A/N: This just popped into my head. I'm thinking this will just be a series of one-shots…some related, some…maybe not? Either way they will be conversations, stolen moments, etc. Between Puck & Rachel. I've made the rating M, just in case I decide to take this somewhere that we all know we want it to go.
Rachel was lost in her thoughts and didn't see Noah Puckerman approaching the bleachers. It was her free period and normally she would be in the choir room, auditorium or library, but today she was using it to daydream about what her life would be like when she was living…well, anywhere but here.
"What did he do this time?" Noah asked sitting down next to her, pulling her (reluctantly) from the movie playing in her mind.
"Hmm? I'm sorry…who?" She mumbled. He knows something is up because he's never seen her quite so distracted and heard her so…inarticulate? He's also learned some vocabulary from her.
She had been dating Finn for awhile now and although Noah and Finn were back on speaking terms, they were by no means the best friends that they once were.
"Oh nothing." She paused and then asked, "Have you ever felt like just disappearing for a day or two? Just getting the hell out of here? Not telling anyone where you are or-"
"All the time." She was starting to worry him a little. She never spoke like this. Like a normal, stressed out person.
"Where would you go?" She turns to him and her eyes light up like she's actually excited to hear his answer.
"California, I think…it's always warm there… and I don't know if I'd ever come back." He looks at her, watching her hair whip around her face while she squints her eyes from the sun. "You know, if you're serious, I'll day-trip it to New York with you anytime."
"Who says I would go to New York?"
He looks at her as if to say 'come on, who are you kidding?' "You'd go to New York."
"I suppose I would, but sometimes I fantasize about what it would be like to live on a private island… in an elaborate tree house and just…be."
If there's one thing he has learned about Rachel Berry, it's that she never ceases to amaze him. He really had not been expecting that. She's too tightly wound to just lay around on some island, doing nothing all day, but swimming and sleeping. That sounded more like his M.O.
The thought of her in a white bikini makes his mouth and throat feel like he swallowed sand.
"Wow. Forget California. You got room for one more in that tree house?"
She laughs. Really laughs and he is reminded why he does this. Why he tries to catch her when she's alone because he knows, he just knows, that she doesn't say this shit to just anyone, including Finn. Well maybe not Finn. Actually probably Finn, but what matters is that she tells him too.
"I guess you could visit." She teases.
"Visit?! I'm going for permanent residence, Berry. You in a bikini…no one else around for miles…sounds fucking amazing." He nudges her shoulder and realizes that sounded better in his head. He tries very hard not to cross the line in a serious way. Of course he still flirts with her, hits on her even, but she knows it's all in good fun. Their whole relationship is kind of based around flirting and not taking each other or themselves too seriously. She's not that bad at it flirting back and even when she is it just makes him laugh. Who knew she was funny?
"I can only take you in small doses." She nudges him back. Thankfully the "permanent residence" part didn't make her as nervous as it had him.
Now it's his turn to laugh and he knows that the rest of his day will just go downhill from this moment. He's not sure when it happened, but she's become the best part of his day, everyday. He tries hard not to think about that little revelation too much because he's afraid of destroying this little whatever that they have going on.
Man, he's becoming such a girl.
"Where's all of this coming from?" He asks curiously.
"I honestly could not say. I just feel tired recently."
"Noah!" She slaps his arm and fakes indignation. They both know she's used to and expecting his comments by now, but she wouldn't be Berry if she let him get away with his jackassery scott-free.
"I'm just saying." He smirks and shrugs his shoulder.
"I did not mean physically…" She pauses expecting a remark from him about her physical form, but when it doesn't come she continues, "I mean mentally…I'm just mentally exhausted."
"Makes sense. You do a lot of shit. And physically, you're damn near perfect." There it is.
"Damn near?" Months ago she would have scolded him half-heartedly, but now? Now she revels in his attention and loves to give as well as she gets. And the more she gives the more she gets. Sometimes she feels guilty for shamelessly flirting with her boyfriend's ex-best friend. Sometimes. Other times, she realizes that she is only young once and she is not stupid enough to think that Finn is her future husband. Finn is her high school sweetheart and Noah is her high school…something, whatever.
He leans into her and puts his arm around her shoulders "Well yeah. I can only judge by what I've seen, which isn't much. If you want my unbridled opinion, I'm going to have to test the goods, you know, get up close and personal."
She looks at him and practically whispers with a tinge of laughter in her voice, "Unbridled?" The fact that she doesn't even flinch when he puts his arm around her and starts rubbing his thumb along her arm is not lost on him. Instead she leans into him as if it's natural. He tries not to think about the reaction Finn would have if he witnessed their interaction. The thought makes him smirk.
"What can I say? You're rubbing off on me, Berry."
"Not nearly as much as you would like, Noah."
He can't help the smile that breaks out on his face when he notices her knowing sideways smirk. "True story, Rach, true story."