

While Rachel was still trying to recover from Finn's little cheek-kiss-miss maneuver, Finn pulled his wallet from his pocket. "Do you still get your usual?" he asked.

Rachel arched an eyebrow. "You still remember my order?"

"Of course I do," Finn said as if it was no big deal—but it actually kind of fun. "A chai thing with soy." Rachel opened her mouth to add something to that order, but Finn finished it for her. "And with a shot of espresso."

Rachel beamed at him. "It's called a latte, by the way."

"What is?"

"That chai thing. It's a latte. And let me get it…" Rachel said as started digging through her purse for her wallet. Finn grabbed her hand to stop her and shook his head, which of course Rachel immediately protested to. "Finn, let me—"

Finn squeezed her hand. "Why don't I get the coffee and we can split one of those vegan cupcakes and call it even?"

"But you hate those cupcakes, Finn. You said the texture was weird."

"Yeah," Finn acknowledged. He gave her an easy smile. "But they're your favorite."

Rachel smiled warmly at him and tried not to notice too much how her heart was swelling in her chest. But it didn't really work when Finn kept a hold of her hand as laced their fingers together as they walked towards the counter.


fourteenth.

Anchoring herself by tightening her fingers on the headboard, Rachel threw her head back and gasped at Finn's particularly sharp hip thrust. He was hitting her in all of the right places, and his hands were all over her body. She rolled her hips against Finn's, gasping as his fingers tugged at her nipple.

"Oh God, Finn!" Rachel panted. Her orgasm came out of nowhere, surprising her with its intensity. She managed to hold herself upright long enough for Finn to thrust up into her one more time before he finished as well, and then she collapsed on his chest. Finn smoothed his hands up and down her back and pressed a kiss to the top of her head.

Rachel sighed happily and snuggled against Finn's chest, relishing in the afterglow of amazing pleasure. It helped that Finn's calloused fingers were still tracing her bare skin, causing her body to hum.

Then Finn's fingers brushed the curve of her breast, and Rachel sucked in a sharp breath. He chuckled and guided her into a sitting position so she was still straddling his body. "Come here," he murmured. His hands settled on her hips and he slid Rachel's body up his until she was kneeling over his head.

"Finn, what are you—" Rachel stop talking and let out a gasp instead when Finn's mouth came in contact with her center. That gasp turned into a moan and her head dropped back. Finn's tongue worked at her core, teasing her most sensitive spot. He teased her with fast and then slow movements of his tongue, and Rachel's hips rocked above his head.

When he slid his fingers between her legs and slipped them inside of her, Rachel's moan was probably heard throughout the whole complex. She pitched forward, pressing her hands against the wall as she hurtled towards that place of ecstasy. She wanted to make it last as long as it possibly could, but she wasn't going to make it.

"Oh, fuck," Rachel gasped. She practically forgot how to breathe as her body shook over Finn's head. All she could do was pant Finn's name as she came again. Her chest heaved and colors flashed in front of her eyes. She slumped over, using the wall to hold herself up as she let the waves of pleasure wash over her.

Finn grabbed a hold of her waist and helped her slide back down again until Rachel was curled against his chest. He pressed a kiss to her forehead and couldn't help the chuckle that escaped him when Rachel let out a wordless groan.

"That was amazing," Rachel breathed when she regained the ability to speak. She stroked Finn's chest with her fingers absently and closed her eyes, content to fall asleep wrapped in Finn's arms.

Well, she was ready to fall asleep until she heard the door to Finn's apartment open and a voice call, "Finny? Are you here?"

Rachel's head lifted from Finn's chest. "Finn, is that your mother?" she whispered.

"Shit," Finn said by way of an answer.

Rachel shot up in bed with the sheet clutched to her bare chest. "Finn! What are we supposed to do?"

Finn reached out and cupped Rachel's cheeks in his hands. "We're going to get dressed, and then we're going to go out there and say hello to my mom."

He said it with such ease that Rachel couldn't help but smile at Finn. She pressed a kiss to his lips and then climbed out of the bed. Rachel slipped into the sundress she had worn over to Finn's apartment and tried to make it look like she didn't have sex hair.

"Finn, do I look alright?" Rachel asked as she applied a coat of Chap Stick to her kiss-swollen lips.

Finn smirked at her. "Yeah, Rach, you look great."

"Finn Hudson! You know exactly what I mean!"

"I know." He rubbed her arms and kissed her gently on the lips. He knew exactly what she meant, but he couldn't help teasing her a little bit. "Of course you look fine, Rach. You look beautiful."

Rachel beamed at him and kissed him again. Taking Rachel's hand, Finn linked their fingers together and led her out of the bedroom. Rachel only had about three seconds to prepare herself for this family reunion, and she had only managed a deep breath before she was suddenly in front of the entire Hudson-Hummel clan.

Carole dropped the bag of groceries she was holding and pointed a finger at the young couple. She let out an uncharacteristic squeal that made both Rachel and Finn jump. "I knew it!"


fifteenth.

Carole scooped a heaping serving of roasted asparagus onto Rachel's plate. She had come prepared with a whole vegetarian course just for Rachel; it was almost as if she had known that Rachel was going to be in Finn's apartment.

Rachel had to admit that she had missed the Hudson-Hummel family dinners. In all the years since high school, they hadn't changed one bit. Kurt would blabber on and on about some fashion-inept person he worked with. Blaine would alternately sooth or provoke Kurt, depending on which he felt like doing. Burt would ask questions that would make Kurt roll his eyes but he would answer them anyway. Carole would simply smile and shake her head, and Finn would outright instigate rants from Kurt and then laugh about it.

Suddenly, Finn asked, "How did you know?"

Kurt stopped mid-rant and snorted. "Please, how could we not know? In case you've forgotten, I knew the second I saw the two of you in the park together."

Finn narrowed his eyes at his brother but otherwise ignored the statement. His question had been more directed towards his mother, anyway. "Seriously, Mom. How did you know?"

Under the table, Rachel reached for Finn's hand. She wrapped her small fingers around his large palm and squeezed reassuringly. Finn smiled at her, comforted by the contact.

Carole smiled at the sweet display. "It was mother's intuition," she stated. "I just had a feeling that I was going to find Rachel with sooner or later."

Rachel and Finn looked at each other in surprise, then back at the rest of Finn's family, who were all watching them with knowing looks and amused smiles. They looked back at each other, and then Finn shrugged his shoulders in a "what are you gonna do?" motion and leaned over to kiss Rachel on the cheek.

She could feel herself blushing uncontrollably, but she couldn't stop the beaming smile that formed on her lips either. Rachel rested her head on Finn's shoulder and wrapped both of her arms around Finn's.

Carole poked Kurt in the shoulder. "You owe me twenty dollars, Kurt Hummel. I told you they wouldn't try to hide it!"


sixteenth.

Rachel rolled over in her bed and stretched. She was successfully hogging the bed and all of the blankets, which meant that Finn wasn't in bed with her. Rachel could smell coffee coming from the kitchen, so she supposed that Finn was already up and making breakfast. Smiling, Rachel climbed out of bed and searched around on the floor until she found Finn's t-shirt.

"If you're making coffee right now, you might be my favorite person in the world," Rachel announced as she entered the kitchen. Finn grinned at her over his shoulder and reached an arm out, pulling her against him. Rachel slid her arms around his waist and stood on her tiptoes to peer over his shoulder. "What are you making?"

"Pancakes," Finn answered. He flipped a pancake to demonstrate, and Rachel squeezed her arms around his middle. She kissed his cheek and then went to retrieve her cup of coffee. She took a seat at the kitchen island, and Finn presented her with a plate of pancakes piled high with fruit.

Finn and Rachel sat at the island together and had a sweet, quiet breakfast together. After the crazy, unpredictable way their lives had changed in the past few weeks, it was nice to have some time to just be together.

Once they were finished eating, Finn put their plates in the dishwasher and turned around just in time to see Rachel crossing her legs from her perch on the stool. The oversized shirt she was wearing rode up, revealing a long expanse of tan thigh. Finn's amber eyes went dark and he immediately had Rachel's body trapped between his own and the counter.

Rachel could feel her cheeks heating up under the intense heat of Finn's gaze. He slid his hands down her body until he could lift her up onto the counter. Stepping between her legs, he didn't waste any time in bringing his lips to hers.

Rachel completely melted into the kiss and ran her hands down his bare chest, reveling in the feel of his skin against hers. Nothing else mattered other than the feel of Finn's lips on hers… until she suddenly heard the voice of her father.

"Rachela, we wanted to see if you wanted to go out to lunch today—" Hiram abruptly stopped speaking when he saw the scene he and Leroy had come upon. He fell into a shocked silence, unable to think of anything to say. Leroy, however, immediately reacted.

"What the hell is going on here?" Leroy demanded loudly.

Rachel pulled her lips from Finn's and pressed her face against his chest. "Please tell me this isn't happening right now," she groaned. Her voice was muffled against his skin, but everyone heard her.

"Oh, it's happening," Finn said. He was frozen against Rachel, completely unsure of what to do next. And he was kind of afraid to turn around, if he was being completely honest.

Forty-five minutes later, Rachel, her fathers, and Finn were all out to get some coffee. Rachel and Hiram had both agreed that it would be best for them to go out in public, just in case Leroy tried to take a swing at Finn. Rachel had a tight grip on Finn's hand underneath the table, and the air between them and Hiram and Leroy was slightly awkward, but not entirely uncomfortable.

Finally, Leroy set his coffee mug down. He studied Rachel and Finn for several long moments before he let out a loud sigh.

"Well, I can't say that I didn't really expect this," Leroy stated.


seventeenth.

Rachel took the hand that Finn offered to her and climbed onto the couch next to him. She curled into his side, resting against his chest. Finn stroked her hair back and dropped a kiss to the top of her head.

"I'm so sorry about earlier today," Rachel murmured. She closed her eyes and snuggled further into his chest. This was the perfect way to end her day, and she really enjoyed the fact that Finn was staying over for the second night in a row.

Finn chuckled. "I can't say that I imagined that's how our day would go, but I'm glad we got it over with. I haven't seen your dads in years, but it went better than I thought it would."

Rachel opened her eyes and looked up at Finn in surprise. But the more she thought about it, the more she realized he was right. While things had been slightly tense and somewhat awkward, it actually ended up being a nice night. Hiram had even said that they were going to have to get together with Burt and Carole soon.

"I can't believe my father said he expected this to happen again," Rachel said as she gestured between herself and Finn.

Finn shrugged his shoulders. "I always thought we would end up together."

Tears unexpectedly came to Rachel's eyes and she tried to wipe them from her cheeks without Finn noticing. Of course, Finn noticed anyway, and he sat up in alarm. Reaching up, he cupped her cheek in his hand and brushed the tears away with his thumb.

"What's wrong?" he asked softly. "Why are you crying, Rach?"

Rachel sniffled and blinked a few times in an effort to stop more tears from falling. "You were just so confident and so sure that we would end up finding our way back to each other, and I didn't have that same faith all the time. Finn, you'll never know how sorry I am for that." Her fingers curled into his shirt and she took a deep breath. "I love you, Finn Hudson."

To Rachel's surprise, Finn chuckled. He pulled her in for a gentle, tender kiss. "Rachel, it's okay. I love you too. I never stopped, you know."

Rachel laughed and threw her arms around Finn's neck. The force of her embrace caused both of them to fall back onto the couch, but neither Finn nor Rachel cared. They were finally together, and they were finally ready for whatever came next.


eighteenth.

"There. You're finally ready."

Hiram, Santana, and Carole all stepped back from Rachel at the same time. She took a moment to admire her reflection in the mirror. Naturally, she couldn't help but remember the last time she was wearing a white gown.

This time was so different from what it had been two years ago. Instead of a huge, princess-style gown, Rachel's dress was made with a delicate lace overlay that cute close to her waist and then flowed down her hips. The most amazing part of the dress was the open back with the lacey straps holding it up. Her hair was swept up into a simple twist, and she had a bouquet of pink tulips to complete the look.

That wasn't the only thing that was different. This time, the ceremony was taking place on a beautiful afternoon in late spring. It was outside in a beautiful garden, with a reception to follow in the same space. Instead of an absurd amount of guests, it was just their close friends and family.

Rachel knew that this was right. This was everything she had ever dreamed of, and more importantly, she was marrying the love of her life.

There was a knock on the door of the bridal suite, and Leroy stuck his head in. "Kurt is ready to get this show on the road," he announced. "And according to him, Finn is waiting very impatiently at the end of the aisle."

Rachel immediately lifted the skirt of her dress with her free hand and made a beeline for the door. Chuckling, Hiram followed after her in order to stop her from walking down the aisle before her bridesmaids. She had to wait, after all.

The ceremony went off without a hitch after that. And finally, when the wedding march started, Rachel took her place between her fathers and began to make her way down the aisle.

Rachel's eyes connected with Finn's, and everything else narrowed down to that one moment. This was where Rachel was meant to be. Whatever journey she had taken, it had all led up to this point. No matter what else had happened, she and Finn had always been meant to find her way back to one another.

Reaching the end of the aisle, Rachel took Finn's hands as she stopped across from him. His lips lifted in that familiar, ever adorable half smile, and Rachel beamed at him.

Finally, ten years after they first met, Finn Hudson and Rachel Berry said, "I do."


FINALLY. I've been working on this for over a month, but at the beginning of February, I slipped on ice and broke my right hand (and yes, I am right-handed). I'm not fully 100% yet, as I'm in a brace for at least the next three weeks and can't even straighten my hand all the way yet. But I wanted to write and I want to keep writing—it just might take a lot longer than it used to. Thank you so much for your continued support. I really appreciate it!