Author's Note: This takes place a few months after my story Pucker Up. Rachel and Puck have recently broken up after a brief relationship. Not sure how far I am going to take this story, but I wanted to explore Puck's reaction to the new man in Rachel's life.
"Meet the newest member of New Directions…Jesse St. James."
Puck looked up from the magazine he had secretly stashed in his sheet music folder (the latest edition of Bikes, Babes, and Bazookas) to stare at the floppy haired, dill-weed that was standing next to Mr. Schuester.
Mr. Schuester put his hands together in a welcoming clap, but none of the glee kids joined in.
Jesse, seemingly unfazed by the lukewarm reception, kept a smile plastered on his face and said, "Glad to be part of the team. I know you all must be skeptical about my departure from Vocal Adrenaline, but I want to assure you that my actions are not some thinly veiled attempt at subterfuge. For starters, I have no reason to spy. One only has to look at my excellent credentials to know that. I fully intend to commit to this team. I hope that with my help, we can come out on top."
Puck noticed at the end of this puke-worthy speech that Jesse had the audacity to wink at the group.
He actually winked.
What the hell was this guy trying to do…be a game-show host?
Puck also couldn't help but notice that Rachel was looking at Jesse like he was a jug of water, and she had been lost in the desert for days. That's right, she was mesmerized by his canteen of love.
Aside from Rachel, Puck was glad that none of the other glee members seemed all that impressed with Jesse.
Artie spoke up right away, "Hold up, hold up, you're not actually buying this act are you Mr. Schu?"
"Sorry Artie, his story checks out. His file in the office shows that he has moved into the district and is now officially enrolled at this school."
"This is whack!" Mercedes exclaimed. "I'm already sick of fighting for scraps when it comes to singing with the chosen ones, Rachel and Finn, and now we have his pale ass joining in. The rest of us might never get a solo again."
Kurt chimed in, "Just so we're clear pretty-boy, there's only room for one divo in this choir room and that position is already occupied by moi."
"Whoa guys, calm down…" Mr. Schuester started to say before Jesse interrupted.
"If I were in your shoes, I wouldn't trust me either. However, I have no plans to sabotage or take over your glee club. I simply want to get close to one of your members." Jesse nodded at Rachel, and she blushed.
Puck rolled his eyes while Jesse finished by saying, "My disinterest in lying about my feelings for Rachel shows that I don't like to keep secrets."
Puck had had enough, "Maybe it shows that you are some kind of weird stalker freak. I mean, what kind of loser changes schools to be with a chick? Maybe I heard wrong, and your last name is actually St. Bernard. That would help explain why you're such a sick puppy."
"Alright Puck, you need to drop it now," Mr. Schu said in a strict tone.
Jesse smirked, "With a name like Puck, I wouldn't be making fun of anyone's name. Is your mom a big hockey fan or something? Think of all the hilarious rhyming nicknames that could abound when saying 'Puck.'"
"His full name is Noah Puckerman," Rachel explained, "Puck for short."
Puck thought that if Rachel was trying to help him, then she had failed miserably. For some reason, Puck didn't want this goober knowing his whole name.
Jesse scratched his chin and pretended to think, "Do they play hockey on your ark?"
Puck would have been offended if that joke hadn't been so lameass. The other glee members, however, were amused. Puck could hear Artie say in the background, "Ooh, Biblical Burn."
Puck sat up in his seat and tried to look as menacing as possible, "Yeah, my ark's in the parking lot, and I'm short one canine. Care to volunteer, St. Bernard?"
Rachel put both hands up to act like a stop sign, "You guys are being so childish."
Taking in her comment, Puck realized that now was probably not the best time to mention that Jesse was the one who had started it.
Rachel focused her gaze at Puck, "For the record, I had no idea Jesse was changing schools. I don't think it's creepy, I think it's sweet."
Rachel turned back to Jesse, "I think you should know that Puck is a valuable asset to have on our team. In addition to a lovely singing voice, he also plays a mean guitar."
Rachel now addressed the whole group, "I have gotten to know Jesse in the past couple of weeks, and I can assure you that he is a good guy. Plus, he's been to Regionals three times and has several winning titles under his belt. We could really use his expertise if we want to have any shot at competing."
"Thank you Rachel," Mr. Schuester said, glad that things were starting to get under control. "As you all know, any one who has ever auditioned for glee club under my direction has gotten in. Jesse here," Mr. Schuester grabbed Jesse by the shoulders, "is no different than any of you. I want you to treat him with respect, and help him get settled."
The glee members mumbled their acquiescence as the bell rang, signaling the end of the period.
Mr. Schu pulled Jesse aside to catch him up to speed on what music the group was rehearsing. Puck took this opportunity to approach Rachel.
He was gonna play it cool…
He didn't want Rachel to know that this Jesse jerk pissed him off. He certainly didn't want her to think that he was jealous.
Noah Puckerman did not get jealous.
He got hungry.
Or amazed at how badass he was.
But, he certainly never got jealous.
Puck decided that the best approach was to ease his way into the conversation, maybe ask about the warm weather they had been having.
Puck held his hands nervously behind his back, "So, did you go to the dog-pound to pick up the mutt or did he just follow you home?"
Inwardly, Puck chastised himself. Subtlety had not been achieved.
Rachel rolled her eyes, "Excuse me if I only laugh at that on the inside."
Puck put on his serious face to show her that he meant business, "Come on Rachel, this guy is playing you. Believe me, I see all the signs. His sickeningly sweet speech at the start of class gave me a freakin stomachache. I'm sure you like him because he's nice to you and listens to you. He takes you to concerts and is respectful of your personal boundaries blah blah blah. Clearly, he wants to gather information about our club. If he happens to get into your pants along the way, well then nuts for him—literally."
"No. You believe me," Rachel insisted, "I would know if he was playing me. After-all, I learned all the signs from you!"
Puck was wounded. "Hey, I was upfront about our previous arrangement. You agreed to all the terms. You share some of the responsibility; I wasn't fake dating myself."
"No," Rachel's voice got louder, "You just left out the small detail that you were going to be a father. Other than that, you were the picture of honesty!"
Puck shifted his weight from foot to foot, he hated when Rachel was mad at him. "You're right, I did lie. However, I came clean on my own, and you forgave me long enough to date me for several weeks. At least, I thought you had forgiven me."
Rachel looked down to the ground as if slightly embarrassed. She scuffed the toe of one of her Mary Janes against the floor. "I did forgive you," she said quietly, "You just didn't live up to my expectations."
Puck didn't like the way she was judging his character.
Puck looked around the room to make sure no one was listening. Thankfully, the coast was clear.
"You broke up with me!" he reminded her even though it was a painful thing for him to think about.
When Rachel had pulled the plug, his ego had been hurt. More accurately, it felt like his ego had been karate-chopped, stomped on the floor, thrown against the wall, and then stuck in a boiling vat of acid.
Puck shrugged and admitted to himself that he might have a teensy problem with rejection.
Rachel shifted her gaze away from the floor directly to Puck's face, "Because I saw you flirting with Santana in the hallway."
"That wasn't flirting, that's just the way I talk normally," Puck defended himself. "I can't help it if everything I say sounds smooth. Plus, I think I was only being nice so I could copy her homework. I was cheating at school, not on you. Therefore, you had no reason to be upset."
"Cheating at any aspect of your life indicates a shaky moral foundation. Besides, you had your hands on her," Rachel recalled.
"So, I was talking with my hands. Didn't I ever mention I was part Italian?"
Rachel gave him a look.
"Seriously, my great-great aunt was from Sicily."
Rachel shook her head, "Regardless, that same week you also had Quinn move into your house."
"You were the one who encouraged me to take responsibility for my actions. I couldn't expect Finn to let her stay with him after we had lied for so long. Plus, you know Quinn's dad won't let her back in the house. Where else was she supposed to go?"
"I'm glad you're letting Quinn stay at your house, it was the right thing to do," Rachel admitted.
Puck was quick to let go of his annoyance, "Thanks."
Puck stared into Rachel's eyes, "I know I've told you this before, but Quinn and I are just friends. Or at least, we're working on being friends. She still wants to give the baby up for adoption, and I'm okay with that. Nothing else is ever going to happen between us."
"I appreciate the update, but that doesn't change anything. Jesse is a part of this club now, and I am going to continue to date him. Subject closed."
Rachel made a move to turn away, but Puck wanted to have the last word, "Be careful. Aside from his deformed face, there's something about that Jesse punk that I just don't like."
"I'm a big girl Noah," Rachel reassured him, "I can take care of myself."
Jesse, having finished up with Mr. Schu, walked over to where Puck and Rachel were standing.
"Hey Rach. Hey Noah," Jesse said brightly.
This guy was officially dead meat.
Jesse noticed Puck's anger. "Sorry buddy. It'll take me awhile to remember everyone's nicknames. At my last school, I even came up with some of my own. How about Pucky?"
He was deader than dead meat.
"No? I also like Puckerino."
He was going to be road-kill. Accidents happened in the school parking lot all the time.
"The Puckman? Almost sounds like Pacman doesn't it? Come on, that's a pretty sweet game."
They would never find the body.
Jesse snapped his fingers, "I've got it. How about Puckzilla? Your size and intellect are like that of a dinosaur."
Puck actually liked that name, but he was the only one who was allowed to know that.
In his head, Puck fantasized that he was the T-Rex in Jurassic Park and Jesse was the guy who had gotten eaten while sitting on the toilet. That image made him feel a little better.
Puck chose not to respond (with his voice or with his fists), so the three of them stood in tension-filled silence for a moment.
Deciding he had done enough damage for one day, Jesse grabbed Rachel's arm, "I think we should get going. You promised that you would help me catch up on our teams' song catalogue."
Puck refused to believe that Jesse would ever truly be a part of the team.
Rachel grabbed her bag and held her hand out to Jesse who immediately enfolded it into his own.
"Bye," Rachel said to Puck, "I'll see you at the next rehearsal."
"Later Puck," Jesse said as he saluted.
Puck's stomach sank as he watched them leave the room.
He told himself he didn't care as he watched Rachel rest her head on Jesse's shoulder while they walked away.
When he thought about it, her relationship with Jesse was really none of his business.
Rachel was no longer his girlfriend. He had other things to worry about; things like perfecting his jump-shot. He certainly couldn't expect the coordinationally-challenged Finn to carry the basketball team.
In a way, Puck felt he should be relieved. He hated drama and Rachel was nonstop drama.
If anything, Puck should be thanking Jesse for taking his place in the love triangle…er…quadrangle…that was Rachel's life.
Puck wasn't grateful, he was pissed.
Jesse was an outsider.
Although Puck couldn't prove it, he knew that Jesse was not who he said he was. His intentions were definitely not pure.
Jesse was a player.
Too bad for him that it took one to know one: Puck was the master player of all players.
He had once gone on a date with five women in a single night. Granted he was at one of his pool clients' book clubs, but it still counted. The ladies hadn't minded; Puck had rocked their literary worlds.
Puck decided right then and there that he was going to expose Jesse as the lying cheater that he was.
It's the best thing for the team, Puck reasoned.
He would be performing a community service, and the best part was that it wouldn't even be court-ordered.
Although he liked to hide it, Puck was a nice guy.
The team would be better off once Jesse was gone.
A certain female vocalist would definitely be better off without Jesse, even if she didn't know it yet.
And, Puck admitted, Jesse's departure would be beneficial for him too.
As Puck gathered his own belongings, he identified the sinking feeling that had been in his stomach for awhile.
More specifically, the pain that had been bothering him since St. WhatsHisFace had darkened the doorway of the choir room.
The feeling that plagued him like a sucker punch even now...
Aw hell, Puck was jealous.