AN: I would like to say thank you to everyone who reviewed and put me under favorite author/story. Oh, and story alert. You couldn't imagine the joy I felt when I read the comments you guys made. They were great by the way. I guess I'm continuing. I know my writing need working on and I'm trying to make it happen but I don't think I could make any promises right now. If anyone want to beta it then by all means email me. It'll help me out a lot.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything of Glee (I forgot to mention this in the first chapter)
With that said, here is the next chapter to my story. I hope you like it. Enjoy
For a while, lying in bed that night, Rachel's mind couldn't get over what she just found out earlier that day. The secret Noah Puckerman was keeping from the whole school that everyone seemed to fill with what they didn't know with rumors and assumptions was finally brought to the surface. The fact that she, the one person he'd tormented with frozen drinks, knew about it was unexpected, ironic really. Who knew she would be the person to find out his secret.
And who's to say it was a secret?
Surely someone had to know he had a baby at home, if he had a baby at home. The picture simply showed a baby in a crib with the writing of "Noah's little girl" on it. Who to say the baby's his? If she was his he would have been in the picture kissing her goodnight if she was, right? She could have been just a favorite niece or a cousin of his he adores so much. That would seem probable enough, right?
Then why change?
Why quit the football team if she was just a niece or a cousin? Why carry the picture around if she wasn't his? Why surrender yourself to the lowest social rank in school if what he was hiding would require him to give up all who he was known for if she wasn't indeed in his life to take care of?
Rachel was at a standstill with unanswered questions. Stuck to know what that picture, paper clipped inside her day planner on her dresser, meant to Noah and why the change of status at school. Given the givens, she would have to confront him like she was going to do after Glee club before it dawned on her that he wasn't part of the school's high rankers of the totem pole anymore and ask him herself.
But timing was everything though.
The picture wasn't just in her day planner for nothing. It was placed in the section of tomorrow's date marked under the time three-fifteen for a reason. She couldn't help it if she was an organized person. Force of habit she guessed, but it was helpful. It gave her fifteen minutes before Glee club to talk to him about this situation and fifteen minutes seemed more than enough time to talk to him about it.
Finally, with that in mind, she turned to her side and closed her eyes to sleep and dreamed of Broadway's lights and red carpet events.
Again, she couldn't help it if she was an organized person.
Every day she would get up at six in the morning, drank a protein shake and do a little cardio. Would have showered and dressed in clothes she picked out for herself the day before and ready for school by seven o'clock on the dot. At seven ten she would have arrived at school with time to spare to go over some sheet music before the first bell rung for first period to start. She would go to her scheduled classes listed for the day, taking notes and asking questions when it was appropriate and having lunch in-between third period, and by time fourth period was over with school was done at the exact time of three-fifteen. After school it was Glee club and dance rehearsal until five thirty. Homework and dinner with her dads by seven and filming, uploading, and posting on her MySpace by nine. Before getting ready for bed she would have her clothes ironed and ready for the next day, backpack packed, and clock set for six am to start her day again by ten thirty.
A habit… but today was going to be a little different.
Rachel knew it would when that picture dropped out of Noah's binder yesterday and into her hands. She knew it when her dream consisted of her performing "Mamma Mia" in a New York theatre in front of rows of people with baby's heads. The performance was superb by the way but it didn't deter her away from what the dream was insinuating. She couldn't go on with her life without knowing the answer to this little distraction turned massive now that she was dreaming about it. Bothersome as it may be, she was going to get some answers today so that would weakened her anxiety over the dream, and with relief, helped her to go on with her day and get ready for school.
He was scavenging, searching for what was lost to him.
Rachel watched from afar where she couldn't be seen; looking at the young man tearing through his locker and backpack trying to find what she knew was for the picture of the baby. The picture of Noah's little girl.
He must have noticed the picture was gone the moment he got home because once he pulled into the parking lot, once his feet touched school's ground, his search began. It was important to him this she knew. He was determined to find it. His eyes showed it, his hasty movement enforced it, his body tensed for it. It was an easy observation. An observation she was willing to see a little further before she took action.
He had already searched the area where he dropped his binder from yesterday. Rachel knew this because he pulled up fast in the parking lot a minute behind her searching for the picture. On the ground, in his truck, everywhere where he thought the item keeping his secret would be. Watching him now in the hallway told her how desperate he was.
A part of her, the part from last year, wanted her to embellish this moment to get some form of gratification from it. To see him suffer for awhile as he now was a member of the lowest social rank. The other part, the one living in the now in a new school year, wanted to sympathize for him. To walk up to him at this very moment where his attention was focused and where there was no slushy cup in his hands and hand him over the picture.
All her willpower was leaning her more to the latter but the first bell rung, signaling for first period to start and she had to dismiss the latter's actions and moved with the crowd to get to class. Besides, she couldn't have made it in time to go get the picture from her locker where she was storing it temporarily and give it to him. Giving him the picture now would have messed up the schedule she made for today and in black ball point pen, she was going to talk to him about the picture at three-fifteen. So she walked away to stick with her schedule. She couldn't let Noah mess her up again. The no slushing already did that.
"Where is it?"
"Where is what?"
Rachel listened in on the conversation happening behind her. Noah and herself had biology for third period together and today Mr. Sullivan had the class partnered up for a lab project. She was partnered up with a classmate, so was he and so was Santana, who Noah was whispering to from across the lab table they was working at. He was getting frustrated with the whole thing, Rachel could tell and his voice was getting higher as Santana was disappointing him with what he wanted to know.
"Brittany told me you were at my locker yesterday." He started.
"Well Brittany needs to keep her mouth shut."
"There was something inside that belonged to me, now it's gone."
"And you think I took it," Santana frowned, "Why would I want anything from your locker anyway? We broke up remember? Besides, I returned everything you gave me."
"I want it back."
Someone from a table behind them shushed them and the two quiet down briefly. Rachel's partner tapped her on the arm to get her attention and she jumped from the contact.
"Hey, you're alright," her partner asked.
"Yes! Yeah, I-I was just thinking to myself about the problem."
"Well, we're partners here and this lab project accounts for ten points of team participation. So pay attention."
Rachel grabbed one of the empty tubes in the middle of the lab table she was working at and started pouring some solution inside. She didn't need her lab partner to tell her she wasn't focusing. It was usually the other way around but yet again, the source to her inattentiveness was Noah. Her curiosity was certainly killing her concentration. This she knew but she couldn't stop now. The conversation was just getting started and already some questions were being answered.
"Want what back?" Santana started again catching Rachel's attention again.
"What picture? I didn't steal a picture from your locker."
"Well it's gone and you're the only one who knows my locker combination."
"That's a lie and you know it. Finn and Quinn knows your combination and now that you're off the football and baseball team, probably half of them knows it by now too," she paused to do a little taunting, basking in his frustration and embarrassment. "Like the little presents we've been leaving in and on your locker?"
"I've noticed," he stated, not denying anything.
"Okay then. Well instead of jumping down my throat about some missing picture you think I stole, why don't you ask the other twenty something if they took your picture?"
"Maybe I will," Noah retorted back.
"Miss Santana and Mister Noah is there something you would like to discuss in front of the class?" Mr. Sullivan bellowed from the other side of the room, catching everyone's attention.
"No," the two said in unison.
"Okay then. Then I suggested you two get to work with your own respectful partners and be quiet."
Santana wasn't the baby mama that's for sure. With her not knowing about the picture meant she didn't know about the baby which meant crossing her off the list of the possible suspects of being baby mama to Noah's little girl. It was a shame too because Rachel had Santana at the top of the list of being the mother since she was Noah's girlfriend during their freshmen year. She guessed Noah had someone on the side while dating Santana. He would often look at other girls when she wasn't looking. Which meant Rachel's list of possible mothers should probably extend more than just the girls on the Cheerios. That would be time consuming, but maybe not when three-fifteen rounds around.
Snapping to attention from the hysterical voice coming from her partner, Rachel caught on to what had her partner in a panic. One of the tubes she was gradually filling was overflowing and spilling over the table, wetting up the paper with the instructions on it. Her hand with the solution drew back quickly to lower the container down on the table and grabbed a towel to help clean up the mess.
"Joshua, I'm so sorry."
Upset now, Joshua was leaving the room to go to the restroom. Unfortunately, some of the solution fell onto his pants. Rachel was left to clean up the rest of the mess while everyone, after seeing the disaster of red liquid spill all over the table and on Joshua's pants, went back to work until the end of third period.
Three-twenty and no sign of Noah by his locker and she's been watching from the corner of the hallway for five minutes. Shortly after leaving fourth period, Rachel hurried to grab her day planner with the picture in it and down the hall to where Noah's locker was located at, all the while her mind went over some of the questions she wanted to know from him first. First being, who the baby in the picture was? A great start to this puzzling mystery. The picture of the baby seemed to her to be the catalyst to this whole ordeal, possibly the start of his change and her curious distraction. The next question being who was the mother and why? Why being the highlighted question of all the ones she wanted to know the most. It seemed to her that it could answer some underlining questions she couldn't get from the other two.
Why did he decide to have and keep a baby?
If memories serve her, Noah, last year, wasn't the type of guy to have or wanted to have a baby with. He was arrogant and corky and a womanizer back then. Rachel even heard about his "pool cleaning" business and even then he didn't seem like the guy to have a baby with. She understood a baby changes you but was it possible for one to change Noah "Puck" Puckerman. That was where the big WHY came into play. She had to know why he did it.
When the clock on her watch and the school's clock synchronized three twenty-one, she left her perch leaning against some of the lockers in the hallway and walked outside in the parking lot where only a few cars filled the lot. His truck was still here at the school which meant he was still here, but where? Where would Noah go if he didn't have football or baseball to keep him busy after school?
Going by a memory and a possible hunch, Rachel started heading in the direction of the football field.
It was sometimes last year when Rachel found herself sitting on the school's bleachers observing the students in P.E. to come out and get away from all the drama going on in school…to also get away from her weekly slushing and from the what-else-could-go-wrong-in-Glee and some as well. It helped. But there were other times where she would go somewhere else when she found her spot would be occupied by someone else and that person being Noah Puckerman.
He didn't notice her whenever she would catch him staring off in the distance when she found him at her personal spot. Seeing her tormenter there in his own private thoughts…back then, she would have just walked away to find somewhere else to wallow in her thoughts. But now…where the source to this mess she was in was sitting, leaning his back against another row of bleachers behind him, in the spot she remembered, she wasn't going to walk away.
"Noah," she started.
"Go away," he bellowed, not turning his head to look her way. His eyes stayed forward, observing the practice going on down on the field.
Not the one to give up, Rachel tried again.
"Noah I need to talk to you."
"And I said go away. Why can't you get that?" He shook his head. "And why are you calling me…"
He finally turned his head to see who he was talking to and was surprise to see that person being Rachel. Surprising to Rachel, he formed a lop-sided grin on his face before once again turning to the field below.
"Rachel Berry I should have known. Who else would call me by my real name beside the teachers?"
"I need to talk to you."
"It's important, it's about…about your behavior lately."
"My behavior," he frowned, leaning up and turning towards her again.
"Yes, and I feel that it's valuable for you to know that your behavior lately has been causing sort of a nuisance for me these couple of weeks. I feel we should address this problem along with the picture I found yesterday and get this over with so I could get on with my life. I don't know why I even…"
She knew she was starting to ramble. She rambled when she was nervous and looking at Noah's face after what she was saying dawned on him, she had every right to be. He stood up, face in a contempt manner as he started toward her.
"…found this matter worrisome, but you…and I…need to…talk."
She was stopped in her rambling when she found Noah standing only inches away from her, staring down at her. His height overshadowed hers causing her to have to lean back some and look up at his brownish green eyes. Trying not to let his posture affect her, she stood her ground and raised her chin to show her strength hadn't wavered.
"You had my picture since yesterday and you've waited until now to tell me?"
"Give it to me," he demanded.
Rachel opened her day planner to the appropriate page and slipped the picture from under the paper clipped and handed it to him. Snatching the picture from her hand she drew back to gauge his reaction. He slightly turned away from her, as if to form privacy for him and the picture. He was relieved. His face softened when his right thumb traced the head of the baby in the picture and a sincere smile formed on his face.
"Who is she," Rachel asked, hating to ruin the moment he was in.
Realizing he wasn't alone, he tucked the picture in his front right pocket and pushed pass her.
"None of your business Berry."
"You can't simply expect me to forget what I just saw back there and not ask why," she said following him. "Is she your? Who is the mother? Why are your friends bullying you now? Why can't you answer me, Noah?"
"Puck!" He bellowed, stopping in his track to turn and face her. "It's Puck, not Noah, Puck. And it's none of your business."
He turned to move forward, halfway to reaching his truck but he faced her again.
"You know I don't even know why you care anyway. It's not like we're friends. I bullied you all through freshmen year, remember? You should be thanking me that my "behavior lately" has changed. Not coming up to me with a picture you found yesterday and asking questions. I mean come on Berry."
"Well what do you expect? Having someone else find your picture and spreading the news around that you have a daughter and have everyone in school to know your secret. You should be lucky I had the audacity to give it back to you."
"And why did you?"
"Why did you give me back my picture? Like I said before, we aren't friends. I bullied you and yet you gave me back my picture without telling someone or the school."
"Because…because I don't know why."
"Come on Berry this would have been your chance to get even with me and you didn't, why?"
"I said I don't know."
He tsked and turned away from her to get inside his truck. The engine roared to life and he prepared to pull out of the lot but turned towards her to say one last thing.
"When you know why, you let me, alright."
With that said he pulled off and left. Rachel was left dumbfounded at the turn of event. She was supposed to get some answers not have more questions. His words replayed in her head only to be interrupted by a whistle and the shouting of Coach Tanaka yelling for someone to take a lap. She walked back inside the school to put away her day planner and happen to look down at her watch at the time. Almost four o'clock. Glee club was almost over. For the first time in her life she wasn't going to go. Questions would be asked why she was late and she didn't feel like answering them. Not until she had worked out a possible good answer for them at least. She'll think of something, but in the meantime, she was going home.
Noah had left a big impression on her. Now that she thought about it, he didn't answer a single question of hers except to ask questions himself. Questions that had her questioning her motive for this meet besides wanting to know what the picture installs and why he stopped his slushing. She never once thought why she didn't use this situation to her advantage and exploit his picture for her own personal game. She may not have the picture anymore but she still had the knowledge, she could still blackmail him for answers if she wanted.
But why stoop that low?
She could find other means in getting what she wanted; she was a resourceful young woman after all. If all fails, than stooping would be her last resort. With that in mind, she got inside her car and drove away.
AN: You know I have to ask. What did you think? Do I still have your attention?