A/N: I don't even know. This just...happened. Title is a John Legend song; great, if you haven't heard it. Reviews are lovely little things.
"No, daddy, of course I understand," she says into her cell, though the reception is cutting in and out. "I'll find another way. Just stay put. I'll be fine for a couple days, I promise...I love you, too. Bye."
She hangs up, and she's got tears in her eyes. She should be able to get through this without crying, but her dads are stuck in Toledo, and there's a crazy storm raging outside, and all she wants is her daddies, some hot cocoa, and the weather channel for a couple days.
The storm started during fourth period, at which point the school district couldn't make the judgment call to close the school, so the students have all been milling about, going through the motions for the rest of the day until they could get home and not have to worry about the place for a couple days. Snow days are inevitable, and it's Wednesday, so they likely won't have school until Monday.
The thought of spending these days all alone in her house, well, it sucks.
It's not that she can't handle herself. She's stayed home alone before, and she's perfectly capable of taking care of things. And she'd rather her dads stay where they are rather than attempt to drive in this admittedly insane weather. It's just that she's never stayed home alone for more than just one night, and certainly never when there were circumstances that she absolutely could not control. This time, there are snow and cold weather advisories, and while it's doubtful, what if the power goes out? What if there's a boil water advisory? (She's heard of it happening, when reservoirs get too full of dirty, melted snow and run off.) There's no way she'll drive in this snow, and she knows there's more than enough food at the house, but she can't barbecue to save her life, so if the power goes out, she could starve.
Maybe it's irrational, but these are the thoughts rushing through her mind as she starts gathering her things from her locker.
So when the tears fall down her cheeks, she knows she's not just being a baby. She's legitimately worried, and there's nothing that can be done to ease those worries.
Not to mention, since her dads have been stuck in Toledo, when they were supposed to have left that day so they could be home in time to pick her up from school, she's left stranded at the school without a ride.
He really, really doesn't want to care. She's Rachel, the girl who dumped him. She's Rachel, the girl who talks to damn much and says practically nothing and rarely ever listens to anyone else. She's Rachel, the girl who, last year, told everyone the secret he'd been dying to tell and messed everything up for...everyone.
But he watches her hang up her phone, and he sees the tears in her eyes, and as much as he just wants to get the fuck out of here before the roads are completely un-drivable, he can't just leave her standing there.
Because she's Rachel, his fellow glee-clubber, and he doesn't actually hate her.
And while it's probably pretty hard to believe, crying girls are kind of his weakness. He's got a mom and a younger sister, and he just doesn't like to see girls with tears on their cheeks, okay? Don't make a big deal of it.
So he finds himself standing next to her, hands stuffed into his pockets and watching as she pretends to ignore him and stuffs books into her backpack.
"Hey, uh...are you okay?" he asks. The hallway is mostly empty, since they had a brief meeting to talk about glee rehearsals being cancelled or whatever (as if they needed the fucking memo, Schue). There are just a few students lingering around.
"I'm fine, Noah, thank you," she says, though her voice is way smaller than usual and she's not making eye contact.
"You sure? 'Cause you were on the phone, now you're like, crying and stuff."
"I'm just happy that my dads are safe. They're staying in Toledo until the storm passes and the roads are safe to drive on again," she explains, finally turning to him.
Shit. She's got these huge eyes that, frankly, kinda freak him out most of the time, but right now, she's just looking up at him, brown eyes all sparkly and wetness on her cheeks, and it kinda sucks to just stand there looking at her.
"'Kay, well...You need something?" he asks.
"How're you getting home? It's Wednesday. I know Big Daddy usually picks you up," he notes.
She actually lets out a tearful laugh and he smiles. (He got her to laugh, so he feels pretty good.) "Big Daddy?"
"Yeah. One's bigger than the other. I don't know their names, so...I improvised," he explains, shrugging his shoulder.
She laughs again as she closes her locker. "Their names are Mark and Brian. And yes, the bigger of the two, Mark, is daddy."
"Pardon me?" she asks, furrowing her brow. This seems like quite a personal conversation to be having with him.
"Why is he 'daddy'?" he asks, using air quotes.
She hesitates, and it's like he can see that she's remembering that they aren't really friends. Acquaintances who don't hate each other is probably the most accurate description of their relationship.
"Because," she says curtly.
She starts down the hall and he rolls his eyes before following her. "Look, you need a ride, or what?" he asks as he catches up to her. She looks at him like she's trying to figure out just what he's trying to pull. It almost pisses him off.
"You know, you're a good actress, but a bad liar." She glares at him, her brow all crinkled and stuff, and he can't help but smirk. "'C'mon."
And so that's how she finds herself in the front seat of Noah Puckerman's truck, her hands nervously clasped in her lap as she stares out the windshield at almost complete white. He's got both hands on the wheel, and he's leaning forward a little, the windshield wipers working furiously to keep the window clean. She can tell he's nervous, and he can tell she is. The radio is off, and neither of them is saying a thing. She doesn't want to break his concentration, and he doesn't, you know, want to die, so they're completely silent.
They pass two cars in the ditch, one wrapped around a telephone pole, and one major accident on the short drive to her house. Well, what is supposed to be a short drive. It takes him a half hour, when it should take 10 minutes.
He won't admit it, because he doesn't show weakness or whatever, and he'll admit he doesn't want to freak her out, either, but he's really, really nervous driving in this weather. He's going super slow and trying to stay in the tracks that cars before him have left, but his grip on the wheel tightens any time there's any oncoming traffic.
The scariest moment of his life happens as he turns onto her street. He learns that doing donuts and making his truck fishtail in empty parking lots for fun is not nearly the same thing as spinning out when there's a fucking school bus coming towards you. He's surprised that Rachel doesn't scream, just reaches for the safety handle above the passenger side door and braces her feet against the floor boards.
He's a good driver, controlled and generally able to handle his truck, so he recovers before, you know, they get hit by a bus, and he tries to correct his breathing and force his heart rate back to normal. He's driving two miles an hour (seriously, two) and he steals a glance at Rachel, who's white as a sheet and still gripping the handle.
"Are you okay?" he asks worriedly, because shit, that was scary. He can't imagine what it must have felt like for the person not in control, completely helpless.
"I think so," she says quietly. "Yes. Yes, I'm...fine."
She doesn't say anything more, and he's okay with that, because frankly, he's just trying to get to her driveway without another incident. There's a big bank of snow at the end of her driveway, so he hits the gas just enough to get him through it, then throws the truck into park and tips his head back.
"I'm sorry about that," he says.
She looks at him like he's crazy. "It wasn't your fault," she tells him seriously. "And you handled it well."
"I almost pissed my pants," he admits, and she laughs, which actually makes him smile. "You sure you're okay?"
She looks down at her hand, then holds it out to him, and he sees a little bit of blood. It's in a half-moon shape, and he laughs, because it's from her fingernails digging into her palm.
"Suffice it to say, if I managed to leave that situation with just this injury, I consider myself very lucky," she says. He smiles at her and takes a deep breath.
She thinks about him having to drive all the way across town to his house, and it makes her heart fall and her hands shake. He was so nice to offer her a ride home (she really would have been stranded, unless she'd chosen to walk) but the thought of him driving what would surely end up being another 40 minutes terrifies her. Her house is much safer than the roads of their town.
"Noah, I know this will sound, well, insane, but I would feel much more comfortable if you just stayed here until the storm passes," she says with much more confidence than she should.
"These roads are terrible, and while it's clear you're a very good driver, it would feel highly irresponsible of me to let you get back onto the road," she states.
He mulls it over. He actually thinks it's kind of nice of her to ask him to stay. So, she's practically telling him, and she might like, steal his keys if he tells her he just wants to go home. But then the thought of driving through town in this shit, the worst storm he's ever seen, is pretty terrible. He definitely doesn't want to die in an accident.
He has only the clothes on his back and his gym bag tucked beneath the seat, but whatever. It's only for a day. Maybe not even that. And really, Rachel's not that bad.
So he switches off the ignition and turns to her. "Yeah. Fine."
The snow is literally up to his knees when he steps out of the truck, and he laughs at Rachel when he sees her, though he realizes she's probably absolutely freezing, because though she's got tights on, she's wearing a skirt. She's trying to trudge through the snow to get to the front door, fishing for her keys. He's finding it hard to walk, and he's not, you know, wee like she is, so when he gets closer to her, he sighs and shakes his head at himself for what he's about to do.
"Here," he says. She looks at him questioningly. He's not exactly explaining himself. "You want a piggy back ride?"
She actually laughs at him as she shakes her head. "No, thank you. I'll be fine."
"C'mon. It's fucking cold." She takes another step, stumbles a little bit and his arm comes around her waist to steady her. "I'm not gonna let you freeze. Just..."
"Noah, I'm fine. It's just snow," she argues. He rolls his eyes and mumbles a curse, and before she knows it, he's got her lifted up, draped over his shoulder with his arm over the back of her thighs (a little too close to her behind for her liking). "Hey!"
"Give me your damn keys," he says, holding his hand behind his back. She lets out a huff, but drops the keys in his hand.
"I can't believe you're doing this," she says. "I'll have you know that I've always been a fan of winter sports. I ski, and I've been snowshoeing in Montana. I can handle a little snow." He makes it up the stairs to the front door, and the snow has drifted, making it even taller. "You can put me down. I'm completely capable of stepping the two feet into my house!"
He's got half a mind to just drop her in the fucking snow bank right about now.
"Look, if we both walk in, the snow's gonna fall inside when I open the door, and that's gonna be a big wet mess. Would you just shut up and let me do this my way? I'm not a fucking idiot when it comes to snow, either," he tells her seriously. That shuts her up. He unlocks the door and pushes it open carefully, making sure not too much snow falls inside. He steps over the drift and into the house, then sets Rachel on her feet. "See? Was that so hard?"
She straightens out her jacket before unzipping it and taking it off. "No," she admits. "But I'm still freezing." He laughs at her when he looks her up and down, her purple tights half covered with snow. "I'm going to go change. I'll bring down some sweats for you so you don't have to sit in wet jeans."
"You should call your mother and tell her what's going on. She's probably already worrying about where you are," she says.
Shit. He hadn't even thought of that. "I will."
She smiles at him as he reaches for his phone, then she turns and makes her way to the stairs. She honestly doesn't know what she was thinking, inviting him to stay. Well, yes she does. She's far too compassionate and caring to let someone drive in this awful weather. But he's Puck. She might call him Noah, but he's still Puck, and now she's got to entertain him and deal with him for however long.
But he actually seems to care, enough to at least ask her how she was, and to make sure she didn't freeze, just making her way to the front door. And so maybe this won't be terrible. And if they end up driving one another insane, her house is big enough that they can just stay away from one another until he can leave.
So yes. They'll be fine. It'll be a few hours at most, and then he'll go home. Surely, he can handle her for that long, and vice versa.
She walks into her fathers' room after she's changed, and grabs a pair of sweat pants and a sweatshirt from the dresser so Noah can have dry clothes.
When she walks downstairs, he's standing in front of the television, arms crossed and the remote in his hand, watching a report on the storm. There are images from Ohio and the surrounding states, and everything is covered in white. There are flashes of accidents, a count of lives claimed (eight, and it scares Rachel a little bit). And then she hears the words.
"This isn't even the worst of it. We're expecting at least another 12 inches by midnight."
Puck switches off the television, because he's heard enough. He's pretty much stranded. Well, at least Rachel's dads have a sick plasma screen and a huge DVD collection. He actually loves this house. He hasn't been in it in like, a year, but it's nice, clean, and he feels really comfortable.
"Here," Rachel says, holding out some sweats for him.
He takes them and eyes the sweatshirt. "Harvard?"
"Dad went there," she says. "All his sweatshirts are from there. It's borderline obsessive."
He laughs and pulls the sweatshirt on over his tee shirt. "Guess I'll at least look like a smart person," he says, and she rolls her eyes like he's being far too self-deprecating. When he reaches for the button of his jeans and then tugs down the zipper, Rachel lets out a gasp and turns around quickly. "What?" he laughs.
"Noah! You can't just take off your clothes in front of me! That is so inappropriate!"
"What? I'm wearing underwear today," he says.
"Today!?" she shouts.
"Yeah. Good thing, huh?" He actually smiles. She's got her back to him and her hands covering her eyes.
"I think perhaps we need to lay out some ground rules. If that weather report was accurate, it appears that you won't be going anywhere until at least morning, and frankly, I'm a little uncomfortable with your serious lack of inhibitions right now," she says seriously.
"Would you relax?" he suggests. "And you can turn around now." She doesn't. "I'm dressed, Rach." She turns slowly, taking her hands off her eyes. "Okay, look. The way I see it, we're stuck with each other for a while. The only, and I mean only, way I'm going to get out of this with my fucking sanity is if you just chill the hell out, okay?"
"We don't need rules. This is your place, and I get that. I respect it. I just can't deal with you going crazy over some snow," he says. This seems to shut her up. She actually looks almost happy that he's taking charge. "I'm not trying to be a jerk. I'm just..."
"No, I understand," she says, and he thinks she's telling the truth. "I'm sorry. I just...I suppose I didn't expect you to disrobe in front of me."
"Gotta go for shock value once in a while," he says with a smug smirk. "I'm starving. Wanna eat?"
She smiles, a genuine, non-creepy smile, and nods her head before making her way to the kitchen. He follows her, and it's then that he notices how tight her pants are. She's wearing a long sleeve henley type shirt, her hair in a ponytail, and these pants that look like they might be painted on or something. And I mean, okay, he knows she's not unattractive. Actually, he and Matt used to joke that of all the girls in glee club, Rachel would probably be the best in bed, based on a series of criteria that he'd rather not get into right now.
But anyway, point is, her ass looks really good, and there's a part of him that is really, really glad that it's him and not someone else who offered to drive her home.
"What would you like?" she asks, opening the refrigerator door. "I'm a fairly apt chef. I've taken a few classes, but daddy does most of the cooking. He actually completed chef school before he decided to become an investment banker."
"Uh. Cool. Hey, you got, like, beer or anything?" he asks. She spins around to face him, eyes narrowed in a way that kind of terrifies him.
"Noah, this is not spring break."
"We aren't going anywhere. Might as well knock back a few and actually try to have some fun," he says with a shrug.
There's a very, very little part of her that actually thinks he might make sense or something.
"How do you feel about chicken parmesan?" she asks, turning back to the fridge.
"Sounds good to me," he says.
He watches her take ingredients from the fridge, then she switches on the radio, only to hear more reports of the storm and another accident, which took someone's life, and so she flips on the CD that's in there, and it's Stevie Wonder (daddy is a huge fan). She starts singing along with My Cherie Amour as she takes the chicken from its package. Puck thinks she actually looks pretty nice right now, cooking, basically ignoring him. He watches as she cuts things and turns on the stove and does whatever. She actually looks like she knows what she's doing. It's kinda hot.
"Want me to do anything? I feel like a jerk just sitting here," he says.
She smiles at him, another one of those nice smiles. "Would you like to start on a salad? Whatever kind you like. There are plenty of veggies in the fridge."
And okay, so it's not entirely unbearable, standing beside her and chopping vegetables as she prepares sauce for their meal. Actually, it's kind of nice. He cooks enough, since his mom works and sometimes he's in charge of dinner for his sister. But Hamburger Helper and a lettuce and carrot salad (that's all the 'salad' his sister likes) is a little different than this. And aside from her quietly singing along to the songs that are playing, Rachel is really quiet and focused. It's actually kind of neat to watch her cooking. She's skilled with a knife (which should really terrify him, but it doesn't.) She tastes the sauce and gets this little smile on her face, and as she stirs the pasta in the pot, she gets up on her tip toes, and he thinks (he checks her out again) that her dance training is totally worth it.
He sets the table, and he can't help but smile back when she smiles at him. For a second, she forgets that they've been forced together. Noah isn't nearly as cruel and sarcastic when they're alone together, and she'd forgotten that until now. She remembers 'dating' him, brief as it was, and how he'd actually listen to her talk instead of cutting her off and telling her he wasn't interested in what she was saying. And his company isn't unbearable. He's not saying much, but it's nice to not have to be alone right now. She's sure she'd freak herself out if she had to stay in her house during this storm all by herself.
When they sit down to eat, he has to admit, this food looks and smells fucking amazing. Honestly, if he'd known she could cook like this...Well, whatever. It's not like he'd want her or something, but he might have invited himself to her place or at least asked her to cook for him. As if that'd work.
He takes his first bite, and he can feel her eyes on him. "Oh my god," he says. "This is amazing."
"Yeah?" she asks hopefully.
"Good," she says with a smile before twirling some pasta onto her fork. "I'm glad you like it."
There's something about the way she says that, that makes him kind of...hot. The thought of being turned on by Rachel still totally freaks him out, though it's happened a few times before. He's not ashamed to admit (to himself at least) that there have been a few times when he found himself totally hot for her. Once when she wore that little tiny black skirt (the one from the day he got hit with a slushy, so it's a hard one to forget). Then another time when she was singing a really sexy song one day when he walked into the practice room. And then, one time she was sitting next to him in practice, and they were all kind of goofing around on one song, just for fun, and she leaned towards him as she sang, and he could totally see down her shirt.
Okay, so she's hot. He's attracted to her. He's a guy, and she's a girl, and that's all totally natural.
They clean up after dinner, she washes and he dries, and then he heads to the living room to catch another weather report. It's still coming down like crazy outside, but he figures that a meteorologist might have more insight than he does. Rachel joins him on the couch, and they both watch as the weather report tells them to expect another two feet overnight, with temperatures dipping down to the minus 30s. Rachel shivers just thinking about it.
"Okay, we need a plan." She laughs and looks over at him. "What? This is some Day After Tomorrow shit."
"I've never seen that," she admits.
"Well, whatever. It's bad. Not the movie. Actually, the movie is kinda awesome. The bad part is that almost everyone dies," he explains. She blinks up at him and he feels bad for scaring her. "Not that we're gonna die! We're gonna be fine. This isn't the end of the world, just...We should think about things."
"I'll make a list!" she says excitedly, hopping up off the couch. She grabs a pad of paper and a fancy-looking pen from the desk in the corner of the room, then moves and sits cross legged on the floor right in front of him.
And he's a dude, so he's thinking that she's practically between his legs and her face is practically...yeah, and so he gets up and starts pacing a little.
"No problem there," she insists. "We've got two freezers in the garage, full of meat and frozen veggies and...I think there might be a pie or two. We are definitely not going to starve."
"Alright. Good," he says, and when she smiles at him, he has to smile back. Again. That's getting weird. "What about...supplies, you know? Like toilet paper and bottled water and like...I dunno...any chick stuff you might need that I really don't want to think about but could be a problem."
She giggles and shakes her head. "That's very considerate of you, Noah, but that won't be a problem."
"Thank god," he mumbles, and she laughs again. "Hey, I live with girls. I do not need to deal with that shit right now."
"And as far as other supplies go, we're set. Dad loves Costco."
"Awesome," he laughs. "Alright, so what if the power goes out?"
"Well, we don't have a generator, which I've been talking to dad about forever, because hello, we all remember the blackout we endured years ago. Anyway, we have plenty of flashlights and candles, and there's a full tank of propane in the garage for the barbecue, so we can still cook, even if the power goes out."
"Well, fuck," he says, putting one hand on his hip as he looks down at her. "Looks like we're gonna survive this thing anyway."
And he doesn't even add 'unless you drive me to insanity and I smother you in your sleep.'
"Well, there is the matter of heat, if the power goes out, but when I was 12, I tested every room in the house and found that mine is, in fact, the warmest. I figure if we have a stronghold of blankets and keep the doors closed unless absolutely necessary, we should be able to survive. And candles will provide a little heat too, surprisingly. And if worse comes to worse, body heat is always effective."
He raises his brow and smirks at her. "Body heat, huh? Is that why you invited me?"
"Noah!" she laughs, and she throws her pen at him, which he dodges easily. "The likelihood of the power going out, right now anyway, is slim to none. I saw no less than five city crews while we were driving home, and they were all working to clear snow and ice off the power lines."
"Too bad for you, huh? No spooning with the Puckerone."
She starts laughing again and stands up. She's kind of cute when she laughs. "I'm going to pretend you didn't just say that."
"Yeah. Good idea. Wouldn't want to break your heart when..."
"Stop!" she cries, breathless from laughter. "You're terrible."
They both sit down on the sofa again, and he's really starting to think there are worse places to be stuck than with Rachel.
She reaches for a blanket and takes the remote before he can, and he rolls his eyes, but it is her house, so he figures she's got dibs on he remote anyway. He's surprised as hell when she turns it to A Blue Jackets/Predators game. Not like he's the craziest hockey fan you'll ever meet (he's pretty sure those are all up in Canada) but he likes the game and he knows the rules. He never took her for a hockey fan.
"Really?" he asks.
"What? I told you; Dad's from Boston. He's, of course, a Bruins fan, but I really love the Blue Jackets, even when they're losing, which happens to be a lot, sadly. But I think Rick Nash is an amazing athlete, and I have a soft spot for Antoine Vermette. Maybe it's the accent. He's french, you know. But he's having a great season," she says. He's just kind of blinking at her, so she turns back to the television and shouts, "offside!" before the ref even blows the whistle.
Puck shakes his head. "Not gonna lie, Berry. That's totally hot."
She doesn't say anything, but he can see her smiling out of the corner of his eye.
During the second intermission, she makes popcorn and brings him a soda, then sits down close to him and rests the bowl on her knee so they can share.
In a matter of only a few hours, he's realized that everything he thought he knew about Rachel Berry was pretty much total bullshit. And what he's learning instead? He actually kinda...likes. She's not this crazy, determined, conceited, crazy, ambitious, smart, lacking-a-sense-of-humour, crazy girl. She's funny and kind of sweet, totally nice, and almost cool. She's not a loser, not that he's thought of her like that in a long time.
She throws her hands in the air in the last minute of the game when Nash scores to make it 4-3, and Puck can only laugh when she reaches over and hugs him all excitedly.
Yup. He's got no fucking clue who this girl is.
When she gets up to go to the bathroom (and yeah, he totally checks out her ass again because, damn, that's a nice ass) he switches the channel to a repeat of The Office. When she comes back, he's laying out on the sofa, his legs where she was sitting, and she puts her hand on her hip and stares at him. He lifts his legs, and she slips onto the couch, totally thinking he's going to sit up again. Silly girl. He lays his calves down on her thighs, and she's surprised, but she doesn't know what to say about it, so she says nothing. After a moment of not knowing what to do with her hands, the fall comfortably onto his legs.
It's strange she thinks, that they've had a very date-like evening. Dinner, television, him lounging with his legs on hers, now. She knows that's not what it is, that he's merely tolerating her because the situation dictates it, and vice versa. Only she's realizing that the tough exterior she's so used to seeing disappears when he's alone with her. She remembers it from when they were dating, how sweet he could be when he wanted to be, and how he'd smile differently and laugh more. She likes Noah so much more than she likes Puck.
She thinks they might actually be having a good time. She wonders if she's imagining it.
They sit there together for a while, taking in the apparent marathon of this show that has them both laughing. ("They put his cell phone in the ceiling!" "That was an over-reaction." She mocks the characters and Puck thinks it's funny, not annoying. Weird.)
He yawns, which makes her yawn, and she suggests they turn in for the night. He makes fun of her for saying 'turn in for the night' and she rolls her eyes before pushing his legs onto the floor so she can stand.
He follows her up the stairs after checking that all the lights are off and the door is locked (seriously, he just does it because he's always the last person to go to bed at his house.)
They come to the end of the hall, to the door that's pretty much the furthest away from hers. There's a weird (really fucking weird) sense of disappointment that he feels.
"This is the guest room. I put extra blankets and a couple towels in here for you, and I also set some clothes for tomorrow on the chair there. We can wash yours tomorrow so you don't have to wear Harvard gear if you don't want to," she says with a smile.
"It's growing on me," he says, running his hand down his chest. He notices that she watches him intently. He knows that if the situation was any different, he'd be seducing her right now, just because he has the opportunity.
"Well anyway, I guess I'll see you in the morning," she says, smiling softly at him.
He nods and says, "'night, Rach," and he thinks he likes the sound of that.
But that makes him sound like a fucking pussy, so he ignores it and checks out her ass again as she walks down the hall to her room.
Rachel has a hard time getting to sleep knowing that there's a boy in her house with her.
She knows he'll deny it (he's done it before) but she thinks that they're acting like friends.
She's fairly certain that this feeling, this attraction, is something she's not supposed to feel for her 'friend.'
Puck wakes up and he's totally disoriented. His walls are not light blue, and his sheets aren't white with navy trim, and it doesn't smell like a sea breeze in his house.
When he sits up, he notices two things. One, sleeping without a shirt on was stupid, because he is damn cold right now, and two, he's at Rachel's.
And then he lays back and thinks that he may have just had the best sleep of his entire life. This bed is like, insanely comfortable. And okay, maybe knowing that Rachel was just down the hall had a weird calming effect on him, but he's not going to think too much about it. Because it's weird.
He checks the time, and yeah, he's a little relieved to see that the digital clock is still glowing, because that means the power is still on and he doesn't have to become master of the grill to survive.
He reaches for the Harvard sweater (and yeah, he totally loves this sweater) and pulls it over his head before stepping out into the hall. He can smell coffee and something else cooking, and he honestly thinks (just for a second, and only because she's feeding him) that he loves Rachel.
But it's like, the kind of love you have for someone who takes care of you. You know? Like a baby sitter or a crazy aunt you stay with for a week who lets you eat candy after dinner and stay up past your bed time.
Fuck. Whatever. He's starving and he needs coffee in the morning to survive.
"Hey," he says, stepping into the kitchen as he runs a hand through his hair.
"Oh!" She spins around, a spatula in her hand, and smiles. "Good morning."
He looks her up and down, because she's wearing a dark purple robe over matching pajama pants, and he thinks she's just got on a camisole underneath. She looks really good, her hair in a pony tail and fuzzy socks on her feet.
"'Morning." He slumps onto a stool at the kitchen island and then lays his head on his forearms.
"I take it you aren't a morning person," she says with a smile. She sets down her spatula and pours him a cup of coffee. "Cream or sugar?"
"Black," he mumbles. She slides the mug towards him and he sits up straight. "Thanks, Rach."
(She likes it when he calls her Rach.)
"You're welcome. I don't know how you take your eggs," she says, turning back to the stove. "I like mine hard boiled, so that's what I was going to do, but if you prefer..."
"No, it's alright. Hard's good."
"That's what she said," she says without missing a beat. (Turns out watching The Office makes Rachel even funnier.) She spins around, her hand covering her mouth and her cheeks totally red, and Puck laughs at her.
"Nice," he says appreciatively. He takes a sip of his coffee (it's really, really good) as she giggles. "What else you cooking, there, Martha."
"Kosher sausages, toast, and latkes," she says.
"Just...very...Jewish of you," he says with a laugh. "But hey, I'm not complaining. Latkes are totally geshmak." She laughs and turns to look at him again. "I know a little Yiddish."
She raises her brow (he thinks it's totally sexy) "Tshikave."
He smiles into his coffee cup.
He so does not hate this girl.
"Gonna go check the weather," he says. She nods and says something about breakfast being in about 10 minutes, and he really tries to ignore how comfortable this is for him.
He walks into the living room, and as he's waiting for a commercial break to be over, he walks over to the window, and when he looks outside, he nearly spits out his coffee.
"Holy shit. Rach!" he shouts. "Have you looked outside!?"
She walks into the living room and he pulls back the curtains. "Oh my word," she says, covering her mouth with her hand.
His truck is literally buried up past the tires. Her driveway is completely plowed in at the end (like, the snow bank has to be taller than she is) and the roads are still completely white. And it's still fucking snowing. It's just kind of these little flakes, but still.
"So look, I know this was supposed to be like, for one night, but unless it heats up by like 30 degrees, I'm not going anywhere today," he says seriously.
"No!" she cries. "No, you aren't going anywhere." He lets out a sigh, then lets the curtain fall back into place, covering the window to keep some of the cold out. "We'll call your mother later. Why don't you just come eat? There's nothing we can do about it, right?"
"Right." (She's freakishly calm. She doesn't seem to mind that he's just invited himself to stay even longer.)
"We'll just have to make the most of it."
His mind goes to a really, really dirty place when she starts walking away and throws him a smile over her shoulder.
Making the most of it sounds really good.
He hangs out in the living room while she showers, and he tries (and fails) not to think about her naked. But come on. She's hot, and she's naked, and he's a dude, and she's like, however many feet away, and they're unchaperoned, and she's naked.
And thinking of her naked leads him back to that list of criteria upon with Matt based their assumption that she'd be amazing in bed, and he decides that he needs to rethink everything, because she's not as fucking nuts as he always thought, and...Whatever. There's a whole bunch of stuff that he's learned about her that he now has to consider. (There's a process. He's not a total man whore. He has a system; helps weed out the nasties.)
The thing is? He still concludes that she'd be a great lay. Granted, he doesn't write it down and assign points like he and Matt did that day in Glee rehearsal when she was singing and twirling around the room and they were both trying to catch glimpses of panty, but whatever. He's not terrible at math, and what it all adds up to is that Rachel Berry would totally fucking rock his world.
(And he'd fucking rock hers, too, FYI.)
Rachel knows it's absolutely insane (like, more insane than people already think she is) but she doesn't lock her bathroom door. It's stupid, because he's Noah (or Puck, depending on the moment) and he barely tolerates her, but there's just...something. Like the way he said good morning or the way he laughs at or with her sometimes. And here she's talking like she's known him forever. It's been a day of sort of having conversations with him that don't necessarily make her uncomfortable and don't necessarily make him think she's annoying.
And yet she's standing beneath the stream of her shower head, knowing that he's in her house and she's naked (she blushes even as she thinks it). And look, it's no secret that he's an attractive boy. She doesn't know a woman in her right mind who'd kick him out of bed for eating crackers. (Oh, wow, she needs to learn some new sayings.)
Anyway, it's not like anything's going to happen, so she just dries herself off, blow dries her hair, throws on a little makeup and some clothes. She figures she's got another day and probably a night of this weird situation they've found themselves in, and now's not the time to realize that she's really, really attracted to Noah.
He's migrated into the den and he's looking at the pictures on the mantel. They're of her family, her and her two dads and a bunch of people he assumes are aunts and uncles and grandparents or whatever. He laughs at the goofy ones and smiles at the more sentimental ones, and he doesn't hear her come up behind him.
He's holding in his hand a photo of her and 'daddy' in mismatched aprons, frosting what looks like some kind of wedding cake.
"I call him daddy because he's...well, he's the one who spoils me," she says. He looks down at her and notices her hair in a french braid, and she's wearing this little smile that he can't ignore. It's nice. "He's kind of childish sometimes, but in a really good way. Dad is more pragmatic. Daddy's the one who used to wake me up in the middle of the night for milk and cookies."
He smiles, because she didn't have to answer that question he asked the day before, but he thinks it's kind of cool that she has. She's wearing jeans (weird, right?) and a bulky knit sweater that ties at the waist, and he thinks she looks really hot, actually.
This is becoming a problem.
"Dunk or no dunk?" he asks after a few moments.
"Cookies. You dunk or not?"
She laughs and when her eyes meet his, he can't believe she can make a conversation about cookies so hot, but she's looking at him with this devious grin, and he likes it.
"Depends on what kind of cookies we're talking about," she says. She leaves the room and he's left standing there like an idiot.
Because what she just said? Totally dirty.
He can tell it's totally freaking her out to know that he's sitting across from her without his underwear on.
Okay, let's back up a sec.
He took her up on her offer to launder his clothes, and hello, dirty underwear? No thanks. So he grabbed his own sweats from his bag (to quote that goofy guy on Friends, you don't go commando in another man's fatigues). Now he's sitting in her living room with his McKinley football tee shirt on, a pair of black sweats, and she's looking everywhere but him.
"Yes?" she asks quickly. "Do you hate this show? I just assumed everyone could at least tolerate Ellen, but I can see how some might find her abrasive. I just wasn't..."
"Whoa. That's...yeah, whatever, it's fine," he says, smirking at her. She's still not looking at him. "You're totally freaking out."
"You are. You're acting all sketchy."
She mutes the television and turns towards him. "This is just all very strange. You have to admit. It's...I'm still trying to process how this even happened. You're sitting here in my house, and there's three feet of snow, at least, on the other side of that door. And you know what the most surprising part is? I don't hate you." He actually laughs and nods his head, because he's thinking the same thing. "I actually...it's nice to not have to stay here alone."
He laughs and shakes his head. "Totally," he says. "If I was stuck at my house with my mom and sister? Someone'd end up buried in the basement."
"You know, Noah, you talk like that, but I think you're far more protective over them than you let on," she says seriously.
It freaks him out how she knows these things. Seriously. It's weird.
"Whatever," he mumbles.
She laughs and shakes her head, then lays down on the sofa and pulls a blanket over her legs. He should not want to lay with her. It's not even a physical thing, really. He'd just like to lay down with her and like, hold her or whatever.
He's going stir crazy. That has to be the only explanation.
He starts talking just to keep himself from doing something stupid.
"I stopped calling her mommy the day after my dad left," he says after a few minutes. She looks over at him, and her eyes are kind of amazing. "It was like...I dunno. She was pregnant with my sister, and he split, and it was like I was...I had to step up, you know?"
She sits up again and slides down the sofa so she's closer to the chair he's sitting in. "How old were you, then? Seven? Eight?"
"Seven, yeah," he says. Now that she's close, he can't bring himself to look her in the eye. "And mommy is just such a like, little kid thing to say. So I started calling her mom."
"She's lucky to have you," Rachel says, and when he glances up at her, she's wearing this little smile.
He doesn't say anything, and the show comes back on. He just smiles at her before she turns back to the television.
He's glad story time is over. He has no idea why he just told her that.
He doesn't realize that she's fallen asleep until there's a terrible singer on some weird mid-day talent show and she doesn't comment. When he looks over, she's laying there with her eyes closed, a sweet little smile on her face, and he thinks it's cute, the way her hands are tucked under her chin.
He pulls the blanket up over her a little more so she doesn't get cold, then grabs a cushion from the other end of the couch and lays down on the floor, hands clasped over his stomach as he stares at the ceiling.
He thinks his life just got way complicated.
He just watched a girl sleep, for fuck sakes.
When she wakes up, she realizes the television is off and the house is quiet, and as she sits up, wiping the sleep from her eyes, she notices Noah asleep on the floor a few feet away from her.
She looks at him for a second, his lips just slightly parted and his chest rising and falling. She thinks he looks really sweet laying there like that. Then she notices the strip of skin between his tee shirt and pants, the thin trail of hair that leads...where it leads, and she finds that her face is hot.
She has no idea how someone can ooze sex appeal when they are sleeping.
He stirs a little bit, and she wonders if her staring (because yes, she's staring) has woken him, but he just lets out a breath and lays still again. She smiles to herself and stands, then covers him over with the blanket she'd been using.
He lets out this really amazing little noise when she accidentally brushes her hand against his chest, and she finds herself smiling.
He calls her crazy often enough, and she's never really batted an eye.
But as she steps into the laundry room to take their clothes out of the dryer, she think she might have to agree with him.
Because she's definitely crazy to have any kind of feelings for him.
He knows she thinks he was asleep when she laid that blanket over him. And he tried so hard not to let it be known that he was totally awake, but then she touched him and he couldn't help it. Her - literally - hot little hand was on him, and it took everything in him not to just grab her and pull her down on top of him.
Something's telling him that probably wouldn't go over so well.
So he just pretends he was sleeping the whole time until he hears her walk back into the room. He lets his eyes flutter open, then smiles lazily as she stands over him, looking down at him with her hands on her hips. (Seriously, this is the day she wears pants?)
"Hey." His voice is all full of sleep and she thinks it's really sexy. "You're up."
"And so are you," she points out with a laugh. If they're pointing out the obvious, she'll play along. He rolls his eyes. "I folded your clothes. They're up on your bed."
"Are you going to get up?"
"You're on the floor," she reminds him. She sits down next to him and he smiles lazily. "You're really not going to get up?"
"Now that you're here, I don't have to," he says. She rolls her eyes, but her heart races. And he's kind of right. It's nearly time to start doing something for dinner, but she's not starving, and she's sure he'd tell her if he was. "You put a blanket on me?"
"I won't have you catching a cold in my house while we're stuck here. The chances of you passing it to me are too great, and we both know that I need to keep my vocal chords warm, loose, and one hundred per cent healthy."
He just stares at her for a second, then smiles and shakes his head. "You know, for a couple hours, you were actually kind of a normal person, Rachel," he says with a smirk. "Then you gotta go get all...you again."
She just looks at him, and she doesn't know why she's offended by what he's said. Actually, the insinuation that she's not normal is probably what did it. She doesn't know what's so bad about wanting things and doing whatever you can to get them.
And really, who likes being sick?
But maybe it hurts her a little more because she was honestly starting to think he genuinely liked her.
She gets up and walks towards the stairs, and he calls out her name, but she doesn't turn around.
She gets to her room and puts her face in her hands. She is not going to cry over what he just said. She knows him. She knows he doesn't care about the way the things he says sound to other people, and she knows that everyone thinks she's too driven and too loud and too opinionated, and that's why people are turned off. That's why people don't listen to her when she talks.
She wipes her eyes (yes, there were tears; turns out just willing them to disappear doesn't work) just in time to hear the knock at the door. When she turns around, he's standing there in the doorway wearing his own jeans and tee shirt, his hands tucked into his pockets.
"Hey, I'm sorry," he says seriously. "That was a shitty thing to say."
She doesn't say anything as she grabs a bright pink scarf off her closet door and wraps it twice around her neck (she really wasn't kidding about needing to keep her vocal chords warm.)
He can tell she was crying. He heard her sniffle and saw her raise her hands to her face, even though she was standing with her back to him. Which makes him feel like pretty much the biggest jerk in the world.
He's always apologizing to her.
He wants to stop having to.
"Sometimes I just say things without thinking. I didn't mean to piss you off."
"Thank you," she says. Her voice is all soft and she has one hand over her scarf on his neck. "Sometimes I say things without remembering that people don't really care."
He furrows his brow and looks at her like she's crazy. "Who said that?"
"No one has to say it, Noah," she says, laughing softly. "It's fairly clear that most people don't want to listen to about ninety per cent of what I say. I should be used to it."
He shrugs his shoulder. "I listen to you," he says. "I mean, I may not always understand all the words you use, and maybe I roll my eyes every once in a while when you start talking about show tunes and Tony awards. But I do listen."
"Really?" she asks doubtfully, putting her hand on her hip.
"Uh huh. I know that Donny Osmond is your favourite Joseph, and that Close Every Door is your favourite song from that musical, but only when he sings it," he says, smirking smugly when she looks completely shocked. "And you also said something about his 'physique', which is just a fancy word for the gun show. I looked it up."
She laughs a little and shakes her head. "Actually, it was more his chest/stomach area that I was interested in."
She smiles all bright (but not creepy-stage-performance bright) and walks past him. "Come on. Let's make dinner."
He follows her down the stairs. He should not feel so pleased with himself over this.
"Hey, so you told your dads I'm here, right?" he asks after they've finished their dinner. (Which he made, thank you, and it was delicious. He totally surprised her with his kick ass cooking abilities.)
"Oh, of course," she insists. "They'd have a fit if they came home and there was a boy here."
"That's what I'm afraid of," he laughs.
"No! They'll be fine with this. They know your mom. They called her this afternoon actually. Daddy texted me to tell me that she's grateful that I'm responsible enough to insist that you stay."
"Yeah, well, I'm sure my mom would just love the thought of me stranded in a house with you," he says seriously. She looks confused. "The whole Jew thing really gets her going."
"Oh. Really? My fathers don't care much who I date. You know, I think they'd just be happy if I dated anyone at this point."
He raises his brow at her and smirks as he crosses his arms. "Really? They'd be happy if you were dating some dude?"
"Well, they seem to be under the impression that I'm something of an outcast." (She's surprised when he doesn't say anything to confirm this.) "They've said before that they'd like to see me with a suitable young man."
He smirks at her, and he really wants to say that a suitable young man probably isn't one who has a mohawk, but that makes it sound like he wants to date her or something, which isn't the case.
"Anyway, I'm not even entirely sure how we got started on this topic of conversation."
He's not sure either.
He thinks it's a little sad that her dads want her to date someone just for the sake of dating someone. But she's sitting there next to him on the couch, a little closer than she's been all day, and there's something about the way she looks (beautiful) and how honest she's being, and how her legs are angled towards his.
So he leans forward and kisses her, his hand slipping into her hair as his lips claim hers. She's tense for a second, but she melts into him a little bit, her hand falling to his forearm. Then she's pulling away, and it's all over way too fast if you ask him.
She stands from the couch and rubs her lips with her fingertips. When she turns to him, she looks pissed.
"What do you think you're doing?" she asks angrily.
"You think that just because I don't have a boyfriend, and no prospects of getting a boyfriend, that you can just kiss me? I may be a lot of things, Noah, but I am not desperate!"
"I'm going to bed."
He watches her stomp towards the stairs, and he doesn't even know what to say to her. Maybe he would if he had any fucking clue what just happened. He'd kissed her because she's kind of awesome, and here she is thinking that he's just trying to take advantage of her. Which he isn't. Wasn't. He doesn't want to. He actually just...likes her. Which, yeah, is a bit of a fucking shock to him, too. He can kind of understand why she wouldn't believe it. But he can't say he's had a girl yell at him and then run away from him, just because he kissed her.
He sits there for a while, his head tipped towards the ceiling as he tries to figure out just how he fucked up this whole situation so badly, so quickly. And he doesn't think he's ever really thought about a girl this much in a really long time.
And it's not like he knows Rachel all that well (not as much as he thinks he wants to), but he knows that the best way to resolve an issue with her is by talking. (Go figure.)
He finds himself outside her bedroom door, and he can hear music that he doesn't recognize faintly making its way from the room. He takes a breath before he knocks.
"Rachel, it's me," he says, and then he rolls his eyes at himself, because who the fuck else would it be? "Can I come in."
"Come on, Rach. I just want to talk."
(He's begging now? Classy.)
A few moments later, the door swings open and she's standing there in a pair of plaid pajama pants and a navy blue sweatshirt that she's swimming in. She looks cute, and he thinks he's smiling.
"Talk, then," she says curtly, arms akimbo.
"Well...shit," he says seriously as he brushes past her into her room. "I wasn't...I don't think you're desperate. You're like, the opposite of desperate, whatever that is."
"Hopeful is the only antonym that comes to mind, though we could look it up if you really want to be sure," she says. She's 100% serious. He thinks this is what he likes about her.
"Right. Hopeful. That's totally you," he says.
She has to chew the inside of her lip to keep from smiling, because he doesn't know it (she can tell he doesn't) but this is actually a really sweet speech he's giving her. Well, trying to give her. And she doesn't think she's heard a sweet speech in a long time. Maybe ever, really.
"Well, even so, you..."
"Look, Rachel, I know this is crazy, okay? This whole situation is fucked up, because it's still fucking snowing, and at this rate it'll take a fucking year to dig my truck out of your driveway," he says. He's sure she's going to bitch at him for swearing so much, but she says nothing. "And being locked in this house with you is still kinda weird, since, you know, we hardly ever talk. But that's stupid too. It's weird, right? That we don't talk?"
She smiles at him and nods. "Though clearly, you aren't having much difficulty right now," she says. He thinks she's teasing him. He likes it.
"Yeah. I know. I spend two days with you and I can't stop talking." She laughs a little bit. "I don't even know...what was my point, here?"
"You're going to have to find it for the both of us, Noah, because I'm honestly completely confused as to what you're attempting to say."
He runs his hand over his head, and if he were looking at her, he'd see that she's totally trying not to laugh at him. It's really cute, this flash of vulnerability he's showing her. Then she remembers that they've been doing this since they got to her house. He hasn't been Puck, he's been Noah, most of the time. This version of Noah that's standing in front of her now is quite endearing.
"I kissed you because I wanted to, Rachel."
She's never heard him so sincere. And that's also not what she expected.
"I'm serious. You're...I'm fucking confused, here, because you're like, this awesome girl, and I'm here with you, and it's..."
She looks up at him through her eyelashes and notices that he's stepped closer. "You wanted to?"
He shrugs one shoulder slowly and smiles at her. "And I still want to."
She thinks that whatever's happening to her heart, shouldn't be.
"Okay," she says.
Totally not the reaction he expected. Is it too much to ask for a little making out after a guy pours his heart out? Fuck. And okay, he's never really done this before, this whole feelings and talking thing, but as far as he knows, that shit gets you kissed. But Rachel, of course, has to do things differently. She's just standing there, looking at him, clearly thinking. The one time he wants her to use every word in her vocabulary to tell him just what the hell's going on in that head of hers, she's completely quiet.
"Okay?" he draws out, as if to ask if there's anything else she'd like to share.
"I really am quite tired," she says, though she doesn't really know why. She's watching him watching her, and she sees his eyes as he tries to figure out what she's thinking.
Truthfully? She really doesn't know.
Here is the school's most notorious playboy, and he's standing in her house, in her bedroom, telling her that he likes her and he wants to kiss her. And she likes kissing him, too. She remembers that from their brief courtship. To be honest, that relationship probably would have been even shorter if he wasn't so skilled with his lips.
(Oh no. She thinks she's blushing.)
"Right," he says, taking a step back towards the door. "Right."
Her mind is screaming at her to let him leave, but the rest of her wants him to stay. To do what, she isn't entirely sure.
"Goodnight," she says.
He doesn't say anything, just bows out into the hall, and she can tell he's a little confused. She can't blame him for that.
As soon as the door is closed, she's questioning everything. Absolutely everything.
He really doesn't know how that could have gone any worse. Okay, there could have been slapping and yelling and stuff, so he's pretty stoked that he got out of it without any of that going down.
However, he's laying in bed in this fucking frigid guest room, and he's alone, and that just seems really, really wrong. He kissed her, then he told her, basically, that he's into her, and she said okay.
What in the fuck does that mean?
Shouldn't she have, like, hugged him and kissed him and smiled or something? Or at least maybe made it seem like she doesn't hate him? She might as well have kicked him in the nads, as far as he's concerned.
He's acting like a total bitch about this.
After he's laid awake for a while, he decides that there's no use losing sleep over this. There are other girls out there.
And he'll find one, as soon as he can leave this freaking house.
At close to 2:00 am, Rachel gets sick of tossing and turning. And sick of thinking about Noah. And thinking about kissing Noah.
She wants to just do it.
She throws back the covers and stands, then walks out into the hall and paces the floor in front of the guest room door. What is she doing? She can't just walk into his room in the middle of the night and kiss him! She's not some kind of...of...harlot.
But then she thinks of his confession. How he wanted to kiss her, how he still wants to. How she's awesome and he's here with her. How he thinks she's the opposite of desperate.
Those are some of the nicest things anyone's ever said about her, and she practically pushed him out her door. She doesn't know what would have happened had he stayed, but she hasn't been able to sleep thinking about it. (And she had to kick back one of her blankets because her bed got way too hot.)
So she pushes open the door and sees him laying there in the dark. The only light in the room is coming from her own, seeping down the hall. She thinks he looks peaceful, innocent, almost, when he sleeps. Maybe that's silly, since he's still got that stupid mohawk (she says stupid, she thinks sexy) and if she looks at him a certain way, she can still make out the slightest hint of a smirk on his lips.
She sits down at the edge of the bed next to him, looking down at him. She honestly thought the movement would be enough to wake him, but he's still fast asleep, didn't even flinch. She hesitates a moment before she reaches over and rests her hand on his chest, right over his heart. Its steady beat makes her smile.
But he still doesn't wake up.
She's frustrated. She doesn't want to wait anymore.
She leans over and presses her lips to his. God, they're soft. She wonders, for a moment, how he gets them so soft, what he might use on them, because she might just have to get some for herself. But then she remembers that she's kissing him and she forgets pretty much everything else.
Puck's pretty sure he's stuck in some weird universe that's between dreaming and reality, because one minute he's sleeping, and the next, he feels like someone's kissing him.
Then things get a little less foggy and he realizes that someone is kissing him. And he can tell it's Rachel, because of the way she smells and stuff. He opens his eyes for a second, and it's still totally dark.
But yeah, Rachel's totally kissing him.
This is a seriously hot way to wake up.
He raises his hand to touch her, just anywhere, and his hand ends up on her upper arm, pulling her towards him, and before he knows it she's pretty much laying on top of him and her tongue is in his mouth.
So. Fucking. Hot.
And he figures that, you know, since she woke him up by kissing him (best move she's ever made, he's sure) he can at least try a little over-the-shirt boob touching. Jackpot. (And no bra!) She doesn't swat his hand away, and she lets out this sexy sound that drives him nearly crazy.
She pulls away, though, and he thinks she's going to ask him what he's doing.
"Hi," she says.
(She doesn't even say anything about his hand [still] on her chest, moving just gently every now and then. And no, he has no intentions of moving it.)
"Hey." He tries not to laugh. "What's up?"
She shoves at his shoulder a little bit. "I'm just...doing what I should have done before."
He smirks lazily at her and pulls her closer with the hand that's now on her back. "This is good too," he insists, leaning up to kiss her. "Really good."
"Mmm." She kisses him again. He could really get used to this. "Your hand." He runs his hand up and down her back slowly, knowing damn well that's not what she's referring to. "Noah," she giggles.
He presses between her shoulder blades, then kisses her again when she's close enough. But she pushes away from him and sits up again, so he props himself up on his elbows.
"So that was..." he starts, before realizing that he really doesn't know what it was.
"That was...very nice."
He does laugh this time. "Yeah. Nice. Not exactly the word I'd use."
"I'm sure your description would be much more blunt."
"Fucking hot comes to mind," he mumbles. She swats at his chest, and he grabs her wrist.
"It's freezing in here," she notes. She knows he's about to say something suggestive, just by looking at the grin on his face.
"I might need some of that body heat you were talking about." He pulls her close again, and she's so freaking tiny that she can't really stop him, which he thinks is adorable. She ends up on top of him again, her hips aligned with his as he kisses her.
"Huh?" He thinks it's funny that she's still trying to talk, even when she's kissing him.
"My room's warmer," she reminds him.
"'S'at mean you don't wanna spoon, baby?" he asks, his hands slipping beneath her sweater and traveling up her back.
She pulls herself away from him, and the most comfortable way to sit is straddling his thighs, so that's what she does. "We can do that in my room."
"Yeah? What else can we do in your room?" he asks. For a second, he thinks he's pushed his luck, because she climbs off him and makes her way to the door.
"You'll just have to follow me and find out."
Follow her he does.
She wakes up and panics because she can't move. There's something holding her in place, and she almost screams, but then she hears him breathing behind her, run his hand up her forearm and shift a little bit against her. It's strange, almost, how much his presence relaxes her.
"'Morning," he says. His voice hasn't ever sounded better, she's sure of it. It's all gravelly and sexy, and it makes her shiver a little. "Cold?"
"Yeah," she answers, just so she can avoid telling him the real reason. So he pulls her a little closer and tugs the covers up over them. "It's 11:00."
"'S'what happens when you spend half the night making out," he says, kissing the side of her neck.
(And totally getting to second base, he thinks. Rachel's rules about him touching her boobs went from crazy strict, to non-existent and her shirtless in her bed in approximately 15 minutes.)
"That's not exactly what..."
"Oh, yes it is," he insists.
"Well, either way. It's late. We should get up," she says seriously. She turns around and faces him. Mistake. Her eyes gravitate to his lips, and he's smirking because he totally knows she wants to kiss him. So he's ready when she does. She honestly doesn't think she'll get sick of kissing him. Ever.
"Getting up?" he teases.
"I will." She's about to respond when her Blackberry rings on the bedside table, and she moves away from Puck so fast that it makes him laugh. But only until she clamps her hand over his mouth. "Hi daddy...No, I'm fine. We're fine...Really? I think the roads are still pretty bad here, too...No, I just woke up. Noah and I were up late watching a movie...No, we're good, daddy...Of course I'm taking good care of him." Puck laughs again, and Rachel puts her pillow over his face. "Okay, so call me when you decide...I miss you, too, but I'm sure I'll survive without you for another day...Love you...Hug dad for me. Bye."
She ends the call and drops the phone onto her lap. "Up late watching a movie?" Puck asks, barely able to contain his grin. "You went to bed at 10:00 and then molested me at..."
"Shut up!" she cries, shoving at his chest. Her cheeks turn a cute shade of pink and he grabs her hand. And then her phone rings again. It's a number she doesn't recognize. "Hello?...Oh! Hi, Ms. Puckerman!" She shoots Noah a look, and he looks completely confused. "No, no, we're doing well...Oh! Mr. Schuester gave you my number. Well, that explains it." Noah rolls his eyes. "It's no trouble, Ms. Puckerman, really...No, he's being a perfect gentleman...I promise," she giggles. Puck scowls. Bitches. "Yes, actually, I just got off the phone with my daddy and he said that it's best if everyone just stays put today, until the roads get cleared off...Of course...No, you just stay warm." She turns to Noah and climbs onto his lap (which is a big fucking surprise to him, since she's talking to his mom.) "I'll make sure he stays warm...Okay. Take care."
She sets her phone on the table again and notices that Noah has both hands behind his head, looking far too pleased with himself. "You'll make sure I stay warm? That's some risky shit to say to my mom, Berry."
She shrugs innocently. "It's all up to interpretation."
"You're a very surprising girl, you know that?" he asks with a laugh.
"Most people don't know me well enough to figure that out," she says.
God, that sounds like just about the shittiest thing in the world. "Well sucks to be them, then," he says seriously.
She leans down and kisses him. She thinks that he's a lot sweeter than people give him credit for. "Noah?"
"Hmm," he mumbles, his lisps still grazing hers.
He smiles, pushing back her hair as she sits up again. "Well, I was hoping for some breakfast. French toast, maybe. And some of that awesome coffee you make."
She tilts her head at him, though it's hard to be annoyed with him when he's being this adorable. (Yes. Noah Puckerman. Adorable.)
"I mean when we...when this time together is over. I don't know what this means."
"Me neither," he admits. "I mean, I've never really done this before. This like, feelings crap."
"But this isn't just some weird we're-trapped-in-the-same-house-during-a-blizzard-and-Rachel's-mildly-attractive-so-I'll-try-to-hook-up-with-her thing?" she asks. He'd be offended if he didn't think she was really concerned about this. Maybe he should be offended anyway. He's not.
"No," he insists. "I really like you, Rachel. This is totally legit. And you're way more than just mildly attractive, babe."
She smiles and hops up off the bed. Not exactly the reaction he was going for.
"French toast?" she asks enticingly.
He holds her hand as they walk down the stairs.
They walk into school on Monday with his arm draped around her shoulders lazily and Rachel smiling a sweeter smile than she knows anyone's ever seen from her. It's not the 'I'm Rachel Berry and I know I'm better than any of you think' smile. It's the 'You can look all you want, but that's still going to be Noah by my side' smile.
He didn't actually leave her house all weekend. When her dads came home on Saturday, they had to park two streets over, where the roads were cleared. They tried every snow removal company they could think of to come clear out the driveway, but of course, to no avail.
So the four of them bundled up in winter jackets and ski pants (Puck at least got the plain black ones, not the green and purple argyle ones) and grabbed shovels, determined to create room for the Berry Mercedes and maybe dig out Puck's truck. They managed both, but it took most of the day. They alternated, shifts of two people, after they realized just how cold it was and how tiring shoveling snow is. Rachel kept a pot of coffee on the go at all times, and during one of she and Puck's shifts off, she baked cinnamon buns.
And yet even after all that work, her dads insisted that the rest of town was still an icy mess, called Puck's mom, and told her he was staying another night. Come Sunday night, Rachel's dads thought it silly for Puck to drive 'all the way' home when he could just leave in the morning and take Rachel to school with him.
Sure, sleeping in the guest room alone again sucked, but it wasn't so bad, staying up to watch movies or TV with Rachel and her dads, his arm around her on the sofa. She certainly wasn't hiding that there was a bit of a thing going on, and Puck actually thought that bode well for them. If she could tell her dads, he (they) could tell everyone else.
So here they are, her stacking books in her locker and him leaning against the wall next to her.
"It's weird," he says seriously, watching intently as she applies more lip gloss.
"What is?" she asks.
"Not being in your house," he laughs. "People are looking at us weird."
"People can mind their own business," she says with her chin held up. "We are undoubtedly going to be the talk of the gossip mongers posing as students at this school. This comes as no surprise. Is it a problem for you? Because it isn't one for me."
He laughs and drapes his arm around her shoulder, kissing the top of her head as he pushes her locker door closed for her. "Not at all, babe."
Her first period history class is in the main hall, and he notices people staring. Among those people are Kurt, Finn, that creepy Suzie Pepper chick, and a bunch of the guys on the basketball team.
Puck wants to flip them all off and tell them to mind their own goddamn business.
Instead, he pulls Rachel closer by the waist and kisses her. Like, really kisses her. Kisses her so good that someone tells them to get a room, and Rachel doesn't notice, but he takes his hand off her back to give the collective the finger.
"What was that for?" she asks after he's pulled away.
He shrugs and pecks her lips quickly. "I dunno. Wanted to. See you at lunch."
He heads off down the hall and Rachel laughs when he playfully punches Kurt's shoulder and it makes the smaller boy stumble backwards about two feet.
Finn approaches her and looks completely confused as they step into their classroom and take their seats, side by side.
"What the hell just happened?" he asks, his brow furrowed. "How'd that all...What the...Huh?"
She smiles to herself as she opens her text and notebook. "How did you spend the blizzard?" she asks.
She knows he doesn't really understand what she's implying. She wants to laugh, really, since everyone seems to think that she and Puck together is the strangest development ever.
But she knows different.
"I don't get it," Finn says quietly just as the teacher starts her lesson.
Rachel laughs softly to herself, nudging him with her elbow as if to tell him to start taking down the notes that are on the board. Halfway through class, her phone, sitting on her lap, lights up and she glances down at the message on the screen.
I miss being locked up with u ;)
She bites her bottom lip and can't help the little giggle that escapes. Everyone in the room looks at her, but she just coughs a little bit and says she has a tickle in her throat, excusing herself for disrupting the class. She takes a bottle of water from Finn's extended hand, takes a sip and smiles gratefully. His oblivion is hilarious, and she has to cough again to cover her laughter.
When her last class before lunch ends, she steps out of her classroom (a class she shares with Kurt and Tina, who passed her a years' worth of notes, all of which went unanswered), and Noah is standing there with his back planted against the wall across from her classroom door. He looks her up and down (he's not exactly subtle about it). She walks towards him with a scowl on her face, and he just keeps on smirking.
"You," she says, poking his chest with her index finger, "are going to get me into so much trouble."
He grabs onto her hand and pulls her against him, leaning down to kiss her. "Oh, I plan on it."
She shakes her head and wraps her arms around his neck. "I heard it's supposed to snow tonight," she says quietly, her eyes locked with his. She loves the little growl that leaves his throat. "Would you like to drive me home?"
She kisses him soundly, then gives him this amazingly sexy look over her shoulder as she heads for her locker.
As he follows behind her, running his hand over the back of his neck and watching the sway of her hips and her skirt as she walks ahead of him, he decides he has a new found love of Ohio winters.