A/N: My first Finn/Rachel! I super-love these two right now. They just need to get together. I think I'll squeal when they do. Anyway, let me know what you think!
(The title and quote in the summary are from Funny Girl, which if for some reason you have not seen, you should! It's fantastic.)
The night after Sectionals, she's surprised to get a knock on her door while she's fixing herself a healthy, light snack of apple slices and yoghurt. She doesn't really think anything of it, though, because her dads are closer to the door and she waits for them to answer.
She's humming to herself (You Can't Always Get What You Want has been stuck in her head since their performance) and still buzzing off the high of winning the day before. She was the star, and everyone finally knows it. She's got a house full of flowers to prove it. Even Puck stole her a dozen carnations from the 7-11, and while she couldn't condone it, she knows he caught her smiling. "You saved our asses, Berry," he said as he handed over the multi-coloured bouquet.
She's been basking in compliments from her dads since yesterday, and she's loved it, but part of her has wondered what everyone else is doing, how they're celebrating. She assumes Kurt and Mercedes stuck together, and Matt and Mike, Brittany and Santana.
But most of all, she's been wondering about those other three people, probably the three she's become closest to, somehow. She's sure Puck and Quinn have been talking, or at least she hopes so. She's upset, because even though it's none of her business, this whole debacle hurt the glee club, or at least could have. Quinn's emotional, Puck is confused and pretty much hated, and Finn's a wreck. She doesn't want to think about it, because it doesn't concern her as long as they show up to rehearsal, but, well, she's never been great at minding her own business.
But when Finn showed up yesterday with sheet music and a plan and saved the day, she thought her heart was going to explode. He believed her her. He does believe in her. He likes her the way she is, and he thinks she can do anything. As self-assured and confident (and sometimes conceited) as she is, sometimes she still needs to know that there's someone else out there who sees her the way she sees herself. (Maybe Mr. Schue knew what he was talking about that day when he told her that this boy existed...)
It doesn't hurt that his voice compliments hers so well ad that he's always looking at her like that. She catches him sometimes when she's looking at him. And no one can really blame her for having feelings for him, since they hold hands in rehearsal like, every day, and when they're on stage, it's like they're in their own little world.
Yesterday was probably the best day of her life, and now she's humming the melody of the winning song, and there's a trophy in the choir room, but she's alone, wearing leggings, pink knee high socks and a purple tank top (not her best look, but she's going for comfort). She's not sure when that'll change, the alone part.
"Rachel," she hears, a whisper at the doorway of her kitchen. She turns around to see her dad standing there, smiling like he knows something she doesn't. "Someone's here to see you."
She's completely confused, because no one ever comes to see her, and they certainly don't do it unexpectedly.
She walks to the doorway to find Finn standing there with her daddy. He's got his hands in his pockets, and he looks completely nervous and also like he's been upset and maybe crying for the last few days, save for their performance. And he smiles just a little bit when he sees her.
"Finn. Hi," she says, still totally surprised, and she's got a bowl of apples in her hand that she doesn't really know what to do with.
"Can we...talk?" he asks, casting glances around the room to her parents. They're just smiling (they've heard all about this boy, and after yesterday, they haven't stopped asking about him) and all she can do is nod. Finn smiles at her, and she thinks that the only time she's seen him really smile since that whole Puck's the father revelation, has been when he's smiling at her.
She heads for the stairs, and he reaches over her shoulder, taking an apple slice from her bowl, and she laughs a little bit, because it seems that goofy, playful side of him is back, at least a little bit.
He's been in her room only once before, and he's just as uncomfortable this time, though for a completely different reason. She looks a little nervous, too, he notices.
He's not really sure why he's even here. It's a Sunday night, and he should be watching football or sports or playing video games or something, but he's got all these emotions, and it's driving him crazy. Rachel is probably the most emotional person he knows, so it seemed like a good idea to come talk to her. He thinks that if anyone might be able to get through to him (what he needs to hear, he's got no clue) it'd be her.
"If I had known you were coming over, I would have tidied up," she says, moving around and fluffing pillows.
He takes a look around the room, and it's pretty much spotless. He has no idea what she's talking about. Her room is so neat and tidy, and he's a little scared of what she'd say if she ever saw his bedroom.
"It's uh...It's fine," he says, sitting down on her bed. "I like your room."
She smiles and straightens her posture, and just like that, all her confidence is back. "Thank you. I feel it represents the best parts of me, you know? But it blends style and function. Which I suppose is also like me, but..."
"Rachel." She looks at him, and he's smiling again.
"Would you like another apple? I only eat fruits after 7:00 p.m. It's better for your metabolism."
"Sure," he says, because he thinks it might get her to just stop talking or something. She sits down next to him and places the bowl between them, and he takes a slice to appease her.
"So, what did you want to talk about?" she asks, and when she looks at him, it's to let him know that she has a pretty good idea, but she didn't want to just assume. He doesn't say anything for a moment, just takes a breath and eats his apple, almost like he hasn't heard her or something. "I won't apologize," she announces.
"For telling you. I won't apologize. Maybe I shouldn't have said anything, but you deserved to know, and no one else was going to tell you," she says seriously, turning towards him.
"That's not what I...I'm glad you told me," he says, for really the first time. He hasn't really been talking to anyone since...everything. Save for a conversation with Mr. Schue and a short one with his mom, he's just been trying to deal with everything. "You're right."
"No one else was going to tell me. I look like an idiot because everyone knew but me, and no one had the guts to tell me," he says. She shakes her head at him, but he turns to her, his knee pressing against hers. "You're...you're the only one I can trust, Rachel."
"While I think that's very sweet and something I...I've probably wanted you to say, I don't think it's the truth, necessarily. All of us, we're..."
"Everyone lied to me," he says softly. The anger is gone, and all that's left is hurt. He doesn't want to yell anymore, either at anyone, or about this thing. "You're the only one brave enough to be honest."
"That's what Quinn said." She looks over at him, biting her lip, because she doesn't know if she should have said the name. He doesn't say anything, and doesn't look over at her. She takes a leap and rests her hand on his shoulder. "Are you okay?"
He finally looks over at her again, and he smiles a little bit, because even though everyone seems to ask him, she's the only one who really sounds like she means it.
He knows she cares about him or whatever, but he always seems to forget, as unfair as that is to her. He thinks he's kind of been a jerk to her. Not on purpose or anything, it's just he's had so much going on, and she's so self-sufficient that he hasn't really paid much mind to her in a while. He feels guilty about that, more than anything.
If he's learned anything since joining glee, it's that he wants to spend time with her. He likes her. He never lied to her about that.
"I'll be fine," he says, and he thinks he means it. He's starting to think that even if he didn't, she'd make sure he was okay. "So um...I guess I just came over to say thanks or whatever." She nods that eager way he's come to think is kind of cute. "And to see how you're feeling after yesterday," he adds, smiling over at her. He almost laughs at the way her face lights up.
"How I'm feeling?" she asks.
"You were...What you did was amazing, Rachel. I didn't get a chance to tell you that."
"Well, to be fair, you've had a few other things on your mind," she says. She hears him laugh for the first time in days. "But since you're ready to shower compliments and accolades upon me now, I just need two seconds to prepare my speech."
He doesn't know if she's joking. He honestly has no idea. "That was...That was kind of it."
"Oh," she says, and he laughs again. "We'll, thank you anyway. You know, Funny Girl is my favourite movie, and any time the opportunity arises to work some Streisand into a performance, well, that's never a bad thing, though some, okay, most, can't pull off Don't Rain on My Parade."
"Yeah, well, you were...great."
She beams and bats her lashes. "So were you."
He actually blushes.
She thinks that he's perfect.
He glances at the clock and rubs his palms on his jeans a couple times before looking back at her. He wishes he knew what it is about this girl that makes him feel so weird all the time. Like, nervous or something, and it's really stupid, because he's never really nervous, not to play ball, not to perform (anymore, anyway). Only around Rachel.
"I should...I told my mom I wouldn't be long," he says. She nods and they both stand. "Thanks again. For everything, and...for the apples."
Sometimes she can't tell if he's making fun of her or not. Sometimes she's not sure if he even knows.
They don't say anything as they walk down the stairs, and he's very aware that her dads are staring as Rachel walks him to the door. She smiles at Finn when he smiles at her, and he reaches for the doorknob.
"I guess I'll see you tomorrow," he says.
"See you tomorrow," she echoes. She locks the door behind him, and rolls her eyes when she sees two smiles and raised brows. "Stop it."
"House calls? Do we have to start worrying?" her dad asks, making her daddy laugh like it's the most hilarious thing he's ever heard.
She doesn't play into their teasing, just kisses each of their cheeks and says that she's going to practice a little before bed. It doesn't bother her that they think it's borderline absurd that they have to worry about her. She thinks that just means that they trust her. And anyway, she trusts Finn. She smiles when she remembers Finn's words, how she's the only one he can trust, and she doesn't even bother practicing. She lays on her bed, smiling like a fool, because maybe it's not so crazy for her to be in love with him anymore.
She doesn't see him much the next day. He's busy avoiding people, and she's busy finding all the glee members to hand out sheet music for this special number she has planned. She smiles at him when she sees him during the day, because everyone's talking about him behind his back, and she doesn't want him to feel like no one's on his side.
She watches him breeze past Quinn without a second look, and she smiles at the blonde, too, because Rachel has heard what people are saying about all this, and Quinn must feel terrible. And they don't hate each other, they're friends almost, so when Rachel hands Quinn the stack of papers, she's sure to ask if she can do anything. Quinn's tone isn't scathing at all when she answers, "you've done enough," and they smile at one another again before they go their separate ways.
She doesn't say a word to Puck when she tracks him down, because she doesn't know what to say, and there's a tiny part of her that can't believe he didn't tell her the truth. She doesn't want to think it, but she does. She thought they were...well, he made it perfectly clear that they weren't friends, but she thought for sure that they were something. Then again, he probably just knew that she'd end things with him if he told her, and as much as he wants to insist he was going to break up with her, she's pretty sure he had no intentions of it.
Finn sees Rachel and Puck just standing in front of one another, and it shouldn't bother him the way it does. Actually, screw that, yes it should. Not only did Puck betray him in the worst way, but he knows that something happened between Rachel and Puck. Finn doesn't know the details of that, but he thinks it might be pissing him off more than that other thing at the moment.
Then he sees Rachel do that quick turn thing she does, where her hair flips over her shoulder before she starts marching away, and he thinks that she's probably not going to be Puck's shoulder to cry on.
Finn walks into the choir room and sees Rachel just standing there, her hands clasped in front of her as she admires the trophy they earned. He just looks at her for a second, and he's totally checking her out, because he's finally really able to and there's no one there to stop him. Only when he's letting himself notice the shape of her legs, how hot she makes a pair of white socks look, and he runs into the piano. She turns around when he hisses in pain and rubs his knee where he hit it on the wood.
"Finn. Are you alright?" she asks, though she's smiling, and he's not sure what that's about.
"Yeah. Yeah, I'm fine," he says as he walks towards her.
He opens his mouth to say more, but Mercedes and Tina walk and start gushing over the trophy again, and this time Rachel joins in, so he just watches her smiling, and he thinks that all her fears about people not liking her don't really need to be there anymore.
Rachel notices the way Finn sits in the corner of the room, talking to Kurt and Mike, ignoring when Puck and Quinn walk into the room. She sees him turn his head to avoid even looking at them, and Rachel just purses her lips, because someone needs to fix this, and she doesn't know how she's going to do it, but she assumes it'll be her putting everyone back together again.
She gets everyone's attention easily for a change, and it startles her just a little bit, because they usually just continue on talking and ignore her. She doesn't let herself appear fazed, though, because they have work to do, and she has no time to question why they're treating her differently.
And anyway, she thinks it's probably just because she got to show exactly what she can do, mostly on her terms, to shine like the star she knows she is. Maybe they all finally see her that way too. It actually makes her feel closer to them, more like them, somehow.
They run through the number once, with Mike and Brittany standing up front, demonstrating the choreography they came up with when they skipped math class in the afternoon, and there's a whole lot of laughing, because they've taken elements from all their numbers and incorporated them. There are cowboy hats and everything. Rachel gets a little giddy (she hides it well) because this is just so perfect, and everyone's working together.
Quinn bumps into Finn by accident once, and he steadies her with his hand on her back, and the whole room holds their breath. Rachel almost smiles, because as angry as he is, he's still a nice enough person to make sure she's okay (that the baby is okay) before he turns his head and waits for her to step back into her own place.
They perform for Mr. Schue, who laughs and shakes his head and at one point looks like he might be about to cry. Rachel just keeps on singing, and everyone else follows suit, and when Mr. Schue runs out of the room as soon as the song is even over, no one really knows what's going on, but they just wait for him to return.
He's smiling when he does.
"From the top," he says with a grin, and everyone laughs before they start in on one of the songs they've been trying to perfect.
Finn watches as Rachel climbs into her dad's car, and he fumbles with his keys a little bit when she waves at him through the window. He waves back. He thinks that maybe he could offer to drive her home from now on.
You know, to save her dads the trip.
Rachel sits in the choir room, where she's been eating her lunch, usually alone, since she joined glee. If she doesn't have another meeting or club to attend, she makes her way to the empty room and listens to her iPod while she eats. She does it mostly because the cafeteria is generally just a battlefield, with her as some kind of target. Granted, when she started being seen around with Finn (and for a few days, Puck) people started to pick on her less and less.
It's been a little over a week since sectionals, and things are going well. Everyone seems to be riding high off the win, wanting to build on it, because now they really believe they have a shot. She's happy about that, that everyone's taking it as seriously as she has been.
She's listening to their latest selection, trying to work out some harmonies to suggest to Mr. Schue, and she doesn't hear anyone step into the room. When Finn sits down in front of her, it startles her a bit and she almost chokes on her water.
"Hey," he says, smirking at how flustered she is. "Whatcha doing?"
"You always eat in here?" She shrugs her shoulder, because she doesn't really feel like getting into the whole thing, all the reasons why she doesn't want to eat in the caf. "Well, is this riser taken?"
"No," she laughs, shaking her head. "What are you doing in here?"
"I was walking past and saw you," he says. "I've um...we haven't really talked much lately."
"Well, I've been working on my solo for The Climb, and I really don't think a Miley Cyrus song is the best choice, but you can't deny the message in the song. And I thought it was crazy to give each of us girls a solo, but it's actually kind of wonderful," she admits, and he smiles at her. "Don't tell anyone I admitted that."
He laughs again, and pops open his can of Coke. She eyes it warily; she's always telling him how bad the sugar is for his vocal chords, but practice isn't for a few hours, so he doesn't see it as a problem.
"Mind if I stay in here with you?" he asks.
"I don't mind," she says quietly.
So they sit there and eat together, and he listens to her hum her part of the song.
So they start spending their lunch hours together there when neither of them has other plans. It's kind of like a date, she thinks, but not really.
He drives her home after practice one day, and unlike all the other days, he notices there isn't a car in the driveway. One of her dads (he can't remember which one) is always home right after 5:00, just before Rachel gets home. But there's no black sedan sitting there, and there are no lights on in the house. Finn's a little worried to leave her alone, but he realizes that's stupid, since she's obviously old enough to be left alone. He just worries about her sometimes, that's all.
"Would you like to come in?" she asks quickly, turning to look at him as he pulls into the driveway. "My dads are at this dinner thing and won't be home until later. They left money to get pizza for dinner."
"Is that...okay?" he asks skeptically. From what he knows, most fathers aren't crazy about their daughters being alone in houses with teenaged boys.
But he just wants her to say yes.
"Sure," she says easily, smiling at him.
So he puts the car in park and switches off the engine. She toys with her keys on their pink key ring as they make their way to the door, and he really likes the way she's worn her hair today. It's down, like he likes it, but it's a little curlier than usual. It's parted differently, too, and he thinks that's weird, because she always wears it parted straight down the middle. She looks a little older this way.
He was so lost in noticing her, that he didn't realize that she's already in the house. He's standing there like an idiot, and she's smiling at him from where she's slipping off her shoes. He walks into the house and she gestures for him to take off his jacket, which she hangs up in the closet. It's kind of amazing how clean her house always is. Everything's in its right place, and all her living room furniture is pointed at a fireplace, not a television. Her kitchen is big and bright, with glass cupboards and new appliances. He knows his mom would love it if she ever stepped inside.
He thinks his mom might love Rachel if the two ever met, too. But he doesn't know why he's thinking about that.
"I think there's a game on," she says, making him turn and look at her again. "Ohio State and Purdue."
He smirks at her. "Since when do you follow basketball?"
"I don't," she admits laughingly. "I heard some people talking about it in the hall today. But if you want to watch it, that's fine."
He shrugs his shoulder and they sit down on the sofa. "Actually, if you want, we could watch one of those movies you're always talking about."
"Really?" she asks, her eyes all wide and cute. How can he say no to that? "Oh, wow. Okay. I need to think this out. Should I start you off with something iconic, like my personal favourite, Funny Girl? Or should I give you the basics? Maybe Joseph or even Grease." She's talking a mile a minute, and he can't help but laugh. He's not sure he's ever seen her so excited for anything. "We should order food first. That'll give me time to strategize."
Only Rachel Berry, he decides, would strategize making her movie selection.
He follows her into the kitchen, where she picks up the phone and dials for their dinner, and she's still talking about 'Streisand or Olivia' as she mixes them virgin cosmos again. He smiles as he watches her tossing ice into the shaker. She can feel his eyes on her, and like always, she likes it. He makes her feel like he wants her or something, and she wonders how long it'll be before he realizes it for himself. It's so obvious, she thinks. They haven't talked a whole lot about where his emotions are with everything that's happened, but she assumes they will. She figures it won't kill her to wait a little longer.
She serves their drinks up in martini glasses, and he feels a little weird drinking from one - he's more of a plastic cup or aluminum can kind of guy - but she looks so happy that they're doing this (and he is too) that he plays along.
"This is nice, Rachel," he says sincerely. "Hanging out with you."
She smiles at him, and she's almost certain he's always been able to see how much she likes him, how bad she wants him. "It's always nice hanging out with you, Finn," she confesses quietly.
"Know what's crazy?" He doesn't wait for her to answer before carrying on. "Before glee, I mean...I was the popular guy with all the friends and everything, but I never felt like I really had much of anything. Now...It's just kind of cool to know I have a whole bunch of people behind me." She smiles and nods, like she might sort of be feeling the same thing. "And, you know...you."
He's avoiding her eyes. She doesn't really understand what he's trying to say. "Me?"
"You're a great friend, Rachel."
She's glad she's such a fantastic actress, because she can smile at him and nod, and make it seem like her heart isn't breaking a little bit. She doesn't want to just be his friend. She never has. But she's had a lot of practice, since that's what they've been all along. She knows she was crazy before, trying to steal him away from Quinn, or whatever it was she was doing, but now it's different, isn't it? He doesn't have a girlfriend anymore, and he's hanging out with her all the time, now outside of school and glee club, too.
"So are you," she says sincerely, because it's true. She doesn't have a lot of friends. She's glad he's one of them.
Their pizza arrives, and she grabs two plates and a couple napkins, and a knife and fork for herself, and points Finn in the direction of the rec room while she pays the delivery guy. Finn is a little impressed when he walks into the room and sees a plush leather sofa, a huge entertainment system with shelves of CDs and movies. He's looking through the DVD collection when she returns with a pizza box in hand. They're all romantic comedies or musicals. She doesn't even own Die Hard! He doesn't know what kind of house this is. He thinks that maybe, if they ever hang out at his place, he'll have to introduce her to his favourite action and thriller movies.
Maybe he's getting ahead of himself.
She sets the pizza on the table, and he doles out slices while she finds the movie she's decided upon.
"I think this is a good starting point. Mostly because you can see my idol in a vastly under-appreciated role, but it's not as iconic as Funny Girl, which I feel we should work you up to," she says, and her back is to him, loading the disc into the DVD player, so she doesn't see him smirking at her. "A Star Is Born is a beautiful film, despite the fact that it was made during the 70's, when Hollywood movies were often fueled by drug usage and less-than-impressive judgement. But this is Streisand breaking out of her shell, doing something different. Maybe it's not as good as The Way We Were, but she's wonderful, and this is probably Kris Kristofferson's best role."
She sits down on the floor next to him, in front of the coffee table. "Cool," he says.
They're finished eating by the time Streisand sings her first song, and he doesn't think he does a very good job of hiding how impressed he is. He's never really been one to listen to her stuff. Ever. This is his first real taste of her. He can see why Rachel is so into her. You know, as far as performances go and stuff.
"Amazing," Rachel supplies.
"Yeah," he says.
Rachel doesn't know why her heart swells when he says it. Maybe because he finally understands, or because she's getting to share this part of her with him, this ambition she has to 'make it'. Or maybe she just loves that he's the kind of boy who'll sit through an old romantic film with her.
They lift themselves up onto the sofa, and she pulls her legs up and angles herself towards him a little bit. Her knees brush against his thigh, and neither moves. He glances at her from the corner of his eye, and she looks so entirely entranced by the movie that it's hard for him to take his eyes off her. He realizes that's not really the way it's supposed to be. He's supposed to want to be as wrapped up in the movie as she is, but she's got this dreamy look on her face, like no matter how many times she watches the movie, it still hits her the same way. He just can't help but want to look at her.
He doesn't think he was ever like this with Quinn. Not that he didn't like her. He did. He thinks he might have even loved her or something. But it's different with Rachel. She doesn't expect anything of him, other than that he just be himself. He knows she just wants him to be happy, and she's all too happy to be included in that. He likes including her. He wants to. They're friends.
But when he notices how smooth her legs look, how her skirt rides up a little bit, he thinks he wants more from her than that, too.
He just doesn't want to put anything on her that she doesn't deserve. He's done that before, accidentally, and it's not fair to her. He knows she likes him, and he likes that she does, he always has. He wants her too. But he's going through too much to handle a new relationship right now.
But he's more than willing to be her friend.
She's mostly quiet, which he thinks is kind of a miracle, since she's Rachel, and she always seems to have something to say. But he can tell she's enamoured with the movie, mouthing the words and sometimes humming along with the music. He actually likes this film. It's cool, and this guy is kind of a badass rock star. Not that Finn is or ever will be one himself, but it at least makes watching a Barbra Streisand movie slightly less lame. But with Rachel, he finds that he wants to watch all her favourites, because maybe that'll tell him a little more about her or something.
He's pretty sure all this singing and dancing is making him start to think like a girl.
Rachel can tell he's enjoying the movie, because he laughs and gasps and smiles at all the right parts. If she tries to remember how they ended up here, alone in her house, together on the sofa watching one of her favourite movies, she gets distracted by how he smells and how their legs are pressed together a little bit, and how he always seems so sincere with her. When they're singing, or when they're one on one. If he's driving her home, or if they're eating lunch together. There are no games between them, no lies.
She shivers a little bit, since her house is always cold in the winter, and Finn reaches behind them and pulls the blanket off the back of the sofa. He drapes it over her, really liking the way she smiles at him, and she licks her lip subtly. He's sure she doesn't do it on purpose, but it makes him a little crazy. She shares the blanket, covering his legs with as much as she's willing to sacrifice, and his heart races, because even though they're barely touching, it still feels like a really 'intimate' moment, or something.
Yup. Thinking like a girl.
He can hardly believe the way the movie ends. It's not what he expected, at all, and he's frozen a little bit at the way things turn out. He feels...affected by it somehow, but he thinks that's maybe just because he's been actively trying to pay attention and love it as much as Rachel does.
"Oh my god," he says quietly at the end of the film. "That's like, the saddest movie ever." He notices her nod, and when he looks over at her, he sees the tears in her eyes. She blinks a few times, trying to fight them back, but one spills over, and Finn can only smile at her a little. "Rachel." He wraps his arm around her shoulders and she falls against him. "Haven't you seen this a hundred times?"
"17," she tells him. She pulls away and tries to wipe her cheek, but Finn reaches forward, and she swears her heart is going to beat out of her chest as she studies his face. He uses the pad of his thumb to brush the tears from her cheeks, and when he smiles at her, she thinks he's about to kiss her.
"Rach." She freezes, blinks at him, and his face changes. "What?"
She smiles and shakes her head, and just like that, she's the confident girl he knows so well again. She's smiling that million dollar smile, the one he finds kind of scary and beautiful all at the same time.
"Nothing," she says.
(No one's ever called her Rach before.)
Mr. Schue organizes a concert to raise funds for the club's travel expenses. Now that they're on the map, successful, the whole town wants to hear them and watch them perform. Rachel is excited, because they're reprising their winning numbers, debuting some new ones, and she and Finn get to sing Don't Stop Believin' together for the first time in ages. She knows he's excited for that too, since he told her one day after a practice in the auditorium. She told him he'd never sounded better, and he said that song might always be his favourite to sing with her.
They're backstage getting ready, the girls in front of their mirrors and the boys tying their ties, and a startled "Oh!" leaves Quinn's mouth, and her hands fly to her stomach.
Everyone looks at her, and Puck is at her side immediately. Rachel watches with trepidation, because she doesn't really know what else to do until she knows what's wrong. But she steals a glance at Finn, and she can tell he's unsure of whether he should be worried or irritated (he always gets a little weird when Puck and Quinn are together).
"She kicked," Quinn admits softly, her lower lip trembling just a little. Puck's eyes soften as he looks at her, and she grabs his hand and places it on her stomach.
The baby's kicking for the firs time, and Kurt is tearing up with one hand on his heart, Mercedes is smiling, clutching his other. Artie and Tina watch on, and Brittany, Santana, Mike and Matt all walk over to fawn over Quinn. Rachel slips away from the crowd and stands next to Finn, and he fusses with his tie like it's all wrong (it's not).
"Here," Rachel says, reaching up and grabbing the material.
He studies her face as she adjusts the silk, how she bites her bottom lip a little and her brow crinkles. Her hands are so tiny, and however she's done her makeup makes her eyes look so big and doe-like that it's hard for him to look away. He thinks it's kind of amazing, how she's got to perform in a matter of minutes, nail that Streisand song (he knows that now, since she's told him all about what an inspiration 'Babs' is to her, and they've watched Funny Girl together) but she's still paying attention to him, making sure he's not uncomfortable.
And he can totally see down the front of her dress with her standing in front of him like this.
"There," she says, smiling in accomplishment. "A perfect knot."
"Where'd you learn how to do that?" He admires the knot in the mirror, perfectly tied and in place. And he can't help it if his eyes drift down her body, since she's still standing in front of him and can't see him checking out her reflection.
"Two dads," she says, and they both smile at that.
It takes them a moment to realize that everyone in the room seems to be looking at them, her standing just inches away from him, both of them laughing a little bit. Apparently the commotion of the baby kicking is over, and more concerned with their leading man and lady and what's going on between them.
He can't really pinpoint the moment she became his best friend, but she has. Sometime in the last three weeks, she's become kind of the most important person in his life, next to his mom.
Mr. Schue walks into the room and sees the crowd around Quinn, and he stops, looking worried, but then he sees Quinn's smile, and Puck's explaining everything. Mr. Schue walks over and takes his turn feeling the baby kick, and Rachel just watches. She really wants to experience that too, but she won't leave Finn on his own. That's a pretty big sacrifice.
When it's time for them to go on, Rachel takes a deep breath, and Finn squeezes her shoulder, leans down and tells her good luck, that she's going to be amazing. The knot in her stomach is replaced by butterflies.
Their performance is flawless, really. Save for a missed step, one that Quinn covers easily with a pirouette that they're all surprised she can even still pull off, the whole thing goes off without so much as a missed note. Rachel isn't sure they've ever sounded so good.
And she definitely doesn't know if Finn has ever taken her hand this way, or stared into her eyes this way. Somebody To Love takes on a whole new meaning when he (un-choreographed, but she doesn't mind) tugs her arm so she ends up pressed against him and looking up at him. She's pretty sure it means something. It has to, right? She wants it to. And his thumb moves back and forth on her side when he holds her hip, and if she weren't such a professional, her focus would be totally thrown.
She kills Don't Rain On My Parade. She gets a standing ovation, and she honestly wasn't expecting that (okay, maybe a little, since she got one at sectionals too). She and Puck are waiting in the wings afterward, him just behind her as they prepare for their cue, and he says, "shit, Berry. Practice much?" and she laughs when she turns around and he's smiling at her.
Finn catches up to her after they've changed back into their street clothes, and he kind of tackles her in a hug that she has to laugh into. He lifts her up just a little bit, and she'd almost think that they'd won another competition, with how happy he is.
"You were so good, Rach," he tells her. "So good."
"So were you," she says as he sets her down on her feet again. He's still got his hands on her waist, and she's still got hers on his arms, just gazing up at him. He may just be the most handsome man she's ever seen in real life.
"No." He shakes his head. "You're...you're a star."
She throws her arms around his neck again, because finally, someone sees that about her. He laughs a little bit, and she feels it through her whole body.
"Get a room," Mike says jokingly from behind them, and Rachel's blushing when she pulls away and straightens out her sweater.
Finn looks down, kind of stutters a little bit before stepping backwards away from her.
Because he wants to kiss her so bad, and he's not really sure he should. Not yet.
"I got you something," he confesses quietly, glancing around to make sure no one else is paying attention.
He pulls a single red rose out from the garment bag that holds his performance clothes, and she actually gasps. She knows her dads will have two dozen (they tend to go a little overboard) but this means something different. Maybe something more.
"I picked all the thorns off," he admits sheepishly. Maybe it's silly, but she wonders if that's the sweetest thing anyone's ever done for her.
He hands it to her, and they're both holding onto the stem when her dads show up in the doorway of the dressing room. She doesn't even care that they can see her when she hops up and kisses Finn's cheek. She thanks him before rushing towards her dads, and Finn is left standing there, wondering what in the hell he's waiting for.
They're given a over week off from glee club during exams, save for Monday afternoons. Rachel pretty much hates the break from rehearsals, since singing is her sanctuary, and she needs to release her emotions and frustrations somehow. But she needs to study, too, so she's not entirely sure what to think. Her study breaks consist of vitamin water and Christmas carols, since it's right before the holidays. Her phone is set to silent, her IM disconnected on her computer, and she tells her fathers that if anyone calls (she actually gets calls sometimes now) that she's busy, so they should take a message.
One doesn't maintain a 3.8 GPA by not taking finals seriously.
It's a Saturday afternoon when she's sitting at her desk, going over her history notes for the hundredth time, when the screen of her phone lights up. This is why she usually leaves it out of her line of sight.
She leaves it for a few minutes, tries to read about the Cold War instead of wondering who might be texting her. Curiosity gets the best of her and she reaches for her phone with a sigh, because she's usually far more dedicated than this. She bites her lip when she sees that Finn has texted her, and maybe it's stupid, but she's actually missed him this last week. They've spoken at school, at lunch and in between classes, but that hasn't really given them much time at all to talk. His text just reads "Study break?" and she knows that she should say no. But the words are starting to blend together on the page, and she thinks that a break might be exactly what she needs. (Finn is exactly what she needs.)
So she responds, asking what he has in mind, and he doesn't really answer, but says he'll pick her up in 15 minutes.
She freaks out, just a little bit, because she's wearing sweat pants and a McKinley sweatshirt, and that's clearly not going to impress anyone. She rifles through her closet for a sweater, one of her favourites, and a pair of jeans. She pulls her hair up into a pony tail and puts on some mascara and a little lip gloss. Her dads grin at her knowingly when they ask where she's going and she just says "out with Finn."
He's waiting in the driveway when she steps outside, and it's snowing a little bit, so she rushes towards the car. Finn smiles at her as she fusses over the snowflakes in her hair.
"Nice ponytail," he says.
She punches his arm. "Don't make fun of me! You only gave me 15 minutes!"
"I wasn't making fun. Your hair looks really nice. You just never wear it like that," he says, shrugging his shoulder.
"I usually have more than 15 minutes," she says. He laughs as he backs out of her driveway. "Where are we going anyway? I mean, I know the Bay of Pigs like the back of my hand, but I feel kind of terrible blowing off studying to...What are we doing?"
"I have an idea. But you have to trust me," he says seriously, stealing a glance at her.
"Of course I trust you," she says quietly.
They drive for a while, the best of Van Halen playing through the speakers, and while it's not her first choice, she deals with it, because it's really cute, the way he mouths the words, sometimes singing the chorus, and tapping his fingers on the steering wheel. They see Kurt driving his SUV, and they wave, and Finn just knows that in approximately 3.5 seconds, everyone in the glee club is going to know that he and Rachel are together. He doesn't really care anymore anyway, since they're pretty much together all the time as it is.
She's totally confused when they end up at the mall, and he can tell that she has no idea what he's got planned. He parks as far away from the door as possible, and she doesn't know why. It's freezing out, and the snow is coming down in big clumps, and when she gets out of the car, she sees that he's still smiling.
"What's going on?" she finally asks. He knows it must have killed her not to know what he has him his sleeve.
"C'mon. Just follow me," he says.
He extends his hand, and she smiles in a super cute way as she tucks her hand into his. She kind of curls into him, pressing herself against his arm as they walk, and when she shivers, he pulls his hand away and drapes his arm around her shoulders. She shakes the snow from her hair once they're inside, and he does the same, flinging droplets of water on her as he does so, and she lets out a little squeal that has him laughing.
They stop at a little coffee shop just inside the mall's entrance, and he gets her a non fat soy decaf chai latté (or whatever it is she orders) and she curls her fingers around the paper cup as they make their way back into the mall.
"Okay, what are we doing here. I hate surprises," she says. He knows this much.
"Christmas shopping!" he claims, with all the excitement of a little boy. She'd laugh if he wasn't so adorable. "I'm gonna buy you something, and you're gonna buy me something."
"Finn, this is ridiculous. You don't know what I want and vice versa," she says.
"That's the best part!" he says boyishly. "It'll be fun!" She looks skeptical, to say the least. She eyes him as she sips her latté, and he smiles and bumps against her playfully. "Here are the rules."
"Rules? Finn, this is silly."
"Nuh uh. It's awesome," he argues. She laughs at how childish he's being and wonders if he could get any cuter. "'Kay. The rules. 50 dollar limit."
"That's it?" she giggles. "That's the only rule?"
He thinks about it for a second, and she watches him. He gets that far off look on his face, and his brow crinkles a little bit. She loves the way his face lights up when he comes up with another idea.
"Half hour. We split up and meet at Santa's Village in a half hour," he says.
"Finn, I don't know if..." she tries, but he's already backing away from her, smiling and trying not to bump into anyone.
"Half hour! Time it!" he calls back to her. She rolls her eyes, but smiles and nods, because as much as she'd rather just spend the time with him, this does seem at least a little fun.
Then, of course, there's the matter of her not knowing what to get him. Sure, she'd considered getting him something, but he hadn't made mention of getting her anything, so she thought that maybe getting him a Christmas gift was a little crazy. But she thinks that everything he wants, he might already have. At least within the $50 range.
As she's walking through the mall, a few ideas come to mind, but none of them are any good. American Eagle shirts are his staple, but he's got about 40 of them, and so he's probably set there. There's a gaming store, but she has no idea what video games he likes (ones which involve a lot of shooting, she knows, but that isn't much to go on). She doesn't know what boys want for gifts. She may have been raised by two men, but it's not nearly the same as a 16 year old boy.
She's wandered around for 10 minutes when she gets frustrated. She's finished her latté and pitches the cup in the trash, and after passing yet another store that she doesn't want to buy him anything from, she pulls her phone out of her bag and calls him.
"What are you getting me?" she asks as soon as he's answered.
"No!" she laughs. "Finn, I don't know what you want!"
"Well, it's not in the Disney Store," he says. She spins around, looking up at the sign of the store she's standing in front of.
"Where are you?" she cries, smiling as she looks around, trying to catch a glimpse of him. "Finn, this isn't fair."
"And stay away from American Eagle, too," he teases.
She huffs into the phone and hears him laugh as she turns around again, hoping to find him. "How are you doing this?"
He knows she's all flustered, and he can see her spinning around. So he says in a creepy voice, "I can see you, Rachel."
"Relax," he says with a laugh. "18 minutes left. And don't go anywhere near Build-A-Bear. That's not really my style."
He hangs up before she can say another word, which he's pretty sure he'll pay for later, but it's okay. He's actually a little surprised that she didn't see him, considering he's only about 100 feet away from her. He knows it's because she wouldn't expect him to be in the store he's in, so she probably didn't even bother to look.
And okay, so he planned this little game only because he wanted to get her something, but he didn't want her to feel like she had to get him something, or to make her uncomfortable if she didn't. He figured this was a fun way to make sure she wouldn't freak out when he gave her a gift. Especially this particular gift.
He saw it when he was shopping for stuff for his mom, and he thought it looked like Rachel, which is maybe weird, but he figures they're close enough friends that he can get her something, or think of her when he sees certain things. And maybe he's not the best at picking stuff out sometimes, but he knows Rachel will love this.
The truth is, he thinks about her a lot. Pretty much constantly, actually. She's a hard girl to escape, and not just because they've got two classes together, plus glee, plus the fact that he doesn't really have any other good friends right now. He's learned a lot about her since they started hanging out more and more. She's like, the nicest person he knows, when she's not being just a little crazy about her 'career' and stuff. She's smart and sweet. She made him those sugar cookies (with green frosting, since it's his favourite colour) when he jokingly complained about her making them for Mr. Schue, but not him.
And what he's been surprised by most is that she's funny. Sure, she could make him laugh before, but that was partly because she's a little nutty. But she can be sarcastic, and she can break out one-liners that make him laugh so hard his stomach hurts. When she says something that she doesn't intend to be hilarious, sometimes he can't help it and he hugs her, because she's adorable when she clues in and starts laughing along with him.
So it's not really a surprise that he wants to get her something, and he thinks that it might not even have anything to do with the holidays.
She's Jewish, he knows that. She's been raised by one Jewish dad (Daddy) and one Catholic dad (Dad) and Judaism is what they practice. (He's got a little bank of knowledge in his head, all devoted to her. It's growing and growing, and it's passed 'Music Knowledge' but has yet to overtake 'Sports' in that catalogue of stuff he knows.)
He's done well before she is, and so he sits and waits on the bench where they said they'd meet. He's got her gift, a little square box, gift wrapped with a gold bow on the top in his hands. And he realizes he's nervous. Like, his leg is bouncing up and down, and he can't stop it. He keeps looking for her, waiting for her to walk back to him. (He misses her when they're not together.)
He really, really hopes she likes this gift, because the more he sits here just holding it, the more he questions his decision.
Then she's walking towards him, swinging her bag in one hand and holding a gift in the other. She's mouthing the words to the Christmas song that's playing, and he's totally staring at her, but he doesn't care. She blushes when she notices.
"I do not need this kind of stress right before my history final, thank you very much," she says, sitting down next to him with a huff. She's very aware of his arm draped over the back of the bench, his body angled towards hers.
"Come on. Admit you had fun," he prods, and when he looks at her, puppy dog eyes and that lopsided grin, she feels her heart melt. She smiles and he pulls her close to him in a side hug. He thinks it's pretty cute, the way she's still trying to pout. "You don't get your present until you admit it."
"Fine," she says, pulling away and looking over at him. "I did have fun."
He can't help himself. He kisses her forehead and runs his hand over her shoulder. She tries not to read too much into it (but she shouts Iloveyou! in her head, and she knows she means it).
"Here," he says, handing the box to her. She notices his hand trembling, and she's been showered with enough gifts in her lifetime to know that this little box can only mean one thing.
Her heart falls, because now her gift seems silly, by comparison. But it races because he's gotten her jewelry, and she can't begin to fathom why.
"Finn," she says quietly, looking between the box and him.
"Just open it," he tells her, inching a little closer.
She bites her bottom lip as she tears off the paper, and he thinks she looks so adorable that it's hard to believe he ever didn't want to know everything about her. It's funny, he thinks, that they've gone to the same schools and lived in the same town, and their paths never really crossed. He supposes he should just be glad that they have now.
She pulls the box open, and she gasps (always the drama queen, he thinks fondly) when she sees what's inside. He's smiling at her when she looks up at him again. This is pretty much exactly the reaction she was hoping for. It's a silver necklace, simple, with a horseshoe dangling in the center. It's delicate and understated, all the things Rachel sometimes isn't, but all the things she loves in the jewelry she wears.
"Finn," she says again. She almost wants to cry, really, he's so sweet.
"You like it?" he asks needlessly. She nods quickly, then throws her arms around him. He likes the way she feels in his arms, all tiny and sweet. "It's for good luck. You know, the horseshoe and everything."
"I love it," she whispers.
When he pulls away, he takes the necklace in his hands and she turns around, lifting her hair so he can fasten the necklace for her. She nearly shivers when his fingertips graze her collarbone.
"It fits," he says jokingly, running his hand down over her shoulder. She laughs a little bit and turns around to face him again.
"Thank you, Finn," she says, toying with the horseshoe as it sits just below the hollow of her throat. "It's beautiful." She takes the gift she got him in her hand. "This seems silly now."
"No, come on," he says sweetly. "I'm sure it's great." She hands him the box and literally holds her breath as she waits for him to tear open the paper. She's glad he's like a little boy and does it quickly. She laughs when his eyes light up. "Rach!"
It's a signed baseball, Jim Abbott, and he doesn't think she stayed within their price range (but then again, he went a little over, too). It's set in a clear plastic case, and he just looks at it for a second, because he's honestly trying to figure out if this is real.
"It's sentimental," she explains. He grows a little confused. "That day...that was the first day I really understood how important glee was to you." He smiles at her, looks down to his lap. She gets a whole bunch of courage, all of a sudden, and she lets her hand fall to his thigh, and speaks again when his eyes meet hers. "And the way you looked at me totally gave me butterflies," she adds quickly.
He actually blushes. He doesn't know how she makes him do that. He kind of has butterflies himself right now.
"Rachel," he says, shaking his head. He sets the baseball on the seat between them and leans forward, and just as he rests his hand on her thigh, she stops him, places her palm on his chest.
"Finn, there is no way I'm going to let you kiss me on a bench at the mall with...elves prancing around." He laughs a little bit and looks around. Maybe she's got a point, but he really, really wants to kiss her right now. "It's just not right. It's not the way I imagined this," she says.
A smile breaks on his lips and he raises his brow like he always does when he's about to tease her. "You've imagined this?"
"Haven't you?" The way she's looking at him, big brown eyes all hopeful, makes him almost (but not really at all) annoyed that she won't just let him kiss her. He's finally ready to, and she won't let him. But he nods his head and she launches herself against him. "I knew it," she whispers in his ear.
They're quiet on the way home, but he takes her hand in his as he drives, and she kisses his cheek before she gets out of the car.
He flops down on his bed, the baseball sitting on the night stand next to him, and he tries to come up with a way to tell her that she does funny things to his heart. But seeing as he can't explain it, not even to himself, he gives up and pulls out his Spanish book. He uses studying as a distraction, trying to take his mind off this beautiful girl who turns his world upside down every time she sings or talks or even looks at him.
He thinks he might actually ace this test, because he buries his nose in the book for the rest of the night.
He's standing with Matt and Mike by his locker when she walks past on Monday morning. She's wearing a lower-cut top than usual (nothing obscene, but he still notices). He can see the necklace sitting against her skin. She smiles at him, nothing more, and his eyes follow her down the hall.
He doesn't care what anyone says about him liking her anymore. It's true anyway.
They can't escape each other all day, and there's this weird tension, because they both know their first kiss (okay, not first, but kind of first) is impending, and she's killing him with the way she toys with the little horseshoe in the caf at lunch. They're sitting with the rest of the glee kids (yes, all of them, all in the same place, no animosity). He's sitting across from her and all he can do is blink at her when she smiles like she's not trying to drive him crazy. (But that said, he's wearing the shirt she told him was her favourite, and he's caught her looking.)
He's already asked her about her history final, which she's fairly certain she scored in the 90th percentile on, and he asks about Spanish, and he shrugs his shoulder and casually mentions that he had a lot of time on Saturday to study.
"I like your necklace," Santana says, though she makes it sound like she doesn't really want to be paying Rachel a compliment. "Where'd you get it?"
Finn (and everyone else) looks at her, and her cheeks go red. Her eyes lock with his across the table, and when her foot settles against his beneath the table, she just smiles at him and he clears his throat. She can tell he's all nervous. She decides it's cute.
"It was a Christmas gift," she says, her eyes locked with Finn's.
"You're a Jew," Puck interjects, confused.
Rachel ignores the comment and forges on without missing a beat. "From Finn."
No one really knows what to say to that, so they say nothing, really, but Rachel knows this little necklace is going to be the talk of the glee club as soon as she and Finn are out of earshot. She doesn't care.
He catches her elbow as she's walking to practice after class has let out. She smiles, asks him how his afternoon went, and he doesn't miss the way she looks him up and down a little bit. The rest of the people in the hall don't even register Rachel and Finn together anymore, since they're kind of together all the time, but Finn thinks he catches Brittany and Santana whispering something. (But then again, those two are always whispering something.)
"I can't believe you told everyone," he says quietly, leaning down a little bit to speak in her ear.
"Why wouldn't I? I was asked a question. I don't lie. Actually, I think it's an impossibility for me. Though I can't say for certain, because I don't think I've ever really tried."
He laughs and shakes his head. "Still."
"I don't care who knows," she says nonchalantly, shrugging her shoulder. "It's a beautiful gift."
They step into the choir room, and everyone is there already (it's very rare that either of them is ever last to arrive; no one is surprised that they arrive together, even when they're late). Rachel's words are still ringing in his ear, and he barely registers that Mr. Schue is already talking about what they're going to go over in practice.
Finn reaches for Rachel's hand, pulling her towards him, and he leans down and kisses her before she can ask what in the world he's doing. She lets out a noise of surprise from the back of her throat, then her hands come up to rest on his forearms, his hands cupping her face. He thinks he hears someone say, "finally." Actually, he thinks he hears Puck say "finally."
He pulls away from her, and she's blinking up a him and she licks her lips subtly. He doesn't think he's ever seen this girl so shy. "Finn," she whispers.
"You said you didn't care who knew," he says quietly.
She shakes her head and shoves him gently, and when she turns around to head to the open chair next to Mercedes, everyone smiles at the colour in Rachel's cheeks, and Finn just nods at Mr. Schue, who pats him on the back as they pass one another.
That night, Rachel tells her dads she's going to study at Finn's place, and despite the smiles they give, they don't seem too worried about it.
Her textbooks don't even make it out of her backpack.