Jesse woke up late that day, extremely late. Friday morning and his flight to California left in less than two hours. He stumbled out of the bed in search of his phone, and had no success in finding it. He blinked once, twice to try to get himself out of the sleeping stupor. When he finally did, he heard the shower running. He was once again caught off guard by the sounds and inconveniences of sharing his apartment.
Maddie sang in the shower once more, and Jesse sat on the edge of the mattress, holding his head in his hands. Hunched over his own body and positively tired of himself. He needed to get ready.
Upon looking around, he saw the teal colored suitcase resting on the other end of his queen sized bed. He frowned, and wondered slightly of why Maddie hadn't woken him up. He decided he really didn't need much time to put his things together and as he stood from the bed, he felt the floor shift underneath him. With a frown and a palm to his head, he remembered for the first time all he'd had to drink the day before.
He had only gotten home after a particularly exhausting session with Cassie and her upperclassmen dancers. He had considered dropping out of her group of gifted and handsome after he left the classroom with a conveniently ignored flirting teacher behind him. Jesse had opened a bottle from the cabinet, flicking out of his head the wrongness of the situation. Because, really, he always understood the dangers of drinking alone and enjoying it. Maddie had been out late too, and he didn't go to bed until half past one.
His girlfriend had slipped into bed with a kiss to his forehead approximately two hours later.
Now, as he scammed his eyes through his nightstand, he spotted the glass of water and the aspirin waiting patiently for him to awaken. The ends of his lips quirked up at this, and suddenly, hearing Maddie scream and shout to the notes of a song, wasn't so annoying anymore.
He finished with his packing exceptionally quickly, he only needed the carry on. And his tuxedo would be waiting for him on the other side of the country. In another coastal city and with friends from another life and another heart.
He supposed he was only missing two things right now. A shower and his phone. Jesse ventured outside of the bedroom just as he heard the shower stop its continued flow. His phone was there, on the couch, teasing him. Urging him to pick it up with another hum of a new text arriving through the air.
He picked it up and let his eyes swift across the lighted screen. The sun outside his window was beginning to rise over the city of his dreams. He wondered if he would ever be able to enjoy the view that his ever present trust-fund had provided. Instead, he read the message.
It was Rachel, and she wished him a wonderful weekend.
She wished she didn't have to go to Ohio.
He let out a sigh, coming from deep within his throat, and didn't hold back the smirk.
He quickly typed his response.
He wished he didn't have to go either.
"Jesse?" The call from Maddie made him snap out of his trance. A hollow began forming around his stomach; he had to say something. He had to make a decision.
"Here." He said, tucking his phone tighter around his fingers and moving around the couch towards his bedroom again.
He saw her standing in her underwear. Blue lace bra and matching panties, hugging her body. She smiled at him, sweetly and innocent. She proceeded to look for her dress inside the closet. His expression grew pensive as he thought of the weird familiarity of the situation.
"Thank you." He let out, nodding his head at the glass of water and the medicine that stood on the bedside table. Maddie only smiled at him and watched him walk inside the bathroom next.
He closed the door, not bothering to say anything else. He wondered briefly if he wasn't giving Maddie enough credit. After all, they had known each other for years, but somehow she had always found the best ways to blindfold herself. Still, it wasn't like anything was going on, anything at all.
Just a couple of texts here and there. The occasional meeting for coffee with Rachel outside of NYADA. And of course, the urge to come closer he had to keep suppressing when he so much as saw her.
He really had to say something. He really had to decide.
Jesse stepped underneath the scalding splash of water and closed his eyes intently. Letting the hot and slippery wash away everything for only a second. A little escapade from real life.
Rachel had said she loved him. With the convenient use of present tense and no egg waiting to be smashed behind her back.
Maddie kissed his forehead and offered glasses of water. Smiling bright even when he was sure she knew more than she was letting on.
The shower pointed to his face and he stopped breathing for a second. Could it be that, he already knew the answer but he just didn't have the courage to say it?
The ride over to the airport was comfortable and ridiculously long given the morning traffic and rush hour. He banged his head against the window of the cab several times when they just couldn't get past a red light. At some point he considered just walking all across town, convinced it would be faster. But Maddie held his hand in hers and offered her shoulder to lean on.
It was comfortable when he managed to fall asleep on her shoulder for the rest of the ride.
He was awoken with a tickle to his neck and Jesse was suddenly very aware of the glances the taxi driver had been giving him through the rearview mirror. Yes, he was exhausted as well, but he wasn't falling asleep in command.
They rushed past the airport at some point, and he barely remembered the check in. It was a blur in between all those people attempting to cross state lines or countries. He gave out a sigh when they finally sat in the seats of the plane. Side by side and holding hands still, like they had been locked in together and unable to part until given permission.
He thought of whose permission he had to get.
Jesse fell asleep again, this time leaning on the window cover. He felt the heat emanating through the material and hummed himself away.
But just before he could drift away completely, he felt the loss of Maddie's hand and he heard her light and airy voice morph into a sigh.
He couldn't think of what it meant.
Five hours later, and thirty minutes of him pretending to be asleep, they landed. He spied Maddie over the corner of his eye and registered her frown, her longing. He said nothing.
Once she discovered Jesse was awake, she smiled warmly at him again. Like only a girlfriend would, like only someone who loved him would. He clasped his hand with hers and chastised himself for thinking of letting this go.
It was only when Patrick and Hannah came to pick them up in the airport, did Jesse notice they hadn't talked since they left the apartment. Only grunts and nods and smiles. Their thank yous to anyone who wasn't each other. Good morning to the woman in the line. But nothing much else.
Patrick hugged him and snatched his bag away from him, waving away his attempts to stop him. Jesse then took over his girlfriend's luggage and wondered if maybe he should've been doing this for her all along. He let her hand go as Maddie and Hannah fell behind gossiping and grinning.
"Rough flight?" Patrick asked him as he opened the trunk to his car. Jesse couldn't see his face, he shrugged.
"We slept late." The response got no verbal reply, but his friend gave him a knowing smile and told him to sit on the front with him.
Hannah and Maddie got inside the back of the car and kept discussing the sitting arrangements for the evening. They paid their boyfriends no mind. Patrick rolled his eyes at them just as they left the airport parking. Jesse smirked at them, though he felt little joy when the burning sun touched his skin through the car window.
"She forgave you," Jesse stated, but it sounded more like a question. Patrick's lips curved as he glanced at his soon to be wife through the mirror.
Hannah and Maddie remained in their world. Almost as if they were wearing earphones to cancel them out specifically.
"Well," Patrick began, the curve of his mouth transforming into a smirk. He gave Jesse a quick look. "Not yet...but it was too expensive to postpone."
Jesse chuckled to himself, shaking his head.
"You?" Patrick asked, giving him nothing more. Jesse swallowed and looked over at his best friend, who was focused only on the road.
There was little doubt in his head of what he meant. He was talking about Maddie, but upon doing just that, he couldn't have known he was talking about Rachel as well. That Lima girl who just so happened to be in New York at the same time as Jesse.
"It's going well." He found he wasn't lying actually. His hand turned into a fist and then back. "But you never know, right?"
"Mhmm." His friend cleared his throat. Hannah laughed at something on the back. "Just lay off until after the wedding, St. James."
Jesse rolled his shoulders back and dared turn his gaze to his friend. Still driving, his fingers wrapped around the steering wheel. Patrick must've felt eyes on him and he let his focus shift for a second, finding Jesse's questioning eyes.
Patrick looked through the mirror once more and turned the volume up from the radio Jesse had just noticed. Maddie was laughing now too.
"I don't want a crying bridesmaid to deal with." He said, a whisper that was almost muted by the sounds inside the car. "Neither does Hannah."
Jesse looked down to his lap, ashamed of being so transparent. Especially in front of fellow high school classmates. He didn't know if he was losing his touch, or if it really was that hard to hide.
Also, Maddie didn't deserve this in the least.
"Don't worry." He finally responded. Patrick only tipped his head in a nod of acknowledgement.
The radio shifted and the road went on, and Jesse found himself restless and wanting to get out of the moving vehicle. His discomfort was growing with every sound of the girls' laughs. He felt his best friend's gaze havor over him once or twice.
"Is it because of what I think it is?" Patrick's question made Jesse unconsciously run his hand through his hair. He let his palm fall to his leg again almost instantly.
The radio shifted again, and the heat seemed to have doubled in intensity. Jesse refrained from asking about the air conditioning. The windows rolled down on the back, as if someone had heard his silent begging for fresh air.
He had to speak louder now, "Yes."
Another nod from his friend, as if he was merely gathering academic information. He didn't look like it bothered him. Maddie was Hannah's friend, not his, but still Jesse thought he had seen an anger rise in him before. Now, Patrick seemed almost nonchalant about it.
As if asking Jesse if this was about that other girl in front of his current girlfriend wasn't callous at all. Just something that needed to happen.
They made a left, and Jesse recognized the hotel they had stayed at last time. The wedding venue this weekend. The air coming from the windows was heavenly and nothing could be heard but the wind coming from all directions. Hannah and Maddie had gone silent and the radio sounds were more mumbles than anything else.
Patrick stopped the car in the entrance, leaving the keys with the valet and tipping the man carrying their bags inside. Hannah put her arm around Maddie and guided her inside, pointing to the direction of the lobby.
Jesse walked inside the grand entrance alongside his friend. He spotted a smirk on his lips and relaxed slightly. So he really wasn't angry. A pat on his back, and then, "I hope you let me meet her one day. She must be special."
When Rachel finally stepped inside her childhood home, something shifted inside of her. Something in her heart lifted, almost like a shadow suddenly overcome by the sun. It hadn't been that long since she was last there, but somehow, it felt as if a lifetime had come and gone. If memory served her right, the last time she had visited her home town, Jesse was with her, and they were happy and they were starting something.
Her dads didn't even mention him once when they had dinner together later that day. It was strange, because Rachel could swear she hadn't told them about their breaking up. Or maybe she had, but had only given them the information as if it was something she would be able to reverse any day. The wary looks they gave her when she let Jesse's name slip, suggested Kurt might've had a hand on this.
It was sad, the way she was almost grateful. Still, she hated it when people were this careful around her, most of all her parents.
Harold and Hiram left her be in the night. They retreated to their own room and kissed her cheek goodnight. Rachel paced restlessly around her room for about a half an hour, eyeing everything that had decorated her life growing up. Rose colored stars and countless show bills taped to the walls.
She went to bed around one in the morning, wrapping her light yellow comforter on her body. It was probably the working of her imagination that made the night air in Ohio seem colder than that in New York. It made no sense, but she didn't question it further as she rose again from the mattress in search for something warmer to put on her shivering form.
Opening the small closet in the corner of her room, she squinted her eyes at the clothes that it bore. She grimaced openly at the fabrics of the sweaters and coats, fluffy and ostentatious. She closed it again, nothing in there would soothe her.
Rachel gave up trying to pretend she hadn't come prepared. Then, she walked silent steps to her suitcase on the floor, and fell to her knees as she struggled with the stuck zipper. Once she had won that battle, she rummaged through the clothes she had overpacked, and her hands made it to the bottom.
There, even through the dim lit light on her nightstand, her eyes recognized the lazy blue of the fabric, and her fingertips grazed the material her skin had so been craving.
Rachel stood again, and there in the middle of her childhood bedroom, she stripped to her underwear, and draped his shirt around her. And oddly enough, even with months time since he had actually worn it, she could still trace his scent enveloping her.
Rachel fell asleep shortly after, wondering if maybe Jesse too would go to bed thinking of them.
On the day of the wedding, Rachel agreed to meet with Finn for coffee. This, only after he had appeared on her doorstep way too early in the morning, claiming he was having a crisis of sorts. Clearly, only Rachel could help him through this.
He suggested going to the Lima Bean, but she said it was too far away. And truly, she didn't want to run into anybody until she was sure of what Finn really wanted. So then, they settled on a small breakfast bar near McKinley High. Finn didn't seem to mind.
She ordered herself a tea. Finn went ahead and ordered a full meal. Pancakes and bacon and eggs appeared on the table shortly after. The time had been spent questioning about their families.
Yes, I hope Burt is well. Yes, Kurt told me too.
I ran into your dads the other day. No, no we didn't actually talk.
Now, Rachel eyed her ex boyfriend curiously. He seemed all too happy to see her, even after she had come to reject him and his advances over the phone only days ago. She narrowed her eyes at him, Finn looked innocent there, attempting to fit all the food impaled on his fork into his mouth. It crossed her mind, that he looked like a small child, and suddenly, she thought it would appear to anyone that he had never really left high school.
He caught her staring with a smirk, and Rachel suppressed her need to clarify her analyzing. She didn't want to kick him while he was down, even though he seemed anything but faced by her presence. Well, he had come to seek her out.
Rachel sipped her cup for the first time, and the tea had gone depressingly cold in the ceramic. Her mouth went dry, even with the liquid she was pouring to it. Finally, she decided she wasn't going to wait on him.
"So, what's wrong?" Finn halted on his eating, his hand suspended on the air. He nodded, like he'd just remembered why they were together in the first place.
"I did something bad," he told her as he pushed his empty place aside. "The other day."
Rachel expected him to continue, but then he looked away. The windows of the restaurant were too bright on them, she could most definitely see the sweat beginning to form on his hairline. She blinked at him when he remained silent.
She sighed, "I'm sure it's fine, Finn, whatever it is."
He nodded again, but pursed his lips into a thin line. At this, Rachel raised a brow. She knew him enough to recognize the regret eating at him.
"It's not, actually," he pushed, as if he was convincing her.
Their waiter walked to them and asked them if they needed anything else. Finn shook his head hastily, she smiled politely at the man and uttered her answer. They were left alone once more.
"Finn, what is it?" she tried again, and this time, she managed to get his eyes on hers.
"I kissed someone else," his revelation was met with a confused looking Rachel. He looked equally as confused a moment later. He went on. "I'm so sorry, Rach."
Rachel was sure her eye twitched and her mouth felt like it went impossibly dryer. Her tea was gone and she impulsively looked around to see if she could call back the waiter for some water. She looked back at Finn when her search went inconclusive.
She was smiling before she knew she had fully processed what he had said, and exactly why he had apologized. "And, how was it?" Her voice came out relaxed for the first time.
His face was doing that thing, the one Jesse and Santana always mocked him about. She bit her tongue to keep herself from laughing, how hilarious she hadn't noticed it before.
"What?" he was visibly dumbstruck.
"The kiss, how was it?" She repeated, fingers lightly gracing the edges of her mug. Her smile hadn't faltered once, and she really saw no reason why it should.
"You're not mad?" His voice rose a bit. The couple on the table nearest to them stared for a second. Finn clamped up at the attention. "Rach-"
"Why should I be?" His jaw tightened at her words.
"Because. Because you- we're…" Finn trailed off, and then frowned at nothing. The funny face was gone, and was replaced with something warmer, calmer and unfamiliar.
"We're friends," she tried to finish for him, and his gaze moved to meet hers. "At least I hope we can be."
His brown eyes were lighter all of a sudden and Finn didn't even try to hide his struggle to form words, or any kind of response. He took a deep breath in and out. Rachel was honestly surprised to see he had managed to form a smile, small and hesitant, but a smile nonetheless.
"We are," he corrected, "and it was okay, the kiss."
She smirked back at him, and felt her shoulders untense on her frame. She hadn't even noticed she had grown so stiff around him. The man in front of her became unthreatening, and like magic had been cast upon them, his proximity stopped making her uncomfortable.
Finn became her friend upon their mutual agreement. And he proceeded to tell her all about the girl he had kissed, a junior who had joined the glee club. He said he wasn't really a teacher there, so it was okay.
She asked if she had met her at some point. He nodded wearily, and reluctantly told her she had been Sandy in the play they had struggled to put on last autumn. Rachel arched a brow at him, and then snorted at the sure drama that would unfold very soon about Finn and the girl he had kissed. Still, it didn't face Rachel, it amused her that just this once, none of this involved her in the least.
Finn started laughing with her after a second. And Rachel was left with a nice feeling on her chest, and relief going all around her as she felt the morning had left her without any weight on her shoulders.
Emma Pillsbury walked down the aisle, her hand holding tightly onto the arm of her father. And she looked beautiful, and happy and completely spotless as always. Rachel found herself tearing up during the ceremony, Kurt held her hand by her side. All the while, Quinn and Santana snickered drunkenly on the row behind them. Everything just as it should be.
Mr. Shue wanted a photo with the glee club outside the church, and she locked eyes with her friends once or twice, and caught the roll of their eyes several times. She noticed, most of them had ruffled clothes and their collective breath smelled of whisky already.
Kurt told her they had been passing a flask around during the vows. The others had drained it before it ever got to their row of seats. She rode to the reception with Kurt, Blaine and Mercedes. The latter thankfully monopolized the conversation, and not a hint of awkwardness was felt in the twenty minutes it took to get to their destination.
Decidedly, the dinner was a failure of epic proportions. They served fish, and the caterers had made the mistake of cooking it an hour prior to the time they should've. Artie said Sue Sylvester had once again made it her life's mission to ruin anything that had to do with their choir teacher. She shrugged, it really didn't concern her anymore. The soup had been nice, at least.
The dance floor was packed, and she suddenly noticed all the tacky decorations everywhere. The hearts and bright pink flowers were giving her a headache. She slouched on her chair, and ran a hand through the length of her hair. Across from her, Brittany and Sam tenderly rubbed their noses together. And on the table next to theirs, Santana watched with a disgusted look on her face; Quinn was shamelessly drinking from a bottle of champagne now.
Rachel had spent all day feeling like high school drama and the people who helped inspire it weren't something she should've worried herself with. No matter, the sight of the mean girls on the other table made her stomach quench. She rolled her shoulders back.
She stood from the table and glanced over at the dance floor, where Finn danced with a skinny brunette in a rather cute blue dress. The color made her stand out between the crowd, and two other angry looking boys appeared to be making their way towards the dancing couple. Rachel looked away before she could witness the obvious oncoming car crash.
She snatched a bottle from the empty table on her right, and walked confidently towards her previous tormentors and probable friends. She didn't know how to classify them anymore. Quinn looked up at her first once Rachel had made it to stand before them, Santana followed her friend's action. They both looked indifferent to Rachel there.
"Can I sit?" she asked, holding the bottle in her hand higher. Quinn smirked, and Santana snorted. The former nodded her head at the empty chair beside her.
They sat there, drinking shots from the bottle of tequila, it turned out. Quinn was viciously tearing apart every man that dared come near them, Rachel felt as if she had a guardian on her side. Santana talked of the life she would have as a returning college student next semester, while periodically giving her ex girlfriend's new boyfriend dirty looks. Rachel pointed out Sam was technically her ex too.
Quinn icily added that he technically went out with the three of them at some point. Santana scoffed, like she'd been insulted, "Yes, well, everyone's been with everyone, Berry." She hummed. "The best kind of twisted."
At some point, Rachel thought, maybe very late into the night, she was beyond drunk. And so were her...her friends. Santana said she wanted to go out for a smoke, Quinn stood with her and wordlessly followed. Rachel was left alone at the table once again, but not for long.
Kurt popped out of nowhere with a grin on his face, he had been dancing with Blaine for a while. She made a note not to mention Matt right then. "You're drunk," he said, and she nodded happily.
"You're flushed," she threw back, and watched as he reddened further. She listened to his excuse about dancing and made no attempt to explain his absence from the hall for the last twenty minutes.
She stood to wrap her arms around her best friend, and giggled as they decided they wanted to dance again. Rachel ended up swirling to a slow song with Kurt, and they talked endlessly of how awful it was that Finn suddenly sported a swollen jaw. They gave out little laughs as they watched in turns how the girl in the blue dress pressed a pack of ice to Finn's face. They were smiling.
Rachel felt whole for a second or two. Giggling with her best friend and surrounded by people she considered family. Mr. Shue made a toast, Kurt and she leaned into each other as the room broke into applause at the newlyweds.
Two hours later, she was being tucked into a bed that smelled like Kurt's citrusy shampoo. This, what would probably be their last sleepover in Lima, Ohio.
The morning after the wedding went by like a fuzz, Rachel tried to nurse her hungover as best as she could. She was greeted by Carol in the kitchen, offering a suspicious looking drink to her. She said it worked wonders, but it only made Rachel's nausea worsen.
She was driven to her house by Finn, Kurt fell asleep in the back of the car. He'd already packed, and the step brothers waited for her to take a shower and get her things in order, and with a hug to her dads and a promise to call them soon, she left her home once again.
New York awaited, and classes on Monday morning wouldn't just stop because she wanted to spend one more day watching musicals with her dads. Finn drove them to the train station and helped them both with their luggage. He kissed them goodbye and promised to come visit in the summer. Then he left with a smile headed Rachel's way.
The ride she spent asleep, much to Kurt's displeasure, who had apparently wanted to dwell on everything that happened the night before. Nonetheless, there had been enough time for gossiping on the cab ride to their apartment.
Kurt was the one who practically dragged himself to his bed and was completely knocked out for the rest of the afternoon. Rachel kept the lights off once night time arrived, an attempt to leave her friend unbothered for the rest of their uneventful day.
She unpacked and jumped into bed at about one in the morning, and once again, she tugged the blue shirt tighter around her body as she tried to sleep. There was an unmistakable feeling in her chest that spoke of calmness and nothing else. Something was missing from her life still, but she had a feeling she wouldn't have to go without it much longer.
That thought alone was what made her drift off into exhaustion with a smile on her face.
When she awoke, the apartment was silent still. She walked barefooted to the bathroom and brushed her teeth, then she peaked into Kurt's room, his body was twisted on the bed and he snored soundfuly. Rachel walked to the kitchen and poured herself a glass of water. The stove was filthy and pans and pots were thrown around the space; Kurt had woken up in the middle of the night and decided he wanted to cook what he had no ability to, she decided. As she drank from the glass, she considered her clothing again.
Underwear and a blue dress shirt. And she was absolutely freezing without the comfort of her sheets around her. Rachel set the glass down on the table and stepped into her room again; she scrambled to find something to cover her legs. And just as she was fitting into her favorite pair of sweatpants, there was a knock on the door.
Then another. And she practically ran to the entrance to keep Kurt from waking up with the noise. Her feet stuck to the floorboards and she winced at the feeling. But just as she pushed the sliding door away, a loud gasp left her mouth.
There stood Jesse St. James in a sweater and a jacket. His cheeks were flushed from the cold of the morning and his curls were messy from the wind. He looked startled to see her, almost as if he had expected any other person but her to open the door.
"Jesse," his name left her lips like it was the first time she had spoken it. The syllables felt tender on her tongue.
His eyes, glazy and warm, stared back at her now. His focus shifted ever so subtly below her neck, and his expression softened as he stared at the shirt on her body.
Then, she caught the end of his lips curve. He said nothing for another second, and Rachel suddenly felt mortified when she stepped out of her haze. Here she was, basically screaming at him everything inside her heart. Hey, I sleep with your clothes on, I hope you don't find this psychotic.
However, when she dared look at him again, he didn't seem to mind, no, he didn't seem to mind at all. Jesse stepped closer, and then closer, and Rachel found that no part of her body wanted to move, or knew how to. He stopped moving once Rachel could feel the warmth of his body against hers.
"I-I came here straight from the airport, and I thought, while I was on the plane, I'd thought it all weekend if I'm being honest. Well, I was thinking of how much I wanted to get home, but then, my apartment doesn't really feel like home." He swallowed, as his impromptu speech managed to register in his own head, "Turns out, all I wanted was to get to you, wherever you were- are, is where I want to be too. And well, I came here straight from the airport."
Her eyes widened, and she continued to try to make words come out of her mouth. All she did was gape at him then. Jesse smiled at her and drew in a shaky breath. His hand moved on her side, and she felt his finger trace the outline of her body all the way up to the nape of her neck. Rachel closed her eyes.
She could feel his chest rise with his breathing, and all she could hear for a second was the agitated drum of her own heartbeat. His fingertips teased at her neck and then his hand was cupping her face, his thumb adoringly gracing her cheek. Her eyes remained closed.
"Rach," he called to her in a whisper, but she didn't make a move, too scared of all this disappearing once she dared open her eyes. His other hand now moved to waist, and his soft grip on her skin made her tingle and her fingers tried to reach out for him. She stopped herself.
He moved the hand on her waist slightly lower and it landed on her hip, he pulled her closer to him. Her chest was pushed against his, she tried to hold her shiver, but leaned onto the touch of his palm on her cheek.
"Rachel," he said again, and this time, his voice alone made her eyes open to him. His face was close, closer than she had thought. He was leaning down.
The blue of his eyes was darker, and the light coming from the window made speckles of gray stand out in them. He was smiling still, and the sight of it made her heart flutter. Electricity ran through her entire body as his hold tightened around her hip, and suddenly her arms left her sides and she set her hands on his chest, roaming them slowly up and around his neck.
Jesse closed his eyes now, wordlessly leaning down and touching their foreheads together, he breathed in and out deeply. Their noses touched, and her hands graced his disheveled curls, his fingers trembled on her skin.
She closed her eyes again, standing slightly on her tiptoes. Their lips brushed, then he whispered, to her ears only, "I love you."
Rachel smiled just before she let their lips touch, and it felt, for a second as if she had been given back a piece of herself. Having him there, with their arms wrapped around each other, kissing each other with a tenderness Rachel didn't even know was possible, felt like the most heavenly thing she had ever experienced.
His tongue brushed at her bottom lip, and Rachel suddenly found herself deepening the kiss with desperation. The door remained open behind them, and the morning air chilled all their senses. His hands were still very cold, but this time she felt it as his fingers graced her skin under the shirt.
He whispered her name in between kisses, his breathing frantic and shaken. He made it sound like a mantra, like a song only he could master.
She felt the sudden urge to look him in the eye, and once she tipped her head back, she knew why. The gray in his eyes was overpowering her senses, the blue swam around her features. Her fingers moved to cup his face, and the softness of his skin made her breathing hitch. She found she had never stared at someone with this much adoration before.
With Jesse, she knew, the fireworks didn't die once the kiss was over. No, with him she felt it every second he was with her. With Jesse she felt safe and strong, cherished and cared for. He was a friend, and his was the only touch she craved for. His scent was what made it easier to fall asleep at night. And the eyes that stared back at her longingly right then, were the only ones that managed to have her heart beating as it was.
She'd revealed her feelings to him before, had spoken them very plainly to get her point across. To make it very clear that it was him she wanted. But somehow, she felt she opened her mouth to speak because she needed to hear herself say it again. A reminder that she was in love with a man who loved her back.
He smiled as she mouthed the three words and eight letters. He pulled to him once more and kissed her lips, her cheek and the jaw. Jesse picked her up effortlessly, and she wrapped her legs around his waist. Their lips unable to part. She was suddenly laying on the couch with him.
They stayed there, limbs thrown around each other, parting mouths and shared promises. Rachel didn't feel the cold anymore. Jesse's eyes were planted on her face as he played with her hair, as if attempting to memorize her.
And this was how Kurt found them once he stepped out of his room. He gave out a groan when he saw the open door and gave them a dramatic roll of his eyes as he muttered, "Finally," then he assessed Jesse alone, "we'll talk rules later, St. James."
I can't begin to tell you how much it means to me that there are people still leaving a review and following this story. It's been five years since I started writing my pseudo fix-it St. Berry fic. Since, my life has been a series of ups and downs as is usual, but through it all I always found myself returning to this story, the one that has a piece of my heart forever. To be honest, I never really had an outline for this, and I'm sure you could tell, as sometimes it got very repetitive and confusing. Writing the chapters months or sometimes years apart didn't do me any favors, still, I hope this fanfic has at least managed to put a smile on your face. That's all I ever set out myself to do.
I want to thank every reader who has followed this story since the beginning, everyone who has left a review and encouraged me and my writing and forgave how slowly it improved. Thanks also to everyone who gave Your Heart Is My Limit a chance and followed and favorited this in the five years it took me to attempt an ending. So yes, I feel this is the right place to finish, with love and laughter. In this awful time we're living in, I hope getting this final notification brightens your day a little bit. Happy Holidays! Goodbye 2020.
Stay safe and lots of love always,