A/N: *Sigh* Once again I'm not sure how thrilled I am with this. It feels kind of disconnected to me. But then again there are things that I do really like about it.
Anyway, I figured, just because Finn is apparently lacking in the intelligence department (hot tub pregnancy? Lol) doesn't mean there haven't been many close calls where Finn almost found out the truth, during which other people around (like the glee's) found out the truth. Then I watched the previews of the songs in tonight's episode and a story emerged.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
A simple mistake starts the hardest time. I promise I'll do anything you ask this time.
He tries to act disinterested as the girls begin their mash-up, because he's not interested (and he tells himself that if he declares it enough times it will come true).
Eventually though, he just can't help himself.
His eyes trail her around the stage from the very first moment she's before him. At first, there wasn't any chance of anyone noticing his gaze because he feigned appropriate disinterest. Now, he just can't help how his expression has changed (hell, if he was being honest, he didn't even notice the change- way too caught up in her).
She's smiling. He's smirking (at her).
He thinks he loves her in moments like this (and it doesn't have anything to do with things that have happened between them in the past). It's just that she's happy. He can tell, she's genuinely happy and having fun in this moment. Her eyes sparkle, her skin glows, her smile radiates. And it makes him feel more alive- more like life is worth living- than any other moment. And it makes him think that he wants to be the guy that makes her feel like that always. (It scares the hell out of him.)
So his eyes follow her for the entire two minutes, bewitched by her. His smirk transforms into a real smile by the end; her smile eventually becoming contagious.
And if Finn had managed to tear his eyes away from Rachel for even a second and glanced to his left, he would have seen it. He would have been able to tell that his best friend wants his girlfriend. (And possibly, since she's pregnant and they've never had sex, that maybe he's already had her.)
Finn, however, doesn't tear his eyes from the annoying brunette.
One person does notice Puck's stare though.
Tina had been placed near Quinn for most of the routine and she noticed how intense and focused Puck's eyes were on the girl that was next to or in front of or behind her throughout their performance. But then again she was on these "vitamins" that made her feel really unstable. And besides, it was Puck- who still threw slushies at Rachel- she doubted he could have genuine feelings for anyone.
Tina wrote it off as nothing- the pills were probably making her hallucinate anyway.
It wasn't like he was eavesdropping but he over heard her talking to Crazy Eyes- Mr. Schuester's wife. He was coming around the corner when he saw them. He stopped, curiosity getting the best of him, and listened as best he could. He didn't get every word, but he got the point.
He spends the next five days working his ass off.
He does yard work. Cleans more pools than he can count. He doesn't "service" any women because it just feels like this should be more honest than that. Though he does place a few certain bets to turn his money into more. He cleans out his savings, tears apart his bedroom and the family room couch, and puts it all in an envelope.
He considers just slipping it in her locker, but it's a lot of money and what if it ends up in someone else's hands or if Finn's there when she finds it. Giving it to her in person is safer he figures. (His decision doesn't have anything to do with wanting her to know he's taking care of her, just as he said he would.)
He knows her third and fourth period classes are pretty far away from each other, so she usually runs a little late getting to her locker. He waits for her, sees the hallway's pretty empty since people have already headed to class, and approaches.
He get's right to the point and holds the envelope out to her, "Here."
She glances at it as she continues to take books from her locker, "What is it?"
Some freshman looking kid races by them before he can respond. He notices people still down the hall. This is too public. He see's the light off in the nearest classroom and says, "Come on."
She shuts her locker as she sighs. She follows him, and she really doesn't want to think about why.
She holds her books over her abdomen. He's noticed that it seems to be a new habit of hers. Her books always go right there. And her hands too, folded across there in some way whenever she doesn't have books or doesn't have to follow glee or cheer choreography. It's like she trying to hide it, what's going to happen to her (and it's all his fault).
"Just take it," he insists.
She puts her books down on the nearest desk and takes the envelope, quickly looking inside. There's money, a lot of it. "What is this?" she asks, already having a pretty good guess.
"It's everything I could get," he says simply.
She's still not sure she gets it, "For what?"
"For you and the baby," he answers, kind of frustrated, he thought he was being pretty obvious. She seems confused by the gesture so he elaborates, "I overheard you with Mr. Schue's wife, sort of. At least the part where you told her that you'd give her the baby. Which I don't get, but I don't care either. I just…". He wants to say a lot of things, but he's pretty sure she doesn't want to hear most of them, if any.
She stops him from continuing by breaking in guiltily, thinking she knew what direction he was heading, "I know. I should have told you. I told her there wouldn't be any baby daddy drama- as she put it- and I should have told you I'm giving it up." She takes a deep breath, trying to calm down and not cry (she's been doing it so much lately), and admits, "I just can't do it. I can't raise a baby. And Finn's a good guy, he doesn't deserve to be saddled down with a kid that's not his. Even if I did tell him the truth so he wouldn't have a kid, you don't want one either. No one wants to have a baby in high school." She adds, like she's trying to convince herself still, "It's better this way."
He can tell she's trying not to cry. Even though the room is dark he can see the start of redness in her eyes. And right now, he really doesn't want to be the guy that makes her cry. So, he says, "I'll go along with whatever you decide. You're right. I don't want a baby." He shifts ever so slightly closer to her, less than half a foot away from her now. He adds, "But I don't think it's as simple as not wanting it. I think.." he changes his mind, "I know you're too good not to really love it by the time you have it. And I don't want you to give up something you love. So if you change your mind, I'm okay with that too." As he was talking, he reached out and brushed his fingertips against her abdomen, eyes locked to hers.
If she had been told that he would do that, she would have thought that she would flinch. But she didn't. It felt good somehow. Finn, his hands hadn't strayed to the auspicious spot since she told him about the baby. This though, it makes her think of Noah and Finn and it makes her compare. And she can't do that, because really, if she was to make a pro cons list for them, she's too scared that the results won't be what she wants, won't be easy. So, she forces herself to focus on something other than his touch and asks, "So the money is for later then? If I keep the baby?"
Her question brings him back to reality (where she's not- and the baby's not- his to touch). He takes his hand away as he answers, "No, not necessarily. It's for whatever you want. Doctors appointments, maternity clothes, anything else you'll need."
She's reminded of her words to Terri. She wasn't trying to sell her baby or anything. But her parents didn't know yet and she had a feeling that she could be cut off by them when they did know so she wanted some assurance that someone else would take care of her. She thought that if Terri was at least willing to take care of the basics then it might mean that she'd have someone who was really willing to be there for her through all this. And she was already tired of feeling so alone.
She's rejected him, multiple times actually. But here he was, willing to be the person who took care of her. It felt good. It felt really good to have him there in front of her earnestly offering to give her anything she wants, to be anything she wants.
The problem is, she made her choice, and she can't want him to be anything.
She nods, glances down and says softly, "Thank you."
The bell rings.
She leaves out the door they came.
It's a corner classroom and therefore has two exits so he heads for the door across the room. On his way he passes a familiar binder on a desk. He recognizes it as Finn's and picks it up to give it to him later.
When he steps out into the hall, he doesn't notice the fading footsteps running down a nearby hall.
Finn knew he forgot his binder in first period. Or at least he realized it during third period. He intended to stop by and pick it up on his way to fourth, but then he got a pass to guidance counseling, supposed to stop by before heading to fourth. He and Kurt have third and fourth period together so he asks him if he can stop by and grab his binder for him for their next class. Kurt agrees, though he doesn't understand how Finn could go almost two entire class periods without noticing it was missing.
Kurt doesn't hesitate to do Finn the favor, and not just because he's still harboring a crush on the quarterback. For a while now Finn's been nice to him, a lot nicer than most people, and he knows Finn's dealing with a lot- given the preggo girlfriend and all- and it's a small thing to detour from his usual root to grab a binder from a classroom so he doesn't see why he shouldn't do it. Although, if he knew what kind of information the mission would result in he surely would have turned it down. It was a huge, enormous, Brad cheating on Angie type of secret, that clearly needed to be kept- which was the problem, he had a gift for gab.
He went to the classroom intent on only getting the binder. But before he entered he had made out two figures, heard them talking, and vagueness of "Just take it," (not to mention the sexual implications that his mind went straight for- he couldn't help it, he'd been reading Harlequin all morning) piqued his interest. He cracked the door and proceeded to actively eavesdrop on the familiar voices.
In the end, he was so stunned he barely managed to flee the scene before Puck caught him.
Puck was Quinn's baby daddy. Oh, Mercedes was so never going to believe this. It was so way better than anything that ever happened on Gossip Girl.
He spends fourth period wondering what would have happened if Finn was able to retrieve his own binder. What kind of juicy drama would unfold at today's glee practice then?
Kurt is always one of the last guys out of the locker room- usually due to the intricacies of his ensemble. Usually, by the time he leaves, he's the only one left in the room. Today, however, Puck was late to practice and coach made him stay after and run laps. And Finn was still in the showers, coach having wanted to talk to him about something after practice.
As Kurt strategically applies his 212 Sexy Men by Carolina Herrera he notices that Puck seems tense. This thought is confirmed seconds later when he slams his locker shut. Having always found silence more than slightly uncomfortable, Kurt dares to say, "It sucks wanting someone who doesn't want you back, doesn't it?"
Puck turns his way, arms crossed across his chest menacingly, and asks, "Is that some kind of gay pick up line?"
Kurt lets out something between a laugh and a giggle as he responds, "Please, you're not my type."
"That's a relief," Puck mutters as he begins to stuff his strewn football gear into his bag.
Kurt waits for the light bulb to go on, so to speak.
Finally, it does. Puck stops haphazardly shoving things in his bag, looks up, and asks suspiciously, "What did you mean then?"
"I overheard a certain conversation today," Kurt announces. He notices Puck's fist clench with realization and in fear for his safety quickly continues, "Don't worry. I'm not going to say anything. Besides, Mercedes didn't believe me at all when I told her. And though Finn has been a fairly loyal friend to me of late, I sympathize with the place you're in, and slightly the one Quinn's in, so I won't say anything."
"What do you mean, the place I'm in?" Puck questioned, trying to gauge just how much Kurt knew.
"Being in love with someone who doesn't love you back," Kurt answered. And though he did sympathize, he knew that he was never as far gone as he believed Puck to be. Who goes along with a plan not to get the person you want unless you really care about them?
"I'm not in love with her," he says evenly, confidently (he lies).
Kurt chuckles. "That's as true as me liking girls," he deadpans.
Puck sighs. He stuffs the rest of his gear in his bag in on giant handful. He zips it up as he asks, "If you really intend not to tell anyone, why not just keep your mouth shut about the whole thing?"
"Just because you've spent a couple of years terrorizing me doesn't mean we can't be almost friends," Kurt explains, offering the proverbial olive branch and pretty sure he's going to get beaten with it. He notices Puck seems confused and elaborates, "It doesn't seem like anyone knows the truth and I believe that I could be an excellent yenta." Puck looks even more confused. Kurt sighs and breaks it down as far as he possibly can, "I mean if you need someone to talk to, just because you've thrown me in dumpsters and I've spread rumors of STD's about you, doesn't mean you can't talk to me about it if you need to, since I already found out the truth and have no intention of repeating it."
"Oh," Puck responds, understanding finally dawning on him. Wait. "You told people I'm diseased?"
"You threw eggs at me for a week, in the process ruining my favorite corset. So I told a few girls you have gonorrhea. And I wrote it on the wall of the girl's bathroom. I figured it made us even," Kurt explained, completely remorseless, after all, the politics of high school were rigorous.
Puck nodded as he said to himself, "That explains a lot." He slung his bag over his shoulder as he prepared to leave. He found it highly unlikely that he'd ever take Kurt up on his offer. However, he had recently come to feel bad for some of the things he'd done to him since he found out that Kurt's mom had died having him. He was from a one-parent family too. He got how much that sucked. And all he had was his mom, he couldn't imagine never getting to know what it's like to have a mom. And really, if his mom found out what he was doing to the mother-less kid, she'd have his ass. So, he didn't turn him down or add anything mean- not right now, when he was trying to be a friend, at least.
He did however need to say one thing. He proceeded towards Kurt, which also happened to be the exit. He stopped really close to the small boy to be appropriately intimidating, stared him dead in the eyes, and promised, "If you change your mind and decide to tell someone everything, know that I will kill you."
"Understood," Kurt squeaked.
"What's going on?" Finn asked from the doorway, towel around his waist, and another in his hand drying his hair. "Why are you threatening Kurt?"
"Well, I'm not going to die," Kurt grabbed his tote (yeah, he kept his gear in a tote) from the bench and raced out with a hasty, "See you tomorrow boys."
"What was that about?" Finn is quick to question again.
"He caught me with one of those older ladies. One who can't have anyone find out about what she did with me so I was just trying to make sure he doesn't tell anyone," Puck lies easily (he's had a lot of practice).
"Oh," Finn says buying it as he heads for his locker. "Yeah, your secret is probably going to get out," he informs his friend. He explains, "Kurt's kind of a huge gossip. I don't think I've ever seen him keep a secret."
"But I threatened to kill him," Puck points out, hoping that Finn is wrong and that the extreme threat did some good.
"Which will probably scare him enough not to tell anyone for like a day," Finn speculates as he gets dressed. When he finishes getting dressed and starts to gather his things he notices that Puck is still standing in the same spot, looking distant and worried. He offers, "Don't worry about it. Even if he does tell it's the woman that would get in trouble, not you, right?"
"Right," Puck agrees after a pause.
He says goodbye and heads for his car as normally as possible. He's glad that despite how close he came to finding out the truth, Finn's still oblivious for the moment. After what Finn said though, he worries that the truth may come out soon.
Puck is glad when the glee members are split into Mr. Schue and Ms. Sylvester teams. Kurt has managed a week of keeping the secret, but he looks at him like he knows something (which, granted, he does), but it unnerves him. Plus, Mercedes has been looking at him the same way so he's glad that they're both on Ms. Sylvester's team.
Although, it is incredibly awkward to be on a team with the girl who's having his baby, his best friend who thinks it's his, the girl his best friend is always ogling, and Brittany.
But then, on that first day they're split into groups, there comes a moment that makes the awkwardness worth it- even if both him and Quinn were extremely lucky Finn didn't find out the truth because of it.
Mr. Schue was trying to start glee practice and everyone else (mostly Rachel) was trying to come up with a way to get Ms. Sylvester removed from her position as glee co-chair.
Puck liked Mr. Schue, he was cool- for a teacher. And he was pretty sure he had noticed that things were not as they should be between him and Quinn, but he was good enough not to say anything. So, despite the conversation mainly being Rachel making suggestions on how to get Ms. Sylvester removed and occasional comments from Finn, Puck was also trying to think of something to help out.
He realized he had a fantastic idea. He asked, "Teachers get fired for sleeping with a student right?"
"Yes," Mr. Schue responded slowly, clearly believing that he wouldn't like the direction this thought was headed in.
"Great," Puck said as he headed for the door, "Give me an hour. I'll seduce Ms. Sylvester, tape it, and get her fired."
"No," came a loud firm voice before he could get another step closer to the door after finishing his sentence.
And the thing is, it would have been expected if it came from Mr. Schue or even Rachel- since she seemed to have some kind of competition morals or something. But it wasn't from either of them. It was from Quinn.
Her eyes were wide. She couldn't believe she had just let that slip. She swears to herself that she has no idea where it came from (but she knows, she's known for a while). With all eyes suspiciously on her (and Noah damn smirking at her all cockily) she tries to cover her tracks. She adds with haste, "Ms. Sylvester may not belong in glee, but she's a good coach and she doesn't deserve to get fired."
Everyone's silent still, like they don't believe her, don't believe what they think just happened.
Brittney ponders out loud, "But you don't like Ms. Sylvester. She's usually liked you, but she's horrible to you anyway. Plus, it's only a matter of weeks before she kicks you off of Cheerios."
Silence settles again.
Quinn opens her mouth hoping for a miraculous defense to come out.
Puck is trying not to smile at her across the room.
She's drawing a complete blank and she figures that at any second Finn is going to spring up from his seat beside her and call her out on the horrible things she's done.
Instead, a voice comes from her other side. "I agree with Quinn," Rachel declares, "I don't think we should whore out a member of glee to get someone fired and I don't think she should be fired- just strategically removed from her current position."
"I agree too," Mr. Schue, "Puck absolutely do not follow through on that idea and come back and join the others." Mr. Schue takes the opportunity of having two students agree about not taking extreme measures to move forward and begin some speech about how if they perform well then they will win against Ms. Sylvester and there's a good chance that she'll be removed from her post- or at least their good performance and behavior could get him some leverage to propose the idea to Principal Figgins.
Meanwhile, Quinn glances at Rachel, surprised. She figured Rachel must have just agreed with her and not be as smart as she assumed if she didn't catch on to the very obvious situation.
But when she glances at Rachel, Rachel winks at her. And she knows. Rachel Berry just helped her make sure that Finn didn't find out the truth. She knew Rachel said she'd be her friend now that she'll probably lose all the ones she had, but she didn't think she'd go this far.
Puck tried not to look at her for the rest of practice. He was glad that she was jealous. But he also knew that she wanted Finn and she didn't want to get caught in anything with him. He was glad he had another moment where he was sure that she did feel something for him. But he wasn't so naïve as to believe than it would be anything more than it was.
He did, however, notice Rachel glance between him and Quinn on more than one occasion during practice. He thought Rachel's agreement was her being all superior as usual or whatever, but now, he was beginning to reconsider.
Finn pulls Quinn out the door at the end of practice none the wiser. Honestly, he was kind of half asleep during all of practice so he's eager to get out of there, say goodbye to Quinn, and head home.
Brittany makes her way out quickly after them, Mr. Schue and the piano guy not far behind.
"You stay," he says just loud enough that he knows Rachel will hear him, just quiet enough that he knows no one else will.
"Nice manners," she mutters back.
"What's going on?" he asks as soon they're alone.
"I have no idea what you're talking about," she responds with an expression so blankly innocent it's almost creepy.
He doesn't know how to explain it without giving them away. He just has this feeling that she knows. In attempt not to give anything away he questions, "Why did you agree with Quinn?"
"Because she was right," she responds easily and honestly enough.
He grunts in frustration. He can't think of anything to say or ask without telling her something that he's not positive she may already know. All this was really giving him a headache.
Luckily, Quinn walked back in the room. She stopped just after entering, her eyes fixed on him. "What are you still doing here?" she questions. She knows Rachel must know or at least have guessed the whole truth by now so there's no point in ignoring Noah or trying to play casual. Noah, however, seems completely reluctant to say anything so before he can drag her out of the room to talk to her alone (she doesn't know how much alone time she can get through with him) she announces, "Rachel knows." She questions to Rachel, "Right?"
Rachel nods and explains her gained knowledge by saying, "I'm very intelligent."
He rolls his eyes. "Fine," if he can talk, he'll talk. His smirk returns as he says, "So, you really don't like the idea of me and your coach."
"I explained why I said that," she returns, sticking with her defense (it was a thing of hers, sticking with her original decisions no matter how hasty they were or how things change over time).
"Sure," he says doubtfully, "you didn't say that out of jealousy at all."
"I for one believe Quinn," Rachel breaks in, putting in her opinion, or a lie to support a fellow female/ almost friend.
He sighs. (He knows she's worth the fight, but since she doesn't know that they are, this all seems pointless.) He resolves, "Yeah. Fine. Have it your way." He leans in to Rachel, whispers something to her, and heads towards the door Quinn's still blocking. He stops right in front of her.
She meets his eyes determined to do so without feeling anything.
"You know, if you had picked me, just once, I never would have made that offer. Wouldn't have even thought to," he informs her honestly before brushing past her gently and heading out the door.
Quinn sighs as she closes her eyes and runs her hands over her forehead and lets her shoulders relax as soon as he's left.
"What'd he say to you?" comes Rachel's voice, breaking her from her attempt to relax (to not go after him).
"Nothing," she lies shaking her head.
Rachel's smart enough to know when someone doesn't want to talk about something. She changes the topic, sort of, by offering, "He told me that if I say anything about your secret a slushie in my face will feel like the best day ever compared to how miserable he'll make me." She's always had a bad habit of rambling on and now, in the midst of not knowing what to say, is no different. She adds speculatively, "It was a sweet gesture. Not for me, obviously. But it was nice of him to threaten me to protect you."
Quinn just sighs as she comes to sit in the empty chair next to Rachel. She doesn't know how to respond to what she said so instead she just voices the question on her mind, "Why didn't you tell Finn? He was ten feet away from you and you could have told him about me and about Noah and he'd break up with me and he'd be yours."
"There are a lot of reasons," Rachel responds looking away, "firstly that I don't like winning by default. It's not real that way."
Rachel doesn't elaborate, but Quinn's a smart girl (honor roll) and she gets it. She infers, "You want him to choose you over me. Not choose you because I've…"
Rachel breaks in before Quinn can say it. She can see that she's struggling and she knows she doesn't have to put her through it. She continues skipping ahead a bit, "Which is how you want him too. You want the fact that he's with you now to be genuine and not just out of obligation because he thinks you're having his baby."
"But I'm not," she admits for the first time to another person besides Noah. "And he is only with me out of obligation," she admits for the first time as a truth and not just a fear.
"No he's not," Rachel denies, "he really cares about you Quinn. I don't know to what degree, but I know he does. And I believe that even if he knew the truth, he'd still be a friend to you because of how much he does care for you." And she's not lying. She knows that if Finn didn't want to be with Quinn, then he would have broken up with her long ago (like after he kissed her that first time).
"But he wants you, I can tell," Quinn reminds.
"I agree," Rachel confirms, "I believe that he wants me and he wants you and it could be for a number of reasons. It could be hormone induced for one or both of us. It could be out of friendship for one or both of us. Lust," Rachel begins to list.
"Love?" Quinn breaks in.
"I don't know," Rachel responds honestly, "he may not feel that way about either one of us. Which is ultimately why we shouldn't waste energy fighting over him. In the end he will pick who he picks and there's nothing we can do about whether he feels something genuine for one of us or not." Rachel perks up and adds, "Which is reason number two not to tell him-sisters before misters. I told you I'd be your friends and friends don't tell each other's secrets." Before Quinn can say thank you or say anything, Rachel returns to her natural habitat-rambling- and proceeds, "And reason three really isn't about you though. Despite our budding friendship, I am friends with Finn also and I believe it would be very detrimental to his self esteem to find out about your...the true paternity of your baby unless he figures it out for himself- you telling him coming in second, and other people telling him would be very damaging third. Not to mention that this all could result in him developing some serious trust issues, but I haven't figured out a way to avoid that one yet. One of my dad's is a psychiatrist and I've been reading his books. I know there must be something to help fix that part somewhere in one of them, and I will keep looking, but I may just have to ask him- using aliases for everyone involved of course."
"Rachel," Quinn finally breaks in. She's always been taught that interrupting someone is rude, but Rachel just kept going on and on and she was starting to think that she would forever unless she stopped her. And she really needed to say, "Thank you."
"It's what friends are for," Rachel says sincerely.
A comfortable silence settles between them. Quinn dabs at her eyes. She doesn't even remember when she started crying again.
Rachel tries to resist asking. She understands that it's probably none of her business. But when something sparks her interest she just can't help going after it. She finally bursts, "Quinn, can I ask you a question?"
"Sure," she agrees easily. After everything Rachel has done for her, it's the least she can do to answer a question.
Rachel's speech sounds rehearsed, she's been thinking it over in her mind since she realized who it was Quinn had slept with (and parts of it since she learned Quinn was pregnant). She begins, "You've always seemed very determined to get what you want. We're alike in that way actually. And I know that if I don't want to do something, I'm not going to. I far too determined- or as my father's say stubborn- to give in. And the whole celibacy thing, that seemed like something you were dedicated to. Why did you even have sex? And why Puck and not Finn? You must have had opportunities with Finn, right?"
The first thought that strikes her is how did Rachel know she never slept with Finn? She had never told her that. She knows there's only one person who could have told her, but she has to hear it. She questions, "How did you know that I never slept with Finn?"
"We're friends," Rachel responds honestly, "and one day the pressures in his life got to him and he unloaded on me and told me how he was having a baby without ever having sex. I asked him what that meant. He told me the story, blushing the entire time. And that was when I really found out that you're not having his baby." As an after thought she adds, "And that our school system has a horrible sex education program."
Rachel Berry has been keeping her secret for God knows how long. If someone had told her that three months ago she would have called them an idiot (or Rachel Berry- meant as an insult). So she sighs and decides to answer Rachel's question as best she can, because she deserves it. She confesses, "I did have opportunities to sleep with Finn. Of course I did, he's my boyfriend. But you're right. I am dedicated to celibacy club and actually being celibate- unlike most of the people in there. And I don't know why I did it. I know why I was kissing Noah that day."
"Why would you even kiss him?" Rachel breaks in, "He's kind of a man-whore and a giant…bastard. Please forgive the language-"
"I understand," Quinn assures, "it's the most accurate description of him." She continues, just a bit wistfully, "I always wanted a guy like Finn. I wanted to get out of this town with some really sweet, cute guy. He's not much to talk to usually, but he can be. And just the way he is with his mom, you can tell, he's a genuinely good guy. The type that would take care of you. And Noah," she sighs, "Noah is not that guy at all. His mom is all he has too and he's the same way with her as Finn is with his mom- it's how they became friends, you know. But he hides it. Doesn't let anyone in. His dad left him and he's messed up. He has serious anger issues and he…he can't seem to make a relationship work. But he's also always been someone who's disliked the same people I do. Which is stupid, I know, but… And he always fights for the things he wants, fights for the people he cares about, without hesitation. And I was having the worst day in a horrible week and he-" She stops herself. She doesn't want to tell the whole story, go into every detail. Even if Rachel deserves the truth for being such a dedicated friend when she doesn't even deserve it, it feels wrong to tell their story. It's theirs, just theirs. Instead she just concludes, "He just made me forget about everything bad and feel good- and that was before he kissed me. When that started, I don't know how it happened, it wasn't the same as it's been before and celibacy club and Finn and stopping, just didn't cross my mind. That I was giving in, making a mistake, cheating, didn't…I didn't think. And now, I'm suffering the consequences."
"A baby is a blessing not a consequence- no matter what the situation," Rachel declares. She knows that optimism is the best response to any situation that may seem soul crushing. So, trying to find a positive spin she offers, "And maybe it wasn't a mistake. Not the getting pregnant part- that should have been combated by the use of contraception. But, maybe the Puck part wasn't a mistake. And I'm not trying to get you to stop liking Finn or anything. I just, I lied, I did agree with Puck that you were jealous and you said he fights for things he wants, and I think he wants you." She quickly adds, at first hesitating not sure she should point it out, "Not to mention you keep calling him Noah, for some reason that I'm guessing isn't unimportant."
She doesn't respond. She wanted Finn. She wants Finn. But there's something trilling and terrifying about Noah that she can't define. However, she also believes that he'd be another bad decision (though, the more he fights for her, the less she's sure that's true). If she was being honest, she'd admit that she's been confused about what she wants, feels, for months. But right now, given the fact that there's currently a baby growing inside her, she knows that what she wants and feels isn't even slightly important compared to what's happening now.
With minutes passing in silence, Rachel realizes that Quinn probably isn't going to respond. She concludes for her, "I guess it's something to think about."
They part ways soon after. Rachel reassuring again that she won't be letting the secret out and that she's there, anytime she needs a friend.
Quinn feels more relaxed the rest of the day. Her secret almost got out, but surprisingly enough, it resulted in letting her know that an offer of friendship was sincere. She feels better.
Until the following day at least, when she has to start watching many rehearsals where her boyfriend sings to her new friend. She thinks, Rachel was genuine, but she was wrong. Finn isn't acting when he's singing to Rachel, he likes her.
And she starts to think that maybe Finn should have found out the truth, maybe Rachel shouldn't have covered for her, because then at least, she wouldn't have to worry about whether or not he wants her anymore.
After she watches them sing together for a whole week of rehearsals, Quinn's barely keeping it together.
She never did out her self to Finn as she had considered because at least part of her still wanted him. (It worried her that she didn't know why she wanted him anymore.)
Mr. Schue stops just Rachel and Finn from leaving the stage at their latest rehearsal, probably wanting to critique how into each other they're act during the song. She heads down one of the hallways off of the main back-stage area and cries.
Two minutes later when she's descended into the hiccupping stage of crying, where she's starting to gasp for air she's crying so hard, Noah shows up. He doesn't ask what's wrong, doesn't really need to. He just walks over to her and wraps her in his arms. She clings to his torso, cries into his shirt.
After a while, when she's calmed down considerably, he points out the best thing he can come up with, "We only have to do the song one more time."
She knows that the thing to start her off this time was Finn and the song and having to see him with Rachel like that (never seeing him look at her like that anymore). But it was more reasons than that to cry. It felt like her life was beginning to fall apart. "Yeah," she agrees, "but also, since I'm around Ms. Sylvester more now since she's in glee she's probably going to find out I'm pregnant a lot sooner than she would have. She's probably going to kick me off of Cheerios any second now. And when I'm not dressed in my uniform in the morning my parents will probably find out I'm pregnant." Her lip starts to quiver and she can feel the tears prickling again.
He tilts her head up so she's meeting his eyes. He promises, "Everything is going to be alright."
Somehow, she feels like she just took a deep calming breath. Something about him and the earnestness of his words just soothed her.
Stray tears start to roll down her cheeks and his fingers move to brush them away as his hands continue to cradle her head, as his eyes continue to stare into hers.
And she's not thinking about Finn, or the baby, or the Cheerios, or anything for the first time in what feels like forever. For the first time in three months she's simply not thinking.
Instead, she's feeling.
Feeling his hands on her face. Feeling his lips meet hers- hesitant, then eager. Feeling his tongue touch hers- he definitely made the first move there. Feeling his arms around her- strong and safe. Feeling the familiar flip in her stomach, haze in her mind.
His hands kept heading progressively south. They finally reached her waist and when his thumbs began to brush her abdomen as his hands settles on her hip, they stopped suddenly. Then every other part of him did too. He pulled away, took a step back.
He wants her, but he realizes that this isn't really getting her. This is just like the first time; where she's hurt, and he's her mistake. And he's angry because here she is acting like she wants him (again), but she doesn't.
"You don't want this," he points out, "you can't just decide I'm your guy ever time Finn hurts you. I'm either your guy or I'm not. And you've already decided bunches of times that I'm not. Did you change your mind? Do you want me?"
There's a voice in her that screams yes. There's a voice in her that screams no. She doesn't know where either of them are coming from or if either are coming from her heart. (Former: heart. Later: head. Both have been put through a huge emotional car wreck lately though and aren't so good with clarity at the moment.)
When she doesn't say anything (but begins to cry again) he takes it as his answer. He takes it as a no. "That's what I thought," he concludes. He shakes his head, turns away, takes a step back down the hallway toward the main room. He pauses, turns, and tells her, "I can't do this anymore. I can't keep fighting when you only want to see me lose. Maybe from now on, we should stay out of each others lives as much as possible. I'll put some money in your locker, in an envelope, when I can- mail it to you later, if you're not around."
She's still crying, but he walks away anyway. He's tried this before, giving up on her, and he hopes it works this time. It's what she wants anyway.
Brittany comes down the hall and hugs her a minute after he's left her. She had been out in the main room texting when she realized that she had been alone for like ten minutes. So, she went in search of her fellow back-up singers. And boy did she find them. She watched for a second. Decided better of it. And then returned to watch for a minute. But then she changed her mind again and gave them their privacy and tried to ensure it. She decided to play lookout because Finn could come back there looking for either one of them at any minute and it would so be terrible if Finn found out (for everyone involved). Though, she did decide to play lookout from a place where she could still hear what was going on. It was like the most shocking story she had ever heard so there was no way she wasn't eavesdropping on it.
Then it became the saddest story. She'd never felt so bad for so many people for completely different reasons at once.
So, she goes back to be a friend to Quinn because it's clear that she really needs one now. She doesn't say that she didn't know what happened, doesn't say that she does either. She's just there to be a good friend, nothing else matters.
Quinn figures Brittany probably knows. It seems like people have been finding out left and right. Just in case though, she doesn't ask.
When she calms down and Brittany helps her clean up so it's not so obvious that she's been crying, Rachel's been released from talking with Mr. Schue (he asked Finn to stay behind another minute) and she finds her immediately. She asks for a moment alone and races into an apology for how she's had to watch her with Finn all week. She swears that she was always only acting- she never uses real emotions for a performance, they're too unreliable. And she's nice and she's apologetic. And it makes things better for a minute. Because Rachel is one of the only people she has now.
A minute later Finn comes backstage. He offers to drive her home with a smile. And she's feels bad because it was only minutes ago that she was going to cheat on him (again). And she feels glad because, luckily, he didn't wander back where he could have easily seen her make another mistake.
And she has two people there for her. It's a small victory.
(So why is there a feeling of huge loss nagging at her every second?)
Kurt actually dares to come up to him after school while he's at his locker. Yeah the kid was brave enough to say something about the secret once and he's been giving him looks ever since, but he's never dared to bring it up. And in such a public place too. It takes way more balls than he thought the kid had- which he kind of respects, if it didn't piss him off so much.
Kurt sneaks up to him and looks around suspiciously. He pulls down his sunglasses slightly- which he is indeed wearing indoors- and whispers, "There's something you need to know." He puts the sunglasses back up, looks around them again, pulls them down a tad again so his eyes are looking at him over them, and whispers, "Something happened only moments before last period started."
Kurt starts to put the sunglasses back on all the way, but Puck is already impatient by nature and snatches them off his face as he says, "Will you stop with that all ready?" He shoves them back at him, hard.
"I thought you would have broken them," Kurt says curiously.
"You have something to tell me?" Puck asks as he slams his locker shut- all books still inside- and changing the topic since he's not about to acknowledge that he just passed up an opportunity to harass someone.
Kurt gets right to the point and divulges, "Quinn got cut from Cheerios today. Ms. Sylvester found out about the baby and after cutting her from the team she said some things that were plain cruel. Quinn ran from her office crying and naturally that places her in the main hallway. Now, that means that there are a number of places she could have been running to, but she ended up with Finn. He skipped last period, he's taking care of her."
Puck lets out an almost sigh. It's not like it's surprising. Plus, three days ago he told her he wasn't an option anyway. "Okay," he accepts with some resolve.
Kurt is confused by the lack of response. Not that he expected Noah Puckerman to get emotional in the middle of the hallway, but still, he expected more than a single word. Despite the lack of response, Kurt decides to forge ahead in the conversation he thought he'd be having. He offers, "I don't believe that she was necessarily running to Finn though- and everyone else agrees."
"Wait a minute," Puck interjects stopping him, "what do you mean 'everyone?"
"Mercedes, Artie, and Tina all found out from putting things together with each other and Brittany found out some way she's not divulging, though by the information she brought with her it was pretty obvious," Kurt responds, too focused to be intimidated by what may happen to him for the information spreading. He breezes past the new information and continues on his previous thought, "Anyway, we agree that first of all, she was probably simply fleeing from Ms. Sylvester's office, not necessarily to anywhere. Plus, by heading down the main hallway there are a number of places that are most easily reached from it that she could have been heading. Mercedes and Tina think that she was most likely heading for the girls bathroom. Brittany and I vote for the parking lot to leave school completely. And Artie votes the music room- he says it's a happy place. But we all agree that despite how you left things with Quinn three days ago she could have been running to you. Your locker is in the main hallway just like Finn's. And if you had been at your locker and he at his in that moment, we think she might have picked you to go to."
Puck doesn't understand why Kurt is telling him any of this. It doesn't matter that they think that she would have picked him, she didn't. He went to class early in an effort to avoid passing her in the halls (because it had just gotten too damn hard). And if he hadn't done that, if he had been there, he knows from experience that she always picks Finn. So he demands of the small boy, "Why are you telling me this?"
"Well," Kurt begins, "from the conversation you had with her three days ago we've gathered that you've given up hope. We wanted you to know that we've all seen things since we learned the truth and we don't think you should give up."
It was a nice thing they were doing for him, which he didn't deserve given how he had treated most of them. He sighs, for real this time, and says honestly, "If you knew about all the times she kept picking him, you'd know that she still would have chosen him if I was in that hallway." He shakes his head and adds, "Doesn't matter now anyway. She needs more than just Finn there for her now. Find Rachel, she knows too, and find a way to help. And make sure you leave me out of it."
"But-" Kurt begins.
Puck cuts him off immediately, confessing, "She doesn't want me to be there for her, trust me. She needs people, friends, but she doesn't want me to be one of them. Just…take care of her."
Puck walks away, both literally and figuratively.
Later, Rachel asks them to stay late after practice because she's made changes to the choreography. It gets Quinn together with Finn for some of the song, and especially the next day when they do it for real in dress rehearsal with Mr. Schue, he can tell that everyone's singing the smultzy lyrics for Quinn. Finn's looking at her during the song like he usually looks at Rachel. And he knows, Finn's stepping up, finally treating Quinn the way she always wanted him to.
Everyone is there for her. She's got Finn and Rachel and Artie and Kurt by her side during the performance (never him, he's in the place she wanted him, not near her).
His dad turned his back on him and he swore that he would never never never never be him. But he is. He's turning his back on his kid and on it's mother, because that's what she wanted.
There were so many times now that Finn almost found out the truth, but he wouldn't let that happen anymore. Because he's not fighting for her anymore. Because he's doing what she wants. Because she never picked him and she always picked Finn. Because there won't be anything to catch anymore- he's as far out of her life as he possibly can be- the way she wanted it.
He can't help glancing her way while they perform. She's crying again. (And just because he's giving her up doesn't mean it kills him any less to see her cry.)
She has Finn. She has friends now. She'll be fine. (Without him.)
And it's all kind of ironic because he never fought so hard for anything, never wanted or felt something so real before. But in the end, she's the only girl that could make him choose to be like his father (because he lied when he said he didn't love her and now that he was doing what she wants, he'd always have to tell that lie).
So he's finally accepted, for good this time, the role she cast him: her mistake.
He places her firmly in the place of: girl who got away (letting go of the title he really wanted for her: his girl).
The day ends and he knows that all "what-ifs" and possibilities with them are over.
She's just a girl and he's just a boy, who aren't together (for now).
A/N: I hoped you enjoyed the story. Thank you for reading!
And remember, reviews= love.